Congratulations to Michigan Sea Grant Educators

The Great Lakes Sea Grant Network honored Michigan Sea Grant Extension with three awards during the network’s semi-annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

Mary Bohling – who serves the urban Detroit area addressing economic development, habitat restoration, coastal tourism and greenway/water trail development – received a mid-career award.

Brandon Schroeder – who serves coastal counties along Lake Huron in fishery, coastal tourism, business development, and youth engagement in coastal community development and stewardship – received the Distinguished Service Award.

The network also awarded the Michigan Sea Grant program with the network’s Great Lakes Outreach Programming Award for its Sustainable Small Harbors project, which aims to assist coastal communities in their planning efforts.

Read more about the awards on our Michigan State University Extension website.

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Filed under Awards, Sea Grant Extension

MSU Extension team responds to help families with farm stress

A person with a hat sits in a field with a combine in the background.

About a year ago, commodity prices fell, especially affecting dairy farmers. Michigan saw a rise in attempted suicides among farmers and farm families. Michigan State University (MSU) Extension responded by forming the Farm Stress team, made up of Suzanne Pish, Adam Kantrovich, Roger Betz, Tom Cummins and Beth Stuever, to create resources for educators and others who work with farmers and their families.

The team, with the assistance of ANR Communications and Marketing, put together a fact sheet and video for farmers and farm families so that our staff could have access to resources they could use in their programming and interaction. The team also put together two programs to help Extension educators and others who work with farmers and farm families. The first was a mental health first-aid training: a full-day, hands-on, certification course that can help those people working with farmers and farm families to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness and emotional crisis. The second was a workshop designed for people who work with agriculture producers and farm families who want to know more about managing farm-related stress and ways to approach and communicate with those in need.

The team and the resources that they have produced are an example of how important it is that we work across institute or department lines, and that we mobilize to meet immediate needs of Michigan residents. We have our traditional programs that provide ongoing, stable service to our constituents, but we also can function in an emergency response role, just like we did in our response to the Flint water emergency.

Do you work with farmers, farm families or both? Do you have connections who do? You might want to take some time to watch the video about stress management for farmers and take a look at the other resources on our MSU Extension webpage devoted to farm stress. If you have any questions about the resources or the team’s work, feel free to reach out to Suzanne Pish.

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Filed under Agriculture, Agriculture and Agribusiness, health, Impacts, Resources, Social and emotional health

Save the date and join us for summer field days

A corn field with blue sky and clouds. The image text reads: Field Days 2017.

Michigan State University (MSU) AgBioResearch has announced the schedule for the research centers’ summer field days. These field days are an important opportunity to connect Michigan residents and industry with the latest MSU research. Often, the field days showcase research and extension through an open house format, and often offer educational opportunities and trainings. We hope that you’ll spread the word and be able to join us!

Kellogg Biological Station – Multiple Field Days
June 13 and Aug. 1, 4–8 p.m. – Pasture Dairy Center Open House
June 28 – Barley Field Day
November 3 – Cover Crops Field Day

Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center – July 26
The 28th annual MSU Viticulture Field Day

Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center – July 29

Montcalm Research Center – August 3

Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center – August 10
This field day features a morning program on dry beans, sugar beets, wheat, corn and soybeans. Lunch will follow.

Lake City Research Center – August 24
Ag Innovation Day: Focus on Forage and the Future

Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center – August 24
3 p.m. Field day will include an equipment show, dinner and the annual meeting of the Leelanau Horticulture Society.

For more information, see the MSU AgBioResearch press release about their field days.

 

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Filed under Ag Innovation Day, Agriculture, Agriculture and Agribusiness, Field Days

Congratulations to our MSU Extension 2017 NACAA award winners

Congratulations to our Michigan State University (MSU) Extension colleagues on their work and their awards from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA). They will receive their awards at the NACAA national conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, July 9–14. Take a minute to read about the work they’ve done, and check out some of their publications and other award-winning work online. Please join me in congratulating them on their achievements.

James DeDecker

Achievement Award – National Winner

James DeDecker, MSU Extension field crops educator in Presque Isle County, is being recognized as this year’s NACAA Achievement Award winner for Michigan. This prestigious award recognizes excellence in the field of professional Extension for NACAA members with less than 10 years of service. A Michigan Association of Extension Agents (MAEA) member since 2012, James has served as North Region chair, program recognition chair, professional improvement chair and most recently, secretary. James was awarded the MAEA President’s Citation in 2013 and NACAA communication awards in 2014 and 2016.

Phillip Durst

Personal Column – National Finalist

Phillip Durst and Stan Moore, both senior agriculture and agribusiness educators, were invited to write a series of six columns on topics relating to employee management for the Nebraska Cattleman magazine. According to the editor, the Nebraska Cattleman magazine goes to 15,000 producers (all industry segments) across Nebraska and into surrounding states, as well as to top seedstock, cow-calf and feedlot operations in the U.S. Phil wrote columns on recruiting employees, training employees and developing teamwork. The columns on recruitment and building teamwork were later reformatted and published in the Michigan Cattleman magazine. Read “Effective Employee Training” and “Employee Recruitment: Intentional and Continuous.”

Ronald Goldy

Video Presentation – National Finalist

Ron Goldy, MSU Extension senior agriculture and agribusiness educator, and Kraig Ehm from ANR Communications & Marketing, produced a consumer-oriented video on pickle production that showed the production process from beginning to end. The idea was to develop a high-quality educational video to educate consumers on how their food is produced and how it makes it to their tables. View the video: https://youtu.be/5BiZEBtIIdA.

Thomas Guthrie

Distinguished Service Award – National Winner

Tom Guthrie, statewide Extension educator based in Jackson County, will be representing Michigan and receiving the NACAA Distinguished Service Award. The NACAA Distinguished Service Award is presented to members who have served at least 10 years as members of the Cooperative Extension Service, who have conducted outstanding programs and who are held in high esteem by their fellow workers. Tom is in the midst of his 14th year working for MSU Extension. During that span, his responsibilities have included working within the swine and equine industries throughout the state. Tom was also recently awarded the Michigan Association of Extension 4-H Youth Staff (MAE4-HYS) colleague award for his work with colleagues on biosecurity and swine health management at county fairs. He continues to be an active member of MAEA after serving as president of MAEA and the Michigan Council of Extension Associations in 2015.

Heidi M. Lindberg

Search for Excellence in Consumer or Commercial Horticulture – National Winner

Program Promotional Piece – National Finalist

Newsletter, Individual – State Winner

Published Photo & Caption – State Winner

Fact Sheet – State Winner

Heidi Lindberg, a greenhouse and nursery Extension educator for west Michigan, was the national winner in the Search for Excellence in Consumer or Commercial Horticulture (http://www.nacaa.com/awards/apps/display_award.php?id=10354-18922) category for the Online College of Knowledge classes “Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers” and “Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting.” She will deliver a presentation at the NACAA meeting on these two online courses. Heidi also was a national finalist for the communications award Program Promotional Piece (http://www.nacaa.com/awards/apps/display_award.php?id=10068-18922) for a flyer she developed advertising the “Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers” course. 

Ben Phillips

Feature Story – Regional Winner

Audio Recording – State Winner

Ben Phillips, an agriculture and agribusiness educator, covered a unique and long-standing event hosted by a vegetable grower in his region. His feature story, “Kraut-Making Day a Successful Marketing Tool for Michigan Vegetable Grower,” won the regional award for feature story. Ben also won the state level award for his audio recording for his interview with Nicole Heslip about Swede midge in Michigan.  Listen to the podcast: http://brownfieldagnews.com/news/139962/

Brenda Reau

Publication – Regional Winner

In her publication, Cultivating the Entrepreneurial Landscape, Brenda Reau, Extension academic specialist, showcases the work of the MSU Product Center to decision makers, industry stakeholders and key clientele. Fifteen hundred hard copies of the eight-page publication were printed and distributed statewide. Additionally, a digital version of the publication was sent to 700 individuals, posted on MSU websites and distributed through social media. MSU Extension district coordinators deemed the publication especially useful in their work with county commissioners in demonstrating the economic impact of MSU Extension programs. The publication was provided to state legislators to spotlight work with constituents in their districts. It was shared with university donors at a brunch hosted by the president of MSU.

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Filed under Agriculture and Agribusiness, Awards

4-H True Leaders help with rangeland wildfire disaster relief

As a part of the National 4-H True Leaders in Service initiative in April, Michigan State University Extension Michigan 4-H youth from over 10 counties participated in various activities to provide disaster relief to farms and ranchers affected by wildfires. Back in March, regions in Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas saw high winds and uncontrollable wildfires that devastated vast areas of rangeland causing ranchers to struggle to feed and care for their livestock. Michigan 4-H’ers sprang into action by collecting supplies and funds to send. Several groups even traveled to Kansas and Oklahoma to help rebuild farms.

To read about each county’s efforts and to hear from the 4-H True Leaders who participated, visit our website to view the article “4-H ‘True Leaders’ Across Michigan Assist in Rangeland Wildfire Disaster Relief.”

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Filed under 4-H, Children and Youth

MSU Extension Water Education in Bath

On May 11, Joyce McGarry, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension nutrition and food safety educator, was invited to visit Bath Elementary School in recognition of the school’s two new water-refilling stations donated by Delta Dental. She was asked to talk with 178 fourth- and fifth-graders on the important health benefits of water.

Joyce added visual demonstrations. With the help of student volunteers, she counted the number of teaspoons of sugar present in popular sports and flavored water drinks, and compared the results with water, which has no sugar.

Students also had the opportunity to share their knowledge of water and some of their own water practices. For example, one student said that as a treat, his grandmother allows him to drink pop at her house; otherwise, he only drinks milk and water at home. Having students reflect on their own experiences helps them to connect with what they learn.

At the end of the presentation, students were given water bottles that can be refilled throughout their school day. Joyce shared the importance of properly washing the water bottles on a regular basis to get rid of harmful bacteria buildup.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), providing drinking water to students helps to increase their overall water consumption, maintain hydration, reduce intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and may help improve cognitive function. One important way that schools can make a difference is increasing students’ access to water, and allowing them to bring bottles of water to class. Bath Elementary School took it one step further, adding in water and nutrition education by partnering with Joyce and MSU Extension.

Joyce felt that this was an excellent opportunity to engage with the students.

“What a great day to share with great kids!” Joyce said.

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Filed under Children and Youth, grants, Nutrition

Recognize your colleagues and partners through award nominations

Photo of hands on top of one another in a team huddle with the text overtop of the hands that reads, "Recognize your colleagues and partners."

Who is the first person or group who comes to mind when you think about outstanding work and meaningful impact? Do you have someone or a group in mind? Good. We’ve got plenty of ways to recognize them at our annual Fall Extension Conference. I know you’ve seen the emails about how to nominate a person or group, but I wanted to take a minute to talk about the “why” behind the awards. Results of a survey of members of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources in the U.S. and Canada show that employee recognition is a powerful and important tool in creating a thriving climate within an organization. When we take time to value and recognize each other, it creates a foundation for collaboration, gratitude and innovation. We believe that it’s also an essential organizational practice to recognize partners who have played influential roles in our strategic initiatives. This is our way to give back to them and recognize all that they have done for us. Gratitude is key to relationship building.

One more thing I wanted to mention about award nominations – you don’t have to work on it alone. There are several questions that need thorough answers so that the committee can fully understand the breadth of the nominee’s impact, so teaming up and splitting up the work can produce a great result.

Last of all – just a friendly reminder about deadlines. Please send a quick email to msuedir@msu.edu to let us know whom you’re nominating and a sentence about why by the end of today. Miss the deadline? That’s okay, send us your idea anyway. As long as your nomination is turned in by June 1, the awards committee will be able to consider it. Happy nominating!

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Filed under Awards, Fall Extension Conference, Partnerships