Tag Archives: tom cummins

MSU Extension team responds to help families with farm stress

A person with a hat sits in a field with a combine in the background.

About a year ago, commodity prices fell, especially affecting dairy farmers. Michigan saw a rise in attempted suicides among farmers and farm families. Michigan State University (MSU) Extension responded by forming the Farm Stress team, made up of Suzanne Pish, Adam Kantrovich, Roger Betz, Tom Cummins and Beth Stuever, to create resources for educators and others who work with farmers and their families.

The team, with the assistance of ANR Communications and Marketing, put together a fact sheet and video for farmers and farm families so that our staff could have access to resources they could use in their programming and interaction. The team also put together two programs to help Extension educators and others who work with farmers and farm families. The first was a mental health first-aid training: a full-day, hands-on, certification course that can help those people working with farmers and farm families to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness and emotional crisis. The second was a workshop designed for people who work with agriculture producers and farm families who want to know more about managing farm-related stress and ways to approach and communicate with those in need.

The team and the resources that they have produced are an example of how important it is that we work across institute or department lines, and that we mobilize to meet immediate needs of Michigan residents. We have our traditional programs that provide ongoing, stable service to our constituents, but we also can function in an emergency response role, just like we did in our response to the Flint water emergency.

Do you work with farmers, farm families or both? Do you have connections who do? You might want to take some time to watch the video about stress management for farmers and take a look at the other resources on our MSU Extension webpage devoted to farm stress. If you have any questions about the resources or the team’s work, feel free to reach out to Suzanne Pish.

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Filed under Agriculture, Agriculture and Agribusiness, health, Impacts, Resources, Social and emotional health

Getting the word out to Flint families

On Tuesday, April 26, MSU Extension participated in the Flint Farmers Market event held by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and attended by representatives from state and local agencies, the media and the public. The event raised awareness about the nutrition assistance programs and guidance resources available to Flint residents.

During the press conference, speakers from many organizations and programs such as the Fair Food Network, the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Farmers Market Nutrition Program, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan joined USDA speakers to share about nutrition and program information. Erin Powell, MSU Extension health and nutrition educator, spoke at the press conference, highlighting MSU Extension resources and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ‒ Education (SNAP‒Ed).

After the press conference, participants interacted with program staff during activities and demonstrations, and at informational booths. Our MSU Extension team provided a cooking demonstration, a Cooking Matters class and a Discover Michigan Fresh tour. They also set up a “fender blender” bike for participants to ride to create a healthy smoothie and taste the results of their efforts. The MSU Extension booth showcased our nutrition education curricula, fight lead brochures and class fliers.

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The event provided accurate information, brought partners together who support the efforts in Flint and delivered a cohesive message. The USDA took sounds bites and video footage to develop public service announcements for future use to reach out and educate more of the public about the important resources available.

Thank you, Dawn Contreras, Deanna East, Erin Powell, Lynette Kaiser, Rich Ashley and his son Gabe, Liz Josaitis, Maha Khrais, Shane Jackson, Nancy Latham, Becky Henne and Tom Cummins for your efforts to provide meaningful activities and content, and for representing MSU Extension at this successful event.

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Filed under Children and Youth, communication, Events, Flint Water, Food, Health and Nutrition, Nutrition, Partnerships, Publications, Resources

MSU Extension Communications Team cleans house for ACE awards

Congratulations to our Michigan State University (MSU) Extension Communications Team! They will be given prestigious awards and recognition at the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) Annual Conference coming up in June in Memphis, Tennessee. The ACE Critique and Awards program recognizes individuals and teams for excellence in communication and technology skills.

The MSU Extension Communications Team will receive three gold awards.

They will receive a gold award in the special reports category for their work on the MSU Extension and AgBioResearch Legislative Report, coordinated by Sean Corp. Others on the Legislative Report team who contributed to writing, designing and editing included Patricia Adams, James Dau, Katie Gervasi, Nichole Hersch, Cindy Hudson, Marian Reiter, Beth Stuever, Mindy Tape, Jamie Wilson and Holly Whetstone.

In addition, the team of Nichole Hersch, Beth Stuever, Mindy Tape and Jamie Wilson will receive the gold award in the issues management category for their work on Avian Influenza Epidemic: Managing Tough Issues Across Multiple Audiences. Others contributing to the avian influenza project include Patricia Adams, Alicia Burnell, Kraig Ehm, Leslie Johnson, Rebecca McKee, Samantha Proud and Marian Reiter. As a bonus, the project also won an Outstanding Professional Skill award, given to the entry that rises to the top of all the gold award winners.

Beth Stuever will receive the ACE Pioneer Award, which recognizes communicators who demonstrate exceptional leadership as well as technical skills, and make significant contributions to ACE during their first 10 years of ACE membership. Beth received the award for her service in many leadership positions contributing to the excellence of the profession, actively presenting at multiple conferences and engaging with ACE Learning Communities. Additionally, Beth supported colleagues and team members in their engagement with ACE and provided resources for them to participate at the annual conference.

The MSU Extension Communications Team is also highly engaged in the conference itself ‒ presenting three sessions. Mindy Tape and Jamie Wilson will partner with Iowa State’s Egg Industry Center to offer a session on avian influenza regarding stakeholders, timelines and actions. Beth will partner with her former supervisor, former MSU Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications director Ruth Borger (now the vice president of communications at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences) to present a session on time management. Mindy and Tom Cummins will present a session on keys to increasing productivity.

We are extremely proud of our MSU Extension Communications Team and and how the caliber of their work and the work of others involved is being recognized at a national level. Please join me in congratulating them on their awards.

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Filed under Awards