By Rachel Bidock
Clinton County Staff Reporter
The relationship between farmers and non-farmers in Clinton County has changed, but the importance of farmers in the county has not. Farms are a vital source of income for towns in Michigan, said Paul Thompson the Kellogg Chair in agricultural, food and community ethics at Michigan State University. “Farming really is the single, economically most important industry in most of these rural communities, particularly here in the southern half of the state,” Thompson said. According to Scott Swinton, a professor at MSU’s Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, because farmers earn money for their crops and then spend that money, they help out the communities. “When one person in a region earns money, as farmers do from selling their crops and livestock, they spend that money other places in the community, it’s what economists call a multiplier effect,” Swinton said.