michigan-ag-blog-profilepic Michigan Agriculture Now

  • USDA Plans Closings

    Posted by Rick Shields

    USDA offices in several places around Michigan are getting shuttered to save money as the department unveils new ways to interface with growers...

    USDA Plans Closings

  • Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

    Posted by Rick Shields

    The year begins for many Farm Bureau members with a meeting to set policy positions.  We're visiting today with one of the Michigan delegation.

    Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

  • Long Lived Apple Varieties

    Posted by Rick Shields

    MSU's Bill Shane says several kinds of apples developed two centuries ago can still be found in use today, though you may have to look hard to locate them...

    Long Lived Apple Varieties

  • Michigan farmers will help set American Farm Bureau policy on national issues

    Posted by Dan Cash

    LANSING, Jan. 5, 2012 - Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) leaders will help develop American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) policy on a host of issues ranging from the farm bill to immigration reform and animal antibiotics when they join delegates from across the nation for the AFBF 93rd Convention and Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Jan. 8-11.

    Policy resolutions adopted at the meeting will direct AFBF action in 2012. Members of the MFB board of directors will serve as voting delegates for Michigan at the meeting. (A complete list follows.)

    Resolutions are first approved by state Farm Bureaus and then forwarded to AFBF, where a national policy development committee made up of state Farm Bureau presidents consolidates them to present to voting delegates at the annual meeting. Some resolutions propose new policy but most amend or reaffirm existing AFBF policy.

    In total, 370 farmer delegates from all 50 states and Puerto Rico will consider more than 170 resolutions. Highlighted here are some of the policy issues that MFB's delegation will monitor closely.

    Immigration reform 

    MFB leaders hope to persuade their Farm Bureau counterparts to adopt organizational policy which calls for immigration enforcement to be handled federally rather than state by state. 

    "The Michigan Farm Bureau believes in states' rights and we agree America's immigration system is broken, but implementing immigration enforcement programs on a state-by-state basis is not the solution," said Ryan Findlay, MFB national legislative counsel. 

    "The Michigan Farm Bureau is convinced immigration enforcement and border security should be the responsibility of Congress and, in the case of agriculture, must include a simple and effective guest worker program," he said. 

    Farmers have told MFB that a patchwork of immigration laws, including mandates in some states such as Georgia to use an electronic screening system known as "E-Verify," is negatively impacting Michigan's ability to hire an estimated 45,000 guest workers needed annually to fulfill a variety of agricultural jobs, including helping to harvest perishable fruits and vegetables. 

    The concern is that known flaws with the E-Verify system discourage seasonal farm workers who are in the United States legally from seeking employment out of fear of being racially profiled. 

    "Several farmers have told us they believe the simple discussion of E-Verify caused Michigan to have a labor shortage in 2011 even though E-Verify is not currently required here," said Findlay. "In Georgia where it's mandated, the state has lost millions, and vegetables were left to rot because no one would pick them."

    Draft policy set to go before AFBF delegates, as influenced by MFB, recommends that AFBF "oppose any mandate on employers to use E-Verify until an acceptable agricultural guest worker program is in place that allows work authorization for workers not authorized currently." 

    For the full article click here: Michigan farmers will help set American Farm Bureau policy on national issues

  • The Farm Calendar Fills Up

    Posted by Rick Shields

    As per usual the winter farm schedule of meetings is growing...

    The Farm Calendar Fills Up

  • Checking Soils for Sulphur

    Posted by Rick Shields

    An expert shares advice on one critical yield-boosting factor to sonsider before moving into the 2012 growing year...

    Checking Soils for Sulphur

  • More Fallout from GIPSA

    Posted by Rick Shields

     The water-downed GIPSA rule and continuing corporate concentration in agriculture have some farm activists feeling let down by President Obama.  


    For Fred Stokes, president of the Organization for Competitive Markets, USDA’s final rule to reform livestock and poultry marketing practices was a bitter disappointment.  He says the Obama Administration has….

    More Fallout from GIPSA

  • Soybean SDS Meeting

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Coming up next month area soybean growers have a chance to get up to date info on an emerging challenge...

    Soybean SDS Meeting

  • Corn Nitrogen Application

    Posted by Rick Shields

    Research is on-going at Michigan State University in the area of proper rates of nitrogen application.  There are several things to take into consideration according to Bruce MacKellar.

    Corn Nitrogen Application

  • Top Renewable Fuel Story

    Posted by Rick Shields

    : Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen has announced the top five ethanol stories of 2011.

    Number One is: EPA gives final approval to E-15….

    Top Renewable Fuel Story

  • Congressional Stalemate and Biodiesel

    Posted by Rick Shields

    The biodiesel board complains, Congress has left thousands of industry jobs in limbo heading into the holidays…and urges lawmakers to pass an extension right away next year, to limit the economic damage.


    But Evans admits, that won’t be easy, given the political stalemate on broader tax issues….

    Congressional Stalemake and Biodiesel

  • Failing Common Sense Test

    Posted by Rick Shields

    senator Chuck Grassley says a labor department proposal to restrict child labor on farms doesn’t pass the “common sense” test…and he’s written the Labor Secretary urging the idea be scuttled.

    Grassley has joined other republicans in complaining to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, whose agency wants to reduce the high rate of child injuries and fatalities from farm machinery and animals.

    But Grassley argues some of labor’s proposed restrictions are ‘ridiculous’

    Failing Common Sense Test