Because the funding is, in part, from Michigan State University, which 
is a chemical giant funded college.  Those supplying the funding have 
expectations that are biased in favor of their personal business 
interests.  Face it, organic brings the chemical companies no real 
revenue...we don't purchase their dangerous products.'''because we 
don;t need them.

don dunklee

On Aug 15, 2008, at 8:46 PM, Diana Jancek wrote:

> I am curious about why this newsletter called  "MI-Organic List for 
> Michigan organic growers seeking ideas and info" posts information 
> recommending using the following chemicals, none of which are allowed 
> in organic production:
> Dithane, Manzate, or Penncozeb
> Pristine and Ridomil Gold MZ
> Bravo Weather Stik
> Rovral tank-mixed with Bravo
> Thanks.
> Diana Jancek
> Katherine Jane Leitch wrote:
>> What’s new in Michigan Organic Ag?
>> July 30 – August 14
>> Compiled by Vicki Morrone and Kate Leitch
>> 1. New Ag Network Newsletter (In part 1 of 2)
>> 2. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU (In part 1 of 2)
>> 3. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU (In part 1 of 2)
>> 4. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU (In part 1 of 2)
>> 5. Field Crop CAT Alert, MSU (In part 1 of 2)
>> 6. Fruit CAT Alert, MSU (In part 1 of 2)
>> 7. Farm Service Agency announces conservation reserve program- state 
>> acres for wildlife enhancement (In part 1 of 2)
>> 8. The Zen of Certified Organic Indiana Raised Lamb (In part 1 of 2)
>> 9. Can you generate energy on your farm? The answer is blowing in the 
>> wind (In part 2 of 2)
>> 10. Keep Antibiotics Working! House passes animal drug bill after 
>> drug industry blocks efforts to preserve effectiveness of 
>> antibiotics; help KAW urge the Senate to include provisions to 
>> protect public health (In part 2 of 2)
>> 11. MSU Student Organic Farm seeks farm crew members (In part 2 of 2)
>> 12. Cornell University seeks a full-time Senior Project Associate in 
>> Ag Sci, Crop and Soil Sci (In part 2 of 2)
>> 13. Farmers’ Market at the Ann Arbor Antiques Market- Aug 16 and 17 
>> (In part 2 of 2)
>> 14. Annual Soil Building Workshop’s early-bird deadline extended- Aug 
>> 20 and 21 (In part 2 of 2)
>> 15. Mid-Michigan Pasture Walk at Straub Dairy - Aug 21 (In part 2 of 
>> 2)
>> 16. Hoophouse Building Workshop with Growing Hope - Aug 22 and 23 (In 
>> part 2 of 2)
>> 17. University of Wisconsin-Madison organic workshop and field tour- 
>> Sep 4 (In part 2 of 2)
>> 18. Entrepreneurial Farm Tour- Sep 9 10 and 11 (In part 2 of 2)
>> 19. Intro to Permaculture: Ecological Edible Landscapes- Sep 20 (In 
>> part 2 of 2)
>> ********
>> ********
>> 1. New Ag Network Newsletter
>> Vol. 4, No. 8 August 13, 2008
>> In this issue:
>> Hoop houses for season extension: Are they right for you?
>> Mulch your tomatoes to fight weeds, retain soil moisture and save 
>> money
>> Reports from organic growers
>> ********
>> 2. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU
>> Vol. 23, No. 14, July 30, 2008
>> In this issue
>> Vegetable insect update
>> Onion disease alert
>> Regional reports
>> Weather news
>> Vegetable insect update
>> Beth Bishop
>> Entomology
>> Corn “worms”
>> Numbers of European corn borer moths captured in pheromone traps from 
>> July 22 to 29 have increased slightly, as the second flight has 
>> begun. No significant migration of corn earworm into the state has 
>> occurred during the past month and trap counts are low.
>> Squash bugs
>> Squash bug adults, nymphs and eggs have been observed in cucurbit 
>> plantings. Now is the time to control them. If you wait until the 
>> nymphs grow large and the row fills in, they are extremely difficult 
>> to control.
>> Squash bugs are primarily pests of squash and pumpkins, but can 
>> sometimes occur on melons. Squash bugs suck juices from the plants 
>> and may cause leaves to die and vines to wilt. Later in the season 
>> squash bugs feed on fruit, causing collapse.
>> Adults are three-quarters of an inch long and dark grayish brown with 
>> wings held flat over the abdomen. Eggs are laid in clusters on the 
>> underside of leaves and are orange when laid, but soon turn metallic 
>> bronze. Young nymphs are pale-green to white and older nymphs are 
>> grayish-white. Nymphs are wingless.
>> Small nymphs feed in groups on the underside of leaves. Larger nymphs 
>> feed individually and both large nymphs and adults are very mobile. 
>> Insecticides applications must target the small nymphs. An 
>> insecticide application is warranted when one or more eggs masses per 
>> plant are present. Consult bulletin E312: 2008 Insect, Disease, and 
>> Nematode Control for Commercial Vegetables for insecticides 
>> registered to control squash bugs on your crop.
>> Onion disease alert
>> Mary Hausbeck
>> Plant Pathology
>> Downy mildew
>> Downy mildew was verified by my lab yesterday afternoon from a field 
>> in the mid-Michigan area.  This disease is not unexpected given the 
>> rains and cooler, moist weather that we’ve experienced this year.  
>> Unfortunately, downy mildew is an especially devastating disease 
>> because it spreads rapidly and is not readily controlled.  Downy 
>> mildew of onion is caused by the pathogen, Peronospora destructor, 
>> and first infects older leaves, occurring as pale, elongated patches 
>> that may have a grayish-violet fuzzy growth.  Symptoms of the disease 
>> are best recognized when dew is present in the morning.  Infected 
>> leaves become pale green, then yellow and can fold over and collapse. 
>>  Premature death of onion leaves reduces bulb size.  The downy mildew 
>> pathogen initiates infection during cool temperatures (less than 
>> 72°F) and wet conditions.  Multiple infection cycles can occur in a 
>> season. Spores are produced at night and are easily blown long 
>> distances in moist air.  They can germinate on onion tissue in one 
>> and a half to seven hours when temperatures are 50°F to 54°F.  High 
>> daytime temperatures and short or interrupted periods of humidity at 
>> night can prevent sporulation.  Overwintering spores, called 
>> oospores, can form in dying plant tissue and can be found in 
>> volunteer onions, onion cull piles, and in stored infected bulbs.  
>> Oospores have thick walls and a built-in food supply so they can 
>> withstand unfavorable winter temperatures and survive in the soil for 
>> up to five years.
>> Research studies have shown that weekly applications of mancozeb 
>> (available as Dithane, Manzate, or Penncozeb) protect against downy 
>> mildew when spray coverage is good and sprays are begun before 
>> disease appears.  Some growers choose to include Ridomil Gold MZ in 
>> alternation with mancozeb although this program is more costly.  We 
>> have tested Pristine 38WG in rotation with Ridomil Gold MZ for downy 
>> mildew control.  The program with Pristine and Ridomil Gold MZ in 
>> alternation was effective for downy mildew, but is very costly.  It 
>> is likely that Pristine alternated with mancozeb would also be 
>> effective, but needs to be tested.  In addition to downy mildew, 
>> Pristine 38WG has activity against the leaf blights including purple 
>> blotch, Stemphylium, and Botrytis.  In a field test for purple blotch 
>> and Stemphylium leaf blight, Pristine alternated with Bravo Weather 
>> Stik was a stand-out treatment.  Newer products for downy mildew 
>> control include Acrobat and Reason.  While I do not have Michigan 
>> field data for these products, I would expect them to perform well in 
>> a rotation for downy mildew.  However, Acrobat and Reason have action 
>> only against downy mildew and will not control botrytis or purple 
>> blotch.
>> Purple blotch and stemphylium leaf blight
>> Many Michigan onion fields are showing symptoms of purple blotch.  
>> This disease got an earlier start than usual with the wet weather and 
>> warm night temperatures that we experienced a few weeks ago.  Purple 
>> blotch first appears as small water-soaked lesions that quickly 
>> develop white centers.  As they age, the lesions turn brown to 
>> purple, surrounded by a zone of yellow.  Lesions can coalesce, girdle 
>> the leaf, and cause tip dieback.  Occasionally, bulbs are infected 
>> through the neck or wounds on the scales.  Spores of Alternaria porri 
>> can form repeatedly on lesions with cycles of low and high relative 
>> humidity.  When free water is available, spores can germinate in 45 - 
>> 60 minutes at 82°F - 97°F.  Spores can form after 15 hours of high 
>> relative humidity (greater than 90 percent) and can be spread by 
>> wind, rainfall and irrigation.  Fungal growth is favored by 
>> temperatures of 43°F - 93°F, with an optimum temperature of 77°F.  
>> Old and young leaves injured by onion thrips are more susceptible to 
>> infection.  Symptoms can appear one to four days after infection, and 
>> new spores can appear by the fifth day.  The pathogen can overwinter 
>> in onion debris.
>> Stemphylium leaf blight is an occasional foliar problem in Michigan 
>> and has not yet been detected this year.  Symptoms begin as small, 
>> light yellow to brown, water-soaked lesions that develop into 
>> elongated spots that turn dark olive brown to black with spore 
>> development.  Coalescing spots can blight leaves, but rarely affect 
>> the bulb.  The pathogen normally invades dead and dying tissue.  
>> Disease development is favored by long warm periods of leaf wetness.  
>> Fungicides effective against purple blotch are also effective against 
>> Stemphylium leaf blight.
>> The following products are recommended for purple blotch:  Pristine, 
>> a strobilurin (Quadris or Cabrio), and Rovral tank-mixed with Bravo.
>> Botrytis leaf blight
>> Botrytis has been detected this year in onions.  It is caused by a 
>> fungus (Botrytis squamosa) that survives in onion trash or in soil by 
>> means of sclerotia (hard, black survival structures) which germinate 
>> in the spring, forming ascospores that begin the disease cycle.
>> Germinating sclerotia are small and very difficult to find, but they 
>> have been reported onion leaf trash.  Once the initial infections 
>> occur, spread is controlled by weather conditions.  This fungus forms 
>> its conidia (the spore stage that spreads the disease) only on dead 
>> or dying tissue, and only after 60 to 72 hours of continuous high 
>> humidities (75 to 100 percent) at temperatures averaging between 54°F 
>> and 75°F.
>> Conidia formed under these conditions are spread by wind currents, 
>> land on healthy tissue, and infect after a minimum of six hours of 
>> leaf wetness.  The longer the leaves remain wet, the more infection 
>> that occurs.  The fungus forms rather small, white lesions about the 
>> size of a pinhead surrounded by a light green halo.  Most of these 
>> lesions do not enlarge, but a small proportion will enlarge, girdle 
>> the leaf, and cause blighting.
>> The higher the humidity and the longer the periods last, the more 
>> leaf blighting that will occur.  Bravo has always been excellent for 
>> leaf blight control, but mancozeb and Rovral also give good control.  
>> In previous years, tank mixes of Rovral with either mancozeb or Bravo 
>> have been especially effective where botrytis leaf blight and purple 
>> blotch are both present.  Pristine will also do a good job when both 
>> botrytis leaf blight and purple blotch are a problem.
>> Bacterial diseases
>> Bacterial diseases are showing in many onion fields, especially those 
>> that experienced heavy rains earlier this summer.  It is likely that 
>> naturally-occurring soil bacteria were washed into the bulb and leaf 
>> whorls where they have multiplied and now causing a rot.  It will be 
>> difficult, if not impossible, to reach those inner onion tissues that 
>> are infected with the bacteria.  The only product that is proven and 
>> recommended for bacterial diseases is copper.  I’ve heard a lot of 
>> talk about spraying bleach and I do not recommend that growers do 
>> that.  Bleach will become inactivated as soon as it comes in contact 
>> with leaf tissue or soil.  It has no residual and will not protect 
>> the leaf tissue.  Copper is a proven bactericide with a residual 
>> action which is a fact that is supported by years of studies on 
>> onions and other crops that are affected by bacteria.  To lessen the 
>> concerns of phytotoxicity on onion leaf tissue, spray copper at a 
>> time of day when the solution can dry readily.  The longer that 
>> copper stays in solution, the more likely that it may cause some 
>> plant tissue burning.  When using copper sprays to combat bacterial 
>> disease, the spray interval should be at least every seven days.
>> ********
>> 3. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU
>> Vol. 23, No. 15, August 6 2008
>> In this issue
>> Vegetable insect update
>> Regional reports
>> Weather news
>> ********
>> 4. Vegetable CAT Alert, MSU
>> Vol. 23, No.16, August 13, 2008
>> In this issue
>> Vegetable insect update
>> Dont miss the sowing window for your brassica cover crops
>> Regional Reports
>> Weather
>> Vegetable insect update
>> Beth Bishop
>> Entomology
>> Several insect pests have been making a comeback in recent weeks.  
>> Corn earworm moth numbers increased, especially in southern and 
>> western Michigan, although they don’t come close to the hundreds of 
>> earworm moths caught during previous years. Weather conditions were 
>> conducive for migration of moths into the area and that is reflected 
>> in an increase in trap numbers.
>> European corn borer
>> The numbers of European corn borer moths caught in pheromone traps 
>> for the week of August 5 - 12 decreased slightly in most locations 
>> from those of the previous week (see chart), but this is most likely 
>> due to cooler weather reducing the activity. According to degree-day 
>> totals (base 50), we are in the midst of the second flight.  We don’t 
>> yet know, however, how large this flight will be, but it will likely 
>> last for several more weeks.
>> Western bean cutworm
>> Western bean cutworm flight is winding down, according to field crops 
>> entomologist, Chris DiFonzo, (see article in the August 7, 2008 Field 
>> CAT Alert) some eggs have been found in sweet corn.  We now have a 
>> resident population of western bean cutworm in the state and we can 
>> expect this pest to be a problem in future years.
>> Aster leafhopper
>> The percentage of aster leafhoppers infected with aster yellows has 
>> increased dramatically throughout the state.  This is typical for 
>> this time of year.  The number of infected aster leafhoppers depends 
>> on the number of infected plants, which depends on the number of 
>> infected leafhoppers, and this cycle causes an increase in infection 
>> in both plants and insects as the season progresses.  The latest 
>> infectivity rate for aster leafhoppers from Mason and Oceana counties 
>> is very high, over 20 percent. Carrot fields in the area have many 
>> plants with aster yellows symptoms.  The treatment threshold for this 
>> area is very low, one to two aster leafhoppers per 100 sweeps.  
>> Infectivity rates for aster leafhoppers collected from celery fields 
>> in southwest Michigan range from zero percent to six percent.  There 
>> is no dependable regional pattern to the variation in infectivity 
>> rates.  In general, the threshold in this area ranges from five to 25 
>> aster leafhoppers per 100 sweeps.  If growers are noticing aster 
>> yellows symptoms in their fields, they should use the lower numbers 
>> as their threshold.  For the rest of the state, growers can use 
>> thresholds of five to 25 aster leafhoppers per 100 sweeps for celery, 
>> 10 to 40 aster leafhoppers per 100 sweeps for carrots, and three to 
>> 18 aster leafhoppers per 100 sweeps for lettuce.  Again, if aster 
>> yellows symptoms are seen in the field, growers should go with the 
>> lower threshold.  Remember, it takes about three weeks for aster 
>> yellows symptoms to develop, so growers should discontinue leafhopper 
>> sprays three weeks before harvest.
>> Aphids
>> Aphids are showing up in celery.  The recent hotter, drier weather is 
>> conducive to aphid build-up.  Aphid populations can increase 
>> suddenly, and often appear close to harvest.  There are a number of 
>> insecticides registered for control of aphids on celery (See Bulletin 
>> E312).  It is important to apply insecticides only when necessary, 
>> since aphids can quickly develop resistance.  Two selective 
>> insecticides, Fulfill ® and Beleaf ® act to stop aphids from feeding. 
>>  Because they are selective insecticides, they do not affect natural 
>> enemies.  Although it may take several days for the aphids to die, 
>> they will not damage plants. Fulfill has a seven-day preharvest 
>> interval and Beleaf has a zero-day phi.
>> ********
>> 5. Field Crop CAT Alert, MSU
>> Vol. 23, No. 15, August 7, 2008
>> In this issue:
>> Update: Western bean cutworm
>> Soybean aphid - I’m not kidding!
>> Spider mites showing
>> Update on Michigan 2008 corn grain yield potential
>> Common rust on corn
>> Soybean disease update-soybean rust, white mold and root rots
>> Soybean sentinel plot update
>> Regional reports
>> Weather news
>> Soybean aphid - I’m not kidding!
>> Christina DiFonzo
>> Entomology
>> You all know I love aphids, and that I can talk endlessly about them. 
>> But I really wasn’t kidding the last few weeks when I reminded you to 
>> watch fields for my favorite pest. Populations per plant in most of 
>> my field plots remained low throughout July, but the percent of 
>> infested plants was high, and has increased steadily - nearly 100 
>> percent in some trials last week.
>> Within the last several weeks, aphid populations increased in 
>> southern Minnesota, producing winged migrants that have been caught 
>> in the Midwest aphid suction trap network. We definitely had an aphid 
>> flight into Michigan last week, perhaps from the infestation in 
>> Minnesota. On July 31, I found winged aphids with babies on plants on 
>> campus. By the following day, Friday, August 1, we were finding tiny 
>> aphid babies on most of the plants in an MSU efficacy trial. This 
>> means even if you didn’t have aphids, you probably have them now. 
>> Furthermore,Bruce MacKellar in southwest Michigan, reports a few 
>> fields over threshold in southwest Michigan, with a high enough 
>> population to produce winged migrants. These fields are in the 
>> infamous “K-deficient” belt that in the stretches across several 
>> counties. Potassium deficiency is a well-documented soybean aphid 
>> risk factor. Target such fields for scouting immediately to catch any 
>> infestations heading over threshold.
>> The soybean aphid threshold remains at 250 per plant, until plants 
>> are in the later R-stages (R5 and beyond).
>> Should you spray at a lower threshold because of high crop prices?
>> No. The aphid threshold was developed taking into consideration a 
>> range of crop prices and input costs. Even given higher returns, 
>> lowering the threshold doesn’t make good biological sense. We have 
>> never detected yield differences in treated and untreated plots when 
>> fewer aphids are present. And at lower aphid numbers, there still 
>> appears to be a battle going on between the aphids and predators. 
>> Pulling the trigger early wipes out the predators, so the aphids 
>> certainly win.
>> Should you spray at a lower threshold because of the additional 
>> impact of defoliators, such as bean leaf beetles and Japanese 
>> beetles?
>> No. The threshold was developed using data from plots in eight states 
>> over three years, including plots in Michigan. We did not keep bean 
>> leaf beetles or Japanese beetles out of these plots during the 
>> studies, they were there right along side the aphids. The yield from 
>> untreated plots in the study included the impact of both aphid 
>> sucking and beetle defoliation. The yields in treated plots included 
>> the impact of killing both aphids and beetles. Thus the soybean aphid 
>> threshold already includes the impact of defoliating pests, because 
>> we didn’t exclude them.
>> What about ignoring the threshold altogether and spraying an 
>> insurance application?
>> Bad idea. Killing beneficial insects can actually flare, or increase, 
>> an aphid population that was otherwise under control. Insurance 
>> applications may also flare spider mite (see accompanying article), 
>> which are making an appearance this week. Insurance applications also 
>> smoke honey bees, which have taken a beating in the last several 
>> years. See the August 4 edition of the Ohio State CORN newsletter for 
>> a cautionary article by my colleague Ron Hammond, “Spraying 
>> Insecticides on Soybeans and Honey Bees”.
>> ********
>> 6. Fruit CAT Alert, MSU
>> Vol. 23, No. 15, August 5, 2008
>> In this issue:
>> Tree fruit news
>> Starane Ultra labeled for pome fruits
>> Small fruit news
>> Botrytis gray mold control in fall raspberries
>> JMS Stylet Oil can be used to knock down powdery mildew on grapevines
>> Other news
>> Time to collect leaf samples for nutrient analysis
>> Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station Open House
>> Regional reports
>> Weather news
>> Botrytis gray mold control in fall raspberries
>> Annemiek Schilder
>> Plant Pathology
>> Gray mold, caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea, is one of the most 
>> important diseases affecting fall raspberries. Fall raspberries are 
>> usually at greater risk of infection than summer raspberries because 
>> of the prevailing weather conditions, such as lower temperatures, 
>> heavy dews and frequent precipitation. Cool, wet weather and heavy 
>> rains in the late summer and fall that keep the plants wet for 
>> extended periods are conducive to development of the fungus and 
>> infection of the fruit. The rainy weather this summer has already 
>> resulted in increased Botrytis gray mold pressure in raspberries.
>> Typical symptoms include a brown discoloration of the fruit and the 
>> presence of a gray fuzzy mold, which can rapidly develop and spread 
>> to neighboring healthy berries. Symptoms tend to be more severe 
>> inside the canopy and on clusters that are closer to the ground. Even 
>> if berries look perfectly healthy at harvest, they can change to a 
>> moldy mass within 24 to 48 hours.
>> Botrytis cinerea is a ubiquitous fungus, which is able to grow and 
>> sporulate profusely on dead organic matter. It overwinters in old 
>> infected canes and plant debris. The spores are airborne and can 
>> travel long distances on the wind. When the spores land on plant 
>> surfaces, they germinate and can invade the plant tissues directly or 
>> through wounds. Overripe berries and bruised berries are particularly 
>> susceptible to infection. Latent flower infections, even though they 
>> do occur, are not as important in raspberries as they are in 
>> strawberries.
>> Cultural methods are very important for control of Botrytis gray 
>> mold. Choosing a site with good air flow can reduce humidity in the 
>> canopy considerably. Low-density plantings, narrow rows and 
>> trellising can also reduce a buildup of humidity. Good weed control 
>> and moderate fertilizer use to avoid lush growth are also important. 
>> Selecting a resistant cultivar or, at the minimum, avoiding highly 
>> susceptible cultivars will help to reduce the need for control 
>> measures. During picking, avoid handling infected berries, since 
>> spores can be transferred on hands to healthy berries. Timely 
>> harvesting and rapid post-harvest cooling can also help to reduce 
>> losses to Botrytis gray mold.
>> Several fungicides are labeled for control of Botrytis in 
>> raspberries. Fungicide sprays during bloom are important to prevent 
>> pre-harvest infections, while post-harvest infections can be reduced 
>> by sprays close to harvest (e.g., the day before harvest). Switch 
>> (cyprodinil + fludioxonil) is a reduced-risk fungicide with excellent 
>> systemic and protectant activity against gray mold. It has a zero-day 
>> pre-harvest interval (PHI). Another good option is Elevate 
>> (fenhexamid), which is a reduced-risk, locally systemic fungicide 
>> with a zero-day PHI. Since these fungicides are in different chemical 
>> classes, they can be alternated for fungicide resistance management. 
>> My recommendation is to save Switch and Elevate for critical sprays, 
>> e.g., during wet periods and for sprays closer to harvest. Other 
>> fungicides that may be used in the spray program are Captevate 
>> (captan + fenhexamid) (three-day PHI), Pristine (pyraclostrobin + 
>> boscalid) (zero-day PHI), Captan (captan) (three-day PHI), Rovral 
>> (iprodione) (zero-day PHI) and Nova (myclobutanil) (zero-day PHI). To 
>> improve the efficacy of Rovral, an adjuvant should be added. Pristine 
>> and Nova also provide excellent control of late leaf rust, which 
>> sometimes infects the leaves and fruit of fall raspberries.
>> ********
>>     7. Farm Service Agency announces conservation reserve program- 
>> state acres for wildlife enhancement
>> East Lansing, MI, July 29, 2008 -- The U.S. Department of 
>> Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency is offering financial 
>> incentives in the hope of getting landowners to convert cropland into 
>> valuable wildlife habitat through the popular Conservation Reserve 
>> Program (CRP). The initiative aims to increase the acres of 
>> grasslands in southern Michigan and habitat for native pollinators in 
>> the western Lower Peninsula along Lake Michigan.
>> The program, which was the result of an agreement between USDA Farm 
>> Service Agency, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, wildlife 
>> management agencies, conservation and commodity groups -- such as the 
>> U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Nature Conservancy, Pheasants 
>> Forever, the Michigan Department of Agriculture, the Michigan 
>> Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Fruit and Vegetable 
>> Growers Association -- was announced in January.
>> Sign-up to enroll land in the new Conservation Reserve Program 
>> practice, called State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (CRP-SAFE), 
>> began in Michigan on July 1. The goal of SAFE is to create 7,500 
>> acres of diverse grasslands in 18 southern Michigan counties (Barry, 
>> Branch, Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, 
>> Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, Shiawassee, 
>> St. Joseph and Washtenaw) and 2,500 acres of pollinator habitat in 22 
>> counties in the western Lower Peninsula (Allegan, Antrim, Barry, 
>> Benzie, Berrien, Cass, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalamazoo, 
>> Kalkaska, Kent, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Muskegon, Newaygo, 
>> Oceana, Ottawa, Van Buren, and Wexford).
>> Landowners who choose to participate in the new practice may receive 
>> 90 percent of the cost of converting cropland into wildlife habitat, 
>> and in some cases 100 percent. In addition, they will receive rental 
>> payments for a minimum of 10 years and have the option for enrolling 
>> for up to 15 years. Participants will also receive a signing 
>> incentive payment equal to $100.00 or $150.00 per acre, depending on 
>> contract length, upon enrollment into the program.
>> “Native grasslands are one of the most threatened habitats in 
>> Michigan,” said Dale Allen, Conservation Chief for the USDA Farm 
>> Service Agency which administers the program. “A variety of non-game 
>> species, ranging from songbirds to butterflies, depend on grassland 
>> habitat for their survival.”
>> The 18 south Michigan counties eligible for SAFE were chosen because 
>> they once contained most of the state’s native grasslands, said 
>> Allen. The western counties were selected for creating pollinator 
>> habitat because of the importance of pollinators to the region’s 
>> fruit and vegetable industry.
>> “SAFE is intended to provide habitat for native pollinators. There 
>> has been a documented decline in many native pollinators such as 
>> bumblebees,” said Lynn Sampson, State Biologist for the USDA Natural 
>> Resources Conservation Service. “The decline of eastern honeybees due 
>> to colony collapse disorder has been a wakeup call to the importance 
>> of pollinators to our food supply. In addition, native pollinators 
>> also pollinate non-agricultural plants that provide food for 
>> wildlife.”
>> Land enrolled for either practice must be recently cropped, or be 
>> capable of growing an annual agricultural commodity. Land enrolled 
>> for the pollinator habitat practice can include land that is part of 
>> an orchard or vineyard. To participate in the pollinator habitat 
>> sign-up, landowners must convert a minimum of 2 acres to habitat with 
>> the plot being at least 100-feet wide. Pollinator habitat will be 
>> planted with a variety of grasses, flowers and flowering shrubs. 
>> There is no maximum limit of acres that can be enrolled and the land 
>> can be either in a block, along a field border, or in an 
>> orchard/vineyard/perennial fruit producing area (i.e. blueberries, 
>> strawberries, raspberries, etc). Landowners do not have to be fruit 
>> or vegetable growers to participate.
>> To enroll for the diverse grassland practice landowners must convert 
>> at least 30 acres of land to grassland habitat in most cases. A 
>> smaller number of acres can be enrolled if the land serves as a 
>> corridor between two larger areas of wildlife habitat. Enrolled land 
>> will be planted in a variety of native grasses and wildflowers with a 
>> small portion of the land planted with oak trees. The Michigan Nature 
>> Conservancy will provide an additional 10 percent cost share to 
>> landowners located in an area the organization has identified as a 
>> high priority area for habitat creation.
>> Sign-up for the SAFE practices are on a first-come first-served basis 
>> until the acreage targets are reached, said Allen. The USDA hopes to 
>> enroll all its acreage allowance within five years. The diverse 
>> grassland and pollinator habitat initiatives have different 
>> enrollment requirements.
>> Michigan Farm Service Agency, 3001 Coolidge Rd, Suite 350, East 
>> Lansing, Mi. 48823
>> Phone: 517-324-5110    FAX: 517-324-5168
>> ********
>> 8. The Zen of Certified Organic Indiana Raised Lamb
>> July 31, 2008
>> It's no secret that I love to visit farmers' markets. The only 
>> problem is that it takes me forever to walk through one. It's never 
>> enough for me to simply stop and buy something. I want to chat and 
>> learn more about the product and producer. I always leave these 
>> conversations educated and inspired.
>> A few weeks ago at the Trader's Point Farmers Market, I struck up a 
>> conversation with Tom Zennie, co-owner  with his wife, Nancy, of Zen 
>> Sheep Farm in Cloverdale, Indiana. We got on the topic of how to make 
>> kibbe. Several years ago, I was introduced to a kibbe by a friend of 
>> mine whose father was Syrian. It's unusual to find anyone who can 
>> talk in-depth about kibbe. But Tom delighted me with his knowledge 
>> and enthusiasm for both the dish and his certified organic raised 
>> lamb.
>> I spoke with Nancy this week who told me that their journey into 
>> raising certified organic lambs started in 1982 when they moved from 
>> Boston to Indiana for Tom's post-doctoral work. They rented a farm 
>> house in New Richmond. One day, a neighbor told Nancy that she was 
>> going to a livestock auction and asked if she wanted anything. Nancy 
>> jokingly told her to bring her back some lambs. That afternoon, the 
>> neighbor called Nancy to come over and pick up her lambs. Nancy felt 
>> she had no alternative but to take the lambs and raise them. When 
>> people came over for dinner, they raved about the lamb and told Nancy 
>> and Tom they should sell the meat. So, they bought a flock, began to 
>> raise the meat commercially, and were certified organic in 1996. 
>> Their commitment to raise certified organic meat was fueled, in part, 
>> by their growing family and a desire to feed their children healthful 
>> food.
>> After Tom's post-doctoral work was completed, the couple moved to 
>> Michigan and continued to organically raise and market lamb, pork, 
>> ducks, and chicken. But in 2003, a job change for Tom challenged the 
>> couple with a move to Indiana. Their biggest concern was their 
>> ability to retain their certified organic status when they moved the 
>> flock. After a long search, they found land that had been a wildlife 
>> habitat in Cloverdale where nothing had been done to the ground for 
>> 17 years. There they've established Zen Sheep Farm where they raise 
>> certified organic lamb and certified organic rocambole garlic.
>> The flock is fed a 100% plant based feed formula which was developed 
>> by Tom whose credentials in organic farming are extremely impressive. 
>> Zen Sheep Farm's certified organic lamb is USDA inspected, GMO free, 
>> and is raised without hormones or antibiotics. The lamb is sold by 
>> the cut as well as whole or half lambs. You'll find their lamb at 
>> several Indiana retail outlets and the Traders Point Farmers' Market.
>> I used their ground lamb to make ground lamb pita sandwiches. The 
>> lamb cooked up beautifully and was deliciously sweet. You'll find 
>> that recipe in the Summer Recipe section of this site. Additional 
>> recipes, including one for Tom's favorite way to make a grilled leg 
>> of lamb, can be found on the Zen Sheep Farm site.
>> Tom and Nancy are delighted with the customer response to their lamb 
>> and plan to increase the size of their flock in the coming year. They 
>> love having visitors to the farm and welcome everyone to come out and 
>> visit.
>> Zen Sheep Farm
>> Tom and Nancy Zennie
>> 4963 E CR 900 S
>> Cloverdale, Indiana 46120
>> Phone: 765-795-5526
>> [log in to unmask]
>> ********
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