agriculture

Michigan farmers markets boost economy, health

Mar 5, 2013
Natalie Maynor/Flickr

The Michigan Farmers Market Conference takes place today and tomorrow as part of Agriculture and Natural Resources Week. The growth and expansion of farmers’ markets is one of the most visible aspects of Michigan’s vibrant local and regional food renaissance. This rapid market growth has created a need for educational and advocacy programs that protect and grow these venues and highlight the benefits and importance of Michigan agriculture.

More than 400 Michigan farmers had a chance to meet with state legislators this week to talk about their priorities for 2013.  The Michigan Farm Bureau has outlined three main focus areas for its agenda: access to markets, workforce development, and regulatory reform. 

Mark Bashore / WKAR

2012 is already unfolding as a year that many Michigan crop growers would like to forget. The state’s warmest March ever led to the destruction of almost all of its apples and tart cherries--a combined loss in the hundreds of millions of dollars. As summer settles in, a prolonged dry spell has thousands of mid- and south-Michigan corn growers praying for rain.

WKAR File Photo

U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary Dallas Tonsager is praising the Senate’s passage of a $1 trillion farm bill.  Tonsager was in mid-Michigan Friday to meet with farmers and homeowners. 

The farm bill that cleared the Senate Thursday cuts some $24 billion over the next decade.  It would end direct federal subsidies to farmers who’ve relied on those payments since the 1980’s.  Tonsager says farmers are doing well enough economically that there’s less need now for government assistance.

Where Are the Bees?

Mar 27, 2012

Warm weather has promoted fruit trees in Michigan to bloom four or five weeks ahead of schedule.  That means that bees need to be here early, too, but most of the bees that pollinate orchards in Michigan are still wintering in Florida or are busy pollinating crops in California.

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