Michigan Organic Listserv
July 2, 2015
Center for Regional Food System
Vicki Morrone-Organic Farming Specialist
This information is not intended to promote any product or business, just for your personal knowledge
Organic Production & Certification News
Proposed Changes to USDA NOP Rules regarding Organic Dairy Herds
Organic or Conventional - It Depends on the Definition of “Herd”
See Underline if you would like to make comments on this proposal
Organic Farming Research Foundation Maria Gaura - OFRF
April 28, 2015 - The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has issued proposed rules aimed at limiting the transition of non-organically-raised dairy animals into organic production, moving to resolve a debate that has long roiled the organic dairy industry.
The proposed rules would narrow an exception originally designed to make it easier for conventional dairy farmers to convert their operations to organic. In general, dairy animals must be raised on organic feed and under organic management practices from the third trimester of gestation before their eventual milk production can be certified as organic. But National Organic Program (NOP) regulations include an exception for conventional dairy farmers wishing to transition to organic production.
For those farmers, the NOP allows an existing dairy herd to be reclassified as organic after no less than 12 months of organic management. The exception was intended as a one-time event to help individual farmers avoid the substantial hurdle of herd replacement. Milk from transitioned cows may be sold as organic, but the cows themselves cannot later be sold for slaughter as organic beef.
However, some organic dairy producers and certifying agencies differed in their interpretation of the term “herd”, and used the exception to allow the ongoing transition of conventionally-raised animals into organic operations. The move cut costs for a small number of producers, but created ongoing controversy that the current proposal aims to resolve.
The new proposal would tweak the rules by regulating the producer instead of the herd, thereby explicitly limiting conventional-to-organic transition to a one-time event, rather than an ongoing business practice. Critics have noted that producers intent on repeated use of the exception could possibly employ a legal strategy of re-incorporation. But other dairy insiders praised the proposed rule as an acknowledgement of the problem and a well-structured attempt to clarify the rule.
"These proposed changes are a welcome move by the USDA to provide clarity on the transition rule," said Organic Farming Research Foundation Executive Director Brise Tencer. "Uncertainty on this issue over the years has left producers and certifiers to build their own interpretations, and an update on these rules is overdue. We applaud the strengthening and improvement of organic standards."
Comment on the proposed rule will be accepted from April 28 through July 27, 2015. Click here to go to the Click here to go to the National Organic Program website to register a comment. to register a comment.
- See more at: http://www.ofrf.org/news/organic-or-conventional-it-depends-definition-%E2%80%9Cherd%E2%80%9D?utm_source=OFRF+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=ff6b2093b3-May+2015+Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_4e39bea10a-ff6b2093b3-22351641&ct=t()#sthash.zJJb0Dad.dpuf
Wild Foraged Mushrooms: The Rules at Farmers Markets Webinar
Date: Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. EST
About the Webinar:
The webinar agenda will cover the importance of this information as it pertains to farmers markets and market managers, labeling requirements, Cottage Food information, certification cards and what they look like, and an overview on what types of mushrooms foragers can sell.
Those looking to sell mushrooms for consumption are required by law to be an expert regarding the wild-foraged mushrooms they identify and sell. MDARD, MAMI, MIFMA and ISLAND recently certified over 80 foragers through a stringent and thorough workshop and exam process. Individuals looking to receive certification had to pass the exam with 80% or higher to earn certification. The workshop was designed to ensure foragers will, upon successful completion, qualify to meet the requirements of the Michigan Food Law to harvest, broker and sell wild-foraged mushrooms in the state; whether they sell directly to the public, restaurants or retailers. Organizations and businesses such as restaurants, grocers and farmers markets who either buy direct from mushroom foragers or provide space from which such people may sell, are required by law to ensure all sellers of wild-foraged mushrooms do so in accordance with federal and state law. Successful completion of the program is recognized by MDARD as sufficient to qualify for an Expert Mushroom Identifier Card issued by the State. Certification as an Expert Mushroom Identifier will last for five years, after which recertification will be necessary.
MSU Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center Field Day
July 25, 2015
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: Michigan State University Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center
Contact: Michelle Coleman at [log in to unmask] or 906-439-5114
Please join us Saturday, July 25th at the Michigan State University Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center, located in Chatham, Mich., to tour the various research efforts underway at the farm. Featured topics include: grazing and pasture management, the Chatham Red Angus herd, malting barley and forage variety trials, season extension technologies at the North Farm, and a rainfall simulation to illustrate infiltration.
Check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the South Farm, located at E3774 University Drive, less than one mile south of the Village of Chatham on Highway M-94. The tour will begin promptly at 9 a.m. with transportation provided throughout the Farm. You will have the opportunity to tour both the North and South Farm sites and interact with the various researchers and staff conducting research at the Center.
A free lunch is provided, sponsored by the Hiawathaland Farm Bureau, but registration is strongly encouraged so everyone can be accommodated.
A complete agenda is as follows:
8:30 a.m. Check-in/registration at South Farm
9:00 a.m. Load buses for North Farm
9:15 a.m. North Farm Program
- Farm Incubator featuring Bean Pole Farm
- Lessons learned from year one
- Structural performance of hoophouses
- Season extension technologies
11:15 a.m. Load buses for South Farm
11:30 a.m. Lunch—presentation featuring UPREC cattle update
12:30 p.m. Load wagons for South Farm Program
12:45 p.m. Systems Project Presentation
- Fencing and watering system
- Methods to measure pasture productivity
- Methods to measure soil productivity
1:45 p.m. Rainfall Simulator Presentation
2:30 p.m. Research Plot Presentation
- Malting barley variety trials
- Forage variety trials
3:30 p.m. Field Day concludes
Event will be held rain or shine, please plan accordingly!
Seeking Organic Fruit Growers to Participate in Survey-
To help ID research needs
Dear Organic Producers:
I would like to ask your help in conducting a survey on organic fruit production in the Midwest. I would greatly appreciate if you would please take 5-10 minutes and fill out the attached questionnaire on organic fruit production and research needs. All responses will be coded and kept confidential.
If you prefer to mail your response, please mail to K. Delate, Iowa State University, 106 Horticulture Hall, Ames, IA 50011.
THANK YOU for all your help and interest! Best wishes for a good season—it has been VERY challenging so far!-Kathleen
Depts. of Agronomy and Horticulture
Iowa State University
106 Horticulture Hall, Ames, IA, 50011
Michigan Organic Farm and Market Directory
Michigan Organic Food and Farming Alliance, a non-profit member run organization offers an on-line directory of organic farms with a listing of their produce and a little history of the farm. This is a great way to find a farm to visit while you are traveling in the state or if you are seeking farm-direct sources of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy and grains. This listing is free to all organic farms (for now anyways). Some of the farms are USDA NOP certified and those that are not are requested to sign the Organic Practices Farmers Pledge (www.Moffa.net). If you would like to sign up to be part of the directory visit http://www.moffa.net/farm-guide.html and complete the information and application for consideration. There is no cost but you are asked to share your NOP certification (copy) or complete and sign the Farmers Pledge, which affirms that you follow USDA Organic Practices but are not certified.
Understanding MSU soil test report basics – Part 1 of 2
Get the most out of your MSU soil test report with these tips on collecting a good soil sample for testing.
Michigan State University Extension promotes regular soil testing for all commercial crop production. Many farmers soil test regularly or occasionally. MSU’s Soil and Plant Nutrient Laboratory is an excellent place to have soil samples analyzed. There are other good options for soil testing, including several public and private laboratories.
After 26 years of reviewing MSU soil test reports and making fertilizer recommendations for farmers, gardeners and others from across the Upper Peninsula, I have the following pointers regarding the MSU soil test report.
Want a useful report? Collect a good sample!
- Collect a good, representative sample. If you don’t know how, review the process in “Sampling Soils for Fertilizer and Lime Recommendations,” MSU Extension publication E0498.
- Make sure you sample as deeply as you intend to till the ground. If you are not tilling the ground, such as in pasture, hay, lawns or other perennial crop situations, then sample 3 inches deep. In long-term, no-till systems, a 2-inch deep sample should be collected to test pH, and a separate sample 6-7 inches deep collected for other nutrient information.
- Be sure to include the depth of tillage on the MSU Soil Test Information Sheet. The depth you indicate has a direct relationship to the amount of lime recommended, if any is needed. For example, twice as much lime will be recommended for 8-inch tillage compared to 4-inch tillage. If you don’t specify a tillage depth, the laboratory will automatically enter a 9-inch depth.
- Select the crop to be grown carefully from the list on the soil test information sheet. If an exact fit isn’t listed, pick the closest thing and include a note on the information sheet. This will help your local Extension educator or farm supply dealer understand what is planned. If you list multiple crops as “1st year crop” and “2nd year crop,” but you intend to plant them together, include a note on the information sheet to make this clear. A “2nd year crop” will take into consideration any nitrogen credits estimated from the “1st year crop” listed, if it is a legume.
- Include a realistic yield goal for the crop or crops you plan to grow. If records are available, this could be the average yield of five previous normal years. Feel free to be optimistic, but understand the higher the yield goal, the more nutrients will be recommended. If you don’t indicate your desired yield, the laboratory will include a “default” yield which could be too high, resulting in an excessive nutrient recommendation, or too low, resulting in an inadequate nutrient recommendation. This is a common problem on soil test reports, especially those from farmers unfamiliar with the system.
- Include your email on the information sheet if you regularly check it for messages. The laboratory will be able to email you and your local Extension educator an electronic copy of your report as soon as it is completed. This will be quicker than U.S. mail. If you have questions regarding the report or need specific fertilizer recommendations, please contact your local Extension educator.
The North Farm Extension Workshop Series -
All workshops start at 2 p.m. EST and are located at The North Farm, E3774 University Drive, Chatham, MI - 1 mile north of the Village of Chatham on the Rock River Road
Participants have two registration options:
1. Individuals - select the “Participant Registration” option and select workshops you plan to attend. Workshops are $10/class/person or you can register for the entire series for $50/person.
2. Farms or Groups - select the “Farm or Group Registration” option and select the workshops your group plans to attend. Workshops are $15/class/group or you can register your group for the entire series for $75/group.
Registration is $10/person or $15/group.
**Each workshop also qualifies for education hours for MSUE Master Gardeners!**
Workshop options include:
1. Tools for the Small Farm — July 18, 2.5 hours - 2-4:30
Join The North Farm staff for a discussion on the tools that we use on our small farm. These purpose-built tools serve to lessen labor inputs, decrease worker fatigue, and maximize yields. We will also discuss suppliers from which you can source tools and supplies. You will have the opportunity to try out several of our tools.
Registration is $10/person or $15/group.
2. Post-harvest Handling-August 8, 2015--2 - 5 p.m.
Location: The North Farm, E3774 University Drive, Chatham, MI
Contact: [log in to unmask] or 906-439-5059
One of the most crucial parts of vegetable production is post-harvest handling. With proper care after harvest, your crop will not only look amazing, but it will last longer on the shelf and will be safe to eat. Come learn about techniques, tools, and systems that will help you maximize the salable portion of your harvested crop while maintaining a level of efficiency and safety.
3. Hoophouse Tour - Sunday, Aug. 30 starting at 1 p.m.
This event is free and open to the public. It will be held at the Michigan State University North Farm, located at N5431 Rock River Road in Chatham, Michigan (one mile north of the Village of Chatham). Transportation for the tour is provided and will include four stops/farms.
Farms featured and highlighted topics include:
- Rock River Farm - Soil Health & Composting
- Superior Central School - Cover Cropping & Record Management
- Reh Morr Farms - Variety Selection for Hoop Houses & Horse Power
- The North Farm - Site & Structure Selection
The tour will conclude at 6 p.m. with a dinner at the North Farm featuring local food. Brad Morgan, from Morgan Composting, Inc. and Dairy Doo, will provide a keynote address at the dinner discussing the use of composting and soil fertility. The tour and dinner is free, but registration is required.
Participating sponsors include: Hiawathaland Farm Bureau, Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program, NRCS, Alger Conservation District, Marquette Conservation District, Michigan State University Extension, and Michigan State University AgBioResearch. Click here to register
4. Soil Health and Cover Crop Rotations Workshop
Date: October 17, 2015
Time: 2 - 4 p.m.
Location: North Farm, Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center, N5431 Rock River Road, Chatham, MI 49816
Contact: Collin Thompson, [log in to unmask], 906-439-5059
Soil health is the backbone of any farm and integrating cover cropping systems aids in the development of healthy soil systems. Join The North Farm staff for a discussion regarding planning cover crop schedules, analyzing soil health, and management strategies for organic systems.
Registration is $10/person or $15/group.
5. The Economics of Cover Crops
July 20, 2015 | 12:00noon to 1:30pm eastern
Quantifying nitrogen scavenging benefits of non-traditional fall planted cover crops to mitigate nitrogen movement in the Mississippi River Basin
Dr. Ajay Nair, Iowa State University
Economic Impact of Cover Crop Seed Sales in Illinois
Dr. Xiaolan Liu and Fred Iutzi, Western Illinoi University
Webinar is free and open to the public.
The webinar is 90 minutes; 60 minutes for presentations from researchers and 30 minutes of Q&A.
To join the webinar, visit practicalfarmers.org/farminars
and click the “Join In" button, then select "Enter as a Guest."
Until then, enjoy PFI’s Farminar Archive, “a trove of information on topics from production and business planning to marketing and labor management, and across agricultural enterprises.”
Michigan Food Hub Network Meeting
You are invited to participate in the upcoming network meeting co-hosted by the Michigan Food Hub Network and the Michigan Farm to Institution Network (MFIN) along with local MSU Extension Community Food Systems partners. The event will take place on July 15 – 16, 2015 in Flint, Michigan. Free to attend, this special event is sure to be packed with good food, good conversation and opportunities for collaboration! See the draft agenda attached.
The two-day gathering has three parts for which you can RSVP separately:
1. Tours of Good Food projects in Flint, including the downtown Flint Farmers Market, from 2 – 4:45 pm on Wednesday, July 15th
2. Networking reception on the rooftop terrace of the market from 5 - 7 pm on Wednesday, July 15th
Joint network meeting from 8:30 – 3 pm on Thursday, July 16th with a light breakfast and lunch at the market provided
Please RSVP here for any or all of these unique events. The RSVP deadline is 12 noon on Friday, July 10th.
For those who plan to overnight in Flint on Wednesday, July 15th, we have a block of rooms reserved at the Holiday Inn Express Flint, Campus Area. Rooms in the block will be offered at a discounted rate of $89.99 on a first come, first serve basis until July 1, 2015. To make your reservation, please call the hotel directly at 810.238.7744 and mention that you are with the “MSU Center for Regional Food Systems meeting, Block Code: MSU” to get the discounted rate.
The Michigan Food Hub Network is led by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems and co-convened by Morse Marketing Connections, LLC. It facilitates increased learning, innovation and profitability for participating food hubs, increased access to food hub financial and technical assistance, research and education, and increased business-to-business collaboration across food hubs.
Here are Westwind Farm’s first seasonal events!
Mention this email and take $5 off Organic Gardening Day and/or Yoga, or get $5 off for children under 12 for the Monarch presentation!
Organic Gardening Day – Saturday, July 25, from 10 am – 2 pm
Cost is $25 p/p
See our organic gardens at their peak, learn how to navigate through Nature’s obstacles – through companion planting, several ways of enriching the soil, what weeds are telling you, making the most of your plants, and more, to receiving Nature’s gifts of a bountiful harvest come Fall. After going through the gardens, discussion, and lots of info to take home, we take a wagon ride to the old Oak for a fresh garden lunch.
Yoga & Tea at the Great Oak – Sat., July 11 and Sat. Aug 15, both from 5-7 pm
Cost $20 p/p
Enjoy this unique yoga experience under our 300 year old Bur Oak, whose roots and branches spread widely across their own space in the middle of Westwind Farm, away from road noise where breathing is a joy in itself! Instructor Lynn of Balanced Body Yoga in Byron is so wonderful at making people feel comfortable and get the most out of their experience, everyone feels welcome. (This is Slow-Flow Yoga, no major acrobatics are required here!!) After an hour of this unique yoga, enjoy organic sun teas with sweet and savory treats.
Saving the Monarch Butterflies –
Sat., August 15 from 1-3 pm Cost $20 adults, $10 children 12 and under
This program is a very important one to see. It can help us DO something to create meaningful change in the world. Diane Pruden of Monarch Watch will bring adult Monarch butterflies that she GPS tags and releases (must be tiny!) to help track their dwindling numbers, which are caused by habitat destruction in Mexico and by the use of Round Up here in their northern migration area here in the upper midwest and Canada. (See our Westwind Farm facebook page for more info on the Monarchs' plight.) We take a wagon ride out to the Great Oak and for the presentation, and afterwards, enjoy fresh baked treats and refreshments.
Integrating Cover Crops in Soybean Rotations-
A New Publication
Good afternoon, a team from the MCCC recently produced a publication for the North Central Soybean Research Program titled “Integrating Cover Crops in Soybean Rotations.” This publication can be found on the NCSRP website or on the MCCC website at the following url.
A one-day Nematology Short Course
This program is designed for agri-business, will be held at the MSU Kellogg Hotel and Convention Center on Thursday, August 20, 2015. The event has been developed jointly by the nematologists of the NE-1040 Multi-State Research Project and Michigan Agri-Business Association. It contains sessions on general nematology, host-plant resistance management, cover crops and soil health.
Attached you will find a copy of the Announcement and Program. Click here to register online
Organic Research Initiative Grant Opportunity
Ceres Trust, a privately administered charitable trust based in the Midwest, announces that our Request for Applications opens June 1 for the 2015 Organic Research Initiative (ORI) grant program.
Grants of up to $60,000 per year for up to three years will be awarded. The Trust anticipates that up to ten grants will be made to universities, tribal colleges, and other nonprofit applicants in the North Central Region. Applicants must be based in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, or Wisconsin to be eligible.
Applications must be entered on the Ceres Trust website and mailed or sent by Federal Express or similar delivery service on or before September 25, 2015.
To view the RFA, visit: http://cerestrust.org/organic-research-at-universities/request-for-applications-universities/
Applicants may apply directly online or download the application, fill it out, and upload it to our online grant management system. All necessary attachments must be uploaded and submitted for applications to be considered.
All applicants must also submit six paper copies of their complete applications to: Ceres Trust, PMB 125, 479 Mankato Avenue, Winona, MN 55987.
Ceres Trust has populated our on-line field day calendar with numerous organic research and demonstration events at: http://cerestrust.org/calendar/
National Wildlife Federation Agriculture Program Specialist
We’re looking for a knowledgeable and talented person to add to our cover crop team! Position is to be based in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Michigan.
Feel free to contact me with any questions.
Ryan Stockwell, Ph.D.
Senior Agriculture Program Manager
**Perfect for hobby farm or CSA
Beautiful 1855 farmhouse on 14 acre property has six outbuildings (including an old dairy barn, a horse barn with 2 stalls & an equipment barn), multiple fenced pastures and a lovely creek. The well-maintained house has 3 extra-large bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a total of 2700 square feet of living space with beautiful original woodwork throughout. This country property is just outside the 270 loop and within 20 minutes west of downtown Columbus. Just think: you could have goats, chickens, & horses. Start an orchard and a market garden. Huge potential! 1200 Alton Rd., Galloway, OH
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