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Michigan farms

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A federal appeals court in Ohio has denied a request from some Michigan farms to suspend testing requirements for Michigan workers while it makes a decision about the related lawsuit.

The further we get into growing season, the more complex life becomes for Michigan's farmers and farmworkers. They're trying to plant and harvest at a time when the world is moving in slow-motion, if at all. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Temperatures could dip below freezing Friday night across Michigan, breaking records for this time of year. 

A late-season polar vortex is predicted to sweep across the state and much of the northeast of the U.S. With the arctic blast could come record low temperatures.

The cold could hurt fruit crops which are in bloom in some lower parts of the state and budding elsewhere.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

An extended "stay at home" order by Governor Gretchen Whitmer bans keeping garden sections of stores open for businesses with more than 50,000 square feet. But many nurseries and garden centers contacted by Michigan Radio are interpreting the rule as a ban on selling fruit and vegetable plants. Workers at greenhouses and nurseries say it's confusing and makes no sense.

The governor wants people to restrict their trips from home to getting the essentials such as fuel and food. Large retail garden centers have been ordered to close temporarily.

Weldemar Brandt / Unsplash

This has been a hard year for Michigan farmers, and more attention needs to be paid to farmers' emotional well-being, according to Jim Zook, executive director of the Michigan Corn Growers Association.

"Nobody has seen a year that has dealt with so many challenges that we've seen with the weather, the markets, the trade, the politics," said Zook. "All of that together has gelled to have quite a storm."

Michigan farmers have been struggling this year because of volatile weather and markets. 

rape kits in the foreground and two women blurred in the background
G.L. Kohuth / Michigan State University

 

 

Today on Stateside, ten years after thousands of untested rape kits were found in a Detroit police warehouse, we talk to the prosecutor who’s been working though those cases. Plus, a conversation about climate change and its effect on Michigan agriculture.

 

 

green field with two white barns on it
David Cassleman / Interlochen Public Radio

 

 

Today on Stateside, how Michigan farmers are dealing with devastating crop losses and the impacts of a trade war. Plus, many in Michigan's immigrant communities were not surprised by a new Trump administration rule that denies green cards to immigrants who have used, or are likely to use, public benefits.

 

cow standing in a field of grass
Angelina Litvin / Unsplash

 


You might have noticed that milk in the refrigerated aisle is cheaper than before. That’s great for your wallet, but not so great for dairy farmers in Michigan.

rows of soybean crops
Courtesy of the Michigan Soybean Association

China is America's biggest soybean customer, to the tune of $14 billion last year. 

Michigan is a major soybean producer, which means farmers in the state are on the front line of this brewing trade war.

Courtesy of Tyler Petroelje

Michigan has held one wolf hunt. That was in 2013, when 22 wolves were killed in the Upper Peninsula.

The next year, a federal judge put wolves back on the endangered species list.

Since then, lawmakers from Michigan, as well as Minnesota and Wisconsin, have tried to tack on riders to various bills in Congress that would "de-list" the wolves. These moves are backed by farmers who say wolves are preying on their livestock.

But now, a new study indicates those farmers may be contributing to that predation problem. How? By not burying their dead cows.

thehavananote.com

Michigan’s agriculture industry may benefit from an opening of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

Earlier this month, President Obama announced the U.S. would reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba. The decision is a step in the direction that may end with the lifting of a trade embargo with Cuba.  

There are still many steps before the embargo is lifted.  But people are already planning for that day.   

Hold your horses, because new episodes of The Incredible Dr. Pol begin this Saturday on National Geographic Wild.
User: The Incredible Dr. Pol / facebook

One of TV's most endearing and unlikely reality show stars is Dr. Jan Pol.

He's a veterinarian with a country practice in mid-Michigan, near Mount Pleasant.

He is also the star of the National Geographic Wild series The Incredible Dr. Pol. The show begins its fifth season Saturday.

Pol is telling his story in a new autobiography Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet.

He says he learned the lesson to never turn your back on an Angus cow the hard way when he was growing up on a dairy farm in the Netherlands.

“You don’t turn your back. You cannot outrun the cow. You cannot outrun the horse. You cannot outrun almost every animal on the planet.”

Pol opened his veterinarian practice in 1981. In his more than three decades of practicing in Michigan, he has seen big changes in farming in the state.

“When we started here, there were two or three family farms every mile. Those have disappeared. Farms got bigger, but it doesn’t mean cows got better care,” says Pol.

* Listen to our conversation with Dr. Jan Pol above.

Vistavision / Flickr

Get those fruits and grains straight out of the Michigan farm field, and right into a bottle of Michigan beer, wine, mead or cider. 

That's the idea behind a bill introduced in Michigan's House by state Rep. Doug Geiss, D-Taylor. He joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.