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New Podcasts Offer Agricultural Insights
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The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development recently launched a new podcast series that offers insights into some of the state’s hottest topics in food and agriculture and other issues the department is addressing on behalf of Michiganders.


Source: Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724

New Podcasts Offer Agricultural Insights


The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development recently launched a new podcast series that offers insights into some of the state’s hottest topics in food and agriculture and other issues the department is addressing on behalf of Michiganders.

The first round of podcasts included such topics as bovine tuberculosis, credit card skimmers, migrant labor and the federal H2A program, as well as the first international trade mission to China this year for MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams, which laid the groundwork for an upcoming mission in November that will also include a number of Michigan producers.

“What we really want to offer the public through these podcasts is a unique view of some of the food and agriculture sector’s most pressing issues, and do it in a convenient and entertaining way,” said Clover Adams. “It’s very easy to overlook the breadth of MDARD’s work and the responsibilities we have to protect the public, help Michigan farmers and processors grow and thrive in an international market, and be stewards of our environment so that future generations want to do business in Michigan. These podcasts help tell our story.”

In
the latest podcast, Clover Adams and Craig Anderson, Manager of Agriculture Labor and Safety Services at Michigan Farm Bureau, discuss a rapidly growing demand for skilled trade workers in agriculture. They focus on the incredible array of opportunities in both traditional and new types of skilled trades, including robotics, computers, refrigeration technology, packaging, food safety, entomology, truck driving, soil diagnostics, and much more.

As Clover Adams explains, most people don’t associate food and agriculture with advanced technology, but like most other professions, the landscape is changing. “If you visit many of our food processing plants, they have two or three people just maintaining the equipment,” said Clover Adams. “These are very intense machines that need people to take care of them.”

“We now have, essentially, driverless tractors that we’re using for planting and harvesting activities that we have the ability to control either directly from the field or from a remote site to make sure we have all of the inputs properly placed in that particular field,” added Anderson. “Agriculture has the need for multi-skilled individuals. We have a need not only to be that carpenter, plumber, electrician; you need to be all of those at once—and then a designer on top of that.”

One of the things that makes skilled trade opportunities in the food and agriculture sector so appealing is the diversity of duties. “Being in agriculture, whether you’re on the farm or in the processing plant, you don’t do the same thing every day,” said Clover Adams. “For me, that’s a very fulfilling thing that it requires thinking and logic and problem-solving skills.”

Future podcast topics may include farm to school, the cottage food law, farmers markets, Michigan Apple Crunch, and protecting the environment through agrichemical inspections.

The podcasts are available on iTunes and the MDARD website at http://goo.gl/rlk88B​