Delivering Timely Animal Health and Wellbeing Programs

MSU Extension animal agriculture programs focus on educating and helping farmers raise healthy, productive animals that also result in profitable farms and satisfied employees and consumers. Resources in this priority area focus on the following programs.

Download the printable MSU Extension Animal Agriculture: Delivering Timely Animal Health and Wellbeing Programs programming profile.

Young Animal Management

Programs provide intensive, hands-on opportunities to equip animal care providers with the skills necessary to effectively care for young animals and improve the productivity of these enterprises on Michigan farms.

  • Calf Care Schools help animal care providers improve their knowledge and skills in building strong immune systems in calves, effective treatment for common calf diseases and sanitation of equipment.
  • Lamb and kid education offers pre-birth management of the doe/ewe, including vaccinations and nutrition. It also includes postbirth management of the doe/ewe and kid/lamb, including problems at parturition and feeding mother and offspring.

Biosecurity

Biosecurity programs provide producers and industry representatives with the knowledge and tools to improve animal health on farms.

  • Areas of emphasis include biosecurity in transportation, with farm visitors and between animals on the same farm.

Animal Health

Animal Health programs include risk assessment and management strategies to effectively reduce disease incidence while addressing the areas of current and emerging diseases such as:

  • Bovine leukemia virus, bovine tuberculosis and parasite management.

Animal Wellbeing

Programs in this area address the areas of animal housing and comfort, low stress animal handling and best practices for herd health management. Producers gain knowledge and skills that help them improve animal wellbeing on their farms and better communicate their animal care practices to the general public.

Livestock Handling

Practical, on-farm learning opportunities are taught for animal control officers and law enforcement workers who may lack experience and knowledge related to livestock evaluation, handling and management.

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)

HACCP training is offered by MSU Extension for food producers and processors. Food safety continues to challenge food processors as governmental regulations increase as a result of the Food Safety Modernization Act. 

Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy

Energy audits and assessments help producers reduce energy consumption and find efficient ways to incorporate renewable energy on their farms. MSU studies have shown that, on average, agricultural operations can realize a 40 percent reduction in energy expenses over a 3.8-year payback period when recommended energy conservation practices are implemented.

Genetics and Reproduction Management

Programs in this area teach management practices that optimize reproductive performance. The importance of genetic selection to improve production, health and fitness traits is emphasized.

Production and Marketing

Programs in this area seek to improve profitability on farms by teaching improved nutritional management, feed management, grazing practices, enterprise analysis and budgeting, cost of production, and marketing alternatives. Additionally, MSU is a research leader in the grass finished beef industry, helping producers find answers to production and marketing questions.

Labor Management and Employee Training

Programs in this area provide employers with training in employee management, leadership and labor law compliance. Regular, progressive training for farm employees is critical to the farm’s success, and leads to employees who are more engaged on the farm.

Livestock and the Environment

Programs in this area address environmental issues related to livestock production, including the areas of manure and nutrient management, odor management and mortality management. Producers gain knowledge and skills that help them minimize environmental risks to protect animal and human health, water resources and prevent soil erosion.

 

Explore more Animal Agriculture Programs

  • Avian Influenza

    Avian influenza is a disease caused by a virus that infects wild birds such as geese, ducks, swans and shorebirds, and domestic poultry, including turkeys, chickens, ducks, and geese.

  • Beef

    MSU Extension serves the Michigan beef industry by engaging in research, education and outreach that enhances the quality of life for constituents throughout the state.

  • Beef Cattle Ultrasound Program

    MSU Extension has invested in ultrasound scanning technology in central Michigan. Breeders can scan yearling bulls and heifers for carcass traits and have this information included in National Cattle Evaluation ultrasound EPDs.

  • Beef Quality Assurance

    Programs in this area help ensure that food reaching consumers is of utmost quality. Producers and processors learn how their practices affect the final products, and learn tools and techniques to improve overall quality and safety of beef products.

  • Breakfast on the Farm

    Breakfast on the Farm gives consumers and farm neighbors a first-hand look at modern food production, and the farm families who work hard to produce safe, wholesome food.

  • Bull Breeding Soundness Exam Clinics

    MSU Extension are organizing the regional Bull Breeding Soundness Exam Clinics. This educational opportunity will provide more explanation to the future of your herd, and what may need to be done to make your future as successful as possible.

  • Cattle Feeding Short Course

    Cattle Feeding Short Course is an educational opportunity for producers of beef products, to become aware of nutritional and management practices for improving cattle feeding operations.

  • Chronic Wasting Disease

    Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a contagious neurological disease that has been found in deer, elk and moose – collectively called cervids.

  • Cover Crops

    Cover crops news, programming and other resources from MSU Extension.

  • Dairy

    MSU Extension provides easy-to-access information, specialized dairy programs, ranging from online resources to educational seminars, to dairy educators located throughout the state.

  • Good Agricultural Practices

    Classes and presentations on Good Agricultural Practices prepare farmers to sell their produce in retail markets and ensure the safety of their produce for sale.

  • Grazing Systems

    MSU Extension educators work with producers to develop pasture-based local beef production systems and host public field days and seasonal programs.

  • Horses

    MSU Extension’s focus on horses, ponies, donkeys and mules provides educational resources and activities for both youth and adult equine owners.

  • Managing Animal Mortalities

    Animal deaths are unavoidable on the farm and farmers need a plan and methods for managing both “routine” (normal and natural) mortality and “mass carcass” (catastrophic or disaster) management plans.

  • MCA & MSU Bull Evaluation

    MCA & MSU Bull Evaluation is a bull appraisal program and facility that affiliates with Michigan State University. This educational opportunity provides a lot of value and information to producers.

  • Meat Cutter Training Course

    Meat cutters are in high demand for industry processors and in meat departments of grocery stores. This free, hands-on certificate training has in-person and online interactive learning components on how to cut and package meat.

  • Meat Processing Variance Training

    Michigan food establishments that process meat products will need to obtain a special variance under FDA guidelines, and MSU Extension has created a special self-directed online training for the variance requirements and application process.

  • Michigan Meat Network

    A network of livestock producers, meat processors, distributors, buyers, and food professionals looking to make business connections, find answers, and build viable markets for local and regional meat in Michigan.

  • MSU Agriculture Innovation Day

    Connecting experts with farmers to share the latest agriculture innovations to improve bottom lines while maintaining sustainable practices.

  • My Horse University

    My Horse University is an educational opportunity for horse enthusiasts all throughout the world to gain access to research and knowledge from experts through online courses and products.

  • Organic Agriculture

    Through educational programs and research, MSU Extension helps farmers build sustainable organic farms through strong integrated pest management and enhancing soil health.

  • Pork

    MSU Extension serves the pork industry by providing decision-makers with trusted information about all aspects of pork production.

  • Poultry

    MSU Extension’s focus on poultry production brings together cross-discipline educators and researchers who work with both commercial poultry producers, small flock owners and youth.

  • Seneca Valley Virus

    Seneca Valley Virus is a disease that circulates among the pig population. There is little information known about this disease, but the common clinical signs associated with the disease are blisters or erosions on the pig's snout, mouth or feet.

  • Swine Influenza

    Swine influenza is a virus that can circulate in the pig population but is generally not fatal and does not affect the meat products.

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