Mecosta County Program Highlights 2018

MSU Extension made a difference in the lives of Mecosta County residents through educational programs and resources.

Field crops and forages.
Field crops and forages are large agricultural crops in Mecosta County. All photos by MSU Extension.

Agriculture

During the past year in Mecosta County, MSU Extension provided farm support and education
through individual consultations, workshops, field tours, and research opportunities. Topics included beef production, quality assurance, animal health and well-being, forages, cover crops, soil health, farm financial management, breeding readiness, and farm stress. The introduction of solar farms was a point of interest that MSU Extension responded to with education for land owners looking to lease portions of their property.

4-H Youth Development 

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4-H youth learning archery skills at 4-H camp.

4-H is the largest youth development organization in Michigan. Connected at the national level, MSU’s program promotes the traditional 4-H clubs, as well as many other leadership and life-skills development opportunities for youth like financial literacy, career exploration, and science. 4-H provides experiential learning opportunities that allow youth to explore new interests and discover their passion. In 2018 Mecosta County had 32 4-H clubs with 113 adult volunteers. The total number of youth served in Mecosta county was 1,622.

Gardening & Consumer Horticulture 

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One of the many plant disease samples brought into the Extension office for identification.

Homeowners often have insect infestations or plant diseases that they are unfamiliar with and need help addressing. MSU Extension provides soil testing, plant and insect identification, disease identification and treatment, Smart Gardening resources, and a toll-free Lawn and Garden hotline. The Mecosta County MSU
Extension office assists with homeowner questions and can connect gardeners to experts in the field as well as online to answer their gardening questions.

Work Force Preparation 

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During a Mock Interview Day, youth pair up with adult volunteers and practice their interview skills.

“Mock Interview Day” offers students the opportunity to practice interview skills and network with the business community. Students are expected to bring a completed resume, job application or portfolio, and dress appropriately for an interview. Students receive individual feedback from volunteers. They become more prepared for job-seeking as a result of this experience. This program was started at Crossroads Charter Academy and served 149 Mecosta County youth.

Nutrition Education 

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Local Students Participating in a Nutrition Education Program.

MSU Extension’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides basic nutrition education and hands-on activities for all ages. Core curricula are designed to help low-income families stretch their food dollars while maintaining good nutrition. Some instruction includes physical activity and cooking techniques that help instill life-long skills. It is estimated that every $1 spent on nutrition education saves as much as ten times the amount in long-term health costs.

Preventing & Managing Chronic Health Conditions

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Dining with Diabetes-Canadian Lakes, Mecosta Co.

Chronic diseases—such as diabetes—can be difficult to manage. To help residents be healthy at every stage of life, Michigan State University Extension delivers affordable, relevant, evidence-based education to serve the needs of adults, youth and families in urban and rural communities. Classes include Preventing & Managing Chronic Illness, Preventing & Managing Diabetes, Diabetes Food Skills, Fall Prevention, Tai Chi for Arthritis, and Caregiver Support.


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