1.      Reminder 2009 MOFFA Organic Conference

Registration for the conference has been extended through Monday March 2, 2009. The 2009 Michigan Organic Conference will take place March 6-7, 2009 at The Kellogg Center, East Lansing MI.  Early Registration - $60 ($30 for Students); Walk-in Registration - $85; Exhibitor Registration (1 Table/I attendee) - $100. For schedule information visit
To register visit  OR for additional information visit

2.      Reminder 2nd Annual Organic Reporting Session during MSU ANR Week.

The 2nd Annual Organic Reporting Session will take place Friday March 6, 2009 at The Kellogg Center, East Lansing MI. For those planning on submitting an abstract the deadline has been extended until Monday March 2, 2009. If you are interested in attending the organic symposium which takes place during lunch 12:00-1:30 p.m. go to www. to submit the form. The symposium will offer researchers, Michigan State University Educators, and expert farmers a chance to share their findings and ideas on organic agriculture production and marketing. This is a great opportunity, with the goal to promote Michigan’s organic agriculture research and organic food access.  For more information visit or contact Vicki Morrone 517-353-3542 or [log in to unmask].

3.      Michigan Apple Association to host cider safety training

Cider makers across the state are invited to participate in a two-day seminar next month that will train participants on food safety. Food Safety for Cider Mills will be offered March 10 and 11 at the Kellogg Center on the Campus of Michigan State University. 

As part of the plan to strengthen food safety procedures the Michigan Cider Safety Task Force has worked to upgrade the states apple cider food safety measures.  In addition to the 50-point Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) that the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) currently uses in an inspection, the Task Force worked to implement the requirement that every Michigan cider mill have a certified food safety specialist on premises.  This is now law and enforcement will begin this fall.

By taking the course, offered through the Michigan Apple Association (MAA), a cider mill will be certified for the next five years.  The class will be instructed by Dr. Les Bourquin who has worked with MDA to develop a food safety program specific to cider.  Complete class outline is available at 

Bourquin is an associate professor and food safety specialist in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, and the National Food Safety and Toxicology Center at MSU.  His research focuses on the impacts of public and private food safety standards, barriers to their acceptance and effective implementation by the food industry, and the potential impacts of these standards on public health.  

During the training, Bourquin will be joined by Mike Lally who has worked extensively with cider manufacturers in Michigan.  Lally is the senior food safety inspector with the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) Food and Dairy Division.  He has been with MDA since 1990 and holds a B.S. in Food Science from MSU.

At the end of course, a multiple-choice test will be administered, and those who score 80 percent or higher will be sent an attractive, framed certificate of completion for their cider mill retail space.  This will satisfy MDA inspection requirements, and make a strong quality statement to cider mill customers.  Up to six Pesticide Re-certification Fruit Crop Credits will be available for private applicators who attend the training. 

Advanced registration is required. Cost of the session is $190 for MAA members, $210 for Michigan growers and $250 for out-of-state growers.  Discounts are available for cider mills with more than one employee and for mills that belong to the Michigan Cider Guild. 

Registration form may be obtained by contacting Cindy Reisig, MAA education coordinator, at (517) 669-8353 ext. 38 or [log in to unmask].  For hotel reservations, call 1-800-875-5090 and ask for the special Cider Maker rate.

4.        A Workshop for Growers: How to Sell Produce Direct to Schools

If you’re interested in learning more about Farm to School, Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP) in conjunction with Monroe County MSU Extension will be hosting the workshop for growers that will discuss how farmers can get involved in selling to schools directly.

The workshop will be held Tuesday, February 24th, 2008 from 1:00-4:00pm at 963 S. Raisinville Rd, Monroe, MI (Monroe County MSU Extension Office).  The workshop is free of charge. For more information contact Jennifer Fike(Executive Director Food System Economic Partnership) 734-222-6859 or check out the web

5.      Farm Bill Education Program

Learn what’s ahead for agriculture and agribusiness. Attend one of the four information farm Bill meetings being held across the Thumb on Tuesday, February 24, 2009. An educational program will be given on the two main parts of the bill: the ACRE program and SURE program. The SURE program is connected to the direct payment program of the past. Dr Roy Black, MSU Ag Economist will be speaking on the SURE program and Bob Battel, Huron County Ag Educator and Emily Sneller, Saginaw County Ag Educator will be speaking on the ACRE program. The goal of the presentation is to give growers enough information so they can determine which program(s) best fit their farm operation. Local Farm Service Agency Directors will also present how their office will best be handling sign up.

6.      Great Things Are Happening in March at the Flint Farmers’ Market

The Flint Farmers’ Market is located at 420 East Boulevard Drive in Flint just off I-475 and Robert T. Longway Blvd. Exit 8A, across from the main post office.

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