Farmers could benefit from easing trade relations between the U.S. and Cuba, experts say

CUBA AGRICULTURE: During the 2020 campaign, presidential candidate Joe Biden said he would reverse Trump administration policies that limit trade between the U.S. and Cuba. However, the administration has yet to make specific comments about increasing exports. A U.S. Senate bill would lift the embargo. Michigan farmers, especially dry bean growers, could benefit from higher sales to Cuba. Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac, Bay and Saginaw counties are the biggest dry bean producers. We talk to the director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and to the Michigan Bean Commission, Farm Bureau and Agri-Business Association. For news and agriculture sections. By Brandon Chew. FOR MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, CORP! AND ALL POINTS.

The Spoonville Peninsula and archaeological site along the Grand River in Ottawa County.

Abandoned food caches offer evidence of Native American survival strategies

CACHES: You have to look hard to spot the Spoonville Peninsula on a map of Southwest Michigan, but it was an important location for native peoples for centuries before European contact — and may contain the largest collection of cache pits ever excavated in the Upper Great Lakes. Researchers from a Williamston archaeological firm and MSU undertook the project near the mouth of the Grand River in Ottawa County, finding important evidence about how these caches were used to store food as a “risk management strategy” to improve their capacity for survival “in the difficult environment of the region,” according to a new study. By Eric Freedman. FOR STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, HOLLAND, BAY MILLS, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

Advocates look to labs for replacements for farm-raised meats

MEAT REPLACEMENT: The food industry may be getting closer to introducing lab-grown, or cultured meat created by feeding nutrients to animal cells taken from poultry or livestock. Advocates see it as a possible solution to the environmental impacts of raising animals for meat. We hear from an MSU food expert and a vegetarian. For news and food sections. By Jonus Cottrell. FOR MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

Sheep graze under the shade of solar panels in Lenawee County, an example of agrivoltaics.

Crops grown under solar panels and pollinator habitats could be wave of the future

SOLAR FARMS: A new report about combining solar power and farming has advocates saying the practice could take hold in Michigan, boosting productivity of crops while also providing much-needed refuge for bees and other pollinators. We talk to an MSU expert, and an extension educator in West Olive For news and agriculture pages. By Sheldon Krause. FOR MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, HOLLAND AND ALL POINTS.

Blue spruce fungus hits Christmas tree, landscape tree growers

BLUE SPRUCE: Disease and a recently discovered fungus are hitting Michigan’s blue spruce hard, and that’s bad news for growers of Christmas trees and landscape trees. We hear from a Van Buren COunty nursery owner, Grand Rapids arborist and an MSU Extension expert. By Kristia Potsema. FOR STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, HOLLAND, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, GREENVILLE, MICHIGAN FARM NEWS AND ALL POINTS.

Tony Sutorik, of Mi Element, which sells baked goods that incorporate leftover grain from the brewing process.

Breweries repurposing waste to feed people and animals

BEER WASTE: Some breweries are finding creative ways to use leftover grain from the beer making process, including baked goods and animal feed, We learn about microbrewery-bakery MI Element in Midland, Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids and Detroit and Short’s Brewing in Elk Rapids and Bellaire. By Sophia Lada. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, GREENVILLE, DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE, TRAVERSE CITY, CORP! PETOSKEY AND ALL POINTS.

Michigan State University professor Steve Van Nocker is producing a disease-resistant, red-fleshed line of apples.

Red-fleshed apples could keep Michigan cider makers in the black

RED-FLESHED APPLES: A new Michigan Craft Beverage Council grant is funding research to develop a red-fleshed apple to make cider, juice and extracts, diversifying the state’s apple crop. We talk to the MSU scientist leading the project, Short’s Brewing of Elk Rapids and Bellaire, and the head of the Michigan Cider Association, from Hudsonville. Top apple-producing counties include Kent, Oceana, Ottawa, Leelanau, Traverse City and Mason. By Kyle Davdison. FOR GREENVILLE, IONIA, TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU, LUDINGTON, CHEBOYGAN, PETOSKEY, OCEANA, HOLLAND, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, HOLLAND AND ALL POINTS.

The indoor farming operation at Revolution Farms in Caledonia uses a broad-spectrum light.

Technology extends ‘Salad Bowl’ to Midwest

SALAD BOWL: For lettuce that calls indoor farms home, the “sunlight” can be blue, pink, red or other colors. That’s because LED lights allow growers to pick the spectrums of the sun that are most useful for plants. The technology is helping Midwest farmers compete with the country’s best-known “Salad Bowl” in California. We talk to an MSU horticulture professor and to farmers in Caledonia and South Bend, Indiana. For news and agriculture sections. By Brianna M. Lane. FOR STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, HILLSDALE AND ALL POINTS.