Tag Archives: gov. rick snyder

Making It in Michigan Conference honors entrepreneurs, director

The eighth annual Making It in Michigan conference and Premier Specialty Food Marketplace Trade Show took place Nov. 10 at the Lansing Center in Lansing. This year’s theme was “Ingredients for Success – Components and Processes for Safe, Sound and Smart Product Development.”

The Michigan State University Product Center hosts the conference. The Product Center was established in 2003 with funds from AgBioResearch and MSU Extension to improve economic opportunities in the Michigan agriculture, food and natural resource sectors.

Chris Peterson, Nowlin Chair for Consumer-Responsive Agriculture in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, is the center’s director. Dean Fred Poston presented Dr. Peterson with a tribute letter sent on behalf of Gov. Rick Snyder. In the letter, the governor expressed deep appreciation for his years of dedication through his work with the Product Center.

MSU CANR Dean Fred Poston (left) reads from the tribute letter presented to Dr. Chris Peterson, MSU Product Center director, (right) on behalf of Gov. Rick Snyder.

Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Fred Poston (left) reads from the tribute letter presented to Dr. Chris Peterson, MSU Product Center director, (right) on behalf of Gov. Rick Snyder at the Making It in Michigan Conference at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich., Nov. 10, 2015. Photo credit: Kraig Ehm

The letter said in part, “On behalf of the people of Michigan, thank you for your dedication and commitment in helping Michigan businesses develop and commercialize goods in the food, agriculture, and bio economy industries. Utilizing the talent that Michigan has to offer is key to our comeback and reinvention. I am confident our state and countless individuals will long reap the rewards of your positive contributions.”

Product Center innovation counselors regularly assist entrepreneurs in making critical marketing, business and product decisions. As you view the following videos of Making It in Michigan award winners, you’ll get an idea of just how important the counselor-client relationship is. Watch as winners talk about the help and guidance they received from the Product Center. Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications television producer/director Kraig Ehm and Matt Birbeck of the Product Center produced the videos.

Click on the embedded links in the award title to watch:

Director’s Award: Mary Safie, president and CEO, Safie’s Specialty Foods

Barrier Buster: Joseph Oginsky, baker and business manager, Town-to-Town Gourmet Pastries

Value-Added Agricultural: Bonnie Steinman, public relations, Hop Head Farms

Entrepreneur of the Year: Brian Rudolph, co-founder, Banza

Start-Up to Watch: Jill Bommarito, president and founder, Ethel’s Edibles

 

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MSU Extension communicates programming at UP State Fair

The Upper Peninsula (UP) State Fair took place August 17‒23 at the Upper Peninsula Fairgrounds in Escanaba, Michigan.

Rep. Ed McBroom & Gov. Rick Snyder interact with 4-H volunteers at the at the Upper Peninsula State Fair.

Rep. Ed McBroom (far right) and Gov. Rick Snyder (second right) interact with 4-H volunteers at the 4-H Commodity Carnival table, Aug. 20, 2015, at the Upper Peninsula State Fair, U.P. State Fairgrounds in Escanaba, Mich. Photo credit: Michelle Walk

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension has always had a role at the UP State Fair, assisting with various aspects including helping judge events. This year, our staff focused on positively communicating about our programs and interacting with fairgoers through our display in the Miracle of Life Building.

Participating staff members represented each of the institutes and a majority of the counties in the UP. The display, which was staffed for the entire time of the fair, included a variety of MSU Extension program banners and several tables with information and handouts representing all institutes.

Gov. Rick Snyder attended the Governor’s Luncheon and toured the Miracle of Life Building. He and Rep. Ed McBroom visited the MSU Extension display and the 4-H Commodity Carnival activity table. Staff members, volunteers and 4-H members got a chance to interact with both officials.

left to right:  Rep. Ed McBroom (108th district); Nancy Victorson, Michigan State University senior Extension educator ‒ Luce County; Gov. Rick Snyder; Michelle Walk, MSU Extension educator ‒ Chippewa County

left to right: Rep. Ed McBroom (108th district); Nancy Victorson, Michigan State University senior Extension educator ‒ Luce County; Gov. Rick Snyder; Michelle Walk, MSU Extension educator ‒ Chippewa County pose for a photo Aug. 20, 2015, at the Upper Peninsula State Fair, U.P. State Fairgrounds in Escanaba, Mich.

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MAFI reflects confidence in Michigan food and agriculture industry

Leaders in Michigan’s food and agriculture industry are feeling positive about food and agriculture in Michigan. The results of the recent Michigan Agriculture and Food Index (MAFI) reflect their optimistic outlook. In addition, their confidence in our state’s economy overall is climbing.

Twice a year since April 2013, staff members at the Michigan State University Product Center Food-Ag-Bio have sent questionnaires to leaders chosen to give their opinions about the current business climate in the food and agriculture industry. These leaders, members of the Food and Agriculture Roundtable, are made up of farmers, food processors and people who run agribusinesses.

The results of the surveys are used to create the MAFI. A score of 100 is considered neutral on the index’s rating system. Ratings above 100 are considered positive and ratings below 100 are considered negative. Since the index’s inception in 2013, the ratings have never been negative. In addition, ratings on the state of Michigan’s overall economy have grown from 115 in April 2013 to 120 in January 2014 to 133 in April 2014. More than 70 percent of those surveyed are positive about Michigan’s economy.

The index also showed respondents ratings of the state of the food and agriculture system, which showed a steady confidence on all three surveys with indexes of 147, 146 and 145 for each survey, respectively. In addition, respondents generally believe that sales will increase, and the investment index increased 8.4 percent from January to April. The employment index remains unchanged from January.

The index helps Michigan State University Extension educators and specialists to better understand the needs of the industry and determine how our efforts influence conditions.

Check out this article and video from WILX, which features Gov. Rick Snyder; Dr. Chris Peterson, director of the Product Center; and Betsy Braid, Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications educational program coordinator: http://www.wilx.com/home/headlines/State-Agriculture-Business-Booming-268187132.html

Read more on the MAFI in the executive summary: http://expeng.anr.msu.edu/uploads/files/42/MI%20Food%20and%20Ag%20Roundtable%20results%207-18.pdf

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Governor praises and challenges Michigan agriculture at Ag Expo

On Tuesday at the Ag Expo VIP Breakfast, I had at the privilege of sharing the podium with Gov. Rick Snyder and Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon as well as Dr. Chris Peterson, director of the MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio.

Gov. Snyder praised agriculture as a steadying force but challenged leaders of agriculture to keep it growing into the future. His top priority is working to develop and keep a growing skilled work force in agriculture and other trades. He also highlighted the food safety innovation done here at MSU.

Read more about what the governor said in this news release from Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications: http://anrcom.msu.edu/anrcom/news/item/gov._snyder_challenges_mich._ag_leaders_to_take_leadership_role_in_world_fo

Dr. Peterson announced the results from the latest Michigan Agriculture and Food Index (MAFI), which show that leaders in the food and agriculture industry remain optimistic about their businesses and Michigan’s economy.

Read more about the MAFI results in this ANR Communications release: http://anrcom.msu.edu/anrcom/news/item/michigan_state_university_food_and_ag_leaders_hopeful_about_industry_state

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Blog posts, articles celebrate Michigan food and agriculture

Recently, Gov. Rick Snyder declared March Michigan Food and Agriculture Month.

Michigan State University Extension, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and agriculture commodities groups are partnering to promote something pretty basic, yet something that is so much a part of life that it often does not attract the attention of more trivial matters ‒ our food: where it comes from, who grows it and how it gets to our cupboards, tables and lunch bags.

MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio director Chris Peterson and I were asked to submit articles for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Michigan Advantage Pure Michigan blog to add some land-grant perspectives on food and agriculture. I took the opportunity to let others know the important role that MSU Extension plays in educating residents in issues relating to food, agriculture and more. You can read my article here: http://blog.michiganadvantage.org/talent-enhancement/celebrating-michigan-food-and-agriculture-month-means-celebrating-lifelong-education/. Dr. Peterson’s article will be posted March 25. When I think of Dr. Peterson and the Product Center that he leads, I think of innovation, a hallmark of Michigan’s agriculture and food industries. I look forward to reading his blog to learn more about where our food and agriculture industries are headed for the future.

In one article, Jamie Clover Adams, MDARD director, shares facts on Michigan agriculture: http://blog.michiganadvantage.org/industry-sectors/agri-business/michigan-food-and-agriculture-its-celebration-time/.

Many of our colleagues who write articles for the MSU Extension website have responded positively to a call for articles that celebrate Michigan food and agriculture. Thank you for those submissions! In addition to the articles appearing on the MSU Extension website, our MSU Extension communicators and partner organizations are tweeting them and featuring them on Facebook posts. All are tweeting using #miagmonth. Others who tweet should feel free to use this hashtag when tweeting about Michigan Food and Agriculture Month. Thanks, everyone, for helping us promote Michigan food and agriculture through this joint effort!

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‘A great week to be in Extension’

Brenda Reau, Michigan State University Extension educator and associate director of the MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio, shared that quote with me last Thursday, attributing it to Dr. Gordon Guyer, former director of MSU Extension (and president emeritus, MSU). The context was that on any given day, one of Dr. Guyer’s more famous comments was, “it’s a great day to be in Extension.” Well, I’d say his description captures the essence of this week for me.

On Wednesday, Feb. 5, Gov. Rick Snyder presented his budget recommendations for FY2015 to the Michigan Legislature. In it, he proposed to increase funding for higher education by an average of 6.1 percent, and he further specified that the funding for MSU Extension and MSU AgBioResearch should be increased by 6.1 percent. That represents a $3.4 million increase in funding for MSU Extension and AgBioResearch combined. Just one year ago, I was giddy about the governor proposing a 2 percent increase in our state appropriation, and eventually the legislature doubled that to 4 percent. Here we are one year later, starting with a 6.1 percent proposed increase, and if anything, that suggests to me that the work MSU Extension and AgBioResearch is doing in support of research and its application to agriculture, food safety and nutrition, community and natural resource development, and youth development is seen as being important and worthy of increased support. To me, this is a message that the work we have carried out to focus and improve our programs, to adopt technology as a tool to reach more people, and to be more accountable for what we do and what difference it makes is paying off. We’re heading in the right direction.

It’s fine to take a moment to relish this development, but this is no time to relax and rest on our laurels. Rather, this is a time when we need to continue improving our programs, following our work plans for the year and adapting technology to help us reach even more people in Michigan. It’s also a good time to share some good news with our stakeholders. And it’s a great time for our stakeholders to share their thoughts with decision makers about the programs they value and the impact our programs are having on their lives, their farms, their businesses, their communities and their families. County commissioners, state legislators and members of Congress all need to hear from their constituents about our programs. And the most effective messages they hear are ones that are not scripted, but rather are authentic and come from the experience of the constituents who are telling their stories.

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4-H experience leads to the Olympics

Patrick Cudney, Michigan State University Extension District 3 coordinator, recently let me know about a tour he and members of the District 3 Extension Council took. They visited the Stonehedge Fiber Mill in East Jordan, Mich., following their council meeting Jan. 20. What’s so special about that? The mill prepared the yarn for the sweaters and hats designed by Ralph Lauren that Team U.S.A. will wear in the 2014 Winter Olympics closing ceremonies. Not only that, the fiber mill has its beginnings in a 4-H experience.

On Jan. 20, 2014, Debbie McDermott of Stonehedge Fiber Mill in East Jordan, Mich,, holds up one of the sweaters to be worn by Team USA in the 2014 Winter Olympics. The mill prepared the yarn for the Olympic sweaters and hats designed by Ralph Lauren.

On Jan. 20, 2014, Debbie McDermott of Stonehedge Fiber Mill in East Jordan, Mich,, holds up one of the sweaters to be worn by Team USA in the 2014 Winter Olympics. The mill prepared the yarn for the Olympic sweaters and hats designed by Ralph Lauren. Photo credit: Michael Krauch, District 5 coordinator

Members of the District 3 Extension council toured the Stonehedge Fiber Mill in East Jordan, Mich., following their council meeting Jan. 20, 2014.

Members of the District 3 Extension council toured the Stonehedge Fiber Mill in East Jordan, Mich., following their council meeting Jan. 20, 2014.
Front row (left to right): LuAnn Doriot, MSU Extension District 3 (D3) support staff member; Debbie McDermott, owner of Stonehedge Fiber Mill
Second row: Douglas Craven, natural resources director, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians; Bernard Ware, Ware Farm organic producer and CSA Farm operator; Mary Faculak, East Jordan Chamber of Commerce director, D3 MSU Extension Council chair and MSUE/ABR state council member
Back row: Patrick Cudney, D3 coordinator; Brian Matchett, CANR/IAT regional program coordinator; Bruce Gauthier, Cheboygan County commissioner
Photo credit: Michael Krauch, District 5 coordinator

When Debbie McDermott, the mill’s owner, learned to knit at the age of 7 from her grandmother and continued knitting and sewing as a 4-H’er in Hillsdale County, it sparked an interest in fiber. Then in 1989, her daughter began raising two sheep as a 4-H project. The experience with the two sheep led to what is now a company that employs 14 people including family members. Debbie later served as a 4-H leader in Charlevoix County, continuing the 4-H legacy.

Debbie and her husband, Chuck, along with Mary Faculak, District 3 Council chair and state council member, met with Gov. Snyder in December 2013. The McDermotts gave the governor an Olympic sweater for his work and support of agriculture in Michigan.

Read this MSU Extension news article that MSU Extension educator Kendra Wills wrote about Debbie, her Olympic wool and the 4-H connection: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/michigan_wool_at_the_2014_winter_olympic_games

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