Michigan Organic Listserv

February 5, 2016

News for and about organic farming

This news is to assist you. It is not intended as promotion or advertisement for any businesses.


Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University

Desk of Vicki Morrone ([log in to unmask])


Organic and Farming News

Educational Events

Job Opportunities

Grants Available


Organic and Family Farming News


Organic Field Crop Demand is Strong


By Dan Rossman | [log in to unmask]


Demand for organic food continues to grow in the United States. According to a 2015 Organic Industry Survey by the Organic Trade Association (OTA), U.S. consumer sales of organic food is expected to exceed $35.9 billion in 2015. That is an 11% increase from 2014. OTA also claims that organic food sales now represent almost 5% of total U.S. food sales. This is exciting news for organic producers. Producing for an increasing markets is a favorable place to be.


Michigan ranks 9th overall in the U.S. for organic sales according to the 2014 USDA Census of Agriculture, but not surprisingly Michigan ranks fifth overall in the value of organic field crop production, first in organic black beans, forth in organic soybeans, and fourth in organic corn for grain. Michigan’s prominence is possible because of favorable growing conditions for organic field crops, individual’s investment in the infrastructure to receive and handle organic field crops, buyers sourcing organic crops from Michigan, and farmers willing to raise organic field crops.


The outlook for 2016 is bright for Michigan producers despite the potential for some downward pressure on organic prices. Conventional crop prices have softened because of the low oil prices affecting ethanol, the strong dollar affecting export demand, and large carryover supplies. There also are a number farmers who are transitioning to organic. The U.S. does not have nearly enough production of organic field crops to meet domestic demand and must rely on substantial quantities of imports. We actually need more production of Michigan organic field crops. The prices suggested at an organic market outlook meeting in Michigan earlier in December by buyers and marketers reflected that the need is still strong. Organic yellow corn for 2016 was projected to be in the $9.50 to $10.50 range. Organic food grade soybeans might be priced at $23 to $24. Organic black, navy and pinto beans are expected to be in the $70 to $85 range. There will likely be some resistance for organic farmers to contract at these levels because that are about a 15% reduction from the contract prices offered last year.


The message is clear in calling for more organic producers. When comparing conventional crop prices and returns with organic crops you easily see a far greater return for organics. Granted you cannot farm as many acres with the sample labor force as conventional farmers. Also your risk of not being able to control weeds as you desire is real. Your yield likely will be lower but in the end you might just find a greater reward. On the next page there is a comparison the economic returns of conventional field crops vs organic. There are only a projection at this point and an illustration to inspire conversation and to motivate you to calculate your own projections.

Articles taken from Michigan Organic Connection Newsletter, Volume 4 Number 4 December 2015



How to prepare your greenhouse, high tunnel for winter storms


By Vegetable Growers News


Given the recent heavy winter storms throughout many portions of the U.S., here are some tips from Rimol Greenhouse Systems to reduce storm damage to your greenhouse and high tunnel.


[log in to unmask]">


Educational Events


Webinar on 2016 OREI and ORG Request For Applications


USBA will host a webinar on Thursday, February 11, 2016, from 1:00-2:30 PM Eastern Time, to discuss the request for application to two NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture) organic grant programs:


·         Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI): $18 million available to fund projects that will enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products. Applications are due March 10, 2016.


·         Organic Transitions (ORG) : $3.8 million available to support the development and implementation of research, extension and higher education programs to improve the competitiveness of organic livestock and crop producers, as well as those who are adopting organic practices. Applications are due April 15, 2016. 


The links above will give you a detailed description of the programs, eligibility requirements, and application processes.


The webinar will include a brief description of the two programs followed by a Q&A session.

Pre-registration is not required for this webinar session. To participate:



Step 1: Dial In by Phone

Toll-Free (U.S. & Canada): 866.740.1260

Access Code: 7206000


Step 2: Also Access the Web

Meeting URL: http://www.readytalk.com

On the left side of the screen enter

Participant Access Code: 7206000


Michigan Farmer Field School 2016


Join us for a year of hands-on, field-based, farmer-led workshops.

Spring Workshops                                      


-       Farm Financial Fitness: Business Planning and Managing of Profit – 2 Day Workshop Must attend Both Days Sat., February 20, 8am-5pm and Sat., March 12, 8am-5pm.

-       Cost: $225 for 1 person, $60 additional for 2nd person from same farm

-       Location: Student Organic Farm – 3291 College Rd. Holt, MI 48842


This two-day workshop will focus on planning, running, monitoring and revising your farm business for profit.  Presenters will cover business planning including values and visioning for your farm business, your goals, objectives and sound strategies for getting there.  Operations management, production planning, labor, asset analysis, business structures, taxes, and marketing will be covered as they relate to development of a sound and profitable business, including looking at the future and planning for your retirement or exit strategy.  The workshop will emphasize financial management tools for understanding, calculating and utilizing key financial metrics (cash flow, balance sheet, partial budget analysis, enterprise budgets, return on investment, etc.) and will look at computer and web tools for financial management and record keeping that allow you to get a clearer picture of what is working and what needs changing to improve your bottom line. 

Presenters: Tomm Becker – Sunseed Farm, Fred Monroe – Monroe Organics, Jeremy Moghtader – Farm Manger, MSU Student Organic Farm, Director MSU Organic Farmer Training Program

To Register for a Workshop Click Here

For workshop questions contact:

Megan DeLeeuw - Farmer Field School Program Manager

[log in to unmask] or 734-718-5506

Tom Cary - Farmer Field School Program Manager

[log in to unmask] or 616-916-9823

Get a Jump on Spring with Westwind Farm

Still have the Winter Blahs...?  At Westwind Farm in Swartz Creek, we're gearing up for a very exciting and hopefully weather cooperative season of new garden products, organic gardening classes, Seasons Summer Camp for kids, Trending Topics Teas for adults & Fairy Teas for the young at heart, & butterflies, birds, & bees, for a full summer of nature discovery! 

NOTE:  Beginning March 1, our flour mill, Westwind Milling Co., LLC in Linden, will be reducing hours open to the public.  We will be open Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday only, from 11 am – 5 pm, & Saturdays by appointment.  This will allow us to maintain our wholesale accounts, be available for retail flour sales, and to spend the time needed to create a beautiful working and educational Farm that can offer quality experiences for those who want to contribute to a sustainable food system and environment.

 Here are Farm Events for February & March:

·         Valentine’s Pastries Class! Feb. 13, from 1-4 pm

-       Make something special for you Valentine! We’ll be making jelly rolls, scones & Cherry Bars, with recipes to take home, as well. Yummy! $28

·         Diner with the Birds! March 5, from 5-8 pm

-       Join Ben Blazier from the Hartland Audubon Society to get you in the mood for warm sunshine and birdsong!  We'll start the evening with a local and organic foods dinner, then see Ben's slideshow, artifacts, & discussion, as well.  $20.

·         Cool Breads Class! March 12, from 1-4 pm

-       This class goes for unusual, but wow great breads.  We start with Anadama bread, a wonderfully rich traditional New England Bread, and then we make English Muffins, which are some of the most fun you can have and some of the best results while baking $25

·         Cheese Making: Fresh Mozzarella Sun., March 13, from 11-2 pm

-       Join Kimberley Emmert to create mouth-watering fresh mozzarella cheese from fresh milk to take home, with recipe and inspiration for healthy & delicious foods.  $40.

·         Winter Outdoor Yoga! Feb. 20 & March 19, 2-4 pm

-       Go for the challenge of focus in the cold! Count on hot cocoa before, and hot soup, bread & discussion after we come inside.  $20

All events are pre-register, pre-pay.  To sign up or for more info, call us at (810) 735-9192



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