14th Small Farms Field Day set for second Thursday in June


The SAES’s 14th annual Small Farms Field day at the University Farm will be Thursday, June 11. There will be five demonstrations between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. SAES researchers will be joining Extension specialists and associates to discuss findings from on-farm research into truffles, urban agriculture, summer cover crops for organic as well as conventional vegetable production, solar energy and rain recovery systems for high tunnels, and swine genetics for pastured pork. Also at Small Farms Field Day, there will be poster presentations of research into animal production and human health, forest farming with medicinal plants, value-added products for grape pomace, and vegetable oil beetle deterrents for cowpea production.

Cards have gone out announcing the field day, but if you know of someone interested in research on small-scale agriculture who might not be on the mailing list, feel free to forward along a .pdf  of the card.

Plant on it

leaf_iconThe American Floral Endowment has a program that awards grants for projects that identify or improve educational opportunities for young people that has a June 1 application deadline. Although preference will be given to programs that are national in scope, applications will be accepted from state-level or community-based organizations with proposals for accelerating workforce development through student recruitment into floriculture or horticultural science programs. Among the American Floral Endowment’s current areas of interest are educational program and curriculum enhancements in plant breeding and propagation technologies, and greenhouse design and engineering. Previous grants have ranged from $500 to $10,000. Since it was established in 1961, the American Floral Endowment has distributed more than $1.2 million in educational grants.

Bioassays cutting the mustard

leaf_iconDr. Louis Jackai  of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design was the lead author for a study of the effectiveness of different varieties of mustard (Brassica juncea) as “trap crops” that attract insects away from collards and other cash crops (and reduce the need for insecticides) that was presented at the most recent meeting of the Entomological Society of America, in late 2014. Members of Jackai’s IPM (integrated pest management) team who contributed to the article, “All mustards are not created equal: Optimizing trap cropping for the harlequin bug (Murgantia histrionica) on collard” were Drs. Beatrice N. Dingha of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and Millie Worku of the Department of Animal Sciences, and Sarah Adjei-Frema, an A&T doctoral student. The study used laboratory bioassays to identify nuances in harlequin preferences for mustard varieties, a method the team now recommends for establishing variety or cultivar recommendations.

The Entomological Society of America is the largest professional and scientific organization for entomologists and individuals in related disciplines. Its membership, now almost 7,000, includes professionals from health-care and government agencies as well as higher education. The ESA’s next meeting, in Minneapolis in November, will be a joint annual conference with the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America. The American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science Society have June 2 deadlines for submitting abstracts for oral and poster presentations at the conference.

Nomination deadline extended for A&T recognitions

award_iconThe nomination deadline has been extended to May 22 for an A&T State University Recognition and Awards Program that will recognize five SPA or EPA non-teaching employees with $1,000 in cash and a plaque for exemplary achievements in five areas: leadership, teamwork, performance, customer service and the “Aggie Pride Award” (for going the extra mile). Nominees must have a minimum of three years as permanent full-time employees at the university. Completed nominations    — which require a one-page cover letter and signed approval from the nominee’s immediate supervisor, department head and dean or vice chancellor — must be submitted to the chair of the University Employee Recognition Committee by 5 p.m. on May 22.

Registration rates ramp up on June 16

calendar_iconA multidisciplinary professional organization that makes its annual conference  a forum for researchers and educators, the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR), will have its 2015 gathering in Vancouver, British Columbia Nov. 11-24, but the cutoff for the first of two tiers of early bird discounts  is June 15. The NCFR conference agenda has a dozen major plenaries, and hundreds of workshops tailored to students — covering topics with practical applications ranging from grant writing to preparing manuscripts for scholarly journals.

Prior to June 16, the registration rates are $305 for professionals who are NCFR members and $120 for NCFR student members. After the cutoff, those fees jump to $350 and $145, respectively. The rates for non-member professionals is $440 before the 15th and $485 as of June 16. For students who aren’t NCFR members, the registration fee is $220 before June 16 and $235 after the cutoff.

Students who are NCFR members can get their registration rate discounted to $75 by working as aides for four-to-five hours at the conference. Student aides typically contribute assistance with set-ups, or staff information booths or hospitality rooms.

Hope springs eternally

extension_iconA 4-H’er who has been frequently mentored by Linda Semon, an A&T Extension 4-H program associate working in Yancey County, was one of 21 North Carolinians presented the state’s highest award for volunteer service by Governor Pat McCrory at a ceremony at the State Capital on May 5. While there were several recipients in corporate, individual, senior and lifetime achievement categories, Hope Milbry Robinson of Burnsville was the only recipient of the Governor’s Medallion Award honored as a youth volunteer for 2015.  Robinson has been active in 4-H for 11 years, and many of her qualifications for the Governor’s Medallion Award were assembled through her participation in 4-H Teens Reaching Youth, 4-H healthy living and other local and statewide 4-H programs and activities. Robinson is a “Gold Level” 4-H Ambassador, and contributed 290 hours of volunteer service during the 2013-14 school year alone. She has served as a 4-H officer at club, county and district levels. The Yancey County Farm-City Youth Award for 2014, and the 2014 State NC 4-H Youth Volunteer Award both went to Hope Robinson.  She also volunteers her own time and helped coordinate events and activities for other youth volunteers with GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program), the Humane Society and the Yancey County Library.

Dr. Ellen Smoak, interim associate administrator and a regional coordinator for the A&T Extension Program, says that “Hope has blossomed over the years into an amazing young woman. 4-H and Linda’s guidance have been instrumental in her development.”

Shutdown for AAFCS discount registration is May 29

globe_iconMay 29 is last call for an early bird registration discount for the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) annual convention (in Jacksonville, Fla., June 24 to 27). For AAFCS members, the registration fee jumps from $480 to the on-site rate of $689 after May 29. For students, the rate before May 29 is $199, and $260 after the cutoff.

More than 12,000 educators, administrators and other professionals now comprise the AAFCS and many of them will be in northeast Florida for the organization’s 101st annual conference. Among the plenary speakers are Eric Sheninger, a senior fellow with the International Center for Leadership in Education whose main focus is the use of social media and web 2.0 technology as tools to facilitate student learning, and social scientist Steve Wendel, who is known for original research into savings behaviors.

Student knowledge of food distribution could be prize worthy

grant_iconThe Food Distribution Research Society (FDRS) has a May 30 deadline for its 2015 Richardson-Applebaum Memorial Scholarship Awards, which include cash stipends of $750 for the best master’s thesis and for the top master’s-level case study or research paper concentrating on food distribution and marketing, related policy issues or economic development. The winners in both categories also will have their travel expenses paid for a trip to Philadelphia for the FDRS 2015 annual meeting Oct. 9-14.

Dutch treat

documents_iconDr. Paula Faulkner of the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education” is the co-author of a paper looking into “Exchange Programs: Enhancing Agriculture College Students’ Cultural Awareness” that was presented at the joint meeting of the Association for International Agriculture and Extension Education AIAEE and the European Seminar on Extension and Education at Wageningen University in the Netherlands in late April. Faulkner’s co-author was Thomas Kipkurgat, a lecturer in Department of Agricultural Economics and Resource Management at Moi University in Kenya. The presentation was part of a forum addressing “Relevance, Quality and Effectiveness of Higher Agricultural Education” and other papers included a case study from Afghanistan, cooperative learning among post-graduate students at an Iranian university, and a review of the past decade’s articles covering competencies in agricultural education in three academic journals.

Another name in the conference program that will ring a bell with much of the SAES faculty and staff is Courtney Owens, a former SAES student and Extension associate who is now working on a doctorate at the University of Florida. Owens was second runner-up in the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education’s student abstract presentation competition for an abstract he presented that was entitled “Examining the Effect of Familiarity with Water Policies on Engagement in Water Conservation Behaviors and How Can Extension Catch Your Attention?”

Time to get those ducts in a row

SAES faculty and staff (especially those in fashion merchandising and design) who’ve been in touch with high school students anxious for college financial aid next fall can pass along a tip regarding prom night preparations. The entry deadline for the 2015 “Duck Tape® Prom Attire” contest is midnight on June 1. Eligibility requirements are that the couples in the photographs submitted must be wearing complete prom attire and accessories made using Duck® brand duct tape. Entries will be scored by a panel of judges in early June, and finalists will move on to community voting at the contest website from June 15 until July 8. The winning couple will each receive $10,000 scholarships, second place award is $5,000 for each of the students and both students coming in third will receive $3,000. The remaining seven couples in the judges top 10 will each receive $500 scholarships, and there will be $500 for six honorable mentions for detail work, theme, prop or setting, most outrageous, best use of color and best single prom outfit.

Cyber certified

lightbulb_iconDr. Antoine J. Alston, the SAES’s associate dean for Academic Studies, and Dr. Chastity Warren English, of the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education, have completed requirements for a certification program for instructors of online courses. The certification program required completion of online courses in covering instructional design and building communities in cyberspace, and student evaluations of online courses led by Warren English and Alston. Their Certified Online Instructor (COI) credentialing was coordinated by the Learning Resources Network, an online professional development association, focused on continuing education and lifelong learning, with more than 5,000 members in 10 countries.

Ruminant research can be rewarding

documents_iconThere is a June 1 application deadline for an American Sheep Industry Association scholarship program that awards $2,500 for “sheep–related graduate studies.” The scholarship’s objective is to advance and promote industries dependent on sheep, lambs or wool by providing financial support to a graduate student. Applicants should be enrolled in animal science, agriculture economics or veterinary medicine or another related area. Two letters of reference and proof of graduate school acceptance must accompany applications. Applications also require 250-word descriptions of a research project that lends support to scholarship qualifications.

Ifs, ands, and buts

Use “if” when you’re introducing a conditional idea; use “whether” when you are introducing alternative possibilities.


  • If Greensboro has an exceptionally hot summer, then a number of research projects at the University Farm will require added attention.
  • Whether a small farm is eligible for Extension demonstrations depends on location, annual sales and acreage.

Grammarians aren’t in full agreement on the expression “whether or not.” Just remember that in most instances “whether” works fine by itself, and the “or not” is unnecessary.

If you’ve got an important correspondence, paper or article that you want to proof through one last time, try using your word processing’s search feature to locate all the uses of “and” in the document. Because the conjunction “and” joins words, phrases, and clauses, it can open the door for cramming too much into a sentence. Using “and” as a keyword search as you give your work a final proofing also gives you a chance to spot one of the most embarrassing grammatical errors: [https://owl.english.purdue.edu/engagement/2/1/34/].

All the nuances and gray areas regarding the use of  “i.e.” and “e.g.” add up to a good question all writers should ask themselves before they use the abbreviations when they are in a rush and don’t have time to look up definitions and grammar rules: could the sentence say what it needs to say by just using the conjunction “but?”

(I.e. and e.g.) Examples:

  • The University Farm is used for a number of educational activities, e.g., tours, demonstrations, workshops.
  • The major agricultural equipment manufacturers, i.e., John Deere, International Harvester and Massey Ferguson, should be consulted about adding global positioning to any course curriculums.

(But) Examples:

  • The University has a farm for research, but it’s also used for tours, demonstrations, workshops and other educational activities.
  • The time has come to add global positioning to many courses, but not until John Deere, International Harvester, Massey Ferguson and other major agricultural equipment manufacturers have been consulted.

But those who persist should keep in mind:

I.e. is an abbreviation for “id est,” which translates from Latin, “that is.” E.g. is an abbreviation for “exempli gratia,” which translates from Latin as “for example.” One grammarian says that “’E.g.’ is used in place of ‘including,’ when you are not intending to list everything that is being discussed.” Another advises that you can tell if you’re correctly using “i.e.” if you can “Replace it with ‘in other words’ and see if your sentence retains the original meaning.”

Both “i.e.” and “e.g.” are set off with commas when the abbreviations are used in sentences. Although it’s often assumed that the abbreviations must be italicized, that’s incorrect. Another grammar myth is that the abbreviations must always be set off in parenthesis. That’s not necessarily so, and the myth leads to misuse of parenthesis, which should be used sparingly, and only when there is a major digression in a sentence. Another mistake is to finish out a list introduced with “e.g.” with “etc.” Since “e.g.” is an alert that the list to follow isn’t intended to be comprehensive, it’s redundant to terminate the list with “etc.”