Dairy farmers in Michigan look toward a competitive future
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan State University is planning to make some big changes to its greenhouses and Cattle Research Center, which are both more than 40 years old. The state of Michigan is giving the university over $53 million to help renovate the buildings. This is all part of the 2023 budget Governor Whitmer signed into law.
Dairy is the leading contributor to the agricultural economy in Michigan, and experts told News 10 that this investment for MSU will benefit farms across the state.
“The more milk we produce and the more we meet that demand, actually, it lessens the cost to the producer. The more efficient we are, the cheaper we can deliver a high quality product to our consumers,” said Doug Chapin, dairy farmer and Chairman of the Board for Michigan Milk Producers.
Chapin also runs a farm with about 700 Holstein cows in Mecosta County. Chapin said dairy farmers across the state are struggling -- they’re paid for the milk they produce but, production has been low, that means profits are low too.
“But our farm could definitely benefit by having the right support staff to work with and that is both nutrition, veterinary, animal health and animal care. All of those specifics that the university will help train for us to have those specialists,” said Chapin.
Chapin said the updates to the university’s dairy facility will help farmers across Michigan work with changes in feed or environmental regulations. The MSU Dairy Farm told News 10 that the big focus is helping dairy products become more competitive in new areas. One example, anaerobic digestion which converts manure into methane, or electricity.
“Development of technologies that will allow dairy producers to pull nutrients out of manure. Those nutrients that are analogous to commercial fertilizers,” said George Smith, Director of MSU AgBioResearch and Senior Associate Dean for Research.
Smith said the MSU Dairy Farm was built in the 1960s and right now, there isn’t enough space, cattle, or research being done to support the dairy production in Michigan. Smith said the state funding will change that.
MSU Diary Farm herd consists of 200 Holstein cows ranging from ages 2 to 12. Their milk is sold through the Michigan Milk Producers Association.
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