Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 2, 2013

Farm Focus in Brief: 02/02/2013


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Organic farming

TRAVERSE CITY — Atina Diffley, author of "Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works," will be speaking about her family's experiences with Organic Farming on Sunday, Feb.10, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Horizon Books inTraverse City.

Organic refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Jill Beauchamp at

Get Farming!

TRAVERSE CITY--The Michigan Land Use Institute's Get Farming! program is offering a workshop on succeeding in the wholesale marketplace.

The program is planned for Monday, Feb. 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the NW Michigan Horticultural Research Center, 6686 S. Center Highway.

Participating producers receive a free copy of's Wholesale Success Manual. A $70 value, the manual includes information on harvesting, cooling, storing and packing based on industry standards.

For information or to register, contact Jim Sluyter, 889-0199, or email Information and registration are available online at The $10 registration fee includes the workshop, manual and lunch.

Cows to crops

EAST LANSING — The strong competition for farmland and the increased profitability of raising corn, soybeans and other crops is causing many beef cow/calf herd owners in Michigan to ponder turning pastures into cropland.

To address the issue, the Michigan State University beef team will offer "Feeding Michigan's Beef Cow Herd in 2013 and Beyond" at three locations. The two-part series will address feed alternatives for beef cow/calf herds and look at the economics of each.

"When a grain farmer will offer $100 per acre or more to rent the land to raise corn or soybeans, it is hard for a cow/calf producer to ignore the offer," said Jerry Lindquist, MSU Extension educator. "There is less risk for the landowner in renting, the return is almost the same, and the owner is not tied to the farm daily to keep a management eye on animals. Because of this, plows were turning under pasture land and hay fields across Michigan this fall with the intent of chasing $7 corn next spring."

Lindquist believes there is still a bright future for Michigan beef production. Feeder calf producers will have to make changes in their operations to realize more profits, but he is optimistic about the future for those who do.

Sessions are set for Feb. 11 and 18 at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Feb. 12 and 19 in Ithaca and Feb. 13 and 20 in Atlanta. Sessions run from 7 to 9 p.m.

To register, visit or contact Phil Durst at (989) 345-0692 or Jerry Lindquist at 832-6139. A live Internet webinar feed will also be available to producers across the state.

Birth management

EAST LANSING — A clinic for sheep and goat farmers is being hosted by Michigan State University Extension.

The program will focus on the challenges of managing the birth period of sheep and goat herds. The "Birth Management Clinic for Small Ruminants" will be taught by Richard Ehrhardt, MSU Extension small ruminant specialist. He'll share the latest concepts and skills based on field skills and science.

The six-hour program will cover the importance of nutritional management in preventing many of the common complications observed at birth and how to assess maternal and newborn health and well being. Specific training will be given in dealing with newborn hypothermia, difficult delivery and ensuring a strong bond between mother and offspring. Facility design as well as time and labor management issues will also be covered.

The clinic will be offered twice: on Feb. 9 and Feb. 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The program will begin at the Onondaga Township Hall in Onondaga and then move to a modern sheep facility in nearby Eaton Rapids.

Registration is due by Feb. 5. Cost is $45 per person ($20 for an additional member of the same family) and includes a management guide book, treatment posters, lunch and light refreshments.

Contact Carla McLachlan at 517-432-5402 or email at to register.