2015 Past Events

This is an archive of our 2015 past events and workshops.

February 11 & 12, 2015

The Cooperative Extension Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) will be hosting a Pasture Pork Conference in Greensboro, NC.

FEBRUARY 11, 2015: Pre-conference farm tour from 1-4 pm (meet at 7009 Bass Mountain Road, Snow Camp, NC) and evening presentation “Introduction to Outdoor Swine Production” from 6-8 pm in Coltrane Hall’s Godfrey Room, NC A&T Campus (corner of Market and Dudley Streets, beside the YMCA), Greensboro, NC.

FEBRUARY 12, 2015: 8 am-6 pm, Guilford Convention Center, 3114 Cedar Park Rd, Greensboro. Presenters include (among others):

  • Dr. John McGlone, Texas Tech University
  • Dr. David Stender, Iowa State University
  • Dr. Eric van Heugten, Silvana Pietrosemoli, Dr. Jim Green (NRCS) – North Carolina State University
  • Dr. Noah Ranells, Dr. Michelle Eley – North Carolina A&T State University
  • Tim Holmes/Emily Lancaster, Animal Welfare Approved
  • James Hill, Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program
  • NCDAC&S representative – Feral Swine Program
February 25, 2015

North Carolina State University and North Carolina Cooperative Extension are partnering with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems/North Carolina Growing Together Project (CEFS/NCGT) and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) to deliver workshops across the state with the aim of providing farmers with the tools to reduce food safety risks and meet market requirements.

Navigating the USDA GAP Audit combines classroom and on-farm instruction to provide producers with the tools needed to identify potential food safety concerns, as well as strategies to minimize potential contamination. Available resources, including cost-share assistance and consulting services, will be provided to growers to assist with the implementation of an effective on-farm food safety program.

Participants will receive a Certificate of Attendance to fulfill training requirements for USDA GAP/GHP certification.

Portions of the workshop will take place outside. Please wear comfortable walking shoes, bring a water bottle, and appropriate weather gear. The workshop will take place rain or shine.

March 6, 2015

By popular demand, we are combining THREE of our most popular workshops into a full day “Small Fruits Workshop”.

​Amanda McWhirt, a graduate student under the direction of Dr. Michelle Schroeder-Moreno in the NCSU Crop Science Department will give a brief overview of sustainable soil strategies for strawberry production,​ as well as cover some of the initial results in research projects. Workshop participants will board a bus and head out to some strawberry plots to observe one of the strawberry research plots.

Dr. Bill Cline, with the NCSU Department of Horticultural Science, will offer a short classroom presentation on production techniques, management and several blueberry variety recommendations then participants will travel to CEFS Small Farm Unit (SFU) for the pruning demonstration portion of the workshop.

After lunch, Dr. Gina Fernandez, with the NCSU Department of Horticultural Science will give a short presentation on blackberry production and management, followed by a pruning and trellis demonstration at the SFU.

Directions will be provided at the beginning of the workshop.

Participants are encouraged to bring hand pruners and/ or loppers and dress appropriately for outdoor demonstration.​

March 11 & 12, 2015

This workshop will expose the audience to an integrated approach to gastrointestinal parasite control for small ruminants, the biology of the barber pole worm (H. contortus), the FAMACHA concept and hands-on use of the FAMACHA card, the concept of smart drenching, understanding parasite drug resistance versus animal resistance, susceptibility or resilience to gastrointestinal parasites, management tips to reduce gastrointestinal parasite loads in animals and on pastures, and nonchemical approaches to treating small ruminants with anthelmintics such as alternative forages. Hands-on FAMACHA certification will take place at a local farm.

Sponsored and Hosted by the Caldwell County Cooperative Extension Jean-Marie Luginbuhl, NCSU Extension Meat Goat Specialist.

Feburary 27, March 11th & March 24th, 2015

North Carolina State University and North Carolina Cooperative Extension are partnering with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems/North Carolina Growing Together Project (CEFS/NCGT) and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) to deliver workshops across the state with the aim of providing farmers with the tools to reduce food safety risks and meet market requirements.

Navigating the USDA GAP Audit combines classroom and on-farm instruction to provide producers with the tools needed to identify potential food safety concerns, as well as strategies to minimize potential contamination. Available resources, including cost-share assistance and consulting services, will be provided to growers to assist with the implementation of an effective on-farm food safety program.

Participants will receive a Certificate of Attendance to fulfill training requirements for USDA GAP/GHP certification.

Portions of the workshop will take place outside. Please wear comfortable walking shoes, bring a water bottle, and appropriate weather gear. The workshop will take place rain or shine.

March 4th & 18th, 2015

This two-part Fresh Produce Good Agricultural Practices Workshop Series involves:

  • The first workshop, Principles of Fresh Produce Safety and Navigating the USDA GAP Audit, will combine classroom and on-farm instruction to provide producers with the tools needed to identify potential food safety concerns, as well as strategies to minimize potential contamination. Participants will receive a certificate of attendance.

Farm: Davis and Son Orchard
Owners: Gary, Betty and Alan Davis
Location: 922 N. Hwy 18, Lawndale NC

  • The second workshop, Fresh Produce Safety Program and Plan Development, conducted on participant’s own computers, will provide direct assistance to producers in completing a fresh produce safety plan. Attendees will leave this session with a well-developed working draft of their specific food safety plan, which becomes the framework for an audit, and can be used to demonstrate individual farm risk-reduction steps. Completion of the first workshop is a prerequisite and basic computer knowledge is recommended in order to receive the maximum benefit from this session. Participants are requested to bring their own computers or indicate this need to the instructors upon registration. Extra computers are available on a limited first come basis.

Growers who participate will:

  • Receive a certificate of attendance of GAPS training (needed for a GAP certification).
  • Be eligible to receive up to $600 in GAP Certification Cost Share
  • Be eligible for one-on-one mock audits
  • Receive workbooks on resources for a food safety program: “Fresh Produce Good Agricultural Practices Workshop Series” with 3 parts in the series: Principles of Fresh Produce Safety, Navigating the USDA GAP Audit, Food Safety Program and Plan Development ⋅ “Good Agricultural Practices for Small Diversified Farms Manual: Tips and Strategies to Reduce Risk and Pass an Audit”
  • Receive electronic GAP food safety plan template and personalized classroom guidance.
March 12th, 2015

The goal of this workshop is to learn about vegetable production through the utilization of grafting for disease management and enhanced plant vigor and yield. Participants will learn why grafting is an important tool in vegetable production, become familiar with some commercially available rootstocks and learn about some important research projects underway. In addition, participants will learn the art and the science of tomato grafting through hands-on experience. Each person will receive tomato plants which they will use to practice proper techniques as well as learn the importance of and how to build and manage a ‘healing chamber’, where plants are kept while the grafts heal.

A tremendous amount of grafting research has been done using tomatoes, however, additional crops, such as cucumber, melon and watermelon are also being grafted. Participants will receive an introduction into the fascinating world of cucurbit grafting, as well.

A follow-up to this workshop will be held in the early summer (most likely July). The Vegetable Grafting Field Day will be held at the Small Farm Unit and participants will see different rootstock/ scion combinations, learn how to do disease ratings and have a tomato taste test!

March 23-25th, 2015

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’s schedule.

Small Farms Week recognizes the producers of small-scale agriculture in North Carolina who generate $250,000 or less, annually, in gross sales. The celebration begins March 23 with festivities in Yancey County – home of the 2014 Small Farmer of the Year, Ryan Wiebe of Wiebe Farmin’ – and culminates with Small Farmers’ Appreciation Day, March 25 at A&T.

April 2nd, 2015

An organic and sustainable production practices strawberry field day will take place at CEFS on Thursday, April 2, 2015. This field day features two National Sustainable Strawberry Initiative projects funded by the Wal-Mart Foundation. Students and Faculty from North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University will provide with an overview of field strawberries focusing on sustainable soil management strategies, and with organic high tunnel strawberry production tactics covering cultivar selection, high tunnel micro-climate and its management, soil fertility management, irrigation strategy, and pests management including spider mites. Participants will also be provided with a summary of research results from both projects. Field day will begin at 3pm on the Small Farm Unit with a tour of the organic strawberry production high-tunnels and then at 4:30 participants will ride a bus to the sustainable soil management practices for strawberries field research site at CEFS.

Organic High Tunnel
Dr. Sanjun Gu, will give an introduction of the research project and cover the organic high tunnel strawberry production tactics, including cultivar selection of day-neutral and June-bearing strawberries, soil fertility management, irrigation strategy, spider mites and other pests management, and strawberry marketing. Research results will be shared with the participants. (Approximately 1 hour).

Sustainable Soil Management Practices For the Field

Amanda McWhirt, a graduate student under the direction of Dr. Michelle Schroeder-Moreno in the NCSU Crop Science Department will give a brief overview of field strawberry production, and then discuss sustainable soil management strategies for strawberry production. She will cover the use and implementation of these practices and some initial results from research projects. (Approximately 1 hour, not including travel time to field).

April 14th & May 21st, 2015

The economic success of fruit and vegetable production is highly dependent on post-harvest quality preservation. When marketing fresh fruits and vegetables, understanding the processes affecting product quality during storage and transportation is essential in obtaining a premium price for the product.

To assist growers in developing skills that will provide a competitive advantage within the fresh produce market, North Carolina Growing Together (NCGT) will offer a series of post-harvest physiology, pathology and handling workshops, in collaboration with NC State University Cooperative Extension. Participants will learn approaches and technologies to maintain product quality and extend shelf-life, limiting post-harvest disorders and loss of sales.

Workshops will be led by Trish Tripp, NCGT Wholesaler Liaison and Dr. George Wilson, NC State Department of Horticulture Science, with assistance from Cooperative Extension staff.

This half day workshop is intended for growers who are interested in learning more about handling fresh fruits and vegetables once they have been harvested. It is geared toward producers who sell into wholesale markets, farmers markets, roadside stands and CSAs. Growers will learn practical ways to meet industry quality standards as they relate to harvest techniques, packing, grading, pack size, packaging, and shelf-life. Participants will be provided with tools that will contribute to their wholesale and retail success.

Support for this program provided by NC Growing Together, a Center for Environmental Farming Systems initiative, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, grant #2013-68004-20363. http://www.ncgrowingtogether.org

June 2nd, 2015

This half-day workshop will focus on pasture management with an emphasis on cattle nutrition. Topics to be covered in the workshop will include: Cattle nutrition, grazing management and pasture management.

June 2nd, 2015

Meredith Leigh, author of The Ethical Meat Handbook: A Complete Guide to Home Butchery, Charcuterie, and Cooking for the Conscious Omnivore and butcher Karen Fowler will team up for this exciting workshop focusing on beef production and butchery.

This half-day workshop will focus on Meat for Market, with emphasis placed on marketing pasture-raised beef – from the primals to skillet – for an all-female audience! Topics to be covered in the workshop will include: an overview of the “state of meat” in NC, marketing strategies and how they impact your bottom line, carcass breakdown paired with different cooking techniques for different cuts. The workshop will conclude with some information on pricing your products, risk management as well as a Question & Answer session.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Lisa Forehand at lisa_forehand@ncsu.edu or (919-513-0954).

June 2nd, 2015

The economic success of fruit and vegetable production is highly dependent on post-harvest quality preservation. When marketing fresh fruits and vegetables, understanding the processes affecting product quality during storage and transportation is essential in obtaining a premium price for the product.

To assist growers in developing skills that will provide a competitive advantage within the fresh produce market, NCGT will offer a series of Postharvest Handling Workshops, in collaboration with NC State University Cooperative Extension. Participants will learn approaches and technologies to maintain product quality and extend shelf-life, limiting postharvest disorders and loss of sales.

Workshops will be led by Trish Tripp, NCGT Wholesaler Liaison, and Dr. George Wilson, Professor, Postharvest Physiology, NC State University, Department of Horticultural Science, with assistance from Cooperative Extension staff.

Geared toward producers selling into wholesale markets, as well as Extension Agents who are assisting growers with wholesale market expansion, this full-day, hands-on workshop will offer a variety of tools to assist growers in meeting US Grade #1 Standards. The introduction course is recommended for growers entering wholesale markets for the first time. A thumb drive will be provided to agents containing training materials and resources for future use.

Support for this program provided by NC Growing Together, a Center for Environmental Farming Systems initiative, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, grant #2013-68004-20363. http://www.ncgrowingtogether.org

June 25th, 2015

Recent research has shown that many cool- and warm-season grasses and legumes yield high levels of quality forage when grown under as much as 50% shade. This knowledge is being used to design integrated timber/grazing practices in conifer stands that allow high-value saw logs to be grown as a long-term product, while on the same acreage, an annual income can be generated from grazing livestock. Come to the Cherry Research Farm at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) in Goldsboro, NC (Wayne County) and see how this knowledge is put into practice. Questions like these have sent to us:

  • What are the effects of seedling selection, wide spacing, pruning, and fertilization o­n the production and quality of wood and forage?
  • What is the efficiency of multi-row and multi-species tree planting vs. single-row and single-species plantings for converting open areas to Silvopastures?
  • How do the tree and forage components interact to compete for light, water, and nutrients?
  • Are there financial assistances and economic analysis models that are operational at the regional scale?

We will have representatives from the public and private institutions present to answer these questions and many others you might have. A field tour will be conducted to see how trees and forages can be established to meet the landowner’s needs.

July 7th, 2015

Reedy Fork Organic Farm is a certified organic dairy and feed farm located on 500 acres of beautiful farmland. Originally a tobacco farm, it became a dairy in the 1950’s and transitioned to a certified organic dairy farm in 2007. George Teague, his son, and nephew run the farm now, and are a proud family farm member of the Organic Valley Cooperative. They also operate an organic feed mill, grow organic grain and forage crops, and produce organic beef and eggs.
Join us for an insider tour of this impressive farm, focusing on organic production practices for large scale grain and forage operations. We will tour the dairy, feed mill, and field crops, as well as an optional stream restoration and conservation project.

July 14th, 2015

Join our diverse team of experts as they give a brief introduction to the world of vegetable grafting. Topics covered include: the basic how and why we graft, discuss the difference between field planted grafted and non-grafted tomato plants as well as go over the attributes of each rootstock used. There will be time to discuss any diseases present in the plants and you will hear from the CEFS Small Farm Unit Apprentices on their observations including any yield differences, plant habit, issues encountered while pruning, pests and more. Time will also be devoted to cover seed saving in the two open-pollinated rootstock varieties used for this study.

Stay around until the end and join us for a tomato taste test as we compare the grafted versus non-grafted varieties.

August 27th, Piney Woods Farm Burgaw, NC
September 15th, BC Angus Farm Mt. Airy, NC
September 22nd, Hyatt Farms Brasstown, NC, 2015

Workshop topics will include:

  • Introduction to Pasture Soil Health and Update on the CIG Project
  • The Importance of Dung Beetles in Grazing Systems
  • Introduction to Annual Forages
  • Using Temporary Fencing for Pasture Subdivisions
October 29th, 2015

Presenter: Rhonda Sherman – NCSU, Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Have you ever…

  • tried composting but never had a hot pile?
  • set up a worm bin and your worms died?
  • wondered how to do composting or vermicomposting on a larger scale, and maybe make some money from it?
  • wanted to make and use compost tea?
  • seen pictures of various types of worm bins and compost bins but haven’t seen them in person?

During this 4-hour workshop, you will learn about small -to-large scale composting and vermicomposting, the value of their products and how to use them, and how to make and use compost tea. You will also tour NC State’s Compost Training Facility and see more than two dozen types of composting units and worm bins, plus a compost tea brewer. You can also examine a 40 square foot continuous-flow vermi-reactor and observe more than 12,000 earthworms consume dairy manure.

Questions? Please contact Lisa Forehand at lisa_forehand@ncsu.edu or 919-513-0954

October 13th & 20th (Day 1),
October 28th & November 5th, (Day 2) 2015

Working in partnership, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, NC Cooperative County Centers, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems – NC Growing Together Project (CEFS/NCGT) will be offering a two-part workshop aimed at providing farmers with the tools to identify hazards on your farm; to prepare a food safety hazard assessment; and to create and implement a custom food safety plan that integrates your farm’s practices while meeting market requirements for GAP certification. From this workshop, participants will be able to proactively build-in contamination prevention strategies and reduce these potential market losses for their own farming practices. This training assumes participants have some basic knowledge of on-farm food safety.

If you have any questions, please contact:
NC Cooperative Extension: Diane Ducharme (Diane_Ducharme@ncsu.edu), 704-250-5402
CFSA: James Cooper (James@carolinafarmstewards.org).