March 27, 2012
Part 2:2 Michigan Organic Listserv

News about OrganicProduction



Farm Glance: our own, cheaper take on making Johnny’s High Tunnel System mobile

Last year Vanessa and I tried out Johnny’s High-Tunnel Hoophouse design using chainlink fence toprail and a Johnny’s bender that renders the rail into hoops. The system produces a solid hoophouse that is 12′ wide by as long as you want. It has worked out really well for us and we would recommend it to other small scale farmers and gardeners.


That system, however, was based on permanent ground posts, which means the hoophouse can’t be moved. A year later, Johnny’s updated their system with a new design that makes it possible to move the hoophouse along a set of tracks. It looks really cool, but our ideal mobile system would allow us to move the hoophouse wherever we want rather than just back and forth on tracks. We also wanted to keep expenses as low as possible, and the design I came up with is much cheaper.


Johnny’s estimates that a 48′ hoophouse on 96′ worth of track (allowing for movement of the hoophouse back and forth between two pieces of soil) costs approximately $1500; I just built a similar set-up (three feet shorter in length–45′) that allows for go-anywhere movement of the structure for roughly $550. I really want to emphasize, though, that the trade-off in my design is that it’s much flimsier and not nearly as pretty. Hopefully not too flimsy; more on that below.


This system does not use ground posts and is designed to be able to be carried by two people. All of the pipes are made of EMT: two 1/2" by 10' pieces to make each hoop (bent using a Johnny's high tunnel bender) and 1" x 10' pieces linked together to make the frame. Pictured is a 20' by 12' structure; I made two of them that go end on end with 5' space between them to make a 45' hoophouse.


The result is a hoophouse that can be moved anywhere you want around the farm with just twopeople carrying it. It worked for us, anyway: two of us carried each 20′x12′ structure about 300 feet to it’s first growing space. I can’t stress enough though: the structure is quite flimsy. There is a lot of sway in the bows along the length of the hoophouse. But I believe it is going to hold up in the strong winds we receive here and will transport well when we want to move it, which is all that matters to me. If you’re someone who can’t stand ugly design, don’t build this, or improve on the obvious flaws that this inept designer/builder incorporated. And I’ll be sure to update this post if the wind destroys the structure.


When we want to move it again, I figure it will take 2 hours to remove the plastic, move the structure, stake it, then apply the plastic again. Though after a spring greens crop I think I’ll use the frame without plastic to trellis my tomatoes. We’ll see.


Fruit Production


Freeze damage depends on tree fruitstage of development

Damage from freezes depends on the development stage of the fruit crop. These tables allow you to quickly asses the risk for your tree fruit crops

Published March 16, 201

Mark Longstroth, Michigan State University Extension

During the winter,fruit trees can withstand very cold temperatures. As fruit trees develop in the spring and buds start to swell, they lose the ability to withstand cold winter temperatures. The young, actively growing tissues will be damaged or killed by warmer and warmer temperatures. Swollen fruit buds can often withstand temperatures in the teens without any damage. As the buds open, temperatures in the low 20s can cause harm, but leave other buds undamaged.


Early in development there is often a wide range between the temperatures that cause little damage and those that cause severe damage. As bloom nears, temperatures in the upper 20s can cause considerable harm to an early blooming species or variety andleave other fruit crops unaffected or with only slight damage. Near bloom, the range between slight and severe damage is very small. The stage of bud development determines how susceptible any given fruit crop is when freezesoccur.


I have posted two tables for the critical temperatures of tree fruit during development. TreeFruit Critical Temperatures is a table of common tree fruit with budstage names and the critical temperature ranges that will cause between 10 and 90 percent injury to the flower buds, all on one page. Picture Table of Fruit Freeze Damage Thresholds includes the same information and includes pictures. Thistable is three pages long.


Unfortunately, spring freezes are almost a certainty. Fruit growers need to constantly assess thestage of development of their crops and the susceptibility to freeze injury. During this unusual spell of warm weather, fruit trees will develop quickly and the critical temperature will rise from the teens to the 20s, to levels just below freezing at bloom time.


Growers will want to review Jeff Andresen’s article on “Monitoring for the risk of frost and freezing temperatures.” Given the unusual warm weather this March, we will be posting a lot of weather and freeze related articles at MSU Extension News.


This article was published on MSU Extension News. For more information from MSU Extension, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464)



Where are all the bees?

Michigan fruit trees blooming a month early means that bees need to be here a month early, too. There are several issues affecting the movement of bees quickly into Michigan.

Published March 23, 2012

Mark Longstroth, Michigan State University Extension

Fruit growers are struggling to keep up with the rapid growth we have seen in March. Fruit trees in southern Michigan began blooming this week and growers were scrambling to get bees to pollinate their orchards and are frustrated that, despite theirefforts, their bees are not here. Most of the bees that pollinate Michigan fruit crops either overwintered in Florida or just finished pollinating almonds in California. I recently spoke with Michael Hansen, state apiarist for theMichigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and he shared these problems that beekeepers had reported to him.

Apples in bloom

Apples are beginning to bloom at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center.


One problem is trucking. Most of the truckers that haul bees are booked. You have to be equipped to haul bees, netting is required and a beekeeper needs to work with a skilled and reliable firm. It is no help at all if a trucker stops during the day and roasts your bees. Nor is it helpful if an inexperienced trucker loses aload of bees worth thousands of dollars.


Bees are just now being released from Florida. Florida has strict regulations concerning the movement of bees in and out of the state. Beekeepers need to have their hives inspected and released by Florida inspectors if they want to return to Florida next fall and winter.


Florida houses 450,000 or more colonies in the winter, and most are leaving now. Bees coming back from Florida were probably split and requeened this winter. Beekeepers time thisactivity to have the bees ready and built up on time. When the date of return changes drastically, you simply cannot push a new queen to comply. Moving bees before the new queen is well established is very hard on the colony. These colonies were scheduled to be in peak condition for a normal year – mid- to late April. When the hives were manipulated this winter, there was no way to predict this early of a spring.


Bees that are returning from California are stronger than their sisters in Florida because those colonies had been built up for almonds. Trucking is the major issue for the movement of bees from California to the eastern states.


Not all of Michigan’s bees go to California or Florida for the winter. Michigan beekeepers also overwinter hives here in Michigan. Hansen shared some information about overwintering hives. He said because of the early spring, the flow of maplenectar has been tremendous and some northern Michigan beekeepers had to remove maple honey from their colonies to make room for brood. Another commercial beekeeper who overwinters bees in Michigan reported that the mild winter meant that their bees are strong and they are set to meet their pollination contracts without the bees that they sent south. Not only that, but they ordered packages and queens to be ready for their normal bee losses and, if they can locate the equipment, they will have 50 percent more colonies than normal this summer.They have already had to destroy swarms, and the bees are making white wax which indicates that they are finding plenty of pollen. The mild winter wasdefinitely been a boon to beekeepers in Michigan.


This article was published on MSU Extension News. For more information from MSU Extension, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).



Climate change impacts Michigan blueberry industry

Climate change hasbeen on the news for several years with detractors and supporters providingconflicting opinions on the causes behind the global warming phenomenon. Whatever the cause, climate change is here and it’s affecting Michigan’s fruit industry.

Published March 27, 2012

Carlos García-Salazar, Michigan State University Extension

For Michigan, February-March daily temperatures in 2012 are the hottest on record since 1880 according to a report of the NOAA National Climatic Data Center. On March 22, the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids, Mich., reported a high minimum temperature of 56°F, a record minimum temperature that far exceeded the old record of 48°F observed in 1948. Since Michigan’s fruit industry depends in many ways from climate conditions occurring during the winter and spring, these record temperatures may create unexpected problems.


In Michigan, like in many other fruit growing regions, tree fruit and small fruit varieties havebeen selected over the years to fit the ranges of temperatures suitable to maximize productivity and fruit quality. However, record temperatures like the ones observed on March 21 in west Michigan are turned upside down in the fruit grower’s production calendar.


From apples to blueberries, early growth stages that normally occur during April and early May are all over the place. The current warm spell has advanced the growing season by more than three weeks in our major fruit crops, blueberries, apples and cherries. Forblueberries, the “tight cluster” growth stage (see Photo 1) occurred in 2010 around April 28 in the variety Bluecrop. As of March 22, the same stage in the same variety is all over the fields in west Michigan. That is one month in advance. The same can be said for the other fruit crops.


This unusual phenomenon brings a series of challenges for the fruit industry and for all the technical personnel directly associated with fruit production (i.e., agronomists, entomologists, crop consultants, agrochemical suppliers, etc.). Major challenges that we will be dealing with include spring freeze and frost events, lack of pollinators, and early arrival of insect and disease problems.


An immediate concern is spring freeze and frost events. According to Jeff Andresen, MSU agro climatologist, similar warm spells in the state happened in 1945, and in the past each time unseasonably warm temperatures arrived in March they were followed by periods of freezing weather. Andresen said that in west Michigan the number of freezing temperature events from April through June is more than 10 for those months, and low temperatures have been in the single digits inearly April.


Blueberry growers need to prepare their contingency plans to deal with possible freezing temperatures during the bloom period. Important elements of their plan include testing and calibration of the sprinkler irrigation system, testing and calibration of temperature recording devises, and water supply. One excellent training presentation on the basics of frost protection for fruit crops has been developed by the University of California, Davis Cooperative Extension.


All major fruit crops in Michigan rely on honey bees for good pollination and fruit quality. But according to Michael G. Hansen, MDARD state apiarist, with such unusual spring, most commercial beekeepers that provide pollination services for Michigan growers are not ready to move their colonies from their overwintering site,Florida and California. This may create problems for all fruit industry. But it may affect most drastically small growers because most of the time beekeepers give priority to large fruit farms over small production units. (See MSU Extension’s Mark Longstroth’s article, “Where are all the bees?”)


Blueberry growers risking freeze and frost damage or lack of pollinators may benefit from theapplication of gibberellic acid (GA) is allowed in organic production under NOP and used to supplement the lack of natural pollinators and get an additional protection against freeze and frost damage at bloom time. Eric Hanson, MSU Extension small fruit horticulturist, has shown that application of GA may decrease the impact of low pollination. GA can be applied in a single sprayduring bloom (80 gram active ingredient per acre) or two 40 g sprays, one during bloom and the second 10 to 14 days later. The commercial formulation of this product is marketed under different names, Several GA products (ProGibb, GibGro, etc.) are labeled for highbush blueberries. GA typically results ingreater retention of some parthenocarpic (seedless) fruit that would have dropped and also increases the size of berries without a full complement ofseeds.


Related resource: Berry Notes, May 15, 2006 Vol. 18, No. 7, University of Massachusetts Extension


For more information, contact Carlos García-Salazar at 616-260-0671.


This article was published on MSU Extension News. For more information from MSU Extension, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).



Warm weather and a wet weekend put blueberries at risk for mummy berry

Warm weather has blueberries advancing rapidly. Warm rain will be ideal for mummy berry shoot strike infections. Growers need to protect newly emerged leaves against mummyberry shoot strikes.

Published March 23, 2012

Mark Longstroth, Michigan State University Extension


The unseasonably hot spring has fruit plants off to a quick start. Blueberry flower and leaf buds are opening (Photo 1), so growers need to think about mummy berry protection. The hot weather is supposed to end today with the passage of a cold front that will bring cooler weather. Associated with this front is a good chance of rain from Thursday night (March 22) through Friday and Sunday. These rain eventswill have warm rains (50 to 60°F). This means that the infection period for mummy berry will be very short (see Table 1).

Several people have reported to me that they have found just a few or that they are just starting to open. I scouted for mummy berry mushrooms yesterday and found them very hard to find. I think the hot, dry weather may have set them back. My guess is that we are just at the beginning of the spore release period and have probably been there for a day or two. So the risk is real. Under hot conditions, the trumpets do not last long (less than a week), but I would not be surprised if we get more mushrooms coming up after a rain. I do know that the weather has not held back the plants and I really feel growers need to apply fungicide to protect against shoot strikes.


Table 1. Mummy berry shoot strike infection


Temperature (ºF) During Wet Period

Duration (h)


























Vegetable Production


Asparagus growers should prepare for the possibility of a very early harvest

The prevailing warm weather and short term forecast suggest that asparagus harvest may begin particularly early this year.

Published March 19, 2012

Mathieu Ngouajio and Norm Myers, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Horticulture


Information on asparagus emergence may help commercial growers prepare for harvest, especially in situations where labor might be a limiting factor. The importance of temperature on plant growth and development is well understood. In many situations, temperature has been used successfully as a predictor for plantgrowth processes. However, attempts to develop temperature-based predictivemodels for asparagus emergence have resulted in poor prediction accuracy. This failure to develop a robust predictive model is likely due to multiple factors. The temperature threshold needed to lift crown dormancy and initiate bud development may differ significantly from the temperature required for spear growth and emergence.


Most models have used short-term air or soil temperature data (one to three weeks), and thereforehaven’t taken into account crown dormancy and bud development. While high temperature thresholds (about 50°F) may be needed for final spear emergence, it is likely that under cool climates like Michigan and Ontario, Canada, lowertemperatures may be needed to break crown dormancy and initiate bud development.


In 2010, a study was initiated to determine the effect of temperature on asparagus spear emergence, and to attempt to develop a model that could be used to predict spear emergence. If successful, the information provided would be valuable to growers for planning purposes – both for digging crowns and for field harvest.


In 2010, asparagusemergence in most fields near Hart, Mich., was April 15-16. In 2011, emergence did not occur until May 8-9. Both air and soil temperatures were used as variables to predict asparagus emergence. To our surprise, air temperature was generally a better predictor than soil temperature. Comparisons of various base temperatures (32, 35, 40, and 50°F) for degree day calculations showed that 32°F provided consistent predictions for both 2010 and 2011. In both years, asparagus emerged when we had accumulated 600-650 GDD with the starting date of February 1 for each year.


Based on this information, which is very preliminary at this stage (due to the limited number of years), it is likely that we may have a very early harvest season for asparagus if current weather conditions prevail. As of March 17, 2012, the Enviro-weather station at the Asparagus Research Farm in Hart, Mich., has accumulated 277.8 GDD, compared to 181.9 GDD in 2010 and 90.7 GDD in 2011. As most people will recall, 2010 had a warm spring and asparagus harvest began on April 29 -30 compared to May 8-10 for the 2011 season.


Field Crop Production


Using cover crops to decrease irrigation costs

Traditionally cover crops were added to a farms rotation for soil building and erosion control.With the ever increasing cost of production and demand for higher crop productivity more attention is being given to value added qualities of cover crops.


Published March 27, 2012

Christina Curell, Michigan State University Extension


Irrigation is a costly practice many farms use out of necessity. The demand for higher yielding acres has made irrigation inevitable. The cost in some cases has put a strain on the profitability of farms. If used in rotation, cover crops can offset some ofthose costs.


A typical irrigation system pumps 400-1200 gallons per minute at 0.25 inches per hour, five gallons per minute per acre of irrigation. The cost of irrigation annually varies depending on many factors ranging from $15,000-$50,000, according to LyndonKelley, Michigan State University and Purdue University Extension educator.System efficiency and environmental factors can decrease or increase irrigation costs. Cover crops especially ones that produce large amounts of biomass can increase soil organic matter. Soil organic matter acts like a sponge by absorbing and holding water. So the question is, how much water holding capacity can we rely on by increasing soil organic matter?


The United States of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service estimates that on average bare soil can hold 1.7 inches of water. Fields that has a continuous cover,such as a pasture situation, on average has a water holding capacity of 4.2-4.5 inches. If we could raise our soil organic matter by 1%, we have the potential of raising our water holding capacity by 1 acre inch according to Jim Hooreman, Ohio State University Extension water quality and cover crop educator. Thatequates to 27,154 gallons of water that plants can use that is stored in soil. Hooreman also states that every pound of soil organic matter holds 18-20 pounds of water. If we were to pencil out the economics, that would be $12.00 which could add up to real savings in the fall.


Educational Opportunities


Vendor 101 Class

This class isn't just for Downtown Ypsilanti Farmers' Market vendors, but for any new vendor out there that needs to learn about the ins and outs of being a vendor at the market.


Vendor 101 workshop- Thursday, 3/29 from 5:30-7pm at the Growing Hope Center, 922 West Michigan Ave. Ypsilanti, MI  

Suggested donation$3-15

 Space is limited – visit to RSVP.


Small Farms & Local Foods Webinars, January 24 -- March 29

A series of webinars on a variety of topics that relate to small farms and local foods will be held at University of Illinois Extension offices throughout the state. For a schedule, see or contact Steve Cravens at [log in to unmask] or 309-342-5108, ext. 131. Are You Farm to School Ready?


8 diverse farms chosen to host Breakfast on the Farm events in 2012


EAST LANSING, Mich. – Made possible through the support of organizations and businesses at both the state and local level, Breakfast on the Farm gives consumers and farm neighbors a first-hand look at modern food production and the farm families who work hard to produce a safe, wholesome food supply.


Each farm interested in hosting Breakfast on the Farm this year was required to submit a detailed application by early December to sort out logistics and determine potentialsuccess in consumers’ eyes.


Twelve farms submitted applications this year, some as early as July, but only 8 were given the honor of hosting Breakfast on the Farm events and inviting thousands of visitors to come learn about their farms.


“The applications were thoroughly reviewed by the statewide Breakfast on the Farm advisory council,” said Nancy Thelen, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension agriculture literacy educator.


MSU Extension offers farmers considering hosting Breakfast on the Farm a checklist to determine if they have adequate facilities and if they want to go on to apply to host.


“All applications were excellent,” said Mary Dunckel, MSU Extension agriculture literacy educator. “Each farm chosen has something unique that sets it apart from the rest. We hope that those not selected will consider applying again in the future.”


The application included everything from level of visitor interest and awards received to number of generations owned and accommodations for large crowds of people.


"The 2012 host farms are geographically diverse and are located in the Upper Peninsula, mid-Michigan, the Thumb and in the southeast and southwest corners of the state. They are also commodity diverse and will showcase dairy, apple, field crop and potato production," Dunckel said.


The following farms will be hosting Breakfast on the Farm events in 2012:


    June 16 hosted by Myers Farms LLC, Scotts (Kalamazoo County)


    June 23 hosted by Choate’s Belly Acres, Cement City (Jackson County)


    July 21 hosted by Goma Dairy Farm, Marlette (Sanilac County)


    July 28 hosted by VanDrese Farms, Cornell (Delta County)


    August 4 hosted by May Farms, Sparta (Kent County)


    August 11 hosted by Judge Dairy Farm Inc., Shepherd (Isabella County)


    August 25 hosted by Gingrich Meadows, LeRoy (Osceola County)


    October 6 hosted by John Schaendorf Dairy, Allegan (Allegan County)


To find out more information about Breakfast on the Farm, to learn how to apply or to see pictures from past events, please visit


If you have any questions, please contact Thelen at 734-222-3825 or [log in to unmask], orDunckel at 989-354-9870 or [log in to unmask].


Michigan Good Food Summit

Please mark your calendar and save all day on Thursday, June 14 for the 2012

Michigan Good Food Summit.


This will be a working meeting to build on the momentum and successes around theMichigan Good Food Charter by bringing people together from across the state who care about good food to learn from each other, to strengthen advocacy networks and to grow our collective capacity to implement and track progress towards the charter goals and agenda priorities.


• Date: Thursday, June 14, 2012

• Location: Lansing Center, Lansing, MI

• Who should come?: Anyone who wants to develop a good food system in

Michigan; anyone who wants to work with others to further the Michigan Good

Food Charter

• For more information: See or email Kathryn

Colasanti at [log in to unmask]


Want to know more about good food and the Michigan Good Food Charter?


Grants and other financial opportunities


USDA Conservation Financial Assistance Available for SE Michigan Farmers

EAST LANSING, March 19, 2012 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making conservation financial assistance available to farmers in southeast Michigan as part of an effort to improve water quality in Lake Erie. Farmers have until April 27, 2012 to apply for the assistance at their local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office.


“This is a good opportunity for farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin to implement additional conservation activities that will not only help improve water quality but also improve soil quality on their land and help them reduce fuel and fertilizercosts,” said Kevin Wickey, acting state conservationist for NRCS.


The USDA has allocated $440,000 in financial assistance for producers in the Michigan portion of the Western Lake Erie Basin priority area. The area includes all of Lenawee andMonroe counties and portions of Hillsdale, Jackson, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. The financial assistance is available for producers to implement selected conservation activities that help prevent fertilizers and sedimentfrom agricultural land from entering Lake Erie.


A partial list of practices eligible for financial assistance includes cover crops, residue and tillage management, filter strips, nutrient management and windbreaks. A combination of different conservation practices is most effective at curbing nutrient and sediment loss. Applications received by April 27 will be ranked with the highest ranked applicants offered financial assistance contracts.


The Western Lake Erie Basin was made a priority area by USDA because of an increase of algal blooms in the area over the past five years. Increased levels of phosphorus in surface water contribute to algal blooms which diminish water quality and are harmful to fish and other aquatic wildlife. Agricultural land in the Western Lake Erie Basin was determined to be one of the sources of increased phosphorus in surface water due to water and wind erosion.


More information about USDA conservation financial assistance is available at local NRCS offices or online at A listing of NRCS offices in Michigan can also be found online at



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 For a list of Michigan NRCS offices go to Offices.html.



USDA Seeking Proposals for Conservation Innovation Grants

EAST LANSING, Feb. 2, 2012 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has $225,000 in conservation innovation grants funds available for projects in Michigan. The purpose of the grants is to develop and adopt innovative conservation approaches and technologies in conjunction with agricultural production.


To be considered for funding, grant proposals must be sent to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in East Lansing or electronically submitted through by March 30, 2012. The maximum funding for individual grants is $75,000 that can cover up to 50 percent of the project cost.


Project proposals should demonstrate the use of innovative technologies or approaches to address one or more of the following natural resource concerns: water resources, soil resources, atmospheric resources, grazing land and forest health, and wildlife habitat as well as technology concerns to improve on-farm energy efficiency. Projects must be located in Michigan and can be from one to three years in duration.


Applicants must be a non-governmental organization, a private business or individual, a federally recognized Indian Tribe, or state or local unit of government. Selected applicants may receive up to 50 percent of the total project cost, not to exceed $75,000.  Applicants must provide non-federal matching funds for at least 50 percent of the project cost, of which up to 25 percent of the total project cost may be from in-kind contributions. Funds will be awarded through a statewide competitive grant process.


A link to the fullgrant announcement is posted on the Natural Resources Conservation Service-Michigan Web site at


Online announcement at (includes link to application and instructions)


Funding Available for Conservation Organic Farming Practices

The $50 million EQIP program, (a huge victory of OFRF’s policy efforts), is providing financial and technical assistance to growers who implement innovative conservation practices.


Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

Period 2 Submission Deadline: Friday, March 30, 2012

To apply, visit your USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) local service center.

Our friends at theNational Center for Appropriate Technology have created a comprehensive info site for applicants, including links to all of the necessary documents for the program.


Conserve Organically!

Maureen Wilmot, Executive Director





Extension Educator, Agriculture/Agribusiness Institute (AABI)

Vegetable Crops

Serving Great Lakes Bay Area/East-Central Michigan



·         Provide leadership within MSUE in reviewing and assessing the vegetable industry regionally, state-wide, nationally and globally. Communicate and interact with related commodity groups to consider positioning and strategy.

·         Provide leadership in determining priority needs in the vegetable crops industry, in cooperation with a statewide group of MSUE staff and stakeholder groups.

·         Assist AABI in determining research and programmatic needs of the area through interaction with state commoditygroups and associations; communicate needs to county commissioners, campus-based departments, crop integrators and research partners.

·         Cooperate with county and campus-based MSUE staff in developing and implementing programs for improved vegetable crop production and products, improved management decision-making and overall advancement in the industry.

·         Cooperate with MSUE staff in establishing, conducting and evaluating demonstrations and research efforts; work with other federal, county and state agencies that support agricultureindustries.

·         Develop and utilize appropriate media methods to communicate current information about the industry to producers and use communication technologies to keep producers aware of current conditions.

·         Actively participate in professional development opportunities for continual improvement of proficiency as an educator, technical expertise, leadership, administration, and programming skills and capacities.

·         Prepare and submit monthly reports on programming activities and achievements in accordance with MSUE and other policies or requirements.

·         Work with MSUE AABI workgroups to assure commitment to diversity and pluralism at all levels of MSUE/AABI programming and that educational opportunities are equally available to allMichigan residents.

·         Create and promote positive public relations for MSUE/AABI at local and state levels.

·         Serve as an information resource for Extension personnel throughout the state.



·         Master’s degree in field of study related to applied plant sciences

·         Three years’ experience in Extension education or demonstrated ability and skill in educational program planning, implementation and evaluation.

·         Knowledge of improved crops management practices to increase profitability; reduce undesirable environmental impacts; manage insects, diseases and food safety;

·         Strong interpersonal and communication skills;

·         Proficiency in the use of computers in educational programming and management; competence in using technology for program delivery, record keeping and reporting, and team-based communications.

·         Ability to work with people of all socioeconomic levels and backgrounds;

·         Understanding and commitment to equal access and opportunity and to diversity and inclusivity.


Position and Application Information:

This is a full-time, fixed-term position, renewable on an annual basis, for which funding and performance are factors in consideration of continuation each year.


Interested and qualified candidates should visit to apply for posting number 6012 in the MSU Extension postings.  Candidates are asked to submit an up-to-date resume/CV and a cover letter that includes the names and contact information of four professionalreferences.  Application deadline is currently April 13, 2012.




Farm Classifieds


White Face Organic Ewes for Sale

I have 60 certified organic ewes for sale, they are yearlings. As they are certified organic their wool can be sold as organic. They are 275.00 each for the lot. They can be exposed to my rams if the buyer wants fall lambs.


 I am taking orders for ewe lambs certified organic for June $250.00 each I will have 150 to sell.



I am located in Howell, MI - I do not sell individual lambs, only minimum lots of 25.


These are commercial white face ewes on only grass, with twinning and triplet genetics and hybrid vigor.

For more information pleasee-mail or call 517-719-0073.




Full Circle Organic Farm







Seeking Farm land in Kalamazoo area


From: Mark Schieber ‪<[log in to unmask]>

Date: Thu, Mar 1, 2012 at 10:43 AM



I'm searching for land to get my small scale farm (partnered with Food Dance) started in the Kalamazoo area. Focus of our farm is both food production and education. If you have any leads on land opportunities for me at all, please send me your ideas or contacts. Thanks for taking the time to read the rest of this message and pass it on if it makes sense for someone else at MOFFA. Even send it outside your organization. Here is what I am looking for: My main goal is to purchase a small scale farm.


I'm a new farmer looking for a farm to purchase in the Kalamazoo area. The farm may be currently active or one that has been sitting unused. One option I’m looking for is a farmer or land owner that doesn't have a child to pass the farm to, but wants to see the land tocontinue being farmed. Please contact me with anyone you may know that is interested in such a prospect or a good contact that may be interested in helping me in this project. This is a serious inquiry, not looking for freeland. We want to continue the tradition of the family farm in Michigan and teach people about locally produced foods.


I'm looking for a farm of about 30 acres including about 20 tillable acres. I intend to grow a diverse vegetable crop and raise animals as well. A primary focus of the farm is education about food from growing all the way to eating. Another focus is ecology, stewardship of the land as well as the community. I can describe more if you like but that is the nutshell.


I know this may not be the business of MOFFA, but I'm just sending the word out to people familiar with the area that may have contacts that I don't have. You never know who can make a connection that helps everyone. Is there a public message board or someplace this can be posted? Contact me with any leads, other organizations, or individuals that I can contact. Thank you.


I appreciate your time and consideration. Contact me with any ideas, regardless of how obvious they might seem.



Mark Schieber


Vicki Morrone
480 Wilson Rd Room 303
East Lansing, MI 48824
517-353-3542/517-282-3557 (cell)