Van Buren County MSU Extension to offer agricultural programs

Published 6:00 pm Friday, January 14, 2022

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN — Two programs that will provide agricultural education to area residents and farmers are coming to southwest Michigan, thanks to the Van Buren County Michigan State University Extension.

The Field Crops Pest Management Program will be hosted on Jan. 24 at the Dowagiac Conservation Club, located just north of Dowagiac on M-51.

This program will feature updates on MSU’s recommendations for weed, disease and insect control.

Marty Chilvers, MSU field crops plant pathologist, will share results of his research conducted near Decatur over the past summer. Weed control specialists Christy Sprague and Erin Burns will provide and update on weed control programs for corn and soybeans, and how to tweak programs to control common waterhemp, johnsongrass and marestail. Field crops entomologist Chris DiFonzo will discuss an updated insect control guide that was cooperatively developed by MSU and the Ohio State University Extension specialist Kelley Tilmon. Michigan Corn’s Kristen Poley will talk about carbon credit contracts and what to consider before signing a farm up. Kirk Babcock, from the Rantizzo Group, will talk about changes in Michigan regulations for tank capacity when using drones to spray crops.

Registration is required. Registration deadline is Jan. 17, and can be done at

The Ag Action Day Field Crops Program will be hosted on Feb. 2 at the Van Buren County Intermediate School District Conference Center.

This program will feature an open discussion on soil fertility questions for southwest Michigan’s predominate sandy and lower CEC soil types.

“We intend for this program to have lots of time for questions and answers with MSU Soil Fertility Specialist Dr. Kurt Steinke,” said Bruce MacKellar, MSU Extension educator. “We would like this program to help participants to walk away with a better understanding of how to use the nutrients in your soil to the maximum for this growing season.”

The program will also feature discussion on utilizing manure nutrients to replace and supplement fertilizer applications for corn and soybean production by Sarah Fronczak. Jon LaPorte, MSU farm financial management educator, will discuss a tool that he has developed to help look at the value of manures and other fertilizer inputs to develop a soil fertility plant that can work for your farm. MSU production economics specialist Dr. Matt Gammans will discuss the cost of production and market outlooks for the 2022 growing season.

“We will also discuss research observation for Corn Tar Spot at this meeting,” MacKellar said.

Registration deadline is Jan. 27, and can be done at

For more information, call  (269) 657-8213 or