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October 30, 2009

CEFS will host Will Allen lectures


The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) is bringing Will Allen to Raleigh for its 2009 Sustainable Agriculture Lecture on Nov. 9. Allen’s Growing Power Inc. in Milwaukee has become a national model for adapting community supported agriculture to work for inner-city consumers, and he was selected for of one of the 2008 MacArthur Fellowships (the “genius award”) for urban farming initiatives he has developed. Allen will be discussing “Steps to Successful Urban Farming” during a talk that will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the McKimmon Center on the N.C. State campus. This talk will be free and open to the public, but seating is limited. The SAES, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State, and the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Sciences operate the CEFS jointly. Among its research units is a Small Farm Center, and the CEFS also has swine, dairy, organic cropping, farm systems and pasture-based beef units devoted to innovative practices for advancing sustainable food and farming.

Read more about the lecture
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Posted by Natalie at 08:29 AM

October 29, 2009

Secretaries Association names winners

A number of Cooperative Extension secretaries received awards at the annual meeting of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Secretaries Association, held Sept. 18 in Greensboro. The awards, recipients and their respective districts are:
NCCESA Professional Improvement Scholarship: Tracy Brown, Campus Chapter
NCCESA Executive Board Award: Janet Mabry, Stanly County, South Central District
NCCESA Sue Mills Lighthouse Award: Janice Dotson, West District Director's Office

Secretary Awards for Excellence:
Jean Carter, Campus Chapter
Rebecca Castello, Northeast District
Joan Hobbes, Southeast District
Jane McDaniel, West District
Judy Moore, West Central District
State Winner: Jean Carter, Campus Chapter

Posted by Natalie at 11:01 AM

October 23, 2009

EFNEP celebrates 40 years service with Hunger Forum


The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) invites
you to join us as we acknowledge 40 years of service at our upcoming
anniversary and Hunger Issues Forum Dec. 4, McKimmon Center, N.C. State University.

The Forum entitled "Cultivating Solutions to Hunger" will address issues in the community through keynote speeches and three breakout sessions featuring national and state experts.

Breakout session topics include:
* Hunger, Nutrition and Obesity
* Connecting People to Food
* Mobilizing Community Resources to Reduce Hunger

Registration information and complete details of the forum can be found at:

To participate in the event, follow the directions for registration found on the Web site. You must complete the registration form found on this site. In addition, to document participation in the training, Extension personnel should register for the
Forum through the Learning Management System.

Posted by Natalie at 09:03 AM

October 22, 2009

N.C. MarketReady is new name for Value-Added Agriculture Program

NCmarketready logo

KANNAPOLIS -- N.C. State University’s Program for Value-Added & Alternative Agriculture will become N.C. MarketReady, effective Oct. 20.

The value-added program was founded in 2006 by Dr. Blake Brown, director and a professor in the N.C. State Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, with funding from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. Since then, the program team, based at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis, has grown to five faculty and four staff members. It works closely with N.C. State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute, also based at the N.C. Research Campus, as well as with faculty from main campus and Cooperative Extension field faculty across the state.

“We are excited about this new name,” Brown said. “The new name, N.C. MarketReady, more accurately communicates the scope of our program’s work.

“Inherent in the name ‘N.C. MarketReady’ is the message that our educational programs help North Carolina producers effectively compete in the marketplace,” Brown added. “Market ready, or being ready for market, implies all facets of a business: research, business planning, production, management, food safety and marketing.

“Our team collaborates with faculty across the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) to develop multidisciplinary programs. Our partnerships with other departments and faculty in CALS are an essential ingredient to programs that help North Carolina farm families.”

The team’s focus areas are agricultural enterprise development, business skills education, fresh produce safety, horticultural skills education and strengthening markets. In addition to N.C. MarketReady being used as the team name, it will be the brand used on a comprehensive set of educational materials being developed. One of the first resources to be rolled out with the N.C. MarketReady brand will be the fresh produce safety curriculum in November.

Reflected in this curriculum are contributions from numerous departments within N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University. It was developed to teach growers Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) to help them minimize fresh produce safety risks.
Brown cites the N.C. MarketReady team’s success in securing grants to carry out its mission. The team has received more than $2 million in grant funding and more than 72 percent of its operating budget this fiscal year will be from grants.

Through support from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension, the Agricultural Advancement Consortium of the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center and USDA Rural Cooperative Development, the N.C. MarketReady team has developed numerous resources. Among them are www.ncmarketready.org, which includes the one-stop-shop growers’ information portals, fresh produce safety materials, business development files, The Produce Lady videos and value-added cost share applications and guidelines.

-L. Chester-Davis

Posted by Natalie at 09:33 AM

October 19, 2009

News from NC A&T State University

The nomination deadline for the 2010 Gilmer L. and Clara Y. Dudley Small Farmer of the Year Award has been set: Monday, Dec. 1. The award will be presented on Small Farms Day (March 24, 2010) to a family farm in North Carolina that exemplifies success, innovation and leadership in small-scale agriculture. To be eligible, farmers must generate at least half their gross income from farming, have averaged less than $100,000 in annual gross farm revenue over the last three years, and the farm must be one with a family member making general management decisions.

Farmers living more than 130 miles from campus who would like to get their name in the hat for lodging, meals and waiver of registration fees for Small Farms Week activities on campus March 22 and 23 have until Jan. 15, 2010, to apply for a scholarship. In addition to living more than 130 miles from campus, applicants must rely on farming for at least 50 percent of annual gross income, and be part of a operation that has a family member making the general managerial decisions.

Read more from ag e-dispatch

Posted by Natalie at 03:47 PM

Extension SARE scholarships available for conference

This year the 2009 Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Sustainable Agriculture Conference (CFSA SAC) will be held at Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, Dec. 4-6.

Extension Day, Friday, Dec. 4, will include a three-hour morning (9 am – 12 noon) workshop focusing on local food, sustainable business practices and safe food handling and an afternoon tour of value-added facilities. Dec. 5 and 6 will be devoted to CFSA SAC.

This year, Southern Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is offering travel scholarships up to a maximum of $800 for Extension agents who would like to attend. Funds may used for registration, lodging and travel for the conference.

Anyone who receives an NC SARE travel scholarship must:
* Attend Extension Day, Friday, Dec. 4, both morning and afternoon sessions.

* Complete the SARE online basic sustainable ag course before attending the conference.

For information and registration forms, contact Carol Moore at carolmoore27@gmail.com for details.

Posted by Natalie at 11:24 AM

October 12, 2009

PLT workshop helps teachers bring recycling to the classroom

Teachers at the PLT workshop take the pledge to recycle plastic bottles. From left are Teresa Stewart, Suzzanne Fields, Farrah Lamb and Babita Thakker. (Photo courtesy of Project Learning Tree)

Project Learning Tree® partnered with the North Carolina Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance to present a two-day educational workshop for 22 teachers and solid waste professionals in Wilkesboro, Sept. 24 and 25. The workshop included educational activities to help bring lesson plans focusing on waste and recycling into the classroom, as well as tours of a local material recovery facility and landfill.

“With the plastic bottle ban that began on Oct. 1, this is a great time to help get teachers excited about recycling in their schools, as well as providing them tools and ideas to help that happen,” said Kelley Dennings, education and outreach project manager with DPPEA. “Every second, 100 plastic bottles are disposed of in North Carolina. Now they must be recycled, not thrown into landfills.”

Teachers enjoyed the workshop because the mix of resource professionals and teachers led to great discussions regarding aspects of the recycling and waste industries in North Carolina, including economics. Babita Thakker, a teacher at Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy in Charlotte said “The current information about recycling was valuable, and it was interesting to learn how daily small choices could reduce waste at schools and in the home.”

To learn more about the upcoming plastic bottle ban, visit www.p2pays.org/BannedMaterials/PlasticBottles/. North Carolina citizens are also encouraged to sign the Plastic Bottle Recycling Pledge located on the web site.

For more information about PLT in North Carolina, contact Renee Strnad, North Carolina State University, at 919.515.5518 or visit www.ces.ncsu.edu/plt.

-R. Strnad

Posted by Natalie at 02:03 PM

A&T hosts Fall Small Farms Field Demonstration

On Nov. 3, head over to the Fall Small Farms Field Demonstration at the N.C. A&T State University Farm in Greensboro. Read here for more details.

Posted by Natalie at 01:45 PM

October 09, 2009

Forestry experts say fall colors will come early


Despite drought conditions in parts of the state for most of the year, there should be plenty of colorful foliage worth seeing across North Carolina this fall, according to a North Carolina State University expert. Dr. Robert Bardon, associate professor of forestry and extension forestry specialist at N.C. State, says that in areas of the state that have experienced drought, people should expect to see colors early, and that the leaves will change color faster.

“People should be hoping for weather conditions that are warmer during the day and cooler at nighttime – since they create the most vibrant fall colors,” Bardon says. “However, if we have a wet fall, we can expect less vibrant colors this season.”

During the spring and summer, leaves manufacture most of the food necessary for a tree’s growth. The food-making process occurs in cells that contain the pigment chlorophyll, which gives the leaves their green color. The leaves also contain other pigments that are masked most of the year by the greater amount of chlorophyll.

In the fall, partly because of the changes in the period of daylight and changes in temperature, the leaves stop their food-making process. As the chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears and yellow colors surface. Other chemical changes create additional pigments that vary from yellow to red to blue.

Some of the understory trees – small trees, shrubs and vines that grow under the taller trees – across the state have already begun the chlorophyll breakdown process. Leaves at higher elevations in North Carolina, such as Mt. Mitchell, are the first to change, usually around the end of September or beginning of October, Bardon says. Then the trees in the lower elevations, moving south and east across the state, begin to change.

“North Carolina is very fortunate to have multiple opportunities to experience fall foliage, given the diversity of parks across the state, ranging from national parks, to state and local parks,” says Dr. Stacy Tomas, assistant professor and tourism extension specialist in parks, recreation and tourism management. “With the shrinking economy, everyone is feeling the pinch in their wallets. Heading out to a park to enjoy the fall foliage and taking in a picnic and a hike is a fun, affordable, family-friendly mini-vacation we can all enjoy.”

-C. Barnhill, News Services

Posted by Natalie at 08:13 AM

October 08, 2009

4-H celebrates 100th birthday at the Dixie Classic Fair

When people hear that Jessica Goodard belongs to a 4-H club, they often say something along the lines of "Isn't that like planting stuff?"

"No," she tells them, "it's community service."

For Jessica, a home-schooled high-school senior from Germanton who belongs to the Trailblazer Teens 4-H Club, 4-H is about such projects as playing music at nursing homes and helping to get shoeboxes filled with goodies for children in other countries at Christmas.

"I've always had a passion for community service," she said.

Yesterday, it was about playing guitar at the Dixie Classic Fair in the Forsyth County 4-H Acoustic Band to celebrate 100 years of 4-H clubs in North Carolina. The 4-H Birthday Bash was held at the Clock Tower Stage at the fair.

Read more from the Winston-Salem Journal.

Posted by Suzanne at 05:26 PM | Comments (0)

Communication Services' writer is State Fair's Deep Fried Ambassador


Extension Online News is proud that the first Deep Fried Ambassador for the State Fair is Communication Services' very own Suzanne, author of pretty*swell blog. Follow her posts on the State Fair's Deep Fried Ambassador page.

Posted by Natalie at 09:34 AM

October 06, 2009

Third sheep, goat roundup is a success

Chef serving goat dish
A chef serves up lunch at the sheep and goat cookoff competition in August. (Photos by Becky Kirkland)

In August, the third educational N.C. Goat & Sheep Producers Roundup was held in Greensboro at the Guilford County Cooperative Extension Center. The two-day conference was well attended by over 135 goat and sheep producers from North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina.

A special feature of the event was the “N.C. Chefs Cook-off of Lamb and Chevon.” Five high-end restaurants and chefs that participated include Spanky’s Restaurant of Chapel Hill; Taste of the Caribbean Restaurant, Greensboro; The Stock Pot, Winston-Salem; JuJube Restaurant, Chapel Hill, and Chatham Marketplace, Pittsboro.

Each restaurant was given a half carcass of both lamb and goat and could prepare it any way they desired for the competition. After the judging of the dishes by area food editors of newspapers and a sponsor representative, the wonderful food was served to the participants at the conference with rave reviews.

Judges were Andrea Weigl of The News & Observer (Raleigh), Michael Hastings of the Winston-Salem Journal and N.C. Farm Bureau Representative and goat producer Susan Proctor. The Franklin County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, based in Louisburg, sponsored the cook-off event with $2,000 in prize money for the top chefs. The top winner of the both the lamb and chevon dishes was Chef Dave Schirmer of the Chatham Marketplace. Chef Schirmer took home $600 for his “Drunken Goat Burritos” and the “Roast Leg of Lamb with Orange, Chipotle and Rosemary Marmalade.”

Conference topics included various marketing avenues for the small ruminants from “Direct Sales at Farmers Markets” to “Utilizing Grazing Contracts.” Other topics included utilizing forages on small acreage, weed identification and poisonous plants in pastures, predator control, discussion of the COOL Program and Animal Identification Program.

Hands-on training was beneficial to many of the new producers with sessions on hoof-trimming, proper injection sites, how to build a goat-proof fence and how to perform fecal egg counts. A FAMACHA certification (parasite detection) training was held on Friday evening at N.C. A&T State University’s Small Ruminant Unit, and 22 producers became certified with FAMACHA.

Goat burritos
A sample burrito from the sheep and goat cookoff.

In addition to the adult sessions on both days, a youth training session was conducted by N.C. State and N.C. A&T State universities' Extension livestock specialists and others on Saturday morning. Youth learned how to win a blue ribbon in showmanship for meat goats, dairy goats and sheep. They also evaluated live animals for proper selection for competition and participated in a detailed Goat & Sheep Quality Assurance Program. Eight North Carolina vendors participated in a trade show.

The conference evaluations were “great meeting," “truly fantastic presentations," “excellent hands-on workshops," and “Look forward to the next one!” were just a few of the comments given on the conference. Cooperative Extension and planning committee looks forward to the next “Roundup” in 2011. We hope to see even more goat and sheep producers at the next big event.

For more information on the Roundup or to be placed on a goat/sheep mailing list, contact Agricultural Extension Agent Martha Mobley in Franklin County, 919.496.3344 or martha_mobley@ncsu.edu.

-Article by Martha Mobley

Read more from The News & Observer

Recipe for Drunken Goat Burritos, courtesy The N&O

Posted by Natalie at 02:53 PM

ESP to hold annual meeting Nov. 19

Save the date -- Nov. 19, 10 a.m. til 2 p.m. -- for Epsilon Sigma Chi's annual meeting at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh. The program will include an awards luncheon and motivational speaker. More information will be shared in the near future.

Posted by Natalie at 02:30 PM

October 01, 2009

Williamson helped make Wilkes County an ag leader

The late Dwight D. Williamson, Wilkes County extension agent from 1963 to 1974, has been inducted into the Wilkes Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Read more in the Wilkes Journal-Patriot

Posted by Dave at 04:30 PM

4-H logo featured on Jeff Gordon's NASCAR Chevy

Gordon's 4-H car
Photo courtesy of 4-H

We encourage you to tune in to your ABC television network affiliate starting at 1:00 pm, Sunday, Oct. 4, to watch as 4-H takes to the high banks of Kansas Speedway with Jeff Gordon. The placement of the 4-H clover on the No. 24 Chevrolet was made possible through a generous donation by DuPont, sponsor of both the No. 24 team and of 4-H.

NASCAR is working with the producers of ABC to have a live interview, during the pre-race show at 1:00 pm, with North Carolina 4-H Alum and NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominee Ned Jarrett along side our own Dr. Marshall Stewart, NC 4-H State Leader. The race is scheduled for a 2:00 pm start time.

If you are in your car, tune in to the Motor Racing Network (MRN) starting at 1:15 pm. Visit www.motorracingnetwork.com/stations.cfm/cat/Affiliate_Stations## to find an affiliate station in your area.

Our interview team plans to get our message out through them as well. In addition to kicking off National 4-H Week at Kansas Speedway, NASCAR wants to highlight 4-H National Youth Science Day and the National Science Experiment, "Biofuel Blast" scheduled to begin on Oct. 7.

North Carolina 4-H has worked with National 4-H Council to bring this opportunity to fruition. Now sit back, buckle up, and enjoy watching Jeff Gordon take 4-H to victory lane on Sunday. Of course no matter what happens in the race, 4-H is already a winner with the publicity that will be generated on race day. We hope that many NASCAR fans will visit the national 4-H Web site and want to volunteer and get youth involved. For more information and to download a picture of the car, visit www.4-H.org.

For more information on this endeavor and North Carolina 4-H's involvement, contact Jackie Helton. Jackie's leadership has been critical at the state and national level in making this event happen for National 4-H.

Posted by Natalie at 10:33 AM

A&T Extension contributions to get Honors Lecture Series spotlight

The inaugural A&T State University Honors Lecture Series will include a program on Cooperative Extension and the University's land-grant mission on Monday, Oct. 5 at 4 p.m. in the Godfrey Multipurpose Room at Coltrane Hall. Two specialists with The Cooperative Extension Program at A&T have put together a presentation they've entitled "Planting Seeds, Developing Potential - Solutions for Growth with Cooperative Extension Specialists."

Dr. Montreka Dansby, Cooperative Extension's nutrition specialist, and Dr. Joshua Idassi, Extension's natural resources specialist, have prepared an overview of current Extension outreach efforts focusing on sustaining agriculture, protecting the environment, maintaining viable communities, and developing strong, healthy and safe families.

Read more from Ag e-Dispatch

Posted by Natalie at 09:20 AM