13. New Report Documents Organic Agriculture in Michigan State



A new report developed collaboratively by Michigan State University and
the Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance provides information about
Michigan's certified organic farms and processing businesses.  Data from
a 2005 statewide survey as well as national surveys conducted by USDA's
Economic Research Service and the Organic Farming Research Foundation
provide an important perspective about Michigan's current organic
agriculture status and how Michigan contributes to the region and


Among the report's findings:


*	About two thirds (66%) of Michigan's certified organic farmers
transitioned from conventional production practices to organic.
*	Over 75% of Michigan's organic farmers have been certified
organic for 10 years or less.
*	Although the average acreage of organic farms varies
considerably depending on the farm type, the overall mean average was
260 acres, with a range of 1 to 2,400 acres.  That compares with an
overall mean average of 190 acres for all Michigan farms documented in
the 2002 Census of Agriculture.  


The report provides a profile of Michigan organic farms and farmers.  It
addresses their farming practices, marketing practices, processors,
participation in government programs and views on policy issues.  You
may view and download a copy of the report at
<> .  Click on Michigan Organic Survey.

14. Organic could help fight world hunger

6th May 2007, 4:54 WST 

Associated Press 

Organic food has long been considered a niche market and a luxury for
wealthy consumers. But researchers have told a UN conference a
large-scale shift to organic agriculture could actually help fight world
hunger while improving the environment.

Crop yields initially can drop as much as 50 per cent when
industrialized, conventional agriculture using chemical fertilizers and
pesticides is converted to organic. While such decreases often even out
over time and promote other benefits, the figures have kept the organic
movement largely on the sidelines of discussions about feeding the

Researchers in Denmark found, however, that there would not be any
serious negative effect on food security for sub-Saharan Africa if 50
per cent of agricultural land in the food exporting regions of Europe
and North America were converted to organic by 2020.

While total food production would drop, the amount per crop would be
much less than previously assumed, and the rise in world food prices
that resulted could be mitigated by improvements in the land and other
benefits, the study found.

A similar conversion to organic farming in sub-Saharan Africa could help
the region's hungry because it could reduce their need to import food,
Niels Halberg, a senior scientist at the Danish Research Centre for
Organic Food and Farming, told the UN conference on Organic Agriculture
and Food Security.

Farmers who go back to using traditional agricultural methods would not
have to spend money on expensive chemicals and would grow more diverse
crops that are more sustainable, the report said. In addition, if their
food is certified organic, farmers could export any surpluses, bringing
in cash, since organic food has such premium prices.

Alexander Mueller, assistant director-general of the UN Food and
Agriculture Organisation, or FAO, praised the report and noted that
projections indicated the number of hungry people in sub-Saharan Africa
was only expected to grow.

Considering that the impact of climate change will target the world's
poor and most vulnerable, "a shift to organic agriculture could be
beneficial", he said.

The Rome-based FAO's Nadia El-Hage Scialabba, who organised the
conference, pointed to other studies of a hypothetical food supply that
she said indicated organic agriculture could produce enough food per
capita to feed the current world's population.

One such study, by the University of Michigan, found a global shift to
organic agriculture would yield at least 2,641 kilocalories per person
per day, just under the world's current production of 2,786, and as many
as 4,381 kilocalories per person per day, researchers reported.

"These models suggest that organic agriculture has the potential to
secure a global food supply, just as conventional agriculture today, but
with reduced environmental impacts," Scialabba said in a paper presented
to the conference.

However, she stressed that the studies were only that - economic models.

The UN defines organic agriculture as a "holistic" food system that
avoids the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, minimises
pollution and optimises the health of plants, animals and people. It is
commercially practiced in 120 countries and represented a $US40 billion
($A48.6 billion) market last year, Scialabba said.

15. Getting Started in Exporting Workshop

Learn Step-by-Step the Process of
How to Expand Your Business by Entering the Export Market


Discover the opportunities in international food markets and how federal
assistance programs can help increase your export sales. 

June 14, East Lansing, MI

Join the Food Export - Midwest and the Michigan Department of
Agriculture on June 14th at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at
Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan to discuss exciting
opportunities in the export market as well as the federal assistance
programs available to help U.S. food exporters break into new markets.

You'll learn the keys to exporting success: 

*	Determine your firm's level of "export readiness" and what you
need to do to go to the next step. 
*	Build a network of public and private export assistance and make
profitable use of export promotional activities. 
*	Research and target your top markets for export and create an
effective marketing strategy. 
*	Understand terms-of-sale and payment, and prepare competitive
quotes to trade leads. 
*	Select the best method of distribution for your products,
understand basic export documentation and procedures, and develop an
overall export policy that best suits your company. 
*	Integrate all the elements of the export transaction in a
step-by-step method. 

This workshop is sure to educate and energize your company for the
export process. For additional information, please review the attached
flyer <>
or contact Jamie Zmitko-Somers at (517) 241-3628 or
[log in to unmask]





Happy Farming !  :)

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