What’s new in Michigan Organic Ag?
July 1 – July 17
By Vicki Morrone and Kate Leitch 

Production News and Information
1. New Ag Network Newsletter
2. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU
3. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU
4. Field Crop CAT Alert, MSU
5. Fruit CAT Alert, MSU
6. Organic Farms Deliver
7. Farm Bill Update Press Release
8. New Farmers’ Market in Baltimore (Macomb County) 

9.  July 18 – Farm to school pre-bid informational meeting in Manistee
10.  July 22 - Upcoming regional Project FRESH meetings
11.  August 20 and 21 - Annual soil-building workshop- Innovations to Build 
Soils to Feed Sustainable Communities
12. Hold the date: September 15 - Livestock training session for educators


1. New Ag Network Newsletter
Vol. 4, No. 6 July 9, 2008 

In this issue:
New organic pest management specialist Matt Grieshop joins MSU
Organic in the Farm Bill
Access the research presented at the first Organic Research Symposium
Organic Apple Field Day – August 8 in Illinois
New organic transition manual by OFFER
SARE brings hoop dreams through City Farm
Minnesota survey shows organic farmers satisfied and optimistic
Hail damages central Michigan corn and soybean fields
Reports from organic growers

2. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU
Vol. 23, No. 11, July 9, 2008 

In this issue:
Vegetable insect update
Downy mildew confirmed on the west side of the state
Downy mildew confirmed in cucumbers located in Monroe County, Michigan
Warm, wet weather favors early appearance of several vegetable diseases
Glyphosate injury on tomato
Hail damages central Michigan corn and soybean fields
Regional reports
Weather news

3. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU
Vol. 23, No. 12, July 16, 2008 

In this issue:
Vegetable insect update
Managing tomato diseases
Nutrient management following adverse weather
Saving nitrogen fertilizer with grass-legume mixtures
Regional reports

4. Field Crop CAT Alert, MSU
Vol. 23, No.13, July 10, 2008 

In this issue:
Insect update
Preparing to store wheat
Tips to avoid weed control antagonism when applying manganese fertilizer 
with glyphosate
Applying foliar fungicides to hail damaged corn, revisited
Preharvest wheat disease update
Cercospora leaf spot has arrived early in sugar beets
Glyphosate injury on tomato
Hail damages central Michigan corn and soybean fields
There is still time to register for the 2008 MSU Crop Diagnostic School on 
July 18
Regional reports

5. Fruit CAT Alert, MSU (new issue July 8)
Vol. 23, No. 13, July 8, 2008 

In this issue:
Tree fruit news
Monitoring and management strategies for the apple maggot
Monitoring and management strategies for cherry fruit fly
Glyphosate damage in apple and cherry orchards
American brown rot control in cherries
High density apple orchard tour
Small fruit news
Monitoring and management strategies for blueberry maggot
Grape IPM Workshop July 24 in Scottdale, Berrien County
NW Grape IPM Update “First Friday” meeting
Strawberry black root rot and renovation meeting
Other news
Controlling Japanese beetles in fruit crops
New disaster program requires crop insurance
Update of Michigan driver’s license requirements
Regional reports
Weather news

6. Organic farms deliver
By Linda Shepard, C & G Staff Writer
July 02, 2008 
Organic produce and products can be delivered “fresh from the farm” from 
several Michigan sources.
Maple Creek Farm, located in Yale, is a certified organic farm boasting 55 
acres of organic vegetables, 10 acres of pasture and hay for the farm’s 
animals, and 5-10 acres of cover crop to ensure soil fertility.
Owner Michelle Lutz said Michigan consumers should be aware of where produce 
originates, and know “where and how the food is grown.
“Local is just as important as organic,” she said.
The farm has used sustainable organic practices since 1995, and became 
certified organic in 1999. In addition to organic vegetables and herbs, the 
farm has orchards, Angus beef and honeybees.
Those looking for fresh organic produce grown by “a farmer with a face” 
can purchase “shares” of Maple Creek Farm for a specific growing season.
This allows the grower to concentrate on growing instead of selling, and it 
delivers consumers better value for their money, said Lutz. One box of 
produce is delivered to drop-off locations every week for 20 weeks at a cost 
of $700.
Drop-offs are located in Royal Oak, St. Clair Shores, Beverly Hills, 
Birmingham, Shelby Township, Troy, Bloomfield Hills, Rochester, Grosse 
Pointe Park, Ferndale, Farmington and more. For more information, call (810) 
387-4365 or visit
Organic By the Case is another Michigan business that offers organic 
products delivered via online shopping.
“Our vision is making the busy consumer’s life easier and more 
convenient when buying organic goods,” said Organic By the Case President 
Yvette Berman. “Internet shopping saves time and fuel. Organic products 
have no toxins, and as consumers become more educated, the demand for 
organics is gaining momentum.”
The company’s warehouse is located in Orion Township, and they offer 
discounts based on volume orders. A pickup option at the warehouse is 
available within designated hours.
By visiting, customers can purchase a wide variety 
of organic products, including dry grocery goods, beverages, baby food, soap 
and cleaning products.
According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, organic farming is 
recognized as an alternative to conventional or chemical farming — a 
system of farming that is both restorative and sustainable.
Organic farming is a partnership with, rather than control over, nature say 
MDA officials. It focuses on a management system that enhances biodiversity, 
biological cycles and soil biological activity to produce healthy plants and 
animals, and foster human and environmental health. It prohibits the use of 
synthetic chemicals, genetically modified organisms and ionizing radiation.
The demand for organics is growing, said Nick Karmo, store director of 
Market Fresh — located on the northwest corner of 13 Mile and Southfield 
roads in Beverly Hills — a retail store that focuses on produce.
“In 2005, organics accounted for between 10 and 15 percent of our 
sales,” Karmo said. “Now it is 30-40 percent. People are more proactive 
now and don’t mind paying extra.”
Two-thirds of Market Fresh’s produce is available as organic, and prices 
are coming down, Karmo said. “Organics are often the same price as the 
non-organics,” he said. 

You can reach Staff Writer Linda Shepard at [log in to unmask] or at 
(586) 498-1065.

7. Farm Bill Update Press Release: Kessler organic farming bill advances to 
full House 

HARRISBURG, June 26 – State Rep. David Kessler's bill to promote organic 
farming is headed to the full House of Representatives. 

"This bill would be a major step forward on achieving two objectives -- 
making farming more profitable and improving the environment," he said. 

On Tuesday, the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee approved 
Kessler's bipartisan legislation (H.B. 2347 
nd=0&amp;body=H&amp;type=B&amp;BN=2347> ) that would provide temporary 
financial aid to farmers who want to convert to organic agriculture. 
Participation would be entirely voluntary. 

"This would help to preserve farmland. Organic food is the fastest-growing 
sector of the food industry and provides a net return to farmers much higher 
than for conventionally raised farm products," Kessler said. 

"In addition, all Pennsylvanians would benefit from being able to buy food 
produced close to home -- local food requires much less fuel to get to 
market than out-of-state or foreign products." 

As secretary of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, Kessler 
arranged with Chairman Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, to bring the committee 
to Berks County on April 10 for a hearing on the bill. Kessler also 
testified before the House Appropriations Committee in favor of the pending 
legislation. He said Maryland, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin are among 
several states that already have adopted legislation to promote organic 

Kessler met for 10 months with staff of the Rodale Institute, located in 
northern Berks County, to help develop the legislation. The institute is a 
worldwide authority on organic farming. 

"I have visited livestock and crop farms ranging from 100 to 300 acres that 
switched, and once they got through the transition period, those farms 
became more profitable. Their profit margins went up because no-till farming 
uses less fuel and organic farming eliminates the need for chemicals and 
pesticides," he said. 

"Organic farming produces 35 to 70 percent higher yields in drought 
conditions, and it can produce a small reduction in flooding – organically 
farmed land can absorb more water since it retains more pockets of air. 

"If every farm in Pennsylvania used organic no-till practices, it would have 
a carbon-sequestering effect equal to taking 2 to 3 million cars off the 
roads. In addition, no-till farmers can qualify for another source of income 
 -- payments for sequestering carbon – which at least one Berks County 
farmer is already receiving," Kessler said. 

"All of these gains benefit the farmers’ bottom line and the environment, 
including Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts. There are organic agriculture 
opportunities in Pennsylvania – for example, some organic dairy farmers in 
Pennsylvania have to get organic hay shipped from out-of-state to feed their 

The bill includes a program to reimburse producers for their transition 
costs and losses such as a temporary drop in yields, which would allow them 
to convert thousands of acres from conventional to organic farming. 

"In the first two to four years, farmers who switch typically see lower 
yields, but as the soil returns to a more natural state, their yields are 
the same as before, or better," he said. "And by boosting farm income, we 
would also boost efforts to preserve farmland in fast-growing parts of Berks 
County and other areas of Pennsylvania." 

House Democratic Communications Office
Phone: 717-787-7895
Fax: 717-783-6839
Email: [log in to unmask]

8. New Farmers’ Market in Baltimore (Macomb County)
Hello all,
We have our first market scheduled for Next Sunday, July 27 from 8-2. We 
still have space for marketers. You first market with us is FREE!
Our market is located right downtown in New Baltimore, which is about 6 
miles NE of Mt. Clemens. We have a view of the lake, with a wonderful beach 
park just steps from the market location.
Please contact me if you are interested!
Cindy Paparelli
Ride The Wave Secretary
Farmers' Market Chair
Events Co-Chair


9. Farm-to-School pre-bid informational meeting in Manistee
July 18, 2008 at 3:30 pm
Manistee High School Conference Room, 525 12th St., Manistee, MI
Pasted below is a letter inviting farmers and vendors to attend a farm to 
school pre-bid meeting in Manistee, and a product availability and pricing 
form for reference.  This farm to school project is a collaborative effort 
of the school food service directors of Manistee Area Public Schools and 
Kaleva Norman Dickson/Bear Lake Schools in Manistee County.  These school 
food service directors are primarily interested in purchasing apples, apple 
slices, and potatoes for their school meals programs next school year, but 
they are open to learning more about the availability of other fruits and 
vegetables available from growers and vendors in northwest lower Michigan. 
All interested farmers and vendors are invited to attend this informational 
pre-bid meeting or contact the food service directors directly to learn more 
about this exciting market opportunity!  Please see the letter copied below 
for more details and contact information. As the letter notes, this meeting 
is for informational and planning purposes ONLY.  An official bid notice 
will be released later in the summer, prior to the start of school.
All school districts are interested in fresh fruits and vegetables to serve 
as part of the National School Lunch Program beginning with the 2008/2009 
school year. We will release an official notice for price quotes in August, 
for purchases beginning in September. This pre-bid meeting is for 
informational and planning purposes only.
We are primarily interested in procuring apples, apple slices, and potatoes. 
Please see the attached product availability and pricing form, and note that 
varieties, sizes, and pack of products listed here are potentially flexible 
until we award contracts, depending upon available products and the food 
service directors’ needs. Also, please make us aware of any additional 
products you would like us to consider, along with their specifications, 
pricing, and availability. All districts reserve the right to award multiple 
contracts to multiple vendors, and do not guarantee any specific ordering 
volumes but we will be happy to discuss our anticipated use. Additionally, 
successful vendors may be asked to host school field trips and/or visit 
schools within the districts and present their products to students and 
staff as an educational tool and hands-on method for introducing local 
produce within the school or cafeteria.
If you are interested in partnering with these school districts, please 
attend the meeting on July 18th. If you have additional questions, please 
contact Kathy Gutowski, Director of Nutrition Services, Manistee Area Public 
Schools at 231-398-3695 or [log in to unmask], or Jenice Momber, Food 
Service Director, Kaleva Norman Dickson/Bear Lake Schools at (231) 477-5353 
ext 304 or [log in to unmask]
Thank you in advance.
Kathy Gutowski and Jenice Momber

10.  Save the Dates for upcoming regional Project FRESH meetings.
July 22, 2008: Wayne County, 10 am – 2 pm. Please see
July 29, 2008: Marquette County, 10 am – 2 pm. Please see 
July 30, 2008: Alcona County, 12 – 4 pm. Please see
August 8, 2008: Mecosta County, 10 am – 2 pm. Please see
For more information and to pre-register, please contact Micah Manikas or 
Teresa Johnson at (517) 432-3387, [log in to unmask] or [log in to unmask]

11. Annual soil-building workshop- Innovations to Build Soils to Feed 
Sustainable Communities 

EAST LANSING, Mich.− Innovations to Build Soils to Feed Sustainable 
Communities is a two-day workshop featuring an expert in soil health from 
the Cornell University Soil Health Team, in Ithaca, New York. The event will 
take place Wednesday and Thursday, August 20-21 at Morgan Composting in 
Sears, Mich (4353 US Highway 10) from 9 am to 4:30 pm each day.
The workshop will consist of two days of educational sessions by researchers 
and expert farmers, a tour of Morgan Composting and vermicompost Facility, a 
trade show, and demonstrations of equipment for using compost and equipment 
targeted to growers to scale up production, such as transplanters, weeders, 
and compost spreaders. The focus of the discussions will be on improving 
crop quality by building healthier soils. Wednesday, August 20, will 
highlight vegetable production, and Thursday, August 21, will feature field 
crop production. In addition to the trade show and field demonstrations, 
representatives from equipment dealerships, the USDA Farm Service Agency, 
and credit unions will be available to discuss opportunities to help farmers 
expand their operations. 

Those attending will also be treated to a presentation by Bob Schindelbeck 
from Cornell University’s Department of Crop and Soil Science. 
Schindelbeck is a Soil Research Specialist on the Cornell Soil Health Team 
who will bring information from the team to the farmer. He will share with 
us how the Cornell Soil Health Team analyzes soil for the living and 
non-living components in the soil, and how they impact the soil quality.  
The Soil Health Team has designed a system for growers to not only 
understand what the soil contains now, but how it can be made more 
productive using appropriate management. In 2007, the team published a 
manual describing their system. This manual provides a broad overview of 
many key aspects of soil health and provides practical information so that 
growers can assess and manage the physical, chemical, and biological 
components of their farms’ soils. For the curious, this manual is 
available as an online resource within the Soil building and Compost section 
of the website. 

In the afternoon, our guest speaker, Bob Schindelbeck, will demonstrate, 
using farmers’ soils (which they are invited to bring), how soil structure 
or water stable aggregates impact crop production. This demonstration will 
foster a discussion about the impact of soil management on the structure of 
water stable aggregates, which enhance soil drainage, water retention and 
nutrient availability to the plant. 

Attendees may choose either one or two-day registration options for the 
workshop. Cost of registration is as follows: 

		Reservations made by Aug. 15
			One-day registration: $30
			Two-day registration: $50
		Reservations made after Aug. 15
			One-day registration: $40
			Two-day registration: $60

Trade show tables may be purchased for $60, but reservations must be made by 
postmarked before Aug. 15, and include a two-day registration for two 
people. Trade table and registration forms for the workshop can be found at You can securely register on-line using check, 
credit card, or MSU account number at 
If you prefer, you can print out registration forms at  These forms can be sent in to 303 Natural 
Resources, c/o Morrone, East Lansing, MI 48824. Make checks payable to 
Michigan State University.  For additional questions contact Vicki Morrone 
at (517) 353-3542. 

Innovations to Build Soils to Feed Sustainable Communities is sponsored by: 
Michigan State University, Michigan State University Extension, MSU Dept. of 
Crop and Soil Sciences, Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, USDA Farm 
Service Agency, and Morgan Composting, Inc. Inc.

12. Hold the date: Livestock Training Session for Educators
September 15
MSU Dairy Farm, MSU 

MSUE has worked with MDA to develop a new Livestock*A*Syst bulletin, 
available shortly in hard copy. When that is out, the AAE AoE team will be 
hosting a training session for any interested Educator on Monday, Sept. 
15th, probably in the afternoon,
at the MSU Dairy Farm, MSU.  Please hold the date if you are interested. 

The Livestock*A*Syst follows the other *A*Syst formats in that it points out 
risk factors, and highlights which box you need to be in to be in 
conformance with GAAMPS, and also where your farm would need to be to be 
ready for MAEAP verification and or NRCS EQIP funds.  The audience is small 
and medium size farms, as the large farms are under the permit and beyond 
this step. 

The goal of the training is to bring MSUE staff up to date with how MDA and 
NRCS are viewing livestock farms; what is in conformance, what is in the 
gray area and what is non-conformance.  As we all know, the heightened 
awareness to livestock agriculture trickles down to all sizes of farms.   
The Livestock*A*Syst can be used to increase the awareness to producers of 
where they need to be today, for GAAMPS conformance, and provides an 
organized format that would point them in the right direction if their 
future is headed to be a large CAFO, if they seek MAEAP verification, or if 
their future will seek NRCS cost share for any improvement/expansion   (i.e. 
if they are not even GAAMPs ready, then they need to be directed to 
important issues before expanding to a larger size). 

MMPA regional reps will be using this new tool with their dairy producers, 
some groundwater techs will be using it and MAEAP Progressive planning will 
now have a more organized and consistent tool.  An Extension educator may 
use it in its entirety or benefit from the content update as they work with 

MDA staff will be assisting with the training. 

For more information, contact Natalie Rector: 

Natalie Rector
MSU Extension Manure Nutrient
315. W. Green Street
Marshall, MI  49068
office:  269.781.0908
fax:  269.781.0907
cell:  269.967.6608
[log in to unmask]

Happy reading, teaching, growing, and eating! 

If you would like to access previous postings to the Mich-Organic listserv you can copy and paste the following URL into your browser address bar