The health and stability of Michigan’s economy is dependent on the agriculture sector. Much of Michigan’s economy is based on industries that have strong adverse reactions to economic downturns. Due to the fact that food is a necessity, the food and agriculture system is more resistant. As the pioneer land-grant university, Michigan State University plays a vital role in agricultural health and research for the state of Michigan.
Agriculture and Natural Resources Week (ANR Week) continues to be one of the largest events of its kind in the nation. Foundations for the week were laid by the Farmers’ Institute more than a century ago. In 1898, Michigan Agricultural College hosted the first statewide Farmers’ Institute “Round-Up.” Agriculture Hall was completed in 1909, and a fourth floor auditorium provided the meeting place. Five years later, the round-up combined with farm association meetings to become the first Farmers Week. In 1982, Farmers Week was renamed Farmers’ Week and Natural Resources Days followed in 1985 by a name change to Agriculture and Natural Resources Week, better known today as ANR Week. With more than 50 programs and annual association meetings, ANR Week has developed into a late winter gathering of minds deeply concerned and involved in the today’s world of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Topics of interest have changed with the industry over the past century to coincide with trends and technology from machine based farming equipment to chemical and biological advances, and commodity specialization. Themes have also changed to reflect the times; during the 1960s the space age was topical, the 1970s featured science and cybernetics, and the 1980s bought forth issues related to world hunger.