Tag Archives: brenda reau

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

MSU Extension staff members receive NEAFCS awards

Many of our Michigan State University Extension colleagues received awards at the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) annual session in September, in Big Sky, Montana.

Individual awards:

Zelda Felix-Mottley won the Continued Excellence Award, which goes to an NEAFCS member of at least 12 years. It recognizes active involvement in professional improvement programs, promotion of professional development and leadership. This is the highest honor awarded to NEAFCS members. Zelda has been with MSU Extension for 23 years and is based in Berrien County (District 13). She teaches face-to-face nutrition and physical activity workshops alongside her staff. She recruits agencies and organizations to participate in MSU Extension programming and connecting. She also builds relationships and rapport with legislators, commissioners and community partners that in turn support MSU Extension.

Diane Fair and Shannon Lindquist both won Michigan and national Distinguished Service awards. These awards are given to members of 10 years or more to recognize Extension family and consumer science educators for leadership, outstanding programs, and personal and professional growth. Diana is a disease prevention and management educator in District 13, and she provides diabetes and other health-related programs. Shannon is a member of the social-emotional work team, making efforts to provide these important programs in the seven counties of District 6. She facilitates trainings with parents, childcare providers and youth.

Michelle Jarvie, food safety, nutrition and physical activity educator in the U.P., received the New Professional Award. The New Professional Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments of NEAFCS members within their first three years of employment. The award is to encourage the use of innovative and effective methods of conducting Extension programs.

Brenda Reau, senior associate director of the MSU Product Center, received third place in the central region for the Communication Award for Educational Publication. This award recognizes a supplementary educational information piece that is designed to inform, update and make the reader respond in a positive manner.

Financial and homeownership educator Erica Tobe received first place nationally and also in the eastern region for the Social Networking Award for her project Twitter Chats and Google Hangouts for Financial Education Outreach. The project is focused on improving financial literacy through innovative technology approaches and involves a multistate collaboration. The award recognizes innovative online social networking efforts.

Team Awards:

Health and nutrition educators Eileen Haraminac, Jeannie Nichols and Jane Hart received two awards: the first place and regional Food Safety Award and the third place central region Communication Award for Internet Technology Communication. The Food Safety Award recognizes NEAFCS members for outstanding educational programs conducted for families, school nutrition workers, food industry employees or managers, church workers preparing meals, home care providers, and other groups/individuals preparing and/or serving food. The Educational Technology Communications Award encourages excellence in communication through computer programs, web pages or computer-generated presentations.

Holly Brophy-Herb and MSU Extension team members Kendra Moyses, Carrie Shrier, Maria Millet, Kylie Rymanowicz and Alan Pilkenton won the first place national award and central region award for Human Development and Family Relationships for their Building Early Emotional Skills (BEES) Parenting Program. The award recognizes innovative human development/family relationship educational efforts focusing on child care, parenting, relationships through the life span, marriage enrichment, communications (parent/child), retirement, aging, stress management and related issues.

Lastly, Tracie Abram and Michelle Jarvie received the Family Health and Wellness Award first place nationally and in the central region. The award recognizes innovative programs that promote and improve the health and wellness of families in areas such as nutrition, fitness, family meals, meal planning, time or stress management, and healthy lifestyle.

Congratulations to all of our NEAFCS winners, and thank you for the work that you do for MSU Extension and the people of Michigan.

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Stats you can use to show our impact

Last week, I wrote about the testimonies we have been making to encourage our state legislators to understand the value of Michigan State University Extension. While the administration may be taking on the more overarching conversations on the state level, the strategic communications that you all have on a day-to-day basis across the state are truly essential and can help us all make an even bigger impact. One of the tools that can help prepare you for those conversations is the 2013-2014 Legislative Report.

To prepare this annual report, our colleagues in Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications, the communications staff in AgBioResearch, with help from Jean Schueller, Mary Weinzweig, Bruce Haas, Steve Miller and Brenda Reau, pull our data from the Michigan Planning and Reporting System (MI PRS). It is then transformed into impact stories, data factoids as well as funding information presented with pie charts and infographics. The joint report from Michigan State University Extension and MSU AgBioResearch is then shared with our partners and also posted online.

This report can help facilitate some of the conversations you have with potential partners and current contacts alike. If you aren’t sure what is happening outside of your work team, you can read simple descriptions of programming and their impacts. If you need some support materials to describe your own programming, you will find it in easily digestible statements that you can share with the people you interact with.

Furthermore, the graphics describing our impacts in the beginning of the report can be useful to illustrate the impacts with more than just numbers, and the colorful presentation makes it friendlier to a broad range of audiences.

You can download a PDF of this and previous year’s reports on our website.

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‘A great week to be in Extension’

Brenda Reau, Michigan State University Extension educator and associate director of the MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio, shared that quote with me last Thursday, attributing it to Dr. Gordon Guyer, former director of MSU Extension (and president emeritus, MSU). The context was that on any given day, one of Dr. Guyer’s more famous comments was, “it’s a great day to be in Extension.” Well, I’d say his description captures the essence of this week for me.

On Wednesday, Feb. 5, Gov. Rick Snyder presented his budget recommendations for FY2015 to the Michigan Legislature. In it, he proposed to increase funding for higher education by an average of 6.1 percent, and he further specified that the funding for MSU Extension and MSU AgBioResearch should be increased by 6.1 percent. That represents a $3.4 million increase in funding for MSU Extension and AgBioResearch combined. Just one year ago, I was giddy about the governor proposing a 2 percent increase in our state appropriation, and eventually the legislature doubled that to 4 percent. Here we are one year later, starting with a 6.1 percent proposed increase, and if anything, that suggests to me that the work MSU Extension and AgBioResearch is doing in support of research and its application to agriculture, food safety and nutrition, community and natural resource development, and youth development is seen as being important and worthy of increased support. To me, this is a message that the work we have carried out to focus and improve our programs, to adopt technology as a tool to reach more people, and to be more accountable for what we do and what difference it makes is paying off. We’re heading in the right direction.

It’s fine to take a moment to relish this development, but this is no time to relax and rest on our laurels. Rather, this is a time when we need to continue improving our programs, following our work plans for the year and adapting technology to help us reach even more people in Michigan. It’s also a good time to share some good news with our stakeholders. And it’s a great time for our stakeholders to share their thoughts with decision makers about the programs they value and the impact our programs are having on their lives, their farms, their businesses, their communities and their families. County commissioners, state legislators and members of Congress all need to hear from their constituents about our programs. And the most effective messages they hear are ones that are not scripted, but rather are authentic and come from the experience of the constituents who are telling their stories.

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New associate director named at the Product Center

Brenda Reau recently took on the job of associate director of the Michigan State University Product Center Food-Ag-Bio. Brenda replaces Tom Kalchik who retired June 1 (see note about Tom accepting the Product Center’s recent award in my previous blog posting). Tom was associate director of the Product Center when it first was created in 2003.

Brenda has served MSU Extension for 32 years including as Monroe County Extension director. No stranger to the Product Center, she’s been a Product Center innovations counselor since 2011.

Directed by Dr. Chris Peterson, the Product Center was created with funding from MSU Extension and MSU AgBioReseach along with some key grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Serving the needs of entrepreneurs in the agriculture, natural resources and bioeconomy sectors, the center provides counseling to clients who have created new enterprises. These clients create new jobs and help to retain existing jobs.

Read more here.

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Filed under Accomplishments

Award nominations deadlines approaching

It’s that time of year to recognize colleagues or friends of Michigan State University Extension who make our organization great. We can honor them by nominating them for various awards including the following awards from the MSUE Director: Meritorious Service, Educator; Meritorious Service, Program Instructor/Associate/Assistant; Meritorious Service, Specialist/Program Leader; and Meritorious Service, Support Staff. In addition, the I-Team (MSUE eXtension Institutional Team) gives the Ask an Expert, Community of Practice (CoP) and Technology in Programs Awards. Access the nomination form for these awards here.

The Key Partner award is designed to recognize individuals, organizations, media, special MSU programs and government officials who have made significant contributions to creating, improving or promoting MSU Extension programs. It is granted by the MSUE Director and is determined based on nominations from staff, faculty, retirees and volunteers. Access the nomination form for the Key Partner award here. MSU Extension employees should notify their institute directors of their nominations.

Submit all nominations for the above awards to Megghan Honke at honkemeg@msu.edu by July 31. The information will be combined and submitted to the administrative team for decisions by Aug. 31.

The John Hannah Award from the Michigan Council of Extension Associations is considered the most prestigious of the Extension awards as it recognizes superior Extension programs. All board-appointed Extension staff members are eligible. You may nominate programs conducted by a co-worker or yourself. Send nominations for the John Hannah award by July 15 to the current Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) president-elect Brenda Reau at reau@msu.edu. For additional information on the award and a list of previous winners, go to http://www.esp.msue.msu.edu/esp/john_hannah.

The State Friend of Extension Award from the Michigan Chapter of ESP recognizes individuals who truly have been friends of Extension. Their efforts may have been to help promote programs, represent us as lay leaders, serve as key program development persons, act as program collaborators or support MSU-Extension in other ways. Past recipients have come from organizations, media, MSU, local government and private business. To submit a nomination, follow directions here. Nominations must be received by July 15.

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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