Tag Archives: dale mutch

Retired educator honored as hero of sustainable agriculture

Dale Mutch was recently named as a North Central Region‒Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) Hero. Coordinated by the NCR-SARE Alumni Organization, this recognition honors the leadership, vision, contributions and impact individuals have made in the field of sustainable agriculture.

Dr. Mutch is a retired Michigan State University senior Extension educator and adjunct professor in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences. He spent more than three decades as an IPM vegetable scout, agricultural agent, district and state field crop integrated pest management coordinator, senior district Extension educator and coordinator, consultant and professor. As a founding member of the Midwest Cover Crops Council, he championed the promotion and demonstration of cover crops to improve soil health and create more sustainable agricultural practices throughout the region and nationally.

I encourage you to read more about Dale as well as the tributes from many of our MSU colleagues in this NCR-SARE article: http://www.northcentralsare.org/About-Us/Regional-Initiatives/NCR-SARE-Hero-Recognition-Program/Past-NCR-SARE-Heroes/Dale-Mutch-NCR-SARE-Hero

Congratulations, Dale!

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Extension retirees recognized

The Faculty and Academic Staff Retirement Luncheon took place April 8 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. The luncheon recognizes faculty and academic staff who have retired in the past year. Michigan State University Extension and Epsilon Sigma Phi co-host a reception prior to the luncheon. I’d like to share some brief information about each retiree. We had 17 new retirees, so I’ll feature nine this week and the other eight in next week’s Spotlight.

Alternate: Steve Lovejoy, Renee Applegate, Mary Robb, Chuck Pistis, and Brenda Reau at the retiree reception hosted by MSU Extension and Epsilon Sigma Phi, April 8, 2014. Photo credit: Katie Gervasi

Left to Right: Michigan State University Extension associate director Steve Lovejoy, retirees Renee Applegate, Mary Robb and Chuck Pistis, and MSU Product Center associate director and past president of Epsilon Sigma Phi Brenda Reau at the retiree reception hosted by MSU Extension and Epsilon Sigma Phi, April 8, 2014, at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing, Mich. Photo credit: Katie Gervasi

Extension educator Renee Applegate started out as an MSU Extension 4-H program assistant in 1982, later serving as a 4-H youth agent in Gratiot and Jackson counties and as the Michigan international exchange coordinator. As Gratiot County 4-H youth development educator, she had responsibilities for numerous 4-H clubs, members and leaders as well as for school programs. She served on the Child Advocacy Board, the Youth Advisory Council of the Gratiot County Community Foundation, the 4-H Environmental Education Programming Committee and the 4-H International Programming Committee. She was involved in teaching for numerous 4-H programs and workshops such as 4-H Exploration Days and the Pork Quality Assurance Plus Youth Education Program in addition to her educational collaboration with Jackson County Public Schools. As the state international exchange coordinator, she was responsible for coordinating Michigan and regional programs to Belize, Jamaica, Mexico, Poland, Australia and Finland. She increased the overall outreach of the exchange program and engagement of host families and youth. Through her work, more than 300 Michigan youth and 600 international youth experienced travel through the 4-H exchange program. In 2008, she was awarded the 4-H Extension Presidential Citation.

Extension specialist Douglas Brahee served as the regional director of the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) from 1990 through 2010 and served as interim district coordinator for District 1 until his retirement. He has enhanced MSU Extension through his servant leadership, work ethic, compassion, organizational commitment, teamwork and dedication to grow and expand the outreach of Extension in the U.P. He worked closely with Extension colleagues, local offices, Native American communities, county directors, county boards and commissioners as well as government officials to plan, develop, deliver and manage effective programming, structuring and development of Extension outreach in the U.P. He also worked closely with the Native American communities with the Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP) to provide essential training and to build strong relationships. His important contributions to Extension include development and implementation of a volunteer system, his work on grants for program funding, and his work on civil rights and improvement.

Extension educator Ned Birkey began his career in 1989 as agricultural agent for Newaygo County and in 1992 transferred to Monroe County. In 2007, he became the Monroe, Wayne and Washtenaw district Extension educator. An excellent educator, he assessed the needs of local farmers and developed effective programs using a variety of teaching techniques to meet clientele needs and provide effective leadership. He managed the Michigan Soybean Yield Contest as part of the Soybean 2010 Project and served as chair of the Karst Committee of Monroe County. He was an MSU Product Center ag innovation counselor, a member of the Wheat 2000 Project and president of the Michigan Association of Extension Agents (MAEA) in 2008. He was also committed to engaging the community with local farmers and began organizing farm tours in 1994 for Congressman John Dingell. He received many awards throughout his career, including the 2009 Excellence in Extension Award from the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee in addition to his presentations and awards at many National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) conferences.

In 1973,Extension educator Michael Erdman worked on a purebred farm at MSU as a beef cattle fitter and from 1973 to 1975 as the senior chemist at the Beef Cattle Teaching and Research Center. He began his career with Extension in 1989 as the Menominee County Extension director. He was a valuable educator in Menominee County for 21 years. A highlight of his career was his work with the Dairy Team and his participation in and development of an effective dairy management program across the U.P. In addition, as a microbiologist, he planned, developed and instructed Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), and ServSafe training and workshops in various locations for the appropriate training and certification of restaurant owners and food service managers throughout the U.P. He completed the Eating Right Is Basic series with county fourth graders in the food safety and agriculture class to reach out to county youth. During the Extension restructuring process, he became the District 1 coordinator and was able to secure funding for all nine counties in the district by working with department heads, administrators, controllers and comptrollers, clerks, treasurers and county commissioners to keep all offices open.

Extension educator Sherry Grice devoted 34 years to MSU Extension 4-H in Calhoun County where she has had a profound impact on the youth, volunteers and community. Each year, she reached more than 900 young people through club work and 1,000 through special interest programming. She oversaw the six-week Creative and Expressive Arts Program, enrolling 60 to 70 children each year. Much of her work focused on minorities and programs to encourage young people from families living in low-income situations to participate in 4-H and to pursue continuing education after high school. She was involved in many key initiatives such as Calhoun County Communities that Care (Title V Delinquency Prevention Program), the Kellogg Youth Initiative Partnerships (W.K. Kellogg Foundation), the National Conversation on Youth Development in the 21st Century, Community Partners for Albion’s Youth and the Albion Positive Youth Development Task Force. She also provided leadership for more than 350 volunteer leaders yearly through recruitment, training, management, assistance and motivation. During her tenure, minority youth enrollment increased to 13 percent and the participation of culturally diverse volunteer leaders also increased. In recognition of her work, she received the 2009 North Central Regional Diversity Award and the 2009 Diversity Award from the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NEA4-HA). She also received the American Association of University Women Educational Equity Award in 2003 as well as recognition from the Albion Multi-Cultural Hall of Fame.

Extension educator Katherine Hale began working with MSU Extension in 1987, conducting needs assessments, facilitating community work groups and planning committees, and writing grants. In her 17 years as Extension educator for family and consumer sciences, she provided health, nutrition and child development education and raised funding for programs through community collaboration, contracts and grants. For six years, she was the county Extension director in St. Clair County, collaborating with community organizations; developing, promoting and marketing MSU Extension programs; and helping establish programs for local Project Fresh markets and Food and Farm Trails tourism. As the special projects southeast region educator, she worked in grant writing, conducted program evaluations, and coordinated special health projects and media. Her notable accomplishments include implementation of the Macomb Food Collaborative now serving Macomb as a nonprofit organization as well as the annual All About Food conference serving more than 200 people, including farmers, food service organizations, health educators, gardeners and food connoisseurs.

Extension educator Russell Kidd served as a district Extension forestry agent, organizing and leading educational programs for a variety of audiences such as private forest landowners, Christmas tree growers, maple syrup producers, loggers, and Master Gardeners and 4-H groups over 20 counties. He served as county Extension director in Oscoda, Crawford and Roscommon counties, assuming larger administrative and leadership roles while maintaining his involvement in educational programming and training. He established a 30-year relationship with the maple syrup industry, and for his contributions, he has been made an honorary life member of the Michigan Maple Syrup Association. He was an integral participant in education programs such as Ties to the Land, forest health programming, gypsy moth intervention and logger education. He was often sought out for his expertise in forest health across northern Michigan. Additionally, he worked with the Michigan Sustainable Forestry Education program to train loggers and industry foresters about green certification programs so they could comply with government mandates. During his participation, his team raised more than $2 million to advance the outreach of the program.

Extension educator Margaret Lashore has served Extension in the Saginaw Bay area and Bay County since 1986. Her leadership and dedication directed Extension efforts to educate the community about personal health management and quality of life, offering financial management and home ownership classes as well as nutrition education, and establishing the Bay Area Housing Corporation through her role as chairperson of the Housing Task Force. In October 2005, her role expanded to work with creating and managing the statewide system for reporting and evaluating the effectiveness of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program‒Education (SNAP-Ed), Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Breastfeeding Initiative (BFI) programs and educator training. She also established and worked with ANR programmers to develop the Activity Report Online and the BFI Reporting System that report data to the Michigan Department of Human Services monthly and to the Food Stamp Nutrition Education and Administrative Reporting System annually to continue Extension federally funded programs. She has received numerous awards from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS), such as the Florence Hall Award in 2009, the Continued Excellence Award in 2003 and the Distinguished Service award in 2000.

 Since 1980, senior Extension educator Dale Mutch has served in many capacities in MSU Extension. He has been an agricultural agent; district and state field crop integrated pest management coordinator; senior district Extension educator specialist; and coordinator, consultant and professor for the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. His career has focused on low-input and organic farming systems, and his applied research emphasized projects with farmer advisory teams. He has also served on the NorthCentral Region ‒ Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education(NCR-SARE) Administrative Council, participated in the Technical Committee and Producer Grants Program and was Michigan’s sustainable agriculture state coordinator for NCR-SARE in 2007. As a result of his research, He has authored or co-authored more than 30 papers, published or presented in professional settings. In 2004, he was chosen for the 2004 Distinguished Staff Award for his work with farmers, university scientists and Extension agents to design, conduct and publish research helping producers operate farms that are environmentally and economically sustainable. He received two NACAA Communications Awards(2000 and 2008) for his MSU Extension bulletins and the Friend of Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance Award in 2004. He remains a reviewer for NCR-SARE grants and is helping to coordinate the National Cover Crops and Soil Health meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.

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Field guide wins ACE gold award

The Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide won a gold award for technical publications from the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE). The ACE Critique and Awards (C&A) program recognizes individuals and teams for excellence in communication and technology skills.

The Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) produced the publication. The MCCC is a diverse group from academia, production agriculture, nongovernmental organizations, commodity interests, the private sector, and federal and state agencies collaborating to address soil, water, air and agricultural quality concerns in the Great Lakes and Mississippi river basins.

Michigan State University senior Extension educator, MSU adjunct professor of plant, soil and microbial sciences, and cover crop IPM Extension specialist Dale Mutch is on the executive committee representing MSU Extension for the MCCC.

The field guide is a compilation of cover crop species and application information, which has sold more than 15,000 copies since its February 2012 release. This guide helps producers effectively select, grow and use cover crops in their farming systems.

You can purchase this pocket guide through the Purdue Crop Diagnostic and Training Center at https://ag.purdue.edu/agry/dtc/Pages/CCFG.aspx.

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Midwest Cover Crops Council receives national award

The Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) received the No-Till Innovator Award in the “Organization” category at the 21st National No-Tillage Conference that took place Jan. 9–12 in Indianapolis.

The MCCC is a diverse group from academia, production agriculture, nongovernmental organizations, commodity interests, the private sector, and federal and state agencies collaborating to address soil, water, air and agricultural quality concerns in the Great Lakes and Mississippi river basins.

The MCCC has had a tremendous impact across the Midwest on promoting cover crops. As a diverse organization, they have conducted research, educational programs and field days around no-till farming and cover crops throughout the region in the U.S. and Canada.

Michigan State University senior Extension educator Dale Mutch is the Michigan state coordinator for the MCCC. Dale is also an MSU adjunct professor of crop, soil and microbial sciences, a cover crop IPM Extension specialist and Michigan state coordinator of the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) Professional Development Program (PDP).

Eileen Kladivko (left), and adjunct professor Dale Mutch (center), receive the No-Till Innovator Award for the Organization category.

Purdue University professor Eileen Kladivko (left), and Michigan State University senior Extension educator and MSU adjunct professor Dale Mutch (center), receive the No-Till Innovator Award for the Organization category from Chuck Leonard of Syngenta. The two received the award on behalf of the Midwest Cover Crops Council and the Executive Committee at the 21st National No-Tillage Conference held Jan. 9–12, 2013, in Indianapolis, Ind.
Photo credit: Randall Reeder, Ohio State.

The MCCC has an annual meeting every year in one of the participating states or provinces to plan and present new cover crop information across the North Central Region. The group promotes field day events, proceedings of annual meetings and new information about cover crops through their Web site at www.mccc.msu.edu. The MCCC’s Listserv with more than 300 users allows farmers, educators and others to ask cover crop questions and to get immediate answers.

The MCCC headed the creation of a cover crop selector tool, funded by Project GREEEN and developed by MSU Extension senior research associate Dean Baas, that allows farmers, agribusinesses and others to choose cover crops for their farming systems. You can read a previous Spotlight article on the field crop selector tool. Since that March 2011 article, they’ve developed a cover crop selector tool for vegetable producers active since May 2012.

The MCCC also compiled cover crop species and application information to produce the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide, which has sold more than 10,000 copies since its February 2012 release.

Now in its 17th year, the No-Till Innovator Award Program is jointly sponsored by No-Till Farmer magazine and Syngenta. The program was developed to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of no-till farming, regardless of the crop grown or brand of equipment or chemicals used.

Congratulations to the council and thanks to Dale for his leadership! See photo on my blog.

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MSU Extension staff member receives CANR Staffer of the Month award

Congratulations to Keri Morris, administrative assistant in the Michigan State University Extension Business Office. Keri is the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Staff Advisory Committee June 2012 Staffer of the Month.

The award goes to a member of the CANR support staff who has done something special or noteworthy within their unit or college.

Dale Mutch, Dennis Pennington and Dean Baas of the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute nominated Keri for her positive attitude, dedication and proactive approach that prevents problems before they occur.

Thanks to Keri for doing terrific work and to Dale, Dennis and Dean for putting Keri forward for this recognition.

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Cover Crops Council wins Project of Excellence Award

In last week’s Spotlight, I highlighted the cover crop selector tool, an online tool developed by Michigan State University Extension and the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC). The National Water program at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture noticed the work of the MCCC and awarded the council with their Project of Excellence Award. Congratulations to Dale Mutch, senior Extension educator and Extension specialist, and his colleagues. Read more about it in the comment I made on my blog.

 I also had a suggestion from another reader to consider adding an economic analysis to the cover crop selector tool. Sounds like a great idea – there’s always room for improvement in any of our products and services.

 By the way, you are welcome to comment on any article on the blog. Just click on “leave a comment” under the article.

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New online tool available to assist farmers

As we continue to seek ways to innovate and to serve broader audiences through technology, it’s great to have an example to illustrate what can be done. Online applications need to do more than just present information in a static way. They need to engage users to analyze information and help to make decisions. A team of folks from Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) and the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) has released an online tool that does all of that and more. The purpose of their new “app” is to help farmers in Michigan and the Midwest region decide which cover crops are best for them. MSUE developers aim to increase Michigan (and regional) cover crop adoption by providing information and decision-making help necessary for farmers to successfully use cover crops. The tool, developed by MSUE for each MCCC member state and province, provides farmers with information and choices specific to their states or provinces. Michigan, Ohio and Indiana are available in the current version, while Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ontario will be added as their development is completed.

 The cover crop selector tool allows the user to input a variety of information including his or her state, county, cash crop information, field information and desired cover crop benefits. Designed to be user friendly, it has a dynamic interface that allows users to immediately see how their input changes their cover crop options. A user can generate an information sheet for a selected cover crop that provides additional information and references relevant to application within the state or province.

 The tool development drew on state-specific knowledge from cover crop experts and stakeholders including farmers, researchers, Extension educators, agribusiness representatives and government agencies, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and state departments of agriculture. Dale Mutch, Dean Baas and Victoria Ackroyd are leading the MCCC decision tool project through MSUE. On the Michigan development team from MSU and MSUE were Christina Curell, Tim Dietz, Paul Gross, Tim Harrigan, Rich Leep, Todd Martin, Vicki Morrone, Mathieu Ngouajio, Dan Rajzer, Karen Renner, Dan Rossman, Sieg Snapp, Erin Taylor and Kurt Thelen.

 For Michigan, the next phase is to develop the cover crop decision tool for vegetable producers. This regional project received funding from a NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant in partnership with the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), MSU Project GREEEN and Great Lakes Regional Water Program grants. For more information, contact Dean Baas at baasdean@msu.edu or 269-671-2412, ext. 260.

 Download the cover crop selector tool at http://mccc.msu.edu/SelectorTool/2011CCSelectorTool.pdf. Or you can go to it directly at http://mcccdev.anr.msu.edu/. Even if you don’t have anything to do with crops or agriculture, I think it’s useful to explore applications like this and think of ways you and your work team can develop decision tools for clients you serve.

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