Mich-Organic Listserv readers: The information offered in the Michigan
Organic Listserv is for your information and not necessarily endorsed by
Michigan State University.
February 4, 2011
Upcoming Events of Interest
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN! The 4th Annual Organic Food & Farming Reporting Session and Poster Contest
When: March 4, 2011, from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m
Where: The Kellogg Conference Center, East Lansing, Michigan
researchers and educators are invited to attend to hear researchers
report on their organic production, marketing and management. Visit with
graduate students to discuss their posters. Enjoy experienced organic
farmers discussions on their soil management systems.
Topics Include: season extension, soil building, vegetable
and fruit production systems, innovative pest management, and building
community food systems.
The afternoon will give all who attend an
opportunity to exchange information about organic agriculture. The
presentations will be 12 minutes each plus 2 minutes for questions,
followed by a panel of 3-4 farmers from different farm types to discuss
their approaches to building soil quality. A reception with light
refreshments will follow, where graduate students will present their
research posters. Judges will determine the winning posters, choosing
first, second and third pla
How: Registration Deadline is February 25, 2011. Cost:
$10.00/per person, with a special rate of $5.00 for students and
farmers. Submit registrations on-line at www.michiganorganic.msu.edu
under the Organic Reporting Session tab or print the application form
and send it completed along with a check payable to Michigan State
University. Send checks and registration to: V. Morrone, 303 Natural
Resources, East Lansing, MI 48824. For questions call Vicki at
(517)353-3542 or (517)282-355
Note: Walk in or after the deadline registration (February 25, 2011) fee is $15/per person or $10 for students and farmers.
FOR SUBMISSIONS! Applications Now Available for Researchers and
Graduate Students to Present at the 2011 Organic Reporting Session
Researchers: Your research reports can be on past or
on-going research regarding organic agriculture production, marketing
systems, or outreach programs. Please indicate how your work applies to
farmers in your presentation. The presentations will be 12 minutes each
plus 2 minutes for questions. Research topic may include but are not
limited to: season extension, soil building, vegetable and fruit
production systems, innovative pest management, and building community
- Deadline: Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. Download PDF of application at www.michiganorganic.msu.edu under the Organic Reporting Session tab. Email application to [log in to unmask].
For questions call Vicki at (517)353-3542 or (517)282-3557. You will be
notified of receipt of information by Thursday, February 17, 2011 by
Graduate Student Poster Contest:
Posters will be limited to 46” length x 46” width. These posters can be
on past or on-going research or outreach that includes organic
agriculture production and marketing systems.
To view past Organic Reporting Session abstracts and posters visit, http://expeng.anr.msu.edu/michiganorganic/organic_reporting_session.
for Application: February 10, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. Send a PDF of your
poster to include in the compendium by February 17, 2011. Download PDF
of application at www.michiganorganic.msu.edu under the Organic Reporting Session tab. Email application to [log in to unmask]
Asparagus Day, Hart MI
Note: Not all subjects may relate to organic.
When: March 10, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Where: St. Joseph Parish Hall, Hart, Michigan
Why: Oceana Asparagus Day is North America’s largest educational program for
Possible Topics of Interest:
How: COST: $34 per person. Registration can be made
through the Oceana Michigan State University Extension Office. A
tentative agenda can be found at www.michiganorganinc.msu.edu under the event tab. Call 231-873-2129 for more information.
- Asparagus Seed Supply
- Asparagus Disease
- Michigan Asparagus Future Planning Report
- Writing a Long-Term Business Plan Using Agir-Plan
Insurance Webinars Offered by the Farmers Market Coalition
February 14, 2011, at 1 p.m.: Producer Liability: Understanding & Communicating Vendor’s Risks and Insurance Needs” addresses
how the farmer can protect themselves from these types of risks through
Producer General and Product Liability insurance. The webinar will take
place on February 14, at 1 p.m.
March 8, 2011 at 1 p.m.: “Making the Most of Your Market Insurance Policy and Minimizing Market Liability Risk”
will give market managers the tools they need to make informed
decisions about buying an insurance policy and the questions to consider
when making such a purchase.
April 5, 2011 at 1 p.m.: “Protecting Board The Members and Learning the Nitty Gritty of Statewide Insurance Programs.”
will cover what types of claims are covered by a Directors’ and
Officers’ policy, which includes price-fixing, vendor discrimination,
and negligent management of a market.
How: Registration for the February 14th Webinar is available at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/204613755. The other webinars are not open yet for
registration, but registration will be open at least two weeks
prior to the live webinar dates.
Upcoming Conferences of Interest
Youth Gardening Summit & Sampler 2011
When: February 26, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Where: Foster Community, Lansing, MI
enjoy hands-on sessions for adults and children to learn about youth
gardening activities. Adults (16yrs and up) will have the opportunity
to learn about garden design and layout, and evidence based garden
resources. Youth (age 8 and up) will have the opportunity to learn
How: Cost: Free of charge, lunch is optional for $5. Register 3 ways. Download registration for at www.youthgardeningcoalition.org. Mail- by Feb 21, 2011- Lunch reserved for $5, please mail with registration form. Online- by Feb. 25th-
Lunch reserved for $5, please mail in or pay day of at registration. At
Door- Lunches may be purchased the day of for $7, but availability
cannot be guaranteed. For questions about registration and the
conference contact Stephanie Reuter at MSU Extension (517) 676-7300 or [log in to unmask].
- Art in the Garden
- Seed Starting
- Worm Composting
- Garden games
- Healthy Garden Snacks
2nd Annual Growing Our Food Systems Conference
When: February 17, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Where: S. Washington Office Complex (Old National Guard Armory), 2500 S. Washington, Lansing, MI
Why: The Greater Lansing Food Band, and varies area
partners have come together to provide a one day conference for people
who grow, produce, process, market, distribute, prepare or eat food.
Whether you are just beginning or have been involved with food you whole
life, come join the conversation.
How: COST: $10 Sliding Scale (Includes Lunch). For more information or to register, visit www.greaterlansingfoodbank.org or call 517-853-7800.
8th Annual Great Lakes Indigenous Farming Conference
NOTE: Not all subjects are related to organic.
When: March 3 - 7, 2011
Where: Maplelag Reason, White Earth Reservation, MN
- March 3: Native Harvest presents a “Slow Food” dinner, featuring ‘Wild Rice’.
- March 4: Workshops on Wild Rice Preservation, Sulfide Mining, and Domestic Fair Trade Association.
- March 5: Farm to School Programs Workshop Hosted By Guy Wolf, Producers For Farm To School Programs-Local Growers
Full Rate: $50, Day Rate: $25, Youth $10. Lodging $240/ 3 nights (meals
are included, plus Full Conference Registration Fee) Lodging is in
communal cabin (bring sleeping bag and towels) ski rental available.
Find registration form online at www.michiganorganic.msu.edu under the Events tab.
For more information contact: White Earth Land Recovery Project, Karla Bellanger (218) 375-2600 or [log in to unmask].
OPEN! The 2011 Michigan Organic Conference "Keeping the Local in
Organic", presented by the Michigan Organic Food and Farming Alliance
When: March 4 - 5, 2011
Where: Kellogg Convention Center, East Lansing, MI
New for this year MOFFA will host a special event and mixer “Taste of
Michigan” featuring live music on Friday. This event will take place at
the East Lansing Hannah Community Center. On Saturday, The Michigan
Organic Conference will include: a keynote speaker, education sessions,
and organic luncheon. This year’s keynote speaker is Mark Kastel of the
Cornucopia Institute (http://www.cornucopia.org/). Updates on the conference are coming soon. Check the MOFFA website for more information, http://www.moffa.org.
Interested in a full page ad, being and exhibitor or sponsor? Sign up at http://www.moffa.org.
How: Register online, http://www.moffa.org/2011_moc.html.
Cost: $70/Full Conference Advance Registration, $8/Friday Only Advance
Registration, $65/Saturday Only Advance Registration, $50/ Student
Advance Registration (Friday + Saturday).
Forage Technology Conference
Note: Not all subject matter is related to organic
When: March 10, 2011, from 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Where: Lincoln Room, Kellogg Center on the Campus of Michigan State University
Why: (Note that NOT ALL sessions contain material relevant to organic)
Possible Sessions of Interest:
How: Contact Person and Reservations: Jodie Schonfelder (517) 355‐0271 Ext. 1114 or e‐mail, [log in to unmask].
Reservations by March 1, 2011. COST: $35.00 per person (non Michigan
Forage Council Members) or $30.00 (Michigan Forage Council Members)
-- covers program registration, lunch, and snacks.
Biosolids, fly ash, and compost on Hay Land for Plant Nutrients. Dianna
Seifert, St. Clair, MI and a Panel of Michigan Producers Utilizing
Non‐Conventional Nutrients Sources for Forage Land.
- Potential of Growing and Using Switchgrass as Bioenergy. Dr.
Doo‐Hong Min, Extension Forage Specialist, Michigan State University.
is the Potential of Grass Fed Beef and Marketing Locally? Dr. Jason
Rowntree, Extension Beef Specialist, Michigan State University.
Upcoming Workshops of Interest
Good Agricultural and Good Handling Practices Workshops (GAP)
Why: Good Agricultural and Good Handling Practices (GAP and GHP) are
soaking up the spotlight as more wholesale and retail buyers are
requiring certification from their growers. MIFFS and partners are
hosting workshops this winter and spring to help growers learn steps and
strategies to safely getting fresh local product to regional grocery
stores and the wholesale distributors that service them.
- Thursday, February 17, 2011, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.: MSU Extension Office, Lapeer
Friday, February 25, 2011, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.:: On-Farm Mock Audit, TBD
- Friday, March 11, 2011, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.: RESA Building, Kalamazoo
- Thursday, March 17, 24, 2011: Webinars (2 hours, time TBD)
- Thursday, March 31, 2011, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.: University Center, Gaylord
How: These workshops are free to attend, but registration is
required. For more information about these workshops or to register,
please contact MIFFS at (517) 432-0712 or [log in to unmask]. Space is limited, so register early.
These workshops are funded by a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant.
Other sponsors include MIFFS, the MSU Product Center for Agriculture and
Natural Resources, MSU Extension and the Michigan Department of
USDA GAP Educational Classes for Asparagus, Peach, Cherry and Apple Growers
How: Contact Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS) for more information at 517-432-0712 or [log in to unmask], or visit www.miffs.org/gapghp.asp.
- Monday, February 7, 2011, Southwest Michigan Research & Extension Center (SWMREC)
- Thursday, February 10, 2011, Alpine Ave. Township Hall
- Tuesday, February 15, 2011, Northwest Research Station
- Thursday, February 17, 2011, Alpine Ave. Township Hall
- Monday, February 21, 2011, Shelby Optimist Club
- Tuesday, March 1, 2011, Walli’s Restaurant, Flint
- Tuesday, March 8, 2011, Belle Harvest Sales, Belding
Small Fruit Good Agricultural Practices Workshop
When: March 24 - 25, 2011
Where: Southwest Michigan Research & Extension Center (SWMREC), Benton Harbor, MI
This two day workshop will introduce growers to general food safety in
agriculture, then walk them through 2011 USDA GAP requirements. In
addition, the training will include a farm tour to show how the
requirements could be implemented on their farm. Participants will
receive a digital resource with a GAP Manual Template that they may use
in crafting their GAP Manuals. For more information, call MSU Extension
in Van Buren County 269-657-8213 or Jackson County 517-788-4292.
How: For more information, call MSU Extension in Van Buren County (269)-657-8213 or Jackson County (517)-788-4292.
MSU Extension Offers Lambing Clinic for Sheep Producers
When: February 12 or 19, 2011
Where: Ehrhardt’s Sheep Farm, located at 6280 Kinneville Road, Eaton Rapids, from noon to 4:30 p.m.
Sheep producers who are interested in learning how to optimize the
birthing process with the added challenge of wintery weather are invited
to attend a clinic presented by Michigan State University (MSU) small
ruminant specialist Dr. Richard Ehrhardt.
The discussion-based and hands-on program is designed for new or
less experienced sheep producers, but anyone interested in improving
decision making and sheep husbandry skills is invited to participate.
topics include assisting with the birth, caring for newborns, treating
lambs for hypothermia and diagnosing mortality. The clinic will also
cover feeding the ewe flock to optimize performance and well-being,
ultrasound scanning to diagnose pregnancy and count fetuses, scoring
body condition and pre-lambing shearing, as well as grafting procedures
and vaccination protocols.
How: Registration Deadline is February 7, 2011. Enrollment is
limited to 20 persons per session date so preregistration is required.
The $30 registration fee includes proceedings and light refreshments and
is due by Feb. 7. To register or obtain additional information, call
Carla McLachlan at 517-432-5402, or send an e-mail to [log in to unmask].
Source: ANR Communications, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Farmer Loan and Grant Opportunities
is a LOAN not grant as it is with NRCS. But allows farmers to build a 3
or 4 season hoophouse or a mobile one, much more flexible but must pay
PASSIVE SOLAR SYSTEMS
REVOLVING LOAN FUND
What is a Passive Solar System?
passive solar system is a structure, which can extend the growing
season to ten to twelve months without additional supplemental heat or
light. A recent on-farm research project by 12 private farms and
Michigan State University has shown that passive solar systems can
generate gross and net sales at a rate which would make a loan repayable
in 1 – 4 years.
Are You Eligible?
The program is limited to the funding of passive solar systems. Systems already installed are ineligible.
- Family Farms
- Non-Profits 501(c)
When Can You Start Your Project?
can start work once the loan agreement is signed by DELEG. Only
project-related costs that are incurred and paid for after DELEG’s loan
execution may be included in the loan request.
Applicants assume all financial risk should the DELEG not approve the application or if all loan documents are not executed.
If the loan is not approved or executed, the DELEG is not responsible for reimbursement of any costs.
How Much is Available?
Please call for
latest funding availability. Loan amounts will be between $5,000 and
$15,000 and are limited to materials, supplies and equipment costs only.
When Should You Submit Your Application?
solicitation is open until February 1, 2011. A second round of
applications, however, will be accepted between June 1 and July 31,
2011. Applications for funding will be reviewed by an advisory
committee, and awarded based on project merit and applicant
creditworthiness. The DELEG reserves the right to close the solicitation
period at any time.
Criteria for Loan Approval
meet minimum credit standards determined by the Advisory Committee.
Credit standards are not solely based upon FICO scores and may consist
of a face-to-face interview to determine knowledge and interest in
passive solar systems. Loan recipients will also be required to attend a
passive solar system workshop if they have not done so in the past and
will be required to submit quarterly reports related to production
including crops grown, yields, and other horticultural and economic
Interest on approved loans is fixed at 4% for a maximum of 6 years.
interest payments will be collected on disbursed loan funds for the
first six (6) months starting from the agreement date. After the first
six months, loan repayments are made in equal semi-annual installments
of principal and interest concluding not later than 6 years after the
There is no penalty for early repayment.
Loan Security Requirements
promissory note, loan agreement and security agreement are required to
secure the loan. The security interest is limited to the materials,
supplies and equipment purchased with loan funds.
How Are Funds Disbursed?
The funds are
available on a reimbursement basis. Loan disbursements will be made upon
the submission of the vendor’s invoice as well as the other required
loan deliverables. Loan disbursement will be with 50% at the time of
order and the remaining balance upon receipt of the equipment, supplies
and materials. Proof of payment is required within 30 days of each loan
How to Apply
An electronic loan application
form is available for downloading as an Adobe Acrobat Portable Document
Format (PDF). Please review additional Application Package Items
located on the electronic loan application form. Only complete
applications will be reviewed; please take the time to ensure
Please submit a signed loan application and additional documents via email, fax, or ground mail, to:
Terri Novak, DELEG
611 W. Ottawa Ave
P.O. Box 30221
Lansing, MI 48909
Michigan Department of Agriculture
Announces Specialty Crop Grant Opportunity
Proposals due to MDA by April 1, 2011
Mich. – Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Keith Creagh and U.S.
Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture,
Nutrition and Forestry today announced new opportunities for Michigan
businesses thanks to the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program through the United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Ag Marketing Services. The
program is designed to enhance the competitiveness of Michigan’s specialty
crops. Grant proposals must be received by MDA no later than April 1,
grant program provides a unique opportunity for our state’s specialty crop
producers to enhance their profitability by expanding their domestic and
international markets,” said Creagh. “We appreciate Senator Stabenow’s
continued support of Michigan’s agriculture industry and look forward to
continued partnerships in the future.”
of Senator Stabenow’s work, the 2008 Farm Bill (Food, Conservation, and Energy
Act of 2008) was the first one in history to recognize the importance of
specialty crops – fruits, vegetables, nursery products, and floriculture.
authored this grant program during the most recent Farm Bill so our growers can
continue to make significant investments in Michigan’s specialty crop sector,”
said Senator Stabenow. “These grants support the men and women who grow fruits
and vegetables – and create thousands of jobs throughout Michigan.”
grants, ranging from $10,000 to $75,000, enhance the competitiveness of the
state’s specialty crops, including, but not limited to: research, promotion,
marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant
health programs, education, increased knowledge and consumption, increased innovation,
improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental
concerns and conservation, product development, good agricultural practices,
good handling practices, and good manufacturing practices.
applicants include non-profit organizations, local, state, and federal
government entities, for-profit organizations, and universities. The
organizations must be legal entities recognized by the IRS, and applicants must
reside and/or conduct their business or organization in Michigan. Applications
should demonstrate how the project will potentially produce measurable impacts
for the specialty crop industry as a whole and not-for-profit to a specific
product, single organization, institution, or individual.
program information, application form, or submission criteria, please visit www.michigan.gov/mda
or contact Mike DiBernardo at [log in to unmask]
Proposal must be
RECEIVED (not postmarked) by 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 1, 2011.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA)
USDA Offers Conservation Funding to
LANSING, Dec. 22, 2010 – Agricultural producers who are organically certified
or are transitioning to organic production are eligible for conservation
financial assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Organic Initiative.
In Michigan, just over $1 million in financial assistance is available in for
producers who apply by March 4, 2011.
Organic Initiative allows organic producers to address their conservation
concerns without having to compete with non-organic producers for financial
assistance. Producers interested in utilizing this program should contact their
local office as soon as possible to start the application process,” said Garry
Lee, state conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
year (FY) 2011 marks the third year of the USDA’s Organic Initiative that
reserves conservation financial assistance for producers to plan and implement
conservation practices that address natural resource concerns in ways that are
consistent with organic production. For example, organic producers may use the
funding to plant cover crops, establish integrated pest management plans, or
implement nutrient management systems consistent with organic certification
producers include those certified through USDA’s National Organic Program,
those transitioning to certified organic production, and those who meet organic
standards but are exempt from certification because their gross annual organic
sales are less than $5,000. In FY 2010, NRCS obligated nearly $24 million
through the Organic Initiative to help producers implement conservation
Under Organic Initiative
contracts, producers are paid 75 percent of the cost for the organic
conservation measures they implement. Beginning, limited resource, and socially
disadvantaged producers are paid 90 percent. The program provides up to $20,000
per year per person or legal entity, with a maximum total of $80,000 over six
Producers interested in applying for Organic Initiative funding must submit
applications through their local NRCS Service Center. For more information
about the USDA Organic Initiative including contact information for local
offices, visit the NRCS-Michigan Web site at www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.
NRCS is celebrating 75 years
helping people help the land. Since 1935, the NRCS conservation delivery system
has advanced a unique partnership with state and local governments and private
landowners delivering conservation based on specific, local conservation needs,
while accommodating state and national interests.
Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), http://www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov/news/11%20NewsReleases/Organic%20Initiative%202011.html
Financial Aid is Now Available to
Cover MSU Organic Farmer Training Program Fees and Cost of Living!
Education Awards may now be used to pay for program fees
Only a couple of open spaces remain in the
2011 Cohort! Apply Today!
The Organic Farmer Training Program offers
nine months of intensive instruction in year-round organic farming. The program
focuses on diversified production of vegetables, flowers, fruits and herbs for
local markets. Students manage all aspects of a 10-acre certified organic farm,
including passive solar greenhouses used for year-round production in cold
climates. Students also manage the SOF field production. Produce is grown for
the farm’s primary markets, including a 48-week CSA, six-month on-campus farm
stand, and sales to campus dining services. Students develop competencies in
farm skills through trainings and engagement in the daily operation of the
farm. Hands-on training is combined with workshops, lectures, readings and
assignments that build participants’ knowledge and understanding of organic
farming principles and practices. The program is designed to give participants
a strong background in production skills as well as the knowledge, management,
and decision-making skills necessary to operate a diversified small farm.
Program participants include new and beginning
farmers, urban and community farmers and gardeners, educators, and those
interested in local or organic agriculture.
Program Start Date is March 1st 2011
Visit our website for full program description
and application www.msuorganicfarm.org or contact us at [log in to unmask], 517-449-3290.
Farmers Market Opportunities
Request for Letters of Interest for Organic Farmers for Park Ridge Farmers Market, IL
City of Park Ridge’s Farmers Market in Illinois is soliciting letters
of interest from farmers that use organic and sustainable practices. Our
markets are every Saturday opens at 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m and runs from
Memorial Day weekend and until Halloween. The fees are $250 for a space
that is about the size of 2 1/2 parking spaces. Most farmers rent two
spaces. Park Ridge is a fairly affluent community and has had a
successful farmers market for over 20 years. We are located on the north
side about 5 miles from O'Hare. Please provide background information
about your farm including:
1. Any organic certifications held by your farm.
2. Any specialized training you have had in sustainable agriculture.
3. The size of your farm and how long you have been in business.
4. The crops that you grow.
your letters to: Barb Beil by February 14, 2011. There is no guarantee
that new farmers will be added in 2011, but a Letter of Interest will
help us in growing the market, if not in 2011 then at some point in the
future. If you have any questions please call Barb Beil at 847-318-5217.
Michigan Cheese Maker Cooperative
Check out the official site of the Michigan Cheese Making Cooperative, http://www.greatlakesgreatcheese.com/.
They are committed to producing all natural, hand made Artisan and
Farmstead cheeses. Not only are they supporting the local agriculture
economics in the state, but they are adding value to farm crops and
keeping a bigger share of profits in local communities.
On this site you can meet the cheese makers who have great
local acclaim and several are nationally-recognized award winning
Artisan or Farmstead cheese makers. You can see where they are from and
get their contact information. Also enjoy online receipts the Michigan
Cheese Makers Cooperative has partnered with Chef Eric Villegas to
Does Your Farmers Market Have Curb Appeal? by Steve Bogash, Pennsylvania State University
Ore. – An innovative climate and weather monitoring system developed at
Oregon State University will soon be used to help underwrite and verify
claims of crop losses, both to improve services to farmers across the
nation and prevent abuse in the $79 billion crop insurance program.
Does your business have that “drive-by” appearance that draws new
customers in and makes old customers want to keep coming back?
In an increasingly noisy marketing world, there is no substitute for
having a front lot appearance that sets the tone for profitable business
transactions. It is so easy as owner/manager to overlook faded signs,
parking lot potholes, peeling paint and similar tragedies as we go about
getting through long, often stressful work days. Every piece of trash
that is left lying on the ground eventually becomes many, and our
businesses slowly degrade into so much compost. Customers notice new
landscaping, upgraded signs and well-maintained parking lots by coming
back and bringing friends. Word of mouth advertising only works if there
is something worth talking about.
Curb appeal today is more than the look of your store from the road or
parking lot. With approximately 85 percent of all purchases made by
female shoppers, knowing where they begin to make shopping decisions is
critical in determining where to spend your marketing dollars. Up to 93
percent of mothers regularly or occasionally seek the advice of others
before making a purchase. More than half of adults use Facebook, cruise
the web, read blogs and share shopping successes and failures. These
web-based communication tools are an increasingly important aspect in
developing curb appeal. Your curb is no longer only your front door.
Here are some things to consider:
Road signage: Are your signs part of the image you
want to create for your business? Can they be easily read at the speed
of the traffic that goes past? How much information belongs on a highway
sign? Is your primary road sign an asset to your marketing scheme? Are
fancy fonts an image builder or just hard to read?
Parking lot appearance: Parking lots are one of those
areas that always stir the emotions in business owners. After marketing
presentations that include the importance of a well-maintained, paved
parking area, I’ve been accosted in buffet lines by owners who are
trying to avoid paving with arcane discussions on the price of blacktop.
Yes, I know the price of blacktop and have even rented a paving box and
roller to lay my own parking lot and pathways. A great looking and
well-designed parking lot doesn’t so much add to your curb appeal as
avoid bringing it down.
Nothing makes a business seem more like it is on the way out than deep
potholes, parking bumpers that are rotting and scattered and poorly
maintained plantings adjacent to parking. Since most shopping
experiences today are at malls, big box stores, grocery stores and the
like, good parking is simply an expectation.
Main entrance: There is no chance for a second first
impression. Your main entrance should be inviting, tone setting, easy to
navigate and adaptable to seasonal shifts in merchandise. It also
should be easy to find your hours and any seasonal variations in those
hours. Shopping carts and baskets need to be in easy reach, well
maintained and clean.
Landscape: There are some universal rules for making
your landscape work for you. One of the greatest mistakes owners make is
in factoring in time (or the omission of time) for the maintenance of
plantings. I’d rather see nothing but blacktop, stripes and a building
than poorly maintained plantings. Landscape areas only work to sell your
marketing plan if they always look like the gardener just left. If you
are selling plants, this is the place to sell them first.
With today’s major emphasis on locally grown foods and plants, this is
the opportunity to sell the idea that your stuff comes from your store.
Have your own vegetable patch where it can be seen, keep it neat and be
sure to sign it appropriately and let it do the selling for you.
Website/blog: While websites were once optional, they
have become the starting point for many shoppers. With the near collapse
of newspapers and expense of mail, they are the optimal method to alert
customers to new products, sales and coupons. For many of your
customers, your website is your front door.
While a website is necessary, a blog is just a little less so. Blogs
give you the opportunity to print up-to-date information on anything on
your mind, and do so quickly and easily. Most blog support services come
with feedback mechanisms that are much easier to use than web-based
Building appearance: I love talking to farm market
owners about how they developed their building. There seems to be two
distinct schools of thought: 1) This is what I have to work from, so I’m
always limited but doing my best. 2) I got really tired of being
limited, so went back to the drawing board to create a building that
solved all of the problems of my old structure that could be solved on
this lot and within my budget.
The wide variety of great-looking farm markets out there is a testament to the creativity of our industry.
Lasting impressions: What is the last thing your
customers see, feel and believe about your business as they drive off? I
had the opportunity to speak at a meeting several years ago, where
there was this tremendous effort by the business owners to create an
impressive agritainment atmosphere. The place looked great, the help was
polite, the parking lot was easy to negotiate, but the exit road took
you out past the back of the greenhouses. The last thing I remember
about this operation was a huge pile of spent and decaying plastic
nursery pots and trays.
We must learn to think and observe like our customers. Their last
thought should always be about who they want to drag to your place next.
Source: The Fruit Growers News.com, February 2011, www.fruitgrowersnews.com.
Weather Monitoring System Improves Crop Insurance by David Stauth, Oregon State University
The project, a collaboration of OSU and the Risk Management Agency
of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, began last month. It includes a
$1 million, one-year grant from the agency to OSU’s PRISM Climate Group.
Systems will be developed to help adjust farmers’ crop losses and
improve the agency’s ability to underwrite a sound crop insurance
program. This will produce more accurate and reliable loss adjustment,
better policy service, and significantly lower costs to taxpayers.
“The vast majority of American farmers follow the rules and we want
to help them by keeping their costs for crop insurance as low as
possible,” said Kirk Bryant, deputy director of strategic data
acquisition and analysis at the Risk Management Agency.
“Moral hazard is an issue in all lines of insurance,” Bryant said.
“But since crop insurance is taxpayer funded, and with more than one
million crop insurance policies in force and billions of dollars in
crops insured, the Risk Management Agency is particularly sensitive to
taking strong measures to assure that everyone plays by the rules.”
“Moral hazard,” officials say, occurs when an insurance policyholder
does something that significantly increases their chance of having a
crop loss, or exaggerates the size of the loss. This does not always
imply illegal actions; for example, after purchasing insurance, a
producer may not follow generally accepted production practices. But, in
extreme instances, it may involve fraud.
OSU has developed one of the nation’s most sophisticated and
innovative weather and climate analysis systems, which considers
multiple factors such as weather, location, elevation and other issues.
It can monitor weather and climate far more precisely than most systems,
and the new support from this initiative will allow further
“With this new funding, we will move from monthly averages to a
daily analysis of weather and climate over the entire nation,” said
Chris Daly, an OSU professor of geosciences and director of the PRISM
program. “This will produce about 30 times the data and maps we now
have, improve long-term climate monitoring, incorporate radar data,
factor in individual weather events and make other improvements.”
Crop insurance is a major industry in the U.S., sold and delivered
by private insurance companies in collaboration with the USDA Risk
Management Agency. These programs help farmers insure primarily against
natural disasters and weather events, such as hail, wind storms or
floods, which can partially or totally destroy their crops. Some of
these events can be extremely local – a passing thunderstorm may drop
hail that destroys one farmer’s crop while leaving others untouched a
Using PRISM, the agency believes that it will be able to more
quickly substantiate weather events and producer claims, which can
expedite the process and save money. It’s far more precise than data the
agency has used in the past.
The improved weather and climate data, Daly said, will also help
insurance companies determine risk levels more accurately. Instead of
assuming that everyone in one county, for instance, faces exactly the
same weather risks, the system might suggest that some lands at slightly
higher elevation are more subject to frost damage and others less
likely, allowing insurance rates to be set fairly and appropriately.
Daly said many people don’t appreciate how much weather and climate
can vary in short distances based on terrain and other factors. The
PRISM system – which stands for Parameter-elevation Regressions on
Independent Slopes Model – is a sophisticated approach that takes these
topographic variations into account and determines their impact on local
weather and climate.
It has attracted interest from researchers all over the world.
the long run, we hope for this collaboration with OSU to grow in future
years and offer even more service to farmers,” Bryant said. “We want a
strong educational component that will help farmers better understand
their local climate, the optimal time to plant crops, what might grow
best based on the climate, how things are changing based on global
warming, and provide other support systems.
“Modern farmers are actually pretty savvy at using these tools,”
Bryant said. “And their interest will only increase as more farmers get
into specialty crops and operations, such as local produce markets and
Daly said he hopes to make PRISM more user-friendly, so that novice
computer users can easily make a few clicks and go directly to the local
weather or climate information they are looking for. Assisting in that
will be OSU’s Northwest Alliance for Computational Science and
Engineering, led by Cherri Pancake, a pioneer in the design of web sites
that simplify the delivery of large amounts of information to users
with varied backgrounds.
This type of precise weather and climate data may also soon be used
more broadly by other insurance companies as they see its value,
officials said. The data obtained by his agency will be shared across
the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bryant said, and should form the
basis for other applications and cost savings.
OSU officials met recently with USDA administrators to discuss a
range of opportunities to expand services of this type of American
farmers, through programs in the OSU College of Science, College of
Engineering, College of Agricultural Sciences, Agricultural Experiment
Station and the university’s Sun Grant initiative.
Source: Oregon State University, http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/node/13718.
Classifieds and Advertisements
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Does anyone know of a certified organic kitchen in the Novi MI area?
A women doing BBQ sauce (Magoo Gourmet BBQ sauce) wants to make an
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Farm Land for Lease
A man in Gladwin County would
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If interested and for more information contact Vicki, [log in to unmask].
Edible Flint Garden Starters Program Coordinator Wanted
Flint is a collaboration formed in July 2009 consisting of individual
residents, public and private organizations, and institutions. Its
mission is: To support Flint residents in growing and accessing healthy
food in order to reconnect with the land and each other.
Seasonal full time position lasting from March 1 through
November 1. Hourly wage. Coordinator is responsible for scheduling
garden site visits and tracking services and materials provided through
the Edible Flint Garden Starter Program.
This position reports to Food Systems Coordinator at Michigan State
University Extension for daily supervisory tasks and Outreach
Coordinator at Ruth Mott Foundation for human resource needs.
- Develop mailing list and mail out requests for resources
- Coordinate the process of getting the word out about the services
- Set up a database for gardens, input data as it is collected, and set up a structure for evaluating the program.
- Assist in organizing a planning meeting for growers for the edible flint Garden Starters Program
- Make initial calls to gardeners to schedule services
- Prepare schedule of services in coordination with the Crew Leader
- Coordinate the ordering of plants and seeds and organize donation days
with MSU to make sure soil samples are submitted and results returned
to growers and enter results into the data base for each garden
- Support planning for the edible flint garden tour by coordinating with gardens featured on the tour
edible flint Garden Starters Program outcomes at bimonthly edible flint
Garden Resource Work Group meetings and make adjustments based on
consensus of group
- Assist with taking notes for edible flint Training and Resources Work Group
- Work with MSUE, RMF staff and other edible flint partners to assist with connecting gardeners to technical assistance
How to Apply: Submit resume by mail or email only to edible flint Garden Starters
- Strong communication skills
- Ability to work collaboratively
- Maintaining transparency and good communication
- Experience with basic computer and web-based technologies (such as word processing, databases, and web searches)
- Record of reliability
Program c/o Applewood, 1400 E. Kearsley St. Flint Mi, 48503 or
[log in to unmask]
Peckham Farm Leader Position
The Peckham Farm Leader position will be coordinating the day to day
responsibilities of the Peckham Farm project. Peckham Farms is committed
to providing local access to healthy foods through the use of organic
farming practices, and to being an incubator of sustainable ideas and
methods for the Greater Lansing community.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Supervise 2-5 Team Members working in the farm with assistance of the
Farm Committee and the Peckham Vocational Services Specialists. Carries
out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's
policies and maintains all applicable safety regulations regarding
public health standards and laws. Responsibilities include training,
planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance;
rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and
with all aspects of running a small scale farm – irrigation, hoop house
maintenance, seeding, transplanting, bed preparation, composting, weed
control, insect control, and post harvest handling- Daily
- Basic tractor experience including tractor and implement maintenance, cultivating, disking and plowing ‑ Daily
- Skills in operating and maintaining a wide range of specialized vegetable equipment and implements.
- Experience in creation and management of a farm plan, whole farm budget and farm market.
- Basic carpentry/handyman skills – As Needed
- Teaching experience.‑ As Needed
- Demonstrated experience in working collaboratively with persons from various cultures and backgrounds - Daily
- A thorough understanding of the impacts of race, culture, and racism on the American food system.
- Demonstrated experience in building and coaching a diverse team.
- Proficient with social media and experience in marketing and market development.
- Participate in the recruitment, selection, and contracting with up to ten small farmers.
- Assist farmers and begin education efforts around business skills and environmentally – friendly farming practices.
Drafting a farm operations and policy manual.
- Oversee the preparation of land and planting (beginning in spring of 2011)
the installation of the season extension and labor saving
infrastructure: hoop houses, irrigation, produce washing and packing
- Proficiency in Word and Excel for recordkeeping and reporting purposes.
- Knowledge about and prior experience in implementing organic principles and certification.
- Assist in the training of people with disabilities - Daily
- Experience managing interns
Promote Peckham’s vision, values, and services to all customers and stakeholders - Daily
- Assist in maintaining organization wide quality standards - Daily
- Knowledge of farming hazards and conscious of safety.
- Other duties may be assigned.
Note: This position requires passing and maintaining a
security background check. Must have access to reliable transportation.
Must maintain an unrestricted Michigan driver’s license and possess a
clear driving record (in accordance with company insurance policy) to
drive the company vehicle.
Qualifications: To perform this job successfully, an
individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.
The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge,
skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to
enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential
functions. The physical demands of this position may be reasonably
accommodated for individuals with disabilities on a case by case basis.
Education/Experience: Bachelors degree in related field is
desired and a minimum of three years farming experience, or an
equivalent combination of relevant education and experience.
Skills: Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules,
operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals. Ability
to write routine reports, case notes and correspondence.
Mathematical Skills: Ability to calculate figures and
amounts such as discounts, interest, commissions, proportions,
percentages, area, circumference, and volume. Ability to apply concepts
of basic algebra and geometry.
Reasoning Ability: Ability to solve practical problems and
deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only
limited standardization exists. Ability to interpret a variety of
instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form.
Certificates, Licenses, Registrations: CPR/First Aid,
Chauffeurs License, Licensed commercial pesticide applicator or willing
to obtain after hire.
Physical Demands: The physical
demands described here are representative of those that must be met by
an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.
Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with
disabilities to perform the essential functions. The physical demands
of this position may be reasonably accommodated for individuals with
disabilities on a case by case basis.
While performing the duties of this job, the employee is
regularly required to stand; walk; use hands to finger, handle, or feel;
reach with hands and arms; talk or hear; and taste or smell. The
employee frequently is required to climb or balance and stoop, kneel,
crouch, or crawl. The employee is occasionally required to sit. The
employee must regularly lift and/or move up to 25 pounds, frequently
lift and/or move up to 50 pounds, and occasionally lift and/or move up
to 70 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include
close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth
perception, and ability to adjust focus.
Work Environment: The work environment characteristics
described here are representative of those an employee encounters while
performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable
accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to
perform the essential functions. The physical demands of this position
may be reasonably accommodated for individuals with disabilities on a
case by case basis.
While performing the duties of this job, the employee is
frequently exposed to moving mechanical parts. The employee is
occasionally exposed to wet and/or humid conditions; high, precarious
places; fumes or airborne particles; toxic or caustic chemicals; all
outside weather conditions; and vibration. The noise level in the work
environment is usually moderate.
The above job description is meant to describe the general
nature and level of work being performed; it is not intended to be
construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and
skills required for the position.
This job description in no way states or implies that these
are the only duties to be performed by the employee occupying this
position. Employees will be required to follow any other job-related
instructions and to perform other job-related duties requested by their
supervisor in compliance with Federal and State Laws.
Peckham, Inc. is an equal opportunity/affirmative action
employer and is operated in accordance with a policy which does not
permit discrimination because of race, color, sex, age, handicap,
national origin, or any other artificial characteristic.
to Apply: Please visit Monster.com to apply for Peckham job
opportunities. Please include wage expectations when applying. Please
respond to this posting no later than Sunday, February 6, 2011.
3510 Capital City Blvd.
Lansing, MI. 48906
EMAIL: [log in to unmask]
Job Posting #1275.
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