farmers

 


Today on Stateside, after 31 days on the picket line, the UAW and General Motors came to a tentative contract agreement. We hear about the details and what comes next. Plus, Michigan farmers face record low production of corn and soybeans  after a cold, wet spring. 

The Next Idea

After more than three years on the air, our innovation series, The Next Idea, is coming to a close, so it seems like a good time to check back with one of the many contributors to the series.

Feliciano Paredes is a classic example of an entrepreneur who identifies a need, creates an invention to fill that need, and embarks on the journey to bring that invention to market.

Nora Boydell

Farmers might have more time to come up with cage-free housing for their egg-laying hens.

In 2009, the state passed a bill saying farmers could not confine their lay hens throughout the day. The hens must be able to stand, lie down or turn 360 degrees during most of the day. But a new bill before the Michigan Senate would delay the start date of those rules by five years, from 2020 to 2025. 

Elizabeth Miller-ideastream

A new report from the International Joint Commission, a bi-national agency, says the Great Lakes restoration continues to progress -- but not quickly enough.

The commission makes several recommendations to the U.S. and Canada, as part of a review of a 2012 water quality agreement.

Among them is evaluating farm practices aimed at reducing pollution –- especially the fertilizer runoff that feeds algae blooms in Lake Erie. 

One of President Trump’s key campaign promises was to rewrite the North American Free Trade Act to be a better deal with the United States, or he promised to scrap the trade pact with Canada and Mexico.

Talks are happening right now to renegotiate the trade deal, and Jamie Clover Adams wants to make sure that Michigan agriculture is protected, no matter what happens to NAFTA.


   

Michigan fruit growers are nearing a crucial time of the year: harvest season. But those farmers are struggling to find enough labor to fill their needs.

People are no longer turning up at the farm looking for work, said Rob Steffens, owner of Steffens Orchard in Sparta, just north of Grand Rapids. Steffens needs more than 40 workers each year for his 280-acre orchard. He’s on track to have enough this year, but he says some workers have told him they aren’t returning.

It’s an ancient way of life under 21st century economic pressures.

According to the state’s numbers, the food and agriculture industry pumps $101 billion into Michigan’s economy each year. It employs some 923,000 people. That’s nearly a quarter of Michigan’s workforce.

So, what does the next generation of farmers think about the future of agriculture in our state?

The past few days have seen unseasonable cold across much of Michigan, with temperatures falling below freezing in many parts of the state. A late freeze like this one threatens Michigan’s fruit crop at a crucial time in its annual cycle.

Michigan's local food movement is growing and thriving. We're seeing more chefs who deeply care about what they buy and from whom.

Chefs like James Rigato of the Root, a locavore restaurant in White Lake Township.

Writer Michael Jackman of the Metro Times recently analyzed a meal prepared by Chef Rigato and traced nearly 100% of its ingredients to Michigan producers. His just-released story in the Metro Times is billed as "a grand tour of Michigan's local food movement."

The meal consisted of a Charcuterie platter with meat, cheese, fish and vegetables from the region.