In 1855, the Michigan Legislature passed Act 130 which provided for the establishment of the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. Michigan Agricultural College was the first college in the United States to offer agriculture courses for credit. Today, Michigan State University (MSU) is recognized as a leader in higher learning and agricultural research, extension and youth development. To maintain this status, we support state funding for MSU that places it in a comparable academic and financial status with other research universities.
The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) have historically provided a strong foundation for educating generations of individuals involved in agriculture in Michigan, the nation and worldwide. We continue to support these colleges and urge them to work closely with stakeholders, including producers, to address the research, resource, and information needs of the agriculture industry, as well as the curriculum focus of agricultural job providers.
We support programs such as the Production Medicine Scholars program and incentives to encourage a higher rate of CVM graduates to address the shortage of large animal veterinarians practicing in Michigan.
We support re-establishing the agriscience education department, including a master’s degree program, and a renewed effort to increase the number of graduates who are accredited to teach agricultural education in Michigan.
We support programs and policies that encourage increased enrollment of students in agricultural education degree programs. We encourage increased incorporation of agricultural literacy into programs preparing elementary and secondary teachers in other degree areas.
We urge Michigan Farm Bureau to continue to meet with the leadership of MSU to discuss the critical importance of the land grant mission to Michigan agriculture. MFB must continue to partner with other agriculture industry leaders to work with leadership at MSU to reevaluate their educational and outreach programs and refocus their efforts on core programs such as agronomy, animal science, agriscience education, horticulture, forestry, food industry management, new agricultural technology, and other agricultural and natural resource programs. In order to work in partnership with stakeholders and the Legislature, we urge MSU to continue sharing financial information regarding investments in agricultural programming at the University and within AgBioResearch and Extension.
We support students’ ability to apply directly to the CANR and CVM, versus the University as a whole. We urge CANR and CVM to expand their recruitment efforts within the state, including efforts to work through existing organizations to promote educational and career opportunities, and encouraging students to apply in the spring of their junior year of high school.
We believe the two-year agricultural technology program provides a valuable service to Michigan agriculture and ought to be recognized as a highlight of the CANR. We support improvements to the MSU ag-tech program to better serve the needs of students, employers, businesses, industry and consumers. We are encouraged by the changes that allow ag-tech credits to fully transfer into four-year programs at MSU. We support continued expansion of partnerships with community colleges and other four-year institutions in the state to increase interest in career tracks offered by the CANR.
ABR and MSUE must work closely with production agriculture, agribusiness and other research entities so research and the subsequent dissemination of research information and outreach is focused on the most appropriate industry needs. We support increasing state and federal funding for MSUE and ABR, placing them at the forefront of agricultural research and outreach.
We strongly support the research/extension specialist program on and off campus. These positions have provided direct contact with stakeholders and research has been field-applied. We encourage a focus on core agricultural programs.
We urge MSUE to consider years of applied career experience in lieu of a Master’s degree as an alternate avenue to recruit top-tier applicants into MSUE educator positions. We support a reemphasis on hiring and filling research-related faculty positions to address the emerging needs and priority issues of the production agriculture industry.
We strongly support Michigan 4-H youth programs and encourage MFB and county Farm Bureaus to assist in state and local 4-H activities. We recognize the educational efforts and impact of youth experiences in animal projects and plant science projects. Stakeholders are the volunteers that make these programs successful for the youth of our state, and must be involved as Extension plans for the future delivery of these programs and hires staff.
MFB will continue its partnership with 4-H Capitol Experience. The partnership will encourage students to participate in a high-quality youth leadership experience, with continued support from county Farm Bureaus.