agriculture http://michiganradio.org en Why were 30 million pounds of tart cherries left to rot on the ground? http://michiganradio.org/post/why-were-30-million-pounds-tart-cherries-left-rot-ground <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Get this, 75% of the nation's tart cherries are grown in Michigan, most of that in the northwest Lower Peninsula.</span></p><p>But every year the industry that brings us cherry pies and the Traverse City Cherry Festival faces restrictions set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.</p><p>Ron French, the Senior Writer for Bridge Magazine, said because so many tart cherries are grown in such a small area, the weather can greatly affect the crop. So the USDA puts a limit o<span style="line-height: 1.5;">n the percentage of Michigan's tart cherry crop that can be sold&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">so prices don't swing too dramatically.</span></p><p>“The result of that is that in some years as much as one half or more in cherries produced in Michigan is left rotting on the ground,” French said.</p><p>Most growers favor restrictions, but one food processing company in Elk Rapids is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture.</p><p>French said Elk Rapids is hoping to remove the restrictions on cherries completely.</p><p> Tue, 08 Jul 2014 17:47:01 +0000 Stateside Staff 18292 at http://michiganradio.org Why were 30 million pounds of tart cherries left to rot on the ground? What should we do about the arsenic in our food? Experts say vary your diet, research ongoing http://michiganradio.org/post/what-should-we-do-about-arsenic-our-food-experts-say-vary-your-diet-research-ongoing <p>All this week, we’ve been talking about the potential for elevated levels of arsenic in groundwater in Michigan.</p><p>The upshot of our <a href="http://michiganradio.org/topic/michigans-silent-poison">reports</a>:</p><ol><li>Arsenic levels in Michigan’s groundwater can be high.</li><li>Arsenic is bad for you.</li><li>Scientists are finding health effects at lower exposure levels.</li><li>If you’re on a well, test it for arsenic.</li><li>If the levels are high, you should consider doing something about it.</li></ol><p>This one chart published by the<a href="http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/06/28/14994/lifetime-cancer-risk"> Center for Public Integrity</a> shows you why (the blue bar is arsenic):</p><p> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 14:45:00 +0000 Mark Brush 18250 at http://michiganradio.org What should we do about the arsenic in our food? Experts say vary your diet, research ongoing The new right-to-farm requirements and backyard animals http://michiganradio.org/post/new-right-farm-requirements-and-backyard-animals <p></p><p>Recent changes in the Michigan right-to farm requirements have drawn criticisms from those worried it may curtail their ability to keep bees, chickens, or other farm animals in their backyards.</p><p>But are these changes as threatening to urban farming as detractors fear?</p><p>Writer Anna Clark has looked into the revisions in the right-to farm requirements and she believes the answer is “no.”</p><p><em>*Listen to the full show above.</em></p><p> Mon, 02 Jun 2014 21:04:25 +0000 Stateside Staff 17829 at http://michiganradio.org The new right-to-farm requirements and backyard animals Health officials looking into a cluster of E. coli contamination in Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/health-officials-looking-cluster-e-coli-contamination-michigan <p>State health officials say they're working with health departments in Kent, Livingston, Oakland, Ottawa and Washtenaw counties to investigate a cluster of recent illnesses due to the bacteria E. coli O157.</p><p>The state Department of Community Health and the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced Wednesday that the suspected source of the bacteria is ground beef.</p><p>More from the MDCH <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,4612,7-132-63157_64754-328356--,00.html">press release</a>:</p><p> Wed, 14 May 2014 17:27:56 +0000 Mark Brush 17599 at http://michiganradio.org Health officials looking into a cluster of E. coli contamination in Michigan Report: Climate change is a challenge now for Michigan farmers http://michiganradio.org/post/report-climate-change-challenge-now-michigan-farmers <p>Climate change is making Michigan farmers more vulnerable to dramatic weather shifts, according to <a href="http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/">a new report.</a></p><p>The U.S. Global Change Research Program released a report this morning claiming&nbsp;climate change is no longer a future threat but is a reality now.</p> Tue, 06 May 2014 15:01:22 +0000 Steve Carmody & The Associated Press 17492 at http://michiganradio.org Report: Climate change is a challenge now for Michigan farmers 'Poor soil and a short growing season': How U.P. farmers are building a new ag. industry http://michiganradio.org/post/poor-soil-and-short-growing-season-how-farmers-are-building-new-ag-industry <p>With its rocky soil, thick forests and painfully short growing season, the Upper Peninsula is never going to look like Iowa or Kansas&nbsp;<i style="line-height: 1.5; color: rgb(37, 37, 37); font-family: sans-serif;">–&nbsp;</i><span style="line-height: 1.5;">and that's okay. For more than a century, a hardy batch of growers and livestock farmers have managed to survive and prosper in these less-than-ideal conditions. Thanks to new technologies and some decidedly low-tech solutions, the U.P.'s latest generation of </span>ag<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> workers are more productive than ever. Ultimately, the fruits of their labor may be felt&nbsp;</span><i style="line-height: 1.5; color: rgb(37, 37, 37); font-family: sans-serif;">–&nbsp;</i><span style="line-height: 1.5;">and tasted&nbsp;</span><i style="line-height: 1.5; color: rgb(37, 37, 37); font-family: sans-serif;">–&nbsp;</i><span style="line-height: 1.5;">far beyond the region's borders.</span></p><p><strong>Age-Old Limitations</strong><br />If you're a U.P. native, you don't need an advanced degree to understand why agriculture is challenging here. But&nbsp;<a href="http://msue.anr.msu.edu/county/info/alger" target="_blank">Alger County MSU Extension</a>&nbsp;Director Jim Isleib has one, so people tend to listen to his thoughts on this issue. "Poor soils and a short growing season&nbsp;<i style="line-height: 1.5; color: rgb(37, 37, 37); font-family: sans-serif;">–&nbsp;</i><span style="line-height: 1.5;">that about sums it up," he says.&nbsp;</span></p><p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:32:25 +0000 Brian Martucci 17328 at http://michiganradio.org 'Poor soil and a short growing season': How U.P. farmers are building a new ag. industry Network aims to boost Michigan-produced food http://michiganradio.org/post/network-aims-boost-michigan-produced-food <p>LANSING –&nbsp;A new network aims to connect farmers, food processors, and food service directors as part of an effort to increase the amount of Michigan-produced food served in institutions.</p><p>The Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems and the nonprofit Ecology Center environmental group&nbsp;on Thursday&nbsp;announced the launch of the Michigan Farm to Institution Network.</p><p>Organizers want schools, child care centers, hospitals, colleges and universities to get 20 percent of their food products from Michigan growers, producers and processors by 2020. The Center for Regional Food Systems says food service directors have expressed interest in the idea.</p><p>The Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center is working with Michigan hospitals on the effort. A campaign called "Cultivate Michigan" aims to help institutions reach the goal.</p><p> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 18:34:00 +0000 The Associated Press 17093 at http://michiganradio.org Network aims to boost Michigan-produced food Federal agency wants you to help improve honeybees’ diet http://michiganradio.org/post/federal-agency-wants-you-help-improve-honeybees-diet <p>The U.S. Department of Agriculture is trying to give honeybees more and better-quality food in the Midwest.</p><p>Dan Zay is a biologist with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Michigan. He says the agency hopes a better variety of high-quality flowering plants will help honeybees rebound from major population losses over the last eight years.</p><p>“It’s said that one in three mouthfuls of food and drink that we consume involves the efforts of honeybees,” Zay said.</p> Sun, 16 Mar 2014 20:30:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 16855 at http://michiganradio.org Federal agency wants you to help improve honeybees’ diet More action needed to clean up Lake Erie, says international agency http://michiganradio.org/post/more-action-needed-clean-lake-erie-says-international-agency <p>Massive algae blooms and dead zones in Lake Erie: T<span style="line-height: 1.5;">hese used to be major environmental problems around the most urbanized Great Lake back in the '</span>60s<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> and '</span>70s<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, but they are problems once again.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Now, an international agency that keeps an eye on the health of the Great Lakes is calling for more action.</span></p> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 17:43:42 +0000 Mark Brush 16640 at http://michiganradio.org More action needed to clean up Lake Erie, says international agency President Obama signs farm bill at Michigan State University http://michiganradio.org/post/president-obama-signs-farm-bill-michigan-state-university <p>About 500 people packed a Michigan State University campus hall Friday to witness President Barack Obama sign the new federal farm bill.</p><p></p><p>The event capped years of negotiations and some tough compromises with Congress on the complex legislation. President Obama said he’s always glad to return to Michigan to cheer the auto industry recovery. Now, he says, it’s time to do the same for agriculture and rural America.</p><p></p> Sat, 08 Feb 2014 11:09:00 +0000 Rick Pluta & Jake Neher 16359 at http://michiganradio.org President Obama signs farm bill at Michigan State University President Obama will be in Mid-Michigan later today http://michiganradio.org/post/president-obama-will-be-mid-michigan-later-today <p>President Obama travels to Michigan today where he will sign the nation’s new&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/02/04/271586651/congress-sends-five-year-bill-to-white-house">farm bill</a>&nbsp;into law.</p><p>The new law will <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/01/29/268102091/farmers-face-new-ag-policy-in-compromise-farm-bill">change the way the federal government aids the nation’s farmers.</a></p><p>The president is signing the nearly $1 trillion farm bill into law on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing.</p> Fri, 07 Feb 2014 11:11:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 16344 at http://michiganradio.org President Obama will be in Mid-Michigan later today Stabenow expects action this week on farm bill http://michiganradio.org/post/stabenow-expects-action-week-farm-bill <p>U.S. Sen.Debbie Stabenow&nbsp;of Michigan expects Congress will take up the farm bill this week.</p><p>Stabenow<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. &nbsp;She’s been working on passing a farm bill for more than a year.</span></p><p>“This is very complicated,” says Stabenow. “(It) covers everything from bioenergy, production agriculture, trade, conservation, nutrition – all kinds of things. We’re very close.”</p><p></p> Sun, 26 Jan 2014 22:45:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 16181 at http://michiganradio.org Stabenow expects action this week on farm bill A closer look at the future of ethanol and our renewable energy future http://michiganradio.org/post/closer-look-future-ethanol-and-our-renewable-energy-future <p>It’s been seven years since America hit the accelerator on corn-based ethanol fuels. Homegrown corn became the centerpiece of a push to find an alternative to foreign oil.</p><p>President Bush signed this expansion of the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2007, promising it would make us “stronger, cleaner and more secure.”</p><p>But, as is so often the case, something that offers great promise on one hand, takes its toll on the other hand. So the view of corn-based ethanol very much depends upon which side of the fence you’re standing on.</p> Tue, 07 Jan 2014 22:28:55 +0000 Stateside Staff 15924 at http://michiganradio.org A closer look at the future of ethanol and our renewable energy future Michigan farmers talk broadband access, road funding and other topics at annual meet up http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-farmers-talk-broadband-access-road-funding-and-other-topics-annual-meet <p>The big, yearly meet up of Michigan farmers is this week in Grand Rapids. The annual Michigan Farm Bureau meeting helps cement policy stances important to agriculture.</p><p>There’s <a href="https://www.michfb.com/MI/News/Press_Releases/Road_funding,_broadband_access_top_Farm_Bureau_policy_slate/">dozens of issues up for discussion</a>. Some, like immigration reform and road funding aren’t new issues.</p><p>In fact, the poor condition of Michigan’s road was the issue that brought the MFB to fruition back in 1919.</p> Mon, 02 Dec 2013 12:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 15484 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan farmers talk broadband access, road funding and other topics at annual meet up Michigan farmers can get loan help after hail storms http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-farmers-can-get-loan-help-after-hail-storms <p style="margin-top: 9px; margin-bottom: 9px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; color: rgb(68, 78, 92); font-family: Georgia, serif; line-height: normal;">LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Farmers in 20 Michigan counties that had damage from severe hail storms earlier this year are eligible for emergency loans.</p><p style="margin-top: 9px; margin-bottom: 9px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; color: rgb(68, 78, 92); font-family: Georgia, serif; line-height: normal;">U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan announced the support Wednesday involving loans from the Farm Service Agency. The hail storms took place between June 10 and Aug. 2. Farmers in the affected counties will have about eight months to apply for emergency loans.</p><p style="margin-top: 9px; margin-bottom: 9px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; color: rgb(68, 78, 92); font-family: Georgia, serif; line-height: normal;">Huron, Jackson, Saginaw and Washtenaw counties were all designated as primary disaster counties.</p><p style="margin-top: 9px; margin-bottom: 9px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; color: rgb(68, 78, 92); font-family: Georgia, serif; line-height: normal;">Sixteen were named contiguous disaster counties and are eligible for the same aid. Those are the counties of Bay, Calhoun, Eaton, Genesee, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Lenawee, Livingston, Midland, Monroe, Oakland, Sanilac, Shiawassee, Tuscola and Wayne.</p><p> Thu, 14 Nov 2013 15:49:12 +0000 The Associated Press 15281 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan farmers can get loan help after hail storms Find out how much work it takes to put food on our tables - meet the migrant workers in Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/find-out-how-much-work-it-takes-put-food-our-tables-meet-migrant-workers-michigan <p>From urban farming in Detroit, the Traverse City Cherry Festival, to farmers markets in hundreds of Michigan cities, this state prides itself on its agriculture.</p><p>And we should.</p><p>We are the most <a href="https://www.michfb.com/MI/Ag_Ed_and_Leadership/Ag_Facts/Michigan_Agriculture_Facts/">agriculturally diverse</a> state, behind only California. And after manufacturing, <a href="https://www.michfb.com/MI/Ag_Ed_and_Leadership/Ag_Facts/Michigan_Agriculture_Facts/">agriculture is the state&rsquo;s largest industry</a>.</p><p>But when you see that Michigan seal on apples and blueberries and cherries in the grocery store, do you ever wonder who are the faces and voices behind these products?</p><p>This week, we&rsquo;ll hear from these farm workers that bring these fruits and vegetables to our tables.</p><p>We&rsquo;ll hear about the struggle for fair wages, good housing and how the immigration debate can affect the lives of the <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdcr/EnumerationRelease8613_430167_7.pdf">94,000 migrant workers and their families in Michigan</a>.</p><p>This week, I will post segments from my documentary that will air Wednesday on Stateside.</p><p>It&rsquo;s called &ldquo;<strong>Voices from the fields: a story of migrant workers in Michigan.</strong>&rdquo;</p><p></p><p>Let&rsquo;s start by introducing you to a migrant farm worker I met.</p><p> Mon, 07 Oct 2013 11:33:00 +0000 Emily Fox 14680 at http://michiganradio.org Find out how much work it takes to put food on our tables - meet the migrant workers in Michigan Michigan apple farmers desperate for pickers http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-apple-farmers-desperate-pickers <p>The <a href="https://www.michfb.com/mi/">Michigan Farm Bureau</a> is appealing across the eastern U.S. for help with finding workers to harvest the state&#39;s bumper crop of apples.</p> Sat, 05 Oct 2013 19:16:07 +0000 Associated Press 14735 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan apple farmers desperate for pickers Michigan apple growers scramble to harvest potential record-setting crop http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-apple-growers-scramble-harvest-potential-record-setting-crop <p>Rob Steffens palms a Fuji apple nearly the size of a softball in the middle of his 280-acre apple orchard near Sparta in Kent County&rsquo;s &ldquo;fruit ridge.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;This block here is really going to pick heavy this year,&rdquo; Steffens says, smiling at a row of stubby trees. The branches are heavy with near ripe fruit.</p><p>&ldquo;This is just gorgeous size fruit on here,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to be a real shame if we can&rsquo;t get this crop harvested and in the barn.&rdquo;</p> Tue, 01 Oct 2013 13:49:51 +0000 Lindsey Smith 14652 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan apple growers scramble to harvest potential record-setting crop How has this summer treated Michigan farmers? http://michiganradio.org/post/how-has-summer-treated-michigan-farmers <p>The end of summer is at hand and we wanted to find out how the year treated Michigan farmers so far.</p><p>They were slammed in 2012 by a cold, wet spring and a hot, dry summer.</p><p><a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/how-michigan-farmers-are-dealing-wet-summer-weather-year">Earlier this summer</a> we spoke with Macomb Township farmer Ken DeCock to see how things were going for him and got mixed reviews. So we wanted to check in with him to get an end-of-summer view.</p><p>He joined us today from Boyka's Farm Market in Macomb Township.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">Tree fruit specialist William Shane with the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center also joined us.</span></p><p><em>Listen to the full interview above.</em></p><p> Wed, 04 Sep 2013 21:07:24 +0000 Stateside Staff 14268 at http://michiganradio.org How has this summer treated Michigan farmers? Time is running out for the federal Farm Bill http://michiganradio.org/post/time-running-out-federal-farm-bill <p>2013 has become the year America focuses on its farms.</p><p>That's because the federal Farm Bill expires at the end of September and the House and Senate are trying to get a new bill passed.</p><p>But getting that done has become one of the great legislative challenges of the year.</p><p>The House and Senate have each passed their versions and the differences between the two are big.</p><p>For one thing, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has been stripped right out of the House version, while the Senate version calls for cutting about $4 billion from nutrition assistance.</p><p>And, what are the differences in the two Farm Bills that really hit home for the farmers of Michigan?</p><p> Thu, 15 Aug 2013 21:10:34 +0000 Stateside Staff 14010 at http://michiganradio.org Time is running out for the federal Farm Bill