MSU Extension shows off farm research

Both farmers and those curious about Upper Peninsula agriculture will have a chance to see some of the latest scientific research in Chatham this weekend.

The Michigan State University U.P. Research and Extension Center is hosting a field day on Saturday to show off some of the research that they’re exploring, thanks in part to a $100,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“Even at an extreme northern latitude like we are here in Chatham, we have a lot of things that grow well, and you can see some of those crops behind me, and so, (the) Department of Ag. really just wanted to test not only what crops, but what varieties grow well so that farmers have more selection when it comes to picking different crops to grow on their farms,” center coordinator Ashley McFarland said.

Visitors to the farm will take a hay ride out to the research plots, which include varieties of crops such as malting barley, an important ingredient for the burgeoning brewing industry. MSU researchers will be at the site to discuss the studies they’re conducting. While the event is geared toward farmers, it’s open to the public and visitors of all ages are welcome.

“Even if you’re not a farmer, just interested in what Michigan State University is doing up here in terms of agricultural research, I think it’s a great opportunity to come out and check out the farm,” McFarland added. “It really is a gorgeous site, and we just want to get a lot more people out here to check out what we’re doing, and to support Michigan State’s efforts to support the agricultural industry.”

The field day runs from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Saturday. Visitors will also be treated to free ice cream sundaes courtesy of the DeBacker Family Dairy.