Serving Upper Peninsula agriculture and communities

In the last five years, the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center in Chatham, Michigan, has reconfigured its mission to serve the needs of Upper Peninsula farmers and communities through place-based research, education and outreach programs.

October 1, 2018

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Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a challenging environment for agriculture. In addition to commonplace challenges like pests and disease, farmers must also contend with shorter growing seasons, marginal soil health and extreme winter weather. In addition, many communities in the Upper Peninsula face shortages of locally produced fresh food.

In the last five years, the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center in Chatham, Michigan, has reconfigured its mission to serve the needs of Upper Peninsula farmers and communities through place-based research, education and outreach programs. This includes studying season-extension technologies, cover crops, grass-finished beef and the coordination of crop variety trials throughout the peninsula. The Apprentice Farmer Program provides new farmers with practical, hands-on experience managing every aspect of an Upper Peninsula farm operation and aims to serve as the launching point for agriculture entrepreneurs in the region.

  • Six farms have participated in the Apprentice Farmer Program, and the center has provided opportunities for 250 students to visit and learn about composting, season extension, seed saving and transplant production.
  • Via follow-up survey, 100 percent of participants in UPREC training workshops reported improved knowledge, skills and expertise, with 47 percent also reporting plans to expand their farm or garden operations.
  • UPREC researchers and staff presented findings and information to over 4,150 attendees across various conferences.

Tags: agriculture: plants & animals

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