We Grow Union County NC Cooperative Extension - Union County Center

June 2020

We Grow Youth

Virtual Summer Fun is in Full Swing

Amariah Gonsalez-Southall participates in Kid Chef Advanced Camp

Union County 4-H kicked off the virtual summer fun to provide youth with hands-on, virtual learning experiences. In June, the program featured Kids Chef and Krafty Kids camps. Krafty Kids was led by Leah Joyner, 4-H Program Assistant. Kid Chef: Beginner and Advanced was co-led by Marcus McFarland, FCS Agent and Leah Joyner. EFNEP Educator Cheri Bennett joined in for the last day of the camp leading a lesson on fruits and sugars while also facilitating a painting class. The virtual summer fun program will extend throughout the month of July. For more information on UC 4H, contact us at crystal_starkes@ncsu.edu.

Union County 4-Hers Move on to State Presentations

More than fifteen Union County 4-Hers participated in the virtual District Activity Day. This was a completely new experience for everyone, but participants took on the challenge and did a great job. Several 4-Hers will be moving on to complete state presentations in just a few weeks. Congratulations to the winners!

Citizenship Focus

Union County 4-H delegates Anna Elliott, Hannah Spicer, Kailey Spicer, and Maggie Jo White participated in the first virtual 4-H Citizenship North Carolina Focus. Delegates participated in facilitated discussions and activities related to the importance of advocacy, local government, state government, and action planning.

We Grow Knowledge

EFNEP Classes Resume

Cheri Bennett, EFNEP Educator facilitating a class

Following State and County COVID-19 programming guidelines, EFNEP face to face classes started back during the month of June! Eager to learn ways to eat healthy, save money on food items, and incorporate physical activity into their everyday lifestyle, program participants are excited about the weekly meetings. Research shows that a healthy diet and lifestyle can have a positive impact on countering the effects of COVID-19 and other chronic diseases. For more information on EFNEP programming, please contact Cheri at cheri_bennett@ncsu.edu.

How To Raise Pastured Poultry

The How to Raise Pastured Poultry video series continued this month with episodes 4, 5 and 6. This joint project between Aaron Moore, Small Farms Agent and Rachel Owens, Livestock Agent focuses on teaching the methods of raising meat birds on pasture. Topics this month included moving chicks outside into a chicken tractor, increasing nutritional needs, and North Carolina requirements for selling meat. For more information about small farms, contact Aaron at jamoore3@ncsu.edu.


FCS@Home continued in June with Marcus McFarland, Health & Wellness Agent teaching a workshop on how to make pickled peaches. For more home preservation recipes, contact Marcus McFarland at marcus_mcfarland@ncsu.edu.

Soybean Research is Popping Up

Double-crop soybeans at Austin Grading and Farm Service

Union County Extension wrapped up planting for soybean research plots this month. Totaling over 15 acres, soybean trials this year range from fertility, plant health, and varieties, to weed & pest management. We would like to thank Austin Grading & Farm Service for their cooperation with this year's trials! For more information on field crop production in Union County, contact Mikayla Graham at mikayla_graham@ncsu.edu.

We Grow Citizens

Union County Special Events Center Stakeholders Meeting

UC Extension & UC Parks and Recreation co-facilitated a day-long series of community stakeholder's meetings to gather input and direction for the soon to begin construction of the Union County Special Events Center. Stakeholder's were able to take a look at design plans and schematics for the new facility, as well as provide valuable input on the needs for operation. We are thankful for the leadership from UC Government's facilities and management team for their support for this joint effort project.

We Grow Economy

UC Local Foods & Products Project

Rachael Holzman, UC Extension Summer Intern, has launched a new Local Foods Project initiative for Union County agriculture producers and businesses. Rachael is developing a new local foods and products website that will be accessed through our https://union.ces.ncsu.edu/ website. The goal of this project is to raise awareness of local farms, businesses, and agritourism here in Union County. This project will connect these operations with a larger citizen base of Union County residents. Take a look at one of the first local farms that she has worked with! For more infomation about this proect, please contact Rachael at union_local_foods@ncsu.edu.

Staff Highlights

Union County Extension Field Crops Agent

Union County Extension Field Crops Agent, Mikayla Graham

I am Mikayla Graham and I am the new Field Crops Extension Agent for Union County. I graduated from NC State University in May with a major in Crop and Soil Sciences and a minor in Agricultural Business Management. I recently moved here from Rowan County, where I grew up on a small beef and row crop farm. As the Field Crops Agent, I am excited to begin field trial research, pesticide education, and supporting the farmers of Union County in any way I can! Please contact me at mikayla_graham@ncsu.edu or on the phone at (704) 283-3736 (office) or (704) 441-2624 (cell) with any questions, concerns, or just to chat!

Union County Extension Summer Internship

Union County Extension / NCSU Summer Intern, Rachael Holzman

Hello! My name is Rachael Holzman and I am the Local Foods Intern this summer! I am a rising senior at North Carolina State University double majoring in Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems and Agriculture Business Management. Being a local from Waxhaw, I am excited to have the opportunity to bring what I have learned and the experiences I have had at NCSU back to my home town. This summer I am kick-starting a Union County Local Foods website to promote producers in Union County and surrounding counties to our consumers to build relationships, bolster our local economy, and strengthen the resiliency of our food system. Check out our new website soon or email union_local_foods@ncsu.edu for more information.

In Memoriam

Union County Agricultural Producer and Advocate: Don Kerr

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Mr. Don Kerr. Mr. Kerr passed away on June 16, 2020. As a Union County native, he was a key influence with Union County Cooperative Extension and the 4-H program for many decades and will be sincerely missed.

As a Union County local farmer, he served on various committees and boards including the Farmers Market, Agriculture Advisory Board, and the Union County 4-H & Youth Development Foundation, Inc. Mr. Kerr first served as a member of the Farmers Market board in 1993 and a year later as the chairman of the board. Don later served as a member of the original Ag Advisory Board in 2001. He continued to serve this board through 2020. Mr. Kerr was inducted in the Union County Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2015.

Don was recently elected to serve as the chairman of the 4-H & Youth Development Foundation, Inc. He has supported the organization through various events and efforts. His favorite was the annual Dancin' in the Clover: Spring Gala. He's served on that committee since its inception. Mr. Kerr was a huge advocate of the Union County 4-H program. He always spoke up for the children who participated in the 4-H program and pushed for donations from community stakeholders to further support the organization's programs and activities.

No arrangements have been set at this time. A private memorial service will be planned at a later date.


NC Cooperative Extension - Union County Center & John Lambeth via Pexels.com