Tag Archives: michigan department of agriculture and rural development

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

Education grant provides funding for improving youth awareness and understanding of zoonotic diseases

Julie Thelen, Michigan State University Extension educator for Michigan 4-H Livestock and Veterinary Science Programs, along with her partners in the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), recently received funding for the Michigan Youth Zoonotic Disease Education Grant.

A zoonotic disease is a disease that can be passed between animals and humans. This project will focus on improving youth awareness and understanding related to the possibilities of zoonotic disease transmission when working with animals, and motivating young people to take appropriate precautions to minimize risk. This is an important life skill in personal safety and disease prevention for our youth and a very relevant educational component for our animal and veterinary science programs.

By working with our young people, we are preparing current animal handlers and educating the next generation of animal production agriculture leaders. Not only are well-trained, cautious personnel susceptible to diseases transferred from animals, but youth who have not been educated about such possibilities run an even greater risk of potential health concerns with zoonotic diseases. With this educational outreach opportunity, youth will better understand the precautions they should practice when working with or near animals.

This educational effort offered to 4-H youth will allow them to live healthier lives and help to make a difference in their clubs, communities, country and world. Michigan 4-H engages almost 30,000 youth annually in 4-H animal programs. This funding will provide Michigan 4-H with a much-needed educational resource. We look forward to the impact that the created zoonosis educational materials and resources will have on our youth.

Congratulations, Julie!

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Filed under 4-H, Accomplishments

UPREC Field Day exhibits research plots

I had a wonderful time when I visited the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center (UPREC) in Chatham, Michigan, for their annual Field Day July 26 that took place from noon to 5 p.m.

Visitors to the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center (UPREC) Field Day visit in front of the research plots

Visitors to the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center (UPREC) Field Day visit in front of the research plots July 26, 2014, in Chatham, Michigan. Photo credit: Natasha Berryman, MSU AgBioResearch

Attendees and I toured the research plots at the center, including the multi-species variety trial plots that are part of a collaborative project with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. These plots feature variety trials that will determine which varieties grow best in the UP. Variety trial crops include barley, spring wheat, alfalfa, field peas and oats. Other research and outreach focuses at the center include managing soil, integrating crop and livestock systems, and bolstering local food systems.

As always, Michigan State University faculty and staff were there to answer any questions. Visitors came not just from the UP but from all over the state.

I was proud to be present for the launch of the new Research and Extension Advisory Council for UPREC. A dynamic and diverse group of council members has agreed to serve on this council. I was pleased to give the charge to the council and encouraged the membership that this is their council. AgBioResearch director Doug Buhler and I, as representatives of MSU, really want to receive input from them as to the local priorities for education and research. I indicated that we needed to have their critical feedback on what was going well, and where we need to improve programs and delivery. Dr. Buhler and I agree that it is very important for our staff to co-lead with council members in the community to improve the quality of life for all citizens. A shared agenda will reflect areas of need that council members have brought to the table from each of their organizations. It will not be just an MSU agenda.

The center is the oldest of the 13 MSU AgBioResearch centers. It’s now operating under a new mission and vision, which is committed to taking a holistic approach to building an integrated food system in the UP. It’s the hub for Extension activities across the UP. Ashley McFarland joined UPREC in March 2013 as the center coordinator.

See a photo of the UPREC Field Day on my blog.

Read more about the center here: http://agbioresearch.msu.edu/news/a_new_day_dawning_research_center_adjusts_mission_vision_to_better_serve_up

Read more about Ashley here: http://agbioresearch.msu.edu/news/msu_upper_peninsula_research_and_extension_center_begins_focus_on_new_missi

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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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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

Extension educator receives Friend of the Fair award

Beth Ferry, Michigan State University Extension pork educator in Cass County, received the Berrien County Youth Fair (BCYF) Friend of the Fair award, Oct. 26 at the BCYF annual meeting.

Beth was presented with the award due to her involvement in helping fair officials to prepare for health issues that could arise with the livestock at the fair and more importantly assisting them as they worked through a swine influenza (SIV) outbreak following the fair this year.

She worked with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Michigan Department of Community Health and the BCYF to find a workable solution to handling the outbreak and informing exhibitors and the public of what transpired. She also helped communicate with the packers that received pigs from the fair. Beth’s work will continue, as the fair will utilize her as a resource to assist with the creation and implementation of a vaccination program for the swine project, providing information and educational materials for exhibitors, leaders and event staff.

Congratulations, Beth!

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Extension staff members win NEAFCS awards, present at conference

Michigan State University Extension staff members won several awards at the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) national conference in Columbus, Ohio, Sept 27. The Michigan Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (MEAFCS) will recognize the educators at the membership meeting at Fall Extension Conference.

The Health and Nutrition Institute Food Safety Team was first place national winner and first place Central Region winner for Food Safety. The award recognizes outstanding educational programs conducted for families, school nutrition workers, food industry employees or managers, church workers preparing meals, home care providers, and other groups or individuals preparing or serving food.

The MSU Extension Food Safety Team received first place national winner award and first place Central Region winner for Food Safety at the NEAFCS national conference

The MSU Extension Food Safety Team received first place national winner award and first place Central Region winner for Food Safety at the NEAFCS national conference Sept. 27, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. Pictured left to right: Associate Dean of UNL Extension Kathleen Lodl, MSU Extension staff members Eileen Haraminac, Lisa Treiber, Joyce McGarry, Beth Waitrovich and Jeannie Nichols and NEAFCS President Amy Peterson [not present Christine Venema, Pat Joyce (retired), Jan Seitz (retired)].

 Evaluated on program objectives, program accomplishments, program impact and support materials, the team received a score of 98 out of a possible 100.

Jeannie Nichols led the team that includes Eileen Haraminac, Pat Joyce (retired), Joyce McGarry, Janet Rathke, Jan Seitz (retired), Lisa Treiber, Chris Venema and Beth Waitrovich.

The team applied for and received a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development grant allowing them to provide statewide programming in 2011. They taught face-to-face workshops around the state and developed an online training at msue.anr.msu.edu/programs/cottage_food_law.

The workshops and online training taught Michigan residents about the new 2012 Cottage Food Law and the importance of food safety practices when preparing and selling cottage foods in Michigan.

Teresa Clark-Jones led the Financial and Home Ownership Education Team, made up of mostly Greening Michigan Institute members, that took third place in the Central Region for Communications – Internet Education Technology. The award recognizes excellence in Web-based programs or Web pages.

In addition to Teresa, team members include Connie Costner Borg, Dr. Lisa Cook, Kathy Hale, Jean Lakin, Wanda Repke and Erica Tobe.

The team created www.mimoneyhealth.org with education information related to financial literacy for the public to access. On the website, consumers can take the Financial Health Survey, in which each survey participant determines his or her financial health index score and receives resources to help increase the score.

Extension educator Carolyn Penniman won a Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Service Award is the highest award presented by the NEAFCS. The award recognizes members for leadership, outstanding program efforts and personal and professional development.

Carolyn has been part of MSU Extension for more than 14 years, providing education in parenting education, food safety, training for foster and adoptive parents, and financial literacy. She’s participated in international Extension training and led the Poverty Reduction Initiative for Charlevoix and Emmet counties. She used a United Way grant to provide two poverty simulation workshops and develop a Money Mentor program.

Besides winning awards, MSU Extension staff members were busy presenting sessions at the conference, lending their expertise to their colleagues. Health and Nutrition Institute Extension educator Suzanne Pishpresented a session at the conference from RELAX: Alternatives to Anger, an anger management program for young people, parents and caregivers.

MSU Extension staff members presented on the Cottage Food Law at the NEAFCS national conference

MSU Extension staff members presented on the Cottage Food Law at the NEAFCS national conference Sept. 27, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. Pictured left to right: MSU Extension staff members Joyce McGarry, Rita Klavinski, Lisa Treiber, Jeannie Nichols and Beth Waitrovich. Photo credit: Eileen Haraminac.

In addition, Extension educators Joyce McGarry, Jeannie Nichols, Lisa Treiber and Beth Waitrovich of the Food Safety Team presented a session on the Cottage Food Law. Extension educator Rita Klavinski provided technology support at the conference.

Congratulations and thanks to all of our award winners and session presenters!

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Food and Ag pulling Michigan’s economy forward

You’ve probably already seen the announcements, but just to make sure you got the message, I wanted to share some really good news that was formally announced yesterday. Dr. Chris Peterson, Homer Nowlin Chair of Consumer Responsive Agriculture, director of the MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio, and professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, presented the latest assessment of food and ag economic impacts to the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development. The big news was really big: the total economic impact of food and agriculture has grown by nearly 50 percent to $91.4 billion from 2004 to 2010, and the contribution of farm production toward that has nearly doubled from less than $7 billion to more than $13 billion. A lot of value gets added along the supply chain, but seeing a doubling in farm production is very impressive. When you start separating out the parts, it’s interesting to see the role each commodity plays and each processing sector plays. The food processing and manufacturing segment accounts for $24.5 billion and the wholesale and retail sector is very important, accounting for $51 billion of total economic impact.

 You can find a complete news story on this at the ANR Communications web site and the complete report at http://www.productcenter.msu.edu/.

 ANR Communications partners with their communication colleagues at MSU University Relations and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to get the news out. Here’s a sample of the coverage the announcement received.

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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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Filed under Agriculture

Project GREEEN calls for RFPs

With budgets tight, we’re learning to do more with less. Often that propels us to perform above the rest, knowing that we have to be at the top of our game to succeed. When opportunity strikes, it’s necessary to be prepared to meet it.

 Michigan State University’s Project GREEEN (Generating Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs) has issued its request for proposals (RFP) for fiscal year 2012-2013. More than $2 million will be available for funding research and Extension projects focusing on plant agriculture in 2012 – about half will be for new projects.

 Because funding is limited, competition will be intense. Only the most outstanding projects will be funded.

 Proposals will be accepted in four categories: basic research, applied research, Extension/education/demonstration and seed grants.

 Submit proposals and letters of support through the Project GREEEN website by Jan. 12, 2012 at 5 p.m.

 Project GREEEN is a cooperative effort between plant-based commodities and businesses together with AgBioResearch, MSU Extension and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to advance Michigan’s economy through its plant-based agriculture.

 Read more here.

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Filed under Funding