While Michigan’s overall economy shows signs of improvement, the ongoing “good news” from the agricultural sector will continue, says Wayne Wood, president of the Michigan Farm Bureau.

Wood says that another solid year in 2012 will further bolster the economy as producers pay down debt, add drainage tile to their fields, and invest profits in new technologies—including those that produce alternative energy.

“Farmers are very supportive of alternative energy,” Wood says. “We don’t like $4 gas any better than anyone else.”

Many “quietly innovative” producers have, for example, welcomed wind energy and installed methane digesters. And even Wood is “amazed at the number of newly erected solar panels” he has seen driving through the countryside.

Despite positive projections for the coming year, however, agriculture is not without its challenges.

“This very unusual spring weather has created some major problems, especially for our fruit growers,” Wood says. “Hopefully, the temperatures will stay above freezing, and producers can minimize the damage to their crops.”

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