Tag Archives: beth franz

Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute showcases program highlights in webinar

One of the core principles of our Michigan State University Extension redesign process has been the need to embrace technology as a tool in extending the reach of our programs and expanding the information we make available. Not surprisingly, other organizations we work with are trying to learn how to use technology as well and some have asked to learn from our experience. A good example is the Michigan Association of Counties (MAC), which has asked for advice as they seek to use webinars and Web conferences to connect county commissioners across the state. One of the best ways to learn the use of technology is to use it, and this week some of our colleagues in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute provided a webinar on programs in the institute for the Agriculture and Tourism Subcommittee of MAC (chaired by retired Kalamazoo County Extension director Ann Nieuwenhuis).

 The webinar achieved much more than helping MAC members to learn how to participate in a webinar. It also provided a great overview of current projects and priorities within the institute. Wendy Powers, AABI director, served as the facilitator, and then Beth Stuever, Bruce MacKellar, Beth Franz, Jerry May, Marilyn Thelen, Brenda Reau, Nancy Thelen, Phil Tocco and Rebecca Finneran provided details on programs and resources in the institute. It’s a great overview of what our colleagues in AABI have accomplished and what they are working on. To view a recording of the two-hour presentation, go to http://breeze.msu.edu/p3c604jf1e9/. Beth Bishop prepared a separate recording on the Enviroweather program as an additional resource and it is available at http://breeze.msu.edu/p55e0jzhue2/. Thanks to all for putting together such a great illustration of what’s new at MSUE in agriculture.

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Filed under Technology

Cass County staff members use their energy to focus on alternative energy

Farmers, business owners and homeowners in southwest Michigan may be one step closer to energy independence thanks to our staff members there. Nearly 100 people attended a Feb. 23 meeting focused on The Power of Living: A Renewable Future for Cass County, hosted by Cass County MSU Extension.

Topics included wind energy (presented by our own Steve Harsh), solar energy, anaerobic digestion and legislative initiatives that may make it easier for residents and business owners to move to alternative energy sources.

I’m told that the entire office staff really came together to work on this important issue. Not only were they able to offer valuable information and education to residents, every staff memberfrom receptionist to CEDtook an active role in the project. Each person was able to step out of their comfort zone and program area to help meet an ever-increasing need.

Prior to the meeting the team hosted a roundtable discussion to discuss the potential energy alternative options in Cass County. Almost all of their county commissioners participated as well as several community leaders and industry experts.

The next step is to develop a focus group of community leaders and concerned residents that are willing to work together to further research alternative energy in Cass County. More educational opportunities are to come. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, be sure to thank Dan Rajzer, Beth Franz, Cindy Warren, Jessica Smith, Nora Lee, Mary Wilkinson and Patty Dohm for their excellent work.

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Filed under 4-H, Agriculture, Farming, natural resources