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.

Bill would end tax spike when cottages handed down

Capital News Service
LANSING — A widely-supported bill that would prevent property tax increases for owners who transfer family-owned land has a high chance of becoming law before the end of the year, according to the sponsor, Rep. Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle. The bill would primarily benefit families who own cottages or lakefront property, Pettalia said. Current law decrees that the taxable value of a home cannot increase from one year to the next by more than 5 percent or the increase in the consumer price index. When property is sold or transferred, however, the restriction doesn’t apply, and property taxes generally increase to reflect the value of the property. That law can put families planning to pass on their cottages or waterfront property in a bind, Pettalia said.

Up North luring tourists with dogs, bikes, skis

Capital News Service
LANSING – The wind is cooler, leaves are changing color and winter is around the corner but Northern Michigan experts say they can lure tourists this fall and winter. Pure Michigan revealed its new fall advertising campaign, Michelle Begnoche, communications specialist said. “Michigan really is a four-season state,” Begnoche said. “Residents from across the country will travel to see our fall color displays in Northern Michigan, along with the great cider mills that we have to offer.”

The program’s advertising budget is around $2.6 million and includes almost $400,000 in private funding. “We are working really hard to get people to travel here,” she said.