What’s Happening In Michigan for Organic Farmers?

Apr 27 – May 7, 2007


2.     Trio look to push locally grown products

3.     VENEZUELA: Chavez dumps Monsanto

4.    Secrets to a Successful Greenhouse and Business (2007 Edition) book review ,

5.     Seeking Michigan Products

6.     'Slow food' groups support local farmers, culinary heritage

7.     U.S. has huge appetite for organic food: industry

8.     Possible Changes to allow cottage food industries produce food without inspection in Michigan.

9.     North Central US States join together to promote biofuels

10.             Monsanto having a cow in milk label dispute

11.            Home Grown

12.            Healthy Lives Symposium, May 24 Lansing Community College

13.  Value Added Producer Grant Applications Due May 17 

14.            SARE (Sustainable Ag Research and Extension) Grants Farmer/Rancher Grant Due apx  Dec 1, 2007


MSU CAT Alert newsletter, http://www.ipm.msu.edu/cat07veg/v05-02-07.htm#1

May 4, 2007

Early season insect pests: The maggots
Beth Bishop

Early season maggot flies (onion, cabbage and seed corn) are active and laying eggs. (view images) These insects are adapted to cool weather; they are more of a problem early in the season. Adult flies look similar to small houseflies. They are very mobile and do not spend much time in the field. Control methods should be directed toward protecting seeds, seedlings and young plants.

Seed corn maggots feed on a variety of vegetable crops, including corn, beans and vine crops. They are the most cold tolerant of the three maggot species and, therefore, appear earliest in the season. Seed corn maggots cause more problems during extended periods of cool, wet weather, in soils with high organic matter, and when green manure has been recently incorporated. Simply delaying planting until the soil warms, and waiting a week or so after turning over green manure, will reduce damage. Planting insecticide-treated seed will also control seed corn maggot.

Cabbage maggot flies lay eggs at the base of young cole crops. Adult cabbage flies first become active and lay eggs in the spring about the time yellow rockets bloom. The next generation of flies begins to lay eggs about the time daylilies bloom. Damage can be reduced if growers are able to wait until the soil warms in the spring to plant and avoid planting during peak egg-laying periods. Insecticide treatments at planting or transplanting will also reduce injury. See MSUE Bulletin E-312: 2007 Insect, Disease and Nematode Control for Commercial Vegetables for insecticides registered for control of cabbage maggot on different crops.

Onion maggot flies lay eggs at the base of onion plants. Upon hatching the small maggots feed on the plant roots, causing wilting and seedling death. The first generation of maggots cause the most damage. Rotating fields and eliminating cull piles (in which onion maggots overwinter) can reduce onion maggot populations.  Using treated seed (Trigard), or applying Lorsban at planting will protect young onion plants. Both Lorsban 15G and Lorsban 4E is registered as an at-plant treatment for onion maggot. In addition, Lorsban 4E can be used as a post-planting drench spray, although drench treatments are not as effective as at-plant treatments for control of onion maggot. See MSUE Bulletin E-312: 2007 Insect, Disease and Nematode Control for Commercial Vegetables. The at-plant treatment for Lorsban 4E was inadvertently left out of this bulletin—the rate is 1.1 fl oz/ 1,000 row feet (based on 18 inch row spacing--see label for directions).



2. Trio look to push locally grown products

The Morning Sun

May 4, 2007





Gratiot Managing Editor


Long an agricultural community, Gratiot County has nevertheless never really made a name for itself when it comes to food.

Residents can purchase food at local supermarkets, but where are the locally grown meats, poultry, eggs, fruits and vegetables?

Aside from the warm-weather Farmers Market in Alma and some roadside stands, newcomers to the area are often at a loss to find home grown, tasty and organic foods. Three Gratiot County women are part of an effort to introduce small local farmers ­ and their produce ­ to the area.

Gretchen Harrison, and Brenna and Bethany Kline have been against the concentrated animal feeding operations, but as they are quick to point out, they are not against the farmers. They ­ and they believe lots of others ­ want to buy locally grown and organic foods.

“We want food that hasn’t traveled 1,500 miles,” Brenna Kline said.

With the help of Michigan State University Ag Agent Dan Rossman, they and others held a meeting with three area farmers this past week at the Alma Public Library. Their farms aren’t all organic, but they are practicing organic farmers and would be become organic farmers ­ if the demand were there.

They found three local farmers : Jim and Pat Graham, of Rosebush who sell organic beef and chickens, Ithaca’s Bill Wessenberg, who isn’t an organic farmer with his fruits and vegetables but could be, and Lori and Tim Frisbie of Forest Hill who are following organic practices with their eggs and vegetables.

Wessenberg is part of the Community Supported Agriculture, which is kind of an agriculture co-op. A fee is paid at the beginning of the season, entitling the family to receive so many pints or quarts of fruits and vegetables a season. He sometimes has a stand at Family Farm and Home on Alger Road.

The Grahams have a store in Rosebush and the Frisbies are newcomers and would like customers to stop at their home for fresh eggs.

Locally grown food is fresher and healthier, as Brenna pointed out, and they hope more people will become interested. Because there is more work involved, folks buying organically grown food pay a premium price The meeting held earlier was the first of what they hope will be many. Rossman will continue to help them find local producers and they are planning more meetings open to the public.

Local stores might want to sell locally grown and organic food ­ if the demand were there. The women, part of ECCO, Environmentally Concerned Citizens Organization hope to make that demand grow.

Anyone interested in learning more about the group, food or the farmers can check the website at www.iamforecco.com. Questions about where to get particular types of food are welcome and they will try to find the answers.

3. VENEZUELA: Chavez dumps Monsanto

Sunday, April 29, 2007 1:34 PM

Copied from SANET listserv,  May 4, 2007


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias has announced that the cultivation of genetically modified crops will be prohibited on Venezuelan soil, possibly establishing the most sweeping restrictions on transgenic crops in the western hemisphere.


Though full details of the administration's policy on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are still forthcoming, the statement by President Hugo Chavez will lead most immediately to the cancellation of a contract that Venezuela had negotiated with the US-based Monsanto Corporation.


Before a recent international gathering of supporters in Caracas, Chavez admonished genetically engineered crops as contrary to interests and needs of the nation's farmers and farmworkers. He then zeroed in on Monsanto's plans to plant up to 500,000 acres of transgenic soybeans in Venezuela.


"I ordered an end to the project", said Chavez, upon learning that transgenic crops were involved. "This project is terminated."


Chavez emphasised the importance of food sovereignty and security - required by the Venezuelan Constitution - as the basis of his decision.

Instead of allowing Monsanto to grow its transgenic crops, these fields will be used to plant yuca, an indigenous crop, Chavez explained. He also announced the creation of a large seed bank facility to maintain indigenous seeds for peasants' movements around the world.


The international peasants' organisation Via Campesina, representing more than 60 million farmers and farmworkers, had brought the issue to the attention of the Chavez administration when it learned of the contract with Monsanto. According to Rafael Alegria, secretary for international operations of Via Campesina, both Monsanto and Cargill are seeking authorisation to produce transgenic soy products in Venezuela.


"The agreement was against the principles of food sovereignty that guide the agricultural policy of Venezuela", said Alegria when informed of the president's decision. "This is a very important thing for the peasants and indigenous people of Latin America and the world."


Alegria has good reason to be concerned. With a long history of social and environmental problems, Monsanto won early international fame with its production of the chemical Agent Orange - the Vietnam War defoliant linked to miscarriages, tremors, and memory loss that more than 1 million people were exposed to. More recently, the company has been criticised for side-effects that its transgenic crops and bovine growth hormone (rBGH) are believed to have on human health and the environment.


Closer to home in Venezuela, Monsanto manufactures the pesticide "glyphosate", which is used by the neighbouring Colombian government as part of its Plan Colombia offensive against coca production and rebel groups. The Colombian government aerially sprays hundreds of thousands of acres, destroying legitimate farms and natural areas like the Putomayo rainforest, and posing a direct threat to human health, including that of indigenous communities.


"If we want to achieve food sovereignty, we cannot rely on transnationals like Monsanto", said Maximilien Arvelaiz, an adviser to Chavez. "We need to strengthen local production, respecting our heritage and diversity."


Alegria hopes that Venezuela's move will serve as encouragement to other nations contemplating how to address the issue of GMOs.


"The people of the United States, of Latin America, and of the world need to follow the example of a Venezuela free of transgenics", he said.

From SANET listserv April 27, 2007.



Vicki Morrone

Organic Vegetable and Crop Outreach Specialist

Michigan State University

C.S. Mott Sustainable Food Systems

303 Natural Resources Bldg.

East Lansing, MI 48824


517-282-3557 (cell)

517-353-3834 (fax)




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