Supply chain issues and worker shortages are hitting many industries hard, including farming and milling.

The director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development visited Star of the West Milling Company in Frankenmuth to help address some of these issues.

"We're a powerhouse when it comes to ag. People think of Michigan as cars, manufacturing. But last year there was a $104.7 billion that food and ag contributed to Michigan’s economy. 8500 people employed, and Michigan has so much diversity, over 300 crops,” said Gary McDowell.

As it turns out, the milling industry is not immune to supply chain problems either.

"Been hearing food, supply chain issues, workforce issues. So, this is our, right now we have a once in a lifetime opportunity with coming out of a century's worst pandemic to actually transform Michigan’s economy, moving forward to a Michigan’s new economy,” McDowell said.

McDowell and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the office of rural development earlier this year to help that community rebound.

"During the pandemic the rural part of the state really fell behind. This has been going on for years and years and we're gonna have this office now that's gonna focus solely on the rural part of the state,” McDowell said.

Mcdowell said he will take what he's learned today, and from other tours, back to Gov. Whitmer to develop a plan to help rural communities recover from the pandemic.

"We're gonna see what we need to do to continue to grow Michigan’s economy. Ag's gonna be a big part of that. Become a more just, prosperous state,” McDowell said.

Copyright 2021 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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