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BENTON HARBOR, MI -- Recent volatile weather has stirred interest in the impact of climate change.  How might short- and long-term changes in the climate affect our ability to grow juice and wine grapes in Michigan?  What can we expect in our area?

We will attempt to answer this question on April 18 at the annual Southwest Grape Growers’ Kick-off.  Our featured guest will be Jeff Andresen, Climatologist and MSU Professor of Geography.

The short answer, for those who can’t attend: the current expectation is for warmer nighttime and wintertime temperatures and more severe rain events.  It’s also expected that we’ll continue to see more year-to-year volatility, which may result in more frequent frosts and droughts.  Dr. Andresen will give us a more detailed view of the changes in our climate that have happened so far, and what we might be able to expect in the short-term and the medium-term going forward.  He will speculate on what that could mean for grape production in Michigan.

The April 18 educational program will also include updates from Faculty Specialists on changes in insecticide and herbicide registrations. We’ll also hear an update on the progress of the Northern Grape Project, a multi-state research initiative now headed by MSU’s Paolo Sabbatini.

The meeting starts at 2:30pm at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center, 1791 Hillandale Rd., Benton Harbor, MI. We will be having dinner after the educational program, at 5 p.m.  Two RUP Recertification Credits have been requested.

Registration is $15 if received by April 11, or $20 at the door.  Those on MSU’s grape grower mailing list will receive a registration form in the mail.  Otherwise call 269-927-5674, ext. 4011 for Jamie Styburski or 4012 for Brad Baughman, to register for this event or to be added to the mailing list.

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