Tag Archives: department of agricultural

CANR SAC award winners and other achievements recognized at reception

On March 19, Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Dean Fred Poston hosted a reception honoring significant accomplishments and milestones within the college. The reception took place at the Demmer Center. The CANR Staff Advisory Committee (SAC) sponsors the event.

Debbie Conway, office assistant and graduate secretary in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics; Diane Davis, office assistant and graduate secretary in the Department of Community Sustainability; and Georgette Kennedy, office assistant in Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications and ANR Event Services; all received CANR Outstanding Staff Member awards from the CANR SAC.

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife administrative staff won the Outstanding Team Award. Team members include Marcia J. Baar, Pamela Bailey, Jill H. Cruth, Shannon Davis, Jilliene McCoy, Lorie A. Neuman, Sharon S. Reasoner, Julie S. Traver and Mary A. Witchell.

Dr. Elizabeth Karcher, academic specialist in the Department of Animal Science, received the H. Paul Roberts Award for Distinguished Service in Study Abroad.

In addition, the CANR honored those with milestone years of service, faculty promotions and appointments, and awards and recognitions from state, national and international organizations. You can read more about these award winners, many of whom are colleagues in MSU Extension, and review the list of awards, recognitions and milestones in the event program.

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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 Extension papers explore municipal bankruptcy

In this unsteady economy, the chances of a city undergoing bankruptcy increases. Never reaching that point would seem to be the ideal goal for any municipality. However, cities and other districts may need to resort to bankruptcy when other methods fail to lift them out of debt.

To better understand Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy, Michigan State University Extension conducted a simulation exercise based on historical data from a U.S. city and recently put out a staff paper presenting the lessons learned from that exercise.

Find “Chapter 9 Bankruptcy: Simulation Exercise Staff Paper” and its companion white paper on the MSU Extension website at http://msue.anr.msu.edu/resources/municipal_bankrupty.

MSU Extension specialist and MSU Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics (AFRE) faculty member Dr. Eric Scorsone, MSU Extension specialist Nicolette Bateson, and MSU College of Law graduate student and graduate assistant in AFRE Amanda Wright wrote the staff paper. Amanda also authored the white paper.

Read more about the paper and municipal bankruptcy here.

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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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Update on the MSU Product Center Food–Ag–Bio

I heard an update recently from Dr. Chris Peterson, professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, and director of the MSU Product Center Food–Ag–Bio, about the impacts the center has had since it was created in 2004. The center was established to serve the needs of entrepreneurs who are developing and commercializing “high-value, consumer-responsive products and businesses in the agriculture, natural resources, and bioeconomy sectors.” It was created with funding from Michigan State University Extension and MSU AgBioResearch, along with some key grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

 The Product Center combines in-depth analysis of business trends in these three sectors with on-the ground, community-based and individually tailored delivery of educational services to entrepreneurs. Campus-based analysts team with community-based Extension educators who are trained as innovation counselors to provide the business-centered services. Clients are facing complex and dynamic situations in which they have to make potentially business-ending decisions. Sometimes the best decision they make is to proceed no further with their investments of time, talent and money. In other cases, they walk a tightrope of risk, carefully gauging each decision step as they seek to maintain a balance between profit and loss.

 Over the first seven years of the center’s existence, it has provided more than 21,000 counseling sessions and its clients, numbering nearly 1,800, have created 229 new enterprises, creating more than 900 new jobs and helping to retain more than 400 existing jobs. The total amount of capital that has been invested in these enterprises exceeds $310 million. The center’s productivity has accelerated in the past 18 months as the MSUE restructuring allowed greater concentration of effort by innovation counselors on the enterprise development program.

 The center has initiated a new line of programming that is directed towards existing Stage 2 businesses that have sustainable revenue and are looking to make major expansions in sales and production. This takes more detailed analysis of business trends and enterprise operations, but the investment of MSU’s effort is justified by the increased likelihood of success for established enterprises as opposed to startups. This new initiative is named the High Impact Venture Action Team, or HI-VAT, and is supported with investments of funding from MSUE. It will be interesting to track the continued success of the innovation counselor network and the HI-VAT team as they continue to build on the very successful first seven years of the Product Center. We are deeply indebted to Dr. Peterson and the Product Center and innovation counselor teams for their leadership in creating a new model for how Extension can have an impact in communities across the state.

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Did he really ask me that??

Many of us in Michigan State University Extension end up getting called by a reporter at one time or another who has some questions about something we do or that our programs address. Usually, the calls have to do with some information of interest to the public, and the county Extension office gets identified as a source of answers on many different topics. And usually we reinforce their perceptions about us by giving answers to questions that they thought would be difficult to answer.

 Well, this week I had a call from a State News reporter who was doing a story on some workshops and webinars that the Farm Management Team put on last week to inform farmers about risk management issues related to the very late planting season for many crop farmers. Dennis Stein, Extension educator in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute, and David Schweikhardt, professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, are both quoted in the story and had a hand in the presentations.

 I had no role in the workshops. So why did the reporter call me? Because he wanted to ask me a basic question for the article: “Why do you present these workshops for farmers?” Yep, he wanted to know why MSU Extension provides workshops for farmers, in this case, about risk management issues. And the story headline in the State News proclaimed a profound statement: MSU Extension aids Michigan farmers. I’m sure glad we got that straight. The reporter seemed particularly surprised that it was offered as a webinar and wondered if we had ever provided any sessions for farmers on the Internet previously. I couldn’t help but chuckle about the question, but at the same time, at least we have one more MSU student better informed about the role of MSU Extension. And perhaps a few other readers learned a bit more about us as well. Anyway, kudos go out to the Farm Management Team for picking up on an urgent need for information and delivering on it in a very short time frame. That’s a great example of what we hope to achieve through our redesign.

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