State FFA officers experience many aspects of Michigan agriculture, including potatoes
August 2, 2017

For the fifth year the Michigan Potato Industry Commission (MPIC) co-sponsored the Michigan FFA Business & Industry Tour in cooperation with Michigan Farm Bureau and the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture. This year’s tour focused on the Saginaw valley and thumb regions of Michigan and included various aspects of potato production, potato equipment manufacturing and potato processing along with a variety of other agricultural enterprises.

Potato related stops included Ike’s Welding and Manufacturing in Munger, Walther Farm’s Cass City farm and storages, and the Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn’s kitchen. The officers also toured MSU’s Saginaw Valley Research and Education Center, Everbest Organics, Michigan Sugar Company, Cooperative Elevator, Bay Port Fish Company, Valley Enterprises, Star of the West Milling, and the Poet Energy ethanol plant.

According to Mike Wenkel, MPIC’s Executive Director, “The tour is about expanding the understanding of career opportunities in Michigan agriculture from research, to industry support, to marketing and consumer interactions along with producing the raw commodities that make agriculture a key industry in the state.”

The state officers will be spending much of their time over the next school year doing visits to high school agriculture programs on careers in agriculture. The tour broadens their knowledge and hopefully will lead to more talented students basing their careers around the agricultural industry, regardless of their profession.

Based on 2014 data, the Michigan potato complex is estimated to add $554 million to the state’s economy through combined business sales of $1.24 billion and 3,230 jobs.