Michigan Organic News Listserv March 10, 2012

Brought to you by MSU Organic Outreach Specialist

C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems-Vicki Morrone


Here is shared news for and from all, no product or commercial business is endorsed by MSU

I hope by now all farmers have their cover crop seed frost seeded. This is the perfect job to get done before spring, providing ground cover to hold the soil and feed the microbes while you wait in the spring for the ground to dry, prior to planting.


MSU information related to organic production

Michigan Organic Reporting Session promotes organic research and innovation in Michigan

Seventy plus farmers, students, educators and researchers gathered for a day to engage in the Michigan Organic Reporting Session in East Lansing, Michigan at Michigan State University to exchange research results and experiences on a wide range of production topics in organic systems.  The event is held each year on the first day of MSU ANR week. It offers farmers, educators, students and researchers with the change to hear about new research on organic agriculture and for graduate students to share their research too.

Sponsorship by MOFFA provided MSU’s graduate students an added incentive to present their research in the format of posters for all to visit and discuss during a social reception. All fourteen posters that were displayed were phenomenal, sharing practical aspects of research and showing us results in smartly presented formats. The presentations ranged in scope from building the soil and managing weeds with cover crops and reduce pests in organic cropping systems.  The top three posters were awarded to Zachary D. Hayden, Brad Baughman and Dan Kane. Zachary D. Hayden, Mathieu Ngouajio, and Daniel C. Brainard presented  “Rye-vetch proportion and plastic mulch affect cover crop biomass production, soil nitrate, and bell pepper yield” taking first place.  Brad Baughman, Ron Perry, Matt Grieshop presented “Implementation of Strip Cultivation in Michigan Apple Orchards: An Organic Alternative to Herbicide Strips” and was awarded second place.  Daniel Kane and Sieg Snapp presented “Managing Nitrogen in Organic Systems with Zonal Tillage: Proposed Research taking third place”.   “All posters are winners!” exclaimed Morrone, the coordinator of the event.  She noted how much the posters have improved over the years, as they learn from each other’s experiences as well as guidance from the judges.  Over lunch farmers shared their topic-of-choice at a round-table discussion, which they received a scholarship for the day, supported by MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. MSUE and AgBioResearch and C.S. Mott Group at MSU.

Michigan State University professors and staff presented on their research conducting in Michigan on certified organic field research stations and on farms. To kick off the dayRoger Blobaum from Ceres Trust shared how the grant awarding program is working to engage more research by professors and graduate students in organic production research. MSU received 33% of their funding in the past year and is doing great work with the support. The practical side of the research was the focus the reports, giving farmers tested ideas to take home to their farms.Practical knowledge included topics ranging from soil health, pest management, and a marketing prospective of organic crops in the U.S.. Some highlight topics of the day included promising research results using compost tea to mange powdery mildew and biofumigant cover crops to reduce soil-borne pathogens. We also learned how beneficial insects can be used to reduce insects in our fields and how soil health impacts organic crops. To cap off the research discussions, a farmers panel shared their experiences and observations of how they “Manage Mother Natures curve balls”, which was supported by NC SARE-Michigan program. Farmers shared their approaches how they try to mange in a changing climate, given that the Great Lakes already create unusual weather patterns and now combined with the impact of Global Climate Change. All farmers on the panelconcurred that you just have to keep managing and adjusting to meet the crops needs and try to reduce the negative impacts caused by unpredicted weather.There is not specific solution as things keep changing! In a conclusive remark, Rod Kieger, organic field crop farmer in Elsie and St. Johns, noted that on-farm research such as what MSU is doing is particularly helpful to identify potential solutions.

To see the posters and presentations visit www.MichiganOrganic.msu.edu after March 14


MSU seeks new Dean of College of Ag and Natural Resources


***Please come and share your thoughts of what MSU needs to do to keep Michigan's agriculture an important part of our state-help us choose the best Dean of College of Ag and Natural Resources possible!!

I know this time is getting busy, especially for our fruit and vegetable producers but you are a stakeholder for MSU, especially in the College of Ag and Natural Resources. If you can attend any or all of the seminars where the Dean Candidates present their work and story please come.


Below is a list of the times and places.  There are 4 candidates seeking the position.  Please note that the first and last two are being held in the Kellogg Conference Center and the second one is being held at the Plant and Soil Science Building, which is near the MSU Children’sGarden,.  All of these are on MSU’s campus in East Lansing and there is public parking next to both buildings. You do not need to register, just attend.


Hope to see some of you to speak out of your needs as an organic farmer or community organizer or whatever your capacity is around organic agriculture serving Michigan’s agriculture industry and people.


The CANR Dean Search Committee is pleased to announce that four finalists have been selected for campus interviews and will be visiting campus beginning March 12:
Dr. Steven D. Hanson
Asst. Dean of International Studies and Programs, and Chair of the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University
Dr. John P. Hayes
Interim Dean for Research and Director of the Florida Experiment Station, University of Florida
Dr. Gary M. Pierzynski
Interim Dean of the College of Agriculture and Director of Research and Extension, Kansas State University
Dr. Chandra Reddy
Dean and Director of Research/Extension, College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Sciences, Tennessee State University
Each candidate will visit campus for 2 days beginning March 12, meeting with key faculty, staff, and administrators as well as external stakeholders, and providing, in a publicpresentation, their vision for transporting CANR forward.  Short CVs of each candidate are posted on the CANR Dean Search web site:    http://canr.msu.edu/canr/canr_dean_search.
Feedback on each candidate will be solicited via forms provided at the public presentations as well as on-line.
Public presentations are scheduled for the following times. At least an hour of each presentation will be available for Q&A. They will be webcast and recorded for those unable to attend in person.


1. Monday, March 12, 2-3:30 p.m., Kellogg Center Auditorium: Dr. Steven Hanson


2. Wednesday, March 14, 2-3:30 p.m., Plant and Soil Sciences Building Auditorium: Dr. John Hayes


3. Monday, March 19, 2-3:30 p.m., Kellogg Center Auditorium: Dr. Gary Pierzynski


4. Thursday, March 22, 2-3:30 p.m., Kellogg Center Auditorium, Dr. Chandra Reddy


We look forward to showing our finalists the vibrancy of MSU in general and of CANR in particular, and hearing about their ideas and vision for moving the College forward.  Please plan to participate in these interviews to the fullest extent possible, and to then convey your viewpoints to the search committee – a crucial part of the search process.
Thanks as always for your help with this important process, and please let me know of concerns or questions.
Phil Robertson
Chair, CANR Dean Search Committee
<[log in to unmask]>




Seeking Corn Farmers to contribute to survey (15 min max)


Dear colleague:
Weather patterns across the Corn Belt have had significant impacts on Michigan agriculture in recent years. You have been selected to take part in this important survey of agricultural professionals in selected Corn Belt states. We are interested in learning how you interact with members of the agricultural community and how weather and climate information factors into the advice you provide to corn farmers in Michigan.
Results from this survey will be used to develop better tools, and strategies to help Corn Belt farmers adapt to weather variability and maintain and improve productivity and profitability. This survey is being conducted on behalf of a team of scientists and Extension staff from Land Grant and other universities in 9 Corn Belt states. You are receiving this as part of the University of  Michigan and Michigan State University’s role in this research project. Given the important role Michigan plays in U.S. corn production, it is especially important that we receive your response even if you do not interact directly with farmers.  
Completing the survey will take 12-15 minutes and you can skip any questions that you do not wish to answer. We ask that the person to whom this survey is addressed complete the survey. Your individual responses will be kept confidential and your participation is entirely voluntary.
We would greatly appreciate you taking the time to complete this survey. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Please click on the link to take the survey:
Take the Survey

Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:


Thank you for your assistance!

Jeffrey A. Andresen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and State Climatologist for Michigan
Department of Geography
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI  48824


Production Information


High Tunnel onlinetutorial

Hello, Friends, Colleagues and Coworkers.

Just a quick note here to draw your attention to a new publication that may interest you or people you know or work with. The tutorial file available at this link (http://hcs.osu.edu/vpslab/sites/drupal-hcs-vpslab.web/files/mid-tunnel-prep-install-tutorial-final.pdf) describes one way to prepare and install gothic-framed “mid-sized” tunnels measuring 4 ft in width and 45 inches at peak height. We have found these mid-size tunnels to be useful in various ways, including as a complement toregular low and high tunnels and in over-wintering low-statured crops. Perhaps the tutorial file and mid-tunnels can be useful to you or others.

Please contact me if you would like additional information.

Best regards,


Matt Kleinhenz
 the Wooster, OH






Electric fences options and considerations

Shared by Beef Daily online

Managing animals, either to keep them out or in is always a challenge, especially in a state full of deer and rabbit. Here are some options when it comes to electric fences. Some alternatives to electric fences to keep out predators such as coyotes are using guard animals such as Jenny donkies and llamas or even large dogs such as Great Pyrenes, Komodndors, Anatolian Shebherds and Akbash Dogs.

Parmak Introduces New 2012 Fence Chargers

                 Grandin Livestock Systems

                 Gripple Wire Fence Solutions

                 Flexible Post

                 Powder River Fencing


                 Post Driver

                 Thomas Wire Rope

                 Electric Fence Energizers & Accessories

                 Twin Mountain Fence

                 Worksaver, Inc.

[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">Parmak Introduces New 2012 Fence Chargers



Parmak has updated all of their 110-120-volt AC models. The Super Energizer 5 and Mark 8 are excellent for controlled grazing of livestock and predator control in medium to large pastures (30-to 50-mile range), featuring an all-new digital meter. Fieldmaster 3 is ideal for small to medium pastures (15-mile range). 

For more information visit www.parmakusa.com or call 1-800-662-1038.


[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">Grandin Livestock Systems

Grandin Livestock Systems offers corral and facility design services based on cattle behavior principles established by Dr. Temple Grandin. An extensive collection of designs options and Dr. Grandin's handling guidelines are located on the company's website along with best practice books and videos

For more information visit www.grandin.com or call (970) 229-0703.


[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">Gripple Wire Fence Solutions

[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">

Gripple is an all-in-one wire joiner and tensioner, eliminating the need for ratchet strainers and come-alongs. Gripple joins, repairs and tensions wire fencing, and can be re-tensioned as needed. Also try the Gripple T-Clip, the revolutionary way to start or terminate a fence; and Gripple Anchoring Kits for end posts.

For more information visit [log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">www.gripple.com/us.


[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">Flexible Post

[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">

The Pivotal Post from Pivotal Fencing Systems makes cross-fencing center pivots possible without building gates or letting wires down to allow the sprinkler to pass through fences. See the Pivotal Post in action at [log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090"> www.pivotpost.com and select the link "Watch the Pivotal Fencing System in Action." 

For more information visit [log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">www.pivotpost.com or call 970-848-5500.




[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">Powder River Fencing


Powder River is the leader in livestock working equipment. Since 1938 we have been providing quality livestock working equipment including a full range of gates, panels, cattle guards, fencing, working systems and squeeze chutes. Nothing beats the durability and value of Powder River. 

For more information visit [log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">www.powderriver.com.


[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">RedBrand

[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">

Since 1889, American-made Red Brand has been standing guard protecting farms, ranches and valuable livestock. Industry-leading strength and durability combine to stand up to harsh weather and heavy pressure. That's why five generations of farmers and ranchers have depended on Red Brand for reliability and value. Rest easy knowing your herd is safe and secure. 

For more information visit [log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">redbrand.com .


[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">Post Driver

[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">

The revolutionary patented, pneumatic air-powered Man Saver Post Driver eliminates the back-breaking job of hand driving posts. It's an excellent, affordable alternative to bulky hydraulic or back breaking manual post drivers. This lightweight, portable post driver is ideal for ranches. Proud to be made in America. 

For more information visit [log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">www.fencepostdriver.com or call 800-980-7599.


[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">Thomas Wire Rope

[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">

New - Used - Surplus. 
Fencing cables & fittings. 
Springs - Pipe Caps - Turnbuckles - Chain Hardware - Tie Downs - Nylon & Wire Rope Slings. 

For more information visit [log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">www.thomaswirerope.com or call 877-794-9799.


[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">Electric Fence Energizers & Accessories

[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">

Tru-Test is your complete source for a full range of electric fence energizers and accessories. Trust our professional Speedrite or Stafix products, or our Patriot items, to provide the right product for your operation. We have the world's largest energizer, the world's only universal energizers - the UNIGIZER™ (AC, DC & Solar -- all-in-one unit), and so much more. 

For more information visit [log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">www.tru-test.com or call



[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">Twin Mountain Fence

[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">

Our service is as great as our product. Combining service and over 250 years of experience, Twin Mountain offers fencing options to satisfy our customers. We specialize in providing a complete line of fencing materials and/or construction for agricultural, commercial, residential, electric and game fence projects.

For more information visit [log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">www.twinmountainfence.com/. 


[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">Worksaver, Inc.

[log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">

This hydraulically driven bale unroller features a frame constructed of 4x4-ft.-sq. tubing with a tapered forged spear for easier penetration into bales weighing up to 2,000 lbs. Designed to fit Category II, or Category III 3-pt. hitches (Including quick hitches), this hay management tool requires a minimum of 8-10 gpm at 1,500 psi to operate. 

For more information visit [log in to unmask]&YM_2MID=1296090">www.worksaver.com or call 217-324-6973


Applications for NRCS Organic Initiative Due March 30

EAST LANSING, March 6, 2012 – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service reminds potential applicants to contact their local NRCS office soon to find out if they are eligible for the agency’s Organic Initiative. Applications for the second ranking period of 2012 are due at NRCS offices by close of business on March 30, 2012

Nationwide, NRCS has nearly $50 million in financial and technical assistance available to certified organic producers, those who want to make the transition to organic production and producers who sell less than $5,000 in organic products annually.

Part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Organic Initiative offers a wide array of conservation practices specifically designed for organic production. The top five Organic Initiative conservation practices are cover crops, nutrient and pest management, seasonal high tunnels, crop rotation, and fencing.

Changes for the 2012 signups include three ranking periods for current and transitioning producers; a threshold ranking score that can speed up approval for qualified applicants; required conservation practices that promote the consistent use of those practices; and an expanded list of conservation activity plans.

Learn more about the Organic Initiative at http://go.usa.gov/Uo9 . For a list of Michigan NRCS offices go to http://www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/Field%20Offices.html.


Brian Buehler

Public Affairs Specialist

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

3001 Coolidge Road, Suite 250

East Lansing, MI 48823

Phone (517) 324-5244






Holes found in organic milk certification

Dairy Herd Management

The USDA Office of Inspector General, which issued a report this week citing a number of steps that can be taken by the National Organic Program (NOP).


Tom Quaife, Editor, Dairy Herd Network   |   Updated: March 1, 2012


More can be done to boost consumer confidence in organic milk.

That’s according to the USDA Office of Inspector General, which issued a report this week citing a number of steps that can be taken by the National Organic Program (NOP).


Among other things:

                Develop guidance for certifying agents regarding detection of genetically modified material.  (The report did not say prohibited GM material is showing up; rather, some of the people who certify organic milk may not be looking for it.)

                Address milk transporter responsibilities in organic system plans. (The agency found a loophole in the rules which may allow the same sanitizers on tankers hauling regular milk to be used in the tankers hauling organic milk.)

                Develop guidance for certifying agents on conducting unannounced inspections. (Currently, the Office of Inspector General found, certifying agents are not performing unannounced inspections of organic dairy operations. Yet, this could be a useful technique in the overview process.)

To read the entire report, click here.




Market Opportunities


Eastern Market Detroit, seeks vendors


Over the past four years, Shed 2 has become a destination for market shoppers looking for locally produced artisanal products and tasty food items to enjoy on the spot. The list of vendors interested in being included in this part of the Market has grown. A stall at Eastern Market offers vendors more than just an opportunity to sell their product -- Many new products and growing entrepreneurs have tested out and refined their concepts by hearing direct feedback from customers.


There are a few of changes for this year:


1.     All applications (from both new and existing vendors) are due no later than March 23, 2012.  From this pool of applications, EMC will select the vendors for the specialty area. Selection for the 2012-13 specialty vendors is dependent on many factors. Please know that existing vendors are not necessarily guaranteed a space.  Every vendor must apply each year.


Factors used by Eastern Market selection committee:

  Are you an existing EM specialty vendor

  How long you have been a specialty vendor at EM

  Quality of product

  Quality of display

  Quality of product packaging


2.     New this year, all vendors that are selected will be required to sign a specialty vendor lease (details below) Of the 36 stalls in the specialty area, 24 will be reserved specialty vendors and 8 will be reserved for prepared foods.  There will also be a handful of stalls available, with the specialty lease option, for protein vendors in the east wing of Shed 3.


3.     While the majority of the space will be reserved for those with leases, a limited number of day stall spaces (4) will be available for existing, new/trial vendors and limited season vendors.  Please note that the number of weeks that a vendor can occupy these stalls will be limited.  The day stall fee for 2012 for specialty vendors will be $80.



Period: April 1-November 30 (35 Weeks)

Cost: $2,500

·   50% due no later than May 1 and 50% due no later than June 1


As a reminder, the specialty vendor lease includes the following benefits:

·   Savings of $300

·   It is the only way to guarantee a spot

·   Priority list for available Holiday Market spots (December)

·   Priority list for Winter Market spots (January – March)




Wednesday, March 7th                           Application Available

Thursday, March 22nd 4PM                       Applications Due to Market office

March 23rd-March 28th                             EMC Application Review

Wednesday, March 28th                          Vendor Notification of Status

Wednesday, April 4th                            If accepted, all paperwork due (Signed Vendor Agreement, Insurance, Etc.

Saturday, April 7th                                  First Saturday of Specialty

Vendor Lease Period


If you are interested in applying please visit our website at www.detroiteasternmarket.com or click on this tiny URL www.goo.gl/Cze7y and download the new 2012-13 Vendor Handbook and the 2012-13 Vendor Application.  Please remember, that applications (from both new and existing vendors) are due to the Market office no later than 4pm on March 22, 2012.


If you have any questions, please contact Randall Fogelman at [log in to unmask] or 313.833.9300x106.



James C. Sutherland                 Randall Fogelman

Market Operations                     Business Development



Randall Fogelman

Vice President of Business Development


2934 Russell Street │Detroit MI 48207

Tel   313.833.9300 ext. 106

Fax 313.833.9309

[log in to unmask]

please visit www.detroiteasternmarket.com



Job/internship Opportunities

Agriculture Supporting Communities Internship Positions

At the Rodale Institute


We are now accepting applications for five Internship Positions in our new

Agriculture Supporting Communities (ASC) Program for the 2012 growing season.

ASC is a unique twist on a traditional CSA that makes fresh, organicproduce

accessible and affordable to just about anyone.

Participants will be trained and involved in every aspect of setting up,

producing, and running a small local organic grower’s business.  This includes

hands-on training in seed starting, greenhouse production & seasonal

extensions, transplanting, pest & weed management, soil health, urban growing

techniques, harvesting, processing, marketing, customer relations, and working

with community partners.  In addition to an Organic Grower’s Guide, interns

will receive written resources and training in Business Planning andNutrition



Interns will graduate from the 8-month program armed with the knowledge and

confidence to start their own ASC business in their own communities.They will

receive a Certification from the Rodale Institute as well as continued support

beyond their term at the Institute.

Applicants should have some gardening experience and be able to lift up to 40

lbs. Interns will receive housing, a seasonal produce share, and a food

stipend in exchange for 40 hours per week.  Individuals from urban areas are

encouraged to apply (i.e. Philadelphia, Boston, Washington D.C., Baltimore,

New York, etc)


Please send resume and cover letter to Cynthia James, Food Production

Specialist at the Rodale Institute.  [log in to unmask]


Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1947 by organicpioneer

J.I. Rodale to study the link between healthy soil, healthy food andhealthy

people.  Since then, the Rodale Institute has been dedicated to pioneering

organic farming through research, education and outreach. For over sixty

years, we’ve been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and

sharing our findings with farmers and scientists throughout the world,

advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about

how going organic is the healthiest option for people and the planet.

* All posting must include specific location(s) in the Subject line.



Farm Education Internships in Media PA

Greener Partners is seeking Farm Education Interns for the 2012 summer season

Seeking for our two farm sites in Southeastern Pennsylvania. GreenerPartners (www.greenerpartners.org<http://www.greenerpartners.org>) is a non-profit organization dedicated to building community through sustainablefarming projects and farm-based education. It is our mission to inspire individuals and communities to support and eat locally grown, seasonal food. Greener Partners operates several community farms that serve as resources for local food and food-based education.


Our three open internships include:


Farm Education Summer Internship at Hillside Farm


Location:  Media, PA


Time commitment: June 13-August 14, 2012; 32 hours/week


Farm Education Summer Internship at Longview Center for Agriculture


Location:  Collegeville, PA


Time commitment:  June 27-August 1, 2012; 22 hours/week


Education Garden Internship at Longview Center for Agriculture


Location:  Collegeville, PA


Time commitment:  Mid-May to mid-August, 20-40 hours/week


See attached internship descriptions for details and info on how to apply.


Erin DeCou

Farm Educator - Media & Chester

Greener Partners


[log in to unmask]


Connect:  facebook.com/greenerpartners

Visit: www.greenerpartners.org


2012 FoodCorps applications are open

We are ready for the next class of school food changemakers! FoodCorps is looking for people to serve in Michigan who are passionate about the mitten state and who are committed to improving food landscapes across the state. See attachment for more information on how to become a FoodCorps member, or go towww.foodcorps.org.  In this current service year in Michigan.

  • FoodCorps members have served over 5,526 Michigan kids.
·          FoodCorps has energized 36 new volunteers. 
·          FoodCorps members have helped build and revitalize 6 school and community gardens, totaling over 1350 sq feet of garden space.



Kaitlin Koch

C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at MSU



517.432.4525 (office)   313.695.7746 (cell)

www.foodcorps.org       [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)
517-353-3834 fax