U.S. Department of Agriculture

Politics & Government
8:12 am
Mon June 17, 2013

In this morning's news: protecting Michigan forests, new farmer's market, visit from Hillary Clinton

Morning News Roundup for Monday, June 17, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

DNR protects Michigan forests

The state Department of Natural Resources says about 750 acres in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula will be protected, available for public use, and managed as a working forest. The recent announcement of a $1 million Forest Legacy Program grant for the effort is expected to help protect nearly three-quarters of a mile of Thumb Lake frontage. The 750 acres in Charlevoix County will remain in private ownership, the Associated Press reports.

Tire dump transforms into farmer's market

A site once used as a tire dump is now a farmer's market following years of work by a community, the state, and federal officials. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development provided a $40,000 grant and a $60,000 loan to help finance the project in Mecosta County. The state of Michigan helped cover the cost of tire disposal as well as a trail, fishing pier and other recreational improvements, the Associated Press reports.

Hillary Clinton comes to west Michigan

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to speak to business leaders in western Michigan today. Clinton is the guest of honor at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids' 26th annual dinner. Ready for Hillary, a self-described national grassroots group, is organizing a rally outside the event. The group hopes to encourage Clinton to run for president in 2016, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Stateside
7:22 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

The latest buzz about Michigan bees

Less bees means less pollination and less honey
Photo by Julie Grant

A recent survey released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that the state of Michigan has slipped from seventh to ninth place in national honey production. 

But what is even more worrisome are the declines in honeybee populations. Bees are vital for agriculture throughout the country. When there are fewer bees to pollinate crops, there are fewer crops. 

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Agriculture
5:12 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

It’s official: 2012 worst year on record for Michigan cherry growers

Tart cherry production in Michigan in 2012 was lower than the previous low record set in 2002. (Statistics from the USDA.)
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

You probably know 2012 was just horrible for Michigan’s fruit growers. But new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows it was officially the worst on record since tracking began – in 1925.  

There were only 11.6 million pounds of tart cherries produced in Michigan, usually the nation’s top producer of the fruit. That’s a 92 percent drop from last year’s 157.5 million pounds.

Marty Saffell is a USDA statistician based in the Michigan office in Lansing.

“For some of the fruits like peaches pears plums and cherries there are the majority of the growers had essentially zero crops so there was essentially zero income,” Saffell said.

Saffell says Michigan apple growers had the worst year since 1945.

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Energy
5:09 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Fremont digester turning food scraps into electricity, fertilizer and compost

Bacteria insode the Fremont Community Digester will turn organic waste into energy, compost and liquid fertilizer.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A small farming community in West Michigan is celebrating the opening of plant that will turn organic waste into electricity.

Colonies of specialized bacteria will do the bulk of the work.

“The little fellows are just hungry as heck,” said Anand Gangadharan, president of Novi Energy. The company designed and will help manage the new Fremont Community Digester. They held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the digester’s opening Tuesday.

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Politics
11:16 pm
Mon November 21, 2011

Senator Stabenow “disappointed” in super committee; pushes Agriculture plan

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow says she’s “disappointed” the congressional super committee did not come to an agreement to cut the federal budget deficit.

Stabenow chairs the Senate’s Agriculture committee. The committee (along with the House Agriculture Committee) came up with bipartisan recommendations to cut $23 billion from the Department of Agriculture.

“We have done what we were asked to do,” Stabenow said. “We chose a different way…and I hope that we will see more of that because that’s what our country needs.”

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Environment
2:06 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

Report says farm runoff declining near Great Lakes

DETROIT (AP) - A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers are cutting back significantly on the amount of soil and nutrients eroding from fields to the Great Lakes and neighboring waterways.    

The study estimates that methods such as no-till cultivation have cut in half the volume of sediments entering rivers and streams in the region, while phosphorus and nitrogen runoff are down by more than one-third.

Nutrients from farms and municipal waste treatment plants are believed to be one cause of rampant algae growth in the Great Lakes in recent years.

The study is based on a survey of farmers between 2003 and 2006.

Andy Buchsbaum of the National Wildlife Federation says the report shows progress is being made, but says more must be done to fix the algae problem.