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MICH-ORGANIC  August 2008

MICH-ORGANIC August 2008

Subject:

What's New in Organic (Part 1 of 2)

From:

Katherine Jane Leitch <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Katherine Jane Leitch <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 15:29:53 -0400

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text/plain

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What’s new in Michigan Organic Ag?
July 30 – August 14
Compiled by Vicki Morrone and Kate Leitch

PRODUCTION NEWS AND INFORMATION
1. New Ag Network Newsletter (In part 1 of 2)
2. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU (In part 1 of 2)
3. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU (In part 1 of 2)
4. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU (In part 1 of 2)
5. Field Crop CAT Alert, MSU (In part 1 of 2)
6. Fruit CAT Alert, MSU (In part 1 of 2)
7. Farm Service Agency announces conservation reserve program- state acres
for wildlife enhancement (In part 1 of 2)
8. The Zen of Certified Organic Indiana Raised Lamb (In part 1 of 2)
9. Can you generate energy on your farm? The answer is blowing in the wind
(In part 2 of 2)
10. Keep Antibiotics Working! House passes animal drug bill after drug
industry blocks efforts to preserve effectiveness of antibiotics; help KAW
urge the Senate to include provisions to protect public health (In part 2 of
2)

NOTICE OF POSITION OPENINGS
11. MSU Student Organic Farm seeks farm crew members (In part 2 of 2)
12. Cornell University seeks a full-time Senior Project Associate in Ag Sci,
Crop and Soil Sci (In part 2 of 2)

EVENTS
13. Farmers’ Market at the Ann Arbor Antiques Market- Aug 16 and 17 (In
part 2 of 2)
14. Annual Soil Building Workshop’s early-bird deadline extended- Aug 20
and 21 (In part 2 of 2)
15. Mid-Michigan Pasture Walk at Straub Dairy - Aug 21 (In part 2 of 2)
16. Hoophouse Building Workshop with Growing Hope - Aug 22 and 23 (In part 2
of 2)
17. University of Wisconsin-Madison organic workshop and field tour- Sep 4
(In part 2 of 2)
18. Entrepreneurial Farm Tour- Sep 9 10 and 11 (In part 2 of 2)
19. Intro to Permaculture: Ecological Edible Landscapes- Sep 20 (In part 2
of 2)
********

PRODUCTION NEWS AND INFORMATION
********

1. New Ag Network Newsletter
Vol. 4, No. 8 August 13, 2008
http://www.new-ag.msu.edu/issues08/8-12.htm

In this issue:
Hoop houses for season extension: Are they right for you?
Mulch your tomatoes to fight weeds, retain soil moisture and save money
Reports from organic growers
********


2. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU
Vol. 23, No. 14, July 30, 2008
http://www.ipm.msu.edu/cat08veg/v07-30-08.htm

In this issue
Vegetable insect update
Onion disease alert
Regional reports
Weather news

Vegetable insect update
Beth Bishop
Entomology
Corn “worms”
Numbers of European corn borer moths captured in pheromone traps from July
22 to 29 have increased slightly, as the second flight has begun. No
significant migration of corn earworm into the state has occurred during the
past month and trap counts are low.

Squash bugs
Squash bug adults, nymphs and eggs have been observed in cucurbit plantings.
Now is the time to control them. If you wait until the nymphs grow large and
the row fills in, they are extremely difficult to control.
Squash bugs are primarily pests of squash and pumpkins, but can sometimes
occur on melons. Squash bugs suck juices from the plants and may cause
leaves to die and vines to wilt. Later in the season squash bugs feed on
fruit, causing collapse.

Adults are three-quarters of an inch long and dark grayish brown with wings
held flat over the abdomen. Eggs are laid in clusters on the underside of
leaves and are orange when laid, but soon turn metallic bronze. Young nymphs
are pale-green to white and older nymphs are grayish-white. Nymphs are
wingless.

Small nymphs feed in groups on the underside of leaves. Larger nymphs feed
individually and both large nymphs and adults are very mobile. Insecticides
applications must target the small nymphs. An insecticide application is
warranted when one or more eggs masses per plant are present. Consult
bulletin E312: 2008 Insect, Disease, and Nematode Control for Commercial
Vegetables for insecticides registered to control squash bugs on your crop.
Onion disease alert
Mary Hausbeck
Plant Pathology

Downy mildew
Downy mildew was verified by my lab yesterday afternoon from a field in the
mid-Michigan area. This disease is not unexpected given the rains and
cooler, moist weather that we’ve experienced this year. Unfortunately,
downy mildew is an especially devastating disease because it spreads rapidly
and is not readily controlled. Downy mildew of onion is caused by the
pathogen, Peronospora destructor, and first infects older leaves, occurring
as pale, elongated patches that may have a grayish-violet fuzzy growth.
Symptoms of the disease are best recognized when dew is present in the
morning. Infected leaves become pale green, then yellow and can fold over
and collapse. Premature death of onion leaves reduces bulb size. The downy
mildew pathogen initiates infection during cool temperatures (less than
72°F) and wet conditions. Multiple infection cycles can occur in a season.
Spores are produced at night and are easily blown long distances in moist
air. They can germinate on onion tissue in one and a half to seven hours
when temperatures are 50°F to 54°F. High daytime temperatures and short
or interrupted periods of humidity at night can prevent sporulation.
Overwintering spores, called oospores, can form in dying plant tissue and
can be found in volunteer onions, onion cull piles, and in stored infected
bulbs. Oospores have thick walls and a built-in food supply so they can
withstand unfavorable winter temperatures and survive in the soil for up to
five years.

Research studies have shown that weekly applications of mancozeb (available
as Dithane, Manzate, or Penncozeb) protect against downy mildew when spray
coverage is good and sprays are begun before disease appears. Some growers
choose to include Ridomil Gold MZ in alternation with mancozeb although this
program is more costly. We have tested Pristine 38WG in rotation with
Ridomil Gold MZ for downy mildew control. The program with Pristine and
Ridomil Gold MZ in alternation was effective for downy mildew, but is very
costly. It is likely that Pristine alternated with mancozeb would also be
effective, but needs to be tested. In addition to downy mildew, Pristine
38WG has activity against the leaf blights including purple blotch,
Stemphylium, and Botrytis. In a field test for purple blotch and
Stemphylium leaf blight, Pristine alternated with Bravo Weather Stik was a
stand-out treatment. Newer products for downy mildew control include
Acrobat and Reason. While I do not have Michigan field data for these
products, I would expect them to perform well in a rotation for downy
mildew. However, Acrobat and Reason have action only against downy mildew
and will not control botrytis or purple blotch.

Purple blotch and stemphylium leaf blight
Many Michigan onion fields are showing symptoms of purple blotch. This
disease got an earlier start than usual with the wet weather and warm night
temperatures that we experienced a few weeks ago. Purple blotch first
appears as small water-soaked lesions that quickly develop white centers.
As they age, the lesions turn brown to purple, surrounded by a zone of
yellow. Lesions can coalesce, girdle the leaf, and cause tip dieback.
Occasionally, bulbs are infected through the neck or wounds on the scales.
Spores of Alternaria porri can form repeatedly on lesions with cycles of low
and high relative humidity. When free water is available, spores can
germinate in 45 - 60 minutes at 82°F - 97°F. Spores can form after 15
hours of high relative humidity (greater than 90 percent) and can be spread
by wind, rainfall and irrigation. Fungal growth is favored by temperatures
of 43°F - 93°F, with an optimum temperature of 77°F. Old and young
leaves injured by onion thrips are more susceptible to infection. Symptoms
can appear one to four days after infection, and new spores can appear by
the fifth day. The pathogen can overwinter in onion debris.

Stemphylium leaf blight is an occasional foliar problem in Michigan and has
not yet been detected this year. Symptoms begin as small, light yellow to
brown, water-soaked lesions that develop into elongated spots that turn dark
olive brown to black with spore development. Coalescing spots can blight
leaves, but rarely affect the bulb. The pathogen normally invades dead and
dying tissue. Disease development is favored by long warm periods of leaf
wetness. Fungicides effective against purple blotch are also effective
against Stemphylium leaf blight.

The following products are recommended for purple blotch: Pristine, a
strobilurin (Quadris or Cabrio), and Rovral tank-mixed with Bravo.

Botrytis leaf blight
Botrytis has been detected this year in onions. It is caused by a fungus
(Botrytis squamosa) that survives in onion trash or in soil by means of
sclerotia (hard, black survival structures) which germinate in the spring,
forming ascospores that begin the disease cycle.

Germinating sclerotia are small and very difficult to find, but they have
been reported onion leaf trash. Once the initial infections occur, spread
is controlled by weather conditions. This fungus forms its conidia (the
spore stage that spreads the disease) only on dead or dying tissue, and only
after 60 to 72 hours of continuous high humidities (75 to 100 percent) at
temperatures averaging between 54°F and 75°F.

Conidia formed under these conditions are spread by wind currents, land on
healthy tissue, and infect after a minimum of six hours of leaf wetness.
The longer the leaves remain wet, the more infection that occurs. The
fungus forms rather small, white lesions about the size of a pinhead
surrounded by a light green halo. Most of these lesions do not enlarge, but
a small proportion will enlarge, girdle the leaf, and cause blighting.

The higher the humidity and the longer the periods last, the more leaf
blighting that will occur. Bravo has always been excellent for leaf blight
control, but mancozeb and Rovral also give good control. In previous years,
tank mixes of Rovral with either mancozeb or Bravo have been especially
effective where botrytis leaf blight and purple blotch are both present.
Pristine will also do a good job when both botrytis leaf blight and purple
blotch are a problem.

Bacterial diseases
Bacterial diseases are showing in many onion fields, especially those that
experienced heavy rains earlier this summer. It is likely that
naturally-occurring soil bacteria were washed into the bulb and leaf whorls
where they have multiplied and now causing a rot. It will be difficult, if
not impossible, to reach those inner onion tissues that are infected with
the bacteria. The only product that is proven and recommended for bacterial
diseases is copper. I’ve heard a lot of talk about spraying bleach and I
do not recommend that growers do that. Bleach will become inactivated as
soon as it comes in contact with leaf tissue or soil. It has no residual
and will not protect the leaf tissue. Copper is a proven bactericide with a
residual action which is a fact that is supported by years of studies on
onions and other crops that are affected by bacteria. To lessen the
concerns of phytotoxicity on onion leaf tissue, spray copper at a time of
day when the solution can dry readily. The longer that copper stays in
solution, the more likely that it may cause some plant tissue burning. When
using copper sprays to combat bacterial disease, the spray interval should
be at least every seven days.
********

3. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU
Vol. 23, No. 15, August 6 2008
http://www.ipm.msu.edu/cat08veg/v08-06-08.htm

In this issue
Vegetable insect update
Regional reports
Weather news
********

4. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU
Vol. 23, No.16, August 13, 2008
http://www.ipm.msu.edu/cat08veg/v08-13-08.htm

In this issue
Vegetable insect update
Dont miss the sowing window for your brassica cover crops
Regional Reports
Weather

Vegetable insect update
Beth Bishop
Entomology

Several insect pests have been making a comeback in recent weeks. Corn
earworm moth numbers increased, especially in southern and western Michigan,
although they don’t come close to the hundreds of earworm moths caught
during previous years. Weather conditions were conducive for migration of
moths into the area and that is reflected in an increase in trap numbers.

European corn borer
The numbers of European corn borer moths caught in pheromone traps for the
week of August 5 - 12 decreased slightly in most locations from those of the
previous week (see chart), but this is most likely due to cooler weather
reducing the activity. According to degree-day totals (base 50), we are in
the midst of the second flight. We don’t yet know, however, how large
this flight will be, but it will likely last for several more weeks.

Western bean cutworm
Western bean cutworm flight is winding down, according to field crops
entomologist, Chris DiFonzo, (see article in the August 7, 2008 Field CAT
Alert) some eggs have been found in sweet corn. We now have a resident
population of western bean cutworm in the state and we can expect this pest
to be a problem in future years.
Aster leafhopper
The percentage of aster leafhoppers infected with aster yellows has
increased dramatically throughout the state. This is typical for this time
of year. The number of infected aster leafhoppers depends on the number of
infected plants, which depends on the number of infected leafhoppers, and
this cycle causes an increase in infection in both plants and insects as the
season progresses. The latest infectivity rate for aster leafhoppers from
Mason and Oceana counties is very high, over 20 percent. Carrot fields in
the area have many plants with aster yellows symptoms. The treatment
threshold for this area is very low, one to two aster leafhoppers per 100
sweeps. Infectivity rates for aster leafhoppers collected from celery
fields in southwest Michigan range from zero percent to six percent. There
is no dependable regional pattern to the variation in infectivity rates. In
general, the threshold in this area ranges from five to 25 aster leafhoppers
per 100 sweeps. If growers are noticing aster yellows symptoms in their
fields, they should use the lower numbers as their threshold. For the rest
of the state, growers can use thresholds of five to 25 aster leafhoppers per
100 sweeps for celery, 10 to 40 aster leafhoppers per 100 sweeps for
carrots, and three to 18 aster leafhoppers per 100 sweeps for lettuce.
Again, if aster yellows symptoms are seen in the field, growers should go
with the lower threshold. Remember, it takes about three weeks for aster
yellows symptoms to develop, so growers should discontinue leafhopper sprays
three weeks before harvest.

Aphids
Aphids are showing up in celery. The recent hotter, drier weather is
conducive to aphid build-up. Aphid populations can increase suddenly, and
often appear close to harvest. There are a number of insecticides
registered for control of aphids on celery (See Bulletin E312). It is
important to apply insecticides only when necessary, since aphids can
quickly develop resistance. Two selective insecticides, Fulfill ® and
Beleaf ® act to stop aphids from feeding. Because they are selective
insecticides, they do not affect natural enemies. Although it may take
several days for the aphids to die, they will not damage plants. Fulfill has
a seven-day preharvest interval and Beleaf has a zero-day phi.
********

5. Field Crop CAT Alert, MSU
Vol. 23, No. 15, August 7, 2008
http://www.ipm.msu.edu/cat08field/fc08-07-08.htm

In this issue:
Update: Western bean cutworm
Soybean aphid - I’m not kidding!
Spider mites showing
Update on Michigan 2008 corn grain yield potential
Common rust on corn
Soybean disease update-soybean rust, white mold and root rots
Soybean sentinel plot update
Regional reports
Weather news

Soybean aphid - I’m not kidding!
Christina DiFonzo
Entomology

You all know I love aphids, and that I can talk endlessly about them. But I
really wasn’t kidding the last few weeks when I reminded you to watch
fields for my favorite pest. Populations per plant in most of my field plots
remained low throughout July, but the percent of infested plants was high,
and has increased steadily - nearly 100 percent in some trials last week.

Within the last several weeks, aphid populations increased in southern
Minnesota, producing winged migrants that have been caught in the Midwest
aphid suction trap network. We definitely had an aphid flight into Michigan
last week, perhaps from the infestation in Minnesota. On July 31, I found
winged aphids with babies on plants on campus. By the following day, Friday,
August 1, we were finding tiny aphid babies on most of the plants in an MSU
efficacy trial. This means even if you didn’t have aphids, you probably
have them now. Furthermore,Bruce MacKellar in southwest Michigan, reports a
few fields over threshold in southwest Michigan, with a high enough
population to produce winged migrants. These fields are in the infamous
“K-deficient” belt that in the stretches across several counties.
Potassium deficiency is a well-documented soybean aphid risk factor. Target
such fields for scouting immediately to catch any infestations heading over
threshold.

The soybean aphid threshold remains at 250 per plant, until plants are in
the later R-stages (R5 and beyond).

Should you spray at a lower threshold because of high crop prices?

No. The aphid threshold was developed taking into consideration a range of
crop prices and input costs. Even given higher returns, lowering the
threshold doesn’t make good biological sense. We have never detected yield
differences in treated and untreated plots when fewer aphids are present.
And at lower aphid numbers, there still appears to be a battle going on
between the aphids and predators. Pulling the trigger early wipes out the
predators, so the aphids certainly win.

Should you spray at a lower threshold because of the additional impact of
defoliators, such as bean leaf beetles and Japanese beetles?

No. The threshold was developed using data from plots in eight states over
three years, including plots in Michigan. We did not keep bean leaf beetles
or Japanese beetles out of these plots during the studies, they were there
right along side the aphids. The yield from untreated plots in the study
included the impact of both aphid sucking and beetle defoliation. The yields
in treated plots included the impact of killing both aphids and beetles.
Thus the soybean aphid threshold already includes the impact of defoliating
pests, because we didn’t exclude them.

What about ignoring the threshold altogether and spraying an insurance
application?

Bad idea. Killing beneficial insects can actually flare, or increase, an
aphid population that was otherwise under control. Insurance applications
may also flare spider mite (see accompanying article), which are making an
appearance this week. Insurance applications also smoke honey bees, which
have taken a beating in the last several years. See the August 4 edition of
the Ohio State CORN newsletter for a cautionary article by my colleague Ron
Hammond, “Spraying Insecticides on Soybeans and Honey Bees”.
********

6. Fruit CAT Alert, MSU
Vol. 23, No. 15, August 5, 2008
http://www.ipm.msu.edu/cat08fruit/f08-05-08.htm#1

In this issue:
Tree fruit news
Starane Ultra labeled for pome fruits
Small fruit news
Botrytis gray mold control in fall raspberries
JMS Stylet Oil can be used to knock down powdery mildew on grapevines
Other news
Time to collect leaf samples for nutrient analysis
Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station Open House
Regional reports
Weather news

Botrytis gray mold control in fall raspberries
Annemiek Schilder
Plant Pathology

Gray mold, caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea, is one of the most
important diseases affecting fall raspberries. Fall raspberries are usually
at greater risk of infection than summer raspberries because of the
prevailing weather conditions, such as lower temperatures, heavy dews and
frequent precipitation. Cool, wet weather and heavy rains in the late summer
and fall that keep the plants wet for extended periods are conducive to
development of the fungus and infection of the fruit. The rainy weather this
summer has already resulted in increased Botrytis gray mold pressure in
raspberries.

Typical symptoms include a brown discoloration of the fruit and the presence
of a gray fuzzy mold, which can rapidly develop and spread to neighboring
healthy berries. Symptoms tend to be more severe inside the canopy and on
clusters that are closer to the ground. Even if berries look perfectly
healthy at harvest, they can change to a moldy mass within 24 to 48 hours.

Botrytis cinerea is a ubiquitous fungus, which is able to grow and sporulate
profusely on dead organic matter. It overwinters in old infected canes and
plant debris. The spores are airborne and can travel long distances on the
wind. When the spores land on plant surfaces, they germinate and can invade
the plant tissues directly or through wounds. Overripe berries and bruised
berries are particularly susceptible to infection. Latent flower infections,
even though they do occur, are not as important in raspberries as they are
in strawberries.

Cultural methods are very important for control of Botrytis gray mold.
Choosing a site with good air flow can reduce humidity in the canopy
considerably. Low-density plantings, narrow rows and trellising can also
reduce a buildup of humidity. Good weed control and moderate fertilizer use
to avoid lush growth are also important. Selecting a resistant cultivar or,
at the minimum, avoiding highly susceptible cultivars will help to reduce
the need for control measures. During picking, avoid handling infected
berries, since spores can be transferred on hands to healthy berries. Timely
harvesting and rapid post-harvest cooling can also help to reduce losses to
Botrytis gray mold.

Several fungicides are labeled for control of Botrytis in raspberries.
Fungicide sprays during bloom are important to prevent pre-harvest
infections, while post-harvest infections can be reduced by sprays close to
harvest (e.g., the day before harvest). Switch (cyprodinil + fludioxonil) is
a reduced-risk fungicide with excellent systemic and protectant activity
against gray mold. It has a zero-day pre-harvest interval (PHI). Another
good option is Elevate (fenhexamid), which is a reduced-risk, locally
systemic fungicide with a zero-day PHI. Since these fungicides are in
different chemical classes, they can be alternated for fungicide resistance
management. My recommendation is to save Switch and Elevate for critical
sprays, e.g., during wet periods and for sprays closer to harvest. Other
fungicides that may be used in the spray program are Captevate (captan +
fenhexamid) (three-day PHI), Pristine (pyraclostrobin + boscalid) (zero-day
PHI), Captan (captan) (three-day PHI), Rovral (iprodione) (zero-day PHI) and
Nova (myclobutanil) (zero-day PHI). To improve the efficacy of Rovral, an
adjuvant should be added. Pristine and Nova also provide excellent control
of late leaf rust, which sometimes infects the leaves and fruit of fall
raspberries.
********

7. Farm Service Agency announces conservation reserve program- state acres
for wildlife enhancement

East Lansing, MI, July 29, 2008 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's
(USDA) Farm Service Agency is offering financial incentives in the hope of
getting landowners to convert cropland into valuable wildlife habitat
through the popular Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The initiative aims
to increase the acres of grasslands in southern Michigan and habitat for
native pollinators in the western Lower Peninsula along Lake Michigan.

The program, which was the result of an agreement between USDA Farm Service
Agency, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, wildlife management
agencies, conservation and commodity groups -- such as the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, the Nature Conservancy, Pheasants Forever, the Michigan
Department of Agriculture, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and
the Michigan Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association -- was announced in
January.
Sign-up to enroll land in the new Conservation Reserve Program practice,
called State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (CRP-SAFE), began in Michigan on
July 1. The goal of SAFE is to create 7,500 acres of diverse grasslands in
18 southern Michigan counties (Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton,
Genesee, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lapeer, Lenawee,
Livingston, Monroe, Shiawassee, St. Joseph and Washtenaw) and 2,500 acres of
pollinator habitat in 22 counties in the western Lower Peninsula (Allegan,
Antrim, Barry, Benzie, Berrien, Cass, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse,
Kalamazoo, Kalkaska, Kent, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Muskegon,
Newaygo, Oceana, Ottawa, Van Buren, and Wexford).

Landowners who choose to participate in the new practice may receive 90
percent of the cost of converting cropland into wildlife habitat, and in
some cases 100 percent. In addition, they will receive rental payments for a
minimum of 10 years and have the option for enrolling for up to 15 years.
Participants will also receive a signing incentive payment equal to $100.00
or $150.00 per acre, depending on contract length, upon enrollment into the
program.

“Native grasslands are one of the most threatened habitats in Michigan,”
said Dale Allen, Conservation Chief for the USDA Farm Service Agency which
administers the program. “A variety of non-game species, ranging from
songbirds to butterflies, depend on grassland habitat for their survival.”
The 18 south Michigan counties eligible for SAFE were chosen because they
once contained most of the state’s native grasslands, said Allen. The
western counties were selected for creating pollinator habitat because of
the importance of pollinators to the region’s fruit and vegetable
industry.

“SAFE is intended to provide habitat for native pollinators. There has
been a documented decline in many native pollinators such as bumblebees,”
said Lynn Sampson, State Biologist for the USDA Natural Resources
Conservation Service. “The decline of eastern honeybees due to colony
collapse disorder has been a wakeup call to the importance of pollinators to
our food supply. In addition, native pollinators also pollinate
non-agricultural plants that provide food for wildlife.”
Land enrolled for either practice must be recently cropped, or be capable of
growing an annual agricultural commodity. Land enrolled for the pollinator
habitat practice can include land that is part of an orchard or vineyard. To
participate in the pollinator habitat sign-up, landowners must convert a
minimum of 2 acres to habitat with the plot being at least 100-feet wide.
Pollinator habitat will be planted with a variety of grasses, flowers and
flowering shrubs. There is no maximum limit of acres that can be enrolled
and the land can be either in a block, along a field border, or in an
orchard/vineyard/perennial fruit producing area (i.e. blueberries,
strawberries, raspberries, etc). Landowners do not have to be fruit or
vegetable growers to participate.
To enroll for the diverse grassland practice landowners must convert at
least 30 acres of land to grassland habitat in most cases. A smaller number
of acres can be enrolled if the land serves as a corridor between two larger
areas of wildlife habitat. Enrolled land will be planted in a variety of
native grasses and wildflowers with a small portion of the land planted with
oak trees. The Michigan Nature Conservancy will provide an additional 10
percent cost share to landowners located in an area the organization has
identified as a high priority area for habitat creation.
Sign-up for the SAFE practices are on a first-come first-served basis until
the acreage targets are reached, said Allen. The USDA hopes to enroll all
its acreage allowance within five years. The diverse grassland and
pollinator habitat initiatives have different enrollment requirements.

Michigan Farm Service Agency, 3001 Coolidge Rd, Suite 350, East Lansing, Mi.
48823
Phone: 517-324-5110 FAX: 517-324-5168
********

8. The Zen of Certified Organic Indiana Raised Lamb
http://www.goinglocal-info.com/my_weblog/2008/07/the-zen-of-cert.html
July 31, 2008
It's no secret that I love to visit farmers' markets. The only problem is
that it takes me forever to walk through one. It's never enough for me to
simply stop and buy something. I want to chat and learn more about the
product and producer. I always leave these conversations educated and
inspired.

A few weeks ago at the Trader's Point Farmers Market, I struck up a
conversation with Tom Zennie, co-owner with his wife, Nancy, of Zen Sheep
Farm in Cloverdale, Indiana. We got on the topic of how to make kibbe.
Several years ago, I was introduced to a kibbe by a friend of mine whose
father was Syrian. It's unusual to find anyone who can talk in-depth about
kibbe. But Tom delighted me with his knowledge and enthusiasm for both the
dish and his certified organic raised lamb.

I spoke with Nancy this week who told me that their journey into raising
certified organic lambs started in 1982 when they moved from Boston to
Indiana for Tom's post-doctoral work. They rented a farm house in New
Richmond. One day, a neighbor told Nancy that she was going to a livestock
auction and asked if she wanted anything. Nancy jokingly told her to bring
her back some lambs. That afternoon, the neighbor called Nancy to come over
and pick up her lambs. Nancy felt she had no alternative but to take the
lambs and raise them. When people came over for dinner, they raved about the
lamb and told Nancy and Tom they should sell the meat. So, they bought a
flock, began to raise the meat commercially, and were certified organic in
1996. Their commitment to raise certified organic meat was fueled, in part,
by their growing family and a desire to feed their children healthful food.

After Tom's post-doctoral work was completed, the couple moved to Michigan
and continued to organically raise and market lamb, pork, ducks, and
chicken. But in 2003, a job change for Tom challenged the couple with a move
to Indiana. Their biggest concern was their ability to retain their
certified organic status when they moved the flock. After a long search,
they found land that had been a wildlife habitat in Cloverdale where nothing
had been done to the ground for 17 years. There they've established Zen
Sheep Farm where they raise certified organic lamb and certified organic
rocambole garlic.

The flock is fed a 100% plant based feed formula which was developed by Tom
whose credentials in organic farming are extremely impressive. Zen Sheep
Farm's certified organic lamb is USDA inspected, GMO free, and is raised
without hormones or antibiotics. The lamb is sold by the cut as well as
whole or half lambs. You'll find their lamb at several Indiana retail
outlets and the Traders Point Farmers' Market.
I used their ground lamb to make ground lamb pita sandwiches. The lamb
cooked up beautifully and was deliciously sweet. You'll find that recipe in
the Summer Recipe section of this site. Additional recipes, including one
for Tom's favorite way to make a grilled leg of lamb, can be found on the
Zen Sheep Farm site.

Tom and Nancy are delighted with the customer response to their lamb and
plan to increase the size of their flock in the coming year. They love
having visitors to the farm and welcome everyone to come out and visit.

Zen Sheep Farm
Tom and Nancy Zennie
4963 E CR 900 S
Cloverdale, Indiana 46120
Phone: 765-795-5526
www.ZenSheepFarm.com
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