Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 29, 2012

Agriculture in Brief: 12/29/12


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Graceland on TV

FRANKFORT — Frankfort-based dried fruit producer Graceland Fruit is being featured in an upcoming segment of the "World's Greatest!" cable TV show.

Founded in 1973, Graceland Fruit now exports product to more than 40 countries, and their customer base includes some of the largest baking and food companies in the world.

"World's Greatest!" is a 30-minute show dedicated to highlighting the world's greatest companies, products, places and people.

The show will air next on Dec. 31 at 7 a.m. on the ION Network, Charter Cable channel 42 in northern Michigan.

Seed workshop

BENZONIA — The Michigan Land Use Institute is presenting a workshop on harvesting and storing seeds on Saturday, Jan. 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Grow Benzie, 5885 M-115.

Presenters include Craig Schaaf, Golden Rule Farm; Casey Dunagua, Five Springs Farm; and Mike Kiessel, Leelanau County plant breeder.

Those attending are encouraged to bring seeds to sell, trade or give away. Table space will be provided at no cost. Bring a dish to pass for a potluck lunch.

A donation of $7 ($10 for families) is suggested.

Plum of a website

EAST LANSING — A new Michigan Plum industry website has been created to help buyers and consumers identify where the crop is grown and sold in the state.

The website is compatible with smartphones and other handheld web browsing devices and is designed to be helpful to visitors looking for plums as well as farm marketers and brokers seeking wholesalers. The site lists growers and retailers, including a map showing business locations.

Commercial and backyard growers will also find information on the website about growing plums, including planting, pruning, disease and insect management. The new website also gives information on the characteristics of plum varieties, including how plums fit the profile of a healthy food rich in minerals, vitamins and with excellent antioxidant properties. A recipe section contains new and traditional offerings, including longtime family favorites from Michigan plum growers.

Those willing to share plum recipes can submit them via the website.

Growing Michigan

EAST LANSING — Michigan State University Extension is holding a "Growing Michigan" conference Jan. 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lansing Center in Lansing. The one-day conference will feature information to help Michigan producers maximize their farms' potential.

MSU professor and veterinarian Julie Funk will discuss how reemerging food safety issues could affect Michigan agriculture and how improved diagnostics can help producers protect their commodities. A team of MSU specialists will discuss strategic and global perspectives on feed availability, volatile feed costs and prices received, variable feed quality, increasing on-farm storage capabilities, exports and a structurally changing global feed industry.

Bernie Erven of The Ohio State University will talk about recruiting, hiring and keeping top-notch labor. Producers can learn how to incorporate and effectively apply precision ag technology to gain efficiencies and increase farm profits during a presentation by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Joe Luck.

Donald Reicosky, soil scientist emeritus at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, will discuss how producers can manage soil to improve infiltration and water-holding capacity. Other highlights include a lunchtime producer panel, with a second panel discussing lessons learned from the challenging 2012 growing season.

Registration fee is $50 and includes lunch. Register online at, or call 517-353-3175, Ext. 229.

Soil program set

TRAVERSE CITY — An educational program focusing on the topic of soil will be hosted by the Master Gardener Association of Northwest Michigan on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at the Boardman River Nature Center, 1450 Cass.

Kirk Waterstripe will present "The History of Organic Matter in Soil," followed by a presentation on "Regenerative Soil Care" with Craig Schaaf.

The educational program will begin at 6:30 p.m., with the speakers each presenting approximately 45 minutes. For anyone interested in arriving earlier, a potluck will run from 6 to 6:30 p.m. in conjunction with a brief business meeting. A suggested donation of $5 to $10 at the door will help cover speaker expenses.

To ask questions or RSVP, call 256-8323.