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January 2020


Phil MillerUsing handheld clipping tools to trim the thousands of greens necessary to make the wreaths can take a toll on an individual's hands, and eventually making wreaths became a painful, unpleasant, task. This happened to Phil Miller, for whom making holiday wreaths has been both a passion and a profession for decades. Michigan AgrAbility was able to help Phil to remain productive by assisting in the procurement of electric pruners which has enabled him to keep working in spite of his hand pain. Easterseals Michigan AgrAbility program is currently exploring other ways to help so that he can continue doing what he loves!

Laurie and Joe GrantDo you know Michigan ranks third in the nation for fresh Christmas tree production, producing over a dozen varieties of trees on more than 42,000 acres throughout the state? Laurie Grant and her husband, Joe, contribute to Michigan's national standing by producing Christmas trees as well as cherries on their farm. Laurie was assisted by AgrAbility to help her accommodate arthritis and allow her to comfortably continue her pruning job in the farm's orchards and Christmas tree fields.

The Michigan AgrAbility Farmer Review Panel convened in December. MSU staff presented 2017 and 2018 annual survey results. Michigan AgrAbility was very much appreciated by their clients. To incentivize annual survey returns, at the 2017 Farm Panel meeting, two panel members offered $100 for the purchase of a gift card. A random drawing was held after the 2019 panel meeting to determine the two gift card winners. One 2019 farmer panel member offered to sponsor the $100 gift card for a lucky winner for the 2019 annual survey return. To further incentivize clients returning the annual survey and case closing survey, discussion among panel members resulted in a decision to combine the case-closing survey and the annual survey so clients need only complete one survey form. Hopefully this change, combined with other changes discussed at the meeting, will increase the number of clients returning the survey form to permit Michigan AgrAbility to better serve its constituents.

MI AgrAbility at the Great Lakes ExpoDecember was a busy month for Michigan AgrAbility staff attending conferences: Michigan Farm Bureau Annual Meeting (Dec 3-5) and the Great Lakes Expo (Dec 10-12). The Expo gathers fruit and vegetable growers, greenhouse growers and farm marketers across Michigan and surrounding states to attend informational sessions, have an opportunity to network with others, and learn about Michigan AgrAbility. Michigan AgrAbility partnered with Davenport University to provide free arthritis screenings to conference attendees.

Mark your calendars! The 2020 Alpha Gamma Rho Beef Preview is soon to be here! Join the fun Friday-Sunday, February 7-9, at the MSU Livestock Pavilion in East Lansing. If you would like to sponsor or contribute to this great cause, please find the sponsorship form here.

Submitted by Deb Chester