Read on for Job Openings and Free Webinars!

From the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
& the desk of Vicki Morrone
([log in to unmask])

May 28, 2013


Please share and learn from this news. It is not intended to promote a business, product or a person


Education & Conferences 

§  Working with your Food Safety Inspector: Presentation and Webinar—Recording available

§  National organic program update


§  Sell your products at the 2013 Farmers Markets at the Capitol

§  Locating the “Michiganess” in Food-Place based foods workshop. June 24, Traverse City, MI

Agriculture News

§  Will the wet, cold spring impact asparagus?

§  Traceability for Food Safety Purposes: What do I really need to know?

§  NSAC Weekly Roundup

§  Understanding and using accumulated growing degree days

§  Vilsac (US Ag Secretary) gives thoughts on organic ag


§  Web-Based Transplant Production Decision Tool


§  Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Now Hiring

§  University of Kentucky Position Available—Deadline is June 1

§  Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York: Regional Reps Wanted

§  Farm-to-School Job Openings

§  National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Now Hiring for D.C. Position



§  USDA RBOG due June 24, 2013 (for non-profits, cooperatives and organized groups


§  Farmers and Ranchers Awarded Value-Added Grants for New Markets and Products




To share ideas for the listserv, please send to the listserv ([log in to unmask]) or to Vicki Morrone ([log in to unmask]).


To access a searchable archive of the all the previous Mich-Organic listserv postings, do so at the following link:


This info is for educational purposes only, and not intended to promote products or companies.





Working with Your Food Safety Inspector: A Webinar for Michigan's Small Food Processors

The webinar was presented on May 13 and brought together representatives of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and small Michigan processors: Here you can see the recording


Also included on this page is further detail clarifying some of the issues that are raised and terms that are used during the webinar discussion.


If you watch the webinar, we appreciate your feedback. A link to a short Survey Monkey evaluation appears below the video.


Jenny Buckley


This video discussed:

Are you running a small food processing business in Michigan?
Want to start one?

Providing assistance to small processors in Michigan?


Small-scale food processing is a growing trend in Michigan, and meeting food safety regulations is essential to operating a successful food processing business. This panel discussion brings together representatives of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and small Michigan processors. Presenters include:


§  Laurie Sorensen, Food Safety Inspector, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

§  Gordon Robinson, Dairy Supervisor, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

§  Pearl Brown, Baker, Old Mission Multigrain, Traverse City, Mich.

§  Sue Spagnuolo, Cheesemaker, Greenbush Farms and Dolce Vita Dairy, St. Johns, Mich.

§  Moderator: Jenifer Buckley, Michigan State University


Speakers will discuss successful approaches to developing positive relationships with inspectors and meeting regulations. The webinar will be recorded and archived. Pre-registration is not required, and there is no registration fee.



After reviewing public comments, the NOP has implemented changes to the following substances:

   Potassium hydroxide Allowed for peeling any processed peaches, rather than limited to peaches that are Individually Quick Frozen. Effective 5/29/2013

   Silicon dioxide Prohibited except (1) if used as a defoamer or (2) if organic rice hulls are not commercially available in the appropriate form, quality or quantity to replace its use. Effective 11/3/2013, with all products in compliance by 11/3/2014

   Beta-carotene extract color Allowed from algae sources if organic beta-carotene is not commercially available. Effective 5/29/2013

   Annatto extract color Allowed from organic annatto sources only. Effective 11/3/2013, with all products in compliance by 11/3/2014

   Peracetic acid Continues current allowance. In addition, hydrogen peroxide products that contain small amounts of peracetic acid will continue to be allowed when products are relabeled to comply with new EPA requirements. Effective 5/29/2013

These changes implement recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board, a citizen advisory board appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture.

View Final Rule (click here)





Join the Farmers Markets at the Capital in Lansing-Sell your produce and farm goods
The Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) and partners are enthusiastically preparing for the 2013 Farmers Markets at the Capitol. These special farmers markets will be held on the Capitol lawn on Thursday, July 18 and Thursday, September 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.


We invite you and your organization to be a part of this event by joining us with your presence and sponsorship.  Please see our website for information that describes the events, levels of sponsorship and the benefits of each level:


If you know of a business or organization that would be a great sponsor for these events, please forward this e-mail to them. To be included in promotional materials, sponsorships are due on or before June 15, 2013.   


Should you have questions or need additional information, please contact the MIFMA office at 517-432-3381.




Dru Montri, Ph.D.

Director, Michigan Farmers Market Association


Locating the ‘Michiganess’ in Food: Place-Based Foods Workshop

June 24, 2013   9:00 a.m.

Traverse City, MI

Register by June 1, 2013

You are invited to attend a one-day workshop on “Place-based foods.”  The workshop will take place Monday, June 24 in Traverse City.  Registration will open at 8:30 with the workshop beginning at 9 am.

Place- based foods are foods whose social and geographical identity has not been disconnected from the food product.  They are foods from “somewhere.”   They possess a unique taste which can be traced to the growing conditions (such as the soil, water, air, and climate of a region) as well as with the cultural  practices of production.  They are often tied to a specific ethnic or regional heritage of their producers.  These are the foods that we seek out to eat locally when we visit a particular place, purchase as souvenirs or gifts, or hunt down in specialty shops (e.g., Georgia pecans, Maryland crabcakes, or Kentucky bourbon).  We are organizing this workshop to start to ask what makes some Michigan foods “Michigan” (what gives them their Michiganess’? (like whitefish, or pasties, hops for beer or wine grapes).  This workshop will explore the importance on connecting food to place and its economic and social benefits for producers and consumers, ways to identify foods unique properties, and help interested parties network with others doing similar work,  

We are fortunate to have leading US advocate of place based foods, Dr. Elizabeth Barham, join us for the day.   Dr Barham will share her research and applied work on the role of food and place in the Missouri Regional Cuisines Project and identifying the unique cultural traits of agricultural products.   During the workshop, we will  tour the new Brewery Terra Firma and hear from hops growers  their plans for creating a “Michigan hop” for the microbrewery community.  This outing is planned to help us better understand efforts to identify the unique Michiganness in hops, but to also give us a lens for identifying the distinctive ecological and cultural dimensions of other foods as well.

The one-day event will also host several Michigan Extension Educators who have studied place based foods in France in recent years.   

In addition to inviting you to attend this all expenses paid workshop, we urge you to please pass on the names of individuals – organizers, educators, farmers, etc – interested in doing this work so that we make sure to invite them as well.  We know you navigate these fields – where farmers and organizers are thinking about the ecological and cultural dimensions of food.  If you have names of folks we should invite, please send them to Wynne Wright at [log in to unmask]

We hope to see you on the 24th of June.  Simply respond to this email with the names of the individuals who plan to attend.  Lunch will be provided.  Registration will begin at 8:30 with the workshop opening at 9 am.  We will be hosted by the new Brewery Terra Firma and will have the chance to tour this facility.  The program will conclude at approximately 3:30.   Please see flyer attached.

Advance registration is appreciated so we can provide a caterer with the appropriate lunch count. Please RSVP to Wynne  at [log in to unmask] by June 1, 2013.


Rob Sirrine

Wynne Wright

Jim Bingen



Will the wet, cold spring impact asparagus?

Michigan’s cool, spring temperatures and above average rainfall may affect asparagus harvest and early-season disease development. Read the full article here:


Traceability for Food Safety Purposes: What do I really need to know?

Traceability is the process to be able to identify where and when the crop was harvested. It serves in case there is a problem such as a food safety issue with that crop. This article explains the process and the use in ag production. Note that if you are growing fruit and/or vegetables and are planning to have your farm GAP certified (Good Ag Practices) then you will need a traceability system in place. Note also if you are planning to get your farm NOP (National Organic Program) certified you would need a traceability system in place, as well.


Understanding the requirements for tracking produce from the farm field to its final destination can be incredibly confusing. This article helps to reduce the confusion by defining the details of produce traceability. Read the full article here:


NSAC Weekly Roundup

Conservation Buffer and Wildlife Habitat CRP Enrollment Starting Again

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has issued a notice to its state and local offices that on May 13, 2013, FSA will once again begin accepting offers for new contracts under the Conservation Reserve Program’s (CRP) four targeted subprograms: the Continuous signup (buffer initiative), Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, Farmable Wetlands Program, and State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement. Read more...


Accessing growing degree days with Enviro-weather

Understanding and using accumulated growing degree days can help you know when to expect pests. This is one of the services Enviro-weather offers Michigan growers.

Posted on May 23, 2013 by Beth Bishop, MSU Enviro-weather


One thing is for sure about Michigan’s weather: it’s always different. Just compare this spring (2013) to last spring. This time last year the season was two weeks or more ahead of normal in most of Michigan. This year, the majority of the state is days or even weeks behind normal.

This variability means that each year the development of crops, weeds, insects and diseases is different. One year the crabapples bloom in late April; another year they are blooming mid-May. This makes it hard to predict when to expect critical events, such as the growth of a crop or the appearance of insects, diseases and weeds. Luckily, we can estimate the relative progress of the growing season using a measure of accumulated heat called growing degree days.

Most living things depend on external temperatures to fuel their growth and development. Unlike birds and mammals, they do not have the ability to generate internal heat and maintain their temperature. This means, for example, that a crabapple tree won’t grow when it is cold. It won’t begin to develop until a minimum temperature is reached (the lower developmental threshold), and the amount and the rate of subsequent growth depends on how warm it is and how long (accumulated heat).

Growing degree days are a way of measuring accumulated heat above a certain temperature threshold (minimum temperature below which development stops). One growing degree day is equivalent to one degree above that temperature threshold for one day. Growing degree days are accumulated, or added, each year beginning either Jan. 1 or March 1.

Both the lower developmental temperature threshold, referred to as the base temperature, and the number of accumulated growing degree days required for a growth stage varies depending on the particular plant or animal. Many insect pests and plants have a lower developmental threshold of near 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Some, however, grow at even lower temperatures, for example 48, 42 and 38 F!

You can find the required growing degree day accumulations for various growth stages of many plants and animals, as well as the lower developmental threshold in various places (for example, see the growing degree days of landscape insects).

You can go to MSU’s Enviro-weather website to check the current growing degree day accumulations for your area. Go to the Enviro-weather website and select a nearby weather station by clicking on the yellow dot that is closest to your station. You will be taken to the “station page” for that location.


Vilsack: Vision for organic ag

Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently discussed his vision for U.S. organic agriculture and USDA efforts to ensure its continued success during remarks to the Organic Trade Association. Vilsack announced a number of new initiatives to support the continued growth of organic agriculture, including that the USDA’s Risk Management Agency’s (RMA) federal crop insurance program will increase coverage options for organic producers this year and provide even more options in 2014, including a contract price addendum as well as new premium price elections for organic crops. Additionally, RMA will remove the current five-percent organic rate surcharge on all future crop insurance policies beginning in 2014.

Vilsack also said USDA will be providing new guidance and direction on organic production to all USDA agencies. USDA is now asking each agency to routinely address the needs of the organic sector in their programs and services where appropriate.

Vilsack noted that accurate data is the biggest obstacle for developing better crop insurance options for organic farmers and expressed his desire that Congress help USDA make further progress by renewing the 2008 Organic Data Initiative as part of a new farm bill.

New crop-insurance pricing options will be available to organic producers who grow crops under guaranteed contracts beginning with the 2014 crop year. This contract price option allows organic producers who receive a contract price for their crop to get a crop insurance guarantee that is more reflective of the actual value of their crop. They will have the ability, where available and at their choice, to use their personal contract price as their price election or to choose existing crop insurance price elections. This contract price option will be available for between 60 and 70 crops in the 2014 crop year and this contract price feature will be available to the majority of insured organic crops. RMA is also changing organic transitional yields (t-yields) so they will be more reflective of actual organic farming experience, starting with the 2014 crop year.

All crops are being evaluated for establishing organic prices for the 2014 crop year. Current pricing options only allow farmers to insure organic crops at the conventional prices, with the exception of eight crops (corn, soybeans, cotton, processing tomatoes, avocados, and several fresh stone fruit crops) that already have premium organic price elections. RMA is working to provide organic price elections for six to ten crops in 2014. Oats and mint are two crops that have already been selected for organic price elections in 2014, and apricots, apples, blueberries, millet, and others are still under consideration.

USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service last year announced the Organic Literacy Initiative, a public outreach and employee training program to help connect current and prospective organic operations with appropriate USDA resources. To date, over 14,000 USDA employees have taken the basic training on USDA’s role in organic agriculture. The new guidance will further improve USDA agencies’ ability to incorporate the needs of the growing organic sector into their programs and services. These combined actions should result in staff better equipped to help organic farmers obtain technical and financial assistance, insure crops and livestock, access research findings, secure loans, develop conservation practices, find current organic price information, and access local, regional, and international markets. Through this effort, agencies will also better understand the scope and rigor of the certification process and how it complements their own programs.

Over the past 10 years, the number of certified organic farms and businesses in the United States has expanded to approximately 17,750, representing a 240 percent increase since USDA first began collecting this data. Similarly, the retail value of the organic industry grew almost 9.5 percent in 2011 to $31.4 billion. Organic foods continue to gain market share in the food industry, climbing to 4.2 percent of U.S. retail food sales in 2011. For additional information about the USDA National Organic Program, visit




Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Now Hiring

The OEFFA Certification program is now hiring. We're looking for a full-time certification program assistant to add to the team. The link to the job description and application instructions is as follows:


Lauren Ketcham

Communications Coordinator

Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association

41 Croswell Rd., Columbus, OH 43214

Phone:(614) 421-2022 Ext. 203

Email: [log in to unmask]





Assistant or Associate Professor of Horticulture –Vegetable Crops, University of Kentucky
Responsibilities: A twelve-month, tenure-track extension (80%) and research (20%) position is available in the Department of Horticulture in the College of Agriculture. ( This position will develop a statewide Extension education and applied research program in support of Kentucky’s commercial vegetable industry. The successful candidate will be expected to provide training and support for county extension agents to augment and expand the delivery of support for the commercial vegetable industry. Programs will focus on a wide variety of field-grown vegetable crops with emphasis on integrated and sustainable production and marketing systems including the exploration of new opportunities for season extension with high tunnels and other protective structures. The program focus for this position will be aided by and responsive to extension council discussions at county, regional and state levels. This position will also provide leadership to interdepartmental efforts related to commercial vegetable production and act as the primary linkage between the College of Agriculture and the commercial vegetable industry. Educational resource material development, publication of applied research results in appropriate outlets including peer-reviewed journals and extramural program support are expected.


Qualifications: A Ph.D. in horticulture or plant science with knowledge related to commercial vegetable production is required. The individual should possess the ability to function within a team and to communicate effectively.


Location: University of Kentucky, Lexington Campus, Lexington, Kentucky

Salary and Fringe Benefits: Salary is open and competitive. A 403-B retirement plan and group health and life insurance are available.


Application: Screening of applicants will begin June 1, 2013 and continue until a suitable candidate is identified. The position is available July 1, 2013. Candidates should submit a letter of interest (Cover Letter), a curriculum vitae (Resume), and the names and contact information for three references. Applications for position number 50109164 must be submitted online:

Contact: Dr. John Strang, Chair Search and Screening Committee Department of Horticulture N-318 Agricultural Science Bldg. North University of Kentucky

Lexington, KY 40546-0091 (859) 257-5685 [log in to unmask].


Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York: Regional Reps Wanted
NOFA-NY is looking for people passionate about and already active in promoting local organic food to become a Regional Representative in their area.


Regional Representatives are responsible for helping to increase visibility and membership for NOFA-NY.  They table at events and attend NOFA-NY Field Days and Winter Conference. 


They are a paid an annual stipend of $1025, which in part covers travel expenses.


If you live in the Buffalo, Syracuse, Canton, or Binghamton area and are interested in learning more about the position, please contact Tanya at [log in to unmask].


Farm-to-School Related Job Openings
Open Position: RFP for Detroit School Garden Collaborative Consulting Service

This position will oversee and run the Detroit School Garden Collaborative (DSGC), including the current DSGC staff and the hiring of new staff, as well as develop and implement organizational functions and services for the DSGC. The deadline to apply is May 20th. For the request for proposal (RFP), please contact Vicki Morrone ([log in to unmask]).


Open Position: Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) in northwestern Lower Michigan is taking applications for a new food service director for its approximately 10,000-student school system. TCAPS' job description includes making farm to school purchasing—purchasing and serving food grown by local farmers—a priority. All food service programming also must be financially sustainable. Please go to the following link for more information and to fill out the application:


National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) Now Hiring for D.C. Position
NSAC is looking for a Managing Director and a Marketing, Food Systems, and Rural Development Policy Associate.  Check out our Jobs Page for more information:




NRCS Round Up

Grants for Farm and Rural Business Development Announced

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that over 110 agricultural producers from 43 states would receive nearly $16.8 million in grants from the 2012 round of the Value-Added Producer Grants program. The Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) program awards competitive grants that facilitate the creation and development of value-added, producer-owned businesses. Individual independent agricultural producers, groups of independent producers, producer-controlled entities, organizations representing agricultural producers, and farmer or rancher cooperatives are eligible.  Read more...



Farmers and Ranchers Awarded Value-Added Grants for New Markets and Products

On May 1, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG) awards to over 110 agricultural producers. The grant awards totaled nearly $16.8 million. The funding came from the $14 million appropriation for VAPG in the FY 2012 Appropriations Bill as well as $2.8 million from earlier years.  Read more...


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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