Greetings and hope all of you got some of that lovely rain as we did in the central Michigan. We needed it though and sadly there are those with too much. May your soil be content and resillent.

Text Box: Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University                          August 18, 2016 Description: 



MSU Organic Newsletter



In this Issue:

Cost Share for NOP Certification

Seeking your feedback on this newsletter

What you can do this weekend

Upcoming Educational Programs

Organic Seed Saving and Production FREE Webinars

Michigan Good Food Summit

Grants to Support Farmers’ and Educators’ Research



WE need your Feedback!  Please help us improve this newsletter.

Share your ideas with us of how we can make this more useful for you and your business. There are only 6 questions which will take you about 5 -10 minutes. We truly appreciate your contribution. Thanks very much, Vicki


Here is the link to get the questionnaire.

Only 5 minutes-Honest!



Organic Production News


Organic Certification Cost Share Now Available!!


The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is pleased to announce the availability of organic cost share assistance for handlers/producers who have incurred certification expenses during the period of October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016. The program is offered on behalf of the USDA National Organic Cost Share Program which is authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill.  Enclosed are the cost share reimbursement instructions and application as well as guidance on  how to register as a vendor for the State of Michigan. Your operation must have been inspected and certified by a National Organic Program (NOP) accredited certifying agent during this specified time period in order to qualify. MDARD is authorized to pay 75% of the certification
and user costs up to $750 per certification. Allowable costs are indicated on the enclosed instruction pages. You must register as a vendor with the state of Michigan and sign up to receive your payment via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). If you do not have access to the internet and cannot register with the state as a vendor, you will need to complete the enclosed form W-9; if you are
currently registered with the state as a vendor you do not need to fill out the W-9.
Failure to do provide any of the required documentation will result in rejection of your application. Your application along with all required supporting documentation must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2016.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Josh Grant at (517) 284-5789 or via email at
[log in to unmask].   To get application click here


Organic Agriculture Research Symposium 2016

Proceedings and Recordings


Summaries of presentations from the 2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium (OARS) held in Pacific Grove, California, are now available online with NO COST at Many of the workshops and keynote presentations were recorded live and may be viewed via the eOrganic YouTube channel.

Topics include

Soil heath

Seeds and plant breeding

Biological Control

Long term Research


Economics of Organic Agriculture

Innovative Educational Systems

Organic Livestock Systems



OFRF Releases Analysis of USDA Research

OFRF released its analysis of organic research funded by the USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and Organic Transitions (ORG) competitive research grant programs. This in depth analysis of programs funded from 2002-2014 offers an unprecedented assessment of the progress these programs have made in addressing critical research needs, and also provides recommendations for future research investments by USDA.



OFRF Seeks Research Abstracts for 2017 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium

Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) in partnership with the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University invite the submission of research abstracts for presentation at the 2017 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium (OARS), taking place on January 25-26, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky, immediately preceding the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Conference (SAWG)  If you are interested visit their site


Educational Events


You’re Invited! Roots Farm and Garden Open House

Saturday, Aug 20, 2016

Noon-4 pm. 1094 S Mason Rd


Ever wonder what an incubator farm is? Curious how the Greater Lansing Food Bank supports local farmers? Come see us and find out!


Join us in celebrating another bountiful year at the Lansing Roots Farm and Garden Community Open House!  There will be guided tours, unique refreshments, and ample opportunity to talk with farmers from all over the world. Try food from Burma, Bhutan and others!


The GLFB has been supporting home and community gardens for over thirty years through the Garden Project, and Lansing Roots serves as a complement by encouraging successful gardeners and interested entrepreneurs to develop farm enterprises.  The Roots Farm focuses on limited-resource and historically under-served populations; primarily refugee, immigrant, low-income, minority, and women. Farmers are provided land and infrastructure, farm resources, trainings, and a marketing collective that includes business planning and development and sales opportunities.


We hope to see you there!

For more information on Lansing Roots, please visit our web



Organic Vegetable Twilight Meeting

You are invited to attend a meeting to see reduced tillage in action!


Event will be at:

Zilke Vegetable Farm

Thursday, Sept 8 - 6:00-8:30 p.m.

12491 Carpenter Rd, Milan, MI 48160


What’s on offer?

q    Farm & Farmer Market Tour by Tom and Vicki Zilke

q    See-Talk-Ask-Share-Learn

q    Tillage and cultivation tools

q    Cover crops and N management

q    Promoting beneficial insects 


Refreshments will be offered so please do RSVP via email.  We look forward to seeing you. When you RSVP please include a cell phone or email if possible to Vicki at [log in to unmask] or 517-282-3557.


This program is part of Organic research conducted by Michigan State University, partnering with Cornell University, supported by USDA NIFA Organic Research and Extension Initiative Grant Program.



Organic Seed Production Series-Webinars

These are free and brought to you by eOrgnaic, a partner of eExtension.

A new six-webinar series on organic seed production will provide training for seed growers and seed production interns throughout the 2016 growing season (June - November). This series, offered by Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) and the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA), will cover a range of topics, from planting to harvest to the economics of seed production. The series is delivered as part of a new seed internship program offered by OSA and MESA with support from the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. The free webinars are open to the public and appropriate for farmers, interns, students, and other agricultural professionals. They will take place on the third Tuesday of each month, and the first one is on June 21st! You can just register once at the link below and attend any or all of the webinars listed below!

All webinars take place at 2PM Eastern Time (1PM Central, 12PM Mountain, 11AM Pacific)

Register now


What programs are upcoming?


1.    September 20th: Seed Quality, Harvesting Techniques and Equipment

2.    October 18th: Cleaning and Recordkeeping, Case Study

3.    November 15th: Seed Contracting, Economics and Policy


Additional Resources from the Organic Seed Alliance

    Seed Saving Guide:,cntnt01,download_fo...Climate Guide:,cntnt01,download_fo...

Crop Record:,cntnt01,download_fo...

Harvest and Handling Record:,cntnt01,download_fo...

Seed Crop Record:,cntnt01,download_form,0&cntnt01pid=19&cntnt01returnid=139



2016 Regional MI Farm to School Training!  

Registration is now open.   This educational program is coordinated annually by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, these trainings are an opportunity to identify concrete and practical steps for moving your program forward and network with other innovators working to increase local food purchasing in K-12 schools and early childhood programs.   Whether you are brand new to farm to school or a seasoned expert, working in early childhood or K-12, attend one of these training opportunities to increase your knowledge of farm to school activities and gain new skills for beginning or expanding your farm to school programs. This program is coordinated by Colleen Matts and Abby Harper.  


Topics included n this year’s training include:

  • Bright and innovative ideas from throughout the state
  • Strategies for successfully procuring local foods according to USDA Rules and Regulations
  • Seasonal menu planning for Michigan products
  • Team development for sustainable farm to school programs  
  • September 20, 2016 11:00 – 4:00 (lunch included) – Boyne Falls Public Schools, Boyne Falls
  • Presentation by Nathan Bates, Food Service Director at Boyne Falls Public Schools, and Diane Conners, Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities  
  • September 22, 2016 12:30 – 4:30 (snack included) – Baxter Community Center, Grand Rapids
  • Presentation by Mariel Borgman, MSU Extension Community Food Systems Educator, and Becky Kwasteniet, Food Program Manager at Baxter Child Development Center  
  • September 27, 2016 10:30 – 3:30 (lunch included) – Drew Transition Center, Detroit
  • Presentation by Kaitlin Wojciak, MSU Extension Community Food Systems Educator

  Trainings are free to attend, but registration is required. Register at If you have any questions, please email Abby Harper, Farm to School Specialist at [log in to unmask].    



2016 Michigan Good Food Summit registration is now open


One-day event invites anyone interested in advancing health and economic development through Michigan food systems


East Lansing, Michigan – Registration is now open for the 2016 Michigan Good Food Summit. This biennial event is a unique opportunity for anyone interested in advancing health and economic development through Michigan food systems to connect, learn and collaborate across sectors. The fourth Michigan Good Food Summit will be held on October 28, 2016 at the Kellogg Center at Michigan State University. 


The theme of the 2016 Good Food Summit is “Good Food for All: The road to 2020.” Participants in the day-long event will celebrate state and local successes, engage with sector-specific breakout tracks, network with others from around Michigan and across the food system, and hear stories about successful Michigan collaborations.


“The Good Food Summit is a high-energy, inspirational day,” said Kathryn Colasanti, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems Specialist and Summit



Grant Opportunities


NCR-SARE Announces 2017 Call for Research and Education Preproposals


The 2017 North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE)  Due Oct 20, 2016 @ 4 pm Central time.


Research and Education Grant Program Call for Preproposals is now available online at

Go here for tips to write a good proposal and the format of the grant proposal to follow.


NCR-SARE’s Research and Education (R&E) program supports sustainable agriculture innovators with competitive research and education grants. Individual grants range from $50,000 to $200,000. NCR-SARE expects to fund about ten to eleven projects in the twelve-state North Central Region.


For questions or additional information regarding the R&E Grant Program, contact Beth Nelson at [log in to unmask].



NCR-SARE Announces 2017 Call for Partnership Grant Proposals

The 2017 North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) Partnership Grant Program Call for

Proposals are now available online at


NCR-SARE’s Partnership Grant program is intended to foster cooperation between agriculture professionals and small groups of farmers and ranchers to catalyze on-farm research, demonstration, and education activities related to sustainable agriculture.  

Individual grants are limited to $30,000.


The deadline for Partnership Program proposals is October 27, 2016 at 4pm CDT.


Questions? Contact Beth Nelson at [log in to unmask]. Or call Beth at 612-626-3113 or 573-882-1547 to speak to Rob Myers.



NCR-SARE Announces 2017 Farmer Rancher Grant Call for Proposals


The 2017 North Central Region - Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) Farmer Rancher Grant Call for Proposals is now open.

Proposals are due on December 8, 2016 at 4 p.m. CST. 


Farmers and ranchers in the North Central region are invited to submit grant proposals to explore sustainable agriculture solutions to problems on the farm or ranch.  Proposals should show how farmers and ranchers plan to use their own innovative ideas to explore sustainable agriculture options and how they will share project results. Sustainable agriculture is good for the environment, profitable, and socially responsible. Projects should emphasize research or education/demonstration. 


There are three types of competitive grants: individual grants ($7,500 maximum), team of two grants for two farmers/ranchers from separate operations who are working together ($15,000 maximum), and group grants for three or more farmers/ranchers from separate operations who are working together ($22,500 maximum).


Interested applicants can find the call for proposals online as well as useful information for completing a proposal at You can find more information about sustainable agriculture at


Questions?  Potential applicants with questions can contact Joan Benjamin, Associate Regional Coordinator and Farmer Rancher Grant Program Coordinator, at [log in to unmask] or 573-681-5545 or 800-529-1342.


Each state in SARE's North Central region has one or more State Sustainable Agriculture Coordinators who can provide information and assistance to potential grant applicants. Interested applicants can find their State Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator online at



Seeking your feedback

Please share your ideas about this newsletter!!  Hope you enjoy and share your thoughts on this newsletter through the SHORT survey – PLEASE!!


Vicki Morrone
Organic farming specialist
Center For Regional Food Systems at MSU
480 Wilson Rd Rm 303
East Lansing, MI 48824
+011-517-282-3557 (U.S. cell)
sorrone11 (Skype)

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