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September 25, 2007

Lifetime 4-H'er dubbed 'Fair Queen'

Carolyn Ivey
Carolyn Ivey (Credit: Joseph Rodrigue/News & Record)

GREENSBORO — Pass the blinking lights and the horror-film screams from a ride called the Fire Ball, and you'll find her in the Pavilion at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.

She's the grandmother with the kind face. She'll be wearing glasses, with a silver-plated four-leaf clover hanging from her neck that's as big as a half dollar.

That's Carolyn Ivey. She's the Fair Queen. And she's been there for more than a half century.

Read more from the Greensboro News & Record.

Posted by Suzanne at 09:28 AM

September 23, 2007

Bugfest draws crowds in Raleigh

Children at Bugfest
(Photo by Becky Kirkland)

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences was well represented at Bugfest, an educational events sponsored by the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh. A number of college-connected faculty, staff and students presented exhibits in the "beneficial bugs" area of the event, held Sept. 15. In this photo, children enjoy examining a live specimen. Bugfest participants from the college included: Chrystal Bartlett, Cooperative Extension marketing director; David Orr, Mike Linker, Fred Hain and Jennifer Keller, Entomology; David Penrose, Biological and Agricultural Engineering.

Posted by Natalie at 08:04 AM

September 21, 2007

Woodward to appear on Sunday

Tune in Sunday, Sept. 23, to see Cooperative Extension's Mitch Woodward (Wake County) discuss water conservation inside and outside of the home on "Tarheel Talk" this Sunday. Tarheel Talk airs at 6:30pm on Fox 50, on the WRAL Newschannel on Sunday from 4:30 - 5pm and on Tuesday, Sept. 25, from 10:35 thru 11:00 pm.

*For Time Warner digital cable subscribers, the NewsChannel is available on channel 256. Over-the-air viewers can receive it on digital channel 5.2

Posted by Natalie at 03:15 PM

September 20, 2007

Fall Festival held at Center for Environmental Farming Systems

A vendor at the Fall Festival farmers' markets wraps flowers for a client. (Photo by Natalie Hampton)

On average, the food most people in Wayne County will sit down to eat tonight, will have traveled about 1,500 miles to reach their plates.

At the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at Cherry Research Farm on Saturday, though, visitors had the opportunity to buy and eat food from a little closer to home.

Hosting their second annual Fall Festival, officials at CEFS said they were pleased at the turnout, estimating that more than 1,000 people took advantage of the warm, sunny day to come learn a little bit about farming and the importance of eating local.

Read more from The News-Argus

Posted by Natalie at 02:04 PM

September 15, 2007

Harnett County hosts large animal rescue workshop

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At a Harnett County farm, a small group of volunteers maneuvers around a horse that has fallen from an overturned horse trailer. Careful not to injure the animal, they place straps under and around his body to pull him to safety.

Though the horse and volunteers are real, the situation is actually a technical large animal rescue training organized by North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Harnett County, along with Harnett County Emergency Management, County Animal Response Teams of Harnett and Cumberland counties and the N.C. Farm Bureau.

The training, held in May, was the second one organized by livestock agent Tyrone Fisher and the other partners. The event attracted 45 hands-on trainees, along with 10 auditors from across the state and even across the state line. The group included animal control officers, Cooperative Extension professionals, first responders, horse owners, veterinarians, fire fighters and paramedics.

Tori Miller
Tori Miller of Harnett County works with a horse as part of the large animal rescue held there recently.(Photo by Daniel Kim)

During the three-day training, trainees participated in drills and exercises designed to prepare them for training and assisting other rescue personnel with removing large animals from mud, high water, an overturned trailer and more.

The professionals who conduct the training, Tomas and Rebecca Gimenez, use their own live horses, and a llama, that have been trained to cooperate as part of the training. The mud-rescue drill is performed with a “horse mannequin” because the live horses learned to shun the mud pits created for training.

“Participants can take this type of training back to the counties where they reside or work and use it as mutual aid,” said Tori Miller, 911 dispatcher in Harnett County and animal welfare officer.

“If they have knowledge from this training, they can respond with the emergency responders or with the veterinarians and assist in an emergency. They can actually teach other people in their county certain techniques that they have learned in this training.”

Once they’ve gone through the rescue training, these individuals will be equipped to assist with animals stuck in mud, hurricane situations, barn fires or large animals in overturned vehicles, Miller said.

A number of trainees in the class represented County Animal Response Teams. The teams are called to help with both small and large animals in the event of an emergency.

Melissa Brunner, an agricultural technician with the Onslow County CART, said her county near the North Carolina coast often has to activate when hurricanes are approaching. The group works with the American Red Cross to set up small animal shelters at sites designated as Red Cross emergency shelters. The CART-provided shelter allows evacuees to bring their pets with them when they are forced to leave their homes.

Brunner says her team has not been called on to perform large animal rescue operations. But now in the middle of hurricane season, she feels it is only a matter of time.

“We can take this information back and start up our large animal group,” she said. “I have a feeling that it is imperative to know this information. You never know when you’ll need to use it.”

Fisher says accidents involving horses getting mired in mud or slipping into rivers or streams are fairly common, especially in the Piedmont where there are numerous trail riding opportunities exist on private farms. Trained CART volunteers are helpful to rescue personnel who encounter these situations.

“We’ve had several situations along the Cape Fear River where animals have fallen into the river and because of the steep bank, animals could not get out of the river,” Fisher said. “So our volunteers have shown up and assisted in the situation and resolved it with the training like what they received today. You’ve got to know where to put the belts on the animal, where to hold the animal properly. If lifted in the wrong place, the animal can fall out or be injured.”

There is a four-step process involved in creating a CART group, Fisher says. The steps are 1) initiation; 2) committee formation; 3) writing a plan; and 4) completing tabletop exercises. Many counties have begun the process, but have not had a CART certified.

The State Animal Response Team has a database of 100 individuals trained in technical large animal rescue, but more are needed, Fisher says. Although the Eastern counties are well aware of the hurricane threats, counties even in the West have experienced floods and other disasters in recent years that can pose problems for large animals.

“All of North Carolina needs to be covered with CART teams,” he said.

-N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 01:39 PM

September 12, 2007

Chancellor to offer 'State of N.C. State' address, Sept. 27

State of State logo

Please join Chancellor James Oblinger as he shares North Carolina State University's vision of how the university will meet the needs of a rapidly changing world through education, dedication, and continued collaboration, Sept. 27, 3 p.m., in N.C. State's Stewart Theatre.

Read more

Posted by Natalie at 09:58 AM

September 10, 2007

N.C., Michigan 4-H’ers learn about plants, culture in Puerto Rico

4-H'er in Puerto Rico
Chelsea Evans, a 4-H'er from Stokes County, practices journaling amidst exotic plant life during a trip to Puerto Rico. (Photos courtesy of Liz Driscoll)

Leaves large enough for umbrellas, roots dripping down from trees and tickling your hair, frogs living inside plants—these were among just a few wonders that eight North Carolina 4-H’ers discovered while traipsing around the island of Puerto Rico. Designed as an environmental service learning trip, 4-H teens from Graham, Randolph, Stokes and Wake counties traveled with Liz Driscoll, 4-H specialist in crops, horticulture and soil science, and Fran Senters, the 4-H program assistant from Lincoln County, along with 4-H’ers from Michigan, to learn about different ecosystems through hands-on service.

The first place the group visited was an organization called Casa Pueblo, nestled in the mountains near Adjuntas. Initially, Casa Pueblo led a grass-roots struggle against international strip mining ventures that would have caused devastating environmental damage in the forested areas surrounding their town and throughout the island. They have since become a multifaceted movement that strives to preserve land for people and wildlife and teach about the importance of the natural world.

Puerto Rican youth have been actively involved in Casa Pueblo’s projects, demonstrating that a community that comes together can have tremendous impacts. One of Casa Pueblo’s main sources for fiduciary support comes from growing and selling sustainably produced coffee. The youth on this trip gave their time and efforts in labeling their coffee jars, assisting in the continued success of Casa Pueblo’s Projects.

Much of the visit to Puerto Rico involved exploring the different environments throughout the island and documenting observations of the soils, plants and animals. The group visited an arid forest, mangrove swamps, moderate rainforests, coastal and estuarine environments and wet rainforests. They compared and contrasted the diversity of plant life and examined the plant morphology. For example, the group found plants growing in the Bosque Estatal de Guánica receive limited moisture due to a rain shadow from the neighboring mountains.

“Youth found many of the plants have leathery leaves, were hairy and thorny, and thick and fleshy,” Driscoll said. “Swimming and kayaking around the mangroves, we saw they have amazing root systems, which have adapted to saline and anoxic conditions and host creatures like snails, barnacles and sponges.”

The most diverse environment the group trekked through was the Caribbean National Forest of El Yunque. In this rainforest, they found huge vines of pothos trailing down from treetops, ferns as tall as a basketball hoop and trumpet wood trees used to make musical instruments. Many of the 4-H’ers attending, also participate in the state horticulture judging contest and could identify the flora in the wild that they study as houseplants or ornamentals.

Much of El Yunque was once farmed for sugarcane, cotton, corn, tobacco and cattle. Today, native plantings continue to restore the diversity of plant and animal life. A group of Puerto Rican 4-H’ers continuing in this spirit has started a tree-planting program on the island. They learn how to grow, transplant and care for native trees that can be planted in environments that might have been hurt by hurricane damage. The North Carolina and Michigan 4-H’ers helped with this process, and some youth have ideas to start similar projects back in their own communities.

4-H'ers in a tree
Youth on the 4-H trip pose in a large ficus tree.

Mofongo. Empanadillas. Reggaeton. From ordering food to learning how to properly dance, the group encountered the vibrant Puerto Rican culture in many fascinating ways. Invited by the 4-H’ers in Fajardo, they enjoyed an evening exchange of food, music and much laughter in trying to communicate. Patiently, their hosts showed the U.S. guests salsa steps and gamely sashayed with line dancing.

“We had small cultural debates by region with the Michigan and North Carolina youth debating the virtues of ‘pop’ vs. ‘soda,’ and we were a little distraught to discover there are no Chick-fil-A’s in the Midwest,” Driscoll said.

The adventure to Puerto Rico gave this group of youth the opportunity to learn about how individuals working together can make a difference. They witnessed how they might make changes in their own neighborhoods and towns and have a deeper understanding and appreciation of how the natural environment provides the resources we need to live.

“The 4-H youth that participated in the program to Puerto Rico displayed the best of our organization,” Driscoll said. “They are all creative, inquisitive, altruistic, polite and had a genuine and honest interest in finding out about each other and the opportunities that Puerto Rico had to offer.”

Posted by Natalie at 11:23 AM

September 07, 2007

Drought management for agricultural producers

Cooperative Extension has undertaken a coordinated effort to compile the latest information available to help farmers make the best decisions possible in coping with the worst drought in several decades. The severe rainfall deficit this summer coupled with an early spring freeze has caused a tremendous shortage in feed for livestock and large yield losses in corn and soybeans. A recent survey of 63 counties in North Carolina estimated that an additional 800,000 round bales of hay will be needed to feed the beef and dairy cattle in the state during the normal winter feeding period. This hay is not available without significant transportation cost, which makes it financially unrealistic for most operations.

Read more from The Lincoln Tribune

Posted by Natalie at 01:53 PM

Miller to lead national ag agents association

Fred Miller, Extension director for Catawba County, was elected president of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents at its annual meeting held recently in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Read more from The Charlotte Observer

Posted by Natalie at 01:44 PM

Publications update from Communication Services

Construction and Tree Protection, AG-685, by Robert Bardon, Mark Megalos, Kevin Miller, and Amy Graul, has been reprinted. This six-page publication describes tree protection strategies that builders and developers can use before, during, and after construction to conserve healthy trees. Communication action to encourage tree protection and reduce the risk of injuring or losing valuable trees is highlighted. It is available on the Web at http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/forestry/pdf/ag/ag685.pdf. To order printed copies, contact Robert_Barton@ncsu.edu or write Extension Forestry, Box 8003, Raleigh, NC 27695-8003.

Hay or Pasture: Instructor’s Guide for Teaching Economics of Forage Management, a 68-page Web-only guide by Geoff Benson, is now on the Web at http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/agecon/hay_or_pasture/Intro.html. AG-684-W explains how you can conduct a workshop that will help livestock producers and others evaluate the costs and benefits of alternative forages and forage management strategies. It consists of an instructor's guide, PowerPoint slides to use in presenting the workshop, handouts for workshop activities, and other resource materials. A limited number of CDs were also produced. Contact Geoff_Benson@ncsu.edu if you require a CD.

Posted by Natalie at 12:39 PM

September 05, 2007

Chapel Hill chef wins first goat cookoff

chef serving goat dish
Chef Josh De Carolis, center (Photos courtesy of M. Bebber)

Chef Josh De Carolis, center, from the Ju Jube in Chapel Hill won the first North Carolina chevon cookoff held in Sanford last month as part of the second N.C. Goat and Sheep Roundup. The cookoff was held at the Lee County Fairgrounds, and roundup participants had the opportunity to taste the dishes prepared by Triangle-area chefs. De Carolis created three goat dishes from a half-carcass provided by Steve Mobely of Meadow Lane Farm in Louisburg.

De Carolis's creations included coconut and curry braised goat with black-eyed pea and corn ragout, marinated goat chops and new potato green bean salad with Sriacha aioli and cilantro pesto, as well as a goat sausage and heirloom tomato crepeinette with Thai basil.

Other goat dishes included:
From Lilly's Pizza of Raleigh, goat meat lasagna.
From Foster's Market of Chapel Hill, Caribbean barbecued cabrito and mango cabrito sausage.
From the Weathervane of Chapel Hill, mustard braised goat meat with sambuca creamed onions.

chef serving goat dish
Roundup participants enjoy the goat meat creations.

Others competing included: Enoteca Vin chef Aaron Vaughn, and Piedmont Restaurant chefs Drew Brown and Andy Magowam of Durham.

Judges for the event were Dan Campeau, area poultry specialist; Dr. Jean-Marie Lughinbuhl, associate professor at N.C. State University in charge of the goat program.

Posted by Natalie at 10:50 AM

Emeritus crop science professor receives honorary degree

Charles A. Brim, a noted agronomist, University of Nebraska alumnus, and Spalding, Neb., native, received an honorary doctor of science degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln during the university's summer commencement exercises held in August. Brim is professor emeritus of crop science at North Carolina State University.

Posted by Natalie at 08:36 AM