Michigan Annual State Report

Project Overview

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
Sarah Hanks
Michigan State University


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, grazing management, grazing - multispecies, grazing - rotational, manure management, pasture renovation, winter forage
  • Crop Production: application rate management, catch crops, conservation tillage, cover crops, crop improvement and selection, cropping systems, crop rotation, double cropping, no-till, nutrient cycling, nutrient management, organic fertilizers, plant breeding and genetics, pollination, season extension types and construction, strip tillage, varieties and cultivars, water management, zone till
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, networking, on-farm/ranch research, technical assistance, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: community-supported agriculture, farmers' markets/farm stands, grant making, land access
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, carbon sequestration
  • Pest Management: biofumigation, chemical control, compost extracts, integrated pest management, mulches - general, physical control, precision herbicide use, smother crops, trap crops
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, dryland farming, integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture, organic certification, transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter, soil analysis, soil microbiology, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, food hubs, local and regional food systems, partnerships, quality of life, urban agriculture


    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

    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.