Supporting food and agriculture

When you support MSU Extension, you help participants learn profitable and efficient business and production practices.

Michigan agriculture continues to be a growing segment of the state’s economy. The production of commercial food and nonfood agricultural operations is growing rapidly. The number of households raising a portion of their own food and raising livestock or gardening for pleasure or relaxation continues to increase. When you support MSU Extension, you help participants learn profitable and efficient business and production practices. Participants also learn how to optimize and reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers, and how to conserve and protect water resources. This education leads to better use of time, money and human capital, and helps retain and create agricultural jobs. These measures strengthen Michigan’s economy while connecting farmers to local food opportunities and global markets. In this way you help MSU Extension encourage growth in a sustainable and prosperous Michigan food and agriculture system.

Mid Michigan Cattle Network

The Mid Michigan Cattle Network is for networking and education of beef producers in central Michigan, it is a producer driven group. The group’s main goal is to give producers an opportunity to get together in an informal setting and share thoughts and ideas, listen to experts from various agribusinesses, and from MSU Extension. This group was started in 2011 by Kable Thurlow, MSU Extension Beef Educator housed in Gladwin County. They host meetings in our area that vary from farm tours to inside (non-formal) settings.

There were 141 attendees at seven events in 2016, and they were held in four counties in central Michigan. Topics ranged from soil health, to precision farming, grazing and grass fed beef producers.

Farm & Garden Show – Gladwin County

The 2016 Farm & Garden Show was a huge success with over 50 Business Exhibitors and over 800 attendees. The show continues to grow and offer attendees a chance to visit with various agribusinesses from around the state. This show started in the Edick Dairy Farm Shop in 1976 and has continued to be a fun and experiential learning event since its creation. The Gladwin Team of Michigan State University Extension employees Coral Beth Rowley, Tracy Volk, Bev Przystas and Kable Thurlow continue to support the event by being on the planning committee and helping with various activities throughout the year and the day of the event. New in 2016 was a youth scavenger hunt. Since the show moved from a week day to a Saturday, it was decided to hold a scavenger hunt for youth to learn in a fun environment. Youth visited a variety of booths and received a sticker. Once they filled their activity card up they were able to turn in their card and receive a goody bag. Over 130 youth first to fifth graders came to the show and took home an ag bag. They visited 10 booths and with the help of older 4-H youth, they experienced various agriculture related exhibitors.

Bull Breeding Soundness Exam

Fertility testing the breeding bull is a minor production cost that can help prevent or identify reproductive failure. Using a bull that is infertile or that has structural problems will frequently result in a higher percentage of open cows. Increasing costs of production due to higher feed costs, make keeping an open cow cost prohibitive.

In the 2016 clinics held around the state, 18 percent of the bulls tested were unsatisfactory, and would not have been able to satisfactorily impregnate cows. Bull breeding soundness clinics were held across the state of Michigan; Gladwin County was able to host this clinic again with MSU Extension Beef Educator Kable Thurlow coordinating the clinic. The Gladwin location had close to 20 bulls from several different farms in Gladwin County and the surrounding areas.

Forage and Grazing Conference

MSU Extension Educator Kable Thurlow was a member of the 2016 planning commit-tee, and also responsible for working with the speakers for the Forage Spokesperson Contest at the event. One of the speakers (Jon Nelson from Midland Co.) at the event was part of the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) Grass Fed Beef Project. Jon has been willing to share his experiences in transitioning from cash crop to grass fed beef.
Kable Thurlow took several producers from Gladwin and Midland Counties to this event. The producers attended sessions from keynote speaker Dr. Dan Undersander on advances in hay machinery, and on the future of forages. Comments made on the evaluations, and on the ride home were positive. Producers stated they learned information that day that they would be able to implement to produce a higher quality hay product.

Youth BQA Webinar

Beef Quality Assurance is a national program that covers every management aspect of producing high quality beef. Utilizing the national beef quality assurance program offers an excellent educational opportunity to teach youth various aspects of producing high quality beef. There is not a Beef Quality Assurance program for youth in the state of Michigan. Youth can currently attend Pork Quality Assurance trainings and learn how to properly produce a high-quality pork. 4-H beef exhibitors previously have not had that opportunity. Youth 4-H members produce beef that goes into the market as finished beef. For the reputation of the beef industry, it is imperative that the beef produced by 4-H exhibitors is of the highest quality

Michigan State University Extension Educators, Frank Wardynski and Kable Thurlow offered a statewide Beef Quality Assurance training for youth in November of 2016. The webinar was recorded, and has been used to train additional beef members, by 4-H Clubs since the live webinar.

There were 72 participants that took the test, representing 19 different counties in Michigan. Of those that took the class, everyone (100 percent) passed with a score of 70 percent or better.

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