MSU Extension

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Helping people improve their lives through an educational process that applies knowledge to critical needs, issues and opportunities.

Department Overview

The basic function of Ottawa County MSU Extension is to disseminate and encourage the application of research-generated knowledge and leadership techniques to individuals, families, youth and communities. Extension responds to local needs through a unique partnership of county, state, and federal resources. Information is extended to all Ottawa County residents through MSU's non-formal education systems, which assist people to make better decisions about issues that affect their lives. MSU Extension is made up of four institutes: Agriculture & Agribusiness, Children & Youth, Greening Michigan, and Health & Nutrition.

View our Annual Report, it provides more detail on many of our programs.

General program areas include:

  • 4-H & Youth Development
  • Agriculture
  • Business Development for Agriculture, Natural Resources and BioEconomy Sectors
  • Community
  • Family
  • Food & Health
  • Lawn & Garden
  • Natural Resources

The Ottawa County Extension office currently houses Extension Educators and Program Coordinators for 4-H Youth Development, Nutrition, Small Fruit Production, Dairy, Nursery and Greenhouse, Bio-Energy, and Michigan Sea Grant. Ottawa County residents are also served by Extension Educators located in other counties throughout the state. In addition, residents may find information and assistance through online features such as "Ask an Expert," "Find an Expert," and the MSU Extension website.

Ask an Expert

Visit this Extension Network website to ask a question. An Extension or university staff specialist in a related field will respond to you by email.

Find an Expert

Visit this website to find contact information for MSU Extension staff. Search using criteria such as topic, area of specialty, county coverage and more.

Gardening Help

Visit the MSU Gardening in Michigan website for answers to your lawn and garden questions or call the MSU Garden Helpline at (888) 678-3464, option 1. They can also help with questions on insects and other household pests.


MSU Extension bulletins as well as many publications from the USDA and various governmental agencies and educational resources are available. You may also order publications online from the MSU Extension Bookstore.

Soil Test Kits

All MSU Soil Tests are now sold as self-serve kits. You purchase the kit that applies to your testing needs, follow the enclosed directions and mail the sample to the MSU Soil & Plant Nutrient Laboratory.

  • Soil Tests for Residential Lawns, Vegetable Gardens, Flower Gardens, Trees and Shrubs Soil Test Kit Self-mailers may be purchased from our office or from the MSU Extension Bookstore (Product code E3154). Price includes a special postage-paid mailing envelope. Once you have the kit, fill out the enclosed form and mail the sample and completed form in the postage-paid envelope to the lab. Note: You must provide an email address as results will be sent directly to you via email. If you would like help interpreting test results, call our statewide Lawn and Garden Helpline at (888) 678-3464, option 1.
  • Soil Tests for Agricultural Crops, Commercial Growers, Pastures and Wildlife Forage Soil sample boxes may be purchased from our office. Along with the box, you will receive a field crops Soil Sample Information Form to be filled out and sent with your soil sample to the MSU Soil and Plant Nutrient Laboratory. Please note that our office is no longer able to ship samples so you will be responsible for mailing/shipping your own soil samples to the lab. As in the past, sample results will be interpreted by an agricultural educator whose specialty relates to the crop you are testing for. If you are unable to come to our office to purchase your soil sample box or you would like to purchase a large quantity of boxes, contact the Soil & Plant Nutrient Lab at (517) 355-0218. Our office is not able to mail the boxes to you.
Plat Books

Ottawa County Plat Books are produced by the Ottawa County Geographic Information Systems Department. A portion of the proceeds from each plat book goes to Ottawa County 4-H. Plat books are available at the Ottawa IT/GIS Department for $25.00. Click here for instructions on ordering a plat book.

For more information on programs and services offered, please visit Ottawa County MSU Extension or call us at (616) 994-4580. We also invite you to “like” and ”follow” our Facebook page Michigan State University Extension Ottawa County where you will find timely information on MSU Extension programs and events and links to relevant articles written by MSU Extension educators.