Thursday, December 8, 2011

Foothills Fresh Growers School

N.C. Cooperative Extension Service
Catawba County Agricultural Resources Center
1175 South Brady Avenue, Newton, NC
February 24, 2012


8:00 a.m. Registration and Refreshments (Biscuits, Juice, Coffee)

8:30 a.m. Welcome—Jeff Carpenter

8:35 a.m. Update on the Foothills Fresh Program—Kevin Starr

8:45 a.m. Tapping into the Charlotte Market—Christy Shi

9:30 a.m. Managing Stink Bugs and Other Interesting Insect Pests of Vegetables—Jim Walgenbach

10:15 a.m. Break

10:30 a.m. Pollinator Conservation—Nancy Lee Adamson

11:15 a.m. Bringing New Farmers to the Table / Perspectives from a
New Small Farm—Joanna Lelekacs

12:00 noon Adjourn

Registration: There is no charge to attend the school. However, pre-registration is required. Call 828-465-8240 or e-mail no later than February 17. You may also register on-line at .

Social Media For Farmers Training

Gaston Citizens Resource Center in Dallas, NC
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Feb. 1st, 2012

Presenters: Social Media experts, Johanna Kramer and Grace and Cary Kanoy

Want to harness the power of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to reach new customers and grow your farm business? You won’t want to miss this all-day hands-on workshop designed especially for farmers and taught by social media experts, Johanna Kramer (@durhamfoodie) and Cary and Grace Kanoy (GeoCore Films).

You will leave this workshop with a fully-functioning Facebook and Twitter page (or upgrade your existing pages), the skills to shoot your own short farm video using your cell phone, camera, or camcorder, and the training to take better farm photos. Limited to 25 participants!

Includes lunch.

Cost: $10

Register by calling (919) 542-2402, emailing or online at

This workshop is hosted by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association in partnership with Know Your Farms, Center for Environmental Farming Systems, NC Cooperative Extension, the 10% Campaign, and Food Corps with funding from the Golden LEAF Foundation.

NC Forage & Grasslands Winter Conference Series

The North Carolina Forage and Grasslands Council (NCFGC) has announced dates for their 2012 Winter Conference Series, January 24, 25, and 26, to be held in 3 different locations across the state-Kenansville, Greensboro and Morganton.

Anyone who manages forages and/or pasture-based animal production systems will find this meeting very worthwhile. Topics include "Healthy Soils Reduce Chemical Inputs on Grazing and Cropping Systems" and "Managing Forages to Lower Production Costs" as well as a panel of local producers discussing "Dealing With High Input Costs".

See the pdf announcement for details, contacts and registration.

N.C. Meat Processor Goes Organic

Taylorsville, North Carolina- In a boon to the local and niche meat industry in North Carolina, a Taylorsville meat processing company has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to process certified organic meats. For over 30 years, Mays Meats has provided custom and inspected meat processing services to local farmers who produce and sell niche meat products in local marketing channels. Mays Meats has been a leader in supporting the growth of the local meat industry by providing high quality inspected meat processing services (e.g., slaughter, fabrication and value-added product development). Longtime Mays Meats employee, Misty Dyson, coordinated the effort for USDA National Organic Program certification. “Our customers do a great job raising animals responsibly; having the option for processing under organic certification provides them with a level of third party verification that many consumers find valuable. Mays Meats is happy to provide this service to farmers as part of an overall effort to help them better market their meat products,” Dyson says.

Local beef producer Shelly Eagan, of Cleveland County’s Proffitt Family Farms, worked closely with Mays Meats in navigating the application process for organic certification. “Misty and I started working together on this back in February 2011. I really don’t think we could have done it without working together. Our beef has been certified organic for the 3 years but we couldn’t legally market using an organic label because we had nowhere to have the animals slaughtered under organic certification. We’re thrilled to now have that option. I think there are a lot of folks out there who are actually raising animals ‘organically’ who might consider getting certified now that they can actually make those claims on their labels.”

NC Choices Coordinator, Casey McKissick, notes, “It’s exciting to see the positive outcome of farmers and processors working together toward a common goal. It’s these types of partnerships across the supply chain that are moving the local meat industry forward in North Carolina. Mays Meats is the only commercial processor in North Carolina to provide slaughter and cut and wrap services under organic certification. This will create more market opportunities for local livestock producers and product choices for local consumers.”

Niche meats are meat products marketed based on attributes such as “organic,” “local,” “pasture-raised,” “grass-fed,” “humanely raised,” and “grown without antibiotics or added hormones.” The local and niche meat industry in North Carolina has enjoyed unprecedented growth in recent years, bringing new economic opportunities for farmers, processors and other industries that support the local food economy.

A recent review of meat and poultry sales through natural foods retailers shows the “natural and organic sector” growing at a much stronger rate than conventional meat and poultry sales. For example, between 2008 and 2010, nationwide red meat sales increased 1.7 percent whereas natural and organic red meat sales increased by 15 percent (Mintel 2010).

According to the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS), there has been a steep increase in the number of farmers in North Carolina who are securing their meat handlers’ registrations—a requirement for transporting and selling packaged, inspected meat. As of November 2011, 499 farmers held a meat handler’s registration. That number is nearly four-fold increase since 2007 (NCDA 2011.

For more information on processing services at Mays Meats see or contact Misty Dyson at 828-632-7081.

Foothills Pilot Plant is Now Open for Rabbit Processing

On December 5th 2011, Foothills Pilot Plant, a small-scale poultry and rabbit processing facility located in Marion North Carolina, received permission from the NC Department of Agriculture's Food and Drug Division to begin commercially processing rabbits.

FPP can now take reservations to arrange for processing of rabbits from individual farms. Please email FPP General Manager Dr. Pal Manhiani for information about scheduling your processing days. His email address is

More information on FPP, including fees for processing services, can be found at under the FAQ section.

FPP has not yet received permission to be under inspection from USDA for processing of turkeys, chickens or other fowl. An email notification will be mailed when poultry can be scheduled for processing.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Putting Small Acreage to Work Conference

Date: January 28, 2012

Time: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Location: Gaston Citizens Resource Center, Dallas, NC

If you are looking for ways to make a living or supplement your income off of your land, we invite you to attend the Putting Small Acreage to Work Conference on January 28, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Whether for profit or personal enjoyment, a new project should be carefully thought out. This conference will provide information for people interested in starting or expanding small scale farm enterprises. You will be able to explore alternative enterprises by speaking with successful producers, university personnel, and experts in the field who are already growing, producing, and researching various crops, livestock and field techniques to enhance production. They can give you the practical, no-nonsense advice you will need when considering business planning, crop & livestock production, market development, etc. Topics to be discussed include: raising sheep for food & fiber, weed control for small acreage, field grown cut flower production, heirloom vegetable production, selling to restaurants, food preservation, pastured poultry & mobile processing units, rice production in the piedmont, building & managing a grade B goat diary, & marketing grass roots style.

Class sessions will start promptly after registration. The program will include three breakout sessions. Three to four topics will be discussed concurrently during each of these breakout sessions.

Registration Deadline:
January 23, 2012

Admission - 1st Person = $35.00
Admission - Each Additional Person = $20.00
Lunch included

To Register Go To:

For additional information on this conference, contact Gaston County Cooperative Extension at 704.922.2112.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Raleigh, NC. (Nov. 21,2011) – Longer growing seasons, conserving natural resources and providing a greater supply of locally grown food are all advantages for the farmers who participle in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative. The initiative is offered under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and funding availability is to be available soon for eligible applicants.

Farmers can submit applications for the initiative at anytime throughout the year. However, NRCS will begin the application ranking process for the EQIP Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative on February 3, 2012 for possible funding. Applications are ranked based on greatest environmental benefit. For an application to be considered for ranking all land and producer eligibility requirements must have been met.

The initiative will provide opportunities for farmers to establish seasonal high tunnel systems for crops and for numerous conservation practices that benefit natural resources. Applicants who apply for the national EQIP initiative can also apply for conservation practices under the state administered Farm Bill conservation programs.

The 2008 Farm Bill provides additional incentives for farmers, who are beginning, have limited resources, or who are socially disadvantaged. Such farmers can receive up to 90 percent of the costs associated with planning and implementing certain conservation practices and up to 30 percent of expected costs may be provided in advance.

Farmers should visit their local USDA Service Center today to apply for available funding for Farm Bill programs and initiatives; locations are listed on-line at or in the phone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture. General program information is available on the NRCS North Carolina website at The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nickels For Know-How

A self-assessed check-off that supports agricultural research, extension, and teaching programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at NC State University is set for a vote on Nov. 16, 2011.

Users of feed and fertilizer in North Carolina will vote on Nov. 16 on whether to continue the 15 cents per ton self-assessment on fertilizer and animal feed produced in our state. Since 1951, the Nickels check-off has been voted on every six years and has passed in the 13 previous referenda by an average 90% favorable vote.

Tri-Chairs of the Nov. 16 Referendum are Mr. Larry Wooten, President of the NC Farm Bureau, Mr. Jimmy Gentry, President of the NC State Grange and Mr. Jim Smith, Chairman of the NC Agricultural Foundation, Inc. and a farmer from Granville County.

Dean Johnny C. Wynne of CALS says “Since Nickels for Know-How began in 1951, most of the state’s research-based agricultural advances have at some point shared “Nickels’ funds.” In addition, Nickels for Know-How provides support for fund raising efforts in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences that generate over $20 million annually in private contributions. This is a $50 return on every $1 dollar invested. Some of the entities that Nickels provides operating support for include the NC Cooperative Extension Service Foundation, the NC 4-H Development Fund, the NC FFA Foundation, the NC Family & Consumer Sciences Foundation, the NC Dairy Foundation, the CALS Alumni and Friends Society, and the JC Raulston Arboretum Board of Directors.

Nickels funds have helped the College to raise funds for over 790 endowments valued at over $125 million that provide over $800,000 in scholarships to 550 undergraduate students in the College. In addition, these endowments support faculty efforts, county extension programs, commodity research efforts, and other programs in CALS.

Efforts to keep rural agricultural students at NC State through the “Spend a Day at State” program, the CALS Student Ambassadors Program, CALS Teaching and Advising Awards, Workshops for High School Vocational Agriculture Teachers, On-Campus Internships and Annual Scholarship Enhancement are also funded by Nickels.
Some examples of those faculty-driven projects are as follows:

* Construction of the NC State research-based animal feed mill
• The North Carolina Dairy Advantage Program for dairy farmers
• Switchgrass varieties as feedstock for bioethanol production
• Avian Flu Education Program
• Development of effective human pathogen control for fresh produce
• Academy for Excellence in Commodity Association Leadership
• Maximizing profit in North Carolina peanuts
• Family & community disaster preparedness education
• Development of the “ASPIRE” Program - SAT prep for rural students
• Strengthening agricultural programming in 4-H through commodity groups
• Franklin County 2-day Educational Goat & Sheep Conference
• International competitiveness of the NC swine industry
• Helping NC farmers survive during difficult times
• Developing 4-H livestock programs and educational materials
• Using Vitamin-E to improve pork quality
• Composting swine manure for nutrient removal
• Alernatives to herbicide spraying for woody vegetation
• Integrating swine waste management with greenhouse tomato production
• Off-season production of small fruits
• Development of a method for estimating potato yield losses
• Processing mortality silage into valuable poultry and swine feed products
• Fertility regimes for high density apple orchards in Western NC
• Foliar fertilizer use in NC cotton
• Using animal waste for horticultural compost production
• Role of darkling beetle migration in the re-colonization of NC turkey houses
• Assessment of flood impacts on agricultural soils in NC
• Profitable peach production as part of a diversified farming operation in NC
• Evaluation of cover crops & conservation tillage for conventional & organic sweet potato production
• Development and delivery of on-farm HACCP educational safety programs
• Mechanisms of protein degradation in chicken skeletal muscle
• Water movement & nitrate leaching in constructed turf systems
• New forage grazing strategies to improve conversion of grass to beef
• Development of niche markets for new orange and yellow watermelon cultivars
• Integrated strategies to minimize disease risk & enhance strawberry enterprises
• Development of an online course on Feed Mill management
• Biology, ecology and control of tropical spiderwort
• Enhancing quality and safety of North Carolina specialty meat products
• Developing a superior striped bass
• Birth control for fire ants
• Maximizing turkey meat yield through early post-hatch nutrition
• Wheat transformation for drought tolerance

These are just a few of the ways Nickels for Know-How has worked to support North Carolina farmers and agribusinesses. NC State University is grateful to the citizens who make this possible by voting on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 for the statewide Nickels Referendum.

This year, polling places will be set-up at the Gaston County Cooperative Extension Office. For additional information, contact the Gaston County Cooperative Extension Service Office at 704-922-2112.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Heritage Poultry INTENSIVE Workshop

Thursday, November 10th 2011
Bountiful Harvest farm, Polkton, NC

Workshop Overview:

NC Choices is excited to provide this advanced teaching for those who are raising standard bred poultry for sustainable farming, marketing, exhibition and preservation. During this day-long intensive workshop you will learn how to properly identify heritage poultry breeds, how to select for meat qualities and rate of growth, how to select for egg production, how to select your ongoing breeding stock and learn the basics of genetics and breeding. All this will be done on a model farm and will include live breeds of standard-bred poultry. Participants will have opportunity to actually handle birds themselves and network with like minded people who share this same vision to see local, sustainable poultry farmers throughout the state on North Carolina.

One of the highlights of the day will be the lunch that will include the cooking of heritage poultry. This intensive “on farm” workshop is being hosted by the International Center for Poultry, the Carolina heritage Poultry Coalition and the NC Cooperative Extension Service. There is great interest here in North Carolina to see these historical, heirloom breeds of poultry back on the kitchen tables of American families. This workshop will be taught by Sustainable Poultry Specialist, Jim Adkins, Don Schrider and other qualified instructors. For more information contact the Center for Poultry. Call 209-890-5326 or email . Or see our website:
The farm address is: 2001 Cedar Grove Church Road. Polkton, NC 28135

COST: $89.00 includes all training materials and lunch. The workshop is limited to 40 people so sign up early. Early registration must be done on line (or postmarked by) Friday, October 28th. After October 28th the tuition increases to $100.00. Mail registrations to: Center for Poultry ~ 642 Moffitt Hill Rd. Old Fort, NC 28762

Tentative Schedule:
8:30 AM –Registration begins (on farm site)
9:00 AM – Session #1: “The Necessity of Identifying Heritage Poultry”
10:00 AM – Session #2: “Selecting for Meat Qualities & Rate of Growth”
10:45 AM – Break
11:15 AM –Session #3: “Selecting for Egg Production”
12:00 PM – Lunch (Heritage Poultry prepared by a local chef!)
1:00 PM – Session #4: “Selecting your Ongoing Breeding Stock” (learning the basics of Genetics and Breeding)
2:00 PM – Session #5: “Processing & Marketing your Heritage Poultry”
3:00 PM – Break
3:15 PM Question & Answer Time!
4:00 PM Conclusion of the workshop!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Swine in Transport Law in Effect October 1st

Anyone transporting swine on public roadways should make sure they are familiar with this new state law, particularly the new ID requirements.

The law explicitly prohibits the transportation of feral swine in the state of NC. Although the law officially went into effect October 1st, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Veterinary Division has made it clear that the first year of the program will be focused on educating legitimate farmers on how to comply with the new regulations. However, obvious and blatant disregard for the prohibition of transporting feral swine will be dealt with in accordance with the law.

There have been a lot of questions regarding this new law and how it affects pork farmers of all sizes. Please review the following documents carefully before contacting the NCDA Veterinary Division with questions.Anyone transporting live, domestic swine for sale, slaughter or any other reason should review the ID options outlined in second document titled "Swine ID Bill FAQS" and consider their best options for compliance.

Background info, perspective from NC Choices and to view a copy of the ratified bill

Latest FAQ and options for compliance under ID regulations- published by NCDA&CS Veterinary Division

Thursday, September 22, 2011


1. Will I have to pay for official tags?
No, official "brite" tags used during TB and Brucellosis eradication will be supplied by NCDA&CS, Veterinary Division free of charge. If you choose to use other forms of official tags or identification , approved by the State Veterinarian (SV), but different than those provided free of charge by NCDA&CS, you will have to cover whatever those costs will be.

2. What is included in "official identification approved by the State Veterinarian?"
The SV is working with producers to determine methods of identification that will satisfy the needs and requirements of the law and place as little inconvenience, hassle and cost on producers. An example of suggestions that have been made would be the ear notch numbering system.

3. How can I get official tags?
Call the State Veterinarian’s office (919-733-7601) and speak to someone in the livestock section. They will ask for your name, address, farm name (if available). If you do not already have a FarmID number or a State ID, one will be assigned to you. We will notify the Vet Division field staff located nearest to you and they will provide you with a minimum of 25 tags; these will be assigned to your name, address and FarmID/State ID. Again, there will be no charge for the tags and no charge for delivering them to you.

4. If I don’t have tags, can I borrow some from my neighbor who does have some?
NO. Official tags should only be used on animals from the owner and farm they were assigned to; using someone else’s tags or providing tags assigned to you to someone else will make you in violation of the statute and subject to a fine. Do not borrow tags or let someone else use yours!! Tags will be assigned and specific to you and your farm as a way to help stop illegal transporters of feral hogs from getting these official tags and placing them in feral pigs.

5. If my hogs never leave my farm, do I still need to identify them?
No. Only hogs leaving the farm will need official identification. If you only raise a couple of hogs and they are for your own consumption, and you process them on your farm, you will not need any method of identification or be subject to this new law.

6. Will I need identification on hogs going directly from my farm to slaughter?
Yes. All hogs traveling on public roadways must have official identification. The State Veterinarian (SV) is developing plans for using temporary, official identification, such as slap tattoos, especially for animals moving directly from farm to slaughter. Slap tattoos are cheap, safe and easy to apply, add little-to-no stress to the animals, and do not require any special handling facilities. The SV could assign a specific slap tattoo to each farm for this form of official identification that should satisfy the law and cause the least inconvenience and cost to the producer.

Slap Tattoo Kits and their Use
7. Will slap tattoos work for hogs going to market or being used (boars/sows) by another farmer?
Yes. The purpose of this bill is to be able to tell the difference between domestic pigs (identified) and feral hogs (not identified) during movement. It is not meant to be a form tracing animals. If there is an official, approved form of identification, whether it be official ear tags, slap tattoos with officially assigned numbers and/or letters, or any other method of "official identification approved by the state veterinarian" on the hog during transport, your animal will be covered and you will have met the requirements of the new law.

8. Will there be any different form of ID required for fairs that I take my hogs to show?
Attending fairs and shows involves two separate issues. During movement, identification is necessary to tell feral pigs from domestic pigs; this is covered in the new law. Animals at fairs are exposed to other animals from all over the state and even from other states. If there is a disease issue, we have to be able to know where animals came from and where they go after leaving. Animal identification at fairs is definitely a traceability issue. Outbreaks of H1N1 at the Ohio, Minnesota and South Dakota State Fairs and Malignant Catarrhal Fever (MCF) at the Washington State Fair have demonstrated this fact all too well. But identification that meets traceability requirements will meet the movement requirements, and that is the bottom line "take home message" with regards to identification at fairs and the new law.

9. What is "official identification approved by the State Veterinarian" going to include?
Any form of ID currently listed as "official" in Vol. 9, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 71.19 ("Identification of swine in interstate commerce") will be approved by the SV. Additionally, the SV is working with producers to determine other methods that will meet the requirements of the new Swine Identification Bill (HB 432) and place as little inconvenience and cost on producers. The SV’s office will provide the metal "brite" tags (used in TB and Brucellosis eradication for years – see picture below #1) free of charge to be used as permanent, official ID and is looking at slap tattoos to meet official, temporary ID requirements.

10. Will small and medium sized farms have different ID requirements than the large, commercial hog farms?
No. Any method of identification that is available to one production size and style will be equally available and approved for all. The 9 CFR Part 71.19 is the standard used by the swine industry
and if the requirements for any form of official identification listed is met, it does not matter what size or production style the hogs come from, they can use that form of ID. All hogs, regardless of where they are coming from or where they are going, moving in the state will be required to have some form of official identification.

11. Will my hogs need to travel with any type of paperwork?
We are looking into developing an official form (from the SV’s office) that will include your name, address, farm name (if available), and FarmID/State ID, that you can use to fill in the number and individual ID of hogs in your shipment for transporting hogs. In other words, if you have official paperwork with your own method of official identification – ear notches, or slap tattoos, for example – this would serve as satisfying the requirement of "official identification approved by the State Veterinarian." Also, as with the brite tags, these forms will be provided to all producers when they request tags or tattoos, be assigned to a specific owner and farm, and be free of charge.

12. Will I need a permit to move my hogs?
No. There will be no permitting requirement for any movement, just that the animals have official identification if they move out on public roads. A "permit" requires inspection and/or getting permission prior to movement. The official forms described directly above would NOT require any inspection or notification necessary for movements.

13. Will I need to have a veterinarian examine my hogs in order to move them?
No. There is no requirement for exams or health certificates to move hogs within the state. To move any animal across state lines (interstate), health certificates issued by accredited vets are typically required by the receiving state, but that is something entirely different, established years ago by state and federal officials, and not any part of this new law.

14. Will someone from the state have to come and examine my operation before I can get the free tags from the SV’s office?
No. To get tags you will need to call the SV’s office (see #3 above). Once we have your information, we will let our field staff located the nearest to you deliver the tags as a courtesy and convenience to you. This will not be for any type of inspection of your operation but we hope that you will get to know them as a resource for any assistance we can provide you.

15. Isn’t this really just another way to try to sneak NAIS into small and medium sized farms that oppose the national identification system?
No. The national identification system, which is now called "Animal Disease Traceability," is a system that has as its end goal, being able to trace disease – a traceability system. The goal of this program is not traceability, but rather to identify bona fide hog producers in transport, regardless of size of style of production, in order to differentiate domestic hogs from feral hogs – it really is that simple. The law actually says that the lack of identification on a hog will be presumed to identify that pig as a feral hog.

16. Why doesn’t the state go after the people who are illegally transporting feral swine instead of punishing legitimate hog farmers with these requirements?
By the very nature of engaging in illegal activity, people who are transporting feral hogs are doing everything they can to hide that fact and hide from being located. With current state resources, focusing activities solely on this illegal sector will be ineffective. Identification of legitimate, commercial hogs will assist us in telling the difference between legitimate producers and their hogs and illegal transporters of feral hogs. The real punishment will be in a $5,000 fine for each feral hog they are moving, but the only way we will be able to distinguish between commercial and feral will be the official identification on the domestic pigs. Yes, there will be some inconvenience with any type of change, but we are working to minimize the inconvenience and cost to legitimate producers and maximize the penalties to the people who are engaged in illegal transport of feral hogs.

17. When will the $5,000 penalty become effective?
Although the law becomes effective October 1, 2011, the SV’s office looks at the first year of this law as an opportunity to educate and do everything possible to assist producers in coming into compliance with the requirements of the new law. We do not intend to use this year for strict compliance, civil actions or penalties and fines. Unless we find someone who is obviously and blatantly conducting illegal activities that are endangering the livelihood of legitimate hog farmers in the state (and we intend to pursue full penalties in these cases), we will do everything we can to make people aware of the requirements in the law, find out how we can help you come into compliance, and get the word out to everyone that might be affected.

18. Who could stop me and inspect my hogs for identification?
Because H.B. 432 is a state law, any law enforcement/public safety officer in the state could stop a shipment of hogs to inspect them for identification. Because Department of Agriculture personnel are not sworn public safety officers, we would be assisting law enforcement officials in inspecting hogs for official ID. Again, especially during the first year, we will focus our efforts on making folks aware of the law, assisting with getting into compliance, and performing other methods of education and outreach with regards to this law.

19. Can I kill or trap feral hogs on my property?
Yes! There is no restriction on the season (open season, year-round), bag limit, or days you can kill feral hogs. You will need to talk to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission for exact details, but you will need to have a hunting license and wear hunter orange. Except for during deer and bear season, their upcoming rules propose to allow night hunting with lights. As far as trapping – again see the NC WRC for details, but be aware that it will be illegal to remove a feral hog from a trap alive, and doing so will be punished by a $5,000 civil penalty for removing them alive and $5,000 for illegal transportation per animal! Contact NC WRC at:

20. Could the State Vet’s office put me on some sort of email list to keep me informed in any developments and other information that would help me comply?
Yes. The SV’s office would like to put together a distribution list in order to quickly and efficiently provide everyone involved and interested with all information and any changes, new items of interest, notices regarding feral swine, etc., to any and all producers regardless of size or style of operation. If you would like to be included in this distribution list, please send an email to the SV’s information/inquiry email address, "Joe Webb" at and request to be added to the swine ID distribution list. Like other information you provide the SV, your personal informal information is protected by state confidentiality law, G.S. 106-24.1.

**Please feel free to provide feedback and know that we encourage your input in order for us to get information and answers to other questions that are sure to be out there. The "Joe Web" address of (same as in #20 above) would also be the best way to contact us with your input.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The 3rd Annual Know Your Farms Charlotte Area Farm Tour

Dates: September 17th & 18th
Times: 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. on both days

The 2011 tour features 30 local farms, including fruit and vegetable growers, livestock producers, dairies, an alpaca farm, a hydroponics producer, and even an ostrich farm! Some of the farms will be selling farm fresh meals, cooked on-site by acclaimed local chefs. Just a few of the unique treats in store on this year’s tour: tractor hayrides, hug an alpaca, corn grinding, pony riding and backyard gardening demonstrations, lots of cute baby animals, and much more!

The Know Your Farms Farm Tour is self-guided, and farms are located all around the Charlotte Metro Area, including Cabarrus, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Gaston, Stanly, Rowan, Catawba, Union, and Lincoln counties. To take the tour, get a map and purchase a vehicle pass online at or at Ben & Jerry's (Davidson, Providence Square, Gastonia), The Common Market (Plaza Midwood, South End), The Bradford Store, The Milky Way, and Atherton Market. Load up your vehicle with friends and family, pack a cooler in the trunk for all the farm-fresh goodies you’ll want to take home, and then use the map to plot your course!

The tour costs $25 in advance per vehicle or cycle group. Vehicle passes may also be purchased on tour days at the farms for $30. Individual farms may be toured for $10.For more information and to buy your vehicle pass, visit:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Transportation of Swine Law- Listening Session

In response to farmers’ concerns over the passage of House Bill 432- "Transportation of Swine," NC Choices, Animal Welfare Approved and the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS), Veterinary Division will host a listening session for NC swine producers from 6:30pm-8pm on August 3rd, 2011 in Raleigh (see below for directions).

Governor Beverly Purdue signed HB 432 "Transportation of Swine" into Session Law on June 27th. The new law takes effect October 1st, 2011. Of primary concern to small and mid-sized swine producers is the new prohibition against the transportation of live swine unless the swine has an official form of identification approved by the State Veterinarian. Anyone who transports live swine without carrying official identification may be subject to civil penalty. This includes all swine being sold and transported to another farm and all swine being transported to a processing facility for home use or commercial sale. Swine remaining on your farm, and not being transported, are not subject to this law.

The implementation of the ID program is the responsibility of the NCDA&CS -Veterinary Division. The Veterinary Division has approximately 12 weeks to design and implement a program that will work for farmers of all sizes. Dr. Tom Ray, Director of Animal Health Programs at the Veterinary Division has offered to meet with swine farmers to further discuss the implementation of the program and hear specific challenges to small and mid-sized producers who will now be required to ID animals in transport.

Swine Producers: This is an opportunity to share your ideas and voice your concerns on how this new ID program will affect your operation. There is no need to RSVP and no cost to participate. If you cannot attend, contact Casey McKissick ( and provide him with written comments. He will ensure they are submitted to the Division. Prior to attending, please take time to review the following documents Session Law "Transportation of Swine"- as signed by Governor Purdue June 27, 2011

NC Choices response to HB 432- "Transportation of Swine"

Directions: The meeting will be held in the Jim Graham Building Hall of Fame Room, located at the State Fairgrounds complex (see directions here). The Jim Graham Building is adjacent to Hillsborough Street, and is best accessed through Gate 2 from Hillsborough Street, Gates 4 or 5 from Youth Center Road, or Gate 9 from Trinity Road.

Non-native and Invasive Forest Plants Workshops for Landowners

The Non-native and Invasive Forest Plants Workshops for Landowners is a series of six free one-day educational workshops (choose one to attend that is closest to you) featuring presentations by experts in non-native invasive plants that impact North Carolina’s forests. Each workshop will engage regionally based stakeholder groups in the planning and educational content. These workshops are designed for family forest landowners, but all forestland ownership types and professional forestland managers and advisers are welcome. Commercial and educational exhibits will be displayed at each workshop.

These workshops are made possible by a grant from the USDA Forest Service, distributed by the North Carolina Forest Service, in partnership with North Carolina State University's Forestry and Environmental Outreach Program (FEOP).

Workshop Regional Locations and Dates:
· August 19, 2011 - Carthage, NC
· September 13, 2011 - Asheville, NC
· October 18, 2011 – Kenansville, NC
· February 7, 2012 - Williamston, NC
· May 1, 2012 - Greensboro, NC
· May 8, 2012 - Wilkesboro, NC

What You Will Learn:
What are non-native and invasive (NNI) species, and why should you care?
Identification of specific problem species
The impacts of these plants on forest communities (ecologic, economic and cultural)
How non-native species are introduced
What are the risks of the “do-nothing” style of management
Gain exposure to organized NNI stakeholder groups and efforts currently taking shape, or ongoing, in your region
Resources available to landowners and what steps you can take
How your neighbors and local professionals are dealing with NNI challenges

The workshop is free but you must pre-register. View the complete agenda and registration details at

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NC Egg Law Survey

Do you raise laying hens in North Carolina? If so, you are probably familiar with the state’s Egg Law, which imposes standards for grading, labeling and marketing eggs. The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association is conducting an evaluation of the law to identify ways to balance regulatory burdens on small farms with the need to ensure public health and orderly markets.

To develop information for that evaluation, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association is asking small-scale NC egg producers to complete a survey. Your information will be kept confidential and results of the survey will only be reported in aggregate form. If you are an egg producer marketing your own eggs on the farm, at farmers markets, to local retailers and restaurants, or to other local foods venues, please take a couple of minutes to respond to this short, 15-question survey.

You can access the survey here,

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Shivaugn Rayl,

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Equipment Cost Share Opportunity for Ag & Forestry

There is a cost share program for agricultural producers funded through the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. The cost share program will cost share up to 50% of the cost of equipment for value-added agricultural products. The program is open to agricultural producers in North Carolina and to processors of NC agricultural products. Processors must use at least 50% NC agricultural inputs in their product. Agricultural products includes forestry products. For example a producer wanting to purchase a small sawmill to add value to timber production could apply.

There is an application period open now with applications due Aug 31. There will also likely be an application period early in 2012.

Information and application materials for the cost share program can be found at

Click here for cost share guidelines and applications:

A good article describing the program can be found at

If you have questions regarding the Equipment Cost Share Program, please contact Blake Brown at


Scholarship application deadline is Sept. 3, 2011.

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Scholarship program is designed to give new and beginning farmers and ranchers a low-cost opportunity to participate in Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's (CFSA) Sustainable Agriculture Conference Nov. 11-13, 2011 in Durham, NC.

The Sustainable Agriculture Conference is an unparalleled opportunity for beginning farmers to learn how to be successful in their sustainable farming enterprises. The conference has special programming for beginning farmers on basic farm planning, marketing, how to avoid common startup pitfalls, and applying for grants and loans for farmers. Other conference workshops cover cutting edge issues in sustainable agriculture, including organic weed and pest control, plant diseases, soil fertility, heritage livestock, food safety and processing, and direct marketing. All of it is essential information for new farms to thrive.

Scholarship recipients will be eligible to attend all regular conference activities, beginning with the dinner and evening program on Friday, Nov 11, and including all workshops, plenary sessions, meals and networking sessions taking place on Saturday, Nov. 12 and Sunday Nov. 13. The scholarship does not cover the pre-conference workshops and tours held on Nov. 11, or travel & lodging costs. The value of this scholarship totals $300.

Scholarship Eligibility: Up to 40 scholarships are available. For purposes of this scholarship program, a new or beginning farmer or rancher is defined as an individual who:* Has not operated a farm or ranch, or who has operated a farm or ranch for not more than 10 consecutive years, and* Will provide substantial day-to-day labor and management of the farm or ranch.

CFSA encourages minority farmers to take advantage of this scholarship. Fourteen of the 40 scholarships are reserved for minority farmers.

Scholarship Requirements: Recipients will be required to attend one of the two Basic Farm Planning workshops and cover the cost of their own lodging and travel expenses.

Scholarship Application Deadline:The deadline to apply for this scholarship is Sept. 3, 2011.

Scholarship recipients will be notified of award decisions by Sept. 23, 2011.

To Apply for the Scholarship, please complete the scholarship application and email to Cheryl Ripperton Rettie at Please put Beginning Farmer Scholarship in the subject line of your email. Applications can also be submitted by postal mail; send your completed application to:
c/o Beginning Farmer Scholarships
P.O. Box 448Pittsboro, NC 27312

Download Scholarship Application

.pdf -

.doc –

This scholarship program is made possible by a grant from National Institute for Food and Agriculture and the National Center for Appropriate Technology, and we are grateful for this support.

FSA Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP)

The "Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008" authorized the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) to provide benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather that occurred on or after Jan. 1, 2008, and before Oct. 1, 2011, including losses because of hurricanes, floods, blizzards, disease, wildfires, extreme heat, and extreme cold. The livestock death losses must also have occurred in the calendar year for which benefits are being requested.

LIP provisions are similar to other livestock indemnity programs implemented by FSA in recent years except that an owner or contract grower’s livestock do not have to be located in a county or contiguous county designated a natural disaster by the president or declared by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Under the current LIP, an owner or contract grower’s livestock payments will be based on individual producers’ losses.

Eligible Livestock Owners
To be eligible for LIP, a livestock producer must have legally owned the eligible livestock on the day the livestock died. Owners of the following types of livestock that were maintained for commercial use as part of a farming operation the day they died may be eligible for LIP: Cattle (beef & dairy), Buffalo/Beefalo, Chicken, Ducks, Geese, Turkeys, Hogs, Alpacas, Emus, Sheep, and Goats.

For More Information
For more information about FSA and its programs, visit your local USDA Service Center or online at:

Rabbit HAACP Training

The next Rabbit HAACP training course is scheduled for August 9-10, in Morganton. Registration fee for the two-day program is $60, which covers meals and materials. The registration deadline is August 2. The class size is limited to 24 participants, and they are nearly one-half full.

The registration form can be accessed here:

Contact information if you have questions regarding the program is available on the registration form.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Home Grown Gaston - A Celebration of Local Foods

Gastonia, NC – On Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 the Interagency Child Abuse Prevention Council (ICAPC) and NC Cooperative Extension Local Foods Committee are co-hosting the first ever ‘Home Grown Gaston – A Celebration of Local Food Festival’! With the support of corporate sponsors, local farmers and chefs, we will bring together local farmers, food businesses, organizations and families to celebrate and inspire the growing and eating of Gaston grown fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, dairy and other locally grown products. In addition, this event is a fundraiser for ICAPC to generate funds for child abuse prevention projects.

The local food movement is one of the fastest growing movements in the nation. People’s desire for healthy, local, sustainably grown and delivered food is causing ripples across the food industry, our schools, our restaurants and our dinner tables. North Carolinians alone spend about $35 billion a year on food. Spending just 10% on local food per person (about $1.05 per day) would contribute approximately $3.5 billion to the county and state’s annual economy.

The Home Grown Gaston Local Food Festival will be strategically held at the Gastonia Farmers Market, 410 E. Long Ave, from 5 to 8 p.m. on May 24th in downtown Gastonia and will feature appetizers, main entrĂ©es and desserts prepared by chef’s from five local restaurants, local beer and wine vendors, and educational exhibitors representing almost every aspect of local foods. Tickets are $35 per person and must be pre-purchased before the event at one of the following locations:

· Saturdays at the Gastonia Farmers Market, 410 E. Long Ave, Gastonia, NC
· Bogle, Anthony & Leach Attorneys at Law, W. Main Ave, Gastonia, NC
· Gastonia Cooperative Extension Office, 1303 Dallas-Cherryville Hwy., Dallas, NC

Home Grown Gaston is proud to be fiscally sponsored by Gaston County Farm Bureau; Bogle, Anthony & Leach Attorneys at Law, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Minges Printing, Harris Teeter, and Mary Armstead. Please become a part of the effort to increase our local food economy and help raise money to prevent child abuse by participating in Home Grown Gaston on May 24th!

For further information contact Belinda Bogle at or call 704.922.2122 or Lara Worden at 704.922.2118.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 Poultry Science Summer Institute (PSSI)

July 31- August 4, 2011 (Always the first full week of August)

What is the Poultry Science Summer Institute?

The summer institute is a four-day, four-night conference designed to broaden the high school student’s understanding of the educational disciplines, scholarship opportunities, careers and industries related to poultry science.

Who can attend & how much is it?

Any high school student (rising 11th and 12th graders) with an interest in the biological sciences or a career in the poultry industry may apply to attend. You must list as a reference a high school science teacher, counselor, County Extension agent, 4H leader or vocational agriculture instructor. We also request a brief personal statement of why you would like to attend. There will be space for two adults to attend the conference as well.

Cost for the conference is only $50.00, which includes your lodging on campus, all meals, field trips, workshop materials, great goody bags and entertainment.

How do I apply?

Once you’ve decided to join us, just follow the simple steps below. There’s nothing to lose!
Fill out the registration form before the May 2nd deadline. Complete a brief personal statement indicating why you are interested in the experience (this is very helpful when we are selecting who will be chosen to attend!). Mail or fax your form to Melissa Scherpereel at the address on the bottom by May 2nd. We will notify you of your acceptance by the second week of May.
Space is limited to 15 - 20 and this program is very popular. If you are not accepted the first time, please consider applying again next year.

What's in it for me?

You will get to see what campus life is really like at North Carolina State University when you come to the summer iInstitute. You will be staying in University Towers, a private residence hall (with a pool), going to local fun spots, doing hands-on-experimentation in a classroom setting, and doing all sorts of things that college students do. In other words, you'll get to "try us on for size". Students participating in the program will get to interact informally with numerous NC State Univ. faculty, staff and current poultry science students. Attendees will learn about the vast field that is Poultry Science as well as specific information on our Poultry Science Degree Program and areas such as:
Career Fields & Areas of Opportunity
Scholarship Requirements and Availability
Internships while Attending College
Employment Connections upon Graduation
How to Apply to College and When
and about anything else you would like to know about POULTRY!
AND most important of all, you'll make lots of new friends from all over the State of North Carolina. Still want more information? E-mail: or call (919) 515-5403.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Backyard Chicken Basics

If you would like to get into the backyard chicken business, but don't have a lot of knowledge in this enterprise check out the pastured poultry page or a few of these web resources:

Thursday, March 31, 2011

2-Day Rabbit HACCP Course

If you are currently involved in rabbit production and are interested in selling your rabbits to restaurants or other locations regulated by Health Departments, then you will want to sign up for the upcoming Rabbit HACCP training, scheduled for April 11-12, in Raleigh. This course will introduce you to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs), and the the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Program. You will also learn about the requirements for routine inspections of your facility and processes. The cost for the two-day program is $50, which covers snacks, lunch, and materials. Space is limited to 20 participants. The registration deadline is April 6. You can access the registration form here: For details on the program content, contact Janna Spruill, or Registration questions should be directed to Ron Fish:

Grazing of Cattle Pastures Can Improve Soil Quality

Below is a link to a great article siting research conducted by USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) which found that if cattle are managed so that they graze moderately, soil quality can be restored and emissions of carbon dioxide can be reduced: Very interesting research!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pastures, Hay, Rain and Drought

A few comments from Sue Ellen Johnson PhD, NCSU Assistant Professor - Forage Specialists, as spring rain finally arrives: Grazing:

  • After a dry September and dry winter– perennial forages are still under some stress. Avoid overgrazing: do not graze canopy to less than 3-4 inches.

  • Wait for the canopy to reach 8 inches before grazing. This will improve total yield over the season and improve the plant stand – especially by helping the pasture plants compete with weeds.

  • Intensive rotational grazing (moving the animals every 1-2 days) allows more animals to live off a particular pasture acreage--because moving animals frequently optimizes regrowth.

  • Be cautious with seeding investments. Definitely split fertilize applications (if applying


  • In the piedmont drought is expected to persist, intensify or develop this spring, and NC summer is often dry. This will pressure pastures and hay supplies.

  • Consider buying hay now (2010 crop) if available. Livestock producers who are stocked near carrying capacity (1 - 1000 lb animal/2 acres) and do not want to cull heavily (in the event of drought) are particularly advised to purchase hay now.

  • Local hay is preferable, but if unavailable, organizing a local group to rail freight hay in from the west (or north) is not a bad option. Last year (2010) was a good hay year for much of the US. Commercial hay producers need to open storage space for spring 2011 crops. Stored properly (off the ground and covered) hay will hold its quality for several years.

  • “Good” quality commercial hay is all that is needed for beef cows or pleasure horses. Buy “premium” hay for dairy herds. Check the markets and rail freight options (the closest hay is not always the best value). Negotiate with hay producers based on bale weights (TONS) not on bale numbers and dimensions. Large squares are most efficient for shipping.

Rabbit HACCP Training

If you are currently involved in rabbit production and are interested in selling your rabbits to restaurants or other locations regulated by Health Departments, then you will want to sign up for the upcoming Rabbit HACCP training, scheduled for April 11-12, in Raleigh. Details and a registration form are on the attached flyer. This course will introduce you to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs), and the the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Program. You will also learn about the requirements for routine inspections of your facility and processes. The cost for the two-day program is $50, which covers snacks, lunch, and materials. Space is limited to 20 participants. The registration deadline is April 6. You can access the registration form here: For details on the program content, contact Janna Spruill, or Registration questions should be directed to Ron Fish:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Last Weeks REINS Horse Owner Ed Workshop

Last Thursday (Feb. 17) we held our first in a series of four REINS Horse Owner Education Workshops entitled, "Is Your Truck & Trailer Roadworthy?" We had a small group of only 10 participants and our presenters were Sgt. Conrad, Sgt. Lanier, & Lt. Penley from the NC State Highway Patrol. It was a very informal, but highly educational question and answer session that went on for over an hour. Some of the highlights that the participants learned include:
  • A weighted tag includes the weight of the truck, trailer and what you are hauling (i.e. horses)
  • If you have a 4-horse trailer (or larger), you are required by state law to stop at the weigh stations
  • If you GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) is over 26,001, you will need a class A regular drivers license
  • If the gross weight of your trailer is over 4000 lb, you need to have it inspected yearly (just like yearly car inspections)
  • DO NOT use red die diesel! If you do and get caught, it is an automatic $10,000 fine!
  • Safety chains are required on horse trailers (state law)

Our next REINS training will be March 17th at 7 p.m. at the Gaston Citizens Resouce Center. The title of that workshop is "Myth-ology in Horse Nutrition - Debunking Feeding Myths." This session is free to the public, but pre-reistration is required. To register, call 704-9222112.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Planning the Future of Your Farm

On Thursday, March 3, 2011 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm, Lincoln County Cooperative Extension will host Planning the Future of Your Farm – Ways to Transfer Land. This free seminar will feature Andrew Brannan, J.D., previously with the NC Farm Transition Network; Brad Rivers, Small Business Development Center; and Roxanne Smith, Catawba Lands Conservancy. Our speakers will be addressing different ways to transfer land within or outside of the family including wills, business plans, and conservation easements.

This class is designed to help landowners learn how to maintain their land in agricultural production, preserve family relationships, and enhance community development. Reservations are required by Tuesday, March 1.

In addition, Andrew Branan will be available for personal consultations on Friday, March 4th. These free consultations are by appointment only.

The seminar and personal consultations will be held at the James Warren Citizen Center, 115 West Main Street, Lincolnton, NC. Call 704-736-8452 to make reservations for both the seminar and consultations by Tuesday, March 1st.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Support Document on How to Report Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction for 2010

With the creation of The Small Business Job Creation and Access to Capital Act of 2010, P.L. No. 111-240, self employed individuals are able to deduct their health insurance premium costs against net self-employment income for the purposes of calculating self-employment tax. For the 2010 filing season, which is currently the only tax year this deduction is allowed, questions are cropping up as to how to report and take this deduction. The following document from Rural Tax Education attempts to provide direction about the issue:

The Local Food Movement is Here!

The local food movement is a "collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies - one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution, and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place and is considered to be a part of the broader farm sustainability movement. It is part of the concept of local purchasing and local economies, a preference to buy locally produced goods and services. Those who prefer to eat locally grown/produced food sometimes call themselves locavores or localvores.

Unfortunately, there is a growing trend among U.S. Consumers spending less of their income on food than ever before. Furthermore, farmers are continuing to get less and less of the consumer food dollar and are going out of business at alarming rates. So what can local consumers do???
  • Buying food directly from local farmers reduces the portion of your food dollar going to corporate agribusiness and ensures that farmers get their fair share of your food dollar.
  • Local farmers will reinvest more of your food dollar in your region. Buying local food increases the circulation of your food dollars locally, in effect "creating" money and economic prosperity in your region.
  • Buying local products ensures that farm workers and producers elsewhere get a decent wage and enjoy safe living and working conditions.

Fortunately, for the Central Piedmont region of North Carolina, the local food movement is alive and well! Farmers, restaurants, businesses and institutions in our area are increasingly responding to consumer demand for local foods and making every effort to provide local foods. Below are just a few links to examples of what's happening on the local food movement front in our region:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Horse Industry Promotion Referendum

Horse and other equine animal owners/lessors will vote across the state on March 15, 2011 to determine whether to CONTINUE TO voluntarily assess themselves two dollars ($2.00) per ton of commercial horse feed in order to provide funds to promote the interests of the horse industry.

The vote in Gaston County will take place in the County Extension Center from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Any North Carolina resident who has reached his/her 9th birthday as of January 1, 2011 and who has complete or partial ownership or lease of an equine (horse, pony, mule, donkey or hinny) is eligible to vote. Individuals must sign a statement certifying eligibility at time of voting.

Since many horse owners work away from home during business hours, a provision has been made for absentee voting. Between February 25–March 14, horse owners may visit or phone the County Extension Center and request a ballot and absentee registration form. These must be turned in to the Extension office by March 14, and will be counted along with others on March 15.

If the vote is favorable on March 15, the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will continue to receive the assessment funds from manufacturers and/or distributors of horse feed, and will remit the money to the NC Horse Council. The Horse Council has indicated that the funds will be used for 4-H and other youth programs, REINS volunteer programs, trails advocacy, equine research, representation of horse interests in government, marketing programs, enforcement of horse laws, and improved public awareness of diseases and other threats to horses’ well-being.

Many other agricultural commodities have similar voluntary assessment programs. Horsemen may receive a refund of the assessment by writing to the NC Horse Council within a year of purchase and including proof of purchase.


February 22 is the date when corn growers will vote on continuation of the self assessment program for six years. The Board of Directors of the Corn Growers Association is asking that farmers assess themselves at a rate of three-fourths (3/4) cent per bushel on all corn marketed in North Carolina. The campaign to continue an assessment was announced on January 13 by President Darren Armstrong at the Joint Commodities Conference of Corn, Cotton, Soybeans and Small Grain Producers in New Bern.

Armstrong urged growers to continue the assessment program which is administered by the Corn Growers Association of North Carolina. “As farmers we must stay united and work together to survive in the farming industry,” Armstrong said. The Association is involved in the following areas: International and domestic marketing; research and education; grants to cooperative extension Offices and legislation that will be helpful to corn growers and other farmers. A 24-member Board of Directors, covering all the producing areas of North Carolina, governs the organization’s activities. This Board also gives support to issues of a local nature that they believe will benefit farmers.

Growers may vote at the local cooperative extension offices from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. All farmers currently engaged in the production of corn, including tenants, sharecroppers, or other persons sharing in the production of income of corn are eligible to vote. A 2/3 favorable vote is required to carry the referendum as authorized by Article 50, Chapter 106 of the General Statutes of North Carolina. If approved the assessment shall be collected by the first handler or purchaser of the commodity from the producer, and remitted to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, which remits the proceeds to the Association. Any corn grower may get a refund of levied assessments from the Corn Growers Association of N. C. A request for a refund should be made within 30 days from the date on which said assessment is collected.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

REINS Horse Owner Education Series ' "Is Your Truck & Trailer Road Worthy?"

When: February 17th, 2011 at 7 p.m.
Where: Gaston Citizens Resource Center, 1303 Dallas-Cherryville Hwy, Dallas, NC

This session is free but pre-registration is required. To register, contact Gaston County Cooperative Extension at 704-922-2112. If no one has registered by the Wednesday before the event, the session will be canceled.

Monday, January 24, 2011

60th Annual North Carolina Cattlemen's & Dairymen's Conference

Thursday, February 17 - Friday, February 18
Hickory Metro Convention Center, Hickory, NC

This year's NC Cattlemen's Conference will be held in conjunction with the NC Dairymen's Conference in Hickory, NC. There will be some joint sessions with the two groups as well as programs specifically for dairy and beef producers. This conference also features an extensive trade show with over 70 vendors. For further info or to register for the conference go to:

Carolina Meat Conference

March 25 - 27, 2011 - If you are an independent meat producer, processor or butcher, retail grocer, chef or food service professional, Extension agent, or interested consumer, you WON'T WANT TO MISS this first-ever statewide conference at the Cabarrus Arena & Events Center ( Attendees:
  • will engage in hands-on training sessions to improve carcass utilization, value-added product development & artisanal butchery techniques
  • learn about innovative marketing alliances & regional processing initiatives
  • discuss emerging trends, marketing standards, & regulatory issues
  • explore how production practices impact meat quality, marketability and profitability

Check out the website and you won't be disappointed - the schedule offers 2 FULL days of information-rich, fun-filled activities for those interested in the growing market for local meats. Visit for registration information and a link to register on-line.

Early registration rates run until February 18th. Some training sessions are limited to 25 participants and are available on a first-come, first-served basis so act now to make sure you secure a spot.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Successful Season – 2011: Marketing Your Market

2nd Annual Farmers Market Managers Workshop
Presented by
North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
Division of Marketing

When: Friday, February 11, 2011, 9:30 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Where: Governor James Martin Building, NC State Fairgrounds, Raleigh
Can’t make this program? We will be offering it in Elizabeth City (March 11) and Monroe (March 18) – Registration will open for these programs in mid-February
Who should attend: Farmers market managers and board members
Cost: $20
Pre-registration is required – Registration Deadline is February 4, 2011
For further info and complete agenda, go to the following link:

For more information, contact:
Kevin Hardison, 919.707.3123,
or Annette Dunlap 919.707.3117,

Foothills Fresh New Growers Institute

Learn tips and information to help you grow vegetables better or get started in small-scale vegetable production. Topics include small fruits, season extension, tax issues, cut flowers, produce safety, organic production and marketing. Extension agents and an experienced grower from throughout the Foothills Fresh region of NC will present these topics. A $10 registration fee includes lunch and training materials. Follow the link to see the full agenda which includes a registration form to mail in:

Date: January 28th, 2011
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Location: Gaston Citizens Resource Center, Dallas, NC