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.
NRCS Cost Share Program: EQIP
NRCS is offering a program to help with funding for Seasonal High Tunnel Systems. Funding for this and other NRCS cost share programs is available—many deadlines are coming up on May 17, so visit their website today for more information. Also see EQIP’s guide to Frequently Asked Questions about the program.
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.
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USDA: Census of Agriculture
The deadline to submit your ag census has been extended. This data is especially important because as the new farm bill is defined, there will be new categories: small farms, new farms, organic farms, farmers trying new innovations (like aquaculture, fruit grown in hoop houses, urban and community agriculture, innovative tillage, cover crops). All should apply to identify where funding is needed and the new directions many of you are trying. If you have your census this is the perfect day to get it done, and if you need a copy go to one of the following sites: