Happy Holidays to all of you and a very productive New Year-now to tell the weather to cooperate!!


Michigan Organic Listserv News

From Center For Regional Food Systems

Compiled by: Vicki Morrone, Organic Farm Specialist

December 18, 2012

The info here is not intended for promotion or endorsement, by Michigan State University or Vicki Morrone


--USDA Conservation Assistance Applications

--EQIP update

--Organic Production

--Farm Bill News from NSAC

--Registration for Integrated Pest Management Academy 2013

--Registration for Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference

--Registration for Farmers' Market Manager Certificate Program

--Grain production survey

--Ag Production News

--Grant Opportunity

--Seeking wholesale produce

--CSA Legal Issues webinar

--FDA new guidelines


USDA NRCS programs now available


Apply for EQIP NOW Before Jan 17!!

USDA Accepting Applications for Conservation Assistance

EAST LANSING, Dec. 4, 2012 – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service announced that on Jan. 17 it will begin selecting applications for conservation financial assistance through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

“Only farmers who submit applications by Jan. 17 will be eligible for the first selection of applications for fiscal year 2013 funding. I encourage farmers seeking 2013 funds for making conservation improvements, such as adopting conservation tillage, planting cover crops or installing windbreaks, to contact their local USDA Service Center as soon as possible to start the applications process,” said NRCS State Conservationist Garry Lee.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and non-industrial forestland owners for adopting a wide variety of conservation activities. Conservation activities receiving financial assistance must be part of an agricultural or forest operation’s conservation plan. Producers should work with their local NRCS or conservation district staff to develop a conservation plan before applying for the program. Successful applicants enter into a contract with NRCS to implement conservation activities and are reimbursed for a portion of the cost.

During fiscal year 2012, Michigan farmers received over $14 million in conservation financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Funding allocations for fiscal year 2013 are not finalized. Examples of conservation activities eligible for financial assistance include nutrient management, pest management, prescribed grazing, cover crops, and forest stand management.

A portion of Michigan’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program 2013 funding is allocated for organic producers and producers transitioning to organic production. A portion of program funds are also dedicated for seasonal high tunnels that allow producers to extend the growing season for local food crops.

NRCS provides higher levels of financial assistance for beginning farmers and historically underserved producers. More information about conservation financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program is available at local NRCS offices and online at


EQIP Update:  first selection date for applications to receive FY2013 funding is Jan. 18, 2013, the same date as the general EQIP cut-off.

Through the EQIP Organic Initiative, NRCS provides assistance to eligible producers for installation of conservation practices on organic or agricultural operations transitioning to organic production. Eligible producers include those who agree to develop and carry out an organic system plan (OSP), or develop and implement conservation practices for certified organic production that are consistent with an OSP.

The assistance through the EQIP program helps producers plan and implement conservation practices to achieve increased conservation benefits on their operations. EQIP is primarily used to provide financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices to address soil, water, air, plant, animal, and energy resources.

A new organic provision targets organic producers and producers transitioning to organic production:

- Assistance is for conservation practices related to organic production

- Assistance is limited to $20,000 per year and $80,000 during a six year period

- Producers are required to develop and carry out an Organic System Plan (OSP) or carry out practices consistent with an OSP

Environmental Quality Incentives Program FY 2012 On-Farm Energy Initiative:

How EQIP Works

To initiate an application, producers should work through their local NRCS office. NRCS staff will work with the program applicant to develop a conservation plan and an EQIP plan of operations.  This plan becomes the basis of the EQIP contract between NRCS and the producer. NRCS may also provide financial assistance to participants for on-farm energy conservation planning services through a Technical Service Provider (TSP) to develop Conservation Activity Plans (CAP).  will be included in the plan of operations. Applications submitted for the EQIP On-Farm Energy Initiative are accepted on a continuous basis throughout the year.  Applications are evaluated and ranked according to environmental benefits expected through implementation of approved conservation practices. 

NRCS accepts applications for EQIP on a continuous basis, but producers must file applications by the deadlines below to be considered in these initial ranking periods.  Applications filed after the deadlines will be considered in the next ranking period if funds remain available.  More information is available from NRCS in your state:


Organic Production News

ATTRA is offering 4 updated bulletins for organic producers:  The downloads as a PDF are free or you can purchase a printed copy for a small fee.

Beginning farmers and existing organic operations can find detailed information about organic certification in a series of new guides available now on the ATTRA-National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website.

Four new guides provide detailed information about relevant organic requirements and best practices and explain the organic certification process.

Guide for Organic Crop Producers:

Guide for Organic Livestock Producers:

Guide for Organic Processors:

Organic Certification of Farms and Businesses Producing Agricultural Products:

Theses guides can be downloaded for free or ordered as a paper publication for a small handling fee either at the links above or on the ATTRA website at




Path to the 2012 Farm Bill:  No Bill is Better than a Bad Bill

Last week we tried to address what a good 2012 Farm Bill deal would look like.  This week, as last, the so-called “gang of four” — Senate Agriculture Chair and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) and House Agriculture Chair and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) — are meeting on the farm bill.  These four leaders are trying to reach a deal that would bypass both the House Floor and a House-Senate Conference Committee.  It is unclear how close they are to reaching an agreement, with strong disagreements remaining on the structure of new commodity subsidies.  There are indications emerging, though, that some of the modest but important farm safety net reforms in the Senate-passed bill are being ditched or watered down as negotiations continue.  Read more...


National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Weekly Roundup

FARM BILL EXPIRATION: WHAT'S AT STAKE Due to Congressional inaction, the 2008 Farm Bill has expired without a new bill or extension to take its place. In the absence of a farm bill, numerous innovative programs that invest in sustainable agriculture systems are shut down and left without mandatory funding. This is the final post in our 10-week “What’s at Stake?” series that highlights expired farm bill programs and what that means for farmers and communities throughout the country.

What’s at Stake: Data on Organic Farming Since its founding over 150 years ago, USDA has been charged with collecting, retaining, and publishing a wealth of information on the state and health of our nation’s agricultural sector.  For example, the Census of Agriculture, which is a complete count of every farm and ranch in the country conducted every five years, provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and consistently collected agricultural data for every county in the entire nation, dating back to 1840.  Read more...

Stories from the Field: Show Me the Numbers – The Importance of Data By Chris Schreiner, Executive Director, Oregon Tilth About a decade ago, I was in Portland to see Wes Jackson from The Land Institute speak as part of a Community Food Matters event.  Jackson, a pioneering voice and advocate for sustainable agriculture, told the audience, “What the sustainable agriculture movement really needs most is a new generation of accountants.”  Many in the audience, including myself, were puzzled by this declaration.  Read more...



Educational Opportunities

Registration now open for the 2013 Integrated Pest Management Academy at 19-20 at the Okemos Conference Center in Okemos, Mich.

Michigan State University Extension is pleased to announce the second annual Integrated Pest Management Academy (IPMA13).  IPMA13 will address the weather challenges of the 2012 production season with the help of Dr. Jonathan Comstock from the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University.  Dr. Comstock will address shifting weather patterns and the related impacts affecting agricultural producers.  Dr. Comstock is a climate change expert and is co-author of both the Agriculture and Ecosystems chapters of the recent NY ClimAID Report, which looks at climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies.  Michigan State University experts will also be on hand to discuss irrigation, frost protection and changing weather patterns in Michigan.


On the second day of the event participants will opt into two, half-day sessions on the topics of their choice.  Morning sessions include Apple and Cherry IPM, Deciduous Tree IPM, Scouting Techniques for Field Crops and Forages, and Vegetable IPM.  Afternoon sessions include Check it Out; MSU Resources for Hops, Saskatoons and Chestnuts, Conifer IPM, Emerging Issues in Field Crop Pesticide Resistance, IPM in Small Fruit Crops, and Vegetable IPM.  For more information on what these sessions include please visit 

Participants will receive a notebook with program material and a complimentary IPM-related MSU bulletin.  Michigan pesticide recertification credits will be available.  The cost of this event is $225; please note that snacks, lunch and parking are included.  Lodging is not included but special rates are available.  Registration is open December 3 through February 12, but space is limited so to learn more and register today  For more information, or to request a paper registration form, please contact Erin Lizotte at [log in to unmask] or call 231-944-6504.


Registration is open for the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference at

January 16, 2013 at Grayling High School in Grayling, Mich.


Small farmers, homesteaders, farm interns, students, chefs and consumers will gather on January 26 is share ideas, gain new skills and make plans for the 2013 growing season. The Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference, now in its 14th year, will allow farmers to learn about how to make small farms more sustainable, both economically and environmentally.


It is a full day of learning, with 27 breakout sessions, including topics on alternative fruit crops, dairying without antibiotics, farmland preservation, viticulture, internet marketing, water conservation, heritage breed sheep and home meat curing. Young people are encouraged to attend, with special youth track sessions on getting started in farming.


The keynote speaker is Dr. Jason Rowntree, Assistant Professor, Beef and Cattle Forage Utilization at Michigan State University. Dr. Rowntree works to improve the economics of small and medium size beef producers through local and regional beef production and distribution systems. 


A big attraction each year is the trade show, featuring 70+ vendors from across the state.  Take your chance at winning a free registration for 2014's conference as you browse and network.


Each year, the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference is like a homecoming. Farmers visit with folks they haven’t seen from last year’s conference, and greet new faces over the delicious local foods lunch. It’s the warmest northern Michigan event you’ll attend in January.


Time is running out to register for the 2013 session of the Farmers Market Manager Certificate Program! 

Registration for the full program must be completed by December 31, 2012. 


Register now at 


The program is a voluntary program designed to encourage farmers markets to pursue leadership skills and professional development in topics essential to market management. After successfully completing the full course, individuals will receive a certificate that offers acknowledgement that the market manager is a trained professional. 


Agendas for all four content-based sessions are posted online as well as learning objectives and further information about times and locations of the sessions. We look forward to receiving your registration soon!


Small-Scale Grain Production Survey-Seeking your participation

Hello again, 


In case you haven't had an opportunity already, please take a chance to fill out our small-scale grain production survey.


We are two Michigan State undergraduates studying the level of interest in grain production among small-scale growers. As part of our research, we are conducting a short survey for all small-scale growers, both those who currently grow grains and those who don’t. The survey will take no more than 7 minutes of your time. We would greatly appreciate your participation. Please visit to complete the survey. If you have any questions, please contact Rachel Cross at [log in to unmask] or Katie Schroeder at [log in to unmask]. Thank you for your time. 


Rachel and Katie

Agriculture Production News

Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News

For direct access to issue 18:17, use the following link:

A new issue of the Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News (Volume 18, number 17) has been posted on the web.  To reach the home page for the Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News (with links to all issues and additional resources), use the following link: 

Grant Opportunities

Kitchen Gardeners International announces grant-sow it Forward-for groups starting a growing program

Applications are due by 11 January 2013 and can be submitted online at:

The nonprofit Kitchen Gardeners International (KGI) is pleased to announce that it is accepting applications for its new Sow It Forward program. Sow it Forward is a grants and partnership program offering $600 grants of cash, seeds, supplies, books and online garden planning software to groups wishing to start a new food garden project or sustain an existing

one. Applicants will include schools, food pantries, community gardens, retirement homes and other nonprofit groups interested in healthy foods, sustainability and resilient communities. 

1) Retweet it:

2) Repin it:

3) Google+ it:


About KGI: Kitchen Gardeners International is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in Maine. Its membership includes over 26,000 people from 100 countries who are growing their own food and helping others to do the same.


Seeking Organic Wholesale Produce

Good afternoon, my name is Tim and I represent a company that is expanding to a line of organic produce. I am currently looking to build a network of farmers who can supply larger amounts of wholesale produce to meet our needs. One advantage to our company is we can accept all incoming produce, as the smaller items, and seconds are ground up into produce slurry that is sold to a manufacturer. I am wondering if you can help reefer me to Michigan and midwest area farmers who sell wholesale organic produce? Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated. I can be reached via email, [log in to unmask], or on my cell at 616-889-5595. Thanks for your time. Please have a great day!




FDA UPdate: Guidance for Food Facility Registration

Guidance for Industry: What You Need to Know About the Registration of Food Facilities – Small Entity Compliance Guide  was updated to reflect the FSMA amendments to the FD&C Act, and contains information regarding: who is required to register and who may be exempt; how often facilities must register and renew registrations; when FDA may suspend a registration, and how facilities may submit their registrations and registration renewals to FDA. Some additional registration information that must be provided in a facility’s registration, as provided by FSMA, include: the email address of the U.S. agent for the foreign facility, and an assurance that FDA will be permitted to inspect the facility at the times and in the manner permitted by the FD&C Act.


Guidance for Industry: Questions and Answers Regarding Food Facility Registration (Fifth Edition)  contains helpful questions and answers regarding food facility registration. Updates to questions in this edition are based on the FSMA amendments.

These documents supersede previously released versions. See the FSMA Registration page for more detail. 


CSA Legal Issues Webinar Archives

The recorded webinar is available to download here.


Don’t forget to check out our online resources for CSA farmers at Farm Commons and at Direct Farm Business (which has other information useful for Illinois farm businesses). We have Action Plans for investigating your state’s laws on interns and worker shares, a model Member/Shareholder Agreement, Model Volunteer Waiver, and Model Worker Share Agreement.


WEBINAR ANNOUNCEMENTOverview of USDA Rural Development Loan Program

Mark Brodziski and John Broussard, USDA Rural Development

January 22, 2013 (Tuesday) at 2:00 PM – Eastern Time


About the webinar: The webinar will be presented for participants to become more familiar with the Business Programs of USDA Rural Development.

About the Speakers: 

Mark BrodziskiUS Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Rural Business and Cooperative ProgramsMark Brodziski is the Director of the Specialty Programs Division, Rural Business and Cooperative Programs, USDA. Mark administers loan and grant programs for the purposes of business and economic development in rural communities. His role also includes leading special projects such as expanding the utilization of Rural Business programs in low income communities.  Mark previously served as the Program Director for Business and Community Programs in the WI Rural Development State Office for and has served with USDA since 1983.

John H. Broussard, Director, Business and Industry Division, USDA Rural Development

Since December 2011, John H. Broussard has been appointed as the Director, Business and Industry (B&I) Division within Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) of USDA Rural Development in Washington, DC.  As the B&I Division Director, Broussard directs nationwide rural development activities of the Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program of USDA Rural Development administering a portfolio in excess of $8.5 Billion.  Prior to becoming Division Director, he served as the Program Director for Rural Business-Cooperative Service for the State of Louisiana and has been with USDA since 1983.

Registration: There is no registration and no fee for attending this webinar.


The webinar will be recorded and archived at To join the webinar go to, “enter as a guest” is by default already chosen. Type your name into the text box provided, and click on “Enter Room”. You are now in the meeting room for the webinar. To receive these announcements directly, or to correct errors in our distribution list, please email [log in to unmask].


Job Opportunities

Open Positions for Local Food Systems / Small Farms Extension Educators

University of Illinois Extension is seeking applicants for five Local Food Systems and Small Farms educator positions. These are full-time, 12 month academic professional positions. Extension Educators are expected to deliver research-based educational programs and to work within team settings that may consist of other Extension Educators, community college professionals, and faculty within and outside of the College of ACES.

These positions focus on the development of educational resources for small farm producers, outreach to communities on issues related to local food systems, and team-based outreach efforts. Development and delivery of high impact and relevant educational programs and materials in several of the following areas will be important: 1) small farm production and planning, 2) marketing of local food initiatives, 3) food safety and Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), 4) small farm fruit, vegetable, and livestock production (may include organic), 5) integrated pest management, 6) harvest/post-harvest handling and storage of produce, and 7) general agronomic/livestock production principles.

Each of the following units has a full-time opening for an Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms:

  • Unit 1: JoDaviess/Stephenson/Winnebago counties
  • Unit 3: Lake/McHenry counties
  • Unit 4: Carroll/Lee/Whiteside counties
  • Unit 17: DeWitt/Macon/Piatt counties
  • Unit 26: Franklin/Jackson/Perry/Randolph/Williamson counties

Extension Educators are administratively responsible to the County (Unit) Director and are programmatically responsible to the Program Leader for Agriculture and Natural Resources for the delivery of programs that mesh with identified national and state priorities.

Qualifications: A Master's degree related to subject matter emphasis is required. Examples of relevant majors could include, but are not limited to, agronomy, animal science, entomology, horticulture, plant pathology, soil science, or weed science. Candidates with a Master's degree in progress may be considered for interviews, but the degree must be completed by the hiring date. Candidates must possess excellent oral and written communication skills, as well as effective interpersonal skills and the ability to work within a team environment. Experience within the specialty field is highly desirable, as are informal and formal teaching experience and a demonstrated ability to build and maintain diverse networks.

For more information and to apply, see and click Apply Now. To receive full consideration, all requested application materials must be submitted via the online system by the closing date of January 11, 2013. For further information, contact Michael Gray at [log in to unmask]. Illinois is an Affirmative Action /Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. (


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