We Grow Union County NC Cooperative Extension - Union County Center

August 2019

We Grow Youth

NC Cooperative Extension partnered with East Union Middle School to host its Camp Jumpstart for rising sixth graders. Sixty rising sixth graders participated in their annual Camp Jumpstart to ease the transition from elementary to middle school. This year, not only were youth exposed to the new school environment, but they learned about STEM and the many facets of agriculture through a new partnership with NC Cooperative Extension. East Union Middle School will begin its AgTech Academy this school year which will focus on the growing merger of agriculture and technology.

During the week-long camp, participants learned about space, food science, robotics, biotechnology, and so much more. The Camp Jumpstart students were able to expand their knowledge a bit further and broke through student's preconceived ideas on agriculture and technology. Local Extension Agents, 4-H summer staff, 4-H youth leaders, NC Biotech and NC Plants for Human Health institute provided hands-on, real-world lessons.

NCACC Youth Summit

Nikki Tuttle of Union County attended the tenth annual North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) Youth Summit, which was held in Greensboro, NC August 23-24th. North Carolina 4-H and the NC Cooperative Extension Service partnered for the tenth year with the NCACC on a multi-year initiative to increase youth involvement in county government. This initiative helps youth learn more about county government as well as how to become more involved in local decision making. 77 Youth and adults from 66 counties were represented during this event. The event is sponsored and supported by the NC Association of County Commissioners.

Level Up for the Real World Event - Union County Health & Human Services

Marcus McFarland - Health & Wellness Agent and Cheri Bennett - EFNEP Educator partnered with Union County Health and Human Services participating in their Level Up for the Real World Program. This program held at the Health and Human services building provided an opportunity for 80 plus kids in foster care to interact with various Union County organizations and learn vital life skills to help them transition into the real world. Youth were encouraged while they were prepared for the world after school. Marcus and Cheri were able to do a fun lesson on how to budget your food and provided a cooking demonstration with the teens on making a healthy stir fry while learning to save on the cost.

We Grow Knowledge

Rachel Owens Livestock Agent - Forage Field Day

Rachel Owens, Livestock Agent held a Forage Field Day at Scott Baucom's farm in Marshville, NC. Over 60 participants gathered to learn about summer annual forages and see the test plot that was planted in Union County. Topics covered included management of summer annual forages, variety selection, and a temporary fencing demonstration. This event was made possible with the partnerships of Union County Soil & Water Conservation District and the NC Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation who provided the grant for the research plot.

Southern Piedmont Corn & Soybean Field Day

Union County Cooperative Extension hosted a regional corn and soybean field day on August 30th. Over 70 agricultural producers, NC State University researchers, and private industry personnel attended the event. Topics ranged from soil borne biological organisms in corn production, to planting date x maturity date x seeding rate in soybean production. NC State Extension specialists Dr. Rachel Vann, Dr. Charlie Cahoon, Dr. Ron Heiniger, and Dr. Dominic Reisig were all in attendance to speak to the group. Also, Union County Soil & Water and Union County Cooperative Extension agents gave presentations on voluntary ag districts, soybean nutrient uptake and soybean weed management. Support for this event was provided by Union County Farm Bureau and Corteva Industries.

Ag Econ Meeting: Union County Cooperative Extension met with UC Government, the Monroe/Union County Economic Development Team, North Carolina Research Campus, North Carolina Dept. of Agriculture, and North Carolina Biotechnology Center on August 12th to discuss economic development in Union County focused on advancement of Agriculture. The goal of this meeting was to begin developing conversation about potential collaborations and benefits of the newly constructed North Carolina Food Innovation Laboratory in Kannapolis.

European Pepper Moth Adult

Debbie Dillion, Extension Horticulture Agent began working with Stacey Jones, Area Specialized Agent - Greenhouse & Nursery to monitor for European Pepper Moth using pheromone traps at two nurseries in Union County. The European Pepper Moth is an invasive insect whose larvae can damage greenhouse & nursery crops by chewing on leaves, stems and fruit.

We Grow Citizens

The Extension Master Gardener Monthly Educational Meeting featured Wendy Wilson, from the UNCC Botanical Garden who facilitated a session on Macrophotography. The session was closed at 15 participants as they received hands-on instruction covering SnapSeed and Prisma apps. Debbie Dillon, Extension Horticulture agent captured the background photo of lichen.

Low Tunnel

The Successful Gardener Class featured Steven Stegall who discussed Extending your Growing Season. Twenty one participants learned various methods of extending their growing seasons.

United Way Day of Caring

Ten students and a coach from Wingate University volunteered in the teaching garden to help mulch paths, pull weeds, and remove invasive plants.

Teaching Gardens at the Union County Agriculture Center

The Extension Master Gardener Volunteers hosted an "Ask the Master Gardener" session and workday in the teaching garden. They provided tours for the public and answered gardening related questions.

A new training class of Extension Master Gardener Volunteers began. Ten students will be learning topics from soil & fertilizers, to weeds & weed management and so much more. They will graduate in November and begin their volunteer service hours in the community.

Tim Walkup - Frontier Meats

Participants in the FENEP Program had the opportunity to learn first-hand how to save money on meats by purchasing large portions and cutting into various portions at home to freeze for later. Tim Walkup, manager at Frontier Meats, located at 8303 Lancaster Hwy, Waxhaw, NC explained the differences between "select" beef and "choice" beef and which served better for various cuts. Participants also learned about the impact that "marbling" has on the taste of meat when cooked. Tim answered many questions including how to identify quality beef, cutting and preparation suggestions to achieve meat dishes that are high in flavor, succulent, and will stretch the family food dollars.

Staff Highlights

Cheri Bennett - EFNEP Educator, Frank Hammond K-Love Radio, and Nancy Huntley - EFNEP Participant

Frank Hammond, Regional Public Affairs Manager for K-Love radio conducted an interview with Cheri Bennett, EFNEP Educator and Nancy Huntley, EFNEP Participant. The interview is aired on Sunday evenings for three months promoting positive impacts NC Cooperative Extension makes within Union County. This month Cheri and Nancy promoted EFNEP's 50th Anniversary and the program's mission to improve the nutrition and physical fitness impacts of Union County families.

Crystal Starkes Union County 4-H Youth Development Agent

Union County 4-H Agent, Crystal Starkes received three awards at the North Carolina Association of Extension 4-H Agents. She received the Chester D. Black Professional Development Scholarship to go towards her graduate school program at NC State University. She was also awarded the TC Blalock Young Agent Award for her work as a 4-H for the past four years. lastly, she was awarded the Achievement in Service Award for her dedication and commitment to the 4-H program in Union County. She will be recognized in November at the national conference in White Sulphur, West Virginia.

NC State University and N.C. A&T University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination and harassment regardless of age, color, disability, family and marital status, genetic information, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sexual identity (including pregnancy) and veteran status. NC State, N.C. A&T, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.

Created By
Nancie Mandeville


Content by Union County Cooperative Extension - Photos by Union County Cooperative Extension - Union County Government - University of Maine Cooperative Extension