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, 

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

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

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 Questions about where to
get particular types of food are welcome and they will try to find the

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


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


"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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