Michigan Organic Listserv

From Center for Regional Food Systems at MSU

Department of Community Sustainability


June 19, 2013


Information in this newsletter if for you to use to help your organic business, it is NOT intended to promote or demote any company, business or product.  

Wishing all of you some sun to your soil and earthworms to help drain it!


WHAT’s ON OFFER??? To find the section just click on the title just below


2014 Farm Bill

·      Update

·      Late and lame, farm bill finally clears Senate

Organic NOP & Certification News

·      Organic crop insurance explained

·      Appeals court binds Monsanto to promise not to sue organic Farmers

Contact your senator to have your voice heard about the 2014 Farm Bill!! http://ncat.e-actionmax.com/showalert.asp?aaid=1086

Educational Events and Opportunities

o   MOSES seeking Farmer of the Year Nominations for 2014!

o   Forage Management for sheep and goat production

o   Welcome to the Michigan State University’s 2013 Ag Expo!

o   Recycling Waste to Resources day

o   Michigan Safe Food Risk Assessment & Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP)

Jobs related to food and organic production

·      Recruiting Local/Regional Network Consultants Michigan Food Hub Learning and Innovation Network

·      The Food Systems Project is hiring a Garden-Based Nutrition Educator!



Farm Bill News

June 11, 2013

The Senate's 2013 Farm Bill, passed last night, although not ideal, does include some provisions for organic certification cost share, organic research, market data and organic crop insurance. Certification cost share melds the program that is currently only open to 16 states with the national program. The Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative, OREI, was funded at $16 million per year, a cut of 20%. (The House ag committee version retains the full $20 million per year funding from the last Farm Bill.) The Organic Production and Market Data Initiative was funded by the Senate bill at $5 million over the life of this farm bill, to provide for segregated market data to aid the organic marketplace. The Senate also tackled crop insurance for organic farmers, mandating that organic producers could insure all their crops at the organic price, not just the few that are currently offered an “organic price selection.” The Senate's bill funds the National Organic Program at the current level, with a onetime $5 million capital investment to modernize and improve their data systems. Neither the Senate nor the House provided funding for a dedicated pool of money to support non-GMO seed research. Most of the federal dollars for seed development currently end up as patented GMO varieties that are not available to organic or other non-GMO farmers. The next step in the process is for the House to debate its agriculture committee’s Farm Bill some time in the next two weeks. It is unclear how many amendments might be discussed by the full House to address the differences between the Senate’s final version and the House agriculture committee bill. Most likely, there will be a conference committee between the Senate and House to join the two versions into one bill, once the full House of Representatives passes its version.

Late and lame, farm bill finally clears Senate


(click link above for whole story)

June 2013

Grist on-line magazine decries the Senate bill for not producing major reform, adding that this bill could have stripped subsidies from farms with "giant monocultures, and move that money to support the kind of farming that makes people, and the environment, healthier."



Organic NOP News


Organic crop insurance explained



Sunday, June 16, 2013 in

By JOHN BERRY--Agricultural marketing educator, ag entrepreneurship, Penn State Extension

Do you understand crop insurance for organic farming practices?

Organic farming has become one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture. Also, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency recognizes organic farming practices as good farming practices and continues to move forward in improving crop insurance coverage for organic producers and producers transitioning to organic production, so they will have viable and effective risk management options available.

RMA currently provides coverage for: (1) Certified organic acreage; (2) Transitional acreage (acreage on which organic farming practices are being followed that does not yet qualify to be designated as certified organic acreage); and (3) Buffer zone acreage.

What’s covered?

Covered perils are drought, excess moisture, freeze, hail, prevented planting, insect damage, disease, and weeds — if recognized organic farming practices fail to provide an effective control method that may result in losses.

Please note, contamination by application or drift of prohibited substances onto organic, transitional, or buffer zone acreage is not an insured peril. If any acreage qualified as certified organic acreage or transitional acreage on the acreage reporting date, such acreage (even if such certification is subsequently revoked by the certifying agent or the certifying agent no longer considers the acreage as transitional acreage for the remainder of the crop year), that acreage will remain insured under the reported practice for which it qualified at the time the acreage was reported.

Any loss due to failure to comply with the organic standards is considered an uninsured loss.

Reporting Acreage?

On the date you report acreage, you must have:

1. For certified organic acreage, a current organic plan and recent written certification (certificate) in effect from a certifying agent.

2. For transitional acreage, a certificate or written documentation from a certifying agent indicating that an organic plan is in effect. Acreage transitioning to a certified organic farming practice without an organic certificate or written documentation from a certifying agency must be insured under the conventional farming practice.

3. For both certified and transitional acreage, records from the certifying agent showing the specific location of each field of certified organic, transitional, buffer zone and acreage maintained and not maintained under organic farming practices.

Price elections, insurance dollar amounts, and premiums separate organic price elections, projected prices, and harvest prices are currently available for eight crops: Cotton, corn, soybeans, processing tomatoes, avocadoes, and stone fruit crops; and fresh freestone peaches, fresh nectarines, and plums in California.

For all other crops, the price elections, insurance amounts, projected prices, and harvest prices that apply to both certified organic and transitional crops are the price elections, insurance amounts, projected prices, and harvest prices RMA publishes for the crop grown using conventional means for the current crop year.

The Price Discovery Tool is available under the RMA “Information Browser” at www.rma.usda.gov/tools/.

New price option

Beginning with the 2014 crop year, new contract price options will be available to organic producers who grow crops under guaranteed contracts. You can choose to use the prices established in those contracts as your “price election” in place of the RMA-issued prices when buying crop insurance.

This contract price option allows organic producers who receive a contract price for your crop to get a crop insurance guarantee that is more reflective of the actual value of your crop.

You will also have the ability to use your personal contract price as your price election or to choose existing crop insurance price elections where this option is available.

New organic elections

All crops are being evaluated for establishing organic prices for the 2014 crop year. However, 6 to 10 crops have emerged as the most promising for new organic price elections.

These are apricots, apples, blueberries, oats, mint, millet, and others. In some cases, premium organic price elections will only be available in certain locations and for certain types, depending on data availability.

Continued expansion of premium organic price elections is planned; however, the limiting factor is data availability. Contact crop insurance agents.

You should contact your crop insurance agent for more information about this new option. You should talk to your crop insurance agent to get specific information and deadlines.

To find a list of crop insurance agents, see www.rma.usda.gov/tools/agent.html.

For a list of insurable crops, see www.rma.usda.gov/policies/

More information on RMA’s Organic Crop Insurance Program can be found on RMA’s website at www.rma.usda.gov/news/currentissues/organics/




WASHINGTON, D.C., June 10, 2013


A three-judge panel at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled today that a group of organic and otherwise non-GMO farmer and seed company plaintiffs are not entitled to bring a lawsuit to protect themselves from Monsanto's transgenic seed patents "because Monsanto has made binding assurances that it will not 'take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech genes (because, for example, some transgenic seed or pollen blew onto the grower’s land).'"


In the ruling issued today in the case Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al. v. Monsanto, the Court of Appeals judges affirmed the Southern District of New York's previous decision that the plaintiffs did not present a sufficient controversy to warrant adjudication by the courts. However, it did so only because Monsanto made repeated commitments during the lawsuit to not sue farmers with “trace amounts” of contamination of crops containing their patented genes.


Plaintiffs' attorney, Dan Ravicher of the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), views the decision as a partial victory. “Before this suit, the Organic Seed plaintiffs were forced to take expensive precautions and avoid full use of their land in order to not be falsely accused of patent infringement by Monsanto,” said Ravicher. “The decision today means that the farmers did have the right to bring the suit to protect themselves, but now that Monsanto has bound itself to not suing the plaintiffs, the Court of Appeals believes the suit should not move forward.”


The plaintiff farmers and seed companies began their legal battle in March of 2011, when they filed a complaint against agricultural giant Monsanto asking for a declaration that Monsanto's patents on genetically engineered seed were invalid or unenforceable.  The plaintiffs were compelled to file the suit because Monsanto's patented seed can contaminate neighboring fields through various means including wind and insects, and the owners of those fields, such as plaintiffs, can then be sued by Monsanto for patent infringement.


To read the whole story click here: http://www.pubpat.org/osgatavmonsantocafcdecision.htm


Educational Events and Opportunities


MOSES seeking Farmer of the Year Nominations for 2014!

Do you know an outstanding organic farmer or farm family that deserves to be recognized as the 2014 MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year?

Please let us know by completing a nomination form found at their web site: http://www.mosesorganic.org/foy.html

. This is the 12th year of this prestigious award which will be presented at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference to be held Feb. 27 – Mar. 1, 2014 in La Crosse, Wis.


Attached is a nomination form and press release for your convenience.  Or you can visit our website to learn more and download a nomination form directly. To avoid duplication of nominees, the previous award winners are:


·         2013 – Charlie Johnson, Johnson Farms

·         2012 – Francis & Susan Thicke, Radiance Dairy

·         2011 – Vetter Family, The Grain Place

·         2010 – John & Jane Fisher-Merritt, Food Farm

·         2009 – Tom & Irene Frantzen, Frantzen Farm Feeds

·         2008 – Gary, Nicholas & Rosie Zimmer, Otter Creek Organic Dairy

·         2007 – Dave & Florence Minar Family, Cedar Summit Farm & Creamery

·         2006 – Stan Schutte, Triple “S” Farms

·         2005 – Carmen & Sally Fernholz, A-Frame Farms

·         2004 – Martin & Atina Diffley, Gardens of Eagan

·         2003 – Richard de Wilde & Linda Halley, Harmony Valley Farm


Current MOSES board members and those within three years of end of service are not eligible to be nominated for the MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year award.


Please submit your nomination by September 15.


Thanks for helping us acknowledge an inspiring farmer/farm family!




Eric Hatling, Media & Outreach Coordinator

Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)

PO Box 339, Spring Valley WI 54767

Phone 715-778-5775 / Fax 715-778-5773

[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask] | www.mosesorganic.org

Forage Management for sheep and goat production

The program will be held on June 24 and 25 at the MSU pavilion for agriculture and the MSU sheep farm.  There is also a day long tour of sheep and goat farms in southern Michigan provided as an optional 3rd day of this program.   The day-long farm tour on June 26 can also be attended as an independent event for those unable to attend the workshop on June 24-25. The flyer for this program is attached and those interested can register at:  http://events.anr.msu.edu/Foragewkshopsheep/

The program will focus on helping producers manage forage more efficiently and effectively both through grazing and machine harvest and will provide a comprehensive look at land management strategies to achieve these goals for small to large operations.   This is unique opportunity for sheep and goat producers and there are no similar programs offered in the US.   The instructors for the program include:  Dr. Richard Ehrhardt: MSUE small ruminant specialist, Dr. Kimberly Cassida: MSUE forage specialist, Dr. Santiago Utsumi; MSUE grazing ecologist, Jerry Linquist: MSUE educator, Mike Metzger: MSUE educator; Jennifer Silveri MAEAP technician.


Specific topics to be covered include:

• Forage budgeting: optimizing land use for both stored forage and grazing

• Soil/land improvement: short and long term strategies to improve soil health and productivity

• Pasture improvement and establishment guidelines

• Grazing management: guidelines for increasing pasture utilization and productivity

• Complimentary forages: how to use annual forages to fill in gaps of production and as part of a crop or perennial pasture rotation

• Grazing infrastructure: efficient pasture layouts, water systems, fencing solutions, and animal handling systems

• Forage harvest and feeding systems: silage and dry forage systems appropriate to farm size, efficient feeding systems for both sheep and goats

• Health management of grazing animals: integrated parasite management, bloat and micronutrient issues

For more information please contact Richard Ehrhardt, MSUE Small Ruminant Specialist (email:  [log in to unmask]; phone 517 353 -2906)


Richard Ehrhardt Ph.D. Small Ruminant Specialist Michigan State University Extension

Anthony Hall 474 S. Shaw Lane, Room 1287f 

East Lansing, MI  48824-1225 Office:  (517) 353-2906 FAX:  (517) 353-1699


Welcome to the Michigan State University’s 2013 Ag Expo!

For map and schedule go to http://agexpo.msu.edu/visitors


The 2013 Michigan Ag Expo will host 300 exhibitors and welcome more than 18,000 people to the grounds during the show. Located on the beautiful campus of Michigan State University July 16-18, Ag Expo has become a tradition for thousands of Michigan residents, as well as visitors from other states and countries as well.

Parking and admission to the show are completely free, with complimentary shuttles to get you from your car to the grounds. Golf carts will be available to use on the grounds for free as well.

The schedule for this year’s event is jam packed with something for everyone. The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources tent will host a variety of educational sessions. Demonstrations in regards to composting, tillage, sprayer equipment, alpacas and more will take place throughout Expo in various locations on and off site. This year, don’t miss the AgrAbility Wheel Chair Rodeo, where visitors will be able to test equipment that accommodates farmers, hunters and other outdoorsmen who use wheelchairs to get around their worksites.

Back again this year are the wheel loader and skid steer Ride and Drives. Be sure to check out all of the equipment and chat with friendly representatives to get answers to all of your questions.

We look forward to seeing you at the show. Check back soon for a detailed schedule of events.

Amending Soils in the Organic Dairy Pasture Webinar

Join eOrganic for a webinar on amending soils in organic dairy pastures on Thursday, June 27th. The webinar is free and open to the public, and advance registration is required.

If you do not have internet in your home why not suggest a lunch potluck at a fellow farmers home and share the experience!!

Amending Soils in the Organic Dairy Pasture, by Cindy Daley, California State University, Chico. June 27th at 2PM Eastern (1PM Central, 12PM Mountain, 11AM Pacific Time). 

In this free webinar, Dr. Daley will describe a long-term soil remediation field trial designed at the University Farm to study the effects of a basic soil amendment program on forage quality and yield, with an emphasis on the economic return that would result from added milk production. Register in advance at http://www.extension.org/pages/68131

More dairy webinars will be offered over the summer, and our main webinar season will start up again in the fall. Meanwhile, feel free to listen to any of the many webinars on organic farming and research--including many webinars on organic dairy farming-- in our archive at http://www.extension.org/pages/25242  You can also browse the recordings by topic here.


Recycling Waste to Resources day


Please hold the date of August 13 for Keeping it Green:


Michigan State University (MSU) and Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) will host the Keeping it Green: Recycling Waste to Resources day on August 13, 2013. This event will showcase campus-based projects focused on reducing and reusing organic waste. Registration will begin at 9:00 a.m. at the MSU Livestock Pavilion. The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will conclude at 4:30 p.m. Transportation throughout the day and lunch will be provided.

The new South Campus Anaerobic Digester system will be unveiled in the morning, and presentations will be given detailing the planning process, feedstock sources, how digestate is managed and how the project impacts campus energy and sustainability. Following lunch, participants will have tour the University Farms composting facility, Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center (ADREC), MSU Recycling, T.B. Simon Power Plant and the Student Organic Farm. While at each location, participants will be exposed to ongoing research and demonstration scale projects. 

Registration is $20 per person in advance and may be completed by registering at http://events.anr.msu.edu/event.cfm?folder=adrec Registration is also available onsite the morning of the event at a cost of $30 per person.

MSU Livestock Pavilion 4301 Farm Lane East Lansing, MI 48824



Mark Seamon

Michigan State University Extension

MSU Product Center

Bioeconomy Innovation Counselor

Bioenergy Educator

One Tuscola Street

Suite 100

Saginaw, MI 48607

Phone: 989 758-2503

Cell: 989 245-3100

Email: [log in to unmask]


Michigan Safe Food Risk Assessment & Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP)

So these two programs are aimed to help Michigan Farms improve their sustainability by decreasing environmental and food safety risks on the farm and through harvest.

Do you want to evaluate your farm for safe food practices and environmental conditions? …..     FREE?

Well now you can do just that in Michigan! Our Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development now offers this service to ALL farmers. They have trained over 20 very willing MAEAP technicians that will come to your farm and walk you through a safe food guide called  Michigan Safe Food Risk Assessment and help you to become MAEAP verified. These are programs that smart farmers participate to guide them to be more productive and sustainable-less negative impact to the environment-soil and water and grow food in the safest way possible.

There is No cost for this program (in terms of dollars). But you will of course need to work with the MAEAP techs to identify potential risks on your farm and with their guidance you can correct them.

Mi Safe Food Risk Assessment Program is especially designed to educate producers, evaluate on-farm practices, provide food safety technical assistance and recognize small/locally grown fruit and vegetable growers who follow safe food practices.  A certificate of completion is awarded when a participating grower implements an action plan to correct potential food safety risks identified on the farm.

MAEAP is a comprehensive, voluntary, proactive program designed to reduce farmers’ legal and environmental risks through a three-phase process: 1) education; 2) farm-specific risk assessment; and 3) on-farm verification that ensures the farmer has implemented environmentally sound practices.

Verifiers who conduct the farm visits and can work with you are located throughout the state so contact your local Conservation District Office or call or email the state MAEAP office. (517) 373-9797 [log in to unmask]  


Jobs: In food and organic production


Recruiting Local/Regional Network Consultants Michigan Food Hub Learning and Innovation Network for 2013-14

Benton Harbor, Grand Rapids, Thumb, and Flint/Saginaw areas



The Michigan Food Hub Learning and Innovation Network is led by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, in coordination with Morse Marketing Connections LLC.   The network is funded by a grant from the Kresge Foundation for the period June 2012 through June 2014. 


In the first year of the project we hired eight local consultants to work in various areas of Michigan as part of the network.  This summer we plan to bring consultants back to seven of those eight areas.  We also plan to hire up to four new local consultants in other areas of the state through professional service contracts to provide local support to existing or emerging food hubs. Each of the new consultants will focus on one of the following areas:  Benton Harbor, Grand Rapids, Flint/Saginaw and the Thumb (Huron, Sanilac, and Tuscola counties).   The consultant must live in or near the target area she/he is applying for to be considered.  Out of state consultants and/or consultants residing outside of the target areas will not be considered.  The specific roles and services provided by these consultants are described below. These consultants will be selected based on:

1)    Experience and knowledge of the food system in their local region including work with food value chains, local farmers, local food buyers, small business and nonprofit support organizations and relationships with state agencies and networks.

2)    Local reputation as a team builder, connector, facilitator, and food systems leader

3)    Experience, knowledge and connections to underserved communities of these regions.

4)    Availability of funds


Local Consultant Roles

·      Be a local resource and connector for existing and emerging food hubs

·      Be a local champion to assist in connecting constituents and organizations particularly from underserved communities to the regional food systems discussions and to the statewide network

·      Participate in 90-120 minute teleconference every other month to share learning among local networks, with other existing local consultants, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) staff and state network co-conveners.

·      Prepare brief reports on progress for the teleconferences

·      Participate in 3-4 statewide meetings through attendance, providing updates on local network activities and food hub progress at selected meetings when appropriate

·      Encourage existing & new local network members to attend statewide meetings

·      Co-convene 2-3 local/regional food hub network meetings annually; these meetings may be in cooperation with other networks.

·      Provide, if possible, a 10% in-kind time match as part of their commitment to their local area


Application procedure

Please send an updated resume and cover letter to Rich Pirog and Marty Gerencer (contact information below) by Monday, July 1, 2013.  The cover letter should contain:


·      The area or region of Michigan that you propose to cover – Benton Harbor, Grand Rapids, Thumb, or Flint/Saginaw

·      How your skills and experience match up with the descriptions above

·      Confirmation that you can enter into a consulting arrangement contract and are not employed by MSU, other Michigan educational institutions, or state government

·      Willingness and commitment to attend statewide meetings and participate in recurring phone calls.


Applicants will be reviewed and interviewed by phone by the project co-conveners. Positions may shift to another part of the state if suitable candidates cannot be found in these areas.  Professional service contracts of $5,000, which includes travel expense reimbursement, will be drawn for successful consultant applicants on an annual basis for up to two years; continuation beyond first year is based on performance of the contract deliverables.



Send resume and cover letter by e-mail to:


Rich Pirog, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems --- [log in to unmask]                                        

Marty Gerencer, Morse Marketing Connections, LLC --- [log in to unmask]



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] 

Web: foodsystems.msu.edu 


The Food Systems Project is hiring a Garden-Based Nutrition Educator!


Please email resume to Terra Bogart ([log in to unmask]) by Friday, June 21st at 4:00pm.


Please read the job description below for more information.



Food Systems Project – Garden-Based Nutrition Educator


Position Description:


The Garden Based Nutrition Educator position is a part-time grant funded position (20 hours/week).  The starting wage is $11.00 per hour. The Garden Based 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 www.nwlansing.org.




The responsibilities of the Garden-Based Nutrition Educator will include:

4. Develop and facilitate nutrition education lessons (including selecting recipes, compiling information and developing educational materials)

5. Delivering nutrition education lessons to varying age groups and diverse audiences

6. Coordination of volunteers and interns for nutrition education programs

7. Responsible for shopping and preparation of supplies for nutrition programs

8. Assist with Food Systems Project programs and special events as needed


    Must have a valid driver’s license and reliable vehicle to transport supplies, shop for program supplies, and travel to and from program locations

    Gardening and/or farming experience is strongly preferred

    Teaching/education experience strongly preferred

    Ability to successfully interact with diverse audiences is necessary

    Ability to teach/educate others on the links between gardening, cooking, health and nutrition

    Strong organizational, communication and interpersonal skills

    The ability to work both independently and as part of a team

Training Provided: Orientation and training to the program will be provided


Candidates should send resume by June 21, 2013 – 4:00 pm to Terra Bogart, Program Manager, NorthWest Initiative, 530 W. Ionia St., Suite D, Lansing, MI  48933; email: [log in to unmask]; telephone:  (517) 999-2894; fax: (517) 999-2897.


All qualified applicants shall receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, height, weight, marital status, sex, age, handicap, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender preference.



# Questions, comments or additions contact Vicki Morrone ([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]

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