farmland

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

If there’s one essential experience of fall in northern Michigan, it’s getting lost in a corn maze. In Traverse City, Jacob’s Farm has hosted a 10 acre corn maze for a decade.

 

 

Wet corn stocks smack in the wind at the maze entrance.

But Brett Hood, the farm manager and maze master, says the windy and rainy conditions don't keeping people away.

Taylor Wizner

Five years ago, hops were in high demand in Michigan, and more and more farmers started experimenting with the crop. 

However, as beer tastes changed and breweries went looking for the next new thing, many northern Michigan hop farmers have been unable to make ends meet. This year, more than a dozen hop fields throughout the region sit idle as their owners wait for prices to rise or decide to close farms for good.

The farm bill heading to the U.S. Senate could help farmland preservation efforts in northern Michigan. The bill allocates $1.3 billion to preserve farms over the next five years. That is similar to the last one, but the new bill includes a provision that conservancies say will make it easier to get projects done with motivated farmers.