Tag Archives: mdard

MSU Extension teams up with MDARD over baby chicks

Two baby chicks huddle together.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.

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Filed under Agriculture, Animal Science, communication, health, Health and Nutrition, Partnerships, Publications

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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Filed under Agriculture

UP food summits put spotlight on local food movement

The local food movement is a force moving across the country. Here in our own state, Michigan State University Extension has been a big part of that movement.

Three local food summits recently took place in each region of the Upper Peninsula. “Together at the Table: Recipes for a Sustainable Local Food System” took place Nov. 5 in Houghton (western), Nov. 6 in Marquette (central) and Nov. 7 in Sault Ste. Marie (eastern). This was the third summit for the eastern U.P. and the first in central and western U.P.

The U.P. Food Exchange put on the summits. The exchange, a collaborative partnership between MSU Extension and the Marquette Food Co-op, connects local food activity within each of the U.P.’s three regions and coordinates local food efforts between the regions. It was created in November 2012 with funds from a Regional Food Systems Grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).

MSU Extension educator Michelle Walk co-leads the U.P. Food Exchange initiative with Natasha Lantz of the Marquette Food Co-op.

Each of the three U.P. regions has its own steering committee to coordinate activities specific to each region, and each committee had input into the overall format of the summits. Committee members identified local speakers for the panel portions and local topics for the table discussions.

Keynote speaker at all three summits was Ken Meter, president of Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis and food system analyst.

“The summits are a culmination of some of the work we are doing across the U.P. in local foods,” said Michelle. “We were able to work with Ken Meter on the economic impact study under the Regional Food Systems Grant we received from MDARD last fall.”

The summits included 75 participants in Houghton, 135 in Marquette and 71 in Sault Ste. Marie.

“All three summits had participation from farmers, schools, health departments, chambers, restaurants, agencies (such as conservation districts and the USDA), elected officials of local, state and federal offices, interested consumers, retail outlets, tribes and many more stakeholders,” said Michelle, who presented at the summits.

The summits promoted ways to expand the local food market – through selling at farmers markets, expanding the customer base to include local institutions such as schools and hospitals, and extending the growing season with hoop houses. Strengthening the local food system strengthens the local economy.

The media took notice of the summits’ importance. Local news covered all three events.

Watch this video from ABC10 about the Houghton summit: http://abc10U.P..com/u-p-food-exchange-meetings-week/

 Watch this video from Fox TV6 about the Marquette summit:

http://www.uppermichiganssource.com/news/story.aspx?id=968231#.UpyGU7Uo7KI (Search for “food summit.” Then choose “Supporting Local Foods.”)

Watch this video from 9&10 News about the Sault Ste. Marie summit: http://www.9and10news.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9503989

Below is just one of the many local news articles that covered the events:

Sault Ste. Marie location in the Soo Evening News: http://www.sooeveningnews.com/article/20131108/NEWS/131109418/0/SEARCH

Thanks for your leadership, Michelle!

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Filed under Food

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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Filed under Agriculture

Webinar trains food entrepreneurs in following Cottage Food Law

Michigan’s Cottage Food Law, enacted in 2010, allows individuals to manufacture and store certain types of foods in an unlicensed home kitchen. It’s intended to support farmers markets by allowing certain value-added products to be sold without the expense and trouble of preparing them in a licensed commercial kitchen.

 The Michigan State University Extension Food Safety Team made a teaching webinar in order to meet the needs of Michigan residents in relationship to food safety pertaining to the Cottage Food Law. The webinar was the most efficient and consistent way of providing educational information to this audience. Led by food safety co-chairs and Extension educators Jeannie Nichols and Jan Seitz, the Food Safety team members include Jennifer Berkey, Robin Danto, Diana Fair, Eileen Haraminac, Jane Hart, Linda Huyck, Pat Joyce, Joyce McGarry, Laurie Messing, Lucia Patritto, Janet Rathke, Christy Rivette, Phil Tocco, Lisa Treiber, Chris Venema and Beth Waitrovich.

 Jeannie stated, “For us as educators, it meant learning about developing a professional, interactive and interesting site.”

 The team developed “MI Cottage Food Law Food Safety Training/Webinar” with support from Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications team members Laura Probyn, Steve Evans and Kraig Ehm. Laura edited and revised the initial script. Laura and Kraig voiced the project, and Steve edited the PowerPoint that was the basis for the webinar and built quiz and evaluation modules for the project.

 According to Jeannie, the quiz at the end of the webinar evaluates the knowledge that participants gain as well as their intent to use the information from the webinar. Once a participant completes the quiz with 70 percent accuracy, he or she can purchase a certificate to display at a farmers market booth. Farmers markets customers would then see that the vendor had taken the initiative to take some extra food safety training in relation to cottage foods.

 Food Safety Team members conducted face-to-face presentations throughout the state using the curriculum to validate its content and usefulness before it was made available online. To help with this project, the team applied for and received a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) grant that allowed the production of this webinar including marketing materials.

 You can view the webinar here: http://vimeo.com/24282676

 Plans are underway to add the webinar to the governor’s weekly video feature rotation and to be placed on the MDARD’s YouTube channel.

 This is a great illustration of what the new MSUE is all about and how we’re embracing technology to achieve our mission. And it shows the interlinkage among work teams and institutes. Some of the greatest demand for the webinar is likely to come from individuals and businesses who sell homemade products at farmers markets, which are among the assets that we try to support through the community food systems group in the Greening Michigan Institute.

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Filed under Technology