USDA to Invest $4 Million for Midwest Honey Bee ConservationThe U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to provide more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance to help farmers in the Midwest, including Michigan, improve the health of honey bees.
Michigan is one of five Midwestern states that is part of the USDA honey bee effort, along with Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Funding will be provided to producers to plan and install conservation practices that will provide honey bees with nutritious pollen and nectar while providing benefits to the environment. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications for this effort until Nov. 21, 2014.
“Honey bees and other pollinators are extremely important to Michigan’s fruit and vegetable growers,” said Garry Lee, USDA state conservationist for Michigan. “There was a strong response from farmers for the first honey bee conservation effort earlier this year.”
In February, 2014, the USDA announced the first funding for honey bee conservation. In Michigan, 48 farmers entered into contracts to improve honey bee habitat on 1,080 acres of land and they will receive $193,100 in conservation financial assistance. The funding will be used by farmers to establish or improve forage for honey bees.
Studies have shown that beekeepers are losing about 30 percent of their honey bee colonies each year, up from historical norms of 10-15 percent overwintering losses experienced prior to 2006. Significant progress has been made in understanding of the factors that are associated with Colony Collapse Disorder and the overall health of honey bees. This effort is one of many that USDA has underway to address the issue, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
More information, is available on the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service website at www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.
Don’t Farm Naked Field Day
Don’t farm naked, plant cover crops for soil health! Eaton Conservation District, Eaton County Farm Bureau and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation service will be sponsoring a fall field day on Friday, September 12, 2014. The event, hosted by The Country Mill and Upright Farms in Charlotte MI, will feature nationally renowned guest speaker, Dr. Hans Kok! Hans is an Indiana based agriculture consultant who contracts with the Indiana Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative. He uses an innovative approach to teach producers about the importance of managing soils much like they would livestock or crops to maximize long term sustainability and farm economics.
In addition to Dr. Kok’s presentation, the Field Day will feature great demonstrations and discussions about improving soil health on the farm, integrated weed management tips to get more bang for your pesticide costs, and an update on the new Farm Bill. RUP credits will be available for certified pesticide applicators who attend and MAEAP phase 1 credit is available for all participants. Local businesses have donated prizes for the event, including cover crop seed from the Eaton Farm Bureau Co-op. Registration is $10 and covers lunch and materials. Farm Bureau members will receive a reduced rate at $5. Those interested in participating in the tour should contact the Eaton Conservation District (517) 543-5848 ext. 5 no later than September 9th to register.
Drones Added to Don’t Farm Naked Field Day!
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs or drones) demonstration has been added to the Don’t Farm Naked Field Day on September 12th. Bruno Basso, associate professor at MSU, will be joining the agricultural field day to demonstrate his work using UAVs to model water and nutrient cycling in relation to agro-ecosystems. Basso is working to develop SALUS, a next-generation process-based model that integrates crop productivity with water, carbon, and nutrient fluxes in a spatially explicit manner.
Friday September 12th 9am-4pm
The Country Mill and Upright Farms
4648 Otto Road
Charlotte, MI 48813
Field Day Topics
Win Free Prizes and Cover Crop seed!
Agricultural Field Day-August 19th
The Ingham Conservation District is hosting an agricultural field day on Tuesday August 19th entitled "Livestock Best Management Practices: Small Contributions and Big Impacts". The event begins at 8:45 and ends at 1:15. Lunch will be provided. Enjoy interesting and practical discussions on pasture health, manure and nutrient
management and weed control. MAEAP Phase 1 Credits and 5 Pesticide Recertification Credits are available. More details are provided on the attached flyer. Register today at www.inghamconservation.com.
Energy Efficiency Field Day
Tour of Hop Head Farms
The Clinton Conservation District will be hosting a Smart Drainage: Use it, Don’t lose it field day Thursday, August
28th from 8:30-noon at 2435 N Tallman Rd Fowler, MI.
The focus of the field day will be on water management practices that are both environmentally friendly and economically smart. Presentations will focus on reducing the risk of manure movement in tile lines, drainage control structures, nutrient runoff via a rainfall simulator, and responding to emergencies. Presenters will include Frank Gibbs, a retired NRCS soil scientist, who will showcase soil macropores via a smoke in a tile line demonstration and Phil Algreen, of AgriDrain, who will showcase a Drainage Control Structure which can be used to regulate the amount of water flowing out of a tile line.
RSVP’s to 989.224.3720 ext 3 are greatly appreciated!
MSU Farms Go Green!
The Eaton Conservation District is pleased to announce that the first three research farms on the campus of Michigan State University (MSU) have achieved verification under the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). The MSU Cow Calf Teaching & Research Center, MSU Swine Teaching& Research Center and the MSU Beef Cattle Teaching and Research Center received recognition June 30 from Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) for becoming verified under the MAEAP Farmstead and Livestock Systems.
Joe Kelpinski, MAEAP verifier with MDARD applauded MSU’s verifications. “It was a pleasure to work with MSU through the verification process. As one of the premier land grant research colleges in the United States, MSU is known for their teaching and research. By obtaining their MAEAP verifications, the MSU facilities that were verified have shown not only their commitment to continued research on improving animal production, but that they are focusing on doing so in a manner that is both environmentally friendly and sustainable. Their continued efforts in this area have enabled them to meet the rigorous MAEAP standards and show that production and environmental commitment can coexist to the benefit of both in livestock production systems. These facilities are to be commended for their efforts.”
All three MSU centers are utilized by faculty, staff, and students to develop successful graduates, conduct innovative research, and engage stakeholders. The facilities are used to advance agriculture using multidisciplinary approaches to teach, generate, disseminate, and apply knowledge in livestock biology and management
while providing hands-on learning opportunities for students.
The Cow Calf Center, established at its current location in 1954, is a 340-acre, pasture-based operation that focuses on the breeding and management of beef cattle. The Swine Center, established in 1997, has a closed breeding program which produces animals that are used for research in nutrition, behavior, genetics, environmental management, meat science and muscle biology, and production management. Animals are also used for class projects and experiences for all MSU students, as well as many 4-H, FFA, and other youth and adult activities. The Beef Cattle Center, established in 1964, conducts basic and applied beef cattle (ruminant) research and teaching that benefits beef cattle producers and ultimately the consumers of Michigan.
“Becoming MAEAP verified was a logical step for our South Campus farms. Although we are mandated to implement best management practices, with so many of our stakeholders investing time and resources to achieve MAEAP verification we felt it was important for us to do the same. We are proud to plant the MAEAP verified sign in front of our facilities and look forward to having all our farms verified.” said Dr. Janice Swanson, Chair of the MSU Department of Animal Science. Other farms and facilities on campus are in the process of achieving MAEAP verification. This process can take anywhere from a few months to several years depending on the size of the farm and their ability to dedicate time to working on the MAEAP process in addition to normal farm responsibilities.
MAEAP focuses on helping farmers adopt management practices that proactively prevent pollution on the farm. Producers are encouraged to use soils tests to assess fertilizer demands of crops and minimize nitrogen and phosphorus loading of Michigan’s groundwater, lakes, rivers, and streams. The program also focuses on responsible soil erosion, manure management, odor management, well water testing, pesticide use and storage, irrigation management, water conservation, fuel storage, and a number of other issues that pertain directly to the farmstead. MAEAP is a voluntary program that allows farmers to access free, confidential, technical assistance to protect natural resources on the farm. It offers a nonregulatory route for farms to be assured they are in compliance with Right to Farm and applicable laws.
For more information on MAEAP or other conservation programs please contact your local technician, Jennifer Silveri, at the Eaton Conservation District, (517) 543-5848 ext 112 or by email at email@example.com. For more information about the farms on MSU’s Campus visit http://www.ans.msu.edu/facilities.
by USDA NRCS | April 1,2014
For generations, children have been singing about the farmer, his wife and
kids, and even the mouse and the cheese. But today, a modern farmer is more
likely to be using the mouse on his computer (or more realistically, a
smartphone or tablet) than dancing around a small wooded valley with his family
and farm animals.
The website of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, nrcs.usda.gov, has been
evolving to keep pace with the needs of today's farmer, says NRCS Webmaster
"Our mission is to provide American farmers, ranchers and other visitors with
the tools and resources they are looking for on a site that is easy to use and
The most-effective websites combine clear and readable text, usability,
functionality and simple navigation. NRCS writes the text for targeted
audiences, which includes farmers and ranchers, as well as people who use NRCS
online tools, such as Web Soil Survey, PLANTS database and COMET-FarmTM.
Recently, the agency created a new Get Started with NRCS
page. This new webpage helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners learn how
they can make improvements to their land with conservation.
This webpage features the five steps to getting assistance from NRCS, so that
farmers, ranchers and forest landowners can know about the process of applying
for assistance from the comfort of their own home, barn, tractor or wherever
else they hop online.
Also, NRCS revamped its About and Drought Resources pages
and created a Resources for Small Farms
page. About NRCS provides an overview of what NRCS offers,
including those popular tools that bring many visitors to the website.
Drought Resources houses information on assistance and resources that can
help farms and ranches be more resilient to drought. And finally, the Resources
for Small Farms page pulls together information and resources that may be of
interest to owners and managers of smaller farms, such as information on
organics and seasonal high tunnels.
NRCS uses a number of tools to help create these pages, including site
traffic and customer experience information. "We've found that more than 61
percent of people coming to our website were new visitors, many of whom were
farmers, ranchers and forest landowners looking for information on conservation
programs," O'Halloran said.
NRCS has about 13,000 visits per day on its national website. Some of the
most popular pages deal with soils, Web Soil Survey and the Farm Bill.
"We hope you enjoy these new and revamped pages, and we welcome feedback on
how we can improve our 'digital' service center," says O'Halloran. "We're
excited to have the opportunity to help you get started with
Workshops to Help Your Land
March 19, 2014
Eaton Conservation District
Basement Conference Room
551 Courthouse Dr.
Charlotte, MI 48813
Do you have questions about wildlife issues? Do you want to learn how to create or enhance wildlife habitat on your property? Then join ECD for our Wildlife Habitat Workshop. Participants will learn about conservation programs,
wildlife management, and habitat improvement methods. Adam Bump with the Michigan DNR will present on the State of Wolves in Michigan. Local sportsman's groups will also be in attendance.
There is no charge to attend, but since space is limited, RSVPs are appreciated. Call the Eaton Conservation District at (517) 543-5848 ext.5 to sign up.
Backyard Orchardist Pruning Workshop
March 20, 2014
Country Mill Farms, LLC
4648 Otto Rd.
Charlotte, MI 48813
Cost: $8 per person
Many people are interested in having their very own fruit trees. The thought of having a convenient source of fresh fruit is very appealing. However, caring for a fruit tree when just starting out can be an intimidating prospect.
This is where ECD's Pruning Workshop can help. This workshop and on-site demonstration at the Country Mill will show how to correctly care for your trees to get the most out of your investment.
For more details and to RSVP, please call the Eaton Conservation District at 517-543-5848 ext.5.