Academic Programs Catalog

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Michigan State University Extension

Jeffrey Dwyer, Director

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension is the main outreach arm of MSU. Thanks to more than 600 faculty and staff members located throughout Michigan, Extension provides education and resources to help people improve their families, communities and businesses. Whether it is helping grow Michigan’s agricultural economy, capturing opportunities that use our natural resources sustainably, controlling healthcare costs by giving individuals the information they need to manage chronic illness, or preparing tomorrow’s leaders, MSU Extension is creating opportunities and building communities that make Michigan strong, prosperous and a great place to live.

Because of its vast network of professionals with relationships through the state, MSU Extension is a nimble organization that can quickly respond to emergent issues. For example, when the Flint water crisis hit, MSU Extension was quick to respond with nutrition education for affected residents. When farm prices dropped dramatically, the organization was able to immediately provide stress management workshops to help the state’s farmers and their families. The MSU Extension behavioral health team provides educational materials and resources to families struggling with opioid addiction.

Established in 1914, MSU Extension thrives on a three-way partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state and local governments. Campus-based faculty members in four MSU colleges share expertise derived from research and other scholarly activities to support local Extension programs.

MSU Extension offers summer internship opportunities for young people eager to make a positive difference in Michigan communities. Interns have an opportunity to learn about Extension programming in all four statewide program areas: agriculture and agribusiness, health and nutrition, children and youth, and natural resources and economic and community development.

Agriculture and Agribusiness
Agriculture continues to be an important economic driver in Michigan. MSU Extension works with all segments of Michigan agriculture to support the production of safe, high-quality, nutritious food and biobased fuels and materials. MSU Extension develops and delivers science-based research and need-based programming to advance the profitability and sustainability of Michigan farms, to help producers improve water and land stewardship, and to increase consumer understanding of modern agriculture. Programs are also available for beginning farmers and those considering new ventures in specialty crops or alternative commodities. In addition, MSU Extension provides counseling for food and agricultural entrepreneurs, including reviewing new business ventures that explore the development of value-added products.  All of these efforts help to position Michigan as a leader in providing affordable, quality, safe food for local, national and international markets.

Health and Nutrition
Michigan State University Extension’s strength is its community-based approach to meeting local needs and its unwavering efforts to serve the needs of children, families and communities, regardless of whether they are in urban, suburban or rural settings. In all of its programming, MSU Extension promotes healthy lifestyles and equips Michigan residents to take control of their health through research-based education and action-oriented tools. Our goal is to help people lead healthy lives and contribute to their communities.

Children and Youth
The goal of MSU Extension's children and youth programs is to ensure that every Michigan child has the necessary knowledge, tools and skills to lead a healthy and productive life. By providing children with a continuum of learning opportunities, resources and support from birth through age 19, MSU Extension helps to prepare Michigan youth for the future. 
MSU Extension’s early childhood education programs serve families of children from birth to age 8 by providing parents and caregivers with educational resources related to child development, emerging literacy and school readiness. As youth become older, ages 5-19, MSU Extension supports them through Michigan 4-H. This program helps young people learn critical life skills while exploring their interests and passions. Through hands-on learning opportunities with positive adult role models, youth experience the benefits of working together while growing their confidence, civic engagement and leadership skills, and sense of responsibility. All programs encourage the development of employability skills and career exploration and are available in hundreds of project areas, including science and technology, arts and global education, healthy living, leadership and service, environmental education, animal science and entrepreneurship.

Natural Resources and Community and Economic Development
MSU Extension faculty and staff members help residents build stronger communities by enhancing community engagement, strengthening government leadership and financial structures, advancing entrepreneurship, fostering natural resources stewardship, developing local food systems and enhancing the quality of place. Outreach programs in home ownership and financial literacy education also strengthen Michigan communities and families.