More farms up north mean opportunity, development

Capital News Service
LANSING – More farming opportunities have come to northern Michigan this year because of climate changes and global warming, agriculture experts say. According to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan is home to 10 million acres of farmland, but only 10 percent is in the northern parts. Department Director Jamie Clover Adams said there are additional farming opportunities in the north (both the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula) and that there is a trend of more acres being farmed in those regions. “In theory that would mostly be rooted in climate change enabling a longer growing season for areas in northern Michigan,” Jeremy  Nagel, the media relations specialist for the Michigan Farm Bureau, said. Nagel said, “Agriculture up there is mostly hay, some small grains, potatoes, beef cattle and dairy.

Young farmers struggle to buy Michigan farmland

Capital News Service
LANSING – Young farmers don’t always have the opportunity to buy or rent suitable land nor have the capital to acquire enough land to be profitable, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Educational programs help young farmers face these challenges. Tom Nugent, director of field operations for Michigan Farm Bureau, said its Young Farmers program, started in 1935, is designed to give beginners a solid foundation for a future in farming. The program consists of 18-35 year-olds but new farmers older than 35 are able to participate, Nugent said. The USDA defines a young farmer as one with 10 years or less experience operating farms.
Ryan Vanderwal of Lake City went through Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer program and now owns his own dairy supply company, Star City IBA.