Category Archives: Agriculture

Michigan vineyard owner loving the warm weather

Bowers Harbor in Winter

Bowers Harbor in Winter

After two years of harsh winters have taken their toll on Michigan vineyards, this year’s warmer weather is being seen as a blessing.

That’s according to Justin Leshinskey, Director of Sales for Bowers Harbor Vineyards in Traverse City.

Leshinskey said he couldn’t have asked for better conditions for their vineyard’s silver anniversary.

“We’re hoping for a wonderful year this year, in fact this year is going to be our 25th anniversary. We’re hoping, if mother nature and the farming Gods allow, that we’ll have the best 25th harvest that we can.”

This year he expects the best yield he’s had in years.

“It’s been warmer, like I said the bay hasn’t frozen over, we’ve had some great snow, and that’s insulated the vines. Also too, ya know, the vines, after not really producing a lot of fruit the last few years, they’ve got a lot of energy stored up. They’re ready to do their job as long as mother nature allows them to.”

Leshinskey said Michigan is the 4th largest producer of grapes in the nation.

Leshinskey said although it’s been warm, it hasn’t been warm enough for the vines to wake up just yet.

Due to that, he’s not afraid of a late winter frost damaging the crop.

Route to prosperity event coming to Northwest MI

Event Breakdown

Event Breakdown

The Northwest Michigan Food Farming Network is attempting to boost the amount of locally sourced food bought and sold in state.

In order to kickstart that goal, the network is holding an event at the end of the month in Traverse city.
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MSU Extension bridges generational gap in agriculture with technology

Msu extension logoMichigan State University Extension will host an event in mid-March aimed at helping those new to agriculture get a head start.
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Season extension technologies allow farmers in the Upper Peninsula to offer fresh produce year round


IMG_0843Season extension technologies allow farmers in the Upper Peninsula to offer fresh produce year round. Most recently,  winter spinach has been added to the menu for the local food co-op the UP is working to launch.

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Late winter and invasive pests poses concern for Michigan fruit growers


The late winter is a concern for many Michigan area fruit growers.

Fruit growers met in Traverse City this week to talk about things like invasive pests, marketing skills, and damage to vegetation. Continue reading

Michigan beet crop could be threatened by warm weather

Lancaster Pennsylvania Open Farmland and Field

The same warm weather that allowed the Michigan Sugar Company to take in a record-breaking harvest may be threatening those same beets, as they sit in storage, awaiting processing.

Ray Van Driessche is the director of community and government relations for Michigan Sugar Company. He said the size of the yield was unbelievable.

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Waters of the United States rule faces copious amounts of scrutiny

Logo of the EPA

Logo of the EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency’s recent Waters of the United States rule, or WOTUS, is facing heavy scrutiny from around the country.

WOTUS is intended to clarify which water bodies are protected by the Clean Water Act. Instead it’s prompted a heated debate.
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U.S Forest Service passes some logging responsibilities to MDNR

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has agreed to pick up some forest management responsibilities from the federal government.

The agreement will give the DNR logging rights in three Michigan national forests.
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Fall migration brings threat of avian flu

The fall migration of wild birds has state officials concerned about possible new outbreaks of avian influenza.

As wild birds fly south for the winter they may pose a threat to domestic poultry.

This year’s spring outbreak of avian flu was documented as the largest domestic animal health crisis in U.S. history.

Jennifer Holton is with the Michigan Department of Agriculture. “The threat of avian influenza coming back is very real so it’s important for us to make sure that we’re reminding poultry operators to continue to put it proper risk mitigation and biosecurity practices to minimize the threat of high path avian influenza,” she said.

Holton said no outbreaks have been reported yet this fall. “Unfortunately, you know, nobody has a crystal ball but at this point what we can really just say is that the potential is there, the threat is there and so implementing those biosecurity practices really should be a priority for all our poultry operators,” she said.

Holton said avian flu does not pose a risk to human health or to food safety.

She said biosecurity measure like restricting outdoor access and using well or municipal water instead of ponds for drinking water can keep flocks safe.

Lake Michigan is the leading topic at Grand Traverse County conference


A conference in Grand Traverse County will highlight Lake Michigan.

The Department of Environmental Quality is hosting more than 300 experts in the fields of climate change, invasive species and beach management. Continue reading

Students and instructors at Lake Superior State University have a unique opportunity to study a new invasive species

Lake Superior State University environmental science professor Dr. Megan Kelly poses with a sample of Didymosphenia geminate, commonly known as “didymo” or “rock snot.”  Photo courtesy of LSSU.

Lake Superior State University environmental science professor Dr. Megan Kelly poses with a sample of Didymosphenia geminate, commonly known as “didymo” or “rock snot.” Photo courtesy of LSSU.

Instructors and students at Lake Superior State University are planning to studying a new invasive species. One that settled right in a nearby river.

Didymo, or rock snot was found in the St. Mary’s River a few weeks ago. Continue reading

Produce and community: putting Sault Ste Marie, Ontario On the Map

Sault Ste Marie, Ontario is a big city, more than 75 thousand people live there. But in all the hustle and bustle of big city life, the city manages to create pockets with a small town community feel.

One of those pockets is the Mill Market farmers market.
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‘Wireless’ cows becoming more common on Michigan farms

A dairy cow at Paramount Dairy in Caro, MI. The collar around the cow's neck monitors activity and rumination.

A dairy cow at Paramount Dairy in Caro, MI. The collar around the cow’s neck monitors activity and rumination.

Technology and healthcare are slowly becoming ingrained in our society. Just look at the explosion of health tracking devices, including Fitbits and Apple Watches, for example.

Similar devices are now becoming more and more popular in the farming community. They’re helping create more efficient farms. Farms that are full of healthier, happier cows. Continue reading

Visitors at the Huron-Manistee National Forest will learn how to “Leave No Trace”


An organization that teaches people about limiting their impact on the outdoors is coming to the Huron-Manistee National Forest August 11-16.

“Leave No Trace” travels around the country, stopping in areas with fragile ecosystems. Continue reading

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative renewed for 5 more years

Logo of the EPA

Logo of the EPA

It’s been five years since the federal government’s largest initiative to restore the Great Lakes was passed into law, and Congress recently agreed to fund the program for another five years.

According to Cameron Davis, the senior adviser to the administrator of the EPA, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is one of the few pieces of legislation that repeatedly gets bi-partisan support.
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Third case of chronic wasting disease found in Ingham County


State wildlife officials confirm a third deer from a mid-Michigan forest has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

These are the first instances of chronic wasting disease found in the wild in Michigan. It’s already been found in 20 states and two Canadian provinces. Continue reading