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July 28, 2005

Fresh market tomato field day is Aug. 4

A Fresh Market Tomato Field Day, at which agricultural scientists from North Carolina State University will discuss the latest research involving fresh market tomatoes, is scheduled for Aug. 4 at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station in Fletcher.

The field day begins at 12:30 p.m. It will feature presentations by researchers from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State on a variety of topics related to growing fresh market tomatoes.

Among topics to be discussed are disease control, pest management, methyl bromide alternatives, weed control and the replicated tomato variety yield trials. The field day will also feature presentations on other vegetable crops, including pumpkin, cabbage and bell pepper.

The field day, which is free and open to the public, will conclude with a meal at 6 p.m. The Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station is on Old Fanning Bridge Road (accessible from Highway 280 or Highway 191) west of Fletcher in Henderson County. More information is available from Denny Thompson, station superintendent, at (828) 684-7197.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension is among the event sponsors.

- Suzanne Stanard

Posted by deeshore at 04:30 PM | Comments (0)

Wacky Water Day a cool relief

Hosted by Craven County 4-H Agent Tammy Boyd, with Joan Hobbes providing instruction, Wacky Water Day kept 4-H'ers cool, while they also learned how to conserve water.
Continue reading about Wacky Water Day in the New Bern Sun Journal

Posted by Dave at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2005

Three waste technologies may be alternatives for swine industry

Dr. Mike Williams

Three additional alternative methods of treating the waste from swine farms have made what might be called the first cut toward being declared “environmentally superior” to the method now used by most North Carolina hog farms to treat waste.

Dr. Mike Williams, director of the Animal and Poultry Waste Management Center at North Carolina State University, added three technologies to the two that were determined last year to have met what Williams called “environmental performance criteria” necessary to be considered environmentally superior. Williams made his selections in an annual report delivered to the North Carolina Attorney General’s office Monday, July 25.

Williams directs an effort to identify swine waste management technologies that are considered environmentally superior to the lagoon and spray field system now used on almost all North Carolina hog farms.

None of the five technologies singled out thus far has been declared environmentally superior. In order for that to happen, they must be judged economically and operationally feasible. Williams said that won’t happen until later this year, when he releases a final report on the five-year, $17.3 million effort.

The effort is funded by pork producers Smithfield Foods and Premium Standard Farms under agreements the two companies reached with the North Carolina Attorney General in 2000. Since then, experts from NC State University and elsewhere have been evaluating alternative swine waste management technologies.

While the Smithfield agreement spells out environmental criteria the technologies must meet, it also stipulates the technologies must be economically feasible. Williams said the economic feasibility analysis is not complete, and until the economic work is finished, his determinations should be considered conditional.

The three technologies that Williams determined meet environmental standards all treat only the solid portion of the waste stream from a hog farm. So if any of the three is to find its way to North Carolina farms, it would have to be combined with a technology that treats the liquid part of the waste stream.

Two of the technologies that meet environmental standards treat solid waste by burning it, while the third is a composting system.

One of the two technologies that burn waste does so in a chamber called a gasifier. Gasification involves burning a substance in a low-oxygen environment, which converts complex organic compounds in the substance to gases. It is possible to collect gases such as methane, carbon monoxide and hydrogen and make ethanol.

The second burning technology goes by the acronym BEST, for Biomass Energy Sustainable Technology, and includes two methods of separating the solid and liquid portions of the waste stream. Solids are then burned in a fluidized bed combustion system. In this system, the temperature is above 1,300 degrees.

Both combustion systems produce ash, which contains nutrients and has value as a fertilizer.

The composting system was developed by Super Soil Systems USA. Waste is mixed with bulking materials such as cotton gin residue and wood chips, while a machine called a Compost-A-Matic is then used to mix the material daily.

Another Super Soil Systems technology that separates solids from the waste stream, then treats the remaining liquid waste in a series of large metal tanks was given conditional approval last year. Thus far, this technology is the only one that treats the liquid waste stream to receive conditional approval.

In order to meet environmental standards, technologies must:
* eliminate the movement of animal waste to surface waters and groundwater through direct discharge, seepage or runoff;
* substantially eliminated atmospheric emissions of ammonia;
* substantially eliminate the emission of odor that is detectable beyond the boundaries of the farm;
* substantially eliminate the release of disease-transmitting vectors and airborne pathogens; and
* substantially eliminate nutrient and heavy metal contamination of soil and groundwater.
As did last year’s report, this year’s includes assessments of eight technologies. Williams said that while five of the 16 technologies now meet the environmental performance criteria, several others could with relatively minor changes. He added that it may also be possible to combine elements, or processes, from different technologies to produce systems that will meet the environmentally superior standard.

Smithfield Foods is providing $15 million to evaluate technologies, while the attorney general allocated $2.3 million from the Premium Standard Farms agreement, for a total of $17.3 million.

In 2002 the attorney general entered a third agreement with Frontline Farmers, an organization made up swine farmers. While Frontline Farmers is not providing funding, the organization’s membership agreed to work with the attorney general and NC State University to develop and implement environmentally superior technologies.

The technologies that have been evaluated were selected by Williams working with panels made up of representatives from government, the swine industry and environmental groups as well as economists and waste management experts. In many cases, technologies have been evaluated on hog farms at full scale.

- Dave Caldwell

Note: The report delivered to the Attorney General’s office is more that 1,000 pages. It will be available later this week on line at http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/waste_mgt/smithfield_projects/phase2report05/phase2report.htm.

Posted by deeshore at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

Aquatic insects bugged by pollution

Have you seen a stonefly or mayfly lately? If you have, then chances are the water you found it in is relatively clean. Scientists at North Carolina State University are using the smallest residents of our rivers and streams to help assess a big concern: aquatic pollution levels.

Read more in this NC State University news release featuring Dave Penrose, an extension research associate in the College of Agriculture and Life SciencesDepartment of Biological and Agricultural Engineering.

Posted by deeshore at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2005

New county directors named in Southwest District

Jim Monroe has been named county director for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Mecklenburg County, and Steve W. Duckett has been named director of Cooperative Extension’s Rutherford County center.

Monroe has served as a agricultural agent in Mecklenburg County since 1999. He also has worked as an agent in Stanly and Orange counties. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and a master’s degree in crop science at N.C. State University.

“Jim has served the State of North Carolina well in several different roles with Cooperative Extension,” said Dr. Deborah M. Crandall, district director for Cooperative Extension’s Southwest District, which includes Mecklenburg County.

“We are looking forward to his leadership in addressing educational needs for Mecklenburg County. Jim has successfully demonstrated innovative skills in delivering and developing high-impact programs in a highly urban setting.”

Duckett, the new Rutherford Extension director, has served as agricultural agent in Buncombe County since 1997. He was an associate agent for 4-H in Macon County from 1992-96. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Berea College and a master’s degree in human resource development from Western Carolina University.

“Steve Duckett is a truly down-to-earth team member,” says Crandall, whose Southwest District includes Rutherford County. “Because of his multiple and varied programming experiences, Steve has been outstanding in making significant impacts with both youth and adult audiences.

“Steve is a quiet, calm leader and a team player. He is highly respected by customers, volunteers, peers and coworkers.”

Posted by Natalie at 08:41 AM | Comments (0)

Latest news from N.C. A&T State University

Click below for the latest ag e-dispatch. This week we’ve added a new forum element. Click and join in on the discussion.

Continue reading 'Latest news from N.C. A&T State University

Posted by Natalie at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2005

Beef quality workshop focuses on vaccines

Photo of workshop participants enjoying dinner
More than 75 cattlemen enjoyed their dinner at Sky King Ranch in Sanford, sponsored and catered by several livestock associations.

Cattlemen from Moore, Lee, Harnett, Robeson and Chatham counties participated last month in a Beef Quality Assurance program on “Injection Site Blemishes” at Tom Zone’s Sky King Ranch near Sanford. North Carolina Cooperative Extension partnered with county livestock associations and Fort Dodge Animal Health to conduct the workshop.

Food animals require regular vaccinations, but 11 percent of the carcasses marketed today have at least one injection site blemish. The beef industry loses about $7 - $10 for each fed heifer or steer marketed due to injection site lesions. These visible lesions are not just unsightly, but also pose significant tenderness problems associated with lesion-afflicted lean tissue.

During the workshop, 79 cattleman and Extension agents participated in viewing and touching beef that had been damaged by an injection that was done improperly. Multiple-use needles, dirty, bent, broken or dull needles may lead to injuries or infection at the site of injection.

The workshop was organized by Tyrone Fisher, area specialized livestock agent for Cumberland, Harnett and Lee counties, Sam Croce, Chatham County livestock agent, and Randy Wood, livestock agent for Moore and Montgomery counties. Fisher says that cattleman could see significant savings by following recommendations from the workshop.

Posted by Natalie at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

State soil testing lab improves efficiency

The Soil Testing Section of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services analyzed 314,000 samples for state residents in fiscal year 2005. This is the second largest volume in the lab's 60-year history and the third time that sample numbers have exceeded 300,000 in the last six years. What made last year particularly notable, however, was that samples were processed and reports generated in six weeks or less. In fact, throughout most of the busy season, turnaround time remained at four weeks or less. (NCDA&CS news release)

Continue reading 'State soil testing lab improves efficiency'

Posted by Natalie at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2005

Service to military youth is 4-H Congress focus

4-H'ers inducted into the Honor Club form a candlelit clover during a traditional 4-H Congress ceremony

Serving the state’s military youth will be the theme of State 4-H Congress, July 18-22 at North Carolina State University and other Raleigh locations.

The annual congress will attract roughly 800 4-H club members, adult volunteers and 4-H agents with North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

During the five-day event, delegates will participate in competition, workshops, assemblies, recreation, fellowship and service to the community. The theme of this year’s congress is “Operation 4-H: Civic Responsibility.” Service activities during congress will focus on serving the youth from the state’s military families, particularly those with parents deployed overseas.

On Wednesday, July 20, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 4-H’ers will engage in service activities. One activity will involve assembling 800 Hero Packs: backpacks that will be filled with special items for military youth across the state. The activity is part of a larger 4-H effort, Operation Military Kids, designed to reach North Carolina youth whose families are serving in the military.

Hero Packs will be assembled at McKimmon Center. Some 4-H’ers will be involved in Hands to Service activities at local agencies and nonprofits.

Other 4-H Congress events:

Monday, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Opening Assembly, Kerr Scott Building, State Fairgrounds The annual 4-H Honor Club tapping ceremony takes place during the opening assembly. The top half of 1 percent of the state’s 4-H’ers are admitted to the Honor Club each year. 4-H’ers will also demonstrate their skill at sewing and modeling clothing during Fashion Revue, part of the opening assembly.

Tuesday, 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Presentation Contests, Athens Drive High School, Raleigh Delegates will participate in competition designed to demonstrate their knowledge of subjects ranging from landscaping to sewing to wildlife. State winners, many of whom go on to compete in regional or national contests, will be named in roughly 40 subject matter categories. Delegates not involved in competition will attend workshops on a variety of topics.

Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Hands to Service activities 4-H'ers will work with local non-profits and human service agencies. A large group will assemble “Hero Packs” for military youth at McKimmon Center.

Thursday, 9 to 10:30 a.m.
Town Hall Meeting State Revenue Secretary E. Norris Tolson will host the meeting focusing on how youth can practice citizenship in their communities.

Delegates will leave campus Friday.

The 4-H program is conducted by North Carolina Cooperative Extension at North Carolina State and North Carolina A&T State universities. More than 200,000 young people between the ages of 5 and 19 participate in North Carolina 4-H activities each year with the help of 27,000 adult and youth volunteers.

Posted by deeshore at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2005

Henderson 4-H'ers host Sandburg house visit

Girl with goat

On June 15, Henderson County 4-H invited 4-Her's in the West District to visit the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site. Fifty-seven youth from several counties toured the Sandburg Home and enjoyed a performance of The World of Carl Sandburg by the Flat Rock Playhouse Apprentices. The children learned about Mrs. Sandburg's dairy goats from 4-H volunteers. Flat Rock's Exceptional Sandburg Helpers (FRESH) gave barn tours, as well as cheese-making and goat-showing demonstrations.

Posted by Natalie at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2005

'Mini-Society' teaches youth entrepreneurial skills

Yolanda Black's after-school interests run pretty standard for an 11-year old. Parties, dances and trips to the movie theater top the list. (Story from The Reidsville Review)

Continue reading 'On their own'

Posted by Natalie at 12:10 PM | Comments (0)

Mushroom growers' meeting is Aug. 11

An organizational meeting of the North Carolina Growers Mushroom Association will be held Aug. 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the Guilford County Agriculture Center in Greensboro. The meeting will provide growers a chance to formalize an association so they can work together to market their mushrooms.

The meeting will include a soup, salad and sandwich bar. Participants must register by Aug. 5 by contacting Linda McCain, lmccain@ncat.edu or 336.334.7957, ext. 2107.

A flier with meeting details is available at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html. For more information, contact Theresa Nartea at tjnartea@ncat.edu, or 336.334.7956, ext. 2109.

Posted by Natalie at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

Seed grants available from university extension

North Carolina State University's Office of Extension, Engagement, and Economic Development has announced a grant program to provide seed money for developing strategies to address critical North Carolina issues.

Successful proposals must demonstrate how the seed funding can be used to leverage additional future project funding. Collaborative partnerships, both internal and external, will also be given greater weight in the review process.

Faculty do not need an extension appointment to submit a proposal, but the proposals must be directly related to work with audiences outside the university.

Last year's recipients included four county Cooperative Extension centers, seven N.C. State colleges, the Industrial Extension Service and the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science.

Submission guidelines are available on the Extension, Engagement and Economic Development web site.

The University Standing Committee on Extension and Engagement
will manage the award process.

Posted by deeshore at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2005

News from N.C. A&T State University

The latest edition of ag e-dispatch, the electronic newsletter for the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at N.C. A&T State University, is now available on the Web at http://www.ag.ncat.edu/newsletter/index.htm.

Posted by Natalie at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2005

Administrators issue statement on marketing initiative

Dr. Ray McKinnie and Dr. Jon Ort issue statement on change management and marketing initiative recommendations of June 24.

Continue reading "Administrators issue statement on marketing initiative"

Posted by Natalie at 02:56 PM | Comments (0)

Operation Brighter Day nets 4,600 assistance applications

RALEIGH – Gov. Mike Easley has announced that more than 4,600 applications for individual assistance were filed as part of the Operation Brighter Day hurricane recovery program. The program began taking applications on April 22 and concluded on June 17.

Hurricane victims were encouraged to submit one application to cover all available individual assistance programs at Recovery Application Centers (RACs), which were located in North Carolina Cooperative Extension centers in each of the 50 disaster-declared counties covered by the Hurricane Recovery Act of 2005.

“We worked hard to reach storm victims and let them know that we were prepared to help with uninsured losses,” Easley said. “We will work to review applications as quickly as possible and get qualified applicants the funds they need to recover.”

A total of 4,627 applications were filed at RACs or by calling the Governor’s Hurricane Recovery Bilingual Hotline. The hotline closed June 30, and RACs are no longer taking applications.

Since April 22, a total of 2,221 requests were filed for housing damage, 1,372 for damage to private driveways and bridges, and 1,040 for agricultural loss.

Applications will be reviewed and claims verified during the next several weeks. The receipt of aid dollars for those who qualify should begin in mid- to late-August and probably not be complete for 18 months to two years.

For a county-by-county breakdown of the number and type of applications filed, visit www.OperationBrighterDay.org, look under "Press Releases" and select "Weekly Individual Assistance Report by Program" for June 24.

--Press release courtesy of the North Carolina Governor's Office

Posted by Natalie at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)