Michigan Organic News Listserv

Center for Regional Food Systems

Jan 17, 2015

Information and news for you 

Not intended to promote businesses or products

Questions and comments: [log in to unmask] 

Organic NEWS

According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, total organic product sales by farms and ranches in the U.S. have continued to show substantial growth over the last few years, increasing by 83 percent since 2007. To learn more about the trends of organic agriculture in the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is now conducting the 2014 Organic Survey. 


to respond to this survey

If you are exempt (sales under $5000) or Transitioning, USDA wants to hear from you as well.  Please respond -- show USDA the strength of organic


Producers can fill out the survey online via a secure website, www.agcensus.usda.gov, or return their form by mail.

Federal law (Title 7, U.S. Code) requires all producers who receive a form to respond and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.

Recipients are required to respond by mail by February 13, 2015 or online by April 3, 2015. NASS will publish the results in August 2015. For more information about the Organic Survey, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call (800) 851-1127



 Comment on Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

Changes to CSP from the 2014 Farm Bill discourage good land stewards from continuing conservation practices, and make it difficult for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers to access the program. 


Please take a minute to see our Take Action page, and sign the linked letter or submit comments of your own. The comment period ends Jan. 20—we won't have another chance for five more years. 

“Everything starts with the soil, everything starts with the land.” 


These words from Illinois farmer Marcus Maier sum up the importance of supporting farmers who care for their land and our shared soil and water while feeding our nation’s families. 


We have an urgent opportunity to do just that right now – whether you’re a farmer yourself or simply someone who cares about sustainable food and farms. 


Got a few minutes? It won’t take long!


What’s Happening?

What is CSP? Why is it important?


Here’s the deal: one of the biggest – and best! – federal conservation programs that helps working farmers manage their land sustainably is in trouble. It’s called the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), it’s widely popular with farmers, and it's growing! It currently covers over 60 million acres of land in the US (more acres than the entire state of Minnesota!). CSP rewards farmers for protecting and maintaining healthy soil and clean water for generations to come.


The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting public comments on the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) interim final rule through January 20, 2015.


This is the last chance for NRCS to make changes before the rule becomes the permanent final rule that will govern the program for years to come. We have this one chance to make a good program even better: NRCS needs to hear from you and other farmers and concerned citizens!

What YOU can do!

Help make a great program even better!


NRCS will accept comments submitted online or through the mail. You can use the sample comments linked below to get started! It is important to personalize your comment – NRCS will read every single submission, and unique comments have the


Step 1 – Get informed

Visit our CSP Comment Center to learn what may change about CSP under the new rules, how these changes could impact farmers’ participation in the Conservation Stewardship Program, where NRCS could be doing more to help CSP reach its full potential, and why this matters for everyone.


While you are there, Sign our letter to USDA NRCS Chief Jason Weller! We will deliver this letter on January 20. We are partnering with the Center for Rural Affairs on this letter!


Step 2 – Customize the comment template for yourself!

NSAC has created comment templates for Organizations and for Farmers:

Farmer CSP Comment Template (MS Word)

Organization CSP Comment Template

There are guiding questions to help you tell your story effectively to NRCS. You can pick and choose – feel free to include in your comment letter whichever issues below are most important to you.


Step 3 – Submit your comment!

You can submit online at http://bit.ly/csp15 or by mail . The mailing address can be found at the same link.


via Help CSP! | National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

As always, let us know if you submit comments!


Thank you for everything you do for Michigan Communities!



Lindsey Scalera

Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy

Grassroots Organizer

734-646-2428 [log in to unmask]


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 Educational Events


The Michigan State University Student Organic Farm is offering scholarships for the 2015 session.

 We are currently accepting applications for our 2015 cohort of the Organic Farmer Training Program at Michigan State University. Apply now, space is limited! The program begins March 2 and runs thru November 20, 2015. We have two different types of scholarships available:

   Merit & Need-based Scholarships; these scholarships typically range from $500 to $4,000 and are applied directly to program fees.

   Our new Michigan Good Food Charter Scholarship for People of Color; one-two scholarships will be awarded in 2015 in the amount of $10,000 and are disbursed directly to the student.

Both the application for admission and the scholarship applications can be downloaded here: http://msuorganicfarm.org/organic-farmer-training-program-application


Resource Alert!

Did you know MSU has a publication AND phone app for aquatic and terrestrial invasive species identification?


Michigan Natural Features Inventory has a publication for both terrestrial and aquatic invasive plants. Does that work? http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/invasive-species/invasives.cfm#publications


MOFFA offers Organic Intensives-a day of intensive learning from practicioneers

Thursday, March 12, 2015



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Below are the three sessions which you can choose for the day. Each program is a full day educational experience so you can only choose one session.


Compost, Vermicompost, 
& Compost Extracts/Teas

Compost is at the foundation and cutting edge of soil health. Presenters Dane Terrill, John Biernbaum, Brooke Comer and Donny Comer will provide a mix of on-farm and research experi­ence and recent develop­ments that are sure to increase the quality and productivity of your transplants and crops.   Topics include purchased and on-farm compost, compost site planning, analysis to amend composts for transplants and tunnels, and the latest on meth­ods for food scraps, vermi­com­posting and teas to increase the impact of limited high quality compost. 

Cut Flowers for Profit
and Diversification

Flowers contribute wonderfully to the ecological and economic diversity of the farm.  Lynn Byczynski, author of The Flower Farmer and editor of Growing For Market, with Michigan flower farmers Pooh Stevenson of Owosso Organics and Jen Tutlis of Meadowlark Farm, will discuss seed starting, field and high tunnel produc­tion, physiological considera­tions, harvesting and post-­harv­est hand­ling, top ten flowers for each season, new varieties, mar­ket­­ing, bouquets and arrange­ments and more!  A unique opportunity to learn from truly experienced flower farmers.

Edible Landscaping & Permaculture Design

We can build the long-term resiliency of our local food supply by using limited space to provide a reliable harvest through the effective integra­tion of annual and perennial crops in the farmscape and in the home landscape.  Perma­culture principles focus on soil, water, sunlight, ecology and efficiency.  Join Michigan’s Mark Angelini, Trevor Newman, and Linda Jackson
to discuss foundational princi­ples and practices as well as some front yard examples of crops and methods, creating a place of beauty combined with access to your own food.

The event will take place during MSU Spring Break at Brody Hall on the MSU campus in East Lansing as part of Agriculture and Natural Resources Week.  The day begins with registration at 8:30 am and sessions end at 5:00 pm.  That evening, we’ll gather to share knowledge and experiences in a social setting.  Stick around for the Organic Reporting Session on Friday.

The registration fee includes six hours of learning, all-you-can-eat lunch, continental breakfast in the morning plus two breaks, printed materials, and a voucher good for all-day parking at the Kellogg Center (across Harrison Road from Brody Hall).  Rooms have been reserved at the Kellogg Center for the evening of March 12th for those who wish to stay for the Organic Reporting Session on Friday, March 13th.  To take advan­tage of the discounted room rate for this event, you must reserve your room with the Kellogg Center at 800-875-5090 or kelloggcenter.com before Thursday, February 6th. 

For more information and to register, please visit www.moffa.net/OI-2015.html or call 248-262-6826 and leave a message and we’ll return the call as soon as we can.  Class size is limited so register today to reserve your space, and to take advan­tage of the early registration fee of $75 for MOFFA members and $85 for non-members.  The fee will increase to $95 for everyone after February 28.  A limited number of fee scholarships are avail­able; see the website for more information.

To register for this event go to MOFFA.NET-note that spaces are limited. Session goes from 8:30-5:00 and each session is a full day program! Come learn from expert farmers and share your experiences too!

Organic Reporting Session

Friday March 13, 2015

Weed management-research for practical approaches



Friday, March 13, 2015


Located at: Brody Hall, Michigan State University

241 Brody Service Rd East Lansing, MI 48823


Visit www.MichiganOrganic.msu.edu to register


Cost is $25 for farmers and $30 for others (all inclusive)


The day will offer:

Research reports on weed biology and tillage systems

Farmers’ panels of what works and what doesn’t

Discussion to identify farmer/researcher-approach grant

Taste of Michigan Reception

We invite you to join us for a day to learn and share about the greatest challenge of organic production-weeds. We will discuss weed management through the soil health AND through mechanization. The day will include 2 research presentations conducted at Michigan State University.  A panel of farmers will share their approaches and knowledge to manage weeds in the field through spacing, crop rotations and mechanization. To conclude the day we will facilitate a discussion for all to identify key questions to address in future research. Grant resources will be discussed that can be used to address these issues. This program will focus on organic production systems, appropriate for all types of farming.



MSU Center for Regional Food Systems and Michigan Farmers Market Association are Hosting a Webinar on Farm to School Sales 

When: Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.  EST

Where: A webinar, where participants can log in with any device that has speakers and consistent Internet connection (a link and directions will be emailed to registrants). 


Register: http://mifma.org/events/farm-to-school-webinar/

An educational webinar where you will hear from farmers and food service directors about their experiences with Farm to School sales as part of the Hoophouses for Health program. 

Farm to Daycare in Leelanau, MI: 

Jess Piskor of Bare Knuckle Farm and Berkeley Gossett of Leelanau Children's Center will speak about their farm to daycare connection in Leelanau, MI.

Farm to School in Waterford, MI: 

Doreen Simonds, Food Service Director of Waterford Public Schools, will speak about her experience working with Trim Pines Farm in Waterford, MI.

Farm to School and Farm to Daycare in East Jordan, MI: 

Mary Brower of Bluestem Farm will speak about her experience working with East Jordan Public Schools and a private daycare in East Jordan, MI.

Hoophouses for Health: 

Michigan Farm to School is now teaming up with the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) and the MSU Horticulture Department on Hoophouses for Health. The Hoophouses for Health program is designed to help Michigan children and families have better access to good food while supporting Michigan farmers and increasing season extension food production. This project is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

For additional information and resources about Farm to School, visit the Michigan Farm to School website at www.mifarmtoschool.msu.edu. To learn more about the Hoophouses for Health program, visit http://mifma.org/hoophouses-for-health/.


Beginning farmers on-line training (webinars) offered by MSU Extension

Attention beginning farmers!

The MSU Extension 2015 Beginning Farmer Webinar Series is available for you to gain knowledge needed to plan your start-up farming operation, or add a new enterprise to an existing farm.  A series of twenty, 2-hour evening webinars covering a wide variety of farm- related topics is available, including:


“Getting started with….”

…Small Grain Production, Jan. 26 

...Cover Crops in Organic Vegetable Crop Rotations, Feb. 2

…Integrated Pest Management, Feb. 4

…Manure Storage, Handling and Mortality Management on Small Farms, Feb. 11

…Beekeeping for Pollination and Honey, Feb 13

…Value-Added Agriculture, Feb. 18

…Farm Food Safety, Feb 23

…Sheep and Goat Management, March 2

…USDA Organic Certification, March 9

…Hop Production, March 11

…Season Extension, March 16

…Marketing, March 18

…Small Fruit Production, March 23

…Beef Cow-Calf Production, March 25

…Direct Marketing, March 30

…Managing Soil, Irrigation and Fertilization Interactions, April 1

…Cover Crops in Field Crop Rotations, April 6

…Poultry Production, April 20

…Small Farm Equipment, April 27

…Beef Feedlot Management, April 29


A fee of $10 per webinar is required, or you can register for the entire series for $100.  Webinar recordings will be provided to all registered participants.  Participate from the comfort and convenience of your own home or office.  Registration, a brochure containing details on each individual program, and on-line or mailed payment options can be found at http://events.anr.msu.edu/beginningfarmerwebinars/.


Each program begins at 7pm eastern time and will last about 2 hours.  A  high-speed internet connection is required.  You will receive webinar connection information after you register.


Contact the Alger County MSU Extension office at 906-387-2530 or [log in to unmask] for more information.




Practical Farmers of Iowa offer webinars to view on command


This is just one example of the webinars available:

 “Haney & PLFA Soil Tests: What, How? Why?” – Fred Abels and Lance Gunderson


To watch any of the archived webinars visit:


Do you wonder how soil tests can be used to help improve your soil management? Learn the basics of two increasingly popular tests – the Haney and phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) soil tests – from soil microbiologist Lance Gunderson, including how the results are determined and how to interpret these results. Farmer and grazier Fred Abels will then describe how he’s used the Haney test on his farm to inform his management. They will both discuss the results of tests taken on Fred’s farm.

    Fred Abels and his wife Vicki raise no-till corn and soybeans, cattle and pasture near Holland. They use cover crops, strip grazing and grazing corn to economically feed their animals and ecologically keep their soil covered.

    Lance Gunderson is the staff soil microbiologist at Ward Laboratories, Inc. in Kearney, Neb. He has extensive experience with analyzing results of both the phospholipid fatty-acid (PLFA) and Haney soil tests, and communicating what these results mean for farmers.



Sarah Carlson

Practical Farmers of Iowa

Midwest Cover Crop Research Coordinator



Grant Opportunities

USDA Announces More Than $18 Million to Support Training and Development for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers


WASHINGTON – Jan. 12, 2105 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced the availability of more than $18 million in funding to help educate, mentor and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers.  This support is available through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), administered by USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA).  Winning awards from last year’s application cycle will be announced in the near future.


“The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is critical for cultivating the next generation of farmers and ranchers, who will be integral to sustaining America’s agricultural future,” said Harden.  “Leading community and service organizations are on the front lines when it comes to identifying and training new farmers and ranchers, and strong partnerships with these groups are the key to our success.” 


The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program awards grants to organizations implementing programs to train beginning farmers and ranchers, including workshops, educational teams, training, and technical assistance throughout the United States.


Fiscal Year 2015 applications for BFRDP are due March 13, 2015. Eligible applicants are collaborative, State, tribal, local, or regionally-based network or partnership of public or private entities, including state cooperative extension service; community-based and nongovernmental organization; college or university (including institutions awarding associate degrees); or any other appropriate organization providing services to beginning farmers and ranchers.


At least five percent of the funds must go to projects that serve military veteran beginning farmers and ranchers, and at least five percent to projects that serve socially-disadvantaged, limited-resource, or farmworker audiences.  All applicants are required to provide funds or in-kind support from non-federal sources in an amount that is at least equal to 25 percent of the federal funds requested. 


Priority topics are:


    Basic livestock, forest management, and crop farming practices;

    Innovative farm, ranch, and private, nonindustrial forest land transfer strategies;

    Entrepreneurship and business training;

    Financial and risk management training (including the acquisition and management of agricultural credit);

    Natural resource management and planning;

    Diversification and marketing strategies;

    Curriculum development;

    Mentoring, apprenticeships, and internships;

    Resources and referral;

    Farm financial benchmarking;

    Assisting beginning farmers or ranchers in acquiring land from retiring farmers and ranchers;

    Agricultural rehabilitation and vocational training for veterans;

    Farm safety and awareness; and

    Other similar subject areas of use to beginning farmers or ranchers.


NIFA will host a webinar for interested applicants on Wednesday, February 11, 2015, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. EST. No password or advance reservation is required. A recording will be posted on the NIFA website shortly after the event.


From 2009-2012, 145 awards have been made for more than $71 million through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program . Additional information about USDA support for new farmers and ranchers is available at www.usda.gov/newfarmers.


Funding for BFRDP program is authorized 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.  


Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future.  More information is at: www.nifa.usda.gov.

All our Farminars are archived and available here for future viewing. We have had several on cover crops plus other topics suggested by our farmer members. Check those out here:


Job Opportunities


Academic Specialist –Promoting good food access to children and youth.

The Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) is accepting applications for an Academic Specialist to support outreach and research efforts promoting good food access and awareness in childhood development and education environments. The position will support existing CRFS initiatives and help to develop additional programming capacity in this arena.


For the full position description and to learn more about CRFS, visit foodsystems.msu.edu.


This is a full-time, annual year position. Applications will be accepted until February 20, 2015 or until a suitable candidate is identified. To apply, visit jobs.msu.edu and search for faculty/academic staff posting #0656.


Questions about the position or search process should be directed to Karen Sturdivant, CRFS Managing Director and search committee chair, at [log in to unmask] or 517-432-0049. Please do not send application materials to the search committee chair.



Job Opening: MOSES Organic Specialist

This is a great opportunity to join the MOSES team and make a difference in the way America farms!


The Organic Specialist will work in our Spring Valley, Wis. office. The Specialist needs to be experienced in organic production and certification to answer farmers’ questions, and must have strong writing and communication skills. 


If the job's not right for you, my guess is you know someone who's perfect for it. Please forward this posting. We're hoping to fill this position by the end of the month.



As always, I appreciate all you're doing for organic and sustainable farming.

My best,


Faye Jones

MOSES Executive Director


Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service

PO Box 339

Spring Valley, Wisconsin 54767



 Oceana Conservation District - Forestry Assistance Program Forester

The Oceana Conservation District is seeking a Forestry Assistance Program Forester.  The Forestry Assistance Program (FAP) provides landowners with technical information on forestry, wildlife habitat and related natural resource concerns, so that they may make informed decisions about the use and management of their forestlands.  The Oceana Conservation District will be the employer of record, with primary office space located at the Oceana Conservation District/USDA Service Center in Shelby MI. This is primarily a field position, with the forester's time and duties allocated between Oceana, Newaygo and Muskegon Counties.  This is a grant-funded position renewed annually and requires a minimum of a B.S. in Forestry. 

Position Description (click to see)

Application Deadline:  January 30, 2015.  To apply send a cover letter, resume and three references to the Oceana Conservation District, 1064 Industrial Park Drive, Shelby, MI 49455, or via email to [log in to unmask]





Lori Phalen

Executive Director

Michigan Association of Conservation Districts

[log in to unmask]

c) 517-930-2975






Vicki Morrone
Organic farming specialist
Center For Regional Food Systems at MSU
480 Wilson Rd Rm 303
East Lansing, MI 48824
517-353-3542/517-282-3557 (cell)

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