Michigan Organic Listserv


October 4, 2012

Offered to you by Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University  

Vicki Morrone ([log in to unmask])


There is no intention to support any product or commercial enterprise in this newsletter by MSU or Vicki Morrone



Life Without a Farm Bill: What’s at Stake? [Source]

As of today, our nation’s food and farm policy in the form of the 2008 Farm Bill has officially expired, with no workable replacement. There are many who see this as a better course of events than the passage of one of the new, admittedly imperfect, bills passed by the Senate and proposed in the House.  Others view congressional inaction as no big deal.

We beg to differ.

Starting this week, we’ll feature 10 critical farm bill programs – one each week – on our blog that, as of today, Congress has left high and dry.  This is unacceptable.  Here what’s at stake:

The farm bill is the nation’s major food and agricultural policy vehicle and is about much more than the big ticket items: food stamps, cropinsurance, and commodity support.  The farm bill is also about conservation and environmental protection, rural economic and community development, food system reform and agricultural research.

With no new farm bill or extension, the programs that address rural and urban job creation, natural resource conservation, renewable energy, and improved production and access to healthy food are in big trouble.

With the expiration of the farm bill, farmers will not be enrolling sensitive land in ecological restoration projects.  Training opportunities for the next generation of beginning farmers will dry up.  Microloans to the very small businesses that drive economic recovery in rural America will cease.  Emerging farmers markets in rural and urban food deserts will not have access to startup grants.  Organic farming researchers will not be able to compete for any dedicated research funds.

Grants to encourage on-farm energy conservation, to fund fruit and vegetable research, to assist minority and tribal farmers, to rebuild local and regional food systems, to invest in emerging farmer and community owned food businesses with high consumer demand, and to transfer land to young farmerswill also be put on hold.

These are casualties of Congressional inaction. Many commentators note that SNAP (food stamp) benefits and federal crop insurance subsidies, the two largest categories of farm bill spending, continue unabated, and that is true. But they’re missing the fact that these lesser-known programs have no funding starting on Monday.

These lesser-known farm bill programs have an outsized impact.  They drive innovation.  They create jobs.  They help solve environmental problems and boost energy independence.  They support the next generation of farmers and food entrepreneurs.

When the Senate passed a new five-year farm bill in June, it wasdifficult to imagine we would find ourselves in this situation. The House Agriculture Committee passed its version in July with bi-partisan support, but the House left town last week to go home and campaign without House Republican leaders ever bringing the new farm bill to the floor for amendment and approval.   Now Congress is tasked with passing a new farm bill during the short, busy lame duck session after the election.

Many House members are trying to reassure their constituents that because food stamps and crop insurance are taken care of, and because there is a little bit of time before commodity subsidy programs implode, it was all really no big deal to kick the can down the road.

Don’t try telling that to young farmers enrolling in training programs, to landowners trying to restore wetlands, or to researchers working to make a healthier and more sustainable food system.  They know they have been left in the lurch and they are looking to Congress to do the right thing and return after the election to get a new farm bill finished and signed into law.

As a nation, we need to keep food stamps working and we need a better, less costly and fairer farm safety net. But as important as those goals are, the farm bill is about much more than that.  Congressional dithering has put movement toward achieving a 21stcentury food and farm policy at risk.  The first programs to be shut down starting October 1 are precisely the ones that invest in a more equitable, sustainable, opportunity-generating farm and food system.  Despite thewords of assurance to the contrary, this really is a big deal.




Organic Farming for Health and Prosperity [Source]

Organic Farming for Health and Prosperity” by the Organic Farming Research Foundation, offers a review of the existing scientific literature from the last decade concerning organic farming in the US and Canada. This publication “examines the multitude of benefits that organic agriculture can provide and identifies the key ways in which agricultural policies in the United States could support organic farmers.” Outlining the environmental, economic, social, and health benefits of organic agriculture as documented in the U.S. scientific literature makes this report one of a kind. Click here to download this free, new and exciting report by OFRF.


Integrated Pest Management – A guide to identifying resources

A number of us from the MSU Integrated Pest Management Program and Ag and Agribusiness Institute (AABI) have been working to put together a factsheet on the IPM Resources available via MSU. MSU offers a number of online resources including the IPM webpage, which is devoted to the dissemination of information regarding sustainable pest management practices. It can be found at ipm.msu.edu, this page is your link to dozens of crop specific IPM resources and publications. You can also this and more pest management programs on our Michigan Organic website.





New ATTRA whole-farm insurance publication

The newly released "Crop Insurance Options for Specialty, Diversified, and Organic Farmers” publication written by National Center for Appropriate Technology

(NCAT) Agricultural Economist Jeff Schahczenski expands on and further explains the information and concepts Jeff talked about in the webinar. "Crop Insurance Options for Specialty, Diversified, and Organic Farmers," is available as a free download and as a physical publication for a small handling fee at the ATTRA website www.attra.ncat.com. A link to the ATTRA page also is included in the attached information about the publication.




MI Dept. of Agriculture & RuralDevelopment Accepting Pesticide Notification and Certified Organic Farm Registry Applications


Lansing, MI - The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) Pesticide and Plant Pest Management (PPPM) Division is reminding residents and certified organic farms to submit their applications for the 2013 pesticide notification and certified organic farm registries.


MDARD’s annual publication of the Pesticide Notification Registry enables individuals with verifiable medical conditions to be notified prior to a turf or ornamental pesticide application within a specified distance.


Additionally, organic farmers can register their information on the Driftwatch website, allowing pesticide application firms to identify thelocation of organic farms and avoid pesticide drift near these sites.


“These registries enable our division to notify pesticide application firms of sensitive areas where additional precautions are necessary to protect the health and safety of Michigan’s residents,” said Gina Alessandri, PPPM Division Director. 


Pesticide Notification Registry applicants must submit an application and a physician’s certification form no later than February 1, 2013.  The free application package can be accessed on MDARD’s website, www.michigan.gov/mdard.  Residents can also request an application from MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division, P.O. Box 30017, Lansing, Michigan 48909 or by calling (517) 241-1169.  The 2013 registry will be published on March 15, 2013.   


Certified organic farms must register on the Driftwatch site, www.driftwatch.org, by March 1, 2013 to be included in MDARD’s official notification to commercial pesticide applicators. 


For more information regarding the regarding the Pesticide Notification and Certified Organic Farm registries, visit www.michigan.gov/mdard.  Questions regarding the Driftwatch system can be directed to Antonio Escobar, Michigan’s Driftwatch coordinator, at (517) 373-6350.


Preparing Orchards for Winter: Preventing Damage from Voles, Mice, and Rabbits [Source]
The dry weather this year may have reduced rodent populations, but those that survived are likely to be strong and hungry.  With corn and bean harvest at its peak, mice will likely be looking for other places to hide and buildtheir nests.  October and November are the most active months for nesting.  

Areas with tall grasses, especially between rows of trees are the best places for mice nests.  Killing grass between trees within rows with herbicide is not sufficient to keep the mice away.  They will nest even in dead grass if it is tall enough to provide good cover from predators and if it is close to a food source such as live tree roots.  For this reason, it is recommended that you keep the grass mowed, especially between trees within the row if it has not been eliminated by herbicide sprays throughout the summer. Read full story here.



MICHIGAN ORGANIC FOOD AND FARM ALLIANCE (MOFFA) - 20 years of service, 20 years of new challenges - the intergenerational connection
Michigan Organic Food and Farming Alliance will be hosting a 20th anniversary event on November 10, 2012 with an educational morning session, afternoon strategic planning and early evening  joyous celebration at the Sarvis Center in Flint, MI.  The theme of this event is “Bridging the Gap: Michigan Organic Celebration, Conversation and Collaboration.”  The ultimate goal of this event is to bring together MOFFA members, and all within the organic community, to forge a consensus on a future path for MOFFA.  Together we will identify and prioritize the needs of our constituents through a facilitated discussion.  There is a tremendous need to build greater collaboration in the sustainable farming community.  Only by bringing together our rich diversity and the many unique perspectives of our multi-generational growers can we determine effective methods and ideas to address the challenges we face within the food system and for our organization.  The 20th Anniversary event will be dedicated to the memory of Susan Houghton –longtime organic teacher, friend and activist who sadly passed this spring 

The program will include educational/dialogue sessions that are both chosen and led by our partner organizations in Flint, focused on production and marketing approaches relevant to urban farmers, but also very applicable to all growers.   Michigan organic farmers will present our keynote address relating their experiences, challenges and insights.  A conversation with all attendees will follow.  We encourage you to join us and share your perspectives and ideas for MOFFA. A delicious local-organic dinner will be offered in the late afternoon, sharing important events from the past year and a chance to catch up with old and new friends.  We invite you to continue our celebration with a Taste of Michigan social event – with food, beverages and live music to capture the essence of the day. In an effort to make this day accessible to all, the cost for the entire day is $25.00.  To register for this event please visit our MOFFA websitehttp://www.moffa.org/moffas_20th_anniversary.html. –www.moffa.org.   Contact us at moffaorganic.@gmail .org with questions. To volunteer to assist with the event or if you are able to lend financial support through sponsorship please e-mail Carolyn Lowry ([log in to unmask])

Click here to register for the MOFFA event today!

Click here for more information and agenda for the event.        



More Grass, More Milk: Approaches to increase forage utilization and profit in pasture-based systems

Friday, October 19, 2012 from1:00 - 4:00 PM

Whether you are an experienced or novice grazing manager; graze dairy cows, beef cows, stocker cattle, or small ruminants; or work with grazing managers this field day is for you. Everyone interested in improved grazing management and sharing their grazing management experience with others is encouraged to attend.


The field day will focus ongrazing management strategies that increase forage production and utilization in pasture-based livestock systems, with a focus on research at the KBS Pasture Dairy Center. The main goal of the grazing plan at KBS is to increase forage utilization and milk production per cow and per acre beyond the typical limits of pasture-based systems in the region.


Topics will include:

• Incorporating brassicas (forage rape) into a grazing system

• Supplemental feeding and grazing management strategies to promote maximum forage growth

• Strategic pasture irrigation


Speakers include Dr. Santiago Utsumi (MSU Department of Animal Science), Dr. Kim Cassida (MSU Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences) and MSU Extension grazing and forage educators.


The Field Day will take place at the KBS Dairy Center (10461 N 40th Street, Hickory Corners, MI 49060). Enter the dairy from the 39th Street entrance, we will meet at the Pasture Dairy Barn. Questions call 269-671-2360 or e-mail [log in to unmask].



Great Lakes Bioneers Conference – Traverse City, MI
2012 Theme: Tag, you’re it--and so are we!
When: October 19, 20 & 21, 2012

The Great Lakes Bioneers Conference is a local conference where engaged citizens from all walks of life come together to focus on solving our most urgent problems within aframework of interdependence: It is all connected. Bioneers take a "solve-the-whole-problem" approach that is holistic, systemic, and multidisciplinary. Organized in partnership between the Neahtawanta Center and SEEDS. Check out our national partner, the Collective Heritage Institute.

2012 Theme: Tag, you’re it--and so are we!
Tag: because it embodies active and engaging energies passed from one person to another. You’re It: because it is up to each one of us to be the future that we want to see. This world shifting work cannot be done by “someone else”, it will only be accomplished by all of us. You are chosen and the time is now.

Keynotes include Timothy Young (Food For Thought) and Jackie Victor (Avalon International Breads)

Download a full registration brochure - here
Download a registration form only -
To register online, click


Saturday, Sept. 29 and Saturday, Oct. 6, from 9:30-3:  Annual Farmer's Market at The Henry Ford's Greenfield Village Pavillion!  We love going to this place of history and ideas.  The Farmer's Market (and so many other things they do there) gives you an old world feel while supporting local economies and health.  We'll have lots of breads and pastries, as well as some baking mixes and flours.  If you live in that area or are a member, this is agood opportunity to stock up on flour for fall without having to drive all the way to the Mill.  Order in advance with us (810 735-9192), and we'll bring it there for you to pick up.


Saturday, October 6 from 10-2:  Lansing Gluten Free Fair, at the South Church of the Nazarene, 401 W. Holmes Rd. in Lansing.  We will be showcasing our gluten free flours, baking mixes, and baked goods with our new crop grains, in from Missouri and California, along with our new Michigan corn and buckwheat.  Note that we've closed the gluten free store for Septemberwhile we await the arrival of our new stock, and plan to re-open it on October 1.


Saturday, Nov. 10 MOFFA Annual Conference & Trade Show,  all day at the Sarvis Center in Flint!  This is a really exciting Conference this year - MOFFA is reaching out to the public at large and is inviting everyone, all eaters, to become involved in the fight for local, organic foods.  First, they have moved the Conference away from the confines of academia and into a city with a growing urban farming movement.  Second, they are devoting the whole morning session to urban farmers.  Then, in the afternoon, its all about who we are now and where do we go from here - in what areas do eaters and producers want MOFFA to put their energies?  Lee and I, along with other farmers in the local/organic movement, will speak about our experiences andhelp lead discussion looking for consensus for the right direction that will lead to the success of  a grassroots movement of people creating community out of finding their own healthy food - for each other, the environment, and keeping the money in the local economy. Even if you don't usually get involved in this sort of thing, this year will prove to be much more exciting -  DON'T MISS THIS ONE!!!


Bread Baking Classes


Yes, fall is here and the smell of warmbread in the oven is very attractive these days. At each class, we bake 2 kinds of bread, usually very different styles, which I think gives an idea of how to do both of them better.  Classes are 3 hours long, and $25 per person, including 2, 2 lb. loaves of bread and recipes to take home.  Jody Nagy does the Gluten Free Baking Classes - she does something different each time,  with gluten free foods to sample while waiting for your baked goods in the oven.  These classes are $40 per person.  You also take home 2 types of breads, cakes., etc. while working with Jody.  Both gluten free classes and regular bread classes have a limit of 12 people per class, as that is the max we can comfortably fit in the kitchen. Here are the dates for both types of classes:

Sunday, October 21, from 1-4 pmGluten Free Baking with Jody - recipes to be announced.  In addition to learning to bake gluten free and sample delicious foods that she prepares, Jody is asking of all her classes that if you have a favorite recipe, bring it and she will tell you how to convert it to Gluten Free!

Saturday, October 27, from 1 - 4 pm:   Rustic French Bread (Pain de Campagne) and Marbled Ryewith Dill.  Very different to make, but both are hearty breads, great for warmth and full flavor with crisp autumn and winter meals.

Sunday, November 11, from 1-4 pmGluten Free baking with Jody   -  recipes to be announced.  

Saturday, November 24, from 1-4 pm:  A great idea for Thanksgiving weekend if you have relatives in and are not shopping!  This time, we will make our very gooey Cinnamon Rolls and Sourdough bread.  These two are opposites in every way, but give you a wider view on the range of breads.  In addition to the breads/rolls and recipes to take home, in this class you also take home sourdough starter.

Sunday, December 2, from 1-4 pm:  In preparation for holiday baking, we have Spelt Dinner Rolls and Holiday Breads.  The Spelt rolls are done in various shapes and flavors, and the richer, sweeter holiday breads have various possibilities as well.

Sunday, December 9, from 1-4 pmGluten Free Baking with Jody, recipes to be announced.

Saturday, December 15, from 1-4 pmHoliday Breads & Spelt dinner rolls, same as Dec. 2.


Grant Opportunities


2013 Michigan Family Farms Conference - “Family Farming - It's In Our Roots"
Saturday, January 19, 2013 9 a.m. - 4:40 p.m.
Where: Lakeview High School 15060 Helmer Road South Battle Creek, MI, 49015
SAVE THE DATE! This January, we celebrate 10 years of the Michigan Family Farms Conference! This year's theme is "Family Farming – It's in our Roots", and the conference will take place on Saturday, January 19, 2013 at Lakeview High School in Battle Creek!
Connect with other growers and great resources, network, and learn about food safety, hoophouses, vermiculture, estate and succession planning, cooperatives, growing mushrooms, careers in agricultural and natural resources, crop insurance, free-range poultry, and more! Registration will be open in November.


Community Outreach VISTA Position at Growing Hope in Ypsilanti, MI

Growing Hope is still looking for a Community Outreach VISTA member to join our team! Qualified applicants will have experience working in the community and promotional experience as well, including the development and distribution of flyers, postcards and other print media. Experience in web design and social media is ideal, and ability to represent the organization as an ambassador to our work is essential. Click here for more information about the position- deadline is now October 5th. Applicants will need to submit a cover letter and a resume to [log in to unmask] as well as create and sumbit an application in the Americorps VISTA portal. Questions? Contact us at [log in to unmask] or 734-786-8401.


Farmer Market Management Position in Chelsea, MI
Seeking a qualified individual to lead in the management and operations of two markets in Chelsea, MI.  Successful candidates for interview will be professional and effective organizers with initiative, creativity, and an understanding of local food systems.  In this position, strong outreach, marketing, communication, and project management skills are necessary. Find the listing and
apply here.

Farmer Training Program Accepting Applicants, Emmaus PA.

The New Farmer Training Program andAgricultural Incubator at the Seed Farm in Emmaus, Pennsylvania is now accepting applications for the 2013 season. This intensive training programincludes 500 hours of on farm training and 100 hours of formal workshops and classes. Participants will build skills and create their own production andbusiness plans. Graduates of the training program qualify for the agricultural incubator program where they can farm on county-owned land with access to equipment, greenhouse/ cooler space, and continued mentorship.  For more information and application materials, visit www.theseedfarm.org or call Seed Farm Director Sara Runkel (610) 391-9583 ex.16. Applications are due October 15, 2012.


Grant Opportunities

USDA Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG)

The primary objective of the VAPG program is to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based value-added products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the end goals of this program. You may receive priority if you are a beginning farmer or rancher, a socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher, a small or medium-sized farm or ranch structured as a family farm, a farmer or ranchercooperative, or are proposing a mid-tier value chain, as defined in the Program Regulation. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis. 

Application deadline is October 15.

Estimated Program Funding: $14 million Maximum Grant Amount: $100,000 for planning grants; $300,000 for working capital grants  Cost Sharing Requirement: Cash or eligible in-kind matching funds equal to at least the amount of grant funds requested

Click here to learn if you're eligible for this grant opportunity! 


NCR-SARE Announces 2013 Farmer Rancher Grant Call for Proposals

The 2013 North Central Region - Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) Farmer Rancher Grant Call for Proposals is nowavailable.

Farmers and ranchers in the North Central Region are invited to submit grant proposals to explore sustainable agriculture solutions to problems on the farm or ranch.  Proposals should show how farmers and ranchers plan to use their own innovative ideas to explore sustainable agriculture options and how they will share project results. Sustainable agriculture is good for the environment, profitable, and socially responsible.

Projects should emphasize research or education/demonstration. There are three types of competitive grants: individual grants ($7,500 maximum), partner grants for two farmers/ranchers from separate operations who are working together ($15,000 maximum), and group grants for three or more farmers/ranchers from separate operations who are working together ($22,500maximum). NCR-SARE expects to fund about 45 projects in the twelve-state North Central Region with this call. A total of approximately $400,000 is available for this program. Grant recipients have 25 months to complete their projects.

Interested applicants can find the call for proposals online as well as useful information for completing a proposal at http://www.northcentralsare.org/Grants/Types-of-Grants/Farmer-Rancher-Grant-Program. You can find more information about sustainable agriculture at http://www.sare.org/ or take a free National Continuing Education Program online course about the basic concepts at http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Courses-and-Curricula.

Proposals are due on Thursday, November 29th at 4:30 p.m. at the NCR-SARE office in Saint Paul, MN.

Potential applicants with questions can contact Joan Benjamin, Associate Regional Coordinator and Farmer Rancher Grant Program Coordinator, at [log in to unmask] or 573-681-5545 or 800-529-1342. A hard copy or an emailed copy of the call for proposals is also available by contacting Joan Benjamin. We make revisions to our calls for proposals eachyear, which means it is crucial to use the most recent call for proposals.

Each state in SARE's North Central Region has one or more State Sustainable Agriculture Coordinators who can provide information and assistance to potential grant applicants. Interested applicants can find their State Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator online at http://www.northcentralsare.org/State-Programs.


UMN BioAgEng Bldg. Ste 120

1390 Eckles Avenue

Saint Paul MN 55108

Direct Phone: 612.626.3113

Office Fax: 612.626.3132


Vicki Morrone
Organic Farming Specialist
Center For Regional Food Systems at MSU
480 Wilson Rd. Room 303
East Lansing, MI 48824
517-353-3542/517-282-3557 (cell)
[log in to unmask]

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