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May 30, 2007

Walter Jones visits Pitt County Extension

Walter Jones
Mitch Smith, left, Pitt County Extension director, stands with guest Congressman Walter Jones.(Photo courtesy of Pitt County Cooperative Extension)

Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina's third congressional district visited the Pitt County Extension Center recently to learn about the impacts of the local Cooperative Extension program. Thirty advisory members along with Extension customers and administrators were among those who attended this event.

“Back Home” visits are held annually for U.S. congressional representatives in order to showcase quality Extension programs and provide a forum for Extension advisory leaders to interact with congressional leaders.

Read more from the Pitt County Cooperative Extension page.

Posted by Natalie at 01:16 PM

Asparagus Twilight Meeting to showcase new varieties

Those interested in learning about growing and marketing asparagus are invited to come to an Asparagus Twilight Meeting on Thursday, Aug. 16, 6 p.m. at the farm of Garnett Carr, 982 Flem Clayton Rd., Roxboro.

The meeting is designed to showcase the quarter-acre variety trial plots and compare the 13 different varieties grown on the Person County farm by disseminating the research results from the first harvest season. Asparagus is a high-value vegetable crop that is easy to grow, has high consumer demand and needs to be promoted in the South.

Carl Cantaluppi, area horticulture agent for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Granville and Person counties, will talk about site and soil considerations for growing asparagus, as well as fertility requirements; insect, disease and weed control; harvesting and marketing techniques; costs associated with growing the crop and more. An asparagus planting will be demonstrated using a middlebuster or lister plow to open a furrow and plant dormant one-year old crowns (roots).

People will be encouraged to ask questions throughout the presentation. Door prizes will be on hand and cold drinks will be provided.

From Roxboro, travel about three miles north on NC 57. Turn right (east) on Flem Clayton Road. Go about half a mile a mile until the road ends. The asparagus plot is on the right.

-C. Cantaluppi

Posted by Natalie at 01:00 PM

May 21, 2007

Alum contributes expertise to improve campus, state water quality

Darrell Westmoreland, right, and Dr. Greg Jennings, BAE, along the banks of Rocky Branch on NC State's campus.

Last December, on a tree-lined terrace above Rocky Branch Creek on N.C. State University’s campus, two men monitored the progress of several groups of trainees and their instructors below. Darrell Westmoreland, stream restoration and wetlands mitigation expert, was on the job.

He and Dr. Greg Jennings, Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) professor at N.C. State, watched a multi-ton North State Environmental Inc. (NSE) trackhoe carefully repair part of the Rocky Branch stream restoration project damaged by last June’s Tropical Storm Alberto.

Westmoreland, a 1991 BAE graduate in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, co-owns NSE. Jennings, a licensed engineer and water quality specialist who leads “River Course” classes for BAE’s Stream Restoration Program, also heads North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s Watershed Education Network.

The heavy equipment operator they observed exhibited a delicate touch on this environmentally sensitive job, no problem for carefully hired and specially trained NSE operators. Westmoreland’s employees are noted for their ability to handle 30-ton tracked excavators or bulldozers in mid-channel, positioning rocks, logs and dirt to create natural-looking streams and banks without disrupting a site.

Water quality engineers appreciate NSE operators’ finesse.

“Darrell’s operators are all skilled, patient experts, who are not afraid to get out of their equipment and use their hands and feet to make sure things are built properly. They have a set of chest waders in every cab,” says Dan Clinton, a 1997 BAE alumnus, former Rocky Branch design team member and River Course instructor, and now a Town of Cary storm water engineer.

North Carolina’s streams are familiar habitats to Westmoreland.
With his wife, Stephanie, he founded the Winston-Salem-based NSE in 1994 to repair and restore waterways to their natural state through specialized channel design and installation services. Stephanie is NSE president; Darrell, project manager and vice-president. He handles field operations, stream restoration and wetlands mitigation, job estimating, equipment scheduling, and maintenance and field personnel management.

Despite the responsibilities and busy schedule, the company provides a dream job to Westmoreland, an outdoorsman who likes to fish any stream he has restored to make sure it supports aquatic life.
Westmoreland is noted not only for his efforts to preserve our environment, but also for his dedication to N.C. State.

The Westmorelands have provided at least $20,000 worth of in-kind donations to the Stream Restoration Program and other College water-quality efforts, Jennings says. They’ve been involved with five training workshop-related projects in Raleigh, Brevard and Purlear, near North Wilkesboro.

Workshop receipts supported the Rocky Branch restoration work during SRP’s three-day certification training as part of a hands-on training program. Instructors included Westmoreland, Jennings, Clinton and N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Ecosystem Enhancement Program staff.

During training, 55 construction contractors, consulting engineers, regulatory agency employees and others visited a multi-faceted real-time water flow demonstration area that NSE had constructed earlier at N.C. State’s Lake Wheeler Road Field Labs. NSE also constructed storm-water research ponds on Centennial Campus for N.C. State’s water quality group, headed by Extension specialist Dr. Jean Spooner, also of BAE, who directs the College’s Soil and Water Environmental Technology Center.

“The Lake Wheeler area is unique,” Clinton says. “No other place in the country has a full-scale outdoor stream construction demonstration project for educational purposes, and Darrell helped build it.”

At Rocky Branch, class participants learned specific techniques and erosion control methods applicable to this type of construction. For instance, students spent 45-minute field rotations observing Westmoreland’s red-T-shirted workers use heavy equipment to install root wads and boulders in an Alberto-damaged stream bank. A group of his workers also installed a brush mattress, while others seeded and planted the stream bank with native riparian vegetation for bank stabilization.

Now in its 12th year, NSE was honored by Equipment World Magazine as 2006 NSE national Contractor of the Year. The same year, the nonprofit Soil and Water Conservation Society honored the company for outstanding efforts and achievements toward the society’s goals of “fostering the science and art of natural resource conservation.”

As evidenced during the December N.C. State restoration job, Westmoreland’s on-the-job streamside attention to detail pays dividends. “The Rocky Branch work was well done,” he says. “The rock and log structures and the channel held up, despite a major precipitation event after we finished the job.”

—A. Latham

Posted by Art at 09:35 AM

May 09, 2007

Petrini is speaker for CEFS lecture

Carlo Petrini

Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food International, will speak at North Carolina State University’s McKimmon Center at 7 p.m. May 23, during a rare United States appearance. Petrini will discuss the meaning and value of preserving food traditions, defending biodiversity and protecting food that is good, clean and fair.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is the Center for Environmental Farming Systems’ Inaugural Sustainable Agriculture Lecture. It will be part of a two-day celebration with Petrini, “Farm-to-Fork: A Celebration of Local Foods and Local Farms,” in the Triangle May 22-23.

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems is a research, teaching and extension center in Goldsboro focused on sustainable agriculture. CEFS is a partnership of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, North Carolina A&T State University and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Prior to the lecture, Friends of CEFS will host a private benefit reception with Petrini at the N.C. State University Visitor Center, 1210 Varsity Drive, adjacent to McKimmon Center, from 5-7 p.m. Friends of CEFS is a non-profit organization for those who support CEFS’ commitment to a sustainable future for agriculture. For information regarding CEFS benefit and reserved lecture seating, contact Lisa Forehand, 919.513.0954, cefs_info@ncsu.edu or the Web site, www.cefs.ncsu.edu

For more information about CEFS, local foods or sustainable agriculture, contact Dr. Nancy Creamer, 919.515.9447 or nancy_creamer@ncsu.edu. Creamer is a professor of Horticultural Science at N.C. State and CEFS director.

Background for Media
Through a number of efforts, North Carolina Cooperative Extension has been instrumental in bringing local growers and consumers together. Through farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture programs, farm tours and other arrangements, Extension has worked to develop local food systems across North Carolina.

Since 1999, the number of farmers’ markets across the United States has doubled as consumers’ interest in local foods grows. Local food systems provide consumers with fresh, locally grown products, while providing growers with an accessible market for their products. Information about the Slow Food movement in the Triangle is available at http://www.slowfoodtriangle.org/.

To learn more about how Cooperative Extension has increased the availability of local foods in the Triangle, contact the following Extension agents and specialists

Moore Square Farmers’ Market, Raleigh
North Carolina Cooperative Extension professionals were instrumental in helping establish this market last year.
Carl Cantaluppi, Extension agent for Granville and Person counties, 919.603.1350 or carl_cantaluppi@ncsu.edu
Morris Dunn, Extension agent, Wake County, 919.250.1117 or morris_dunn@ncsu.edu
Theresa Nartea, Extension agribusiness and marketing specialist, N.C. A&T State University, 336.334.7956, ex. 2109 or tjnartea@ncat.edu

Creedmoor Farmers’ Market
Carl Cantaluppi, extension agent for Granville and Person counties, has helped establish this market (Saturdays, beginning May 19).

Wake Forest Farmers’ Market
Morris Dunn, Wake County Extension agent, helped the market vendors acquire tents to enhance the market’s appearance.

Holly Springs Farmers’ Market
Morris Dunn and Theresa Nartea helped the town survey citizens’ desire for a local farmers’ market. Holly Springs’s first farmers’ market will open this spring.

Smithfield Farmers’ Market
Johnston County’s Cooperative Extension center has been involved in establishing a farmers’ market in downtown Smithfield that is open now (Fridays).
Amie Newsome, Extension agent, 919.496.3344 or amie_newsome@ncsu.edu

Pinehurst Farmers Market
Cooperative Extension in Moore County worked with First Health Moore Regional Hospital to create the new market in the heart of Pinehurst, with about a dozen vendors who sell fresh produce, flowers, herbs, jams and jellies (Mondays, 3-8 p.m.).
Taylor Williams, Extension agent, 910.947.3188 or taylor_williams@ncsu.edu

NC Choices
Affiliated with CEFS, NC Choices promotes sustainable pork production and helps develop direct markets. Triangle area producers can be found at the Web site http://www.ncchoices.com/farmers_piedmont.htm
Jennifer Curtis, project manager, 919.967.0014 or jencurt@mindspring.com

Community-Supported Agriculture programs
Extension has been instrumental in developing Community-Supported Agriculture programs for two local employers and more recently for a Wake County master-planned community. Bedford at Falls River teams with the Vollmer Farm of Bunn to host a CSA for residents. The employers who established CSAs with extension’s help are:
Research Triangle Institute, started by CEFS: http://www.rti.org/csa
Duke University: http://www.hr.duke.edu/farmersmarket/mobile_market.html
Theresa Nartea, Extension agribusiness and marketing specialist, N.C. A&T State University, 336.334.7956, ex. 2109 or tjnartea@ncat.edu

Chatham County’s “Growing Small Farms” Web site
Extension agent Debbie Roos reaches out to local growers through her award-winning Web site “Growing Small Farms.” The site offers information for growers on production, marketing and more. Roos also is involved with three local farmers’ markets in Pittsboro, Fearrington and Siler City.
Debbie Roos, 919.542.8202 or debbie_roos@ncsu.edu

Durham’s SEEDS and DIG programs
Specialists at N.C. A&T State University worked with this community garden and education program that sells produce at the Durham Farmers’ Market.
Robert Williamson, Extension natural resources specialist, 336.334.7956 or robertw@ncat.edu
Ellen Smoak, Western District Coordinator, 336.334.7956 or smoak@ncat.edu
Lucy Harris, SEEDS executive director, 919.683.1197

Franklin County Farm Foods & Crafts Tour (May 19-20)

Franklin County’s Cooperative Extension center has been involved in this tour, which introduces consumers to local farms, since in began four years ago.
Martha Mobley, Franklin County Extension agent, 919.496.3344 or martha_mobley@ncsu.edu

Marketing efforts for beef and goat meat
Franklin County Cooperative Extension was instrumental in establishing two organizations to market sustainably raised beef and goat meat.
Franklin County Natural Beef, http://www.buynaturalbeef.us
NC Meat Goat Producers, Inc., http://www.ordergoat.com
Martha Mobley
--N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 09:01 AM

May 07, 2007

Four Extension faculty honored

North Carolina State University faculty and EPA staff members received Outstanding Extension Service Awards at the Fifth Annual Extension, Engagement, and Economic Development "Celebrating the Engaged University" Awards Dinner. The ceremony was April 23 at the McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education, North Carolina State University. The evening included award presentations and the induction of the newest members of the Academy of Outstanding Faculty Engaged in Extension.

William Hunt III, Extension specialist in biological and agricultural engineering, and David Jordan, Extension specialist in crop science, were inducted into the university's Academy of Outstanding Faculty Engaged in Extension. The academy induction recognizes and promotes the collaborative and interdisciplinary contributions of faculty working in extension activities universitywide.

Hunt and Jordan were also received Outstanding Extension Awards, along with Rett Davis, Alamance County Extension director, and Kenneth Reeves, Buncombe County Extension director. These awards recognize outstanding faculty and EPA employees of N.C. State University who are engaged in meaningful and beneficial collaboration between the University and external partners and communities. Faculty and EPA staff have a unique and fundamental role within land-grant universities.

They assess needs, develop appropriate programs to address those needs, and often work outside the traditional classroom. Their objectives are to provide education and assistance that will help people make decisions and solve problems. Faculty members team with professional peers to see that relevant knowledge and technology are brought to bear on clients' problems.

Posted by Natalie at 04:03 PM

Workshop to focus on safe produce handling, liability

A workshop for commercial fruit and vegetable growers that will focus on safe food handling and legal liability issues will be held May 15 at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Person County Center in Roxboro.

The workshop is designed for fruit and vegetable growers who sell their produce at farmers’ markets and through pick-your-own operations. It begins at 5 p.m. with registration and dinner and ends at 9 p.m. The workshop cost is a $15 per person, which includes the meal. The event is sponsored by North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

Titled “Profitable Produce: A Workshop on Legal Liability and Handling Food Safely,” the workshop will feature presentations by Dr. Lynn Turner, a professor of food science at North Carolina State University, Shirley Outlaw of the North Carolina Farm Bureau, and Ted Feitshans, an extension specialist in agricultural and resource economics at N.C. State University. Turner will talk about good agricultural practices and food safety, while Outlaw will discuss liability insurance, and Feitshans’ topic will be legal issues and direct marketing.

Registration and other information is available from Carl Cantaluppi, area extension agent-horticulture, at 919.603.1350 or carl_cantaluppi@ncsu.edu or from Annette Dunlap, extension associate, value-added and alternative agriculture, at 919.515.5969 or annette_dunlap@ncsu.edu. Information is also available on line at extension’s value-added and alternative agriculture Web site, http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/value-added/

The Person County Extension Center, where the workshop will be held, is at 304 S. Morgan Street, Roxboro.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension is an educational agency supported by county governments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and N.C. State and North Carolina A&T State universities. County agents, backed by specialists at the two land-grant universities, conduct educational programs related to agriculture and forestry, family and consumer sciences, 4-H, community and rural development and other issues.

Posted by Dave at 01:02 PM