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April 25, 2006

Douglas Sanders dies April 17

Douglas Charles Sanders, professor of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University, died after a brief illness on Monday, April 17. Sanders was internationally recognized for his expertise in vegetable production. He developed his love of plants and horticulture at a young age, growing up on a family farm in Mason, Michigan.

Sanders received his bachelor’s degree in vegetable crops in 1965 from Michigan State University. He earned his master’s degree and doctorate in horticulture in 1967 and 1970, respectively, from the University of Minnesota. He began his professional career at North Carolina State University in 1970 as an assistant professor specializing in vegetable production and was promoted to full professor in 1982.

Sanders was committed to the teaching and research of vegetable production systems and their application worldwide. His life was filled with numerous accomplishments and recognitions as he provided leadership in many facets of the vegetable industry. He worked closely with North Carolina farmers and county extension agents to improve their vegetable production knowledge.

His advice was sought after by all who worked with vegetables not only in North Carolina, but in the U.S and around the world as well. His accomplishments included the establishing the N.C. Vegetable Growers Association, introducing numerous new vegetable technologies (drip irrigation, plasticulture, precision seeding) and introducing new crops to North Caorlina, including asparagus, broccoli, sweet onions and leaf lettuce.

Sanders served as vice president of the Extension Division of the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) in 1992-93. In 1992 he was named a Fellow of ASHS, and he will receive the 2006 Outstanding International Horticulturist Award posthumously at the ASHS Annual Conference in New Orleans in August. He served as president of the Southern Region ASHS in 2000.

Sanders distinguished himself as an international horticulturist with 38 trips abroad in the last two decades, working with and mentoring many students from Uruguay, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, China and Thailand.

Sanders taught undergraduate and graduate courses and utilized new distance education technologies to reach audiences across North Carolina. He was a tireless worker with a passion for horticultural science and seemingly boundless amounts of energy. All who knew him benefited from his innovative ideas, unselfish encouragement and thoughtfulness. Doug will be missed not only professionally, but by all of his many friends for whom he was an inspiration and a great counselor. Doug is survived by his wife, Ellen, and sister, Mary Sanders.

An endowment in Doug Sanders’ name is being established. Contributions can be sent to the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc., Box 7645, NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7645.

Posted by Natalie at 11:41 AM

April 21, 2006

Meetings to focus on avian flu

The first of five regional meetings designed to provide North Carolina's poultry industry and the public with information about the threat of avian influenza will be held April 27 in Siler City.

The Siler City meeting, which is sponsored by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service and North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, begins with registration at 9:30 a.m. at the Carolina Stockyard Company, 260 Stockyard Road. It ends at noon.

A particularly deadly strain of avian influenza, or flu, has been spreading around the world. The H5N1 strain of avian influenza originated in Asia and has since spread to Europe and Africa. The disease has killed thousands of domestic and wild birds and is responsible for some human deaths. Human health and agriculture officials fear migrating birds will spread the disease to the United States.

If avian influenza reaches North Carolina, it could seriously threaten the state's poultry industry, which generates more than $2 billion in revenue annually.

The meetings, which are open to the public, are designed for poultry growers, Cooperative Extension employees, government officials and others involved in the state's poultry industry, said Dr. Brian Sheldon, Department of Poultry Science Extension Leader and professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University.

Sheldon said the meetings will include an overview of avian influenza and the threat the disease poses to the North Carolina poultry industry. Topics to be discussed include the potential economic ramifications of introduction of avian influenza to North Carolina and current preparations for containment and control in the face of an outbreak. The meetings will conclude with a panel discussion featuring representatives from Cooperative Extension, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the N.C. Division of Public Health.

For more information on the Siler City meeting, contact Daniel Campeau, area specialized poultry agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension at 919.542.8202 or dan_campeau@ncsu.edu.

Other meeting dates and locations:
May 3
Duplin County Cooperative Extension Center
165 Agriculture Drive
Information: James Parsons, area specialized poultry agent, 910.296.2143 or james_parsons@ncsu.edu

May 10
Robeson County Cooperative Extension Center
455 Caton Road
Information: James Cochran, area specialized poultry agent, 910.671.3276 or james_cochran@ncsu.edu

May 18
Iredell County Agricultural Resource Center
444 Bristol Drive
Information: Kathy Bunton, area specialized poultry agent, 704.878.3154 or kathy_bunton@ncsu.edu

May 30
Union County Cooperative Extension Center
3230-D Presson Road
Information: Jody Smith, area specialized poultry agent, 704.283.3743 or jody_smith@ncsu.edu

-D. Caldwell

Posted by Natalie at 04:17 PM

Walters named Hoke Extension director

Keith Walters, a Hoke County agricultural Extension agent, has been named director of North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s Hoke County center.

Walters’s appointment was announced by Dr. Jon F. Ort, director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at N.C. State University, and Mike Wood, Hoke County manager. Walters succeeds former Extension Director Clinton McRae, who held the position for four and a half years. McRae transferred to Richmond County in February.

Walters has worked in Hoke County as an agricultural agent since 1999. He holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a master’s degree in extension education, both from North Carolina State University.

“Keith has a vision for the future of Hoke County Cooperative Extension that focuses on emerging issues and opportunities through which Extension can have a positive impact on Hoke County,” said Danny Shaw, district extension director for the South Central District, which includes Moore County. “Keith has developed strong leadership skills that will be vital in directing the county extension staff in delivering dynamic programs and building strong partnerships.”

Posted by Natalie at 04:14 PM

April 17, 2006

Simpson named campus NCCESA Secretary of the Year

photo of Charlotte Simpson receiving award
Charlotte Simpson, right, receives a certificate naming her the campus 2006 Secretary of the Year. (Photo by Mark Dearmon)

Charlotte Simpson, accounting technician in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Communication Services, has been named Secretary of the Year by the campus chapter of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Secretaries’ Association (NCCESA).

The association honored Simpson at a recent campus luncheon, presenting her with a certificate and a $75 award.

“Charlotte has provided invaluable financial guidance and accountability to me and my department head predecessors, through both good and lean budget years – always with a good-natured determination that budget matters be held to the highest accounting standards,” said department head Dee Shore in Simpson’s nomination letter.

An N.C. State employee for 18 years, Simpson has been an active member of the NCCESA since 1991. She has served for the past three years as treasurer and finance chair, and she has held a number of positions on Association committees. In 2004, Simpson won Awards for Excellence at both the college and university levels, and she was a nominee for the State Employees’ Award for Excellence. She also was the 2003 winner of the NCCES Foundation Search for Excellence Award.

Posted by Suzanne at 08:59 AM

EDEN provides West Nile Virus site

With all the news related to avian influenza, the Extension Disaster Educaton Network urges Extension professionals to remember the efforts being made to combat West Nile Virus (WNV). As a human health concern, it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to transfer the disease.

Thanks to Kim Cassel – EDEN's point of contact for South Dakota State University – EDEN now has a complete Issue page on WNV: www.eden.lsu.edu/wnv. This is an informative page that provides an overview of the virus and answers the following questions:

* How many kinds of mosquitoes are in the United States?
* Why do mosquitoes bite?
* What disease-causing microorganisms can mosquitoes transmit?
* What is the most effective way to prevent mosquito bites and control mosquitoes at home?

A number of helpful and informative resources are accessible through this page, including a report titled "Public Health Confronts the Mosquito: Developing Sustainable State and Local Mosquito Control Programs."

As the summer season approaches and mosquitoes once again become the seasonal obstacle, this page may prove a valuable resource for Extension professionals.

Posted by Natalie at 08:02 AM

April 13, 2006

Extension poster available

Cooperative Extension poster

Posters of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension mural that were done several years ago are available from Jeanne Marie Wallace in the Department of Communication Services. The posters, pictured left, are 37 X 20 inches on glossy paper and will not be shipped. Email jeannemarie_wallace@ncsu.edu to schedule pickup of your free posters. They are available while supplies last.

Posted by Natalie at 04:51 PM

April 10, 2006

Alpacas pack ‘em in

photo of alpacas
Moore County farmer Joe Picariello feeds his alpacas. (Photo by Becky Kirkland)

Moore County farmer Joe Picariello, 63, was content with the idea of raising his alpacas – longhaired South American animals of the camel family – and enjoying a quiet life on his small farm. That is, until an invitation from Cooperative Extension planted a new seed and inspired him to become part of a burgeoning industry in North Carolina: agricultural tourism.

Within a year of receiving Extension’s invitation to visit agritourism operations in Eastern North Carolina, Picariello and his wife Ursula launched an agricultural tourism venture of their own, Crystal Pines Alpaca Farm, complete with hayrides, a petting zoo and educational programs.

“After visiting those [agritourism] farms, we said to ourselves, ‘We can do this with our alpacas,’” Picariello said. “We bought other animals, including miniature cows, pigs and donkeys; put up an old-fashioned barn; installed a barnyard and bought a hay wagon. We’ve only been in operation for about a year, and already it’s been very successful.”

Helping Picariello is Moore County Agricultural Extension Agent Taylor Williams. With support from the GoldenLEAF Foundation, Williams created the Sandhills Farm Market and Agritourism Development Project.

The project’s Web site, www.SandhillsAgriculture.com, offers visitors a detailed color map that features 42 different agritourism ventures in Montgomery, Anson, Moore and Richmond Counties. Stops along the map invite visitors to enjoy everything from pick-your-own berry farms to corn mazes, ice cream stands and animal farms.

And now, more farmers will be able to participate, thanks to a GoldenLEAF grant that will pump an additional $26,000 into the project, enabling it to expand to other counties and add new heritage sites that highlight the work of local craftspeople.

On a peak day, Crystal Pines Alpaca Farm hosts 200-300 children from area schools, and in it’s first year of business, the farm netted $4,000. The biggest attractions: friendly alpacas who give “kisses” on the cheek and chickens that lay colored eggs.

“Taylor and the Extension office were such a big help,” Picariello said. “We went to all the workshops … they answered all of our questions, or if they couldn’t, they’d tell us where to go to get the answers. I’m so pleased we got out there and tried this.”
--S. Stanard

Posted by Suzanne at 03:12 PM