A&T grad who went on to state senate to speak at Fall Convocation

info iconA&T State University’s Fall Convocation will get started at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23, at Harrison Auditorium. The speaker will be N.C. State Sen. Joel Ford. Ford is an A&T alumnus who graduated in 1992 with a bachelor’s in business and marketing, and he represents one of the N.C. Senate’s Mecklenburg County districts. Ford is also a former chair of the Charlotte Housing Authority, and a member of the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture / Environment / Natural Resources.

Major figure in sustainable ag coming for "SOILbration" and CEFS anniversary lecture

soil iconThe Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) is bringing a "world-renowned leader in sustainable agriculture" who is also a "researcher for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University [that] received a top award in organic agriculture" and an author with "a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Chicago, [that] has written extensively about ethics and agriculture" to North Carolina to speak at programs on Oct. 17 and 18.

Dr. Fletcher Barber Jr.Dr. Fred Kirschenmann will deliver a keynote address at the CEFS’s "SOILbration" (of the relationship of healthy soils to healthy farms and foods) at CEFS facilities near Goldsboro that begins at 9:30 a.m. and concludes at 3:15 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 17. Kirschenmann will also deliver the CEFS’ 20th Anniversary Lecture— and his topic will be "The Future of Food and Agriculture" — at 5 p.m. at the Witherspoon Student Center on the N.C. State campus on Saturday, Oct. 18.

Fletcher Barber Jr., associate administrator for The Cooperative Extension Program at A&T, will be among the speakers delivering opening remarks on SOILbration day. Two agronomists with the Natural Resources Conservation Dr. Joshua IdassiServices East National Technology Center in Greensboro also will be speaking at the "SOILbration," and there will be tours of the CEFS’ organic research, small farm, agroforestry dairy and farming systems research units.

Dr. Noah RanellsDr. Joshua Idassi, A&T Extension’s natural resources management specialist, has a demonstration of "Timber Improvement in Agroforestry Systems" that will be part of the tour of the agroforestry unit, and Dr. Noah Ranells, Extension’s marketing specialist, has contributions to a demonstration of "Improving Soil Quality with Cover Crops" that will be part of the research spotlighted at the Small Farms Unit.

Chance to present undergraduate research to Congress

The Council on Undergraduate Research’s (CUR) annual effort to give members of Congress first-hand looks at the range and significance of undergraduate research — Posters on the Hill — will be accepting abstracts until Nov. 5. The authors of 250-word abstracts whose posters are selected for Posters on the Hill will be notified in early February. The presentation date will be set once the Congressional calendar for Spring 2015 is finalized. Abstracts must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation, on institutional letterhead, from the student’s research advisor. Abstracts should describe policy issues that the research addresses as well as the scholarly background that served to inspire it.

October is NC FLEX enrollment month

The annual enrollment period for the optional insurance coverage offered through the NC FLEX benefit program ends Oct. 31. NC FLEX’s insurance options include cancer, life, vision and dental insurance, a supplemental medical plan that broadens coverage for visits to doctors’ offices and inpatient hospital stays. (Faculty and staff opting for the flexible spending plan must re-enroll during each annual enrollment period.) For those already enrolled in an NC FLEX insurance option, the annual enrollment period is the one time of the year to drop or add coverage for a dependent. The NC FLEX Plan has a PDF of a booklet with details covering changes and additional offerings online.

Donna Holland, personnel coordinator for the Cooperative Extension Program, is suggesting that even those not making changes to benefits for 2015 should nonetheless "Log in [to your A&T HR account portal] to make sure that your total monthly premium (if applicable) is what you expect to pay." Some A&T employees may discover that they will need a health assessment to qualify for a lower monthly premium.

Applications for next summer’s Extension internships due by Dec. 1

extension iconThe application deadline is Dec. 1 for paid ($13 to $15 an hour) internships for college students the Cooperative Extension Program at A&T is coordinating for the summer of 2015. Students selected for the program will be assigned to county Extension Centers from June until early August next summer. There will be internships in three areas: community nutrition for youth; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for Youth; or Cooperative Extension core programming (in 4-H Youth Development, Agricultural and Natural Resources, Community & Rural Development, Family & Consumer Sciences).

The counties for nutrition work with youth will be Columbus, Forsyth, Lee, Nash and Vance. For STEM work with youth the host counties for interns will be Bertie, Columbus, Cumberland, Gaston, Lee, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow and Transylvania.

Internships for students who will work with Extension core programs and activities will be hosted by Edgecombe County (Community & Rural Development), Forsyth (Family & Consumer Sciences), Mecklenburg, (4-H Youth Development), Montgomery County (Family & Consumer Sciences), Rowan (Agricultural and Natural Resources), Stanly (Family & Consumer Sciences) Stokes (Agricultural and Natural Resources) and Union (Agricultural and Natural Resources).

Students applying for either internship program should have a GPA of at least 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale), a driver’s license and a personal vehicle that can be used for job-related travel next summer. Students that will be full-time juniors, seniors or graduate students next summer are eligible to complete an application. Lonnette Marsh, the student internship program coordinator, is the contact for applications and listings of support materials that must accompany them.

Farm abuzz

tractor iconA team of officials from Syngenta – one of the SAES’s long-standing corporate partners – spent the morning of Oct. 9 at the University Farm planting seeds at a plot that is now home to one of Syngenta’s "Operation Pollinator" demonstrations. Syngenta representatives then gave SAES faculty, staff and students an overview of how Operation Pollinator has been restoring bees and other native pollinators at an international network of demonstration plots that the University Farm is now part of. As at the other demonstration plots, a special blend of seeds was planted that will eventually restore the native biodiversity that in turn restores balance to the eco-system by rejuvenating native pollinators. The Syngenta Operation Pollinator team will monitor the farm’s demonstration plot in the coming months as A&T joins land-grants in California, Florida and Michigan as host to Operation Pollinator demonstration in a state where pollination-dependent crops are substantial in agricultural economics. Agricultural Communications has a set of photos from Operation Pollinator day at the farm in a Flickr set that is linked up to the SAES website.


Created with flickr slideshow.

Waterman and Yeboah to inaugurate 2014-15 research seminar series

research iconThe Agricultural Research Program will kick off its 2014-15 seminar series with presentations by Dr. Jenora Waterman of the Department of Animal Sciences, and Dr. Osei Yeboah, interim director of the SAES’s Leonard C. Cooper Jr. International Trade Center, on Tuesday, Oct. 21. Waterman will give an overview of her research into the " Impact of Swine Production Style on Porcine Respiratory Dynamics" and Yeboah’s topic will be "A Partial Equilibrium Analysis of NAFTA’s Impact on U.S. Bilateral Trade."

The seminar presentations will begin at 11 a.m. in Room A-16 of the C.H. Moore Research Station at Beech and Lindsay streets. All A&T faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend.

SAES gearing up for Greatest Homecoming on Earth

info iconThe Cooperative Extension Program at A&T will kick off Homecoming Week 2014 with a celebration at Coltrane Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 22. Faculty, staff, students, retirees and members of the Extension field staff are all welcome. The menu includes fried fish, wings, all the appropriate sides and three different flavors of homemade cakes. The cost for the feast is $9, and those planning to attend must get payment to Alice Pennix by Friday, Oct. 17.

The next SAES complement for Homecoming 2014 will be a reception for alumni on the lawn in front of Webb Hall on Friday, Oct. 24, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Homecoming parade will start at 8 a.m. on Murrow Boulevard on Saturday, Oct. 25.The parade route runs from Murrow onto Lindsay, and then culminates on Laurel. Florida A&M will be coming to Greensboro for the 2014 Homecoming football game, which will get started at 1:30 at Aggie Stadium.

Louisville to have major SAY in youth development

The Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences "Safety in Agriculture for Youth (SAY)" project has a two-day symposium set for Louisville, Ky., Oct. 27 and 28 that will provide a forum for discussions of approaches to a "Unifying vision for the future direction for safety in agriculture for youth." The registration rate for the entire two-day conference will be $120 until Oct. 17; on-site registration will be $150. Among the discussion topics on the symposium agenda are hazards for youth working on farms, measuring competencies for task competencies that encompass safety concerns and educational and training programs currently available. The symposium’s overarching goal will be development of a national strategy for increased awareness of educational materials devoted to farm and ranch safety.

SAY is a two-year project made possible by a grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. It is bringing together farm safety experts from Ohio State, Utah State, the University of Kentucky, and CareerSafe Online to work with colleagues from Penn State in developing a national clearinghouse for agriculture safety and health curricula for youth.

Special opportunity for grantsmanship guidance

lightbulb iconThe Agricultural Research Program will host a grantsmanship workshop for Extension faculty and SAES researchers on Thursday, Oct. 30, from 10 a.m. until noon in Room A-16 at the C. H. Moore Agricultural Research Station. The workshop leader will be Dr. Angela Hicks, who has nearly two decades worth of experience writing and securing grants for research universities and non-profit agencies. Her workshop will focus on "Establishing Partnerships, Collaborating, and Team Building."

There is no registration fee for the Oct. 30 session, but advance registration is required and there will be space for only the first 20 registrations received. To reserve a seat in the workshop, contact Adonica Williams (phone 336.285.4706), the SAES’s grants administrator.

ARP associate dean named to APLU steering committee

Dr. Shirley Hymon-ParkerDr. Shirley Hymon-Parker, associate dean for the SAES’s Agricultural Research Program, has been appointed to a new steering committee that will guide initiatives targeting improvements in the nation’s food delivery system supported by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), which represents the interests of 236 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems and affiliated organizations. The APLU’s newly established Healthy Food Systems, Healthy People Steering Committee will work to integrate nutrition and health into environmental and agricultural systems concerns, increase the nation’s "health literacy," and address other barriers to a reliably safe and health food supply across all economic strata. Hymon-Parker is also currently serving on one of the APLU’s policy boards, and as chair of the Association of Research Directors, which brings together the top-level research administrators at the 1890 land-grants for mutual cooperation in establishing research priorities and funding objectives.

LI-COR coming to Moore

Dr. Guochen YangDr. Guochen Yang, an SAES professor in horticulture, is hosting a visit by representatives from LI-COR, a company among the worldwide leaders in the design and manufacture of scientific instruments for plant biology, biotechnology, and environmental research. LI-COR provides instruments for photosynthesis, greenhouse gas analysis, and light measurement for plant science research and environmental monitoring. LI-COR instruments are currently used by more than 30,000 customers in more than 100 countries. SAES faculty and graduate students who would like sit in on presentations covering LI-COR’s current product line are invited to stop by Room A-16 of the C.H. Moore Agricultural Research Station on Tuesday, Nov. 4, between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Member of Animal Sciences faculty part of national genetics brain trust

Dr. Mulumebet WorkuDr. Millie Worku of the SAES’s Department of Animal Sciences has been reappointed to the National Genetic Resources Advisory Council (NGRAC). Worku was originally appointed for a two-year term in 2011 and now has a three-year appointment to the NGRAC. The nine-member NGRAC develops recommendations for USDA on actions and policies for collecting, maintaining and utilizing genetic resources, and for coordinating genetic resources planning for several domestic and international organizations. The Council also advises the secretary of agriculture and the NGRP director of new and innovative approaches to genetic resources conservation, and for policies affecting exchanges of genetic resources. Worku is one of six members of the NGRAC selected specifically for experience in genetic sciences.

October is fall 4-H plant sale month at the Guilford Extension Center

leaf iconThe Guilford County Extension Center’s deadline for orders for its 2014 Fall 4-H Plant Sale is Oct. 30. Among the offerings this autumn are blackberries, blueberries, muscadine grapes, bunch grapes and fig trees. Plants come in 1-gallon containers and are $10 each. Orders must be pre-paid, and then picked up at the Guilford County Extension Center on Thursday, Nov. 6 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Proceeds from the plant sale will support Guilford County 4-H’ers attending camp and National 4-H Congress.

One last chance to catch two-day program

Members of the Extension field staff with programming assignments in horticulture or water quality have one remaining opportunity in 2014 to catch a two-day program in residential rain garden certification offered by N.C. State University’s Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering. The workshop will be hosted by the Chatham County Extension Center in Pittsboro Oct. 22 and 23. The rain garden certification training is designed for commercial and residential landscapers as well as members of the Extension field staff. The registration fee is $175.

The October Rain Garden Certification workshop in Pittsboro is the only one of the three 2014 workshops with an added half-day session covering "Innovative Water Harvesting and Downspout Disconnection Demonstration."

Halloween is deadline for chance to showcase undergraduate research

research iconSAES undergraduates interested in presenting conclusions and discoveries from research projects at the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research & Creativity Symposium have until noon on Friday, Oct. 31, to submit 200-word abstracts.

The McKimmon Center on the N.C. State campus will host North Carolina’s tenth Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium, which is inviting submissions from undergraduates at all 53 state and private colleges and universities and from students at the state’s 58 community colleges. Abstracts may be built around proposed oral or poster presentations. Online approval from a faculty mentor is required.

Oct. 31 is also the deadline for George T. Barthalmus Research Grants— awards of up to $500 for which sophomores at North Carolina colleges, universities and community colleges are eligible. The awards program is designed not only to assist student engagement in research but also to promote interest in the Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium. Sophomores receiving grants will be expected to participate in the symposium the following year.

Homecoming pitfalls

It’s almost homecoming – a time of year when letters, e-mails, flyers, invitations and agendas for meetings are composed that raise questions about capitalization, titles, grammar and usage.

One website’s listing of the four most common grammar gaffs in Homecoming invitations are:
I. "You’re" for "your," and vice versa. ("You’re is a contraction for "you are," while "your" is second-person possessive pronoun, which means: "You’re very welcome to bring your husband or wife along to the reception.")
II. Inconsistent use of symbols; ampersands in particular. (If your invitation leads off with a "Friends & Family Welcome," don’t revert to "Friends and family…" when recommending restaurants later in the text. Unless space limitations are handcuffing your desire to show off some design skills, it’s usually best to avoid ampersands altogether, unless one is part of an institution or organization’s formal name.)
III. Using an apostrophe, punctuation that indicates possession to instead indicate a plural. (If "family’s are welcome the celebration also," then alumni will perhaps understand that their "families" are welcome, but they probably won’t mount the invitation in any scrapbooks.)
IV. Switching from first-person singular and first person plural pronouns, or inconsistent use of third-person singular and plural. (If "I look forward to seeing you at the reception" then it’s pronoun inconsistency to later say "We hope you will be able to join us." And if an announcement says of a featured speaker "he will reminisce," it’ inconsistent to say "they delivered an inspiring reminiscence.")

And when putting together invitations and announcements, don’t forget to:
• Lowercase academic subjects such as microbiology, journalism and political science. Languages, on the other hand, should be capitalized: Japanese, English, Spanish.
• Lowercase state when used simply as an adjective to specify a level of jurisdiction: state Rep. Ellen Berger, state Department of Social Services, state funds, state Department of Ecology. But capitalize the full name of state governmental units: Washington State Department of Ecology."
• Capitalize the specific names of awards. Do not capitalize award if it is not part of the award’s name. 2003 Editor of the Year, 2001 Gold Award, certificate of merit. The organization gave the department an award. She won a third-place certificate."

Seeds to bees to benefit A&T University Farm

After a morning spent sowing seeds that will later emerge as annuals and perennials at the University Farm, a team of Syngenta company officials then discussed the implications of the project with about 80 students, staff and faculty from the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University on Thursday.

The goal of Syngenta’s Operation Pollinator is to restore native pollinators — such as bees and other insects — to affected habitats. The demonstration plot created at A&T’s University Farm included enough seed to cover one-third of an acre of the farm’s northeastern vegetable production area, located near woods but with an adequate amount of sunlight and water to foster growth.

By enhancing an area’s biodiversity, the ultimate outcome of the project is to ensure that there is enough balance in the eco system to support adequate food production. Pollinating insects are key to producing many crops.

“This is an extremely important project because if we were to lose our pollinators in the United States’ food system, it would be catastrophic,” said Dr. Bill Randle, dean of the SAES, which is partnering with Syngenta on the project at the University Farm. “Making our students aware and providing them with hands-on experience of this type is important.”

Through Operation Pollinator, a special blend of seeds was adapted for the Piedmont region that encompasses A&T’s farm, said Dr. Caydee Savinelli, Syngenta’s senior administrator for integrated pest management and related areas. Savinelli and her team will monitor the demonstration area throughout the coming months.

Syngenta, the 26,000-employee agribusiness, with offices in Greensboro, has had a decade of international success with Operation Pollinator. By adapting habitats to a region