Tag Archives: upper peninsula research and extension center

Save the date and join us for summer field days

A corn field with blue sky and clouds. The image text reads: Field Days 2017.

Michigan State University (MSU) AgBioResearch has announced the schedule for the research centers’ summer field days. These field days are an important opportunity to connect Michigan residents and industry with the latest MSU research. Often, the field days showcase research and extension through an open house format, and often offer educational opportunities and trainings. We hope that you’ll spread the word and be able to join us!

Kellogg Biological Station – Multiple Field Days
June 13 and Aug. 1, 4–8 p.m. – Pasture Dairy Center Open House
June 28 – Barley Field Day
November 3 – Cover Crops Field Day

Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center – July 26
The 28th annual MSU Viticulture Field Day

Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center – July 29

Montcalm Research Center – August 3

Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center – August 10
This field day features a morning program on dry beans, sugar beets, wheat, corn and soybeans. Lunch will follow.

Lake City Research Center – August 24
Ag Innovation Day: Focus on Forage and the Future

Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center – August 24
3 p.m. Field day will include an equipment show, dinner and the annual meeting of the Leelanau Horticulture Society.

For more information, see the MSU AgBioResearch press release about their field days.


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Filed under Ag Innovation Day, Agriculture, Agriculture and Agribusiness, Field Days

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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Filed under Agriculture, Agriculture and Agribusiness, Field Days, Gardening, Horticulture, Partnerships, Uncategorized

Retired Extension specialist honored at Block & Bridle Club

Dr. Ben Bartlett was honored at the Michigan State University Block and Bridle Club Annual Recognition Banquet on Saturday, April 9. For over 30 years, Ben has helped better the lives of Michigan and U.S. livestock producers through his forward thinking, outstanding teaching abilities, and practical and usable newsletters, articles and bulletins.

In 1977, Ben, his wife, Denise, and three children moved to the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) when he took the position of manager at the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center. In 1983, he became the dairy and livestock Extension specialist for the U. P. He focused on helping producers improve their production and profitability. He provided Extension programs centering on pre-sale vaccination, synchronized breeding research and low stress cattle handling. He also served by helping to coordinate the Michigan and multi-state grazing conferences over 10 years. He was also involved in the Bovine Virus Diarrhea (BVD) eradication trial, part of a three-year study to rid the U.P. of the disease. Ben was known for providing the information that farmers needed, when they needed it, in a way that they could connect to. He also sent a monthly newsletter to over 1,000 people for 13 years.

Ben was active outside of MSU Extension, serving as chair of the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Committee and the nonprofit Holistic Management International. His other international work included organizing producer education tours to Scotland, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia. He also co-authored “Water Systems for Grazing” that sold over 10,000 copies, as well as a chapter for a Natural Resource, Agriculture and Engineering Service grazing workbook.

Ben has received many awards for his outstanding lifetime of service including the MSU Distinguished Academic Staff award, the American Sheep Industry Flock Guardian, Outstanding Extension Educator, the Epsilon Sigma Phi Visionary Leadership award, the Eisenhower Agriculture Fellowship and the Growing UP Distinguished Service to Agriculture awards.

In 2011, Ben retired from MSU, but he and Denise work full time on their sheep, cattle and grass operation. They provide grazing and soil health trials with a SARE Farmer and Rancher grant and have shared their findings at meetings in Michigan, Wisconsin, South Africa, Kenya and Kyrgyzstan.

Congratulations, Ben, on your recognition and for the effect you’ve had on our organization, our state, our country and our world.

Juan Marinez and Ben Bartlett teach cattle handling techniques.

Retired MSUE dairy educator Ben Bartlett (right) provides the expertise while MSUE specialist Juan Marinez (left) provides the translation during a workshop on low stress cattle handling techniques for 22 Spanish-speaking employees of Green Meadows Farms in Ovid. Photo by Steve Evans, ANR Communications.

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MSU Extension helps Michigan hop into craft beer

I was privileged to be one of the approximately 340 people to attend the second annual Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference March 16‒17 in Traverse City. The conference was sponsored by Michigan State University and the Michigan Brewers Guild (MBG). Prominent speakers from around the country and the university provided sessions on horticultural practices, pest and disease control, harvest and post-harvest practices, nutrient management and much more. The conference also included expert panels featuring producers, industry representatives and brewers. This year, attendees also had the opportunity to go on a tour of MI LOCAL, Michigan’s newest and largest hop operation with 200 acres planted in 2015 that will be ready for harvest this coming fall.

MSU Extension has collaborated with the MBG on nearly every hop and barley educational program that we have developed over the last eight years. Our close working relationship with the MBG has really been instrumental in connecting hop and barley producers with brewers. The director of the MBG, Scott Graham, received the Friend of Extension Award at the 2015 Fall Extension Conference for his efforts; we are light-years ahead of where we would have been without this excellent working relationship.

MSU Extension educator Rob Sirrine provides statewide leadership for hop research, education and outreach in collaboration with other staff members. MSU Extension hosts multiple educational programs throughout the year and the Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference is the main highlight. Rob also represents Extension on the newly formed Hop Growers of America Best Practices Advisory Committee. MSU Extension educator Erin Lizotte provides her integrated pest management expertise. She coordinates the Great Lakes Hop Working Group that she formed with Rob two years ago. The group is composed of educators, researchers and other industry professionals that share information to benefit growers in their region. Dr. Mary Hausbeck, University Distinguished Professor, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, and her graduate student Doug Higgins have been working to develop downy mildew control strategies over the last two years, and Dr. Bernie Zandstra, MSU professor in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, will be researching weed control options in the upcoming year.

MSU Extension educator Ashley McFarland has provided statewide leadership for malting barley research, education and outreach for the past three years. Projects have included collaboration with many field crop Extension personnel throughout the state in an attempt to support this reemerging crop in response to the burgeoning craft beverage industry. In addition to variety and management trials, the program also connects farmers with entrepreneurs in the newly developed craft malting market. Ashley is supported by Christian Kapp, MSU crop research technician at the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center. Ashley also serves on the National Barley Improvement Committee.

In Michigan, the craft beer industry is relatively young, but it is experiencing tremendous growth and making its mark nationally. According to the Michigan Brewers Guild, Michigan ranks fifth in the nation in number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs. We are competitive on a national scale, but it’s also important to recognize the impact to Michigan residents. Data released by the Brewers Association show that in 2014, craft brewing in Michigan was responsible for 14,773 full-time jobs and $571.6 million in wages, and it contributed $1.85 billion in economic impact to our state. The Brewers Association reports that national growth of small and independent brewers continues to rise. As the craft industry grows, there will be an increased need for research-based resources and opportunities where MSU Extension can partner with the industry to facilitate its growth.


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Filed under Agriculture and Agribusiness, Conferences, Economic development, Entrepreneurial, Events

Barley workers elect MSU Extension educator as committee rep

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension educator Ashley McFarland has been elected as the new representative to the National Barley Improvement Committee (NBIC) for the North Central Region. Extension educator J. Robert Sirrine and MSU research assistant Chris Kapp nominated Ashley for the election to the position. She is the only representative from Michigan.

The NBIC is part of the American Malting Barley Association, Inc. The committee serves as a national forum for discussion of matters important to barley research, production and utilization. It also serves in an informational distribution capacity to all persons interested in barley, helps identify national and regional priorities and encourage their adoption and proper funding, and serves in an advisory capacity to national or regional groups.

The NBIC consists of members from various regions and at-large categories. Barley workers from each region elect their representatives to three-year terms.

Ashley is the coordinator of the MSU Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center in Chatham, Michigan. One of the main research interests of the center is supporting the rebirth of malting barley production in Michigan to support the craft beer industry through research, education and outreach. She provides leadership for research trials throughout the state and co-organizes the Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference. She provides critical facilitation support in connecting farmers, maltsters and brewers. Ashley also works to promote inclusion of traditional field crops into local food systems.

Ashley said, “I am honored and very excited to be serving on the National Barley Improvement Committee, representing Michigan and the North Central Region. I hope my involvement will bring additional resources to our state to help support the growing malting barley industry. I look forward to meeting my colleagues throughout the U.S., which will hopefully lay the groundwork for collaborative opportunities in the future!”

Congratulations, Ashley!

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Filed under Agriculture and Agribusiness

Potato field days

By Patrick I. Cudney

Last week, Chris Long, Michigan State University potato specialist, and James DeDecker, MSU Extension specialty field crop and bioenergy educator, collaborated with Mike Wenkel, executive director of the Michigan Potato Industry Commission, and Christian Kapp, research technician at the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center (UPREC), to put on two Potato Field Days. The first event took place Aug. 26 at Erke Farms in Rogers City in Presque Isle County, Michigan, and the second took place Aug. 27 at TJJ Farms in Cornell in Delta County, Michigan. I was able to attend both of these events. They were a great example of industry, extension and research, working collaboratively in support of agricultural economic development.

This program offered an opportunity for producers and agribusiness professionals to view an on-farm potato variety trial and receive industry updates from commission representatives and MSU Extension specialists. The sessions included updates on local crops, insect management, the seed industry and the potato industry.

The events grew this year, particularly in Presque Isle County, more than doubling the attendees from last year’s event. There were some new faces, including new agribusiness representatives interested in getting involved in the potato industry so that they will know what the growers will need in the future. Some consumers attended as well. This is important because the agriculture industry comes under scrutiny by the public at times. Giving them a first-hand look at farm management practices can be very useful.

James DeDecker said, “Diversity in crops and production systems is what makes Michigan agriculture unique and resilient. The fresh market and seed potato industries in northeast lower Michigan and the U.P. are examples of producers and agribusiness advancing the tradition of making the most of what Michigan has to offer in soils, climate, etc., in order to produce an abundant, healthful and profitable crop. MSU Extension is dedicated to supporting the potato industry in its efforts through research and outreach events like the annual Potato Field Days held in Presque Isle and Delta counties.”

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Filed under Agriculture, Farming

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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