Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Agriculture is the Nation's Largest Employer

In response to yesterday's post on Agricultural Degrees, I wanted to pass this message on from an outstanding Extension professional in Hendry County, Florida, Gene McAvoy. You can follow Gene on Twitter, @SWFLVegMan

"Agriculture is the nation's largest employer with more than 23 million jobs (that is 17% of the civilian workforce involved in some facet of American Agriculture).

Without it we would be hungry and naked… and would lack many other intangible benefits that American’s value - open spaces, wildlife, clean water etc. Not to mention the safest, most abundant food supply on the planet.

I encourage you to print out the attached photo and display it prominently in your shop, office, barn - share it with friends.

American’s farmers and ranchers leading the way to economic recovery."

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ag Students, take heart. Your degrees aren’t useless.

From the Nation FFA Blog

"An article recently posted on Yahoo! Education website is causing quite a stir within the Ag community.

The article, entitled “College Majors That Are Useless,” claims that the number one most useless degree is Agriculture. (Animal Science and Horticulture are listed as the number four and number five.)

See the original article here:

The author of this article, Terence Loose, makes it pretty clear that he has a narrow view of the types of jobs available to a person with and Agriculture degree:

“If your idea of a good day is getting up with the sun and working till it sets as an agricultural manager, a degree in agriculture might be your calling…”

“Just don’t expect farms and ranches to be calling you.”

So… Who said that everyone with an Agriculture degree wants to work on a farm or a ranch? We wish that Mr. Loose had spent a little time researching the wide array of careers available to Agriculture students. A quick glance at a website like AgCareers.com, would have shown him that there are hundreds of options for those with an Ag background.

Many Agriculture students go on to work in the offices and laboratories for Fortune 500 companies such as Archer Daniels Midland, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Tyson Foods and John Deere.

Furthermore, we shouldn’t be so quick to discourage those who are interested in working as a farm or ranch manager. The world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. That means that we’ll need more farmers and ranchers who have the education needed to produce more food even more efficiently than they do now, in order to meet growing demand. Without those “useless” Ag degrees, we may find ourselves in a precarious situation in the near future, where there is not enough food to go around, and the food that is available is too expensive for most families. (Check out the “Plenty to Think About” blog for more thoughts on how farmers will feed a hungry planet in the coming years.)

Today’s agriculture industry is far more diverse and offers more opportunities than most people realize. And, people who choose agriculture careers know that they are doing work that matters. They are feeding and clothing the world, creating jobs and protecting our planet’s natural resources. What’s useless about that?

National FFA

January 20, 2012

Organic Apple Webinar This Thursday

Lorraine Berkett and Terence Bradshaw of the University of Vermont will be presenting a webinar through eOrganic on their Current Research on Organic Production of Ginger Gold, Honeycrisp, Zestar!, Macoun, and Liberty Apples.

The webinar is free and begins at 2 pm Eastern time.

About the webinar:

Presenters: Lorraine P. Berkett, Ph.D., Dept. of Plant & Soil Science, University of Vermont, OrganicA Project Coordinator and Researcher; and Terence L. Bradshaw, M.S., Dept. of Plant & Soil Science, University of Vermont, Orchard Manager and Researcher.

After extensive grower input, the multi-state, multi-disciplinary OrganicA Project was initiated in 2006 through a USDA OREI grant to holistically examine the opportunities and challenges of organic production within two major orchard systems growers are using to change to new cultivars and with five of the top apple cultivars that growers identified as important to the future of the industry in New England. Growers want to know what the potential is for sustainable and profitable organic production with the newer apple cultivars that are being planted in the region. The orchard systems are: (i) a new orchard planted with young trees purchased from a nursery and (ii) a “top-grafted” orchard, i.e., an established, older orchard onto which new cultivars are grafted. Research results will be presented.

See all eOrganic upcoming and archived webinars at http://www.extension.org/pages/25242

For more information: http://www.extension.org/pages/61985/the-organica-project-webinar

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2012 Blackbery and Raspberry Growers Meeting February 9

You are invited to attend the Fifth annual North Carolina Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Growers Association (NCCBRGA) meeting. As always we have an interesting and educational program scheduled. The meeting will be held in the Cleveland Co. Extension Auditorium at 130 S. Post Rd. Shelby, NC 28152. In order to plan for the meal you will need to RSVP by February 3 by calling 704-482-4365. If you have any questions, need directions or if you would like to sponsor the meeting, feel free to call.
Below is a copy of the agenda.

Fifth Annual NC Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Growers Association Meeting

February 7, 2012

Cleveland County Extension Office Auditorium

Shelby, NC

10:00-10:30 am - Registration

10:30-10:35 - Opening Remarks and Welcome

10:35-11:05 - Labor Regulations Update. Richard Blaylock US Labor Division

11:05-11:35 - Weed Control in Caneberries. Katie Jennings. NCSU Horticulture Weed Science

11:35-12:05 - New Cultivars from NCSU. Gina Fernandez, Small Fruit Specialist; NCSU

12:05-1:30 - Lunch, Trade Show, Silent Auction, and NCCBRGA business meeting

1:30-2:15 - Insect Update. Dr. Hannah Burrack, Small Fruit Entomologist; NCSU

2:15-2:30 - Update on North American Blackberry Association Promotion. Ervin Lineberger

2:30-3:00 - Update on Food Safety Modernization Act. Debbie Hamrick - Farm Bureau.

3:00-3:10 - Winners of Silent Auction-Adjourn

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Will Warm Winter Impact Small Fruit Production?

Small fruit need a certain period of time under 45F, this period is known as the chilling requirement. Different small fruit, and even different varieties, have different chilling requirements. For example, raspberries have rather high chilling requirements, between 800 and 1,800 hours, while blackberries have a low chilling requirement, between 200-900 hours. Chilling requirements of blueberry vary widely between types, i.e. northern highbush (approx. 800-1,000), southern highbush (approx. 150-800) or rabbiteye (approx. 300-600).

The blackberry variety Oachita, popular WNC, is thought to have a mid-chilling requirement of 400 hours. Navaho, another widely produced variety for our region, has a 800-900 chilling hour requirement. Tupy, the primary blackberry grown in Mexico, has a chilling requirement of 200 hours.

Because of the mild winter thus far in the Southeast, there is concern that the small fruits will not accumulate the chilling hours necessary for proper production.

Dr. Gina Fernandez, small fruit specialist at NC State, shared a link to a new tool offered by the NC Climate Office in collaboration with small fruits specialists. This tool offers data that shows the chilling units accumulated in different weather stations across the southeast for blueberries, blackberries and strawberries.

You can find the data here: http://www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/products/ag/berries

For the Fletcher weather station, it appears that we are at almost 600 chilling hours for blackberry and 1210 for blueberry, therefore well on our way to meeting our chilling requirements this season.

To keep up with the latest from Dr. Fernandez and Team Rubus, check out the below social media and sites.

Twitter: @NCteamrubus
Blog: http://teamrubus.blogspot.com/
Facebook: TeamRubus

Web Portal: http://ncsu.edu/enterprises/blackberries-raspberries

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Henderson County 4-H Small Fruit Sale 2012

Henderson County 4-H is selling strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry and asparagus plants to raise money for awards and programs for youth.

Orders and payment are due by March 15. Plant distribution and sale of extra plants will be Saturday, April 14, at Henderson's Packing House, at 705 Tracy Grove Road.

Here is the link to the order form: http://henderson.ces.ncsu.edu/files/library/45/2012plantorderform.doc

Putting Small Acreage to Work Conference- Jan 28

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 at the Gaston County Citizens Resource Center in Dallas, NC 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, planning & managing a successful 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.

Pre-registration forms and a fee of $35 per person and $20 for each additional person are due by Monday, January 23. Checks made payable to Gaston County Cooperative Extension. To register go to: http://smallacreage.eventbrite.com or call Gaston Co. Cooperative Extension at 704-922-2112 for more information.

Media Contact:

Lara Worden



Monday, January 9, 2012

Henderson County Soil and Water Seedling Sale 2012

Orders are now being accepted for the 2012 HCSWCD tree seedling sale!

Bare-root seedlings, 75 cents each:
Black Walnut
Oak, Laurel
Oak, Overcup

Oak, Scarlet
Shagbark Hickory

Bare-root Seedlings, $1 each
Black Cherry
Crape Myrtle
River Birch

White Pine -- 30 cents each, or $25 for 100

Customers can print an order form from the website:
www.hendersoncountync.org/soil. Click on “Tree Sale.” Forms can also be picked up in our office during business hours.

There are several ways to place an order:

· email (Monica.booth@nc.nacdnet.net),

· phone (828) 697-4949,

· fax (828) 693-5832, or

· mail to: Henderson Co. Soil & Water Conservation District, 61 Triple Springs Road, Hendersonville, NC 28792.

Orders must be picked up on Saturday, February 25 at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station (near the Asheville Airport) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For directions to the Research station, go to
http://www.ncagr.gov/research/MountainHortDirections.htm. We can only accept cash or checks for payment.

Organic Certification Cost-Share

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) is providing cost share reimbursements for the costs of organic certification through September 2012. Last year they provided cost share assistance to 90 organic farmers in North Carolina for a total of $54,000. Don't miss out on this great opportunity to get cost share assistance to help cover your certification fees!

What costs qualify? Allowable expenses include application fees, inspection costs, travel costs, user fees, sales assessments and postage. Late fees, materials and supplies, equipment and transitional certifications are not eligible.

How do I apply? Submit your application and supporting documentation to NCDA&CS by September 30, 2012. You can download the forms on the NCDA&CS Organics Website.

How much am I eligible for? Payments are limited to 75% of an individual producer’s or handler/processor’s certification costs up to a maximum of $750 per certification per year. Expenses related to the certification must have been incurred between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012.

Contact Heather Barnes with any questions at heather.barnes@ncagr.gov.

January Fruit Growers News

The latest edition of Fruit Growers News is now on-line.

The January edition includes articles on:

NC Water Quality and Treatment Workshop: Jan 26

From WNC Green Industry News Blog:

The University of Florida, Clemson, and NCSU have pooled resources to bring you a VERY informative regional workshop on treatment of irrigation water- mainly for the use in woody and floriculture plant production This will be a one day event in the Charlotte area. We will have REAL growers and REAL water treatment situations to show and discuss, plus a panel of specialists. We are very privledged to have this kind of workshop available in our state. This will be a big benefit to our growers because I have been conducting studies across NC and believe many growers need to start thinking about water treatment options, as recycled water becomes the industry standards

For more information, an agenda and registration information go to: NC Water Workshop