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Serving: MI

Michigan to share soybean research results

gracieross/Getty Images silhouette of soybeans against sunset
SOY RESEARCH: Soybean meetings reveal how on-farm management practices and products affect soybean yields.
Michigan Bits: Bell’s Brewery sold; USDA to survey growers; AgBioResearch leader named.

Learn what new knowledge was gleaned from the latest Michigan on-farm soybean research projects during three upcoming meetings, which will start 9 a.m. and end with a complimentary lunch.

The meetings locations are as follows:

Jan. 19. Wagon Wheel American Grill, 7888 E. Grand River Ave., Portland

Jan. 20. GreenMark Equipment, 16700 Heimbach Road, Three Rivers

Jan. 21. AgroLiquid, 3055 M-21, St. Johns

Participants will learn how various management practices and products affected soybean yields and income, courtesy of the Michigan Soybean Checkoff program. Kurt Steinke, MSU Extension soil fertility specialist, will present his latest soil fertility research and nutrient management recommendations for soybeans in 2022.

Time has been allocated for input, questions and open discussion regarding the information presented at the program and future Michigan soybean on-farm research projects. This program has been approved for one pesticide applicator recertification credit.

Registration is requested to ensure an accurate count for lunch and materials. Call the Michigan Soybean Committee office in St. Johns at 877-769-6424, or register online at

Bell’s Brewery sold to Australian-based brewer

Bell’s Brewery founder Larry Bell has reached an agreement with Lion, an Australian-based brewer, for the sale of Bell’s. Lion acquired Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing in 2019. The move will see the Michigan-based craft brewer come together with New Belgium.

Bell, who founded Bell’s in 1985 and brewed its first beers in a 15-gallon soup kettle, also announced his retirement from the company

“This decision ultimately came down to two determining factors,” Bell said. “First, the folks at New Belgium share our ironclad commitment to the craft of brewing and the community-first way we’ve built our business. Second, this was the right time. I’ve been doing this for more than 36 years and recently battled some serious health issues. I want everyone who loves this company like I do to know we have found a partner that truly values our incredible beer, our culture and the importance of our roots here in Michigan.”

USDA to survey farmers on financial well-being

More than 750 Michigan farmers and more than 30,000 producers nationwide will be tapped between now and April to answer a survey conducted by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The survey seeks to gather information about farm economics and production practices, as the agency conducts the third and final phase of the 2021 Agricultural Resource Management Survey. ARMS is the only survey that measures the financial well-being of Michigan producers and their households as a whole. The results of this survey will help inform decisions on local and federal policies and programs that affect Michigan farms and farm families.

The survey asks producers to provide in-depth information about their operating revenues, production costs and household characteristics. This year, the survey includes questions to help measure the effect of COVID-19 on farms, farm and household finances, and off-farm employment.

NASS has strong safeguards in place to protect the confidentiality of all farmers who respond to its surveys. The agency will only publish data in an aggregate form, ensuring the confidentiality of all responses and that no individual respondent or operation can be identified.

The expense data gathered in ARMS will be published in the annual Farm Production Expenditures report on July 29. That report and others are available at

Smith to lead MSU AgBioResearch

George Smith has been named the director of MSU AgBioResearch and senior associate dean for research for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Smith will have numerous responsibilities, including strategic direction and administrative oversight of MSU-ABR operations, budget and personnel.

He replaces Doug Buhler, who moved to a full-time role with the MSU Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. Smith has served as associate director of MSU-ABR since January 2015, and as the associate dean of research for CANR since January 2016.

Smith has been instrumental in the development of the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture (M-AAA) in partnership with animal agriculture, allied industries and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

M-AAA provides funding for applied research and Extension projects directly tied to immediate priorities of animal agriculture in Michigan. Smith’s leadership has resulted in the procurement of $11.3 million in state funding for the program (in collaboration with industry partners) since 2017.

FFA Crop Management Challenge winners named

To develop a deeper understanding of production agriculture, FFA students from across Michigan were tasked with deciding tillage practices, designing nutrient practices and promoting projects on social media as part of the FFA Crop Management Challenge.  

Participants also were judged on their public speaking skills while presenting their management decisions to judges. Teams are judged on their crop's yield, profits, their presentation and a final report.

Some of the in-person activities included field days that were held at the North Central Research Station. Students competing in the contest had the opportunity to hear presentations and complete hands-on learning tasks with industry experts. Topics included planter components, crop growth stages, yield checks and pest management.

The top three teams for the soybean management contest were: first place, Lapeer; second place, Ovid-Elsie; and third place, Ionia.

The top three teams in the corn management contest were: first place, Ithaca; second place, Coleman; and third place, Chesaning.

The winning teams will be recognized at the 2022 Michigan FFA State Convention. First place teams will also receive a traveling trophy.





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