Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, northern Michigan’s signature cherry industry is struggling amid trade tensions and a lack of federal support.

Plus, learn about a 10-acre corn maze in Traverse City. 

As many as 165,000 people in Michigan could lose access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP) benefits under a proposed United States Department of Agriculture rule change.

Flickr / USDA


This year, many northern Michigan schools forecast student lunch debt, and without regulation from government to collect those dues, districts have to figure it out on their own.

School lunch debt has increased in recent years to the point where the median amount each district carries is just over $3,000, according to the School Nutrition Association —  a professional organization that monitors lunches at schools.

Wikimedia Commons

Record rainfall this year has hit northern Michigan crops hard, and now farmers Up North are getting some help from the federal and state governments.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has set new standards of nutrition for school meals, school vending machines, and snack bars. The agency wants to limit fat, sugar, sodium and calories.

A study by a team at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research shows how badly school menus and food offerings needed to be overhauled.

Yvonne Terry-McElrath is an author of the study.

*Listen to Terry-McElrath below

USDA To Spend $3M To Help Honeybees

Feb 27, 2014
Candice Ludlow / IPR News

The federal government will spend $3 million dollars to help improve the health of honeybees.

Honeybees have been suddenly disappearing or dying in the last several years, known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Habitat loss and pesticide use have contributed to the declining population. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering interested farmers and ranchers assistance to implement cover crops that honeybees feed on, like alfalfa and clover.