michigan-ag-blog-profilepic Michigan Agriculture Now

  • Michigan Farm Bureau: USDA NRCS allocates another $500,000 to help farmers protect livestock

    Posted by Dan Cash

    LANSING, July 29 2011 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has allocated an additional $500,000 in conservation financial assistance to help stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in northern Michigan. This third allocation raises the total amount of NRCS financial assistance for combating TB in Michigan to $1.5 million for the fiscal year 2011. 

    "Livestock farmers in northeast Michigan have been challenged over the years to implement costly precautionary measures to separate their healthy livestock herds from TB-infected wildlife," said Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) livestock and dairy specialist Ernie Birchmeier."This funding will help the livestock farmers in Michigan's highest-risk TB counties minimize and/or eradicate the disease's spread." 

    The assistance is provided by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and is available to eligible livestock farmers in an 11-county region where TB remains a high risk. The counties are: Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Montmorency, Presque Isle, Oscoda and Otsego. 

    TB is believed to be spread to livestock by wild deer through direct contact or from contaminated food or water. Financial assistance from USDA NRCS can be used by livestock farmers to implement practices to keep deer away from livestock and the forage and water that livestock use. Examples of practices eligible for financial assistance include fencing, special watering facilities and forage harvest management. 

    "Bovine TB has dealt a serious blow to Michigan producers and has led to severe economic consequences for the state," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. "This is why I've been working closely with Michigan producers and the Department of Agriculture to make sure the disease doesn't cripple our cattle industry and to make sure that our farmers can focus on important things like growing their businesses, creating jobs and boosting Michigan's economy. 

    "As we all know, agriculture is Michigan's second largest industry and supports one out of every four jobs. It's critical that we take measures to protect and strengthen the industry."

    For the full article click here.

     

  • Michigan Farm Bureau: Operating costs for major crops projected to climb 13 percent or more

    Posted by Dan Cash

    LANSING, July 29, 2011While farmers are benefiting from positive commodity prices, rising production costs remain a concern, according to economists with the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

    "These are encouraging times for the U.S. farm economy," said AFBF chief economist Bob Young. "Higher prices for corn, wheat and soybeans are helping farmers, but higher energy prices are impacting profit margins. It's important to remember that farming is still a very capital intensive occupation and that high input costs affect the bottom line, even in good times."

    AFBF economist Matt Erickson outlined the impact of high energy prices on farmers in a new white paper "Cost-of-Production Report: the Rising Costs of Inputs." High oil prices will drive up the cost of production of corn, soybeans and wheat in 2011, according to Erickson. Higher fertilizer prices are also impacting net farm income.

    "The effects of higher oil prices are reducing profits to the agricultural sector," Erickson said. "From seed to fertilizer, each commodity is projected to experience higher yearly production costs from 2010 to 2011."

    USDA is forecasting 2011 total operating costs to climb 18 percent for corn, 13 percent for soybeans and 18 percent for wheat compared to last year. Erickson said a major factor impacting these higher production costs are higher energy prices and higher fertilizer prices.

    "One reason fertilizer prices have increased is demand for fertilizer given the current tight supply for grain commodities, primarily corn," Erickson said. "In the current situation of tight supplies for grain, fertilizer is a necessity as acreage production in the U.S. is at a max. Similarly, high grain prices increase the demand for fertilizer in international markets."

    Fertilizer demand and supply is a big concern for Michigan farmers because the state's climate and seasons make Michigan one of the last states in the nation to plant crops, said Bob Boehm, manager of the Michigan Farm Bureau Commodity and Marketing Department.

    "Michigan farmers are at the end of the line in terms of fertilizer distribution, so any shortages - and related price spikes - show up here," he said.

    High diesel prices hit farmers hard at planting because farm tractors run on the fuel and it will also impact the bottom line at harvest because combines also run on diesel, according to Erickson.

    "With diesel a byproduct of crude oil, farm diesel prices are expected to continue to increase with projections of increased crude oil prices from the Energy Information Administration," Erickson said.

    Michigan produces very little of its own crude oil, so the state is a major importer of petroleum products, making agriculture more vulnerable to potential disruptions in supply, added Boehm.

    "Modern production agriculture is energy intensive and Farm Bureau policy supports the development and implementation of a comprehensive energy policy, which includes conservation, efficiency, exploration and research that also provides for the production of traditional and renewable energy sources," said Boehm.

  • Prepare for Export Success Seminar to Take Place August 9th in East Lansing

    Posted by Dan Cash

    Food Exporting Graphic

    EAST LANSING, MI -- (WKZO) With many different agricultural businesses looking to expand outside the borders of the United States the Food Export Association of the Midwest has decided to aide in the process of export expansion through an organized seminar in East Lansing, Michigan in August.

    Full information on the seminar as well as registration is available on the link.

    Prepare for Export Success Seminar in East Lansing, Michigan on August 9th, 2011.

     

  • Michigan Livestock Expo Delivers on All Fronts

    Posted by Dan Cash

    From the Michigan Livestock Expo:

    The Michigan Livestock Expo promised to charm in its third annual year and the event delivered on all fronts, bringing in big bucks, big names and, most of all, a big turnout of youth exhibitors and livestock.

    "The Michigan Livestock Expo was again an impressive achievement, and everyone involved is thrilled with the event's record participation of more than 825 youth exhibitors and 1,200 farm animals, as well as the encouragement from spectators at the exhibition activities and the record-breaking support of individuals and businesses at the 'Sale-Abration auction,'" said Ernie Birchmeier, Michigan Livestock Expo co-organizer and Michigan Farm Bureau livestock and dairy specialist.

    "We are also very grateful for the support of Governor Rick Snyder and the other state officials who attended the 'Sale-Abration' and cheered on Expo exhibitors and buyers" said Birchmeier. "It's inspiring to see Michigan's leaders make an investment in youth, agriculture and the future of our state."

    The Michigan Livestock Expo "Sale-Abration" auction, held July 19 and featuring award-winning farm animals and dairy products exhibited by Michigan youth, grossed $173,400, an almost 12 percent increase from last year thanks to generous purchases by more than 35 single and collective buyers who bid on 33 items.

    In several categories, the livestock and dairy products up for auction fetched winning bids that were dramatically higher than past sales.

    This included a dairy gift basket honoring the Supreme Champion Dairy Cow, exhibited by 16-year-old Parker Hardy of Tipton, which sold for $21,000. Last year, the same category sold for $7,000. (Unlike other livestock species where the animals are sold for meat, dairy cows return to milk production after the auction. So a dairy-related gift is sold to represent the award-winning animal.)

    A mix of seasoned buyers and some new to the Michigan Livestock Expo teamed up for the Supreme Champion Dairy Cow purchase. Among the first-time bidders involved in the sale was the Kroger Co. of Michigan with a $4,000 contribution.

    "Livestock are a critically important sector of Michigan's agriculture industry. Alone, the dairy industry is Michigan's largest agriculture commodity," said Birchmeier. "So to see the Supreme Champion Dairy Cow and other livestock categories fetch top dollar was gratifying for everyone because these sales support opportunities for the youth of our state to stay involved in agriculture and help Michigan's agriculture industry grow."

    Meijer trifecta 
    Grand Rapids-based retailer Meijer was the ultimate trend-setter, performing a repeat trifecta with the purchase of three grand champion animals for the second consecutive year.

    Meijer purchased the Grand Champion Market beef steer, exhibited by 19-year-old Kenton Klingaman of Tekonsha for $20,000; the Grand Champion Market Hog, exhibited by 16-year-old Lauren Wildt of Homer for $15,000; and the Grand Champion Market Lamb, exhibited by 19-year-old Ryan Waltke of Burr Oak for $12,000. Meijer successfully bid on several other animals, bringing its total investment to nearly $60,000.

    "Meijer's giving created loads of excitement and energy at the Sale-Abration, and everyone involved in the Michigan Livestock Expo has a lot of gratitude for Meijer," said Birchmeier.

    "We recognize that times remain tight financially for everyone, and for Meijer to continue to invest in Michigan's youth in such a big way is truly moving and leaves a lasting impression," said Birchmeier. "The young people involved in the Michigan Livestock Expo will be forever grateful to Meijer for the company's generosity."

    Where the money goes 
    Youth typically apply earnings from the auction to their current or future college expenses and/or invest the money back into their youth livestock projects, with proceeds above a sales cap supporting the Michigan Youth Livestock Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships and educational awards to youth involved in livestock exhibition activities. Approximately $30,000 from this year's sale is expected to go toward the Michigan Youth Livestock Scholarship Fund.

    About the Michigan Livestock Expo 
    The Michigan Livestock Expo is the largest statewide, multi-species livestock show and sale in Michigan. The centrally located event is open to youth ages 8 to 21 and features beef cattle, hogs, sheep, goats and dairy products representative of award-winning dairy cattle. The Michigan Livestock Expo is unique because most livestock shows and sales are local or regional in nature and some are limited to fewer animal species, oftentimes just a single species.

    Exhibition activities that judged young people's animal rearing skills and talents in the show ring with beef cattle, hogs, sheep and goats took place July 15-17. Dairy contests were held July 19 in conjunction with the Michigan Dairy Expo. Youth exhibitors of award-winning animals earned the opportunity to market their livestock and dairy products to the highest bidder at the "Sale-Abration" auction. All activities took place at the Michigan State University Livestock Pavilion.

    3rd annual Michigan Livestock Expo Sale-Abration results

    BEEF SALE

    Grand Champion Market Beef
    Weight: 1,288 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Kenton Klingaman, 19, of Tekonsha
    Price: $20,000
    Buyer(s): Meijer 

    Reserve Grand Champion Market Beef
    Weight: 1,300 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Alan Leslie, 16, of Decker 
    Price: $7,500
    Buyer(s): Binson's Hospital Supplies

    Great Lakes Grand Breed Market Beef
    Weight: 1,240 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Taylor Harrison, 20, of Coldwater
    Price: $4,500 
    Buyer(s): Michigan Farm Bureau 

    Great Lakes Grand Crossbred Market Beef
    Weight: 1,355 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Brennen Meert, 16, of Plainwell
    Price: $8,100
    Buyer(s): Binson's Hospital Supplies and Meert Farms 

    Showcase Market Beef
    Weight: 1,275 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Logan Bracy, 18, of Quincy
    Price: $4,000
    Buyer(s): Pioneer Seed, North Central Co-op, and The Andersons Grain Division 

    Showcase Market Beef
    Weight: 1,250 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Casey Kamps, 21, of Hamilton
    Price: $3,800 
    Buyer(s): Binson's Hospital Supplies and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

    Showcase Market Beef
    Weight: 1,320 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Spencer Fisher, 11, of Blissfield
    Price: $3,450 
    Buyer(s): GreenStone Farm Credit Services employees and Preview Properties

    Showcase Market Beef
    Weight: 1,275 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Ben Ross, 17, of Lawrence
    Price: $4,250
    Buyer(s): Northstar Grain

    SWINE SALE

    Grand Champion Market Hog 
    Weight: 269 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Lauren Wildt of Homer
    Price: $15,000
    Buyer(s): Meijer

    Reserve Grand Champion Market Hog
    Weight: 274 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Morgan Kennedy, 15, of Perry
    Price: $5,500
    Buyer(s): Foster Swift Collins and Smith PC

    Great Lakes Grand Breed Market Hog
    Weight: 250 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Cailyn Hines, 13, of Quincy
    Price: $2,800
    Buyer(s): Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies employees and Varnum Law Firm

    Great Lakes Grand Crossbred Market Hog
    Weight: 274 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Kenton Klingaman, 19, of Tekonsha
    Price: $2,700
    Buyer(s): Meijer

    Showcase Market Hog
    Weight: 268 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Nathan Joostberns, 21, of Dorr
    Price: $2,600
    Buyer(s): Michigan Farm Bureau, Fraleigh Law Firm, Wayne H. Wood, Pat Albright, John Vander Molen, Dave Vanderhaagen, Doug Kammann, Andy Kok, Jim Robinson and state Rep. Kevin Daley

    Showcase Market Hog
    Weight: 258 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Matt AcMoody, 15, of Coldwater
    Price: $3,800
    Buyer(s): GreenStone Farm Credit Services, MSU Federal Credit Union, and The Andersons Grain Division

    Showcase Market Hog
    Weight: 259 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Ben Littlefield, 13, of Burr Oak
    Price: $5,100
    Buyer(s): Kendale Farm, The Andersons Grain Division and Michigan Pork Producers Association

    Showcase Market Hog
    Weight: 280 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Caleb Symons, 13, of Chesaning
    Price: $6,000 
    Buyer(s): Meijer

    SHEEP SALE

    Grand Champion Market Sheep
    Weight: 136 lbs. 
    Exhibitor: Ryan Waltke, 19, of Burr Oak
    Price: $12,000
    Buyer(s): Meijer

    Reserve Grand Champion Market Sheep 
    Weight: 133 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Ryan Smoes, 21, of Hamilton
    Price: $5,000 
    Buyer(s): Wolverine Packing Co.

    Great Lakes Grand Breed Market Sheep
    Weight: 135 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Adam AcMoody. 17, of Union City
    Price: $2,750
    Buyer(s): GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Hopkins Farm Service, and Steve Swafford of ShowTec Feeds

    Great Lakes Grand Crossbred Market Sheep
    Weight: 139 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Kelsey AcMoody, 20, of Union City
    Price: $1,600
    Buyer(s): Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies employees

    Showcase Market Sheep
    Weight: 133 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Marie Bennett, 17, of Sturgis
    Price: $1,600
    Buyer(s): Michigan Farm Bureau

    Showcase Market Sheep
    Weight: 142 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Clayton Cotterman, 17, of Fenton
    Price: $1,600
    Buyer(s): AcMoody Farms

    Showcase Market Sheep
    Weight: 142 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Alexandria Schut, 15, of Belding
    Price: $1,500
    Buyer(s): Dart Bank

    Showcase Market Sheep
    Weight: 144 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Sarah Kennedy, 20, of Saranac
    Price: $2,200
    Buyer(s): GreenStone Farm Credit Services

    GOAT SALE 

    Grand Champion Market Goat
    Weight: 72 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Kelsey AcMoody, 20, of Union City
    Price: $6,000
    Buyer(s): GreenStone Farm Credit Services and MSU Federal Credit Union

    Reserve Grand Champion Market Goat/Great Lakes Grand Crossbred Market Goat
    Weight: 83 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Cailyn Hines, 13, of Quincy
    Price: $2,500 
    Buyer(s): Meijer

    Great Lakes Grand Breed Market Goat
    Weight: 90
    Exhibitor: Payton Hines, 10, of Quincy
    Price: $1,500
    Buyer(s): Neogen Corporation

    Showcase Market Goat
    Weight: 66 lbs.
    Exhibitor: Alexandria Schut, 15, of Belding
    Price: $1,300
    Buyer(s): Wayne H. Wood,  Pat Albright, John Vander Molen, Dave Vanderhaagen, Doug Kammann, Andy Kok, Jim Robinson and state Rep. Ed McBroom

    DAIRY SALE

    Supreme Champion Dairy Cow - Dairy gift basket representing cow 
    Exhibitor: Parker Hardy, 16, of Tipton 
    Price: $21,000
    Buyer(s): Michigan Milk Producers Association, Varnum Law Firm, Kroger Co. of Michigan, Zeeland Farm Services, Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee, Michigan Soybean Association, NorthStar Cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, Calder Dairy, Vita Plus and Caledonia Farmers Elevator

    Supreme Champion Dairy Showperson - Dairy gift basket in honor of Showperson 
    Showperson: Brittany Westendorp, 19, of Nashville 
    Price: $5,000 
    Buyer(s): Kalmbach Feeds Inc.

    Supreme Champion Dairy Heifer - Dairy gift basket representing heifer 
    Exhibitor: Sarah Michalek, 19, of Deckerville 
    Price: $2,100
    Buyer(s): Ken Nobis of Nobis Dairy Farm

    Grand Champion Cheese 
    Donated by the MSU Dairy Store and produced by the MSU Dairy Plant, winner of the Michigan Livestock Expo Grand Champion Cheese contest 
    Price: $4,900
    Buyer(s): United Dairy Industry of Michigan

    OTHER

    Gold Medal Wines
    Selection of Michigan wines donated by the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, with all proceeds benefiting the Michigan Youth Livestock Scholarship Fund 
    Price: $1,750
    Buyer(s): AcMoody Farms


  • Michigan Agriculture Now at the MSU Ag Expo

    Posted by Dan Cash

    Rick Shields and Michigan Agriculture Now are at the Michigan State University Ag Expo all this week until Thursday.  If you are going to be at the Ag Expo stop in and see Rick.  Below is some video of the expo as well as some photos of Rick setting up.

  • Highlighting agriculture for it's beauty and importance to the state of Michigan

    Posted by Dan Cash

    With AG Expo days coming up and a host of other events as summer continues we're launching Michigan Agriculture Now.  This new section will feature video interviews with farmers, agriculture enthusiasts, county fair organizers and a host of other agriculture related activities.

    Rick Shields, one of Michigan's only National Association of Farm Broadcasters members will provide a bevy of information for the entire agriculture community.