The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is searching for this year's "Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year." Applications are being accepted until March 12, with the top exporter receiving recognition at an event to be announced at a later date.
"We are committed to supporting the agri-businesses and food processors that are helping reinvent Michigan," says Governor Rick Snyder. "This honor assists us in recognizing the high quality and diverse agricultural products Michigan offers to help us compete in the global marketplace."
"Numerous Michigan's food and agriculture companies are expanding into new global markets due to increased demand for Michigan grown and produced products," says Jamie Clover Adams, MDARD director. "In 2011, Michigan agricultural exports represented nearly $2.8 billion in economic activity and employed over 20,000 residents. Exports will play a vital role in growing our industry."
To be eligible for the award, a company's products must be over 50% grown, processed or manufactured in Michigan. Companies with headquarters in other states, but production facilities in Michigan, are invited to apply on the basis of their Michigan-made exports. Past recipients of the "Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year" are eligible to apply five years after their initial award if they have significantly increased their exports or expanded into new markets.
The "Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year" application requests background information on the company and its products, the percentage growth of company exports, and the company's export destinations.
Last year, the Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year honor went to Graceland Fruit of Frankfort. Graceland saw an increase of over 21% in their export business in 2011 and manufactures a wide variety of infused fruits. Graceland exports dried cherries, apples, wild and cultivated blueberries, dried cherry, dried carrot and dried orange peel. Graceland began exporting in 1995 and has experience exporting to 42 countries.
Previous winners include: Zeeland Farm Services, Walters Gardens Inc., Zeeland; Honee Bear Canning, Lawton; Cooperative Elevator Company, Pigeon; Cherry Central, Traverse City; and Michigan Apple Committee, DeWitt.
For more information, please contact Jamie Zmitko-Somers, International Marketing Program Manager, at (517) 241-3628, firstname.lastname@example.org
. The application can be obtained at www.Michigan.gov/agexport