Catawba County Cooperative Extension Service

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Small Fruit Plant Sale
Last day to order is March 6

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. 

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!
    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 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!
                         You still have time to register for the
Participate individually or with a team of classmates, co-workers or friends for the chance to win some prizes to help you eat healthy!  The fun begins March 1, 2018 but you may register until March 10th. 
Click here to download information and registration forms.
Coordinated by the Catawba County Library, Newton Branch, Cooperative Extension Family & Consumer Sciences and 
Catawba Valley Medical Center.
Real World Real Money 
Volunteer Opportunity

March 23 - Northview Middle School
April 24 - Newton-Conover Middle School
May 18 - Grandview Middle School 

Cooperative Extension is working with middle schools to offer Real World Real Money, a financial literacy program developed by Ohio State Extension.  Find out more about the curriculum at  

We are looking for volunteers to help with the budget simulation that will follow classroom lessons. No special financial background is needed, more information and lunch is provided to volunteers, and it is an eye-opening day for students!  If you would like more information and/or would like to volunteer contact Tina McGillvary at Cooperative Extension at 828-465-8240 or or Donna Mull at 

Putting Small Farms to Work

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

Register on-line here or call our office 828-465-8240.

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.

Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Summer Camp
July 8-13
Ages: 8-14
Cost: $435 with scholarships available

We are now taking registration for children to attend Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Camp. you can learn more about the camp at  4-H camp offers a traditional camp week with a variety of outdoor activities including canoeing, swimming, horse back riding, ropes course, and more. It is not necessary to be in 4-H to attend camp. Spaces are limited and early registration is encouraged. 

Scholarships are also available to help youth with the cost of attending camp. Scholarship are provided by Hickory Kiwanis Club and American Legion. Scholarship applications are due March 20 and  with generally limited to youth residing in Catawba County.  4-H'ers may also use scholarship money they have earned to help with the cost of camp. Scholarship applications posted in the 4-H section the Extension website.

For questions or to register, contact Donna Mull, 4-H Agent, at 828-465-8240 or 4-H membership is not required to attend camp. 
Catawba County will be camping the week of July 8-13 but if you are unable to attend that week, you can also register directly with Penn and attend another week of your choice. You do receive a discounted price when you register and attend as part of a county 4-H group. 

          Catawba Valley Cattlemen's Association Meeting 
(2nd Tuesday of the month, Mar.. 13)

Speaker: Doug Rowell; Cargill/Southern States, Beef Nutritionist

Educational Program: Beef Cattle Nutrition; Supplementation Options

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. 
        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
Are You Wanting to Get Rid of Fire Ants
and Earn  Pesticide Credits?  

***Controlling Fire Ants in Yards and Gardens
Mark your Calendar now for
April 10, 2018, 5:15 - 6:15 PM
NC Pesticide Credits Available: 1 hour of  D, L, N, X
(Your choice)

Speakers: Mr.
 Tom Dyson: Extension Director
(20 years experience in Fire Ant Country)
& Dr. George Place

Free BBQ Meal after the meeting
served by Catawba Valley Cattlemen's Association

CVCA Cattlemen's Association Educational Meeting 
***Controlling Fire Ants in Pastures and Hay Fields
Mark your Calendar now for 
April 10, 2018, 7:15 - 8:15 PM
NC Pesticide Credits Available: 1 hour of  D, K, O, N, X 
(Your choice)

Speaker: Dr. Wes Watson, NCSU Entomologist 

All are Welcome
Catawba County Extension Ag Resource Center
1175 Brady Ave. , Newton, NC 28658
To assist us with food preparation
RSVP by calling the Catawba Co. Extension Office at 828-465-8240 by Monday am, April 9
The next ServSafe Food Safety Manager Certification Training will be held on Tuesday, April 24, and Thursday, April 26, 2018. The first day of class covers the content in the book. The second day you will participate in a comprehensive review, a question and answer session with an Environmental Health Specialist and take the certification exam.  Call Beth Rogers at  828-465-8240 for registration information.
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