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Hen under close scrutiny at FFA poultry evaluations at the State Fairgrounds.

Avian Flu Information

Extension and NCDA&CS are working together to develop a response plan for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Find the latest information regarding this at NCDA&CS.

Hen under close scrutiny at FFA poultry evaluations at the State Fairgrounds.

Avian Flu Information

Extension and NCDA&CS are working together to develop a response plan for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Find the latest information regarding this at NCDA&CS.


Tobacco Research

The Watauga County Tobacco Research Referendum will be held on Thursday, November 19, 2015.  Jim Hamilton, County Extension Director, said there will be one polling place in the county, which will be at the Watauga County Extension Office at 971 West King Street in Boone. Jim explained that the referendum is being held to let tobacco growers decide if they wish to continue the self-assessment program.  This program has been in place since 1991, and the law requires that a new referendum be held every six years. A 2/3 favorable vote will mean that growers are willing to continue to assess themselves to support tobacco research and education.  The assessment is ten cents per hundred pounds of tobacco produced in North Carolina. The funds, about $300,000 annually, are collected at buying stations by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and then allocated by the Tobacco Research Commission to research and Extension projects for tobacco at NC State University. For more information on the referendum, please call the Watauga County Extension Office at 828-264-3061.


Grants for Diversifying
Farmers Now Available

WNC Agricultural Options is now accepting grant applications from farmers diversifying or expanding their businesses.  With funding from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, WNC AgOptions is distributing a total of $178,000 to western North Carolina farmers in 2016.  The application deadline is Nov. 13. WNC AgOptions helps offset farmers' risk of trying new ventures with $3,000 and $6,000 grants.  "The WNC AgOptions program is an excellent example of grant funds providing direct support to those who need it most," said Ross Young, Madison County Extension Director and WNC AgOptions steering committee leader.  "Our farmers are arguably the most important people in our society.  I sincerely appreciate the Commission's interest in supporting western North Carolina agriculture." The Commission has supported the mountain region throughout major changes in agriculture, ensuring farmers continue farming.  "Farmers in western North Carolina have proven time and time again that they are very innovative, resourceful and creative in how they produce and market their products," said Bill Teague, Chairman of the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.  "Our board is committed to the success of farmers in the targeted counties and we know these grants will encourage many successful projects." Applicants should contact their Cooperative Extension Agents by Oct. 16 to set up an appointment to discuss their projects.  Applications are available at www.wncagoptions.org or at local Cooperative Extension Centers.  Extension Agents remain a resource for farmers throughout the year as they complete their projects. Since 2004, WNC AgOptions has awarded nearly $2 million to farmers.  Grants often pay for a simple improvement that make a big difference, such as the purchase of an air-forced refrigerator at Perry's Berry's in Burke County.  The cold storage reduced Owners Debbie and Terry Perry's blueberry losses from 20 percent in 2014 to less than 5 percent in 2015. Cooling their berries immediately after harvest enhances the quality of their product, which they sell to a variety of customers, including Food Matters in Transylvania County, Fonta Flora Brewery in Burke County and Blind Squirrel Brewery in Avery County. Wehrloom Honey in Graham County has exceeded their expectations since opening a new retail store in Robbinsville in May.  With the help of a WNC AgOptions grant, Owner Jessica Wehr added new products such as spun honey, which is a thick spreadable honey, and bee pollen, which is considered a superfood due to its rich source of vitamins. Hoopers Creek Botanicals expanded production with a 2015 WNC AgOptions grant, and Owner Wallace Souther says he is able to sell all the medicinal herbs that he can grow.  He also secured a contract with Sow True Seeds in Asheville to grow winter squash, which he says he wouldn't have been able to do without the grant.  "I feel so honored," Souther said. WNC AgOptions offers grants to farmers in the following counties/units:  Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga and Yancey counties as well as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Applicants are encouraged to attend information sessions, which will be held throughout the region in the next two months.  One will be held in Watauga County on Tuesday, September 22.  Call the Watauga Extension Office at 828-264-3061 for more information.  Check the WNC AgOptions website for other dates and locations or call Project Coordinator Jennifer Ferre at (828) 252-4783. The administrator of WNC AgOptions is WNC Communities, a non-profit organization that has been improving agriculture in the region since 1947.  WNC Communities provides a unique forum for leaders in western North Carolina to carry out innovative programs to improve the quality of life for rural communities and to enhance the agriculture economy. "WNC Communities is delighted to serve as administrator for WNC AgOptions," said L.T. Ward, Vice President of WNC Commuities.  "We are grateful to the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission and North Carolina legislators for their support for twelve years." Members of the WNC AgOptions steering committee include:  representatives from N.C. Cooperative Extension, N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services–Marketing Division, WNC Communities, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project and other leaders in agribusiness.  For more information, see the following: WNC Agricultural Options:  www.wncagoptions.org; N.C. Cooperative Extension Centers:  www.ces.ncsu.edu; N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission: www.tobaccotrustfund.org; WNC Communities:  www.wnccommunities.org.


Free Tree Identification
and Use Workshops

Tree Identification and Use Class Series:  Classes will be held on Thursday, September 17th, October 1st and October 15th from 4:00-6:00 p.m., meeting at the Agriculture Conference Center at 252 Poplar Grove Rd.  Instructors for the course will be Robert Reynolds, and Watauga Count Extension Agent Paige Patterson.  Robert is a certified arborist and holds a Master’s Degree in Tree Physiology.  While in graduate school he taught the tree identification laboratory classes at Clemson University. Classes will focus on identification of landscape and native trees along with the uses of these trees in the landscape such as for shade, directing views and encouraging wildlife.  Maintenance, disease, and insect issues will also be discussed.  Participants will create their own collection of samples as a study guide.  Call 264-3061 to register.


Operation Medicine
Cabinet & Hazardous Household Waste Day

Saturday, October 10, 2015 Mark your calendars and clean out the cabinets and garage! Help us keep pharmaceutical and control-substance drugs off the streets and out of the rivers!  No questions will be asked, and any prescription and over-the-counter medications and medical supplies can be turned in anonymously.  For more information, please call the Watauga County Cooperative Extension at 828-264-3061. Hazardous Household Waste Day will be collected at the Watauga County Landfill (336 Landfill Rd., Boone).  Items accepted include:  paint, household batteries, household cleaners, pesticides, oils, antifreeze, gasoline, propane tanks, lighter fluid, lab packs, oxidizers, florescent bulbs, and mercury. If you have any questions, please contact the Sanitation Dept. at 828-264-5305.

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More News
Cattlemen's MeetingTue Oct 13, 2015
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM Where:
Agricultural Conference Center
— 4 days away
Tree Identification And Use ClassThu Oct 15, 2015
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Where:
Ag Conference Center
— 6 days away
Preserve Apples for Winter WorkshopMon Oct 19, 2015
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM— 1 week away
Watauga County BeekeepersTue Nov 3, 2015
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM— 4 weeks away
Watauga County BeekeepersTue Dec 1, 2015
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM— 2 months away
Watauga County BeekeepersTue Jan 5, 2016
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM— 3 months away
Watauga County BeekeepersTue Feb 2, 2016
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM— 4 months away
Watauga County BeekeepersTue Mar 1, 2016
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM— 5 months away
More Events