What’s Happenin’

Michigan Organic Listserv

February 1-9

1.      Protect Your Water Rights by Reporting

2.      Organic Valley Announces "Transition to Organic Fund"

3.      Pathways to a Sustainable World, A conference to change your world

4.      Farmers Market in Meridian Township seeking Market Master for ‘07

5.      2007 Michigan Organic Conference

6.     Extension food program offered in Grand Marais


8.      Community Film Festival-Wealthy Theater,

9.      Organic Ag Video Conference Series

10.  Hoop House Training and Discussion



1. Protect Your Water Rights by Reporting

Lyndon Kelley, Extension Irrigation Educator for MSU Extension and Purdue Extension wants you to know how important it is that you report your water use for 2006.  The deadline is quickly approaching – April 1, 2007 and the information you report is very important for your use of water in the future.  Legislation passed early in 2006 changed how the State controls large volume water use. Although few if any agricultural water users will need a permit, Part 327 of 451 establishes no “adverse resource impact” as the standard that all large capacity water users must meet for withdraws constructed after February 2006.  Withdraws constructed prior to February 2006 that have been properly registered and reported their usage are presumed not to have an  “adverse resource impact” and have the advantage of being, more or less grandfathered.

Reporting before April 1 , 2007 is essential to maintain your pre-February 2006 withdrawal advantage. The 2006 report allow producers to provide their systems baseline capacity. Expanding system capacity by more than 70 gallons/min beyond the baseline capacity, constitutes a new water withdrawal.

Baseline Capacity: Producers have a one-time option to report, as part of their 2006 water use report, the available capacity of the system “Baseline Capacity” or “Rated Capacity.” Available capacity of the system would be reported as pump capacity in gal/min. along with pump and system description compatible with the well log. Baseline capacity applies to both wells and surface water withdrawals. 
The Baseline Capacity is the reported system capacity used or developed to make a withdrawal on Feb. 28, 2006. If a large capacity water user does not report a "Baseline Capacity,” the highest annual amount of water withdrawn as reported for 2004 or 2005 will be used as the baseline capacity. Note that since few producers run pumps continuously, most water users have available system capacities far greater than any of the recent year’s water use reports.

Establishing a baseline capacity is important since P.A. 33 provides a statement that existing water users are granted a reputable presumption of no "adverse resource impact.” No adverse resource impact is the standard that all large capacity water users must meet within P.A. 33 structure. The reputable presumption of no adverse resource impact puts the burden of proof on those challenging a registered large capacity water user’s water use.

Other changes to Michigan”s  Agricultural Water Use Reporting system:
Registration of new withdraws prior to use:
Withdraws established after February 28, 2006 are required to register with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality prior to first use. Registration forms are available from the MDA website.

Agriculture water use reporting to MDA only: The rarely used option of reporting to MDEQ was removed in P.A. 33 leaving Michigan Department of Agriculture as the only reporting option for agricultural producers.

Groundwater withdraw location by latitude/longitude: Starting with the 2006 report, large scale water users will need to provide the latitude/longitude for the groundwater withdrawal location. This information may be provided by handheld GPS units or the groundwater mapping website ( http://gwmap.rsgis.msu.edu). Providing the latitude/longitude location of withdrawal will allow mapping and analysis of effect on groundwater and stream base flow by withdraws in the watershed basin.

Reporting of static water level is no longer required: Static water level reporting was moved from a requirement to report.
If you need assistance with water use reporting contact your local MSU Extension Office or Lyndon Kelley at 269/467-5511.

St. Joseph County MSU Extension

Maury Kaercher, County Extension Director, Extension Educator, Beef
Diana Fair, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences and Family Nutrition Program
Lyndon Kelley, Extension Educator, Irrigation MSU Extension and Purdue Extension
Bruce MacKellar, Extension Educator, Ag and Natural Resources
Brad Neumann, Extension Educator, Land Policy
VACANT, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development

612 E. Main Street
Centreville, MI  49032

Phone: 269-467-5511 
Fax: 269-467-5641
Website: www.msue.msu.edu/stjoseph

2. Organic Valley Announces "Transition to Organic Fund"

La Farge, WI - January 5, 2005

Organic Valley Family of Farms, the nation's largest independent farmer-owned organic dairy cooperative, today announced the Transition to Organic Fund, a financial assistance program for dairy farmers who are making the transition to organic.

Organic Valley's Transition to Organic Fund will offset the costs of transitioning for dairy farmers who become members of the Organic Valley cooperative.

The farmers of Organic Valley are committed to helping dairy farmers make the transition to organic. We know how tough the transition process can be, and we hope our 'Transition to Organic Fund' can help farmers meet the challenge, said Tim Griffin, Organic Valley National Milk Procurement Manager.

For further information about the Organic Valley's Transition to Organic Fund, farmers are encouraged to call the Producer Hotline at Organic Valley, tel. (888) 809-9297.

Farmers in the greater Northeast (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania) are welcome to contact Peter Miller, Organic Valley's East Region Pool Coordinator, (888) 444-6455 extension 407, or (612) 801-3506 (cell), or email him at [log in to unmask].

Organic Valley: Independent and Farmer-Owned

Organized in 1988, Organic Valley represents 689 farmers in 20 states. It owes its success to staying independent and true to its mission: keeping small and mid-sized farmers farming. It's the only national organic brand that is 100-percent farmer-owned, and proudly the only independent national organic dairy cooperative in the United States.

In the last year alone, the cooperative achieved record success both in sales (up from $156 million in 2003 to $206 million) and in farmer recruitment (133 new farmers). Its increased number of acres and cows brought into the organic system was equally strong (up to more than 113,000 acres and 26,000 cows).The Organic Valley brand is the top-selling organic milk in both mainstream supermarkets and natural foods outlets along the entire Eastern seaboard.

As stewards of the earth who use nature as their teacher, Organic Valley farmers produce more than 130 delicious organic products. Look for their organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce, juice and meats in food cooperatives, natural foods stores and supermarkets throughout the country. For further information, contact Organic Valley at 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop.

3. Pathways to a Sustainable World, A conference to change your world


April 13-14, 2007 University of Rochester. www.ecotransformation.org or call 585-330-4410. 


Invited speakers include David Abram, Lois Givvs, Brian Halweil, David Orr, Michael Shuman, Christopher Uhl, and Judy Wicks.  You can email conference co-chairs [log in to unmask] or [log in to unmask]


4. Farmers Market in Meridian Township seeking Market Master for ‘07

From:                 Julie Hanson

To:                     LuAnn Maisner

Date:                 1/26/2007 11:52:08 AM

Subject:             Posting of market master position


The Charter Township of Meridian is seeking a highly motivated, results oriented individual to manage its well established farmer's market.  Successful candidate will have proven experience in agriculture, horticulture or farming management with thorough knowledge of industry standards and practices as well as a community spirit and ability to coordinate vendor activities.  Minimum of Bachelors degree required. 

Part‑time/Seasonal $4,000 stipend. 

Send application and cover letter to Personnel Office 5151 Marsh Road, Okemos MI 48864. EOE



Julie M. Hanson, Assistant Personnel Director

Charter Township of Meridian

5151 Marsh Road

Okemos, MI  48864

Here is the job description:




Farmers’ Market Manager JOB



Supervised by:          Parks & Recreation Director

Supervises:               Position has no supervisory responsibilities


Position Summary:

Under the direction of the Parks & Recreation Director, manages the day to day activities related to the operation of the Meridian Township Farmers’ Market.


Essential Job Functions:

An employee in this position may be called upon to do any or all of the following essential functions.  These examples do not include all of the duties which the employee may be expected to perform.  To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential function satisfactorily.


1.      Develops, plans, organizes, schedules, and coordinates activities related to operation of seasonal farmers’ market


2.      Coordinates the use of facilities and equipment for market. 


3.      Recruits, interviews, selects, and supervises vendors.  Collects vendor fees, assigns booth space and ensures product mix.   


4.      Makes budget recommendations for the Market. 


5.      Creates and maintains a system of reporting, interpreting, and publicizing activities to area residents.   Prepares materials, maintains records and compiles evaluations and reports. 


6.      Assists in developing and implementing market rules.  Acts a liaison with vendors to communicate rules and objects. 


7.      Sets up and takes down market signage and reports needed maintenance to the appropriate Township department. 


8.      Answers citizen and vendors inquiries and responds to complaints regarding procedures, policies and programs.


9.      Works with the community and vendors to identify needs and preferences and determines the number and types of products to be offered.

10.  Keeps abreast of changing regulations and policies. 


11.  Performs related work as required.



Required Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Minimum Qualifications:

The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skills, abilities and minimum qualifications necessary to perform the essential functions of the position.  A qualified individual with a disability must be able to perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.


Requirements include the following:


·         Bachelor degree in Agriculture or related field and experience in management, farming, and/or public marketing.


·         Knowledge of the principles and practices of public sector market operation. 


·         Ability to work independently and display creativity and exercise good judgment.    


·         A State of Michigan Vehicle Operator’s License.


·         Good knowledge of the safety issues and precautions relating to State Federal and local regulations. 


·         Good knowledge of public relations practices and vendor management.


·         Skill in developing, coordinating and evaluating market policies and procedures.


·         Skill in assembling information, analyzing data, preparing comprehensive and accurate reports.


·         Skill in effectively communicating ideas and concepts orally and in writing, and in making presentations in public forums.


·         Ability to develop programs and services to meet the needs of the community.


·         Ability to train, supervise and coordinate outside vendors. 

·         Ability to work other than normal business hours.


·         Ability to establish effective working relationships and use good judgment, initiative and resourcefulness when dealing with vendors, citizens, the media, the public, Township officials, and other employees.



Physical Demands and Work Environment:

The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of the job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk, hear and view written documents.  The employee frequently is required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel and reach with hands and arms.  The employee must occasionally lift and/or move items of moderate weight.


While performing the duties of this job, the employee regularly works outside in a pavilion setting.  The employee is continually exposed to outside weather conditions.  The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate. 



Gerald J. Richards, Township Manager





Paul J. Brake, Assistant Manager/Personnel Director