Amongst the mooing and bawking, the hymning and hawing, Gov. Rick Snyder visited the 2013 Michigan Livestock Expo Sale-a-bration Tuesday evening, demonstrating his continued support for the agriculture industry throughout the state.
The event, which took place at the Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education, represented a culmination of a nearly weeklong event that showcases the work of farmers throughout the state on MSU’s campus.
Participants eagerly showed off their various livestock including sheep, swine, beef and goats, as event organizers spoke at length regarding the hard work of Michigan’s young people, many of whom were in attendance to show their livestock to would-be buyers.
“Thank you to all the parents, to all the family members who’ve supported these 700 kids in the hard work they do,” Snyder said at the event.
“It’s hard work, many of you know that, and it is something that really comes across in terms of the culture of Michigan, the work ethic that people get to say we don’t mind hard work, we like to see it pay off in something productive.”
During Snyder’s time as governor, the agriculture industry has grown from $71 billion to more than $90 billion in economic contributions annually, according to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
While the state continues to expand, producing over 200 commercial commodities, Snyder hopes Michiganians could continue to make positive strides.
“Is there any good reason we shouldn’t be gunning for 100 billion or more?” he asked the crowded pavilion.
Afterwards, the crowd watched as several champion animals were paraded into a straw-lined pen to be displayed for bidders. The champion beef cow, weighing in at more than 1,300 pounds, was purchased for $24,000. After each animal was sold to the highest bidder, the owner and their livestock posed with the governor.
Snyder has been no stranger to the agriculture industry.
On March 8, 2011, he signed his first bill, which established the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, or MAEAP, an effort to educate farmers on environmental risk factors.
The program also establishes emergency protocols in an ecological emergency and ensures scientific standards are applied to protect Michigan’s natural resources, according to the legislation.
As for the future, the Michigan Farm Bureau has stated they aim to continue to advance agriculture within the state through workforce development, addressing regulations and increasing market access.