I recently saw a T-shirt that made me chuckle. It read, “Chickens are like potato chips, you can’t have just one.” Each spring, customers flock to farm supply stores across the country for Chick Days, where live chicks are available for purchase. The adorable baby birds are tiny and cute, but many people do not know that the chicks also carry dangerous germs such as Salmonella. With a rise in salmonella cases in 2016, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and Michigan State University (MSU) Extension decided to work together to improve educational efforts around salmonella prevention with chick buyers in 2017. Extension educator Katie Ockert and Mindy Tape and Jamie Wilson from our communications team worked closely with MDARD on collaborative efforts that resulted in “Chick Bags.” Each bag contains a series of informative rack cards, disinfectant and cleaning brushes. More than 1,000 free bags will be distributed to chick buyers at 10 Family Farm and Home stores. In addition to helping chick buyers understand ways to prevent Salmonella contamination, the cards also provide new owners with valuable information on caring for their animals and preventing the spread of disease among their birds.
These are great guides that are worth taking a look at and sharing with any chick buyers you might know. You can find them on the MSU Extension website and at the sites below.
Chris Geith, CEO to the eXtension Foundation, provided me with some exciting news and information about eXtension. The mission of eXtension is to help Cooperative Extension System professionals increase their measurable local impact by helping them accomplish their work more effectively using an online constellation of people, resources and tools. Michigan State University Extension has a long and active history with eXtension and continues to partner with this great initiative. Here are 10 facts about our involvement with eXtension that you didn’t know.
- In 2015, 2,446 questions from Michigan residents were answered using the Ask an Expert system.
- 167 MSU Extension specialists, educators and volunteers helped to answer these 2,446 questions through Ask an Expert.
- eXtension also has two communities of practice led by MSU: All About Blueberries, led by Extension educator Mark Longstroth, and Community Planning and Zoning ‒ Land Use Planning, led by Extension educator Glenn Pape.
- For the Land Use Planning Community of Practice, MSU Extension and eXtension are partnering to pilot a third-party service to see if we can increase the usefulness of content and potentially generate new revenue sources together.
- This pilot partnership is not out of the ordinary; MSU Extension has a history of building new models with eXtension – such as MyHorseUniversity, which continues to have a strong relationship with the HorseQuest community of practice.
- Three members of the newly formed i-Three Issue Corps are from MSU: Mariel Borgman, Kaitlin Wojciak and Garret Zeigler. They are contributing to the Michigan Supply Chain Wizards that will address key issues in food systems and climate.
- MSU Extension also has almost 40 online courses available through the eXtension Campus/Moodle Because of MSU’s premium membership with eXtension, there are several important benefits available to MSU Extension staff.
- Recently awarded to MSU Extension, the $1.48 million New Technologies in Ag Extension grant includes instructional design by Gwyn Shelle, administrative support provided by Angela Jernstadt, with Chris Geith serving as the primary investigator.
- Gwyn is also a recipient of one of nine Innovation grants eXtension awarded last year out of almost 50 proposals submitted. Gwyn and Katie Ockert are presented at the National eXtension annual conference that takes place in San Antonio, Texas, March 22‒
- Bruce Haas served a critical role as a key advisor to the i-Three Issue Corps in the new “boot camp” at the event.
Thanks to Chris for welcoming me and sharing such great news from eXtension.
Kids who participate in Michigan 4-H Youth Development programs are much more likely to contribute to their communities than those not involved in 4-H. Through 4-H activities, members learn leadership, communication and problem-solving skills that enable them to be resilient and successful in today’s world.
One of these activities is Michigan 4-H Dog Agility. In Michigan 4-H, agility supplies 4-H members and their dogs with something fun to do. It also helps to build confidence and teamwork between the 4-H members and their dogs.
A new manual has recently been produced that assists members and leaders as well. The full-color Michigan 4-H Dog Agility Manual (4H1467) instructs 4-H’ers in everything they need to know to take part in a 4-H dog agility program. It gives the requirements for training agility and lists agility obstacles and patch requirements. It describes what is required of both dogs and handlers in beginner, intermediate and advanced agility classes. Helpful tables give quick references for obstacles and judging for all classes. A glossary of agility terms, an explanation of scoring and a Michigan 4-H Agility Judge’s Worksheet for each level are included.
You can purchase the manual for just $2 – a bargain ‒ through the Michigan State University Extension Bookstore: http://web2.msue.msu.edu/bulletins2/product/michigan-4h-dog-agility-manual-1439.cfm
The manual was written by MSU Extension educator Katie Ockert and the 2013 State 4-H Companion Animal Committee, and edited and designed by Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications.