Michigan Organic Listserv
June 16, 2014
From the Center for Regional Food Systems at
Michigan State University
Organic News for Farming and Food
This information is to share and inform you-it is not intended to promote products or businesses
USDA Invites States to Apply for Organic Certification Cost-Share Assistance
Michigan Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources will likely be managing this reimbursement to USDA NOP certified farmers! So that includes all Certified NOP Organic Farmers! This is your chance to apply for cost share reimbursement for organic certification. If your organic farm was/is certified between Oct 2013 thru Sept 2014 you can seek reimbursement for this expense up to $750 per NOP certification.
If you will be certified for the 2014 growing year you can apply for this cost share. You can receive up to $750 or 75% of your cost for certification (for each certification scope). To expedite the process you may like to get things ready now.
What you will need to apply:
ü Copy of NOP organic certificate(s) dated between Oct 1, 2013 to Sept 30, 2014.
ü Copy of payment receipts for certification(s)
ü Completed application that WILL be available from MDARD website-you only have to complete one application for more than one certification.
ü Become a vendor with the State of Michigan. You will need to do this to receive money from them. You can have the money sent directly to your bank account. Here is the link to register to be a State Of Michigan vendor-required whether you receive a check or have direct deposit. http://www.cpexpress.state.mi.us
Note that you can receive cost-share for multiple NOP certifications for the following categories: Crops, Wild crops, Livestock and Handler.
The expenses that qualify for reimbursement are: inspection fees, inspector’s travel, postage for applications, sales fees, and user fees.
Membership fees and any fees for other than NOP certification DO NOT qualify.
Following is the Press Release from National Organic Coalition 5/12/14
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced that approximately $13 million is available for organic certification cost-share assistance, making certification more accessible for certified producers and handlers. USDA invites States to submit their applications for Federal assistance for organic certification cost-share funds. Once funds have been distributed to the States, organic producers and handlers will apply directly through their State contact. "The 2014 Farm Bill has given USDA new tools and resources to support the growing $35 billion organic industry," said AMS Administrator Anne Alonzo. "Consumer demand for certified organic products is strong and growing. These investments will help more organic farmers succeed and help grow the economy in rural communities across the country." The certification assistance is distributed through two programs. Through the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, $1.4 million is available to organic operations in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Through the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, $11.5 million is available to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. Territories. These programs provide cost-share assistance through participating States to USDA certified organic producers and handlers for certification-related expenses they incur from October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014. Payments will be up to 75 percent of an individual producer's certification costs, up to a maximum of $750 per certification. Eligible States interested in obtaining cost-share funds must submit an application for Federal assistance and sign a grant agreement via www.grants.gov by June 20, 2014. Paper applications will not be accepted. State personnel are encouraged to contact Dana Stahl, Organic Certification Cost Share Program Manager, for more information. Additional information about cost share programs and organic certification are available on the National Organic Program's website.
MSU Student Organic Farm has new babies!
Just south of Michigan State University’s main campus sits a 15-acre Here, students can learn about the farming industry with hands-on experience. The farm grows and distributes produce, raises livestock and explores means of sustainable farming. The latest development at the farm is the . Impact’s Abbie Newton explored the farm and assisted in the production of this piece.
The Organic Tree Fruit Association will become the Organic Fruit Growers Association (OFGA)
Here's some exciting news regarding the organization - The Organic Tree Fruit Association will become the Organic Fruit Growers Association (OFGA) as we hope to build the community of like-minded growers of not only tree fruit but also incorporating growers of bush, vine, and bramble fruits. This change is to reflect the recent addition of other fruits into the scope of the organization. After consideration of all comments from members, the board has decided to make these changes and other necessary changes (website, brochures, forms, articles of incorporation, etc) in the coming months. The listserve addresses will remain as is for now though they will likely ultimately change to reflect the nature of the group. Not all of these changes will happen immediately but they will be coming gradually in the not too distant future. Please feel free to use these forums to discuss all fruits (well, perhaps not tomatoes and melons) that grow on trees, bushes, vines, brambles, etc. Let me know if you have any questions about any of this as we look forward to growing the organization. If you would like to become a member of OFGA now that the scope has changed, send me an email and I will get a revised membership form to you as soon as it is ready. Cheers, Anton Ptak OFGA Coordinator
Free Organic Vegetable Production Books
These are available in the format of a PDF. Here is the link to see what is on offer and download them to your computer for use as you plan and grow your organic vegetables.
Here is the list of available publications and their links:
2012 Production Guide for Storage of Organic Fruits and Vegetables
Organic Beans 2013
Organic Carrots 2013
Organic Cole Crops 2013
Organic Cucumbers and Squash 2013
Organic Lettuce 2013
Organic Peas 2013
Organic Potatoes 2013
Organic Spinach 2013
ATTRA publications are now available through Amazon (kindle)
Shared by Rich Myers, National Center for Appropriate Technology
ATTRA National Sustainable Agriculture Information _
Many of its more than 400 publications have been placed on Amazon, where they can be downloaded to e-readers.
One of the longest-running sources of research-based information on sustainable agriculture is once again embracing the latest in technology for getting that information to the people who need it.
ATTRA was developed and is maintained through a cooperative agreement with the USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), a nationwide nonprofit organization headquartered in Butte, Montana.
Since 1987, ATTRA has been a leading resource for information on sustainable agriculture, covering a wide range of topics, including reducing pesticide use on cropland, promoting food safety in sustainable production systems, reducing farm energy use and costs, enriching soils with the use of cover crops, and providing technical assistance in the growing areas of local farmers markets and urban farming.
“ATTRA has been on the cutting edge of sustainable agriculture for more than 25 year,” said Carl Little, NCAT’s director of sustainable agriculture programs. “When we began, printed copies of publications were the order of the day.
“We’ve changed with the times, first offering downloads on our website, then smart-phone accessibility. And now we’re seeing that more and more people are turning to e-readers.”
The initial ATTRA catalog on Amazon includes publications ranging from organic production of apples, garlic, tomatoes, and other crops to building a micro-hydro system and crop insurance for small, diversified, and organic producers. How many more publications will be added will depend on how popular the Amazon site proves to be with ATTRA clients.
To find ATTRA publications go to Amazon and enter ATTRA under the “Kindle Store” search option on the Amazon site will bring up a listing the ATTRA publications. The publications will remain available on the ATTRA website as well.
Beyond agriculture ATTRA also offers other popular offerings including a free sustainable-agriculture telephone helpline and the “Ask an Ag Expert” feature on the home page. It has an archive of webinars and videos generated by NCAT and partnering organizations.
ATTRA also maintains numerous popular databases, including sustainable-agriculture internships and apprenticeships, and is a source for the day’s agriculture news, among other features. Check out the ATTRA website at www.attra.ncat.org.
USDA Organic Ag Census Summary Available
In 2012 farmers were invited to complete a USDA farming census. Catherine Greene (USDA Census) shared this information. As you write proposals some of these data may be useful to justify your proposed research or outreach. Here is the information she shared with me this past week.
Earlier this month, USDA-NASS announced the release date for the full 2012 Census will be May 2, 2012, http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Newsroom/2014/04_09_2014.php NNASS released a few tidbits in February, including the number of farms in each State, http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Preliminary_Report/Full_Report.pdf
The most recent estimate of certified organic farms, by State, that I’ve published are for 2011 (estimates of previous years are in the same file). See Table 4, http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/organic-production.aspx
USDA-NOP has post a list of all certified organic farmers in the U.S. (and elsewhere) in 2012, which you could use to calculate the number of certified organic farms (crop, livestock, and wild crop scopes) by State for the States you are interested in, http://apps.ams.usda.gov/nop/ (The numbers that Certifiers report to me are obviously very similar to the numbers that can be calculated from the NOP certified entity list.)
Economic Research Service, USDA
ERS Organic Topic Page:
Finding USDA organic prices
If you are planning a new farm market or sales then it’s important to know current prices to estimate potential profitability
Wholesale prices for select organic and conventional fruits and vegetables, first receiver prices for organic poultry and eggs, and f.o.b. and spot market prices for organic grain and feedstuffs. Estimated U.S. sales volume of organic and total fluid milk, based on Federal milk marketing order statistics. All data are now through 2013.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that farmers, ranchers and landowners committed to protecting and conserving environmentally sensitive land may sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) beginning June 9.The Secretary also announced that retiring farmers enrolled in CRP could receive incentives to transfer a portion of their land to beginning, disadvantaged or veteran farmers through the Transition Incentives Program (TIP).
“CRP is one of the largest voluntary conservation programs in the country,” said Vilsack. “This initiative helps farmers and ranchers lead the nation in preventing soil erosion, improving water quality and restoring wildlife habitat, all of which will make a difference for future generations.”
Vilsack continued, “The average age of farmers and ranchers in the United States is 58 years, and twice as many are 65 or older compared to those 45 or younger. The cost of buying land is one of the biggest barriers to many interested in getting started in agriculture. The Transition Incentives Program is very useful as we work to help new farmers and ranchers get started.”
The Conservation Reserve Program provides incentives to producers who utilize conservation methods on environmentally-sensitive lands. For example, farmers are monetarily compensated for establishing long-term vegetative species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”) to control soil erosion, improve water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat.
CRP consists of a “continuous” and “general” sign-up period. Continuous sign up for the voluntary program starts June 9. Under continuous sign-up authority, eligible land can be enrolled in CRP at any time with contracts of up to 10 to 15 years in duration. In lieu of a general sign-up this year, USDA will allow producers with general CRP contracts expiring this September to have the option of a one-year contract extension. USDA will also implement the 2014 Farm Bill’s requirement that producers enrolled through general sign-up for more than five years can exercise the option to opt-out of the program if certain other conditions are met. In addition, the new grassland provisions, which will allow producers to graze their enrolled land, will enable producers to do so with more flexibility.
The Transition Incentives Program provides two additional years of payments for retired farmers and ranchers who transition expiring CRP acres to socially disadvantaged, military veteran, or beginning producers who return the land to sustainable grazing or crop production. Sign up will also begin June 9. TIP funding was increased by more than 30 percent in the 2014 Farm Bill, providing up to $33 million through 2018.
As part of the 2014 Farm Bill, participants meeting specific qualifications may have the opportunity to terminate their CRP contract during fiscal year 2015 if the contract has been in effect for a minimum of five years and if other conditions are also met.
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers CRP, will coordinate the various CRP program opportunities. For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit a local FSA county office or go online to www.fsa.usda.gov.
Both the CRP and TIP were reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.
Welcome to Westwind FARM- This Summer come and join us!
Lee and Linda, owners of Westwind Milling and Westwind Farm, have planned a full season’s curriculum of Farm Journeys - Experiences in Sustainable Living, with many nuances of nature to explore, discover and create at our farm, Westwind Farm, about 12 miles north of Westwind Milling Co., between Swartz Creek and Durand. We’re kicking off the season with a
Here’s an overview. For a more complete description of any of the following Farm Experiences, call us at (810) 735-9192 and ask for our new Brochure.
Remember that we still have lots of variety in locally grown, sustainable foods at the Mill's retail store, Many Hands Community Foods - we hope to see many of you at the Farm as well as at the Mill this spring and summer!!
Here's information on an upcoming workshop for Specialty Crop Farmers, June 27.
Allen Market Place, in partnership with Morse Marketing Connections, would like to invite you to a FREE half-day workshop in Lansing, Michigan to learn about potential ways to grow your business, and connect to new markets in the mid-Michigan area.
Financial and food safety experts will share successful ways specialty crop farmers are opening doors to new markets through improved financial readiness and food safety practices. ** Please see the attached flyer with a description and schedule for the program.
Who: Specialty crop farmers
What: Free workshop including lunch and updates from Allen Market Place - “Connecting Specialty Crop Farmers with New Markets and Food Hubs: Financial and Food Safety Options for Scaling Up”
When: Friday, June 27, 2014, 2014 from Noon - 4:00 pm.
Where: Allen Market Place, 1619 E. Kalamazoo St., Lansing, MI. More info: http://www.allenmarketplace.org/
Please RSVP to participate at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/B5BBXBZ
Registration for this workshop is free of charge.
Note: Participants coming from more than 30 miles may request a travel scholarship for funds to reimburse mileage.
Black Farmers and Gardeners Conference
Save the Date! Black Farmers & Urban Gardeners Conference to be held in Detroit on October 17-19. www.blackfarmersconf.org for details as they develop.
Associate Director for Urban and Community IPM and Area IPM Advisor
The University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources has just listed a new open position: Associate Director for Urban and Community IPM and Area IPM Advisor. Please help spread the announcement in order to maximize our outreach to interested candidates. I appreciate your support in advancing our recruitment goals within UC ANR. Please forward the links below to potential candidates.
Location: UC ANR - Davis
Date Posted: May 20, 2014
Closing Date: July 21, 2014
Job Description: Download
Community Growers Director-Southside Community Land Trust
Providence, Rhode Island
Organization Description: Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT) provides access to land, education and other resources so people in Greater Providence can grow food in environmentally sustainable ways and create community food systems where locally produced, affordable, and healthy food is available to all. Each year, over 2,500 people benefit from SCLT’s programs which include community gardens, youth employment and education, garden leadership training, food growing and nutrition workshops, and new farmer development.
Position Summary: The Community Growers Director is responsible for planning and coordination of all community grower programming including management and development of new community gardens; facilitating the Providence Market Growers Network; coordinating SCLT’s seasonal workshop schedule and urban agriculture Neighborhood Hub sites; and various seasonal programs and events. This position will report to SCLT’s Executive Director.
Minority and bilingual applicants are strongly encouraged. Salary is $38,000-$46,000 annually based on experience, with full benefits and generous vacation package. SCLT is an equal opportunity employer.
Southside Community Land Trust
Grant Program for Students in Organic and Sustainable Ag Programs
New granting program for students who are studying organic agriculture in vocational, two year, and four year degree programs. Details can be found here: http://www.ccof.org/ccof/structure/ccof-foundation/future-organic-farmer-grant-fund
The California Certified Organic Farmers Foundation and the UNFI Foundation, in collaboration with partner organizations; Driscoll’s, Organic Valley and Bradmer Foods, have launched the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund for vocational and higher education students. (http://napavalley.patch.com/groups/schools/p/25k-in-tuition-grants-available-for-future-organic-farmers_b0b30426)
Grants totaling $25,000 are now available in direct financial support for the education of future organic farmers and agricultural professionals. Ten grants of $2,500 each will be awarded to students who plan to work in organic agriculture.
Grants are open to vocational and higher education students of organic agriculture who are currently enrolled or have been accepted to start their studies in 2014.
Students can be any age and can be full- or part-time. A major goal of the program is to assist students from disadvantaged backgrounds in starting careers in organic agriculture.
“Among the challenges to meeting the rising demand for organic products is the need for new organic farmers and entrepreneurs," said Cathy Calfo, CCOF executive director/CEO. "More than 80 percent of Americans now purchase organic products, and demand continues to outpace the supply.”
The vocational and higher education grants are available through the CCOF and UNFI Foundations for students nationwide and will remain open until June 13.
“The United States is facing an epidemic shortage of farmers and the average age of a farmer is hovering around 60,” said Melody Meyer, UNFI Vice President, Policy and Industry Relations. “We are excited to join with other industry leaders to address this challenge.”
For more information about the application process or to contribute to the fund, visit www.ccof.org/foundation/fofgf.
If you would like to access a searchable archive of the all the previous Mich-Organic listserv postings copy this URL and paste in your browser address field http://list.msu.edu/archives/mich-organic.html