What’s New in Michigan Organic AG?

Sept 25-Oct 7, 2007



1.         Stabenow helps Michigan with specialty crop subtitle


2.         Farmers Market Educational Sessions will be featured at the 2007 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo


3.         “Farm it Forward” Workshop Helps Farm in Transition



Notice of Position Openings


4.         Opening for an Organic Education Program Coordinator




5.         Open House and tour the Community Kitchen Trailer –Monday, October 22, 4:00 - 7:00pm


6.         Organic Tree Fruit Projects Field Day


7.         New Realities of Planned Grazing and Pasture Management . Friday, November 9, 2007, 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.


8.         Tri-State Organic IP Video Session 5, Introduction to Organic Markets and Certification. November 15, 2007, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. EST/5 – 7:30 p.m. CST

9.         Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market. December 4-6, 2007. Grand Rapids, MI.

10.       Organic Research Symposium Call for Papers. December 14, 2007 

11.       Michigan Family Farms Conference. January 19, 2008. Battle Creek, MI

12.       Northern Michigan Small Farms. January 26, 2008. Grayling, MI.

13.       Grant opportunity for Farmers through SARE. Due Dec 3, 2007

14.       Localvore Community Breakfast Lansing, Nov 17  8a.m.-11.a.m

1.      Stabenow helps Michigan with specialty crop subtitle


by: wizardkitten

Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 20:44:02 PM EDT

Copied from: http://www.bloggingformichigan.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=935

Decided to bring this to the front page from the Blasts section- this is a historic piece of legislation that will benefit Michigan, and Senator Stabenow deserves the credit.

For the first time, the Senate Farm Bill will recognize fruits and vegetables, which make up more than half of Michigan's agricultural income.

From the Senator's office-

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced that the Senate Committee on Agriculture has, for the first time, recognized the importance of fruits and vegetables by creating a new specialty crops subtitle and has approved over $3 billion to fund specialty crops provisions.

Specialty crops- the fruits, vegetables and other crops that keep America healthy- make up half of the nation's agricultural cash receipts, but have traditionally received little recognition in previous farm bills. This legislation is of particular importance to Michigan, which grows more diverse crops than any other state except California and is a national leader in the production of numerous specialty crops, including blueberries, apples, cherries, asparagus, and celery.

And that is not all this bill will do- there are provisions for alternative energy, childhood and seniors nutrition, conservation, farmers' markets, organic research, disaster relief and much more. Read the release for the whole breakdown.

more over the flip...

wizardkitten :: Stabenow helps Michigan with specialty crop subtitle

The Senate Farm Bill also places a high priority on alternative energy, conservation, rural development and nutrition policies. From provisions to assist in the research and production of cellulosic ethanol to loans to encourage the building of biofuel refineries, the Farm Bill will serve to assist Michigan as the state continues to emerge as a leader in alternative fuel production.


Also included are numerous provisions encouraging environmental stewardship, investing in our rural communities, and improving our nutrition programs to provide healthier alternatives to those in need. Stabenow provisions in the bill include reauthorization of a program to protect the Great Lakes by controlling soil erosion and a "Buy American" provision directing the United States Department of Agriculture to enforce current law, which states that all federal funds and all purchases for use in the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs must be from American farmers and growers.

Even those who are normally against farm subsidies are applauding this bill.

Stabenow has pushed for months for the provisions, lining up senators to back her plan to shift agriculture policy away from the traditional commodity crops -- wheat, corn, soybeans, cotton and rice -- that still get the most federal funding. She got praise on Thursday from Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that opposes most federal farm subsidies and pushed for more fruit and vegetable programs.

"Debbie Stabenow is now a key leader on agriculture policy," Cook said. "She really did carve this out and put pressure on the committee to accommodate these growers."

But trouble looms in the form of Dick Lugar.

Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the top Republican on the committee, plans to introduce an amendment that would sharply curtail commodity subsidies when the bill reaches the Senate floor, likely the week of Nov. 5.

First America's kids, now America's farmers. You get the impression that the Republicans just don't want to spend any money helping the people of this country at all.

If all goes well, this could be a big win for Michigan. Keep your fingers crossed.



2. Farmers Market Educational Sessions will be featured at the 2007 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo



The 2007 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo will feature special educational sessions on farmers markets on Thursday, December 6. 


“This is a great time to network with fellow farmers, vendors and market managers and to learn more about opportunities for optimizing marketing, sales and management at farmers markets,” said Dru Montri, Michigan Farmers Market Association project manager.


The Expo runs from December 4-6, 2007 in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the DeVos Place Convention Center and the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and is one of the most highly attended conferences in the area, attracting fruit and vegetable growers from all around the Midwest.  At last year’s Expo, 3,348 people registered to attend while 310 vendors and exhibitors lined the walkways of the trade show.  The numbers are expected to be even higher this year. 


Thursday will feature all-day sessions on farmers markets, including up-and-coming trends, marketing tactics and market sustainability.  The morning session, titled, “Marketing Inspiration for Farmers Markets and Their Vendors,” is focused on how markets can better market themselves, boost sales and attract more customers.  The afternoon session, “Plastic Money Comes to Farmers Markets,” will explore the growing trend of having Electronic Benefits Transfer at markets and the benefits of accepting debit and credit cards.


To coincide with these sessions, the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) is holding its founding meeting where charter members will vote on bylaws and elect the organization’s first board of directors.  Charter memberships for MIFMA will be available until November 15, 2007.


The farmers market educational sessions have been organized by the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University, Michigan Food and Farming Systems and the Michigan Farmers Market Association.  To register, visit www.glexpo.com. Pre-registration is available thru November 6, 2007 and there is a special Thursday-only admission rate of $25.



If you would like to access a searchable archive of the all the previous Mich-Organic listserv postings copy this URL and paste in your browser address field http://list.msu.edu/archives/mich-organic.html