Michigan Organic Listserv

February 15, 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

Seeking your input on cover crops! We want to make the site useful for you

MCCC want to you to take some time to visit the Survey Monkey link below so that your feedback can be heard. The results of this survey will be discussed at the upcoming MCCC meeting.

Link Here<>

Survey for Poultry Producers in Michigan

This Survey comes from Wendy Banka and she is working on a USDA-funded study to determine whether a new USDA-certified poultry processing facility for independent producers is feasible in SE michigan. If you are a poultry producer in Michigan and would like to see more processing options that suit you particular needs, please complete this brief survey<>.

St. Johns Family uses sweet treats to help others

By: 9&10 News

The family consist of 47-year-old Brent and 35-year-old megen and they are using many Michigan-grown ingredients from their business called Oh Mi Organics. Brent first made a batch of organic chocolate in 2014 as a way to give something back to his wife which was suffering from a debilitating illness since 2011. They turned out so well for her that they started sharing the chocolates with others who encouraged them to sell the candies. Now they can be found in five retail locations after just three months on the market.

How to tie grapevines

The days are getting longer. Soon winter will melt away and vineyard activity will shift into high gear. There's so much to be done like pruning, of course, but then there's also brush pulling, brush chopping, trellis repairs, weed spraying, maybe fertilizing and possibly putting in replants in missing vine spaces. There's another spring vineyard chore, however. Although it isn't talked about much, every grape grower does some of the vineyard task called tying. Tying is how parts of the vine get attached to the trellis. There are numerous approaches to this vineyard task and some are more efficient than others. In my experience, the task of tying grapevines is often a matter of how it is done in the "neighborhood." If you're a grape grower, chances are you tie your vines much like your grape-growing neighbors do.


Midwest Nut Producers Council Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the Midwest Nut Producers Council will be held from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 12 at the Clarksville Horticultural Experiment Station in Clarksville, Michigan. The meeting will cover Asian chestnut gall wasp, a chestnut blight update and novel uses of chestnuts. This meeting is free to MNPC members who remit their $50 in dues at the door (one per family or farm), preregistration is requested but not required. The last date for online registration is March 12, 2016

Download Tentative Agenda Here<>

Register Online Here<>

For Information contact Erin Lizotte at [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>.

Water Sampling for Food Safety Modernization Act Compliance

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Final Rule on Produce Safety. One area that was tweaked in the final rule from the proposed rule was clarification around sampling when testing irrigation water for fresh produce.

Recall that the FSMA classifies two types of water used in the field: agricultural and indirect water. If water comes into direct contact with the harvestable portion of a plant, it is considered agricultural water. If a grower uses overhead sprinklers to irrigate a lettuce field, it would be considered agricultural water. In the case of indirect water, the water would not come into direct contact with the harvestable portion of the plant. If drip tape under plastic is used to maintain tomato plants, this would be considered indirect water.


USDA expands insurance options for transition to certified organic

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the expansion of a crop insurance option to allow producers to purchase insurance coverage that better reflects their product's actual value. Producers transitioning to certified organic production can now use the Contract Price Addendum to cover their crops at a higher price than traditional crops. The Contract Price Addendum allows farmers transitioning to organic production to insure certain crops at their contract price rather than the published USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) price election. RMA has also expanded organic premium price elections to 57 crops, up from four in 2011, providing organic producers the option to protect their 2016 crops closer to the market value.


New Study Makes us Ask the Question If Organic is more Nutritious?

It's often a split-second decision.

You're in the produce aisle, and those organic apples on display look nice. You like the idea of organic - but they're a few bucks extra. Ditto for the organic milk and

meat. Do you splurge? Or do you ask yourself: What am I really getting from organic?

Scientists have been trying to answer this question. And the results of a huge new meta-analysis published this week in the British Journal of Nutrition adds to the evidence that organic production can boost key nutrients in foods.

The study finds that organic dairy and meat contain about 50 percent more omega-3 fatty acids. The increase is the result of animals foraging on grasses rich in omega-3s, which then end up in dairy and meats. The findings are based on data pooled from more than 200 studies, and research in the U.S. has pointed to similar benefits.


Educational Events

All about Apple Bloom: Pollination, Blossom Blight, and PGRs Workshop

One-day workshop on March 17 will focus on bloom-time strategies for meeting pollination needs, blossom blight control and using plant growth regulators effectively. Topics will include pollination, blossom blight control and timing of plant growth regulators. Growers will learn about the wild pollinators they are likely to find on their farms, how to make the most of and protect managed pollinators, programs to offset the cost for planting pollinator habitat, how to draft a pollinator stewardship plan, strategies for controlling blossom blight, blossom thinning techniques and other bloom-time related plant growth regulator issues. The last date for online registration is March 13, 2016, don't forget to register for this amazing and education workshop.


Thursday, March 17, 2016 9 AM - 2 PM


Kent County Extension Office
775 Ball Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, MI

To view Agenda and to Register click Here<>

View Flyer Here<>

Grants Available

Grants available to Michigan's specialty crop farmers

Michigan businesses now have more opportunities through grants by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Services.

The announcement comes from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) with funding of $1.88 million from the USDA.

The grant competition allows Michigan specialty crop farmers to expand their markets, both domestically and internationally. The purpose of the grant project is to ramp up competition with other states with specialty crops in areas including research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, increased knowledge and consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservation, product development, good agricultural practices, good handling practices, and good manufacturing practices.

The deadline for grant proposals is 3 p.m. on March 31. Grants, with a maximum award of $100,000, will be awarded to the nonprofit organization; local, state or federal government entities; and for-profit organizations that best demonstrate how the project will benefit the specialty crop industry as a whole.

Proposals must be emailed to MDARD at [log in to unmask]

NCR-SARE Announces Professional Development Program Call for Proposals

The 2016 North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) Professional Development Program call for proposals is now available online here<>

NCR-SARE's Professional Development Program (PDP) provides funds for professional development projects that provide sustainable agriculture training to agricultural professionals and educators in the Cooperative Extension Service (CES), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), other governmental agencies, and educators in the profit and non-profit sector serving the food and fiber system.

Projects can be up to three years in duration, and funding level is capped at $75,000 for each project, but projects requesting less than full amount are encouraged. Approximately $420,000 will be available for funding projects. NCR-SARE will be accepting online proposal submissions using our online submission system. More information about the online submission system can be found in the call for proposals. Proposals are due at 4pm CDT on April 6, 2016.

NCR-SARE's Administrative Council (AC) members decide which projects will receive SARE funds. A collection of farm and non-farm citizens, the AC includes a diverse mix of agricultural stakeholders in the region. Council members hail from regional farms and ranches, the Cooperative Extension Service, universities, federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Funding considerations are based on how well the applicant presents the problem being addressed, the project's relevance to sustainable agriculture in the 12-state North Central region, and how well it aligns with NCR-SARE's goals, among other factors specific to each grant program.

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