August 2012
Final CEFS CC Banner
In This Issue
Local Governments See Health, Economic Benefits of Local Foods
Farewell to our 2012 Summer Interns!
Upcoming SOSA Workshops
NCSU Agroecology Farm: Up and Growing!
Welcome Jennifer MacDougall, CEFS' Newest Board Member
CEFS Graduate Students Participate in Croatian Exchange Program
NC Sustainable Local Foods Advisory Council
CEFS Dairy Unit Develops "CowVac" to Control Horn Flies Without Insecticides
NC Choices Meat Producer Survey

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Local Governments See Health, Economic Benefits of Local Foods

10% tomato    

The adage "health is wealth" is proving true for a host of North Carolina cities and counties. As the costs of treating nutrition-related diseases like obesity rise (estimated to be $147 billion in 2008) and the disease-fighting benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables are proven, municipalities from the mountains to the coast are making the connection between eating well and reducing health care costs. The Wellness Initiative of the North Carolina League of Municipalities (NCLM), which provides health insurance options to municipal governments across North Carolina, recently joined the NC 10% Campaign, a CEFS initiative that encourages North Carolinians to commit 10% of their existing food dollars to locally grown and produced foods.


Read more.... 

Bye/Adios/ Doviđenja* to our Wonderful 2012 Summer Interns!

*"Goodbye" in Croatian


The 2012 Summer Sustainable Agriculture Internship Program has officially drawn to a close. This year's group of 16 students hailed from North Carolina, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Michigan, as well as from Croatia and Honduras. They were one of our very best groups and it was difficult to say goodbye!


Interns participated in community activities around Goldsboro, worked side-by-side with the farm manager and apprentices on the Small Farm Unit, attended lectures and discussions on nearly every topic related to sustainable agriculture, and went on field trips to see examples of North Carolina's thriving local and sustainable food movement.


Interns also participated in a diversity of faculty-mentored research experiences on topics including soil ecology, outdoor swine production, agroforestry, high tunnel production, cover crops, sunflower production, weed identification in the long-term systems unit, and community food systems development.  Their final presentations will be available on the CEFS website soon.


For more information on next year's internship program, please contact Lisa Forehand or keep an eye on our website internship pages.


Upcoming SOSA Workshops




Social Media for Farmers: August 14 & 16


Small Scale Egg Production Field Day: September 19



For more information, visit the 2012 Seasons of Sustainable Agriculture Workshop Series Calendar.


Sustaining Sponsor:

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 NCSU Agroecology Education Farm: Up and Growing!

CEFS interns at the Agroecology Education Farm
2012 CEFS interns at the Agroecology Education Farm helping to clear brush, weed, and remove trees.


We are excited to introduce a new CEFS-supported educational farm at NC State! Led by Dr. Michelle Schroeder-Moreno, NCSU's Agroecology Program Director, the Agroecology Education Farm (AEF) will help facilitate hands-on, inquiry-based learning in agroecology and sustainable agriculture for NCSU students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community.  


In addition, the Agroecology Education Farm has established a partnership with Green Planet Catering to provide increased educational opportunities, outreach with a culinary focus, and locally supplied produce.


"I am very excited about this facility as a student farm to promote hands-on learning about sustainable agriculture for students and also as an important resource for the surrounding community.  We are also looking forward to working collaboratively with Dining Services and the Office of Sustainability at NCSU to increase education and awareness about local and sustainable foods across the university," said Schroeder-Moreno.


Volunteer hours at the AEF are every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday from 4 pm to sunset. For more information, visit the AEF's Facebook page, or contact Dr. Michelle Schroeder-Moreno or  




 Welcome to Jennifer MacDougall, CEFS' Newest Board Member


 CEFS is happy to welcome Jennifer MacDougall, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation's Healthy Active Communities Program Manager, to its Board of Directors. Jennifer is from Cary NC and received both her B.S. and M.S. in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from North Carolina State University.


Jennifer oversees the Foundation's investments as they relate to achieving the vision of North Carolinians of all ages having access to the key components of healthy living through integrated initiatives that create environments for physical activity and healthy eating.


Previously, Jennifer worked with NC State University's Recreation Resources Service where she assisted municipal and county parks and recreation departments in the development and management of both the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund and Land and Water Conservation Fund projects. In addition, Jennifer worked collaboratively with parks and recreation agencies across the state to help develop partnerships between parks and recreation and public health agencies for the benefit of community health.


Jennifer currently serves as on the Eat Smart Move More Leadership Team, the North Carolina Institute of Medicine Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Task Force Steering Committee, the Advocates for Health in Action Executive Committee, the NC FoodCorps Advisory Team, and the North Carolina Obesity Prevention Funders Alliance.


Says Jennifer, "I was drawn to serve on the CEFS Board because of the impact that CEFS has had and can have in our state and in our nation to improve our food system. It is only by improving our food system that we can increase access to healthy, local food throughout our state and help the BCBSNC Foundation achieve its mission of improving the health and well-being of North Carolinians."


We are very excited to Welcome Jennifer to the CEFS Board of Directors!  For the full list of CEFS Board Members, click here.

CEFS Graduate Students Participate in Croatian Exchange Program

Suzanne with Dabi and Danijela, the day before their departure to the U.S. to participate in the CEFS summer internship program. The famous Dolac market flower vendors can be seen in the background.

CEFS doctoral students Suzanne O'Connell (Horticultural and Soil Science) and Aaron Fox (Crop Science and Entomology) have recently returned from a month-long exchange program at the University of Zagreb in Croatia. The program is the result of a partnership between the University and NC State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The goal of the exchange was to evaluate, from a graduate student's perspective, the potential of establishing more formal academic exchanges in the future.


Together they visited more than a dozen university departments engaged in agricultural and resource-management related research and participated in a European course on global climate change.


Croatia is located in Southeast Europe. There are three distinct geographic regions including the Adriatic coast, the mountains, and the Pannonian plains. Due to the diversity of climates, both temperate and sub-tropical crops are widely grown. The country was heavily influenced by the Austrian and Ottoman Empires, both World Wars, and more recently the rise and fall of communist Yugoslavia. Next summer, Croatia will officially become a part of the EU.

Many researchers are concerned about how EU integration will affect Croatia's agricultural community. As a result, current research efforts focus on improving the production and marketing of high quality and unique regional products, improving environmental protection and remediation efforts, understanding and addressing the effects of global climate change, and identifying alternative sources of nitrogen and phosphorus for fertilizers.


Both students have created online travel journals (click here for Suzanne's, and here for Aaron's) and will be presenting a talk this October at NCSU. They are available to share more about their experiences and can be reached at: and

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Message from the Directors 



Greetings from CEFS!   It's the middle of summer and yes, it's hot.  According to a recent article by Bill McKibbon published in Rolling Stone: "June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere - the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe".  



While we have all kinds of great CEFS news to report, we are also aware of the significant challenge that lies before us in terms of food production, especially in a world where the climate is becoming more unpredictable and extreme. As of Tuesday July 16th, USDA had declared agricultural crop disasters in more than 1,100 counties across 27 states. Statistics like this one make the work of developing healthy and vibrant local and regional food systems even more urgent.



In this e-newsletter, you'll read about some of the work that CEFS is doing to build sustainable food systems that will help meet the challenges of the future. From the policy level - the Sustainable Local Foods Advisory Council - to the farm level - the innovative "CowVac" developed at our Pasture-Based Dairy Unit - and everywhere in between, CEFS and its network of partners are working to create a new future for agriculture.



But, beyond the work, we call on all of us as individuals, our government (both sides of the aisle), and the business community to work together to curb greenhouse gas emissions. We are running out of time. This is not our typical Message from the Directors, but with the heat of summer bearing down, it's time to explicitly call for action and awareness about the biggest challenge that we face ahead.



John O'Sullivan Signature

Dr. John O'Sullivan

CEFS Director, NCA&TSU

Dr. Nancy Creamer

CEFS Director, NCSU













NC Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council


North Carolina's Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council - one of the "game changer" initiatives that emerged from CEFS' statewide Farm to Fork process - is a legislated body that was formed in 2009 to build on the Farm to Fork momentum and facilitate opportunities to develop local food  markets and to address barriers and opportunities for food systems change.  The Council has 24 appointees, with broad representation across the food system. CEFS Director Dr. Nancy Creamer was appointed to the Council by Governor Perdue in 2010 and serves as its vice-chair.


The purpose of the Council, as stated in SB 1067, is to "contribute to building a local food economy, thereby benefiting North Carolina by creating jobs, stimulating statewide economic development, circulating money from local food sales within local communities, preserving open space, decreasing the use of fossil fuel and thus reducing carbon emissions, preserving and protecting the natural environment, increasing consumer access to fresh and nutritious foods, and providing greater food security for all North Carolinians. "


The Council's three subcommittees have had some major wins since inception. Some of the successes have been legislative: for example, through HB 162, farmers generating small quantities of wastewater from on-farm processing activities such as making goat cheese or wine may now dispose of that water through land application as long as the application does not run into surface water or violate ground or surface water standards.   Previously, there was no clear way described to handle the small amounts of wastewater, and producers were caught in a quagmire of regulatory questions and different interpretations between state agencies. This simple change makes it easier for producers who would like to get into value-added processing on their farm.


Some of the wins have occurred through supporting other legislative councils where our interests overlap. For example, in 2010, the Childhood Obesity Task Force put forth a recommendation - which the SLFAC passed a resolution in support of - to strengthen the Farm to School Program. The resultant HB 1832 directed the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to strengthen the Farm to School program by dedicating a new staff person to assist with administering the program.


Other times, significant wins occur just by drawing attention to an issue. For example, at a SFLAC meeting in 2010, Don Delozier, Director of NCDA&CS' Meat and Poultry Inspection Division, was on the agenda to discuss the origin of the 1000-head poultry limit for on-farm slaughter. As part of his response, he announced that there would be no additional requirements for processing up to 20,000 birds on-farm. This change in interpretation or clarification of policy in this case made the difference between a non-economically viable and an economically viable farm operation. NCDA&CS followed up with a new regulatory notice explaining the 20,000 poultry exemption with MPID Notice 10-10


When it was authorized, the Council was set to expire in July 2012. Thanks to the diligence of many partners (with NCDA&CS taking the lead, NC Farm Bureau, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, and others), the Council's legislative sunset has been extended to July 2015 (SB 491).


Follow the work of the Sustainable Local Foods Advisory Council here.

 CEFS Dairy Unit Develops "CowVac" to Control Horn Flies Without Insecticides


The horn fly is the southern US' most serious cattle pest. This small biting fly takes about 10 to 12 bloodmeals per day; blood loss can be significant because infested cattle may carry several hundred to thousands of flies. Traditionally, cattle producers have relied upon insecticides to control these flies. However, fly populations have developed resistance to most insecticides approved for use on cattle.



Organic dairy farmers have fewer options to protect their cattle from these pests.   When the CEFS Dairy Unit began to study the feasibility of producing organic milk, it became imperative to develop an alternative fly management system. To address the horn fly problem, NCSU Entomologist Steve Denning designed a unique vacuum-powered walk-through fly-trap to remove flies from cattle as they pass through the trap (Figure 1).




Figure 1


Mean horn fly densities were above 700 per cow when the study began on May 29, 2007. Within one week of operation the device removed 410,000 horn flies from the cattle passing through, and during the second week an additional 457,000 horn flies were trapped (Figure 2). 




Figure 2



Mean horn fly densities were reduced from 775 to 263 per cow the first week, and by the third week fly densities were reduced to 150 flies per cow. The number of flies trapped by the third week had dropped to 216,000 and there was a 70% reduction in horn flies compared to a control group. By Sept. 26, 2007 over 2.4 million flies had been removed from 180 cows using the trap.



This innovative solution is now part of routine cattle management at the CEFS Dairy Unit and has allowed the herd to be insecticide-free for 5 years.  


To learn more about the Pasture-Based Dairy Unit, visit the CEFS website.











 NC Choices' Meat Producer Survey Shows Projected Growth, Challenges of Small-Scale Producers Statewide

NC Choices logo  


NC Choices, a CEFS initiative that promotes the advancement of North Carolina's local, niche and pasture-based meat supply, recently conducted an online survey of the state's small-scale meat producers. The survey, which focused on beef, pork, and chicken production, was sent to agriculture-related public e-mail listservs throughout the state and was completed by 104 participants. The results provide insight into the projected future growth - and potential barriers to growth - of small-scale meat production in the state.


Survey Respondents

Of the 104 respondents, 23% raise all three categories of meat (pork, beef, and poultry); 3% raise pork only; 13% raise beef only; 29% raise poultry only; and 32% raise a combination of two out of the three species. Of the respondents who sell poultry, the majority sell less than 500 head; of the respondents sell beef, the majority sell 50 head or less; and of the respondents who sell hogs, the majority sell 100 head or less.


Survey Results

All three categories (beef, pork, and poultry) show the trend of small producers scaling up production. Poultry producers, for example, expect to sell 59,732 head in 2012 and 241,910 head in 2014 - four times as much. Beef producers expect to sell 2,846 head in 2012 and 6,088 head in 2014 - more than double. And pork producers expect to sell 5,737 head in 2012 and 10,008 head in 2014 - almost double.


Although producers plan to increase their production, they also reported significant barriers to the growth of their business. These were (numbers indicate the percentage of respondents that ranked the potential barrier as either "somewhat of a challenge" or "a major challenge"): high input costs (i.e., fuel, feeds, etc...) - 79%; lack of quality meat processing (value added, smoked, cooked, ready-to-eat products) - 71%; high processing costs - 71%; lack of capital (money to invest in livestock, infrastructure or equipment) - 66%; and distance to animal slaughter - 52%.


Says Casey McKissick, NC Choices Coordinator, "NC Choices' field work over the last 3 years has brought our organizational programming goals to focus entirely on advancing the meat processing sector for independent producers. This survey further validated that this is the direction that producers, processors and buyers need the most help with".


You can find the full survey results here, or visit for more information Stay connected with news, events and upcoming educational opportunities by subscribing to the NC Choices News email listserv at

Mission & History of CEFS

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems develops and promotes food and farming systems that protect the environment, strengthen local communities, and provide economic opportunities in North Carolina and beyond.

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University established the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at the Cherry Farm facility near Goldsboro, NC in 1994. These partners work closely with state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, farmers, and citizens to provide agricultural research, extension, and education for our state.
The development of CEFS is a national model for partnership, innovation, and interdisciplinary cooperation.

To learn more about CEFS, please visit:

Center for Environmental Farming Systems
Box 7609 - NCSU
Raleigh, NC 27695