*Dear, Mich-Organic Listserv readers: The information offered in the
Michigan Organic Listserv is for your information and not necessarily
endorsed by Michigan State University.*



*DECEMBER 30, 2010*




*Michigan's First Conference on Culinary Tourism*

*When:* January 10, 2011

*Where:* Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, East Lansing, MI

* *

*Why:* "Foodies" often plan their travel experiences around authentic,
educational and entertaining food and beverage experiences. Come learn how
you can tap into the growing Culinary Tourism segment of the travel market.
The conference will provide opportunities to interact and form partnerships
among food producers, chefs, restaurateurs, visitor bureaus, wineries,
breweries, tour operators, hotels, and others wanting to market their
business as a culinary destination. Lunch speaker: Ari Weinzweig, CEO and
co-founding partner of Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor.

*How:* *COST:* $75 and includes continental breakfast, lunch and a closing
reception. Registration is limited to 150 registrants. Visit ** for conference details and
online registration.

*8th Annual Michigan Family Farms (MIFFS) Conference*

* *

* *

*When:* January 15, 2011

*Where:* Lakeview High School, Battle Creek, MI

* *

*Why:* This year’s conference is entitled *“Rising to the Challenges- Local
Farms, Local Food, Local Pride"*. Come and discuss challenges and growth
opportunities for family farms. Connect with other growers and great
resources, network, and learn about organic certification, hoophouses,
agritourism and local markets, urban school gardening, food safety, niche
marketing, alternative energy, CSAs and much more!  Don Coe of Black Star
Farms in Suttons Bay, MI. is this year’s keynote speaker.  He will share how
he transformed his vineyard into one of the most successful agritourism
destinations in the state. Exhibits and displays will be set up for your
enjoyment to connect you to government agencies, nonprofits and agricultural
groups and organizations.
Possible Sessions of Interest Related to Organic:*

   - *Becoming Organically Certified: Steps and Strategies* - Vicki Morrone,
   C.S. Mott Group at MSU; Lee & Laurie Arboreal, Eaters’ Guild Farm and CSA -
   Getting an organic certification for your farm isn’t always easy, even if
   you’re already using organic growing methods. Check out some steps and
   strategies to successfully getting that certification.
   - *Food Safety: It Matters* - Shelly Hartmann, True Blue Farms - Food
   safety is a hot topic in agriculture right now, for large and small farms
   alike. Learn how it affects your operation and how to get GAP certified.
   - *SARE Grant Writing* - Dale Mutch, Dean Bass, MSU Extension- Preparing
   a Farmer/Rancher Grant Learn to prepare a Sustainable Agriculture Research
   and Education (SARE) proposal to do research, marketing or demonstration
   projects on your farm.
   - *Hoophouses: Economic Realities and Cost-Share* Opportunities - Dr.
   John Biernbaum, Adam Montri, MSU Dept. of Horticulture; Steve Law, USDA
   NRCS- It takes more than cost-sharing and discounts for a hoophouse to make
   you money. Learn how to be successful and who can help you get there.
   - *Hoophouses: Talking about Structures* - Dr. John Biernbaum and Adam
   Montri, MSU Dept. of Horticulture - Thinking about adding a hoophouse to
   your farm and expanding your growing season? This is the place to start.
   Learn about structures themselves here.
   - *And Much More!*

*To be an exhibitor, contact MIFFS. You must be an exhibitor to sell any
products or goods of any kind.
How:* *Registration deadline is January 7, 2010* (Registration includes
keynote speaker, lunch featuring local foods, and sessions). Cost: $30/each
for members, Adults- $35/each non members, Children- $25/each (up to 16yrs
old). Register online at the MIFFS website

* ****************************************************************
*The recent posting for the Small Farm Conference had some information from
last year. Below is the corrected updated information for this years
conference. I hope you come and enjoy.


*Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference Registration Open!

* *

*When:* January 21-22, 2011
Where:* Grayling High School, Grayling MI.

*Why:* The conference serves as a vehicle to promote and build a local
vibrant agriculture community, to equip the small farm community with the
tools to be successful, and to be a forum for the open exchange of ideas
within the small farm community.

*Friday* will feature keynote speaker *Karen Lubbers, whose *six-year-old
daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1993. The journey that followed
led their family from main stream America to the pursuit of sustainable
agriculture. Karen will recount their journey and share the provocative
lessons learned along the way.

*Saturday* will feature keynote speaker is David Kline, a farmer,
naturalist, and writer. He and his family farm 120 acres and operate a
45-cow organic dairy near Mt. Hope, Ohio. David is the author of three
books, *Great Possessions (1990), Scratching the Woodchuck (1997),
*and *Letters
from Larksong*. Also stay and enjoy the numerous educational break-out

*Possible Sessions of Interest:*

   - *CSA Financials:* *the Open Book Test* - *Nic Welty, Jim Schwantes *– 9
   Bean Rows and Sweeter Song farms will open their books for an in depth look
   at the key financial documents used by these CSAs to evaluate the success
   and profitability. Beginning farmers or seasoned veterans will both benefit
   by using a CEO’s framework to forecast and sustain growth for your CSA.
   - *Resources for Beginning* Farmers - *MI Young Farming Association *-
   Representatives from the Michigan Young Farmers Coalition, ISLAND and
   Michigan Land Use Institute’s Get Farming program will share educational and
   networking resources along with opportunities for training, development and
   support for our newest crop of farmers.
   - *Sustainable Hops Production in the Great Lakes* Region - *Rob Sirrine
   *Hops are a novel crop with plenty of potential to be grown in
   Michigan.This talk will provide participants with information needed to grow
   andmarket hops in Michigan.
   - *Early to Market: Affordable Season Extension Structures for the Small
   Farm* - *Craig Schaaf - *Craig will explain several types of inexpensive,
   homemade season extension structures that small farmers and home gardeners
   can use to produce vegetables
   - *And much more*!,

*How:* *Registration deadline is January 12, 2011*, Cost: $50 for 1st
person, each additional person in the $35, and youth is $20. Sorry NO
REFUNDS - Late or On-Site Saturday Registration is an additional $20/person
does not guarantee lunch availability. On-Site Registration Cash or Check
ONLY. Registration form can be found at the Northern Michigan Small Farm
Conference web site


*Agriculture’s Conference on the Environment*

* *

*When:* January 27, 2011

*Where:* The Lansing Center, Lansing, MI

*Why:* This conference will help farmers seeking to improve their farming
operations while protecting the environment. You will have chance to learn
about how measuring carbon on the farm can have a positive effect on both
the environment and the bottom line.
This year’s keynote speakers are Dr. Bill Beranek, President, Indiana
Environmental Institute and Charlie Arnot, Chief Executive Officer, the
Center for Food Integrity.

Key Topics Include:

   - Changing Environmental Regulations Farm Policy
   - Developing Efficiencies to increase Profitability
   - Legislative, Food Safety & Economic Impacts
   - Managing Inputs to Maximize Profit
   - Reducing Farm Energy Costs to Increase Profitability
   - And Much More **

*How:* *COST: *$50 *by January 17* ($25 for students) $75 after January 17
and at the door. All fees include lunch and refreshments. Register online or
print and mail form at

*32nd Annual Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association Conference 2011,
Online Registration Open!*

*When:* February 19-20, 2011

*Where:* Granville Middle and High Schools, Granville, OH

*Why:* This year’s event will feature keynote speakers Joan Dye Gussow and
Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens. Plus over 70 informative, hands-on workshops;
a trade show; a fun and educational kids’ conference; locally-sourced and
organic homemade meals; a child care area; and Saturday evening

*Workshop topics including:* Season extension, growing brambles, dairy
farming, pastured livestock and poultry, maple syruping, hiring and managing
farm employees, cover crops, renewable energy, farm insurance, agriculture
policy and activism, weed control, growing mushrooms, growing and marketing
grains, school gardens, farm recordkeeping, growing garlic, meat goats,
homemade dyes, farm to school, eating seasonally, green building, pest
management, business branding, pricing for profitability, organic apple
growing, beekeeping, ecological parenting, flower production, mob grazing,
internet marketing, soil fertility, and food co-ops. Upcoming details on
workshops are coming soon,

*Pre-Conference:* This year's event will also feature a one-day
pre-conference titled *The ABCs of CSAs. *This workshop will provide
guidance for farmers interested in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
including information on the challenges and benefits of CSAs, planning,
record-keeping, membership recruitment and management, and more. The
pre-conference will take place on Friday, February 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
in Granville, Ohio.

*Additional Features:* The conference will also feature a kid’s conference
offering a variety of exciting workshops for children ages 6-12; a playroom
for children under 6; a book signing by Joan Dye Gussow and *The Contrary
Farmer*, Gene Logsdon; an exhibit hall offering an interesting array of
information, products, services and resources that relate to sustainable
agriculture; a non-denominational Sunday service; and Saturday evening
entertainment provided by the Back Porch Swing Band.


   -   Full Adult Conference Registration $90 members/$130 non-members
   -   Full Student Conference Registration $55 member/480 non-member
   -   Saturday* Only *$65 member/$90 non-member
   -   Sunday *Only *$65 member/$90 non-member
   -   Kids/$17 per kid per day

*How:* To register or for more information about the conference, including
maps, directions, workshops, speakers, and a schedule, go to or contact Renee Hunt at (614)
421-2022 Ext. 205 or [log in to unmask] Last year’s conference sold out, so
early registration is encouraged to guarantee a spot.

* **MOSES 22nd Annual 2011 Organic Farming

* <>

*When:* February 24-26, 2011

*Where:* The La Crosse Center, Lacrosse, WI

*Why:* Come enjoy an educational weekend packed with 70+ workshops, 150+
exhibitors, terrific food, entertainment, acres of food and farming books,
and plenty of time and space to network and mingle.
Organic Topics Include:*

   - Healthy Soils
   - Field Crops
   - Market Farming
   - Livestock
   - Marketing & Business
   - Download conference brochure
<> for
   detailed information on topics.

*How:* *Register by Jan 15 to save $20*. Cost: Full registration $175 before
Jan 15 ($195 after Jan 15). Registration is also available for Friday and
Saturday only.  Print off registration form and download conference brochure
at the MOSES website,<>


* *

*CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS! Michigan Good Food Film Festival*

* *

*When: *February 28, 2011

*Where:* Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor,

*Why:* Washtenaw Community College, Slow Food Huron Valley - Homegrown Local
Food Summit and Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP) are teaming up to
host the first Michigan Good Food Film Festival in Southeast Michigan.

This film festival is an opportunity for students and community members to
consider what good food means to them and to tell their good food story
through film. The top films selected will be show to the public during the
Michigan Good Food Film Festival on February 28, 2011. Prizes will be
awarded in each category and a viewer’s choice award will be announced on
March 1, 2011 at the Local Food Summit.

*Categories Include:*


   - *Student Short*: Film directed, edited, or written by a student that is
   no more than 30 seconds long.
   - *Student Long*: Film directed, edited, or written by a student that 3
   to 5 minutes in length.
   - *Community Short*: Film directed, edited, or written by a Michigan
   resident that is no more than 30 seconds long.
   - *Community Long*: Film directed, edited, or written by a Michigan
   resident that 3 to 5 minutes in length.

* *

*How to Submit:** Deadline for all submissions: January 7, 2011.* Go to for submission and eligibility
guidelines.  Please direct all submissions and inquiries to:Victoria
Bennett<[log in to unmask]>
*,* [log in to unmask] or (734) 973-3364.

*Deadline Approaching for the Market Manager Certificate Program*

* *

* *

*When: *Six day-long sessions from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. January 12, 26,
February 9, 23, and March 8, 9, 2011

*Where: *January and February at the Michigan Municipal League, Lansing, MI

March at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, E. Lansing, MI

* *

*Why*: Sessions cover all of the bases that farmers market managers need to
know to run their markets successfully and sustainably into the future.
Certificates will be awarded to individuals, who complete the full six-day
program. For those unable to attend sessions, online resources will be
available as condensed online learning modules and videos available 24/7 at
MIFMA’s new CyberInstitute, which will launch in May 2011.

*Session Titles:*

   - Business Planning and Managing Market Growth, January 12, 2011
   - Human Relations and Conflict Management, January 26, 2011
   - Market Governance, Rules & Enforcement, February 2, 2011
   - Fundraising, February 23, 2011
   - Marketing and Outreach, March 8, 2011
   - Manager to Manager Educational and Presentations, March 9, 2011

*How:** Registration Deadline is December 31, 2010. COST:* $200 for all six
sessions for MIFMA members and $500 for all six sessions for non-MIFMA
members. Single sessions will be $50 for MIFMA members and $85 for non-MIFMA
members. The cost is per person. *Register online at ***.

To see the full Market Manager Certificate Program brochure or to get more
information, visit or contact Maggie Smith at
[log in to unmask] or (517) 432-3381.


*15 Case Studies on Local Food Supply Chains **by Kristen Park, Food
Industry Management Program, Cornell University*

*Researchers at Cornell participated in a series of case studies sponsored
by the US Department of Agriculture – Economic Research Service (USDA –
ERS). The case studies looked at a total of 15 different food businesses
(including apples, blueberries, spring mix, beef, and fluid milk) in 5
different states (NY, OR-WA, CA, MN-WI, and DC) with the purpose of
examining the way in which local food products are being introduced or
reintroduced into the broader food system along with the potential barriers
to expanding markets for local foods.*

Researchers at Cornell were fortunate to participate in a series of case
studies sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture – Economic Research
Service (USDA – ERS) and just released this summer. The case studies looked
at a total of 15 different food businesses in 5 different states with the
purpose of examining the way in which local food products are being
introduced or reintroduced into the broader food system along with the
potential barriers to expanding markets for local foods.

The cases included the following products and locations, with 3 different
businesses examined under each:

   - Apples in Syracuse, NY
   - Blueberries in Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA
   - Spring mix in Sacramento, CA
   - Beef in Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
   - Fluid milk in Washington, DC

Despite increasing consumer interest in locally grown and processed food,
not very much is known about how supply chains that move local foods from
farms to consumers compares with the “mainstream” supply chains that move
products through supermarkets. With funding from USDA's Economic Research
Service, a team of researchers from Oregon State, University of California –
Davis, University of Minnesota, USDA – ERS, and Cornell University conducted
a coordinated series of case studies on supply chains for local food
products. For each of the product-place combinations listed above, case
studies were conducted on:

   - The predominant grocery supply chain for a product category (mainstream
   supply chain)
   - A supply chain for a local product that is marketed directly by
   producers to consumers (direct market supply chain)
   - A supply chain for a local product that reaches consumers through one
   or more intermediaries (intermediated supply chain)

*What did the study find? (Report summary):*

Case studies of mainstream supply chains and two types of local food supply
chains reveal the great variety of ways that food products can move from
farms to consumers. Products from local farms may appear in mainstream and
local supply chains, and products from more than one supply chain may be
present in the same outlets. Businesses in all types of supply chains face
challenges to reduce production, handling, and transportation costs. Higher
per unit costs in local supply chains (relative to the mainstream chain) do
not preclude success.

Farms that participate in local food supply chains tend to have a diverse
portfolio of products and market outlets. In some cases, diversification may
help spread out large fixed costs across a number of different revenue
streams. Other farms may be large enterprises that participate in mainstream
supply chains and use local supply chains as a residual market. In total,
local supply chains handle a relatively small portion of total product
demand, and in some cases local products fill a unique market niche as a
differentiated product.

Local food supply chains, particularly direct market chains, are more likely
to provide consumers with detailed information about where and by whom
products were produced. However, this information alone is unlikely to be
sufficient to sustain price premiums for local products. Price premiums are
observed when products exhibit additional differentiating characteristics.
Prices in local supply chains are also determined differently. They tend to
be decoupled from national commodity market prices, particularly in direct
market supply chains. Instead, prices are influenced by local supply and
demand relationships and by product differentiation based on attributes
other than local.

Producers receive a greater share of retail prices in local food supply
chains, which is often a motivating factor for choosing to sell through
them. In all the direct market cases producers assume responsibility for
additional supply chain functions, such as processing, distribution and
marketing, to capture revenue that would otherwise accrue to an outside
party. These supply chain functions can be costly and often involve the
operator’s own unpaid labor. Although farms in direct market supply chains
retain nearly 100 percent of the retail price, additional costs incurred to
bring their product to market can reduce their net returns by between 20 and
60 percent.

Transportation fuel use is more closely related to supply chain structure
than the distance food products travel, and product aggregation to reduce
per-unit costs is an important determinant of transportation fuel
efficiency. Local supply chains require fewer food miles to move products
from farms to consumers, but fuel use per unit of product in local chains is
often greater than in the corresponding mainstream chains. In these cases,
greater fuel efficiency per unit of product is achieved with larger loads
and logistical efficiencies that outweigh longer distances.

Findings from these case studies are presented in *Comparing the Structure,
Size, and Performance of Local and Mainstream Food Supply Chains, *USDA,
Economic Research Service, ERR99, which is available online at* *While the case descriptions
were condensed in the ERS report due to length, expanded descriptions of all
the case studies are available from the University of Minnesota on its
website* *:

Apple Case Studies in the Syracuse, New York MSA (

Blueberry Case Studies in the Portland-Vancouver MSA (

Spring Mix Case Studies in the Sacramento Area (

Beef Case Studies in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MSA (

Fluid Milk Case Studies in the Washington, D.C. Area (


* *

* *


* *

*Wind Energy Pays for Itself - Eventually **by Derrek Sigler, The Vegetable

* *

Windmills used to be a sign of farming, especially on the plains, where they
were used to power pumps to bring water up from wells for homes, crops and
animals. Today's modern windmill spins a turbine to generate electricity.

Modern windmills are a viable energy option for growers, according to the
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Grants
and low-interest loans are available from state and federal agencies to
defray some of the massive costs of installing alternative energy sources on
the farm.

The cost to install a wind turbine is between $6 and $10 per kilowatt of the
turbine, said Mark Mayhew, project manager of NYSERDA's Wind Incentive

"I realize this is a huge range, but the peculiarities of the site have a
big impact on cost," he said.

Those peculiarities include terrain, distance from road, distance from power
supply and soil type. A 10-kilowatt system will cost about $75,000, Mayhew

"Proper sitting of a wind turbine is extremely important for a turbine to
make economic sense."

Chip and Karla Bailey own KC Bailey Orchards in Williamson, N.Y. They were
looking at ways to cut costs for building a cold storage facility, and
electricity was a major expense. After a nine-year process that included
countless hours of research and working with local planning boards, they
brought a windmill online this past summer. It provides power to a storage
facility, labor camp and small shop.

"The windmill doesn't provide 100 percent of the electricity we use, but it
is close," Karla said. "We're still monitoring it, but we've only received
two electric bills since we set it up."

Research led Chip to believe they were in a good area for wind, with peak
winds from September through May - which met his needs for a cold storage

USDA offers grants and low-interest loans to help defray the majority of the
cost. States like New York have similar programs, and can work with USDA to
offer even more assistance.

The NYSERDA Customer-Sited Wind Turbine Incentive Program provides up to
$400,000 per turbine, which can be paid to eligible installers. The
installer must install approved, grid-connected wind-energy systems using
qualified equipment, in accordance with the eligibility requirements. The
maximum equipment size allowable under these guidelines is a windmill
generating 600 kilowatts per site/customer. The NYSERDA incentive will not
exceed 50 percent of the total installed cost of the system, leaving the
grower to obtain the rest of the financing.

"Our new program has been open for just over a month," Mayhew said. "In that
time we received 11 applications, and eight were from farmers. For the last
program, in the past three years, we received 60 applications and 18 were
from farmers."

They've hit a perfect storm with USDA-REAP grants, 1603 tax credits and
NYSERDA's incentive to make turbines affordable, he said.

Depending on where you live, the windmill can be routed into your electric
grid. In the case of New York, the utility company is required by law to buy
the excess energy from you. In other words, the electric company has to pay
you for the energy you don't use. Over time, this means the system will pay
for itself and then some.

"Farmers will see a decrease in their electric bill the first month after
installation," Mayhew said. "In general, wind turbines are a long-term
investment. A typical payback would be 10 to 15 years, but with tax credits,
depreciation and a good, consistent, strong wind, the payback can be in the
five- to 10-year range."

When the Baileys set criteria for their windmill, they looked at numbers
with a payback of 10 years or less. The payback had to be sustainable, too,
Chip said.

"When we plant our trees and set up our orchards, we look at the land, the
sun and the prevailing winds," Karla said. "We think about these things on a
daily basis. It is a natural fit for growers to look at alternative energy

"It is also a great way for small business owners to leverage their time,"
Chip said.

Source: The Vegetable Growers, **.

*Wind Turbines on Farmland May Benefit Crops*

Wind turbines in Midwestern farm fields may be doing more than churning out
electricity. The giant turbine blades that generate renewable energy might
also help corn and soybean crops stay cooler and dryer, help them fend off
fungal infestations and improve their ability to extract growth-enhancing
carbon dioxide from the air and soil. Speaking at the annual meeting of the
American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, a researcher at the U.S.
Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory and his co-researcher from the
University of Colorado announced the preliminary findings of a months-long
research program aimed at studying how wind turbines on farmlands interact
with surrounding crops. "Wind turbines do produce measurable effects on the
microclimate near crops," said Ames Laboratory associate and agricultural
meteorology expert Gene Takle. Turbine blades channel air downwards, in
effect bathing the crops below via the increased airflow they create.

*To read more on this subject* visit,

*Source:* The Ames Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy,

USDA Releases Farm Emissions Calculator
December 16th, 2010

On Wednesday, December 15, USDA announced the release of an updated and
expanded online tool to help producers estimate on-farm carbon emissions and
sequestration associated with their farm management practices.

The COMET-VR 2.0 calculator, developed in collaboration with Colorado State
University, can estimate the carbon sequestration and emission reductions
associated with the implementation of conservation practices for cropland,
pasture, rangeland, orchards and agroforestry, as well as changes to biomass
and soil carbon stock over time.

This second edition of the tool can also estimate reductions in nitrous
oxide emissions from agricultural practices that improve the efficiency of
fertilizer and manure applications.

Estimates are made based on location (state and county), parcel size,
surface soil texture, approximate historic land use changes, tillage and
fertilization practices, future land management and carbon storage
practices, and current fossil fuel electricity consumption.

We’d like your feedback on this tool.  Is it user-friendly?  Does it
adequately account for the management practices employed on small and
mid-sized farms?  Does it work well for diversified sustainable or organic
production systems?  How could the tool be improved?

To try the COMET-VR 2.0 calculator visit,*.
* We encourage you to leave any feedback on the tool in the comments section
of this blog entry.

*Source:* The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Blog,


*Good Garden Sanitation Practices Now Can Prevent Plant Diseases Next Season

EAST LANSING, Mich. – As frigid winter temperatures begin to grip the state,
most gardeners are heading inside to stay warm and read the latest seed
catalogs and garden magazines, looking forward to the next growing season.

But if good garden sanitation isn’t done before next year’s planting season,
what they may have left in their gardens could come back to haunt them.
Plant diseases, such as potato late blight (*Phytophthora infestans),* can
threaten their crops next year, as well as their neighbors’. Gardeners can
take proactive steps to keep their gardens free of potato late blight by
cleaning up potato plant materials and disposing of them properly.* *Found
in Michigan potato and tomato plantings in 2010, *potato late blight has the
potential to be a very destructive disease of potatoes and tomatoes u*nder
favorable weather conditions.

“Potato late blight overwinters in potato tubers,” William “Willie” Kirk,
Michigan State University (MSU) potato specialist and plant pathologist,
says. “The disease needs live plant tissue to thrive and survive, and
potatoes left in the soil and covered with snow are protected from
temperatures that would be low enough to kill the disease.”

Kirk recommends that gardeners make a point of digging up any potatoes left
over in their gardens and disposing of those old potatoes properly. He also
says any stored potatoes from growers’ gardens should be checked over
carefully for signs of disease and disposed of – but not in a compost pile.

“Unfortunately, compost piles act as insulators in cold weather, so diseased
potatoes left in the garden in winter or stored in homes could harbor the
disease, and if thrown in a compost pile, will contaminate it,” he says.
“Those potatoes should be thrown in the trash or sanitary landfill,
whichever is most accessible.”

If gardeners are considering planting potatoes next spring, Kirk says the
best option is to buy clean, certified seed potatoes, rather than planting
potatoes saved for seed.

“Gardeners should check their saved potato seed very carefully for signs of
disease before planting,” he says. “It is best to plant new, certified

Spread through the air and from plant to plant, late blight can also affect
tomato plants. By learning about the disease and sharing this information
with their fellow gardeners, neighbors and gardening groups, home gardeners
can help prevent the spread of this disease.

“This is a community-managed plant disease,” Christopher Long, MSU potato
specialist, says. “Whatever method it takes to spread the word about potato
late blight helps growers keep it out of their gardens, as well as any other
potato or tomato grower’s garden nearby.”

Long stresses that doing nothing is not an option with late blight – growers
should plan now to prevent outbreaks in both tomatoes and potatoes.

“Start early next spring by looking for volunteer potato plants and
destroying them,” he says. “Again, don’t put them in a compost pile. Plan a
spray program, as it will be very important to keep that up. Be diligent.”

Kirk’s website,, has many resources that can assist
gardeners, such as photos, publications and links to information. To follow
the late blight site on Twitter, click on the “Follow us on Twitter” button
on the home page or go to County MSU
Extension offices are also a good source of information. Find yours at Click on “Offices/Staff” on the left side
of the page.

*Source:* Michigan State University Extension, Gardening in Michigan, **.

* *



*USDA Announces Cut-Off Date for 2011 Conservation Funds*

EAST LANSING, Dec. 10, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has
announced a cut-off date of *Jan. 19* for 2011 financial assistance from two
conservation programs. The programs provide financial assistance for
implementing conservation practices and for improving wildlife habitat.

“Landowners and agricultural producers should contact their local USDA
Service Center as soon as possible if they are seeking conservation
financial assistance during 2011,” said State Conservationist Garry Lee of
the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Financial assistance is available through the Environmental Quality
Incentives Program and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program which are
administered by NRCS. Applications for both programs are accepted on a
continuous basis however only applications received by the cut-off date will
be ranked and considered for the current funding cycle.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program provides financial assistance
for conserving natural resources on agricultural land. The program
reimburses 75 percent of the estimated cost for implementing a variety of
conservation measures to conserve soil, water and air resources. Some
eligible conservation measures include animal waste storage facilities,
windbreaks, field residue management, prescribed grazing practices and pest

Landowners who want to improve wildlife habitat on their property can
receive financial assistance through the Wildlife Habitat Incentives
Program. The program provides financial assistance of up to 75 percent of
the estimated cost for improving wildlife habitat. Some eligible practices
under the program include tree and shrub plantings, native grass and
wildflower establishment and forest stand improvements.

Socially disadvantaged, limited resource and beginning farmers may be
eligible for a higher rate of financial assistance and other benefits under
these programs. For more information contact your local USDA Service Center
or visit the NRCS-Michigan Web site at

*Here is the Spanish version of the press release above. Both can be found
on the Michigan Organic website under farmer opportunities, *

*Spanish Translated Media Announcement for 2011 EQIP_WHIP Cut-Off*

El Departamento de Agricultura (USDA) ha anunciado la fecha límite de Enero
19 del 2011 para la asistencia financiera de dos programas de conservación.
Estos programas proporcionan asistencia financiera para implementar
prácticas agrícolas de conservación y para mejorar el hábitat de la vida

ERS Issues New Report on Organic ContractDecember 17th, 2010

On Monday, December 13, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) published a
new report, “The Role of Contracts in the Organic Supply Chain: 2004 and
2007,” <> examining the
extent and rationale behind contracting in the organic sector.

The report, which is based on data collected from nationwide surveys of
certified organic processors, manufacturers, and distributors, found that
contracting between organic handlers (i.e., processors, distributors,
manufacturers, repackers) and suppliers (i.e., producers or other handlers)
is widespread in the organic sector.  With the current high consumer demand
for quality organic products, it comes as no surprise that the contracts are
generally used to secure high quality products in short supply.

The contracts encompassed in the surveys varied widely in the methods used
to ensure delivery of high quality products and to determine the price paid
to suppliers. Some contracts offered premiums for high quality items, while
others imposed penalties for delivering low quality goods.
Contract-specified pricing methods varied from flat prices – for products
such as onions/garlic, poultry, and grains – to market-determined prices for
products including apples/pears, coffee, and seeds.

Contractors rarely offered assistance for obtaining organic certification or
for transitioning to organic, though proof of certification was required in
the majority of contracts.

For more information, download a .pdf version of the report,

*Source:* The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Blog,



USDA Introduces Online Farm Link Tool for Beginning Farmers December 13th,

On Monday, December 13, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the release of
TIP Net, an online tool to help link retiring farmers who have expiring
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts with beginning or socially
disadvantaged farmers or ranchers who want to buy or rent land for their

CRP contracts covering millions of acres of land will expire during the term
of the 2008 Farm Bill.  USDA estimates that contracts covering 4.4 million
acres expired this year, with nearly the same number of acres due to expire
in 2011.

Under the Transition Incentives Program (TIP), administered by USDA’s Farm
Service Agency, retired or retiring owners or operators with expiring CRP
contracts can receive up to two additional annual rental payments if they
sell or lease the CRP land to beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers
who are interested in bringing the land into production using sustainable
grazing or crop production methods, including transitioning to organic.

As of November 30, TIP participation included 372 contracts on more than
52,000 acres, with nearly $5 million obligated for TIP annual rental

“The interest in TIP during the first six months of implementation has far
exceeded our expectations,” said Secretary Vilsack this morning. “This tool
should make TIP even more effective in facilitating the transition of land
to our next generation of farmers.”

The “Craigslist”-style TIP Net currently has few posts, but it has the
potential to become an essential linking tool for beginning and retiring
farmers.  You do not need to create an account in order to browse available
ads.  In order to post an ad, you will need to create an account at *

The CRP-TIP program was championed by NSAC, leading an advocacy drive to get
it included in the 2008 Farm Bill.  We are pleased with the progress of the
program to date, and with the new TIP-Net tool.

*Source:* The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Blog,



 *Part-time Bookkeeper/Office Manager at Ohio Ecological Food and Farm
Association (OEFFA)*


*Job Description: *The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association has an
opening for a part-time Bookkeeper who will also be responsible for office
management in our Columbus office. The bookkeeper is supervised by our CPA

Hours: 15 hours/week, with the understanding that at certain times of year
additional hours may be needed to fulfill the responsibilities of the

*Compensation: *$12-$13.50/hr, depending on experience.

*Specific Bookkeeping Responsibilities:      *

   - Full charge bookkeeping using QuickBooks
   - Oversee timesheet, payroll, and expense reimbursement processes with
   payroll service provider

*General Office Responsibilities:*

   - Oversee office systems: phones, security, computers, etc.
   - Coordinate supply orders and oversee other office purchases
   - Maintain Board of Director meeting files
   - Manage special projects as requested by the Accountant or Executive

*Human Resources Responsibilities:             *

   - Manage employee benefits, working both with employees and vendors
   - Coordinate completion of new employee forms and enroll employees in
   benefit plans
   - Maintain personnel files
   - Support Executive Director with appropriate human resource related

*Qualifications:  *

   - A high level of expertise using QuickBooks software; strong skills in
   other applications, especially Excel
   - A four-year degree in Business Administration or Accounting or a
   related field is preferred; at minimum a two-year Associates degree is
   - Human resources experience is of special interest
   - Strong oral and written communication skills; demonstrated
   professionalism in written correspondence
   - High degree of integrity, particularly in managing confidential
   - Impeccable attention to detail
   - Passion for the work, mission and values of the Ohio Ecological Food
   and Farm Association, helping to create healthful and ecologically
   responsible food and farm systems that benefit family farmers, the
   environment, and those who eat.

*To apply: *Applications consist of cover letter, résumé, and names and
contact information for three references (please indicate their relationship
to you). Electronically submitted applications (preferred) should be sent
to *[log in to unmask]*, or mail your application to OEFFA Bookkeeper
Position, 41 Croswell Rd, Columbus, OH 43214. We anticipate the successful
candidate will begin in their new position immediately after the first of
the year.


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