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State recognizes agriculture sector with special designation

St. Paul, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is urging all residents to support the state's farming sector as he proclaims March 14-20, 2010 Minnesota Agriculture Week. The state observance ties into National Agriculture Week, which is designed to raise awareness of the positive contributions agriculture makes in providing food and many other products used every day.

Agriculture is a multi-billion dollar industry in Minnesota. It is the second largest economic sector in the state's economy, after manufacturing. According to the latest statistics, Minnesota's crops and livestock generated more than $15.8 billion in farm income in 2008.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Commissioner Gene Hugoson says agriculture plays a key role in shoring up the state's economy.

"In these difficult financial times, agriculture remains a driving force in supporting other industries, such as manufacturing, transportation and construction," said Hugoson. "Agriculture affects so many aspects of our daily lives."

Minnesota is at the top in ag production when compared to other states. The state's farmers produce more turkeys, sugar beets, sweet corn for processing, and green peas for processing that anyone else in the nation.

To kick off the week-long celebration, Commissioner Hugoson will be visiting the state's only urban agriculture class which is being taught at St. Paul's Humboldt Secondary School. The MDA will also be conducting special outreach and agricultural awareness projects on its Twitter ( and Facebook ( accounts.