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Michigan Bits: Forestry management workshop set; dairy industry and corn growers name leaders.

February 22, 2024

3 Min Read
United States capitol building
LEADERSHIP GROUP: The Michigan Agribusiness Leadership Group recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with government leaders and other trade groups.lillisphotography/Getty Images

The Michigan Agribusiness Leadership Group was recently in Washington, D.C., meeting with allied trade groups, as well as the Michigan delegation, and officials from USDA and the White House.

A few of the topics discussed included the need for a new, bipartisan farm bill; the importance of crop protection products and innovative ag technology; the need for a wage rate freeze to help Michigan’s fruit and vegetable growers; and the importance of continued cross-border trade.

MSU to host workshop on managing forests

Michigan State University Extension is hosting a daylong workshop that will provide the latest information on forest insects and diseases affecting Michigan forests. Much of the focus will be on new invasive pests, including current distribution, what these species can do to trees and options for management.

Opportunities for landowners, resource practitioners and forest enthusiasts to help monitor these threats through the Eyes on the Forest program will also be presented.

This event will be from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 27 in MSU’s Natural Resources Building, as part of the 2024 Agriculture and Natural Resources Week. The cost is $35 per person, which includes all materials, refreshments and lunch.

International Society of Arboriculture, Society of American Foresters, and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development pesticide applicator continuing education credits are available. Online registration is open.

Gerharter named United Dairy Industry CEO

Melissa Gerharter has been named CEO of the United Dairy Industry of Michigan. A registered dietitian, Gerharter joined UDIM eight years ago, serving on the sports nutrition marketing team and health and wellness team before becoming chief operating officer and interim CEO. 

“I deeply believe in the value of dairy and love UDIM’s commitment to sharing dairy’s vital role in healthy diets with consumers,” Gerharter says. “As I’ve learned about the passion and dedication Michigan dairy farmers have for their farms, animals, families and communities, I’ve become hooked on helping tell the story of dairy on their behalf.”

Gerharter is focused on supporting UDIM’s team to build consumer trust in dairy foods while fostering cooperation across the checkoff federation to maximize dollars and elevate team efforts. 

Gerharter and her husband, Jake, have three children and live in southeastern Michigan.

New leadership elected at corn growers meeting

While at the Great Lakes Crop Summit in Mount Pleasant, the Michigan Corn Growers Association held its 2024 annual meeting and welcomed its new board of directors, which includes Jay Parr (Brown City), who was reelected to represent District 3; Cade Klein (Marcellus), who was reelected to represent District 6; John Delmotte (Dundee), who was reelected to represent District 8, and Morgan Beattie (Marshall), who was elected as an at-large member of the board.

The MCGA board also honored outgoing board member Russell Braun (Ovid) for his years of service and dedication to the organization, as well as presenting two awards recognizing individuals for their service and leadership.

Scott DeVuyst (Vassar) received the Friend of Corn Award, which honors individuals who have shown great support, leadership and dedication to the corn industry. Scott Lonier (Grand Ledge) received the Distinguished Service Award, which is presented to people in the corn industry who have exhibited exemplary leadership and service to their industry.

Ionia County watershed targeted for initiative

USDA is accepting applications from farmers in the Lake Creek Watershed in Ionia County for conservation financial assistance through the National Water Quality Initiative. Farmers must apply to the Natural Resources Conservation Service by March 8 to be considered for funding.

NRCS will provide financial assistance to selected applicants for implementing conservation practices that benefit water quality such as cover crops, nutrient management, filter strips, animal waste storage facilities and conservation tillage.

Producers can view an online map or contact their local NRCS office to see if they are in the selected watershed. Applications are selected for funding on a competitive basis.

Producers can contact the Ionia County USDA service center for more information, including how to apply and if their operation is eligible for the National Water Quality Initiative. Producers can also apply online using the farmers.gov portal.

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