Welcome to the Organic Farming Exchange
According to the USDA, there were 256 organic agriculture operations in Michigan in 2008, for a total of 58,077 acres of farmland. A 2008 National Organic Production Survey counted 14,540 organic farms and ranches in the US, comprising 4.1 million acres of land.
Farm Bill Update
Both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees amended and passed their draft versions of the 2013 Farm Bill on May 14 and May 15. Next, the full House and Senate will take up these bills for additional debate and amendments. The Senate is up first - they started debating the Senate Agriculture Committee’s just-passed 2013 Farm Bill on Monday, May 20 and are still at work on it. Visit the NSAC website and blog for more information and the latest news.
2013 Conservation Stewardship Program
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is currently gearing up to announce the cut-off date for farmer applications to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for enrollment in the program for 2013. CSP is a working lands conservation program administered by NRCS and available on a nationwide basis. CSP offers technical and financial assistance to farmers for adopting and maintaining high standards of resource conservation and environmental stewardship. Assistance is geared to both the active management of existing conservation systems and for implementing new conservation activities on land in agricultural production.
Some of you may be interested in a new on-line resource called “SPECIALTY CROPportunities”, which was just launched on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture website. SPECIALTY CROPportunities was designed to assist growers considering production of a wide range of non-traditional crops, including many specialty vegetables and culinary herbs. It has information on agronomics, marketing and pests for 100 non-traditional crops, and more crops will be added in the future. While this was designed for Ontario growers, much of the information should be broadly applicable to all growers in the Great Lakes region. Fruit and vegetable growers can visit this site as a resource for production and management practices.
Organic Research and Outreach in the North Central Region
This document was prepared by Ceres Trust, a private foundation that seeks to promote and support organic research in the Midwest. Here you will find lists of all the organic work done by land grant universities, including and especially Michigan State Univeristy! Note that in 2012, Organic Research and Farming Foundation placed MSU in the top position, as we offer organic research, organic acreage, professors with organic farming in their scope of work, Student Organic Farm and training program, and many research papers, as you can see, that present results of organic research.
If you have your card, which was mailed, and would like to complete the census online, please go to www.agcensus.usda.gov/Online_Response/index.php