LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) marked a milestone Thursday: the 100th anniversary of the department’s creation. Then known as the Michigan Department of Agriculture, the department was created by Act 13, Public Acts 1921, to promote the agricultural interests of the State of Michigan, effectively transferring powers from existing boards, departments, and commissions on July 1, 1921.
“Agriculture has always been an important industry from an economic standpoint in Michigan, and a way of life for our farming communities who serve as the backbone of our state,” said Gary McDowell, MDARD director. “As it did at its formation, the department continues to cultivate and expand new economic opportunities for the food and agricultural sector, safeguard the public’s food supply, inspect and enforce sound animal health practices, control and eradicate plant pests and diseases threatening Michigan’s food and agriculture system, preserve the environment by which the farming community makes their living and feeds consumers, and protect consumers by enforcing laws relating to weights and measures.”
Throughout its 100-year history, MDARD has seen many changes, from technology, regulations, the scope of its programs, and more. In 2011, the department’s mission was expanded to include rural development to improve the lives and livelihoods of Michigan’s rural population.
“MDARD and Michigan’s food and agriculture industry are stronger than ever thanks to the dedication and commitment to excellence of our employees and all our partners in academia and local and federal government who are committed to producing a safe, abundant food supply and investing in innovations in every facet of agriculture,” said McDowell.
Michigan’s food and agriculture industry has a $104.7 billion overall impact on the state’s economy annually and employs 17.2 percent of the state’s workforce, approximately 805,000 people.
Throughout the coming year, MDARD will celebrate the department, its employees and programs, and Michigan’s food and agriculture industry with a series of events, activities, social media features, podcasts and more.
Follow MDARD on its social media channels, #MDARD100Years, or visit Michigan.gov/MDARD to share in the celebration.
— Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
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