Michigan organic listserv-for farmers and gardeners across Michigan
From: Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University
Desk of Vicki Morrone ([log in to unmask])
March 1, 2021

Farm Safety Comes in Many Forms
This article below from the Michigan On-Farm Safety team and it is focused on food safety, helping you to clean and sanitize the equipment before next season’s use. But in addition to this process, take time to make sure every bolt is tight, moving parts sharpened and lubed and the engine is running well with good belts.   The farmers need to be safe to operate the equipment without being harmed. When all equipment is well maintained and operating well there is much less chance for injury.  I hope that you can take advantage of this non-growing season and get all of your equipment in shape for this next growing season.  If you are having difficulties to continue your farm operation you can get assistance through AgrAbility, a program through the USDA and operated in Michigan by Michigan State University Extension and Easter Seals. This program can help you modify your farm equipment and farming practices to better accommodate your abilities so you can continue to farm and get the job done.  Michigan AgrAbility can be reached at +1 (800) 956-4106 or<>. When you modify equipment or a system on your farm try to take all possible points into consideration, food safety, ergonomics, the safety of the workers and of course efficiency and economics. Review the resources and incorporate what you can in your management plan, it can save you time, money and promote a healthier farming system.

Check Out these Resources for Maintaining Production Equipment!
Cleaning Produce Washing Equipment<;!!HXCxUKc!gj_c2Ia6kgpoVpPfpkNRqJTKZbvX9BPJEDATLiJXrYnoKidhgK42-f4X_rci5Q$>
Basic Equipment Maintenance Record<;!!HXCxUKc!gj_c2Ia6kgpoVpPfpkNRqJTKZbvX9BPJEDATLiJXrYnoKidhgK42-f75oCIDfA$>

Video Resource: Cleaning and Sanitizing Equipment<;!!HXCxUKc!gj_c2Ia6kgpoVpPfpkNRqJTKZbvX9BPJEDATLiJXrYnoKidhgK42-f6bqluYtQ$>


Are you considering to add solar panels to your farm? There is $upport for that!!

 USDA Rural Development is currently accepting applications for FY2021 funding.   Round one applications are due March 31, 2021. Visit: for fact sheet and details to apply for grants.

Future competitions will be Oct. 31st & March 31st of said year.

I am including REAP Grant Application Template for your proposed project.

·         Total Project Costs of $80,000 or less

This e-mail also provides a copy of the REAP Score Sheet and the required grant application forms.

Please note additional items that should also be included in REAP Application:

·         Documentation to verify number of employees

·         Energy Audit, if applicable

·         3 Years Income Tax Returns or Projections

·         Organizational Documents for Entity, if applicable

·         Copy of most recent Property Tax Bill to verify Site Ownership & Control

Projects that involve buildings in excess of 50 years of age require notification and clearance from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). It is very important that you Do Not Start the Project until clearance has been received from USDA Rural Development.

 For Questions Contact:

Rick Vanderbeek | Business Program Specialist

Rural Development

U.S. Department of Agriculture

3001 Coolidge Rd., Suite 200 | East Lansing, MI  48823

Phone: 517.324.5218 | Fax: 855.813.7741<;!!HXCxUKc!mUJCvfmLvOauf8T22jnFGkzuw0ymkxiIK-ewABaJVEO-g-gFZ_oAC6ofM-oo4Kr-$>


Spotlights Innovative Technologies to Build Healthy Soils

It's Time to Register!

NCAT opened registration for the inaugural Soil Health Innovations Conference, which was postponed last year. It will now be a virtual conference, scheduled for March 8 and 9, 2021.

Emerging technologies and innovative practices have recently begun to shine a light on the importance of healthy soils for the future of sustainable agriculture. And those promising new approaches are dawning at a time when there is a growing commitment among producers, food companies, and policy makers to improve the resilience of healthy food systems at their very root.

The conference will bring together leading experts and innovative farmers from around the U.S. to share the latest in soil science, best practices in soil management, and the emerging technologies that will drive the future of sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

NCAT is sponsoring the conference in cooperation with USDA Rural Development, Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), and Montana State University.

The goal of the conference is to provide an opportunity for producers and educators to examine current practices as well as the concepts, techniques, and practical applications that may be available in the future.

The conference will be held online March 8 and 9.

Registration is now open. To register and for more information, go to<;!!HXCxUKc!jVSGXfUFouaz56k76ahQTG8FFmrKWiYMwSkm0Oh2KD-5L9M0v4nAsVD0jUo_0Q$>.



During this interactive digital session, engage with experts to develop your own profit strategies for 2021 and beyond.
Thursday March 4,
7-8 AM CST
REGISTER NOW<;!!HXCxUKc!ngPUvdDxbF2zNHoFqV7Q4EqttV7QnTuPBLz1S0TpkcPbFgjR-7w61OcaJmECjQ$>

Agenda & Schedule:
Grain farmers began 2020 expecting to plant a record number of corn acres, only to have a game-changing pandemic crush global demand. Learn about looming influences for future rallies, including  domestic politics, trade, interest rates, and government programs to help you manage market risk in 2021.

Michigan Beekeepers' Association 2021 Spring Conference<;!!HXCxUKc!ght79SckEmFEuebR-H9HaQUVi7r9R78QIixHrechFsYUzI1f-nOUC65A8T6uFw$>
Michigan State University (MSU) Extension<;!!HXCxUKc!ght79SckEmFEuebR-H9HaQUVi7r9R78QIixHrechFsYUzI1f-nOUC65dLvc0NQ$> will co-host the Michigan Beekeepers’ Association’s Spring Conference<;!!HXCxUKc!ght79SckEmFEuebR-H9HaQUVi7r9R78QIixHrechFsYUzI1f-nOUC64gLl8g4w$>, which will be held virtually March 3rd-6th, 2021. Beekeepers and people interested in learning more about beekeeping, honey bees, hive products, drone use, and bee related arts and culture are welcome to attend. The Michigan Beekeepers’ Association<;!!HXCxUKc!ght79SckEmFEuebR-H9HaQUVi7r9R78QIixHrechFsYUzI1f-nOUC65Mb98myQ$> celebrates its 156 years of serving Michigan beekeepers, and the association supports over 30 local beekeeping clubs in Michigan<;!!HXCxUKc!ght79SckEmFEuebR-H9HaQUVi7r9R78QIixHrechFsYUzI1f-nOUC64x86eKYA$>.

Field Crops Webinar Series 2021<;!!HXCxUKc!itce9Ekv6IFfCWQbl8dsf--i8lr410rU2ddNG8bNpiAGLlG4WcXrRRaNaKBxQA$>
7 - 8 p.m. | Online
Growers, consultants and agribusiness professionals are invited to participate in a series of six online programs addressing field crop production and pest management on Monday evenings February 15 through March 22, 2021. Participants will learn how to enhance their corn, soybean and small grain production systems in the coming season and have an opportunity to ask questions of university agricultural experts. The theme for this year's series is Management Decisions that Pay., and each session will focus on the economics of various crop, pest and marketing management strategies.

Loan Preparation for New and Beginning Farmers<;!!HXCxUKc!lt03bio5hrFCOiTGlVST0-6F7nfqtbiK6p3pSRk4eGrsAUjz7H_gJgETnsfZiA$>
12 - 1 p.m. | Online
Are you new to the world of lending? Is the idea of taking out a loan for your new farm business a bit intimidating? Loans are an important tool for growing any business and if approached with the right groundwork, can be a beneficial part of your business development.

Cool Weather Crops and Trellis Demonstration - Virtual School Garden Education series Winter 2021<;!!HXCxUKc!lm4Cjj9KC51K0KIfkhByQ6SrbFg-iJpH-OcA58GW8vR6m3RHmf5Wmj9ZuAzBUA$>
4 - 5 p.m. | Zoom Webinar
Cool Weather Crops and Trellis Demonstration with Kristine Hahn, Extension Educator and Deirdre Hope, MSU Extension Master Gardener Coordinator.  Kristine will cover cool weather crops and their best growing practices. Then Deirdre will show you how to construct a trellis to grow your peas and/or beans on. We will email a supply list so that you can construct your own trellis in time for starting your peas!


Thursdays, 4-8 p.m.
June 17, 2021 (including makeup date, June 24, 2021)

Extension Master Gardener Program Training Course - Berrien County<>

This course covers gardening from start to finish: what you need to get started, types of gardening, planning and preparation, soil preparation, plants to select, starting and maintaining healthy plants, garden maintenance, harvest and storage, pollinators and various gardening activities.

Course Fee:     $325 - includes: All background check and training course expenses including 1,000-page training manual. There are no other out-of-pocket costs.

                 Payments:   Credit card (preferred) or check.

                 Deadlines:    Application due: March 8, 2021
                                       Payment by check: Feb. 22, 2021
                                       Payment by credit card: March 8, 2021


Smart Gardening with Vegetables 101

We're pleased you are interested in the MSU Extension Master Gardener (EMG) Program and trust it will be a rich and rewarding experience for you.

  *   Format: On-demand
  *   Price: $30
  *   More information: Smart Gardening with Vegetables 101<> | Rebecca Krans [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> and Sarah Rautio [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>


To register for this course, you will need to create an account, sign in with your email/password, and complete the registration process. To watch a video tutorial, demonstrating an overview of the registration process, click on the following link: Online Course Registration Video Tutorial<>. Step-by-step instructions are below.

  1.  STEP #1: Create your MSU Guest Account and Password: Create Your Account<>.
  2.  STEP #2: Login to the registration system with your MSU Guest Account (your email) and Password: Smart Gardening with Vegetables 101<>
  3.  STEP #3: Follow the instructions to register for the course. Upon registration, you will receive a receipt and instructions for accessing the course.


For technical assistance please contact Michigan State University Discovery Services at 517-353-8700 or email [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>. They are available from 7am-Midnight Monday through Friday and 10am-Midnight on Saturday/Sunday.

For more information about the course and instructors click here<>

Food Safety Virtual Workshops

Do you grow vegetables that are typically eaten raw? These workshops will provide guidance to develop your farm’s food safety plan and design packing areas that meet these needs.

Food Safety Plans: Wondering Where to Start?

Below, you’ll find food safety plan templates to help get you started. You can also contact your local Produce Safety Technician for additional assistance!

Food Safety Plan Template<;!!HXCxUKc!mBM_4tq6DcTEi-fQvKxAl7lh4W6-6SKZUCVyvZbhPGSNoJyTXOomhxZeVnZzaQ$>
Food Safety Plan: Supplemental Pages<;!!HXCxUKc!mBM_4tq6DcTEi-fQvKxAl7lh4W6-6SKZUCVyvZbhPGSNoJyTXOomhxZ2LH90_g$>
Contact a Produce Safety Technician<;!!HXCxUKc!mBM_4tq6DcTEi-fQvKxAl7lh4W6-6SKZUCVyvZbhPGSNoJyTXOomhxYjPvaBOw$>

Hygienic Design for Produce Farms Workshop
March 11, 2021 11 am-1:30 pm EST

One area that growers can consistently improve on is managing their packing areas and hygienic design of equipment. Having tools and the know how to improve what a grower has is the first step to higher quality and safer produce.

This two and a half hour program is designed for small and beginning farmers. It focuses on a variety of topics related to post harvest sanitation. There will be hands on demonstrations, and lots of practical information shared from On Farm Food Safety experts from all around Michigan.
Click here to register for this workshop<>



A “nuts and bolts” workshop

to build a grain marketing plan that works.

Thursday March 4,
6-7 PM CST

REGISTER NOW<;!!HXCxUKc!lNXuFY7gokoZI5hRBsuL3_MY0F0KWJSOtBPNeFQlxfXC9rS2htgpxYLuyS19pg$>

Agenda & Schedule:

6 pm CST

Attendees will learn to evaluate the marketing plan for their farms, the same way an investor looks at an investment portfolio. Producers will learn to evaluate at which levels they can safely market, based on the break-even points for their individual farms.

This session provides a no-nonsense, easy to understand, grain marketing starting point. Beginners and experienced grain producers are encouraged to attend this session to learn from the ideas and insights presented. Audience participation is encouraged.

MIFFS is Hiring!
Two positions with MIFFS ARE NOW OPEN!

MIFFS (Michigan Food and Farming Systems) is hiring to fill two positions on our team! Visit to learn what MIFFS does and this organization helps Michigan farmers and those seeking to become farmers.

MIFFS Veterans in Ag Network Coordinator position description can be found at here<;!!HXCxUKc!hSJE8wPT1VvOOHYWiQ9AfiEZdz1XIc7Miv1Hta0j3z977tG-xptrV3xPgFAaAA$>
Michigan Family Farms Conference Coordinator position description can be found here<;!!HXCxUKc!hSJE8wPT1VvOOHYWiQ9AfiEZdz1XIc7Miv1Hta0j3z977tG-xptrV3y-PcuGCQ$>
Applications are due by COB March 6th
Email any questions to [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>


Job Title:
Program Director Horticulture/Landscapes
Food Innovation Center at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Kalamazoo, Michigan
Full Time. Visit : for application and info
Pay Rate:
$60,000 per year
Position Type:
Food Safety
Job Summary:
Are you a seasoned, sustainability-minded professional in the horticulture or landscape management field, looking to increase your impact by building a cutting-edge new training program? Do you want to be a part of an exciting, interdisciplinary academic team that is breaking down barriers between health, food, economic prosperity, and environmental resilience in southwest Michigan? Kalamazoo Valley may have the perfect opportunity for you.
Kalamazoo Valley Community College has received grant funding to develop and launch a new certificate and degree program in Sustainable Systems for Horticulture, Agriculture, and Urban Landscapes. The industry-informed program will draw on existing KVCC programs in sciences, agri-foods and trades, and build upon the interdisciplinary approach of the health-food-sustainability cluster of programs housed at the Bronson Healthy Living Campus.
The temporary position of Program Director of the Sustainable Systems for Horticulture, Agriculture, and Urban Landscapes program (SPD) will have primary responsibility for implementation of the grant-funded project. The successful candidate will work with the Director for Sustainable Food Systems, Dean of Business and Industrial Trades, other faculty and academic administrators, and the Food Innovation Center Production Manager, and be supported by an industry consultant and advisory group, in order to:

  *   Convene advisory groups: schedule meetings, communicate agendas and minutes to participants, facilitate discussions, document meeting proceedings.
  *   Develop curriculum (primary focus of Year 1), conduct thorough literature review and environmental scan, building upon work to date, create program framework, draft summary and key learning objectives for each course, request and incorporate industry and faculty feedback throughout.
  *   Implement pilot courses (primarily Year 2), work with colleagues from Career and Continuing Education department to create pilot noncredit courses, recruit students through local employers, build detailed lesson plans, work with Production Manager to prepare site and materials, implement lessons, work with Director of Sustainable Food Systems to evaluate courses, report out and revise content as necessary.
  *   Conduct student recruitment activities (primarily Year 2-3).
  *   Work with KVCC Student Recruitment and Marketing departments to develop materials and outreach strategy.
  *   Attend career and higher education recruitment fair events, use social media and other internet-based strategies, and respond to individual student inquiries.
  *   Meet with employers to introduce program and encourage them to sponsor employees.
  *   Instruct coursework (primarily Year 3).
  *   Build detailed lesson plans, work with Production Manager to prepare site and materials, implement lessons, work with Director of Sustainable Food Systems to evaluate courses, report out and revise content as necessary.
The ideal candidate for this role will need to have excellent written and verbal communication and be skilled in collaboration.
Closing Date:
Special Instructions to Applicants:
This is a temporary three year grant funded position.
Position will be evaluated annually to determine continuation based on the success
of the program.

Research assistant II at Michigan State University-Kellogg Biological Station, Hickory Corners  Go to this link for full job details and application process.

Job no: 691335

Primary responsibilities of this position include: managing and leading in-season field research, preparation, planting, and harvesting of the GLBRC and LTER research sites; communicating with professors, graduate and undergraduate students, university staff, industry and farm cooperators, and other stakeholders; designs and establishes field research plots; data management including data collection from field research plots, compilation, analysis, and publication of the data; oral and written communication of research results to stakeholders; operation and maintenance of research equipment to complete research protocols; daily field research inspection and maintenance to meet all research objectives.


[A picture containing text  Description automatically generated]


Winter-Spring 2021 Pilot Study Recruitment

Project Description:

Cover crops offer many benefits, such as soil health and conservation, weed and pest control, and climate resilience. However, these benefits depend on the successful growth of cover crops, which can be highly variable due to a range of environmental and management factors (e.g., soil type, climate, planting strategies) that differ across farms. Given this, we plan to partner with farmers across the Great Lakes region to understand patterns of cover crop performance and provide site-specific recommendations for cover crop management. By sharing information about cover crop management practices, and conducting a brief sampling protocol to estimate cover crop biomass, partnering farmers will contribute to a data-driven effort to improve cover crop outcomes.


Participants must have at least one field currently planted in an overwintering annual cover crop. For each cover cropped field, participation includes: 1) completing a brief online survey (~15 minutes) asking questions about different aspects of cover crop management, and 2) collecting height measurements and ground cover photos of your cover crops to help us estimate biomass at peak growth. If you have multiple fields planted to cover crops, we invite you to complete this protocol for more than one field based on your availability and interest. We will analyze the survey and field data to identify factors that explain variation in cover crop growth in order to provide improved management recommendations. All information collected will be anonymous.

Pilot study participants will be compensated $75 for their time and efforts.

Please contact [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]> with any questions or if you’d like to participate.

Thank you!

Etienne Herrick, PhD Student Jennifer Blesh, Associate Professor

University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability

Seeking participants of Early Child Care Educators in Focus Groups
You are invited to participate in a focus group discussion about farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) with the Michigan Farm to ECE Network. Participants will be compensated for their participation.

We’re asking childcare providers, farmers, and families to join us for virtual on the topics of local food, nutrition education, and gardening with children between the ages of 0-5 in childcare settings. We are interested in talking with people who have experience with farm to ECE as well as those who have not had a chance to use farm to ECE.

Farm to ECE is a group of strategies and activities that childcare providers can use to increase children’s access to healthy local foods, gardening opportunities, and education about food, nutrition, and agriculture. Classroom taste tests, farm field trips, and including local foods in menus are some examples of farm to ECE that you may be familiar with.

The Michigan Farm to ECE Network<> is a collaboration between organizations, ECE providers, farmers, and families that seeks to improve access to healthy food, increase nutritional awareness and health outcomes, and support ECE providers as they work to improve children’s learning environments.

Would you be interested in joining us? Visit CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE<;!!HXCxUKc!jV5KJ7K2kNHEh6rwBmMdc--Efg2IRDARAPzvgpEwEBJU2rTLJqDIDG-GVVOK3w$>: information, including dates and times for discussions, as well as a brief questionnaire to help us learn more about potential participants.

If you have any questions, please contact Meagan Shedd at [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>.



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]<mailto:[log in to unmask]><>
sorrone11 (skype)

Diversity is having a seat at the table, inclusion is having a voice, and belonging is having that voice be heard.

If you would like to access previous postings to the Mich-Organic listserv you can copy and paste the following URL into your browser address bar