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January 30, 2008

JC Raulston Arboretum to host "Summer Solstice Celebration"

On the evening of June 21, 2008, the longest day of the year, friends will gather friends to host a party -- many parties -- across the state to celebrate the JC Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University.

The Summer Solstice Celebration can be any party of the host's choosing. Hosts invite their friends to a party at their home asking for a donation to the arboretum at a set amount determined by the host. A tax-deductible in-kind donation will be given to the hosts for their expenses. Their guests also will receive a tax deduction for their donations.

"For one night, we hope to have more than 50 parties across the state," said Dr. Dennis Werner, director of the JC Raulston Arboretum. "The Summer Solstice Celebration will enable us to draw attention to and raise money for the arboretum, a nationally acclaimed garden that is certainly one of the state's gems."

Proceeds from this one-night event will benefit the JC Raulston Arboretum, a working research and teaching garden of N.C. State University. Half of the money raised will go to the JC Raulston Endowment for Excellence and half will go to implementing the arboretum's new master plan.

To host a party, contact Barbara Kennedy at 919-513-7004 or barbara_kennedy@ncsu.edu. For more information about the JC Raulston Arboretum please visit http://www.ncsu.edu/jcraulstonarboretum/.

Posted by Suzanne at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2008

Agents chosen for county Extension directors training

The Leadership Institute for New and Aspiring County Extension Directors is a training experience designed to develop leaders among the field faculty of North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Developed and delivered as a partnership between Personal and Organizational Development and the County Operations Team, the institute is focused on organizationally identified leadership competencies in an effort to strengthen the leadership potential of each participant.

The 2008 Institute will be delivered during four retreats, each lasting three-day/two nights, over the course of this year. The nominations for the Institute were completed late last year, and after a review by a panel of NCCE leaders from both campus and the field, the following individuals were accepted into the class of 2008:

Arthur Bradley, Edgecombe County
Jeffrey Bradley, Buncombe County
Patricia Cahoon, Carteret County
Susan Chase, Beaufort County
Roger Cobb, Alamance County
Anne Edwards, Carteret County
Shari Farless, Chowan County
Jennifer Grable, Person County
Rod Gurganus, Beaufort County
Michael Hylton, Stokes County
Julie Jones, Davidson County
Donna Mull, Catawba County
Joan Reid, Granville County
Mark Seitz, Jones County
Debbie Stroud, Johnston County
Jewel Winslow, Perquimans County

Posted by Natalie at 11:44 AM

Publications update from Communication Services

The following publications are now available:

Managing Herbicide-Resistant Weeds in Peanuts in the United States, AG-692, a six-page full-color publication by peanut specialists at NC State and across the Southeast, helps farmers understand how some members of a weed species and survive and reproduce after exposure to a rate of herbicide that kills other weeds of the same species. Herbicides’ susceptibility to develop resistance is given, as are detection and approaches to management of herbicide resistance. And finally, herbicide application programs are suggested to minimize the development of resistant weeds. This publication is being distributed to agents with peanut responsibilities and to growers in other states. It is also being reproduced in the February issue of Peanut Grower magazine. It is also on the Web at http://www.peanuts.ncsu.edu/ag692color.pdf, which uses color screening in the tables, and at http://www.peanuts.ncsu.edu/ag692nocolor.pdf, which has no color screening in the tables.

Stormwater Wetland Design Update: Zones, Vegetation, Soil, and Outlet Guidance, AGW-588-12, is now on the Web at http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/stormwater/PublicationFiles/WetlandDesignUpdate2007.pdf. The publication gives new design guidelines for stormwater wetlands that focus on four design points: internal wetland zones, herbaceous plants that thrive in stormwater wetlands, a proper growing medium, and the importance of a flexible outlet structure and its construction. This Web-only, 12-page publication updates information in AG-588-2 in the Urban Waterways series and is a companion to AG-588-13.

2008 Cotton Information,
AG-417. This 227-page publication is a comprehensive guide to production of cotton in North Carolina. It is revised annually. To order, contact Crop Science Department, Box 7620, NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7620. It is also available on the Web at http://ipm.ncsu.edu/Production_Guides/Cotton/contents.html.

2008 Flue-cured Tobacco Guide,
AG-187. This 256-page in-depth guide summarizes recommended practices for all phases of flue-cured tobacco production and describes the latest findings on varieties and pest management. The guide, which is revised annually, is available from the Department of Crop Science, Box 7620, NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7620. It is also available on the Web at http://ipm.ncsu.edu/getsubs2.cfm?TopicID=12.

2008 Peanut Information, AG-331. This 132-page annual guide provides updated material on all production and pest management practices applicable to growing peanuts in North Carolina. To order, contact Crop Science, Box 7620, Raleigh, NC 27695-7620. It is also available on the Web at http://www.peanut.ncsu.edu/PeanutInfo2007/TOC.pdf.

2008 Pest Control Recommendations for Professional Turfgrass Managers, AG-408. This 48-page book, which is updated annually, contains tables that will help the professional use pesticides to control pests in turfgrasses. Copies are being mailed out to county agents who preordered the publication. It is also available on the Web at http://ipm.ncsu.edu/Production_Guides/Turf/Turfgrass.pdf.

Posted by Natalie at 10:58 AM

January 16, 2008

Remote control: A better way to survey swine lagoons

View a slide show of a remote-control boat used to survey swine lagoons

View a slide show with sound

Perhaps necessity is the mother of invention, but surely convenience and efficiency are aunts and uncles.

Consider a task North Carolina hog farmers call a "sludge survey." The North Carolina Division of Water Quality requires farmers who use lagoons to treat the waste created by their animals (the vast majority of North Carolina hog farmers use lagoons) do a sludge survey of each lagoon annually.

A typical sludge survey involves two people and a small boat, says Dan Bailey, a livestock agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Sampson County. It’s one of those, "There has to be a better way," scenarios, and Bailey and others appear to have found that way.

Lagoons are earthen pits. Waste is flushed with water from the barns in which pigs are housed to the lagoons, where it decomposes. The solid portion of the waste stream that is more resistant to decomposition sinks to the bottom of the lagoon, forming a layer of sludge.

To ensure that lagoons are operating correctly and have not filled up with sludge, farmers must certify annually that each of their lagoons contains at least 4 feet of sludge-free liquid treatment area. Most do this by rowing out into the lagoon in a small boat and measuring the liquid depth, either with a pole or a rope with a disk attached to one end. The pole or rope is let into the liquid disk first. The disk stops when it meets the sludge layer. The liquid depth can then be measured on the pole or rope.

It is this rowboat-in-the-lagoon method of determining the amount of sludge in a lagoon that Bailey and faculty members in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences began to ponder several years ago.

Rather than a rowboat, Bailey and colleagues proposed, how about a remote-controlled model boat? Bailey credits Mark Rice, a Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at N.C. State, with developing the first boat in 2003. Rice had the boat custom made and attached a sonar depth finder. The 3- to 4-feet-long boat could be operated from the bank of a lagoon while the depth finder recorded the liquid depth.

It worked well enough, but its propeller kept getting tangled in vegetation.

Bailey recalls, "I said, 'Mark, we need an air boat.'"

Rice responded with two words: leaf blower. It was a "eureka" moment.

Bailey, who describes himself as a fair carpenter, set about building an air boat. His first effort was made of wood and had a leaf blower mounted on the stern and a depth finder mounted on the bow. It worked well enough, but tended to leak a little.

He turned to 6-inch diameter white PVC pipe for his second effort. He arranged the pipe in a "U" shape with the bottom of the "U" upturned to form a prow. The leaf blower and depth finder are mounted between the legs of the "U." The result is a PVC-sludge-surveying pontoon boat.

When Bailey demonstrated his boats to Sampson County farmers, they apparently liked what they saw.

Glenn Clifton and James Lamb, employees of Prestage Farms whose duties include sludge surveys, liked the idea so much they built their own boat. The craft they came up with is made of aluminum, but like both of Bailey’s boats, it relies on a leaf blower for power and a depth finder to measure liquid depth.

Lamb said doing a sludge survey the old way required two people to load and unload a rowboat and drag it to a lagoon. Then it took 10 to 15 minutes to row out into the lagoon and do the 10 to 12 depth readings required.

Using a remote-controlled boat, Lamb does sludge surveys by himself. He said a typical survey takes about five minutes. Rather than 10 or 12 depth readings, the depth finder measures depth constantly, recording perhaps 2,000 readings. The depth finder records the readings on a computer memory card, so the data can easily be downloaded when the boat returns to shore. Software is available that produces a picture of the contours of the lagoon bottom. Because of the increased number of readings, Lamb thinks a survey done with a remote-controlled boat is considerably more accurate than one done manually.

At the same time, Curtis Barwick, who does sludge surveys for Coharie Farms, is using Bailey’s pontoon boat.

"It's so fast," Barwick says of the pontoon boat. "It saves a lot of time."

Barwick says he could survey five to six lagoons per day the old-fashioned way, while he can survey 12 to 15 lagoons in a day with the pontoon boat. With 80 to 90 lagoons to survey each year, Barwick adds, "It's just going to save so much time."

But efficiency notwithstanding, Lamb says the biggest advantage is what he calls improved safety. While he says he's never fallen into a lagoon, Lamb points out that rowing out into a lagoon in a small boat always presents that possibility. That alone would seem to be a huge selling point for remote-controlled boats.

Dave Caldwell

Posted by Dave at 10:16 AM

January 03, 2008

Shepherd named Ashe County Extension director

Carolyn Shepherd, who has served as interim director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension program in Ashe County since late last year, has been named permanent director of the county’s extension program.

Shepherd’s appointment as Ashe Extension director was announced by Dr. Jon Ort, Cooperative Extension director at North Carolina State University, and Dan McMillan, Ashe County Manager. Shepherd succeeds Julie Landry, who retired last year after a 32-year career with Cooperative Extension.

Shepherd joined Cooperative Extension in Ashe County in 1996 as Family and Consumer Sciences agent, a position she held until she was named interim county director. Before joining extension, Shepherd was a family and consumer sciences teacher for 10 years at North Buncombe High School in Buncombe County. She holds a bachelor’s degree in home economics and secondary education and a master’s degree in higher education, both from Appalachian State University. She is also a graduate of Beaver Creek High School in West Jefferson.

“Carolyn has worked with Ashe County Cooperative Extension for nearly 11 years,” said Bob Edwards, Extension Northwest District Director. Ashe County is in Extension’s Northwest District.

Edwards added, “She has prepared herself very well for the position of county extension director by attending a 12-month intensive training program for aspiring county extension directors. She has also had hands-on experience while serving as interim county extension director for more than a year.

“Carolyn has developed strong leadership skills that will be vital in directing the county extension staff in delivering dynamic programs and building strong partnerships that make positive impacts on Ashe County’s critical issues. She has a wealth of knowledge about the people, the local government and the needs of the county. I am very pleased to have Carolyn Shepherd as part of the district extension administrative team.”
-D. Caldwell

Posted by Natalie at 02:29 PM

New Web site 'connects' textile companies in N.C., around the world

A new online resource launched by North Carolina State University in partnership with the N.C. Department of Commerce aims to bolster the state's textile industry by connecting North Carolina companies with each other and to other markets across the United States and around the globe.

N.C. Textile Connect (www.nctextileconnect.com) is a comprehensive Web site designed to foster and encourage business partnerships among textile companies within North Carolina and beyond. It also provides valuable information to prospective customers within the state, inside the United States and abroad.

Read more from the News Services' news release

Posted by Natalie at 02:23 PM