March is known for Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Week, changing weather, first day of spring, paczki, spring break, mud and wrapping up the winter meeting schedule. But in the world of Bruce Haas, planning and reporting specialist, March is federal report month. Each year, on the last day of March (today), Bruce, together with Val Osowski, MSU AgBioResearch communications manager, submits the joint accomplishment report for Michigan State University Extension and MSU AgBioResearch to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), our federal partner, indicating the impact of our $8 million federal investment in Smith-Lever funds and $5.5 million in Hatch funds. And, each year, behind the scenes, Bruce reads through the Extension Information System (EIS) reports, gathers impact information related to the reporting categories, and works with the business office to document salaries and programs on federal dollars to bring the MSUE content to the report.
In addition, March is an important month for me in meeting with legislators and testifying at Michigan House and Senate hearings that often demand 24-hour response reports related to specific legislative requests. Bruce frequently comes up with details I didn’t realize we had to help address those requests. For the most part, his work goes unseen and unheralded – yet it is critical to helping us live up to our goal of being more accountable to decision makers at all levels.
This spring, in addition to preparing the federal reports and helping to address state requests for details, Bruce has been leading our efforts to move into a new online system, the Michigan Planning and Reporting System (MI PRS). Over the last year, Bruce has worked with Deb Mault, ANR Technology Services information technologist, and the team of folks in the New England Planning and Reporting Consortium from whom we purchased the software to create a system that works for Michigan. Over the past two months, Bruce has traveled around the state and conducted 19 hands-on training sessions for 283 participants. No one looks forward to April Fool’s day more than Bruce! Please join me in thanking Bruce for his valuable contributions, transparent to many in the organization, yet critical to ensuring our future!