Catawba County Cooperative Extension Service

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T he Mediterranean pattern of eating is a healthy way of eating that can help you reduce your risk for chronic conditions associated with unhealthy eating.  Join us for an introduction to the MED way of eating.

 Simple, Delicious, Satisfying: 
The Mediterranean Diet for Better Health

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
6:00 p.m.
Patrick Beaver Memorial Library
375 3rd St. NE
Hickory, N.C.

Meet the Buyers

Wed. February 7th, 2018,   
2:30 Lunch  3-5pm Program
After the Winter Farmers Market (10am-2pm)
The Crossing at Hollar Mill
883 Highland Ave. S.E Hickory, NC  2nd Fl.

registration necessary for lunch
For more information contact  
April Vigardt

Representatives from several market opportunities for local producers will discuss what products they are looking for, the process of becoming a vendor, and tips on how to present your product. This will be a great opportunity for anyone wanting to get started with a farmers market or selling to a restaurant as well as those who would like to explore selling to grocers. 
Parents Night Out 
Saturday, February 10
5:00 - 9:00 p.m. 
Newton Main Library, 115 W. C St., Newton hearts-icon.jpg
Ages: 4 and older
Cost: $15 with proceeds to Benefit United Way 

Let teens from the Catawba County Youth council teens entertain the children, while you enjoy a Valentine's evening out. Children will enjoy after-hours library activities with movies, crafts, computer time, games, and pizza dinner. Supervision from Youth Council adult advisors. 

You can find the link to the event flier and registration on the Extension website at Contact Donna Mull, 4-H Agent at 828-465-8240 or for more details. 

NC Agritunity 
Trade Show and Conference

Feb 10, 2018
8 AM - 2:30 PM
Iredell Cooperative Extension Center
444 Bristol Drive
Statesville, NC 28687

Track 1: Value Added Products and Food Business

Value Added Meat Products With Choice Cuts -  9:00-10:00 AM  
Canning Guidelines: Food Safety For Home Prepared foods -  10:30-11:30 AM
Rules & Regulations For Home Prepared Foods -  1:30-2:30 PM

Track 2: Vegetable and Fruit Production

Vegetable Pests and Problems -  9:00-10:00 AM **
Small Fruit Pests and Problems - 10:30-11:30 AM **
Tissue Sampling For Nutrition -  1:30-2:30 PM

Track 3: Small Farm Livestock

Backyard/Pasture poultry - 9:00-10:00 AM **
Grazing Management for Small Ruminants 10:30-11:30 AM **
Parasite Prevention and Management in Sheep & Goats1:30-2:30 PM **

** pesticide credits available for the session
Call the extension office today to register: (704) 873-0507
Catawba Valley Cattlemen's Association Meeting
(2nd Tuesday of the month, Feb. 13)

Speaker: Dr. Deidre Harmon,
NCSU Livestock Specialist,
Mt. Research Station-Waynesville

Educational Program: Tools in the Forage Toolbox - Annuals - Research Report

Location: APP-address: Agricultural Resource Center 1175 South Brady Ave. Newton, NC  28658

Meeting Agenda: 
6:00 Supper is served.
6:45 Business Meeting - Dr. Greg Whitener, president
7:10 Educational Program
8:00 Meeting Adjourned

We welcome all people interested in our educational topic. Visitors eat free but must initial the attendance sheet. Members pay dues to Dr. Amanda Whitener. 
    Advanced Gardener Program 2018

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library - 2nd Thursday of the month from 6-7 PM
Newton Library - 3rd Tuesday of the month from 6:30-7:30 PM
Maiden Library - 4th Tuesday of the month from 6:30-7:30 PM

Jan - Pruning - How, When, and on What
Feb - Manage Your Lawn
Mar - Soil, Composting, and Plant Nutrients
April - Flowers, Shrubs, and Pollinator Gardens
May - Vegetable Gardening For a Resilient Community
June - Garden and Landscape Diseases and Disorders
July - 2 Minute Talks - Fire Ants, Brown Patch, Soil Testing, and 20 Other Topics
Aug - Identify and Control Your Weeds
Sept - Home Food Production - The 4 Season Strategy
Oct - Edible Landscaping With Fruit
Nov - Landscape Design - Putting It All Together

These presentations are free and open to the public.  Persons can attend programs of interest or attend all presentations for program certification. 

This year's curriculum will offer two different certification programs
Master Gardener Certification
                Cost: $100
Requirements - Attend all 11 presentations, complete 10 hours of extension workshop education , complete on-line quizzes and exams, complete weed collection project, complete home landscape project, complete 1000 ft2 garden design project, complete 40 hours of community service in gardening activities.
Advanced Gardener Certification:
                Cost: Free
Requirements - Attend 9 of the 11 presentations, complete 20 hours of service/learning activities.     
Annual NC State Cattlemen's/ NC Dairy Conference
February 22,   8:45 am - Feb 24 12:00 noon
Location: Hickory Metro Convention Center ( I-40,Exit 125)

All Youth interested in Livestock Sat. 9-12
  All adults check out the educational programs Fri. 8:45-12
All youth only $5.00 on Sat.;  Education on Fri. am =$25.00
Full weekend registration on site = $100 
Check out Program " Schedule of Events and " download  registration form" for complete prices

Help the Catawba Valley Cattlemen's Association Serve BBQ Fri evening 

"It is as exciting as the State Fair but more educational !!!"

Small Fruit Plant Sale
Accepting Order in February 

Now accepting orders for the annual small fruit plant sale.

* Strawberry Plants
* Blueberry Plants

Several different varieties available. Plants will arrive in mid-March, just in time for springtime planting. Proceeds from the sale benefit Catawba County 4-H scholarship fund. Order form posted here.

To request and order form contact Cooperative Extension at  828-465-8240 or You may also stop by the Extension office to complete an order form and pay. Prepayment is required. 

    Annual Garden Calendar For Catawba County

Visit our on-line garden calendar to find out:
When should you prune, fertilize your lawn, start a fall garden, dig up your bulbs
Find out what will be in bloom this month!
Low-Cost Vegetable Garden Tips

March 6, 2018
12 PM
Conover Branch Library
403 Conover Station Southeast,
Conover, NC 28613

March 15, 2018
12:30 PM
Claremont Branch Library
3288 East Main St.
Claremont, NC 28610

These free programs will feature tips and tricks for low-cost startups of vegetable gardens. Bring your garden questions for Q&A after!
Catawba Valley Beekeepers Association
Bee School

Feb 5 - March 12, 2018
7 PM
Catawba County Extension Service
1175 S. Brady Ave
Newton, NC 28658

Classes will begin on Monday, 5 February 2018 at 7 pm and held on Monday night for six weeks. 
A hands-on workshop for assembling the various hive components is planned for Saturday, 10 February at 9 am. Classes and workshop will be at the Catawba County Extension Office.

Cost is $50 and includes textbook and first year membership in the North Carolina  Beekeepers Association and Catawba Valley Beekeepers Association. Payment made at the first class.

To register please call Beth Cloninger at 828-465-8240.
Please fill out this form and bring it to the first class.
4-H Volunteer/Parent Training: 4-H Basic
Tuesday, February 6
5:30-6:15 - Light Dinner Available
6:15-8:00 - Workshops

Catawba County Agricultural Resources Center
1175 South Brady Ave, Newton

Catawba and Alexander counties are teaming-up to offer some 4-H Workshops for 2018. The workshops are designed to help club leaders and parents learn more about important and helpful topics.  

February offers the chance to learn about:  
* Presentations
* Project Work
* Judging
* Growing through Out-of-County 4-H Travels
* Judging 

Come and learn more about these wonderful NC 4-H opportunities! If you would like to attend register by February 1.  You can register yourself for the workshop here.You can also contact Donna Mull, 4-H Agent, at or 828-465-8242 for information or to register. 

The next workshop will be in April on Exploring 4-H Curriculum. 

Upcoming ServSafe Certification Classes

 The next two-day certification class will be held Wednesday, February 21 and Friday February 23, 2018 at Catawba County Extension, 1175 S. Brady Ave., Newton NC. Contact Beth at 828-465-8240 for more information or to register.  
Putting Small Farms to Work

Small Fruit Production:   Feb 20, 9 AM to 3 PM
Lincoln County Extension office

Pastured Poultry Production: March 20, 9 AM to 3 PM
Lincoln County Extension office

Small Ruminant Production: April 17, 9 AM to 3 PM
Catawba County Extension office

Pastured Pork Production: May 22, 9 AM to 3 PM
Catawba County Extension office

Each workshop includes a classroom session, followed by a nearby farm visit
Lunch is included with each session
Topics for  each session include site selection/ facilities/infrastructure needed to get  started, production systems, breed/ variety selection, start-up costs, expected
return on investment, basic  animal husbandry, best management  practices, post-harvest handling, processing,  marketing, etc.
Cost:  $25 for each session or $75 for all 4 sessions.

Register on-line here or call our office 828-465-8240.
Master Gardener  Volunteer Course

Enrollment is now open for the 2018 course.


Only 2 more seats available so reserve yours now 

by calling 828-465-8240 or register here!


The 12 week course consists of two semester sessions:

Spring Semester Feb 28 - April 4

Fall Semester Aug 29 - Oct 3 

Class each Wednesday     9 AM to noon


Course is led by Dr. George Place, Director of Catawba County

Cooperative Extension Service


This course is designed for beginners and advanced gardeners alike with a focus on hands-on learning, field trips, and direct interaction with regional experts.


We will cover a diverse set of topics relating to home gardens, landscape, ornamentals, pruning, soil health, weeds, insects, diseases and disorders, vegetables, fruit, and more.


Cost: $100 non-refundable deposit will cover entire cost of course.

Market Gardener Course 2018
March 10th, 24th
April 7th, 21st
Saturdays 10-2pm
Small Farms Demonstration Site
4918 Hickory -Lincolnton Hwy
Cost  $100  
Call 828-465-8240 for more information
In this four day intensive course you will learn how to go from growing for your friends and family to growing to sell at market. Our classroom will be in the field, where we will grow four different crops, cover pest, weed and disease control, try out new tools, go over the basics of record keeping and doing a crop enterprise budget, learn harvesting techniques, post harvest washing and handling and marketing.

Six Steps to Safe Food and Legal Sales for 
Small Farms under FSMA

Alexander County Extension Service
376 1st  Ave SW 
Taylorsville NC
Friday, Feb 23, 2018
11 AM - 2:30 PM
Cost: Free
Lunch provide (please register)

The  FSMA for Small Farms workshop will cover practices that are expected by the FDA, by wholesale buyers, and by knowledgeable consumers.  

Participants will also learn how FSMA will affect any CSA's & Food Hubs.  We will discuss required practices under FSMA as a preparation & requirement for potential GAP audits & certifications.

Interested growers should register by  2/20/18  by e-mailing Lenny Rogers at  or calling the Alexander Cooperative Extension Center at  828-632-4451 .
New 4-H Clubs Starting 

2018 is a great time to join 4-H. New members welcome! Come and check-out some of these new clubs and learn more about 4-H! 

  • Electric SPIN Club - Thursday, February 8, 4:30 p.m.
Experiments and activities that let you explore electric basics, circuits, and the science beyond robotics. Members are expected to work on the electric project book (like a workbook) as they come to club meetings. A county winning project book could earn you a trip to Electric Congress 2019! 

Ages: 9 and older
Meetings: 2nd Thursday of each month, 4:30-6:00 pm 
Cost: $5 for electric project book
Location: Agriculture Resources Center
1175 South Brady Ave, Newton

  •  Going Global -  Monday, February 12, 6:30  p.m. 
Join this new 4-H club and explore different cultures and countries of the world as you make new 4-H friends. Programs could include geography, crafts, ethnic foods, guest speakers and more!  There will be small charge for this club to cover program materials and the charge will be discussed at the first meeting. 

Ages: 5 and older welcome, but those 10 and under must have a parent helper at each meeting. All parents welcome. 
Meetings: 2nd Monday evening of each month
Location:  Agriculture Resources Center, 1175 South Brady Ave, Newton

  •  Jr. Rangers 4-H Club - Monday, February 12, 6:00 p.m. 
This long-time club will be starting a new Outdoor Survival series for 2018. Programs with  George Place (Extension Director and Backpacking enthusiast) mixed in wildlife/nature programs from Lori Owenby, Park Ranger. Some of the the monthly topics include: Fire and Staying Warm Outside, Naturalist 101, Native Bees,  Food and Water on the Trail, Survival Skillathon, and more. No cost. 

Ages: 5 and older welcome, but suggested for those 9 and older. 
Meetings: Riverbend County Park, 6700 North NC 16 Highway, Conover. The club meets in the educational building by the parking lot. 

Can't make it in February? Want to know more about other clubs? Interested in starting a club, contact Donna Mull, 4-H Agent, 465-8240 or

Produce Safety Rule Growers Training

Iredell County Extension Center
444 Bristol Drive
Statesville, NC  28677
Friday, Feb 23, 2018
8:30 AM - 5 PM
Cost: $50 for NC residents
Lunch included

This is a one-day training course for growers on the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) standardized curriculum that meets the regulatory requirements of the FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. This training is being held in conjunction with the SE Strawberry Expo hosted by the NC Strawberry Association.

Landscapers and Green Industry Pro Day

Killian's Hardware
3790 Springs Rd NE
Hickory, NC  28601
Thursday, March 1, 2018
8:00 AM - noon.

Calibration for Pesticide and Fertilizer Application
8-10 AM
2 pesticide credits available for categories:
A, D, G, H, L, M, N, O, X

Insect Identification and Management
10 AM - noon
2 pesticide credits available for categories:
A, D, G, H, L, M, N, O, X

             March is nutrition month and a great time to take the
                "Better than Yesterday" Nutrition Challenge!
Participate individually or with a team of classmates, coworkers or friends for the chance to win some prizes to help you eat healthy!  The fun begins March 1, 2018. Contact the Main Library in Newton at 828-465-8665 to register by February 23, 2018.
Coordinated by the Catawba County Library, Newton Branch. Cooperative Extension Family & Consumer Sciences and 
the Health First Center
        MED instead of MEDS - Six Week Series

Wednesdays: March 21- April 25, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.  Join us for a series of in-depth sessions on how eating the MED way can help you reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases. Taste MED way recipes, and get tips and tools to help you eat healthier.  

Register by calling the Main Library in Newton at 828-465-8665. Seating is limited!  Presented by Ann Simmons, Extension Agent, Family & Consumer Sciences.
Private Applicator License Renewal
& Early Weed ID and Control
Mark your Calendar now for April 3, 2018, 10 AM - 1 PM

Private Applicator License Renewal
Tuesday, April 3, 2018 | 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
NC Pesticide Credits Available: 2 hours of V

Early Weed ID and Control
Tuesday, April 3, 2018 | 12:00 PM- 1:00 PM
NC Pesticide Credits Available: 1 hour of  D, O, N, X

Catawba County Extension Ag Resource Center
1175 Brady Ave. , Newton, NC 28658
RSVP by calling the Catawba Co. Extension Office at 828-465-8240 by Monday, April 2nd.
  • 10:00AM, "V" Training - Travis Snodgrass, NCDA&CS
    • New Rules and Regulations
  • 11:00AM - Glenn Detweiler
    • Practical Safe Use of Sprayers and Spray Tip Technology

  •  12:00 D,O,N,X (Your choice) - Dr. George Place, and Glenn Detweiler
    • Early Weed ID and Correct Chemical Controls
2017 Advanced Gardener 
Photo Competition Winners

4-H Clubs & Groups

A variety of 4-H clubs are available in Catawba County for youth ages 9 and older. The clubs are led by volunteer leaders and meet at different times and places. Most of the clubs are special-interest, meaning they focus on a particular topic or theme.General interest clubs are also part of 4-H. Below is a list of clubs and 4-H affiliated groups. Email or call Donna Mull at 828-465-8242 or to request a club list with details about meeting times, locations and ages.. 

Community-Based Clubs & Grioups
Snowy Creek 4-H Horse Club
Catawba County Livestock Club
Balls Creek Adventurers 4-H Club
Robotics Competition Team 
Catawba County Youth Council
Archery Club
Sew Awesome Sewers
Junior Rangers
Snack Makers 4-H Club
DIG (Discoveries in Gardening)
Top Shots Shooting Sports
Bright Ideas STEM Club

School Clubs:
Montessori Leadership Club
St. Stephens High School Juntos 4-H Club

Coming Soon - Early 2018
Global Cultures Club 
Electric SPIN Club  

Our club offerings change, so check this spot each month for club updates. We welcome the chance to grow this list, add new clubs, and new 4-H'ers! Contact Donna Mull or Tina McGillvary at Cooperative Extension to learn more about starting a 4-H Club. 

                       Food Safety During a Power Outage

When the power goes out, you may wonder about the safety of your refrigerated or frozen foods. If the power is out for 48 hours or less, and your freezer is nearly full, your food may still be fine.  According to food safety experts, a closed freezer can keep food at 40°F or below for up to 48 hours--if full and kept cold. A closed refrigerator will keep food 40°F or below for about 4 hours after a power loss.The following link will take you to a fact sheet that will help you decide what you need to keep and what you should toss when the power is out longer than expected:

If you still have questions after reviewing the fact sheet, please call Ann Simmons at 704-878-3157 or email for more information.
Extension Video Highlight 

Need help with food preservation?

Stop by the Extension office and pick up a free guide with instructions on how to can and freeze selected fruits and vegetables. 

Call Ann Simmons at 704-878-3157 or email if you have questions or need to schedule an appointment for dial-gauge pressure canner lid testing.

Visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation  website for information on how to preserve your favorite foods by canning or freezing. 
Does your farm business donate food?  Read this article to understand how food donations can help your tax expenses.

N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund Grants

County governments, nonprofit groups and certified beekeepers pursuing farmland preservation projects and beehive grants have until Dec. 15 to apply for funding assistance from the N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. This year's request for proposals includes statewide general appropriations for traditional farm preservation projects and the new N.C. Beehive Grant Fund for the purchase and construction of beehives.

The trust fund's purpose is to support projects that encourage the preservation of qualifying agricultural, horticultural and forest lands to foster the growth, development and sustainability of family farms.

Grants can be awarded to secure agricultural conservation easements on lands used for agricultural production; to support public and private enterprise programs that promote profitable and sustainable agricultural, horticultural and forestland activities; for the development of agricultural plans; and for the purchase and construction of new beehives.

The N.C. Beehive Grant Fund is accepting its first cycle of applications this fall for certified beekeepers to establish new beehives. The request for proposals includes $25,000 for beehive projects on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible recipients.

"The new beehive grants will further support family farms in North Carolina," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "NCDA&CS is committed to conserving working lands throughout our great state and enhancing the agribusinesses that keep farms productive."

Grant application and guidelines. Call 919-707-3072 with any questions. 

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Dec. 15.

NCSU Official Variety Test Results for Wheat and Oat

The 2017 NC OVT Wheat and Oat data is now available, and can be found on the new NC OVT website ( or by clicking the following link:
For any questions please contact Ryan Heiniger, NCSU Official Variety Testing Program Director at 919.515.2827 or  

NCDA&CS offers organic certification cost-share assistance

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA & CS) is offering organic growers the opportunity to recoup up to $750 of their certification cost. Growers must have been certified between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016 and complete an application available at .

Visit the NCDA website to see more information about this cost share opportunity.

USDA Low Interest Loans For Storage Facilities

The Farm Storage Facility Loan Program provides low-interest financing so producers can build or upgrade permanent facilities to store commodities. Eligible commodities include grains, oilseeds, peanuts, pulse crops, hay, honey, renewable biomass commodities, fruits and vegetables. Eligible facility types include grain bins, hay barns and facilities for cold storage.

Visit the USDA Farm Storage Facility Loan website for more info.
NC State Gardening, Agriculture, and Pest Updates

You can sign up for the latest news on gardening, pest advisories, livestock, energy, and many others.  Check out the complete list of NC State News that you can subscribe to and get the latest research based info.  Be the first to know! 
Got To Be NC Agriculture

Visit the Got to Be NC website and see excellent resources for starting your own food business.

Visit the NC Growing Together website to see the latest newsletter, recent resources, and schedule of upcoming workshops, webinars, and meetings.

NC Farm Link

Take at look at this incredible website that helps connect farmland seekers with farmland owners. There is also an amazing list of resources for farmers.
Small Farm Grant and Loan Assistance

We will post various grant and loan opportunities that arise in this space of our monthly updates.  Simply click on the opportunity of interest for more information.

Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination statement

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equaopportunity regardless of racecolor, religion, creed, national origin, sexage, disability, or veteran'status. In additionthe two Universities welcome all person without regard to sexual orientation.  North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.
Persons with disabilities and persons with limited English proficiency may request accommodations to participate by contacting Catawba County Extension Director, George Place, at (828) 465-8240 or or in person at the County Extension Office at least 14 days prior to the event.

Dr. George Place
Catawba County Cooperative Extension Director
Agricultural Resources Center, Newton, NC 28658