Tag Archives: aabi

Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute candidates to address question in public seminars

The search committee for the new Agriculture and Agribusiness (AABI) director, which includes Julie Chapin, Chris DiFonzo, Tom Guthrie, Mike Krauch, Dennis Pennington and search chair Jim Kells, has announced that the search has narrowed to two exceptional candidates: Dr. Ron Bates and Dr. Larry Gut.

As part of the selection process, the two candidates have been asked to address the following question in a 30- to 40-minute public seminar: “Share your vision for AABI and the strategy for implementing that vision.”

The schedule for the public seminars follows:

Monday, January 26
Dr. Larry Gut
10-11 a.m.: Public Seminar ‒ “The MSU Extension Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute in 2020 and How We Will Get There” (Auditorium, MSU Pavilion)
11-11:45 a.m.: Open Roundtable (Classroom A, MSU Pavilion)

Tuesday, February 3
Dr. Ron Bates
10-11 a.m.: Public Seminar ‒ “Making Our Best Better, Driving Progress in Michigan Agriculture” (Auditorium, MSU Pavilion)
11-11:45 a.m.: Open Roundtable (Classroom A, MSU Pavilion)

Feedback from all who attend the presentations at the MSU Pavilion and those who watch the recorded video presentations will be sought and appreciated. Please RSVP to attend the seminar.

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Update on the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute Director

Another important transition in Michigan State University Extension has been in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute (AABI). Ray Hammerschmidt has been acting as the interim institute director since July 1. The search is on for the permanent institute director, as Ray moves into his new role as the director of MSU Extension on January 1, 2015.

The position announcement has closed. The search committee, chaired by Dr. Jim Kells, will evaluate the applicants, and interviews will likely be held in early January. Hopefully we will soon have an announcement for our permanent institute director. Good luck to all of the candidates!

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Agriculture/Agribusiness Institute well represented at NACAA

I had the privilege of attending the Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference (AM/PIC) of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) in Overland Park, Kan., this week. It was a great conference for all attendees but particularly rewarding for me to see the tremendous involvement of our Michigan State University Extension colleagues in the association and conference. The Michigan Association of Extension Agents (MAEA) is the Michigan affiliate of NACAA. I’d like to share a few big impressions I came home with: 

  • Our colleagues are leaders! Our own Stan Moore, Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute (AABI) Extension educator, has served as president of the national association for the past year, presided over the entire conference with great class and demonstrated a great example of servant leadership throughout the conference. In addition, Charles Gould and Dennis Pennington provided leadership for an astounding amount of professional development opportunities on bioenergy research and Extension programming (two field tours, four luncheon seminars, ten other seminars and the unveiling of a new curriculum on bioenergy). They worked with colleagues from other states in the North Central region and received a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to support their efforts.
  • Our colleagues excel in their work! MSUE professionals came away with awards for distinguished service, leadership and presentations, which I will describe in greater detail in next week’s MSUE Spotlight.
  • Our colleagues are serious! Everywhere I went, I encountered our colleagues engaged in intense discussions, trying to learn more about their craft and sharing their insights with colleagues from across the country.
  • We have some incredible 4-H youth from Marquette County! At the annual 4-H Talent Revue on Monday evening, 11 different acts were presented by 4-H youth from across the country, and the lead-off act was the Goldmine Sisters, Gentian and RiLee Waller, 4-H youth from Marquette County. They performed two bluesy numbers, singing, and playing guitar and mountain dulcimer (first time I’ve heard one of those on a blues number!). Their second song was one they had written about 4-H called “Count on Us,” and they had the crowd singing along with them. We need to get a recording of them performing that on the National 4-H Council’s Join the Revolution of Responsibilitywebsite! Click on this YouTube link to hear the sisters play “Baby Elephant Walk” and “Count on Us” at the 2010 Exploration Days Talent Show.

 Especially at times like this, it’s tempting to scale back on investments in professional development. And for certain, we are reducing our expenditures in this to some extent. But the trip to NACAA’s AM/PIC was all I needed to remind me how critical it is to remain invested at some level in professional development. It keeps us up to date on knowledge and skills and gives us a chance to venture into new areas that we need to address as we help Michigan face the challenges and opportunities ahead. And it’s also great to see how exceptional our colleagues are on a national platform. Congratulations to all who participated! They were Oz-some.

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New online tool helps push MSU Extension to get information to farmers, stakeholders

Earlier this week, creators of MSU Extension News for Agriculture celebrated a “soft launch” to members of the Ag and Agribusiness Institute (AABI). The March 7, 2011, announcement that this new website is now live was one giant step toward ensuring that Michigan State University Extension remains relevant and visible in the 21st century.

The site gives farmers and others interested in agriculture access to the newest information and research from MSUE in one convenient, online location. It helps break down those county and regional borders we’ve talked so much about, and allows our faculty and staff members to spread their expertise throughout the state.

Wendy Powers, AABI director, said it best. “Even though we may have a livestock specialist in central Michigan, someone in northern Michigan might need their expertise,” she said. “By having educators contribute articles and share their knowledge on the Internet, MSU Extension can make sure that all farmers in the state have access, immediately, to information that is of vital importance to the success of their operations.”

It took many hands to pull this off – especially because it went from concept to launch in only five months. Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications joined forces with Integrated Pest Management folks with CATAlert expertise to perfect the concept and then worked with ANR Technology Services to create the site. Most importantly, a task force of 25 educators, specialists and faculty members weighed in on the process to ensure it meets clients’ needs. And let’s not forget the more than 160 AABI members, faculty and educators who will contribute to the site every month.

The next step is to finish a mobile version of the site (set to be available by April 15) and then create a comprehensive database so information can be pushed out via e-mail and, eventually, text message. For that, I owe a debt of thanks to the ANRTS team, led by Erica Ciupak. They continue to lead the way in helping us to adopt new technologies and use them to deliver to a broader audience with the latest information and expertise.

It’s an exciting process that moves us forward in how we communicate timely information with our key audiences. I encourage you to visit the site and send any suggestions for improvement to Beth Stuever. The team will continue to tweak the site over time. It plans to announce it statewide once the search box begins working (something that we rely on Google “spiders” to get rolling) and the mobile site is near completion. Thanks to Joy Landis, from the IPM team, Dennis Bond in ANRTS, Wendy, Beth and the entire AABI, ANR Communications Team and IPM team for helping to transform us and the way we serve our stakeholders!

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