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August 25, 2006

Youth learn the importance of livestock preparation

Stacy Neal with steer
Lee County 4-H'er Stacy Neal practices techniques for showing her steer in the livestock ring. (Photos courtesy of Tyrone Fisher)

Livestock and 4-H agents from the Piedmont area coordinated a training session for 4-H’ers who exhibit beef cattle, sheep and meat goats. This training is held annually in Sanford, with the help of local cattlemen associations, the Sanford Lions Club and N.C. State University faculty members.

Youth exhibitors received hands-on training on how to prepare their animals before they go into the ring. A hoof-trimming demonstration was given to stress how to get animals to stand properly on all four feet and display the animals’ highlights for the judge.

N.C. State University livestock technician Brent Jennings taught the importance of shearing sheep. He discussed how and when to shear sheep, as well as how to train animals to stand during the show.

Jennings also conducted a practice show so exhibitors would know how to lead and set up their animals for the judge. This will help 4-H’ers perform and excel wherever they go, whether it be a local county fair or the grand finale of the N.C. State Fair.

Extension agents involved in the event were from Lee, Chatham and Moore counties. They included livestock agents Tyrone Fisher, Sam Groce and Randy Wood and 4-H agents Bill Stone and Sarah Hardison.

Brent Jennings shearing sheep
Brent Jennings demonstrates how to sheer a sheep.

-T. Fisher

Posted by Natalie at 10:07 AM

August 24, 2006

Extension center construction to start

Elizabeth Poyner Sanderlin, who turns 102 next month, has spent much of her long life devoted to helping her community.

Now, as a tribute to Sanderlin's many years of devoted public service, the auditorium of the new $6.6 million Currituck Center of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service building will be named in her honor.

On Friday, Aug. 11, nearly 100 Extension employees and residents joined Sanderlin and county officials in celebrating the groundbreaking of the new Extension Center next to Central Elementary School in Maple.

Read more from The Daily Advance.

Posted by Suzanne at 03:48 PM

August 23, 2006

Ranney develops new 'Carolina' dogwoods

Student with dogwood flower
Intern Irene Palmer, who works with with Dr. Tom Ranney to propagate disease-resistant dogwoods at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, here pollinates a dogwood flower. (Photo courtesy of Tom Ranney)

With its four-petalled flower heralding spring from North Carolina's coast to its forested mountains, the dogwood has come to be known - and treasured - as a symbol of rebirth and revitalization. And N.C. State University researchers are working to make sure it stays that way.

At the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Fletcher, Dr. Tom Ranney and his colleagues have spent the past five years working to breed hardier cultivars that withstand two diseases that have ravaged native flowering dogwoods. Recent grants from the N.C. Association of Nurserymen and Golden LEAF, a nonprofit organization focused on economic development, have allowed them to expand and accelerate these efforts.

Read more from Perspectives (scroll down)

Posted by Natalie at 09:56 AM

August 22, 2006

Crossing Over: NC LOT tours Mexico

In Oaxaca, N.C. LOT visited people affected by emigration from Mexico. (Photo by Jean-Marie Luginbuhl)

Faced with an unprecedented boom in potential clients due to continuing waves of immigrants, especially from Mexico and Central America, North Carolina Cooperative Extension is gearing up to better serve Latino and other underserved clients. A recent fact-finding mission to Mexico has provided some valuable perspective and insight for the effort.

Read more in Perspectives

Posted by Art at 10:16 AM

Publications update from Communication Services

The following publications have been discontinued.
FCS-345, Making a Budget and Making It Work
FCS-370, Identifying and Correcting Moisture Problems in North Carolina Homes
FCS-387, Health Care Power of Attorney
FCS-363, Legal Authority
FCS-364, The Living Will
FCS-323-4, Set Priorities for Spending
FCS-348-4, Money Matters
FCS-361-8, Simple Home Repairs
FCS-453, Women's Nutrition
FCS-362-6, Death-Related Decisions

Posted by Natalie at 10:00 AM

August 21, 2006

Baker named Henderson County director

Denise Baker

Denise M. Baker, an area Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in Mitchell and Yancey counties, has been named Henderson County Extension director, effective Sept. 5.

Her appointment, which was approved by county commissioners on July 19, was announced by Dr. Jon Ort, director, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, and Steve Wyatt, Henderson County manager. She succeeds Joy Staton, who accepted a position in June 2005 working with Cooperative Extension volunteer advisory groups in North Carolina.

In addition, Baker was recently named one of 10 people to receive the state's highest honor for employees: the State Employees' Awards of Excellence. Last spring, Baker was honored as one of five top employees at N.C. State University. Read more from The Bulletin

Baker has worked with North Carolina Cooperative Extension since 1974. She began work as a 4-H and home economics Extension agent in Mitchell County, and was named a family and consumer sciences agent in 1989. She has been an area agent since 2001.

Baker earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics education from Appalachian State University in 1974 and a master’s degree in adult and community college education from North Carolina State University in 1990.

“Denise brings over 30 years of Cooperative Extension knowledge and experience to enhance the existing strong programs of our Henderson County center,” said Harvey Fouts, district Extension director for the West District, which includes Henderson County. “I look forward to working with Denise, the Extension staff and our county government partners in providing resources from N.C. State and N.C. A&T State to Henderson County citizens.”

-N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 10:44 AM

News from N.C. A&T State

Dr. John O’Sullivan of the Cooperative Extension Program received release time in July to lend some expertise in agricultural economics to west Africa. He was joined by his wife, Dr. Rita O’Sullivan, an associate professor of Evaluation and Assessment at UNC-Chapel Hill, on a trip devoted to compiling a directory of agricultural commodity wholesalers and transporters in southern Sudan, where decades of civil war finally came to an end with a peace agreement in 2005.

Read more of this story and other news from N.C. A&T at ag e-dispatch

Posted by Natalie at 10:30 AM

Marshall speaks to FCS professionals

Growing personal debt and society’s failure to manage its effects on families are the biggest challenges for the state and nation today, said Elaine Marshall, N.C. Secretary of State.

“Personal debt is eating our society up like moths on a forgotten wool coat,” Marshall told the 139 family and consumer science agents attending a three-day conference of the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences’ North Carolina affiliate chapter in New Bern.

Read more from The Sun-Journal

Posted by Natalie at 10:07 AM

August 18, 2006

College Profile: Karen McAdams

Karen McAdams
Caring is at the heart of the work of Orange County Extension agent Karen McAdams. (Becky Kirkland photo)

Ask College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Associate Dean Jon Ort what has distinguished North Carolina Cooperative Extension throughout its 92-year history, and he'll say "people" -- intelligent, hard-working and, above all, caring people committed to helping others make changes.

It was a point he made consistently last spring as he traveled to seven North Carolina cities to talk with employees about their role in shaping the future of Extension and of the state. At each stop, he mentioned a news story about Orange County agricultural agent Karen McAdams.

Read more from Perspectives

Posted by Natalie at 07:41 AM

Moore County tour focuses on agriculture

Beginning with a stop at Samarkand Manor, Chamber of Commerce members plunged deep into Moore County farm country last Friday afternoon.

They feasted on vegetable muffins and tomato sandwiches at Samarkand Manor, visited a field of organic flue-cured tobacco, and saw and heard the joys and challenges of raising peaches.

Co-sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Agribusiness Awareness Day Tour was designed to introduce the uninitiated to the farm scene and to bring others up to date on the latest in farm practices. Extension Director Craven Hudson and Extension horticulture agent Taylor Williams served as guides.

Read more from The Pilot

Posted by Natalie at 07:30 AM

August 16, 2006

Franklin horse tour draws crowd

Girl with horse
This horse makes a new friend during the Franklin County Farm Tour. (Photo courtesy of Carey Johnson, The Franklin Times)

More than 140 horse enthusiasts attended the popular 12th Annual Franklin County Farm Tour on Saturday, Aug. 5. Three area farms were featured, each showcasing a new barn design or equine product. Sharing “horse sense” and educating both present and future equine owners was the primary purpose of the tour.

Educational programs focused on the topics economics of barn establishment, horse riding safety, adequate insurance coverage for the farm, government funds available to the horse owner and forage management. On-farm demonstrations included new forage varieties, pasture aeration and watering systems.

This was the largest horse farm tour yet. Local and regional businesses continue to support the event with sponsorship of lunch, refreshments and door prizes. The 12-member Franklin County Extension Horse Advisory Committee assisted livestock agent Martha Mobley with planning and conducting this educational event, one of many offered for horse owners in the area.

Upcoming horse-related events include the 3rd Annual Franklin County educational Trail Ride on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Double D Equestrian Center near Louisburg and a winter educational mini-series in 2007. Also, area equine professionals will assist in teaching the “Horse Boarding 101” session during the Nov. 18 Successful Small Farm Opportunities Conference in Louisburg. For more information on the Franklin County equine program, contact Martha Mobley, Extension agent, at 919.496.3344 or visit http://franklin.ces.ncsu.edu.

Posted by Natalie at 01:16 PM

Progressive Agriculture Safety Day draws local children

Sixty-two children from Camden, Currituck and Pasquotank Counties learned how to identify and deal with hazards both on and off the farm on August 8, 2006.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension's Progressive Agriculture Safety Day drew children ages 5-12 from these communities for a half-day session on how to take responsibility for their own safety, respect parents' safety rules and share safety tips with their family and friends.

Read more from the Outer Banks Sentinel

Posted by Natalie at 01:00 PM

August 15, 2006

Living with Pierce's Disease

Turner Sutton
Turner Sutton examines grape vines for signs of Pierce's Disease. (Photo by Daniel Kim)

The first symptoms usually appear in mid-July to August, the hottest part of a North Carolina summer. The leaves of grapevines turn brown at the edges, as though scorched by the summer heat. Then clusters of grapes shrivel up. Eventually, the entire vine dies.

This is Pierce's disease, and it is the bane of North Carolina's growing viticulture industry. It is also the object of Dr. Turner Sutton's scrutiny. Sutton, a professor of plant pathology and Extension specialist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is looking for ways to allow North Carolina wine grape growers to live with Pierce's disease.

"Growers are concerned about it, and they should be concerned about it," says Sutton.

Pierce's disease, he says, "has the potential to limit the success of North Carolina vineyards."

Growing European-type vinifera wine grapes and making wine is a growing industry in North Carolina. The number of wineries in the state has doubled since 2002, according to the North Carolina Wine and Grape Council. North Carolina is home to more than 50 wineries, with five more expected to open this year. How successful Sutton is in determining how to deal with Pierce's disease will likely affect the success of this expanding industry.

Pierce's disease is caused by a bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa, which is spread from a variety of plants to grapevines by insects such as leafhoppers and spittlebugs, Sutton says. Among the reservoir plants on which the bacterium is found are oak trees, blackberries, wild grapes and Virginia creeper. When the bacterium infects a grapevine, it plugs the xylem, the water-conducting tissue of the plant, cutting off the vine's water supply.

Sutton has studied how the disease is spread and how it survives and plans to test methods of managing it.

If winter temperatures drop low enough, the bacterium that causes Pierce's disease can't survive, Sutton says. Sutton has looked at the effect of winter temperature on Pierce's disease in North Carolina. What he found is not particularly good news for grape growers.

Winters are warm enough throughout eastern North Carolina and the southern and eastern piedmont that the Pierce's disease bacterium can overwinter. As a result, Sutton describes the risk of the disease in these areas as "quite high." He describes disease risk as "somewhat less" in the north and central piedmont, where winters are a little cooler but still not cool enough to kill Xylella fastidiosa. Sutton points out that as a result of warmer winters in recent years, the risk of the disease has increased throughout the piedmont.

One of Sutton's students recently looked at the vectors of the bacterium, the insects that transmit the disease to grapevines. In 2004 and 2005, insect traps were placed in vineyards in the piedmont and coastal plain. Four species of leafhopper were identified as being most abundant in the vineyards, and three of the species tested positive for the bacterium. At least two of these leafhopper species are thought to be the primary vectors for Pierce's disease on grapes in North Carolina.

Sutton and Dr. George Kennedy, William Neal Reynolds Professor of Entomology, are now working with a $72,000 grant from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission to look at methods of managing Pierce's disease. They are attacking the disease on three fronts.

The grant is being used to develop an insecticide spray program designed to control the leafhoppers thought to be primarily responsible for spreading the disease. At the same time, Sutton plans to work on more specifically identifying the reservoir plants that harbor the Pierce's disease bacterium. If growers know where the bacterium resides when it's not on grapevines, it may be possible to eliminate these plants from the vicinity of a vineyard and reduce the likelihood of the disease.

Sutton is going to experiment with pruning to remove infected parts of the vine. It may be possible to halt the disease before it spreads too far on the vine. Sutton explains that the bacterium moves from grapevine leaves to the vine's cordon, the part of the vine that is trained to grow horizontally along a trellis. The bacterium then moves to the vine trunk, which kills the vine. If a grower sees infected leaves in July, he may be able to save the vine by pruning the infected shoots.

"We don't have a lot of answers at this time," says Sutton, who hopes to "come up with a plan that allows us to live with the disease."
D. Caldwell

Posted by Dave at 04:30 PM

August 14, 2006

NRLI graduates announced

NRLI graduates

North Carolinians from across the state and a natural resource professional from Knoxville, Tenn., are the most recent graduates of the Natural Resources Leadership Institute. Founded by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, the NRLI is a nationally recognized leadership development model offered by other states like Kentucky, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, Montana, Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and Indiana.

Housed within the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at N.C. State University, the NRLI has graduated 300 plus professionals since its inception in 1995. The NRLI is a capacity-building model, designed to build the leadership capability of North Carolinians involved in natural resource management and some of our most contentious environmental issues.

Graduates represent a diverse mixture of experiences, backgrounds, affiliations, and statewide geographic locations. During the 18-month leadership development program, participants engage in exploring the leader within as well as expanding their understanding about the practice and responsiveness of leadership. Since 2002, Progress Energy has provided scholarships, enabling participants to attend who otherwise would not be able to do so.

As part of the applied learning environment, the NRLI Fellows “put knowledge to work” by developing a leadership or practicum project mentored by the institute faculty. The faculty of the NRLI are: Mary Lou Addor, Ed Jones, John Stephens, Toddi Steelman and Steve Smutko.

The 2005 NRLI graduates and their projects are:

Buncombe County
Andrea Leslie, Ecosystem Enhancement Program
Project: Non-Traditional Mitigation Policy Development

Carolyn Wells, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Project: Laying the Foundation for Adaptive Management of the Roan Mountain Massif

Craven County
William Tucker, Weyerhaeuser Inc.
Project: Weyerhaeuser Southern Timberlands: Protecting Natural Areas with Unique Ecological, Historical or Cultural Features

Carrabus County
Dennis Testerman, Cabarrus Soil and Water Conservation District
Project: Soil and Water Stewardship Week: Involving Traditional and Non-Traditional Partners

Durham County
Sandra Cavalieri, Nature Conservancy
Project: Onslow Bight Conservation Forum: Assessment of Strengths and Weaknesses from the Stakeholder’s Perspective

Lenoir County
John Willis, N.C. Division of Forest Resources
Project: Mitigating Wildfires in the Urban Interface Around the Croatan National Forest

Moore County
Jeff Marcus, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission
Project: Formation of the Greater Uwharries Conservation Partnership

New Hanover County
Kristin Miguez, Ecosystem Enhancement Program
Project: Non-Traditional Mitigation Policy Development

Orange County
Mark Bost, N.C. Division of Forest Resources
Project: Applied Training for the N.C. Division of Forest Resources

Jennifer Maxwell, UNC-Chapel Hill Recycling Center
Project: Expansion of the UNC Green Games Environmental Program Through Stakeholder Input

Surry County
Joanna Radford, N.C. Cooperative Extension Service
Project: Developing Paddle Trails in Surry County with Stakeholder Input

Wake County
Michael Adamson, AMEC, Earth, and Environmental
Project: Procedures Manual for the N.C. Department of Transportation and Partners

Drew Cade, Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space
Project: Public Participation & Education in EPA’s Remedial Study of the Ward Transformer Site

Tom Gerow, N.C. Division of Forest Resources
Project: Facilitating Revisions of the N.C. Forestry Best Management Practices Manual

Russ Hardee, N.C. Division of Forest Resources and Progress Energy
Project: Establishing the Piney Woods Trail System Through Partnerships

Kim Nimmer, N.C. Division of Water Quality
Project: Identification of Non-Point Source Pollution Priorities by Broadening the Role of North Carolina’s Non-Point Source Work Group

Michael Schlegel, KCI Technologies
Project: Stony Creek Watershed: Identification of Barriers to Implementating Stream and Wetland Restoration

Watauga County
Jocelyn Elliott, Ecosystem Enhancement Program
Project: Kraut Creek Enhancement Project: Coordination of Landowner and Community Outreach

Knoxville, Tennessee
William Pridemore, University of Tennessee
Project: Tennessee Natural Resources Leadership Institute: Providing Leadership and Civic Capacity for Tennesseans in the 21st Century

For more information on the Natural Resource Leadership Institute or to learn about the upcoming 2007 Leadership Development Program, contact Mary Lou Addor, 919.515.9602 or Mary_Addor@ncsu.edu, or visit the NRLI Web site, www.ces.ncsu.edu/NRLI.

Posted by Natalie at 09:42 AM

August 11, 2006

New publications available from Communication Services

Three new publications are now available from Communication Services.

They are:

· The Best Pet For You, AG-668, can help you select the pet best for your personality and lifestyle. It summarizes some of the positives and negatives of owning different companion animals based on the level of commitment required, time and space needs, behavior and health considerations, and budget. The animals discussed include dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, rats and mice, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, reptiles, and fish. Kimberly Ange wrote the eight-page publication.

· Cow Herd Management Calendar, AG-655-1, offers timelines for both spring (January through March) and fall (October through December) calving. Profitability of your cow herd depends on good planning and appropriate timing of major herd activities, and planning activities based on the appropriate timeline will help prevent a prolonged calving season, decreased conception rates, and lowered profitability. Jim Turner and Matt Poore wrote this eight-page publication.

· Beef and Goat Forage Management Calendar for North Carolina Operations, AG-655-3, provides a timeline you can use in scheduling forage management procedures. The profitability of most beef and goat operations depends on proper forage management. Jim Turner and Jim Green wrote this six-page publication.

Posted by Natalie at 04:01 PM

August 10, 2006

Miller is president-elect of national association

Fred Miller

Fred Miller, Catawba County Extension director, has been elected president-elect of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) for 2006-07. His election positions him to serve as president of the organization the following year, making him the first North Carolina agent to serve in that capacity.

He will become president of NACAA during the 2007 Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference (AM/PIC) and conclude his one-year term at the 2008 NACAA AM/PIC, which will be held in North Carolina.

Miller has a long history of involvement in the state, regional and national ag agents' associations. He served as secretary of NACAA in 2003-05 and as vice president for 2005-06. He also has received NACCA's Distinguished Service Award, Communications Award and Achievement Award.

He served as Southern Regional Director of NACAA, 2001-03, and as vice director, 1999-2001. In 1996, he was president of the North Carolina Association of County Agricultural Agents.

Miller earned bachelor's and master's degrees in horticultural science, both from N.C. State University. He began work for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in 1981 as a Forsyth County horticultural agent. In 1989, he became Catawba County Extension director.

-N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 04:04 PM

August 08, 2006

Evans is new head of Bio and Ag Engineering

Robert Evans

Dr. Robert Evans, a prominent water-quality expert based at North Carolina State University, is the new head of the university’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

His appointment is effective Oct. 1, said Dr. Johnny Wynne, the college’s dean.

Evans, recently named a fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, has been a BAE Department professor since 2003 and its extension leader since 1997.

Continue reading from the WEN newsletter

Posted by Natalie at 01:35 PM

August 04, 2006

Garden Conservancy "Open Days" tour showcases private gardens, JC Raulston Arboretum

Photo of a garden

The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program comes to Raleigh in September, featuring six private gardens to visit on Saturday, September 23 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Sunday, September 24 (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.).

Gardens participating on these two dates feature sumptuous plantings beneath the native red- and white-oak canopy of a traditional Southern home with a formal Italian fountain and cascading waterfalls; a Japanese-style garden with a magnificent pond spillway; and a half-acre suburban property with a rose garden, secret garden, and several follies and garden accents.

A portion of the proceeds from the weekend will benefit the JC Raulston Arboretum, a working research and teaching garden of North Carolina State University celebrating its 30th anniversary in conjunction with the tour.

Built and maintained by North Carolina State students, faculty, staff and volunteers, the eight-acre arboretum is a nationally acclaimed garden with the most diverse collection of plants adapted for landscape use in the southeastern United States.

Plant collections include more than 5,000 varieties of annuals, perennials, bulbs, vines, groundcovers, shrubs and trees from more than fifty countries, which are displayed in a beautiful garden setting that is open to the public.

Visitors may start the tour on either day at the JC Raulston Arboretum at 4415 Beryl Road in Raleigh, where discount admission tickets will be sold (6 tickets for $25). Single tickets to the individual gardens ($5 each) may also be purchased during the tour at each garden. Open Days are rain or shine, and no reservations are required. For ticket information, please contact Autumn Keck at the JC Raulston Arboretum at autumn_keck@ncsu.edu or 919-513-3826.

The Open Days gardens in Raleigh are featured in the 2006 Open Days Directory, which includes detailed driving directions and vivid descriptions written by garden owners. The national edition includes garden listings in 16 states and costs $20.45, including shipping. The South edition costs $5, and features gardens in Florida, North Carolina and Texas. Call the Garden Conservancy toll-free at 1-888-842-2442 to order with a Visa or MasterCard, or send a check or money order to: the Garden Conservancy, P.O. Box 219, Cold Spring, NY, 10516. Discount admission tickets are available through advanced mail order.

The 2006 Open Days Program is sponsored by W. Atlee Burpee & Co., America’s most trusted name in gardening for 125 years, providing seeds, plants, gardening supplies and accessories for the home gardener. The Open Days Program is also pleased to have Fine Gardening Magazine as its National Media Sponsor. Fine Gardening is published bimonthly by The Taunton Press, a trusted source of information and inspiration on house and home.

The Garden Conservancy introduced the Open Days Program in 1995 as a means of introducing the public to gardening, providing easy access to outstanding examples of design and horticultural practice, and proving that exceptional American gardens are still being created.

The Open Days Program is America’s only national private garden-visiting program, and is made possible by the work of hundreds of volunteers nationwide. Visit the Garden Conservancy and its Open Days Program online at www.gardenconservancy.org/opendays.html.

-S. Stanard

Posted by Suzanne at 09:23 AM

August 02, 2006

Extension specialists's pesticide manual draws national attention

The manual has value beyond certification exams, Buhler (above)says. “It also is being used as a resource book for pest management in the landscape.” (Photo by Becky Kirkland)

A certification manual developed in 2004 by Dr. Wayne Buhler, Extension specialist and associate professor in the College’s department of horticultural science, recently has been making waves.

The manual, “Ornamental and Turfgrass Pest Management: A Pesticide Applicator Certification Manual for the Carolinas and Georgia,” recently won the Blue Ribbon Extension Communication Award presented by the Southern Region of the American Society for Horticultural Science. And, in 2004 the manual received the Outstanding Book Award, Extension and Industry Division, from the American Society for Horticultural Science.

A product of collaboration among 12 Extension specialists from N.C. State, the University of Georgia and Clemson University, the 160-page manual has caught the attention of pesticide safety educators from across the country.

A chapter on applying the correct amount of pesticide has been incorporated into the Florida licensing manual, and New Mexico will use the manual to prepare its applicators for the state exam. Educators in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi also are considering an adaptation of the manual.

In addition to Buhler, contributing authors are: Dr. James R. Baker, emeritus professor of entomology; Dr. Rick Brandenburg, professor and Extension entomologist; Erv Evans, consumer horticulturalist; Dr. Lane P. Tredway, assistant professor of plant pathology; and Dr. Colleen Y. Warfield, Extension specialist and assistant professor of plant pathology. June Lioret, editor in the College’s department of communication services, edited the manual.

“This is a great example of partnerships at work,” Buhler says. “We wanted to boost the competency level of applicators in all three states and provide them with more specific pest control information. Also, the learning objectives and practice questions in each chapter are designed to help allay the fear of testing and prepare applicators for their required certification exams.”

The manual has been translated into Spanish, and it is available on CD.

-S. Stanard

Posted by Suzanne at 09:27 AM

August 01, 2006

Extension helps abalone farmer set up shop in North Carolina

Tom Losordo and Robert Bishop review blueprints
Extension specialist Tom Losordo (left) and New Zealand abalone producer Robert Bishop are mapping out plans to add a new element to the North Carolina aquaculture industry. (Photos by Becky Kirkland)

Why on earth would a farmer from New Zealand uproot his family, rearrange his business plan and move to North Carolina to set up shop?

One word: “Support.”

So says Robert Bishop, a New Zealand abalone producer aiming to join the state’s burgeoning aquaculture industry. “We just don’t get the support back home that we’ve gotten here, especially from N.C. State. It’s a positive attitude. The people here want to get out and make things happen.”

After nearly three years of planning, Bishop arrived in North Carolina in May, ready to build his farm and start raising abalone, an exotic and popular shellfish used in Asian delicacies such as sushi and sashimi. Helping him is Dr. Tom Losordo, Extension specialist and professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences department of biological and agricultural engineering.

While the two have corresponded by phone since 2003, they first met at a 2004 World Aquaculture Society conference in Sydney, Australia. Losordo, past president of the organization, led a workshop at the conference that Bishop attended.

A regular part of Losordo’s presentation to international audiences is a tongue-in-cheek invitation to come to North Carolina and take advantages of the services offered by the College and North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

“I guess Robert took me up on my offer,” Losordo jokes. As an added bonus, he says, starting an aquaculture business in North Carolina is a much less expensive and time-consuming venture than in most other areas of the world. Instead of taking months and costing thousands of dollars, the licensing process in North Carolina takes about 30 days and is free.

Losordo has connected Bishop to the resources of Cooperative Extension, as well as to College researchers and representatives from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA). He’s also helped introduce Bishop to the broader community of aquaculture producers in North Carolina, largely through the relationships built by Extension agents across the state.

“Together, we’re bringing different ideas from our experience to figure out what will work best for Robert,” says Losordo. “The aquaculture network in North Carolina really comes together through the strong relationship between the College and NCDA. We work as a team, and we help each other out.”

Losordo and Bishop at N.C. State Fish Barn
Losordo and Bishop walk past the tanks at the N.C. State University Fish Barn.

Losordo and colleagues Dennis DeLong, Extension aquaculture specialist, and Matt Parker, aquaculture business specialist with NCDA, have helped Bishop with everything from securing the proper permits to locating a saltwater well. They’re helping tweak the design of his system, and they also are working to develop and implement a wastewater treatment process that will allow Bishop to completely recycle most of the water he uses.

With 16 years of experience raising abalone, Bishop will be the first such producer in North Carolina. The shellfish typically are grown in California and Hawaii. He plans to produce nearly 25,000 pounds of abalone each year and ship them live to major markets such as New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., where abalone are in high demand by restaurants.

“We’re farming fish for a food market,” Bishop says. “By exporting regularly to cities like New York, where there are 500 sushi bars in the city alone, we’ll be able to bring income back to North Carolina.”

His entrepreneurial spirit is contagious and his vision ambitious. Bishop plans to truck the live fish to major metropolitan markets every Thursday, where restaurant patrons will consume them over the weekend. He’ll repeat this process each week, enabling restaurants to offer the delicacy fresh on their menus on a regular basis.

To get started, Bishop will acquire the baby shellfish from a hatchery in the U.S. They’ll grow to maturity in about 18 months, until they reach “cocktail size” of three inches. He’d eventually like to develop his own hatchery and hire three full-time staff, but will focus first on getting his business off the ground.

Currently scouting property in North Carolina’s Piedmont, Bishop plans to build his farm on 10 acres. Using metal-clad fish barns, he’ll operate a completely closed seawater system, which is essentially a series of trays with recirculating water flow.

He’ll join a $54 million aquaculture industry that is growing steadily each year in North Carolina. The state supports more than 2,000 acres of catfish ponds, 760 acres of striped bass ponds and is the third leading producer of trout.

“In each of these ventures, N.C. State has its hands,” Losordo says.

“We’re trying to build the industry one farmer at a time,” he adds. “Robert has been great to work with, and we’re learning a lot from him. It’s a win-win situation.”

–S. Stanard

Posted by Suzanne at 04:55 PM