Tag Archives: dave ivan

Education policymakers on MSU Extension resources: The FHE team goes to the Capitol

On Friday, May 20, representatives from 15 state legislative offices attended a coffee and donuts informational session at the state Capitol. The session was held by the Financial and Homeownership Education (FHE) team to educate the group about the post-foreclosure toolkits that Michigan State University (MSU) Extension provides. Toolkits were also distributed to all offices to advertise the effective and impactful resources that MSU Extension produces for families and individuals starting over after home foreclosure.

In a brainstorming and planning meeting between a few members of the FHE team and Eric Walcott, MSU Extension public policy specialist, the team discussed reaching out to legislators to market the “Starting Over After Foreclosure” toolkit. Eric, having previous experience working in the Legislature, suggested hosting an event to draw attention to the new resource. He shared that often state departments hold educational sessions to provide legislators and their staff members with timely resources and information.

The FHE team wanted to not only share the MSU Extension resource with the legislators and their staff members, but also educate them that they could use it to support constituents who call their offices with questions about personal financial recovery. Team members received the approval of Mike Kovacic, director of stakeholder relations for the college of agriculture and natural resources; Dave Ivan, their institute director; and MSU. They also secured the support of Sen. Darwin Booher, who co-sponsored the event. Then the planning began. Jean Lakin, Sarah Carter, Erica Tobe, Eric Walcott, Bill Hendrian, Scott Matteson and Mike Kovacic contributed to the planning of the event.

The event consisted of a short, half-hour presentation to legislators and their staff members, followed by a brief question-and-answer period. Each legislative office, whether or not an office representative attended the event, received a packet. The packet included MSU Extension FHE team information (including infographics of the results of their programs, a team roster and current program offerings), district foreclosure data (for offices that RSVP’d to the event), a free “Starting Over After Foreclosure” toolkit and marketing kicker cards to promote the resource in their communities. Bill Hendrian, Scott Matteson, Eric Walcott, LaShawn Brown, Beth Martinéz, Brenda Long, Erica Tobe, Mike Kovacic and Jinnifer Ortquist attended to host and answer questions.

The “Starting Over After Foreclosure” toolkit is a research-based, resource guide for residents who have experienced foreclosure, housing instability or both. It was designed to provide an educational support after traditional foreclosure counseling services end as a way to rebuild financial standing. Eight stand-alone units address core financial concepts (budgeting, credit and debt management, exploring housing options and more). One unit addresses emotional recovery after foreclosure and stress-management skill building. Visit http://msue.anr.msu.edu/program/mimoneyhealth/startingover to access the resource. The material will be available soon in Spanish, and a series of noncredit online courses will be available to participants statewide.

“Staff members that I spoke with were very receptive of the material, interested in the information, and appreciated that it was free for the general public to use.” Erica said. “I think promoting this toolkit to legislators in the manner that we did was a good way to be accountable for the funds that we have received to support our work in this programming area, and provide them with useful information that they can use with the residents in their districts. In addition, it was a great way to market MSU Extension, and the work of our FHE team. We had several staff members attend the event, and they were able to connect with their respective legislative offices, and create connections for future programming opportunities! The legislative staff members that we spoke with were very excited to see the information presented and seemed to appreciate the short, succinct manner that we presented the material. I think most participants left the presentation understanding how they can use the information in the future and appreciated the applicability of the resource.”

If you have any questions about this event or the materials, please feel free to contact Erica Tobe, MSU Extension specialist, at tobee@msu.edu or Eric Walcott, MSU Extension public policy specialist, at walcott3@msu.edu.

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MSU Extension celebrates 100 years in Cheboygan County

On Dec. 1, Michigan State University Extension Cheboygan County hit a historical milestone. On that date 100 years ago, Carl Knopf began work as an agricultural agent, the first MSU Extension employee to work in Cheboygan County. As you know, our MSU Extension staff continue to provide services in Cheboygan County as well as in the rest of the state, equipping Michigan residents with the information that they need to do their jobs better, raise healthy and safe families, build their communities and empower our children.

This is something worth celebrating! On December 2, Lisa Anderson, MSU Extension District 14 coordinator; Dave Ivan, Greening Michigan Institute director; Kylie Rymanowicz, MSU Extension early childhood educator; Leigh Ann Theunick, 4-H program coordinator; Patti Spinella, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program‒Education (SNAP-Ed) program instructor; and Mary McTevia, MSU Extension Cheboygan County office manager; gathered with county commissioners and community members in the Commissioner’s Room at the Cheboygan County Building in Cheboygan to commemorate the occasion.

Left to right: Kylie Rymanowicz, Leigh Ann Theunick, Lisa Anderson, Patti Spinella and Mary McTevia

Left to right: Kylie Rymanowicz, Leigh Ann Theunick, Lisa Anderson, Patti Spinella and Mary McTevia celebrate 100 years of MSU Extension Cheboygan County, Cheboygan County Building, Cheboygan, Michigan, Dec. 2, 2015.

Displays and handouts highlighted each MSU Extension programming area. Slides of photographs dated from the 1940s and beyond depicted the history of MSU Extension programming and outreach. And of course, it would not be a proper celebration without cake and coffee.

Congratulations, MSU Extension Cheboygan County!

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Filed under Events, Uncategorized

Promoting a vibrant local agriculture community

With the intention of promoting and building a vibrant local agriculture community, the 2015 Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference hosted more than 1,000 attendees this past weekend in Traverse City. Two former Michigan State University Extension staff members, Jack Middleton and Dave Glenn, started this event approximately 18 years ago as a grazing conference in Otsego County. Both have since retired, but the conference continued to grow throughout the years. It now fills the largest venue in northern Michigan, the Grand Traverse Resort. The conference now has its own independent planning committee, but many MSU Extension staff members serve, including Stan Moore, Rob Sirrine, Barb Smutek and Wendy Wieland, as well as Susan Cocciarelli from the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems .

Associate director of operations Patrick Cudney and Greening Michigan Institute director Dave Ivan both attended the event, and both were proud of how far the program has come.

“The northern Michigan Small Farm Conference is a wonderful example of Extension work at its finest,” said Patrick. “MSU Extension was there at the beginning to meet the needs of the small farm grazing community by working with producers to identify their needs, bringing research-based education to the community and planning and hosting the event. Over time, the conference has evolved to the point where Extension no longer is needed to be the sole event planner; rather we are at the table, with many partners to plan the event.”

Additionally, many Michigan State University (Extension and otherwise) staff members taught sessions this year, including Julie Avery (MSUE), Jude Barry (MSU CRFS), Noel Bielaczyc (MSU CRFS), George Bird (MSU), Vicki Morrone (MSU CRFS), Rich Pirog (MSU CRFS), Jason Rowntree (MSU), Rob Sirrine (MSUE), Collin Thompson, (MSU Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center) and Michelle Walk (MSUE). In this way, our university was able to add value by offering our research-based educational content to meet growers’ needs even while we no longer host the event.

Patrick went on to say, “In essence, we built capacity and leadership, we support and partner, and we expand our mission of improving the lives of others by applying research-based knowledge to critical issues, needs and opportunities. Being there Saturday, I reflected upon where this conference has been, where it is today, and where it will go in the future and I was again reminded of the importance of our work and very proud to be part of this organization.”

Congratulations and thank you to all of our team, past and present, for your part in making the conference the success it is.

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Filed under Agriculture

Kudos and suggestions from the civil rights auditors

As you know, Michigan State University Extension recently took part in a U. S. Department of Agriculture civil rights audit. They occur once every four or five years. I’ve been involved in four of these – twice as a regional director and now twice as director of Extension – the last time was in 2004.

I’m very proud of the work we are doing to demographically reach target audiences. We are reaching the audiences in close demographic comparison in categories of race and gender. You may be surprised by some of the data. For example, of youth participants in the Children and Youth Institute, only 9 percent live on farms. This differs from the popular perception that 4-H only serves farm youth. The data shows that we meet people where the need is great with health and nutrition information as well as financial and money management.

The auditors were thrilled with the way we presented the data. I’d like to thank the many staff involved in helping to gather the data and put it into an understandable format. They include Nancy Axtell, Jessica Nakfour, Jean Schueller, Bruce Haas, Cheryl Peters, Olga Santiago, Kathy Raphael, Mary Wilson, Gloria Ellerhorst, Emily Proctor, Christi Sovis, Doug Brinklow, Michelle Lavra, Marian Reiter, Beth Stuever, Julie Chapin, Dave Ivan, Dawn Contreras, Paul Putnam, Jim Lucas, Pat Cudney, Kelley Hiemstra, Michael Krauch, Shari Spoelman, Don Lehman, Betty Blase, Deanna East, Joe Bixler, Marie Ruemenapp, Matt Shane and Ginger Hentz. Without your hard work for months in advance of this review, we could not have done it.

The auditors took all of that data and examined it. They also went out into the field to get more information from you. They were pleased with everyone’s availability to meet with the reviewers and with the helpfulness of the staff in giving them access to our information – as I am!

They combined the data and the information to give us feedback on a few things we can work on.

In working with people, we need to diversify our overall employment makeup throughout the organization as well as work to integrate and diversify membership within 4-H clubs and broaden the programming we’re doing with female farm operators. We need to expand our nutrition programming to include demonstrated outreach with other agencies.

Consistency is something that came up in several areas. We need to be consistent in demonstrating the work we do in each county through data, and train staff in the method for collecting that data. We need to update our race/ethnicity/gender data collection forms to include the recommended way to collect race and ethnicity data. We need to use the statement concerning accommodations consistently and ensure consistency with regard to civil rights training.

We need to ensure that brochures and other promotional pieces have pictorial displays of diverse populations. I know this is something that we’ve strived to do and we will continue to focus on it.

In addition, we need to revise our Civil Rights Plan and education to include the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended.

The auditors had many good things to say about our accomplishments. They praised our work with Tribal Communities as well as the work we’re doing with prisons. They believe that our work translating program documents and brochures and making them available in Spanish, Arabic and Braille is outstanding. They haven’t seen as much of that in other states. They believe we have great outreach through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-ED) and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). They believe we have strong nutrition programming at the grass roots level.

Please be sure to review the August 4 MSU Extension webinar to view the charts and graphs that we put together for the audit. Viewing them will help you get a better picture of where we stand in our efforts. We’ve worked hard to pull together a lot of information for the audit. This information is not just something that was used for the audits; we can also use this information in many other ways. View the webinar here: https://connect.msu.edu/p4bz0fut3rj/

Also, please keep checking back to the MSU Extension Civil Rights site for additional materials that will be added: http://od.msue.msu.edu/civil_rights_diversity_multiculturalism.

Once again, thank you, everyone, for all of your hard work in making the USDA audit a powerful learning experience for all of us!

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Fall Extension Conference 2012 – Thanks!

Another Fall Extension Conference has come and gone, and I want to send my thanks out to all who helped make it a valuable and productive experience. I’m always overwhelmed by FEC as it approaches, worried not so much about how things will work – we have great colleagues who worry about that for us and their worry produces a well-run and cost-efficient conference – but more about how to make the most of this opportunity. In my comments on Monday and Tuesday, I tried to convey how grateful I am for the work this organization does and the people who work so hard to make it successful. I’m never satisfied that I’ve fully expressed how much this organization means to me and to Michigan. You are awesome, and I take great pleasure in each day that I get to work with you to help people improve their lives. You teach me a great deal. I hope you found the conference to be as nourishing (not only in food) as I did. And I thank you for being part of it.

The organizing team – Betsy Braid, Megghan Honke and Doug Brahee as co-chairs, and Julie Chapin, Dawn Contreras, Dave Ivan and Wendy Powers as steering committee members deserve many thanks and credit for making this as productive and meaningful as it was. I would also like to offer a special thanks to George Silva and Marilyn Thelen for helping develop the cross-institute session.

Watch your inbox for a survey to provide feedback on FEC 2012.

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Northwest Michigan Regional Agriculture Business Services Partnership increases our capacity to reach out

Here in Michigan State University Extension, we often seek to work in partnership with other organizations to better serve our clients. The newly created Northwest Michigan Regional Agriculture Business Services Partnership is a great example of reaching out beyond the confines of our organization to bring knowledge to Michigan residents in the northwestern Lower Peninsula.

Spearheaded by MSU Extension partner Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) with support from District 3 coordinator Patrick Cudney, former Greening Michigan Institute (GMI) director Rick Foster and current interim GMI director Dave Ivan, the partnership brings together six different organizations to leverage resources: MSU Extension, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC),the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments (NWMCOG), MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio, the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC)and the NLEA. MSU Extension’s efforts to bring these organizations together made the partnership a reality.

The MEDC, MSU Extension and the NWMCOG provide funding for the partnership. The partnership will enhance services to agriculture-related businesses such as product development, marketing, business plans, financing, education and training, and farm production and distribution.

“This partnership continues MSU Extension’s proud history of supporting Michigan’s agriculture industry by helping entrepreneurs develop and commercialize high-value products in the agriculture, natural resources and bio-economy sectors,” said Patrick Cudney, who also serves as NLEA Board member.

Andy Hayes, an MSU Extension GMI economic development educator, who works for MSU Extension within the NLEA partnership as the alliance’s president, played a key role in the partnership’s formation.

“We’re thrilled with this new effort,” said Andy, “In typical northwest Michigan fashion, several organizations combined resources to offer much better services with a far broader reach than any individual organization could have provided on their own.”

In the past, MSU Extension had one person doing this type of work covering four counties. Through the partnership, we now have an agriculture team of three covering 11 counties. The team includes Wendy Wieland, MSU Extension program instructor in the GMI and MSU Product Center innovation counselor; Annie Shetler, MI-SBTDC business consultant; and Susan Cocciarelli, NWMCOG Northwest Michigan Agriculture and Food System Sector Alliance coordinator.

creation of the Northwest Michigan Regional Agriculture Business Services Partnership July 2012

Left to right :Tom Coon, MSU Extension director; Susan Cocciarelli, NWMCOG Northwest Michigan Agriculture and Food System Sector Alliance coordinator; Elaine Wood, NWMCOG CEO; Wendy Wieland, MSU Extension program instructor and MSU Product Center innovation counselor; Annie Shetler, SBTDC business consultant; Brenda Reau, Extension educator representing the MSU Product Center; and Mary Rogers, MI-SBTDC regional director, announce the creation of the Northwest Michigan Regional Agriculture Business Services Partnership July 2012. Photo credit: NWMCOG

Wendy’s reassignment will allow her full engagement in the partnership. In her role, she helps people who have an idea to take to market to help develop that product. She provides a front door to entrepreneurs who can take advantage of expertise on campus around food safety, packaging and marketing research. She’ll work in coordination with Ms. Shetler and Ms. Cocciarelli to meet agriculture entrepreneurs’ needs across the spectrum of business development, expansion and marketing.

Through collaboration, this new partnership expands our methods and our capacity to reach out to Michigan residents to meet their needs.

View this video on the partnership:

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Thanks for a great Fall Extension Conference!

Michigan State University Fall Extension Conference 2011 has come and gone. Integrating both the in-person and the virtual portions proved to be an exciting opportunity for all to gather and learn. As we attended educational sessions, institute sessions, association meetings, work team meetings and yes, even some individual meetings with colleagues we hadn’t seen in a while, we learned from the presenters and we learned from each other.

 The able and consistent effort of the Fall Extension Conference Team created a successful event. This year, those participating as members of the planning team were Betty Blase, Doug Brahee, Betsy Braid, Molly Frendo, Megghan Honke, Dave Ivan, Shannon Lindquist, Cheryl Peters, Alan Pilkenton, Luke Reese, Michelle Rodgers and Lela Vandenberg. Each contributed in his or her own way, from serving as MC of our lively events to providing support and logistics for our hosts and presenters to working behind the scenes to bring you a conference full of opportunity. A gigantic MSU Extension Sparty thank-you to all of them for their effort and creativity!

 Thanks to Julie Pioch, our MC for the important and meaningful Key Partner Awards Banquet. We appreciate and applaud the many others who made the entire conference run so smoothly. In addition, a special thank-you to the Organizational Development Team who reviewed all of the applications for individual educational sessions, selected those that would be presented and worked directly with the presenters in preparation for delivery as needed. It was an immense task as they reviewed nearly 100 applications.

 Thanks for a job well done! Go right through….

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Using social media to guide community conversations

by Dave Ivan, Greening Michigan Institute

During Fall Extension Conference, we shared with you an exciting initiative involving Michigan State University Extension, the Land Policy Institute (LPI), the College of Communication Arts & Sciences and the state Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth, using social media to enhance conversations on regionalism, community placemaking and economic vitality. Our robust social media site, entitled greatplacenetwork.org, allows participants to discuss how we can make Michigan communities great while learning from other great places from across the country. With MSUE serving as the coordinator of the initiative, I encourage staff to create a profile on the site and actively contribute to the discussions. Additionally, share the site with stakeholders and others you interface with in your programming efforts. Social media can be powerful when a variety of participants are engaged. Let’s contribute to making greatplacenetwork.org a success.

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