MACD News Blog

State Confirms Bovine TB in Alpena County Dairy Herd

Thursday, January 03, 2013

The State Announced today that Bovine TB has been confirmed in an Alpena County Dairy Herd.  In order to inform the local community a producer meeting will be held on Thursday January 10, 2013 at 7:00pm.

State Press Release:

State Confirms Bovine TB in Alpena County Dairy Herd 

Producer meeting will be held on January 10, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.

LANSING - Routine bovine Tuberculosis (TB) surveillance testing conducted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently confirmed a medium size dairy herd as bovine TB positive in Alpena County.  Bovine TB is an infectious bacterial disease that affects cattle and white-tailed deer in Michigan’s northeastern Lower Peninsula.  

A public information meeting will be held on January 10, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. at Wilson Township Hall, 3746 King Settlement Road, Herron, MI  49744.

Since the bovine TB eradication effort began, all of Michigan's 14,000 cattle farms have undergone TB testing. Since 1998, MDARD and USDA have detected and 55 TB positive cattle herds and four privately owned cervid operations in the northern section of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

To receive information regarding disease outbreaks, or regulatory changes that impact your livestock, please join our Animal Health Listserv by visiting

Michigan Conservation Districts Celebrate 20 Years of Wetlands Reserve Program

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Michigan Conservation Districts, local partners with the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Services, celebrate the 20 year milestone of the USDA-Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). 

The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is administered by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).  In Michigan, NRCS works closely at the local level with Michigan Conservation Districts to provide landowners and managers with information, skilled technical assistance and financial assistance to allow for the better management of Michigan’s natural resources.

WRP is a federal program, made possible through the Farm Bill.  WRP has proven to be a successful restoration and protection tool, restoring 2.6 million acres of wetlands habitat across the United States and over 41,000 acres in Michigan. 

“WRP is an outstanding opportunity, providing technical and financial assistance to help private landowners to voluntarily restore and protect wetlands,” said Lori Phalen, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts.  “This program is a powerful tool in our toolbox and has been used successfully to protect vital wetland resources in Michigan.”

The program provides restoration and protection opportunities, through either a permanent or limited time frame easement, with the landowner retaining ownership of the land once the easement is in place.  In the 20-year history of WRP, more than 11,000 landowners across the nation have participated.

Lands eligible for WRP include prior converted cropland, pasture or forest productions lands where the hydrology has been altered, riparian areas that link protected wetlands, certain lands that have the potential to become a wetland as a result of flooding, and lands adjacent to protected wetlands that would contribute significantly to wetland function and values.

“I encourage those interested in learning more about WRP and the benefits of wetland restoration and protection to contact their local Conservation District and NRCS office,” said Phalen.  “Restoring a wetland is definitely worth exploring and the end result is, well an amazing thing to see.”

To learn more about the opportunities available through the Wetland Reserve Program, contact your local Conservation District and USDA-NRCS office.  

For further information on the Wetland Reserve Program, check out the following links:

Farm Bill Needed As Part Of Fiscal Cliff Package

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts encourages Michigan’s congressional delegation push forward on the 2012 Farm Bill as part of a fiscal cliff package.

“The Farm Bill is not only a significant piece of legislation for Michigan’s farmers it is significant piece of legislation for all Americans,” said Art Pelon. “Just in savings alone, with the Senate-passed version targeting $23 billion and the House version targeting $35 billion in savings when compared to the outlays in the 2008 Farm Bill, this legislation makes a great deal of sense to include as part of a fiscal cliff package.”

"For Michigan, the Farm Bill provides a long-term framework for agricultural producers, allowing them to manage their land and resources. The conservation programs within the bill are critical for the implementation of conservation measures that address existing resource concerns, including soil and wind erosion, and water quality concerns.  These programs are delivered by the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service and through Michigan Conservation Districts, and provide greatly needed assistance to Michigan’s agricultural producers from the large growers to beginning and limited resource farmers," added Pelon.

The 2008 Farm Bill, provided greatly needed help this year, assisting those in Michigan affected by natural disasters, such as the wide-spread frosts that devastated Michigan’s fruit crops, followed by the severe summer drought that greatly impacted agriculture as a whole.  

“The agricultural industry in Michigan is an economic driver in this state,” said Pelon.  “Having a Farm Bill is critical for Michigan’s agricultural producers as well as the natural resources that we all depend on.  The absence of a long-term bill will bring serious repercussions and I encourage Michigan's congressional delegation to do their part in pushing forward this bill.”

Michigan Conservation Districts Encourage Farmers and Landowners to Apply for Conservation Assistance

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts reminds farmers and non-industrial forest landowners who are interested in conservation financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to submit their applications by January 17, 2013.  The Environmental Quality Incentives Program is made available through the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the federal partner of Michigan Conservation Districts.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides funding for conservation improvements, including cover crops, nutrient management, pest management, prescribed grazing, installation of windbreaks, forest stand management, and many other practices.

“NRCS has announced the deadline of January 17 for the first selection of applications for fiscal year 2013.  For those farmers and landowners who have worked with Conservation District and NRCS staff to develop a conservation plan and are ready to move forward with implementation in 2013, I encourage you to contact your local USDA Service Center to begin the application process,” said Art Pelon, President of MACD.   “Michigan Conservation Districts work closely with the NRCS to provide quality service and assistance to farmers and landowners and EQIP has greatly assisted in getting good conservation out on the land in Michigan.”

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and non-industrial forestland owners, including organic producers, beginning farmers and historically underserved producers. Funding is available for the adoption of a wide variety of conservation practices with financial assistance available for those practices that are a part of an agricultural or forest operation’s conservation plan.  

Producers are encouraged to contact their local NRCS or Conservation District staff to learn more about the program and to develop a conservation plan before applying for the program.  Successful applicants enter into a contract with NRCS to implement conservation activities and are reimbursed for a portion of the cost.  NRCS provides higher levels of financial assistance for beginning farmers and historically underserved producers.

More information about conservation financial assistance available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program is available at local Conservation District and NRCS offices and on the MACD website Farm Bill page, and at