2017-18 Legislative Report Leadership Notes

A message from the leadership of MSU AgBioResearch, MSU Extension and CANR.

This legislative report showcases some of the results of conversations with our constituents. It highlights what our organizations have been able to accomplish thanks to investments from the Michigan Legislature and Michigan residents. We are committed to continually providing increasing benefits for our fellow residents and being good stewards of the resources with which we are entrusted.

This year is no different and yet, our approach can always be improved. While we consider ourselves engaged, we know that we can be better. This year, our focus is on learning to listen more intently, to be more attentive and to engage with more people. It is often uncomfortable to get into the role of listening intently to the needs of a community, constituents or group. As we know through our many years of conducting research and outreach efforts with the state of Michigan and for its residents, often the most uncomfortable circumstances lead to discovery or breakthrough.

Much has happened in the last few years to guide us to add new services to our successful, steadfast MSU Extension and AgBioResearch programming. For example, we quickly responded to the crisis in agriculture by creating robust mental health programming for farmers and farm families that supplements our agricultural production programs. As the opioid crisis spreads, our staff members are helping communities open conversations and find healing solutions. Our 4-H youth development programs continue to bring young people together to follow their dreams. Our ability to nimbly pivot our services to meet the changing needs of Michigan residents is paramount. We look forward to continuing this important work.

We are grateful for the continued funding for the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture, workforce development and community colleges around the state. The funding to move our circa 1950s Fruit and Vegetable Lab into the modern day will prove beneficial for Michigan’s $101 billion food and agriculture industry. With updates to the on-campus lab and mobile labs, we will work to increase the number of students who will be ready to work in Michigan’s ready-to-grow food processing industry.

Our Food@MSU initiative is showing us that our friends and neighbors have much to share and are interested in learning more about the food we eat, where it comes from and how to keep our communities’ food secure and our food supply safe. Again, our approach of staying humble, asking questions and listening to answers is one that has allowed us to reach partners we might not have worked with before.

We are grateful for the continued support of the Michigan Legislature and for the trust that Michigan residents, legislators and others put in us every day.

Sincerely,

Douglas D. Buhler
Director, MSU AgBioResearch

Jeffrey W. Dwyer
Director, MSU Extension

Ronald L. Hendrick
Dean, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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