It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today we feature the Michigan Food & Farming Systems, or MIFFS. It’s a statewide organization based in East Lansing that advocates for and offers assistance to new and women farmers, as well as those from underrepresented groups in Michigan’s agriculture industry.
A new five-year Farm Bill is making its way to a vote in the U.S. Senate. This is the second time in a year that the legislation has cleared the Senate. Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, says the House has promised to take up the bill in mid-June.
Today on Current State: House Minority leader Tim Greimel; the MSU Wind Symphony performs at the Latin IS America Festival; Niowave pole barn dispute comes to an end; the Greater Lansing African American Health Institute; and the impact of flooding on agriculture.
Floods have ravaged Michigan this spring. The Red Cedar River has overflowed its banks on MSU campus, flooding the baseball, softball and soccer complex. In Lansing, flooding forced organizers of the marathon to change their planned route.
The Grand Rapids area has been especially hard hit. A photo has been making the rounds, taken from inside an office building in Grand Rapids, of flood waters rising up the surface of a window, with a fish in the picture.
Agriculture is Michigan’s second largest industry. With the exception of California, no other state produces such a diverse variety of fruits and vegetables. Michigan also has a large livestock industry. Over the years, the state has seen an expansion of “CAFOs:” or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. In exchange for high food product output, CAFO’s also produce a lot of waste.
Many of us are enjoying this unseasonably warm weather. But for some farmers, it’s nerve-racking, especially for fruit growers. Fruit trees are starting to sprout two or more weeks ahead of time. It’s only March, so cold weather is very likely to come back and kill off those early-blooming crops.