Michigan Annual State Report

Final report for NCMI17-001

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $110,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Michigan State University
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
State Coordinators:
Dr. Dean Baas
Michigan State University Extension
Co-Coordinators:
Sarah Hanks
Michigan State University
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Project Information

Abstract:

Dr. Dean G. Baas, Educator – Sustainable Agriculture, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension (MSUE), is the State Coordinator for Michigan. In 2016, Sarah Hanks joined the Michigan SARE leadership team as Program Assistant. Sarah comes to Michigan SARE with previous Southern SARE experience at the University of Kentucky. The Michigan SARE State Sustainable Agriculture PDP program is coordinated through MSUE. Dean has office locations in the St. Joseph County MSUE office in Centreville, MI and at the MSU W.K. Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) in Hickory Corners, MI. Sarah is located at KBS. Their positions are both partially funded by SARE. Together they provide overall SARE leadership and coordination with MSU, MSUE, MSU BioAgResearch and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Sarah supported the Michigan SARE program for all except the last month of the reporting period. Sarah has left her position with MSUE and has moved to a position with University of Kentucky Extension. I would like to thank Sarah for her contributions to SARE and the Michigan SARE program during tenure here.

Previous POWs have been jointly developed with a voluntary advisory board including consensus on professional development initiatives to be supported through travel scholarships and mini-grants. While this has served Michigan well in the past, engagement with SARE has been waning as agricultural educators face funding challenges and less voluntary time. Often, their view of sustainable agriculture is limited to their commodity, sector or area of expertise and many are including sustainability in their on-going programs. For this planning period we are endeavoring to step back and identify the larger sustainable issues that cut across a greater number of agricultural commodities and sectors by interviewing a large number of a stakeholders across the diversity of agriculture and geography in Michigan.

Michigan is home to more than 300 commodities: with national rankings in the top 5 in production in over 35 different crops ranging from hay to carrots to dry kidney beans. 7th in the nation for maple syrup and milk and 8th in egg production and potatoes. This diversity is only second to California. Michigan agriculture takes place on 9.9million acres across the state, averaging 193 acres per farm, with approximately 52,000 farms. In the North Central region of SARE Michigan stands out as the most diverse.

We believe the impact of the SARE PDP program will increase by changing our strategy from the past plans of work by proposing larger programs with broader audiences that address issues that are common across sectors therefore having a larger impact than being specific with specific commodities/sectors. This plan addresses our concern that agriculture in Michigan is so diverse, that we were not reaching as many educators as we could under our previous plans.

Project Objectives:

The state initiatives for 2017-18 are:

1. Sustainable integrated pest management

2. Sustainability of beginning/small farms and local foods

3. New emerging issue, follow-up to initiatives 1 and/or 2 and/or support to

regional training

4. Other sustainable agriculture requests

Advisors

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Marilyn Thelen (Educator)
  • Dr. Jason Rowntree (Educator and Researcher)
  • Andrea Stay
  • Boyd Byelich
  • Jennifer Silveri (Educator)
  • Julie Lehman (Educator)
  • Abbey Palmer (Educator)
  • Nathan Pufpaff
  • Filiberto Villa-Gomez (Educator)

Education

Educational approach:

Our strategies for this plan on work is to identify the leading and cross cutting issues for sustainable agriculture in Michigan. To inform this plan of work, 30 agricultural leaders from throughout Michigan across commodities, sectors, organizations and geography were interviewed to identify the top sustainable agriculture issues in Michigan. Through this process we were able to obtain insight from a level of leaders that would not typically be available to serve on a traditional advisory board and have a bigger picture perspective. These leaders provided a broader base that reflects sustainable agriculture issues across the diversity ofagriculture in Michigan.

Each interviewee was asked the same question, “What do you feel are the top one or two issues related to the economic, environmental or social sustainability of agriculture in Michigan?” The discussion following their response to the above question provided additional context for developing this plan of work. These interviews lasted from 10 to 30 minutes as many readily expanded on their views of what worries them about the future of agriculture in Michigan.

The two major sustainable issues that emerged from the interviews became the number one and two initiatives for the plan of work. 1.) Sustainable Integrated Pest Management and 2.) Sustainability of beginning/small farms and local foods. It was our intent to have a training for number 2 in 2017 and number 1 in 2018. After some thought we decided it would be best to do some further investigation about the second initiative but in deciding to subcontract this work to experts in this area, MIFFS (Michigan Food and Farming Systems) this work got started in December 2017 and is not expected to be completed until the end of February.

After we have more information back from interviews they are conducting with regional extension agents and farmers throughout the state we will have a better idea of how to get started in developing the training’s needed to assist in solving these issues. Our plan of action for developing these training’s are as follows:

  • A SARE advisory committee of eight stakeholders focused on planning, development, promotion and implementation of that initiative with SARE leadership. One face-to-face meeting and multiple teleconferences will facilitate this planning committee.
  • A one and a half day event with a target participation of 30 educators from Universities, Extension, NGO’s, non-profits, agencies, commodity groups, lead farmers and other stakeholders. While events will be developed for
    agricultural educators, interested and influential farmers will be included.
  • Expenses to participate will be fully covered by the program. Resources to bring in two subject matter experts from outside of Michigan to supplement and enhance contributions from in-state experts.
  • The event will consist of one or more sustainable agriculture components: education, demonstration, facilitated discussion, issue identification, network development and/or production of publications/extension bulletins as
    determined by the initiative planning committee.
  • For each of the three initiatives, approximately $1500 has been budgeted to
    support advisory committee planning activities and $12,000 to hold the event.
    Due to the late start in infinitive number 2 we will be taking on both 1 & 2 in 2018.

We did want to include some flexibility in our plan of work and created Initiative 3, for emerging, regional training’s and/or other sustainable issues. This allows us to continue our mini grant program and budget for travel scholarships for educators to learn more about issues most relevant to there areas of work.

 

 

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Sustainble integrated pest management
Objective:

Assess sustainable agriculture professional development training needs, and lead the development/implementation of a program to address sustainable IpM issues

Description:

Audience: Educators from universities, Extension, NGO’s, non-profits, agencies, commodity groups, lead farmers and other stakeholders engaged in IPM research, education and consultation in fruits, vegetables and row crops from across Michigan.
Background: Agricultural leaders identified sustainable integrated pest management as a leading issue related to the economic, environmental and social sustainability of agriculture in Michigan (see Stakeholder Involvement). This issue is universal as a top one or two issue across all commodities. Examples of pest problems associated
with current IPM practices include increases herbicide resistant marestail and palmer amaranth; spotted wing Drosophila, western bean cutworm, spider mites, aphids and soybean cyst, sugarbeet cyst and root knot nematodes; and soybean sudden death syndrome, fusarium and Goss’s wilt. Leaders have expressed renewed interest in sustainable IPM practices to fight these increases.

Outcomes and impacts:

In 2018 a report was issued from MSU AgBioResearch and MSU Extension surveys gauging the leading issues facing Field Crop Agriculture in Michigan, MSUE-Issues-Identification-Field-Crops-Priorities-Report.  Conducting research and educational programs to combat diseases and pests that threaten the health of plants, animals, and people was the third priority, preceded by Assisting farmers in agricultural production and profitability (number 1) and Preparing today’s youth for tomorrow’s jobs (number 2). Based on this input, the MSUE Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute (AABI) established a Pest Resistance Issue Working Group. Dean Baas is a member of AABI and the chair of this group. The includes Extension Educators and Specialists with expertise in pest management.

While this initiative has gotten off to a slow start, this working group will be used to develop a sustainable pest management program that will be supported through Michigan SARE PDP funds to train educators on sustainable pest management practices in the coming year(s).

 

Sustainabililty of beginning/small farms and local foods
Objective:

Facilitate discussions, assist issue identification and definition, strengthen networks and support the development of collaborative programs to increase the sustainability of small/beginning farms and local foods in Michigan.

Description:

Audience: Educators from universities, Extension, NGO’s, non-profits, agencies, local food groups, urban agriculture, lead small/beginning farmers and other stakeholders engaged in research, education and consultation for beginning/small farms and local foods from across Michigan.
Background: Agricultural leaders identified the sustainability of beginning/small farms and local foods as a leading issue related to the economic, environmental and social sustainability of agriculture in Michigan (see Stakeholder Involvement). This
issue was a top one or two issue for many agricultural leaders inside and outside the local foods leadership. Within this issue area there were many contributing factors and a number of established organizations to collaborate with on identifying the best use of SARE PDP resources to support sustaining this critical segment of agriculture in Michigan. SARE can make its greatest contribution through collaboration/facilitation with existing groups.

Outcomes and impacts:

In 2018, the Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFF) non-profit organization was contracted to conduct a series of listening session and interviews around the state to identify The State of Local Food in Michigan: Challenges and Opportunities for Beginning Farmers. The subsequent report, MIFFS_SARE_Beginning-Farmer-Challenges-and-Opportunities, provided insight into the leading issues facing beginning farmers. Highlights include: Land; Financial; Markets; Education; Labor; Crop Insurance; Cultural Barriers; Equipment; Water; Regulations and Policy; Pests; Transportation; Legal Advice; and Environmental. They requested support for: Small-Scale Farming Specific Resources; Consultative Services; Holistic Approach; Case Studies; Simple Reference Sheets; and Connections and Networks. Topics requested include: Business Planning; Marketing; Funding; Scaling Up; Soil Health; Disease and Pest Management; Water; Laws and Regulations; Land Access; Dealing with Stress; Consumer Education; and Information about SARE. MIFFS stated that, “The farmers that we spoke with were very appreciative of this project’s approach to go directly to them for their input. Many farmers feel that the education that is available to them is developed through a very top down approach, so they thought it was refreshing to share their experience and have their voices heard. Thank you for this opportunity to have so many wonderful and insightful conversations with farmers and agricultural educators from around the state.” The full report referenced above has additional information that may be of interest to others working on local foods and beginning farmer issues and programs.

MSUE Beginning Farmer Webinar Series

The Beginning Farmer Webinar Series has been in existence since 2012 and has provided live webinar sessions that have been recorded and archived. Initially developed with the assistance of a Michigan SARE PDP mini-grant, this program continues to have impact as it moved to being self-funded. The webinar sessions are designed to assist attendees with production practices, marketing, and business management. 

To-date, a total of 68 presenters have shared information with 1,420 registered participants through 88 webinars. Registration for over 9,500 webinar views was received. The presenters consist of MSUE-AABI educators (29), MSUE-GMI educators (10), faculty from MSU departments (14), staff from MSU departments (6), ag agencies and organizations (4) and private farmers (5). All webinars, with exception of a few with technical flaws, are posted on the MSU Extension Beginning Farmer Webinar Series webpage and currently available for viewing without registration or charge. All of the archived webinars are available at https://www.canr.msu.edu/beginning_farmer_webinar_series/. 

2017 Series Impacts

The 2017 series consisted of nine webinars featuring nine MSU Extension speakers and one faculty member from Purdue University.  The series was promoted through MSU Extension local channels, MSU ANR Communications and eXtension.  A total of 334 people registered for 1,927 webinar views.  Participants included 284 Michigan residents from 71 counties, 46 people from other states (NY, OH, PA, VA, and WA), and 4 people from other countries (Canada, Zimbabwe, and Turkey). The series evaluation can be view here, Post-series-eval-2017-MSUE-Beginning-Farmer-Webinar-Series-FINAL.

2018 Series Impacts

The 2018 series consisted of 15 webinars featuring 15 MSU Extension speakers and 2 outside MSU speakers.  The series was promoted through MSU Extension local channels, MSU ANR Communications and eXtension.  A total of 303 people registered this year.  Participants included 256 Michigan residents from 61 counties, 14 people from other states, and 7 people from other countries. The series evaluation can be view here, Post-series-eval-2018-MSUE-Beginning-Farmer-Webinar-Series-Final.

 

 

Emerging, regional training and/or other sustainable issues
Objective:

Provide support for sustainable agricultural professional development through travel scholarships and mini-grants.

Description:

Audience: Educators from universities, Extension, NGO’s, non-profits, agencies, lead farmers, NRCS, NGOs, MDA and CDs and other stakeholders engaged in research, education and consultation for a new emerging issue, follow-up to initiatives 1or 2, soil health regional training or other requests.
Background: A clearly defined third sustainable agriculture issue did not emerge from the leadership interviews (see Stakeholder Involvement). The sustainable agricultural issue(s) supported by funding for this initiative will be develop with additional input from agricultural leaders, initiative advisory groups and SARE leadership. Funding could range from one large program to a number of small programs, but has been budgeted as on large program. Soil health and support at different scales for the regional training is an obvious choice for this initiative. Michigan will participate in the NCR-SARE 2017-18 regional initiative on soil health, cover crops and water by supporting the involvement of selected agriculture educators in one or more soil health-related professional development events during the two year time frame.

We sent four educators to the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health (November 2017 in Indianapolis)

We sent four educators to the Midwest Cover Crops Council meeting in Grand Rapids, MI (March 2017).

We supported three educators from our state participate in the Soil Health Nexus extension program held prior to the National Cover Crop and Soil Health Conference and being developed by the NCR Water Network and the NCR-SARE program through this initiative or remaining funds from the previous period.

In addition, mini-grants and travel scholarships were awarded for:

  • Attending the Community Food Systems Conference (2017)
  • Support for the Midwest Cover Crops Council Annual Meeting (2017)
  • Developing a New Educator Workshop (2017)
  • Supporting the MOFFA Organic Intensives programs (2017 & 2018)
  • Supporting the MSU Vegetable Team Summer In-service (2017 & 2018)
  • Supporting WISEWOMEN participants at the Farm Conferences (2017 & 2018)
  • Supporting the Great Lakes Forage and Grazing Conference (2017)
  • Supporting the Organic Reporting Session (2017)
  • Attending the SARE Our Farms Our Futures Conference (2018)
  • Attending the Midwest Cover Crops Council Annual Meeting (2017 & 2018)
  • Attending the Soil Health Nexus Meeting and North American Manure Expo (2018)
  • Supporting the Upper Peninsula Forage Field Day (2018)
  • Attending the NACAA AM/PIC Conference (2018)
  • Attending the NC3 One Water Network – Climate Change Preconference (2018)
  • Attending the American Community Gardening Association’s 39th Annual Conference (2018)
  • Attending the Sustainable Agronomy Conference (2018)
  • Attending the Urban Food Systems Symposium (2018)
  • Attending the Growing Innovations Conference (2018)
  • Supporting the Bay Mills Community College Farm Manager Professional Development (2018)

 

 

Outcomes and impacts:

2017 Travel Scholarships

Community Food Systems Conference

  • Attendees representing various organizations had the opportunity to discuss issue
  • Making contact with new resources working similar objectives as ours and continuing dialogue to share info

Midwest Cover Crops Council Annual Meeting

  • Support 4 Extension educators to attend the conference in Grand Rapids, MI
  • Increased knowledge of cover crops and soil health
  • Improve knowledge/skills concerning CC management practices
  • Information was used for:
    • Answer client questions
    • Individual consultation
    • Develop new contacts and partners for work
    • Use in newsletters and/or newspaper articles/blog post/radio shows
    • Incorporate new ideas and information into regular programming
    • Deliver new programming on this topic

National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health

  • Increased knowledge of cover crops and soil health
  • Improve knowledge/skills concerning CC management practices
  • Networking with farmers and agency personal
  • increased ability to answer client questions
  • increased knowledge to give individual consultations
  • develop new contacts and partners for work
  • new materials for newsletters/blogs/radio
  • new materials to deliver new programming on topic area

2017 Mini-Grants

Organic Reporting Session

  • 42 participants, 25 of which were farmers
  • Research priorities for organic farming were identified by farmers
  • Cover crops of various scales and types of farmers in MI was identified as largest need.

Great Lakes Forage and Grazing Conference

  • 100 participants, mainly farmers
  • participants developed new understanding of how small grain and alternative forage crop haylage can be incorporated into northern corn silage rotations to serve dual purpose as cover crops and dairy feed.
  • they learned new methods for making hay-in-a-day, offering opportunities to save money by improving forage quality and reduce weather losses in high rainfall areas like Michigan

WISEWOMEN participants at the Family Farms Conference

  • 12 women participated in this conference
  • Increased knowledge of farming concepts to then be put to use by improving their own small farms

MSU Vegetable Team Summer In-service

  • 15 individuals attended this in-service
  • Toured organic and conventional vegetable production operations.
  • Toured ag supplier and produce brokers
  • Exposed to challenges and problems facing entire scope of the vegetable production and marketing chain
  • By looking from a holistic perspective, it gave them an idea at how, who and where in the chain they can provide help to the industry

MOFFA Organic Intensives 2017

  • 32 attended, over half were farmers
  • participants left with a significantly deeper knowledge and understanding of the topic area
  • participants left with specific ideas for how to implement this new knowledge in their operations

2018 Travel Scholarships

SARE Our Farms Our Futures Conference

  • Partial travel support was provided to 12 participants in the conference from Michigan
  • Of the 12 participants, 11 represented minority/underserved farmers
  • The greatest benefits from the conference was the opportunity to network and sustainable agriculture information and resources that were presented

2018 Midwest Cover Crops Council Annual Meeting

  • 4 Extension educators and 2 specialists were supported to attend the conference in Fargo, North Dakota
  • Outcomes learned were specific agronomic practices, such as seeding rates and time of planting
  • Gained knowledge of the roles that cover crops play in suppressing weeds and disease
  • Learned the importance of cover crops in nutrient retention and scavenging
  • Interaction with fellow professional was particularly meaningful
  • Increased knowledge on cover crops specifically integration and benefits
  • Answer client questions
  • Information was used for:
    • Individual consultation
    • Develop new contacts and partners for work
    • Use in newsletters and/or newspaper articles/blog post/radio shows
    • Deliver new programming on this topic

2018 Soil Health Nexus Meeting and North American Manure Expo

  • 3 Extension educators were supported to attend the conference in Brookings, SD
  • Broadened knowledge of manure applications and regulations
  • Made contacts both in extension and in the private sector to contact with other questions
  • Learn how other states are retaining manure nutrients on the farm for better crop utilization and how different manures affect crop and soil health.
  • Learned what soil health parameters should we be testing for; what labs can farmers send their samples in to get accurate results; new technologies in animal waste storage and handling; and current research on animal waste and soil health
  • Information was used for:
    • Answer client questions
    • Individual consultation
    • Develop new contacts and partners for work
    • Use in newsletters and/or newspaper articles/blog post/radio shows
    • Incorporate new ideas and information into regular programming
    • Deliver new programming on this topic

Upper Peninsula Forage Field Day – Speaker Travel

  • Brought Mike Buis from Chatham, ON to Chatham, MI to speak to local farmers and agribusiness in the UP about his cropping system including tips and tricks for cover cropping
  • The event was held to update local growers on research at the station, learn about soil health and alternative forage cropping systems
  • 26 famer and agribusiness representatives attended the field day
  • Information was used for:
    • Answer client questions
    • Individual consultation
    • Develop new contacts and partners for work
    • Use in newsletters and/or newspaper articles/blog post/radio shows
    • Deliver new programming on this topic

2018 NACAA AM/PIC

  • 1 Extension educator was supported to attend the conference in Chattanooga, TN
  • Attended the Sustainable Agriculture, SARE Reading the Farm super seminar and the required tour
  • Visited local farms to implement the principles learned in the “Reading the Farm” seminar by taking an in depth look at the farms and make recommendations to make the farm form sustainable
  • Gained more knowledge on sustainable practices and applying them on farm
  • Expanded network of individuals that can be resources in future programing
  • Information was used for:
    • Answer client questions
    • Individual consultation
    • Develop new contacts and partners for work
    • Use in newsletters and/or newspaper articles/blog post/radio shows
    • Incorporate new ideas and information into regular programming
    • Deliver new programming on this topic

NC3 One Water Network – Climate Change Preconference

  • 1 Extension Educator was supported to attend the conference in Indianapolis, IN
  • Learned about climate change communication and how climate change and farming interact
  • Increased knowledge on climate change impacts, specifically interpretation of reports, what we can do in agriculture and how to communicate
  • Information was used for:
    • Answer client questions
    • Individual consultation
    • Develop new contacts and partners for work
    • Use in newsletters and/or newspaper articles/blog post/radio shows
    • Deliver new programming on this topic

American Community Gardening Association’s 39th Annual Conference

  • 1 Educator from the non-profit Garden Project of the Lansing Food Bank was supported to attend the conference in Atlanta, GA
  • Learn about conservation and sustainability initiatives for community gardens and urban farm systems
  • Visited metro urban farms and gardens that were using pollinator habitat to increase green space and create community among their very diverse citizens
  • Toured many large community gardens across the metro Atlanta area and met others working toward sustaining the community movement
  • Many of these sites were gardened by former refugees from many different countries that were using a huge variety of growing practices that they brought from their home countries
  • Learned how other organizations work in their community to serve more vulnerable populations in a meaningful way and also learn from them
  • Information was used for:
    • Individual consultation
    • Develop new contacts and partners for work
    • Deliver new programming on this topic

Sustainable Agronomy Conference

  • 1 educator was supported to attend the conference in Madison, WI
  • Attendees included a broad cross section of agricultural stakeholders, including government agencies, private sector agronomists, farmers, Extension, and university researchers
  • Learned about how new precision technologies have the potential to dramatically improve nutrient, weed, and pest management in cropping systems
  • It was also interesting to hear about new programs, such as Field to Market, that seek to establish some sustainability standards for the industry
  • Revealing to hear the different perspectives expressed by various organizations, including industry and university researchers
  • This conference was a unique opportunity to hear from such a diverse group and see areas of agreement and areas of disagreement
  • Information was used for:
    • Develop new contacts and partners for work
    • Deliver new programming on this topic

Urban Food Systems Symposium

  • 1 Extension educator was supported to attend the conference in Minneapolis, MN
  • Made connections to practitioners and innovative urban food systems models in other regions, primarily other urban midwestern areas
  • Gathered a lot of information on innovative programming aiming to support urban agriculture scenes and address food access barriers in urban communities
  • Learned a lot about how other regions coordinate small farmers to create bigger impact on food access and access new collective marketing avenues (like institutional, grocery, and restaurant sales)
  • Opportunity to connect with folks in similar urban contexts that have different approaches to addressing barriers to urban land access for agricultural purposes
  • Information was used for:
    • Answer client questions
    • Develop new contacts and partners for work
    • Use in newsletters and/or newspaper articles/blog post/radio shows

Growing Innovations Conference

  • 1 educator from the non-profit South East Michigan Producers Association was supported to attend the conference in Las Vegas, NV
  • This new industry event is designed for agriculture producers and provide them with the latest technologies available to enhance their operations and ongoing innovations to further improve agriculture throughout the world
  • Learned there is a large gap between agriculture technology and small farm knowledge and practice
  • Promoting innovations to small farmers will remain a challenge, especially with concerns of financial investment
  • We are to develop a program to improve knowledge of technologies as well as demonstrations on small farms
  • Information was used for:
    • Answer client questions
    • Develop new contacts and partners for work
    • Deliver new programming on this topic

2018 Mini-Grants

MOFFA Organic Intensives 2018

  • MSU partnered with the Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance to provide the Organic Intensives workshop with mini-grant support from the MI SARE PDP program
  • Organic Intensives provided a full-day, intensive program in a single topic area. In 2018 the topics were Diverse Grain Options for Farms and Homesteads, Organic Transplant Production: Secure a Stellar Season with Successful Starts, and Small to Medium Scale Livestock for the Integrated Farm
  • Hours of training for each topic were: Grains 6.5 hours, Transplants 4 hours, Livestock 6.5 hours, with additional on-farm/experiential learning of 2.5 hours in Transplants
  • Participants left with a significantly deeper knowledge and understanding of the topic area, and have specific ideas for how to implement this new knowledge in their operations
  • There were 85 participants including 6 – Cooperative Extension Service Field Staff (educators/agents), 1 – NRCS, 2 – Agriculture consultants/For-Profit, 2 – Non-Profit/Non-gov organization, 40 – Farmers/Ranchers and 34 Other
  • Participants were asked to evaluate their experience at the end of the day, and 82% responded-68% of those in the small grains session, 85% in the transplants session, and 91% of those attending livestock
  • Once again, participants overwhelmingly felt that their time was well spent and the most gratifying comment was “One of the most valuable educational experiences of my “
  • The full program evaluation is available at MOFFA-Organic-Intensives-Report

Bay Mills Community College Farm Manager Professional Development

  • To better serve Native American education, the MI SARE PDP program partnered with Bay Mills Community College (BMCC), a 1994 Land Grant Institution located in Brimley, Michigan
  • One of the programming areas of focus of the BMCC Land Grant Department is sustainable agriculture and food systems; as such, the Land Grant Department manages BMCC’s Waishkey Bay Farm as a research, extension, and demonstration farm focusing on sustainable agriculture
  • In the fall of 2017, a new Interim Farm Manager (Jeremy Sparks) was hired who lacked an official credential in sustainable agriculture
  • To increase Jeremy’s abilities as the permanent Farm Manager, MI SARE provided partial support and he successfully completed the 2018 MSU Organic Farmer Training Program, from March 2018 through November 2018
  • Jeremy completed 256 hours of group instruction/learning, 40 hours of on-farm/experiential learning, 37 hours of one-on-one contact and 50 hours of class assignments
  • As a result of this SARE funding support, Bay Mills Community College’s Waishkey Bay Farm now has a Farm Manager with a recognized sustainable agriculture credential
  • The Farm Manager’s capacity to manage and develop the farm, and facilitate educational programming, has been significantly increased as a result of his participation in the training program
  • The Farm Manager over the past year has used this sustainable agriculture information in his programs and educational activities to reach 160 participants including Extension educators and field staff; State, Federal and Tribal Agencies; Tribal Farmers and Other interested parties

2018 MSU Vegetable Team Summer Inservice

  • This inservice for Extension vegetable educators was to learn the problems facing small to large operations, and organic and conventional production systems and how Michigan State University research and extension activities could be tailored to help deal with these issues
  • Participants toured several local vegetable operations of various sizes and production techniques
  • The goal was to educate attendees on the problems these growers face and how we might be able to better assist in solving those problems
  • 8 locations were visited, and the in-service provided 9 hours of on-farm/experiential learning and 6 hours of informal interaction with questions and answers
  • There were 16 participants including 4 – Cooperative Extension Service Field Staff (educators/agents), 2 – Cooperative Extension Specialist/State Staff and 10 Other

WISEWOMAN Participants at Farm Conferences

  • Supported WISEWOMAN Gardening participant to attend the Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference and the Family Farms Conference
  • It was a great learning opportunity for gardeners and small farmers
  • Goal of this mini-grant was to increase participant knowledge of sustainable gardening and farming concepts
  • This knowledge would then be put to use by improving the sustainability of their own gardens or small farms, and educating others on these practices
  • 6 WISEWOMAN participants attended the Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference and 3 WISEWOMAN participants attended the Michigan Family Farms Conference
  • These women all live in areas in Michigan considered to food deserts and actively bring expertise and knowledge to local gardeners and small farmers in these areas

Educational & Outreach Activities

42 Consultations
10 Minigrants
7 Published press articles, newsletters
1 Study circle/focus groups
8 Tours
36 Travel Scholarships
30 Webinars / talks / presentations
12 Workshop field days

Participation Summary

84 Extension
21 NRCS
114 Researchers
15 Nonprofit
21 Agency
102 Ag service providers (other or unspecified)
838 Farmers/ranchers
389 Others

Learning Outcomes

407 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
128 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

82 Agricultural service provider participants who used knowledge and skills learned through this project (or incorporated project materials) in their educational activities, services, information products and/or tools for farmers
838 Farmers reached through participant's programs

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

The Michigan SARE web site (www.misare.msu.edu) contains information about
the Michigan PDP program, application forms for mini-grants and travel scholarships,
and links to other SARE grant programs on the NCR-SARE site.
Michigan will continue promote SARE at a variety of events, field days,
conferences and meetings in 2017 and 2018 such as the Northern Michigan Small
Farms Conference, Michigan Family Farms Conference, Michigan Grazing
Conference, Michigan Good Food Summit, County Fairs, etc. where sustainable
agriculture audiences can be reached. Each year, the Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference is attended by over 700 participants and the Michigan Family Farms Conference by over 450 participants.

We continued to provide support and advice to applicants for
Farmer/Rancher, R & E, PDP, Partnership, Graduate Student, and Youth Educator
Grants including individual consultation and grant writing workshops. The response
to SARE grant programs and the exposure provided by the Michigan PDP program
are evidence of expanding commitment to sustainable agriculture in Michigan. These
efforts are producing a viable network of agricultural professionals, knowledgeable in
sustainable agriculture, working to make Michigan more successful in adopting
sustainable agriculture’s practices and principles.

800 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
350 Ag professionals received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.