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MICH-ORGANIC  May 2008

MICH-ORGANIC May 2008

Subject:

part 3:3 Happy Mother's day to all the moms out there!

From:

Vicki Morrone <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Vicki Morrone <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 9 May 2008 15:36:08 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (1 lines)


7. House, farm groups seek override votes
May 9, 2008 10:16 AM, By Forrest Laws
Delta Farm Press Editorial Staff
http://deltafarmpress.com/news/farm-legislation-0509/  

Farm bill negotiators and major farm organizations have begun an intense effort to muster the 290 House votes needed to override a promised veto of the 2008 Food, Conservation and Energy Act conference report.
Shortly after House and Senate Agriculture, Ways and Means and Finance Committee leaders outlined the major features of the compromise legislation at a news conference Thursday afternoon, they and farm groups began lobbying members of Congress to support it.
Any lingering doubts President Bush would veto the long-awaited 2008 farm bill were swept away when Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer issued a statement saying the president intended to do just that.
Schafer’s statement put the president on a collision course with members of his own party. The president has said for weeks he would veto any bill that did not meet his demands for payment limit reforms and decreased farm spending.
“I am eager to get the farm bill on the House floor for a vote next week and on the president’s desk,” said Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, noting the agriculture community had been waiting too long. “In the event President Bush vetoes this legislation, I will vote to override the veto.”
The Agriculture Committee chairmen and ranking members who negotiated the 11th-hour farm bill compromise agreement seemed as much relieved as they were pleased they had moved the package a step closer to becoming law.
“I am a happy man,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and of the farm bill conference committee. “One of the members of the staff likened writing a farm bill to passing a kidney stone. I’ve never had one, but I think I know what he means.”
Harkin and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, referred frequently to the fact nearly three-fourths of the spending in the 2008 farm bill will go for nutrition programs.
“This is a strong, bipartisan farm bill that benefits every American from Cumming, Iowa, population 162, to New York City, population 8 million,” Harkin said. “The bill provides a strong safety net, so it’s good for farmers and producers. Consumers will like it because it will increase farmers’ markets and ensure a safe, dependable supply of high quality food.”
Harkin said the compromise agreement also provides significant reforms of farm support programs, including caps on the level of farm income and the adjusted gross income of participants in farm programs, direct attribution of payments to individuals and elimination of the three-entity rule, a favorite target of environmental groups.
But he and others returned several times to the increased funding for nutrition programs, including improving the diets of low income Americans and increasing the access of school children to fresh fruits and vegetables
“At a time of economic downturn and rapidly rising prices for food staples, millions of low income Americans have joined the ranks of the hungry and the food insecure,” said Harkin. “For that reason, all of the new money we were able to secure for this new farm bill went into the nutrition title, bringing the new investment in nutrition to $10.4 billion.”
“This shouldn’t be called the farm bill,” said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., the Senate Budget Committee chairman and ag committee member given credit for writing much of the new law. “It really is much more than that — it’s the food bill.”
Harkin said the agreement goes “more than half way” to meet the objections posed by administration officials. “I hope the president will sign it,” noting the Senate passed its farm bill 79-14 or with 13 more votes than needed to override.
Peterson implored the news media to do a better job of explaining the farm bill to consumers who have been inundated with stories about “big payments to wealthy farmers.”
“Some people think the entire $300 billion in this bill goes to farmers,” he noted. “The truth is $36 billion to $40 billion is for farmers over 10 years and the rest for nutrition programs and for conservation and energy programs. They also need to know we saved $20 billion with the last farm bill.”
Groups such as the American Agriculture Movement were already urging farmers to contact members of Congress and urge them to vote for the bill before the final details began to emerge. Others began issuing “action alerts” shortly after the conference committee news briefing.
“While we are anxious to learn more about the details,” said National Cotton Council Chairman Larry McClendon, “we believe enactment of new legislation is a far more desirable outcome than the uncertainty of a short-term extension. Therefore, we urge Congress to act promptly to approve the legislation and urge the president to sign it.”
Besides increase funding for nutrition programs, the Food, Conservation and Energy Act also:
• Gives producers the option of enrolling in a new state-level Average Crop Revenue Election or ACRE program. The bill reduces direct payments for those farmers by 20 percent and loan rates by 30 percent and provides a counter-cyclical payment at 90 percent of the national average selling price.
• Reduces the adjusted gross income limit for farm program payments to farmers from $2.5 million to $750,000 and to non-farmers to $500,000. The provision does not give farmers a total limit of $1.25 million as some have written.
• Rebalances rates for the counter-cyclical and non-recourse marketing loan program; reforms the cotton marketing loan program and provides an assistance program for the textile industry; and maintains fruit and vegetable planting restrictions.
• Places a new AGI limit of $1 million on conservation payments for non-farmers. It contains no limits for farmers who derive two-thirds of their income from farming.
• Provides $4.4 billion in new funding for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the newly named Conservation Stewardship Program over the next 10 years. With this level of support, the Conservation Stewardship Program will enroll nearly 13 million acres each year.
• Dramatically increases the agricultural sector’s capacity to produce clean, renewable energy, including providing more than $1 billion to expand the supply of biofuels made from biomass and crop byproducts other than grain. The bill also provides new support to farmers who grow energy crops, and to entrepreneurs who build refineries to convert biomass into fuel.”
• Provides two new titles in the farm bill — livestock and specialty crops. The legislation provides $1 billion for specialty crops, investing more in the promotion of specialty crops than any previous bill.
e-mail: [log in to unmask]

Upcoming Events

8.  MSU Student Organic Farm Tours
This summer, the Michigan State University (MSU) Student Organic Farm will host two-hour informal farm walks through both the fields and unheated greenhouses. The farm changes over the months so the crops you see on one walk with not necessarily be what you see at another.
Visitors will have the opportunity to ask questions about MSU Student Organic Farm programs, marketing practices, production techniques, etc.
When: 
Thursday, May 22, 3-5 p.m.
Thursday, June 19, 3-5 p.m.
Wednesday, July 16, 6-8 p.m. (twilight walk)
Wednesday , August 27, 6-8 p.m. (twilight walk)
Tuesday, September 23, 3-5 p.m.
Where: Michigan State University Student Organic Farm 3291 College Road, Holt, MI 48842
Please email or call Adam Montri ([log in to unmask] or 517.432.3381) if you plan to attend. There is no registration charge, but please RSVP with your registration.
MSU Student Organic Farm
Program sponsored by USDA Risk Management Agency and the MSU Student Organic Farm
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”
9. MSU Student Organic Farm Daylong Workshops

The Michigan State University (MSU) Student Organic Farm will be hosting daylong workshops this summer and fall. These workshops will feature a total farm tour and indepth discussion of production and marketing techniques used by the farm, including field and hoophouse production, soil management, crop planning and scheduling, and CSA and farmstand sales.
When: 
Tuesday, June 24, 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, September 16, 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. 
Where: Michigan State University Student Organic Farm 3291 College Road, Holt, MI 48842
Please email or call Adam Montri ([log in to unmask] or 517.432.3381) if you plan to attend. There is no registration charge, but space is limited! Please RSVP with your registration.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”

10.  Seeking Interest in East Lansing City Market Reopen

My name is Matt Mergener and I work for the City of East Lansing.  Currently we are preparing to re-launch a farmers market in 2009 and we are working on getting names and contact information of people that would like to know more about the revitalized farmers market, as well as farmers or growers that would like to sell their goods at the market.  Basically, we are compiling a database of everyone that would possibly interested in selling their farm grown goods and as a former MSU student, I thought of the Student Organic Farm.  Please let me know if you know of anyone or have a list or farmers that would be interested in additional information. 

Thanks! 


Matt Mergener
Community Events Assistant
City of East Lansing Communication Department
517-319-6823
[log in to unmask]

11.  Cover Crops for Vegetable Workshop
June 12, 2008
At Kellogg Biological Station (South of Battle Creek, MI)


12.  Cover Crops for Vegetable Systems
By Vicki Morrone
C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems, Michigan State University, 303 Natural Resources Bldg, East Lansing, MI 48824, 517-353-3542. [log in to unmask]

	Use of cover crops in all agricultural systems is growing, especially with the rising cost of fertilizers. More farmers are seeking alternatives to grow healthy plants and build soil quality while recycling nitrogen to reduce loss of this valuable resource. Cover crops contribute in multiple ways to the farming system, over the short and long term.  One of the major challenges of using a cover crop is to find a window of time when a cash crop is not growing.  A wide variety of cover crops are available that provide a sustainable foundation for organic production of field crops or vegetables and fit into various windows.  
	The Michigan State University Vegetable Area of Expertise Team invites you to participate in a day-long workshop on Cover Cropping in Vegetable Systems-An essential tool for sustainable and organic farmers.  The day will offer farmers and educators an opportunity to learn about cover crop systems that work for this region with practical advice and the latest research.  Anyone interested in optimizing production of healthy crops will find this workshop useful. This field workshop will be held on June 12 from 9-5 pm at the Kellogg Biological Station in Gull Lake, Michigan located about 30 minutes west of Battle Creek, Michigan. The workshop will feature Dr. Anne VerHallen, who is a Soil Management Specialist, Horticulture Technology, with Ontario Ministry of Ag and Food and Rural Affairs.  She works with farmers to investigate opportunities afforded by cover crops in vegetable systems and their ability to contribute to soil quality. The other keynote speaker will be Dr. George Abawi, Professor in Plant Pathology & International Agriculture from Cornell University located at New York Agriculture Experiment Station in Geneva, New York. He  will present information on how cover crops impact crop health, including how to use cover crops to control soil borne pathogens such as nematodes and root rots and how to implement this type of system on your farm.
	Cost of this workshop is $25.00 for the day that includes educational session, lunch, a copy of Managing Cover Crops Profitably published by SARE in 2007 and a tour of the research fields at Kellogg Biological Station that demonstrate cover crop systems including pumpkins intercropped with rye and hairy vetch grown as a source of nitrogen for corn.  
	For registration and the agenda please go to www.michiganorganic.msu.edu or call MSUE Oceana County office @ 231-873-2129.or email Kathy Walicki: [log in to unmask] Checks should be made out to Michigan State University Extension and mailed to Cover Crop Workshop, 210 Johnson St. E, Hart, MI 49420.  Registration must be received by June 6 and after this date walk-in registration is $40.00 and can be paid the day of the event.
13. Upcoming Farm Tours in Ontario

“Intense Vegetables, Weed Control & Composting”

Have you ever wondered where the vegetables come from that you buy at the supermarket? Then you need to join us on a tour of Pfenning’s Organics on Friday, June 20, 2008 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Pfenning’s Organic Farm is a grower/packer/shipper of certified organic produce. The Pfenning family believes that their operation is more than just a farm; theirs is a “Quality of Life” business that takes a holistic approach to sustainability.  Pfenning’s Organics currently farms around 400 acres, with about 100 acres of that being intense organic vegetables. Pfenning’s farm is a very unique family owned operation with two generations running the everyday operations and with the third generation in training. Soil consultant, Joe Scrimger from Bio-Systems in Marlette, Michigan will be discussing weed control and composting techniques. We will also be discussing “local certified food” in the Ontario market. The cost will be $25.00 per person in advanced and $35.00 at the door; this cost includes a meal too. (Note: For Consulting Clients of Bio-Systems this program is free) Pfenning’s have a wonderful web site that you can visit for more information about their operation, the address is www.pfenningsfarms.ca

“Weed Control & Liquid Manure Management”

Come learn about cultivation and manure management while taking a farm tour on Morris and Irene Van de Walle’s beautiful dairy farm in St. Mary’s, Ontario, Canada. This unique farm tour will be held on Saturday, June 21, 2008 from 9 to 3. Soil consultant, Joe Scrimger from Bio-Systems in Marlette, Michigan will be discussing how to set up the cultivator depth, speed control = weed control, shielding and the importance of ‘timing’ in cultivation, he will also be discussing soil balance and how it relates to weed pressure. We will also be discussing the techniques of managing your liquid manure pit, the use of pro-biotics and aeration in the pit and managing your liquid manure applications. The Van de Walle’s Dairy Farm is also the home of the ever popular ‘Lelly Robotic Milker’, which will also be available for viewing during the farm tour. The cost will be $25.00 per person in advanced and $35.00 at the door, with a meal included. (Note:  For Consulting Clients of Bio-Systems this program is free) 
Note the Lely Robotic Milker will be used at Kellogg Biological Station’s Dairy and research will be conducted to look at various pasture systems and the robotic dairy, hopefully a way to allow a family have a life and a profitable and sustainable dairy farm.

Travel Information:
A bus is available for $45.00 per person (cost does not include tour prices), we need a minimum of 40 people registered for the bus to be able to use the bus, so contact your friends and family today to bring them along! 

More information to follow on lodging and speakers.


This will be a fun filled day and a half down on the farm for the whole family, so make a note to save these dates today! For more information or to RSVP, please contact the office of  Bio-Systems  at  (989) 635-2864  or  email    [log in to unmask]

Vicki Morrone
Organic Vegetable and Crop Outreach Specialist
Michigan State University
C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems
303 Natural Resources Bldg.
East Lansing, MI 48824
517-353-3542
517-282-3557 (cell)
517-353-3834 (fax)
For information on organic agriculture production please visit: http://www.MichiganOrganic.msu.edu/
 Please consider the environment before printing this email



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