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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 - Ron Goldy
West Central - Ben Werling
Southeast - Marissa Schuh
East Central - Ben Phillips
Central - Fred Springborn
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 Midwest Vegetable Production Guide 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. 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).
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
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
Zack Hayden, soil fertility and vegetable nutrition specialist 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 31, 2017 | Ben Werling | Asparagus quality is excellent, early-season insect pests are being detected in vegetables.
May 31, 2017 | Ben Phillips | Growers are mostly on schedule with plantings. Moisture has been favorable for most, but overnight temperatures are delaying major growth.
May 31, 2017 | Amanda Buchanan | Cucumber beetles are the primary insect pest of all vine crops in Michigan.
May 31, 2017 | Ron Goldy | Conditions over the past week have been ideal for transplanting.
May 30, 2017 | Jim Isleib | The Pipeline Ag Safety Alliance provides excellent resources to avoid trouble with underground utility lines on your farm.
May 30, 2017 | Phil Tocco | Producers should ask these questions when purchasing equipment for a fruit or vegetable packhouse to ensure food safety.
May 25, 2017 | Christy Sprague | Participants can compare herbicide programs, evaluate weed management strategies and tour MSU research plots.
May 24, 2017 | Charles Krasnow | Tips to control Phytophthora crown and root rot in Michigan peppers.
May 24, 2017 | Terry McLean | Updates about urban and semi-rural small scale diversified vegetable farm fields, hoophouses and market gardens in the Flint area. A new Flint Fresh Veggie Box program kicks off this week.
May 24, 2017 | Ben Phillips | Great conditions for growing roots this week. Field activity may slow down in some areas of the region, depending on rain.
Find an Expert
Jul 9, 2017 | MSU North Farm, Rock River Rd., Chatham, MI 49816
Jul 18, 2017 – Aug 1, 2017 | Grand Traverse Count MSU Extension Office, 520 W Front St, Traverse City MI 49684
Jul 22, 2017 | Kent/MSU Extension 775 Ball Avenue, NE Grand Rapids 49503
Aug 10, 2017 | W.K. Kellogg Manor House, 3700 East Gull Lake Drive, Hickory Corners, MI 49060
Aug 13, 2017 | MSU North Farm, Rock River Rd., Chatham, MI 49816
Aug 30, 2017 | Saginaw MSU Extension 1 Tuscola Street #100 Saginaw, MI 48706
Oct 4, 2017 | Saginaw County MSU Extension 1 Tuscola Street, #100 Saginaw, MI 48706