Tag Archives: faith cullens

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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Down on the farm: MSU Extension educators team up with producers, industry to reach, teach thousands

Another example of coordinated teamwork involves the grassroots efforts initiated by Michigan State University Extension educators partnering with county Farm Bureau offices, producers and industry groups that produced three Breakfast on the Farm events that reached more than 7,500 Michigan residents and out-of-state visitors – many from non-farm backgrounds – this summer. Those who attended one of this year’s breakfast events have learned firsthand about modern-day agricultural practices, caring for farm animals, and the steps food crops take before hitting grocery store shelves, all in addition to enjoying a menu of Michigan-grown and Michigan-processed food at a complimentary breakfast. Breakfast on the Farm was introduced to Michigan residents in 2009 when MSU Extension dairy educator Faith Cullens spearheaded the first such event in Clinton County. Since then, other counties have climbed onboard – in addition to Clinton County, breakfasts were also held this year in Washtenaw and Isabella counties – and interest in holding even more of these free, family-friendly programs continues to grow.

Breakfast on the Farm

Kids attending Breakfast on the Farm get up close and personal with a heifer.

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Mmmmmm … cheese

Faith Cullens tries her hand at making cheese during the ANR Week workshop.

Faith Cullens tries her hand at making cheese during the ANR Week workshop.

Low milk prices got you down? Make cheese! That was the message from Peter Dixon, a dairy foods consultant from Vermont, during ANR Week’s Artisan Cheese-Making Workshop last month.

The MSU Extension Dairy Team pulled together to offer this insightful, three-day class that filled to capacity as soon as it was announced. The 20 participants ranged from small-flock goat owners to 1,000-cow dairy producers—all of whom wanted to learn how to add profitability to their business with a handmade cheese enterprise.

John Partridge, associate professor in food science and human nutrition, said the waiting list was so long that they decided to bring Peter back this summer for another class. Thanks go out to John, Bill Robb, Faith Cullens and the other members of the team who are helping farmers think outside the box.

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Filed under Agriculture, ANR Week, Farming, Food