Catawba County Cooperative Extension Service

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    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.     
Catawba Valley Cattlemen's Association Meeting 
(2nd Tuesday of the month, May 8)

Dr. Justin Jornigan;  Foothills Mobile Veterinary Service, PLLC; Marion, NC
Educational ProgramHerd Health strategies for cow and bull selection and maintaining them at top quality performance. 

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
7:00 Educational Program  -   Dr. Justin Jornigan
8:00 Meeting Adjourned

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

4-H Summer Preview
Thursday, May 24
4:00 - 6:00 p.m. (Drop-In) 
Agricultural Resources Center
1175 South Brady Ave. Newton, NC 

* Displays and Info about Summer Fun and 4-H Clubs. 
* Meet and Talk with 4-H Club Leader and Summer Staff
* Register for 4-H Summer Fun Classes
* Check-out 4-H Online, our new electronic enrollment system
* Enjoy a tasty healthy summer snack 

    Row Crop Updates

Take a look at the Southwest Piedmont Grain Grower's Portal for information on soybean and corn variety trials, respirator fit test fact sheet, and more.

Take a look at the latest updates in herbicide resistant weeds for our area.

If you need to schedule a fit test for your respirator (dust mask or half face type) our office can help you.  Give us a call to set up an appointment - 828-465-8240.
    Watermelon Grafting Workshop
May 31   

    Cooperative Extension 
1175 S. Brady Ave. Classroom A

NC State PhD candidate Marlee Trandel will talk about using grafted watermelon plants for improved plant yields and disease resistance. You will have a chance to practice grafting techniques and take home your grafted plants as well as some healed transplants.
Click Here  to register or call 828-465-8240
    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!
Local Foods Cooking Class 
Eat healthy while supporting local farmers
Wednesdays 5:30-6:30

Extension Center 1175 S. Brady Ave. Newton
June 20th and July 11

Hickory Soup Kitchen 110 2nd Pl.S.E Hickory
June 27 and July 18
In these classes you will learn how to make the most of seasonal produce with simple, fast recipes and a bag of produce sourced from local farmers. Cost is $10 per class which includes the cost of the produce. Each class will feature different recipes and produce.
  Click here to register
or call Cooperative Extension at 828-465-8240
Coordinated by the Cooperative Extension Small Farms and Local Foods and Hickory Soup Kitchen

 Attention - Aspiring Food Business Entrepreneurs:  

Click on the link below for answers to questions regarding starting a food business. Whether you are interested in selling value-added products at a farmers market or starting a 
food truck. You will find information to help you, including agencies that regulate food businesses.

Putting Small Farms to Work

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

Register on-line here or call our office 828-465-8240.
                                    We have extended the 
 The challenge will now run through May 2018!
Participate individually or with a team of classmates, co-workers or friends for the chance to win some prizes to help you eat healthy! 
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.
ASPIRE: ACT Prep Class 
Thursdays, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m
June - September
Agricultural Resources Center
1175 South Brady Ave, Newton 

Nervous about testing? Want to learn some tips to prepare or improve your ACT test score? Now accepting registration for high school students who would like to participate in  ASPIRE, a 30-hour ACT prep course offered through NCSU and Cooperative Extension. 

Summer ASPIRE begins with an ACT practice test on Saturday morning, June 9. Class sessions follow beginning on June 21. 

The cost is $165 with a $100 refund at course conclusion for those who complete all 4 practice test and attend at least 50% of the classes Scholarships  available.The fee includes 4 full length practice test with score reports, 30 hours of instruction, a full-length course workbook, and supplement workbook with more than 1000 practice questions and explanations, and access to Princeton Review online resources. Register online through NCSU at http://harvest.cals.ncsu.ed by May 25.  

The course is taught by Donna Mull, 4-H Agent, and Hannah Burke, former high school math teacher. For more information contact Donna Mull at or 828-465-8242. 

4-H Summer Fun 
Ages  6 and older 

Lots of great summer learning activities are planned with  4-H Summer Fun. We have summer enrichment workshops and camps ranging from a few hours to full week programs. You can find the complete schedule posted on the Extension website at

Here are a few highlights....
* Farm to Table - June 12-14
* Zoo Snooze - June 21-22
* Cake Decorating - June 26-27
* Destination College - July 17-19
* Investigate Health - July 24-26
* Discovery Days - July 30-Aug. 1
* Lego Robotics - Aug. 8-9
* Extreme Makeover - Aug. 14-15
* Mini-Society - Aug. 20-24

See schedule on website for complete workshop/camp list! Lots of options for teens in 2018. 

It is not necessary to be in 4-H to participate.Limited scholarship assistance is available with applications due May 15. Spaces are filled on a first-come basis. You may register in person at the Cooperative Extension Office or print and mail your registration. For more information about Summer Fun contact Donna Mull or Tina McGillvary at Cooperative Extension at 

4-H Presentations

County Presentation Day - May 19
District Presentation Contest - June 19
State Presentation Contest - July 21

It's time to start preparing for 4-H Presentations! If you are new to 4-H, presentations are a contest that involve youth giving a short talk with visuals on a topic of their choice. Youth first give their presentations at our County Presentation Day and then have the chance to advance to a district and state contest. Catawba county youth participating in presentations earn 4-H clover cash (scholarship money) to use for 4-H activities of their choice. District presentation winners can earn scholarships to attend NC 4-H Congress. State winner can attend cash awards. 

If you want to try a slightly different option, consider the public speaking contest or Outdoor Grilling contest.  4-H'ers ages 5 and older can participate in presentations. If you want to participate in presentations for 2018, contact Donna Mull at or register online here. Register by May 11. 

What to learn more about presentations or want some help get started on your presentation? Contact Donna Mull, 4-H Agent. 

Online: Eventbrite 
or call 828-465-8240

Music by The Neighbors
Stay tuned for other Eat, Drink and Be Local Events during the week of June 16-21.
The next ServSafe Food Safety Manager Certification Training will be held on Thursday, May 31, and Tuesday, June 5, 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.

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 & Groups
Snowy Creek 4-H Horse Club
Catawba County Livestock Club
Balls Creek Adventurers 4-H Club
Robotics Competition Team 
Catawba County Youth Council
Bow Masters and More Archery Club
Sew Awesome Sewers
Snack Makers 4-H Club
DIG (Discoveries in Gardening)
Top Shots Shooting Sports
Bright Ideas STEM Club
Cultures of the World Club 
Electric SPIN Club  

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


Adult granulate  ambrosia  beetles were found in traps in Hickory, NC in early April. If you have had problems with this  pest  in the past, now is a good time to begin preventative trunk sprays on young trees. A trunk spray of bifenthrin (with a sticker) will protect the trunk for two weeks at most. Treat the area from the ground to the lower scaffold branches. Repeat sprays are required. Protecting the trunk is the only control method available at this time. 

Host Trees to this pest include: 
Callery pear  Chinese elm  Crapemyrtle  Dogwood  Fig  Goldenraintree  Magnolia  Maple  Oak  Ornamental cherry  Peach  Persimmon  Plum  Redbud  Silverbell (Halesia)  Snowbell (Styrax)  Sweetgum  Tulip poplar and many others!

For more information on granulate ambrosia beetle, click here                                                                                                        

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. 
   NC State Extension Videos - 
Check out these You Tube Channels

 Top 10 Food Safety Myths For Farmers

Take a look at this surprising list from the 
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.
   Extension Video Highlight 
2017 Advanced Gardener 
Photo Competition Winners
Sign up now for the Master Gardener Course in 2019
Class is limited to 20 prepaid participants
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.
                       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.
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