For Friday, Aug. 5, 2022
1 – The Nature Conservancy says results of a “Soil Your Undies” campaign point to the benefits of healthy soil practices.
The results were ‘revealed’ last month (July) during a Saginaw Watershed Farmer Network Field Day in Reese.
For the challenge, pairs of bright white cotton underwear were buried in several fields. Each of the fields were managed differently, from no-till farming and cover crops to conventional till farming.
The undies were unearthed after 40 days under the soil. Some were mostly intact. Others just had a waistband and a few threads remaining.
A conservancy program director says the condition of the buried undies demonstrate that farmers who implement healthy soil practices have more biological activity in their soils.
Beside being able to break down cotton fabrics, these practices help protect drinking water, make fields more resilient to the effects of extreme weather events and grow high-quality crops.
Healthy soil practices include reduced tillage, planting cover crops and nutrient management.
2 – State fish production and research also received a “fin up” in the new state budget.
The 2023 fiscal year budget includes $30 million for fish hatchery improvements and $4 million to replace an outdated Great Lakes survey vessel.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources operates six fish hatcheries to produce fish for stocking lakes and streams across Michigan.
Oden State Fish Hatchery is the newest facility, with the others ranging from 40 to more than 50 years old.
The DNR will use the $30 million for upgrades to infrastructure including water supplies, aeration systems and backup generators, and to provide biosecurity enhancements that better protect fish health.
The remaining $4 million will be used to replace a survey vessel called the Steelhead, which has been operating for 54 years.