The Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance (MOFFA) was organized in 1992 as a non-profit organization with the mission of promoting organic agriculture and the development and support of food systems that revitalize and sustain local communities.  MOFFA was one of the first organizations in Michigan and the nation to actively promote these principles. 


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1 Jan 2018    USDA Withdrawal of Livestock and Poultry Rule

USDA Moves To Withdraw Livestock and Poultry Rule (Updated)

We don't always agree with the Organic Trade Association, but we are with them on this:  "After over a decade of stakeholder input, unanimous NOSB recommendations, and a thorough rulemaking process that yielded overwhelming support, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has taken an egregious action and all-out assault on the integrity of the USDA organic seal by opening a 30-day comment period on its INTENTION TO WITHDRAW the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) final rule that was released on January 19, 2017."

The Livestock and Poultry Rule was a long time coming, having been in development since the the "Final Proposed Rule" for Organic certification first went into effect in 2002.  We wrote a bit about the history of the Rule in September of 2016.  The implementation of the Livestock and Poultry Rule, initially scheduled for March 19, 2017, was postponed by the incoming Trump administration until May 19, then by another six months until November, and finally by another six months, until May, 2018.  Then on December 18, the Department published its intent to wthdraw the Rule.  This action flies in the face of public opinion, which was documented by the Department's own request for public comment earlier this year to be in favor of immediate implementation of the rule by an overwhelming majority.  

The OTA filed a lawsuit in September to attempt to force the USDA to stop delaying the implementation of the Rule, and has amended the lawsuit in response to the USDA's action in December.

The USDA public comment period is open now through January 18.  It is extremely important that every person, business, and organization with a stake in the integrity of the Organic label SUBMIT A PUBLIC COMMENT in their own words during this period. 

(Updated to provide a link to a very informative summary of the issue.)

16 Sep 2017    Fall NOSB Meeting

Fall NOSB Meeting (Update)

The Cornucopia Institute will live tweet from the National Organic Standards Board meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, beginning Tuesday morning, October 31. They will be sharing the play by play with Twitter followers under #NOSB, or simply follow the Cornucopia stream.  Periodic reports will also appear on Cornucopia's website at

The National Organic Standards Board will hold its fall meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, October 31 - November 2.  The board intends to discuss organic imports, review sunsetting of accepted inputs for organic operations and new petitions, a proposal to eliminate the incentive to convert native ecosystems to organic crop production, and, for the third time, the question as to whether hydroponic/aquaponic operations should be allowed to be certified organic. We encourage everyone who has a stake in organic production to make their opinions known in advance of this meeting.  For more information, see the Policy Page.


21 Aug 2017    Organic Certification Cost Share

Organic Certification Cost Share

Organic farmers and ranchers now need to visit their local U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) office in order to apply for cost share reimbursement through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP).  This represents a change from prior years.

OCCSP provides cost share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products who are obtaining or renewing their certification under the National Organic Program (NOP). Certified operations may receive up to 75 percent of their certification costs paid from Oct. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2017, not to exceed $750 per certification scope.

Eligible costs include application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement/arrangement requirements, travel/per diem for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments and postage.  Ineligible costs include equipment, materials, supplies, transitional certification fees, late fees and inspections necessary to address National Organic Program regulatory violations.

To learn more about organic certification cost share, visit or contact a local FSA office by visiting


27 May 2017    The Organic Movement in Michigan

The Organic Movement in Michigan

On May 26, 2017, MOFFA published the book The Organic Movement in Michigan, which contains a wide variety of information: historical summaries of the major organic organizations, reports on various organic activities, and essays about the past, present and future of organic farming.  Edited by Maynard Kaufman and Julia Christianson, with contributions from sixteen of those who were a part of the movement spanning the last 45 years. 

Wes Jackson says, "Perhaps the best documented history of The Organic Movement generally comes out of Michigan. The writers—practitioners beginning in the early 70s—have bothered to write a comprehensive history of the local, organic, community supported story that de facto can serve as a primer for other states less far along. Sharing of ideas has long been a way of life for the movement so the already seasoned are sure to gain from a reading of this as well."



12 Apr 2017    Producing Fresh Milk

Producing Fresh Milk — Goat Edition

The Farm to Consumer Foundation announces the publication of Producing Fresh Milk — Goat Edition which joins the previously published Cow Edition.  These books are for readers who are interested in starting a dairy to provide fresh milk to families, producers currently shipping raw milk to the dairy industry, but are interested in providing fresh milk to families, or those currently providing fresh milk who would like to improve their dairy operations.  Learn step by step starting from the dairy business, going into about the farm, the quality of fresh milk production and ending with about the milk. The can be purchased on the Farm to Consumer Foundations website at  Download the poster here.

27 Mar 2017    Let Your Voice Be Heard

drawing of a hand, writing

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

There are a number of issues on the national stage at the moment that stand to have a profound effect on organic agriculture for many years to come.  MOFFA strongly encourages farmers, consumers, and everyone who cares about the future of organic to take advantage of public comment periods on the following issues:

Keep the Soil in Organic—The public comment period has ended on the question of whether hydroponic operations should be able to be certified organic.  The issue will (we hope) be decided at the Spring NOSB meeting in Denver on April 19-21.  For those who would like more information, MOFFA's Chair Dr. John Biernbaum served on the hydroponics task force, and reported on his experience in our September and December newsletters. 

The Organic Check-Off—The public comment period on this issue ends at midnight on April 19.  The “check-off” program would use funds collected from producers and handlers of organic products for promotion and research—it’s the program that brought us the “Got Milk?” and “Incredible Edible Egg” campaigns.  Again, the vast majority of organic farmers are opposed to this additional “tax”, feeling that promoting organic sales now will not increase organic acreage in the US but may well increase demand for lower priced organic imports.  The check-off has been strongly promoted by the Organic Trade Association, representing corporate interests, and the public comments are already full of their form letter.  There is more information on the check-off at  You can view the proposed rule and submit your comment at

The 2018 Farm Bill—The last item we want to mention does not require an immediate response, but we want people to be aware of what’s coming.  Legislators in Washington have already begun to talk about the 2018 Farm Bill, and given the current climate, there is a real danger that we might lose a major source of support for organic agriculture when this bill becomes law.  The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has been blogging about the hearings on the Hill; the initial report is here, and subsequent posts can be viewed at  We encourage everyone who cares about the future of organic to join NSAC’s email list or RSS feed, and stay informed.  There are opportunities to sign up for the email newsletter and the RSS feed on the left hand side of both webpages mentioned above.

26 Jan 2017    Organic Intensives

Registration Now Open For
Organic Intensives 2017

We invite you to join us on Thursday, March 9th, for a one-day in-depth learning experience—an opportunity to acquire practical, detailed information from experts and practitioners over the course of a day with fellow Michigan farmers and gardeners.  This year's topics address Organic Pest Management for diversified vegetable growers, Changing Markets for organic field crops, and Organic Gardening techniques aimed at the experienced gardener.


31 Aug 2016    Organic Cost Share 2016

Organic Certification Cost Share Now Available

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is pleased to announce the availability of organic cost share assistance for handlers/producers who have incurred certification expenses during the period of October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016. The program is offered on behalf of the USDA National Organic Cost Share Program which is authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill. Your operation must have been inspected and certified by a National Organic Program (NOP) accredited certifying agent during this specified time period in order to qualify. MDARD is authorized to pay 75% of the certification and user costs up to $750 per certification. Your application along with all required supporting documentation must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2016. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Josh Grant at (517) 284-5789 or via email at   To get an application click here.


16 Jun 2016    2016 Farm Guide

photo of farm guide

2016 Farm Guide
Now Available on Paper!

MOFFA's Guide to Michigan's Organic and Ecologically Sustainable Growers and Farms, popularly known as the Farm Guide, is available on paper, as well as online.  The paper version represents a snapshot of the guide as of June 1, 2016.  Individual copies may be purchased directly from (search for 2016 Farm Guide).  If you are interested in purchasing multiple copies, please contact us.  We are hoping to make a Kindle version of the guide available, as well as smaller regional editions that you can download and print for yourself.  As always, the most up-to-date farm information will be found in the online version.  

23 Feb 2016    Crowdfunding for Urbandale Farm

Crowdfunding for Urbandale Farm

Urbandale Farm,  Lansing’s first urban farm, has just launched a crowd funding campaign to support its apprenticeship program.  The link below will explain in greater detail who they are, what they do, and what their apprenticeship program is about.  Please consider donating to this community-based food and farming program.

Urbandale Farm is operated by the Lansing Urban Farm Project (501c3); all donations are tax deductable to the extent allowed by law.


27 Jan 2016    2016 Organic Reporting Session Announced

2016 Organic Reporting Session Announced

This one day event will be held on Friday March 11, 2016 from 8:30-4 pm at the Brody Complex on Harrison Rd. in East Lansing. An exciting program offering an educational extravaganza during the annual Ag and Natural Resource Week at Michigan State University. We will share research findings and Best Practices for organic farming and managing crops and soil.  Work will be shared by MSU researchers, their graduate students, agriculture educators, and experienced organic farmers that has relevance to organic farming. Each session will conclude with how can a farmer implement this on the farm. Examples of topics that will be shared include crop variety trials, tillage practices and their impact on soil health and weeds, pollinators and how farming impacts their abundance, to name a few. We hope that you can join us for a day filled with new ideas, new friends and great networking. More detail is available on the agenda.  Cost for the program is $25 for farmers and students and $30 for others.  Lunch and materials are included in this cost as well as priceless information and opportunities for new connections and friends. Please join us what promises to be a great day.  To register online visit  If you have questions contact Dan Rossman (

1 Jan 2016    A Message from Healthy Food Healthy Bees
I hope you all had a successful growing season and that your bees are still going strong! At the end of our first year of the Healthy Food Healthy Bees Connection, we have 35 farmers and beekeepers signed up! I am pleased with such a great turnout for year one, and am hoping we can double that number in 2016. Please spread the word to your fellow farmers and beekeepers! They can sign up at
During this first year, many of our farmers live in counties where we had no beekeepers signed up. So it is important that we reach out to as many beekeepers as possible to get good coverage.
If you were successful in connecting with a farmer/beekeeper this year as part of our program, I would love to hear from you. How did it work out? Any suggestions for others? More information about the project is available on Facebook,, and in the 2015 Report.
If you would like to help out in spreading the word about the Healthy Food Healthy Bees Connection, please send me an email and you can join our team. If you have any suggestions for ways I can reach out to the farmers/beekeepers please let me know!
Enjoy your day and thank you for being part of this great effort!

31 Dec 2015    High Tunnel Grant — Final Report

High Tunnel Grant — Final Report

MOFFA partnered with several MSU Researchers during 2014 and 2015 to secure funding from the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program managed by MDARD.  The focus of the work was organic raspberry and sweet cherry production and pest management in a one-acre three-season high tunnel facility located at the Horticulture Teaching and Research Center.  Funds supported both project personnel and infrastructure maintenance.  A report of the project methods and outcomes is available as a PDF download here.

25 Sep 2015    John Biernbaum Appointed to NOP Task Force

photo of John BiernbaumLong-time MOFFA member and current Vice-Chair Dr. John Biernbaum has been appointed to a 16-member NOP task force to explore hydroponic and aquaponic production practices and their alignment with USDA organic regulations.

The task force will report to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) about the current state of technologies and practices for hydroponics and aquaponics, as well as how those practices do or do not align with the USDA organic regulations. The NOSB will utilize the report to determine the best path forward regarding recommendations on hydroponics and aquaponics production systems.  For more information, visit the NOSB Task Forces page.


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