Michigan Organic Listserv
July 22, 2010
Blandford Nature Center Open House and Ice Cream Social
When: July 24, 2010, from 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Where: Blandford Nature Center, 1715 Hillburn Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 *
Why: Come out and see all the Historic Pioneer buildings in operation. Take a peek into history and learn about pioneer life from the interpreters in our log cabin and blacksmith shop. Free ice cream cones will be available in the schoolhouse and our General Store will be open too.
How: Event is free of charge. No reservation required. For questions call Blandford Nature Center (616) 735-6240.
Hops Field Day Tour
When: July 30, 2010, from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Where: Begin at NW MI Horticultural Research Station (6686 S Center Highway, Traverse City, 49684). Travel by bus to Old Mission Hops Exchange – tour processing operation. Travel back to the Research Station for lunch and research update. Travel by bus to New Mission Organics hop yard near Omena. Travel back to the Research Station for educational beer tasting led by local brewers.
Why: This field day is for hop growers and anyone interested in hops production and harvesting.
Cost: $25/person which includes lunch and transportation by charter bus. Some costs are being defrayed by a USDA OREI grant. Pre-registration is required and space is limited. Visit www.michiganorganic.msu.edu
(under event tab) to download registration form. Call the MSU Extension office in Leelanau County with any questions at (231)256-9888.
2010 Field Day, Building Health, From the Ground Up
When: August 18-19, 2010, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Where: Morgan Composting, 4353 E US Highway 10, Sears, MI
Why: Morgan Composting is teaming up with MSU to teach interested organic farmers ways to build soil quality that provide better yields. This year’s keynote speaker is Jerry Brunetti’s who has been building soil for over 20 years. He will present on topics including soil fertility, animals nutrition and livestock health. August 18th, will focus on fields. Come learn ways to reduce pest, certify organic, market your goods, and build soil quality. August 19th, will focus on vegetable production. Come learn ways to build turf, reasons to join/start a CSA, controlling pests in your garden, using space efficiently, and benefits of having a greenhouse. Both days include a tour of Morgan Composting.
There will also be an evening discussion on Farm-to-School, mediated by Colleen Matts, CS Mott Group Farm to School Outreach Specialist. It will focus on ways to integrate farm in your public school system, and educate future generations of the importance that food has on their everyday lives.
Cost is $25 per day, both days for $40, or the family package for $120 (which includes admission for 4 family members, with complete childcare.) Online registration can be made through www.dairydoo.com
, or by mail, payable to MSUE, 301 W. Upton, Reed City, MI 49667. You can also visit www.michiganorganic.msu.edu
(under the event tab) to download registration brochure and flier.
Exhibitors and Sponsors Wanted for the 2010 Soil Field Day
$50 (Includes one admission, table, chair, electricity, lunch ticket, and a good time. Sponsorship Cost: Minimum of $100 (includes your information in program, admission for two, lunch tickets, booth space to promote your business, and a good time.) Online registration can be made through www.dairydoo.com
, or by mail, payable to MSUE, 301 W. Upton, Reed City, MI 49667. You can also visit www.michiganorganic.msu.edu
(under the event tab) to download registration brochure and flier.
Calling All New and Aspiring Farmers-We Need to Hear From You!
The purpose of the survey is to learn where there are needs and interests to better serve new farmers. Of course the bottom line is to address what we (in MI) need to gain new farmers to grow food for local consumption and serve our community markets. The survey takes 15 minutes. Your answers are confidential and the information will not be connected to your name. All survey results must be submitted before Sunday, August 1 at 9:00 p.m.
Governor Granholm Promotes Michigan Agricultural Products
Posted By admin On July 19, 2010 @ 8:15 am In Economy, Governance, United States | No Comments
Governor encourages people to visit July 22 farmers market at State Capitol, local farmers markets across the state.
In her weekly radio address, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today said people seeking the healthiest, freshest and best-tasting fruits and vegetables should look for ones grown in Michigan.
“Local food is fresher, tastes better and comes from farmland near you,” Granholm said. “And because many fruits and vegetables can lose up to 50 percent of their nutrients in just five days’ time, buying locally grown food is a healthier choice.”
The governor said Michigan’s wide variety of agricultural products will be showcased at two upcoming farmers markets on the lawn of the State Capitol. The first farmers market will be Thursday, July 22 and the second September 16. She said people also should check out the 200 community farmers markets across the state.
For a list of farmers markets, visit the Michigan Farmers Market Association website at www.mifma.org
“When you purchase locally produced food, you’re helping to support Michigan farmers who provide beautiful and productive open spaces and habitat, contribute to our tax base and employ local workers,” Granholm said. “Michigan’s agri-food sector employs one million people and contributes more than $71 billion annually to the state economy.”
“Buying local foods also boosts the Michigan economy,” Granholm said. “If every Michigan household spent just $10 a week of its current grocery budget on locally-grown and produced foods, it would generate almost $2 billion to circulate within our state economy every year.”
“So the next time you go grocery shopping, look for Michigan-grown blueberries, peaches, corn, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables,” Granholm said. “Not only will the food be fresher, healthier and better tasting, you’ll be helping your neighbors, your community and the Michigan economy. For a Pure Michigan experience, buy Michigan-grown and produced foods.”
The governor’s weekly radio address is released each Friday and may be heard on broadcast stations across the state. The address is available for download on the governor’s Web site at www.michigan.gov/gov
together with a clip of the quote above.
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm Radio Address – Farmers Markets
Hello, this is Governor Jennifer Granholm.
A healthier lifestyle begins with eating better, and that means including more fruits and vegetables in your diet. If you’re seeking the healthiest and freshest and best-tasting fruits and vegetables, look for ones that are grown right here in Michigan.
Local food is fresher, it tastes better, and it comes from farmland near you. And because many fruits and vegetables can lose up to 50 percent of their nutrients in just five days’ time, buying locally grown food is a healthier choice.
Michigan food producers offer an abundance of high-quality fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products. Our state is second only to California in agricultural diversity, making Michigan a key component in the nationwide local foods movement.
To help introduce the public to all the different kinds of wonderful food we produce in Michigan, we partner with local groups like Michigan Food and Farming Systems to host farmers markets on the lawn of the State Capitol. These markets showcase the wide variety of healthy and delicious Michigan food products.
The first farmers market will be next Thursday, July 22. The second farmers market will be September 16. And again, both these farmers markets will be held in front of the State Capitol.
If you can’t attend the markets on the Capitol lawn, try visiting one of the 200 community farmers markets across the state. For a list of markets, go to the Michigan Farmers Market Association website at M-I-F-M-A.org.
That website again is M-I-F as in farmers-M-A.org.
When you purchase locally produced food, you’re helping to support Michigan farmers who provide beautiful and productive open spaces and habitat and who contribute to our tax base and employ local workers.
Michigan’s agri-food sector employs one million people. It contributes more than $71 billion annually to the state economy. Every year, Michigan exports more than $2 billion in agricultural commodities to other states, and another billion dollars worth to countries all over the world.
Buying local foods also boosts the Michigan economy. If every Michigan household spent just $10 a week of its current grocery budget on locally grown and produced foods, it would generate almost $2 billion to circulate within our state economy every year.
So the next time you go grocery shopping, look for Michigan-grown blueberries, peaches, corn, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables. Not only will the food be fresher and healthier and better tasting, you’ll be helping your neighbors and your community and the Michigan economy.
So for a Pure Michigan experience, buy Michigan-grown and produced foods.
Thank you for listening.
Crop Production News and Information
Gardeners: If you grow tomatoes or potatoes, it is extremely important to protect them from late blight now, posted on July 08, 2010
Gardeners who grow tomatoes and potatoes need to be protecting their plants from late blight (Phytophthora infestans) now with fungicide sprays. This disease, which caused the Irish Potato Famine beginning in 1845, has been found in southwestern Michigan and five other states so far this year.
Chris Long, potato specialist at MSU, said that this disease has the potential to wipe out all tomato and potato plantings in the state.
Long also says that this year’s wet, cool spring has favored the development of the disease. The first symptoms of late blight are small, dark, circular to irregularly shaped lesions that appear on the leaves three to five days after they are infected. These lesions spread rapidly in cool, moist weather into brown to black spots that are often surrounded by a green border. The disease is spread from infected plants in one area to another by wind, splashed rain, animals and mechanical transport such as equipment.
Potatoes and tomatoes are members of the Solanaceae family of plants, which is why both are susceptible to late blight. Because conditions for this disease are so favorable this year, vegetable specialists at MSU and the Michigan Potato Industry Commission are urging growers to be proactive by spraying preventative sprays on their plants as soon as possible and to keep up the regimen over the summer months. Plants that show signs of the disease as well as plants surrounding the diseased plants should be removed and completely destroyed.
Late blight can take out a planting of tomatoes or potatoes in five days, so anyone growing these crops must be vigilant. Also take care about neighbors next door or down the road who may also be growing tomatoes or potatoes.
Commercially grown potatoes in Michigan represent a $138 million farm gate crop. Though commercial growers have registered products to help slow the spread of the disease, home gardeners do not, and the care they take to keep the disease out of their gardens will ultimately help the commercial growers as well.
Both conventional and organic products are available for gardeners to use to prevent late blight from attacking their plants. There are no products that can “cure” a plant once it has the disease, according to Jan Byrne, MSU plant diagnostic technician.
There are several fungicides available to home gardeners that are effective in preventing late blight. Gardeners need to read the fine print on the product label to make sure it is used on tomatoes or potatoes. Products that contain chlorothalonil or ethylene bisdithiocarbamate (EBDC) will protect plants from infection. Organic chemicals, such as copper-based fungicides, have some efficacy against late blight, and organic gardeners should check the OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) database [www.omri.com
] to verify whether or not a particular fungicide meets organic standards.
This is a nationwide problem. It is very important that home gardeners arm themselves with information about late blight in an effort to keep it from destroying not only their plantings, but their neighbors’ and commercial growers’ as well.
For more information, contact your local MSU Extension office or visit the following resources:
Wheat Crop Report by Martin Nagelkirk
Some comments on wheat harvest that are being past to industry
July 15 Comments:
Despite localized showers over the past week, the talk in the field is that both FN and DON levels are mostly favorable across the state. Test wts have slipped a bit. The central parts of the state is trying to finish-up their crop, while the harvest is in full swing, as weather allows, in north central and thumb regions.
In the Thumb, there is lots of wheat still in the field (maybe 40 percent?). Showers chased some from the field on Sun and everyone was on the sidelines by late Sunday. Yesterday, most were running. Moistures ranged from 13 to 23 percent. The good news is that the quality level has mostly held for white wheat relative to DON and FN. The weather is threatening here at the moment, but some may get a few hours of harvesting in today. Rain, of course, is a concern. DON has always been more of a concern for late maturing wheat, and sprouting/low FN remains a question as long as there is wheat in the field.
Any other comments out there?
July 7 Comments:
Wheat harvest has been underway for only the past week or so in MI and will continue for the next week. Saginaw valley is going at it, and the thumb is only getting started. Almost all white wheat is being harvested wet it seems. For the most part, DON levels are pretty good for most elevators. But there are some hotspots scattered across the state with DON levels are above 1 ppm for white and 2ppm for red. I suspect most elevators are making arrangements for a feed wheat bin. Expect all loads to be tested as there will be surprises. For example, one central MI elevator has run 10 white loads to date. All were below 1ppm accept two that were over 3ppm. I understand that some Ohio and southern edge of MI red wheat is running above 5 ppm in some cases.
Yields, as expected, are mostly good. FN levels are OK to date, but not especially high. No discounts so far. Test weights are lower than I would have thought: mostly 56 to 59. Growers need to be careful with lodged wheat. The industry is really watching for deer droppings. Weather front headed in and may introduce a change of story(?)
What have you seen/heard?
County Extension Director
MSU Extension, Sanilac County
37 Austin St
Sandusky, MI 48471
New Cottage Food Law
This week, Governor Granholm signed a package of bills into law that will allow certain homemade products (such as baked goods, jam, honey, vinegar, and maple syrup, granola, and popcorn) to be sold directly to Michigan consumers without the legal requirement that they be prepared in commercial kitchens. The intent of the law is to support farmers’ markets by allowing certain value-added products to be sold without the expense and trouble of preparing them in a licensed commercial kitchen. Only direct sales to consumers are permitted; no mail order sales or sales to grocery stores are allowed. The law takes effect immediately.
Under the new law, only foods that have been determined to be a low risk for causing food-borne illness may be sold as a “cottage food product.” Salsas, milk and meat products, all beverages, and ice products are not permitted to be sold as cottage food products because they are more likely to cause food-borne illness.
All cottage food products are required to be labeled with certain information, such as specific ingredients and weight or volume.
TV coverage of signing of Cottage Food LAW at Growing Hope in Ypsilanti
Organic Feed Production
If you want "certified" organic livestock feed, you need to first read the Organic Rule on the NOP website. Not all of it applies to processors, of course, but it is wise to understand the entire process. There is a section just for processors and also inputs lists that tells what is allowed and not.
Then you must find a certifier. There are a number working in the state
If you only want to sell smaller quantities to small livestock producers who are not interested in certification this is less important but you must make sure not to label the product "organic", only with ingredients listings that say "organic corn", etc.
You must first source certified organic grains for production. You will have to clean and purge your equipment prior to organic production and document this. you must document your production runs of organic including amounts of organic grains used, total production and any waste. You must keep certification records (copies of certificates or other proof of certified organic status) on all grains purchased for certified organic livestock feed, and sales records of the certified organic feed to show that you are not selling more than you produce.
I am a member of the MOFFA Board of Directors, but also a former organic inspector and certification director. If you would like to discuss more details after you have read the NOP Organic rule (available on line - just google NOP), you can call me at the times below.
Questions? Contact Pat Whetham for MOFFA (810) 867-4435 on Tuesday or Wednesday mornings between 8:30 & 9:30 a.m.
Penn State University’s Organics Research on the Upswing by Suzan Erem
With Pennsylvania now ranking third in the nation in organic farm sales, more small farmers than ever are looking to Penn State to provide the research and expertise needed to grow food chemical-free.
And the university, which has for decades pumped out industry-supported research centered on chemically-grown large-scale agriculture, appears to be responding.
“Individual faculty members who have research programs can move much more quickly than the institution can,” explained Charlie White, an extension associate who said his job was created by the effective lobbying of the group to the university’s administration. White’s position is supported one-third by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and two-thirds by Penn State. “So you see a lot of faculty working on organic production but they’ve maxed out the existing facilities. Now the institution has to get up to speed with providing more acreage to do their research.”
White said that an estimated 50 faculty and graduate students participate in the Sustainable Ag Working Group, working to promote sustainable agriculture in the university. He said the group is now working to develop an Organic Agriculture minor and dedicate a research station solely to sustainable agriculture.
Even with new attention paid to it by the U.S.D.A., organic farming still comes to less than 4 percent of total farming in Pennsylvania and the United States. Still, national sales of organic foods have increased more than 20 percent since 1990, according to Prof. Phil Howard of Michigan State University. The industry represented an estimated $17 billion in sales in 2006 and nearly $20 billion a year later. And according to the most recent U.S.D.A. report, organic farms make on average $20,000 more than non-organic farms. It’s a growing trend not lost on ag schools and the food industry.
Howard has also documented the consolidation of organic food retail distribution and published his findings showing that the 32 natural foods companies that existed in 1984 have all been bought up by the three chain stores that exist today, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Planet Organic.
“They must see that it’s a profitable area,” Prof. Mary Barberchek, an entomologist who came to Penn State in 2002 with a research appointment focused on organics, said of the food industry. “It’s definitely one that the food companies see as something worth having since they’re buying up all these companies.”
“There’s definitely growth and it’s really exciting that it is a growing area,” she said, adding that there is also an organics initiative in the College of Agriculture meeting to develop an organics minor. “It’s not a major focus of the college, it’s only like 3 percent of ag production and the college has to serve everyone,” she said.
The college has offered two different pilot classes in organics, co-taught by Barberchek and Heather Karsten and one by Elsa Sanchez. White said that creating classes moves more quickly than creating a major.
“It’s a starting point and they’re leading toward more institutional programming,” he said.
Funding for Barberchek’s organic research comes largely from the federal government, she said. Meanwhile, federal programs for farmers planting “commodity crops” such as corn and soybeans still far outstrips any programs for “specialty crops” that organic farmers are more likely to grow.
In 2009, specialty crops—all fruits and vegetables—received the most support ever, a total of $825 million in federal support through farm programs, according to Environmental Working Group which tracks farm programs. By comparison, commodity crops, five crops including corn, soybeans and rice, received $15.4 billion.
In 2008, the Organic Farming Research Foundation issued a policy brief recommending the new administration support organics research that reflected organic produce’s share of the market, about 4 percent. That alone would more than double the total research funds available to $36 million from $15 million, according to the report.
At Penn State, researchers from a number of departments including economics, rural sociology, horticulture and plant pathology, are teaming up with Pennsylvania Certified Organic and Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, to help farmers develop the more traditional commodity crops organically, for example, organic grains to feed organic herds for dairy or meat, White said.
And Barberchek’s work focuses on weed control and using natural enemies of certain pests to get weeds to an acceptable level, but she also named commodity crops. She and her colleagues are just launching a project to study how to reduce tillage in organic systems.
“We’re really looking at how different methods of managing the soil in organic crop production systems, alfalfa, corn, soybeans, how we can make these systems perform better,” Barberchek said.
Still, there’s a long row to hoe for organic research and teaching.
“My feeling is that at this point there is a huge industrial complex of ag and I don’t see that about to go away for a number of reasons,” White said. “I think you can’t turn your back on that system and just forget about it because it’s going to be running out there, destroying the environment and destroying communities. So you have to engage it to some extent. That’s just a personal feeling.”
Barbechek’s work seems to take her in the same direction. When asked about organic food that isn’t locally grown, she had this to say:
“I still think there’s a great benefit to organic food production even if it’s getting shipped all over the world. There’s less pounds of pesticides going into the environment, you have less workers being exposed to pesticides. Are we going to hold up organic that it has to solve all the problems of the world? It’s still better on many measures than conventional food.”
News and advice from the MSU Product Center, July 2010
The Product Center is happy to share with you the July 2010 edition of Product Central our quarterly newsletter.
Some high lights of this edition include:
- Perceptions of third party certifiers
- Pending legislation and the affect on home based businesses
- Emulsifiers' role in food stabilization
- Packaging options
- The good and bad of Michigan's Biodiesel Industry
Great Things for All Farmers
MSU Diagnostic Services Offering Free Testing for Late Blight
Late blight disease in tomatoes and potatoes could become a problem this summer, so Michigan State University (MSU) Diagnostic Services is offering free late blight testing to Michigan home gardeners and commercial growers.
Free testing will also be available in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) tent from 10 a.m. to noon during Ag Expo, MSU’s outdoor farm show, July 20–22, on Mt. Hope Road in East Lansing.
Because a cool, wet spring has made widespread development of the disease possible in the state this year, growers should become familiar with the symptoms of late blight and other common tomato and potato diseases, according to Jan Byrne, plant pathologist and diagnostician at Diagnostic Services.
“The late blight pathogen can infect both stems and foliage of tomatoes and potatoes,” she says. “The first symptoms are dark green, water-soaked areas. These areas quickly turn dark brown and the plant tissue is killed. In high humidity, growers might notice a fluffy, whitish growth on the underside of the infected leaves.
“The infected areas can grow rapidly in size, causing plant leaves to fall off and eventually the plant dies,” she says. “The tomatoes and potatoes themselves can also be infected.”
Fungicides are available to prevent late blight at garden centers and other stores that sell garden products. Byrne urges home gardeners to read the product labels carefully to make sure such products are labeled for use on tomatoes and potatoes, and have either chlorothalonil or ethylene bisdithiocarbamate (EBDC) as ingredients.
“These fungicides will need to be reapplied frequently, so gardeners should read the instructions on the label,” she says. “But once plants have the disease, they cannot be cured of it, and should be removed and destroyed.”
Though there is no charge for late blight testing (for Michigan residents only), there will be a fee for any other plant disease testing beyond late blight.
More information on late blight and how to submit a sample to the MSU Diagnostic Services laboratory is available at http://www.pestid.msu.edu
, or call the laboratory at 517-355-4536.
For additional information on organic farming questions contact:
Outreach Specialist for Organic Vegetable and Field Crops
303 Natural Resources Bldg
Dept of CARRS
East Lansing, MI 48824517-353-3542
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