USDA http://michiganradio.org en '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 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 16,000 DPS free lunch kids to get food help in summer http://michiganradio.org/post/16000-dps-free-lunch-kids-get-food-help-summer <p>The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expanding a pilot program to help children get nutritious meals when their school's free lunch program&nbsp;has shut down for the summer.</p><p>For a long time, the agency has funded a program that sets up meal sites at churches and other locations, where children can go to get meals in the summer time.</p><p>But many children in rural and inner-city neighborhoods have no site near them, or no safe and reliable way to get there.</p> Tue, 05 Mar 2013 23:04:37 +0000 Tracy Samilton 11544 at http://michiganradio.org 16,000 DPS free lunch kids to get food help in summer Babies - the quarter-million dollar investment http://michiganradio.org/post/babies-quarter-million-dollar-investment <p>According to the <a href="http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/CRC/crc2011.pdf">2011 Expenditures on Children by Families annual report</a> released by the USDA today, raising a baby born in 2011 will cost a middle-class family about $234,900 in today&#39;s currency.</p><p>According to the report,</p><blockquote><p>This represents a 3.5 percent increase from 2010. Expenses for transportation, child care, education, and food saw the largest percentage increases related to child rearing from 2010. There were smaller increases in housing, clothing, health care, and miscellaneous expenses on a child during the same period.</p></blockquote><p>The report states that most of this money will fund the child&rsquo;s housing, child care, education and food expenses through age 17, representing roughly 64 percent of all costs. As the study only follows children from birth through high school, costs associated with pregnancy and post-high school education are omitted from these numbers.</p><p> Thu, 14 Jun 2012 19:29:10 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 7897 at http://michiganradio.org Babies - the quarter-million dollar investment National pilot program targeting child hunger in the summer launches in Grand Rapids http://michiganradio.org/post/national-pilot-program-targeting-child-hunger-summer-launches-grand-rapids <p>More than <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,1607,7-140-37818-250998--,00.html">half a million Michigan kids qualified</a> for free and reduced lunches last year. But only about 1 in 6 of them took advantage of the programs offered during the three month summer break.</p><p><strong>By the numbers</strong></p><ul><li>The nation: 18.5 million children are eligible &ndash; 3.3 million (18%) participated</li><li>In Michigan: 546,000 children are eligible &ndash; 92,500 (17%) participated Thu, 24 Feb 2011 22:33:33 +0000 Lindsey Smith 1421 at http://michiganradio.org National pilot program targeting child hunger in the summer launches in Grand Rapids Dozens of counties in Michigan tagged as "Natural Disaster Areas" http://michiganradio.org/post/dozens-counties-michigan-tagged-natural-disaster-areas <p><strong>Update 2:38 p.m.:</strong></p><p>There are more declarations of natural disaster areas in the state of Michigan. The 21 counties I wrote about below were for "excessive heat" disasters. The USDA has also issued natural disaster declarations for frost (the excessive cold occurred from March 1st through May 16th), AND for storms and rain.</p><p>The 32 counties that received the frost declarations can be found this <a href="http://www.fema.gov/dhsusda/declarationDetail.do?action=Init&amp;designationNumber=S3067&amp;amendmentNumber=0">FEMA page</a>.</p> Fri, 10 Dec 2010 19:49:11 +0000 Mark Brush 547 at http://michiganradio.org Dozens of counties in Michigan tagged as "Natural Disaster Areas"