agriculture

(MPRN-Lansing) Governor Rick Snyder and state environmental officials have declared western Lake Erie is an “impaired” waterway that needs to be cleaned up. 

An Old Spot pig at the Virtue Cider farm in Fennville
Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

A Southwest Michigan cider maker will use pigs to help combat pests in its orchard. Virtue Cider in Fennville bought 18 Glouchestershire Old Spot pigs - also called “orchard pigs.” They’re known for eating bug-ridden apples that fall on the ground. 


Robbie Feinberg/WMUK

Michigan’s new minimum wage law that passed in 2014 has left a lot of workers with more money in their pockets. It boosted the state minimum wage from $7.40 per hour up to the current rate of $8.50. By 2018, it’ll be up to $9.25. But the legislation also wiped away the amendments and rules that went along with the state’s old minimum wage law. Because of that, labor advocates are worried that a segment of Michigan’s farmworkers are now exempt from minimum wage laws. 


Farmer Arturo Pendoja talking with Kyle Mead, ground water technician with the Van Buren Conservation District
Robbie Feinberg, WMUK

This week, we’ve been looking at the changing lives of Hispanic workers in Michigan’s fields. Many are leaving the fields entirely. But others are stepping into a new agricultural role: farm owner. From 2007 to 2012, the number of Hispanic farmers in Michigan has increased by nearly 10 percent. For years, they've faced discrimination and cultural barriers. But now, one man in Southwest Michigan is trying to bring them together.


Robbie Feinberg/WMUK

Over the past few summers, Michigan farmers have run into a problem. The Hispanic workers they rely on to pick and harvest their crops seem to be disappearing. The shortage has forced farmers to search out out-of-the-box solutions, including a federal visa program for temporary agricultural workers. But neither farmers nor migrant advocates are very happy about the change.


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