Category Archives: News Releases

NC Growing Together to Bring Local Food Supply Chain Together at N.C. A&T

For Immediate Release: February 18, 2016

Media Contact: JJ Richardson, NC Growing Together Website and Communications Coordinator, or 919-889-8219

The annual meeting of the North Carolina Growing Together project is hosted this year by The Cooperative Extension Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. The program begins at noon, Wednesday, Feb. 24 at Coltrane Hall.

NC Growing Together is a five-year (2013-2017) USDA-funded project that works to bring more locally grown foods – produce, meat, dairy and seafood – into mainstream retail and food-service supply chains.

The project is led by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, a partnership of N.C. A&T, North Carolina State University, and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  The project has more than 25 partners across the state, including Lowes Foods and N.C. Cooperative Extension.

“Hosting this meeting is another opportunity for Cooperative Extension at A&T to provide innovative leadership and collaboration on local foods, a priority issue for us as we serve our communities locally, statewide and beyond,” said Dr. Shirley Hymon-Parker, interim dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at A&T.

Nearly 80 people are expected to attend the meeting, representing the entire local food supply chain from farmers and fishermen, to processors and distributors, to food hubs and food retailers, to Extension agents, non-profit partners, students and researchers.  The goal of the meeting is to collaborate, network, celebrate successes, and brainstorm solutions to challenges in scaling up local foods for mainstream markets.

For more information about NC Growing Together, please visit

The Center for Environmental Food Systems develops and promotes just and equitable food and farming systems that conserve natural resources, strengthen communities and provide economic opportunities in North Carolina and beyond. For more information, please visit

The Cooperative Extension Program at N.C. A&T helps people across the state lead better lives by finding solutions to their problems, delivering educational programs and technology that enrich the lives, land and economy of limited-resource individuals, families and communities. Visit us at

Showcase of Excellence a success

Fifty-two SAES students delivered poster presentations describing what they did on their summer vacations, during the 4th annual Showcase of Excellence at B.C. Webb Hall Sept. 9. Unlike vacations of many students, the summer experiences SAES students described were mostly work and little play. Students worked in industry offices, government agencies, or university laboratories, conducting research or learning business practices. Others studied abroad, or participated in Cooperative Extension internships. Most programs in the SAES require students to complete an internship or some other form of experiential learning that complements their majors.

“The hands-on experience proves to be an invaluable asset to students, whether they are preparing for their first job interview, or their applications to graduate school, and that is why we stress the importance of these internships,” said Dr. Antoine Alston, associate dean for academic studies, and coordinator of the Showcase.

2015 SAES Showcase of Excellence

Food access in North Carolina gets major funding


A racially diverse team of experts will work with grassroots groups in Nash, Edgecombe and Scotland counties throughout the two-year span of the grant to assess how racial barriers can influence access to food. The project will also address ways to remove those barriers.

Leading the team is Shorlette Ammons, N.C. A&T-based community food-systems outreach coordinator at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems. CEFS is a partnership of A&T and N.C. State University – the state’s two land-grant institutions ­- and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; has a statewide focus on research, Cooperative Extension and education in sustainable agriculture and community-based food systems; and operates a 2,000-acre research program at Cherry Research Farm in Goldsboro.

Ammons has a background in food-justice issues and the work she administers through the Kellogg Foundation-funded initiative is to help create a national model that other communities can apply to their problems with food access.

“It’s a very complex problem and it will take a variety of different approaches,” Ammons says of the initiative. “We chose to work with community organizations that live these conditions every day and to let them be experts in their own realities and experiences.”

Among the most limited-resource challenged areas in the state, Nash, Edgecombe and Scotland counties have high incidences of food insecurity, unemployment and poor health. North Carolina is the 5th most food insecure state in the nation according to USDA reports; one of every four children is food insecure; and eating nutritiously is particularly burdensome for low-income residents in food deserts, who can have limited transportation access to areas to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

We’re looking at how we can support communities in developing more equitable sustainable, local-food systems that create access to opportunity for all people,” Ammons says. “Creating a better food system involves creating better access to opportunities for underserved farmers, building career ladders in the food system for youth, increasing wages for farmworkers, decreasing chronic health conditions in low-income communities and communities of color. So this effort should involve a wide range of our community.”

For more information about the project, contact Ammons at 

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit

About the Center for Environmental Farming Systems

CEFS develops and promotes just and equitable food and farming systems that conserve natural resources, strengthen communities and provide economic opportunities in North Carolina and beyond.  For more information please visit

For more information about this release, please contact:                            Cathy Gant Hill – 336.285.4723 or

1890s Day on August 30th

The U.S. Senate is recognizing the quasquicentennial of 1890 land-grant institutions such as North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, in a resolution that heralds the 125th anniversary to the very day the system was created, Aug. 30

Legislation passed on Aug. 30, 1890 created the system designating 19 historically black universities as federal land-grant educational institutions. Some of those institutions, such as Tuskegee, were already established; others, such as N.C. A&T were established as a direct result of the law; others, such as Central State University, were awarded land-grant status in ensuing years.

The Senate resolution passed this week, designates Aug. 30, 2015 as “1890 Land-Grant Institutions Quasquicentennial Recognition Day.” The action is a capstone to a year-long celebration that has included a national convocation, a Congressional hearing, and system-wide wellness activities on the university campuses. The 1890 universities’ leaders have also designated Aug. 30, which falls on a Sunday, as a National Day of Prayer to commemorate the anniversary.

Land-grant universities providing increased access to higher education with a focus on agriculture and mechanical arts were first created through the Morrill Act of 1862. The Act was expanded in 1890 to include historically black institutions in those states where segregation denied access to minorities.

Truffles and Grape Pomace are Focus of A&T Field Day


The raw beginnings of a gourmet meal are on the menu – make that the field – during the 14th annual Small Farms Field Day at North Carolina A&T State University, Thursday, June 11, 8:15 a.m.-noon, at the University Farm, 3136 McConnell Road in Greensboro.

Researchers and agricultural experts will showcase agricultural technology and techniques, and this year’s amalgam of demonstrations also lends itself to the ultimate food destination: the table. Authentic American-grown truffles, organic vegetables, pastured pork, and grape pomace that can be infused in bread, ground beef and other foods are among the topics.

The free, rain-or-shine event is sponsored by The Cooperative Extension Program at A&T. It shows farmers and gardeners how to increase food productivity, maximize income and promote environmental stewardship. The general public is encouraged to attend as well. This year’s Field Day offers demonstrations of:

  • Truffle farming
  • Pastured pork and swine genetics
  • Summer cover crops for organic and conventional growers
  • Alternative farming for urban areas
  • Solar energy and rain catchment systems

Poster discussions will feature animal production and human health, forest farming with medicinal plants, using vegetable oil to deter beetles from stored cowpeas, and the value-added promise of pomace from grapes. The pomace discussion augments the “loaf of bread, jug of wine and thou” offering, with information on how stems, skins and seeds from grapes can be used to enhance the nutritional value and shelf life of some foods, including bread.

For more information or to register, call 336-285-4661or email

“1890 Day” Walk/Run Celebrates N.C. A&T Heritage


Media Contact:
Laurie Gengenbach
(336) 285-4722

Thursday, April 23, is “1890 Day” at the nation’s 1890 land-grant universities, and North Carolina A&T State University will host a special 1.890-mile Wellness Walk/Run and Community Health Fair to celebrate.

The goal is goal to register 1,890 participants. All proceeds will benefit the newly established Justin A. Morrill Scholarship.

The events celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Second Morrill Act, the 1890 federal law that established the 19 historically black land-grant colleges and universities in the United States, including N.C. A&T.

Leading the walk will be former NFL player and A&T alum Dwaine “Peewee” Board. Joining him will be Provost Joe B. Whitehead, Dean Bill Randle, of the school of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Dr. Clay Gloster, Associate Dean of the School of Technology, the Aggie Color Guard and “Aggie,” A&T’s mascot bulldog.

Register now online at

Faculty, staff and community members can register for $18.90 online or $20 on the day of the event. You also can sponsor students. All participants will be presented with a T-shirt emblazoned with the words, “125 Years of Educational Excellence.”

“1890 Day at A&T promises to be a fun, inspiring and productive day for the Aggie community to commemorate and celebrate our history and our future,” said Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.

“We’ve dedicated considerable attention to educating the states and communities we serve about the vital role the historically black land-grant colleges and universities play in agriculture, technology and sciences, which we advance through education, applied research and outreach programs. The wellness/walk run and community health fair is in keeping with our historic legacy and is an event not to be missed.”

Participants will meet at Aggie Stadium on Thursday, April 23, at 11 a.m. for registration.  The run/walk will step off at noon. The route will extend 1.890 miles through campus, ending at Corbett Sports Center, the site of the health fair.

The Justin A. Morrill Scholarship is named for the U.S. senator who wrote the two Morrill Acts, one in 1862, and a second in 1890, authorizing funding for America’s first system of public higher education, dedicated to teaching the agricultural, mechanical, and military arts and sciences to the “sons of toil.”

More information about parking, shuttle services and registration is available at

“Planting a Legacy, Growing a Future,” 2015 Small Farms Week

For immediate release

For more information, about this release contact:

Cathy Gant Hill at 336.285.4723 or at

GREENSBORO ? Father-son farming families, advice from agricultural experts and recognition of landmark Congressional legislation will inform this year’s celebration of small farming in North Carolina, sponsored annually by The Cooperative Extension Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

The 29th annual observance of Small Farms Week is March 22-28, and features workshops, tours, demonstrations and the announcement of the 2015 Small Farmer of the Year. This year also marks the 125th anniversary of the Second Morrill Act, which created 1890 land-grant institutions such as N.C. A&T State University, as well as 18 other historically black colleges and universities.

“Planting a Legacy, Growing a Future,” the theme of 2015 Small Farms Week, is emphasized in discussions about generational farming and community engagement in agricultural enterprise, among other activities. Tours of dynamic small farms and opportunities to question experts from agricultural agencies and organizations are also program highlights of this year

Aggie comes away from N.C. Farm Bureau competition with honors

For immediate release

December 1, 2014

Contact: Laurie Gengenbach (336) 285-4722,

Justin Walker NCAT SAESGREENSBORO, N.C. — Justin M. Walker of Yanceyville, a junior majoring in agricultural education at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, was the first runner-up at the statewide Collegiate Discussion Meet, sponsored by the North Carolina Farm Bureau in Raleigh, N.C. Nov. 8. He was awarded a certificate and $250. First place also went to an Aggie: Jasmine Scott of Madison, N.C., a senior who is also majoring in agricultural education, and is Walker’s classmate in the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Contestants were rated on their knowledge and abilities to discuss complex issues in agricultural systems.

Walker is a member of the School’s chapter of the Collegiate FFA, and, at 22, is already a successful farmer in Caswell County. Walker took over management of his family’s farm after the 2012 death of his grandfather, John O. “Pete” Walker.

He switched his major at N.C. A&T from music to agricultural education that same year. Now, in addition to being a part-time student, Walker raises tobacco, soybeans, corn and wheat, while continuing to pursue his love of music. He is the son of Sandra Walker of Yanceyville.

The agricultural technology and business skills he is learning at N.C. A&T are helping him keep his farm profitable in the present, while also giving him ideas for future agricultural ventures, he said. For instance, he is now transitioning part of his operation into organic tobacco, a commodity that can fetch a higher price than conventionally raised tobacco. He also enjoys learning more about global agricultural opportunities, including N.C. A&T’s Master’s International Program for agricultural education majors, and is considering a career that would combine teaching with farming.

“The courses I’m taking here now are really helping me learn how to maximize production on small acreage, to make my farm more profitable, and hopefully expand it,” he said.

In addition to its programs in agricultural education, the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences?has degree-granting programs leading to careers in veterinary sciences, biotechnology, food science and nutrition, fashion, child development, biological engineering, natural resources, horticulture, land management, environmental protection, agribusiness and more. ###

Info. for cutline: Justin M. Walker of Yanceyville, first runner up in the North Carolina Farm Bureau’s Collegiate Discussion Meet, poses for a photo at the horticulture unit at the North Carolina A&T State University Farm.

Aggie wins first place in statewide competition

For immediate release

December 1, 2014
Contact: Laurie Gengenbach (336) 285-4722,

Aggie wins first place in statewide competition

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Jasmine Scott, of Madison, N.C., a senior at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, was the winner of the N.C. Farm Bureau’s Collegiate Discussion Meet in Raleigh Nov. 8.

Jasmine Scott NCAT SAESScott received a trophy and a check for $1,000, and will advance to the national Young Farmers and Ranchers Collegiate Discussion Meet that will be held in Nashville, Tennessee in February. It is the first time an Aggie has advanced to that level in the annual competition, which is sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation. First runner up in the statewide competition was also an Aggie: Justin M. Walker of Yanceyville, N.C., Scott’s classmate in the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.

Scott majors in agricultural education and is among the elite cohort of United States Department of Agriculture 1890 Scholars at N.C. A&T’s School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. She is president of the School’s chapter of Collegiate FFA; serves as a member and former vice president of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Advocates, and is an active member of MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences). She is the daughter of Patsy and Charles Dalton of Stokesdale.

Scott’s life ambition is to acquire a doctorate and teach agricultural sciences at the college level. She enjoys enlightening her peers and others about agriculture as a broad, complex industry that, in addition to farm management, offers many other career opportunities in business, government, research and education. As her discussion meet championship attests, the Aggie experience has made her an eloquent advocate for agriculture.

“You can’t do anything unless your basic needs for food, clean water, clothing and shelter are taken care of. I love agriculture, because I enjoy being the one who takes care of these foundational needs so you get to take them for granted,” she said.

In addition to its programs in agricultural education, the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences?has programs leading to careers in veterinary sciences, biotechnology, food science and nutrition, fashion, child development, biological engineering, natural resources, horticulture, land management, environmental protection, agribusiness and more. ###

Info for cutline: Jasmine Scott holds the 1st place trophy from the North Carolina Farm Bureau

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

N.C. A&T, Xemerge launch spin-off peanut company

October 2, 2014

Contact: Laurie Gengenbach (336) 285-4722

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The world’s first commercially available allergen-reduced peanuts have officially emerged from the laboratory.

Alrgn Bio, exclusive licensee of the allergen-reduced process patented by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, has opened an office in the Gateway University Research Park. Batches of peanuts are available to the food industry for evaluation, Alrgn announced today.

“We have received tremendous interest since we announced in June that the technology is available,” said Johnny Rodrigues, Alrgn founder.

“We will work with food processors and manufacturers to establish this process as the industry standard for peanuts and peanut-derived ingredients. We’ll work together to deliver safer peanut products to consumers as quickly as possible.”

Alrgn made the announcement Thursday at its demonstration facility at the Gateway University Research Park in Greensboro, North Carolina. Alrgn is a spin-off of N.C. A&T and Xemerge, the North Carolina- and Toronto-based technology development company that originally licensed the A&T peanut technology.

Rodrigues introduced the new company to the news media and food industry executives along with two members of his executive team: Dr. Jianmei Yu, Alrgn’s chief scientist, leader of the research team that developed the technology, and research professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at A&T; and Dr. Ann Russell, Alrgn’s director of U.S. operations.

“It is very gratifying to see the results of our research being brought to the marketplace for the benefit of individuals and families whose lives are affected by peanut allergies,” Dr. Yu said.

“We will expand from the” allergen-reduced “peanut project to develop additional products that will benefit consumers, agriculture and the food industry.”

The allergen-reduced peanut technology is one result of N.C. A&T’s strength in agriculture and particularly post-harvest technology. As a land-grant university, A&T has been a historic leader in agriculture research. Today, the university’s School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences has expertise in biotechnology, agricultural and biosystems engineering, natural resources management, waste management, and food microbiology. It is the largest school of its kind at a historically black university.

A&T’s agricultural research program includes the Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technology at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. The center adds value to agricultural commodities by finding ways to make food safer, to extend shelf life and to preserve health-promoting nutrients. Its research focuses on developing and testing functional foods, isolating and characterizing health-promoting food components, and improving processes to control spoilage and foodborne pathogens.

USDA Official to Visit N.C. A&T Sept. 16

Dr. Cathie Woteki

GREENSBORO-Dr. Cathie Woteki, USDA’s under secretary for research, education and economics, will visit North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (SAES) and tour campus facilities on Sept. 16.

During the visit, Dr. Woteki will meet with the SAES dean, Dr. Bill Randle, and his leadership team. She will get a tour of Guilford County’s largest classroom, the 492-acre N.C. A&T University Farm, as well as some of the school’s food sciences and natural resources laboratories. Woteki will also share USDA’s research, education and economics initiatives and outlook with faculty and students, from 10-11 a.m. in B.C. Webb Hall.

Her visit will also include a tour of the laboratory where food science researchers developed N.C. A&T’s post-harvest treatment for the production of allergen-reduced peanuts — a patented technology which has recently been licensed for commercialization.

Before joining USDA, Woteki served as global director of scientific affairs for Mars, Incorporated, and managed the company’s scientific policies and research into matters of health, nutrition, and food safety. From 2002-2005, she was dean of agriculture and professor of human nutrition at Iowa State University. Dr. Woteki served as the first Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA from 1997-2001, and directed federal food safety policy development and USDA’s continuity of operations planning. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, Woteki also served in other leadership roles for several U.S. government departments and agencies, including USDA, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences. In 1999, Dr. Woteki was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, where she has chaired the Food and Nutrition Board (2003-2005). She received her master’s and a doctorate in human nutrition from Virginia Tech.

During the visit, Dean Bill Randle will provide Woteki with an overview of N.C. A&T’s Local Food and Health Initiative, which the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences is leading. The initiative is a plan to expand A&T’s facilities, curriculums, research and Cooperative Extension programs to focus more strongly on localizing food supply infrastructure. Elements of the initiative will be most conspicuous at the University Farm, where plans are under way to build an educational pavilion; to establish a student run organic farm, and to develop a creamery to produce yogurt, ice cream and artisanal cheeses. Curriculum enhancements under the initiative include the recent addition of a new degree program in agriculture and environmental systems.

Images from the visit:

N.C. A&T Signs Agreement to Commercialize Allergen-Reduced Peanut

For immediate release
June 10, 2014
Contact: Samantha Hargrove, (336) 256-0863,
N.C. A&T Signs Agreement to Commercialize Allergen-Reduced Peanut
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Allergen-reduced peanuts, peanut butter, and other peanut products are a step closer to grocery stores with the signing of an exclusive licensing agreement for the patented process that reduces allergens in peanuts by 98 percent.
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University signed the agreement with Xemerge, a Toronto-based firm that commercializes emerging technologies in food, agriculture, and a variety of other fields. Xemerge has opened an office at the Gateway University Research Park south campus in Greensboro.
“This is one of the best technologies in the food and nutrition space we have seen,” said Johnny Rodrigues, Chief Commercialization Officer of Xemerge.

“It checks all the boxes: non-GMO, patented, human clinical data, does not change physical characteristics of the peanut along with maintaining the nutrition and functionality needed, ready for industry integration from processing and manufacturing to consumer products.”

The process was developed by Dr. Jianmei Yu, a food and nutrition researcher in the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, department of family and consumer sciences, and two former A&T faculty members, Dr. Mohamed Ahmedna and Dr. Ipek Goktepe, both of whom are now at Qatar University.

“Treated peanuts can be used as whole peanuts, in pieces or as flour to make foods containing peanuts safer for many people who are allergic,” Dr. Yu said.

“Treated peanuts also can be used in immunotherapy,” she said.

“Under a doctor’s supervision, the allergen-reduced peanuts can build up a patient’s resistance to the allergens.”

Research funding was provided by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The process treats roasted peanuts, removed from the shell and skin, with food-grade enzymes commonly used in food processing. The treatment consists of soaking the peanuts in an enzymatic solution.

The treatment reduces two key allergens, Ara h 1 to undetectable levels and Ara h 2 by up to 98%. The resulting peanuts look and taste like roasted peanuts. The peanuts are not genetically modified.

The effectiveness of the process was demonstrated in human clinical trials at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, using skin-prick tests.

In contrast to various other approaches to eliminating peanut allergens, the N.C. A&T process doesn’t involve chemicals or irradiation, and uses commonly available food-processing equipment.

In collaboration with Xemerge, Dr. Yu is continuing to refine the process by testing the effectiveness of additional food-grade enzymes.

Peanuts cause serious allergic reactions in an estimated 0.9% of the U.S. population, about 2.8 million people. Highly sensitive children and adults can develop anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, in as little as a few seconds from ingesting extremely small amounts.

Anaphylaxis symptoms can include difficulty breathing; low blood pressure; swelling of the tongue, eyes or face; stomach pain, nausea and vomiting; skin rashes, blisters, itching, inflammation, and pain; and in some cases even death.

Xemerge (pronounced “zee-merge”) specializes in helping early-stage and established companies achieve business milestones, including early customer acquisition (pilots/simulations), strategic channel development, company messaging and positioning.? The firm commercializes clients’ intellectual capital and products by implementing repeatable and measurable approaches to media, management, and collaboration.

Xemerge collaborates with technology transfer offices of research labs and universities to aggressively push technology into the marketplace. The firm helps faculty researchers turn inventions into products and in many cases serves as the supportive management team to lead a start-up company into a commercial entity.

North Carolina A&T State University
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a doctoral research university, located in Greensboro, North Carolina. It is a constituent member of the University of North Carolina system. The university’s history as an 1890 land-grant university is reflected in its strengths in agriculture, animal science, engineering, and environmental science.

The development of the allergen-reduced peanut is the latest example of A&T’s research strengths in food safety, value-added food processing, and post-harvest technologies emerging from its School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.
A&T research news appears on the Aggie Research blog ( and Twitter (@AggieResearch).

N.C. A&T Agribusiness Management Program opens for business

Contact: Laurie Gengenbach (336) 285-4722

GREENSBORO, NC Deadlines are approaching for spring semester enrollment in the new Agribusiness and Food Industry Management Program? North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Students wishing to begin spring semester of 2015 have a Nov. 1 application deadline.

The Agribusiness and Food Industry Management Program will prepare undergraduate and graduate students for exciting and rewarding opportunities in agribusiness management by providing them with experiential learning that extends from the classroom, to the Chicago Board of Trade, to internships in commodities brokerage firms, to international study experiences, and more. The curriculum emphasizes the Local Food and Health Initiative that is now the backbone for research, instruction and Cooperative Extension outreach at N.C. A&T’s School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.

“As the world population continues to climb toward 9 billion by 2050, agricultural professionals are being called upon to be innovative in food and fiber production and marketing of agricultural commodities. The Agribusiness and Food Industry Program at N.C. A&T has been designed to respond to this growing demand for professionals who can lead the sustainable green industries of the future,” said Dr. Anthony Yeboah, chair of the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education.

Agricultural industries operate on the world stage. They rely on professionals with skills in micro- and macroeconomics, trade policy, commodities marketing, risk management and business law. Students in agribusiness programs complement their studies in these areas with coursework and experiential learning in accounting, statistics, supply chain management, ethics, consumer psychology and other areas important to business professionals. Graduates find rewarding careers in agricultural economics, commodity brokering, environmental law, higher education, human resources, international trade, marketing and development, public relations and marketing, policy and financial analysis, university research, and local, state and federal government agencies.

To find out more about the Agribusiness and Food Industry Management Program, please call the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education at (336) 334-7943 / (336) 285-4827 or email

In addition to its programs in Agribusiness and Food Industry Management, the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences? programs leading to careers in animal and veterinary sciences, agricultural education, biological engineering, biotechnology, fashion merchandising and design, food science, child development, landscape architecture, environmental protection, natural resources management, urban horticulture and many more.

Aggies win quiz bowl championship, second year in a row

For information: Laurie Gengenbach, 336-285-4722,

Aggies win quiz bowl championship, second year in a row

GREENSBORO, N.C. — For the second year in a row, students in the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University brought home a championship trophy from the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) National Quiz Bowl, held during the organization’s conference in Birmingham, Ala. in April, 2014.

The annual competition tests participants’ knowledge of agriculture, the MANRRS organization, and current events. The N.C. A&T chapter of MANNRS beat out Ohio State, Southern University, University of Madison Wisconsin and Oregon State in four rounds of questioning.

The 2014 MANRRS National Quiz Bowl champions are: Amber Brown of Greensboro, a junior majoring in environmental horticulture; Zanard Choice of Estill, a sophomore majoring in landscape architecture; Daijah Dowe of Wilmington, a senior majoring in animal science with a minor in chemistry; Chelsea Horton of Raleigh, a freshman majoring in animal industry; Shayla Jackson of West Palm Beach, Fla., a freshman majoring in animal science; and Taylor Johnson, of Cropwell, Ala., a sophomore majoring in agricultural education. Johnson also placed third in the MANRRS Undergraduate Written Essay Contest. Also for the second year in a row, the A&T MANRRS chapter received Region II Chapter of the Year honors, and was presented with $200 for the achievement.

The School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at N.C. A&T administers Cooperative Extension, agricultural research, and academic programs in agricultural economics and education, animal sciences, family and consumer sciences, and natural resources and environmental design. MANRRS is a professional development organization for college students majoring in agricultural disciplines.

Success with stinkbug rearing could help toward control strategies

Contact: Laurie Gengenbach, 336-285-4722, – 4712,

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Entomologists conducting integrated pest management (IPM) research at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University have reached a major milestone in studies of the brown marmorated stinkbug, a voracious bug that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has deemed the top invasive insect of interest, and a major economic threat to fruit and vegetable producers, as well as to many growers of row crops and ornamental plants.
The U.S. Apple Association estimates that in 2010 alone, the bug accounted for $37 million lost from apple orchards in the Mid-Atlantic region, and growers of other crops are reporting similar losses. North Carolina crops that are susceptible to the insect include vegetables, fruits, nuts, berries, corn and soybeans, which together are worth approximately $191 million annually in farm cash receipts.
Indigenous to Asia, the brown marmorated stinkbug was first found in Pennsylvania in the mid-1990s. With few natural predators in North America, it has since expanded its range to thirty-eight states including North Carolina. In addition to posing a threat to crops, the bug has also become a common household nuisance, entering homes and other manmade structures to overwinter.
Drs. Beatrice Dingha and Louis Jackai, researchers in N.C. A&T’s Agricultural Research Program, have developed a laboratory rearing method that has successfully produced five generations of brown marmorated stinkbugs. Their work was presented at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America in March, and is believed to be the first reported account of a continuous rearing method for this bug past a second generation in the U.S. The progress represents an important step in establishing a reliable supply of bugs for research.
"Nobody to our knowledge has ever reported this, and as far as we know, this is the first time this insect has successfully been reared through several generations in the laboratory in the U.S.," Dingha said.
Dingha and Jackai’s method involved feeding the bugs a medley of their favorite foods, including fresh tomato, carrots, green beans, corn, cucumber, squash, and leaves from butterfly bushes and Princess trees. They also kept the bugs at a consistent temperature of 25-27 degrees Celsius (77 ? 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and 70 percent relative humidity. This combination of factors seemed to encourage the bugs to remain active and reproducing instead of lapsing into their natural dormant state, a form of winter hibernation known to entomologists as "diapause."
With approximately 100 crops worth $21 billion susceptible to brown marmorated stinkbug damage across the country, the United States Department of Agriculture has an ongoing nationwide research and management program focused exclusively on the insect. Despite some progress, research has been hampered by difficulties keeping enough bugs alive and reproducing in the laboratory long enough so that controlled experiments can be conducted. Dingha and Jackai say their success means research on the bug can now advance more rapidly.
"If you don’t have a reliable population to work with, you can’t study it and develop management strategies. Now, we are able to do experiments and take research on this pest to the next level," Dingha said.
Jackai and Dingha’s research is part of the Local Foods and Health Initiative within the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at N.C. A&T. The initiative focuses on research, education and Cooperative Extension outreach programs relevant to small-scale rural and urban growers and consumers in North Carolina who are seeking sustainable agricultural innovations.

N.C. A&T scientist reports on health benefits of oats

For information: Laurie Gengenbach 336-285-4722, x ? 4712,

N.C. A&T scientist reports on health benefits of oats

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — If you’ve been “feelin’ your oats” as the saying goes, Dr. Shengmin Sang, lead scientist for functional foods at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University might know why.

Sang’s studies of the bioactive components in oats offer evidence that phytochemicals found only in oats, known as avenanthramides, are helpful in combating colon cancer and inflammation. Sang also reports that the metabolites that are produced after the chemicals are broken down in the digestive tract remain bioactive. Metabolites are the small biochemical molecules that enter the bloodstream after food is digested, and are responsible for many biological functions.

Researchers have known for years that oats and other whole grains are heart-healthy and help in preventing an array of diseases, but the molecular mechanisms responsible remain largely a mystery. Even more of a mystery is how or why individuals respond differently to the same foods. Sang is one of a handful of scientists in food chemistry laboratories around the world who are using functional food studies to investigate these mechanisms.

His report on oat metabolites was delivered at a symposium he helped organize, “Physicochemical Properties and Biological Functionality of Oats,” at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Dallas, March 16 ? 20. The Quaker Oats Center of Excellence funded the symposium.

Sang also reported differences on the metabolism of avenanthramides by different human gut microbiota. Some of the digestive organisms he studied produced anti-cancer metabolites, and others did not, which suggests that the kind of flora that colonize one’s digestive tract can affect how much an individual may benefit from oats, he said.

One of Sang’s overarching aims in this, as well as other studies on whole grains, is to identify metabolic markers that can be detected in blood samples. Such markers would give epidemiologists a clearer picture of the link between diet and disease, and, in time, could lead to personalized nutritional recommendations for consumers.

“Based on what we know now, we can only recommend that everyone should eat whole grains and whole oats. We can’t yet give specific dietary recommendations to individuals, but in the future, we will,” Sang said.

Personalized nutrition is one of the goals of Sang’s functional foods lab, located at the Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies, which is housed at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, N.C. The Center is administered by the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C.

In addition to Sang’s functional foods laboratory, the Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies houses laboratories specializing in food safety and food engineering.

Aggie wins USDA honor

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Simone Hairston of Summit, NJ, a senior majoring in dietetics at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, was among 20 juniors and seniors from universities across the country who were winners in a USDA essay contest, who will receive an expenses-paid trip to USDA’s 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum titled “The Changing Face of Agriculture,” to be held Feb. 20-21, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va.

Hairston, a student in N.C. A&T’s School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, and the other winners were selected for their essays on “Agriculture as a Career.” Ten graduate students were also selected for their response to “The Greatest Challenge Facing Agriculture over the Next Five Years.”

Hairston, who is also an Undergraduate Research Scholar and a participant in the Multicultural Scholars Program at N.C. A&T, said she was “honored and excited” to be among the winners, and that she is looking forward to traveling to Arlington for the two-day event.

“It’s a great, great honor,” Hairston said, adding that her essay described her belief that, “agriculture is the basis for everything. Nutrition and agriculture are closely related.”

The potential for a rewarding and stimulating career in dietetics ?is one reason Hairston says she decided to enroll in the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at N.C. A&T. She hopes to focus her career on childhood nutrition’s relevance to obesity prevention.

Her prospects are good. Agricultural education experts report that there continues to be nearly twice as many job openings in agricultural, food and natural resources sectors of the U.S. economy than there are qualified graduates each year.

In addition to its program in nutrition and dietetics, the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences has programs leading to careers in veterinary sciences, biotechnology, food science, fashion design, education, child development, biological engineering, natural resources management, environmental protection, agribusiness and many more.