Tag Archives: maeap

Research and outreach come Together at the Farm

Thank you to our Michigan State University (MSU) Extension and AgBioResearch faculty and staff and our partners for a successful event at the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center (UPREC) in Chatham. Over 200 people from across the state and the Midwest attended the U.P. Food Conference: Together at the Farm program.

Together at the Farm showcased our research and outreach efforts through interaction with attendees at both of the farm sites. During the morning and the afternoon sessions, a diverse pool of presenters offered over 20 workshop opportunities such as ruminant grazing systems, composting for soil quality, sustaining a school garden program, year-round herb production in greenhouses, small farm tools and implements and understanding policy to support local food systems. Presenters included MSU faculty, but the event also capitalized on local expertise and guest speakers. The evening included a keynote speaker and dinner, followed by a barn dance.

For attending, participants could receive credit in Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) Phase I, Master Citizen Planner and State Continuing Education Clock Hours.

We would like to thank all of our partners that made Together at the Farm possible: the U.P. Food Exchange, the Marquette Food Co-Op, the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department and MAEAP. Thank you to all of our event sponsors for making the program possible. Interested in finding out more about the event and our sponsors? Visit upfoodexchange.com. We hope that you’ll be able to join us next year.

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Extension educators and specialists receive awards at 2012 NACAA conference

Many Michigan State University Extension educators and specialists received awards at the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference July 15–19 in Charleston, S.C.

Extension educators in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute Kevin Gould and Phil Kaatz earned the NACAA Distinguished Service Award that encourages and recognizes excellence in the field of professional Extension for members with more than ten years of service.

Kevin Gould has served 19 years with Extension, starting in 1993 as an agricultural educator in the Thumb. The following year, he accepted a regional livestock position in western Michigan. Kevin is a leader in the industry, serving on the state cattlemen’s board and state bull evaluation. He is current president of the Michigan Association of Extension Agents (MAEA) and co-chair of the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) Livestock Systems Subcommittee.

Serving 12 years with Extension, Phil Kaatz’s programming focus includes the Michigan Thumb Ag Research and Education (TARE) Program and statewide forage responsibilities for alfalfa and corn silage production. He’s recently been involved in TARE field trials and the Michigan Forage and Grazing Conference. The TARE trials are a unique partnership between field crop producers, agribusinesses and commodity groups.

 Rob Sirrine and Phillip Tocco each received the NACAA Achievement Award in recognition of excellence in Extension service and educational programs given to educators with less than ten years of service.

Dr. J. Robert Sirrine, Extension educator in the Greening Michigan Institute, provides leadership for community food system efforts in northwest lower Michigan, holds statewide leadership responsibilities for hops production and provides expertise in other areas, including  entrepreneurial and value-added agriculture and organic production. He serves as the chair of the Northwest Michigan Food and Farming Network and is affiliated with the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems.

Phillip Tocco, Extension educator in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute, serves as secretary of the MAEA and president of his local agricultural council. He has served as a member of the MSU Product Center’s Ag Innovation Counselor network. He has been involved in creating a number of community-based initiatives, including coordinating community gardens at homeless shelters and creating gardening classes to develop capacity among people living in low-income situations to meet their fresh food needs.

Extension educator Erin Lizotte, district horticulturist and Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station coordinator Nikki Rothwell, Extension specialist Cheryl Peters and Rob Sirrine were national finalists for the “Search for Excellence in Young, Beginner or Small Farmers/Ranchers” for the Northwest Michigan New FARM (Farmer Assistance and Resource Management) Program, which assists beginning farmers.

Many of our colleagues won communications awards.

Rob Sirrine was a national winner for the website hops.msu.edu on small scale hops production in the Great Lakes Region. The site was built with collaboration from Mallory Fournier, Joy Landis and Annette Kleinschmit. It offers information on every aspect of hops production a potential grower would need to make a decision to enter into this new market.

Senior Extension dairy and beef educator Phillip Durst was a regional winner for a computer-generated graphics presentation “Breakfast on the Farm at Circle K Farms.” Phil put the presentation together with quotes from Breakfast on the Farm attendees and photos taken by Mindy Stokoszynkski.

Rob Sirrine was a regional winner for a feature story “The Good Earth: Carbon and Agriculture.” The article is an introduction to soils and carbon in agricultural production. It appeared in “Edible Grande Traverse,” a community food system/agriculture magazine for northwest lower Michigan.

Phil Tocco was a regional winner for a video presentation “Chlorine as a Sanitizer.” The video is part of his series “Agrifood Safety Minute.”

Martin L. Nagelkirk, senior Extension educator in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute, was a state winner for a fact sheet “Winter Wheat.” The document serves as a reference to understanding industry trends and to identifying lessons learned or particular challenges.

Phil Kaatz was a state winner for a publication “TARE: Thumb Ag Research & Education 2011 Field Trials.” Other authors included Robert Battel, Martin Nagelkirk and Dennis Stein. An advisory board consisting of producers, agribusiness and Extension personnel provide oversight for the project. The Extension educators and other technicians were responsible for all phases of producing the crops included in the trials.

Congratulations to everyone!

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Extension staff educate at UP agriculture conference

Michigan State University Extension staff members are gearing up for the Agriculture for Tomorrow Conference March 6 at Bay College in Escanaba. Extension educators, specialists and faculty as well as industry specialists will present a wide variety of sessions focusing on Upper Peninsula producers, growers or anyone interested in agriculture. Preserving food, making high quality corn silage, planning a business, growing corn for grain and grazing idle acres are among the sessions offered. Attendees can also choose sessions that cover cattle lameness, noxious and invasive weeds, northern vines, agricultural tourism, Michigan’s Cottage Food Law and much more. Many of the sessions are approved for Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) Phase 1 credit.

 Gary Sipiorski, from Vita Plus Corp. of Wisconsin and former agriculture loan officer and member of the advisory committee for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, will serve as keynote speaker. He’ll address the growing revenues with large and small farms and the importance of profitability.

 To find out more and to obtain a registration form, visit the MSU Extension Ontonagon County website.

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Shiawassee County farm honored as the 1000th MAEAP verification

Lee Sesquicentennial Farm in Laingsburg was honored Oct. 17 as the 1000th Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) verification. 

Keith Creagh (right), MDARD director, honored MAEAP-verified farmer Larry Lee (middle) and Annette Lee (left) Oct.17, 2011.

Keith Creagh (right), Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) director, honored MAEAP-verified farmer Larry Lee (middle) and Annette Lee (left) on Monday, October 17, 2011. The Lee's farm in Laingsburg was honored for being the 1,000th MAEAP verification. Photo by Mindy Pratt.

To become MAEAP verified, farmers must complete three comprehensive steps, which include attending an educational seminar, conducting a thorough on-farm assessment, and developing and implementing an action plan addressing potential environmental risks. The program encompasses three systems – Livestock, Farmstead and Cropping. The Lee Farm is verified in all three systems. 

State officials, legislators and agriculture and environmental partners were on hand to recognize the Lee Farm, along with many MSUE educators and specialists who provide educational programming to support farmers who wish to achieve MAEAP verification.

 Keith Creagh, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) director, applauded Lee Farm and owners Larry and Annette Lee for “their proactive steps in assuring effective land stewardship practices.”

 Members of the Lee family have operated the farm since its founding in 1861. 

MSU Extension director Tom Coon talks with Jody Pollock-Newsom, host of the Michigan Farm and Garden Show

Dr. Tom Coon, director of Michigan State University Extension, talks to Jody Pollok-Newsom, host of the Michigan Farm and Garden Show during a celebration of the 1,000th MAEAP verification held at the Lee Sesquicentennial Farm in Laingsburg on Monday, October 17, 2011. Photo by Mindy Pratt.

I had the opportunity to attend as well and had a chance to talk to Jody Pollok-Newsom, host of the Michigan Farm and Garden Show.

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