« Agriculture

Agricultural Tentacles in Michigan

by Dan Cash

That’s Michigan agriculture I’m talking about - - reflecting on the many and varied facets of the farming business.  Many, although not all, are unique to our state. But, taken as a collection, it’s a lot going on, in these two peninsulas here in the Great Lakes country.  For example, in a notice I received from Michigan Farm Bureau, I learned of a host of topics to be discussed among Michigan farmers convening at several locations around the state on June 28th.  It is, I am told, a series of brainstorming sessions that will launch Farm Bureau’s policy development process. The agenda includes, but is not limited to Urban farming, renewable fuels, hydraulic fracking, food labeling, and wild life management.

The operative who ramrods this undertaking is Sarah Black, who directs the organization’s public policy division which very deliberately includes the collective voice of its members.  I don’t really know how many commodities Michigan farmers were producing in 1919 when Farm Bureau was founded, but Sarah Black amazed me with the contention that Michigan farmers now produce more than THREE HUNDRED commodities.

From that alone - - the fact that Michigan’s farmers produce more than 300 commodities it’s pretty easy to agree there may very well be a connection between Michigan farming, and any one or several of the major topics listed here at the top.  Like food labeling, for example.  I think of the Pure Michigan tag; and of the legislative efforts to require place of origin acknowledgments on goods from out of state, or country.  Renewable Fuels, and Hydraulic Fracking might come under a single umbrella of interest and explanation.

We’ve all heard at least a little bit about the fuss about how Renewable Fuels, and particularly ethanol, have contributed to the rise in consumer food prices.  I don’t expect a report earlier this month from ABF Economics will put an end to the discussion, but the finding needs to be noted. Simply put, “ABF Economics released a detailed analysis showing no direct correlation between the Renewable Fuel Standard and the overall increase in food prices.” The study was commissioned by the Renewable Fuels Association.  ABF Economics is a consulting firm headquarters in Doylestown Pennsylvania, and it specializes in - - you guessed it - - Agriculture, and Biofuels. 

The aforementioned “detailed analysis” is readily available through the Renewable Fuels Association.  The author of this particular study is John Urbanchuk.

From way out in left field, I offer this bit of intelligence:  “Move over, or slow down for stopped emergency vehicles.”  If you can’t change lanes, then reduce your speed “Substantially”.

A State Police officer quoted me the law on that, and pointed out that violation is not just a traffic violation; it is a misdemeanor. So in addition to a substantial fine, jail time might apply.

Karl Guenther is a retiredKalamazoofarm broadcaster and can be reached atkhguenther@att.net. He is a member of Michigan Farm Bureau and an emeritus member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.