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The challenges keep coming for Michigan farmers.

When Brewery Vivant opened its doors a year and a half ago, the company expected it would need to expand its brewing operation sometime around its fifth anniversary.

Dan Slate and Scott Hunt know a good business opportunity when they see it. In their case, the growing Michigan craft brewing industry needed help that they along with some key partners could offer.

Ottawa Co. studies ag incubator

Written by | Sunday, 05 August 2012 18:04 |

One West Michigan county plans to study whether it can feasibly tap into its historical roots in agriculture to create a new business incubator aimed at creating a sustainable economic future.

With the 16-year-old Arcadia Brewing Co. running out of capacity its longstanding downtown Battle Creek location, Tim Suprise went looking for a new location. He shopped around all of West Michigan before settling on downtown Kalamazoo. 

MSU Extension pushes research to the people

Written by | Friday, 06 July 2012 15:50 |

LANSING — As one of the oldest agricultural extension programs in the country, Michigan State University Extension continues to serve the state's farmers and agribusiness communities despite dealing with serious funding cuts over the past four years. 

The Michigan State University Extension serves as the cooperative extension service for Michigan and is affiliated with Michigan State University. In essence, it serves to make available MSU's agriculture research to agribusinesses and communities across the state.

WALKER — An employee's years of experience with the food processing industry proved invaluable for a startup sheet metal shop in developing innovations to help save customers time and money and keep them in compliance with stricter food safety regulations.

Jim Monaweck, project manager for Walker Custom Sheet Metal LLC, knows the food business. He grew up on a farm and spent years in the fabrication business creating machines and other custom products for the food processing industry. 

HUDSONVILLE — While news of $300 million worth of destroyed crops certainly merits attention, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Keith Creagh said he believes it's important for the state to keep its eye on agriculture's role in the future of the state's economy.

Creagh, who spoke at "MiFood 2012: Michigan Food Processing and Agribusiness Summit" on May 23 at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville, told a crowd of food processors that Gov. Rick Snyder is committed to helping the state's food and agriculture industry to grow from $71 billion to $100 billion.

KALAMAZOO — Historically, food-based entrepreneurs faced many discouraging regulatory and cost hurdles in Michigan, but all that changed with the passage of the state's Cottage Food Law in 2010.

Businesses partners Kelli Eaton and Sara Main, best friends since they attended Sturgis High School, are two local entrepreneurs taking advantage of the changes to start their own small business, Fizzy Bread & Dips Co., all while maintaining full-time employment elsewhere.

Broadband key to farmers’ competitiveness

Written by | Tuesday, 22 May 2012 12:24 |

West Michigan farmers without access to the high-speed broadband grid are at a disadvantage when they have to compete with farmers who are connected to the best Internet technology.

"If Michigan agriculture is going to advance like our counterparts in the state's urban communities, we have to have the infrastructure to do it," said Matt Smego, legislative counsel for Michigan Farm Bureau. "Our farmers are competing in a global marketplace. We need this (high-speed broadband access) to be competitive from production to marketing."

Revamping the Michigan brand

Written by | Friday, 11 May 2012 14:06 |

WEST MICHIGAN — When it comes to what Michigan represents as a place to do business, experts and business leaders agree that the state could use a makeover.

WEST MICHIGAN — West Michigan asparagus and fruit growers are seeing the ugly side of the unusually warm, sunny weather that seemed to skip a season this year.

Farmland prices rise as fears of bubble abate

Written by | Monday, 09 April 2012 09:19 |

Farmland could very well have strong investment potential if the upward trends seen in land prices continue.

GR Brewing Co. plans revived

Written by | Wednesday, 28 March 2012 12:14 |

A new project aims to revive a classic name from Grand Rapids’ brewing history and fill a major corner in the downtown entertainment district

The Bank of Holland targets farmers

Written by | Wednesday, 21 March 2012 12:46 |

 The Bank of Holland Senior Vice President Jim Bishop believes agriculture is going to play a major role in Michigan’s economic comeback story “and we want to be a part of that.”

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