• 04Jun

    Organic Tree Fruit Field Day to be held June 19th in Berrien Center, Michigan

    When: Saturday, June 19th,  from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Where: Earth First Farms, 8335 Smith Road Berrien Center, MI 49102

    Why: The event will begin with a walking tour of the orchard with practical information and ideas for starting or transitioning to organic orchard management. In the field, Dr. Matthew Grieshop of Michigan State University will provide a hands‐on educational presentation on pest identification and discuss strategies for preventing orchard damage. Participants will also have an opportunity to learn about cider making from “cider guru” Bob Tritten, MSU Horticultural Extension Specialist for Southeast Michigan. A grower panel with successful growers from around the state will discuss marketing options, share experiences and answer questions. Take‐home resources on organic orchard production and certificaton will also be available.

    How: Cost: $25 (OTFA members receive a $10 discount for this and all other OTFA-sponsored events). To register and get directions, call or email Bridget O’Meara at (715) 808-0060, OTFAinfo@gmail.com . The field day is open to the public and includes a catered lunch. Registration deadline is June 12th.

    Cheese Making Class

    When: Two classes will be held June 12 & July 17, 2010, from 1-4 p.m.

    Where: WestWind Milling Company, 8572 Silver Lake Road Linden, MI 48451

    Why: You will leave with the skills and info to help you create your own cheese for your family.

    How: Cost: $20 each, Ages 10 through adult. Limit 14 for each class. Register soon to guarantee your space.  If interested call WestWind Milling Company (810)735-9192, advanced payment is preferred.

    Michigan Pollinator Short Course Offered at No Cost

    When: June 24, 2010

    East Lansing, MI (Contact Jennifer Hopwood for more information)

    Why: This training session provides an overview of pollinator-specific language within the Farm Bill, and how to translate that language into on-the-ground conservation.

    Training objectives:

    • Awareness of various federal programs and funding available for pollinator conservation.
    • Identify approaches to increase and enhance pollinator diversity on the land.
    • Knowledge of the current best management practices that minimize land-use impacts on pollinators.
    • Ability to identify bees and distinguish them from other insects.
    • Understand the economics of insect-pollinated crops, and the effects of pollinator decline.
    • Knowledge of the 2008 Farm Bill pollinator conservation provisions and how to implement those provisions in programs such as WHIP, EQIP, and CSP.
    • Ability to assess pollinator habitat and to identify habitat deficiencies.
    • Ability to make recommendations to farmers and land managers that conserve pollinators (including subjects such as tillage, pesticide use, irrigation, burning, grazing, and cover cropping).
    • Ability to design and implement habitat improvements, such as native plant restoration and nest site enhancements.

    How: Cost: Free of charge. To register contact Jennifer Hopwood, Midwest Pollinator Outreach Coordinator
    The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, P.O. Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299
    , Tel: 913-579-5241 Email: jennifer@xerces.org

  • 30Mar

    The Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course will be offered in 36 states over the next three years. Funding for this effort has been provided through three grants from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education’s (SARE) Professional Development Program.

    The current Farm Bill makes pollinators and their habitat a conservation priority for USDA land managers and conservationists. The Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course is a first- of-its-kind training on those Farm Bill provisions. It also provides instruction on how to translate these provisions into real world conservation efforts.

    The Short Course is an intensive, day-long training designed to equip conservationists, land managers, farm educators, and agricultural professionals with the latest science-based approaches to increasing crop security and reversing the trend of pollinator decline, especially in heavily managed agricultural landscapes. It has already been conducted in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon, and Missouri.

    Short Course topics include the basic principles of pollinator biology, the economics of insect pollination, recognizing native bee species, and assessment of pollinator habitat. Advanced modules will cover farm management practices for pollinator protection, the development of habitat enhancements (including selecting appropriate plants) and using Farm Bill conservation programs to help farmers restore habitat. An overview of additional funding sources and technical support available to land managers will also be provided. Throughout the workshop these training modules are
    illustrated by real case studies of pollinator conservation efforts across the country, and will be supported by field observations. Read more »

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