Catawba County Center
April , 2016
Catawba County Center
USDA Programs 
Outreach Assistance for Hmong Producers
Tuesday, April 5th, 2016
Doors Open at 9:30am
Program: 10am-1pm

Join us to learn about the different programs that the USDA Natural Resource Conservation District (NRCS) and Rural Development (RD) offers for farmers. We will be sharing different types of program such as the organic initiative and high tunnel systems through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). 

Open to all individuals. A Hmong translator will be on site. All participants must register to attend the program. For additional information or to register, please contact Der Xiong at 828-465-8248  or email at To print the English version, please download the USDA Programs flyer. To print the Hmong version, please download the Hmong Version of the USDA Program flyer .

Servsafe - Serving Food Safe Certification Course
Wednesday, April 6, 2016 9am-5pm and 
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 9am-4pm
Agricultural Resources Center
1175 S Brady Avenue
Newton, NC

SERVSAFE Certification Training Participants are trained and tested for certification through the ServSafe Manager 6th edition book. The class 
is taught in English and materials are written on an 8th grade reading level. The course 
will cover the latest information in food safety, including personal hygiene; how to use 
food thermometers and keep temperature logs; how to prepare, store, cook, hold, cool, 
reheat and serve food safely; and methods of cleaning and sanitizing. Compliance with Food 
Safety rules North Carolina's adoption of the Federal Food Code requires the presence of a 
"Person---in---Charge" with food safety certification that can demonstrate food safety knowledge and active managerial control. ServSafe certification will help food service establishments meet this requirement. 
*Ann Simmons, Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, North Carolina Cooperative 
Extension, Certified ServSafe Instructor and Exam Proctor. 
* Environmental Health Specialists from the Catawba County Environmental Health Department (when schedules allow). 

Catawba Farms Farmers' Market
Date: Wednesday, April 6
Time: 6:30 PM
1670 Southwest Blvd., Newton, NC 28658

An informational and enrollment meeting for interested farmers and craftspeople will be held on Wednesday, April 6th at 6:30 pm about the new, weekly Catawba Farms Farmers' Market that will be held Saturdays from 8 am-2 pm at Catawba Farms, 1670 Southwest Blvd., Newton, NC 28658. For more information please visit the Catawba Farms website.

Kat at Microbiology Training
NEW Science Series 
Starts April 14 
2nd Thursday of each Month
4:00 - 5:30 p.m. 
Agricultural Resources Center
1175 South Brady Avenue, Newton 
Ages 9 and older

Explore the world of invisible invaders in our body and environment with hands-on activities and experiments from the new 4-H Microbiology curriculum.  This new club will meet monthly starting in April and continuing through December 2016. The series will be led by teen teacher, Kat Stulpin, along with help from Sue Stulpin (adult leader). Kat was part of the group of teens trained to teach this curriculum during the Microbiology TRY training. To register to participate, contact Donna Mull, at 828-465-8240 or 

4-H Mini-Gardens
Starts April 14 
Youth ages 8 and older
Cost: $10

Start your own vegetable seeds at the Extension Office high tunnel for springtime planting! Return in May to learn some gardening basics and pick-up the plants you started to create your own garden at home!

Create a mini vegetable at your home and care for it during the summer months.  Create a 4-H mini-garden book to journal your progress.  Judges will visit the garden during the summer for on-site judging.  Youth will be recognized with awards for their winning garden, project book and participation in September! 

To register to participate, contact Donna Mull, at 828-465-8240 or by April 11. 4-H membership is not required to participate. 

Postharvest Handling for Improved Shelf Life
Date: Thursday, April 7
Time: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Location: Rowan County Center, 2727 Old Concord Road, Salisbury, NC 28146
Registration Fee: $35.00/person (Includes lunch and snacks)
Online Registration

The economic success of fruit and vegetable production is highly dependent on postharvest quality preservation. When marketing fresh fruits and vegetables, understanding the processes affecting product quality during storage and transportation is essential in obtaining a premium price for the product.

To assist growers in developing skills that will provide a competitive advantage within the fresh produce market, the NC Growing Together Project (NCGT) will offer a series of Postharvest Physiology, Pathology and Handling Workshops, in collaboration with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Participants will learn approaches and technologies to maintain product quality and extend shelf-life, limiting postharvest disorders and loss of sales.

Geared toward producers selling into wholesale markets, as well as Extension Agents who are assisting growers with wholesale market expansion, this full-day, hands-on workshop will offer a variety of tools to assist growers in meeting US Grade #1 Standards. The workshops will be conducted by Trish Tripp, NCGT Produce Supply Chain Development Liaison and George Wilson, PhD, Postharvest Horticulturist.

Questions: Contact Karla Capacetti at (919) 308-2750 or

Good Agricultural Practices One-Day Workshop: Navigating the USDA GAP Audit

Date: Monday, April 11
Time: 9:00am - 4:00pm
Location: Summerfield Farms, 3203 Pleasant Ridge Road, Summerfield, NC 27358
Registration Fee: $20 (includes lunch)
Register Online: Register HERE

North Carolina State University and North Carolina Cooperative Extension are partnering with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems/North Carolina Growing Together Project (CEFS/NCGT) and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) to deliver workshops across the state with the aim of providing farmers with the tools to reduce food safety risks and meet market requirements.

The Navigating the USDA GAP Audit workshop, will combine classroom and on-farm instruction to provide producers with the tools needed to identify potential food safety concerns, as well as strategies to minimize potential contamination. Available resources, including cost-share assistance and consulting services, will be provided to growers to assist with the implementation of an effective on-farm food safety program.
Participants will receive a Certificate of Attendance to fulfill training requirements for USDA GAP/GHP certification.

Portions of the workshop will take place outside. Please wear comfortable walking shoes, bring a water bottle, and appropriate weather gear. The workshop will take place rain or shine.
If you have additional questions regarding the workshop, please contact Trish Tripp, Produce Supply Chain Development Liaison, NC Growing Together at 336-458-6980 or email at Location Contact: Lauren (
Backyard Poultry Seminar
Wednesday, April 13th 6:30-7:30 PM
Tractor Supply
3250 US Hwy 70 SE
Newton, NC

Get started raising chickens in your own backyard. This is a free, interactive presentation brought to you by Nutrena.  Read this flyer for more information.


Garden Insects: Identify and Manage Pests and Beneficials

Thursday, April 14, 2016

6:00 - 7:00 PM

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library
375 3rd St NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Newton Public Library
115 West C Street, Newton, NC 28658

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Maiden Branch Library
11 South A Ave., Maiden, NC  28650

Which insects are good for your garden?  Which insects will destroy your garden?  How do you prevent against pest damage?  Dr. George Place will discuss how to manage those pesky garden pests and instruct you on which insects will help your garden.


Farmers Market Opening Day
Saturday, April 16, 2016

Visit the Farmer Market Websites for activities, vendors, products, and more information.
Come out for some good fun and great food.  Meet your local farmers and connect with the community that is building a local food network in Catawba County. 

Check out this map of all the great farmers markets in Catawba County (schedule included) - courtesy of our AWESOME Catawba County GIS team
AMSTA Grantwriting Workshops for Farmers Market Promotion and Local Foods Promotion Grants
April 18, 2016 
9 AM - 4 PM
Agricultural Resources Center
1175 S Brady Avenue
Newton, NC

Register here:                         

This workshop is designed to help potential grant applicants understand, develop, and submit their Federal grant applications for the $30 million Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program

As you may know, the USDA views the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program as a key to revitalizing rural economies by supporting local and regional food systems. The expectation is that these grant workshops will allow communities and businesses nationally to develop and submit competitive grant proposals that stimulate economic activity while also meeting the increasing demand for food that is grown locally or regionally. 

The Farmers Market Promotion Program supports farmers markets and other direct producer-to-consumer activities, while the Local Food Promotion Program supports enterprises that aggregate, store, distribute and process local and regional food.
For more info see this flyer
"Discover the Cover" 

Cover Crop Workshop for Back Yard or Market Gardener
Tuesday April 19th, 2016
Sandy Ridge Baptist Church
3702 16th St. NE, Hickory, NC 28601
Cost: $15--includes lunch

Join us for a fun filled day learning about cover crops. As a small farmer, market gardener, or back yard gardener, incorporating and terminating cover crops can be a bit challenging. Come learn about how to terminate your fall cover crop and learn about different summer cover crop varieties. We will also have a demonstration about different equipment that's more adaptable for small farmers. 

 For more information, please contact Der Xiong at 828-465-8248 or email at You can download the Discover the Cover registration forms or print the form at
Need Room to Grow?
We're looking for interested growers..
Wednesday April 20th, 2016
Catawba Agricultural Resource Center
Room Meeting B

The Catawba County Cooperative Extension Center in conjunction with their Small Farms Demonstration Site is opening their doors to any new interested growers. The program provides land and water, business education, and production and marketing assistance to help anyone interested in getting their farm enterprise started. 

Perfect for any individual who is interested in:
  • Making part time income from farming 
  • Scaling up their gardens for market
  • Gaining experience growing for market with no experience working on farm
For more information or to register for the interest meeting, please contact Der Xiong at 828-465-8248 or emailing at To print information, please download the small farms demonstration site interest flyer.
Taste of 4-H Cooking Contest
April 23, 2016 
10 AM
Agricultural Resources Center
1175 S Brady Avenue, Newton
Youth ages 6 and older

Create a tasty dish using the recipe of your choice. Display the dish with a place setting of your choice. Items and place setting  judged by ages and categories and prizes awarded for the best young chefs in Catawba County.  Consider a healthy recipe using local foods! Categories are: Dessert, Main Dish, Vegetable/Side Dish, or Seasonal Favorite.  Ages 6 and older. Cost: $3 per child entry fee.  Contact the Extension Center for an entry form. Deadline to enter is April 15. 4-H membership not required to participate.  
Pesticide Training For 'V' Credits
April 27, 2016 
10 AM to 12 PM (2 hours V Credit)
Agricultural Resources Center
1175 S Brady Avenue
Newton, NC

We will hold a two hour pesticide credit training for 'V' credits.  Visit the NCDA Pesticide Website to see whether you need these credits to maintain your license.  You can look up your license status at this link.  Be sure to bring your license.
Campers at Penn 4-H Camp, 2010
4-H Camp
Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Camp
Reidsville, NC 
June 12-17
Ages 8-14
Join the Catawba County group for a week at 4-H camp to start off your summer vacation.  Penn is a traditional camp offering activities such as canoeing, horseback riding, hiking, swimming,. environmental science activities, and much more. We attend as a county group with transportation provided to and from camp. Donna Mull, Catawba County 4-H Agent, will attend with the group. The deadline to register is May 1.  

NC 4-H also offers a variety of specialty camps including:
Fur. Fish and Game Camp
Shooting Sports Camp
Deaf Camp
Horsemanship Camp
And more! 
Find the complete list of camps and use the on-line registration to register for the camp and week of your choice.

4-H'ers may use scholarship money to pay for camp and/or apply for additional scholarship money to attend specialty camps. Contact Donna Mull, 4-H Agent, for a scholarship application. 

Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Camp Open House
Sunday, May 15
Register by May 10
Spend Sunday afternoon traveling together and visiting Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Camp in Reidsville. Sample camp activities such as fishing and archery, hike to the Beaver Pond, check out the camp cabins, and more. This is a great chance for families to visit and consider camp for future summers or for current campers and parents to preview camp. 4-H alumni are also welcome! Attending the camp open house counts as a leader training event for those working toward earning the Emerald Seal with rechartering. 

Meet at the Extension Office at 1:00 p.m. to ride the Extension van. Bring a picnic supper. Youth must be accompanied by an adult.  The trip is limited to 4-H members or families with children register to attend camp in 2016. For information or to register to attend email or call 828-465-8240.

The Open House is open to public, so other families are welcome to attend on their own, if they wish. 
Public Health Farmers Market

2016 will be our 4th market season!  Join us every Thursday from 10 am-1pm, June to September, for fresh fruits, vegetables, and more. Our goal is to improve individual and community health by increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  

We'd love to see you at the market, located in the parking lot of Catawba County Public Health, just off Fairgrove Church Rd., behind Catawba Valley Medical Center (hospital). Cash, Debit, SNAP/EBT, WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers accepted.

Would you like to become a vendor?
We welcome new farmers! All our vendors accept all our payment sources and are certified to accept WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) FMNP (Farmers' Market Nutrition Program) coupons.  WIC FMNP coupons may only be redeemed for fresh, locally produced, and unprocessed fruits and vegetables.  If you're interested in becoming a vendor or would like more information about WIC certification for our market, contact Tracey Paul, market manager, at (828) 695-5861.
Please contact us for more information!
Tracey Paul, Market Manager
Catawba County Public Health Farmers Market
3070 11th Ave Dr SE
Hickory, NC  28602
Got To Be NC Newsletter

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


Weed Management: You Can Win the Weed War

Thursday, May 12, 2016

6:00 - 7:00 PM

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library
375 3rd St NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Tuesday, May 16, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Newton Public Library
115 West C Street, Newton, NC 28658

Tuesday, May 23, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Maiden Branch Library
11 South A Ave., Maiden, NC 28650

Find out how to prevent the growth of weeds in your garden, as well as what to do when they begin to grow.

ASPIRE: ACT Prep Class
Summer Session
Friday Mornings
Maiden Chapel Faith Center
1500 Fleetwood Drive, Hickory

Want some extra help getting ready for the ACT? We are now accepting registration for the summer ASPIRE class. The  30-hour ACT prep class with 4 practice tests will be taught on Friday mornings during summer break. This session is co-sponsored by Inspired Learning, a 21st century funded after-school program. The classes will be at Maiden Chapel Faith Center in Mt. View, where Inspired Learning is located and the practice test at the Ag Resources Center in Newton. The cost is $165 but you are eligible to receive up to a $100 refund based on attendance, after course completion. Scholarships are also available. 

This is a great chance to ease test anxiety, improve test taking skills, and increase your chances for scholarship and college admission at the school of your choice. Check out the website with details and application

Contact Donna Mull, 4-H Agent and ASPIRE instructor for more information at or 828-465-8240.  Limited to 15 students. 

Brookford Equestrians Horse Bowl Team - District Winners!
Horse Bowl Winners
Brookford Equestrian 4-H Club

Youth from Brookford Equestrians have been working for months to learn horse facts and sharpen their knowledge in horse science to prepare for horse bowl contests. The hours of studying and practice sessions resulted in a third place finish at the State Horse Bowl contest that was recently held on the campus of NCSU. The team qualified for the state contest after being undefeated and winning the district Horse Bowl contest earlier in the year. Horse Bowl team members are:  Maliha Shabeldeen, Morgan Correll, Kenzie Lee, Lauren Williams, and Claire Boger. Cindy Boger is the team coach and 4-H club leader.

Hippology is another knowledge based contest offered along with the Horse Bowl contest. Hippology involves a written test based on horse knowledge with identification of breeds, equipment, and feed. The Brookford Equestrians team placed 2nd in state in Hippology, with Lauren Williams earning the 4th place junior individual award for Hippology. Kenzie Lee and Lauren Williams also earned individual awards in the exam/identfication; Lee placed 5th and Williams placed 6th in the state contest. 


Garden Diseases: Identify and Manage Diseases and Disorders

Thursday, June 9, 2016

6:00 - 7:00 PM

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library
375 3rd St NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Tuesday, June 13, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Newton Public Library
115 West C Street, Newton, NC 28658

Tuesday, June 20, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Maiden Branch Library
11 South A Ave., Maiden, NC 28650

Blossom rot, powdery mildew, bacterial wilt.   Learn techniques for dealing with dreaded garden diseases with this helpful lecture from Dr. George Place.
Demo Garden Fund Raiser
Garden Kneelers For Sale
Only $25

We are selling garden kneelers for $25 to help raise funds for the expansion of our teaching/demo garden outside of our office. Use it as a sitting bench or flip it over to comfortably kneel in the garden. Contact Beth if you would like to get yours before we run out 828-465-8240.
Highlights of Extension
More articles from the Catawba County Center

Excerpt from "Tips to buying plants"
 by Der Xiong

"One key to having a healthy and lasting garden is starting with the correct plants. With all the slight variations in species, purchasing plants can be quite bewildering. As spring rolls around the corner, take some of these tips into consideration before you purchase any plants for your garden."

You can continue to read this article  "Tips to buying plants" via the hyperlink. 

One of Catawba County Cooperative Extension Center's goals is to provide readers with up-to-date research information about problems or situations that individuals may be facing through our weekly articles. You can find these in the Observer News Enterprise and Hickory Daily Record.
If you missed out on our articles in the local papers, you can still read these articles on our website at
Spotlight on AMAZING
Web Resources!!!

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network - CoCoRaHS - is an excellent website to track precipitation around our area. Just click on the state of NC and then select view the data. You can specify the dates and see how much rain was collected at the 6 volunteer weather stations around our county. 

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network, or CoCoRaHS, is looking for new volunteers across North Carolina. The grassroots effort is part of a growing national network of home-based and amateur rain spotters with a goal of providing a high density precipitation network that will supplement existing observations.

Volunteers may obtain an official rain gauge through the CoCoRaHS website ( ) for about $30 plus shipping. Besides the need for an official 4 inch plastic rain gauge, volunteers are required to take a simple training module online and use the CoCoRaHS website to submit their reports. Observations are immediately available on maps and reports for the public to view. The process takes only five minutes a day, but the impact to the community is tenfold: By providing high quality, accurate measurements, the observers are able to supplement existing networks and provide useful results to scientists, resource managers, decision makers and other users. 

How does one become a CoCoRaHS observer? Go to the CoCoRaHS website above and click on the "Join CoCoRaHS" emblem on the upper right side of the main website.  After registering, take the simple online training, order your 4 inch rain gauge and start reporting!

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.


Fall Veggies: Harvest From Your Garden Before and After the Frost

Thursday, July 14, 2016

6:00 - 7:00 PM

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library
375 3rd St NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Tuesday, July 19, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Newton Public Library
115 West C Street, Newton, NC 28658

Tuesday, July 26, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Maiden Branch Library
11 South A Ave., Maiden NC 28650

Gardening doesn't have to end with cooler temperatures.  Find out how to keep your garden growing throughout the year and enjoy fresh fall vegetables.  


Food Preservation for the Garden: Eat Your Harvest All Year

Thursday, August 11, 2016

6:00 - 7:00 PM

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library
375 3rd St NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Tuesday, August 16, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Newton Public Library
115 West C Street, Newton, NC 28658

Tuesday, August 23, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Maiden Branch Library
11 South A Ave., Maiden NC 28650

Enjoy your harvest all year long as you learn how to preserve the food you have worked so hard to grow. 


Cover Crops: Grow Your Own Fertilizer

Thursday, September 8, 2016

6:00 - 7:00 PM

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library
375 3rd St NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Newton Public Library
115 West C Street, Newton, NC 28658

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Maiden Branch Library
11 South A Ave., Maiden NC 28650

Use the space you have to fertilize your garden in the off-season by learning about appropriate cover crops for our area.  


Seed Saving: Techniques to Maximize Seed Quality and Germination

Thursday, October 13, 2016

6:00 - 7:00 PM

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library
375 3rd St NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Tuesday, October 18, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Newton Public Library
115 West C Street, Newton, NC 28658

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Maiden Branch Library
11 South A Ave., Maiden NC 28650

Get a jump on next year's garden by learning techniques for saving seeds and better germination practices.  


Garden Berries: Grow and Pick Your Own

Thursday, November 10, 2016

6:00 - 7:00 PM

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library
375 3rd St NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Newton Public Library
115 West C Street, Newton, NC 28658

Tuesday, November 22, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Maiden Branch Library
11 South A Ave., Maiden NC 28650

Expand your gardening horizons into berry growing in this last lecture of the 2016 curriculum. 
Dr. George Place
Catawba County Cooperative Extension Director
Agricultural Resources Center, Newton, NC 28658

Catawba County Center | Agricultural Resources Center | 1175 S Brady Ave | Newton | NC | 28658