Catawba County Center
Catawba County Center
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FCS Food Safety Advisory Committee Meeting
Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Catawba County Health Department
(Behind Catawba Valley Medical Center)

Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage and More
Advanced Gardener Series

Thursday, January 12, 2016
6:00 - 7:00 PM
Patrick Beaver Memorial Library
375 3rd St NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Tuesday, January 17, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Newton Public Library
115 West C Street, Newton, NC 28658

Tuesday, January 24, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Maiden Public Library
11 S A Ave, Maiden, NC 28650

Kick off the new year by joining us in the first of eleven presentations for the 2017 Advanced Gardener series.  Come find out why this program won the Best Adult Education Library program for the state of North Carolina. Take a look at the entire schedule here and find out how to become a certified Advanced Gardener.

Preventing the Spread of Infections
      Habits to help you stay healthier this winter                      

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 9:30 a.m
West Hickory Seniors Morning Out
400 17th Street SW, Hickory NC

Ann Simmons will present some interesting information on handwashing and other practices to help you reduce exposure to germs that can make you sick.

Call West Hickory SMO at (828) 323-8746 by January 13, 2017 if you plan to attend.
Produce Safety Rule 
Grower's Training

January 12, 2017
Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center
455 Research Drive Mills River, NC 28759

February 7, 2017
Winter Vegetable Conference
Crown Plaza Asheville, NC

Visit the NC Fresh Produce Safety web page for more info.
Grain Marketing Strategies and Opportunities

James W. Warren Citizens Center, Lincolnton, NC
NC Cooperative Extension Service
January 19, 2017

Dinner Provided!
Please RSVP by Dec 31st by calling Andrew Scruggs  704-736-8461

5:30PM - Welcome/Meal
            Andrew Scruggs, Area Extension Agent
6:00PM - A word from our sponsors
6:30PM - Grain Hedging Strategy and Futures Options
            Edgar Woods, Palmetto Grain Brokerage
7:15PM - Grain Marketing at Smithfield and the Sorghum Seed Program
            Josh Goode, Smithfield Grain
7:30PM - Crop Insurance and its Ties to Grain Marketing
            Nathan Lewsader, Diversified Services
7:50PM - Specialty Crop Marketing Opportunities at Perdue
            Jeff Riddle, Perdue Agribusiness Agribusiness


Catawba County Young Farmer Wins Statewide Discussion Meet Title

Catawba County young farmer Russell Hedrick took first place honors in the
North Carolina Farm Bureau's (NCFB) statewide Discussion Meet on Dec 4, 2016.  

The Discussion Meet Award recognizes a young farmer between the ages of 18 and 35 who is involved in NCFB's Young Farmers and Ranchers Program . 

Hedrick's knowledge of agricultural issues and public speaking and debate skills were judged to be the most effective in regard to consensus-building on some of the real issues impacting today's agricultural industry.

Hedrick now moves on to the national competition where he will vie against other state Farm Bureau winners during American Farm Bureau Federation's national Discussion Meet, held in conjunction with the organization's annual meeting, Jan. 6-11, 2016, in Phoenix, Ariz.
Advanced Gardener Program

Congrats to our 2016 class of 
Level 1 Advanced Gardener Graduates!

We have a whole new curriculum for 2017's program beginning with January's presentation on Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage and More.  Come out to the first class and learn how to become a certified Advanced Gardener.  You can do it!

Check out the entire class schedule for 2017 here.  Whether you are a beginning gardener or an experienced green thumb this series is designed to provide you with new information, connect you with our gardening community, and help you have fun growing and eating more produce.

Come see what all the gardening buzz is about.  Call Dr. George Place, Catawba County Cooperative Extension Director and Advanced Gardener program instructor for more information: 828-465-8240.

Kick off the New Year
Get to know 4-H!
Tuesday January 24th
Catawba County Agriculture Resources Center

Join us for a new member orientation day on Tuesday January 24th 2017! We will have a variety of opportunities for new members and their families to learn about all things 4-H. This would also be a good time to learn about 4-H even if you are not currently involved! We will discuss 4-H "lingo", presentations, project books, and opportunities beyond the local 4-H club! A NC state 4-H officer will join us to help you learn more about the wonderful world of 4-H! This will be a wonderful time for you to get your questions answered, set some 4-H goals for the year,  and meet other 4-Hers. This workshop will also count as a leader training for 4-H volunteers, so you can get some training hours needed for rechartering. 

Parents and children are encouraged to attend together. Youth under 11 must be accompanied by a parent. This is a teacher workday for Catawba County area public schools. 

You can also call or email us to sign up: or or call 828-465-8240. 

Med Instead of Meds
Introducing the Mediterranean Diet

Monday, January 23, 2017 at 1:30 p.m.
Catawba County Cooperative Extension

Presented by Ann Simmons
Hosted by Catawba County Extension and Community Association
Inflammation 101
This session will cover Inflammation, how it works in the body and how healthy eating may help reduce your risk for certain types of inflammation.

Newton Seniors Morning Out

701 North Main Street, Newton, NC  
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
10:00 a.m.
Presented by Ann Simmons

        If you are interested in attending, please call the Newton SMO program at
                                         (828) 455-4133 by January 20, 2017.

Healthy Living Series

Monday Feb 6, 13, and 20
12:30 to 2:30 PM
Agricultural Resources Center
1175 S. Brady Ave, Newton 28658
Cost: Free

Mark your calendars to attend all 3 workshops or any single workshop that you are able to attend. Aubrey Mast, NC State Extension Associate for Nutrition, will be presenting this enlightening series.  This program is extremely popular - don't miss out.  For more info on the workshop take a look at this description

Check out the Healthy Living website for an incredible array of info on how you can improve your health with foods.

Become a Master Gardener in 2017
Feb 7-April 27, 2017
Classes held every Tuesday & Thursday 9 AM-Noon
Agricultural Resources Center
1175 S Brady Avenue
Newton, NC  28658

The $100 non-refundable deposit will cover the entire cost of the course including the extensive Master Gardener manual and multiple field trips.

The course will be led by Dr. George Place, 
Director of Catawba County Cooperative Extension Service.

This course can be taken by both beginning and experienced gardeners.

We will cover a wide array of topics with experts from around our region including: vegetable production, soil health management, berries, tree fruit, integrated pest management, plant problem diagnosis, garden
disease management, home lawn maintenance, landscaping, ornamentals and much more.

Only 20 seats available, so reserve yours now by calling 828-465-8240!

Beekeeping for Beeginners

When: Monday evenings, February 6 - March 13, 7:00 pm
Where: Meeting Room A of the Agricultural Resource Center, 1175 S. Brady Avenue, Newton, NC  28658
Cost:  $50 includes book and membership dues, $35 if you just want the book
Sign up by calling the Cooperative Extension office, 828-465-8240 or email
**Please plan to arrive at 6:30 on February 6 to pay for the class**

Gardening with Chickens
Advanced Gardener Series

Thursday, February 9, 2016
6:00 - 7:00 PM
Patrick Beaver Memorial Library
375 3rd St NE, Hickory, NC 28601

Tuesday, February 21, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Newton Public Library
115 West C Street, Newton, NC 28658

Tuesday, February 28, 2016
6:30-7:30 PM
Maiden Public Library
11 S A Ave, Maiden, NC 28650

You can have chickens, eggs, and loads of compost.  Find out how backyard chickens can fit with your home production system.  Come find out why this program won the Best Adult Education Library program for the state of North Carolina. Take a look at the entire schedule here and find out how to become a certified Advanced Gardener.
2017 Market Gardener School
2nd & 4th Saturday of March and April
Small Farms Demonstration Site
4918 Hickory Lincolnton Hwy, 
Lincolnton, NC 28168
Cost: $50 per person

Got less than 5 acres? Are you currently growing your own vegetables and wanting to sell the extra? Market Gardener School can help you. The Catawba County Cooperative Extension Center will be hosting a 4 session Market Gardener School. Participants can receive hands-on learning experience from staff. Participants will receive Catawba County Market Gardener Certification upon completion. For participants who attend ALL the sessions, their registration fee will be returned as a gift card to their local farm supply store. 

Topics covered include: soil health, season extension technique, post harvest handling, and marketing. You can find the brochure, application, and more information about the workshop via our extension website. For additional questions or to register, please call Der Holcomb at 828-465-8248 or via email at Participants must register to attend the school.
Now Taking Application for the 
2017 Catawba River NC Farm School
This seven-month educational program focuses on operating successful small-scale and sustainable farms. The school offers eight business sessions taught by agricultural professionals, which give farmers the tools to develop sustainable farming operations.  Session topics include business planning, business structure, tax and legal issues, record keeping, marketing, and risk management, among others.
The school also includes six field trips to working farms, led by innovative, experienced farmers and agricultural professionals. Participants learn low-cost, sustainable farming methods in a range of production systems, including fruits, vegetables, livestock, and specialty crops.
Classes meet at the Gaston County Extension Center (1303 Dallas-Cherryville Hwy, Dallas, NC) on the third Tuesday of the month beginning on February 21st from 6 to 9 pm. Farm field days are typically on the fourth Thursday of the month from 9 am to 3 pm.  Farm field days will take place at various farms throughout the region. To learn more about NC Farm School or the Catawba River NC Farm School, please visit our website at . Please call Der Holcomb at 828-465-8248 or email at,  for more questions. Interested participants can submit an application via the Catawba River NC Farm School registration form. 
Save the Date

Food Safety Manager's Certification two-day training
Wednesday, February 22, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
 and Friday, February 24, 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

  Visit for registration information 
                              So, You Want to Start a Food Business?
                                           Thursday, March 2, 2017
                                                    5:30 - 7:00 p.m. 
                              Catawba County Cooperative Extension

Are you thinking about selling at a farmers' market, starting a home-based food business or opening a restaurant?
This workshop will address some things you need to know before you start a food business in Catawba County,including who will regulate your business.

Food Safety from Field to Fork 
   For Farmers' Market Vendors

Thursday, March 23, 2017

5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Catawba County Cooperative Extension
The workshop will cover safe food handling practices to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Presented by Ann Simmons 

NC Agritunity Conference & Tradeshow
Saturday, March 4th, 2017
Iredell County Agricultural Center
444 Bristol Drive, Statesville, NC 28677
Registration starts 8:00am
Programs from 8:30am-3:30pm

NC Agritunity is a one-day educational conference for farmers of all types, featuring a tradeshow and a keynote speaker. Large commodity producers, livestock producers, small farm managers, beginning farmers, and anyone just interested in agriculture are welcome to attend.Continuing education credits (CEUs) and pesticide training credits will be available in some of the presentations for existing license holders.  To learn more about the educational sessions and featured vendors, please visit our website at or contact your local Cooperative Extension Center. 

The event is free and open to the public. 

You can sign up via the 2017 NC Agritunity registration form or call the Iredell County Cooperative Extension Center at 704-873-0507. Please contact Danelle Cutting at (704) 216-8970 or Lenny Rogers at (828) 632-4451 if you are interested in setting up as a vendor. For additional information on how to be a vendor please visit our website. Walk-in registration may be limited. 


We need the help of our 4-Her's and anyone interested in helping plan our 2017 Summer Fun programming! This is your opportunity to have your voice heard! Those that participate will leave with a certificate that entitles them to $5 that can be used toward participating in our summer fun programs this year!!

We will meet:

Thursday January 5th 6pm to 7pm at the Agricultural Resources Center in Newton!

Immediately following will be a meeting about 2017 Achievement Night so if you would like to participate in planning that as well please plan to stay until 8pm. We look forward to seeing you there!!

Winter Farmers Market

Nov 16, 2016 to April 12, 2017
Wednesdays 10 AM to 2 PM 

The Crossing at Hollar Mill
883 Highland Ave. SE
Hickory, NC

Closed dates: Dec 7, Jan 25, and Feb 1

Get ready Hickory!  A winter farmer's market is in the works so that we can enjoy fresh, local produce all year round.  If you love this idea be sure to stop by on Wednesday and purchase something.  We need your business to keep year round farmer's markets in Catawba County.
4-H Club Spotlight: Mt View CCE 4-H Club!

Mt. View 4-H club is currently our only school based 4-H club. They are general interest and cover a variety of topics from cooking and crafting to science and more! This club meets weekly at Mt. View Elementary from 2:30 - 3:30 pm and is led by a group of teachers. For more information about this club you can contact Stephanie Aldridge club leader at the school or Donna at 

Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loans

Catawba County farmers can apply for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program due to financial losses associated with the drought disaster this season. The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 3.125 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources.  

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.

Local Food List Serv

The Local Foods Action Plan Listserv is a statewide listserv to facilitate a local food economy moderated by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS).  The listserv is open to the public and members are encouraged to post on any topic dealing with the cultivation of local food, farms and communities by emailing Posters are responsible for the content they submit.   To receive the digest version or for questions about the listserv, please e-mail  Please visit our website
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! 
Plant Management Network Newsletter

Check out the latest issue of this incredible agriculture resource.  Take a look at the massive list of information links for all things related to agriculture.
Council For Agriculture, Science, and Technology Newsletter

Check out the latest issue of the CAST newsletter.  Two articles worth noting show the future of robotics in agriculture - very interesting!
Extension Master Gardener Newsletter
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

2.1.  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.
2.2.  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