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Heidi J.
10-07-2009, 09:03 PM
LANSING, Mich. -- In a move to shave off approximately $600,000 from its budget, Michigan Department of Agriculture Director Don Koivisto announced Wednesday the permanent closure of the department’s regional offices.

Those locations include offices in Detroit, Escanaba, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Saginaw, St. Joseph, and Traverse City and its district office in Marquette.

MDA will still continue to have field staff working around the state using their homes as an office base. The main difference is customers no longer have a brick and mortar location to go to for service.

“Budget realities are causing us to look at different ways of doing business,” said Koivisto. “While we anticipate there will be some bumps in the road as we transition to this new business model, MDA will work hard to maintain the high level of customer service we have always provided.”

Effective Oct. 1, customers calling MDA’s regional and district offices have been redirected to a toll-free number in Lansing: 800-292-3939.

Additionally, staff are no longer available at those locations.

MDA’s regional offices provided a variety of services to consumers and industry representatives.

They served as a base of operations for investigations, product sampling, plant pest and disease eradication.

In addition to those roles, the locations were used for emergency incident management and response, food-borne illness outbreak response and staff training.

WNEMl (http://www.wnem.com/news/21229651/detail.html)

This can't be good..:dizzy:

phasthound
10-07-2009, 09:47 PM
That's bad news! last year in NJ the State was trying to shut down the Dept. of Ag. but there was enough ground level support to stop it from happening. We still are The Garden State & promote Jersey Fresh!

foreplease
10-07-2009, 09:58 PM
I saw this as something that was being considered on a local radio station's web site about a month ago. I drive by the St. Joseph office nearly every day and will be sorry to see it close. With the amount of agriculture in the state and the already small number of regional office, I thought they would find a way around this.

Not mentioned as a service in the story above is the fact that testing for pesticide applicators and PABL (Pesticide Application Business License) originates at MDA. See you all in Lansing next time it is time to take the test.

I'll say it: our local office is a good one and I have been lucky to have it so close to home.

Thanks for posting it Heidi J.

Heidi J.
10-07-2009, 10:41 PM
I saw this as something that was being considered on a local radio station's web site about a month ago. I drive by the St. Joseph office nearly every day and will be sorry to see it close. With the amount of agriculture in the state and the already small number of regional office, I thought they would find a way around this.

Not mentioned as a service in the story above is the fact that testing for pesticide applicators and PABL (Pesticide Application Business License) originates at MDA. See you all in Lansing next time it is time to take the test.

I'll say it: our local office is a good one and I have been lucky to have it so close to home.

Thanks for posting it Heidi J.

Yes, I have many of the same concerns. How lenient will they become when it comes to complaints, All the fruits and vegetables grown in Michigan.. the list goes on. We bid against a lot of shady people, now they will just be able to get away with more:nono:

We have an office in Saginaw, and I have never had an issue with them. We had a complaint a few years ago, and they helped us work through the issue. This really upsets me, and I think it is a huge mistake..JMO

Smallaxe
10-08-2009, 08:51 AM
... We bid against a lot of shady people, now they will just be able to get away with more:nono:

We have an office in Saginaw, and I have never had an issue with them. We had a complaint a few years ago, and they helped us work through the issue. This really upsets me, and I think it is a huge mistake..JMO

I don't understand what it is to, "...bid against a lot of shady people,..."
Also, how many complaints are handled , face to face, more than once?

DNR seems to operate that way now, to some extent, and their dismay is that they can't be more in control. We have little service from our offices, here in WI, in fact I personally had never benefitted from one, after a number of contacts.

So I am wondering what we were actually missing in regards to having 'brick and mortar', locations. I would much rather they had staff that could help , via the internet...?!!?? My experience with this beauracracy is less than optimistic...

"Hi, we're from the gov't, and we're here to help." :)

Heidi J.
10-08-2009, 10:16 AM
I don't understand what it is to, "...bid against a lot of shady people,..."
Also, how many complaints are handled , face to face, more than once?

DNR seems to operate that way now, to some extent, and their dismay is that they can't be more in control. We have little service from our offices, here in WI, in fact I personally had never benefitted from one, after a number of contacts.

So I am wondering what we were actually missing in regards to having 'brick and mortar', locations. I would much rather they had staff that could help , via the internet...?!!?? My experience with this beauracracy is less than optimistic...

"Hi, we're from the gov't, and we're here to help." :)

We do a lot of vegetation control.. brush spraying, guardrails, Cat tail and such(Garlon/Tordon not just 2-4 D spraying). A few of the people we bid against, are not from Michigan. 1 of them have changed their names several times, because of lawsuits filed against them (dumping, Driving recklessly and causing a crash/spill causing injury). Not small infractions in my book, yet now, because of the cut backs, who will watch after these kind of applicators? Not to mention the cutters that are unlicensed that apply chemicals on a daily basis? Not only am I concerned of these issues as a business person, but also as a resident.

Where will we take our tests? Where will we lodge our complaints? Or more importantly, how will complaints be handled?

Unlike you, I have had very positive experiences with the MDA. Back in the early 90"s we had a complaint lodged against us for an applicator spraying trees. The drifts were carrying into the neighbors yard. We were given a warning, because we admitted we were in the wrong. The next time was 2 years ago. We had a complaint lodged because a woman was out walking her bird;) and she could smell our roadside spray from 50 foot off the road and it irritated her. My extremely conscience applicator was upset, and sat down with the investigator, who went over a plan of action with him. The investigator was extremely helpful and eased the fears of my applicator.

We rely on the MDA to police the pesticide misuse here in Michigan, and closing the offices will limit the ability they have to keep applicators and businesses in line. I am only covering my side of the spectrum when it comes to the MDA. They also handle all the fruits and vegetables grown and shipped into our state along with health and wellness of farm animals. This closure will loosen the hold they have in watching out for our safety and the safety of our children. I hate to think services will become so lax on something that deals with our health and wellness.

I have applicators that worked for my competitors and have told me the stories of being made to spray in rain and very windy days. While they were caught and fined at the time, what about now..

Your local Dept. of Agriculture does alot more then just issue pesticide licenses.. They are a definate benefit to us. I have dealt with them over the internet and have had to wait a few days for a response, which I was not happy with. All I was trying to do was get a password for the MDA list, the entire process took 2 weeks :confused:
JMO

foreplease
10-08-2009, 10:44 AM
We rely on the MDA to police the pesticide misuse here in Michigan, and closing the offices will limit the ability they have to keep applicators and businesses in line. I am only covering my side of the spectrum when it comes to the MDA. They also handle all the fruits and vegetables grown and shipped into our state along with health and wellness of farm animals. This closure will loosen the hold they have in watching out for our safety and the safety of our children. I hate to think services will become so lax on something that deals with our health and wellness.

Your local Dept. of Agriculture does alot more then just issue pesticide licenses.. They are a definate benefit to us. I have dealt with them over the internet and have had to wait a few days for a response, which I was not happy with. All I was trying to do was get a password for the MDA list, the entire process took 2 weeks :confused:
JMO
Exactly. I had similar experience online with password.

tlg
10-08-2009, 10:58 PM
We all knew the State was in big trouble. This move is only the beginning of our problems IMO. Ag staff working out of their own homes kinda lacks some formality. What's next pesticide vigilantes enforcing the regulations. Maybe we will all have to carry a big stick in our trucks. No license. Get the stick. The State of Michigan is broke. The system is broke. Look out the sky is falling! I can only imagine what a license will cost for 2010.

foreplease
10-08-2009, 11:23 PM
I can only imagine what a license will cost for 2010.

Yes, but we may not need one (kidding).

Smallaxe
10-09-2009, 08:41 AM
I understand everyone's mindset about How things were and that the changes means a loss.
My contention is - let's get the state 'hot' on service over the net!!! Let FedX deliver soil samples.
And here is the biggest one -- If a complaint is lodged to the Department -- what difference does it make if the Enforcer comes from home or from a brick and mortar building funded year round by the taxpayers?

Any large business "needs" internet customer service that is excellent. No excuse not to. Except most customer service people are lazy and rude. That's the real problem right there. Stupid, lazy beaurocrats that have job security!

tlg
10-09-2009, 12:44 PM
Yes, but we may not need one (kidding).

Looks like no increase in licensing for 2010. Renewal forms arrived today. I would have bet the farm they would go have gone up. Anybody that needs to re-certify probably won't need to go to Lansing.... testing done at county extensions as in the past.

As far as the bureaucratic machine goes, it's too big, has lots of waste and redundancy and by all means is slower than molasses in January. Perhaps this change in operations will be for the better. The lack of regional sites, while inconvenient for some folks just encourages the use of the computer based services. While the transition may be problematic as things change, it's just part of life.

Runner
10-09-2009, 04:43 PM
I spoke to Tom Lawrence, who is our area's inspector, and he said the closing of the offices will not affect the field work. They will still be available for inspections and complaints. There will be numbers set up and extensions for this. Than goodness I have his cell phone number right in my contacts, and he is always most helpful. Speaking of extensions, our local cooperative extension office - where we do all our testing will remain open.
Another thing to consider, is that with these budget cuts and such, you can rest assured they will be seeking revenue in other aeas - such as inspections, so look sharp. as far as the illegal applicators, lol...I believe they (MDOA) will continue on it's latest path, and be issuing many less "warnings" and be cutting to the chase on penalties. This is perfectly fine with me!

Heidi J.
10-10-2009, 01:07 PM
I understand everyone's mindset about How things were and that the changes means a loss.
My contention is - let's get the state 'hot' on service over the net!!! Let FedX deliver soil samples.
And here is the biggest one -- If a complaint is lodged to the Department -- what difference does it make if the Enforcer comes from home or from a brick and mortar building funded year round by the taxpayers?

Any large business "needs" internet customer service that is excellent. No excuse not to. Except most customer service people are lazy and rude. That's the real problem right there. Stupid, lazy beaurocrats that have job security!

Well, while I see your point, my fear is that because there is no "brick and morter" locations, will they become even more lax? That is my fear. I could care less if they come from a teepee :)

While the www has opened a whole new world to most, and it should be utilized, the response time is way too slow. If they could get that under control.. there would be less issues. When I called about the no spray list, they were very rude. I was already pizzed because a guy walked up and shut our pump off while we were spraying. I was ready to go kung fu on him, and she just frustrated me more.

I see your point, I just want to make sure my concerns will be addressed on a timely manner:usflag:

Heidi J.
10-10-2009, 01:14 PM
I spoke to Tom Lawrence, who is our area's inspector, and he said the closing of the offices will not affect the field work. They will still be available for inspections and complaints. There will be numbers set up and extensions for this. Than goodness I have his cell phone number right in my contacts, and he is always most helpful. Speaking of extensions, our local cooperative extension office - where we do all our testing will remain open.
Another thing to consider, is that with these budget cuts and such, you can rest assured they will be seeking revenue in other aeas - such as inspections, so look sharp. as far as the illegal applicators, lol...I believe they (MDOA) will continue on it's latest path, and be issuing many less "warnings" and be cutting to the chase on penalties. This is perfectly fine with me!

I am glad to hear this.. about nothing changing that is. I hope they don't get all crazy with the fines and stuff.

I better get sharpening my pencil and make sure my guys are in tip top form, not that they have had any issues, but I want to be sure :)

lep
10-10-2009, 11:28 PM
FYI, MSU and UM out of state tuition now is so much higher than other schools that eventually there will only be Michigan residents attending these schools. Ohio State, Penn State, Kansas State, etc. are all in the low 20's for out of state right now, but not MSU, which is $28k!

As a Texas resident living in Houston, I must admit that the Texas A & M Co-Op is very healthy at present. I did, however, only find results for bifenthrin toxicology at an MSU Co-Op web site, since I laid this down for sod webworm today -- which is a nasty infestation that wiped out 2/3 of my St. Augustine turf!

Specifically, I applied www.hi-yield.com "BugBlaster" which seems to be non-toxic to human with some toxicity to fish. However, I believe the half-life would prevent the molecules from arriving at tributaries, sea in time to elicit harm to fish.

If you know anything about bifenthrin that I don't know, then please fess up. The directions said to not get it on your clothing or skin, so I wore my bright yellow radioactive decontamination suit with respirator (joke) for application today.

Runner
10-10-2009, 11:53 PM
BiFen is a common a.i. used around here, and is sold as such names as Talstar and sold in stores under Ortho Max, I believe (one of the orthos...sold in a red foil looking bag). It is also what is used for their "perimeter control" product. We use it around beds and sch for perimeter control, and structural applicator companies use it commonly both inside and out.

lep
10-11-2009, 12:05 AM
With out-of-state tuition at MSU and UM at all time highs, when compared with LSU, KSU, Penn State, eventually only Mich residents will attend these schools.

I actually found toxicity info for bifenthrin at an MSU co-op web site and nowhere else.

Being in Houston, we have the luxury of looking up quality information from TAMU's Co-Op, so hang in there -- all of the demise in Mich is due to the auto industry and unions.

Heidi J.
10-11-2009, 08:52 AM
BiFen is a common a.i. used around here, and is sold as such names as Talstar and sold in stores under Ortho Max, I believe (one of the orthos...sold in a red foil looking bag). It is also what is used for their "perimeter control" product. We use it around beds and sch for perimeter control, and structural applicator companies use it commonly both inside and out.

Joe, Did your business take a hit this year due to the economy? If, so, how much? I ask this, because I didn't see it at all. In fact, our business grew quite a bit. Something I never would have forcasted for us this year. I was very concerned in Jan/ Feb. this year.. but to my surprise, we were able to grow at a promising rate. Customer retention was great this year as well. Alot of the customers we picked up this year, were ones we bid last year against our competitors. The customers went with the comp. because of price, but came to us this year because of quality.:)

:waving:

Smallaxe
10-11-2009, 09:42 AM
Well, while I see your point, my fear is that because there is no "brick and morter" locations, will they become even more lax? That is my fear. I could care less if they come from a teepee :)

While the www has opened a whole new world to most, and it should be utilized, the response time is way too slow. If they could get that under control.. there would be less issues. When I called about the no spray list, they were very rude. I was already pizzed because a guy walked up and shut our pump off while we were spraying. I was ready to go kung fu on him, and she just frustrated me more.

I see your point, I just want to make sure my concerns will be addressed on a timely manner:usflag:

You are in control of your own service from the statehouse. You can sit by and wring your hands or you can rise up on your hind feet and make it clear that gov't slovenliness is way out of hand.
We are disrespected by our gov't because we don't have the fortitude to hold them accountable. They take our money and go have a martini lunch with it.

A rude public servant?!!??
Call your legislature and write letters to the editor until you recieve an apology from the useless beaurocrat. That will never happen - will it?

Runner
10-11-2009, 02:17 PM
Heidi,...Amazingly, we saw no decline in business this year, and overall,...while not seeing a SUPER substantial growth, we did see a rather nice influx in overall accounts. I tried rationalizing this, and while everyone was screaming "the economy, the economy!" in all other businesses and aspects, the best explanation I could figure out was that with the real estate market doing as it is, so many more people are saying "We're not going anywhere, so we might as well fix up the place a little bit, and make it look nice. Even in areas that homes are not that great, it seems like more people are putting more attention into their homes and taking pride in them. We are seeing nicer lawns, more flowers being planted, people painting, etc..

lep
10-11-2009, 03:43 PM
BiFen is a common a.i. used around here, and is sold as such names as Talstar and sold in stores under Ortho Max, I believe (one of the orthos...sold in a red foil looking bag). It is also what is used for their "perimeter control" product. We use it around beds and sch for perimeter control, and structural applicator companies use it commonly both inside and out.

Thanks for the quick feedback.

Heidi J.
10-11-2009, 08:01 PM
Heidi,...Amazingly, we saw no decline in business this year, and overall,...while not seeing a SUPER substantial growth, we did see a rather nice influx in overall accounts. I tried rationalizing this, and while everyone was screaming "the economy, the economy!" in all other businesses and aspects, the best explanation I could figure out was that with the real estate market doing as it is, so many more people are saying "We're not going anywhere, so we might as well fix up the place a little bit, and make it look nice. Even in areas that homes are not that great, it seems like more people are putting more attention into their homes and taking pride in them. We are seeing nicer lawns, more flowers being planted, people painting, etc..

You are right. Thanks, I was just curious. I did have a few GM retirees cut back a little, but not too much. Over all we have had a great year. I guess the more customers I retain, and the more I see TG tank.. the happier I am.:laugh:
:waving:

Runner
10-11-2009, 08:52 PM
LOL...Yeah, don't be TOO excited about tru-browns drop rate...they have been at about a 30% for several years, now (and that's ALOT of accounts for each area). They don't care...it's all figured into their plan for that much loss. They just keep on selling to more unsuspecting suckers...er, I mean people...I'm gonna send you a PM in a bit....