Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board
P.O. Box 550, 12800 Escanaba Drive, Suite A
DeWitt, Michigan 48820
Phone (517) 669-4250 Fax (517) 669-4251
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
April 20, 2013
The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board (MAAB) operates the PA232
program known as the Michigan Asparagus Industry Development
Program (MAIDP), now in existence for 35 consecutive years.
By statute the MAIDP program is subject to a producer referendum
every fifth year of operation. The director of the Michigan
Department of Agriculture (MDA) has determined that the referendum
(VOTE) for the continuation of the Michigan Asparagus Industry
Development Program (MAIDP) will be held from April 15 - 26,
2013. The MDA mails, receives, verifies and tabulates the ballots
so please watch for those to arrive shortly.
Each producer of asparagus that had a value at first point
of sale of more than $800 in any one of the last three calendar
years should be receiving a ballot. Processors, Fresh Packers,
and Growers (with farm market or direct to consumer sales) report
to MAAB pounds delivered or sold and submit the assessment fee.
We will be sending out a copy of your reported sales to aid
in your ballot preparation. This information is compiled in
our office therefore, if you have any questions about the pounds
that you have produced in any of these years please contact
Betty in the MAAB office at (517) 669-4250 or John Bakker at
We realize that with field work upon us that it is easy to
push the mail aside so we urge you to fill out your ballot and
mail it back to MDA when it arrives.
Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board Members
The MAAB board is appointed by the Governor and is responsible
for the hiring of an Executive Director, all programming and
Following are the current board members and staff of MAAB:
Vic Shank - Dowagiac (Chairman) Ken Oomen - Hart (Vice Chairman)
Sarah Greiner - Hart (Sec. / Treasurer) Eric Herrygers - Hart
Tom Oomen - Hart Ryan Walsworth - Mears
Harold Goodell - Dowagiac Dwight Fuehring - Mears
Kyle Weber - Watervliet
Staff: John Bakker - Executive Director Betty Elder - Executive
MDA Representative: Isaiah Wunsch
Please feel free to contact the board or staff concerning any
questions relating to the programs.
MAAB Appointments and Meetings
All MAAB meetings are open to the public and the public is welcome!
If you would like to be placed on the mailing list notifying
you of meeting times and locations please call the office at
The MAAB is entrusted with the allocation of your assessment
dollars and they take that responsibility very seriously. Each
year the budget is scrutinized and funding decisions are made
based on weighing both short and long term priorities while
focusing on the sustainability and profitability of the Michigan
asparagus industry. In the past twelve months MAAB has concentrated
its efforts in four major areas: Marketing, Education, Governmental
Affairs, and Research. Following are a few highlights.
Marketing efforts focused primarily on radio promotion
of fresh asparagus. These radio spots were timed for the mid-May
peak production period and reminded consumers that "locally
grown" asparagus was now available for a limited time.
For the second year the theme: "Michigan Asparagus, It's
the best you'll eat all year!" was used. The promotion
program was hugely successful again this year resulting in record
high, season long returns for fresh asparagus with many fresh
growers receiving over $1.00 per lb. The board believes that
dollars invested in fresh market promotion benefit both fresh
and processed growers. Each pound delivered for fresh is one
less pound entering the processed market thus creating an improved
market environment for producers selling into the processing
Educational activities center on consumer awareness
of the product, including health benefits, recipes, fresh market
season and abnormal weather events affecting the crop. Last
year's March heat wave presented numerous opportunities to utilize
television, radio and print to talk about our asparagus crop.
Other educational activity is focused on legislator and regulator
communication. Numerous contacts were made with local, state
and federal legislators regarding issues affecting the crop
and we hosted the 2012 EPA Michigan tour.
Efforts in Governmental Affairs slowed this past year
with the huge focus on the 2012 fall elections. With the elections
now behind us we are intently watching two major issues with:
comprehensive immigration control and newly proposed food safety
regulations. Although many hurdles remain, I'm still optimistic
that we may finally end up with a harvest workforce that is
stable, affordable and legal.
MAAB funds Research programs in Michigan by transferring
money to the Michigan Asparagus Research Committee. These dollars
are then used to leverage processor and packer contributions
and state and federal grants. These combined dollars fund variety
trials at the industry's own research facility and MSU scientists
working on weed, insect and disease control as well as irrigation
and replant suppression. A complete book on research results
are published annually and are available by calling the office
at (517) 669-4250.
Vilmorin Hybrid Asparagus Seed We have learned
that some late harvest NJ 1025, NJ 1113 and Mondeo may be available
by planting time. If you are still in need of seed call (231)