GREETING FOR THE AGRICULTURAL TRAIL
For many of you this Agricultural Trail will be an eye-opener yet for others it will evoke strong memories. If you grew up on a farm that experience is embedded forever and in many cases can be credited as life-shaping.
Today, only two percent of our population lives on working farms and the influence of science and technology has revolutionized the farming many of us remember. On the other hand, many people may falsely assume that agriculture is no longer an important part of our economy. Even during the downturn of Michigan’s economy in the first decade of the 21st Century when unemployment continued to mount, agriculture remained a strong economic driver.
Agriculture remains an important economic sector in Mason and Oceana Counties. There are 1,049 farms working over 206 thousand acres and the market value of products sold in 2012 totaled 154 million dollars.
Oceana County has ranks in the top ten statewide in the value of sales in vegetables, fruits and berries, cut Christmas trees, poultry and eggs, and hogs and pigs. Its major role in crops is vividly illustrated for being the leading producer of tart cherries and asparagus in the State and ranking second in harvested vegetables. Its inventory of hogs and pigs, turkeys and chickens are all among the top 10 producers in Michigan.
Mason County farmers are strongest statewide in fruits and berries, 10th in the state, cut Christmas trees, 11th and hogs and pigs, 19th. Dairy production once the mainstay of Mason County farms is now concentrated in much larger herds illustrated by the New Horizon Farm on this tour milking 300 cows. Mason County’s dairy production remains strong ranking 34th out of Michigan’s 89 counties. Historically winter wheat has been a cash crop for Mason County farmers and that tradition continues as they ranked 28th in raising this crop.
Your agricultural journey will take you to 17 venues including unique farm markets, an elk ranch, two major historical sites, a county fairgrounds, and through the use of a smart phone experience the manufacture of ice cream and cheese.
Click on the MAP button at the bottom of the page to see trail stops near you.