agriculture

Zippy Duvall photo
Kevin Lavery / WKAR

The new president of the American Farm Bureau, Zippy Duvall, is in Michigan this week. He speaks with Current State about the farming workforce, water rights and more.


dairy cows photo
Kevin Lavery / WKAR

U.S. farmers are fighting the EPA’s recent Waters of the U.S. rule, calling it intrusive. We get an update on how Michigan’s largest farmer’s organization, the Michigan Farm Bureau, is responding and a look at the MFB’s 2016 agenda.


Amy Iezzoni photo
Courtesy MSU Department of Horticulture

MSU horticulture professor Amy Iezzoni explains the science behind the state’s cherry industry and her work to bring varieties from around the world to Michigan.


WKAR file photo

Nitrogen plays an essential role in plant growth, but it’s a scarce resource in nature. Farmers used to have to use beans or legumes to fix the nutrient into their fields. But with the advent of artificial fertilizers, agriculture has been able to bypass that step and put the nitrogen directly into the soil. While this has allowed farmers to increase production of nutrient intensive crops like corn, it’s had some other, not so great, side effects.

http://www.humanesociety.org/

Michigan State University has always been known for its strong Agriculture and Natural Resources programs. The university is in the midst of its 100th annual ANR Week, which showcases the sciences of farming and environmental stewardship. One recent conference highlighted farm sustainability into the 21st century.

Wikimedia commons

It’s still too cold for spring planting, but the legislative issues Michigan farmers care most about are heating up again. Yesterday, dozens of crop producers from across the state met in Lansing for the annual Lansing Legislative Seminar, sponsored by the Michigan Farm Bureau. Farmers met in conference sessions to talk about a number of current issues, and many had a chance to speak one on one with their local lawmakers.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

The Greater Lansing Orchid Society’s annual show and sale is coming up this weekend. Current State’s Scott Pohl met up with a leading local orchid grower to learn more about these beautiful flowering plants. Bill Porter would say that successfully growing orchids isn't terribly hard as long as you treat them right.

Fledgling farmers learn the business of ag at MSU

Feb 10, 2015
Scott Pohl/WKAR

American agriculture is graying. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average age of a farmer in the U.S. is now 58. Around a third are already over 65. That begs the question of what happens when those farmers retire? With fewer young people considering careers in agriculture, experts are worried about the future of food production here in the U.S. That’s why the most recent Farm Bill is setting aside more money to train and support fledgling farmers.

Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Orange and yellow are the colors of the season across mid-Michigan, as the fall harvest continues. After a bone-chilling winter, many areas of the Lower Peninsula saw a cooler and wetter summer than usual. Some farmers are racing the clock to harvest corn and soybeans and plant winter wheat.

Michigan vineyards stressed by cool, wet weather

Sep 18, 2014
Flickr - Amy

Strange weather in Michigan continues to affect various kinds of agriculture. Current State’s Melissa Benmark has been checking into the effects of a hard winter and a cool summer on the wine industry in the state.

Detroit's honey bees offer lesson in working together

Aug 5, 2014
Hannah Meiklejohn

In urban areas, the importance of honey bees to a city’s neighborhoods and communities often gets overlooked. But in Detroit, honey bees are crucial to the city’s rebirth, says Joan Mandell. Mandell operates Green Toe Gardens, which has more than 100 beehives in community gardens, schools and yards all across the Detroit metropolitan area. Not only do bees help pollinate many plant species in Detroit, says Mandell, but their collective behavior could also serve as an example of how to work together for a common good.

Flickr - Parker Knight

If you’ve found yourself putting on a sweater or light jacket on cool evenings this summer, you’ve probably wondered what’s going on with the weather. The polar vortex that visited us so harshly last winter made a return visit a few weeks ago, dropping temperatures below normal. It turns out that there’s at least one upside to climate change; one that could help our farm economy.

Flickr

Thousands of farmers from all over Michigan will take some time away from the fields next week to visit the Michigan State University campus for Ag Expo. Starting Tuesday, the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources will be joined by MSU AgBioResearch scientists and MSU Extension educators to conduct education programs. And, farm equipment producers always bring the latest in farming technology to display.

Memoir explores couple's pursuit of agrarian dream

Jun 9, 2014
Michigan State University Press

A new memoir from the MSU Press looks at what happens when a professional couple decides to get in touch with their agrarian dream of life in the country. Richard Gilbert teaches writing at Otterbein College in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. He’s the author of “Shepherd”.

Deadly piglet virus hits farms statewide, nationally

May 12, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

Pig farmers in Michigan and around the nation are losing piglets to a virus that is easily spread and almost always lethal to very young animals. So far, it’s killed over six million piglets.

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