Bi-state team promotes poultry science

On February 21, 2009, MSU hosted the second annual 4-H Bi-State Poultry Clinic, a collaboration between MSU and OSU. Youth and volunteers from both states were welcome to attend the one-day educational program that covered a wide array of subject matter.

Michigan State University (MSU) and Ohio State University (OSU) may not be the best of friends on the football field, but in the poultry industry, they make quite the team. On February 21, 2009, MSU hosted the second annual 4-H Bi-State Poultry Clinic, a collaboration between MSU and OSU. Youth and volunteers from both states were welcome to attend the one-day educational program that covered a wide array of subject matter.

The goal of the poultry clinic was to provide an environment where youth can be exposed to various types of poultry education and have as many hands-on activities as possible. At the clinic, participants attended sessions about how to feed their birds, preparing their birds for show and showmanship basics, disease awareness and avian anatomy.

But with a college already full of agriculture knowledge, why partner with OSU? “I knew that OSU had been running a similar clinic for many years, and having been involved with it when I was growing up, I decided to approach the individuals who organize it and see if they would be interested in doing the same program at MSU,” said Extension poultry specialist Dr. Darrin Karcher. “We decided it would be a good fit and allow us to pool our resources from the two states.”

The partnership between MSU and OSU continues into Ohio territory, where a similar clinic is held at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, Ohio. The material is different between the two clinics so 4-H members from either state could attend both clinics and have unique material and experiences. Depending on whether the clinic is at MSU or OSU, the group at the respective institution will arrange all of the details for the day of the clinic.

During this year’s 4-H Bi-State Poultry Clinic, approximately 240 individuals attended; six of them were from Ohio. “It’s important to realize we have only two years under our belt and we increased Ohio numbers by 50 percent from last year,” said Karcher.

With two successful years down and many more to go, Karcher stresses that the reason the partnership works is because of the interaction between the individuals involved. “All of us, MSU and OSU, are so concerned about helping youth by providing correct information and material that we don’t really care if people associate ‘us’ with one school or the other,” said Karcher. Another reason it works well is that a small planning committee filters ideas from larger committees to ensure they address concerns and cover the materials that are important.

“It is a unique chance to interact with poultry experts from both states,” said Karcher. “Each clinic offers something unique, and we strive to make them a one-day, enjoyable experience for youth and adults.”

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