Archaeologists shed new light on ancient farming, university history

By LAUREN GIBBONS
Capital News Service
LANSING — On the surface, Michigan might not seem like the nation’s most historic place. But to many archaeologists and other experts, the state holds a wealth of evidence about the past and remains an important player in providing insights to the past. For example, new developments in the archaeological world include research on ancient farming practices in Michigan and elsewhere in the region. “We’re doing a lot of things that other places haven’t done yet,” said Lynne Goldstein, an anthropology professor at Michigan State University, which hosted the latest Midwest Archaeological Conference. Findings gathered from archaeologists suggest that ancient farmers implemented several domesticated foods and agricultural practices much earlier than previously predicted, said MSU anthropology professor William Lovis, who curated the farming exhibit at the conference.

A dozen Michigan organizations receive specialty crop grants

By CELESTE BOTT
Capital News Service
LANSING – Managing bees and saving cucumbers from disease are just two of the topics being studied in recent specialty crop grants. This October in Michigan the federal government awarded grants to a dozen food and agriculture organizations for projects that include improving fruit production, promoting cleaner soil and studying crop pollination. The $1.3 million is divided among 12 recipients, including the Michigan Vegetable Council in Erie, Michigan Farm Bureau in Lansing, Lakeshore Environmental Inc. in Grand Haven and Michigan State University in East Lansing. These organizations and their projects were selected by the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to receive the federal grants. The department is in the process of developing an additional regional state grant program to further support such organizations and their food and agricultural research, said Jamie Clover Adams, the department director.

Mixed results for Michigan soybean crop

By EDITH ZHOU
Capital News Service
LANSING – Like corn and apples, Michigan’s soybeans have been hit hard by the drought and extreme hot weather. “We are facing a 20 to 30 percent reduction of soybeans altogether compared to normal years,” said Tim Boring, research director of the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee in Frankenmuth. According to figures from the committee, Michigan ranks 12th among nation’s 31 soybean-producing states. Nearly 2 million acres are planted annually in Michigan. The economic impact of soybean farming in 2011 was approximately $1.25 billion.