Stateside: Future of dairy farming; crowded Detroit summer schedule; farmers’ mental health | Michigan Radio
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Stateside: Future of dairy farming; crowded Detroit summer schedule; farmers’ mental health

Jul 30, 2019

Today on Stateside, dairy farms face an uncertain future in Michigan. We speak to a sixth-generation farmer, a pair of cheesemakers in Northern Michigan, and more about the obstacles farmers face and how they are adapting.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

Poor planning or a boon to Detroit? Golf tournament, Grand Prix, and policy conference scheduled for same week in 2020.

  • It's going to be a busy summer in Detroit next year. The Rocket Mortgage Classic PGA golf tournament announced that it will be held in Detroit the week after Memorial Day, which will be the same week of the Grand Prix on Belle Isle. Both of those events come right after the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, and right before the North American International Auto Show. 
  • Kim Trent is an opinion writer from the city of Detroit. She tells us what she makes of this convergence of events, and how she thinks these events could make themselves more inviting to Detroit residents. 

Sixth-generation dairy farmer says she’s uncertain of family farm future

  • Milk is being overproduced in Michigan right now, driving down prices at the store and forcing long-time dairy farmers to rethink their businesses, both for themselves and for future generations. Michigan Radio’s Tyler Scott visited Horning Farms in Manchester to speak with Katelyn Packard, who is a sixth-generation dairy farmer there. 

It’s getting harder for small dairy farmers to make it in Michigan

  • Michigan is the second most diverse agricultural state behind California. The state has strong a corn and soybean industry, which makes for cheaper milk production due to the accessibility of local cattle feed. But cheap production isn't helping all dairy farms in the state. 
  • Dustin Walsh is a reporter with Crain’s Detroit Business who recently wrote about the overproduction of milk in Michigan. Jim Byrum is president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association. They explain what’s changing in the state's dairy industry, and why those shifts are impacting smaller farmers more than big dairy operations. 

Leelanau Cheese carves new path as dairy options dwindle

  • Artisan cheesemakers Anne and John Hoyt co-own Leelenau Cheese in Northern Michigan, but the changing dairy industry nearly forced them to close their popular business. The two told us how they recently “reinvented the cheese wheel” in order to stay open, and how the struggles of small dairy farmers impact their business. 

Farmers face high rates of depression and suicide, but many lack access to mental health services  

  • The high rate of depression and suicide among farmers has led the Michigan State University Extension to start a behavioral health program for farmers to offer them psychological support. Jeffrey Dwyer is the director of the MSU Extension. He breaks down the main causes of stress among farmers, as well as the economic and environmental conditions that pose a threat to the industry.

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