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Serving: MI

Onion producers vote to continue checkoff

Owen Franken/Getty Images yellow onions
CHECKOFF CONTINUES: Seven Michigan onion producers voted “yes” on a referendum to continue the Michigan Onion Promotion and Development Program, allowing the program to continue until Aug. 31, 2027.
Michigan Bits: Federal funds support wood projects; Senate bill would offer biofuel tax credits.

The Michigan Onion Promotion and Development Program will remain in place for at least the next five years as the state’s onion producers unanimously approved a referendum.

Established in September 1977, the Michigan Onion Promotion and Development Program was developed to improve the economic position of the state’s onion producers by creating greater opportunities for Michigan onions. By law, the program must be renewed every five years.

All seven producers voted yes, representing 347,384 cwt of production (100%), allowing the program to continue until Aug. 31, 2027.

For renewal of the program and its activities, more than 50% of the voting producers, representing more than 50% of the pounds sold by those voting, must have approved it. 

For more information on the Michigan Onion Committee, visit michiganonion.com.

Michigan receives federal funding for wood projects

The USDA Forest Service announced more than $32 million in funding for wood innovation and community wood grants — including three projects in Michigan.

The grants aim to expand the use of wood products, strengthen emerging wood markets, and support active management to improve forest health and resilience.

Michigan’s trio of funded projects through the wood innovation grants program total more than $750,000 and include:

  • $252,638 awarded to Michigan State University for “catalyzing Michigan mass timber manufacture and demand by piloting Michigan-sourced-and-made nail-laminated timber”
  • $247,790 awarded to Michigan Technological University for “increasing acceptance of northern hardwood lumber into cross-laminated timber by repurposing low-grade red maple”
  • $256,856 awarded to Leestma Management of Muskegon for “the mass-timber flagship building at Adelaide Pointe Marina”

“Wood innovation and community wood grants projects like these show us how we can tackle problems like the wildfire crisis and climate change while creating new markets, supporting jobs, building affordable housing and improving conditions on our forests at the same time,” Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

“Removing hazardous trees that would otherwise threaten wildfire-prone communities and having rural, forest-based economies turn those materials into renewable building and energy products stand as examples of how a clean energy economy is within reach.”

In addition to the $32 million from the USDA Forest Service, the wood innovations and community wood grant programs leverage $93 million in partner funds, bringing the total to more than $125 million for 99 projects.

Farm leaders urge Legislature to support homegrown biofuels

Michigan farm and biofuel advocates recently sent a letter to Michigan legislators urging swift action on legislation that would boost access to lower-cost fuel blends produced with renewable energy from Michigan farms. 

Introduced by state Sen. Kevin Daley, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, SB 814 would offer qualifying retailers a tax credit for every gallon sold of higher ethanol blends, including 5 cents per gallon of E15 and 8.5 cents per gallon of E85.

“The legislation would cut fuel costs and open new markets for Michigan farmers, all while reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels,” wrote renewable fuel advocates, noting the latest surge in gasoline costs. “In fact, statewide E15 — which typically saves drivers 10 cents or more per gallon — would drive dependable new demand for more than 78 million bushels of grain annually for Michigan farmers. It also would slash Michigan's greenhouse emissions by 580,000 metric tons."

Signers of the letter include leaders of the Michigan Farmers Union, Michigan Corn Growers Association, Michigan Agri-Business Association, Clean Fuels Michigan and other key voices in the farm community.

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