Ag Expo grazing session brings together economic and environmental strategies for quality pastures


EAST LANSING, Mich. – The expansion of the grass-fed livestock market has more producers considering pasture-based livestock systems. That leaves both new and established beef cattle producers with a lot of questions. Jason Rowntree has answers, and he’ll share them during a demonstration at the Michigan Ag Expo, which takes place July 19–21 at Michigan State University (MSU). Rowntree, an MSU Extension specialist and assistant professor in the Michigan State University (MSU) Department of Animal Science, combines research and practical knowledge to provide information about effective grazing management strategies that will work on any size operation.

            Rowntree will present “Chew on This: Grazing Management Strategies for Beef Cattle Operations” at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 19. The session will be located in the “Livestock Central” area of the Ag Expo grounds, directly west of the main entrance.

            “Properly utilizing forages is one of the most important things we can do in cow-calf operations,” said Rowntree, who has researched this subject thanks to an appointment in AgBioResearch at MSU. “Specifically, the decisions we make at the farm can dramatically help lower costs and, concurrently, we can increase soil quality with minimal inputs through proper management.”

            During the session, Rowntree will bring together multiple aspects of grazing, including utilizing forages, improving soil quality and properly managing pastures to reduce the need for inputs like fertilizer and fuel. He will also highlight research being done at the Lake City Experiment Station.

            “We’re not going to change everything overnight as it relates to grazing,” Rowntree admitted. “What I hope to do during Ag Expo, though, is start getting people to think about it. What are the costs of my grazing operation? How is my fencing and water system set up? Are there things that I can do better thatwill help me have lower costs and hopefully be more profitable? Those are the types of questions I hope people will start asking.”

            By properly managing their pastures, producers can also work to improve water quality, an important programs with the MSU Extension “I Know MI Numbers” initiative.

            “When pastures aren’t properly managed, overgrazing can leave bare ground exposed, which increases the chance of soil and nutrient runoff,” Rowntree explained. “Through our session at Ag Expo, producers will learn how they can better manage those pastures, leaving more plant matter on the surface and root mass underground. Both of these will hold soil and nutrients in place while alsoallowing for greater moisture capture and retention.”

            The 2011 Michigan Ag Expo will bring together representatives from Michigan’s $71.3 billion agricultural industry – both academic and commercial – for three days of educational session, demonstrations and other activities. The MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources sponsors Ag Expo, the largest outdoor farm show in the state.

For more information about Ag Expo, call 800-366-7055, or visit
The MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources sponsors Ag Expo.


Mid-Michigan ag technology field day

Ag technology equipment and services will be demonstrated at a field day in mid-Michigan on July 27.

Published July 8, 2011

Dan Rossman, Michigan State University Extension

Advanced technology is becoming more and more common on today’s farm operations. Plan to attend the mid-Michigan Ag Technology Day to find out about the latest in technology from mid-Michigan equipment dealers and consultants. Whether it is auto steer guidance, variable rate planting meters or a multiple of other systems and services, with these in-field demonstrations and hands-on opportunities, you’ll be able to see and experience it firsthand.

The technology field day will be held on Wednesday, July 27 at the Crumbaugh Farm’s field, located on the corner of Bagley and Polk Roads. The site is two miles east and two miles north of Ithaca in Gratiot County.

The event will start at 10:00 AM with brief presentations from the equipment dealers and ag consultants. Participants will then be allowed time to visit the demonstrations and displays of their choice to gather information applicable for their operation. A complimentary lunch will be served at noon. Please register by calling the Gratiot County MSU Extension office at 989-875-5233 begin_of_the_skype_highlightingend_of_the_skype_highlighting.

The Garden Project’s Annual Community Garden Tour

Please join us and tell your friends.


What: Community Garden Bus & Bike Tour. Two routes to enjoy, choose the one that appeals to you!

When: Wednesday, July 27th, at 5:30 pm

Where: Please meet at The Garden Project’s Foster Park Resource Center, located at 2401 Marcus St. (48912)

Reserve yourplace: call 517-853-7809, email [log in to unmask], or on facebook.

Suggested donation: $1-$20


 Look forward to seeing you there. For questions call: Anne Rauscher

The Garden Project of The Greater Lansing Food Bank

Office phone: (517) 853-7809~ desk phone: 853-7802~ Fax: 853-7817

Mailing address: PO Box 16224~ Lansing, MI 48901

Physical address: 919 Filley St ~Lansing, MI 48906


High-tunnel meeting planned for August 3 in SW Michigan (SWMREC)

Join us August 3 for a twilight meeting to learn more about adding fruit and vegetable production in high tunnels to your farm.

Published July 12, 2011

Diane Brown , Michigan State University Extension

If you have been thinking about adding crop production in high tunnels to your operation, you will want to attend the twilight meeting that will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 3 at the Southwest Michigan Research and ExtensionCenter (SWMREC). SWMREC is located at 1791 Hillandale Road, Benton Harbor, Mich.

The meeting will provide an opportunity to view a number of current research projects underway in the tunnels and provide some ideas for potential crops and growing methods for you to consider. Some projects havebeen underway for several years, while others are new this year. Meeting attendees will see sweet cherries grown as fruiting walls, performance trials of blackberry cultivars, day-neutral strawberries grown with and without shading, fall red raspberries in gro-bags, vegetables and cut flowers.

There is no charge for this meeting. Contact Diane Brown at the Berrien County office at 1-269-944-4126 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting  end_of_the_skype_highlighting for more information.



Register today for MIFMA's On-Farm Food Safety Field Days.

The Michigan Farmers Market Association with funding from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will  be hosting three on-farm field days this summer for Michigan farmers, market managers and market stakeholders to discuss how toensure food safety on the farm from production to the market. 

The on-farm field days will be:

· August 8, 2011 at Pond Hill Farm in Harbor Springs, MI

· August 9, 2011 at Rock River Farm in Chatham, MI 

· August 15, 2011 at Uhlianuk Farm in North Branch, MI

The fee is $20 for MIFMA members and $30 for non-members to cover costs associated with meals, refreshments and materials. Please view agendas to see what will be covered at each training. Please call 517-432-3381 if you have any questions.  One week left to register for the 2011 Farmers Market at the Capitol. The deadline for applications is 5 pm Friday, July 22. 


If you have already submitted an application make sure you have included payment, license (if needed) and proof of insurance. Fax to 517-353-7961 or mail to MIFMA, 172 D Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824.

Maggie Smith 
Administrative Assistant
Michigan Farmers Market Association






Newark, Ohio    

August 16, 2011

9:30 am to 4:00 pm EDT 


The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service invite you to attend the Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course in Ohio. This full day training will provide you with the latest science-based approaches to reversing the trend of pollinator declines, and will equip you with the recipes necessary to protect and manage habitat for these vital insects.   


Dawes Arboretum
7770 Jacksontown Rd. SE
Newark, OH 43056 

Cost: Thanks to support from the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, registration is free for the first 30 people. Additional seats are available for $30. Lunch is not provided. Please plan on bringing a sack lunch with you to the course.   

Canceled registrations can be refunded until August 8, 2011. 

Register online now. Registration closes after 55 people.   

Contact: For questions regarding registration, please contact Ashley Minnerath, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation at [log in to unmask] or (855) 232-6639.  

More Information: to access detailed information about the Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course in Newark, Ohio. Google to find info on this organization or call.
This short course is one of many being offered during the 2011 season. The Xerces Society will be hosting similar trainings in the following states: Colorado, Indiana, Nebraska, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington. Visit our online events page to view up-to-date short course information.


The current Farm Bill makes pollinators and their habitat a conservation priority for every USDA land manager and conservationist. This training session provides an overview of pollinator-specific language within the Farm Bill, and how to translate that language into on-the-ground conservation.  


Pollinators are essential to our environment. The ecological service they provide is necessary for the reproduction of more than 75 percent of the world's flowering plants and is fundamental to agriculture and natural ecosystems. More than two-thirds of the world's crop species are dependent on pollination, with an annual estimated value of $18 to $27 billion in the United States alone. Beyond agriculture, pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems, since their activities are ultimately responsible for the seeds and fruits that feed everything from songbirds to black bears. Conservation of pollinating insects is critically important to preserving wider biodiversity, as well as agriculture.


In many places, however, this essential service is at risk. In 2006, the National Academy of Sciences released the report Status of Pollinators in North America, which called attention to the decline of pollinators. The report urged agencies and organizations to increase awareness and protect pollinator habitat.


The Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course was developed to address this need. Introductory topics include the principles of pollinator biology, the economics of insect pollination, basic field identification of bees, and evaluating pollinator habitat. Advanced modules will cover the development of pollinator habitat enhancements, selection of plants for pollinator enhancement sites, and management of agricultural, natural, and urban landscapes.   


Throughout the short course training modules are illustrated by case studies of pollinator conservation efforts across the country.


A field tour will take place on the grounds of The Dawes Arboretum. Founded in 1929 by Beman and Bertie Dawes, The Arboretum now covers nearly 1,800 acres and includes eight miles of hiking trails and more than 15,000 living plants.


Participants will receive the Xerces Society's Pollinator Conservation Toolkit that includes Xerces' latest book, Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies, as well as habitat management guidelines and relevant USDA-NRCS and Extension publications. 


·       Identify approaches to increase and enhance pollinator diversity on the land

·       Knowledge of the current best management practices that minimize land-use impacts on pollinators

·       Ability to identify bees and distinguish them from other insects

·       Understand the economics of insect-pollinated crops, and the effects of pollinator decline

·       Knowledge of the current Farm Bill pollinator conservation provisions in programs such as WHIP, EQIP, CSP, and CRP  

·       Ability to assess pollinator habitat and to identify habitat deficiencies

·       Ability to make recommendations to farmers and land managers that conserve pollinators (including subjects such as tillage, pesticide use, burning, grazing, and cover cropping)

·       Ability to design and implement habitat improvements, such as native plant restoration and nest site enhancements




The MSU dairy at Kellogg Biological Station in Gull Lake, MI offers Public Tours

Every second Wednesday of the month between 3PM and 8PM.  Next tour will be Wednesday July 13.  Summer students and others that have not had a chance to visit the dairy and see the robotic milkers are welcome to visit.




Mat Haan

Pasture Dairy Center Project Coordinator


Michigan State University

Kellogg Biological Station

3700 E. Gull Lake Drive

Hickory Corners, MI 49060


[log in to unmask]

269-671-2360 (office)

269-671-2351 (Fax)



Sustainable Agriculture Education Association annual conference - August 3-5th!

If you are interested in teaching in sustainable agriculture, this is the place for you! You can see more details at


Also, a van will be available for transportation, leaving August 2nd and returning August 6th. If you are interested in catching a ride, please contact me, Julie Cotton at [log in to unmask].


Employment Opportunities


            Executive Director   Posted June 28, 2011


The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN), a 501c3 non-profit organization located in the city of Detroit, and one of the national leaders in the urban agriculture movements is seeking an experienced, innovative, socially conscious Executive Director to lead, and manage the organization and its projects.


The position of Executive Director is a full-time permanent position (40 hours/week) that begins Monday August 1, 2011. The Executive Director is responsible for carrying out all the duties outlined below, and reports to the Board of Directors, who will evaluate her/his efforts in a fair manner.


Those interested in applying for this position shall submit a cover letter, resume, list of 3 professional references, and a vision statement for the organization over the next two years given where we are now.  Submit this information by Monday July 11 (call to see if still open) via postal mail to:


DBCFSN Executive Director Search Committee

3800 Puritan Ave.

Detroit, MI 48238-1313


Or email:  [log in to unmask]


Scope of Work


In general, the Interim Executive Director is responsible for administration of overall operation of the organization, including: reviewing and evaluating the results of program activities, ensuring that continuing contractual obligations are being fulfilled; allocating resources for greater program effectiveness and efficiency; developing organizational and administrative policies and program objectives for Board consideration.   


Specifically, the Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Networkshall be responsible for:

§  Assuring that the organization has a long-range strategy which achieves its mission, and toward which it makes consistent and timely progress.

§  Providing leadership in developing program, organizational and financial plans with the Board ofDirectors and staff, and carrying out plans and policies authorized by the Board.

§  Promoting active and broad participation by volunteers in all areas of the organization's work.

§  Maintaining official records and documents, and ensuring compliance with federal, state and local regulations.

§  Maintaining aworking knowledge of significant developments and trends in the food security and food justice movements.

§  Ensuring that the board is kept fully informed of the condition of the organization and all important factors influencing it.

§  Ensuring that the activities of the organization, its programs and goals are effectively marketed and promoted.

§  Establishing sound working relationships and cooperative arrangements with community groups and organizations.

§  Representing the programs and point of view of the organization to agencies, organizations, and the general public.

§  Recruiting, hiring, evaluating and releasing all personnel, both paid staff and volunteers.

§  Ensuring that job descriptions are developed, that goals and expectations are clearly defined and agreed to, regular performance evaluations are held, and that sound human resource practices are in place.

§  Ensuring that an effective management team, with appropriate provision for succession, is inplace.

§  Encouraging staff and volunteer development and education, and assisting program staff in relating their specialized work to the total program of the organization.

§  Maintaining aclimate that attracts, keeps, and motivates a diverse staff of top quality people.

§  Developing and maintaining sound financial practices.

§  Working with the staff, standing committee chairs, and the Board in preparing a budget for the organization, and ensuring that the organization operates within budget guidelines.

§  Working with the board of directors to ensure that adequate funds are available to permit the organization to carry out its work.

§  Jointly, with the president and secretary of the Board of Directors, conduct official correspondence of the organization, and jointly, with designated officers, execute legal documents.

§  Providing information, advice, and counsel to the President of the Board and the Board of Directors in the creation of policies, programs, and strategic direction of the corporation.


It is the expectation of the board of directors that the ED will conduct business and make decisions that reflect consideration of the principles of Ma’at (truth, justice, harmony, balance, order, reciprocity and propriety) and the Nguzo Saba (umoja, kujichagulia, ujima, ujamaa, nia, imani, kuumba).


Required Knowledge and Experience


Education and Experience -- Attainment of a Bachelor’s degree or other equivalent advanced degree in a related field and five years of increasingly responsible administrative experience, at least three of which shall have been in a supervisory capacity.


Language Skills -- Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, financial reports, legal documents, technical procedures, or governmental regulations; write reports, business correspondence, and procedure manuals; efficiently respond to questions from membership, staff and members of the community; communicate effectively in both written and oral form; and, effectively present information to membership, officers, and/or board of directors.


Reasoning Ability -- Ability to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions; exhibit independent judgment in the development, implementation and evaluation of plans, procedures and policies.


Other Knowledge, Skills And Abilities -- Knowledge of the principles and techniques of grant administration, contract administration and negotiation, community organization, fiscal andorganizational management, principles and practices of marketing and publicrelations. Ability to plan, direct and coordinate activities; work with commercial vendors, government agencies, community groups and other organizations as necessary.



Office Administrator

Areas of Responsibilities:


Mail, Telephone, Email

  Retrieve the U.S. Mail from a Lansing post office box.  Handle and process all USPS mail, MOFFA email and telephone messages every other business day. (Monday –Wednesday –Friday) and forward to the appropriate Board members or committees.  Chair or Co-Chairs are to be copied.



Familiarize oneself with the financial infrastructure of MOFFA in order to assist the treasurer and bookkeeper with their duties and obligations. Basic knowledge of quick books is required. The end goal of this tutelage is to share some of the MOFFA financial responsibilities, which will be determined by the board of directors at theappropriate time.



Manage and maintain the MOFFA membership database (currently in Microsoft Excel); process all renewals and new memberships in coordination with the membership committee. Support membership committee with annual mass-mailing for membership drive.



MOFFA Board Meetings  In collaboration with Board Officers, prepare materials for the Board meetings and attend scheduled meetings.  Report to the Executive Committee on operational affairs that call for further action by the board.


Website and Electronic Newsletter

Keep website up to date; calendar postings, etc., board information, add financial documents. Familiarity with Word press or other applicable software required.

Compile, assist with editing and format a Bi-Monthly (every other month) electronic newsletter, and producing hardcopies when necessary for those members requesting a hard copy.  Keep track of members for a mailed copy.  Print mailing labels and mail newsletters


MOFFA Merchandise: Books, Tote Bags

Manage and maintain the inventory of books, tote-bags and other items offered for sale at the MOFFAdisplay in conjunction with the exhibit committee. 


Conditions of Employment


The MOFFA Office Administrator will be an independent, hourly contractor paid by MOFFA at a flat rate of $12.00  per hour   (This status does not include any benefits, and the contractor for hire will be responsible for handling their own Social Security payments, taxes, etc.,).  The pay rate is flexible upward dependent on performance and skill set.


It is expected that the position requires approximately 10-15 hours per week, but not to exceed 60 hours per month, without the written approval of the MOFFA Board.  More hours per week may be needed to assist with the annual Organic Conference, or other special events (exhibit support).


The Office Administrator will need to provide adequate office space for the necessary MOFFA files, supplies related to membership duties, etc., and the usage of the MOFFA computer, printer and photocopy machine.  A personal phone will be utilized to retrieve MOFFA phone messages.  All property owned by MOFFA will be collected upon cancellation of the Contract. 


The Administrator will maintain an Excel record for documentation of weekly activities, with time log, and provide this record to the MOFFA Treasurer via email on the second and fourth Friday of each month, for payment by the Treasurer on the following Friday.


The MOFFA Office Administrator Memorandum of Agreement can be terminated by the Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance or the Contractor, in writing with 30-day notice.


Please e-mail cover letter and resume to [log in to unmask]



Vicki Morrone
Outreach Specialist for Organic Production
303 Natural Resources
East Lansing MI 48824
517-353-3542/517-282-3557 (cell)
517-353-3832 fax 

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