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East National Technology Support Center 

In This Issue
Under Cover Farmers
Sustaining Healthy Farms
Winter Grazing
Webinar Training Recap
CY2013 Webinar Survey
Assistance Highlights
Employee News
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Director's Column
FY2012 - 4th Qtr

ENTSC OfficeThe transition to autumn in North Carolina is always a special time for those of us who call this state our home! With this transition we are also beginning a new fiscal year, which might present significant challenges as we try to provide assistance and meet the needs of the states. We anticipate relying more on communications technology to provide training and pertinent information. The ENTSC has a well-established webinar training program, and we will likely expand this effort. Video conferencing and more broad-based regional training are other options to meet the needs of our customers. 


For employee convenience, we archive webinar training in the Science and Technology Training Library. Webinar replays are available for the public's use at the ENTSC Web site. We invested in captioning several of our most popular webinar titles this year to make them more accessible to individuals with disabilities. Soon, these webinars will be offered in AgLearn to help employees and supervisors meet training and documentation needs. We plan to continue captioning replays as our budget allows. We always strive to meet the needs of our customers by providing training that is useful and improves job performance. Your feedback in this effort is critical, so we encourage you to participate in the Your Vote Counts webinar topic survey that is discussed more in this newsletter.


Many of the ENTSC staff have provided assistance with practice payment schedules, devoting hundreds of hours providing review and feedback to the states for the regional payment schedules. Although time consuming, we are confident that the products being developed will provide equity to the farmers and ranchers participating in conservation programs. 


As always, we appreciate the opportunity to serve you - our customers!  We want to always meet your needs and advance our slogan - The Science of Conservation, We Deliver!


Elvis Graves
Acting Director

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Now Playing: Under Cover Farmers
Growing Cover Crop Mixes Yields Multiple Benefits
Under Cover Farmers - Feature Length
Under Cover Farmers
Follow our Under Cover Farmers to learn how three producers in Stanly County, NC, started growing multispecies cover crops to improve soil health and their economic bottom line. Their journey begins with education, provided in this video as comments from NRCS soil health experts and farmers with years of experience successfully growing and managing multispecies cover crops. These comments, along with the learning experiences of the North Carolina producers growing cover crop mixes for the first time, are useful for urging other farmers to take their next steps toward implementation. Our Under Cover Farmers were able to realize economic returns on their investment in the first year, while initiating a management system on their land that helps build soil health. Increased infiltration and improved nutrient cycling are among the benefits gained.

This video was produced through a partnership agreement between Dr. Robin 'Buz' Kloot, Earth Sciences and Resources Institute, University of South Carolina, and the USDA NRCS East National Technology Support Center. The video launches from our ENTSC YouTube Channel. Contact David Lamm, National Soil Health and Sustainability Team Leader, for more information.

Take this opportunity to join our soil health mailing list for the latest information available from the National Soil Health and sustainability Team. USDA employees are also invited to join our Soil Health Community to participate in discussion forums and meet others interested in building healthy soil for life!

The opinions expressed in this video are those of the farmers and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of USDA.
Sustaining Healthy Farms
Partnership Produces Training
Great golden digger wasp on wingstem
Great golden digger wasp on wingstem
Farming organically and sustainably means keying in on soil health and beneficial insects to improve whole farm management-farming approaches the NRCS ENTSC actively supports. At a recent Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Training program in Charleston, SC, NRCS staff learned the nuts and bolts of organic certification and organic soil fertility and pest (insect and weed) management techniques. In organic and sustainable systems, those management techniques might better be called nutrient exchange and pest prevention. Managing production and cover crops with an understanding of effects on plant production, pollination, pest populations, and disease can reduce pest and disease pressure while increasing production. The training was designed to support implementation of NRCS' EQIP Organic Initiative that provides financial and technical assistance for certified organic producers, producers transitioning to organic, and producers selling less than $5,000 of organic products (and therefore not required to be certified). However, these management techniques benefit all types of farms. 

Organized by National Soil Health and Sustainability Team Leader David Lamm and SC State Agronomist Gordon Mikell in collaboration with Dr. Geoffrey Zehnder of Clemson University's IPM and Sustainable Agriculture Program, presenters included ENTSC Pollinator Conservation Specialist Dr. Nancy Adamson (who works jointly with the Xerces Society and ENTSC), Dr. Mark Schonbeck of the Virginia Association of Biological Farming, Dr. Chris Reberg-Horton and Dr. Julie Grossman of NC State University, Sherry Aultman and Ryan Merck of the Clemson Organic Certification Program, and Pete Ambrose, owner of Ambrose Farm where the field portion of the training was held. Presentations and supporting materials for the training are available.
Winter Grazing - a Better Way to Feed
Keeping Livestock on Pasture
Winter Grazing - a Better Way to Feed
Winter Grazing - a Better Way to Feed
With the continuing volatility of energy costs, livestock producers are looking for ways to save on inputs. Stockpiling forage to extend the grazing season and strip grazing to improve forage utilization offer economic and environmental benefits. In Winter Grazing - a Better Way to Feed, three livestock producers describe how extending the grazing season has saved them time and money, while also improving the environment; and they demonstrate the methods they used to achieve these savings. This video shows that livestock producers in any region of the US where there are pastures can take advantage of this system.

Much of the data presented in the video was collected and analyzed as part of projects covering more than 25 farms in North Carolina in a collaborative effort between North Carolina NRCS and North Carolina State University's Animal Science Department. This video was produced through a partnership agreement between Dr. Robin 'Buz' Kloot, Earth Sciences and Resources Institute, University of South Carolina, and the USDA NRCS East National Technology Support Center. The video launches from our ENTSC YouTube Channel. Contact Steve Woodruff, Agronomist, for more information.

The opinions expressed in this video are those of the producers and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of USDA.
Webinar Topics & FY2012 Recap

Webinar Dates Topics

Not receiving our webinar announcements? Join our mailing list.   

Numbers tell the Success Story

The numbers are in for the FY2012 ENTSC webinar training program. Actual NRCS State participation (multiple participants joining under one login) is estimated at 4,890! The numbers suggest a broad impact and customer selectivity for these voluntary training events. Many of you are included in these impressive statistics:

  • 4,332 total logins for 28 webinars
  • Average of 155 logins per training event
  • 3,260 NRCS State Domain logins
  • 2,015 unique participants joined an average of two webinars
  • 376 Certified Crop Advisor CEUs were awarded
  • West Virginia and Maryland are among the highest number of logins (interesting considering state size)
  FY2012 East NTSC Webinar Participation


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CY2013 Webinar Survey
surveyHelp Pick the Topics

NRCS employees in state, area, and field offices are invited to complete our Your Vote Counts survey (employee intranet) to help determine our CY2013 webinar schedule. East Region state resource conservationists and state conservation engineers submitted a diverse list of needed training for the ENTSC to include in our survey. We've tweaked the titles and combined, as needed, to offer a list of 34 potential topics to fill 11 slots in our monthly training schedule.


To complete the survey:

  • Select your state (required entry)
  • Browse the topic list to determine your top five preferred topics
  • Rank your favorite topic using 1, your second favorite topic using 2, etc. until you have ranked your fifth favorite topic using 5
  • Do NOT rank all topics
  • Do NOT use a ranking number more than once
  • Use the last entry to suggest a topic for future training
  • Select Finish to submit your survey
  • Complete the survey by November 16  

Contact Holli Kuykendall, Ecologist, for more information.

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Assistance Highlights
FY2012 Qtr 4 Assistance Follow us on Twitter!
Follow us @USDA_NRCS_ENTSC to receive Technology Tweets. We'll let you know when we release new products, announce webinars, and know of items that will interest you. We have a growing list of followers, and it is always interesting to see which of our Tweets are re-Tweeted by NRCS offices and other partners. Soil Health Tweets are always popular.


Technical Assistance Delivery 

In the fourth quarter of FY2012, the Center provided assistance on 113 requests, of which 56 were direct assistance to states, 15 were regional, and 42 were national activities. In addition to direct assistance to the states, the Center supported 17 training events to a combined audience of more than 1,035 participants. Assistance by state is shown in the East Region NTSC Service Area map at right.


Visit the Science and Technology Training Library (employee intranet) for training materials, webinar replays, and to view our upcoming webinar calendar. Contact Holli Kuykendall, Ecologist, or Anthony Burns, National Technology Specialist, for more information.

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Employee News

Sociologist Gail Brant receives Two Chiefs' Award Sociologist Receives Two Chiefs' Award 

The 2011 Two Chiefs' Partnership Award (Forest Service, NRCS) presented in September 2012 recognized an exemplary project and its partner groups that worked collaboratively to support conservation and forest stewardship. The U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station and Southern Region worked with Southern Regional Extension Forestry, North Carolina State University, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, NRCS, and North Carolina A&T State University to produce two webinars about the Southern Forest Futures Project and three webinars about invasive plants. These webinars and many more are available at the Forestry and Natural Resources Webinar Portal. Partners emphasized outreach efforts to underserved audiences.

Among those honored was our own sociologist, Gail Brant, for incorporating the human element into the training. Congratulations, Gail!