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Michigan Bits: Consumers Energy seeks acres for solar plants; BT trait table updated; Pork Producers to meet.

Jennifer Kiel, Editor, Michigan Farmer and Ohio Farmer

May 25, 2022

4 Min Read
State Rep. Julie Alexander presents Bill Mitch with a tribute in recognition of his work
VIDEO SERIES RECOGNIZED: State Rep. Julie Alexander, R-Hanover, presents Bill Mitch, new media manager for House Republicans, with a tribute in recognition of his work on the “Grown in Michigan with Julie Alexander” video series. GIMJA was recognized with a 2022 Communicator Award.Courtesy of Office of Rep. Alexander

Rep. Julie Alexander likes to show off Michigan agriculture. She did just that in her recent “Grown in Michigan with Julie Alexander” video series.

The GIMJA series has gotten her some accolades as the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts awarded her a Communicator Award. The Michigan House Republicans were honored with an Award of Distinction in the Campaign or Series — Web Series category.

Starting in 2019, each of the 15 videos released to date covered a different aspect of Michigan agriculture from maple syrup and lettuce to Christmas trees and sugarbeets.

“Whether raising crops and livestock to put food on our tables, manufacturing biofuel for our cars, or cultivating flowers and other plants for our homes and gardens, our state reaps benefits from local agriculture,” says Alexander, R-Hanover. “As I visit farms and other businesses around the state, I learn so much about products grown in Michigan, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share my visits with people who watch online.”

Alexander especially credited the award to Bill Mitch, who serves as new media manager for House Republicans. Mitch, who lives in the Jackson area, records and edits the GIMJA series, and Alexander presented him with a state tribute to recognize his work.

Consumers Energy seeks acres for solar plants

With solar being the centerpiece of Consumers Energy’s clean energy plan, the company is looking for landowners and communities to identify locations for utility-scale solar power plants.

The goal is to meet Michigan’s energy needs over the next 20 years while protecting the environment by eliminating coal and achieving net zero carbon emissions.

The company says solar can provide a clean, renewable electricity and is planning a massive expansion to add 8,000 megawatts of utility-scale solar energy by 2040, when more than 60% of its electric capacity is slated to come from renewable sources. Consumers Energy is searching for tens of thousands of acres throughout Michigan.

Consumers Energy has already begun adding 1,100 megawatts of solar capacity to come online by 2024. It plans to own 50% of this additional solar capacity and buy the remaining half from solar developers.

Utility-scale solar projects capable of generating about 100 megawatts provide the best value for customers. They also require significant amounts of land — between 5 and 10 acres per megawatt of electricity — that’s flat, open and treeless, with direct access to the sun and proximity to existing transmission infrastructure.

Ideal project sites for solar power plants are about 500 to 900 acres and are often comprised of multiple, neighboring landowners. Potential locations include farm fields — including those less ideal for growing crops — brownfield sites and publicly owned properties.

Participating landowners may sell us their property or create an ongoing revenue source by entering into long-term easement agreements.

Large landowners or community officials who want to learn more about potential for siting can visit consumersenergy.com/misolar to provide basic details about their property and begin a discussion with company solar experts.

Bt trait table updated

To help growers understand which hybrids have which traits (both Bt and herbicide tolerance traits), a Bt Trait Table was updated in March by author Chris DiFonzo, field crops entomologist at Michigan State University. It lists the types of Bt hybrids present in all commercialized corn in the U.S. in a concise two-page format.

The table can help avoid the development of resistance from using the same traits repeatedly (even if changing hybrids), and will be useful during the field season as growers troubleshoot insect injury, or prepare to apply herbicides.

Now in its 20th year, this table has become the standard as an authoritative reference to Bt toxins in corn. See more on the Bt Trait Table site.

Michigan Pork Producers Association meeting set June 15

The Michigan Pork Producers Association and the National Pork Board will hold the election of pork producer delegate candidates for the 2023 National Pork Producers (Pork Act) Delegate Body during the association’s annual meeting at 10:30 a.m. June 15 at the GreenStone Farm Credit Services building, 3515 West Road, East Lansing.

MPPA President Brian Pridgeon, a producer from Montgomery, says, “The duties of the delegate body include nominating members to serve on the National Pork Board, establishing how much of the Pork Checkoff is returned to state organizations, and providing direction on pork promotion, research, and consumer and producer education priorities funded by the Pork Checkoff.”

All Michigan pork producers are invited to attend. Any producer, age 18 or older, who is a resident of the state and has paid all assessments due may be considered as a delegate candidate or participate in the election. All eligible producers are encouraged to bring with them, or provide before the meeting, a sales receipt proving that hogs were sold in their name and the checkoff deducted.

For more information, contact the Michigan Pork Producers Association, 3515 West Road, Suite B, East Lansing, MI 48823, or call 517-853-3782.

The 2023 National Pork Industry Forum will be March 8-10 in Orlando, Fla.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer Kiel

Editor, Michigan Farmer and Ohio Farmer

While Jennifer is not a farmer and did not grow up on a farm, "I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone with more appreciation for the people who grow our food and fiber, live the lifestyles and practice the morals that bind many farm families," she says.

Before taking over as editor of Michigan Farmer in 2003, she served three years as the manager of communications and development for the American Farmland Trust Central Great Lakes Regional Office in Michigan and as director of communications with Michigan Agri-Business Association. Previously, she was the communications manager at Michigan Farm Bureau's state headquarters. She also lists 10 years of experience at six different daily and weekly Michigan newspapers on her impressive resume.

Jennifer lives in St. Johns with her two daughters, Elizabeth, 19, and Emily 16.

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