Tag Archives: CARET

Speaking out for MSU Extension and AgBioResearch in DC

Last week, four Michigan State University (MSU) Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) volunteers traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the annual CARET meeting and to meet with each of our Michigan congressional offices.

Have you met our CARET representatives? Char Wenham and Saturnino “Nino” Rodriguez come from education backgrounds – serving first as teachers, then as administrators, and continuing to serve in various education capacities today. Doug Lewis is the director of student legal services for the University of Michigan and is the president of the Michigan 4-H Foundation. Glenn Preston is a dairy farmer who owns Preston Farms in Quincy.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, each of our CARET representatives paired up with someone from MSU for their visits. They thanked our U.S. senators and representatives for their support, and shared stories of how Extension and AgBioResearch makes a difference in their communities.

“For me, the significance of the trip is being able to talk about the importance of Michigan State’s responsibilities that are land-grant related and different from any of the other universities in the state,” Char said. “As a volunteer, it is also a wonderful experience to travel, make congressional visits, and get to know the people who make our Extension and AgBioResearch so successful. Everyone that I talked to was positive about MSU, the land-grant mission, and the specific work of MSU Extension and AgBioResearch in their areas.”

Our CARET representatives serve as a liaison between district councils, field station advisory groups, and state agencies and organizations. They help to facilitate a two-way relationship, between MSU and our partners and stakeholders. They learn about us and share information about us, and they share information about their communities with us.

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Filed under communication, Conferences, strategic connections

Starting a new century

On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation that extended the land-grant university concept beyond university campuses to reach into communities across the United States. That legislation is one that created the Cooperative Extension System (CES) as a partnership between the federal government, state governments and county governments. That legislation continues today as the key authorization legislation for the work of Michigan State University Extension. The legislation, the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, carries the names of its two primary sponsors, Senator Hoke Smith of Georgia and Representative A.F. Lever of South Carolina. The act’s stated purpose was “. . . to aid in diffusing among the people of the United States useful and practical information on subjects relating to agriculture, uses of solar energy with respect to agriculture, home economics, and rural energy, and to encourage the application of the same, there may be continued or inaugurated in connection with the college of colleges in each State, Territory, or possession . . .”

The Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP), which serves as the governing body of the land-grant university Cooperative Extension System, has commissioned an ad hoc committee to plan celebrations of the Smith-Lever Centennial in 2014. At the Galaxy IV Conference in Pittsburgh last week, several sessions and a reception took place to launch the year-long celebration. Some of the highlights of the national celebration can be found at the 100 Years of Extension website and will include a Capitol Hill Reception in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, March 5 (hosted by Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan). This is scheduled to occur at the conclusion of the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) Conference so that citizen delegates to that conference can celebrate the centennial with senators, representatives, congressional staff, administration officials and stakeholders of the national CES network. Then on Thursday, May 8, ECOP will host a convocation of speakers to celebrate the history of Cooperative Extension and to articulate visions for the next century of Cooperative Extension. You can also follow the celebration on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Extension100Years

Although it’s great to have celebrations in our nation’s capital, it seems just as important to celebrate the centennial of Smith-Lever at the state and county levels as well. With that in mind, I’d like to invite your thoughts on how we might celebrate this milestone event. I’m particularly interested in highlighting some of the history of Cooperative Extension in Michigan with our future vision for MSU Extension in the next century. Please take some time to reflect on how we might celebrate Smith-Lever locally and statewide in the first five months of 2014. Share your thoughts with others, and if you’d like to share them more widely, please do so through my blog. Thanks for giving this some thought and for sharing your great ideas with the rest of us. I welcome recommendations from staff, retirees and stakeholders!

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Distinguished service awards presented at ANR luncheon

Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) honored Charlotte Louise Wenham and John Amos with distinguished service awards at the annual Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Week luncheon held March 8 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center.

Charlotte Louise Wenham is an MSU alumna, having earned a bachelor’s degree in speech and a master’s in English. She also earned a doctorate in education administration from Western Michigan University. She has served as teacher, middle school principal, curriculum director and assistant superintendent in the St. Joseph Public Schools. She currently is a partner in Wood, Wenham & Henderson, through which she acts as a consultant, working with Michigan school districts, small businesses and non-profits.

Charlotte served as president of the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph Rotary Club, a member of the Berrien County MSU Extension Council and a member of the Michigan State Extension and Experiment Station Council, representing Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties, along with the Southwest Research and Extension Center, the Kellogg Biological Station and the Kellogg Experimental Forest.

In the last six years, she has volunteered as a citizen advocate for MSUE, AgBioResearch and the CANR as a Michigan delegate to the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET), which meets annually in Washington D.C. to learn about national impacts of Cooperative Extension programs and research from land-grant universities and how federal policies and funding affect the land-grant systems. She is a very effective advocate for our programs and can cite a number of programs and impacts that have made a difference in Michigan. She also contacts congressional offices at other times of the year to discuss the importance of MSUE and AgBioResearch programs and issues ranging from annual United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) budget bills to farm program legislation and special grant appropriations requests.

Charlotte has received the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph Rotary Club; both state and local Outstanding Leader citations from the Delta Kappa Gamma Society, a professional society for women in education; an Above and Beyond Award from the rotary club and the Volunteer of the Year Award from Planned Parenthood of Mid-Michigan. Thanks, Char for all you do to support our work!

John Amos is owner of Amos Farms, a fruit-growing operation in the Williamsburg/Elk Rapids area. He and his family assisted the research of MSU Extension and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station (now MSU AgBioResearch), by supplying trees, application equipment and crews to collect harvest data for a six-year study of the chemical, ethephon. John went so far as to adjust his harvesting program to accommodate the researchers’ needs. Data collected from the research were the basis for ethephon’s eventual commercial use. John continuously offers his farm for studies and contributes to MSU’s research programs.

He and his wife, Pat, have hosted numerous foreign students, having them gain experience interning on their farm.

 For 20 years, he has volunteered for the Weather Service Cooperative Program, recording temperature and rainfall measurements. This valuable work allows growers to make educated decisions regarding applying sprays, irrigating and other tasks. The information he collected was recently incorporated into the MSU Agricultural Weather Network. He received the Outstanding Service Award from the Department of Commerce and National Weather Service Program.

John is a long-term active member of the MSU Horticulture Society, a member of the Whitewater Township Board and chair for the Elk Rapids Fire Department. Thanks, John, for helping to support our research and Extension programs and for opening your farm to our scientists and educators!

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CARET delegates shine

We’ve just completed another meeting of the Council for Agriculture Research, Education and Teaching (CARET) in Washington, D.C., and I continue to be amazed with the depth of understanding and appreciation that our delegates have for our programs. Once again MSUE and MAES were represented by Char Wenham (Berrien), Doug Lewis (Washtenaw) and Don Howard (Benzie). Our delegates are by far the best informed and most effective in getting across their messages about our programs of any state represented at the conference. They keep up with understanding the various reorganization efforts underway at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the byzantine structure of the sponsoring organization, NASULGC (National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges), and still come through with an ability to translate our programs and their impacts into compelling reasons for the Michigan delegation in Congress to support continuation and strengthening of the federal contribution to our organizations. Whether it’s the “capacity” funds of Smith-Lever or Hatch funding or support for programs like IPM, water management, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education, or Children, Youth and Families at Risk, they made a solid case again for supporting the federal side of our partnerships. We greatly appreciate their willingness to give of their time to understand our programs and share their impacts with decision makers in Washington!

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Filed under Agriculture, Conferences, Leadership, professional development