AgroExpo prepares for 5th year as Michigan’s largest Farm Trade Show
CASA Spotlight: Meet CASA Sally
Helping Hands Dinner sponsored celebrate
A Look Back Again – Mike Humphrey
Maralyn’s Pet Corner – Does Saying Goodbye Help Prevent Dog Separation Anxiety?

AgroExpo prepares for 5th year as Michigan’s largest Farm Trade Show

On August 11 and 12, 2020 AgroExpo will celebrate its fifth year as Michigan’s largest agricultural trade show. In 2019 over 2700 attendees attended the fourth annual AgroExpo. The show, which is held at the North Central Research Station in St Johns, provided agricultural demonstrations, speakers, and exhibits for production farmers.

Each year features a demonstration of equipment. Last year, attendees saw demos of sprayers, remote soil testing operations, and drones. This year, exhibitors will demonstrate the technology available for cover crops.

“With 2019 being the worst weather year any of us can remember, farmers are focused on cover crops,” said Burt Henry, AgroExpo Industry Relations and Promotions Manager. “We’re looking forward to seeing and showing available options to the farming community. It might be something people have wanted to try, but haven’t done yet, and it’s interesting to see the results before you make your own investment.”

The AgroExpo team is also lining up speakers to address issues important to production farmers. Listeners can also receive CCA and RUP credits. In addition, the show is on track to have over 130 exhibitors.

Last year was the inaugural addition of FFA student competitions, including the Michigan FFA Crop Management Challenge, which is a competition that is designed to help students develop sound agronomic, marketing, and environmental decisions in a demonstration plot.
In 2019 the students were judged on 35% yield of their corn plots, 35% economics, and 30% presentation/response to the questions. The winners were:
– 1st. Springport FFA
Students: Luke Betz, Cole Twiss, Ryan Henne, Eli Lighter
Coach: Megan Merrill
Field expert: DJ Hisler
– 2nd. Coleman FFA
Students: Jacob Rivard, Clayton Wishowski, Cole Johnston
Coach: Eric Fischer
Field experts: Phil Tuggle, Frank Zwemmer, Dave Wishowski, Kyle Elder
– 3rd. Ovid-Elsie FFA
Students: Joseph Duckert, Ben Maynard, Emma Fox, Tori Maynard, Caleb Love
Coach: Tracey Hoffman
Field experts: Burt Henry, Tim Duckert, Brian Martindale, Bob Ferrett

This year the contest has expanded to include ten more soybean plots, in addition to the ten corn plots.

“This gives ten more FFA chapters the chance to expand their agronomy and marketing skills,” Henry said. “It’s a real world learning opportunity for students, as well as great exposure to the agricultural industry.”

FFA students also will have the chance to compete at the FFA Tractor Operators Contest, where they demonstrate their equipment driving techniques through a series of obstacles.
The exhibitors are joined by organizations that provide educational opportunities for children attending the show. The booths have hands-on activities for kids that are both farm and entertainment-focused. Food trucks, test driving opportunities, and attendee networking also add to the experience. The AgroExpo grounds also display many varieties and mixes of cover crops in different growth stages for attendees to evaluate.

“We’ve learned a lot over the last four years of hosting the show,” said Dale Ruff, AgroExpo Event Coordinator. “We’re looking forward to taking all of that knowledge and applying it to the show this year. We’ve spent a lot of time planning, and we’re confident that it’s a show production farmers will really enjoy attending. We’re excited for it.”

CASA Spotlight: Meet CASA Sally

Sally Fizzell has been an advocate for children four years.

Sally says, “When I retired after 41 years of teaching, I knew I wanted to stay involved with kids in some way. CASA gives me the opportunity to support children who have experienced abuse or neglect. My favorite part of being an advocate is doing the everyday things with kids that perhaps they missed out on. I like to play games, read with them. and do art projects together. I hope that through these simple activities, they feel that someone cares for them”.

Thank you, Sally, for your passion in ensuring that children are safe and loved.

Helping Hands Dinner sponsored celebrate

A big thank you to the Sponsors for the Helping Hands Rotary Dinner 2019.

Platinum Dinner Sponsor:
Sparrow Clinton Hospital

Gold Sponsor
Koenigsknecht Dentistry – Gold Sponsor
Avery Eye Care

Friends and Family Sponsor
Agro Liquid, Mercantile Bank, PNC Bank, Pauli Ford, Remax Finest, Spicer Group, Fifth Third Bank, Sandie Wisemiller Family & Friends, Sparrow Medical Staff, Sparrow Medical Group St. Johns Surgery, K-13 Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine

Raffle Sponsor
RSI / Wayne Door

A Look Back Again – Mike Humphrey
by Barry Bauer

That’s Mike Humphrey on the right. The three young boys on the left are unidentified. This photo was taken at the Veterans Memorial Pool at the City Park. I first knew Mike as a Phys. Ed. teacher at Perrin Palmer. He was also at one time the high school golf coach.

Mike was in the Navy during World War II and his ship, the U.S.S. Franklin, was struck by a Japanese dive bomber. He brought photos to school one day that showed his rescue from the water. The Franklin was towed back to the United States and repaired.

Mike has since passed away.

Maralyn’s Pet Corner – Does Saying Goodbye Help Prevent Dog Separation Anxiety?
courtesy of Dr. Wailani Sung

Are you one of those dog owners who says goodbye to your pets as you walk out the door? Don’t be embarrassed—you are not alone.

Why do many dog owners feel the need to say goodbye or tell their dogs that they will be back?

Pet parents will say goodbye to their pets mostly because it is part of our human culture to notify our family of our imminent departure or to let them know when to expect us back.

But the question is, does your dog care if you do or don’t? Find out if it means anything to your dog, whether it actually makes things worse, and what you can do about dog separation anxiety.

Does Your Dog Need You to Say Goodbye to Him?

Research on dogs suffering from separation anxiety has indicated that dogs know well in advance when their owners are going to leave.

You may not realize that you are projecting your pending departure as you prepare to leave—well before you say “goodbye.” Most people will put their shoes on, grab their jackets, pick up a bag or purse and keys, and head towards the front door.

Some owners may put out special dog toys or treats for their dog right before they leave. These are all signals that tell your dog that you are going to leave.

Other pet parents will go through elaborate displays of affection such as hugging their dogs and/or kissing them and telling them they love them and will be back.

Every dog’s reaction to their owner’s departure will vary according to their personality. It is not unusual to hear dogs vocalize after their owners leave. Some may whine, bark or howl briefly as the owners leave and, within a few minutes, settle down.

These dogs are exhibiting contact-calling behavior, which is a series of vocalizations some social species will use to try to contact other members of the group that may have wandered off beyond the immediate area. Dogs will typically demonstrate this behavior with barking or howling; it’s like they are saying, “Hello, are you there?”

Some dogs may even scratch at the door or run to the window to watch their owners leave.

The majority of dogs appear to tolerate their owners’ absence with minimal drama. However, 14-29 percent of the dog population may suffer from owner-separation-related distress.

For a dog with separation anxiety, making the departure and return greeting routine very exciting and dramatic may enhance the dog’s anxiety when they are all alone.

How to Know If Your Dog Suffers From Separation Anxiety

Most pet parents rely on signs that something’s amiss in their home—such as scratches on the door, items that are chewed up, or evidence of house soiling—to detect separation anxiety. If they do not see anything amiss, they usually think that their dogs were fine.

Some people may not find the house torn apart but may later hear from their neighbors or landlord that their dogs were vocalizing intensely when they first left or throughout the entire length of their absence.

If you are unsure whether your dog suffers from separation anxiety, record his behavior for 15-20 minutes after your departure using a device such as the Petcube Bites Wi-Fi pet camera or Pawbo+ Wi-Fi interactive pet camera. You can also use the camera on your computer or leave your phone behind to record their activity.

It is really important that you actually walk out the door, lock it, and walk or drive away. The dogs will know if you are just pretending to leave because they won’t hear the familiar indicators, such as your footsteps fading away or the start of the car engine.

Then you can review your dog’s behavior and show the recording to your veterinarian or a trainer or behaviorist. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety will exhibit the most intense anxiety and distress during the first moments the owners are absent.

Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs

If your dog does not appear to get upset after you have left, then you can continue to say goodbye to them when you leave.

If you have determined that your dog does get upset in your absence, it is best to seek professional help right away. They can help determine whether your dog is suffering from mild, moderate or severe separation anxiety.

Mild Separation Anxiety

Dogs that show some mild anxiety may be less upset if they receive long-lasting dog treats, like WHIMZEES Stix dental dog treats, or if they have to work for their favorite treats in a dog puzzle toy, like the Milk-Bone Active biscuit-dispensing ball.

Moderate to Severe Separation Anxiety

For dogs that exhibit a moderate to severe level of anxiety, it is best to downplay your departures by not saying effusive goodbyes or greeting them excitedly when you return home.

A board-certified veterinary behaviorist can provide a diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan that includes immediate management options, behavior modification exercises and the potential use of anti-anxiety medication, if warranted.

Other educated dog professionals, such as Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists (CAAB) can also help but will not be able to make any recommendations regarding pet behavior meds.

Dogs that become so upset that they exhibit panicked behavior that may cause injury to themselves or damage the house might need prescription pet medication. In some cases of severe separation anxiety, injuries have included dogs breaking their teeth, pulling out toenails, jumping out of windows, or chewing holes through the walls.

When the owners do not have other options, such as the use of daycare or a pet sitter, medication can sometimes help to decrease the dog’s anxiety so that they can tolerate being left home alone. The distress these dogs experience is a mental health crisis. The quicker the problem is addressed, the better the prognosis.