Clinton County supporting food and agriculture 2017

Clinton County has the 8th highest value of agricultural products in the state. MSU Extension provides research-based knowledge to address the needs of producers to help manage production and reduce risks in order to enhance profitability.

Clinton County—A Strong Agricultural Producer

Michigan agriculture continues to be a growing sector of the state’s economy. Although Michigan may be best known for its specialty fruit, vegetable, and floriculture industries, field crops comprise the largest cropping sector in Michigan in terms of acreage, farms, farmers, and income. Field crops grown in Michigan include soybeans, corn, alfalfa/ hay, wheat and small grains, as well as important specialty row crops like sugar beets and dry beans. Michigan’s diverse livestock industry is also a significant component of the state’s agricultural industry. The economic impact of livestock and dairy products accounts for 37% of the total economic impact of Michigan’s agricultural products.

The 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, the most recent report available, stated that the market value of agricultural products sold from Clinton County was $262,630,000. This means that Clinton has the 8th highest value of agricultural products in the state. Of this number, $122,553,000 is the value of crops (20th highest in the state), and $140,077,000 is the value of livestock, poultry and their products (7th highest in the state).

For individual crop or livestock categories, Clinton is:

  • #2 in value of milk from cows
  • #3 in number of cattle and calves
  • #4 in value of sales of cattle and calves
  • #7 in value of other crops and hay
  • #8 in number of acres of wheat for grain (winter and all)
  • #11 in number of sheep and lambs
  • #12 in number of acres of soybeans for beans
  • #13 in number of acres of grains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas

The MSU Extension Field Crops Team provides research-based knowledge to address the needs of field crop producers including strategies for managing production risks and advancement of efficient farming practices that enhance profitability while protecting soil and water resources. Participants learn how to optimize and reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers, and how to conserve and protect water resources. This education leads to better use of time, money and human capital, and helps retain and create agricultural jobs.

Partnership with Clinton County Conservation District

In 2017, MSU Extension educators Paul Gross and Marilyn Thelen demonstrated the rainfall simulator at the Clinton County Conservation District’s tour for 2nd -6 th graders. It was a fun event helping kids understand soil and water.

Thelen and Gross also presented at the Clinton County Soil Conservation District fall field day in Laingsburg. Thelen set up the rain simulator and did demonstrations for the participants. While Gross had a separate station talking about cover crops and soil health. There was a demonstration plot planted that served as a site for the program.

Another example of our partnership with the Conversation District was an opportunity to present the “Cover Your A$$ets” workshop focusing on managing risk with tips for soil, nutrient and water management. This workshop also provided information and updates on topics such as drainage water management, cover crops and production management, soil health and managing in extreme weather, local crop management project updates and offered participants MAEAP Phase 1 credits.


Enviroweather Weather Data and Pest Modeling aims to help users make pest, plant production and natural resource management decisions in Michigan by providing a sustainable weather-based information system. This online resource provides ‘local’ weather information and weather-based tools. There are currently 78 weather stations throughout Michigan (each yellow dot on the map).

An Enviroweather station is located in Gratiot County near Ithaca. Each station provides readings every 30 minutes on air temperature, soil temperature, soil moisture, relative humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction, precipitation, leaf wetness. There are different components of Enviroweather that deal specifically with field crops, fruit, vegetables, trees, turfgrass, and landscape/nursery.

Weather influences crop and pest development and management decisions. For example, wind speed and direction for drift management, temperature to prevent phytotoxicity that may result from applications on hot days, insect and pathogen development are all influenced by weather.

Model predictions allow growers to prepare to take management action if necessary. Enviroweather tools are intended to assist, not dictate, management decisions. The decision to take management action should be influenced by several factors including: a history of problematic pests, the current season pest pressure, susceptible crops, and past and predicted weather events.

Enviroweather is a collaborative project of: Michigan Climatological Resources Program & the MSU Integrated Pest Management Program. It is supported by: Project GREEEN, MSU AgBio Research, MSU Extension, private donors, and the MSU departments of Crop and Soil Sciences, Entomology, Forestry, Geography, Horticulture, and Plant Pathology.

2017 Breakfast on the Farm draws strong interest from Clinton County residents

The first ever Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF), a Michigan State University Extension program, was held in Clinton County in 2009. BOTF educates consumers about modern agriculture. Since 2009, more than 80,000 visitors and volunteers have experienced life on a modern farm. Events have been held on dairy, beef, apple, potato and field crop farms in 27 different counties since 2009. On August 19, 2017, the De Saegher Family Dairy in Middleton, was one of two Michigan farms selected to host this event in 2017. De Saegher Dairy is a family farm, owned and operated by the De Saegher family, who moved to Michigan from Belgium in 1999. When they first moved to the U.S., they milked 35 cows. Now they own four large dairy farms in Michigan and milk 13,000 cows, including 3,400 cows in Elsie. The event attracted 2,490 visitors.

“We really want to show consumers how milk is produced on a modern dairy farm and answer all of their questions,” said Lotte De Saegher. “It’s important to us that we showcase our standard of excellence in caring for our animals, the environment and in producing a safe and nutritious product.”

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