Michigan State University has announced a three-year, $3.5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to establish a facility for research, education, and outreach programs on dairy management and product marketing.
The facility, to be located at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, will be a center for research, education, and outreach programs that inform farmers about dairy management and the marketing of pasture-raised animals and their products. The grant also will support the hire of two new faculty members specializing in animal grazing ecology and human ecology in rural development, as well as a program to connect farm-based and high school-based satellite sites across the state focusing on sustainable crop and animal production.
The project team hopes to strengthen distribution networks and demand for locally grown animal products raised on pasture. "To ensure the vitality of rural communities, it is important that we create better market opportunities for small and midsize farms," said Mike Hamm, C.S. Mott Chair for Sustainable Food Systems at MSU. "These farms are the backbone of communities — as food providers, purchasers of local goods and services, employers, taxpayers and stewards of the landscape. Expanding production options that improve the viability of these farms will help strengthen healthy rural economies and communities."