Happy Spring! Wishing all of us a good season!



Michigan Organic Listserv Newsletter

Center for Regional Food Systems

April 2, 2017

Questions or contributions? Contact Vicki Morrone [log in to unmask]


Steps to promote healthy fruit- take action now!

Early start to the growing season means early start to disease control in fruit crops

Warm weather has fruit crops growing. Now is the time for dormant sprays to control early diseases in stone fruit (peaches, plums and cherries), blueberries and raspberries.

Posted on February 27, 2017 by Mark Longstroth, Michigan State University Extension

Many Southwest Michigan stone fruit growers use copper as a dormant spray to control fungal and bacterial diseases.

Impact of Weather on this year’s fruit trees

The winter of 2016-17 was relatively warm with little snow. The coldest temperatures were in mid-December with lows just below zero. That was not cold enough to damage our Michigan fruit crops and we do not expect any winter injury. A long period of cold and snowy weather ended in late December. There was a wide spread thaw from Christmas to just after New Year’s. Most of the snow in southwest Michigan since in January and February melted soon after it fell. Relatively warm episodes have been common in February and always lead to concerns about early growth and possible crop loss. Many fruit trees have completed their chilling requirements and have broken dormancy. Maple sap flow has been underway for the past two weeks.

Relative warm temperatures have led to concerns about early growth and possible crop loss. As is typical of early spring in Southwest Michigan, the state’s extreme southern portions are more advanced than other areas to the north. Growers in the southern tiers of counties should be focusing on getting dormant sprays on now before bud break. Dormant sprays of oil, copper or lime sulfur are often used.

Tree fruit growth is just beginning. At this time, there is no immediate concern about the early growth and cold damage. It would require cold temperatures down to 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit or below to cause significant damage to fruit buds. Such cold temperatures seem unlikely. At this time, the main concern is for stone fruit. Many growers routinely apply copper in the dormant season to reduce diseases later in the year.

Peach leaf curl sprays should be applied to prevent infections of the swelling buds. Michigan State University Extension’s Bill Shane recommends applying control before 100 GDD base 42 to control this disease See: Treat peach leaf curl now.

Many growers also treat sweet cherries with copper during bud swell to reduce bacterial canker. Sweet cherries are sensitive to copper so this treatment should not be applied after bud break. Other stone fruit such as apricots, tart cherries and plums also benefit from early copper sprays to suppress bacterial diseases. If you use oil sprays on stone fruit to reduce San Jose scale, reduced rates and early applications are recommended.

Apples show little bud movement, although some trunk oozing has been seen. Most growers wait until green tip to apply copper as their first scab spray. Early copper applications may help also reduce fire blight. Delayed dormant sprays of oil to control mites and aphids are preferred to true dormant sprays before bud break. Pruning is underway. Fruit bud counts are relatively high. Precision pruning to reduce fruit bud numbers helps improve fruit size and encourage regular annual bearing.

Pears show little movement. Early copper sprays are used in pears to reduce fire blight.

Dormant sprays of lime sulfur or calcium polysulfide are often used on small fruit.

Grapes show no movement and will need warmer temperatures before growth begins. Pruning wounds are not bleeding, which means the sap is not up and growth has not started.

Blueberries are showing some movement away from Lake Michigan. Many growers apply calcium polysulfide as a general cleanup fungicide in the spring. This early season spray is focused on reducing mummy berry and phomopsis. The soil active herbicide Velpar needs to be applied before bud break so the time for application in short.

Brambles show no movement but lime sulfur or calcium polysulfide will reduce anthracnose on the floricanes of summer-bearing raspberries and black berries. Dormant pruning cutting back last year’s primocanes should be completed soon. Fall-bearing raspberries should be cut or mowed to the ground. Lime sulfur treatments for anthracnose can be applied.


USDA Offers Renewal Options for Stewardship Program Contracts

EAST LANSING, March 30, 2017 — Michigan farmers enrolled in the USDA’s largest conservation program for working lands can renew their contracts by agreeing to adopt additional conservation practices on their land. 

The Conservation Stewardship Program is the USDA’s largest working lands conservation program with more than 80 million acres enrolled. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service made several updates to the popular program last fall. These changes help producers better evaluate conservation options that benefit their operations while improving the health and productivity of private and Tribal working lands. Participants with existing Conservation Stewardship Program contracts expiring on Dec. 31, 2017, have until May 5, to submit an application to extend their contract.

“The changes made to CSP are providing even greater opportunities for stewardship-minded producers across the country to participate and bring their conservation efforts to a higher level,” said Acting Deputy Agriculture Secretary Michael Young. “The new tools and methods for evaluating operations, expanded options to address the producer’s conservation and business objectives, and the focus on local resource priorities have resulted in a 30 percent increase in applications for this widely popular program.”

Participants with existing CSP contracts that will expire on Dec. 31 can access the benefits of the recent program changes through an option to renew their contracts for an additional five years if they agree to adopt additional activities to achieve higher levels of conservation on their lands. 

Through CSP, agricultural producers and private forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, buffer strips, pollinator and beneficial insect habitat, and soil health building activities – all while maintaining active agricultural production on their land.

Producers interested in contract renewals or applying for CSP for the first time should visitwww.nrcs.usda.gov/csp or contact their local USDA service center to learn more.


Educational Events



2017 Spring Grower Produce Safety Course

Date: April 3-6, 2017
Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Location at 3 Michigan sites (see below)

Contact: MSU Extension Jackson, 517-788-4292; Kelly Navarro, [log in to unmask]; Laurie Mead, [log in to unmask]

Michigan State University Extension will host the Food and Drug Administration-defined Produce Safety Alliance Grower Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) certification course at various locations. Those interested in learning about Good Agricultural Practices (GAP‘s), produce safety, co-management, and the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule are invited to participate.  (Chose one site.)


·         Kent - April 3, 2017 - Kent County MSU Extension, 775 Ball Ave., NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

·         Traverse City -  April 4, 2017 - MSU Northwest Horticultural Research Center, 6686 S. Center Hwy, Traverse City, MI 49684

·         Marquette - April 6, 2017 - Marquette Township Hall, 1000 Commerce Drive, Marquette, MI 49855

·         Registration and agenda click here::


Chestnut Orchard Establishment Workshop

 | April 20 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | Clarksville, MI

Location: Clarksville Horticultural Experiment Station, 9302 Portland Road, Clarksville, MI 48815
Contact: Erin Lizotte, [log in to unmask]

Registration click here:

The Michigan chestnut industry has been growing steadily over the last decade, with a lot of interest in production from new growers. To address this interest, Michigan State University Extension will be holding a one-day workshop to introduce attendees to the opportunities and challenges of commercial chestnut production. 

The Chestnut Orchard Establishment Workshop will be held on April 20 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Clarksville Horticultural Experiment Station, 9302 Portland Road, Clarksville, MI 48815. The cost of the event is $50 and includes lunch and support materials. Registrations cancelled after April 15 will incur a $10 cancellation fee.

The workshop will include: an introduction to the history of the industry in Michigan; an economic analysis of production; orchard establishment and design; pest management; harvesting, marketing and storage; and more.

Those attending are encouraged to visit www.chestnuts.msu.edu before the event for a primer on chestnut production.  The ‘Production considerations’ section may be particularly helpful.

Beginning Farmer Webinar Series 

Date: April 24, 2017
Time: 7 - 9 p.m. EST
Location: Webinar
Contact: Jim Isleib, 906-387-2530, [log in to unmask]

Beginning producers and others with basic information needs are invited to participate in a series of nine online programs addressing crop and livestock production and marketing on weekday evenings Jan. 30 through May 8, 2017.  Participants will get an overview of a variety of farming enterprises and topics, and have an opportunity through live, on-line chat to ask questions of MSU agriculture experts. The live webinar presentations will begin at 7 p.m. EST and run not later than 9 p.m. EST. A $10 fee is charged for each webinar in the series, or $45 for the full series (50% savings!). You may register for all or some of the courses at any time, even if the session has already taken place.  In that case, you will get a link to the recorded program.  The webinars will be delivered on the ZOOM Webinar platform.  A high-speed internet connection is required, and connection information will be emailed after registration.   

To register for any of these webinars listed above (or allJ) click here:



The Southeast Michigan Seasonal High Tunnel Education Project
April 2017 Workshop


Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 6p-8p – High Tunnel Irrigation and Fertilization.

U of M Campus Farm @ Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 N. Dixboro Rd, Ann Arbor 48105
Irrigation and fertility management and requirements in high tunnels differ greatly as compared to field production. This workshop will focus on irrigation and fertility options to ensure success in year-round high tunnel production. 

If you would like to sign up for either one of these FREE events or have questions about other plans for the rest of the season please contact me at:  

[log in to unmask]

Also, as a side note, we're looking for an opportunity for one Hands - On Hoophouse Build event, outside of Wayne County, focusing on the west side of Southeast Michigan. If you know of a farmer who is planning on installing a hoophouse this summer, please pass this message on!

I look forward to seeing you this season.  

Best regards,
Deirdre Hope
Seasonal High Tunnel
Project Coordinator
[log in to unmask]



Save the Date: 2018 Organic Seed Growers Conference

Mark your calendar to join us for our 9th Organic Seed Growers Conference from February 14-18, 2018, in Corvallis, Oregon. The biennial Organic Seed Growers Conference is a unique opportunity to trade knowledge, techniques, and ideas that strengthen the larger organic seed community. Join hundreds of farmers, plant breeders, researchers, certifiers, food companies, seed companies, and other stakeholders for a full agenda focused solely on organic seed. The call for proposals will be published this spring. Learn more



Seeking organic farmer input on survey

We are writing to request your help and participation in an online survey of certified organic farmers in the Midwest to determine your interest in and knowledge levels of industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa).  This survey is part of a larger effort by Purdue University to assess the potential for reintroducing industrial hemp as a crop in the Midwest.
You have been selected from a publicly available database of all certified organic farmers in the Midwest. Your participation is completely voluntary.  We care very much about your privacy and all of your responses will be kept completely confidential. This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at Purdue University.
We anticipate that the survey will take about ten minutes to complete.  The survey is formatted so that you can use your cell phone or computer to complete it. 
Please follow the link below to access the survey.  
Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete the survey and helping us with this important project. If you have any questions or concerns about our survey or the project, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Leah Sandler
Graduate Research Assistant
Department of Botany and Plant Pathology
Phone: 314-598-6217
Email: [log in to unmask]

Follow this link to the Survey:
Take the survey

Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:



Farm Land for Rent


70 tillable and grazing acres -- fallow 5+ years.  In Fenton, Michigan (near Owen Road and US23 expressway) - Genesee and Livingston Counties.  Contact Bernadine (810.234.9194 or [log in to unmask]).




Grants Available


The California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) Foundation is pleased to announce the availability of grants – to students anywhere in the US -- to support their higher and vocational education studies focused on organic agriculture. We will award up to 33 grants at the $2,500 level for students studying organic agriculture. We hope that you will encourage any students you know who are passionate about organic agriculture to apply for these funds to help defray the cost of their education.


Please share this email and encourage them to apply for one of our $2,500 higher and vocational education grants! Last year’s grants support students involved in programs like West Virginia Animal Sciences at West Virginia University and the Cabrillo College Horticulture Program in Aptos, California. The Future Organic Farmer Grant application opens April 1 and closes midnight (PST) on May 15, 2017. Application details can be found on our website.  




CCOF is a nonprofit organization that advances organic agriculture for a healthy world through organic certification, education and advocacy.


Please post and share with any prospective applicants.



Josaphine Stevenson

Foundation Program Specialist


2155 Delaware Ave., Suite 150                                                                       

Santa Cruz, CA 95060

(831) 423-2263, ext. 6322

Visit CCOF on Facebook and Twitter


Job Opportunity


I am hiring a Field Research Technician in nitrogen fertility and cover crops at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus . Please pass the job posting along to anyone that might be interested in the position. Below is the link for the posting: 


Laura L. Van Eerd  Ph.D.

Associate Professor
School of Environmental Sciences
University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus
Ridgetown ON  N0P 2C0

phone: 519-674-1500  x63644
twitter: @LauraVanEerd
web:  http://www.ridgetownc.uoguelph.ca/research/profile_lvaneerd.cfm





Vicki Morrone

Organic Farming Specialist

Center for Regional Food Systems

480 Wilson Rd Rm 303

East Lansing, MI 48824

517-282-3557 (cell)


sorrone11 SKYPE