Extension Strategic Planning Council adds seven

The Strategic Planning Council that advises The Cooperative Extension Program at A&T is welcoming seven new members to the 21-member Council, which represents local-level needs of communities across the state to Cooperative Extension’s administrative team at A&T. The new members are:

• Anita Hicks of Henderson, who also volunteers time and service to Vance County Cooperative Extension in a number of roles, and is a member of the Vance County Chamber of Commerce;

• Charlette Lindell of Winston-Salem, who is a long-time supporter of Forsyth County Cooperative Extension and other agencies, including the United Way;

• Kent Lowder of Albemarle, a volunteer fireman, a member of Stanly County Cooperative Extension’s advisory committee and a board member for a food cooperative;

• Thomas Lucas of Wilson, who is chair of the Wilson County Board of Commissioners and a 4-H volunteer;

• Noran Sanford of Laurinburg, who is piloting a program for young people at-risk of falling into the justice system and a member of the Scotland County Extension’s Family and Consumer Sciences Advisory Committee;

• Pamela Smith-Saunders of Kannapolis, who is also on the advisory board for Cabarrus County Extension’s community resource development program and a participant in other Extension-supported activities;

• Jen Waite of Asheville, who has been active in local food sourcing issues and has worked with Yancey County Cooperative Extension in a multi-state food security initiative.

31st RAP starts soon in June

research_iconThe SAES’s 31st annual Research Apprenticeship Program will be bringing 20 high-achieving high school students — a Michigander, a Wisconsinite, two Virginians, an Ohioan, a South Carolinian and three Georgians joining 11 North Carolinians — to A&T for a four-week stay beginning June 21. The program will conclude on July 17, and when it does the apprentices will have an immersion into some of the scientific research conducted at the SAES as well as a taste of college life. More than 80 percent of the high school students selected for this highly competitive program go on to enroll at A&T.

Channel 14 has coverage from Small Farms Field Day 14

Dr. Beatrice Dingha of the SAES’s integrated pest management research team explains research that prevents insect infestations on stored seeds without the use of chemical pesticides, to Magnolia Williams of Vance County’s LouMag Enterprises, which was named A&T Extension’s Small Farm of the Year in April. #SmallFarmsFieldDay



Time Warner Cable News dispatched reporter Meg Smith to the 14th Annual Small Farms Field Day at the University Farm on June 11, and a discussion with Dr. Felicia Anike of the Agricultural Research Program concerning the potential for blending truffle production and managed timber crops on the same land remains available on the TV station’s website. Time Warner Cable News is channel 14 for its customers in the Triad. Small Farms Field Day advance publicity also drew the attention of the Triad Fox affiliate, WGHP, which invited Dr. Ralph Noble, chair of the SAES’s Department of Animal Sciences, to provide and overview of the SAES’s assistance for small-scale agriculture on a June 11 morning show.

Those unable to attend Small Farms Field Day who are nonetheless following recent developments in research support for small-scale agriculture, the 16-page booklet describing the 2015 Field Day research and Extension highlights is available as a PDF at the SAES website. Spotlighted research this year included new potential for grape pomace as a food ingredient, the impact on human health of dust from livestock facilities, breed selections for pastured-pork, cover crops for both organic and conventional farming, agroforestry blended with truffle production,  medicinal plants for smaller farms, vegetable oils for insect control in black-eyed peas, solar energy and rain collection systems for high-tunnel production, and conservation techniques for urban agriculture.

Discount registration deadline for meaters

calendar_iconEarly bird registration has begun for the mid-October Carolina Meat Conference and until July 10 the registration fee is $175—a rate that escalates to $200 on July 11.

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems — a joint undertaking of the SAES, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer services and N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences — is part of the NC Choices initiative that coordinates the annual Carolina Meat Conference.

The 2015 Carolina Meat Institute will be Oct. 12 and 13 at Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem. This year’s keynote speaker is Allan Savory, an ecologist with an international following who espouses properly managed livestock as a method for reversing desertification and other environmental missteps. The conference also offers registered participants two days of presentations and panel discussions devoted to meat cutting instruction, new regulations that will affect livestock production and meat processing for local and niche markets and industries.

The SAES’s ties to the NC Choices Initiative and the Carolina Meat Conference is a continuation of a leadership role in niche livestock production that dates back more than 15 years, when SAES research and Extension efforts with pastured pork gained national media attention. Dr. Noah Ranells, A&T Cooperative Extension’s small farm agribusiness management and marketing specialist, is part of the planning team for this year’s Carolina Meat Conference and the SAES’s dean, Dr. Bill Randle, will be providing one of the official welcomes for conference participants.

Prices to hike

A&T faculty and staff can purchase discount tickets for the five Aggie football home games for $165 per season pass and have the cost handled as a payroll deduction if authorization forms are completed and returned by June 30. The 2015 Aggie home football schedule will bring the following rivals to Greensboro:

• Shaw, Sept. 5 (kickoff at 6 p.m.)

• Bethune-Cookman, Oct. 17 (kickoff at 1 p.m.)

• Howard, Oct. 24 (kickoff — for Homecoming — at 1 p.m.)

• Delaware State, Nov. 14 (kickoff at 1 p.m.)

• N.C. Central, Nov. 21 (kickoff at 1 p.m.)

Registration discount deadline looms

calendar_iconRegistration is now under way for the for the North Carolina Association of Extension Program Assistants, Associates and Technicians (NCAEPAAT) annual conference, set for Winston-Salem Sept. 9, 10 and 11. The early bird registration rate for those received before July 31 is for members is $90 for members; $120 after the cutoff. For non-members the pre- and post-cutoff rates are $110 and $140 respectively.

July 1 is the deadline for nominations for five awards (4-H Makes a Difference, Community Partnership, Early Career, Extension Teamwork and Outstanding Service) that come with plaques and checks for $50. The deadline for the Dr. Bernadette Watts Award, which comes with $100, is also July 1.

$10k grants announced

extension_iconThe National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) will award two grants of $10,000 each to current members of the NCFR for projects that provide opportunities for professional development in family-policy research; support the dissemination and application of research-based findings concerning the well-being of families; or establish standards for advancing professional development in family sciences. The grants program is designed especially to accommodate interdisciplinary collaborations that amalgamate family studies with sociology, psychology, anthropology, child development, economics, political science, health or nutrition. Proposals for funding support should be built around such eligible activities as research pilot projects, policy initiatives, and outreach, engagement, and training opportunities. Applicants must be NCFR members. Students may be involved in the proposed project as collaborators but not as principal investigators. Proposals must be submitted — by current members of the NCFR — no later than Sept. 1.

Home improvement funding for low-income rural America

There’s a July 6 application deadline for a USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service grant program which is directing up to $3.3 million in grants to local governments, public agencies, non-profits and faith-based organizations that will make funding available for housing repairs for low- and very-low-income residents of rural areas. Although applications will not be accepted from individual homeowners — funding must be channel through government or other agencies — rental property owners may be eligible for assistance if their units are available to low- and very-low-income families. The listing of permissible expenses includes labor and materials for electrical repairs, foundation work, roofing, insulation, heating, plumbing, waste disposal and handicap accessibility features.

In announcing the funding, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack indicated “Funds may be used to resolve health or safety issues, make accessibility modifications for people with disabilities, or make energy-efficiency improvements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower utility costs.”

One of Triad’s leading organic farms to be open for inspection

tractor_iconThe Reedy Fork Organic Farm  is opening its facilities for visitors for visitor tours on Tuesday, July 7, from 9:30 a.m. until noon. Originally a 500-acre tobacco farm, Reedy Fork was a dairy in the 1950s en route to becoming a certified organic dairy farm in 2007. It features an organic feed mill, organic grain and forage crops, and organic beef and eggs. Several organic industry Insiders and representatives from organizations promoting organic farming will be at Reedy Farm on July 7 to discuss production methods that have become alternatives to chemically based pesticides and oil-based fertilizers.

Reedy Fork Organic Farm is located approximately 20 miles east of the A&T campus, in Elon. There is a $10 per person fee for the open house and tours.

Future ag leaders coming to campus last of June

Each summer the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education hosts the Institute for Future Agriculture Leaders (IFAL) – a week-long program for high school students interested in agriculture. The 2015 IFAL at A&T – the 28th – will be June 21-26. All the rising high school seniors accepted for the program are in the in the upper third of their classes.

Wedding vowels

documents_iconThe journal Creative Nonfiction has set Aug. 31 as the submission deadline for an essay contest about marriages from a variety of perspectives. Entries should be “vivid and dramatic …combine a strong and compelling narrative with an informative or reflective element and reach beyond a strictly personal experience for some universal or deeper meaning.” The editorial staff at the journal also will be looking for “well-written prose, rich with detail and a distinctive voice.” Creative Nonfiction will award $1,000 for best essay and $500 for runner-up, and all submissions will be considered for publication in a special “Marriage” issue of the journal.

A deadline all students who might need financial aid should observe

info_iconFAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid — a form of 100 questions or more that establishes a profile of students’ family financial situations, and students’ educational backgrounds and plans. FAFSA filings are coordinated by the US Department of Education, but many financial aid programs that are state sponsored or administered by colleges or universities themselves also rely on FAFSA to evaluate applicants’ financial status and financial aid eligibility. The window for FAFSA filings that opened in February for the 2015-16 academic year

Motion Commotion to rock the nation

research_iconComplete background information and kits with supplies for groups of young scientists are now available for the 2015 4-H National Youth Science Day experiment. The 2015 experiment was designed by Oregon 4-H in collaboration with Vernier Software and Technology, and the “Motion Commotion,” lesson they’ve put together promises to give young scientists insights into physics with hands-on experience concerning the relationships among speed, stopping distances, reaction times and safety. Among the precursors to the 2015 4-H National Youth Science Day experiment is the 4-H2O water-quality experiment led by The Cooperative Extension Program at A&T in 2010, which remains in the National Science Day’s “Experiment Archives.”

The 4-H National Youth Science Day was unveiled in 2008 as part of a public service campaign to attract a million more youths to 4-H science, engineering and technology programs. On 4-H National Youth Science Day, Oct. 7 in 2015, young scientists will conduct the experiment selected and supported by National 4-H Council at gatherings around the world coordinated by 4-H clubs and other youth development organizations.

Each $21.95 kit contains rulers, race cars, modeling clay and other ingredients for eight young scientists, 10 and older, to construct a runway to analyze speed, momentum and kinetic energy of a car in motion, explore the science behind automotive collisions and learn the consequences of distracted driving.

SAES spelling bee vocabulary for 2015

Those who tuned in for the Scripps National Spelling Bee  on TV in early June undoubtedly noticed the large number of words tied to agricultural, family and life sciences. Here are some of the words (and definitions from Webster’s Online Dictionary and the website Dictionary.com) that this year’s Scripps Spelling Bee contestants were asked to spell that are rare elsewhere, but everyday language at the SAES:

auriphrygiate: embroidered or decorated with gold

borax: known in the chemistry world as sodium tetraborate, the compound “has seemingly infinite uses, such as anti-separation agents in cold creams, components of alkaline buffer solutions, anti-fungal foot soaks, flame retardants … cures thrush in horses’ hooves and keeps moths away from wool sweaters.”

coccygeal: referring to the coccyx, the small tail-like bone at the bottom of the spine

dorsiferous: borne on the back, as the sori on most ferns

escritoire: a writing table or desk

fruticetum: a collection of shrubs grown for ornament or study (as in a botanical garden)

geoponics: an art or science of cultivating the earth

herpetology: the study of reptiles and amphibians

ipecac: a low-growing tropical American shrub (Cephaelis ipecacuanha) or the dried roots and rhizomes of this shrub

jacamar: any of various tropical American birds of the family Galbulidae, having iridescent plumage and a long bills

klompen: a wooden shoe

lederhosen: leather shorts often with suspenders worn especially in Bavaria

mamushi: a venomous snake found in China, Japan, and Korea

notochord: a rod like cord of cells that forms the chief axial supporting structure of the body of the lower chordates, as amphioxus and the cyclostomes, and of the embryos of the vertebrates

ovoviviparous: producing eggs that hatch within the female’s body without obtaining nourishment from it

pileus: the horizontal portion of a mushroom, bearing gills, tubes, etc.

quittance: discharge from a debt or obligation

rutabaga: a large, yellowish root vegetable that is a type of turnip

sukiyaki: a dish consisting of thin slices of meat, tofu, and vegetables

terrapin: a kind of small turtle that lives in water

upeygan: the two-horned black rhinoceros

voltammetry: a method of determining the chemical makeup of a sample substance by measuring electrical activity, often used to determine the amount of trace metals and toxins in water or other solutions

Wensleydale: a mild white friable cheese of English origin

xiphias: a genus of large fishes comprising the common swordfish

yosenabe: a soup consisting especially of seafood and vegetables cooked in a broth

zinnia: any of several plants of a genus native to Mexico and adjacent areas, especially the widely cultivated species Z. elegans

Cover crops will be covered and solar energy will shine through

tractor_iconThe SAES’s 14th annual Small Farms Field day at the University Farm gets underway 8 a.m., Thursday, June 11, and continues to 1 p.m. SAES research scientists, Extension specialists and associates will be sharing what’s been gained from on-farm research into truffles, urban agriculture, summer cover crops for organic as well as conventional vegetable production, solar energy, rain recovery systems for high tunnels, and swine genetics for pastured pork. Field Day will also feature 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 supporting small-scale agriculture that might not be on the mailing list, feel free to use e-mail to forward along a .pdf.

Lunch will be provided to the first 250 participants. Registration is not required but is suggested. For more information call 336-285-4661 or email Alexis Gaines.

FCS trio hits high note

documents_iconThree members of the Family and Consumer Sciences faculty are authors of an article in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences. Drs. Sung-Jin Lee, Meeshay Williams-Wheeler, and Jane Walker’s “Assessing Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Students’ Familiarity with the FCS-BOK [Body of Knowledge]” is scheduled for publication in Volume 107 Issue 2, of the journal. As Family and Consumer Sciences instructors at HBCUs have more fully integrated the discipline’s body of knowledge into their curricula, differing impacts have become measureable. The SAES team’s findings were that areas of study and class rank were significant factors in students’ familiarity with cross cutting themes of the FCS-BOK.

Steering forestry in a new direction

Dr. Joshua Idassi, The Cooperative Extension Program at A&T’s natural resources management specialist, is facilitating a workshop that will introduce some of the basic concepts of “silvopasture” (livestock production on land that is both forested and pastureland) at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) Cherry Research Farm on Thursday, June 25. The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the registration fee is $15. Topics on the agenda include considerations for tree seedling selection, grasses and legumes that yield high-quality forage when grown in shade, tree and forage interactions when they’re in competition for light, water, and nutrients, state and federal financial assistance programs and management for incorporating livestock into silvopasture. Dr. Ralph Noble, chair of the SAES’s Department of Animal Sciences, will be the speaker at the management strategies session. The program will conclude with a tour of acreage on which silvopasture has been established.

Success of SAES research featured in Triad Business Journal

The May 22, issue of the Triad Business Journal ran a story beneath the headline “Governor, biotech advocates seek more early-stage funding resources” that was accompanied by a page-dominating photo appropriately captioned: “Dr. Jianmei Yu … a research scientist at N.C. A&T State University’s School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, has developed a process to treat peanuts to reduce the allergens. Here [and pictured], she works with graduate students Ivy Smith … and [SAES] research assistant Razakou Maman.”

The article laments that because a new biotech funding resource (in both the gubernatorial House Appropriations Committee tentative budgets) will steer support for commercialization of research advances to Triad entities while “schools like A&T will have to work hard to get technologies like its hypoallergenic peanut to market,” and supports the contention with a laud for the work of Yu’s research team as something that made a “big splash last summer when the technology was licensed to Xemerge.”