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Posts tagged: Michigan State University

Kenya Borlaug Fellow Gains Insight on Helping Local Farmers

“Our dream is to be part of upgrading the living standards of small-scale farmers who produce the foods that go into Azuri products, in a sustainable and profitable way,”  —Tei Mukunya, CEO of Azuri Health Limited, Kenya

A common challenge among small-scale farmers in developing countries is getting their products from the farm to markets. Tei Mukunya, the CEO of a health foods company in Kenya, believes her recent participation in USDA’s Borlaug Fellowship Program will help her address this issue in her country.

For nearly 10 years, the Borlaug program has helped developing countries strengthen sustainable agricultural practices by providing U.S.-based training and research opportunities to visiting agricultural policymakers and researchers. Mukunya recently finished a 12-week fellowship at Michigan State University to study the latest solar drying technology. Her company uses the technology to make organic health foods. Read more »

Ag Entrepreneurship Support from USDA Helps a Michigan FFA Member Boost His Seed Business

Jasper Cunningham, Michigan FFA National Officer candidate, Junior at Michigan State University, and owner of the Seed Boy Seed Company (left) meets with Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager at the Agriculture Department.

Jasper Cunningham, Michigan FFA National Officer candidate, Junior at Michigan State University, and owner of the Seed Boy Seed Company (left) meets with Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager at the Agriculture Department.

Jasper Cunningham is a busy young man.  A Junior at Michigan State University, Michigan FFA’s National Officer candidate, and the owner of his own business:  the Seed Boy Seed Company.

Like many FFA members, Jasper, of Ravenna, Michigan, didn’t grow up on a farm, but farming and agriculture is in his blood.  An Ag Business major, he’s been in the FFA since his freshman year in high school. Read more »

Getting Back to the Farm

When he decided to get back into farming five years ago, Tony An­drejczuk faced more challenges than most farmers. Andrejczuk lost the use of his legs after a work acci­dent in 1997, and being able to access his family’s entire farm is one of his biggest obstacles.

Andrejczuk grew up farming with his father and brother on their orchard and field crop farm near Lawrence, Mich. He studied crops and soil science at Michigan State University and planned to return to the family farm to work—but a tough economy forced him to choose a dif­ferent career. He joined the military and later started a tree business; the accident ended that career.

About five years ago, Andrejczuk helped one of his sons plant a few acres of corn on the farm; they did it for fun, and planned to leave the corn for wildlife. Instead, a neighbor offered to harvest it for them and even paid them for the crop. Read more »

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Tours Cutting-Edge Renewable Energy Facility in Michigan

Last week, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited the campus of Michigan State University to participate in a tour of the cellulosic ethanol pretreatment lab at MBI International and conduct a roundtable discussion with key stakeholders in Michigan’s biofuels community.

MBI is owned by the Michigan State University Foundation and its purpose is to “de-risk” emerging technologies, making them more viable for commercial application.  One of MBI’s current projects is developing ways to scale cellulosic ethanol from the laboratory to the marketplace. Read more »

Tanzanian Engineer Keeps Skills Sharp Assisting Michigan Farmers as an Earth Team Volunteer

NRCS District Conservationist Edwin Martinez conducts a wetland determination assisted by Earth Team Volunteer Tula Ngasala near St. Johns, Mich. Ngasala, a Tanzanian engineer, assists the St. Johns Field Office one day a week.

NRCS District Conservationist Edwin Martinez conducts a wetland determination assisted by Earth Team Volunteer Tula Ngasala near St. Johns, Mich. Ngasala, a Tanzanian engineer, assists the St. Johns Field Office one day a week.

Tulakemelwa Ngasala is a Tanzanian civil and water resources engineer currently living in Michigan. While in the United States she is caring for her three young girls while her husband works toward his Ph.D. in geology at Michigan State University. Read more »

Farming Critical to Michigan Recovery

Originally published in The Detroit News:

Today, 306 million Americans have food on their table thanks to a small and noble group of professional gamblers: America’s farmers and ranchers.

Only about 1 percent of Americans operate a farm or ranch and these hardworking few not only help provide the rest of us with three meals every day, but they also form the foundation of the agricultural sector of our economy that generates one in every 12 jobs and a $20 billion trade surplus.

They do so in the face of enormous business and personal risk. Read more »