Michael G. Hansen of Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development receives 2021 Epsilon Sigma Phi Friend of Extension Award

MSU Extension honored Michael G. Hansen for his leadership and service at the annual Fall Extension Conference held virtually on Sept. 28

Michigan State University Extension awarded Michael (“Mike”) G. Hansen with a 2021 Epsilon Sigma Phi Friend of Extension Award on Sept. 28. The Friend of Extension Award recognizes individuals who have been true friends of MSU Extension and supported their programs.

Michael (“Mike”) G. Hansen supports Michigan beekeepers, honey bees, and Michigan State University through his role as the state apiarist in the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). He has spent decades providing information and support to the beekeeping community, an industry that supports other agriculture sectors, such as cherries, apples, blueberries, and many vegetables, through pollination services. Although his role as state apiarist is only a small portion of his responsibilities, Mike stays up to date on beekeeping regulations, attends local and national beekeeping conferences, and communicates timely and relevant information about regulatory changes and pesticide topics to MSU Extension and beekeepers. He attends the Michigan Beekeepers’ Association’s monthly board meeting, gives presentations to beekeepers, and directs beekeepers and other stakeholders to MSU Extension.

In recent years, he advocated for MDARD to secure funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to support MSU’s work on the Michigan Managed Pollinator Protection Plan. MSU received funding to support the development and implementation of the plan. Funding that MDARD secures from the EPA currently supports the much-needed MSU Extension apiculture educator position. Mike has contributed to and reviewed many MSU Extension documents, including one on beekeeping rules and regulations. When the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced it was going to use aerial insecticide applications to kill mosquitoes in response to an outbreak of Eastern equine encephalitis, Mike responded to many calls from beekeepers who expressed concern about how their bees would be affected by the spray. As he neared retirement, he arranged trainings for MDARD employees with MSU Extension to learn about colony inspections, hive handling, and topics important to beekeepers.

Mike Hansen has been a strong supporter of MSU Extension, beekeepers, and growers even though his official capacity as state apiarist is only a small part of his job at MDARD. He really cares about Michigan agriculture and those of us who are working to better it. He truly is a Friend of Extension.

 

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