Tag Archives: steve lovejoy

ESP receives Chapter of Merit – Platinum Award

Congratulations to our Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) Michigan Alpha Psi Chapter who received the highest award – Chapter of Merit – Platinum Award – at the ESP National Conference in Wilmington, North Carolina, which took place October 9–12.

The Chapter of Merit recognition program was developed by the National Board to provide recognition for those chapters who have put forth an exemplary effort to forward the cause of the Extension system and to provide professional development opportunities for their members. Award efforts are scored on several criteria and each chapter receives an award category, Platinum being the highest. The Michigan Chapter received the highest award in the North Central region and nationally.

“There was a variety of criteria in which we were scored,” Shari Spoelman, Michigan State University Extension District 6 coordinator and ESP president-elect, said. “The ones that stand out for our chapter include Organization/Leadership, Awards and Recognition, Member Recruitment and Retention, and Professional Development.”

Shari stopped by yesterday and brought the award so that we can display it proudly in our office.

ESP Award Plaque Sits next to a poinsetta on a shelf in the Director's Office.

Please join me in congratulating the ESP board members on the recognition of their outstanding efforts:

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AgrAbility project helping Michigan agriculture

Michigan State University Extension and Easter Seals Michigan have received a four-year, $720,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture AgrAbility program to assist farm operators and workers with disabilities. Like any job, farming has its dangers including many health and safety hazards, such as:

  • Chemicals and pesticides
  • Machinery, tools and equipment that can be dangerous
  • Hazardous areas, such as grain bins, silos and wells
  • Livestock that can spread diseases or cause injuries

AgrAbility provides education, networking, assistance and marketing to facilitate services to Michigan farm operators and farm workers with disabilities. The project will provide education to not only farmers but also healthcare providers, farm equipment dealers and government service providers. The overall aim is to help agricultural workers with disabilities overcome challenges and work efficiently in their farming and ranching careers.

“MSU Extension is an organization that continues to look for new ways to include every member of the public through groundbreaking research and communication,” said Steve Lovejoy, MSU Extension specialist and professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics. “Through this AgrAbility grant, MSU Extension, along with the MSU College of Human Medicine and Michigan Easter Seals, will be able to help keep farmers who are disabled employed and strengthen the Michigan farming community that so many thrive in and rely on.”

This is a fantastic opportunity to work with Easter Seals Michigan to continue this mission, and find new ways to make agriculture accessible.

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A Full Heart

Michigan State Spartan pie created by the Grand Traverse Pie Company

Michigan State Spartan pie created by the Grand Traverse Pie Company

My time at Michigan State University is nearing an end, and nothing made that clearer than the wonderful reception held for Rhonda Coon and me at the MSU Livestock Pavilion yesterday. Our hearts are full of gratitude – for the event and the many people who worked to make it special (see the enormous pies made for the occasion by Grand Traverse Pie Company), for the many messages we’ve received, for the opportunities we have had at MSU over the years, and for the many, many friends we have here. It’s hard to say anything more profound than that our hearts are full.

Oklahoma State Pistol Pete pie created by the Grand Traverse Pie Company

Oklahoma State Pistol Pete pie created by the Grand Traverse Pie Company

As a fisheries scientist, I’ve worked with a lot of different pumps over the years – in the lab, stream-side or lake-side. One of the first things you need to know about getting a pump to work is that you have to prime the pump, which means you have to get liquid into the pump chamber before it can do its job. The human heart is a pump and it needs to be primed as well. In fact, as a pump run by muscle tissues, it not only needs fluid in the chamber to be able to do its job, but it also needs to be filled so full that it stretches in order to trigger the muscle contractions that will cause the chamber to constrict and move the blood forward.

So a full heart is the starting point to getting work done. And with the fullness our hearts have from the life experiences we’ve had at MSU and from the many farewell greetings we’ve been given, there’s a lot of work we can do as we make our move to Oklahoma.

I’m not done here. I’ll be working for MSU through my last day on June 27, before I leave for a week’s vacation. You’ll still hear from me on Thursdays through MSU Extension Spotlight, and you’ll still hear from me on next Monday’s MSU Extension Update Webinar. Steve Lovejoy and I will still represent the MSUE Director’s Office in all official capacities through that date. I appreciate the opportunity to see and hear from so many of my colleagues during these final few weeks of my time at MSU. It fills and stretches my heart. Thank you for that.

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Don’t forget to nominate key partners and key colleagues

The occasion of the Extension Centennial seems appropriate for a reminder that we need to recognize those volunteers and decision makers who partner with us to ensure our success in fulfilling our mission. Associate director Steve Lovejoy has moved the nomination process earlier to ensure that the people we honor at our Fall Extension Conference (2014 FEC) have time to plan to attend the ceremony at Michigan State University.

All MSU Extension staff and faculty members are encouraged to think of partners who have helped them succeed in carrying out their Extension work and to nominate them for a Key Partner or a Friend of Extension Award. We also honor colleagues for their outstanding service to MSU Extension and to the people of Michigan.

In order to simplify the process for nominators, we have created a folder on SharePoint titled “Awards and Recognitions.” There you will find a short description of the various awards, previous award winners and nomination forms for both staff awards and for Key Partners. Find those files here: https://share.anr.msu.edu/MSUE/Awards/default.aspx

Please take a few minutes to nominate your colleagues and partners for their outstanding work in furthering the mission of MSU Extension and assisting the individuals, families, businesses and governmental units in achieving their objectives. The deadline for submitting nominations is May 30.

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MSU Extension staff member is CANR Staffer of the Month

Julie Delgado, Michigan State University Extension secretary, has received the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Staff Advisory Committee December 2013 Staffer of the Month award.

The award goes to a member of the CANR support staff who has done something special or noteworthy within his or her college or unit.

MSU Extension associate director Steve Lovejoy nominated Julie for her leadership in implementing the Cisco TelePresence video technology.

Congratulations to Julie and thanks to Dr. Lovejoy for nominating her.

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Making It in Michigan conference produces winners – including Extension

The sixth annual Making It in Michigan conference and Premier Specialty Food Marketplace Trade Show took place Nov. 12 at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. Conference host, the Michigan State University Product Center Food-Ag-Bio, celebrated its 10th year.

Michigan State University Extension was honored at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Product Center that evening when Product Center director Chris Peterson presented the Network Partner award to Steve Lovejoy, associate director of MSU Extension, who accepted on Extension’s behalf.

The award recognizes the recipient for outstanding support provided to the Product Center and its network clients.

“The partnering efforts of the award winner have allowed the Product Center to achieve a special level of service excellence that could not otherwise have been achieved. We express our deep appreciation for all of the support that MSU Extension provides from base funding to utilizing Extension educators as our innovation counselor network. We look forward to continuing this partnership that extends the resources of Michigan State University to entrepreneurs and creates economic impact across Michigan,” said Dr. Peterson.


Chris Peterson, Michigan State University Product Center director, (left) presents MSU Extension with the Network Partner Award Nov. 12, 2013, following the Making It in Michigan conference at the Kellogg Center in Lansing, Mich. Associate director of MSU Extension Steve Lovejoy (right) accepts the award.  Photo credit: Sharp Marketing Associates

At the 10th anniversary celebration of the MSU Product Center at the Kellogg Center in Lansing, Mich., Chris Peterson, Michigan State University Product Center director, (left) presents MSU Extension with the Network Partner Award Nov. 12, 2013, following the Making It in Michigan conference. Associate director of MSU Extension Steve Lovejoy (right) accepts the award.
Photo credit: Sharp Marketing Associates

Cherry Capital Foods with owner John “Chip” Hoagland won the Business Partner award.

The Multimedia Production Unit in Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications produced some videos that highlight the entrepreneurial winners at the conference. Click on the links below on each award to view each video:

Entrepreneur of the Year: Drought (Jenny, Jane, Julie, Jessie and Caitlin James and Bianca Colbath)

Start-Up to Watch: The Gluten Free Bar (Marshall Rader)

Barrier Buster: Morano Foods (Greg Morano)

Value-Added Agriculture: Hickory Knoll Farms Creamery (Rusty Plummer and Mike Metzger)

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Extension partners with Expo Board to present Great Lakes Expo

We’ve been looking for new ways to reach out to audiences but sometimes the old, familiar ways work best. What’s especially helpful is when our stakeholders all come together at one location and over a few days to make it easy for us to reach them.

Senior Michigan State University Extension educator Roger Betz makes a point as he presents an educational session on the Farm Bill

Senior Michigan State University Extension educator Roger Betz makes a point as he presents an educational session on the Farm Bill at the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo Dec. 6, 2012, in Grand Rapids, Mich. Photo credit: Beth Stuever

The Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo is taking place this week, Dec. 4–6 in Grand Rapids, Mich., at the Devos Place Convention Center. Once again, our colleagues are providing expertise through educational sessions at the Expo, promoting Michigan State University Extension in the best way we can – by delivering sound, unbiased and research-based information in effective presentations and demonstrations.

Extension, AgBioResearch, ANR Technology Services, EnviroWeather, the Product Center and the Rogers Reserve provide booths to further the educational offerings. In addition, our MSU Extension colleagues staff a booth offering educational bulletins for sale in the lobby. Sales are quite successful.

Dave Smith, executive director of the Michigan Vegetable Council and one of the organizers of the event had this to say, “We think the Expo is the premier show in North America for specialty crop growers and farm marketers. More than 4,000 attend, with a third coming from outside Michigan. MSU Extension plans the education program, which this year offered 68 sessions and workshops over three days covering a wide range of production, marketing and general interest topics.”

Extension educator Mark Longstroth believes the Expo is a great way for potential growers to learn about the business.

“I get calls from people who want to start a fruit or vegetable farm. I always recommend they attend the Great Lakes Expo to get a true picture of the industry,” said Mark.

Michigan State University Extension educator Curtis Talley Jr. leads an educational session on disaster planning

Michigan State University Extension educator Curtis Talley Jr. leads an educational session on disaster planning at the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo Dec. 6, 2012, in Grand Rapids, Mich. Photo credit: Beth Stuever

I believe MSU Extension associate director Dr. Steve Lovejoy would agree that it’s a great place for both new and experienced producers.

“The Great Lakes Expo is again a major opportunity for producers to discover new management practices, learn the results of MSU research projects and trials, and communicate with their peers about the 2012 crop,” he said.

Dr. Lovejoy has attended the event this week and gained insights from visiting with growers and industry representatives who serve specialty crop producers.

 “While the frost damage to tree fruit orchards was a topic of conversation, growers are increasingly optimistic about the 2013 crop year. This week of educational opportunities and trade show provide a valuable venue to make decisions about how to move forward. Anticipation of a large crop in 2013 is in the air. Let us hope Mother Nature cooperates,” he said.

MSU Extension educators and specialists design the educational sessions with growers in mind. The sessions feature experts and practitioners from Michigan and across the nation. Sessions cover everything from specific crops to timely topics such as labor, irrigation and food safety. Farm market sessions feature a bus tour of Michigan farm markets and a roundtable discussion. Some areas include sessions on using social media to grow agricultural businesses.

The Expo gives educators and specialists an opportunity to interact with a large number of growers, sharing expertise or just creating an important connection.

Extension educators and specialists put together the sessions and line up the speakers through their strong connections with industry leaders across the country. The Expo benefits from the positive relationship between MSU Extension and the Expo Board.

“The Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo is a unique partnership between MSU and the various specialty crop industries,” said senior Extension educator Amy Irish-Brown. “The Expo registration cost is offset by the trade show. It would be difficult for Extension to pull off something of this caliber without the trade show and the joint effort with the Expo Board.

“All parties involved in the Expo planning benefit – MSU, MSU Extension, the Expo Board, the exhibitors and the producers who attend,” she said.

Nearly 400 exhibitors take part in the trade show involving 4 acres of exhibit space. The variety of exhibits attracts attendees interested in diverse topics.

I’d like to acknowledge all of our colleagues who help to make the event a success but the list would be quite lengthy and it would be too easy to leave someone out. Check out this brochure to get a list of your colleagues and others who participated and to get an idea of the scope of the event: http://glexpo.com/docs/brochure2012.pdf

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New ‘Michigan Fresh’ initiative starting to take root

I am excited and proud to spotlight the “Michigan Fresh” initiative, which launched May 1 and continues through October.

I am excited because it is a model for how Michigan State University Extension needs to approach issues in the 21st century – knocking down the silos to collaborate across institutes in important areas, meeting the needs of residents throughout the state both in person and via online channels, and spreading the message through a variety of media and technological outlets.

And I am proud because it is a truly collaborative effort involving members across institutes working together to share their expertise on an important topic – healthy, fresh foods.

Dr. Steve Lovejoy gave a terrific rundown of the program during our Director’s Update on May 7 (starting around the 40-minute mark), which everyone should watch if they were unable to participate in the live presentation. Michigan Fresh focuses on the healthfulness of fresh products. It will educate Michigan residents on tending a home garden and getting more bang for their bucks by growing their own vegetables and reducing spoilage.

Extension educator Kathe Hale sees the benefits of working across institutes.

“I think this has been great because we each come from a different background. Seeing the strengths of all the different people around the table and being able to come together on one project has been awesome,” she said.

Currently, we’ve released fact sheets on asparagus, rhubarb and starting seeds. Each week we’ll feature a new product or theme. We are also pushing this information out to a variety of venues, including Eastern Market in Wayne County where we will have a kiosk with the fact sheets available.

“The goal for Eastern Market is to have a team of individuals on hand at farmers markets to be sharing those weekly fact sheets but also nonfood fact sheets that are about lawn care, fertilizing, and caring for your bedding plants,” said Kathe.

Some of the key people involved in the project include Hal Hudson and Mary Wilson of the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute; Eileen Haraminac, Jeannie Nichols and Beth Waitrovich of the Health and Nutrition Institute; and Kathe Hale and Terry McLean of the Greening Michigan Institute.

County offices can order copies of Michigan Fresh fact sheets through the MSU Extension bookstore.

Find fact sheets in PDF format on the Michigan Fresh Web page at msue.anr.msu.edu/programs/mi_fresh.

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New MSUE Bookstore online site launched

I was pleased to see that the new online version of the Michigan State University Extension Bookstore (formerly called the bulletin system) went live last week. This was a great joint effort by folks in ANR Technology Services (especially Bob Kriegel and Jim Brija) and ANR Communications (Steve Evans and Laura Probyn were the project coordinators).

It’s taken some time for this project to come together, but when you think that there are somewhere around 1,700 products in our system, the fact that the technology exists to enable us to build a store that looks a lot like the “big guys” who have much bigger pocketbooks and staffs is pretty amazing.

I’ll take a moment of silence now for the old CeeNet email system. Though we retired it from active daily use several years ago, it still provided the login and password system that the counties have used to order products from the Bookstore until the new system went live. Thank you for your service CeeNet; rest in peace. We’re now on par with the rest of the university, using the regular MSU login system for individual orders. Individuals should log in and create their own accounts to receive the discounted rate for items (formerly called the county price) and county staff members can log in using their respective county’s numeric email address (for example, Alcona County staff members will use msue01@msu.edu).

There are lots of other great bells and whistles on this site. Steve Evans has created the first of several handy-dandy webinars that folks can use to learn to use the system. There will be more to come, and we’ll be setting aside time in one of our upcoming Monday afternoon staff updates to talk more about the system. Associate Director Steve Lovejoy represented the Director’s Office in this venture and he’ll give us an overview of the system and how it works.  It’s encouraging to see the numbers of sales increasing already from this easily used site. Thanks to all who’ve been a part of this effort – it’s a great example of how we are “walking the talk” and using technology to help disseminate our work to the people who need it.

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Schoolcraft County Extension millage fails

The millage proposed to fund Michigan State University Extension in Schoolcraft County was defeated on Feb. 22. The Extension millage was one of three proposals on a general ballot, all of which failed. I want to thank and recognize Dave Anderson and the Schoolcraft staff who have spent months educating Schoolcraft County voters regarding the millage proposal. The final vote was 41 percent voting “yes” and 59 percent voting “no.” The other two millage issues on the ballot failed by wider margins, with 33 percent voting “yes” and 67 percent voting “no.” It’s disappointing to have the measure fail, yet the higher percent voting “yes” on the Extension millage shows that our programs and our staff efforts to educate voters made a difference.

 The millage election resulted from a decision the County Board of Commissioners made in 2010 to fund MSUE through March 31 from their general fund and then to seek approval of a dedicated millage to provide ongoing funding for the current and future fiscal years. As a result of the millage failure, current funding for MSU Extension ends on March 31, 2011.

 The Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet tonight (Feb. 24) for their regularly scheduled meeting. Implications of the millage result will be on the meeting agenda. MSUE staff will continue to be engaged in this discussion with the commissioners.

 As you can imagine, this is a difficult time for our staff members in that office. Yesterday afternoon (Feb. 23), Jim Lucas, Steve Lovejoy and Michelle Rodgers spoke with staff members in Schoolcraft County about staffing, programming commitments and operational issues. Staff members will be meeting with their institute directors to discuss programmatic implications in the county, in their individual plans of work and for the work teams. Decisions about office locations and employment will be made in the coming days, pending decisions the board makes tonight.

 We will continue to keep you informed.

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