MSU Extension Alcona County: Proven education delivered locally to solve problems and increase opportunities
MSU Extension empowers Alcona County residents to do their jobs better, raise healthy and safe families, build strong communities, protect local environments and empower young people to not just dream but to pursue successful futures.
Michigan State University (MSU) Extension helps people improve their lives by educating them where they are – in their homes, schools, farms, businesses and communities. In 2016, Alcona County residents voted to invest to maintain MSU Extension in their communities. With that investment, Alcona County residents have sought research-proven education from MSU Extension gaining the information they needed to work better, live better, and to not just dream but to pursue successful futures.
Empowering and Equipping Youth Success
Annually, Alcona County MSU Extension 4-H programs engage nearly 650 Alcona County youth aged 5 to 19 in learning opportunities that help prepare them for work, especially for jobs in science, technology, engineering and math. Seventy-five community-based adult volunteers lead these learning opportunities in communities throughout the county.
Forty-nine percent of Alcona County 4-H seniors graduating from 2012 to 2019 enrolled in college within six months of high school graduation.
Alcona County MSU Extension 4-H has hosted four regional MATE ROV (underwater remote operated vehicle) teams where youth learn and apply science, technology, entrepreneurship and historical and environmental preservation skills to learn about and protect the health, well-being and historical relevance of local waterways. The 2018 4-H Student Stewards Team won first place honors in the Great Lakes Region Competition.
Training to Prevent Local Food-borne Illness
Since 2013, MSU Extension food safety and preservations programs have taught 10,500 Michigan residents safe food handling, food preservation and methods for reducing foodborne illness.
Through face-to-face and online learning, MSU Extension delivers high-quality, research-based education using U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines for safe food preservation. During the Michigan Stay at Home orders to combat Coronavirus spread, Alcona County residents used MSU Extension food safety and safe food preservation education programs online.
Building Strong Community Capacity
MSU Extension leadership development programs serve to increase an individual’s knowledge and skills to provide more proficient leaders within organizations and communities.
In 2019, 33 Alcona County leaders accessed MSU Extension educational offerings designed to help build community strengths. Residents registered for trainings on Opportunity Zones to learn about funding that helps grow community investments and how governments can prepare for and benefit from Census 2020.
Alcona County’s active sports fishing community benefits from MSU Extension Sea Grant training provided to inform and support the Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay sports fishing industries. In 2019 and 2020, Alcona County industry representatives attended training programs designed to provide the latest research on fish populations and fisheries management.
Educating for Greater Farm Profitability
Access to research-based information is critical when business decisions depend on it. Michigan State University Extension is a leader in discovering knowledge and helping farmers apply tested solutions for the benefit of their farms, their families and their communities.
Alcona County MSU Extension staff members provide solutions to help local farmers consider management changes, reduce costs, increase profitability, and improve finances and farm success. MSU Extension offers the knowledge farmers need to succeed in Alcona County.
MSU Extension helps Alcona County dairy farmers manage the 1,500 milking cows used in local dairy production. MSU Extension educators help farmers by reducing the economic and management stress of dairy farms. MSU Extension teams provide assessments to help farm owners maintain safe and effective milking protocols.
Helping Struggling Families Make Healthy Decisions
As of April 2020, Alcona County had 1,385 residents receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. MSU Extension helps families needing food assistance learn how to make the most of their food dollars and safely prepare meals that are both healthy and tasty.
Alcona County MSU Extension staff engage SNAP eligible youth and adults in a six-week nutrition education series designed to help them make healthy food and lifestyle choices. Through outreach efforts, staff members made additional contacts with eligible families offering access to educational resources to help them make the most of their monthly food resources.
Improving Communities One Garden at A Time
MSU Extension is the leading expert on home gardening questions, responding to more than 70,000 garden inquiries from Michigan residents each year.
Alcona County Master Gardeners volunteered 140 hours in 2018-19 to support community-based garden projects that beautified communities, improved local environments and provided locally-grown, nutritional food.
Ten Alcona County residents participated in the MSU Extension Master Gardener course in 2019 where they trained to become certified gardening resource volunteers for county residents.
MSU Extension is eager to continue serving Alcona County residents in strong partnership with the County Board of Commissioners. By working together, MSU Extension can continue to help people improve their lives by bringing the vast knowledge resources of Michigan State University directly to individuals, families, businesses and communities.