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A report says the industry supports 22,000 jobs, and potatoes are second-largest commodity grown in the state.

February 26, 2024

2 Min Read
A bag of potato chips poured next to potato heads
CHIP LEADER: One out of every four bags of potato chips nationwide contain Michigan-grown potatoes — one reason the state is known as the chipping capital of the U.S. supharb sangkla/Getty Images

Michigan’s potato industry supports almost 22,000 jobs, brings in $2.5 billion to the state’s GDP and ranks as the second-largest commodity grown in Michigan behind apples. That’s according to an analysis from economists at Michigan State University.

The entire economic report, titled “No Small Potatoes,” can be found here.

“Most people recognize the importance of the potato industry to rural America. However, its contributions to urban communities are often overlooked,” says Phil Gusmano, vice president of purchasing for Detroit-based Better Made Snack Foods and commissioner on the Michigan Potato Industry Commission.

“The Michigan potato industry’s $2.5 billion economic contributions are distributed throughout the value chain — beginning with growers, moving through processing facilities and distribution centers, and ending on grocery store shelves and restaurants,” Gusmano adds. “The industry truly impacts every corner of the Mitten State.”

MPIC, the state’s premier potato research, promotion and education organization, funded the report, which also showed a $1.5 billion impact in direct economic activity via potato production, wholesaling and retailing — and a billion-dollar impact in indirect economic activities from related industries and consumption.

The potato supply chain generates about $832 million in wages.

“Michigan-grown potatoes are not just an affordable and nutritious food option, but they’re a major driver for our economy,” Ryan Norton, chair of MPIC and farm manager at Walther Farms in Three Rivers, Mich., said in a statement.

One out of every four bags of potato chips nationwide contain Michigan-grown potatoes — one reason the state is known as the chipping capital of the U.S.

Michigan potato growers in 2022 produced almost 1.9 billion pounds of potatoes across all categories — seed, fresh, frozen, dehydrated and processing — with farm sales of more than $246 million. The output ranks Michigan as the eighth-largest state in potato production and sixth in terms of sales.

About 70% (by volume) of the state’s 2 billion pounds of potatoes grown each year are sent to potato chip processors inside and outside of the state. Potatoes are rich in potassium, antioxidants and phytochemicals, while remaining fat, gluten, cholesterol and sodium free.

Source: MPIC

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