New Michigan food laws require that all commercial food service establishments must have at least one manager certified in food safety, including safe food preparation and storage.
To meet this need, MSU Extension offers the ServSafe program, a 16-hour course that food service managers can complete. Following the conclusion of the workshop, they can take a test that, if they pass, enables them to meet the state requirement.
Hillsdale County MSU Extension held two ServSafe workshops in 2008, another in March 2009, and one is set for June 2009. This certificate program is a new venture for Hillsdale MSU Extension; in the past the staff has offered four-hour workshops for front-line employees but never a program for managers.
In addition to satisfying state laws, participants who pass the 90-question test receive a National Restaurant Association certificate that states they have successfully completed the standards set forth for the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification Examination, which is accredited by the American National Standards Institute conference for Food Protection.
Participants in the March class completed an evaluation following the program. When asked what they would do differently as a result of taking this training, comments included,
repare a guide for my employees for proper techniques,
Be more aware of practices,
Practice better personal hygiene, and
I will teach and train my workers how to be clean and how to work without contaminating foods.
MSUE for assistance A Hillsdale County pork producer contacted MSU Extension looking for help determining why his swine breeding program was achieving only about 50 percent conception rate in his sow herd.
With this in mind, Tom Guthrie, MSU Extension educator and member of the MSU Extension Pork Team, and Ron Bates, MSU Extension swine specialist and another Pork Team member, conducted an on-farm consultation.
After visiting with this producer and spending time in his swine barns, Bates and Guthrie offered some recommendations that would address the conception rate problem he was experiencing with his swine breeding program.
About a month and a half later, the producer sent an e-mail to both Guthrie and Bates that read as follows:
Continued Pork assistance--continued
“Hey guys I think your suggestions for the hand mating/artificial inseminating program is going to work slick. This week is 21 days since we bred the sows, out of 17 head exposed to the boars we had two re-breeds (sows that the boars rebred). I've been trying to go through the barns three or four times a day checking for heats, I've got each boar in a pen with five females which we re-penned after we had them separated to hand mate.
“Thanks again for all your effort to help us out. Now just got to figure out how to get 15 bred females worked through 12 farrowing crates.”
This pork producer looked to MSUE for help. With the implementation of the management practices recommended, conception rate of sows in this operation went from about 50 percent to nearly 90 percent.
In addition, at an educational meeting in late March, this particular producer mentioned that he was grateful for the help and probably wouldn’t be in business later this year if he had not solved his sow herd conception rate issue.
Extension Educator, Pork AoE
America Saves—and so does Hillsdale County
How much loose change is rolling around in your car or your couch? What is the typical amount of emergency savings that Americans need? How much more money do families with a savings plan save than those without a plan?
Six youths from the Hillsdale County Juvenile Drug Court explored these and other questions at an educational program held during America Saves Week in February. They also had the opportunity to open up their own personal savings accounts and set their personal savings goals.
The Hillsdale County 4-H Youth Development program received funds from MSU Extension through the Consumer Federation of America, the sponsor of America Saves Week, to conduct personal finance education activities.
Insa Raymond, The Hillsdale County MSU Extension 4-H educator, worked with Jeannie Nichols, the Family and Consumer Sciences educator who already teaches life-skills to youth involved with the juvenile drug court system, and Southern Michigan Bank and Trust to offer the program.
All six youngsters received savings account start-up money and a piggy bank to encourage future money saving. After discussing goal setting, budgeting and saving, Southern Michigan Bank and Trust staff worked with each teen to complete the paperwork needed to open up a savings account.
They also explained how interest works and savings accounts work, including penalties for early withdrawals.
“This makes me feel very special” or “This makes me feel important” were some of the comments by the youth when opening their accounts. None of the youth has had a savings account before.
Because the participants were minors, their parents were required to visit the bank within 10 days after the program to give their consent for their establishment of the savings accounts. Four families followed up within the requested amount of time.
Follow-up surveys will be conducted in six and 12 months to see if the teens kept the money in their account and if they added money to it.
4-H Youth Development Educator
MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824. This information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned.