posted on August 25, 2005 12:48
Michigan State University
We are happy to announce an exciting development of approximately $800,000 in funding to support organic transitioning and current farmers in Michigan. MSU's Sieglinde Snapp, Dale Mutch, Mathieu Ngouajio, John Biernbaum, Jim Bingen, Mike Brewer, Ed Grafius, Joy Landis and George Bird, are partnering with MOFFA, MIFFS and Michigan farmers on this grant.
The support is from the Organic USDA program and will provide opportunities for cutting edge, participatory research and extension conducted on farms and on research stations. We will work in close partnership with farmers, educators and advisors from the public and private sector. This builds on the long history in Michigan of working together to improve organic production practices. On-going initiatives that support organic growers in the Upper Midwest include the New Ag Network, the pioneering long-term research trials at the Kellogg Biological Station and the organic orchard demonstration at Clarksville, among other projects.
The focus of our Partnering to Cultivate Organic Agriculture in Michigan and the Midwest grant will be on integrating research, marketing, outreach and education to address issues of top priority to Michigan organic producers (current and transitioning farmers). Top priorities will be decided with farmers, but we are anticipating a focus on understanding of processes that allow prediction and biological management of nutrients and insects. The variability of the weather over the growing season and the undeveloped nature of organic marketing are important challenges in the Upper Midwest and will be addressed by partners within this multidisciplinary effort. Weed management is the priority of other initiatives in the region, so our focus will be primarily on soils and arthopods, although we realize that these will interact with other components of cropping system management.Key responsibilities are outlined below, so that those interested in collaborating can contact us:
- Snapp provides overall coordination for the group and soil/nutrient management.
- Mutch will lead organic field crop activities and New Ag Network outreach with Landis.
- Ngouajio will lead organic vegetables activities.
- Bingen and Conner will take the lead on marketing aspects.
- Brewer and Grafius will work on insect management and Bird on nematodes.
- Biernbaum will focus on organic curriculum.
As we learn together, we will be actively engaged with farmers through the New Ag Network, on-farm research activities and farmer visits. Experiential learning and findings from our community of practice will form the basis for organic curriculum, providing direct support for future organic farmers. Please feel free to contact us individually, or Sieg at firstname.lastname@example.org 517-355-5191 x1417. We are very excited about receiving this support, and look forward to working with you interested extension educators, and current and new organic farm families in Michigan and the Great Lakes region.