Jan 28, 2022
Cheyenne Sloan is new blueberry and small fruit educator in Michigan

Cheyenne Sloan is the new blueberry and small fruit educator in southwest Michigan and is housed in the Van Buren County Michigan State University (MSU) Extension office in Paw Paw.

Sloan succeeds longtime fruit educator Mark Longstroth, who retired in November after serving 27 years with MSU Extension.

As of November 2021, Cheyenne Sloan is the newest member of Michigan State University Extension’s fruit team. Getting to know the area and learning about blueberry and small fruit production in Michigan by attending meetings and interacting with growers has been her priority over the last couple months. Sloan brings great enthusiasm to her new role and is eager to work with growers to learn about their needs and to share her knowledge of horticulture and soils with blueberry and small fruit growers in southwest Michigan.

Cheyenne Sloan during harvest at one of her research plots at Washington State University. Photo: Cheyenne Sloan

Originally from southeast Michigan, Sloan received her bachelor’s degree studying horticulture and crop and soil science at Michigan State University (MSU). It was there that she discovered her love of plants and agriculture. While at MSU, she gained experience working in labs that focused on agricultural nematology, tree fruit and plant pathology.

Her desire to work towards a career in Extension was realized while she was working in one of the tree fruit labs where she witnessed the importance of bridging the link between university researchers and producers. A summer internship experience at the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center cemented that decision and led her to pursue a master’s degree in soil science at Washington State University (WSU). While studying at WSU, she was housed at a research and Extension center, which allowed her to get the full Extension experience.

Sloan’s research at WSU focused on nitrogen release from the breakdown of soil organic matter in highbush blueberry systems and was entirely based at local grower’s farms. This work allowed her to get experience not only in blueberries but also with grower-collaborators.

With the majority of her experience in blueberries coming from her education in the Pacific Northwest, she brings a fresh new outlook for blueberry growers here in Michigan. She also has experience communicating with a variety of different audiences and is excited to be able to use her presentation and communication skills in her new role.

A self-proclaimed “outdoor cat” at heart, she loves being outside, which is part of why she chose a career within agriculture. She is excited to be back in Michigan and is looking forward to exploring all the beautiful outdoor activities the southwest corner of the state has to offer. Sloan also enjoys watercolor painting, spending rainy days playing video games or figuring out how to put blueberries in different recipes she finds.

Sloan encourages growers to stop in and visit her at the Van Buren County Extension office or invite her out to their operations to ask questions, talk about soil, share their knowledge, and let her know how MSU Extension can assist them.

 




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