Farm acreage up, climate change partly responsible

LANSING – More crops were planted in the northern Midwest this year than last year, including Michigan, according to a federal report. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report says Michigan farmers planted 300,000 more acres of principal crops in 2014 compared to 2013. One reason may be that warmer temperatures are allowing for a longer growing season, said Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri- Business Association. With frost starting later in the year, crops have more time to mature, he said. And higher temperatures are prompting crop production to expand northward.