Michigan Organic Listserv
August 5, 2010
Research for Organic Farmers
Cherry leaf spot and the need for postharvest fungicide applications in this early harvest season by Nikki Rothwell, NWMHRS and George Sundin, Plant Pathology Michigan State University.
What are some post-harvest management strategies for cherry leaf spot?
With the cherry season behind us for 2010, growers have inquired about post-harvest management strategy for cherry leaf spot (CLS). In a typical year, we harvest tart cherries in mid-July to mid-August, and a post-harvest fungicide spray is applied within a week of harvest. The intent for this spray is to prevent early defoliation that can lead to reduction in tree winter hardiness, diminished fruit set the following year, and result in poor fruit quality in future seasons. These post-harvest applications are commonly sprayed mid- to late-August, which in most years is effective enough to prevent premature leaf loss in September. In the case of 2010, much of the tart cherry harvest was finished by early July, which leaves almost an extra month to manage for cherry leaf spot. The following guidelines should help growers when making their post-harvest cherry leaf spot management decisions.
First, all growers should have made the “typical” chlorothalonil application just after harvest. If the orchard was clean or fairly clean up until this point, this spray will keep the leaves protected until the first of August. Further fungicide applications will be warranted if conditions remain wet and warm. Long periods of warm, dry weather will keep the cherry leaf spot fungus in check.
Under cherry leaf spot-conducive conditions, a second post-harvest fungicide application in early August will further protect the leaves until mid-August, the traditional timing for the post-harvest spray. Again, if the orchards do not already show signs of cherry leaf spot, this second post-harvest application should protect foliage through to September, and because the cherry leaf spot fungus grows slowly, the pathogen will not have adequate time to move through its life cycle and result in premature defoliation. On the other hand, if an orchard is already showing signs of leaf drop at this time, a third fungicide application may be warranted at the end of August. Additionally, if conditions in August are wet and warm, even clean orchards may need another fungicide application. Because there are many formulations of chlorothaloni available, growers should check the label for the maximum allowable limit for the season.
Read article online at the MSU Fruit CAT Alert newsletter, http://ipmnews.msu.edu/fruit/
Gearing Up for Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) by Tom Burfield
Is traceability important to you?
Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) is administered by the Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Produce Association and Canadian Produce Marketing Association. It’s designed to help the industry maximize the effectiveness of current trace back procedures, while developing a standardized industry approach to enhance the speed and efficiency of traceability systems for the future,” according to the PTI action plan.
In 2008, an industry wide steering committee came up with an action plan that sets a series of seven implementation milestones. These specific time goals for launching various stages of a trace back program that if all goes according to plan will enable any case of produce to be traced from grower to retailer by 2012.
Some growers have decided to hold off until the government develops a final plan.
To read entire article visit: The Grower, http://www.growermagazine.com/Archive/ArticleLanding/tabid/57/Default.aspx?tid=1&cid=838523&issueid=785
A Ripe Market by Renee Stern
Interested in the benefits of selling locally to schools?
Now is the time for growers to start thinking about jumping on the Farm to School band wagon. Congress is weighing funding proposals and the U.S. Department of Ag is expected to streamline the program.
Rodney Taylor, director of nutritional services at Riverside (Calif.) Unified School District, offers a full-meal all-you-can-eat salad bar in 29 of the district’s 31 elementary schools, and prepared salads for middle-school and high-school cafeterias. Over five years, sales from the initial three participating growers have risen from $10,000 each to $500,000.
The St. Paul Public Schools’ farm-to-school program revolves around fall harvests, as local produce drops off by December, despite drawing from a 200-mile circle that includes parts of North and South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa. The 5-year-old program started small, with Minnesota apples, and now includes corn, broccoli, potatoes, onions, cranberries, turnips, butternut squash and grape tomatoes.
To read more on Farm to School visit: The Grower, http://www.growermagazine.com/Archive/ArticleLanding/tabid/57/Default.aspx?tid=1&cid=838522&issueid=785
Report shows possible link to ADHD and organophosphates by Derrek Sigler, Vegetable Growers News
Organophosphates found in commercially grown fruit and vegetables may be linked to ADHD.
A study released early May, 2010 in Pediatrics, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says there is evidence showing that organophosphates might add to children having an increased risk of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The study suggested that children exposed to organophosphates that may be found in trace amounts on commercially grown fruit and vegetables are more likely to have ADHD than children with less exposure.
ADHD is a condition in which a person has trouble paying attention and focusing on tasks. According to Health.com, one who suffers from ADHD also tends to act without thinking, and has trouble sitting still. Researchers working on the study tested the levels of pesticide byproducts in the urine of 1,139 children from across the United States.
According to the USDA, organophosphate refers to a group of insecticides acting on the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. The term is often used to describe any organic phosphorus-containing compound, especially when dealing with neurotoxic compounds.
“Children with higher urinary dialkyl phosphate concentrations, especially dimethyl alkylphosphate (DMAP) concentrations, were more likely to be diagnosed as having ADHD,” the report said.
However, the report limits itself. “These findings support the hypothesis that organophosphate exposure, at levels common among United States children, may contribute to ADHD prevalence. Prospective studies are needed to establish whether this association is causal,” it said.
What that says is the researchers who conducted the study found enough evidence to support an idea. Now they need to conduct more testing to see how valid the idea is.
Exposure to the pesticides, known as organophosphates, has been linked to behavioral and cognitive problems in children in the past, but previous studies have focused on communities of farm workers and other high-risk populations. This study is the first to examine the effects of exposure in the population at large.
The reaction from growers has been somewhat skeptical.
“When I talked to my growers about the report, they all had the same response,” said Amy Irish-Brown, Michigan State University Extension Educator - Tree Fruit IPM Programs. “Growers have been scaling back the use of organophosphates for over the past ten years. How does the report reflect that? Why don’t growers children all have ADHD?”
The North American Blueberry Council (NABC) issued a response showing concern for the welfare of children as well as the growers.
“The NABC feels it is important to note that as an industry that strives to deliver a healthy and nutritious product to the consumer, we agree that this is an important area of concern and encourage additional studies in this area,” the statement said. “More research needs to be done to determine cause and effect before any causal relationship can be established.”
Robert Krieger from the University of California, Riverside (UCR) provided an additional statement to the NABC response. Krieger is a pesticide scientist and currently heads the Personal Chemical Exposure Program at UCR. His work was cited in the report.
“It would be a mistake to conclude that a urine breakdown product of organophosphorous pesticides found on fresh fruits and vegetables caused ADHD,” Krieger said. “In fact, the authors clearly state their study does not conclusively find that association. As a toxicologist, I first want consumers to know that the breakdown products (DAPs) found in urine as part of this study are not pesticides and they are not toxic on produce.”
This article was published in the Vegetable Growers News August Issue, http://www.vegetablegrowersnews.com/links.html.
Biodegradable mulch can solve plastic waste problem by Matt Milkovich, Vegetable Growers News
Biodegradable mulch film does the job of plastic mulch film without the harmful environmental effects.
Vegetable and berry growers use acres and acres of plastic mulch film to protect and shepherd their crops. After harvest, the vast majority of that plastic gets thrown away or plowed into the field – methods that are time-consuming, expensive and bad for the environment.
They’re also, unfortunately, the only real options at this point. Burning used agricultural plastic is illegal in most states. Recycling programs are few and far between. Most recycling companies don’t want to deal with plastic mulch, anyway. It’s dirty, tangled and made from material they don’t consider profitable.
This leaves growers in an unenviable position. They need plastic mulch film, but there’s no good way to get rid of it.
So, what’s a grower to do?
Biodegradable mulch film might be a realistic option. It’s a niche market, but it’s growing in popularity.
According to Mike Orzolek, professor of vegetable crops and a plasticulture specialist at Penn State, interest in biodegradable mulch film is spreading from Europe to North America, and a handful of companies are taking advantage of the new opportunity.
The main limitations to more widespread use of biodegradable mulch, at this point, are cost and durability, Orzolek said.
Biodegradable mulch is more expensive than the standard plastic kind. That will make a lot of growers think twice before buying it. The price could go down in five or 10 years, but it will never be as cheap as standard plastic mulch, he said.
But the extra cost of biodegradable mulch is offset, somewhat, by the fact that growers won’t have to pay their workers to roll it up or plow it under and won’t have to pay landfill tipping fees, he said.
Orzolek admitted that most U.S. growers probably wouldn’t see the new technology as the answer to their problems. He predicted that, at most, one-fourth of small fruit and vegetable growers might end up using biodegradable mulch. The only way U.S. growers would make a major shift toward biodegradable is if the federal government told them they couldn’t use standard plastic mulch anymore, he said.
Durability is another question mark. Orzolek would hate to have a grower purchase biodegradable mulch, put it in the field, then watch it fall apart before the crop is ready for harvest.
Telles, a joint marketing venture between Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM), will launch its Mirel biodegradable mulch film into the worldwide commercial market next year. The company has performed field trials and testing in several countries over the last few years, and is getting lots of interest from growers, said Peter Kelly, Telles’ business development manager.
According to Mirelplastics.com, Mirel resins are biodegradable plastics made from sugar. They will biodegrade in natural soil and water environments, home composting systems and industrial composting facilities. Mulch film made with Mirel resins can be tilled into the soil, where the resins biodegrade naturally.
Mirel is produced at a plant constructed by ADM in Clinton, Iowa. In April, the plant started ramping up production of Mirel bio-based and biodegradable plastic, according to the website.
Telles is developing other agricultural applications for the Mirel technology, as well. Items include drip irrigation, silage wrap for hay, heavy “ag bags” for animal feed and fertilizers, bail wrap for laying turf sod and ground covers for roadside tree plantings, according to Mirelplastics.com.
Mirel’s big advantage over normal plastic mulch is that you don’t have to remove it from the field. You can plow it into the ground when you’re done with it, where it becomes a food source for microbes. As the microbes eat the mulch, it biodegrades into the soil, Kelly said.
Durability is a challenge. Climates vary, but growers need their crops protected from seed to harvest no matter where they grow, and they need the mulch to last for weeks, or months, at a time. After a lot of testing and trials, Mirel mulches can meet those needs, he said.
Orzolek has been studying Mirel mulch film for about five years at a Penn State research facility, and he said it looks “pretty good.” There aren’t many weed problems, and other studies have confirmed that there’s no difference in yields when comparing Mirel to standard plastic mulch.
If you till used standard mulch into the soil, you’ll find pieces of it there for years afterward. If you till used Mirel mulch into the soil, it’s all gone within two months, he said.
BioTelo mulch film is another option.
Dubois Agrinovation has distributed BioTelo in North America for about five years. The biodegradable mulch is manufactured by Novamont, an Italian company.
According to Dubois Agrinovation’s website: “BioTelo mulch film, made of mater-bi, a corn starch-based raw material, is compostable and biodegradable. Temperature, humidity and microorganisms in the ground transform BioTelo into water, carbon dioxide and biomass. It leaves no toxic residues in the ground and you save on removal, recycling and landfill costs. This biodegradable mulch has the same mechanical and physical characteristics as plastic mulch, without the negative impact on the environment.”
BioTelo is certified organic in Quebec (where Dubois Agrinovation is based), but is not certified in the other Canadian provinces, or in the United States. Dubois is hoping to change that, said Eric Menard, the company’s business development manager.
In U.S. organic production, the use of plastic mulch is approved, but not the use of biodegradable mulch. That doesn’t make much sense, especially since standard mulch takes hundreds of years to degrade in the soil – not exactly environmentally friendly. If biodegradable mulch were certified organic, it would be good for organic growers (it’s perfect for weed control) and would expand the market for the mulch, Menard said.
Right now, about 750 acres in the United States and Canada are covered with BioTelo mulch film. The number of customers is growing, especially in Northeastern states like New York and Vermont. There are about 250 acres in Pennsylvania. It’s popular with Amish growers, he said.
However, BioTelo costs twice as much as standard plastic mulch, sometimes more. But if you calculate the opportunity cost – less time and money spent removing used plastic mulch, more time and money spent planting cash crops – the disparity doesn’t look so big, Menard said.
This article was published in the Vegetable Growers News August Issue, http://www.vegetablegrowersnews.com/links.html.
Calcined Clay by Lindsay Fernandez-Salvador, OMRI Review Program Manager
What is the calcination process and what kinds of other materials are calcined?
Q: Many organic growers are asking to use calcined clay in their transplant media, but I’m not sure whether it would be compliant for use in organic production. What is the calcination process and what kinds of other materials are calcined?
A: The term “Calcination” refers to the treatment of a mineral product at a very high temperature up to 1200 degrees centigrade.  The word “calcined” is derived from the process of converting calcium carbonate (limestone) to calcium oxide (quicklime).  However, the calcination process is used on a variety of mineral products, such as clay and diatomaceous earth.  Calcination is used mainly to cause a loss of moisture, reduction or oxidation, and for decomposition of carbonates.   The high heat treatment of such minerals can result in either a synthetic or nonsynthetic input, depending on several factors.  These include the raw mineral being treated and the level of heat being employed.  Intense heating of kaolin clay, for example, drives off all hydration and yields a bright, anhydrous clay product in which in individual clay fragments fuse together.  The calcined clay is then used as filler in transplant media for its outstanding water and nutrient retention capacity.  The organic grower should be aware however, of possible intermediate steps in the process that would create a synthetic calcined mineral.  Clearly, the calcination of limestone results in quicklime, a prohibited substance.  Calcined clay however, may be heated and pulverized just to the point of driving off all moisture but not creating a synthetic substance.  This basic manufacturing process would not create a synthetic material.  Some calcined clays however, are pelletized, and during the pelletization process, come into contact with prohibited substances such as ammonia gas or synthetic binders such as carboxyly methyl calluslose, polyvinyl alcohol, or hydroxyethyl cellulose.  Organic growers wanting to use calcined mineral products should check with their certifier prior to use.
Sno Pac (Organic Food Business) Stays True To its Roots by Mike Hughlett, Star Tribune
Sno Pac Foods has stayed independent even as big players took over much of the organic food business
In recent years, organic food has become big business, dominated by publicly traded packaged food companies like Golden Valley-based General Mills Inc., a fact that some devoted organic consumers aren't keen on. But Sno Pac has stuck to its roots: It's family-owned and based in farm country, something many organic brands can't claim. The company was organic long before organic became trendy, eschewing the use of herbicides and pesticides since the 1940s.
While it's certainly not some quaint farmstead -- it counts its revenue in millions of dollars -- it's a business that captures an ethos prized by more hard-core organic consumers. It's a relatively small company that primarily uses local foods grown on local farms.
Would they sell? But Pete Gengler, the company's president, always says no.
"I get calls all the time," Gengler said. "But I pretty much tell them we're doing our own thing. Sno Pac's thing is farming, as well as food processing and distributing. It leases or rents about 2,500 acres of farmland, mostly in southern Minnesota and Iowa. It also contracts with farmers who together tend another 1,000 acres. And it buys fruits and vegetables -- blueberries from Michigan, cranberries from Wisconsin -- which it freezes and sells under its brand.
To read article online and view images visit: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com/business/99281029.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUUsZ
NEWS for Organic Farmers and Enthusiasts
Conservation Reserve Program Offers Pollinators Habitat Incentives
New rules passed by the USDA now offer incentives for the establishment of pollinator habitat through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The limited time program sign-up, which opens today to new enrollments, provides one of the largest pollinator conservation opportunities ever in the United States.
The CRP program, first established in 1985, is the largest private landowner conservation effort in the United States with up to 32 million acres eligible for enrollment through the USDA's Farm Service Agency. Program participants take highly erodible land out of crop million acres eligible for enrollment through the USDA's Farm Service Agency. Program participants take highly erodible land out of crop production, and establish permanent vegetation to protect topsoil and provide wildlife cover. Contracts which run 10 to 15 years provide annual rental payments on enrolled land, and cost-share assistance for establishing vegetative cover. 
New rules which go into effect today offer priority ranking for land enrollments that include pollinator-friendly wildflowers and shrubs. Under the current CRP enrollment system, landowners who want to participate are ranked to prioritize enrollments that offer the most conservation benefits. To receive a higher score on the pollinator ranking criteria, participating farmers must plant at least 10% of the CRP acres in wildflower parcels (or at least one acre for CRP enrollments less than 10 acres in size).
The addition of a pollinator habitat incentive for CRP has been promoted by numerous wildlife and pollinator conservation groups in recent years, and the new ranking system now offers one of the largest potential habitat creation opportunities of its kind ever for native bees, butterflies, and managed honey bees, all of which have experienced significant decline in recent years due to habitat loss and other factors.
In developing the new CRP technical requirements, the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) worked closely with Dr. Marla Spivak, a leading honey bee researcher based at the University of Minnesota, and the California-based advocacy group, Partners for Sustainable Pollination. Now, as the enrollment period for new CRP contracts begins, the NRCS is working with the non-profit Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation to develop wildflower seeding recommendations for states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Oregon. Those recommendations will focus on selecting native wildflower species that are abundant pollen and nectar sources, and that are most likely to thrive in their respective regions.
Rural landowners who are interested in more information about CRP, including the current sign-up period which ends August 27th, should contact their local Farm Service Agency office.
United States Department of Agriculture
Michigan Farm Service Agency
3001 Coolidge Rd, Suite 350
East Lansing, Mi. 48823-6321
Office hours M-F 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. ES
Animal Welfare Approved Announces 2011 Good Husbandry Grants
Call for projects to improve farm animal welfare with a concentration on three areas: increased outdoor access, improved genetics and improved slaughter facilities.
Animal Welfare Approved is pleased to announce that it will offer a third year of Good Husbandry Grants. AWA is seeking proposals for projects to improve farm animal welfare with a concentration on three areas: increased outdoor access, improved genetics and improved slaughter facilities. Animal Welfare Approved is a free third party certification for independent family farms raising animals humanely, outdoors on pasture or range. Current Animal Welfare Approved farmers and those who have applied to join the program are eligible for grants of up to $5,000. Farmers may apply for certification and for a grant simultaneously. Slaughter plants working with AWA farms are also eligible to apply but should contact Grants Coordinator Emily Lancaster to discuss proposed projects before submitting a proposal. Examples of projects funded in previous cycles include mobile housing, a mobile processing unit, infrastructure to facilitate humane handling and breeding stock adapted to pasture-based management.
The deadline for proposals is October 1, 2010. Guidelines, FAQ's, project profiles and an application form are available at www.AnimalWelfareApproved.org or by contacting Emily Lancaster at 919.428.1641 or [log in to unmask]
2011 Good Husbandry Grant Highlights
Funding Priorities: 1) Genetics: (listed in order of priority) poultry, hog, dairy and other ruminants, with priority given to projects which share genetics among multiple farms; 2) Outdoor Access (specifically mobile housing); and 3) Welfare Improvements in the Slaughter Process
Eligible Costs: (including but not limited to) design fees; contractor costs (skilled labor only-i.e., an electrician or plumber); materials; slaughter equipment; new mobile housing; or incubators
Application: Project proposals will only be considered if presented on an Animal Welfare Approved grant application form, available online at www.AnimalWelfareApproved.org. There are separate applications for farms and slaughter plants; please use the appropriate form for your operation
Deadline for Proposals: October 1, 2010
Late Blight Management on Organic Farms (e-organic): 2010 Webinar Available Free Online 
Learn how to identify symptoms of late blight (a devastating disease of tomatoes and potatoes).
Late blight is a devastating disease of tomatoes and potatoes. It is highly contagious, and easily spreads from farm to farm and garden to garden. Learn how to identify disease symptoms, including black stem lesions, water-soaked leaf lesions with yellow borders, and bronze/black fruit lesions; destroy plants immediately if late blight is the likely culprit. Post images of suspected plants on this site for diagnostic assistance.
e-organic (on The national Extension website, extension) has an informative
webinar about late blight, its diagnosis and management in organic cropping
systems: http://www.extension.org/article/28346.
Understanding and Controlling Late Blight of Tomatoes and Potatoes in the Home Garden Webinar (Rutgers University), Available Free Online
Learn to control late blight of potatoes and tomatoes.
The understanding and controlling Late blight of potato and tomato in the home garden' Webinar from Rutgers, Cornell and Penn State University from Tuesday July 13, 2010 is now available to view and listen to on-line at www.njveg.rutgers.edu under the webinar/presentation button. The Q&A session is also available in .pdf format.

USDA Offers Transition Incentives Program (TIP)

TIP bill encourages retired or retiring owners or operators to transition their land to beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers.
The Transition Incentives Program (TIP) is a new program under the Conservation Title of the 2008 Farm Bill. The bill encourages retired or retiring owners or operators to transition their land to beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers. Producers who want to apply for the TIP can start signing up now. If all program requirements are met, TIP provides annual rental payments to the retiring farmer for up to two additional years after the date of the expiration of the CRP contract, provided the transition is not to a family member.
For more information visit ATTRA: http://attra.ncat.org/calendar/br_news.php/2010/05/15/usda-to-offer-farm-transition-program
Vendors/Farmers Wanted for the Growing Connections Conference and Harvest Festival
When: September 19, 2010
Where: Birmingham, MI
Why: We are proud to celebrate our tenth year for this “Growing Connections Festival”.  As a tax deductible, non-profit organization, we are continuing to stress healthy alternatives to today’s modern health issues and the over processed, genetically modified, and chemically processed foods.  We take a stand for health, wellness and in supporting Michigan’s organic farmers and merchants.   We expect an incredible variety of merchants, farmers, and businesses to fill the marketplace area.  We will have huge tents to protect the event and we expect a robust crowd of thousands of attendees from across the state and beyond that plan to attend the conferences and festival.  (We do this every year with incredible attendance.)
How: To register as a vendor/farmer visit: http://www.htnetwork.org/growingconnections.html
Michigan 2010 Certified Wheat and Rye Directory Now Available
This is a great resource for certified wheat and rye. If you’re looking for untreated seed this is the source for you. Quantity of seed is not limited. This directory includes both organic and conventional varieties and producers.
List of certified organic seed producers:  
For more information visit www.michcrop.com, (517) 332-9301 or [log in to unmask]


The Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) Newsletter Now Available

The Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) was started in 2006 as a statewide association to promote local food consumption in Michigan by connecting more farmers to consumers through farmers markets. Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS) received a grant from Project for Public Spaces to work with key partners at Michigan State University to develop MIFMA.
In June 2006, Dru Montri was hired as project director of MIFMA to collaborate with partners and coordinate the efforts of building the association with an overall objective of aiding in the success of Michigan farmers markets. After months of planning and visioning, MIFMA held its membership kick-off on April 20, 2007.
Mission: MIFMA advances farmers markets to create a thriving marketplace for local food and farm products.
Vision: MIFMA places farmers markets at the forefront of the local food movement and works to ensure all residents have access to healthy, locally grown food and that Michigan farmers markets receive policy support.
Check out the August issue of the MIFMA E-Newsletter online at http://www.mifma.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/August2010.pdf. The new four-page spread is full of great info for farmers market managers and enthusiasts.
EVENTS for Organic Farmers and Enthusiasts
Edible Flint Food Garden Tour 2010
When: August 12, 2010, Check-in and food for the tour will begin at 4:30pm at the Flint Farmers Market. Buses and bicycles will depart at 5:30pm.
Where: Flint Farmers’ Market, 420 East Boulevard Drive. Flint, MI
Why: Tour participants will meet local food producers, including some who are growing food year round and raising bees and chickens. They will also see, firsthand, how local residents of all ages are transforming community concerns, such as vacant land, into valuable neighborhood assets.
How: The tour is free and open to the public. Registration is required. To Register contact Natalie Pruett by August 9, 2010 by calling 810-257-3088 ext. 541 or by e-mail at [log in to unmask]. Donations will be accepted and will be used to support food gardening efforts in Flint. To view flier visit: www.michiganorganic.msu.edu under the Event Tab.
Entrepreneurial Farm Tour to Western Michigan
When: August 25-26, 2010
Where: Please call the Gratiot MSU-Extension office at 989-875-5233 for details.
Why:  This year’s tour will showcase farm families who have successfully explored and seized opportunities to enhance the profitability of their operations.  The stops will feature sustainable farming systems, diversified enterprises, organic operations, livestock for specialty markets, farmer-owned retail markets, cooperative ventures, value-added enterprises, and direct marketing strategies, as well as many other examples of how family farmers are finding ways to be more profitable while enjoying it as well.  Stops are tentatively scheduled for on farm cheese making, tree fruit production, sheep and poultry operations, large scale vegetables, blueberries, deer farm, tree farm, on-farm ethanol operation, and soybean processing.
How: This tour is sponsored by MSU Extension, Project GREEEN, NCR-SARE, Greenstone Farm Credit Service, and SunOpta. The cost will be reasonable ($50 or less). Please call the Gratiot MSU-Extension office at 989-875-5233 for details and to sign up by August 16, 2010.
Purdue Forage Day
When: September 2, 2010, from 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Where: Agronomy Center for Research and Education, and the Animal Sciences Research and Education Center, Purdue University. For the complete agenda visit www.michoganorganic.msu.edu, under the EVENT tab.
Why: Featuring education and equipment demonstrations (Rain or Shine). Come learn about how to keep forages productive. Pesticide applicator recertification is a component of this day. With topics on
 A tradeshow is available during lunch. Also offered is a in-field forage harvest demonstration coordinated by David Trotter, Clark County Extension Educator.
How: Event is free of charge. No registration necessary.
Purdue Forage Management Training Workshop
Subject matter at this event is not the same as Purdue Forage Day. More hands-on instruction is a part of this training.
When: September 2, 2010, from 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Where: Check in at Beck Agricultural Center, Purdue University
Why: Topics of interest include:
How: Cost: $80. Registration can occur at the DTC web site www.agry.purdue.edu/dtc.
KBS Agriculture Field Day
When: September 8, 2010, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Where:  KBS Farming Systems Center, 9702 N. 40th Street (corner of 40th St. and B Ave.)Hickory Corners, MI 49060 
Why: Farmers, Agribusiness professionals, Extension Educators, and anyone else interested in sustainable agriculture and bioenery research are welcome to attend. Morning tour includes visits to KBS field crops and pasture based dairy. Afternoon tours highlight their sustainable bioenergy research. Enjoy a BBQ lunch and research poster session. Posters highlighting research from Michigan farmers, MSU Extension educators, and KBS graduate students and post-docs. To view agenda visit www.michiganorganic.msu.edu under the event tab.
How: Event is free of charge. Any questions, contact Julie Doll at [log in to unmask] or 269-671-2266. Free admission to the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary on Sept. 8 for field day participants.
Growing Connections Conference and Harvest Festival
When: September 19, 2010
Where: Birmingham, MI
Why: We are proud to celebrate our tenth year for this “Growing Connections Festival”. As a tax deductible, non-profit organization, we are continuing to stress healthy alternatives to today’s modern health issues and the over processed, genetically modified, and chemically processed foods. We take a stand for health, wellness and in supporting Michigan’s organic farmers and merchants.   We expect an incredible variety of merchants, farmers, and businesses to fill the marketplace area. We will have huge tents to protect the event and we expect a robust crowd of thousands of attendees from across the state and beyond that plan to attend the conferences and festival. (We do this every year with incredible attendance.
How: Cost: All Day Registration (No Lunch) $45, AM Session Only (No Lunch) $30, PM Session Only (No Lunch) $30, All Day Registration (With Lunch) $55, AM or PM Session (With Lunch) $40.00. Register online at http://www.htnetwork.org/growingconnections.html.

It Takes a Region - 2010: A Working Conference To Build Our Northeast Food System

When:  November 12-13, 2010, Pre-conference trainings on November 11
Where:  Desmond Hotel and Conference Center, Albany, NY
Why: Don't miss it! This year, we'll build from the success of NESAWG's 2009 "It Takes a Region" conference.  Once again, we'll look at exciting efforts underway in our region -- including alternative supply chain networks, food system assessments, regional planning, infrastructure initiatives, and policy advocacy. We'll move our work forward and address pressing new issues in work groups, listening sessions, topical break-outs and open networking.  We’ll continue to explore scale, size, geography and cross-sector partnerships.  Watch for new features this year!
How: REGISTRATION: OPENS SEPTEMBER 1. EARLY BIRD DEADLINE is OCTOBER 22. Scholarships and NESAWG member rates available. You may link to online registration via www.ittakesaregion.org. BE A CONFERENCE SPONSOR: sponsor funds go toward scholarships so everyone can participate. Contact Kathy Ruhf [log in to unmask] for more information.
Job Opportunities in Organic
Executive Director of the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF)
Bob Scowcroft is stepping down from the Organic Farming Research Foundation in 2011 and OFRF launching our search for their next Executive Director.
Ideal Candidate: OFRF is seeking a strategic leader with a significant personal or vocational passion for organic farming systems, and an understanding of its global significance and multifunctional appeal. He/she must be able to both lead and partner with a collaborative staff team who bring a breadth of experience in fundraising, policy, communications, grant making, finance, and technology. A proven track record in attracting and sustaining public and private funding, informed political insights, strategic vision, and effective collaboration to achieve commonly held goals are essential for this position. The incoming Executive Director will bring authenticity, financial savvy, and integrity to their work. This is a full-time, exempt position based in Santa Cruz, California - the heart of organic farming country with access to several farmers markets, fine art and music venues, quality restaurants, the Pacific Ocean and redwood forests.
To view full job announcement visit the OFRF web page http://ofrf.org/aboutus/jobs_ed.html.
Start date: First quarter of 2011
Deadline: September 13, 2010 or until position is filled.
Compensation: Competitive salary and benefits and the opportunity to lead a highly respected organization. There are limited funds available for relocation.
Confidential Application Process: E-mail (Word or PDF document) cover letter summarizing interest, qualifications, and compensation requirements along with a current resume to: [log in to unmask] with “OFRF ED Search” in subject field. Resumes must be accompanied by a cover letter or the candidate will not be considered.
Inquiries from candidates are welcomed and should be directed to Margaret Donohoe, leadership transition consultant at (408) 979-0572.
Director, Food Initiative for United Way for Southeastern Michigan
There is no deadline for this position, it’s open until filled.
Position Title: Director, Food Initiative
Reporting to: Vice President Community Investments , Basic Needs & Financial Stability Impact Areas
Location: Detroit, Michigan
The Company: United Way for Southeastern Michigan
Position: The Director, Food Initiative is a new position that was created as a part of the agenda for change’s basic needs strategy to help address the overwhelming demand for food and a desire to help bring about lasting change to support this issue.


How to apply: Send a resume and cover letter to [log in to unmask]
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