Category Archives: Agriculture

“Sprout Lab” hits the road to spur statewide innovation

sproutA program for agricultural entrepreneurs is coming to Mid-Michigan, with the goal of fertilizing new ideas.

The “Sprout Lab” is an entrepreneurship program focused on identifying agricultural innovators, and engaging them in the state’s entrepreneur ecosystem. Continue reading

Lower gas prices equates to cost savings for farmers

CropsLower prices at the pump are not just good for Michigan motorists, but for farmers as well, according to a recent analysis.

According to MSU Extension Services, farmers could save 13% on operational costs this year compared to last, based on current gas prices.

Jerry Lindquist is with the MSU Extension Services.

He said, “Gas prices will be a benefit the longer they stay down as we approach the planting season. It will reduce the price of operations with running of equipment, especially at the tillage time, planting time, and then if it should last into the fall, through the harvest season as well.”

Lindquist said savings will be a particular benefit for producers in northern Michigan, where corn and soybeans are predicted to be less profitable this year, due to low commodity prices.

Upcoming Orchard and Vineyard Show to bring local fruit growers together after a bad year for local grapes

Fruit growers are taking some time in the middle of a cold, Michigan winter to network and talk grapes, apples and cherries.

Officials said the 2015 Northwest Orchard and Vineyard Show is an opportunity for growers to learn new techniques for better production.

They said 2014 was a dynamic year for Michigan’s commercial fruit growers because of last year’s harsh winter. And grapes in particular were impacted. Continue reading

Central Michigan University is launching a STEM-Agriculture partnership

CMU is partnering with a rural school to help students with STEM- that’s science, technology engineering and math.

And the partnership has an agricultural twist.

Officials at CMU are launching the partnership this month between student-teachers, and classroom teachers in St. Johns-an agricultural community. Continue reading

Recycle your Christmas Tree

The holiday season is in full swing, and for many people that means it’s time to bring a bit of the outdoors into the living room. But what can you do with your x-mas tree once the season’s over?

Marsha Gray, the Executive Director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association said the answer is simple: Recycle!

“I would say probably the most common option in Michigan would be to chip those trees into mulch. But you’ll also see Christmas trees that get recycled and reused in other ways. You’ll see Christmas trees piled and dumped along the shore line. It helps to prevent beach erosion. I also know some people who have lakes where they’ll sink Christmas trees because they create a great habitat for fish.”

She said one town in Minnesota takes recycling their trees to the extreme.

“St. Paul, Minnesota heats and powers most of their downtown grid with waste wood. Trimmings, clippings, palettes, all sorts of things are put into this crazy massive grinder chipper and create this product, that is literally burned, and they use that to power their city. And during the holidays they go to that waste wood facility and end up powering their city.”

Gray said although this is an extraordinary example, everyone can do something with their tree. Turn it into mulch yourself, or simply check with your local government to see if they have a street-side pick up service.

For more information on what you can do with your tree visit here.

The Christmas tree industry

Imagine 33 million Christmas trees. That’s how many holiday trees were brought home just last year in the United States according to the National Christmas Tree Association.

Marcia Gray, Executive Director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association, said Christmas trees are actually considered one of Michigan’s cash crops!

“Well, first of all, Michigan is the third largest producer of Christmas trees in the U.S. This holiday season we’re going to estimate that we harvest 2 to 2-and-a-half million trees. About 3-quarters of those trees leave Michigan. Our trees are going elsewhere and bringing dollars back.”

Gray said she expects the tree industry to bring in roughly 40-million dollars to the state this year, and that’s at wholesale price.

She also said the agriculture industry is much more influential on Michigan’s economy than people give it credit for.

For more information on the Michigan Christmas tree business visit this website.