Traverse City Record-Eagle

March 16, 2013

Farm Focus in Brief: 03/16/2013

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — Young pork producers

EAST LANSING — Young pork producers can learn about Good Production Practices via an online tutorial.

The Youth Pork Quality Assurance Plus program is an educational tool to help young pork producers ages 8 to 19, 4H and FFA members learn Good Production Practices when raising pigs. The PQA Plus program highlights areas of animal care and well-being and focuses on teaching young people how to raise a safe, healthy and wholesome product for the consumer.

This year, Michigan youth have an opportunity to access the program via an online tutorial through the National Pork Board. To find out more, contact the Pork Checkoff Center at (800) 456-7675.

Beekeeping Basics

BELLAIRE — “Beekeeping Basics: Build a Langstroth Hive” will be held Thursday, March 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Bellaire Community Hall.

A partnership of ISLAND and the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference, the workshop will provide instruction in building a traditional Langstroth hive from a kit. Local beekeepers Keith Kintigh, Heather Miller and Yvonne Stephens will cover hive body and frame assembly, equipment needs, how to obtain bees, how to join the Beekeepers’ Guild and more.

Class size is limited to 20 participants, Registration is requested by March 20, with a $10 to $20 suggested donation.

For more information call 622-5252 or email

Camp registration open

PRESQUE ISLE — Registration is now open for 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp, mixing summer camp fun with hands-on science education.

The camp will be held July 28 through Aug. 3 on the northern shores of Lake Huron at Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle. This Michigan State University pre-college program is for teens 13 to 15 or those who will be entering eighth through 10th grade in the fall.

Applications are being accepted until May 1. Space is limited to 70 campers, so early application is encouraged.

The Michigan resident fee is $335 for 4-H members and $345 for non-members. That covers meals, snacks, lodging, a T-shirt and program and activity costs. Michigan Sea Grant Extension and donors to the Michigan 4-H Foundation offset the real $450-a-camper cost. Out-of-state campers will be accepted with a $450 fee if space is still available after May 1.

For more information and to apply for the camp, visit or contact Judy Ratkos, or (517) 432-7613.

Energy efficiency

LANSING — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering funding for agriculture producers and rural small businesses designed to encourage adaptation of facilities to conserve and produce renewable energy.

Rural Energy for America Program is an ongoing effort through which grants and low-interest loans are available for making energy-efficiency improvements. The competitive grants can be up to 25 percent of total eligible project costs and range from $1,500 for energy improvements to $500,000 for renewable energy systems. Money is also available to conduct feasibility studies and energy audits in rural communities.

Projects that are eligible can include retrofitting lighting or insulation, purchasing or replacing equipment with more efficient units, producing energy from wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydro power and hydrogen-based sources.

REAP grants are available to rural communities throughout Michigan. For more information, visit USDA’s website, The Northern Lakes Economic Alliance, a partner of Michigan State University Extension, can also provide assistance. Visit or call 582-6482.