Tag Archives: dan rajzer

Educators shine at NACAA conference

A group of seven of our Michigan State University Extension educators attended the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference (AM/PIC) July 20‒24 in Mobile, Alabama. Attendees included Phil Durst, Tom Guthrie, Phil Kaatz, Stan Moore, George Silva, Mike Staton and Nancy Thelen.

“The AM/PIC provides a wide variety of educational and networking opportunities from which we learn and are inspired,” said Phil Durst, senior Extension educator and president of the Michigan Association of Extension Agents (the Michigan affiliate of the NACAA). “This is also a great team-building time.”

Phil let us know that the conference offered 65 seminars on a variety of agricultural topics and super seminars provided opportunity for in-depth study of topics such as climate science and agriculture, farm business transfer, and soil health and cover crops. Educators went on more than 20 tours that focused on agricultural enterprises, resource management, business and local attractions. An exhibit featuring more than 100 professional posters provided a glimpse of a wide variety of research and educational projects. Dr. Dana Chandler of Tuskegee University provided the keynote address on the role of George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington and Thomas Monroe Campbell, all of Tuskegee, in pioneering Extension work.

As in years past, many of our colleagues received awards, presented or were involved in other ways.

Nancy Thelen received the Distinguished Service Award that encourages and recognizes excellence in the field of professional Extension from NACAA members with more than 10 years of service. She also was the national winner of the Agricultural Awareness and Appreciation Award. In addition, she presented two posters at the conference about Breakfast on the Farm.

Mike Staton was a national finalist for a published photo. A team consisting of Ned Birkey, Dan Rajzer, Marilyn Thelen, Dan Rossman, Bruce MacKellar and Mike Staton were national finalists in the “Search for Excellence in Crop Production.” Mike had the opportunity to present the work at the meeting.

The Extension Dairy Team was a national winner for a promotional piece, the 2013/14 Dairy Programs booklet. The team includes Stan Moore, Kathy Lee, Phil Durst, Frank Wardynski, Faith Cullens and Craig Thomas.

Stan Moore and Phil Durst were national finalists for an audio recording, their “Dairy Moosings” podcasts.

Tom Guthrie and Phil Durst served as voting delegates.

Congratulations to all!

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AABI group are NACAA national finalists

I recently heard from James DeDecker, Michigan State University Extension educator. He wanted to share that Ned Birkey, Bruce Mackellar, Dan Rajzer, Dan Rossman, Mike Staton and Marilyn Thelen were selected as national finalists in the 2014 National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) Search for Excellence competition Crop Production category. Bruce is an Extension educator and Dan Rossman, Mike and Marilyn are senior Extension educators, all in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute. Ned Birkey and Dan Rajzer are MSU Extension retirees now working for the Michigan Soy Promotion Committee.

 James said, “The group’s program focused on reducing soybean harvest losses and is just one example of the high-quality, impactful outreach that MAEA (Michigan Association of Extension Agents) members deliver every day. Well done everyone!”

 Congratulations to all!

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Did you know?

That another glyphosate-resistant weed has been documented in Michigan? Glyphosate (originally marketed as Roundup) is a widely used herbicide, and its extensive use was predicted to lead to selection for varieties of weeds that can resist the deleterious effects of the chemical. Indeed, genes that confer resistance have been deliberately introduced into the genomes of crops to allow use of glyphosate on fields of growing crops. That there would be natural genetic variations that confer resistance and that those would benefit from the selection process of extensive herbicide use is not surprising. So enough on the lecture – why bring this up? Because I learned about this at the Agriculture/Agribusiness news website, http://www.news.msue.msu.edu/! The specific story was written by crop and soil sciences associate professor Christy Sprague, and the article refers to Extension educator Dan Rajzer or Dr. Sprague for answers to further questions. I continue to find the news site helpful and impressive, and even if the information it’s offering on a particular day isn’t of interest to a particular viewer, it’s still impressive to see the breadth of expertise and information that Michigan State University Extension provides for farmers, agribusiness operators and landscape managers. It tells our story much more effectively than anything I can write in the MSUE Spotlight.

Hear Dr. Sprague talk more on the subject in the following video produced by MSU Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications.

http://www.youtube.com/msuanrvideo08#p/a/u/2/nYlfbnPLbWU

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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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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