Michigan Organic Listserv

June 4, 2012

Offered to you by MSU Center For Regional Food Systems (formerly C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at MSU)

Vicki Morrone ([log in to unmask])/


This information is for your reference: MSU or the Center do not imply support or promotion to any of the contents in this news listserv


Farm Bill Update

NSAC (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition) update

NSAC Comments on Senate Farm Bill Markup and Passage

Washington, DC – The Senate Agriculture Committee voted a new farm bill out of committee today by a vote of 16-5.  The committee bill saves $23 billion over the next ten years according to budget estimates.

The committee bill includes historic reforms to commodity subsidies.  In addition to replacing automatic direct payments with a shallow loss revenue-based payment, the bill limits payments to not more than one farm manager per farm operation. Under current law, mega farms collect multiple payments worth millions of dollars through passive investors and landowners who are counted as farm managers.

“We applaud the Senate Agriculture Committee for including common sense rules to commodity payments and ending years of abuse by closing program loopholes,” said Ferd Hoefner, Policy Director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.  “Thanks to Senator Grassley’s (R-IA) tireless leadership, the Committee was able to make sure that hardworking farmers – not mega farms and absentee investors – are the key beneficiaries of farm programs.”

The Committee also enacted a nationwide “Sodsaver” provision to protect native grass and prairie lands.  The provision reduces crop insurance premium subsidies and tightens program rules in a manner that will reduce the taxpayer-funded incentive to destroy important grassland resources.

“By agreeing to a nationwide ‘Sodsaver’ provision championed by Senators Thune (R-SD), Brown (D-OH), and Johanns (R-NE), the Senate Agriculture Committee made sure that taxpayer dollars are not subsidizing the destruction of native grass and prairie lands,” said Hoefner.  “These lands are diminishing at a rapid rate and protecting them provides ranching opportunities and economic, environmental, and recreational benefits to rural communities.”

While the Committee made progress on these commodity and crop insurance issues, there are several outstanding gaps in the proposed changes to the farm safety net.

“By failing to place limitations on crop insurance subsidies and to re-attach soil erosion and wetland conservation requirements to crop insurance programs, the Committee has failed to do the full reform that is needed.  We intend to continue topress these issues as the bill moves forward,” continued Hoefner.

The Committee also made progress on critical programs that underpin economic growth.

“The leadership of Chairwoman Stabenow (D-MI) and Senators Brown (D-OH), Leahy (D-VT), Harkin (D-IA), and Casey (D-PA) ensured that programs that spur economic growth inrural communities built on gains from the 2008 Farm Bill,” noted Hoefner.  “The Committee reauthorized critical local food and organic programs, such as the Farmers’ Market and Local Food Promotion Program and National Organic Certification Cost Share.”

Despite progress, there were glaring shortfalls and omissions in the Committee’s draft.

“Sens. Harkin (D-IA), Johanns (R-NE), Casey (D-PA), and Nelson (D-NE) championed various beginning farmer provisions, but the bill lacks a cohesive strategy to assist the next generation of American farmers,” said Hoefner.  “Most noticeably, the Committee failed to provide adequate funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, thus limiting critical resources that new farmers need to succeed.”

The Committee did not fund the rural development title, nor did it make needed improvements in farm toschool programs.  It also limited the funding for programs targeted tosocially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

“We regret the Committee’s decision to limit funding for minority farmers in the new bill, and will work to see that funding restored,” said Hoefner.  “We also echo Sen. Brown’s (D-OH) concluding statements: without a strong investment in rural development programs we will miss the opportunity to truly make this bill a jobs bill,” said Hoefner.

“Overall, the bill released out of Committee is an improvement over last year’s draft bill,” said Hoefner, “but there is a still a ways to go to produce a bill that expands opportunities for family farmers to produce good food, sustain the environment, and contribute to vibrant communities.  We look forward to working with the Committee and the full Senate to ensure further progress toward that end.”

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities.


Calling all food system educators and researchers. We are seeking your 2.5 cents worth!- If you work with anyaspect of our food system we hope you will share your thoughts…It only takes 10-15 mins and your input will greatly help guide our future research and outreach.



Organic and other newsworthiness

Seeking persons who work in food systems-we need your input PLEASSE! Please complete this 15 min (max) survey!

Dear Friends: 

PLEASE complete the survey of food system development practitioners. This survey was created by Duncan Hilchey of JAFSCD as a general survey of professional development in food systems and the local food movement.  You do not need to give your name, but it will be helpful if you are really honest with your feedback. 

We can use this data and sort for replies from Michigan. 

You can click on this link or paste it into your browser


Cheryl Danley 

Food  and Community Fellow

MSU Center for Regional Food Systems

Phone: (517) 432-0309 * Cell: (313) 492-3496   


US organic market surpasses $31 billion, creates 500,000 jobs

Source: The 2012 Non GMO Sourcebook-Issue 124, June 2012. (copy and paste in your browser)


The US organic industry grew by 9.5% overall in 2011 to reach $31.5 billion in sales, the highest total ever, according to findings from the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) 2012 Organic Industry Survey.

Organic food sales nowrepresent 4.2 percent of all U.S. food sales, up from 4 per- cent in 2010.

Prospects for 2012 and 2013 indicate that organic food and non-food sales will continue to sustain growth levels of nine percent or higher.

Meanwhile, a new OTA report shows the organic food industry generated more than five hundred thousand American jobs in 2010.

“The organic food processing industry is creating jobs, stimulating our economy and delivering the products that consumers increasingly demand. This report is only the latest testament on why sup- porting organic is a no-brainer,” said Congressman Sam Farr (CA-17).


Weather impacts a long line of suppliers beyond Michigan’s fruit industry

WATERVLIET — Blueberries represent the last hope for battered Berrien County fruit growers.

The Niles Star-By John Eby

Blueberries growers’ last hope

Published 6:09pm Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mark Longstroth, Michigan State University Extension small fruit educator, said the warm winter delivered “two weeks of June in March, with temperatures in the 80s in the daytime and 60 degrees at night. For those of us who lived through it, it was really amazing. A different species of fruit bloomed every day — apricots, Japanese plums, peaches, sweet cherries, tart cherries. We all knew we were in trouble.”

Significant freezes followed on April 6-7, 12 and 27. “That Friday was the broom that swept clean around here. The only people who have anything are those with a little bit of fruit on top of the best hills. Apples, cherries, peaches, grapes have all been affected. Grapes are showing some regrowth, so we might have a quarter of acrop. Blueberries are extremely tough and come out late, so we’re guessing we have about an 80 percent crop. It’s going to have a long-term impact, not only to the growers here, but associated industries, such as processors and packers. An awful lot of Berrien County are direct marketers who sell fruit to the public. Where are they going to get apples to make cider?”

Statewide, Farm Bureauestimates $250 million lost of a $350 million industry.

“That’s only farmgate sales,” Longstroth said. “That’s not repercussions in other industries.”

Millburg packer Barry Winkel receives fruit from 50 to 60 growers, some outside Michigan, and can store about half a million bushels.

“Agriculture’s a big gamble,” Winkel, 63, said.

Agriculture makes up 1.5 percent of the U.S. population, yet feeds 310 million people daily.

“One of our problems,” Winkel said, “is our banks consolidated. We cannot walk in where the president knew my father and grandfather and get a loan. They forgot how trustworthy the local agriculture community has been. An operation our size, we have very little recourse to generate any income to begin to cover the fixed overhead. Hence, we layed off most of our workforce, which we’ve never had to do. We cut repair and upkeep with the goal of not spending any money.”

Winkel tallied a long list of collateral businesses hit by those decisions, such as $6,000 to $30,000 spent annually with an asphalt company, $130,000 with a chemical company todelay apple ripening, lumber companies, electricians, hardware stores in Watervliet and Coloma, a South Haven orchard supplier and big box stores such as Lowe’s, Menards and Home Depot, the company in South Bend, Ind., which keeps refrigeration running and even office supplies.

“It’s amazing how much paper we use in a paperless society,” Winkel said. “Some of the biggest ones supply cardboard and plastic bags. Pallets out of Kalamazoo, paper towels out of Benton Harbor. Donations to service clubs and schools, zip.”

If Michigan produces 21 million bushels of apples, “that’s 21,000 truckloads that aren’t going to get loaded,” he said. “Without migrant labor, it’s going to affect headcount and school budgets. Fred (Upton) might be able to do us more help if he could get us free passes to the shrink.”

Berrien County Commissioner Jon Hinkelman, who hosted the gathering of more than 50 fellow growers attended by the congressman and state Agriculture Director Keith Creagh, points out a green tuft atop a sycamore tree in his yard off M-140.

“It’s the only broad-leafed tree susceptible to frost, so the cold air mass was 65 feet deep here,” Hinkelman said.


Seeking to purchase organic fruit-


I work for Northern Natural Organic, LLC in Kaleva MI. We specialize in growing certified organic mineralized soils and making Organic Cherry Concentrate, Wines, Hard Ciders, and Port wines. Our farms got hit with frost last month and we are expecting to have a 90% fruit loss this season. We are interested in purchasing organic fruits (fresh, frozen, concentrate) from MI farmers to keep our company Pure Michigan and as much organic as possible. If you know of or farm any organic fruits and have enough to sell I would love to talk further.

Please contact me via email.

Thank you,

Jen Mackey, Sales Manager

Northern Natural Organic, Cidery, Winery, Manistee, MI


CSAs and Market Opportunities


Farm Visit-AppleSchram Orchard-Charlotte, MI

June 2- 10 am till  2

Hey Folks, 

If you want to check out a farm with veggies in hoophouses, apple trees (Michigan got shorted on the apples this yearL) and some piggys and even a donkey!!

 AppleSchram is having its annual farm visit.   We hope you can join us, next Saturday! This is a great way to check out if a CSA share is right for you!


 Saturday, June 2nd (Rain or Shine)

10:00 AM TOUR THE FARM + Info for new and interested members


You will know you are there by the writing on the wall-Look for “AppleSchram” on the side of the barn.



Charlotte, Michigan

QUESTIONS: email: thornapplecsa@gmail

0r call Diane: 517 230 5821


Hoophouse Production

Pigs, sheep & lambs

“Rosebud” the donkey

I know some of you arealready set with CSA shares for the season, run your own, or not in the area these days but I'm back here now and trying to find more members for Thornapple CSA! I am the new Farm Manager at this CSA based at

Seeking Additional Members for AppleSchram CSA

AppleSchram Organic Orchard (Jane Bush's land) in the Charlotte, MI area. If you know of people around the Lansing area who might be interested in becoming a member of the farm, please share this email with them. Our CSA will run 24 weeks starting Wednesday June 6th and go through Wednesday November 14th.

There are both half shares and full shares available for pick up Wednesday afternoons from 3:30-6:30pm at the following locations: 

1. AppleSchram Organic Orchard

1300 Mt Hope Highway Charlotte, MI 48813


2. Diane Thompson's Home

1611 Osborn Rd Lansing, MI 48915


3. Everybody Reads Bookstore

2019 E. Michigan Ave. Lansing, MI 48912 (copy and paste in your browser)



We will also offer CSA"add ons" for purchase such as pasture raised meats, eggs, and many other items including dry beans, and Michigan fruits (as available this year). New add ons this season include products from Westwind Milling 

Our membership form isattached along with an invite to our first on farm event of the season, Saturday June 2nd! 

There is lots more info on our website at (which is still in the process of being updated).


Melissa Hornaday

[log in to unmask]


Upcoming Educational Opportunities

Michigan Good Food Charter Conference and Dialogue

Thursday June 14, 2012 at the Lansing Conference Center-Cost is only $25 that includes lunch.

This one day conferencewill 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.

To register for conference and see what is in store for the day (agenda) visit: or email Kathryn Colasanti at [log in to unmask]

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.


·      Lansing Conference Center June 14 - Thursday, at the Lansing Conference Center-8:30-4:30.


·      Registration is ONLY $25 and includes the whole program and a great lunch.


·      PLUS farmers who are considering to certify their farm with MAEAP Check this out….


GET MAEAP Phase 1 Credit for attending the Good Food Summit!


·      Getting verified through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) is a three phase process. The first step to getting MAEAP-verified is attending a Phase 1 Educational Session. Held across the state, these sessions introduce farmers to MAEAP and update them on new and emerging regulations and opportunities affecting agriculture


Producers also have the option of viewing online videos, webinars and articles. For more information about the options, read about the educational videos on the MAEAP website at

The second phase for MAEAP verification is contacting a MAEAP technician from your local conservation district to complete an on farm risk assessment and creating an action plan for your farm. The third phase is having a third party verifier from MDARD come to your farm and determine if you are eligible for verification. The MAEAP program is confidential, voluntary and 100% nonregulatory. The Michigan State University Product Center and American Farm Bureau have joined forces to co-host the 14th National Value-Added Agriculture Conference, Growing Your Rural Community through Partnerships. The conference will be held June 24 - 26 at the Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City, Michigan.  Sponsors include the Farm Credit Council, Michigan Farm Bureau, GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Agricultural Resource Marketing Center, Mississippi State University Extension, Michigan State University Extension, Project GREEEN and MSU AgBioResearch.


IPM (Integrated Pest Management) for Organic and Sustainable Farms Webinar-Free but please register


IPM for Organic farmers-web tools, scouting and IPM

June 21, Thursday from 2-3:30 EST 


Join us in an Adobe Connect Meeting. (copy and paste in your browser)


Are you a bit nervous about the pests that may attack your crops this year??

Do you have your scouting plan ready??

Do you know how to calculate degreedays for the key pests in your field??


If these questions have you thinking then perhaps you should join us for a webinar on understanding and setting up an IPM program for your farm!!  All smart farmers scout their fields to be ready for pest occurrences, but especially organic farmers who use multiple tools to manage pests. Having a good idea if and when insects will attack is the first step to smart pest management. 


So we hope that you will join us for this 1.5 hour webinar on Thursday June 21 from 2-3:30. If you cannot attend the live presentation the webinarwill be available for later viewing on website. 


The North Central SARE program is sponsoring this webinar that will be presented by Beth Bishop, Michigan State University's Enviro Weather Coordinator. on how to set up a sound Integrated Pest Management program for your farm and use online tools to assist you predict pest outbreaks as well as give you a heads up of possible pest outbreaks. 

This year will likely be challenging to all farmers in the Midwest, given the mild winter and early heat spell, triggering perennials to bloom too early and allowing overwintering insects and disease to survive in the soil. Beth Bishop, Enviro-Weather coordinator will share how to use this great online tool to predict insect flights as well as steps toward a sound Integrated Pest Management program for your farm. IPM model plants will be shared for three model crops; corn, apples and tomatoes.



Invited By: Vicki Morrone and Beth Bishop.  If you have any questions please contact Vicki at [log in to unmask].


To join the meeting on June 21 at 2 pm EST Click on this link: (copy and paste in your browser)





If you have never attended an Adobe Connect meeting before:


·      Test your connection: (copy and paste in your browser)


·      Get a quick overview:  (copy and paste in your browser)



Adobe, the Adobe logo and Adobe Connect are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.


Vicki Morrone

Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University

Specialist for Organic Farming

480 Wilson Rd Room 303

East Lansing, MI 48824

517-353-3542/517-282-3557 (cell)


If you would like to access a searchable archive of the all the previous Mich-Organic listserv postingscopy this URL and paste in your browser address field (copy and paste in your browser)




Perennial Wheat and Grains Field Day-Seeking Organic Field Crop Farmers’ Perspectives

On June 27, Wednesday at the Kellogg Biological Station the Michigan State University Perennial Wheat team, led by Dr. SiegSnapp, will host a field day to visit the various plots of perennial wheat and intermediate wheat grass (one of its parents).

In addition to a field day to visit the perennial wheat plots we are asking farmers to help us gain a realistic understanding of what is being sought by grain farmers. This event is seeking organic and sustainable farmers’ input on qualities sought to grow a perennial grain.

If you are a farmer and interested in attending please contact Vicki Morrone at 517-282-3557 or [log in to unmask]. The event will be from 8:30 - 4:30. Note that farmers pre-registered and participating in the evaluation will be compensated for their time and travel. This event is open to educators,researchers and farmers.

Please pass the word and carpool to KBS Dairy Barn for the event

Visit the Perennial Wheat WEB site ( (copy and paste in your browser)

to view and print out the event flyer with all the information. Educators please feel free to share this flyer and info with farmers!

All interested in perennial crops for the benefit of the environment and farm economies are invited to attend.

We look forward to seeing you!!


14th National Value-Added Agriculture Conference, Growing Your Rural Community through Partnerships

The Michigan State University Product Center and American Farm Bureau have joined forces to co-host the 14th National Value-Added Agriculture Conference, Growing Your Rural Community through Partnerships. The conference will be held June 24 - 26 at the Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City, Michigan.  Sponsors include the Farm Credit Council, Michigan Farm Bureau, GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Agricultural Resource Marketing Center, Mississippi State University Extension, Michigan State University Extension, Project GREEEN and MSU AgBioResearch.


Conference participants will be welcomed by Dr. Tom Coon, MSU Extension Director and Dallas Tonsager, Undersecretary, USDA Rural development. The conference will investigate how partnerships between economic development agencies, communities and businesses enhance the quality of life for rural residents by fostering civic infrastructure, strengthening the sustainability of agricultural production, promoting value added products, and improving economic opportunities consistent with the scale and capacity of the local community.


Conference participants will have the opportunity to interact with innovative business owners from throughout Michigan to discuss rural entrepreneurism, adding value to agricultural products, agri-tourism, and rural economic development.  The conference will include breakout sessions and tours to allow maximum interaction between participants and practitioners.


The registration fee for the conference is $150 if completed by June 1. After June 1 the registration fee is $190.  The conference registration includes all sessions and tours, welcome reception Sunday evening, lunch and dinner on Monday, and lunch on Tuesday. For more information and to register go to: (copy and paste in your browser)



Brenda J. Reau

Assistant Director



Arts and Eats rural back roads culinary and culture tour is accepting applications from artists, eateries, and specialty crop farms who wish to be a stop/site on the 2012 tour.

Sites are in Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent, and Van Buren Counties.  Applications are due June 15th.

 More information is available on the website  

Ginger Hentz

Innovation Counselor, MSU Product Center

Extension Educator, Greening Michigan Institute (GMI)

MSU Extension Barry County

206 W. Court Street, Hastings, MI 49058

tel:   (269) 945-1388

[log in to unmask]




OTFA (Organic Tree Fruit Association) is hosting

Orchard Field Day – Northwest Lower Michigan

Highlights and Lessons Learned fromOn-farm Research

Hops Tour & Cider Tasting

Organic Orchard Management

Join us in Michigan

Friday-August 17 for research variety trial tour FREE but please register 2:00 - 4:00 pm, at the NW Michigan Horticultural Research Center,.The tour will be led by Dr. Rob Sirrine, Extension Educator and Specialist in Community Food Systems. 


Saturday, August 18 th-Farm tour and organic lunch. (10-4) Please register & pay for this part of the program according to the following:

·      Garthe Farms, LLC -Saturday, August 18th, 10:00 am -4:00 pm at  9691 East Seth Rd, Northport, MI 

·      Cost:  Register by August 13th for the early bird rate of $20 and $10 for OTFA members.  Registration the day of the event -- $25 and $15 for members.

·      To join OFTA or see what we are about visit: (copy and paste in your browser)

·      Catered organic lunch provided

Saturday-August 18th Free Cider tasting beginning 5:00 pm, at Tandem Ciders – Please register

Celebrate and learn with us. To RSVP and for event details, directions, and suggested accommodations contact [log in to unmask] or call 608-257-6729.


Two Day Hops and Cider Field Day Description

Join us at Garthe Farms as we learn more about their organic orchard management practices with a focus on apples, pears, sweet and tart cherries, and on-farm research projects that Gene and Kathy are conducting in collaboration with Michigan State University researchers and other area growers. Highlights will include morning discussions on the challenges and opportunities associated with organic pest management, orchard tour, afternoon field walk sessions on orchard fertility, organic disease and insect management, and ways to integrate pastured hogs in the organic orchard. 

Extend your stay—learn and celebrate some more!

We also invite you to join us the day before on Friday, August 17th for an afternoon tour of an organic hops variety trial being conducted at the nearby NW Michigan Horticultural Research Center that will be led by Rob Sirrine from MSUE- Extension Educator and Specialist in Community Food Systems. 


We'll wrap up the day to visit Nikki Rothwell, owner of Tandem Orchards for a cider tasting at her cidery, Tandem Ciders located in Sutton Bay just 11 miles from the Research Center.

Special thanks to event hosts, Gene and Kathy Garthe, to Matt Grieshop, Mark Whalon, with Michigan State University and Jim Laubuch, IPM Crop Scout, for sharing your expertise. Thank you also to Nikki Rothwell, Director of the NWMHRC, Tandem Orchards and Tandem Ciders and to Rob Sirring, Extension Educator for hosting the hops tour and for sharing your research expertise.

For more information on this and other OTFA events, visit our website. 

Safe travels and we hope to see you in Michigan later this summer!

For any questions please contact: Erin Schneider

Organic Farmer, Facilitator, Consultant

Co-owner, Hilltop Community Farm, LLC

Coordinator, Organic Tree Fruit Growers Association

608-257-6729-  [log in to unmask]

Connect with our farm on Facebook

Vicki Morrone
Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University
Organic Farming Specialist
480 Wilson Rd. Room 303
East Lansing, MI 48824
517-353-3542/517-282-3557 (cell)
FAX 517-353-3834