Huron County supporting food and agriculture 2018-19

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.

Thumb Ag Day

Thumb Ag Day — MSU Extension hosted its annual Thumb Ag Day on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, at the Ubly Heights Country Club. Approximately 220 visitors from 10 different counties met with 82 vendors at the event. Participants also had the chance to attend educational sessions, including: making production costs fit todays markets, commodity market update, and ways to combat nutrient transport from agricultural fields and downstream water bodies. MSU Extension Field Crops Educators Martin Nagelkirk, Phil Kaatz, and Bob Battel also presented an agricultural review with results of the 2017 field trials including an update on RoundUp resistant marestail.

Pesticide Education

Pesticide Education — Huron County MSU Extension offered two sessions of pesticide education during January and February to restricted use pesticide (RUP) users. This education serves to keep RUP users applying pesticides in a safe as well as economic fashion.

Great Lakes Cattle Feeding & Marketing Shortcourse

Great Lakes Professional Cattle Feeding and Marketing Shortcourse — was offered in Bad Axe with 28 people attending. The course is designed to increase knowledge of strategies to reduce antibiotic use in their feedlot, metaphylaxis to reduce bovine respiratory disease, what to look for on a laboratory feed analysis, snapped/high moisture ear corn use in feedlot diets, can genomics increase feedyard profitability?, 2017 National Beef Quality Audit results, comparing Holstein and beef breed cattle cutouts, where is the market for Holstein steers headed?, and outlook for corn and beef prices.

Thumb Cattlemen Series

Thumb Cattlemen Series — The Thumb Cattlemen series, facilitated by Dr. Jeannine Schweihofer, starts in December and ends in April. The group meets once a month to learn from experts and discuss with each other topics that include animal well-being, animal health, fundamentals and opportunities in Michigan feedlots, Packers and Stockyards Act, environmental management, managing farm stress and meat quality.

Since the summer of 2016, the MSU Extension dairy team has been doing summer research projects on farms across the state. These research projects are to help answer questions dairy producers have. The research projects provide valuable information to the farms and create a picture of the issues state wide.

Improve Your Calf Raising Program

Improve Your Calf Raising Program — In 2016, the first project the team did involved the immunity of dairy bull calves verse dairy heifer calves. The winter education program was about how to improve your calf raising program based on results from the project. The program was held at six locations, including Bad Axe with several people attending from Huron County.

Evaluating Parlor Performance

Evaluating Parlor Performance — During the summer of 2017, the dairy team’s research involved evaluating parlor performance by measuring milk let down and milk flow. The topic for the following winter educational program included ways to increase profits by making changes in milking parlors. Meetings where held in five locations with dairy producers from Huron County attending.

Heat Stress on Dairy Farms

Heat Stress on Dairy Farms — For the 2018 summer project, the level of heat stress on dairy farms is being assessed. The winter education program will be influenced by the results of the project. During the three research projects, 21 Thumb area farms participated and of those farms, 10 are located in Huron County.

Thumb Dairy Odyssey

Thumb Dairy Odyssey — Thumb Dairy Odyssey Days completed its 7th event. This continues to be a unique event that is attracting youth from all over the state to learn about dairy. The idea for the program came from Huron County 4-H member Addy Battel. It was created because, even though the Thumb area of Michigan is the number one milk producing area in Michigan, it lacks any dairy specific youth events. This event takes place on Saturdays in the summer. In 2017 and 2018 each summer had two separate Saturday events where youth were able to visit different local dairy farms and learn about animal science, agriculture and most importantly some of the career possibilities they present. Many farms across the state of Michigan struggle to find those who want to work on farms or in agriculture. These youth were also encouraged to try showing animals at fair or attending events like Dairy Days at MSU. In 2017 and 2018, Thumb Dairy Odyssey Days saw 87 youth participate, along with 54 parents and volunteers in attendance. Of the 87 youth, 26 were from Huron County.

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