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Michigan State University Extension's vegetable production team consists of MSU faculty and MSU Extension educators who serve Michigan’s diverse commercial vegetable industry. Extension educators respond to grower questions, plan educational meetings and programs based on their knowledge of the industry and industry stakeholder input. MSU faculty research problems and develop opportunities in the Michigan vegetable industry. Major program initiatives include: setting research priorities; leveraging industry, university and government grants; pest, nutrient, and irrigation monitoring; disease and pest management recommendations; identifying pesticide registration needs; supporting new and emerging commercial vegetable producers; creating presentations and demonstrations for statewide and local lecture-style and on-farm meetings; print and digital educational materials; weekly regional crop reports during the growing season. We envision a profitable vegetable industry in Michigan that is environmentally responsible and competitive on a global scale.
Our core field staff in the primary commercial vegetable growing regions can be contacted below.
Southwest and Southeast Michigan - Ron Goldy
East Central - Ben Phillips
West Central - Ben Werling
Central - Fred Springborn
Thumb - Hal Hudson
Looking for a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) certification? Call the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MDARD) at 1-800-292-3939 or visit the MDARD online RUP exam scheduler.
Looking for RUP credits? Search MDARD's list of approved RUP seminars.
Looking for gardening help? Direct your attention toward the Gardening in Michigan website, and send questions to “Ask an Expert” or call our toll-free number 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). These experts and hotline responders were trained through the MSU Master Gardener Program. Beginning and experienced gardeners who are interested in becoming a volunteer and resource for other gardeners should consider becoming an Extension Master Gardener.
Bulletins references on this website may change. All attempts will be made to have them available for free here, but they can also be purchased or downloaded at the MSU Extension Bookstore at shop.msu.edu.
The MSU Diagnostic Services Lab provides timely identification of plant viruses and pathogens, plant-parasitic nematodes, insect pests and herbicide resistance.
The MSU Soil and Plant Nutrient Lab offers a variety of analytical services and recommendations based on samples of soil, greenhouse growth media, composts, plant tissue, water and other materials related to growing crops.
The MSU Enviro-weather website offers a weather-based information system that helps users make pest, plant production, and natural resource management decisions in Michigan.
The Nutrient Recommendations for Vegetable Crops in Michigan Bulletin E-2934, Secondary and Micronutrients for Vegetable and Field Crops Bulletin E-486 and Lime for Michigan Soils Bulletin E-471 are MSU’s most recent complete resources for nutrient management of vegetable crops. The MSU Fertilizer Recommendation Program can be used to get specific recommendations for any crop, with soil test data that you’ve already acquired.
The Cover Crops team offers technical advice for field crop and vegetable growers and has generated a Cover Crop Decision Tool through the Midwest Cover Crop Council (MCCC) that can help you identify a cover crop that accomplishes your needs and fits in your rotation.
MSU offers support for organic growers by way of organic certification resources, workshops, and events through the Michigan Organic Farming Exchange and the Student Organic Farm; and research programs through the labs of John Biernbaum and Matt Grieshop.
MSU Extension hosts a number of resources related to irrigation. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality hosts the Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool, which is used to determine if a proposed withdrawal is likely to cause an Adverse Resource Impact and to register the withdrawal if it is over 70 gallons per minute or 100,000 gallons per day.
MSU Extension Pollinator and Pollination resources are developed for growers and beekeepers.
The Insect, Disease and Nematode Control for Commercial Vegetables Bulletin E-312 and the Weed Control Guide for Vegetable Crops Bulletin E-433 are MSU’s annually updated list of chemistries labeled for use on all vegetables.
The MSU IPM Center hosts the Vegetable Pest Crop Management Bulletin E-2160 for category 1B commercial pesticide applicators and the Integrated Pest Management Scouting in Vegetable Crops Bulletin E-3293 for economic management.
External from MSU, the CDMS pesticide label database contains current product labels and MSDS information for recordkeeping, and Greenbook.net and Agrian.com both host comprehensive and user-friendly pesticide databases that allows for easy searching and comparison of products. The MDARD maintains the list of Michigan Section 18 & 24c Pesticide Labels for Special Need.
The MSU Farm Finance and Labor Management web page contains information on Farm Bill, taxes, healthcare for employees, crop insurance, financial analysis and cost-of-production information for fruits, vegetables, nurseries, orchards and greenhouses.
The USDA offers the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) and the NAP Crop Eligibility, Premium and Payments Estimator.
The Great Lakes Agricultural Labor Services, LLC has been working with growers interested in going through the H-2A agricultural worker program.
The Growing Michigan's Future report contains all the information needed for selling fresh uncut produce, packaged produce, and added value products in Michigan.
MSU Extension Agrifood Safety resources for GAP certification.
Food Safety Begins on the Farm: Cornell's grower guide to good agricultural practices and food safety.
The Food and Drug Adminstration's Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Cornell’s Food Safety Plan Self-Assessments provide the fundamental structure for a food safety plan that can be kept in your files on farm.
The FDA’s official Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) website.
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s FSMA eligibility tool.
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality water test form and fees.
The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery Stocks, Agriculture Handbook Number 66, USDA, ARS
Leopold Center Post-Harvest Handling Decision Tool
Cornell resource: On-Farm Cold Storage of Fall-Harvested Fruit and Vegetable Crops
John Bierenbaum, Professor of Horticulture specializing in small-scale organic production
Dan Brainard, vegetable horticulture specialist in the Department of Horticulture
Matt Grieshop, Professor of Entomology specializing in organic insect management
Mary Hausbeck, vegetable pathologist in the Department of Plant Pathology
Zsofia Szendrei, vegetable entomologist in the Department of Entomology
Bernie Zandstra, vegetable weed scientist in the Department of Horticulture
Great Lakes EXPO, the joint Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO, and Greenhouse Growers EXPO meeting website
MSU AgBio Research, where our agricultural research initiatives are performed
MSU CANR departments, the university homes for all of our research faculty
MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, for growers and buyers to build local food networks
Michigan Farmers Market Association, for farm marketer network-building
Michigan Agri-Tourism Association, for submitting or looking up agritourism opportunities in an online directory
Michigan Food and Farming Systems, for diverse and small-scale grower network-building
Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance, for organic growers network-building
Great Lakes Vegetable Working Group, an exchange for Extension workers across the Midwest
The Michigan Vegetable Council, Michigan’s overall vegetable commodity organization
VegEdge, vegetable resources from Minnesota
Cornell Vegetables, vegetable resources from New York
VegNet, vegetable resources from Ohio
Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News, vegetable resources from Illinois
Purdue Horticulture Extension, vegetable resources from Indiana
May 24, 2016 | Beth Bishop | Interpreting the newly revised growing degree-day maps on MSU Enviro-weather.
May 23, 2016 | Shelby Burlew | 2016 Early Season Projections for Harmful Algal Bloom severity in Western Lake Erie beginning in mid-May.
May 20, 2016 | Kurt Steinke | Knowing when a phosphorus (P) fertilizer application is warranted can be a good first step towards a much larger concern – the quality of our nation’s water supply.
May 19, 2016 | Heidi Wollaeger | Students will have three months to take this self-paced, online course that discusses the fundamental concepts of greenhouse and horticultural lighting through eXtension.
May 18, 2016 | Ben Phillips | Multiple frost advisories and spotty frost events in our region over the last week put many growers in a holding pattern, but conditions should improve.
May 18, 2016 | Ben Werling | Crop progress has been ongoing but slow in west central Michigan.
May 18, 2016 | Fred Springborn | Improving yet cool weather keeps crop and planting progress at a moderate pace.
May 18, 2016 | Ron Goldy | Warmer, drier weather will be welcomed by growers.
May 18, 2016 | Bernard Zandstra | Sandea may be used up to 14 days before harvest.
May 17, 2016 | Noah Rosenzweig | The Late Blight Risk Forecasting website is now estimating the potential survival of potato volunteers in Michigan in 2016.
Find an Expert
Jun 14, 2016 – Jun 14, 2016 | Royal Cafe, 701 E Main Street, Centreville, MI 49032
Jun 19, 2016 | MSU Horticulture Gardens, 1066 Bogue St, East Lansing, MI 48824
Jun 21, 2016 – Jun 28, 2016 | Royal Cafe, 701 E Main Street, Centreville, MI 49032
Jun 26, 2016 | The North Farm, N5431 Rock River Road, Chatham, MI
Jun 29, 2016 | MSU Plant Pathology Field Lab 3735 N College Road, Lansing MI 48910 - College Road, north of Jolly Road
Jul 6, 2016 | Applewood Estate, 1400 E Kearsley St, Flint, MI 48503
Jul 14, 2016 | Hope College campus, 141 E 12th St, Holland, MI 49423