Selling the herd: Labor woes force dairy farmer’s hand

Selling the herd: Labor woes force dairy farmer’s hand

Empty stalls inside a mostly empty barn.

A few birds chirp in the rafters.

Seventy-one-year-old Hank Choate, feeling somewhat empty himself, walks through the structure.

He just sold off his roughly 500-head Holstein dairy herd, pivoting to 1,800 acres of row crops.

  • Dec 28, 2021
USDA prepares for upcoming 2022 Census of Agriculture

USDA prepares for upcoming 2022 Census of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) mails the National Agricultural Classification Survey (NACS) this month to more than a million potential U.S. agricultural producers, in preparation for the 2022 Census of Agriculture. 

  • Dec 07, 2021
Farm estate planning

Farm estate planning

The USDA reports that 70% of U.S. farmland will likely change hands during the next two decades. Even more critically, it’s estimated that half of farming families are operating without an estate plan in place. Is your family’s legacy part of these statistics?

  • Dec 03, 2021
Small-scale, local producers get improved insurance coverage through new Micro Farm policy

Small-scale, local producers get improved insurance coverage through new Micro Farm policy

Agricultural producers with small-scale farms who sell locally can now get simplified insurance coverage through a new policy designed for their needs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed the new Micro Farm policy, which simplifies recordkeeping and covers post-production costs like washing and value-added products.

  • Dec 03, 2021
Microloan applications are open

Microloan applications are open

In partnership with Grain Train Natural Foods Markets and Oryana Community Co-op, we are excited to announce that applications are again open for zero-interest microloans with flexible repayment terms for farms and food-related businesses in 12 Northwest Michigan counties.

  • Nov 19, 2021
Concerned about foreign ownership of American farmland?

Concerned about foreign ownership of American farmland?

One common topic that comes up at almost any meeting Michigan Farm Bureau staff attend is foreign ownership of land in the United States.

According to a USDA Farm Service Agency report “Foreign Holdings of U.S. Agricultural Land,” foreign investors held interest in nearly 35.2 million acres as of Dec. 31, 2019, accounting for roughly 2.7 percent of all privately held agricultural land ag land in U.S. and 1.5% of all land in the U.S., including both forest land and farm ground.

  • Nov 04, 2021
Increasing farm profitability with solar power

Increasing farm profitability with solar power

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced it is funding a new project led by iSEE Interim Director Madhu Khanna to optimize design for “agrivoltaic” systems — fields with both crops and solar panels — that will maintain crop production, produce renewable energy, and increase farm profitability.

  • Oct 18, 2021
West Central Michigan Research and Extension Center to host field day

West Central Michigan Research and Extension Center to host field day

Michigan State University and the new West Central Michigan Research and Extension Center will host an AgBioResearch and MSU Extension Field Day from noon to 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 19.

The field day will allow the West Central Michigan Research and Extension Center to showcase its new facilities, ongoing research projects related to tree fruit, and future planting and research plans.

  • Oct 15, 2021
AFBF partnership aims to boost minority involvement in ag

AFBF partnership aims to boost minority involvement in ag

AFBF and the National Society for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) announced they’ve entered into an agreement with the goal of increasing minority involvement in agriculture.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed Monday is expected to strengthen membership value for both organizations through collaboration on projects, including written content for each organization’s publications, providing leadership training and expertise, and cross promoting programs and events.

  • Oct 13, 2021
AFBF statement on confusion surrounding a proposed methane tax

AFBF statement on confusion surrounding a proposed methane tax

American Farm Bureau Federation Vice President for Public Affairs Sam Kieffer commented today on confusion surrounding a proposed methane tax.

“To clear up any confusion, I want to make clear that the current language of the reconciliation bill does not impose a methane tax on agriculture.

  • Oct 05, 2021