Tag Archives: chris peterson

Making It in Michigan Conference honors entrepreneurs, director

The eighth annual Making It in Michigan conference and Premier Specialty Food Marketplace Trade Show took place Nov. 10 at the Lansing Center in Lansing. This year’s theme was “Ingredients for Success – Components and Processes for Safe, Sound and Smart Product Development.”

The Michigan State University Product Center hosts the conference. The Product Center was established in 2003 with funds from AgBioResearch and MSU Extension to improve economic opportunities in the Michigan agriculture, food and natural resource sectors.

Chris Peterson, Nowlin Chair for Consumer-Responsive Agriculture in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, is the center’s director. Dean Fred Poston presented Dr. Peterson with a tribute letter sent on behalf of Gov. Rick Snyder. In the letter, the governor expressed deep appreciation for his years of dedication through his work with the Product Center.

MSU CANR Dean Fred Poston (left) reads from the tribute letter presented to Dr. Chris Peterson, MSU Product Center director, (right) on behalf of Gov. Rick Snyder.

Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Fred Poston (left) reads from the tribute letter presented to Dr. Chris Peterson, MSU Product Center director, (right) on behalf of Gov. Rick Snyder at the Making It in Michigan Conference at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich., Nov. 10, 2015. Photo credit: Kraig Ehm

The letter said in part, “On behalf of the people of Michigan, thank you for your dedication and commitment in helping Michigan businesses develop and commercialize goods in the food, agriculture, and bio economy industries. Utilizing the talent that Michigan has to offer is key to our comeback and reinvention. I am confident our state and countless individuals will long reap the rewards of your positive contributions.”

Product Center innovation counselors regularly assist entrepreneurs in making critical marketing, business and product decisions. As you view the following videos of Making It in Michigan award winners, you’ll get an idea of just how important the counselor-client relationship is. Watch as winners talk about the help and guidance they received from the Product Center. Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications television producer/director Kraig Ehm and Matt Birbeck of the Product Center produced the videos.

Click on the embedded links in the award title to watch:

Director’s Award: Mary Safie, president and CEO, Safie’s Specialty Foods

Barrier Buster: Joseph Oginsky, baker and business manager, Town-to-Town Gourmet Pastries

Value-Added Agricultural: Bonnie Steinman, public relations, Hop Head Farms

Entrepreneur of the Year: Brian Rudolph, co-founder, Banza

Start-Up to Watch: Jill Bommarito, president and founder, Ethel’s Edibles

 

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MAFI reflects confidence in Michigan food and agriculture industry

Leaders in Michigan’s food and agriculture industry are feeling positive about food and agriculture in Michigan. The results of the recent Michigan Agriculture and Food Index (MAFI) reflect their optimistic outlook. In addition, their confidence in our state’s economy overall is climbing.

Twice a year since April 2013, staff members at the Michigan State University Product Center Food-Ag-Bio have sent questionnaires to leaders chosen to give their opinions about the current business climate in the food and agriculture industry. These leaders, members of the Food and Agriculture Roundtable, are made up of farmers, food processors and people who run agribusinesses.

The results of the surveys are used to create the MAFI. A score of 100 is considered neutral on the index’s rating system. Ratings above 100 are considered positive and ratings below 100 are considered negative. Since the index’s inception in 2013, the ratings have never been negative. In addition, ratings on the state of Michigan’s overall economy have grown from 115 in April 2013 to 120 in January 2014 to 133 in April 2014. More than 70 percent of those surveyed are positive about Michigan’s economy.

The index also showed respondents ratings of the state of the food and agriculture system, which showed a steady confidence on all three surveys with indexes of 147, 146 and 145 for each survey, respectively. In addition, respondents generally believe that sales will increase, and the investment index increased 8.4 percent from January to April. The employment index remains unchanged from January.

The index helps Michigan State University Extension educators and specialists to better understand the needs of the industry and determine how our efforts influence conditions.

Check out this article and video from WILX, which features Gov. Rick Snyder; Dr. Chris Peterson, director of the Product Center; and Betsy Braid, Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications educational program coordinator: http://www.wilx.com/home/headlines/State-Agriculture-Business-Booming-268187132.html

Read more on the MAFI in the executive summary: http://expeng.anr.msu.edu/uploads/files/42/MI%20Food%20and%20Ag%20Roundtable%20results%207-18.pdf

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Governor praises and challenges Michigan agriculture at Ag Expo

On Tuesday at the Ag Expo VIP Breakfast, I had at the privilege of sharing the podium with Gov. Rick Snyder and Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon as well as Dr. Chris Peterson, director of the MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio.

Gov. Snyder praised agriculture as a steadying force but challenged leaders of agriculture to keep it growing into the future. His top priority is working to develop and keep a growing skilled work force in agriculture and other trades. He also highlighted the food safety innovation done here at MSU.

Read more about what the governor said in this news release from Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications: http://anrcom.msu.edu/anrcom/news/item/gov._snyder_challenges_mich._ag_leaders_to_take_leadership_role_in_world_fo

Dr. Peterson announced the results from the latest Michigan Agriculture and Food Index (MAFI), which show that leaders in the food and agriculture industry remain optimistic about their businesses and Michigan’s economy.

Read more about the MAFI results in this ANR Communications release: http://anrcom.msu.edu/anrcom/news/item/michigan_state_university_food_and_ag_leaders_hopeful_about_industry_state

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Product Center director discusses ag outlook

In a recent Spotlight article about Michigan Food and Agriculture Month, I let you know that Michigan State University Product Center director Chris Peterson would be guest blogger for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Michigan Advantage Pure Michigan blog. Dr. Peterson’s blog entry is now posted and you can read it here: http://blog.michiganadvantage.org/industry-sectors/agri-business/food-and-agriculture-matters-in-michigan-chris-peterson/

Dr. Peterson discusses the Michigan Agriculture and Food Index.

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Blog posts, articles celebrate Michigan food and agriculture

Recently, Gov. Rick Snyder declared March Michigan Food and Agriculture Month.

Michigan State University Extension, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and agriculture commodities groups are partnering to promote something pretty basic, yet something that is so much a part of life that it often does not attract the attention of more trivial matters ‒ our food: where it comes from, who grows it and how it gets to our cupboards, tables and lunch bags.

MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio director Chris Peterson and I were asked to submit articles for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Michigan Advantage Pure Michigan blog to add some land-grant perspectives on food and agriculture. I took the opportunity to let others know the important role that MSU Extension plays in educating residents in issues relating to food, agriculture and more. You can read my article here: http://blog.michiganadvantage.org/talent-enhancement/celebrating-michigan-food-and-agriculture-month-means-celebrating-lifelong-education/. Dr. Peterson’s article will be posted March 25. When I think of Dr. Peterson and the Product Center that he leads, I think of innovation, a hallmark of Michigan’s agriculture and food industries. I look forward to reading his blog to learn more about where our food and agriculture industries are headed for the future.

In one article, Jamie Clover Adams, MDARD director, shares facts on Michigan agriculture: http://blog.michiganadvantage.org/industry-sectors/agri-business/michigan-food-and-agriculture-its-celebration-time/.

Many of our colleagues who write articles for the MSU Extension website have responded positively to a call for articles that celebrate Michigan food and agriculture. Thank you for those submissions! In addition to the articles appearing on the MSU Extension website, our MSU Extension communicators and partner organizations are tweeting them and featuring them on Facebook posts. All are tweeting using #miagmonth. Others who tweet should feel free to use this hashtag when tweeting about Michigan Food and Agriculture Month. Thanks, everyone, for helping us promote Michigan food and agriculture through this joint effort!

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Making It in Michigan conference produces winners – including Extension

The sixth annual Making It in Michigan conference and Premier Specialty Food Marketplace Trade Show took place Nov. 12 at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. Conference host, the Michigan State University Product Center Food-Ag-Bio, celebrated its 10th year.

Michigan State University Extension was honored at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Product Center that evening when Product Center director Chris Peterson presented the Network Partner award to Steve Lovejoy, associate director of MSU Extension, who accepted on Extension’s behalf.

The award recognizes the recipient for outstanding support provided to the Product Center and its network clients.

“The partnering efforts of the award winner have allowed the Product Center to achieve a special level of service excellence that could not otherwise have been achieved. We express our deep appreciation for all of the support that MSU Extension provides from base funding to utilizing Extension educators as our innovation counselor network. We look forward to continuing this partnership that extends the resources of Michigan State University to entrepreneurs and creates economic impact across Michigan,” said Dr. Peterson.

 

Chris Peterson, Michigan State University Product Center director, (left) presents MSU Extension with the Network Partner Award Nov. 12, 2013, following the Making It in Michigan conference at the Kellogg Center in Lansing, Mich. Associate director of MSU Extension Steve Lovejoy (right) accepts the award.  Photo credit: Sharp Marketing Associates

At the 10th anniversary celebration of the MSU Product Center at the Kellogg Center in Lansing, Mich., Chris Peterson, Michigan State University Product Center director, (left) presents MSU Extension with the Network Partner Award Nov. 12, 2013, following the Making It in Michigan conference. Associate director of MSU Extension Steve Lovejoy (right) accepts the award.
Photo credit: Sharp Marketing Associates

Cherry Capital Foods with owner John “Chip” Hoagland won the Business Partner award.

The Multimedia Production Unit in Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications produced some videos that highlight the entrepreneurial winners at the conference. Click on the links below on each award to view each video:

Entrepreneur of the Year: Drought (Jenny, Jane, Julie, Jessie and Caitlin James and Bianca Colbath)

Start-Up to Watch: The Gluten Free Bar (Marshall Rader)

Barrier Buster: Morano Foods (Greg Morano)

Value-Added Agriculture: Hickory Knoll Farms Creamery (Rusty Plummer and Mike Metzger)

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Making It in Michigan conference assists food and agricultural entrepreneurs, exhibits products

The sixth annual Making It in Michigan conference and Premier Specialty Food Marketplace Trade Show will take place Nov. 12 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. This year’s conference theme is “Celebrate Your Business – Accelerate Your Achievement at Every Stage of Your Company.”

The Michigan State University Product Center Food-Ag-Bio hosts the conference, and this year the center celebrates its 10th birthday. The conference as well as the center assists the state’s entrepreneurs, producers, buyers and processors in the food and agricultural businesses in achieving success. The MSU Product Center was established with funds from the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station (now AgBioResearch) and MSU Extension to improve economic opportunities in the Michigan agriculture, food and natural resource sectors. Project GREEEN also provides funding. Chris Peterson, Nowlin Chair for Consumer-Responsive Agriculture in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at MSU, is the center’s director.

At morning educational sessions, conference attendees will learn to refine and grow their businesses. Topics covered will include focusing on the product in the package, growing your specialty food business further, marketing your food product and keeping regulatory requirements in check.

Tom McIntyre, vice president of communications for Domino’s Pizza, will deliver the keynote address.

Conference attendees will have the opportunity to exhibit their Michigan-made food and agricultural products at the Premier Specialty Food Marketplace Trade Show, which will feature more than 150 new and existing businesses showingcasing their products. During the morning, the marketplace trade show is open exclusively to buyers and store owners, distributors, brokers and many others looking for new products to use or sell. In the afternoon, the marketplace trade show is open to the public at no charge.

Product Center team members will be on hand at the conference to assist and interact with participants.

One company whose owner is grateful to the Product Center is RNS Packaging, winner of the Michigan Business and Professional Association Award for being the Elite Sustainable Small Business in Michigan for 2013. The company manufactures premium nontoxic packaging while employing and retraining returning veterans. Founder Rich Daniels credits the Product Center with guiding the company’s mission and creating valuable relationships with dozens of business leaders. The company also established new sales outlets through participation in the Making It in Michigan conference and marketplace trade show.

Extension educator Joanne Davidhizar is Product Center Innovation Counselor of the Year. Joanne’s work focuses on product and business development in specialty crops. Read more about Joanne’s work here.

It’s not too late to register for the conference. Conference registration includes breakfast, lunch, educational sessions, digital copies of all presentations and reference materials, and admission to the marketplace trade show. Early registration cost is $79. After Nov. 1, the cost goes up to $99 and vendor registration is $185. Register at http://productcenter.msu.edu/miim/registration

Please promote this conference in your communities.

Read more about the conference here: http://www.sharpmkt.com/

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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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Making It in Michigan Conference promotes and educates food and agricultural entrepreneurs

It’s evident that many creative and hard-working people live and work in Michigan – a good number of them building their own businesses. Many of those entrepreneurs attended the Michigan State University Product Center’s fourth Making It in Michigan Conference Nov. 1 at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. The conference promotes and educates food and agricultural entrepreneurs.

Prior to the conference, MSU Extension educator and Product Center Food-Ag-Bio innovation counselor Frank Gublo received the Innovation Counselor of the Year award. Innovation counselors are professionals from MSU and partnering organizations strategically positioned around Michigan to guide entrepreneurs as they make critical decisions about market opportunities and business and product development. Frank serves the southeastern part of the state. He has worked with more than 100 entrepreneurs in the last year, assisting them in business planning, navigating the regulatory maze, entering the supply chain and securing capital. In addition, he assisted clients in accessing campus resources for product testing, nutritional labeling and packaging assistance.

During the conference, nearly 240 people participated in the morning educational sessions. Two hundred people registered in advance, which meant that there were almost 40 walk-ins. With the state of our economy and all of the consumer interest in locally produced foods, many folks aspire to launch new food-related businesses. Sixteen individuals registered at the conference to become new Product Center clients. Additional requests are still coming in.

 Bob Fish, CEO and co-founder of BIGGBY COFFEE, served as conference keynote speaker, contributing an inspirational talk on entrepreneurship.

The afternoon trade show featured 160 vendor booths occupied by 141 companies. Two-thirds of those vendors were Product Center clients.

A number of buyers in attendance made connections with the exhibitors to carry the products in their retail establishments.

Westborn Market selected three exhibitors who won shelf space in Westborn’s three stores in southeastern Michigan. Winners included Dago Joe’s Specialty Foods of Macomb, Johnny Secreto Foods of Rockford and Esch Road Great Lakes True Foods of Honor.

The Product Center gives out annual awards that recognize their clients for special accomplishments. During the conference, the Product Center presented awards to three clients.

Ben Tirrell of Tirrell Farmstead Specialties of Charlotte won the Entrepreneur of the Year award. Ben exemplifies the new generation of farmers adding value to their operations by focusing on consumer-driven agriculture.

Ben Tirrell receives award

Ben Tirrell of Tirrell Farmstead Specialties of Charlotte receives the MSU Product Center’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Product Center director Chris Peterson at the Making It in Michigan Conference Nov. 1, 2012, at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich. Photo credit: Erin Groom

Michigan’s only sheep dairy, Tirrell Farmstead Specialties produces sheep milk it makes into artisan cheeses marketed to high-end retail markets. In addition to the cheeses, Ben produces pasture-raised beef and lamb he supplies to retail stores and restaurants. He also adds value to his wool crop by processing the wool and selling woolen items in the on-farm store. Consumers come to the farm for special events like “Spring Fling” and “Lamb Safari,” and enjoy shopping in the on-farm store. Ben also participates in several farmers markets.

Tony Menyhart receives award

Tony Menyhart of Easy Artisan Bread Mix of Tecumseh receives the MSU Product Center’s Start-Up to Watch Award from Product Center director Chris Peterson at the Making It in Michigan Conference Nov. 1, 2012, at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich. Photo credit: Erin Groom

Tony Menyhart won the Start-Up to Watch award for Easy Artisan Bread Mix of Tecumseh that he owns with Sally Gralla. Tony, a long-time amateur baker, developed the first recipes for his “One Bowl, One Minute” bread mixes in 2010. He began selling the mix at the Saline Farmers Market and later debuted his product at the 2011 Making It in Michigan Trade Show. His product began selling in retail stores in late 2011. Today, you can find Easy Artisan Bread Mix in more than 150 stores in Michigan. Tony intends to expand to other states.

Grand Traverse Pie receives award

Mike Busley (left) and Tim Rice (center) of the Grand Traverse Pie Company receive the MSU Product Center’s Barrier Buster Award for a Stage 2 Company from Product Center director Chris Peterson at the Making It in Michigan Conference Nov. 1, 2012, at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich.

The Grand Traverse Pie Company, started by Mike and Denise Busley,won the Barrier Buster Award for a Stage 2 Company. The company has worked with the Product Center’s HI-VAT (High Impact Venture Action Team) program that assists larger companies in taking the business to the next level. The Grand Traverse Pie Company has overcome many barriers in moving from a small company with six employees in downtown Traverse City to one that now employs more than 300 people in 15 Grand Traverse Pie shops across Michigan and Indiana.

Watch this ANR Communications video with Product Center director Chris Peterson. It gives an excellent overview of the services the Product Center Food-Ag-Bio offers clients.

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Food and Ag pulling Michigan’s economy forward

You’ve probably already seen the announcements, but just to make sure you got the message, I wanted to share some really good news that was formally announced yesterday. Dr. Chris Peterson, Homer Nowlin Chair of Consumer Responsive Agriculture, director of the MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio, and professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, presented the latest assessment of food and ag economic impacts to the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development. The big news was really big: the total economic impact of food and agriculture has grown by nearly 50 percent to $91.4 billion from 2004 to 2010, and the contribution of farm production toward that has nearly doubled from less than $7 billion to more than $13 billion. A lot of value gets added along the supply chain, but seeing a doubling in farm production is very impressive. When you start separating out the parts, it’s interesting to see the role each commodity plays and each processing sector plays. The food processing and manufacturing segment accounts for $24.5 billion and the wholesale and retail sector is very important, accounting for $51 billion of total economic impact.

 You can find a complete news story on this at the ANR Communications web site and the complete report at http://www.productcenter.msu.edu/.

 ANR Communications partners with their communication colleagues at MSU University Relations and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to get the news out. Here’s a sample of the coverage the announcement received.

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