Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently returned from a 10-day trip to visit with business and government leaders in China. The meetings were to discuss how Michigan is going to begin to export more of its agriculture to the Chinese market.
While in China, Snyder reopened the Michigan China Center in Shanghai, which will be staffed with Michigan citizens and will allow for easier exporting for both countries.
“Currently, Michigan exports almost one-third of the crops grown here, with the top five agricultural exports being soybeans, feed grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy products,” Jamie Clover Adams, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said in a statement. “The top five countries eager for Michigan-grown products are Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea and China.”
The Michigan government is hoping to increase its exports to $3.5 billion by 2015.
The increase will not only bring in more money, but also potentially create more jobs in Michigan.
“For Michigan, economically it’s good, and it’s also good for the farming industry as long as it’s not industrial farming,” Eastern Michigan University student Lauren Mercer said.
According to the Pesticide Action Network North America, industrial farming has had a very harmful effect on the environment and economy.
PANNA, an organization against the use of hazardous pesticides, said treating farms like factories reduces the amount of food we produce per fossil fuel and creates huge environmental hazards.
“The trade would be fantastic, but we should work out some good regulations to lessen the negative impact on the environment,” EMU student Simon Suboski said.
Adams said the Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division of MDARD will be carefully inspecting the produce to make sure they’re free of plant pests and environmentally safe to ship.
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