JULY 12, 2019


VICKI MORRONE ([log in to unmask])

What’s on offer:

1. Cover crop News

A. Share your cover crop experiences

B. Cover Crop Webinar Series (stored on the internet)

C. SARE’s new document on economics of cover crops

D. Cover crops and rotational grazing

2. Ag educational events

A. Milk study webinar-July 17

B. Ag Innovation Days

C. Video series for organic vegetable production-Large scale examples from California (planting to harvesting)

D. Hemp Production 101 program

E. Flowers Trial Field Day

F. MSU Extension Grazing Dairy Workshop

G. Kick Start your Soil Health


1. Study Identifies Challenges and Opportunities of Specialty Crops in High Tunnels

2. Weed Management in Organic Small Grains-

3. Chemicals found in milk, comparison of organic and conventional

Cover crop News


Share your Experiences of when you included Cover Crops!

Keeping a living cover on the soil is valuable, regardless of the farming system. If you grew cover crops that over-wintered last year, chances are your crops has a greater chance to plant in the spring than in the fields where there were no over-wintering cover crops. Now of course, we had so many rain events, the question is which of the farms had a chance to plant between rain events?  Would you like to share your experience? Drop us a line. ([log in to unmask]). Tell us about your cover crop use last fall and what is now growing on that field. I would love to share this experience with others on this news-read. I will of course omit your name and farm name. 

Cover Crop Webinar Series available now online

Also there is additional Cover crop information and resources available through MSU Extension’s Cover Crops website and the Midwest Cover Crops Council.

If you have questions about cover crops contact Dean Baas at [log in to unmask].

SARE offers a new resource on economics of cover crops-free download or order paper copy

As more farmers across the nation begin to incorporate covers into their rotations, they find that this valuable conservation practice pays in more ways than one. Many farmers in states suffering from oversaturated fields that prevented or delayed planting are considering cover crops. To help farmers evaluate the benefits of incorporating cover crops into their production systems, USDA-SARE released an important new report that examines the big question: “When do cover crops pay?”   


Cover Crop Economics: Opportunities to Improve Your Bottom Line in Row Crops is now available for free in print and for download, and is great for farmers and educators alike. 



Download or order Cover Crop Economics now! 


Using data gathered from five years of national cover crop surveys, Cover Crop Economics addresses the economic returns that can be expected from cover crops under various management scenarios and as cover crops improve soil health over time. This report takes a comprehensive approach by identifying seven different management situations when cover crops pay off faster. They are when: 

·         Herbicide-resistant weeds are a problem

·         Cover crops are grazed

·         Soil compaction is an issue

·         Cover crops are used to speed up and ease the transition to no-till

·         Soil moisture is at a deficit or irrigation is needed

·         Fertilizer costs are high or manure nutrients need to be sequestered

·         Incentive payments are received for using cover crops

Download or order your free print copy of Cover Crop Economics: Opportunities to Improve Your Bottom Line in Row Crops at or by calling (301) 779-1007. Cover Crop Economics is available in quantity for free to educators for use in educational workshops, classes or tours.


Cover crops and rotational grazing are more widely used by organic producers


Under USDA organic regulations, farmers who shift to organic farming systems must make changes across the spectrum of their production inputs and practices. Organic producers rely on complex rotations, cover crops, and nonchemical practices for pest and nutrient management, such as biological pest management. Practices associated with soil health—including the use of cover crops and rotational grazing—are more widely used in organic farming systems than in conventional systems. Nearly 40 percent of all organic field and specialty crop producers used cover crops in 2014, higher than among conventional producers (7 percent and 11 percent, respectively) in 2012. For livestock, USDA organic regulations require that organic dairy cows and other ruminant livestock obtain part of their dry matter intake, or forage, from pasture during the grazing season, while many conventional dairy operations did not use any forage from pasture as part of their feeding mix. Rotational grazing—managing where and when livestock graze to prevent overgrazing and to optimize pasture growth—is a soil-health strategy that is also used more frequently in the organic dairy sector. In 2014, 65 percent of organic livestock producers used rotational grazing, compared with 22 percent of conventional livestock producers in 2012. This chart appears in the May 2019 ERS report, Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators, 2019.


Educational Events


Join our FREE webinar to learn more about the Milk Study

Join us on Wednesday, July 17 at 3:00 PM Eastern for a webinar on The Benefits of Organic Dairy, presented by Dr. Jessica Shade, Director of Science Programs at The Organic Center. Researchers tested conventional and organic milk from store shelves across 9 regions of the U.S. and found that a majority of conventional milk samples tested positive for residues of antibiotics and currently used controversial pesticides, while organic milk tested clean. Register now to attend this free and informative Webinar. If you have any questions about registration, please contact Libby Mucciarone. 

MSU Ag Innovation Day is July 26 at MSU.  This is coming up very quickly! 

Here is the whole scoop!

The 2019 Michigan State University (MSU) Agriculture Innovation Day will take place on July 26 at MSU Farms, 3750 N. College Rd., Lansing, Michigan Lansing, Michigan. With a theme of “Focus on Precision Technology That Pays,” experts from throughout the country will detail how implementing technology that aids in decision-making can improve yields, increase profit margins and reduce environmental impacts.

This educational field day will discuss tools and techniques that will help farmers make data-based decisions that can improve their farm’s efficiencies and showcase how data collected from various points of production agriculture come together as important components in the smart use of technology.

Participants who attend the daylong event will have the opportunity to earn eight Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) credits. Approved Certified Crop Advisor continuing education units in nutrient management (1), soil and water management (0.5), crop management (1) and precision ag (2) are also available.

The free event, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., features nine field-based sessions focused on specific technological aids that will assist producers in making farm technology goals. Registration begins at 8 a.m.

Following a brief welcome at 8:30 a.m., morning sessions begin at 9 a.m. and run consecutively with participants having an opportunity to rotate to each session. Wagons are provided to transport participants between sessions. A lunch break and program will take place at 12:15 p.m. Following lunch, participants will board wagons to attend afternoon sessions.

Here is what is planned for the day! This is a FREE event and open to all, farmers, educators, researchers, students, and those seeking to learn about agriculture in Michigan.

Detailed Agenda

8:00 a.m. 

Check-in and Registration

8:30 a.m.


8:45 a.m.

Load Wagons

9:00 - 11:40 a.m. 

Educational Sessions:

  • Smart Ag: Where is it Going?
  • There's an Ag App for That
  • Precision Soil Sampling: Every Farm Needs It!
  • Remote Sensing to Develop a Prescription Map
  • Planter Calibration: Seed Placement Pays

12:15 p.m.

Lunch and Program

1:30 p.m.

Load Wagons

1:45 - 4:45 p.m.

Educational Sessions:

  • The Art and Science of Variable Rate Seeding
  • Yield Monitor Data and Proper Calibration
  • Feeding Crops with Sensor-Based Variable Rate Nitrogen Technology
  • Using the Michigan EnviroImpact Tool when Applying Manure

We are looking forward to seeing you on the 26th!


Video series for organic vegetable production-Interested in what big vegetable farms are doing to get things growing and harvested?

New video series to spark interest in vegetable production of the future

A 26-episode weekly video series will debut May 13 on YouTube to help train the next generation of vegetable crop workers and increase their use of effective stewardship practices in vegetable production.

Projections for near-future retirements of people working in California’s agricultural production, marketing and post-harvest handling sectors indicate severe re-staffing needs in the coming years. Technological advances have reduced manual labor in agriculture, but increased the need for skilled labor to maintain the sustainability of the vegetable industry.


“We already see it happening,” said Jeff Mitchell, UC Cooperative Extension vegetable crops specialist. “Robotic machines are now used for lettuce-thinning in Salinas, but these technologies must be serviced by an educated workforce with knowledge in both mechanics and science.”

Mitchell assembled a team of professors from California’s public universities with agricultural programs – UC Davis, Chico State, Fresno State and CalPoly San Luis Obispo - to pull together a series of videos designed to spark the interest and begin training future farmers and ag workers in sound agronomic, economic and environmental stewardship skills. The team received financial support from the California Department of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crops Block Grant Program.


“We know that maintaining California’s leading role in producing abundant, safe vegetables is critical not only to Americans’ health, but also to the state’s economy,” Mitchell said.


The video series is offered on the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) YouTube page on a playlist titled “Expanding the Capacity and Training of a New Generation of California Vegetable Producers.” UC ANR is the outreach arm of the University of California which, among other services, provides agricultural research, teaching and advising in all California counties.


Each Monday morning from May 13 through Nov. 4, a new video will premiere in the playlist. The video length ranges from 47 minutes to 7 minutes. The videos will also be made available to high school and college ag professors to use in the classroom. 

“We believe that this series of videos on vegetable production will have broad interest beyond the classrooms,” Mitchell said. “The agricultural industry, students in other parts of the United States and the world, and the broader public all have an interest in understanding how the vegetables we eat are produced at the ever-increasing scale at which they are needed.”


The videos depict state-of-the-art technologies and techniques that are in use in many production regions of California today, vegetable farming systems used in other parts of the world, and increasingly popular cottage farming systems that are popping up in urban areas for easy access to healthful foods.


Industrial Hemp Production 101

July 18, 2019 - August 8, 2019 Thursdays 12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.

Contact: Heidi Lindberg

Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is cannabis cultivated to produce fiber, grain, biomass, or non-intoxicating medicinal compounds, such as cannabidiol (CBD). As defined by law, industrial hemp has less than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component in marijuana. Though Cannabis classified as industrial hemp does not contain the psychoactive component, it became illegal in 1957. While the Michigan Legislature removed industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana in 2014, there were other challenges to its legalization, regulation, and licensing in Michigan. 

Recently, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production of industrial hemp in all 50 states. Therefore, many field crop farms and greenhouse and nursery producers are now looking at industrial hemp as a new opportunity for their businesses. Join Michigan State University Extension for a webinar series to cover the basics of growing industrial hemp and considerations for growers considering entering the industry of this burgeoning crop. Each webinar will last 60 minutes and will leave time for speakers to take questions and answers from registrants.

Highlights of the Webinar Series

Hemp Production Management Webinars

July 18, 2019: Hemp: Varieties, Production Strategies, and Growing Requirements
Lynn Griffith, Tropical Plant and Soil Expert

This webinar will cover the various forms of hemp in production, indoor vs. field production strategies, propagation, media and soils, and environmental and day length requirements, including growth stages for indoor production.

July 25, 2019: Insect and Mite Pests of Industrial Hemp
Dr. Raymond Cloyd, Professor of Entomology and Extension Specialist, Kansas State U.

This webinar will initially discuss the major insect and mite pests of hemp including chewers, suckers, and borers. Then, the webinar will address the plant protection strategies than can be implemented to manage insect and mite pests of industrial hemp including cultural, pesticides, and biological.

August 1, 2019: Business Considerations in the Industrial Hemp Industry
Jody Yarbrough, CPA, Savant CFO

The webinar will cover how business owners can protect their current business and their new venture. Learn about the basics of accounting and tax compliance, workers comp, and crop insurance in the industrial hemp industry.

August 8, 2019: Next Steps: Considerations for Hemp Production
Dr. Allison Justice, Owner of SC Botanicals and The Hemp Mine
Eric Anderson, Field Crops Educator, MSU Extension

During the final webinar in the series, Dr. Justice will provide information for those considering changing from ornamental production to industrial hemp production, its potential profits, and yields. She will also briefly explore the process of CBD extraction and oil. Eric Anderson will provide information specific to Michigan for growers considering growing industrial hemp; he will cover recent changes in regulation and how to register with the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture for a license.

Cost for the webinar series: $20

All webinars will be recorded and available to registrants for 1 year after the conclusion of the webinar series, after which they will be archived on the MSU Hemp website.

Click here to Register for the webinar series


Flowering Plant Trial Field Day

Are you looking for flowering plants to not only enhance your landscape but attract beneficials? This is an opportunity for you to see them in bloom, learn what conditions they need, and make a plan for your flowers, whether for cut flowers, dry flowers or developing your own boarders and buffers.

August 6, 2019 8:30AM - 1:00PM

Contact: Mariah Artz, [log in to unmask], 517-353-0443

Join us for this popular annual event to learn about top-performing plants in the MSU Trial Gardens as well as about marketing and production issues. Registration with refreshments begins at 8:30am and the program begins at 9:00am.  Presentation topics are below.

During your visit to campus, please save some time to tour our 14 acres of beautiful landscapes including a vast array of annuals, perennials, and woody plants. There are a multitude of theme gardens including our award-winning 4H Children's Garden, our annual display and trial gardens, roof-top gardens, demonstration vegetable garden, a Japanese garden, and more. Visit the MSU Gardens website for more information.  You might also want to check out the new Controlled-Environment Lighting Laboratory (CELL) that can be viewed through windows on the first floor of the Plant & Soil Science Building.


Use our Online Form to register and pay by credit card. Please view our directional and parking information below.





8:30 a.m.

Registration and Refreshments


9:00 a.m.


Dr. Kristin Getter

Assistant Professor and Director of the MSU Horticulture Gardens

9:10 a.m.

Botrytis Blight: How to Fight the Perfect Pathogen for Michigan’s Spring Weather

Blair Harlan

Research Assistant in the lab of Dr. Mary Hausbeck

Professor of Plant Pathology

9:40 a.m.

What the Consumer Saw Before Deciding to Buy that Plant

Dr. Bridget Behe

Professor, Department of Horticulture

10:10 a.m.



10:30 a.m.

Noteworthy Pests in Garden Centers and Landscapes

Jeremy Jubenville

Floriculture and Greenhouse Educator - Southwest Michigan

Michigan State University Extension

11:00 a.m.

Herbs: Behind the Taste

Kellie Walters

PhD Graduate Research Assistant in the lab of Dr. Roberto Lopez

Assistant Professor of Horticulture

11:30 a.m.

Best of the Best of the

2019 MSU Plant Trials

Daedre McGrath

MSU Horticulture Gardens

Annual Trial Manager

12:15 p.m.



1:00 p.m.

Garden Tours

Annuals – Daedre McGrath

Perennials – Bethany Troy

Overview Tour – Dr. Kristin Getter

Pricing Includes morning refreshments, lunch, trial booklet, and program.

On or before July 31st

After July 31st - $59 per person (must be done on-site)

Parking & Directions

NEW Parking Information: Parking at our Garden lot (Lot 54) is a metered hourly rate (Pay by Plate) which accepts coins and credit cards.  If our Garden lot is full, you may park in the Wharton Center ramp from the Shaw Lane (North) entrance.

Directions and Construction:
Please note that Bogue Street is permanently closed between Shaw Lane and Wilson Road. We recommend using the Trowbridge Road exit and coming in from the South end of campus. This will avoid the closure.

Click here for directions to the Trowbridge Road exit. Once you get off the exit, turn right onto Harrison at the first main intersection. Get immediately into the left lane and turn left at the next light, which will put you on Service Road.

** From this point to the Garden lot: Continue on Service Road (past Farm Lane) and turn left on Bogue Street. The lot will be on your left, indicated by a parking sign.

The Gardens address is: (1066 Bogue Street, East Lansing, MI 48824). The best option is to enter our coordinates "N42 43.260 W084 28.380".

Please contact Mariah Artz with any questions ([log in to unmask] or 517-353-0443)

Get Directions


Michigan State University white graphic

MSU Extension Grazing School

August 15, 2019 - August 16, 2019 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Contact: Kable Thurlow

MSU is Offering Grazing School - at Two Locations  

Michigan State University Extension is offering grazing school for dairy, livestock and small ruminant producers at two locations in Michigan simultaneously via high speed video conferencing in August. There will be a team of experts at each location that will broadcast their expertise to the different sites with technology that allows for interactive chat from participants with those experts. This technology allows for additional expertise to be shared and expanded networking of producers through various online and face-to-face discussions.

Grazing school will be held on August 15 & 16, 2019 and will begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday and conclude at 4 p.m. on Friday

The two-day school will be offered at the following locations:

  1. The MSU W.K. Kellogg Biological Station Farm and Dairy Meeting Room in Hickory Corners, Michigan.
    Address: 10461 N. 40th St., Hickory Corners, MI 49060
  2. The MSU Lake City Research Center in Lake City, Michigan
    Address: 5401 W. Jennings Rd., Lake City, MI 49551

Participants should attend the location most convenient to participate in the full school and gain the expertise of speakers around Michigan.

The goal of the school is to blend classroom instruction with in-field education and the latest animal/forage research to give participants an in-depth introduction to grazing management.

Feature presentations will cover approaches to:

Experts Participating In-Person at KBS:

Experts Participating In-Person at Lake City:

Registration information:

Registration is $125 for one participant; $220 for two participants from the same farm, and $315 for three participants from the same farm. Starting August. 9, fees are as follows: $150 for one participant, $270 for two participants from the same farm, and $390 for three participants from the same farm. The onsite registration is $175 for one participant; $320 for two participants; $465 for three participants from the same farm. The workshop fee includes Grazing sticks, Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide, Forage Field Guide, USB with all program materials and worksheets, and all meals including a Networking Dinner Thursday, August 15, along with lunch and snacks Thursday and Friday. No refunds if canceling two days or less prior to the program start date.



Kick Your Soil Health Up A Notch: A Twilight Meeting

Date: August 26, 2019 6:00PM - 8:00PM 6 - 8 p.m.

Location of event: Monroe Community College Agronomy Farm 1555 S Raisinville Rd. Monroe, MI 48161

Contact: Ricardo Costa

Approved for 2 CCA credits and MAEAP Phase 1 credit.

Pre-Registration is required but FREE.

Pre-registered participants will receive free pizza and drinks.

Presentations will include:

Click here to register for this workshop!


Webinars provided by ATTRA

Study Identifies Challenges and Opportunities of Specialty Crops in High Tunnels
A study by Indiana and Purdue Universities revealed farmers' perspectives on the
challenges and opportunities of using high tunnels for specialty crops. The additional labor and time requirements of high tunnel production, increased complexity of transforming farming habits to high tunnel usage, soil fertility and management considerations, disease management, and limited winter markets comprise the greatest challenges.
Related ATTRA Publication: 
High Tunnel Winter Growing Using Heat Recovery Ventilation

Weed Management in Organic Small Grains-

As part of its ongoing video series on organic weed control, Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) has posted a 20-minute video on cultivator adjustment. In this video, several PFI farmers talk about which adjustments they make to throw more or less soil, including adjustments to the pitch of sweeps, top link adjustments, how close sweeps are to the rows, and differences in adjustments between cultivators. They also discuss how they deal with differing weather conditions, using rolling or tent shields early in the year and using flow shields later in the year, and how speed plays into all of it.


Study to show differences between organic and conventional milk

(Chemicals found in milk that were used on cows’ feed) ;pesticide, antibiotic and synthetic growth hormone residues in milk.

Milk is an important contributor to a healthy human diet. It provides important protein, fat, calcium and vitamin D. Equivalents can be found in all dairy products including yogurt and cheese. But not all milk is created equal. A new study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition shows that drinking organic milk provides an option to avoid pesticide, antibiotic and synthetic growth hormone residues, too…READ MORE






Vicki Morrone

Organic Farming Specialist

Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University

480 Wilson Rd

East Lansing, MI 48824

517-282-3557 (cell)

[log in to unmask]

sorrone11 (skype)



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