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Michigan Bits: CCA recertification offered; avian flu detected; MDARD commission changes made.

March 20, 2023

3 Min Read

Barry County farmer Nick Suwyn received the fifth-place award in the 2022 National Wheat Yield Contest sponsored by the National Wheat Foundation.

Suwyn's production of 138.06 bushels per acre on the northwest Barry County farm claimed fifth place in the contest's Soft Red Winter Wheat division. The National Wheat Foundation's Yield Contest goal is to improve productivity, quality and marketability of U.S. wheat.

Any farmer with more than 5 acres of growing wheat is encouraged to enter the 2023 contest before May 15. Entries can also be submitted for the Quality Award division, which provides cash awards for the winners.

Online course offered for CCA recertification

Farmers needing certified crop adviser recertification credits can obtain them in person or online. Michigan State University Extension has developed an online, self-paced course for private and commercial pesticide applicators.

This course is designed for both new certification and for those in need of further education or credits. Those who complete the course will obtain 12 credits for private, commercial core and all commercial categories. The cost of this training is $75.

The course is set up in 12 modules that correlate to the chapters in the national pesticide training manual. The course is self-paced so enrollees can take as much time and as many days as needed to complete, as long as it is completed before the end of the year. There are also limited in-person core exams being offered in East Lansing or Frankenmuth.

Sign-up is online at the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development website. Questions about pesticide certification can be directed to Lisa Graves at MDARD at 800-292-3939.

Avian flu outbreak reported in Eaton County

The Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has detected highly pathogenic avian influenza in a backyard poultry flock from Eaton County. This is the first detection of HPAI in a Michigan domestic flock in 2023, and the first case in Eaton County.

Bird owners of all sizes are urged to remain vigilant and actively protect their flocks from HPAI — especially as wild birds complete their spring migration.

HPAI is a highly contagious virus that can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers.

To protect other flocks in Michigan, the infected premises is under quarantine, and the birds were depopulated to prevent disease spread. The flock contained about 15 chickens. 

New appointments, officers on MDARD commission

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced two appointments to the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development. The two new commissioners are David Williams and Felicia Wu.

Williams, of Elsie, is a farm manager for W Farms LLC, formerly known as David Williams Farm. He previously served as president of the Michigan Soybean Association and as the director of the United Soybean Board.

Wu, of Okemos, is a John A. Hannah distinguished professor at Michigan State University, working in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics. The commission has the responsibility to recommend, and in some cases determine, policy on food, agricultural and rural development issues.

Andy Chae of Detroit was elected chair of the commission. Chae was appointed to the commission by Whitmer on July 7, 2021. He is the owner-operator of FishEye Farms in Detroit.

Monica Wyant of Grand Rapids was elected vice chair of the commission. Wyant is the produce business Manager for Meijer Inc., where she is responsible for sourcing fresh fruits and vegetables for the grocery chain.

Juliette King-McAvoy of Central Lake was elected secretary of the commission. King-McAvoy is the vice president of sales and marketing for King Orchards, a family-owned and operated orchard and food business.

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