Vegetable Production: Programs to Strengthen Michigan’s Vegetable Industry
December 22, 2016
MSU Extension vegetable educators provide research-based crop management strategies and education based on the needs of Michigan’s vegetable growers in order to continue a profitable vegetable industry that is competitive on a global scale while maintaining environmental responsibility.
Extension educators and faculty members work together to bring the latest vegetable research and education to Michigan vegetable growers. Working closely with vegetable growers and commodity organizations helps guide the focus of vegetable research at MSU
Resources in this priority area focus on the following programs.
Connecting Growers with International Expertise
The Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, Greenhouse and Farm Marketing EXPO attracts an international audience who learn about relevant research from local and out-of-state speakers. MSU
Extension and the Michigan Vegetable Council organize sessions by identifying topics and speakers with key growers and surveys.
Programs Tailored to Local Communities
Michigan’s climate and soils make it possible to grow vegetables in every county; however, commercial production is in specific areas having a long history of fresh or processing production. MSU
Extension hosts eight winter vegetable production and marketing meetings based on grower conversations, and four regional midseason vegetable production meetings to touch base with current production issues and showcase research and demonstration plots.
Collaboration with Industry
Extension collaborates with the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP
), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS
), Conservation Districts, agricultural suppliers, Michigan Vegetable Council (MVC), Onion Committee, Celery Research Committee, Carrot Committee and Asparagus Advisory Board regarding vegetable-related research and trends.
Reaching People Where They Are, When They Need Us
Being present in many areas means greater success reaching vegetable growers when they want and need research-based information the most.
- In-season regional reports and alerts from May to September via MSU Extension News.
- Offering free or low-cost, multi-media educational resources.
- Speaking engagements with growers, Master Gardeners, crop consultants, and government and conservation organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and MAEAP.
Offering Timely Information to Manage Risk for Growers
Extension offers many on-demand services to growers to help farms increase profitability and reduce on-farm costs.
- Applied research and on-farm demonstration needs are defined with campus specialists, grower collaborators and industry representatives.
- Pest monitoring is performed by request from growers identifying perennial problems, and by regional regulatory agencies for invasive insects, diseases and weeds.
- Soil moisture monitoring for irrigators is a service provided after oneon-one conversations with soil moisture monitoring network participants. This service charges an annual fee to participants.
- TomCast disease weather monitoring provides consultants with disease model data from grower fields that is distributed via email.