michigan-ag-blog-profilepic Michigan Agriculture Now

  • Michigan grower shares highs, lows as seasonal agricultural employer

    Posted by Dan Cash

    Ben LaCross, of Cedar, is a cherry, plum and apple farmer in Leelanau County and chairman of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Young Farmer and Rancher Committee. LaCross authored this AFBF "Focus on Agriculture" viewpoint as shared here. To reproduce, please give credit to AFBF; for example, "as originally published by the American Farm Bureau Federation."


    Like all of the young American farmers I know, Leo has dreams, ambitions and goals. He wants to provide a better life for his family. He's focused on the goal of sending his son to college. It's a typical American story. But Leo's story strays from the traditional plot. Leo is from Mexico.



    Some would call Leo a farm worker. I call him a farmer. For a big chunk of each year, Leo is my right-hand man, working beside me to tend my Michigan cherry orchard and bring in the harvest. Leo is invaluable to my success as an American farmer. In fact, Leo is an integral part of my farm's business family. 

    Without the seasonal farm services provided by Leo and his counterparts on farms all across our nation, the ability to grow, tend and harvest food in America would grind to a halt.

    For the full article from AgriNotes and News click here: Focus on Agriculture Viewpoint

  • YouTube entries sought showcasing caring farmers, NRCS partnerships

    Posted by Dan Cash

    LANSING, Aug. 5, 2011 - The deadline is nearing to submit a video in the "Share How You Care" video contest from the Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). 


    YouTube entries that shine light on the many ways farmers care for the environment and the world around them are due Sept. 2. The best videos will earn contestants cash prizes of $500, $250 and $125 for first-, second- and third-place, respectively.

    Contestants are simply asked to make a short 1-4 minute video that illustrates how farmers care about the environment, their animals, safe food and Michigan's future, and how farmers work with NRCS to attain these goals. A short promotional video describing the contest is available to view athttp://www.farmers-care.com/care/videocontest.

    "This is a great way to show people what Michigan farmers do to protect our natural resources. I hope that Michigan farmers will take this opportunity to deliver their message first-hand," said Brian MacMaster, acting state conservationist for the USDA NRCS.

    "We're eager to see how farmers convey on screen their enthusiasm for agriculture and their dedication to Michigan and the state's natural resources," said MFB agricultural ecology specialist Emily Ries. "We also hope this contest will help us capture personal testimonials and real-life examples of how farmers are working successfully with NRCS so that we can further promote the value of NRCS resources to farmers in Michigan." 

    The Share How You Care contest is open to any Michigan resident but geared toward farmers. Budding videographers under the age of 18 can even participate so long as they have parental permission and an individual 18 years or older is featured in the video.

    In selecting the winners, judges will consider how many times each video submission has been viewed on the contest's YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/sharehowyoucare, and how many favorable "likes" each video receives. Judges will also be looking for informative and accurate content that is presented in a creative manner.

    There is no limit to how many videos a contestant can enter. However, contestants are only eligible to win one award. 

    For the full article and contest rules click here: 'Share How You Care Video'

     

  • Debt Debate Leaves FTAs Hanging

    Posted by Rick Shields

     Colin Woodall - National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs - says the debate over the debt ceiling and deficit reduction on Capitol Hill was a disaster. He says Congress waited until the last minute - which was problematic…

    Debate Leaves FTAs Hanging

  • Michigan Wine Competition Results Announced

    Posted by Dan Cash

     



    East Lansing
     was awash in Michigan wine this week as 25 wine experts gathered August 2 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center for the 34th annual Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition. Judges included wine experts from around the country, including Doug Frost, who is both a Master of Wine and Master Sommelier; two Master Sommeliers; and internationally known authors, winemakers and wine educators.

    Leading the group through the day was food and wine writer Christopher Cook, who judged at the competition for 12 years before becoming its superintendent in 2001. Cook is also a judge at wine competitions throughout the United States and abroad.

    There was a great variety of wines entered by newer wineries throughout Michigan, with several garnering medals, including a Raspberry Wine produced by Garden Bay Winery in the Upper Peninsula that won Best of Class Fruit Wine.

    The Michigan competition is a favorite for many of the judges, as they are eager to try new wines from the state’s rapidly growing industry.

    “The Michigan wine industry continues to expand and offer quality wines with fun and excitement. It’s why Michiganwines and winery tasting rooms are growing in popularity,” said Veteran judge Joe Borrello, president of Tasters Guild International, which sponsored the Best of Class Dessert trophy.

    Fifty-three of the state’s 84 wineries entered 367 wines for this year’s competition, which is open only to wine and spirits produced from Michigan grapes and other fruit. Gold medals were awarded to a wide variety of wines - - from bone-dry reds to deliciously sweet ice wines - - from all of Michigan’s major grape-growing areas. At the end of the day, judges awarded the top “Best of Class” awards to eight wines from a group of 51 gold medal winners, including seven double gold.

    James VanDerKolk, with Elite Brands, was “stunned by the depth of quality in the dry white wines from 2010, and very pleasantly surprised by the high-quality dry reds tasted from 2010.”

    Judges experienced just a sampling of red wines from the 2010 vintage, which is expected to be exceptional, asMichigan enjoyed a long, warm growing season that allowed red grapes to ripen more fully than in recent years. Most of the reds from 2010 will be released over the next year.

    “I was happy to see the overall Merlot quality,” said Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon, a veteran judge of this competition. “The dry white sweeps (Best of Class round) were a privilege to judge, so many good wines! Every year, my pride and confidence in our wines grows.”

    The top award-winners are:

    Best of Class Dry White:           Chateau Fontaine – 2010 Dry White Riesling

    Best of Class Dry Red:              Fenn Valley Vineyards – Capriccio

    Best of Class Sparkling Wine: L. Mawby – Cremant Classic

    Best of Class Semi-Dry White (tie):          Fenn Valley Vineyards – 2010 Riesling

                                                          Tabor Hill – 2010 Gewurztraminer
    Best of Class Rosé:                   Forty-Five North – 2010 Rosé of Cabernet Franc

    Best of Class Dessert Wine:    Black Star Farms – 2008 A Capella Ice Wine

    Best of Class Fruit Wine:          Garden Bay Winery – Raspberry Wine

  • Update on Michigan Insect Activity

    Posted by Rick Shields

    A CHECK AROUND THE STATE SHOWS LITTLE IN THE WAY OF SOYBEAN APHID ACTIVITY SO FAR THIS SEASON.  THE WORD FROM CHRIS DIFONZO AT MSU -- LOW POPULATIONS ON PLANTS AT THIS TIME OFTEN MEANS LOW INFECTION BY APHID-KILLING FUNGUS RESULTING IN HEALTHY APHIDS LATE IN THE MONTH.  THE RESULT CAN BE A BIG FALL FLIGHT OF HEALTHY WINGED APHIDS BACK TO BUCKTHORN TO OVERWINTER FOR NEXT SEASON.   ELSEWHERE – THE POTENTIAL FOR A SPIDER MITE OUTBREAK CONTINUES UNLESS HUMIDITY REMAINS HIGH UNDER THE CROP CANOPY FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD.  UNDER HUMID CONDITIONS BENEFICIAL FUNGI CAN INFECT AND KILL THE MITES.  SEVERAL SPIDER MITE SAMPLES WERE PICKED UP IN SHIAWASSEE COUNTY LAST WEEK.  ALSO – BRUCE MACKELLAR REPORTS THE HIGHEST COUNT OF ASIATIC GARDEN BEETLES HE’S EVER SEEN WHILE CHECKING TRAPS IN THE CENTREVILLE,BANGORAND GOBLES AREA.  POTATO AND CORN GROWERS NEED TO STAY ALERT TO THE SITUATION.

  • An Update on Insect Activity

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Mid-summer sees insects making their move in fields and gardens...

    An Update on Insect Activity

  • Murdick's Fudge Recalls Issues Voluntary Recall

    Posted by Dan Cash

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) -- Out of concern for its customers, Murdick’s Famous Fudge, 230 Bridge Street, Charlevoix, Michigan, has issued a voluntary recall of its individually wrapped caramels (all varieties); peanut brittle; cashew brittle; and saltwater taffy (all varieties) because the products may have been handled by ill store employees.  The recalled caramels, nut brittles and saltwater taffy were sold from the Charlevoix Murdick’s Famous Fudge store on Bridge Street only.  This recall does not affect any other Murdick’s locations.

    The recall was initiated after the local health department investigation of alleged illnesses associated with eating caramels produced at this location indicated that some employees of Murdick’s Famous Fudge had been exhibiting symptoms typically attributed to a norovirus infection. 

    Norovirus illness usually begins 24 - 48 hours after exposure, but can appear as early as 10 hours after exposure. Symptoms usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. People may have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness is usually brief, with symptoms lasting only 1 or 2 days.  If unable to drink enough liquids to replace what they lose from vomiting and diarrhea, medical treatment may be needed to prevent dehydration. 

    The company is working with local and state officials to evaluate its production process to prevent reoccurrence.

  • Need for Ag in Michigan Schools

    Posted by Rick Shields

    We're listening to folks from around the state at events like the recent Ag Expo. We appreciate sharing with you some of their thoughts like this one from Dave Cooper from Central Michigan...

    Need for Ag in Michgan Schools

  • Spread of Resistant Weeds

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Difficult weather conditions this spring left many growers with a compressed planting window. As a result - BASF Herbicide Technical Market Manager Dr. Dan Westberg says there is an increased threat of resistant weeds spreading. Because a large number of acres were planted in a short period of time due to wet weather - he says a number of acres were not treated with a pre-emergence herbicide.

    Spread of Resistant Weeds

  • FSA streamlines farmer reporting

    Posted by Rick Shields

    USDA’s Farm Service Agency has decided to eliminate the separate document growers currently are required to send to the IRS granting the agency permission to share Adjusted Gross Income information with USDA.

    FSA Administrator Bruce Nelson announced the change during a House Ag Subcommittee review of the 2008 Farm Bill safety net provisions.

    FSA witnesses did not respond directly to a question by Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas asking how many growers have been flagged by the IRS review of AGI compliance.

    FSA streamlines farmer reporting

  • USDA: More States Added to Biomass Production Program; 3,400 New Jobs Expected

    Posted by Dan Cash

    Photo courtesy USDA NRCS

    USDA recently named additional states that will participate in the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, designed to expand the availability of non-food crops to be used for liquid biofuels.

    The projects — which will be implemented in California, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington — will create more than 3,400 jobs (estimated) and, when fully operational, produce more than two million gallons of biofuels annually.

    According to Secretary Vilsack, the Obama Administration is committed to providing financial opportunities to rural communities, farmers and  ranchers to produce biomass which will be converted to renewable fuels and increase America’s energy independence.  In all, about 51,000 acres are targeted to be enrolled in California, Montana, Washington and Oregon, and will grow camelina, an oilseed. Camelina is a rotation crop for wheat that can be established on marginally productive land. It is an ideal jet fuel substitute.

    For the full article click here: USDA Blog