What's New in Michigan Organics?

1.	Action Alert: Support Strong Rules for Organic Pasture
2.	Cooperator Farmer Contracts program
3.      USDA Seeks Public Comment on Deregulation of Genetically
Engineered Corn

3.	Business Development Specialist

4.      Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Expo Thursday Dec 11, 2008
5.	Mid-Atlantic Sustainable Agriculture Conference


1.	Action Alert: Support Strong Rules for Organic Pasture
Comment now to USDA-Comment period closes December 23, 2008
The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) released the long anticipated
proposed rules tightening the
pasture requirements for organic livestock on Friday October 24, 2008.
This is a strong proposal
that guarantees that organic milk production meets consumer expectations.

The proposal needs to be improved to remove overly prescriptive
language that will cause problems for the health and safety of
animals, might have negative impacts on the environment, and place
extensive record keeping burdens on farmers. This can be done while
preserving the requirement that organic ruminants be on pasture as
much as possible during the grazing season.

Please submit your comments ASAP - see below for detailed instructions

See the NOC website, or for more detailed information and a
suggested re-write of rule language.  Suggested key points for

Support the requirement for a minimum 30% dry matter intake (DMI) from
pasture, averaged over the full growing season, with the growing
season ranging from 121-354 days, but substitute "grazing season" for
"growing season," to take into account the reality of the grazing
season in different areas.

Require that ruminants are managed on pasture only during the grazing
season, (not year round) to take into account different farming
conditions, to protect pastures from damage, and to protect the health
and safety of the livestock during adverse weather conditions.

NOP must provide needed exemptions or ruminants from pasture and
outdoor access during period of inclement weather and to protect soil
and water quality.

Revise the definition of "inclement weather" so that any condition
that cause's physical harm to animals is a valid reason for limiting
pasture and outdoor access.

Dry lots and feed lots, where animals are confined and there is little
or no vegetation, should be explicitly banned for ruminants. However,
clean well-managed feeding pads (barn yards) are essential facilities
needed for exercise and outdoor access during the non-grazing season,
and as a supplement to pasture during the grazing season.
Modify the definition of "sacrificial pasture" to indicate this can be
used during the non-grazing season to provide outside access, and make
use of this practice optional, as the practice may be detrimental to
the environment, including to soil and water quality, and to animal
health when operations do not have well drained land that is
accessible for livestock or during winter weather or excessive rain

 Streamline the proposed record keeping requirements for livestock
operations so that farmers can document their pasture feed rations in
various ways that are acceptable to certifiers.

NOP must drop proposed language regarding replacement dairy animals.
As proposed, it will allow certain farms to buy non-organic animals,
and require others to buy or raise only organic young stock. The NOP
must move quickly to publish a Proposed Origin of Livestock Rule that
has one criterion for dairy replacement animals for all operations:
"Once an operation has been certified for organic production, all
dairy animals born or brought onto the operation shall be under
organic management from the last third or gestation.
Permit grain finishing of beef slaughter stock, such that these
animals may be exempt from the 30% pasture DMI requirement during the
finishing period not to exceed 120 days, but must not be denied access
to pasture during the period.
Remove "bee" and "fish used for food" from the definition of
"livestock" until proposed standards are issued for those production

Please also demand that USDA NOP enforce the current regulation in
regards to pasture while the proposed rule goes through the process of
becoming a Final Rule

Once in effect and with implementation by 2010, we urge NOP to enforce
the new regulation and work with producers and certifiers to educate
them on the requirements of the new rules. With these changes, a final
rule can be written that can safeguard the long-term integrity of
organic farming.

How to  submit comments:
Give your name, farm name (if appropriate), location and the reason
for sending comments (consumer, producer, advocate etc.).
There are three ways to submit comments:

1) Mail. Written comments must be received (not postmarked) by Dec.
23, 2008. They must be identified with, "Docket Number AMS-TM-06-0198;
TM-05-14" at the heading of the document. Mail written comments to:
Richard H. Mathews, Chief, Standards Development and Review Branch,
National Organic Program, Transportation and Marketing Programs
USDA-AMS-TMP-NOP, 1400 Independence Ave., SW.
Room 4008- So., Ag Stop 0268
Washington, DC 20250.

2) Online. Visit the Regulations web portal: Use
the search terms "organic pasture." Comments must be submitted online
by Dec. 23, 2008. Do not leave it to the last moment to submit
comments to the site as it tends to get overloaded at the end of
comment periods.

3) Send to NOC Mail, fax or email your comments to Ed Maltby by
12/19/08 and he will forward them to the NOP. By mail: Ed Maltby,
NODPA Executive Director, 30 Keets Rd, Deerfield, MA 01342. Fax:
866-554-9483. Email: [log in to unmask]

2.	Cooperator Farmer Contracts program
As part of the pasture based dairy project at KBS a Cooperator Farmer
Contracts program has been developed to support on-farm, farmer driven
research, demonstration, and outreach activities.  Please circulate
this information to any dairy producers that may be interested in
participating in the program and to any individuals or groups that
have contact with dairy producers.  Project proposals are due by
January 16 and funds will be available by March.  Additional
information can be found on the pasture dairy web site
( or by
e-mailing ([log in to unmask]) or calling (269-671-2360) me.  Thank you for
your help in distributing this information and let me know if you have
any questions.
Mat Haan
Pasture-Based Dairy Project Coordinator
Michigan State University
Kellogg Biological Station
3700 E. Gull Lake Drive
Hickory Corners, MI 49060
[log in to unmask]
269-671-2360 (office)
269-671-2351 (Fax)

3. USDA Seeks Public Comment on Deregulation of Genetically Engineered Corn
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service (APHIS) is seeking public comment on a petition to deregulate
corn genetically engineered (GE) to produce a microbial enzyme that
facilitates ethanol production. The petition for deregulation,
submitted by Syngenta Seeds, Inc., is in accordance with APHISʼ
regulations concerning the introduction of GE organisms and products
and is available for public review and comment. Following the comment
period, APHIS makes a determination of nonregulated status if it can
conclude that the organism does not pose a plant pest risk. If APHIS
grants the Syngenta Seeds, Inc., petition for deregulation, the GE
corn and its progeny would no longer be regulated articles. The
product could then be freely moved and planted without the requirement
of permits or other regulatory oversight by APHIS. Comments may be
submitted online or by mail until January 20, 2009.

Job Opportunities

4.	Business Development Specialist
Posted: Nov 17, 20008
Deadline: Dec 12, 2008

Supervisor: Jennifer Fike, Executive Director, Food System Economic
Partnership (FSEP) and the Business Innovation and Networking
Location: Food System Economic Partnership, Ann Arbor, MI

I. Purpose & Responsibilities
In an independent contracting position reporting to the FSEP Executive
Director, and working as a facilitator of the Agri-food Regional
Skills Alliance (RSA) and member of the Business Innovation and
Networking Team, this professional works collaboratively with the FSEP
Business Innovation and Networking Committee, FSEP Leadership Team,
and RSA partnering organizations to provide business planning services
to maintain and grow the regional agricultural economy and make
agriculture a thriving component of communities in Southeast Michigan.
II. Specific Job Functions

Coordinate the Agri-food RSA, where FSEP and the Business Development
Specialist serve as a catalyst, convener, intermediary, and advisor in
the creation of the Agri-Food RSA in Southeast Michigan.   The goal of
the Agri-Food System RSA is to expand business planning services for
agri-business entrepreneurs and assist farmers in the conversion of
agriculture commodities into consumer products or services to create
and expand jobs in the region.    There are four components of this

1)  Catalyst:  Help bring about:  a) change in the agricultural
economy of Southeast Michigan 	through creating connections between
food system entrepreneurs and to increase job creation 	in the
agriculture sector.

2)  Convener:  Assist in bringing together key stakeholders for the
RSA including Michigan Works! agencies, economic development
organizations, business owners, farmers, community 	organizations,
farmers, food distributors, and all others involved in making the
transition to more locally produced food purchasing and consumption.

3) Intermediary: Serve as the conduit for services related to
agricultural business 	planning services; work with entrepreneurs
interested in creating agri-food businesses and assist them in the
development of business plans

4) Advisor:  Advise other key stakeholders on insights knowledge
gained, effective 	practice, policy impacts, etc.  Key Stakeholders
include funders, the private sector, the public sector, policy makers,
nonprofits, and business owners.

III.  Specific Expectations:
	Goal 1:
	Provide business planning services to potential entrepreneurs and
existing business owners.
1)  Identify potential food business entrepreneurs and existing
businesses through outreach at MSU Extension offices, job fairs,
Michigan Works! Centers, community colleges, etc.
2)  Conduct survey of employers within RSA to determine business needs
3)  Select entrepreneurs and existing businesses to engage in business planning
4)  Perform market analysis with entrepreneurs
5)  Perform feasibility studies with entrepreneurs
6)  Develop business plans; set goals/objectives

Goal 2:
Conduct outreach to potential entrepreneurs in Southeast Michigan to
promote business planning services offered by Agri-Food System RSA.
1)  Create Agri-RSA council to provide linkages between employers and
Michigan Works!  Agencies
2)  Conduct outreach at employment agencies, Eastern Market, community
colleges, and chambers of commerce to promote services

Goal 3:
Conduct outreach to farmers/producers in Southeast Michigan to promote
Agri-Food System RSA
1)  Conduct direct mail campaign to farmers/producers and issue press releases
2)  Conduct outreach to farmers at farmers' markets
3)  Update FSEP website to add services
4)  Conduct outreach at Farm Bureau offices

Goal 4:
Provide seed funding through Agri-Food System RSA to potential entrepreneurs
1)  Determine methodology for awarding funds
2)  Determine feasibility of business venture
3)  Reach agreement with entrepreneur
4)  Apply for grants to support funding

Goal 5:
Develop and implement marketing plan to increase consumer demand for
local foods to develop markets for agri-food businesses
1)  Define targets, goals, and dates of implementation
2)  Create marketing materials
3)  Implement plan including mail, radio, print campaigns
4)  Measure success of plan

IV. Key Knowledge & Skills
A. Project management/leadership and or start-up nonprofit experience.
B.  Strong facilitation skills with demonstrated results as an
intermediary working with cross-sector collaboration.
C. Knowledge of and interest in local food systems and economic development.
D.  Strong leader with an active leadership style
E.  Effective oral and written communication skills.
F.  Demonstrated ability to work effectively in team settings, as both
a leader and team member. Strong interpersonal skills in a
professional context:  working collaboratively, motivating and
inclusive leadership style, and excellent facilitation skills.
G.  Demonstrated ability to work effectively without day to day supervision.
H.  Excellent skills in the use of computer technology for word
processing and a variety of forms of electronic communication.

VI. Ideal Qualifications
A.  Bachelor's degree in business, agriculture, communications,
community organizing or related field preferred. Master's degree
B.  Demonstrated ability to develop leadership in the agriculture
community. Ability to manage multiple and varied tasks required.
C.  Experience with group facilitation.
D.  Business experience working with entities that have budgets,
boundaries,  		      expectations, and profit motive.
E.  Two years of work experience in business, community, or economic

Position requires travel using personal vehicle to program sites in
five county region of Southeast Michigan, as needed.  Compensation
commensurate with experience.  Estimated start date is January 5,
2009.  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. The Food System
Economic Partnership is an equal opportunity employer.  To apply,
please email or fax (734-222-3990) a cover letter and resume to
Jennifer Fike at [log in to unmask]  You can also mail your
information to FSEP, P.O. Box 8645, Ann Arbor, MI  48107-8645,
Attention:  Jennifer Fike.


4. Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Exop 2008

The 2008 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo  December
11, 2008,  DeVos Place Convention Center Grand Rapids, MI. Thursday
events include Tasting of the Winning Ciders: 8:00 - 9:00 a.m., Trade
Show: 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., EXPO Registration: 8:00 a.m. - noon,
Education Program: 9:00 a.m. - Noon, Education Program: 1:00 - 3:30
p.m., and
Fruit Irrigation Systems Workshop: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Thurday at 9 A.M. Organic Production and Certification. Vicki Morrone,
Outreach Specialist for Organic Fruit and Vegetable Growers, MSU
Certification: will be one of the speaker presenting the topic To Be
or Not To Be - That is the Question. Visit this link to see the
complete schedule

Special Thursday Registration Fee
A special registration fee of $30 is available for admission to the
EXPO's trade show and education sessions on Thursday. This is good for
Thursday ONLY – if you pre-register for this reduced rate and decide
to attend the EXPO on Tuesday or Wednesday, you will have to pay the
full on-site registration fee. The trade show will be open from 8 a.m.
to 1 p.m. on Thursday. The special registration fee does not include
membership in the Michigan State Horticultural Society or the Michigan
Vegetable Council and the free subscription offers that are included
with membership.
Visit the Expo's website for more details

5.	Mid-Atlantic Sustainable Agriculture Conference
Contact:  Jack Gurley, 410-472-6764, [log in to unmask]
Future Harvest – CASA's 10th Annual Conference Connect Locally: Food,
Farms and Communities January 16 and 17, 2009 Frederick, Md.

Eldersburg, Md. — On January 16 and 17, 2009, aspiring, transitioning,
and experienced farmers will come together with regional buyers,
backyard gardeners, parents, students and others interested in local
foods to share information and learn about sustainable agriculture at
the 10th Annual Conference of Future Harvest – A Chesapeake Alliance
for Sustainable Agriculture (CASA). The 2009 conference theme,
"Connect Locally: Food, Farms and Communities," emphasizes making and
sustaining connections between producers and consumers.

Nina Planck, farmers' market maven and "real" food enthusiast, will
present the keynote address.  After growing up in Virginia selling the
ecological foods from her family's farm, Ms. Planck started the
successful London Farmers' Markets in the U.K. and now runs the
producer-only Local Food Markets in Washington, DC. Her recent book,
Real Food: What to Eat and Why, explores the nutritional and cultural
significance of traditional foods.

Seminars, panels and round table discussion groups on Friday will
cover agri-tourism, soil fertility, farm-to-school and hospital
programs, and raising healthy food. Saturday's workshops will cover
the nuts and bolts of sustainable agriculture, specialty crops,
cultivating new farmers through mentorships, grass based systems,
profitable grain production, and market gardening. Meals will feature
locally-grown food, showcasing the region's great local food options.

Future Harvest-CASA is an educational non-profit organization
dedicated to promoting profitable and environmentally sustainable food
and farming systems in the Mid-Atlantic region, including Maryland,
Virginia, West Virginia and Delaware. For more information, visit