Moving farming into the future

Schoedel's Summit View Farm in Manistee is a MAEAP certified farm. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

Schoedel’s Summit View Farm in Manistee is a MAEAP certified farm. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

Agriculture Field Day aims to share practices, information

MANISTEE — All types of farmers from around the area gathered on Saturday to learn more about practices of the trade.

Michigan State University Extension, Manistee Conservation District, Benzie Conservation District, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Benzie-Manistee Farm Bureau hosted the annual Agriculture Field Day at Schoedel’s Summit View Farm in Manistee.

Charlie Schoedel talks about some of the steps the farm had to go through to become Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program certified. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

Charlie Schoedel talks about some of the steps the farm had to go through to become Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program certified. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

Fruit and vegetable growers, those who raise livestock, organic farmers and conventional ones — 50 in all from Manistee and Benzie counties participated in the event.

“We are doing a field day to show farmers different types of cover crops and things that we have done to become MAEAP certified, which is Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program,” said Katie Schoedel, who co-owns the farm with her husband Charlie and is president of Benzie-Manistee Farm Bureau.

Morning sessions took participants on tours of the farm’s different fields, showing them the variety of cover crops and the ways they are applied.

During a discussion in one of the pastures, a participant asked Charlie Schoedel how many days recovery a pasture gets before the cows go back to it.

“If everything is working, we’ve got seven pastures, that get seven weeks,” Charlie Schoedel said. “In the spring, you know they can’t eat it fast enough. If we feel a pasture is too far behind, we’ll dry feed for a week or two in the summer to let them catch back up.”

Discussions were also had on pesticides, nutrient management, crop rotation and more.

“We have speakers, seed reps, that came today to share what things can be planted, what it does to the soil, how it improves

Jerry Lindquist, forage educator for Michigan State University Extension, talks about radishes on Saturday at Schoedel's Summit View Farm. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

Jerry Lindquist, forage educator for Michigan State University Extension, talks about radishes on Saturday at Schoedel’s Summit View Farm. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

the health of the soil,” said Schoedel. “This afternoon we also have Tom Doyle coming to talk about estate planning and succession, so that way you can plan to move your farm on to the next generation, if not in the family then someone else. That way farming can move forward into the future.”

Schoedel said that Farm Bureau worked with other groups like the Michigan State University Extension and the Natural Resource Conservation Service on the event to bring in attendees outside of their membership.

“We’re trying to get farmers to move into the future; to work with the best practices available — some are new, some are old and to share, because there is some cost sharing for some different things,” she said.

“We want to see agricultural move forward because there’s less and less farms out there. We need to be very conservative and do the best we can do with what we have out there because we have to feed more people off less land.”

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Posted by Michelle Graves

Michelle is the managing editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3106 or mgraves@pioneergroup.com.

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