On Thursday, the Agriculture Department confirmed an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a non-commercial backyard flock in southwestern Michigan, the seventh state with the viral disease in a domestic flock in a little over two weeks.
The Biden administration boosted SNAP benefits by $36 per person per month in October in a move expected to help millions of Americans avoid hunger. “This increase helped close the gap between SNAP benefits and meal costs, but it did not close it for everyone,” says the Urban Institute. …
Under a law signed on Thursday, Michigan will become the largest egg-producing state to require farmers to switch to cage-free egg production. The Humane Society of the United States said the decision “shows just how rapidly American views on the treatment of farm animals are evolving.”
In the latest court ruling in a 20-year tussle over gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, the U.S. Appeals Court for the DC Circuit put the predator back on the endangered species list, says MLive Media Group. The Interior Department delisted the Great Lakes wolves in 2011, saying the wolf population had recovered enough that federal protection was no longer needed and states could take over management of the animals.
Lena Epstein, co-chair of the Trump presidential campaign in Michigan last fall, says she will run against third-term Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the senior Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee. The 2018 race is rated as "likely Democratic" at present by political tipsheet Sabato's Crystal Ball.
Environmental groups in Michigan and Ohio filed suit against the EPA, seeking a court order for the agency to decide whether water quality in western Lake Erie is impaired. The designation would lead to pollution regulations aimed at preventing algae blooms, which can be toxic, said the Associated Press.
Urban agriculture, a comparative newcomer to the American food system, would gain wider access to loans and farming advice from USDA experts under a bill announced by Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the lead Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee. The legislation is an early, if not the first, entry for inclusion in the 2018 farm bill.
Cities are creating jobs faster than rural areas with a 13.3 percent growth rate in the past year, compared to 4.8 percent in rural counties, says a Daily Yonder analysis of Labor Department statistics. "Unemployment remains a bigger problem in rural counties than metro areas," says the Yonder, which tried to gauge local conditions in battleground states.
The USDA will invest $41 million over three years to clean up the Western Lake Erie Basin, which supplies water to farmers in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week.
A poll of Michigan residents suggests there would be high public support for government assistance to help farmers adapt to climate change, according to three researchers from Michigan State U.
The Swede midge, an insect that damages cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and other crucifers, was found in five organic production fields in Sanilac County on the "thumb" of Michigan's lower peninsula - the first discovery of the plant pest in Michigan, said the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In a Bloomberg interview, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the government may spend more than half a billion dollars to fight the avian-influenza epidemic and to compensate poultry producers for their flocks.
Michigan Rep. Dave Benishek, a House Agriculture Committee member who had a fairly easy path to winning his third term in 2014, already has a challenger for 2016 - Lon Johnson, the chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party.
Only a fraction of the corn and soybean crops are still in the field, says the weekly Crop Progress report. It says 89 percent of corn and 94 percent of soybeans have been harvested.
Michigan Republican Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he will retire at the end of this term.