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
UPCOMING CONFERENCES OF INTEREST
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 http://www.michiganwines.com/CulinaryTourism 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:
*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 http://web2.canr.msu.edu/miffs/registration.cfm.
***************************************************************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 sessions.
Possible Sessions of Interest:
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 sitehttp://smallfarmconference.com/.
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.
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 http://www.maeap.org/ace/registration.
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 entertainment.
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, http://www.oeffa.us/oeffa/pdfs/conference2011_web.pdf.
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.
How: To register or for more information about the conference, including maps, directions, workshops, speakers, and a schedule, go to http://www.oeffa.org/conference2011.php 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 Conference
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:
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, www.mosesorganic.org.
UPCOMING EVENTS OF INTEREST
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS! Michigan Good Food Film Festival
When: February 28, 2011
Where: Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, MI
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.
How to Submit: Deadline for all submissions: January 7, 2011. Go to http://migoodfoodfilmfestival.blogspot.com/ for submission and eligibility guidelines. Please direct all submissions and inquiries to:Victoria Bennett, [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.
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 www.mifma.org.
To see the full Market Manager Certificate Program brochure or to get more information, visit www.mifma.org 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:
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:
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 http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/ERR99/ 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 http://foodindustrycenter.umn.edu/local_food_case_studies.html :
Apple Case Studies in the Syracuse, New York MSA (http://foodindustrycenter.umn.edu/vd/LFSCAppleCaseStudies.pdf)
Blueberry Case Studies in the Portland-Vancouver MSA (http://foodindustrycenter.umn.edu/vd/LFSCBlueberryCaseStudies.pdf)
Spring Mix Case Studies in the Sacramento Area (http://foodindustrycenter.umn.edu/vd/LFSCSpringMixCaseStudies.pdf)
Beef Case Studies in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MSA (http://foodindustrycenter.umn.edu/vd/LFSCBeefCaseStudies.pdf)
Fluid Milk Case Studies in the Washington, D.C. Area (http://foodindustrycenter.umn.edu/vd/LFSCMilkCaseStudies.pdf)
Wind Energy Pays for Itself - Eventually by Derrek Sigler, The Vegetable Growers News.com
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 Program.
"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 said.
"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 facility.
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 sources."
"It is also a great way for small business owners to leverage their time," Chip said.
Source: The Vegetable Growers News.com, vegetablegrowersnews.com.
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, http://www.external.ameslab.gov/news/news-releases/wind-turbines.
Source: The Ames Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, http://www.external.ameslab.gov/news/news-releases/wind-turbines.
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, http://www.comet2.colostate.edu/. 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, http://sustainableagriculture.net/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 under 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 seed.”
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, www.lateblight.org, 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 tohttp://twitter.com/late_blight. County MSU Extension offices are also a good source of information. Find yours at http://www.msue.msu.edu/portal/. Click on “Offices/Staff” on the left side of the page.
Source: Michigan State University Extension, Gardening in Michigan, http://www.migarden.msu.edu/migarden/home.
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 management.
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 www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.
Here is the Spanish version of the press release above. Both can be found on the Michigan Organic website under farmer opportunities, http://www.michiganorganic.msu.edu/michiganorganic/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 silvestre, http://www.michiganorganic.msu.edu/FarmerOpportunities/tabid/131/Default.aspx.
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, http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/EIB69/EIB69.pdf.
Source: The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Blog, http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/.
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 operations.
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 payments.
“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 https://eauth.sc.egov.usda.gov/eAuth/selfRegistration/selfRegLevel1Step1.jsp.
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, http://sustainableagriculture.net/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 Accountant.
Hours: 15 hours/week, with the understanding that at certain times of year additional hours may be needed to fulfill the responsibilities of the position.
Compensation: $12-$13.50/hr, depending on experience.
Specific Bookkeeping Responsibilities:
General Office Responsibilities:
Human Resources Responsibilities:
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.
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