Michigan Organic Listserv

July-August 2017

Center for Regional Food Systems at MSU Listserv for Organic Production

From the Desk of Vicki Morrone [log in to unmask]

For educational purpose only


Cost share for USDA NOP Organic Certification is Now AVAILABLE!!

Organic farmers, by now you may have received a letter to inform you of the availability of the cost share, up to $750 per scope or Organic Certificate.  If you did not receive this letter you may still be eligible. If you paid for organic certification (inspection, sales fees, inspector fees) for NOP program (only) you can claim them and get 75% or $750 whichever is less returned. This is known as the National Organic Program Cost Share provided by the US Farm Bill. If you value this program please keep this in mind as the new Farm Bill is developed for 2018 (5 years) and contact your senator to share your opinion.

This year the Farmer Service Agency (FSA) is managing the Cost-share reimbursement (this is different from in the past) so you can go to your local FSA office and find the office on one of these links, depending where you are located

(Lower MI Map. https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?service=page/CountyMap&state=MI1&stateName=Lower%20Michigan&stateCode=26

Upper Peninsula map. https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?service=page/CountyMap&state=MI2&stateName=Upper%20Michigan&stateCode=26)

They will assist you to complete the forms and submit your application. For this first year it is much easier to do this in person, which means the farm owner should go to the FSA office with the following items:

IF YOU cannot go in-person and want a family member or employee to go to the FSA office on your behalf: Search on WEB for form FA 211, USDA Power of Attorney and complete if you would like someone to sign for you for Cost Share


Are you considering a bio pesticide in your Organic IPM Management Program?

Bio-pesticides are used to kill pests with biological compounds such as canola oils, plant extracts, and baking soda, for example.  Many of these compounds are allowed in NOP production. Not all are even though they are biological and so as always, contact your certifier before applying to be sure it is allowed in an organic system. A guide can also be used is the www.OMRI.org database you can search online.


What is the IR-4 program? The IR4 program works with bio-pesticides and does assessment of them. The US Dept of Agriculture supports this program to evaluate bio-pesticides, including ones that are allowed in organic production. The program IR-4 program’s goal is to replace compounds of chlorinated hydrocarbons and organophosphates with safe and effective chemicals that are less toxic to off-target organisms. Much of IR-4 research focuses on reduced-risk chemicals and biological controls. IR-4 supported the registration in the 1970’s for many of the natural pesticides used today by organic growers.


Seeking a Bio Pesticide? You can search for Bio pesticides at this site. If you want to know if it’s an NOP organic product you can check the box at the top of this page:  http://ir4app.rutgers.edu/biopestPub/labelDb.aspx  Of course, as always said, check with your certifier BEFORE purchasing so you don’t waste your time and money or worse yet, DON’T apply now and call later!


NOP Alert: Fraudulent Certificates Posted

This is a serious crime that includes fines and loss of organic certification. Here are examples of businesses that TRIED to fake the system, they failed. The system does work and here are examples.

(INDIANAPOLIS) - The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) has revised its webpage for posting fraudulent organic certificates.

The text-based list of fraudulent certificates has been replaced with a more user-friendly, downloadable spreadsheet. The new spreadsheet makes it easier for users to review, search, and sort the list. Click here to see updated list

In addition, the NOP is alerting the organic trade about the presence of several additional fraudulent organic certificates. Eleven fraudulent organic certificates listing the following businesses are in use and have recently been reported to the NOP:

Access the revised website and see the fraudulent certificate listing

These eleven certificates falsely represent agricultural products as certified organic under the USDA organic regulations, violating the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. Fraudulent certificates may have been created and used without the knowledge of the operator or the certifying agent named in the certificate.


The posting of fraudulent certificates does not necessarily mean that the named operator or certifying agent was involved in illegal activity. If an operation named on a fraudulent certificate is certified, its certifying agent, identified in the list of certified operations, can provide additional information and verification to the organic trade.

The vigilance of the organic community is a vital force in ensuring organic integrity. Organic handlers should continue to review certificates carefully, validate with their certifying agents where needed, and send any suspicious certificates to the NOP Compliance and Enforcement team.


Any use of this certificate or other fraudulent documents to market, label, or sell non-organic agricultural products as organic can result in a civil penalty of up to $11,000 per violation.

Persons with information regarding the production or use of this or other fraudulent NOP certificates are asked to send information to the NOP Compliance & Enforcement Division.


New recorded programs available on MSU Extension Beginning Farmer website

For those interested in new farm enterprises, these recorded presentations by MSU Extension educators and other experts offer a free, online opportunity to learn about the basics.

The Michigan State University Extension Beginning Farmer Webinar Series completed its sixth year in May 2017. Recordings of this year’s presentations are now available online on the MSU Extension Beginning Farmer Webinars Series website at no cost.

There are currently 70 recorded presentations, delivered by 53 expert presenters from MSU and elsewhere from 2012 through 2017, posted on the website. They cover a wide variety of topics for beginning farmers. Categories include:

The new recordings from the 2017 series include:


A recent survey sent to past participants in the series indicates these webinars have been helpful to people considering a new farm business enterprise. In some cases, the basic information helped people get started. In other cases, the participants decided they would be wiser explore something else. Either way, getting a good look at a proposed farm business enterprise gives some useful insights as they make decisions.

A new series of online webinars will be developed for winter 2018. A small fee is charged to participate in live webinars. Attending live has benefits, including the opportunity to interact with presenters during the program. If you want to be notified directly about upcoming MSU Extension Beginning Farmer Webinars, please contact Jim Isleib at [log in to unmask].


Please feel free to visit the Beginning Farmer Webinars Series website and take a look through the recorded webinars.


Join the DOO Crew for our Soil Health Seminar!!

Morgan Composting-Sears, MI

AUGUST 17TH, 2017
Wednesday 8-5 pm

The Good Food Revolution: Balancing Economics

& the Environment


Morgan's is geared up and ready to offer you a buffet of speakers for this year's Soil Health Seminar! 

Let's go back to our Michigan 'roots' and bring Farm to Table scenarios back to the forefront. This year's theme is all about:
Come listen to our wonderful speakers on how you can maintain good agricultural practices to protect our great state's soils while sustaining your pocket book!
Going through MAEAP Verification? Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is offering Phase I credits for attending as well.

Come join our First Ever Wine & Beer Tasting Tent! Featuring beverages from local vineyards and hop yards that are Powered By DAIRY DOO® - a most welcome addition to our event.

Register at Click here to register or call 231-734-2451. $25 for registration that includes lunch and social hour!




Workshop Teaches Pest Management Techniques to Small Farmers in Michigan...


The Vets in Ag Network of Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) is hosting a free workshop to teach small farmers how to control

common farm pests. The event, Small Farm Pest Management: Informed Decisions & Sustainable Approaches, will be held on August 13th at the Tilians Farm Development Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan from 8 am to 4 pm.


The workshop will provide farmers with valuable hands-on experience scouting for pests in the field and teach them how to use this information

to make informed management decisions. “Pest management is a crucial component of maintaining a healthy farm,” says Adam Ingrao, Co-Director of the Vets in Ag Network, “and getting out in the field is one of the best ways teach pest management. We can really show people what to look for.” The workshop includes sessions on Japanese Beetle management, using lures to manipulate insects, growing cover crops to support natural pest enemies, and support services offered by USDA and MSU Extension.


The event is free, but registration is required. Farmers who are interested can register by clicking here

For more information, please contact MIFFS at (517) 432-0712 or [log in to unmask] or visit www.miffs.org.



Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Apprentices Needed:

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Apprenticeship Program is seeking highly-motivated individuals from a variety of different backgrounds to participate in a hands-on work and study program that trains participants in

many aspects of sustainable agriculture production, education and research. The majority of each apprentices’ work will focus on a particular production system at CEFS, although locations will vary.


A wide array of topics to study are available, including: Small Farm Production,

Horticulture Production and Agroecological Education and Long-term Comparative Farming Systems. Apprenticeship appointments are for a

period of time of four to seven months and are located in Raleigh or Goldsboro, NC. 

Deadline to Apply: August 15, 2017

 Apprenticeships: http://go.ncsu.edu/2017-cefs-apprenticeship



Growing Chestnuts and Other Michigan Nut Crops

Register : michigannutcrops.eventbrite.com

Saturday, August 26: 9am-12pm in Traverse City


Join us for a workshop on growing nuts. This class will feature a good mixture of lecture, hands on work, and sampling interesting nut varieties. We'll begin with the history of nut crops in Northern Michigan and go through different types of walnuts, hazelnuts, heart-nuts, butternuts, pecans, hickory nuts and chestnuts.

Here's your chance to sample a ton of different nut crops, then figure out how to plant and manage the trees—from soil prep to disease and insect control to grafting and harvest.


Are you interested in growing nuts? Join us for a morning class with Bill Nash of Nash Nurseries and Dr. Dennis Fulbright to talk nut crops. This course will feature a good mixture of lecture, hands on work, and sampling interesting nut varieties. We'll begin with the history of nut crops in Northern Michigan and go through different types of walnuts, hazelnuts, heart-nuts, butternuts, pecans, hickory nuts and chestnuts*


Workshop will be held at:

Northwest Michigan Horticulture Station

6686 South Center Highway

Traverse City, MI 49684 . View Map

How-to Farmer Training on Organic Vegetable Seed Production

August 22nd | 9:00a to 3:00p | West Lafayette, IN


Do you want to learn how to grow seed and breed new vegetable varieties for organic production? Join nationally renowned experts for this one-day classroom and field based workshop intended for farmers, educators, and agricultural students.


Learn the fundamentals needed to grow organic vegetable seed, including seed biology, harvesting, storage, and how to conduct variety trials. In addition to a classroom intensive, we’ll tour The Student Farm and taste carrots and tomatoes from current trials.


Purdue Extension is hosting the training on August 22, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Daniel Turf Center and The Student Farm in West Lafayette, Indiana. Registration is $15 and includes the daylong training and catered lunch.


Learn more and register here.



Afternoon Showcase

1:00p to 3:00p | West Lafayette, IN


All are welcome to join us for the afternoon showcase portion of the day. Come on out to tour The Student Farm, taste carrots and tomatoes from current trials, and for the farmer/chef panel on how to identify vegetable varieties that shine in the kitchen. This portion of the event is free of charge, open to all, and doesn't require an RSVP.

Join Organic Farming Research Foundation

for a Free Webinar on Soil Health


Spread the word! Everyone is invited to join this interactive webinar on Tuesday, August 22nd, guided by the authors of OFRF's new Soil Health Educational Guides and presented in cooperation with CCOF. There will be ample time for questions after the presentation.

Register now


Organic Squash Management Field Day

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

9693 N 40th Street
Hickory Corners, MI 49060

Join a team of MSU researchers and organic vegetable growers for a morning to learn about organic squash management. This event will take place next to our experimental winter squash plot. We will be discussing disease, insect, weed, nutrient and cover crop management in squash with a special focus on methods that can be used by organic growers. The vicinity of our experimental squash field will allow you to see a demonstration of weed cultivation tools, and look at different cover crop management methods.


We will show you insect and pollinator specimens collected from squash to help you improve your pest identification skills. You will hear researchers present on their latest findings from a USDA funded grant and you can ask questions that pertain to your production. Expert organic growers will share their experiences with cover crops and growing organic vegetables. This is a great opportunity to learn and interact with researchers and experienced organic growers. We will have a tent and chairs set up next to our experimental field, and will provide light refreshments.

So come and join us, rain or shine!

Draft Schedule:
8:45 - 9 a.m.           Registration, Coffee and Refreshments
9 - 9:25 a.m.           Disease management
9:25 - 9:45 a.m.      Insect management
9:45 - 10:10 a.m.    Nutrient management
10:10 - 10:40 a.m.  Weed management
10:40 - 11 a.m.       Grower discussion and presentation
11 - 11:30 a.m.       Weed cultivation tool demonstration


Registration for Organic Squash Management Field Day is open.
Registration closes on August 28, 2017.

Here is the link to register and note there is no fee, just to help us plan for hand-outs.

Click here to Register


Midwest Mechanical Weed Control Field Day

Date: September 26, 2017
Time: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Location: MSU Horticulture Farm, 3291 College Rd., Holt, MI

Contact for carpools: Sam Hitchcock Tilton, 414-213-5337, [log in to unmask]; Marisa Benzle, 919-222-7219, [log in to unmask]


From finger weeders to flex-tines to Allis G’s and beyond, come learn the principles and tools for precise mechanical weed control from farmers and researchers. New weeding machines are recently available from Europe and many types and models of mechanical weeders will be on display and demonstrated in the field - old and new, American and European. You will hear from farmers using these tools, learn about cultivation techniques in Europe, see tools demonstrated, and enjoy lunch and time to speak with all the growers in attendance. Weeding machinery manufacturers will be displaying their wares as well. Bring your favorite weeding machine to show others if you wish. 


Equipment that will be demonstrated:

Cultivating tractors include – JD 900HC, Case 265, all manner of Allis G’s, Tilmor (modern American cultivating tractor), Cultitrack (modern European cultivating tractor). 

Weeding Tools include – Finger weeders, Torsion weeders, Reigi/Eco-weeder, rear-mounted steerable toolbars, Lilliston, Flamer, Flex-tine weeders, basket weeder, walk-behind tractor cultivator. . . And more


Cost: $15 before Sept. 15 (Lunch included in the cost of registration)
$15 after Sept. 15 (Lunch not guaranteed)
Cash or check payment only at Field Day
To register click here




Vicki Morrone-Organic Farming Specialist

Center for Regional Food Systems

480 Wilson Rd

Rm 303

East Lansing, MI 48824


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