Friday, May 22, 2015

Goat Registration Deadline, Fair Books, and Poultry Update

Goat Registration Deadline
Just a reminder that the deadline for registering your goat project with the Superintendent is May 29, 2015. The form can be found under the fair documents tab at the top of the Connections website. Please keep in mind that this form needs to be filled out in addition to the forms you fill out at the Fair Office.

Fair Books
The 2015 Jackson County Fair Book is now available. It can be found under the Fair Documents tab at the top of the Connections website. The deadline for registering animal projects with the Fair Office is June 19, 2015. The deadline for registering still exhibits is July 10, 2015.
* Please note that this registration is required for ALL projects and is done in addition to any paperwork you have already submitted to the superintendents.

Poultry Update
If you are involved in the Poultry project, please read the following message from our Poultry Superintendents:

We wanted to let everyone know that a strain of Avian Influenza has been confirmed in Whitley County Indiana which is just a little west of Fort Wayne.  Below is some information that we though you should be aware of, to protect your birds and understand what the cause could be if you find a dead wild bird or one of your own. 

As a result of this strain being so close to Jackson County all market project poultry and ducks will be picked up at the MSU extension office not at the superintendents homes (either TJ in Concord or Damian in Grass Lake). 

If you have any questions, you can contact the extension office,  your veterinarian or the poultry superintendents for more information.

Avian Influenza -
In Whitley County, Indiana, a strain of highly pathogenic H5N8 Avian Influenza (HPAI) was recently detected in a backyard poultry flock consisting of ducks, geese, turkeys and chickens. This strain differs from the H5N2 strain that has caused the loss of more than 30 million chickens turkeys and other birds in nearby states and is the first known occurrence along the Mississippi flyway.
Avian Influenza is very contagious among birds. Infected birds can spread it through saliva, nasal secretions and feces.
There are two categories of AI. Low pathogenic avian influenza A virus (LPAI) may cause mild illness or none at all and may go undetected. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A (HPAI) causes severe diseases and high mortality rates in poultry. Both types of AI can spread quickly in poultry flocks.
Despite the danger of AI to poultry, the risk of human infection is currently low. To date, no human infections with the virus have been found in the U.S. though people have been infected with other strains of AI in other countries.
Recent articles about AI state that there is not a concern about AI with regard to food safety, but as always, you should take certain precautions when handling and preparing poultry, such as ensuring that it is cooked properly and completely, and washing your hands thoroughly before and after handling meat.
For people who keep poultry, to prevent the spread of the disease we recommend that you closely follow the biosecurity measures listed here and these additional precautions:
1.    Avoid contact with dead or diseased birds or poultry. If you come in contact with dead fowl for any reason, wash your hands thoroughly and wash any clothing that may have come in contact with it.
2.    Do not use poultry feed that was stored outdoors.
3.    Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds both before and after handling poultry and poultry meat.
4.    When cooking poultry, use a thermometer, and make sure the meat reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 F.

Further Reading
1.    U.S. Avian Influenza Backyard Flock Resources from Iowa State University.
2.    Consumer Information on the U.S. Avian Influenza from Iowa State University.
3.    USDA biosecurity for birds website.

T.J. McCully
Damian Bruce
Sabrina Edgar

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

4-H Meeting Schedule for May

May 4-H  Meeting Schedule
A few of our meetings have changed locations or dates. Here is what we have for the rest of the month:

May 6th and 7th: 4-H Hippology Testing
  • 6:00pm-8:00pm at the Extension Office
May 7th: Small Animal Showmanship Clinic
  • 6:00PM-9:00PM at the Extension Office
May 9th: Sheep and Swine Pre Fair Check in
  •  10:00AM-12:00noon at the Extension Office
May 9th: Rabbit Pre Fair Check In Make-Up
  • 10:00AM-12:00noon at the Extension Office
    • The Superintendents will be available to check in any members who were unable to make it to the regular check in. 
May 11th: 4-H Horse Council Meeting
  • 7:00PM at a horse leader's house (contact Superintendents for directions)
May 19th: Small Animal Association
  • 7:00pm at the Extension Office

Thursday, April 30, 2015

May 1st Deadlines

May 1st Deadlines for 4-H
Just a reminder that we have several deadlines coming up Friday May 1st. The following things need to be completed prior to the end of the day:

Enrollment: Any members wishing to show 4-H exhibits at the 2015 Jackson County Fair need to create a profile (for each member) by Friday. Directions can be found in our February 9th post. The website for creating a profile is

     *please note that you have met the deadline as long as your status says "pending" or "active".

Poultry: Poultry Registration Forms are due. Also,  Broiler, Roaster, Fryer, or Duck Order forms are due. Forms can be located under the Fair Documents Tab at the top of the website. Forms can be faxed or emailed to the superintendents. They can also be dropped off at the Extension Office.

Rabbits: The date of possession for rabbits is May 1st. Don't forget that Rabbit Pre Fair Check in is Saturday May 2nd 9:00am- 12:00noon. Forms are located in the Fair Documents Tab at the top of the website.

Sheep and Swine: The date of possession for both species is May 1st. The Pre Fair Check in for both species will be Saturday May 9th from 10:00am-12:00noon. All Pre Fair Check in paperwork is located under the Fair Documents Tab at the top of the website.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Michigan 4-H Day at Comerica Park

Michigan 4-H Day at Comerica Park

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Small Animal Showmanship Clinic Date Change and Rabbit Pre Fair Check In

4-H Small Animal Showmanship Clinic Date Change

Due to some scheduling conflicts with the leaders of the Small Animal Showmanship Clinic originally planned for April 30th, we are moving the date of the clinic to May 7th. The species schedule will remain the same: 6:00 Poultry, 7:00 Rabbits, and 8:00 Goats. We will no longer be having the clinic on April 30th, so please update your calendars.

Rabbit Pre Fair Check In
As announced at the small animal expectations meeting, we will be holding a Rabbit Pre Fair Check in on May 2nd 9:00am-12:00noon.  Exhibitors are asked  to bring their breed stock rabbit(s) to the MSU Extension office for possession verification. Breed stock rabbits not verified on this date will not be allowed entry to fair.  Please also bring any breed stock alternatives that may be used for fair in place of your primary breed stock rabbit.

Please note that possession check is not confirmation that a rabbit meets breed ARBA standards or guarantee of health.

Pre fair check in paperwork can be found by clicking here or by clicking on the Fair Documents tab at the top of the page. Please bring this form to the check in with you.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Online PQA, Small Animal Showmanship Clinic, and Record Books

Online PQA
If you missed the PQA session last week,  there is still time to get your certification before the date of possession (May 1st). Anyone who was unable to make the face-to-face class can complete the training online through the National Pork Board.

To register for the training, please click here. Users can register with or without a certificate number.  Parents can locate existing youth records or add children to their account, and then grant access to train.   Based on the birth year provided, youth will be directed to the appropriate age level course. There is an exam for Intermediate and Advanced. PQA is a required component of the Swine Project. Please note that swine leaders and superintendents would like youth who plan to exhibit swine at the 2015 Jackson County Fair to have their PQA certification before they drop off swine paperwork on May 9th.

Small Animal Showmanship Clinic
Looking for a way to learn more about Poultry, Rabbit, and Goat showmanship? Small animal leaders from around the county are hosting an educational clinic for members to learn the skills required for small animal showmanship. The clinic will be held on Thursday April 30th at the Extension Office (1715 Lansing Ave, Ste 257 Jackson, MI) The meeting will run from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Poultry Showmanship will be taught 6:00-7:00, Rabbit Showmanship will be taught 7:00-8:00, and Goat Showmanship will be taught 8:00-9:00. Leaders will have live animals for Poultry and Rabbit demonstrations. Members of all skill levels are encouraged to attend!

Record Books
Rabbit and Sheep record books are now available. They can be located under the "Fair Documents" tab at the top of our website.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Beef Weigh In, PQA, Exploration Days Books, and KMS Reminder

4-H Beef Weigh In
If you are taking beef cattle to the 2015 Jackson County Fair and you plan to participate in the Rate of Gain contest, weigh in will be Saturday, March 7th 9:00am-11:00am at Napoleon Livestock Commission. Please bring your steer in between those hours to be weighed. Note that this weigh in is optional. Contact Mershell Cook at (517) 206-5066 with any questions.

Youth PQA
We will be offering an in person session of PQA on April 7th, 2015. The session starts at 6:30pm. Please remember that PQA certification is required for all youth that are bringing swine to the 2015 Jackson County Fair. Swine leaders ask that you have your certification prior to turning in pre fair paperwork. If you are unable to attend the face-to-face PQA session, we will be offering the online option again this year. Contact the Extension Office if you have any questions. Online PQA details will be posted at a later date.

Exploration Days 2015
Registration books are now available. Exploration Days will be held June24-26, 2015 at MSU.
This event is open to all members age 11 and up (age is determined by your age on January 1 of that year). Here is what you can look forward to if you attend:
  • There’ll be more than 200 session choices held on and off campus. You’ll choose one or two for your three-day stay.
  • You’ll live in a Michigan State University dorm and eat in the cafeteria—just like MSU students do.
  • Sessions are taught by people who know their stuff, including MSU faculty members, 4-H volunteers and staff members and other experts.
  • It’s not all sessions! There’s plenty of time for fun, including swimming, skating, souvenir shopping, exploring, bowling, basketball—even a great dance Thursday night.
Registrations are now being accepted at the Jackson County MSU Extension office. You can pick up a book and form at the office or click here to get it online.  Registration forms will be entered in the order that they are received. Keep in mind that sessions fill up quickly!

New this year: The Jackson County 4-H Foundation and the 4-H Council have agreed to pay 100% of the registration fee for members who are attending for the first time. They will also pay for 50% of the registration fee for any returning members. This is a great opportunity for youth to learn new skills and experience college life in a safe environment. Please contact the Jackson County MSU Extension office if you have any questions.

Kyle Mason Samson Scholarship
Just a reminder: The deadline is fast approaching for the KMS Scholarship. Applications are due by March 15th. The application can be accessed by viewing our January 26th post or by stopping at the MSU Extension office to pick up a hard copy.

Monday, February 9, 2015

4-H Online Registration

4-H Online
As many of you know, we are switching our member database to an online system that will allow families to manage their information online. Earlier this year, we introduced the new system to Club Leaders and had them set up their club profiles. We are now asking all members to create a profile in the new system, 4-H Online.

For this process, each family will create a family account using one email address and login. After this family "shell" is created, we ask you to add all members from that family as well as any adult volunteers. Please note that parents do not need to create their own profile unless they are a registered volunteer.

To access the website, please go to From this screen, you can create a family profile. We have created a family guide that can be downloaded by clicking here. This guide will walk you through the steps to creating a member profile.

  • Once a profile is created, the club leader will approve the member. Please note that members will not be approved until the club leader has received the participation fee of $10.00.
  • Club leaders will turn in payments to the Extension office and the office will also approve a member. At this point, an email will be sent to the family account, letting you know a member has been accepted.
Existing members have until April 1, 2015 to create a profile in order to show at the 2015 Jackson County Fair. New members (those who were not a member during the 2014 Fair) have until May 1st. The Extension Office is open from 8:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday (closed 12:30-1:30 for lunch) if you have any questions about the new system. We appreciate your patience as we transition.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

Beef Check In Reminder

4-H Beef Check In Reminder
Beef Paperwork, DNA, and Pictures need to be brought to the Extension Office tomorrow, February 7th 10:00am-12:00pm for all members planning to bring beef cattle to the 2015 Jackson County Fair. Don't forget: all pictures need to be printed out and one must be of the head, showing the RFID tag.  If you are unable to attend the check in, please make arrangement with another member to deliver your paperwork. Late documentation will not be accepted.

All forms for Pre Fair Check in are located under the documents tab at the top of the website.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Kyle Mason Samson Scholarship and Foundation Meeting Change

2015 KMS Scholarship
The application for the 2015 Kyle Mason Samson Scholarship is now available. Applications are due March 15th. Please note that March 15th is on a Sunday this year. This means that all scholarship applications must be dropped off to the Extension office by 5:00pm Friday March 13th or postmarked by the 15th. Download the application by clicking here.

4-H Foundation Meeting
The February 4-H Foundation meeting has been moved to February 25th at 6:00pm. The date has been updated on our calendar at the top of of this page.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Pre Fair Check In Paperwork, Small Animal Meetings, and New Cage Sponsor Request

Pre Fair Check In Paperwork
We have uploaded the pre fair check in paperwork for Beef, Sheep, and Swine under the "Fair Documents" Tab at the top of our website. The Poultry Expectations Packet, Poultry Order Form, and Rabbit Expectations Packet are also available under this tab. Additional forms for Poultry, Rabbits, and Goats will be made available as we complete them. Please note the check in dates listed below:

February 7th 10:00am-12:00noon: Beef (Paperwork, DNA, and Pictures)
May 2nd 9:00am-12:00noon: Rabbit (Paperwork and Animals)
May 9th 10:00am-12:00noon: Swine (Paperwork, DNA, and Pictures)
May 9th 10:00am-12:00noon: Sheep (Paperwork, DNA, Pictures, and Animals)

Small Animal Meetings
The Small Animal Leaders for Concord Contenders are opening up their monthly meetings to all Jackson County 4-H Members. Anyone is welcome to attend. Members can stay a member of their own club but attend these meetings to strengthen their small animal skills. Below is a list of their schedule for the year. Please send TJ an email or give him a call if you plan to attend a meeting so that enough handouts are available.
Rabbit and Poultry Cage Request
As many of you know, our Rabbit and Poultry cages need to be replaced. The Small Animal Association is asking our small animal project members to reach out to the community for cage sponsorship. Cages are $60 and a sponsor plaque will be attached to the cage with the donors name. For an additional $10, a company logo can be added to the plaque. For a printable order form, click here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Beginning Farmers Webinar Series

MSU Extension 2015 Beginning Farmers Webinar Series

Effective Management of Farm Employees Workshop and Field Crops Webinar Series

Effective Management of Farm Employees Workshop

Field Crops Monday Night Webinar Series

Thursday, January 15, 2015

4-H Small Animal Expecatations Meeting and Beef Tagging

4-H Small Animal Expectations Meeting
Our annual Small Animal Expectations Meeting will be held at the Extension Office Thursday January 22nd at 7:00pm. All small animal leaders and members are encouraged to come. At this meeting, superintendents for Poultry, Rabbits, Goats, and Dogs will present deadlines and paperwork for the 2015 Jackson County Fair. Changes for the 2015 year will also be introduced at this meeting. Please plan to attend this important meeting.

Beef Tagging
Similar to last year, beef project members are going to be required to fill out paperwork, collect DNA samples, and take pictures of their beef cattle Instead of bringing the animals in to be tagged, we will have a Paperwork Check In day at the Extension Office on February 7th from 10:00am- 12:00noon. All samples, paperwork, and pictures are due during that timeframe. All information and forms must be together in order to be accepted. If you will not be available to drop off your paperwork at that time, members are allowed to have another family drop off it off for them. If you have any questions about this process, please contact the Extension Office at (517) 788-4292 or Beef Superintendent Mershell Cook at (517) 206-5066 prior to February 7th. Late or incomplete entries will not be accepted.

The required paperwork for Check in can be found by clicking here.