We Grow Ashe County NC Cooperative Extension, Ashe County Center

December 2019

We Grow Community

County Extension Director Travis Birdsell presents Judy Bare a plaque in appreciation of her contribution to the Ashe County Extension Advisory Council.

The Ashe County Migrant Education Program was chosen by the ASU Sociology Department to be a service project beneficiary. The Sociology students collected money throughout the semester and bought new towels for the migrant families working during harvest season. The donations were then dropped off at the office to give to the families before the end of harvest season.

December 10, 2019 the Ashe County Christmas Project gave out Christmas gifts to over 800 children in Ashe County. Michelle Pelayo, Migrant Education Program Coordinator, helped with this all day distribution. Michelle was able to assist the project by speaking and working with the Hispanic parents that came throughout the day to collect their children’s gifts.

We Grow Agriculture

Congratulations to Kathleen Little, the 2019 Ashe County Cattlemen’s Association Hall of Fame Inductee. Kathleen grew up on a cattle farm and now operates four farms. She was awarded 33 banners for her cattle between 1988-1992 and served as the Governor’s appointee on the Agricultural Board in Raleigh. One of her fellow cattlemen called Kathleen “the hardest working cattlewoman that I have ever known. She never tires from helping those she is in contact with.” Congratulations Kathleen and thank you for all you do for the Ashe County Cattlemen’s Association.

Pictured: Gail Sheets, Ashe County Cattlemen's Association President, Kathleen Little, 2019 Hall of Fame Inductee, Micah Orfield, Extension Agent

The Ashe County Cattlemen’s Association held their annual Christmas meeting on December 9. Many members and their families were able to attend to bring the year to a close. Congratulations to Dale and Gail Sheets on winning the Ashe County Hay Competition. The prize for their winning hay was a thousand pounds of grain for their cattle.

The NC Cooperative Extension Christmas tree team’s 2nd year of container Fraser fir seedling research at the Upper Mountain Research Station concluded. This project would not have been possible without the tireless work of the staff at UMRS, contributions from the County of Ashe, and the work of Jeff Owen and Brad Edwards. This year’s projects included fertilizer rate studies, impact of slow release incorporated fertilizer, calcium source study, impacts of watering frequency, and examining different containers with different media types. This data will directly impact local growers as they look to bring seedling production back to the area. While much work has been accomplished there are still years worth of research yet to be done.

In December the Ashe County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers began packaging the Ashe County heritage seeds that were grown this past summer in the Victory Garden at the Museum of Ashe County History. These seeds will be first available, for free, at the High Country Seed Swap on March 14, 2020 at Family Central. There were 11 different varieties of vegetables grown this year with seed available from all of them. They include the Ashe County Pimento Pepper, Anderson Calico Limas, Roark “Big Red” Oxheart Tomatoes, Hodgson Cucumbers, Calico Crowder Peas, Lemly Scarlett Runners and several varieties of green beans including Colvard Turkey Craws, Anderson Half-Runners, Wilson Greasy Cutshort Cornfields, Morse’s Pole 191, and McNeill Six Week Beans. All of these vegetables have been grown in Ashe County for at least 50 years.

We Grow Youth

Afterschool 4-H’ers raised over $300 through their ornament fundraiser. A lot of hard work, creativity and love went into each homemade ornament and all proceeds are going directly back to the 4-H Afterschool Program!
We are excited to announce that the 4-H Blue Ridge Afterschool program opened for students at the beginning of December. This resource has been identified as a critical need for our elementary schools.

Staff Highlights

Caroline Goss, Extension Agent, 4-H (front, right), graduated from Leadership Ashe, an innovative leadership development program.
At the Cooperative Extension North Central Administrative Team meeting, Travis Birdsell (right) participated in the Exchange of Ideas competition and received the People’s Choice award for the “We Grow” Team Newsletter concept. (Photo courtesy of the North Central District Facebook page)

After seeing previously made videos, Ashe County Government approached Ashe County Cooperative Extension to see if a Christmas greetings video would be possible. This video involved a message from the county and then different departments wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Amanda Butalla was able to shoot footage of the county Christmas trees being decorated, interview the Ashe County Manager and get departments together to record their greeting. Jessica Ham edited the footage into a video and the County of Ashe was able to release it before the holiday employee appreciation luncheon.

On December 17, we had a staff retreat at the High Country Commercial Kitchen. Staff were educated on equipment and procedures and practiced what was learned by making sugar and gingerbread cookies along with Christmas cards. The cookies were decorated, packaged and then taken to Margate Health and Rehab. Staff shared cookies and cards with all the residents and staff.

Employee Spotlight

Micah Orfield

Extension Agent, Livestock

As a little girl, Micah always had a passion for farming. Micah grew up on her grandparent’s farm in Virginia where they raised cattle and tobacco. Growing up, her grandfather was always her hero and remains that way today.

Micah wanted to give back to farmers like her grandfather and finding a job with Cooperative Extension has allowed her to do that. Micah works every day with farmers and educates others about their importance.

Farming has always been in her blood and she found a home in Ashe County where she is surrounded by great farm families she is proud to support.

NC State University and N.C. A&T State 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, sex (including pregnancy), gender identity, sexual orientation and veteran status. NC State, N.C. A&T, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.

Created By
Jessica Ham


NC Cooperative Extension, Ashe County Center Staff