Michigan Organic News | Week of March 18, 2013


Education Opportunities & Conferences
--> Food Hubs and Food Safety Webinars
--> Traceability Workshop
--> Free Webinar on Farm-based Biocontrol Seed Treatments for Improving Soybean Yields
--> Beginner Farmer Workshop

Employments Classifieds
--> AABI MSUExtension Educator position available
--> Farm Manager Couple, Workers Sought
--> Urbandale (Lansing MI urban farm) seeks interns
à City of Lansing garden project seeks intern

News & Farming Updates
--> MSUExtension News
--> NSAC Weekly Roundup
--> U.S. Food & Drug Administration Update
--> NOP Organic Insider
--> CALL TODAY: School Food Focus--Transforming Food Options
--> Oregon Tilth Online Certification Tool
--> Good Bugs + App

Grant Opportunities
--> Ceres Trust Graduate Student Grants
--> Specialty Crop Block Grant
--> MSU Receives Organic Research Initiative Grant

Food Hubs and Food Safety Webinars
Hi Michigan Food Hub Network colleagues,

We had some technical difficulties and snags at our March 14th webinar, but through some editing we are able to offer the entire webinar recording in two parts.

Part I
Introduction and overview of the Food Safety Modernization Act and the current FDA proposed rules

Part II
A) Michigan SAFE Food Risk Assessment Tool
B) Helping very small Michigan farmers comply with food safety standards; C) Potential for Group Gap to be piloted in Michigan

We also will make the recordings available on the MI Food Hub Network web page.

Rich Pirog and Marty Gerencer

Rich Pirog
Senior Associate Director
MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
480 Wilson Rd, Rm 313 | Natural Resources Building | East Lansing, MI 48824
(p) 517-353-0694 | (f) 517-353-3834
E-mail:  [log in to unmask]<>

Traceability Workshop Tackling Traceability Workshop<>
March 27, 2013 | 9 a.m.-Noon | Kalamazoo County MSU Extension, 3299 Gull Road, Kalamazoo, MI 49048
Free Webinar on Farm-based Biocontrol Seed Treatments for Improving Soybean Yields
CONTACT: Eileen Gianiodis<>, 517-884-7087 or [log in to unmask]<>. For a direct link to this article, please go to:
EAST LANSING, Mich.--Are you an organic soybean producer interested in cost-effective seed treatments? A free webinar series, Farm-based Biocontrol Seed Treatments for Improving Soybean Yields, is slated for March 28 at noon.
The webinar, sponsored by the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD) at Michigan State University, will be presented by Brian B. McSpadden Gardener, professor of microbial ecology of plants, biological control and phytobacteriology at Ohio State University (OSU).
Gardener is also the director of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), Organic Food and Farming, Education and Research at OSU.
Beneficial bacteria exist in all agricultural soils, but their natural distribution does not allow maximum benefits to be conferred to the crop. Treating seed with beneficial bacteria can help to ensure proper root colonization and expression of beneficial bacterial activities.
All soils also harbor some plant pathogens, but treating seed with bacterial biocontrol agents can protect plants from these detrimental microbes.
The webinar series will describe an inexpensive and organically acceptable formulation of a widely distributed biocontrol bacterium for use as a yield-enhancing seed treatment on soybeans.
To join the webinar series, register today at
Beginner Farmer Workshop
Do you own some land that you want to farm, but aren't sure where to start?
Do you want to produce more of your own food? Thinking about Community Supported Agriculture or Market Farming? Michigan State University Extension is offering So You Want to be a CSA? workshop that is designed for new, beginner, and diversifying famers looking for information and inspiration to get them started in Market Farming or as a CSA. We will help landowners decide how they may use their property with essential information for the beginning agricultural entrepreneur. This dynamic 1-day immersion workshop will be held on Saturday April 13, 2013 at the Van Buren County Human Services conference room 801 Hazen St., Paw Paw, MI.  The all-day workshop will held 8:30AM to 5PM.
The workshop includes information beginning with: where to start, goal setting, creating a business plan, marketing your produce, financial management, and farming law. We will discuss CSA types, soil basics and veggie and fruit production options. We will also learn more about local foods, farm to institution requirements and food hubs. The cost of the workshop is $150 per person ($250 per couple) which includes all class materials and lunch. Participants should finish this workshop with the tools and framework for a workable business and marketing plan.
You may register online for the So You Want to be a CSA? workshop at or contact MSU Extension at 269-657-8213 for more information.  Please note that if you need overnight accommodations Paw Paw hosts three hotels: a Comfort Inn, a Super 8, and an Econolodge.
Beth Clawson
MSU Extension Educator
Greening Michigan Institute
219 Paw Paw St., Suite 201
Paw Paw, MI 49079
269-657-8213 w
269-330-5554 m
[log in to unmask]<>

Extension Educator, Ag & Agribusiness Institute (AABI)

MSU Extension Employees:  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]<>) or the relevant District office.

Position Overview
As part of the MSUE Ag & Agribusiness (AABI) Institute and based in Kalamazoo County, which has a dense concentration of commercial greenhouse producers, this position will provide statewide expertise in floriculture, greenhouse and nursery production, with a focus on horticulture in floriculture and nursery crop production and pest management.  This position will also provide leadership to the industries by working with faculty, specialists, and field-based educators to achieve efficient and economical floriculture and nursery production and overall advancement for the Michigan greenhouse and ornamental industries; provide leadership and cooperation in the planning, development, and delivery of educational programs and information dissemination for growers and agri-business professionals; provide growers and agri-business professionals with the knowledge to profitably produce agricultural products while minimizing environmental impact, contributing to the short-and long-term viability of commercial enterprises, and the economic well-being of Michigan citizens and participate in basic and/or applied research projects independently as well as in collaboration with MSU Extension educators and campus specialists.

General Responsibilities:
1.       Develop, conduct, and evaluate innovative educational programs in pest management and horticulture for commercial floriculture and nursery production in Michigan.
2.       Facilitate irrigation water, growing media, and plant tissue testing as well as plant and pest diagnosis, in coordination with MSU's Diagnostic Services.
3.       Communicate and interact with related commodity groups to establish research and outreach programming goals to enhance Michigan's industries' positioning and strategies for farm and market viability.
4.       Assist AABI in determining research and programmatic needs of the state and region through interaction with state commodity groups and associations, and communicate those needs to county commissioners, campus-based departments, and research partners.
5.       Serve as an information resource for greenhouse and nursery growers as well as Extension personnel throughout the state, and work with statewide AABI workgroups to effectively plan and implement relevant programming.
6.       Cooperate with MSUE staff in establishing, conducting and evaluating demonstrations and research efforts.
7.       Work with other federal, county and state agencies that support agriculture industries.
8.       Develop and utilize appropriate media methods to communicate/transfer current and timely research-based information, research results, and relevant industry updates to producers on a year-round basis.
9.       Actively participate in appropriate professional development opportunities.
10.   Prepare and submit monthly reports on programming activities and achievements in accordance with MSUE and other policies.
11.   Work with MSUE and AABI workgroups to assure commitment to diversity and pluralism, ensure that educational opportunities are equally available to all Michigan residents.

Required Qualifications:
·         Master's degree from an accredited institution in field of study related to horticulture, entomology, plant pathology, or crop science, must be earned by date of hire.
·         At least 3 years' experience in Extension education or demonstrated ability and skill in educational program planning, implementation and evaluation (relevant experience acquired within the last 5 years preferred).
·         Knowledge of horticulture practices related to greenhouse/nursery production.
·         Strong interpersonal and oral and written skills.
·         Demonstrated ability to work in a team environment.
·         Proficiency in the use of computers in educational programming and management and competence in using technology for program delivery.
·         Record keeping and reporting, and team-based communications.
·         Proven ability to work with people of all socioeconomic levels and backgrounds.
·         An understanding and commitment to equal access and opportunity and to diversity and inclusivity.

Desired Qualifications:
·         Master's degree from an accredited institution in field of study related to horticulture, entomology, plant pathology, or crop science, with an expertise in pest management or plant nutrition.

Position and Application Information:
This is a full-time, fixed-term academic position.

Interested and qualified candidates should visit<> to apply for posting number 7499 in the MSU Extension postings.  Candidates are asked to submit an up-to-date resume/CV and a cover letter that includes the names and contact information of four professional references.  Application deadline is currently April 14, 2013.

Laura Trombley
Michigan State University Extension
Districts 12 & 13
PO Box 42
Nazareth MI 49074-0042
Toll Free: 877-643-9887
Local Phone: 269-384-8061
Fax: 269-373-5039
E-Mail: [log in to unmask]<>

Farm Manager Couple, Workers Sought
Susan Shields ([log in to unmask]<>) is seeking a Farm Manager Couple and Farm Workers to begin the process of transitioning her farm, market, lodging and camps to young, healthy, organic, sustainably-minded people. Contact Susan Shields if interested.

Seeking Intern for Urbandale Farm
Lansing, MI
We are gearing up for the growing season and have several internships available.  Please share this posting with your students!
P.S.  When I asked the spring interns how they found out about the internship, it was through either Laura or Julie, so that's working well for us.
Sarah Fillius, Farm Manager
Lansing Urban Farm Project

The Food Systems Program is hiring an After School Garden Club Nutrition Educator!
Please email resume and cover letter to Terra Bogart ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>) by Friday, March 29th at 4:00pm.

Please read the job description below for more information.


Food Systems Project- After School Garden Club Nutrition Educator
Position Description

The After School Garden Club Nutrition Educator position is a part-time grant funded position (20 hours/week).  The starting wage is $11.00 per hour. The After School Garden Club Nutrition Educator will be an employee of the NorthWest Initiative (NWI), a non-profit community development organization working to improve the quality of life in Lansing’s downtown/westside area.  More information about NWI can be found at<>.

Minimum Qualifications:

• Must have valid drivers license and vehicle to transport supplies, shop for program supplies, and travel to and from program locations

• Must be available between 2-6pm Monday-Thursday

• Ability to successfully interact with children

• Ability to successfully deliver lessons and facilitate activities with children

• Willingness and ability to be a leader and work with a team

• Reliability and timeliness is a must!

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
•    Coordination of all After School Garden Club activities including planning weekly recipes, lessons and activities, coordinating volunteers and facilitating the After School Garden Club program.
•    Promote ideas of healthy eating through the After School Garden Club experience.
•    Collecting and tracking data for grant reporting purposes

Training Provided: Orientation to the program as well as training on the goals of the Food System Project

Time Commitment: 20 hours weekly

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Ag National News
NSAC Weekly Roundup
Welcome to the NSAC Weekly Roundup!
To access the full articles simply click on the title and you'll be taken to the specific post page.
In this Week's Roundup...

Grassroots Action
Our best chance.<>
Dear Supporter,
Unless the Senate acts to fix the situation next week, 2013 is on track to be the worst setback for sustainable agriculture in years.  Opportunities for farmers to implement smart conservation practices will be severely limited.  Training opportunities for the next generation of beginning and minority farmers will dry up.  Microloans to the very small businesses that drive economic recovery in rural America will cease.  Organic farming research and cost share funding will be greatly diminished. Read more and take action...<>
Farmers Travel to DC to Speak Out on Sustainable Agriculture Programs<>
On March 4 and 5, 60 independent family farmers, ranchers, and sustainable agriculture advocates from 24 states met with more than 105 legislative offices in Washington DC.  Participants urged Congress to restore funding for critical sustainable agriculture programs and pass a farm bill that advances the sustainability of agriculture, rural communities, food systems, and natural resources.  Read more...<>

Congressional News
Congress Prepares for Budget Battle as Deadlines Loom<>
This week and next, the House and Senate move closer to finalizing a funding bill for the remainder of FY 2013.  At the same time, both chambers prepare to mark up their respective FY 2014 budget resolutions before an April 15 deadline.  Sequestration officially went into effect on March 1, and the current government-funding bill expires on March 27.  So what to make of it all?  We break it down in the following post.  Read more...<>

House Chair Introduces Food and Farm Funding Bill for Rest of 2013<>
On Monday, March 4, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) introduced legislation<> to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year (FY).  The bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), would replace existing funding legislation, which expires on March 27. Read more...<>

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U.S. Food & Drug Administration UpdateU.S. Food & Drug Administration Update
Comment Period for Draft Risk Assessment Extended
The Food and Drug Administration is reopening the comment period for a document entitled "Draft Qualitative Risk Assessment of Risk of Activity/Food Combinations for Activities (Outside the Farm Definition) Conducted in a Facility Co-Located on a Farm".  The draft risk assessment was made available for public comment in the Federal Register of January 16, 2013 and was open for a 30-day comment period,  until February 15, 2013.
FDA received three requests for extension of the comment period to allow interested persons additional time to comment. As a result, the comment period for the draft Risk Assessment will be re-opened until May 16, 2013, which conforms to the comment periods of the proposed preventive controls rule and the proposed produce safety rule.

You can submit either electronic comments regarding this document on<> or written comments to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration,
5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.
Federal Register Notice<>
Draft Qualitative Risk Assessment of Risk of Activity/Food Combinations for Activities (Outside the Farm Definition) Conducted in a Facility Co-Located on a Farm<> (PDF: 660KB)
FSMA Proposed Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food: Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food<>

Alert: Fraudulent Organic Certificates
Two fraudulent organic certificates
The National Organic Program (NOP) wants to alert the organic trade and public

Two fraudulent organic certificates listing the following business were recently reported to the NOP:
Shree Mahalaxmi Psyllium Pvt Ltd; State Highway, At. & Po. Khali, Siddhpur 384151, North Gujarat, India
Xi'an Pengtime Corporation, 36# Gaoxin 6 Road, Xi'an Shaanxi, China.
View Fraudulent Certificates<>

These certificates falsely represent agricultural products as certified organic under the USDA organic regulations. Using these certificates or other fraudulent documents to market, label, or sell non-organic agricultural products as organic can result in a civil penalty of up to $11,000 per violation. If you have information about the production or use of these or other fraudulent NOP certificates, please send information to the NOP Compliance and Enforcement Division<>.
The vigilance of the organic community is vital force in ensuring organic integrity. Organic handlers should continue to review certificates carefully, validate with certifying agents where needed, and send any suspicious certificates to the NOP Compliance and Enforcement team.

Call Today to Support Regional Food Systems
Thanks to our friends at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition for information contained in this alert.  The current Farm Bill extension leaves out support for many programs that support regional food systems so critical to bringing regionally and sustainably produced food to our nation's school children.
Read on for details and call today!
Sheilah Davidson

What's going on-Farm Bill?
 Unless the Senate acts to fix the situation next week, 2013 is on track to be the worst setback for sustainable agriculture in years.  Loans to support local and regional supply chains will dry up. Training opportunities for the next generation of beginning and minority farmers will disappear.  Microloans to the very small businesses that drive economic recovery in rural America will cease.  Organic farming research and cost share funding will be greatly diminished.

When Congress extended the old farm bill on New Year's Eve, they left out dozens of critical sustainable agriculture programs - leaving them stranded without funding for the year!*

On Monday, the Senate will take up its own version of the bill to fund government programs through the rest of 2013 - and the Senate has a chance to restore funding for key sustainable agriculture programs.  But they've got to know these issues matter.
The House failed to include these priorities in the funding bill it passed this week - the Senate can fix this!

Don't let Congress leave these programs stranded!  Speak out today!

Please call your Senators:
Find their phone numbers here:<>

An example message for your Senator is: "I am calling about the Continuing Resolution.  Please tell the Senator to support mandatory funding in the bill for the programs that were stranded in the farm bill extension, including [name a few of the "stranded" programs below that are important to you and your community!]. These programs are important to farmers in Washington, D.C., and they must be funded."

Making a call takes only a few moments - please call right now!

Thanks for all you do!
* Some of the programs currently stranded without funding include due to the lack of support from the extended 2008 FARM BILL:
Value Added Producer Grant Program
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program
Organic Agriculture Research & Extension Initiative
Outreach & Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers & Ranchers
Conservation Reserve - Transition Incentive Program
  Detail on these programs and other important stranded programs can be found here<>

Oregon Tilth Online Certification Tool: MYOTCO
Oregon Tilth, the leader in organic certification with a focus on customer service, introduces MyOTCO, an online certification tool allowing clients 24-7 online access to their certification information including Certificates, Organic System Plans, Inspection reports, easy at-a-glance tracking of renewal and application status and more.
"As Organic Certification becomes more challenging and more sophisticated we want to provide increased customer service, and more clients are asking about online access. This is the first step in working towards providing clients increased access to their information as well as expanding assistance in working through the certification process," stated Connie Karr, Certification Director for Oregon Tilth. "We will continue to develop this tool to improve the ability to do more online through MyOTCO." Future plans for MyOTCO include two-way interaction and the ability to submit documents, requests and certification items online. The release of MyOTCO to all Oregon Tilth Certified clients shows the commitment that Oregon Tilth has to their customers. Through increased accessibility and transparency OTCO continues to support the organic community, constantly striving to make certification more accessible.
Visit their website ( for more information, and to sign up (
Good Bugs + App- A phone app for beneficial insects, native plants and pollinators! Avail May 2013
The Great Lakes Vegetable Working Group (GLVWG), in conjunction with The Ohio State University (OSU), will be releasing a new resource through the Apple App Store that will help growers identify natural enemies, native plants, and pollinators in the field.
The app is called “Good Bugs +.”
Typically, Extension educators encourage growers to use fact sheets and bulletins to help them identify plants and insects. With this app, growers will be able to access information with the swipe of a finger.
This app “gives [growers] instant information that’s portable ... [it’s] easier for growers to have one resource to diagnose [beneficials] in the field,” says Jim Jasinski, assistant professor at OSU Extension, IPM Program, and one of the lead authors involved with the app

Here's a link to the article:

Ceres Trust Graduate Student Grants
Just a note to let you know the 2013 Request for Applications for our Graduate Student Research Grants Program has been posted to our website (<>). Our search for qualified applicants is underway and we hope you can help. We plan to make at least 10 student research grants of up to $10,000 each.   The application deadline is May 1.<> for the application and other Ceres Trust grant opportunities
Best Regards,
Roger Blobaum- Coordinator
Organic Research Programs
The Ceres Trust

Specialty Crop Block Grant
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, through Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
Due: April 12, 2013
Award range: $10,000-75,000,4610,7-125-1572_3628-296349--,00.html

To enhance the competitiveness of the state's specialty crops, including, but not limited to: research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, increased knowledge and consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservation, product development, good agricultural practices, good handling practices, and good manufacturing practices.
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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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