Legislative fixes to drain code stir controversy

DRAIN CODE: A proposed plan to revamp how Michigan manages water problems would give drain commissioners authority across county lines. The change is part of a package of legislative fixes to the state drain code that could set up water management programs based around a single drainage basin that overlap multiple counties. Advocates say that would make it easier to manage floods. By Liam Jackson. FOR ALL POINTS

Cottage food producers want income cap raised

COTTAGE FOOD: Michigan home producers of jams, jellies, bread, baked goods, popcorn and other cottage food are asking for more leeway in the laws to do business. Proposed legislation would raise the $25,000 cap on gross annual income of the businesses that are not state inspected. It also would allow third party delivery systems and change the requirement that home addresses be placed on each label. We interview a Midland cooker maker and a state representative from Midland and a national advocate for the cottage food industry. By Liam Jackson FOR MIDLAND AND ALL POINTS.

A bison looks through the fence at David Kirby’s ranch on the Leelanau Peninsula.

In Northern Michigan, bison teach a lesson in sustainability 

BISON – A popular sustainable farm trend from the 2010s – bison – is on the upswing again and it could offer lessons to more ecologically friendly cattle farming. We interview David Kirby, a teacher who raises bison on the Leelanau Peninsula, a restaurant manager in Traverse City where bison is on the menu and a Michigan State University professor of agriculture. By LILY GUINEY. For TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU ENTERPRISE, MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS and ALL POINTS.

Fall predicted to be hotter, dryer than normal this year 

HOTTER FALL -The National Weather Service predicts this year’s fall season in Michigan will be 40% warmer than average. Blame La Nina for the warming temperatures that are increasingly common, weather experts say. The phenomenon allows for warm air to pass through the cool Pacific sea surface temperatures and enter North America. By Genevieve Fox.

Writer Danielle James holds a handful of blueberries she picked.

Commentary: Blueberries, climate and loss of community

COMMENTARY BLUEBERRIES: Summer brings back memories of growing up on a blueberry farm near Saginaw where some of the same customers have been returning for decades. But climate change threatens that way of life and the sense of community. By Danielle James. FOR HOLLAND, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, MICHIGAN FARM NEWS and ALL POINTS.

The samba wasp, seen here in a test tube, could be the answer to a decade-long battle with fruit flies on Northern Michigan cherry farms.

Tiny wasp could give hope to cherry growers

CHERRY WASPS: Scientists, cherry growers and “science nerds” peered into a box of test tubes to glimpse the tiny samba wasp that could be the answer to a decade-long battle with fruit flies on Northern Michigan cherry farms. Research is underway at MSU’s Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station near Traverse City, with testing at Leelanau County orchards. If the project is successful, researchers plan to conduct another release in Southwest Michigan’s blueberry growing region. By Lily Guiney. FOR LEELANAU, TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN FARM NEWS and ALL POINTS.

NOAA scientists prepare to seine net Lake Michigan for juvenile lake whitefish

Water test: One fish, two fish – where are all the whitefish?

WHITEFISH: Why do so few baby lake whitefish in lakes Michigan and Huron reach adulthood, and what does that fact bode for commercial fishing operations in the Great Lakes? Scientists from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration take to the beaches of the Northern Lower Peninsula in places like Muskegon’s Pere Marquette and Grand Haven State Park to study how well young whitefish grow to be adults and reproduce. Understanding the decline is important as fishery managers and regulators approach the deadline to update a 2000 consent decree with Native American tribes regulating recreational and commercial fishing in those two lakes. By Kurt Williams. FOR MARQUETTE, ALCONA, ALPENA, CHEBOYGAN, SAULT STE. MARIE, BAY MILLS, HOLLAND, LUDINGTON, OCEANA COUNTY, BENZIE COUNTY, MONROE, TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU, PETOSKEY, ST. IGNACE, MANISTEE, HARBOR SPRINGS and ALL POINTS.

Climate solutions logo.

Climate change increases milk production

MILK & CLIMATE: Rising temperatures from climate change may slightly increase milk production, despite the heat stress on cows, new study says. Dairy cows produce less milk when they get too hot, but hot temperatures do stimulate the growth of plants that cows eat to produce milk. Lost milk production through heat stress can be offset by higher feed production. We hear from MOO-ville Creamery in Barry County and the researchers. For news and agriculture sections. By Shelby Frink. FOR MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, PLANET DETROIT and ALL POINTS.

Backyard habitats with native plants are beneficial to wildlife.

Small backyard habitats can have high impacts

BACKYARD HABITATS: Backyard habitats that attract wildlife can be as small as a balcony, porch or postage stamp-sized yard. A National Wildlife Federation certifies wildlife habitats. Experts from the DNR’s Outdoor Nature in Detroit explain how to create and sustain backyard habitats. By Rayna Skiver. FOR DETROIT, PLANET DETROIT, MICHIGAN FARM NEWS and ALL POINTS.

Conservation program partnership targets farms in three Michigan watersheds

CONSERVATION AGREEMENTS: A revived state-federal agreement will make available millions of dollars for Michigan farmers who implement land conservation practices, such as filter strips, field windbreaks and wetland restoration. The money will be available for farmers in the Lake Macatawa, Western Lake Erie and Saginaw Bay areas. We hear from the U.S. Farm Services Agency, state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Farm Bureau and Isabella County-based Michigan Farmers Union. By Sydney Bowler. FOR MONROE, BLISSFIELD, ADRIAN, HOLLAND, MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, ALCONA, ALPENA, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS and ALL POINTS.