Michigan Ag Director reflects on a year like no other


Michigan Ag Director reflects on a year like no other

The Agriculture Director for the state of Michigan says the pandemic brought to light how fragile the food supply chain is.

Gary McDowell tells Brownfield as soon as the prospect of food shortages was identified, his department went to work coordinating with surrounding states and food processors.

“At first I think there were weekly calls to our stakeholders on what we could do working together, helping each other, and we got through it.”

Those calls also led to connecting food banks throughout the state directly to food producers.

“It was just phenomenal the food we were able to raise and get together for our food banks to really help our friends and neighbors who were food insecure.”

Michigan’s largest egg producer, Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, estimates they alone were able to donate 1.6 million eggs during 2020.

McDowell says he’s very proud of his staff pivoting priorities to meet the needs of the state’s farms, farmworkers, and ag businesses and expects many lessons learned to carry forward in future work.