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HUDSONVILLE — While news of $300 million worth of destroyed crops certainly merits attention, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Keith Creagh said he believes it's important for the state to keep its eye on agriculture's role in the future of the state's economy.

Creagh, who spoke at "MiFood 2012: Michigan Food Processing and Agribusiness Summit" on May 23 at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville, told a crowd of food processors that Gov. Rick Snyder is committed to helping the state's food and agriculture industry to grow from $71 billion to $100 billion.

KALAMAZOO — Historically, food-based entrepreneurs faced many discouraging regulatory and cost hurdles in Michigan, but all that changed with the passage of the state's Cottage Food Law in 2010.

Businesses partners Kelli Eaton and Sara Main, best friends since they attended Sturgis High School, are two local entrepreneurs taking advantage of the changes to start their own small business, Fizzy Bread & Dips Co., all while maintaining full-time employment elsewhere.

Broadband key to farmers’ competitiveness

Written by | Tuesday, 22 May 2012 12:24 |

West Michigan farmers without access to the high-speed broadband grid are at a disadvantage when they have to compete with farmers who are connected to the best Internet technology.

"If Michigan agriculture is going to advance like our counterparts in the state's urban communities, we have to have the infrastructure to do it," said Matt Smego, legislative counsel for Michigan Farm Bureau. "Our farmers are competing in a global marketplace. We need this (high-speed broadband access) to be competitive from production to marketing."

Revamping the Michigan brand

Written by | Friday, 11 May 2012 14:06 |

WEST MICHIGAN — When it comes to what Michigan represents as a place to do business, experts and business leaders agree that the state could use a makeover.

WEST MICHIGAN — West Michigan asparagus and fruit growers are seeing the ugly side of the unusually warm, sunny weather that seemed to skip a season this year.

Farmland prices rise as fears of bubble abate

Written by | Monday, 09 April 2012 09:19 |

Farmland could very well have strong investment potential if the upward trends seen in land prices continue.

GR Brewing Co. plans revived

Written by | Wednesday, 28 March 2012 12:14 |

A new project aims to revive a classic name from Grand Rapids’ brewing history and fill a major corner in the downtown entertainment district

The Bank of Holland targets farmers

Written by | Wednesday, 21 March 2012 12:46 |

 The Bank of Holland Senior Vice President Jim Bishop believes agriculture is going to play a major role in Michigan’s economic comeback story “and we want to be a part of that.”

Effective meetings require planning, process

Written by | Monday, 12 March 2012 09:54 |

Most professionals dread large-scale meetings and events: the packets, the lines, the droning speakers. Even small, in-house meetings develop into sources of stress and angst. Companies both large and small have developed time-tested practices that smooth the wrinkles meetings and events can cause, even as technological innovation shifts the meetings landscape.

Managing waste is nothing new, especially for big industries such as health care and manufacturing. Sustainability initiatives, which primarily focus on monitoring the input/output metrics of businesses, have revealed a number of places where companies can improve their bottom lines — in particular, energy use and waste.

Go where the stomachs are, but seller beware

Written by | Friday, 13 January 2012 09:49 |

For companies that want to export food products, the advice seems simple enough: Go where the stomachs are. As Michigan State University Professor David Schweikhardt told a couple dozen people looking at the potential of agricultural exports, you have to look for “stomach share.”

WALKER — At DeDinas Franzak Enterprises, quality control can involve some orange-colored fingers.

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