Jones County Extension Success Stories: 2020

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Jones County Extension Success

Success Stories are organized by objective:

4-H Youth Development
How we have empowered the next generation.

Animal Production Systems
How we helped with livestock and pasture.

Community Development
Our impact throughout the community.

Family and Consumer Sciences
Undertakings in food safety and nutrition.

Natural Resource and Environmental Systems
Impacts on improving the environment and natural resources.

Plant Production Systems
Providing solutions to row crop problems.

4-H Youth Development

Jones County Livestock Show

Jones County Livestock Agent, Katie Carter
Team Members: Samantha Bennett (Jones), Jacob Morgan (Jones), Margaret Ross (Jones), Stefani Sykes (Wayne), Sarah Ware (Jones)

N.C. Cooperative Extension of Jones County Livestock Agent wanted to host a youth livestock show, despite the challenges of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic. By providing the livestock show, youth have the opportunity to build life skills such as confidence, accountability, planning, and organization.

N.C. Cooperative Extension of Jones County modified the show to meet all the guidelines provided by the Governor’s office for holding a youth livestock show. Modifications that were put into place include face coverings had to worn in and around the show ring, limited spectators, and hand sanitizer was available in multiple areas around the show ring. With the support of Jones County Government and local businesses we were able to host the first livestock show in Jones County in 20 years.

There were 81 youth from over 10 counties that participated in the Jones County Livestock Show. Youth showed heifers, goats, and lambs during the duration of the show which lasted 2 days. Money, time, and work that youth put into these project animals did not go to waste. The Jones County Livestock Agent will continue to have the livestock show for the Community and youth.

Jones County Pig Project

Jones County 4-H Agent, Samantha Bennett
Team Members: Katie Carter (Jones)

Jones County was once full of youth who were able to raise and care for their own livestock. Due to changing times and families having less access to land and experience in raising and caring for livestock, many Jones County youth are unable to participate in the local Coastal Plains Livestock Show and Sale in Kinston, NC. The local high school, Jones Senior High School, has also halted their FFA program of raising hogs on the school property for the students in recent years.

Seeing a need for affording Jones County youth the ability care for and house pigs for the Coastal Plains Livestock Show and Sale, the Jones County 4-H Agent, Samantha Bennett, and Jones County Livestock Agent, Katie Carter, created the Jones County Pig Project that would be free to the youth participating. Six pigs were donated to the program and a local farmer allowed the pigs to stay on his property. Numerous donations were made to help make the project a success.

Six high school youth participated and were each given a pig to care for. They came two-three times a week to practice and care for their pigs. Youth built an outdoor walking pen, learned about swine nutrition, grew their responsibility and leadership skills and made a large time time consuming commitment to the project and their pig. The project was sadly cut short due to COVID-19 and the Coastal Plains Livestock Show and Sale was canceled. The pigs were sold at market price and that income helped cover feed bills with the extra set aside for next year.

4-H Seed Kit Distribution

Jones County 4-H Agent, Samantha Bennett

In March of 2020, Jones County Schools were closed and converted to online virtual learning. As the state shut down with stay at home orders, approximately 1,146 Jones County youth were left without a creative learning outlet.

In an effort to get youth outside and learning, Jones County 4-H bought cucumber seeds from a local store as well at potting soil. The potting soil and seeds were placed into individual baggies respectively and stapled to an informational sheet that outlined how to plant your cucumber seeds in eggs shells. The instructions allowed for younger kids to decorate the “egg head” so that the growing plant would be the “hair” growing from the plant. It also included facts about the science behind growing plants as well as information to contact extension should they want to further plant a summer garden.

Three hundred seed kits were packaged and dropped off at the Jones County Board of Education where they were then dispersed between the schools and school lunch pick-up sites. From there all kits were sent home with students and families. This kit allowed youth to participate in artistic expression, grow something with their own hands that will give back to their families and taught them about recycling biodegradable products.

American Sign Language Camp Success

Jones County 4-H Agent, Samantha Bennett
Team Members: Alex Sugg-Kennedy (Lenoir)

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, all 2020 summer 4-H activities were to be held virtually. Youth expressed they were not interested in more virtual activities since they had spent the remainder of their school year participating online. Jones and Lenoir County 4-H Agents were tasked with creating fun and interactive learning opportunities for the youth. They worked with a local interpreter to conduct an American Sign Language Camp.

Jones and Lenoir County Agents worked collaboratively with a local 4-H alum to create a virtual face-to-face camp. Jessica Locke, the interpreter, was a past Lenoir County 4-H’er who went on to graduate from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington as an American Sign Language Interpreter. She taught camp youth about deaf culture, instructed youth on how to properly sign many common signs and created an inviting and fun learning environment for the ten youth attending.

The virtual offering of American Sign Language Camp allowed for youth to attend safely and also for youth from different geographical areas to attend as well. Not only were there Jones and Lenoir County 4-H’er’s, but also youth from Guilford County and even Canada! By the end of camp, youth had a greater understanding of deaf culture and how to be an advocate for the deaf community and were also able to introduce themselves and say short sentences in American Sign Language. Youth had positive reviews of the camp. The mother of the youth attending from Canada send the Jones County 4-H Agent an email outlining how wonderful she thought Mrs. Locke did during camp and how her child had learned more in the three days of 4-H camp than he had in all his other Sign Language learning opportunities. She praised the availability of this camp and encouraged the agent to host it again one day. She also explained that this was her family’s first experience with 4-H and that her child felt very included and had a lot of fun.

Coastal Plains Chicken Show

Jones County 4-H Agent, Samantha Bennett
Team Members: Ashley Brooks (Craven), Andy Burlingham (Pitt), Katie Carter (Jones), Lauren Dail (Pitt), Eve Honeycutt (Lenoir), Melissa Huffman (Onslow), Bridget Huffman (Duplin), Charmae Kendall (Duplin), Coleman Killinger (Carteret), Kait Neeland (Pamlico), Liz Peterson (Pender), Laura Pilkington (Johnston), Danielle Riggs (Greene), Margaret Ross (Jones), Dawn Stallings (Onslow), Alex Sugg-Kennedy (Lenoir), Stefani Sykes (Wayne), Dan Wells (Johnston)

It is becoming more difficult for children to raise animals and learn where food comes from. This project is aimed at giving youth a chance to raise chickens, from start to finish.

NC State Cooperative Extension Agents from southeastern counties from 12 different southeastern counties offered a chicken project. Birds were received by youth at just a few days old, raised and worked with until the show date. This was the plan anyways, until coronavirus hit. Youth who received layers were able to work with their birds, youth who had signed up for broilers were not able to get their birds. Initially, 240 youth (4-H and FFA members) were signed up to participate in the project. We had to switch to a virtual set up and those numbers decreased, they were also impacted by not being able to receive broilers.

After switching to a virtual show platform, participants from 7 counties submitted video entries and winners were chosen from a Zoom competition between the top 5 in each age category, a total of 29 videos were submitted. Participants also submitted project record books, to be judged by 4-H agents and winners were chosen. Those who still participated in the chicken project, even with the unforeseen circumstances, were grateful to learn about chickens, how to raise them, and how to properly show them. We hope to offer this project next year, in person if possible!

Regional Chicken Project Goes Virtual

Area Specialized Agent – Poultry, Margaret Ross
Team Members: Cathy Brown (Hoke), Taylor Chavis (Robeson), Phyllis Creech-Greene (Columbus), Shea Ann DeJarnette (Robeson), Jessica Drake (Cumberland), J. Scott Enroughty (New Hanover), Richard Goforth (Harnett), Chrissy Haynes (Montgomery), Liz Joseph (Cumberland), Morgan King (New Hanover), Stacie Kinlaw (Bladen), Elizabeth Merrill (Sampson), Becky Spearman (Bladen), Jamie Warner (Montgomery)

Over the past 7 years, the regional chicken project has created a more affordable showing option for youth that are interested in livestock when showing larger species is not practical. This year, despite setbacks caused by the global pandemic, the project converted to a virtual platform providing a new learning opportunity for the youth and families involved.

Livestock and 4-H agents from 9 counties partnered with local FFA chapters to offer this year’s project. This intensive program’s goals were to provide a hands-on, educational opportunity to increase skills in showmanship, poultry care, record keeping and more. Participants chose between laying hens or broilers and attended 2 mandatory trainings focused on poultry care and showmanship. The project culminated in May when showmen submitted their project record books and videos detailing their proficiency in poultry showmanship. Winners were announced in June during a Virtual Awards Presentation over Zoom. Using an online survey, agents collected data to measure the impacts of the program.

Surveys showed a participant satisfaction rating of 60% with the overall project experience and a 67% satisfaction with the trainings that were offered. There was a reported 98% increase in new ideas concerning raising chickens, showing chickens and keeping records. Respondents reported an improvement in responsibility of 100%, a growth of 73% in communication skills and 67% increased their technology skills. There was also an overwhelming interest in expanding regional poultry projects into other areas. As a result of these findings, the agents involved have already begun planning an EGG-cellent Egg Contest for the fall of this year.

Down East Chicken Show

Jones County Livestock Agent, Katie Carter
Team Members: Eve Honeycutt (Lenoir), Melissa Huffman (Onslow), Charmae Kendall (Duplin), Liz Peterson (Pender)

Youth who purchased chicks for the Coastal Plains Chicken Show were unable to show in the spring due to Covid 19. There are not any other opportunities for 4-H’ers in the area to exhibit their bird.

N.C. Cooperative Extension of Duplin, Lenoir, Greene, Jones, Onslow, Craven, Pender, & Pamlico counties Agents hosted the Down East Chicken Show at the Duplin Livestock Facility in November. Agents worked with youth via Zoom & in person to assist them with showmanship preparation and teach youth about the poultry industry.

Eighteen youth participated in showmanship & breed classes. Along with the opportunity to turn in project books & do a virtual show in the spring, youth were very excited to be able to exhibit their bird in person at the show. Kids had a chance to learn about new breeds, as several types competed. Participation prizes were given to all exhibitors & bonus prizes for the champions. When the show was complete, the judge worked one on one with youth who were interested in how to improve their showmanship.

Down on the 4-H Farm Summer Curriculum Development

Jones County 4-H Agent, Samantha Bennett
Team Members: Sarah Barber (Moore), Caroline Goss (Ashe), Taylor Hartman (Stokes), Taylor Jenkins (Iredell), Kaley Lawing (Moore), Mason Lawrence (Pasquotank), Kelly McCaskill (Moore), Sarah Paschall (Guilford), Danielle Riggs (Greene), Cynthia Robbins (Rutherford), Catherine Shelley (Richmond), Genny Thompson (Sampson), Michelle Van Ness (Person)

Due to COVID-19, 4-H agents across the state had to quickly pivot their summer educational programs from in-person to virtual. Additionally, there is a lot of time and effort that goes into developing online activities and curriculum that meets high educational standards.

Agents across NC joined curriculum development teams, of which one was animal science focused. 14 agents worked from April to June to prepare educational activities, videos, and more to present to youth across the state as a replacement for in-person summer fun camps and events. The curriculum was presented on a Google site and was titled “Down on the 4-H Farm.” Topics included companion animals, horses, hogs, poultry, cattle (dairy and beef), and sheep and goats. Agents developed Kahoot quizzes, videos, worksheets, hands-on activities, and more to teach youth ages 8-18 about the basics of animal science.

“Down on the 4-H Farm” reached 365 youth and 7 adults. After completion of the program, participants largely reported growth in knowledge and understanding of animal science topics and a greater interest in potentially pursuing careers in agriculture and animal science. Additionally, the team is proud of the program and how it came together quickly and efficiently to fill a great need of our 4-H youth during a global pandemic.

EGG-Cellent Egg Contest

Area Specialized Agent – Poultry, Margaret Ross
Team Members: Taylor Chavis (Robeson), Phyllis Creech-Greene (Columbus), Shea Ann DeJarnette (Robeson), Jessica Drake (Cumberland), J. Scott Enroughty (New Hanover), Richard Goforth (Harnett), Anthony Growe (Richmond), Liz Joseph (Cumberland), Morgan King (New Hanover), Stacie Kinlaw (Bladen), Elizabeth Merrill (Sampson), Catherine Shelley (Richmond), Becky Spearman (Bladen), Jamie Warner (Montgomery)

The COVID-19 pandemic posed several challenges in how N.C. Cooperative Extension continued to provide interactive, educational programs for youth. Many youth in several counties have participated in projects in the past where they raised and showed laying hens. Due to social distancing restrictions, providing youth with alternative opportunities was essential in ensuring they remain engaged.

Livestock and 4-H agents from Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland, Hoke, Montgomery, New Hanover, Richmond, Robeson, and Sampson Counties and two poultry area specialized agents created the EGG-cellent Egg Contest. The contest included entering eggs into the different color and size categories, attending virtual training sessions, and completing a host of supplemental activities. A Google site was created to house all of the information needed to complete the contest. Some of the supplemental activities included: a virtual escape room based egg production and selection, multiple poster and video submissions, creating a chicken coop, applying egg economics scenario, identifying exterior egg defects, etc. Specialists in the NCSU Poultry Science Department and NC Department of Agriculture egg inspectors served as judges for the contest. Youth were provided prizes sponsored by the NC Egg Association, Perdue Farms, Braswell Family Farms, & Robeson County 4-H.

As a result of the EGG-Cellent Egg Contest, 25 youth from nine counties participated. Youth were provided with a post evaluation at the conclusion of the program. The evaluations indicated that 92% of the participants increased their knowledge about raising chickens, parts of the egg, and selecting eggs for quality. Participants also improved their responsibility and communication skills. The program was so successful that plans are underway to continue this program in 2021.

SEW Much Fun

Jones County 4-H Agent, Samantha Bennett
Team Members: Rebecca Liverman (Washington), Alex Sugg-Kennedy (Lenoir)

Volunteers and youth were challenged in 2020 with the task of teaching and learning virtually. One volunteer went above and beyond to continue programming with youth in Lenoir and Jones counties. COVID-19 restrictions eliminated the ability for Lenoir and Jones County youth to participate in the normal in-person instruction that takes place at the N.C. Cooperative Extension Centers.

Three agents teamed up with one volunteer to create and distribute packets, videos, and support for youth that wanted to continue with programming at home. Youth were provided with video instruction by the volunteer and the Mrs. Liverman of Washington County. Following the creation of that video, Mrs. Bennett and Mrs. Sugg-Kennedy created and distributed instructional packets with all the materials needed for the project.

As a result, six youth were educated in summer programming. This program will be an on-going program offered in both counties for youth that have an interest in sewing.

Virtual 4-H Poultry Judging Practices

Area Specialized Agent – Poultry, Margaret Ross
Team Members: Jonas Asbill (Randolph), Katie Carter (Jones), Richard Goforth (Harnett), Lauren Greene (Wilkes), Kelly Tyndall (Lenoir), Sarah Ware (Jones)

Each year, the Prestage Department of Poultry Science hosts the state 4-H Poultry Judging contest. The event brings youth together to compete in judging and grading various poultry products. Agents, coaches, and youth work for months training in preparation for this event. In previous years, the Poultry Area Specialized Agents have held practices for individual teams or groups of teams to provide additional training prior to the state contest.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Poultry ASAs saw this year to be a great opportunity to provide training to teams across the state. A total of four virtual practices were offered on Zoom. We worked with Dr. Ken Anderson at NC State’s Prestage Department of Poultry Science to provide training on judging past production hens. For poultry parts identification, agents Kelly Tyndall, Sarah Ware, and Katie Carter taught the participants about food safety and how to properly cut up a whole chicken carcass into parts and helped with teaching egg grading to the youth. Matt Greene, Animal Science Instructor at Wilkes Community College, provided lab space and taught whole carcass grading. In all, we provided additional training on 4-H Poultry Judging and other related topics to 137 coaches and youth in 15 different counties. These practices also gave the youth a chance to get familiar with Google Forms so that they would not be seeing that format for the first time on the day of the contest.

In the junior division, teams from Craven, Forsyth, and Randolph counties placed first, second, and third, respectively. In the senior division, Iredell County and a combined team tied for first, with Forsyth county placing second, and Robeson county placing third. Team members and coaches from each of these teams attended each of the virtual practices. By being exposed to the various virtual platforms ahead of time and participating in additional practices, the youth were better prepared on the day of the contest.

Animal Production Systems

Hurricane Preparation and Recovery in the Southeastern United States: Poultry Producers Guide

Area Specialized Agent – Poultry, Margaret Ross
Team Members: Richard Goforth (Harnett), Lauren Greene (Wilkes)

During 2016 and 2018, southeastern NC was directly hit by two major hurricanes that devastated the NC poultry industry. Several million birds were lost in each hurricane, poultry houses were flooded and destroyed, and many poultry producers were left with nowhere to turn for the foreseeable future- until they could get cleaned up and house birds again.

The NC Forestry Service contacted the NC State Extension Area Specialized Poultry Agents, along with Mississippi State University, to create the “Poultry Producers Guide” for a hurricane manual they had been tasked to oversee, that would help poultry producers prepare for natural disasters as well as recover from them more quickly and efficiently. The main focus was geared toward helping poultry producers ahead of a storm. Our section makes up one commodity group of many in the overall manual.

After about a year and a half of work on the manual, it has been completed and distributed all over the country to be forwarded to poultry producers who are in major weather-related areas. The manual continues to be updated and edited so it can continue to be relevant for future storms. Although we can’t track the total number of producers our poultry guide has reached nation-wide, the website has had 976 unique views of the overall commodity group list. We will continue to share this research-based information with our poultry producers to encourage them to be well-prepared for any future disasters.

Poultry Litter Management Plans

Area Specialized Agent – Poultry, Margaret Ross

Last year, poultry farm expansion and new builds were increasing at an exponential rate in eastern NC. Each new farm, or when a farm changes hands, is required to have a poultry dry litter management plan by their integrator and loan officer. The farmer is also required by the state of NC to have an approved composting permit if they plan to build a composter on their farm. This year, the poultry ASAs have also helped write many plans overall.

The area specialized poultry agents are certified technical specialists and are able to write dry litter management plans and composting permits for farmers at no charge. We partner with local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, NRCS, and FSA to procure aerial farm maps and soil maps in order to calculate the total amount of plant available nitrogen (PAN) produced by the farm. We then use soil typing information to determine if they have enough land to apply their litter on or if they need to hire a third party applicator to help with excess litter. This encourages the farmer to apply litter at agronomic rates, which means they are not overapplying litter to where it could potentially become runoff and cause an environmental concern. There have been 37 participants this year in eastern NC.

These plans range in cost from $350-$2,500 each, meaning NC State Extension saved farmers between $12,950-$92,500. Composting permits would also cost several hundred dollars as an out of pocket expense to the farmer, meaning NC State Extension has saved farmers over $2,500 per plan.

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Part 2

Jones County Livestock Agent, Katie Carter

Due to the Coronavirus, animal meat production systems slowed down. Processing plants shut down or operating at half capacity which meant market ready animals could not be moved from farms as efficiently or quickly as possible. With the slow down, market livestock prices plummeted. The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Part 2 was a program that was offered through the USDA to help further assist livestock producers financially. This program paid producers per head for cattle, sheep, and on the ground hogs they were not sold due to low market prices. This program took the highest inventory from the dates of April 1st through August 31st.

The Jones County Livestock agent reached out to livestock producers in Jones, Craven, and Pamlico counties to inform them of the CFAP Part 2 program through USDA and helped the producers fill out the application. The CFAP Part 2 only paid for market ready animals. CFAP Part 2 paid per head. CFAP Part 2 paid $55 for market ready cattle, $23 for hogs on the ground, and $27 for lambs and sheep.

After meeting with over 20 livestock producers, the livestock agent was able to collectively get producers in Jones, Craven, and Pamlico counties over $35,000 in funds from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

Coyote Nuisances for Livestock Producers

Jones County Livestock Agent, Katie Carter

Year-round livestock producers have a problem with coyotes killing their livestock. These nuisance killings effects all livestock operations such as cattle, chickens, rabbits, goats, and sheep.

The Jones County Livestock Agent teamed up with two NC Wildlife Resource and Commissions Biologist to put on a Zoom to address this issue. Things that were covered in the Zoom were coyote habitat, habits, hunting habits, and mating and litter sizes. Things that were also discussed were coyote hunting and trapping season as well as other resources available through NC Wildlife Recourse Commissions. The Zoom information was shared all across the state by the Jones County Livestock Agent.

The whole Zoom presentation lasted 1.5 hours with a total of 73 viewers from all over the NC state. There were livestock producers, extension agents and others that did have an affiliation with livestock but just wanted to learn more about coyotes.

Poultry Program Team Funding Provides Successful Agent Training

Area Specialized Agent – Poultry, Margaret Ross
Team Members: Richard Goforth (Harnett), Lauren Greene (Wilkes)

The Animal Agriculture Poultry Program Workgroup is given a budget each year for the committee to assess funding needs for the fiscal year and use the budget to provide agent training, fund agent conference travel, and purchase learning resources agents can use for educational programming across the state. There was a need for agent training at the 2019 State Extension Conference on coaching a poultry judging team as well as learning about the parts of the Avian Bowl competition.

The AAPT poultry workgroup was able to purchase each poultry ASA a Poultry Learning Laboratory Kit that includes professionally-laminated flash cards on poultry carcass grading, egg grading, parts of the chicken, and other educational activities that can be used to coach a poultry judging team. We also purchased each ASA a candler. By the group’s purchase of these kits and candlers, we were able to use them at the Extension Conference training session to show agents how to utilize these kits and properly candle/grade eggs while coaching teams in their counties. These kits and candlers are available for agents to check-out across the state.

By using these teaching tools at the State Extension Conference training session, we were able to empower agents to be comfortable utilizing these resources to train a team. The in-depth training included details on how the competitions are set up and what agents should expect the day of the competitions. By providing this information, we were able to encourage agents to form a poultry judging and/or Avian Bowl team due to their confidence in how to successfully coach the participants. As a result of this training, we have received numerous requests on how to move forward with forming and coaching a team. An indirect result of these competitions is the kids’ interest in Poultry Science which could lead them to be future industry professionals.

Home Flock Series

Area Specialized Agent – Poultry, Margaret Ross
Team Members: Sara Drake (Davidson), Lauren Greene (Wilkes), Phil Rucker (Davie)

When COVID-19 struck, many grocery stores ran out of chicken and eggs. Seeing empty shelves caused panic in consumers. It led to an increase in the number of people wanting to raise their own backyard poultry flock for meat, eggs, or both for their own consumption or to become part of the growing local food movement. Many of these individuals had never raised an animal before and needed guidance and instructions.

To help address the need of those individuals who wanted to raise their own backyard flock, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, and Yadkin County Centers, along with the Area Specialized Poultry Agents, held a five-week Home Flock Series online through Zoom. Topics included breeds, brooding, housing, nutrition, municipal codes, health and disease, processing including broilers and eggs, egg handling, and egg laws.

Response to the series was overwhelming causing the maximum number to be increased to 125 participants per session. Online participant surveys showed that 86% improved their knowledge related to selecting the right breed, while 77% increased their knowledge related to brooding chicks. 79% improved their knowledge regarding coop options for birds. Biosecurity, or reducing the potential for infectious disease, is paramount in livestock production. 97% increased knowledge relating to biosecurity, and 91% of participants said they would apply the concepts and information they learned to their own flock. One individual stated that they “really enjoyed the poultry program and gleaned so much information about keeping chickens. It was a great overview of how to start your own flock and the interaction with others was so helpful.” Another said, “Applauding you, your hard work and your wonderful adaptation of using Zoom to continue reaching out to help and teach all of us!”

Statewide Animal Waste Zoom

Area Specialized Agent – Poultry, Margaret Ross
Team Members: Sara Drake (Davidson), Amanda Hatcher (Duplin), Eve Honeycutt (Lenoir), Melissa Huffman (Onslow), Liz Joseph (Cumberland), Nancy Keith (Iredell), Max Knowles (Sampson), Becky Spearman (Bladen), Stefani Sykes (Wayne)

Hog and dairy farmers are required to get 6 hours of continuing education credit every 3 years to maintain their Operator in Charge (OIC) license which is a requirement for permitted animal facilities. Every fall, Extension in multiple counties, host 6 hour classes for in-person training. This year due to COVID-19, the Animal Waste Work Group, a part of the Animal Ag Program Team, held virtual classes on Zoom for farmers. There are over 2,500 operators in NC.

The program team decided to host 3 – 3 hour classes on different days and times to ensure as many people could participate as possible. The team chose varied topics and coordinated with NCSU specialists and agency personnel with the Department of Environmental Quality, NC Department of Agriculture and the National Weather Service to pre-record presentations. Participants had to pre-register on Eventbrite. Several county centers hosted small, in-person viewings for farmers who did not have the capability to Zoom at home. Agents moderated the sessions and had to capture who was in attendance and their license number to make sure all received credit for attending. Over 300 farmers participated in the three sessions.

A poll was taken at each session and 100% said they learned new information that will help their farm. 90% said the sessions met their expectations and 10% preferred to have in-person sessions. This was the first time many of the farmers had participated in a Zoom training, so there was additional learning on the farmers’ part to know how to navigate and watch the sessions. We had many positive comments about how useful and varied the subject matter taught was. Farmers were extremely appreciative to be able to work on their hours and the help agents gave them to be able to participate. The work group is working on sessions for 2021 to continue making sure all farmers can meet their continuing education requirements.

Selling Local Meat

Area Specialized Agent – Poultry, Margaret Ross
Team Members: Taylor Chavis (Robeson) and Stefani Sykes (Wayne)

Covid-19 disruptions on the global food supply caused an uptick in the production and buying of local foods.

Agents from Robeson and Wayne county centers and Poultry Area Specialized Agent planned and implemented a virtual class to discuss selling local meat. Topics included red meat laws, poultry processing faqs, NC Egg Law, and providing resources for beginning farmers.

21 people attended the class. Outcomes showed that 100% of the participants learned something new and are interested in starting their own business of raising and selling local meat. Follow-up with two of the participants showed that steps were already underway to sell local beef.

Commercial Poultry Winter Ventilation Seminar

Area Specialized Agent – Poultry, Margaret Ross
Team Members: Jonas Asbill (Randolph), Richard Goforth (Harnett), Lauren Greene (Wilkes)

Perdue Farms is the 4th largest broiler company in the nation, producing over 624 million birds for processing each year. One of their complexes is headquartered in Candor, NC with the processing plant in Rockingham. After discussions with one of their Growout Managers, Extension provided a Winter Ventilation Seminar to their live production staff. The transition from summer to fall and then winter to spring is typically one of the hardest to navigate when it comes to regulating the environment within a poultry production house. This complex has a number of newly hired flock supervisors with less than 3 years of experience and this was an opportunity to review some of the basics to ensure a developing set of skills that these employees could pass along to their producers for the upcoming change in seasons.

All four of NC’s Area Specialized Agents for Poultry and specialists from NCSU department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering partnered with HogSlat to provide a no-cost training to the live production staff of the Perdue Farms Candor complex. By training the 12 members of the live production staff, we were able to indirectly reach over 150 growers in their complex as they take their knowledge to the field.

By providing this training, we positively impacted the environment of 8.3 million broilers in 550 commercial houses in Central North Carolina. Improving the environment in which the birds are raised increases livability, average daily weight gains, and feed conversion, thus increasing the growers’ production levels and pay.

Community Development

Food Distribution

Jones County FCS Agent, Sarah Ware
Team Members: Samantha Bennett (Jones), Katie Carter (Jones), Jacob Morgan (Jones), Kelly Tyndall (Lenoir)

According to the USDA, in America 14% of families with children are food-insecure before Coronavirus. 46% of children in Jones County live below the poverty line.

I filled the Food Coordinator position for Jones County, ensuring that food coming into the county was dispersed appropriately, meeting the needs of all of the community members. In July, Carolina Farmer, Executive Director for Volunteer NC out of Governor Coopers office, connected me with the USDA’s Farmers to Families program. I was put in contact with Jared Waterfield, Marketing Director of Military Produce out of Virginia, and we agreed on 1,300 boxes, weighing 24lbs a piece to be delivered to Jones County every Monday. The truck would arrive from VA between 8 a.m.-10 a.m. I made flyers in English and Spanish and dispersed them immediately. Volunteers included, Jones County EMS; director and employees, DSS; director and employees, my extension co-workers and director, Partnership for Children, Jones County RISE, county maintenance workers, a local food pantry, Lenoir Community College, high school students, and military volunteers.

In order to collect sufficient data, I had 2 volunteers stationed at the main entrance to the parking lot of the Jones County Civic Center. They would ask the participant how many boxes they needed, and write that number on a post it note, sticking it to their windshield. The volunteer would then ask, how many people would each box feed? They would write that number down on a separate sheet. We were able to tally the numbers and add all of the people reached for the total number being 23,100+ residents. For all 7 food distribution days we were able to distribute every single box. We were able to successfully distribute 218,400 lbs of produce. We served 3,300 people week in our community. There was a total of 42+ hours of volunteering. I was able to make connections and establish relationships that I would not have been able to do otherwise, stepping up as the Food Coordinator for Jones County, and accepting these produce boxes. As a new agent, people of the community now know my face and what I can do for them. I feel this builds trust as I proceed to deliver classes in the future for my county.

2nd Food Distribution

Jones County FCS Agent, Sarah Ware
Team Members: Samantha Bennett (Jones), Katie Carter (Jones), Jacob Morgan (Jones), Kelly Tyndall (Lenoir)

According to the USDA, in America 14% of families with children are food-insecure before Coronavirus. 46% of children in Jones County live below the poverty line.

The agent accepted the 3rd round of the USDA’s Farmers to Families program. She agreed to receive 1,380 boxes to be delivered to Jones County Civic Center every Monday. The agent then made flyers in English and Spanish and dispersed them around the county. Volunteers included, Jones County EMS; director and employees, DSS; director and employees, her extension co workers and director, Partnership for Children, Jones County RISE, county maintenance workers, a local food pantry, Lenoir Community College and high school students. These were 32-40 pound boxes, each containing: 5-6 pounds of cooked protein, 5-6 pounds of dairy items, 1 gallon of milk, hard cooked eggs, and an assortment of fruits and vegetables.

In order to collect sufficient data, the agent had 2 volunteers stationed at the main entrance. They would ask the participant how many boxes they needed, write that number on a post it note, and stick it to their windshield. The volunteer would then ask, how many people would each box feed? They would write that number down on a separate sheet. For all 7 food distribution days we were able to distribute every single box. We were able to successfully distribute 249,480 lbs of produce. We served 3,500 people weekly in our community. There was a total of 46+ hours of volunteering. She was able to continue making connections and establish relationships that she would not have been able to do otherwise, stepping up as the Food Coordinator for Jones County, and accepting these produce boxes. As a year new agent, people of the community now know her face and what the agent can do for them. She feel this builds trust as she proceeds to deliver classes in the future for her county.

Family and Consumer Sciences

Color Me Healthy – 2019

Jones County FCS Agent, Sarah Ware
Team Members: Kelly Tyndall (Lenoir)

Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States putting kids at risk for poor health. In North Carolina alone one in three children are overweight or obese. Eating healthy and staying active is key to preventing health problems later in life.

Jones County Family and Consumer Science Agent partnered with Pollocksville Child Care Center to offer Color Me Healthy, a program developed to reach children with fun, interactive learning opportunities on physical activity and healthy eating.Through the use of color, music, and exploration of the senses, Color Me Healthy was taught to 17 pre-k children.

100% of the parents observed an improvement in their child’s willingness to taste fruits and vegetables and 75% of parents observed other positive changes in their child in regards to healthy eating and or physical activity.

Crossing County Lines to Provide Online Nutrition

Jones County FCS Agent, Sarah Ware
Team Members: Peggie Garner (Onslow), Stephanie Stevenson (Carteret)

During the stay-at-home order, people began to cook more at home and that led to a lot of food safety and nutrition calls to the Family and Consumer Sciences Agents. The questions ranged from wanting to know correct cooking temperatures to what foods are really healthy. Usually, an agent would plan to implement a program for this influx of questions in food safety and nutrition. But with the stay-at-home order, agents had to be creative in how to deliver programming to the community.

Carteret, Craven Jones and Onslow Counties’ Family and Consumer Sciences Agents partnered together to provide an online food safety and nutrition program for their county citizens. The agents decided to deliver Med Instead of Meds via Zoom to offer a fun way of eating along with some general food safety. The program was advertised through all county centers’ Facebooks, websites and Eventbrite.

Through our online programming we were able to reach 62 participants for 3 sessions, a total of 186 direct contacts. The participants were either from Carteret, Craven, Jones or Onslow Counties. Through the evaluation, 100% of the participants increased their knowledge of the Mediterranean- Style Eating Pattern and Mindful Eating. This is a success because participants now have an understanding of how healthy eating can reduce the risk of chronic disease. Through an online program, FCS Agents were able to reach a lot of people from all different counties at once.

Cyber Cooking in the Kitchen

Jones County FCS Agent, Sarah Ware
Team Members: Michelle Estrada (Wayne), Kelly Tyndall (Lenoir)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants were closed in North Carolina. Families had the need to cook at home and many individuals requested easy, quick, and budget-friendly recipes. Face to face programming was suspended because face to face contact was prohibited.

Jones, Onslow, Lenoir, and Wayne County Family and Consumer Sciences Agents partnered to develop a six-week food and nutrition program based on the handouts Cooking 101 from North Dakota University. The program was delivered via Zoom with information about nutrition, food safety, and cooking skills. Every week, participants received electronic handouts, recipes, and cooking videos. We had an average of 20 participants in each class. They completed five challenges to practice the skills learned during class.

We matched sixteen pre and post surveys, and collected the following information: Before the program, 31% of the participants were reading labels, after the program 56%. Before the program, 31% of the participants chose foods with less sodium post-survey showed 56%. 50% reported eating small portions before the program and post-survey showed 81%. Participants not only learn food and nutrition education but also how to use an online platform to access Cooperative Extension Resources. Agents feel more confident to provide more distance education that can impact their communities and beyond. They are planning to develop more on-line programs that can mimic the hands-on experience that normally is offered by N.C. Cooperative Extension.

Natural Resource and Environmental Systems

Putting Pesticides in Their Place!

N.C. Cooperative Extension of Jones County Director & Field Crops Agent, Jacob Morgan

Many pesticides go unused every year. There are multiple reasons this occurs. Rarely are all pesticides in a container used, leaving unused pesticides that are no longer needed. The other reason pesticides go unused is because farmers get new pesticide delivered and the older pesticide gets pushed to the back of the storage and is never used. After many years these pesticides lose their potency. Without a safe way to dispose of the pesticides residents either throw them in the trash to go to the landfill or dump them out. Both strategies have negative effects on environmental and human health.

N.C. Cooperative Extension of Jones County partnered with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture Pesticide Recycling Program to provide a Pesticide Disposal day. There were people from all walks of life and many counties that participated in the program. Farmers, homeowners, retired residents all took advantage of the opportunity to properly dispose of unused and unwanted pesticides.

The program collected 3,923 pounds of unused and unwanted pesticides. This is almost 2 tons of pesticides that are not being poured out to pollute local water sources or land. This is also almost 2 tons of pesticides that are not being dumped in the trash that could harm those that collect the trash or work at the landfill.

Plant Production Systems

Applying Pesticides Safely and Legally

N.C. Cooperative Extension of Jones County Director & Field Crops Agent, Jacob Morgan

Insect and weed pests cause major economic loss to field crops. Pesticides, particularly restricted-use pesticides, which require a pesticide applicator’s license to purchase, are a very cost effective means of control. The applicators must pass a very rigorous test and attend trainings to be able to renew their licenses.

The N.C. Cooperative Extension of Jones County Agriculture Agent held 6 training sessions for 15 private applicators whose license expires in 2020. The courses covered both common and new herbicide problems found in field crops. (IPM). This assists the applicators in becoming more cost effective in their operations while also ensuring that the pesticides are being applied by properly trained and knowledgeable people; which also helps to protect the environment. This training teaches them to apply only what is required to control the pest. They also learn to apply the pesticide at the appropriate time and with the proper method improving results with fewer chemicals.

All 15 license holders were able to obtain the credit needed to be re-certified.

Applying Pesticides Safely and Legally

N.C. Cooperative Extension of Jones County Director & Field Crops Agent, Jacob Morgan
Team Members: Mike Carroll (Craven)

Auxin herbicides have been used for along time in pastures, hayfields and corn production. However, with the increase in herbicide resistance, tolerance to the auxin herbicides has been developed for cotton and soybeans, crops that have been historically very sensitive to these herbicides. The creation of these tolerant varieties has greatly increased the amount of Auxin herbicides used in the landscape. These herbicides are very volatile and create a lot of issues with off target drift. Because of the potential issues, EPA has required yearly training for all pesticide applicators who chose to us these products to help limit drift on to sensitive crops such as vegetables, tobacco and non-tolerant varieties of soybean and cotton.

Jones County hosted a regional auxin training to help pesticide applicators meet this requirement.

As result of the training, over 50 people met the requirement imposed by EPA. This allows them to legally apply these very important herbicides in the fight against resistant weeds. This will greatly increase their yield. This training also has shown to greatly decrease the issues of drift associated with these products. North Carolina has drastically less complaints than other states, even though we have much more diverse cropping systems and many more farmers.

US Flue-cured GAP & Extension Meeting

N.C. Cooperative Extension of Jones County Director & Field Crops Agent, Jacob Morgan
Team Members: Walter Adams (Duplin), Shawn Banks (Carteret), Mike Carroll (Craven), Melissa Huffman (Onslow), Steve Killette (Lenoir), Daniel Simpson (Pamlico), Grayson Wells (Greene)

The tobacco industry implemented a US Good Agricultural Practice training requirement in 2012. This industry collaboration consists of tobacco manufacturers, dealers, state departments, universities, grower associations, and farm organizations to ensure sustainable, economical and viable production. It mandates agricultural practices that produce a quality crop while protecting, sustaining or enhancing the environment with regard to soil, water, air, animal and plant life as well as protecting and ensuring the rights of farm laborers. Sales of tobacco requires this certification.

By request of the industry and with NCSU faculty coordination, Extension has coordinated with US GAP Connection to coordinate regional training events and present production, regulatory and labor training information to participants

As a result of these efforts, Extension is valued as a lead agency for these regional meetings. Over 140 participated in the meeting in Kinston, NC. Additionally, industry seeks to continue this working relationship affording Extension the opportunity to provide producers with pertinent information for sustainable production. Within Jones, Lenoir, Greene, Pamlico, Carteret, and Craven Counties, this will ensure that 100% of tobacco producers meet the requirement for certification for the sale of over $70 million of annual production.

Following guidelines protects essential herbicide yet protect environment

N.C. Cooperative Extension of Jones County Director & Field Crops Agent, Jacob Morgan
Team Members: Shawn Banks (Carteret), Mike Carroll (Craven), Melissa Huffman (Onslow), Steve Killette (Lenoir), Daniel Simpson (Pamlico)

Soybean and cotton crops have been genetically altered to tolerate auxin herbicides. Currently crops are either tolerant of products with dicamba or 2,4-D as active ingredients. Many native and landscape broadleaf plants are very sensitive to these products. As such, is it critical to prevent off-site movement of auxin herbicides. However, increasing herbicide resistance of some weeds, especially pigweed, requires use of this product as one of the better or perhaps only over-the top product available. Thus, protection of these products as a viable alternative is necessary. Thus, the EPA has mandated training for those handling or applying these products.

Agents coordinated to provide a regional auxin training led by NCSU faculty to provide the mandated EPA training

As result of the training, over 40 individuals received the required training. Data shows that following guidelines provided greatly decreases off-site movement and potential adverse effects to the environment. Compared to other states, North Carolina has substantially fewer complaints.

South Lenoir Career Expo

N.C. Cooperative Extension of Jones County Director & Field Crops Agent, Jacob Morgan
Team Members: Steve Killette (Lenoir)

South Lenoir was hosting a career expo for students to have an opportunity to see what careers are available in their area after graduation, and/or college. Our office was asked to participate and inform the students on the presence extension has in the community, and the benefits of seeking a career with extension.

Students showed great interest in Cooperative Extension work and the opportunities we can provide for our employees and clientele.

Several students who stopped showed great interest in seeking a career with N.C. Cooperative Extension, and were informed on not only the demographics of agriculture within the state, but how they can benefit agriculture even more by seeking a career with Extension.

2020 Virtual CCA Training

Jones County Extension Director & Field Crops Agent, Jacob Morgan
Team Members: Shawn Banks (Carteret), Tim Britton (Johnston), Mike Carroll (Craven), Katie Carter (Jones), Eve Honeycutt (Lenoir), Tom Hroza (Duplin), Della King (Duplin), Lisa Rayburn (Onslow), Margaret Ross (Jones), Adam Ross (Duplin), Bryant Spivey (Johnston), Wesley Stallings (Onslow), Grayson Wells (Greene)

The Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) program is an American Society of Agronomy certification program providing verification of agronomic knowledge to individuals passing national and state exams. CCA’s must receive 40 best management practice educational credits every 2 years. The Agricultural Agents in the Southeast Extension District plan and hosts an annual CCA Training to offer continuing education credits for these individuals. This year provided us with many unusual circumstances related to the Covid-19 Pandemic. With the inability to have face-to-face continuing education programs throughout the year CCA’s were even further behind on credits like never before.

Without hesitating, the southeast association of agricultural extension agents stepped in to provide a continuing education program for these clients before their deadline. Restrictions related to Covid-19 forced us to modify the program into a virtual format for the first time ever. We polled past participants and the results concluded that they preferred a week long training of 5 days. We then quickly organized a 5 Day training, Monday through Friday. Each daily session was 4 hours and it provided a total of 20 continuing education credits. The program was coordinated to include a total of 31 different speakers presenting on a diverse range of agricultural topics.

Even with the modifications of making this a virtual educational program the event was still a huge success. There was a total of 79 CCA’s that received credit for this program. Within these 79 clients there were 5 different states across the southeastern United States represented. Numerous participants thanked us for going through with the event even under the challenging circumstances. Many others also commented on how this program had some of the best presentation topics of any they had been to. Over 95% of participants agreed that this training delivered them valuable information that would further benefit their consulting work in the future. By offering this opportunity every year, CCA’s are able to keep their certification and save $500, the average cost of 20 hours of continuing education online. In addition to the savings, using data from, the average salary for a certified crop advisor in North Carolina is $5,000 higher than the average salary for an uncertified crop advisor. This translates to approximately $395,000 of increased earnings for these CCA’s over the next year. This training also served as a great means to educate both extension agents and private consultants. It also helped strengthen our network with the private industry. This relationship ultimately helps us work as a team to benefit the agricultural producers of North Carolina.

Pesticide License Recertification

N.C. Cooperative Extension of Jones County Director & Field Crops Agent, Jacob Morgan
Team Members: Mike Carroll (Craven), Rod Gurganus (Beaufort), Daniel Simpson (Pamlico)

Individuals applying pesticides as part of their employment or occupation are required by law to meet specific knowledge requirements to obtain and retain a Pesticide Applicators License. Recent federal pesticide label changes have also mandated specific safety training and certification for users of auxin and paraquat herbicides.

To address these needs, N.C. Cooperative Extension of Pamlico County partnered with N.C. Cooperative Extension of Beaufort, Craven, Carteret, and Jones County to offer several different training events which provided recertification credits for private, commercial, and research applicators. This included training and testing for new paraquat herbicide licensing requirements, annual auxin herbicide safety training, and recertification credits in various licensing categories. Training topics discussed during events included worker protection standards, safe and efficient use of pesticides, pest control, and crop injury management.

A total of 136 applicators received training with a total of 9 hours of renewal credit offered during 2020. From the educational efforts of Extension, applicators are more aware of personal, environmental, and public safety measures, and the potential hazards associated with pesticide use. Additionally, these efforts aid in continued employment or occupation necessitated by the need to maintain an active pesticide license.

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Written By

Emoni Burgess, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionEmoni BurgessCounty Extension Administrative Assistant Call Emoni Email Emoni N.C. Cooperative Extension, Jones County Center
Updated on Sep 12, 2022
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