michigan agriculture

Today on Stateside, we touched base with agriculture workers, and what some farmers are doing to keep their seasonal employees safe. Plus, writer Donavan Hohn talks about the inner coast explored in his new essay collection.

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Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Several farms in Missaukee County have clusters of COVID-19 cases among workers, according to District Health Department #10. 

In a press release Thursday the department said it's investigating the situation and contacting people that could have been exposed to the virus.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Michigan’s tart cherry industry is dying out to the tune of $5 million dollars of lost impact to the state since 2010, according to a Michigan State University study.

After another trade loss in January, cherry farmers are considering desperate measures.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

 

Michigan cherry farmers were in Washington, D.C. Tuesday to make their final case for U.S. imposed tariffs on Turkish cherry products.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

In the midst of tension between the U.S. and global trade partners like Turkey, northern Michigan’s iconic cherry industry is stuck in the middle.

Tart cherry farmers have been undercut by foreign competitors for years. Many farmers thought tariffs implemented by the Trump administration would help, but they haven’t.

Adam Ingrao, founder of Heroes to Hives, checks on some beehives owned by Michigan State University, in Traverse City.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

When military veterans leave the service, many of them struggle with their return to civilian life. Adam Ingrao was no different.


George Sundin / Michigan State University

This week on Points North, a bacteria called cherry canker is attacking sweet cherry trees nationwide, but one Michigan scientist is developing a solution. Plus, how a new bill could help tart cherry farmers compete with cheap Turkish cherry imports.


Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

For the past decade, Americans have been buying tart cherries from Turkey for cheap. Tart cherry farmers in Michigan say that’s hurting their bottom line. Now they’re hoping a new bill in Washington will balance the scales.

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. 

New partnership to work toward a cleaner Lake Erie

Oct 17, 2017

A new partnership has a plan to keep Lake Erie clean. The MI CLEAR group is made up of farmers, conservationists, environmental leaders, and more. Those groups are teaming up with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Jamie Clover Adams is the Director of the Department of Agriculture. She said the multiple perspectives will help improve the lake’s water quality on a variety of fronts.

“This didn’t happen overnight and it’s not gonna be fixed overnight,” she said. “This is a very complex problem that will call for many solutions.”


   

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.

Michigan's farmers and growers are always looking for new and bigger markets for their products.
 
The Michigan Farm Bureau thinks they should look at China, where there is growing interest in what Michigan's farms have to offer.

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.

As Michigan's brewing industry continues to grow and flourish, we're seeing a big jump in growing hops in our state.

Consider this: Prior to 2008, Michigan hadn't had a commercial hops-growing operation for more than a century. Now, we're fourth in the nation.