Sparty comes to campus

The Michigan State University mascot, Sparty, danced through the hallways of the H Building on Sept. 6, welcoming students to Field Day.

Many farmers and students came out to meet Sparty at MCCC’s Soybean / Cover Crop Field Day. 

MCCC and Michigan State University partnered to offer a farming degree that started in 2017. On Sept. 6, farmers came out to view projects being done here at MCCC and in the local area. 

MSU also brought Sparty along to take pictures with the participants at Field Day.

Mark Seamon, a speaker at Field Day, is glad MCCC was able to partner with MSU.

“I think it’s great to offer an opportunity for especially local students, who either don’t want to or aren’t able to live near MSU,” he said. “They are still able to access these classes and learn the curriculum the ag-tech program offers.” 

The Field Day targeted the topic of Soybean Management and Research Technology (SMaRT). 

Phospherous, a common fertilizer for soybeans, has found its way into Lake Erie via runoff, which makes appropriate management of the crops a high priority.

“A study by the American Society of Agronomy in 2014 found that if farmers can reduce phosphorus runoff by one pound per acre, it will help reduce the amount going into Lake Erie,” according to an MCCC press release on the Field Day. 

Another major topic discussed was cover crops, which are used to strengthen the soil of fields during off-season planting. Sixteen crop plants were available to view.

Taylor Myatt, a technician for the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program, presented a project at the event.

“I did a presentation on the program that I’m with, just trying to meet farmers and learn more about all the stuff that’s going on in Monroe County,” he said. “We are talking about a lot of different practices that farmers can be putting on the ground. I think that farmers want to see exactly how these things are going to work.”

The attendants had many positive reactions to the event.

Gene Brost, a farmer and director of the Monroe Conservation District, enjoyed Field Day.

“I’m just glad to see that the college is taking an interest in agriculture, because it is one of our largest industries,” he said. 

Brost also liked that the event was local.

“We don’t have to go any distance to see all this stuff. It’s kind of nice that they’re doing this.”

Brost said he would be interested in working with students from this program.

“It’s hard to find anyone who knows anything about agriculture anymore,” he said. 

Richard Janssens poses with the MSU mascot.

The farming program has generated interest among farmers in the area as well, including Richard Janssens. He feels strongly that the farming degree will be a positive addition to the campus.

“I think it’s a great thing. First of all for the students – they have here to actually see what’s being done –  but also to generate more interest in the agricultural community. 

“I wish they had it years earlier when I was going to school. I’m too old for anything further, I guess,” Janssens joked.