Michigan Organic Listserv

Center For Regional Food Systems

Nov 15, 2012


Vicki Morrone ([log in to unmask])

Note Information in this newsletter is for sharing. Morrone or MSU are not endorsing any product or enterprise.


National Organic Program News

Organic food from certified farms may now be sampled and checked for pesticide or chemical residue. This has always been part of the NOP but recently has become a mandatory requirement that certifying agencies sample 5% of the farms they certify on an annual basis.  This may raise the cost of certification by $25 each year for each farm certified.

UPDATED: Organic program steps up testing

11/13/2012 12:27:46 PM
Coral Beach


Organizations that certify organic producers must conduct periodic residue tests each year on at least 5% of those farms beginning in 2013.

Additional costs — estimated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program to be about $500 per test — are supposed to be paid by the certifiers, not their clients. If certifiers pass along costs by increasing fees for all clients, the increase should be about $25 per client, according to a rule published Nov. 9 in the Federal Register.

The NOP imposed the 5% minimum because a 2010 audit by the Office of Inspector General revealed some certifiers never conducted residue testing, according to the Federal Register.

There was also confusion about whether certifiers are required to conduct periodic residue testing, according to the NOP’s comments.

“The (Office of the Inspector General) indicated that certifying agents noted that they considered residue testing to be required by the regulations only under certain circumstances,” NOP officials wrote.

California adopted residue analysis requirements in November 2010 under the State Organic Program (SOP), and state officials are pleased to see the NOP strengthen its rule.

“The SOP implemented regulations ... to facilitate the sale of organic products within California while maintaining sufficient regulatory control by means of spot inspections, investigations, and residue analysis,” said Rick Jensen, director of inspection services for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

“The SOP looks forward to the implementation of the NOP’s periodic residue testing requirement ... to ensure that organic consumers purchase products that are in compliance with state and federal organic mandates.”

Daniels, “Organic growers are also applauding the new rule. Will Daniels, senior vice president of operations and organic integrity at Earthbound Farm, San Juan Batista, Calif., said increased testing will help the industry overall.”

“At Earthbound Farm we believe in testing as a verification tool and the results should provide certifiers and those tested with useful information, in addition to bolstering organic integrity,” Daniels said. “Consumers want a strong organic seal and so do we.”

The Organic Foods Production Act requires certifiers to conduct periodic pre- and post-harvest residue testing, according to the notice, even if there is no apparent problem.

However, the National Organic Program received test results from only 13 certifiers in 2011, indicating tests were done at less than 1% of the 30,000 operations certified as organic that year. Six of the 13 reporting certifiers in 2011 were based outside the U.S. where tests are mandatory. According to the NOP, there are 112 certifiers recognized by the USDA to audit growers in the U.S. and other countries.

“The final rule expands the amount of residue testing … by clarifying that sampling and testing are required on a regular basis,” the notice states. “This action will help further ensure the integrity of products produced and handled under the NOP regulations.”

Based on submitted comments, the NOP officials decided to allow tests conducted for causative reasons to count toward the 5% minimum. All test results must be kept by certifiers for at least three years and must be available for public review.

However, the revised rule eliminates the requirement to report all test results. Effective Jan. 1, only results that “are in violation of (Environmental Protection Agency) or FDA requirements must be reported to the appropriate state health agency or foreign equivalent.”

The periodic testing is not limited to finished products. The revised rule states tests can be done on soil, water, waste, seeds, plant tissue and processed product samples.

Find this article at: 

Certifiers have the flexibility to test for a range of prohibited and excluded methods, including, but not limited to, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetically modified organisms. Certifiers that handle 30 or less operations in a year are required to do periodic residue testing on at least one of the operations.




It's Time for a Better Farm Bill. NOW! 


November 9, 2012

A Request from NSAC,

Please join us in Signing the Petition from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition telling

 Congress to do their job and pass a Farm Bill This Year. Then forward this to everyone you know to do the same.





Here is the link to find your representatives in your district:




Dear Congress,


For the sake of our nation's health, our farmers, and our natural resources, we need you to do your job.

We need a better farm bill, and we need it this year!


An equitable, sustainable, 21st century farm bill must:






What exactly do we mean by an equitable, sustainable, 21st century farm bill?


    Harness the economic power of local and organic food and small businesses to strengthen rural

    and urban communities and create jobs

    Grow the next generation of American farmers by providing the tools, training, and access to capital

    that beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers need to succeed

    Ensure access to fresh, healthy food for all - including those in need and in our schools


    Reward farmers for their environmental stewardship by fully funding farm conservation programs

    Do not raid long-term conservation efforts to pay for short-term disaster fixes

    Link federal crop insurance support to conservation of wetlands and fragile soils 


    Eliminate wasteful direct payments

    Target support to working farm families by closing loopholes that benefit mega-farms and millionaire

     Investors  Cap farm and crop insurance subsidies to improve fiscal responsibility




Contact Information:                                

Liana Hoodes                                                  

National Organic Coalition        National Organic Action Plan        

3540 Route 52, Pine Bush, NY  12566 Phone and Fax:  914-443-5759 www.NationalOrganicCoalition.org 

Email:  [log in to unmask]                                  








Conferences and other educational opportunities

Understanding Whole-Farm Insurance for Specialized, Diversified, and Organic Farms

November 29 webinar will discuss AGR-Lite and other farm insurance options- Understanding Whole-Farm Insurance for Specialized, Diversified, and Organic Farms


The National Center for AppropriateTechnology (NCAT) will offer a webinar on Thursday, November 29, to explainAdjusted Gross Revenue Lite (AGR-Lite)— a unique type of federally subsided crop insurance that holds great promise to serve the needs of smaller, diverse, specialty crop, organic, and direct-market farmers.  


While most insurance products are tied to a specific crop or commodity, AGR-Lite is based on whole-farm revenue and allows farmers who grow several specialty crops, high value crops (including organic), or diverse crops and livestock products, to insure their production based on the farm’s historic revenue.  


The free, hour-long webinar, "Understanding Whole-Farm Insurance for Specialized, Diversified, and Organic Farms" will explain how AGR-Lite works and also will demonstrate NCAT’s new AGR-Lite Wizard assessment tool. This tool allows farmers to evaluate the usefulness of whole-farm revenue insurance for their own situation, and is available as afree download from www.agrlitewizard.com, or by calling 1-800-346-9140.


Farmers who grow diverse specialty crops, organic crops, or who have mixed crop/livestock operations, are especially encouraged to attend, along with educators and other professionals who serve these growers. The webinar will feature regionally appropriate examples from the Southeast, although people from all parts of the country are welcome and will find it useful. There will be time for attendees to ask questions.


The webinar presenter will be Jeff Schahczenski, an Agricultural Economist with NCAT. The webinar is funded by the USDA Risk Management Agency.


The webinar will begin at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday, November 29, 2012. It is funded by the USDA Risk Management Agency.


Title: Understanding Whole-Farm Insurance for Specialized, Diversified, and Organic Farms

Date: November 29, 2012


Time: 1 p.m. EDT


To learn more or to register, go to  https://attra.ncat.org/whole_farm



Everybody Eats-Lansing MI is planning their program and seek your input

The planning group for the Everybody Eats conference wants to include the voices of people affected by and concerned with food injustices---- especially lack of access to food and/or lack of access to fresh, healthy food--- in the conference planning and conference sessions. Conference planning events are scheduled for 5:30p.m. on November 15, December 20 and January 17 at Gone Wired Café/TheAvenue at 2021 E. Michigan Ave and include a light meal and opportunities to discuss the conference tracks, speakers and methods of outreach and marketing of the event. More about the conference here: http://www.every-body-eats.com/



Julie Cotton, M.S.


Academic Specialist

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems

Michigan State University

A264 Plant and Soil Science Building

East Lansing, MI 48824


[log in to unmask]

517-355-0271 ext. 1156


Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Expo-Thursday is Organic Day

At DeVos Center Grand Rapids, MI

This 4 day educational and trade show program is one you do not want to miss if you grow or sell fruit and/or vegetables. This is one of the largest programs of its kind in the US. If you are interested in what is on offer visit www.glexpo.org. You can also register for the whole event or for a special reduced price if you want to come only on Thursday. Note the trade show does end on Thursday at noon, so planaccordingly.


Here is Thursday’s program on organic production, vegetable production and fruit production. Please join us in this fun and educational event:


Session 1: NOP Organic Certification & Beyond: Value to Your Farm and Markets

Thursday morning 8:30 am

Where: Grand Gallery (main level) Room C

Organic certification is a big commitment but not impossible, especially if you are a farmer seeking a way to verify your farm management that follows a whole system approach. Certification is not only to “explain” practices but speaking economically, it is a valuable marketing tool. Organic certification is needed if you plan to have your product labeled organic. Organic food is still in demand in the U.S. , despite the economic challenging times we are in. But so is local, environmentally sound and safe food. This program will provide the why’s, why not’s and how’s of organic certification. We will also offer an overview of two other certifications that can help your farm and your markets-Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) a free program to farmers wanting to address environmental risks on their farm and Safe Food Risk Assessment, a self-assessment tool for small-farms to recognize safe food practices, bothoffered by Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Facts and experiences will be shared by technicians of the respective programs and farmers who have completed the certifications.

Moderator: Vicki Morrone, Outreach Specialist for Organic Fruit and Vegetable Growers, MSU

8:30 am

Organic Certification: Its often just getting your ducks in a row

    Vicki Morrone, Outreach Specialist for Organic Fruit and Vegetable Growers, MSU

9:05 am

Why MAEAP Makes Sense for Organic Farms 

    Jennifer Silveri, MAEAP Technician for Eaton and Ingham County, Charlotte, MI

9:40 am

Safe Food Risk Assessment: How can it be helpful to an organic farmer? This is a self-assessment tool designed for smaller farms to check safe food production.

    Kyle Mead, MAEAP Technician for Van Buren Co., Paw Paw, MI

10:15 am

Farmer Panel on Organic and Complimentary Certifications: What they have done for our farm and our market

    Cheryl and Alan Kobernik, North Star Organics, Frankfort, MI (NOP and MAEAP Certified)

    Emily Freeh, Giving Tree Farm, Lansing, MI (NOP and MAEAP certified)

    Anthony Cinzori, Cinzori Farms, Ceresco, MI (NOP Certified and initiated MAEAP process)

11:30 am

Group Discussion: Record keeping, networking, and applications for certifications


12:00 noon

Session Ends


Session 2: Current Issues in Organic Fruit Production

Thursday afternoon 1:00 pm

Where: Grand Gallery (main level) Room C

Moderator: Matt Grieshop, Entomology Dept., MSU

1:00 pm

On Farm Production of Organic Apple Trees 

    Jim Koan, Al-Mar Orchards, Flushing, MI

1:30 pm

Organic Management Options for Spotted Wing Drosophila 

    Rufus Isaacs, Entomology Dept., MSU

    Steve Van Timmeren, Entomology Dept., MSU

1:45 pm

Apple Flea Weevil Management Update 

    John Pote, Entomology Dept., MSU

    Matt Grieshop, Entomology Dept., MSU

2:00 pm

Lessons in Organic Cherry Production 


2:30 pm

Building Resilience in Organic Tree Fruit 


3:00 pm

Session Ends


Session 3: Organic Vegetable Production

Thursday afternoon 1:00 pm

Where: Grand Gallery (main level) Room B

MI Recertification credits: 2 (1B, COMM CORE, PRIV CORE)

CCA Credits: NM(0.5) SW(0.5) PM(1.0)

Moderator: Daniel Brainard, Horticulture Dept., MSU

1:00 pm

Managing Nitrogen with Cover Crops in Organic Vegetable Production 

               Zachary Hayden, Horticulture Dept., MSU

1:45 pm

Balancing Weed and Soil Management Objectives with Cover Crops and Tillage 

               Daniel Brainard, Horticulture Dept., MSU

               Carolyn Lowry, Horticulture Dept., MSU

2:30 pm

Steel and Systems: Weed management at certified organic vegetable and fruit farm

               David Stern, Rose Valley Farm, Rose, NY and Director, Garlic Seed Foundation

3:30 pm

Session Ends


Session 4: Biological Control of Insects

Thursday morning 9:00 am

Where: Gallery Overlook (upper level) Room A

This workshop will provide information on what biological control agents of insect pests look like, what they feed on, and how they can be managed on farm to increase their efficacy. You will get to see and handle pinned specimens, so you can learn to identify them.

MI Recertification credits: 2 (COMM CORE, PRIV CORE)

CCA Credits: PM(2.5)

Moderator: Mary Gardiner, Entomology Dept., The Ohio State Univ.

9:00 am

Workshop Introduction 

               Mary Gardiner, Entomology Dept., The Ohio State Univ.

9:20 am

Biology of Insects and Natural Enemies 

               Alexandria Bryant, Entomology Dept., MSU

9:40 am

Managing Natural Enemies in Agricultural Systems 

               Brett Blaauw, Entomology Dept., MSU

10:00 am

Insect Identification and Discussion 


11:00 am

Workshop Wrap-Up 

               Mary Gardiner, Entomology Dept., The Ohio State Univ.

11:20 am

Session Ends




Midwest CSA Conference seeks presenters and participants

I am writing to ask if you would consider participating in the Midwest CSA Conference that is being organized by Wisconsin Farmers Union in partnership  with: Angelic Organics Learning Center, Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, Fairshare CSA Coalition, Land Stewardship Project, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services, and the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.   


The conference will take place on January 10th and 11th in Eau Claire, WI on the campus of the UW-Eau Claire.


This conference is being set up by CSA farmers, for CSA farmers.  The focus of the event is to bring CSA farmers together to learn and share around a set of practical workshops, primarily presented by CSA farmers.  The workshops will cover on-farm efficiencies, from production techniques, packing, and weekly share delivery logistics, as well as effective communication strategies with CSA members/subscribers.  There will also be a set of workshops on financial management and business planning specific to the issues that CSA farmers deal with in their operations.  We have also developed a set of workshops geared for beginning CSA farmers or those considering farming with this model. 


Attached is some information about the conference, including details for exhibitors and sponsors.  We expect around 250 people to attend the conference.  We'd love to have you be a part of the conference!  Let me know if you have any questions and please pass this information on to people who may want to attend!




Sarah Lloyd

Special Projects and Regional Membership Coordinator

Wisconsin Farmers Union

608 844 3758 (cell)

[log in to unmask]



14th Annual Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference: Regenerative Farms, Resilient Communities

Registration now open! At Grayling High School in Grayling, MI Saturday, January 26, 2012 NEW! Register online! Early Bird Discount—$40 before December 15! The Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference serves as a vehicle to promote and build a local vibrant agriculture community, to equip the small farm community with the tools to be successful, and to be a forum for the open exchange of ideas within the small farm community.


Resiliency & Improving Michigan Agriculture’s Triple Bottom Line Jason Rowntree, Michigan State University

In the future, continued challenges with natural resource use and economic viability will impact Michigan agriculture. Resilient approaches including diversifying income, increasing market share through value added and implementing farm practices that increase natural resource sustainability are paramount. By focusing on the pillars of profitability, resource sustainability and community improvement, farm by farm northern Michigan can direct a preferred future for their landscape, farming vitality and community improvement.


    Over 20 workshops on topics ranging from soil biology to small-scale livestock, taught by leaders in the field

    Trade Show full of small farm related vendors

    Youth track, including full-day programming for our future farmers

    Child care available for ages 5 to 8; family space available for ages 0 to 5 (a parent must be present in the family space)

    Early bird registration discount

    Online registration

    Local foods lunch catered by farmer-chef Mike Everts of Blackbird Gardens


In an effort to reach the best qualified individuals and build a broad and diverse candidate pool, please share the posting information below with colleagues, community partners, constituents, cultural organizations, etc. with whom you work and feel may assist in this recruiting endeavor.   If you or these agencies have questions, please feel free to contact MSUE HR ([log in to unmask]).



Job Opportunities

Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) is seeking a full-time, fixed term Conservation Associate


Position Summary:

As part of the MSU Michigan NaturalFeatures Inventory (MNFI), participates in statewide studies of Michigan's natural communities; assists with rare species inventory; works cooperatively with agencies, organizations, and individuals to guide land management, development, research, and conservation decision-making; expected to have a strong familiarity with the ecosystems and natural communities that characterize the landscapes of the state and have a broad background in Michigan or Midwest flora, including both upland and wetland flora. Primary responsibilities include: designing and carrying out vegetation sampling and mapping protocols; conducting field surveys; collecting, evaluating, analyzing and disseminating ecological and vegetation data; maintaining and expanding the natural community database; and providing data, technical assistance, and training to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and other state and federal agencies. Specific responsibilities include: delineate and classify vegetation using desktop GIS software; conduct interpretation of aerial photographs and field inventories to ground-truth stand delineations and classifications; record data on ecological and wildlife habitat variables and manage data within multiple databases; assist with data summary and analysis; maintain and refine computerized databases to facilitate correspondence and project logistical support and inform inventory priorities and management decisions; plan and conduct systematic inventories of selected natural communities and rare species; recruit, train and direct seasonal staff; establish and develop working relationships with land managers through collaboration and consultation; provide guidance on ecological restoration and biodiversity stewardship; provide detailed information on how management will affect landscape features, high-quality natural communities, and rare species; prepare and submit project reports and participate in proposal development. The position requires fieldwork under adverse conditions (e.g., hot or cold, humid weather, biting insects, and wet conditions) in remote areas and extensive hiking through hilly, rugged, and overgrown terrain and across vast tracks of open wetlands and swamp forests.



Minimum Qualifications:

Master's degree in ecology, forestry, botany, biology, geography, natural resource management, or closely relatedfield (consideration will be given to all candidates with significant relevant experience in lieu of degree); knowledge of the ecology and flora and fauna of Michigan or the Upper Great Lakes (particularly southern Lower Michigan); demonstrated ability to quickly identify plant species in the field in bothupland and wetland communities; knowledge and experience with natural areasstewardship and ecosystem management; knowledge of landscape ecology and natural processes, as related to the ecosystems of the Great Lakes Region; strong oral and written communication skills; excellent organizational skills; ability to complete tasks in a timely fashion; work independently and in teams of diverse people; demonstrated ability to quickly learn new skills and procedures; strong attention to detail; ability to work efficiently in a busy office environment; ability to independently conduct long days of strenuousfieldwork throughout the State of Michigan; experience with Microsoft Word and Excel, ESRI GIS software, GPS technology, electronic data recorders; understanding of standard forest measurements (i.e., basal area sweeps, canopy closure and size class estimation, tree diameter and age determination), orienteering, map reading and the ability to navigate in remote areas; demonstrated commitment to the conservation of biological diversity; professional demeanor, enthusiasm and self-motivation requisite; use of personal vehicle and travel over weekends may be necessary; and a valid driver's license is required.


Desired Qualification:

Experience with natural community surveys and evaluation, including both upland and wetland natural communities; familiarity with botanical keys; experience in designing and conducting field-based ecological research studies, especially those involving vegetation sampling and mapping; knowledge and/or experience in ecological restoration, silvicultural prescriptions, invasive species control, or prescribed burning; experience conducting IFMAP Stage 1 inventory on state lands; knowledge of geology, soils and anthropogenic disturbance history of Michigan and/or theGreat Lakes Region; experience with statistical software (e.g., SAS, SPSS, or SYSTAT); knowledge of NatureServe's Natural Heritage Program data management methodology; and familiarity with IFMAP and Biotics databases, DISCO software, and Nomad data loggers is preferred.



Application Process

Interested and qualified candidatesshould visit the Michigan State University jobs page at www.jobs.msu.edu to apply for posting number 7049 under the “MSU Extension” link.


Application deadline is currently December 5, 2012.


Jessica Nakfour, CHRS

MSU Extension

Human Resources

Phone: 517.432.7617

FAX: 517.432.4986

[log in to unmask]



Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association

If you know anyone that might be interested, please pass these opportunities along and help us find two new additions to the OEFFA team!


Attached are job descriptions for two positions OEFFA is currently hiring for:


- Organic Certification Food Processing Specialist (full-time)


- Organic Certification Crop and Livestock Specialist (full-time)





Grant Opportunities

This is a reminder that the 2013 NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Proposals are due Thursday, November 29th at 4:30 p.m. at the NCR-SARE office in Saint Paul, MN.


Farmers and ranchers in the North Central Region are invited to submit grant proposals to explore sustainableagriculture 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/ranchersfrom 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 ($22,500 maximum). 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 online. You can find more information about sustainable agriculture on this website, or take a free National Continuing Education Program online course about the basic concepts. Proposals are due on Thursday, November 29th at 4:30 p.m. at the NCR-SARE office in SaintPaul, MN.


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 each year, 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. 


Potential applicants with questions can contact Joan Benjamin, Associate Regional Coordinator and Farmer Rancher Grant Program Coordinator.

Joan Benjamin  Farmer Rancher Grant Program Coordinator and Associate Regional Coordinator NCR-SARE Lincoln University Lorenzo J. Greene Hall 900 Leslie Blvd, Room 101 Jefferson City, MO 65101 Phone: 573-681-5545 Tollfree: 800-529-1342 E-mail: [log in to unmask]

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]

If you would like to access a searchable archive of the all the previous Mich-Organic listserv postings copy this URL and paste in your browser address field http://list.msu.edu/archives/mich-organic.html