2017 Survey of Specialty Crop Growers in Ohio
Wright Morton, Lois
Arbuckle, J. G.
Specialty crops are an important component of the economy in the upper Midwest, with the 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture valuing them at $4.7 billion. The states of Michigan and Ohio produce a diversity of annual and perennial specialty crops ranging from fruits, vegetables, greenhouse and nursery crops (see box insert for definition of specialty crops). Growing specialty crops in Michigan and Ohio in the past few years has been full of both promising opportunities and persistent challenges. Growers of specialty crops have benefited from increasing interest in “local food” from consumers and food businesses, and continued emphasis from experts on the importance of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. At the same time, weather events—including highly variable and extreme precipitation and temperatures—and concerns about human and environmental health have spurred demand for food grown with minimal use of agricultural chemicals, and exerted pressure on growers to continually evaluate and update their practices.