Tyson CEO to meet and great faculty, staff and students on Feb. 4

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The SAES is co-hosting a visit to A&T by the president and CEO of Tyson Foods on Wednesday, Feb. 4. Donnie Smith, who has headed up the Tyson executive team since 2009, has a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Tennessee and prior to his appointment to lead the $33 billion company that’s now the second-largest food-production company in the Fortune 500, he was Tyson’s senior group vice president of poultry and prepared foods.

Smith’s day at A&T will begin with a visit to Dr. Rajani Thanissery Ravindranath’s poultry production class in Webb Hall, followed by a stop by an agribusiness management class taught by Dr. Godfrey Ejimakor in Carver Hall. After a lunch, sponsored by Tyson, that will include a select group of SAES students, Smith will head across campus to visit with School of Business and Economics classes and meet with faculty. He will cap off his day at A&T with sharing sessions with the SAES dean, Dr. Bill Randle, the associate dean for academics, Dr. Antoine Alston, and the SAES department chairs.

First Monday in March cutoff for Small Farms Week stipends for farmers

grant iconThe Cooperative Extension Program at A&T has limited funding support available to cover lodging, meals and registration fees for selected small-scale farmers (applicants must rely on farming for at least 50 percent of annual gross income) during Small Farms Week, March 22 to 28. Applications for this funding support will be accepted until Monday, March 2.

Among the on-campus events during Small Farms Week is an educational forum that will have programs on farm bill grants and loans, farmland ownership transitions and estate planning, integrated pest management research, managing soil organic matter and respiratory health issues for farm labor. Small Farms Week will also offer farmers opportunities to speak with resource savants knowledgeable of ginseng, mushrooms, agroforestry, community gardening, pastured poultry and pork production, small ruminant and many other alternative crops and farm-based enterprises.

Member of SAES faculty guest on UNC-TV’s "North Carolina Now"

satellite iconDr. Radiah MinorDr. Radiah Minor of the Department of Animal Sciences shared the UNC-TV spotlight on Jan. 7 with Dr. Stephanie Luster-Teasley of the College of Engineering for a discussion of their summer and weekend programs for whetting appetites for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) among middle schools students. Their work in the past two years has included a "Girls in Science Weekend Academy," a "Girls in Science Lab Camp" and an "Environmental Sustainability Camp." The innovative curriculums make graspable real-life stories and impacts for instructional objectives. The programs were all made possible by grants from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

Another of Minor’s STEM-guidance success stories is her contribution to prepping the SAES Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) students’ quiz bowl team for a national championship in 2013. The STEM camps for middle-schoolers aren’t Luster-Teasley’s first collaborative work with SAES faculty. In 2010, Luster-Teasley, Dr. Gregory Goins of A&T’s Department of Biology, and Dr. Claudette Smith of The Cooperative Extension Program at A&T were on the A&T team that developed what became the first-ever 4-H National Science Experiment to originate at an 1890 land-grant university.

Pastoral inspirations

tractor iconThe Cooperative Extension Program at A&T and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) are co-sponsors of a conference for pastured pork producers and professionals with Cooperative Extension and other farm support agencies on Thursday, Feb. 12 at the Guilford Convention Center at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Greensboro-East (Lee St. exit 224.off I-40). Although there is no registration fee for conference participants, pre-registration, by Feb. 9, is required.

A pre-conference seminar entitled "Introduction to Outdoor Swine Production" will be from 6 to 8 p.m., on Feb. 11 in the Daniel D. Godfrey Multipurpose Room at Coltrane Hall.

The conference is organized by Dr. Niki Whitley of The Cooperative Extension Program at A&T, and will include presentations by two A&T Extension specialists, Dr. Michelle Eley and Dr. Noah Ranells. Among other researchers and Extension swine specialists who will make presentations at the conference are Dr. John McGlone of Texas Tech’s Department of Animal and Food Science; Dr. David Stender, a swine specialist with Iowa State University Extension; Dr. Eric van Heugten of the Department of Animal Sciences at N.C. State; Silvana Pietrosemoli, a research associate with the CEFS swine unit; and Dr. Jim Green, professor emeritus of crop science at N.C. State.

A&T Cooperative Extension’s 2015 Pastured Pork Conference is made possible with additional funding support from the Southern Region of USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and Carolina Farm Credit.

Two gatherings with fast-approaching deadlines for family and consumer science showcasing

abstracts iconThe American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) has a Jan. 26 deadline for abstracts for oral and poster presentations providing overviews of research work at the annual conference in Jacksonville. The conference theme will be "Advancing the field with new technology," and research that edifies or epitomizes technological advances will receive special consideration.

Members of the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) have a Feb. 1 deadline for submitting proposals for concurrent sessions and showcases of excellence at the organization’s 2015 annual gathering in Sulphur Springs, W. Va., Nov. 2 through 5. Proposals should address one of 2015 NEAFCS Program Tracks, which are: leadership and community development, child development, textiles, financial management, food safety, housing and environmental science education, nutrition, parenting, and technology and social media.

1890 Scholars Program applications due day before Groundhog Day

calendar iconUSDA’s 1890 Scholars Program is an enticing opportunity for high-caliber high school seniors. For students selected as 1890 Scholars, USDA pays full tuition and fees for them to attend one of the 1890 Institutions, and USDA 1890 Scholars also receive employment with a USDA agency (and employee benefits) during each of their four years working toward a bachelor’s degree.

The application deadline for the USDA 1890 Scholarships for the 2015-16 academic year is Monday, Feb. 1. If you know of high-achieving high school seniors who might be interested, encourage them to check out the program promptly. Students who have already matriculated at an 1890 land-grant and distinguished themselves in coursework are also eligible to apply. Among the criteria for current college students applying for the USDA 1890 Scholarships are two letters of recommendation from a department head, dean, university vice president or a faculty member who taught the applicant in a class. College students applying must also submit an essay of 500-to-800 words describing their interest in USDA, how the scholarship will impact their future as a public servant, and their experience and perceptions about agriculture, food, and natural resource sciences.

Completed applications from high school and SAES students for the USDA 1890 Scholars Program at A&T should be submitted to A&T’s USDA Liaison Officer, Larry Hartsfield, whose mailing address is: 107 B.C. Webb Hall, 1601 E. Market Street. Greensboro, NC 27411.

Organic grow-how to sprout in Rocky Mount

soil iconThe Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s (CFSA) annual Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference, "A Training Event for Commercial-Scale Growers," will be Thursday, Feb. 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at Nash Community College in Rocky Mount.

This year’s workshop agenda includes sessions devoted to crop insurance for organic and specialty crops, field crop varieties specifically for organic standards, extending the shelf life of fresh vegetables, direct marketing for pork producers, creative crop rotations, enterprise budgeting, organic grain production and microbial soil vigor for higher yields.

The registration deadline is Feb. 9, and the registration fees are $50 for members of the CFSA and $60 for non-members.

Refresher course for farmers-market managers and risk management for farmers

tractor iconThe Guilford County Cooperative Extension Center will host the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services’ (NCDA&CS) annual one-day workshop for farmers market managers on Friday, Feb. 20. The workshop will begin at 9 a.m. and wind up at 3 p.m. The registration fee is $20, and the registration deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 11. Among the major topics on the program this year are grant opportunities and fund raising, and liability laws with implications for farmers and farmers markets.

NCDA&CS also has a two-hour workshop for farmers that introduces futures and option trading, crop yield and crop revenue insurance, energy derivatives and other strategies for spreading out the financial risks of farm enterprises that is being offered at several dates and locations across the state. All workshops will run from 10 a.m. to noon. The final five offerings will be:
• Jan. 26 at the Pitt County Extension Center in Greenville
• Jan. 28 at the Pasquotank County Extension Center in Elizabeth City
• Feb. 17 at the Northampton Cooperative Extension Center in Jackson
• March 12 at the Union County Extension Center in Monroe
• March 13 at the Carolina Farm Credit Administrative Office in Statesville

Changing of the gourd

soil iconAn SAES research associate with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design, Dr. Ramesh Ravella, led a team of SAES researchers that has published an "Evaluation of Sustainable Production Practices for Asian Vegetables (Luffa and Bitter Gourd) and their Mineral Nutrient Analysis in a Piedmont Soil of North Carolina" in the American Journal of Experimental Agriculture. The study provides evidence that Asian vegetables — such as luffa and bitter gourd — can be grown successfully in the North Carolina Piedmont and that cover crops are especially conducive to higher yields in Piedmont soils and growing conditions. Ravella’s research team was composed of Dr. M.R. Reddy, now retired from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design faculty, Matthew Miller, an SAES research technician and Kurt Taylor, an Extension associate.

Familiar faces in prominent places

Dr. Jianmei YuSAES faculty and staff returned from the holiday break to find a pair of familiar faces atop the University website’s lead page. Dr. Jianmei Yu has been picked out for a special profile during spring semester for research with potential for "millions of people who live with peanut allergies [who now] may be one step closer to enjoying peanuts and peanut products."

Yu’s SAES Web page is also updated to include complete details on the university’s agreement with Xemerge, a Toronto-based company that now has licensing for the patented process developed by Yu and other SAES scientists that underpins Alrgn Bio, a company spun off from the partnership at the Gateway University Research Park. Yu and her colleagues are continuing research to make "peanuts as close to hypoallergenic as possible, and eventually lead to baby formula … and other treated peanut products."

A&T website visitors who haven’t noticed the arrow at the far right picture on the splash page now have added incentive check out the complete lineup, as the new rotation also includes Rodrigo Nogueira de Sousa, an agricultural engineering major. Sousa is from a Brazilian farm family and has his sights set on graduate degrees from A&T. He is currently an exchange student from the 15,000-student Vicosa University.

CEFS now accepting applications for 2015 summer internships

info iconThe Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) is accepting applications for eight-week summer internships (June 9 – July 31) at the CEFS research and Extension facilities near Goldsboro. The website listing of learning and hands-on experience opportunities for 2015 interns includes community-based food systems, small-scale vegetable production, organic certification, integrated pest and weed management and pasture-based beef production and dairying. Among the CEFS research units is one devoted to small-farm enterprises and another directed to research into organic production. Individuals selected for the summer internships will work with CEFS faculty mentors who will guide them through hands-on explorations of various aspects of sustainable agriculture. The SAES, N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services operate the CEFS jointly.

Two Feeding Tomorrow scholarship programs have Jan. 30 application deadlines

Feeding Tomorrow, a foundation that partners with General Mills and the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), is now accepting applications for the 2015-16 academic year for two programs. There is a Jan. 30 application deadline for IFT scholarships for both graduate students and undergraduates pursuing degrees in food sciences. Applicants should be full-time students with GPAs of at least 3.0 who are IFT members.

Dirtied words

Lake Superior University has issued its list of words and phrases authors should avoid in 2015 because they became overused clichés in 2014. Atop the list is "bae," an acronym for "before anyone else" that has proliferated as a de facto term of endearment or respect among teens, but is now so overused and misused that even some of their peers are calling it "a dumb, annoying word."

Second on the list of word and expressions so overused in 2014 that they deserve a hiatus in 2015 is "polar vortex." One critic of the expression suggested a return to "calling really cold weather ‘winter.’"

Banished word number-three is "hack," which gets the boot more for misuse than overuse. "Tips and all sorts of goods and services are getting called ‘hacks’ that we have no idea what’s really referred to when the word is uttered," wrote one of the detractors. Another motion to return hack to standard accepted meanings (involving low quality writing, computer security, cabs, etc.) is based on the objection that none of the many meanings of the word have anything to do with its use in articles in social media and elsewhere about "home improvement hacks," "car hacks" and "furniture hacks."

The next four words on the list targeted for banishment are "skill set,"("skill" alone usually covers it); "swag" (now applied to everything from a gift to droopy clothing); "foodie," (has boiled down to anyone who enjoys any kind of food, a big category); and "curate/curated" (a useful concept when applied to fine art and museums, but now too often just a pretentious way of saying "selected").

Closing out the top 10 are "friend-raising" now that it’s become the expression for whenever friends are gained for business purposes; "cra-cra" to mean crazy; "enhanced interrogation" now that it’s been used so much it no longer rings a bell as a euphemism for "torture"; and "takeaway" used to describe what someone learned from an experience or situation.

A more timeless listing of words and expressions writers should reconsider when proofing their work comes from the blog Daily Writing Tips. Its list of 50 Redundant Phrases to Avoid has these 10 pitfalls:
I. "Added bonus" ("A bonus is an extra feature, so added is redundant.")
II. "Ask a question" (To ask is to pose a question, so question is redundant.")
III. "End result" ("A result is something that occurs at the end, so omit end as a modifier of result.")
IV. "False pretense" ("A pretense is a deception, so false is redundant.")
V. "Final outcome" ("An outcome is a result and is therefore intrinsically final.")
VI. "Foreign imports" ("Imports are products that originate in another country, so their foreign nature is implicit….")
VII. "Major breakthrough" ("Though major is not directly redundant, the notable nature of the event is implicit.")
VIII. "Plan ahead" ("To plan is to prepare for the future. Ahead is extraneous.")
IX. "Postpone until later" ("To postpone is to delay. Later is superfluous.")
X. "Unexpected surprise" ("No surprise is expected, so the modifier is extraneous.")