Page 1

NC STATE UNIVERSITY

perspectives

The Magazine of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Winter 2014

Taking Flight in the New Year


perspectives

Marc Hall

NC STATE UNIVERSITY

Perspectives is online at the CALS News Center: www.cals.ncsu.edu/agcomm/news-center/

Making it so

The Magazine of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Winter 2014 Vol. 16, No. 1 Managing Editor: Terri Leith

A

Design and Layout: Vickie Matthews Staff Photographers: Becky Kirkland, Marc Hall, Roger Winstead Staff Writers: Dave Caldwell, Natalie E. Hampton, Terri Leith, Dee Shore, Suzanne Stanard Contributors: Erin McCrary, Ramona Herring

Dean Rich Linton congratulates 2013-14 CALS Distinguished Alumnus E. Carroll Joyner. (Story, page 32.)

Richard Linton Dean College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Printed on recycled paper. 32,000 copies of this public document were printed at a cost of $19,834, or $.62 per copy.

of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, as associate deans working with me to direct the College as it pursues its strategic goals. In this issue, they outline their visions for their programs, along with the new opportunities that have come after the move of four of our departments to the new College of Sciences last summer and the restructuring of two CALS departments. In Perspectives and online at our CALS News Center, we report the many activities that address the core strategic themes at the foundation of our evolving strategy: Enhancing the production, quality, accessibility and profitability of food, plant, animal and bioenergy products; ensuring environmental stewardship and sustainability of air, land, soil and water resources; creating a food supply that is safe, secure, healthy, affordable and of high quality; improving human health and well-being for individuals, families and communities; and preparing students and stakeholders for leadership and success in the global workforce. Join us in looking at how our work is propelling us forward.

Perspectives is published by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University.

Printed by PBM Graphics, Durham, N.C.

mong the news we bring in this Winter 2014 issue of Perspectives is an article on the fall celebration of the centennial of the Extension and Community Association (ECA). This year, the celebration continues as the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service officially turns 100 on May 8: It was founded in 1914, in conjunction with the national cooperative extension system, as part of the Smith-Lever Act. As Dr. Marshall Stewart, our new director of College strategy and leadership, noted in remarks at the November state Extension conference, a centennial celebration gives a platform to focus on what we want to do in the future: We use the moment to look back but also to pivot and think strategically where we want to go. As we embark on a new semester and a new year, we are making strides in implementing our Strategic Plan and continuing our focus on providing the best service to and experience for our students and our stakeholders. In this issue, we convey the many ways our research, teaching and Extension programs – as well as our faculty, students and alumni – are working to fulfill so many of our strategic goals. Through key partnerships and collaborations, essential research, community service and generous donor support of educational opportunities and activities, our CALS family is solving challenges and fulfilling needed outcomes. We are incorporating big ideas and carrying out our land-grant mission. This past year, we added two new members to our administrative team: Dr. Steve Lommel, director of the N.C. Agricultural Research Service, and Dr. Sam Pardue, director of Academic Programs. They join Dr. Joe Zublena, director

Third Class Postage paid at Raleigh, NC 27611. Correspondence and requests for change of address should be addressed to Perspectives Editor, Box 7603, N.C. State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7603. William R. “Randy” Woodson, Chancellor Richard H. Linton, Dean and Executive Director for Agricultural Programs Sam Pardue, Associate Dean and Director, Academic Programs Joe Zublena, Associate Dean and Director, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service Steve Lommel, Associate Dean and Director, North Carolina Agricultural Research Service Sylvia Blankenship, Associate Dean for Administration Keith D. Oakley, Executive Director, Advancement 919.515.2000 Celeste D. Brogdon, Director of Alumni and External Relations

contents

FEATURES 2 Closing the Loop Biologists team with engineers to develop economical system for producing biofuels from algae. 4 The A Team The College’s newest administrative leaders share their visions of things to come for CALS. 8 Handling with CARE The healing power of pets is shared by Pre-Vet Club students in an award-winning community service partnership with CARE NC. 12 Inspired by A.S.P.I.R.E. The pilot year is successful for a program developed to help improve rural students’ college entrance exam scores – and encourage their pursuit of majors in agriculture and life sciences. 14 A Legacy of Leadership North Carolina’s Extension and Community Association celebrates 100 years of home demonstration programs. 16 College Profile This scientist brings research, teaching and private industry experience – plus a knack for diplomacy and a problem-solving approach – to his new job leading the Prestage Department of Poultry Science.

NOTEWORTHY 19 NEWS Research to focus on redhorse, Pee Dee River • Brevard high school students’ research wins accolades • ‘A rebirth of agriculture’: Extension helps unemployed veteran launch sustainable business, giving new life to an old family farm • Piedmont Farm School helps small farmers get started • Hands-on Nursery provides a profitable and eduational partnership • Golden Corral partners with North Carolina 4-H to give military kids a free week of camping fun • Seek, and you will find: Online horticulture portals provide for focused searches that users can trust • Global connections: CALS team promotes international youth program partnerships • North Carolina 4-H gets students charged up about bioenergy • A rising phoenix is professor’s swan song 32 ALUMNI 2013-2014 CALS Distinguished Alumni, Outstanding Alumni honored • Paving the way: CALS alumna Margaret Carter • Duong, Green and Gharst Food Science Leadership Award Endowment created by FBNS alumni 36 GIVING Bruneau Golf Tournament sponsor gives back to turfgrass program • Gentry honored, new Pullen Society initiative launched at CALS fall foundations luncheon • New scholarship honors visionary agribusinessman • TTFC funds expansion of AgriSafe and Certified Safe Farm programs

The Cover: A soaring phoenix, the latest bamboo sculpture created by students in CALS’ horticultural

science landscape design studio, is a fitting symbol as a new administrative team leads the College in the new year. (Related stories, page 4 and page 30). Photo by Becky Kirkland.


by Dee Shore

Roger Winstead

Biologists team with engineers to develop economical system for producing biofuels from algae.

Ducoste confers with his fellow scientists as they seek to develop a commercially viable, environmentally sustainable oil-from-algae production system.

From left, in the bioreactor system team’s lab are Dr. Jim Levis, engineering post-doctoral associate; Amanda Karram, engineering graduate student; and co-investigators Dr. Ranji Ranjithan, Dr. Amy Grunden, Dr. Heike Sederoff and Dr. Joel Ducoste.

S

cientists have been working for decades to make algae a viable source for the biofuels of the future. But so far, no one’s figured out a way to make algae production profitable at the scale needed to make a dent in the problem of diminishing petroleum reserves. But N.C. State University biologists and engineers are out to change that. With a four-year, $2 million Emerging Frontiers of Research and Innovation grant from the National Science Foundation, they are closing the loop, so to speak, on the problem. Their goal is to develop a sustainable photobioreactor system that can be economically scaled up for commercial production of transportation fuel. The envisioned system would be maximally closed, meaning that, once built, it would require minimal input, producing algae and using innovative approaches for harvesting and extracting the 2 perspectives

oil and recycling nutrients from the remaining algal biomass. The system would require little to sustain itself other than sunlight, carbon dioxide, recycled nutrients and seawater. The bioreactor would also support balanced temperature, light and pH levels to create the kind of stable environment needed to hold down costs. As part of that work, the N.C. State team is developing computerbased tools that will allow those interested in adopting such a closed bioreactor system to analyze how different factors would affect the costs and the environmental impacts, from start to finish. Heading the N.C. State project team are Drs. Amy Grunden and Heike Sederoff, of CALS’ Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, and Drs. Francis de los Reyes, Joel Ducoste and Ranji Ranjithan, from the College of Engineering’s Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

The idea for using algae for energy production can be traced to efforts in the 1950s to use algaeproduced methane gas. That topic was revisited during the 1970s’ energy crisis, and then the 1980s saw a push for research into using algae for fuel production. Right now, despite widespread interest in biofuels and legislation aimed at increasing their use, these renewable fuels account for little more than 7 percent of transportation fuels. And that’s because few alternatives make economic sense compared to petroleum-based fuel. But the N.C. State team still sees algae as particularly promising. Not only are they biodegradable and harmless if spilled, they can yield 10 to 100 times more fuel in the same space as other biofuel crops, with no need for fresh water. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that if algaederived oil could replace all the petroleum fuel in the United States,

it would require an area only about half the size of Maine – which is just one-seventh of the area currently used by U.S. corn for ethanol, food, feed and other products. The system that the N.C. State scientists are designing would use marine microalga of the genus Dunaliella, bioengineered with extremophile genes to convert carbon dioxide into oil at a higher rate and to produce enzymes that would digest algal waste biomass to recycle nitrogen and phosphorus for algal cultivation. That means there would be little chance of those nutrients contaminating ground water or creeks, rivers and lakes, as can happen with other crops. Grunden and Sederoff think that the enzymes could also add value to the system if they are harvested for such uses as cleaning laundry and detoxifying pesticide spills and nerve gases like sarin. Grunden is an expert in extremophiles, which are micro-organisms that survive in the Earth’s most extreme environments, and Sederoff focuses on the metabolic engineering of algae. They have patented a process for producing enzymes in algae for industrial use. For the grant project, they have homed in on Dunaliella because it can double its mass every 30 hours, be-

cause it’s already being produced to feed farm-raised salmon and shrimp and because it has a cell membrane but no cell wall, which makes it easier to extract oils from the cells. Also, as Sederoff points out, the Dunaliella production system wouldn’t compete with fresh water or fertilizer needed to produce food and feed for a rapidly growing world population. “All this discussion of food and feed production versus fuel production, which has been a big deal with ethanol production – that is gone with our system,” Sederoff says. “If we can make it economically feasible, this will be a transformative breakthrough in how you can produce fuel without significantly tapping into the natural resources – land, water or fertilizer sources – used to produce food and feed.” In addition to being excited about developing the kind of commercially viable, environmentally sustainable oil-from-algae production system that scientists have been working toward for so many years, Grunden and Sederoff are also enthusiastic about the impact their grant-funded project will have on students – high school students, university undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral researchers. College students and post-docs are already at work on the project, and the project team is collaborat-

Roger Winstead

Closing the Loop

ing with Research Triangle High School in Durham to develop related teaching modules and a working algal bioreactor for the school. They are taking what’s called a “flipped” approach, where homework, usually reserved for practice of classroom-based instruction, is spent watching online video lessons, while class time is spent on seeing how the principles they learn about online actually perform during laboratory practice. In the process, all the students are learning the importance of bridging traditional disciplines to solve society’s greatest challenges, Sederoff said. Already, because of multidisciplinary approach taken in the algal biofuels projects as well as other promising biology-engineering collaborations, N.C. State has created a Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence program cluster called Integrated Synthetic and Systems Biology. As part of the initiative, the university has hired a faculty member and is seeking to fill other new positions in the cluster. The goal of these new faculty members will be to use synthetic technology and engineering to create novel components and pathways that overcome barriers in natural systems and thus improve production of food, fiber, fuel, medicine and more. Sederoff, who coordinates that initiative, says “the multidisciplinary approach we are taking is, in my mind, a key connection for developing anything in the future. “We, as biologists, are learning a lot of things about engineering and what we need to think about in biology to make the engineering possible – and vice versa.” And Grunden points out that the collaboration has helped generate a better “understanding of the economics – of how the engineering tradeoffs or biology tradeoffs we make affect the bottom line. “And really,” she adds, “it’s the bottom line that is going to make things a go or a no-go in the marketplace.”

winter 2014 3


A

THE

TEAM

by Dave Caldwell, with Justin Moore

Dean Rich Linton is front and center with his administrative team, (from left) Lommel, Blankenship, Zublena and Pardue.

R

oughly 16 months after his first day on the job as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Dr. Richard Linton sees the College as “the ultimate melting pot.” “That’s what I’m looking for, the ultimate melting pot of ideas and resource sharing to be able to move the College forward,” says Linton. “We are also asking our faculty to bring together and integrate research, teaching and Extension programming so that we can maximize what we do. If we ask that of our faculty, our administrative team needs to lead by example.” The College’s new strategic plan stresses building interdisciplinary programs, collaboration and partnership and integrating the landgrant teaching, research and extension missions. This critical tool will guide the College into the future. Leadership for two of those missions – research and teaching – is relatively new. Dr. Steven Lommel was named associate dean of the

4

perspectives

College and director of the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service effective Sept. 1, while Dr. Sam Pardue was named associate dean and director of Academic Programs effective May 1. Dr. Joe Zublena, associate dean and director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, was named to lead Extension in 2011, but he recently launched an effort he hopes will redefine the Extension Service. Linton, Lommel, Pardue, Zublena and Dr. Sylvia Blankenship, associate dean for administration, form the CALS administrative team. It is a team, says Linton, that is working hard to integrate all the CALS functions, including international programs. So where is the CALS A Team heading?

The value of a ‘liberal’ education Sam Pardue believes in providing CALS students a “liberal” education. But before Pardue is skewered

by Fox News, listen to his definition of liberal. “There are a lot of studies that show that people change jobs at least seven times during their careers,” Pardue says. “So gone, to a great extent, are the days in which you would go and work for one company, one organization, and retire there.” How, then, do institutions of higher learning prepare their students for this ever-changing, fluid job market. That’s where the liberal education comes in. CALS, Pardue argues, must “broadly edPardue ucate people so that they’re able to be successful in a changing world.” He adds, “So I’m a big believer that we need to prepare people for jobs to contribute to the economy

Becky Kirkland

The College’s newest administrative leaders share their visions of things to come for CALS.

of the state of North Carolina, but we also need to instill in them the ability to be adaptable and to survive; in one sense to be able to evolve, to not necessarily do what you’re doing today in 10 years.” CALS helps students learn to adapt by providing leadership opportunities and teaching teamwork. If today’s students are going to address society’s pressing issues in the future, “we’re going to have to have folks who work in large extended teams that bring in multiple disciplines ... . We can help cultivate that kind of concept, I believe, in the way in which we teach, the way in which we interact with our students and in the clubs and organizations that help prepare them,” says Pardue. “I want CALS to produce a student who is able to be adaptive and learn how to develop new skill sets,” he adds. “My idea is that a graduate of this College would not be a one-trick pony.” Funding, or the diminishment thereof, plays a role in CALS Academic Programs, as it does throughout the university. Pardue is hopeful the College and the university will be able to replace reduced state funding by growing endowments and by forming more and stronger partnerships with the private sector. “As a land-grant institution, we are committed to providing access to higher education for our citizens,” he says. “I don’t want the burden of balancing the university’s budget to fall on the shoulders of our students in the form of constantly rising tuition costs. I never want us to get to a point where only the sons and daughters of the aristocracy are able to go to college.” The university is, however, getting to the point where only those sons and daughters with high grades and test scores are being admitted, and that can be a problem for CALS. Pardue points out that in 1983, 70 percent of students who applied to N.C. State were admit-

ted. Now, around 45 percent of students who apply get in. That’s a problem particularly for CALS because so many of the College’s stakeholders and alumni are from rural areas, where access to honors and advanced placement high school courses is not as great as in urban areas. Students from rural areas may have good grades, but those grades often aren’t good enough. Pardue says CALS has developed several programs designed to assist rural students. “One that I’m really proud of is A.S.P.I.R.E. It grew out of the Department of Poultry Science, and now it’s expanded to a College-wide program,” says Pardue. A.S.P.I.R.E. (ACT Supplemental Preparation in Rural Education) aids students from rural areas in preparing for college entrance exams. (Related story, page 12.) “We’ve got documented evidence that demonstrates to me that we’re elevating their scores,” says Pardue. Then there’s a program called STEAM (Student Transfer Enrollment Advising and Mentoring Program). STEAM brings high school graduates to campus in the summer for two courses. These students then attend another institution of higher learning in the fall and spring. If they have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, they are guaranteed admission to N.C. State starting their sophomore year. CALS also has agreements with community colleges designed to aid students in transferring to N.C. State. “I tell students who are really disappointed they don’t get in as a freshman that the journey – while it’s important – is not as significant as the destination. If the goal is to get to N.C. State, we’ve got a lot of different ways that we’re going to be able to get you here.” Pardue sees CALS students in demand as the world’s population grows and more and more empha-

sis is put on providing a dependable and affordable food supply for that population. “This College is preparing our students really well for what I call the ultimate currency for the future, and that’s food,” he explains. “Students who graduate with a degree from CALS are ready to address not only the future of food, but also fiber, feed, families, health, energy, water and the environment.” At the same time, he believes the creation of the new College of Sciences in mid-2013 – which resulted in nearly half the CALS student population moving to the new college — will ultimately strengthen CALS by allowing the College to focus on the connection between agriculture and life sciences. “I’m confident that the core expertise that we retain in this College is more relevant today than ever,” says Pardue.

Advantage CALS Funding for research in higher education is a challenge, right? Budgets have been cut and cut again. And it appears funding will be a challenge into the future, what with the state still staggered by the Great Recession and the federal government seemingly unable to keep the doors open for more than a few months at a Lommel time. But maybe the state of research funding in higher education is not as dismal as it sometimes seems, at least if you share Steve Lommel’s vision. Lommel is the newest member of the CALS administrative team, named to lead the research service Sept. 1. A William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of plant pathology, he served in several administrative roles before being

winter 2014

5


6 perspectives

interdisciplinary work on plant sciences. “We’ll be doing some directed hiring, perhaps as part of the chancellor’s cluster hires, and repositioning a lot of our activities” to focus on plant sciences, Lommel says. In addition, a fund-raising campaign is planned for a plant sciences building on the Centennial Campus. If the campaign is successful and the new building becomes a reality, Lommel says several strategies are being considered for filling the building with people. Whole departments might be moved to the building, or selected individuals or, perhaps most intriguing, individual faculty members might be moved in and out of the building as research focuses on different topics. Like Pardue, Lommel sees food as a consuming issue in the future. “If you look at all the data, if you look at the most conservative data, we have to double or triple food production,” says Lommel. He predicts the need to feed an expanding global population will result in what he calls a renaissance for agricultural and life-science research.

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service has launched a strategic visioning and planning initiative to evaluate the organization’s business model, adapt accordingly to the current economic environment and devise a strategy going forward. “The College strategic plan challenged us to take a hard look at the way we do things and ask tough questions, like how can we best meet the needs of our citizens,” says Joe Zublena. The Extension Service has seen recurring federal and state budget cuts of around $20 million since 2000, resulting in the loss of more than 100 positions — mostly at the county level — over the past four years. “We are at the point where we must prioritize what we can do best with the staffing that our funding will support,” says Zublena. “The North Carolina Cooperative

Extension Service has provided a century’s worth of education and solutions that help families and communities succeed. Through this initiative, priority one is to ensure another 100 years of trusted service for the people of North Carolina.” As part of the strategic vision initiative, the Extension Service held a series of 12 Zublena listening sessions across the state in November and December. The organization sought input from employees, local governments and community partners as it addresses current economic challenges and positions itself for long-term success going into its centennial celebration. Participant feedback will be reviewed continuously and will assist in the development of an action plan to

The team continues to implement the College’s Strategic Plan, as Cooperative Extension is embarking on a similar visioning process to define its future.

better meet the needs of Extension and its partners. A website has been developed to share information and materials regarding the strategic vision initiative and to provide people an opportunity to submit feedback: www.ces.ncsu.edu/vision-initiative. In addition to listening sessions, a visioning committee and local meetings will help facilitate the process needed to prioritize the organization’s programs and define its future. The goal is to have a strategic plan in place by May 2014, when the Cooperative Extension Service celebrates its 100th year. The organization has enlisted the services of FountainWorks, a Raleigh-based management and facilitation consulting firm, to assist the leadership team and committees throughout the process. Despite the current challenges and staffing constraints, the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, part of the second-largest Cooperative Extension system in the nation, had an economic impact of nearly $200 million in 2012 and engaged more than 40,000 volunteers across the state. “I firmly believe that the Cooperative Extension Service is as needed now as it ever has been,” says Zublena. “I also believe that if we do not change, our next 100 years will not reflect the same excellence and impacts achieved in our first 100 years. This is a journey we have to make together with our employees and partners, and I believe that collectively we’ll navigate the Cooperative Extension Service through this process to another century of success.” The N.C. Cooperative Extension Service was founded in 1914, in conjunction with the national Cooperative Extension System, as part of the Smith-Lever Act. The organization will officially turn 100 on May 8, 2014.

named research director, including interim president of the David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI) in Kannapolis and assistant vice chancellor for research at N.C. State University. “The budget situation has certainly challenged us,” Lommel says. “One of the biggest hurdles we face is meeting expectations to provide science and research that we really can’t do as well as we would like due to position vacancies. As we move forward, we are going to need to think and act differently to meet the demands.” And the budget situation, at least as far as state and federal funding are concerned, probably won’t improve soon, but look a little further down the road. The College’s new strategic plan provides what Lommel calls “very good guidance and a very good understanding of where research needs to go.” At the same time, Dean Linton has launched a program that provides funding for interdisciplinary programs, and the College is developing an initiative – what Linton calls a “big idea” — that will foster

A new Extension century

Becky Kirkland

Becky Kirkland

The dean (right) and the three directors of the Research, Academic Programs and Extension activities of the College aim to lead by example in integrating programming.

That renaissance will lead to new funding sources. Lommel sees private philanthropic organizations with deep pockets such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and corporations stepping in to replace public-sector funding. “I’m pretty confident we can increase our funding,” Lommel says. “I really think there are a lot of new opportunities from major philanthropic organizations.” At the same time, he sees CALS well positioned to benefit from corporate collaborations. “I firmly believe that while it is true everyone is going after corporate funding, we have a huge advantage,” says Lommel. “Half of the major corporations and most of the plant seed biotech companies are in our backyard. Most of their employees are our graduates. We have a geographic advantage that other schools can’t match, and we’re working very hard on large, deep, durable relationships with these companies.” In an effort to strengthen ties with corporate partners and philanthropic organizations, the College is in the process of filling two new positions, a research proposal developer and a corporate partnership liaison. The proposal developer will aid faculty members in developing grant proposals. The corporate liaison, who will have office space with the North Carolina Department of Commerce as well as in CALS, will focus on the Research Triangle Park, working to build and maintain relationships and partnerships with corporations. “Both [positions] are services that will help the faculty get corporate and federal funding,” Lommel explains. “I feel like if you click off every advantage you can have, we have them all.”

winter 2014 7


with CARE

by Terri Leith

Olivia Lynn

The healing power of pets is shared by Pre-Vet Club students in an award-winning community service partnership with CARE NC.

I

t’s an October Tuesday evening at the SPCA Curtis Dail Pet Adoption Center in Raleigh, and class is in session. Four shelter dogs – Teenny, Penny, Sadie and Curtis – are being trained for their new jobs as agents of comfort for the elderly, while enhancing their own chances to land in loving homes. Their also-in-training handlers are student members of the Pre-Vet Medical Association at N.C. State University, also known as the Pre-Vet Club, in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. For the last two years the club has been working with Canine Assisted Rehabilitation for the El-

8 perspectives

derly, or CARE NC, a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of senior citizens and increasing the adoptability of shelter dogs in Wake County. In recognition of these efforts, this past April, the club received the Deborah S. Moore Memorial Service Award for an Outstanding Service Program by CSLEPS (Center for Student Leadership, Ethics & Public Service) at N.C. State. This award goes to a project that has had a great impact on the community. Preparing for their part in continuing that impact by visiting senior citizens at assisted living homes, the four dogs tonight are

practicing a number of behavioral lessons: First, to not be daunted by the kinds of devices they will encounter at homes, such as walkers, canes and wheelchairs. Second is to be comfortable with being touched, petted and hugged. Third is to be able to encounter crowds and stay calm as groups approach, perhaps quickly and noisily. And fourth, they must demonstrate the ability to ride contentedly in a car to get to the visits. Anais Estrada, a CALS senior in animal science, is the Pre-Vet Club’s senior liaison with CARE NC. She is overseeing tonight’s session, along with the club’s junior CARE liaison Catherine Bartholf, a junior in animal science, and training director Jo Murphy of CARE NC. Putting the dogs through their paces tonight are a group of PreVet Club members, including primary handlers, who have already completed four weeks of training, paired with secondary handlers, who are in the third of their own four weeks of training with the SPCA dogs. Jessica Battoglia, a junior in animal science, and Kathryn Nilsson, a sophomore in animal science and zoology, are handling Teenny, a young white pit bull. Morgan Ross and Ashley McDonald, both seniors in animal science, are working with Sadie, a beagle mix. Reshma Patel, a junior in zoology, and Brittainy Maxfield, a freshman in animal science, are handling Penny, a brown mixed breed. And Tia Simon, a junior in biology, leads Curtis, who appears to have a mastiff’s head and a basset hound’s body. When the night’s lessons conclude, each dog is evaluated by Murphy and then either passed to start making visits or given “homework” to do with its handler for the

NC Inc., not only to give pre-vet students an unmatched experience in dog behavior and handling, but to improve the lives of the shelter dogs and elderly in Wake County.” The two set up a working partnership that has grown from six pre-vet students to more than 50, including the waiting list to work with the dogs and take part in the unique partnership. “At first, I was the pre-vet club volunteer coordinator throughout my senior year, working with another pre-vet Liz Hyde,” said Lindquist. “Throughout the year, we coordinated over 30 pre-vet students through the program. Once I graduated in 2012 and went on to join the NCSU-CVM, I wanted to continue my involvement, and my role developed into the volunteer coordinator. Currently, I organize the weekly visits and schedule the community volunteers to visit along with working with the pre-vet students. “The Pre-Vet Club’s role in this organization is to train the shelter dogs on a weekly basis and visit the selected assisted living facilities,” she said. “They also are the main outreach body, representing CARE NC at several events, including the NCSU Dog Olympics and on campus volunteer events.” The dogs, sponsored by local businesses or individuals, wear vests identifying them as therapeutic visitors, with the sponsor’s name on the side, Lindquist said. “Some therapy dogs pay informal social visits to people to boost their spirits, while others work in a more structured environment with trained professionals like physi-

Terri Leith

From top: Teenny the pit bull is poised for training at the SPCA. CVM student Stephanie Gibson brings her yellow lab Birdie to visit residents at Clare Bridge. Peanut the black lab mix entertains the audience at Clare Bridge as he jumps through a hoop held by CVM student Grace Oldfield.

Olivia Lynn

Handling

next session. At tonight’s session, Curtis passes muster and is ready for his first therapy visit. “This is Curtis’ second week, and he did amazing. He loves interaction,” said Murphy. Once dogs have passed training, the students take them on Thursday evenings, when the SPCA is closed, to visit at assisted living homes, such as Heritage of Raleigh and The Oaks. “Each assisted living facility has an assigned supervisor with CARE,” Murphy said. “The dogs are selected through some temperament testing by Molly Stone, the behaviorist at the SPCA,” Estrada explained. “They continue to live at the SPCA during the program, and we work around the SPCA. They are cared for by the SPCA, and we technically borrow them for the program. A lot of the dogs get adopted while we have them in the program. We take dogs from them only while the SPCA is closed [on Thursdays], because we do not want to decrease their availability for adoption.” On weekends, community alternate dogs accompanied by pre-vet students, as well as N.C. State College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) students and volunteers, make the visits. “Community alternates usually go through the same testing; they will also come to a class on Tuesday to be cleared. There are also some vet school students with their own dogs,” Estrada said. “Pre-vet students are the main handlers of the shelter dogs, and the community alternates range from business professionals to veterinary students at the CVM,” added CVM second-year student Danielle Lindquist, who was a CALS undergraduate when the partnership with CARE came about. “Back in May 2011, I was just elected the president of the Pre-Vet Club for my senior year,” Lindquist said. “Dr. Julianne Davis-Christ, a local veterinarian and graduate from NCSU-CVM, contacted me to form a partnership with CARE

Olivia Lynn

CVM student Danielle Lindquist, with therapy dogs Birdie and JD, began working with CARE NC as a CALS undergrad, when she was Pre-Vet Club president.

winter 2014

9


cal therapists and social workers to help patients reach clinical goals, such as increased mobility or improved memory,” Lindquist explained. “CARE NC’s mission is simple: To transform the lives of the elderly of Wake County through the healing power of dogs.” Estrada first got involved when Lindquist presented the project to the Pre-Vet Club two years ago. “I fell in love the program instantly and knew I had to be a part of it,” she said. “After I was finished as a primary handler, I started to coordinate for the visits to the Heritage assisted living facility, and then ran for the CARE junior [liaison] position, so I could continue to be part of the training on Tuesdays. Currently I am the CARE senior liaison, where I am training Catherine Bartholf how to run/plan the Tuesday classes and coordinate the SPCA dog/pre-vet visits for Thursdays.”

E

strada was also part of a Sunday excursion on October 6, when she and two other handlers and their own adopted rescue dogs accompanied Lindquist on a visit to Clare Bridge of Cary, an assisted living home. Estrada brought her

10 perspectives

Photos by Terri Leith

CALS animal science major Anais Estrada, Pre-Vet Club senior liaison with CARE NC, took her rescue dog JD to Clare Bridge.

happiest moment in their final days was getting the picture of a man in hospice, lying next to a graying muzzled golden retriever in a bright blue and orange [CARE ] vest. The purpose of life is to make some difference that you have lived at all, and the volunteers at CARE NC live this mission every day.” And there’s the added reward of increasing the dogs’ chance for a home, Estrada said. “With the dogs not only are we teaching them manners and taking them out for some socialization, but we increase their adoptability as well. All of the dogs that have been through the program get adopted fairly quickly.” In fact, said Lindquist, “There’s a 100 percent adoption rate for the CARE dogs, mainly because the SPCA does a phenomenal job of picking dogs for the programs.” There are phenomenal positive effects all around: “Joining the CARE program helped me meet new people and form lasting friendships that greatly impacted

(Below) Nilsson and fellow CALS student Jessica Battoglia work with Teenny; Curtis (right, top) preens after graduating from training at the SPCA; Peanut sports his CARE coat for his next visit to an assisted living home. Terri Leith

my life and eased the anxiety of my transition [after moving to] North Carolina,” said Estrada. “This program not only does great things for the elderly and the SPCA dogs, but also greatly impacts the pre-vet students who participate in it. “Watching the elderly every visit and watching the dogs grow every training class reinforce my appreciation for CARE, and I am extremely thankful to be a part of it,” Estrada said. Meanwhile, Lindquist has found that “working with CARE NC throughout my undergraduate and currently during my veterinary school years has taught me many things, but the most important lesson is that this is a calling. “This is an opportunity where I can give a second chance to a shelter dog and impact the spirit of the elderly we visit. … It’s a life with purpose, and that’s what makes this very special non-profit worth fighting for.” She notes that since 2011, the volunteer-driven activities have

Terri Leith

Olivia Lynn

Sadie the beagle mix is led by Pre-Vet Club students (from left) Kathryn Nilsson and Ashley McDonald past a gauntlet of the devices she may encounter on a therapy visit. Awaiting her are Jo Murphy of CARE NC and CALS students Morgan Ross and Catherine Bartholf. (Right) Sadie awaits further instructions.

Terri Leith

that you helped bring some joy to them, and allowing them to just talk about their past pets and experiences gives me an amazing feeling… . “Speaking for the students, it is a great break from school and a stress relief. For me it is also a great feeling of accomplishment when you see the progress made by the dogs when they go to a visit and behave like superstars,” she added. “The most gratifying part of this organization is just how many lives we make a difference to,” Lindquist said. “Visiting these seniors once a week, I have seen dementia patients smile and hug a Staffordshire mix, a pound puppy who found his purpose in making others smile. I have even watched pre-veterinary students realize the power of volunteering their little amount of free time. “And I have met with families whose parent passed away, and the

Murphy evaluates Penny’s performance with student handlers Brittainy Maxfield (left) and Reshma Patel.

helped more than 30 dogs on their way to new lives and families and have enrolled more than 50 prevet students as volunteers. And of course, at the assisted living facilities, there are the countless residents who have been cheered by the visits and whom the participants have had the pleasure to see and meet on a weekly basis. Looking ahead, Lindquist said, “Our goals right now are to maintain consistent group of volunteers and pre-vet students that can continue visiting assisted living facilities. As we grow as a non-profit, we hope to reach even more assisted living facilities.” Dr. Julianne Davis-Christ, CARE NC founder, said that the group is “always in need of community dogs to help out,” and invited those who think their dogs would enjoy visiting the elderly to contact CARE at info@carencinc.org.  It’s an invitation to make a difference. As Linquist said, “No matter what type of day I am having, I am reminded that every single day, in every walk of life, ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things.” And so can shelter dogs.

Terri Leith

dog JD, a three-legged beagle mix. Second-year CVM student Grace Oldfield made the rounds among the residents with her dog Peanut, a black lab mix, who also jumped through hoops for his audience. And Stephanie Gibson, secondyear CVM student and president of the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association (SCAVMA), led Birdie, her yellow lab, as she got acquainted with the various residents who gathered to meet the dogs. The dogs also went along hallways and to some individual rooms to bring cheer to those living there. Later that afternoon, the dogs and handlers paid a visit to Independence Village of Olde Raleigh. “I love visiting the elderly,” Estrada said. “Watching them light up when you walk into the room with a dog is a great feeling, knowing

winter 2014 11


The pilot year is successful for a program developed to help improve rural students’ college entrance exam scores – and encourage their pursuit of majors in agriculture and life sciences. by Terri Leith

T

he results are in. As its pilot year drew to a close, the A.S.P.I.R.E. program, designed to bridge deficits in rural students’ scores on the ACT College Entrance Examination, saw a significant average score improvement for its participants. A.S.P.I.R.E. stands for ACT Supplemental Preparation in Rural Education. This program is an initiative offered through N.C. State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and North Carolina Cooperative Extension. While housed in the Prestage Department of Poultry Science, A.SP.I.R.E. is a CALSwide initiative devoted to helping students from rural areas in the state who may be interested in pursuing agriculture or life sciences degrees. And in the program’s first year, “overall, through the A.S.P.I.R.E. course, we saw an average score improvement of 3.5 on ACT’s 36-point scale,” said Mindy Herman, poultry science master’s degree candidate, who, with N.C. State MBA student Rachel Huffman, oversees the daily operations of the program. Herman also is writing her master’s thesis on the A.S.P.I.R.E. program. Herman and Huffman are responsible for the recruitment visits for A.S.P.I.R.E. students, planning and oversight of the agent master trainer course and 12 perspectives

the marketing of the program. The Executive Director of A.S.P.I.R.E. is Dr. Ken Anderson, CALS professor and Extension specialist within the Prestage Department of Poultry Science, who directs the implementation of the program. The program was created in December of 2011 under the direction of Dr. Jackie Golden who was the undergraduate teaching coordinator and professor in the Poultry Science Department at the time of initial program implementation, Herman said. A.S.P.I.R.E. is currently being offered in 32 counties across the state with 44 trained agents. The A.S.P.I.R.E. agents are Cooperative Extension agents and high school faculty members, Herman said. “Their training took place in Durham at the Princeton Review’s headquarters. They completed the Princeton Review’s 24-hour master trainer course, where they were taught how to actually teach the ACT test prep.” The ACT College Entrance Examination (ACT originally stood for “American College Testing”) assesses students’ academic readiness for college. It consists of four multiple choice tests in English, mathematics, reading and science and can also include a writing test. The establishment of A.S.P.I.R.E. came about because “it was noted that there were many students from rural communities all across North Carolina who were interested in coming to N.C.

State and majoring in an agriculture or life sciences degree. However oftentimes these students were not successful in gaining admission into N.C. State due to their low College Entrance Examination scores (SAT and ACT scores),” explained Herman. “That’s what led to the development of the A.S.P.I.R.E. program... to provide ACT test preparation to rural high school students across North Carolina to improve their ACT scores, in order to increase their chances of being accepted into college.” The pilot year began with an informational meeting with prospective agents to talk with them about what the program entails and how it could help their home counties, Herman said. After the agents decided whether the program fit with their counties’ needs, they attended the master trainer course. “This is where they learned how to actually teach the ACT test preparation to rural high school students,” she said. “After the A.S.P.I.R.E. agents go though the master trainer course, the A.S.P.I.R.E. staff begins the recruitment process within those counties.

Becky Kirkland

by A.S.P.I.R.E.

Rachel Huffman (left), Mindy Herman and Dr. Ken Anderson lead the program, funded by Golden LEAF, Ag Carolina Farm Credit, Cape Fear Farm Credit, Carolina Farm Credit, N.C. Poultry Federation, N.C. Pork Council, N.C. Rural Economic Development Center and N.C. State Grange.

College have the opportunity to ask their A.S.P.IR.E. instructors questions about N.C. State, CALS, College admissions and any other Collegerelated questions, Herman said. “We have also prepared an A.S.P.I.R.E. booklet, which goes through all of the CALS majors and gives a description of the major and course work. It also provides potential job opportunities within the major.” This extensively detailed outline of the College and its curricula is accessible online at http://harvest.cals.ncsu. edu/aspire/. A.S.P.I.R.E. participants can also avail themselves of the opportunity to attend a joint Spend a Day at State and A.S.P.I.R.E. day, Herman said. “During these visits, A.S.P.I.R.E. students to sit in CALS classrooms, tour campus and speak with CALS students and professors.” Herman has found that working with A.S.P.I.R.E. has been educational for her, as well. “Through this program, I have learned valuable program planning, management, and evaluation skills that I can utilize in any future career endeavor,” she said. “When I initially started working with A.S.P.I.R.E.,

I hoped to one day work with Cooperative Extension. This program works with the Cooperative Extension and allowed me to better understand and see how the Extension system worked and operated.” Meanwhile, Huffman, her A.S.P.I.R.E. colleague, “would like to one day go into a marketing position within an agricultural business. This correlates with the A.S.P.I.R.E. program nicely, as she deals with its marketing and business portions. “Through working with the program, Rachel and I were both able to learn how to plan, manage, oversee and administer the daily operations and functions of a program.” But what Herman finds most rewarding and takes the most pride in with A.S.P.I.R.E. is the success stories that have already come in. “We have received numerous emails and letters from parents and students to inform of us of their ACT successes and to show their appreciation for this excellent program offered through CALS,” she said.   “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to help combat the statewide score deficit on college entrance examinations.” 

Inspired

Recruitment varies across all counties, and we try to cater our recruitment venues and activities to the specific counties.” Typical recruitment involves Herman and Huffman traveling to high schools and talking to classes or groups of students. “We talk about college admissions and how the ASPIRE program can help them improve their ACT score,” Said Herman “We also talk about the different opportunities and the wide variety of degrees available within CALS.” If students are interested in participating in the program and improving their ACT scores, they apply for the A.S.P.I.R.E. class in their counties. Students are selected for the classes based on their GPAs, class standings and anticipated college majors. Selected students then participate in a weekly class, accumulating up to a total of 30 hours of instruction, she said. “The A.S.P.I.R.E. agent will teach the students the latest skills, tactics, and strategies they need to know to maximize their ACT scores.” As part of their A.S.P.I.R.E. participation, she said, students receive a Princeton Review study manual, the Princeton Review 1,296 practice questions booklet and the Princeton Review selective college admissions booklet. And they have the opportunity to take four practice ACT diagnostic exams. “The students also receive a score analysis and breakdown of their responses and scores for all four of the practice exams,” said Herman. “This enables the participants to see which areas they are strong in and which ones they are weak in — which allows them to pinpoint their study time and efforts on the specific subjects they may need to improve their scores in the most.” A.S.P.I.R.E. participants receive access to all of the Princeton Review’s online resources, as well. At the same time, those students interested in curricula offered in the

winter 2014 13


Marc Hall

by Natalie Hampton The Jane S. McKimmon FCS Hall of Fame inductees have given a combined 1,200 years of service to the state and their communities.

M

14 perspectives

specialists based at N.C. State and N.C. A&T State universities, ECA continues as a grassroots institution that has actively addressed the needs of families in their communities for 100 years. The ECA centennial gala began with an opportunity for guests to view engraved bricks placed in the Jane McKimmon Garden at McKimmon Center. The bricks were donated in honor of the womMarc Hall

ore than 800 people from across the state came to Raleigh this past fall to celebrate 100 years of home demonstration programs in North Carolina. The Extension and Community Association (ECA), a volunteer organization of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, hosted a gala to celebrate its centennial. Before Home Demonstration Clubs there were girls’ Tomato Clubs, started in 1911 by Jane S. McKimmon, North Carolina’s first woman home demonstration Extension agent. Tomato Clubs encouraged young women to grow tomatoes on a 10th of an acre, sell them at curb markets during the growing season and preserve them for sale and home use. In the first year, 416 girls canned nearly 80,000 jars of food. Mothers and daughters worked together on canning food. By 1913, the mothers had learned to can so well, they began to ask for clubs where they might learn other skills for the home. Thus Home Demonstration Clubs – later named Extension Homemakers and today the ECA — were born in North Carolina. Through the educational guidance and researched-based information provided by N.C. Cooperative Extension’s family and consumer sciences agents and

N.C. Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker hosted the gala.

en of ECA, family and consumer sciences and their supporters. N.C. Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker served as guest host for the gala celebration. Decker regaled the crowd with stories of her partnership with N.C. Cooperative Extension across the state while she worked as a customer service representative for Duke Energy in Charlotte.

A highlight of the evening was the announcement of a new women’s leadership program developed in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro. The program will be rolled out this year in pilot counties as a trainthe-trainer model, using FCS Extension agents and ECA members as trainers, said Dr. Marshall Stewart, then head of the Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences at N.C. State, as he told gala attendees about the leadership initiative. Women with limited access to leadership training will be the target audience of the program, said Stewart, who was recently named special assistant to the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of College strategy and leadership. The goal is to develop a new generation of women leaders in North Carolina and increase community participation in issues related to economy, education and health, he said. Leadership development is a strategic goal identified by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “The program is a win-win, not only for the women who participate, it is a win-win for the individuals and organizations that choose to support it,” said Stewart, adding that the program is seeking other

New Hall of Fame member Dorothy Wilkinson (right) began her career in Granville County in 1944.

money to build the Jane S. McKimmon Center at N.C. State in 1976. The women of ECA planted a Learning Tree by providing North Carolinians with greater access to library books. North Carolina grew from one of the most illiterate states in 1941 to the state with the most bookmobiles in 1957. ECA members provide books for parents of newborns, recognizing the importance of early reading. They also have provided tutoring and scholarships to encourage students to learn beyond high school. ECA women have added many branches to the Legacy of Leadership Tree, both within the organization and within their own communities as mayors, county commissioners and school board members. Major sponsors of the centennial celebration were Duke Energy Corporation, Jarden, MurphyBrown LLC, N.C. Egg Association, N.C. Electric Membership Corp., N.C. Pork Council, Wake County Farm Bureau, Wells Fargo Bank and district ECA offices.

North Carolina’s Extension and Community Association celebrates 100 years of home demonstration programs.

Homemakers and Home Demonstration Clubs have made in communities and across the state of North Carolina. On the stage were five trees, representing the new life that has grown from significant efforts of ECA: a Nourishing Tree, a Money Tree, a Tree of Hope, a Learning Tree and the Legacy of Leadership Tree. Throughout the presentation, each tree was illuminated as the narrator described significant contributions by ECA volunteers and their predecessors in that area. As a Nourishing Tree, ECA helped women grow food and share that knowledge with their neighbors. The first school lunches of tomato soup and hot cocoa were provided by these volunteers. Today, ECA clubs help fight the obesity epidemic by educating their communities about good nutrition and physical activity. ECA has long helped families find the Money Tree, stretching their dollars from the Great Depression of the 1930s to the Great Recession of today. ECA showed women how to sell surplus produce at curb markets to earn extra money. Members also developed crafting and sewing skills to provide for their families and earn income. Their financial contributions helped modernize the state by providing families with access to indoor plumbing, electricity and new appliances. As a Tree of Hope, ECA has supported the country in times of war and extended its reach around the world to those in need. During World War II, clubs knitted sweaters and socks for soldiers, planted Victory Gardens and collected surplus materials for the war effort. In North Carolina, clubs raised money to renovate and launch the hospital ship Larkspar. They have supported humanitarian efforts around the globe, building wells to help remote villages in Guatemala. And club members donated $100,000 of their “butter and egg”

Marc Hall

A Legacy of Leadership

supporters to join the N.C. Pork Council, the first organization to support this leadership initiative. Another highlight of the evening was the induction of 27 new members into the Jane S. McKimmon Family and Consumer Sciences Hall of Fame. Those honored have given a combined 1,200 years of service to North Carolina and their communities. Four former N.C. State faculty members were inducted: the late Dr. Linda Bunn, state associate program leader for FCS and administrative leader of the N.C. Extension Homemakers Association; the late Marjorie Donnelly, leader of Extension’s foods and nutrition program and a developer of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Expanded Foods and Nutrition Education Program; Dr. Nadine Tope, Extension food preservation specialist; and Betsy Meldau, the first woman district Extension director in North Carolina. Many of the women recognized became leaders in Cooperative Extension and leaders in their own communities. Dr. Pauline Calloway, who began her career in North Carolina, became the first woman district Extension director with Florida Cooperative Extension, and Dr. Myrle Swicegood, who also began her career here, went on to become head of the Home Economics Department with Clemson Cooperative Extension in South Carolina. Ruth Cherry of Edgecombe County ECA was the first woman county commissioner there and state president of Farm Bureau Women. Isabelle Fletcher Perry of Lenoir County ECA was the first woman county commissioner there and the first woman named to the Tobacco Stabilization Board; and Marguerite Whitfield, also of Lenoir County ECA, served 12 years as a county commissioner there. The gala evening opened with a multi-media presentation about the impact that ECA, Extension

winter 2014 15


Becky Kirkland

College Profile This scientist brings research, teaching and private industry experience – plus a knack for diplomacy and a problem-solving approach – to his new job leading the Prestage Department of Poultry Science.

instructor. For five years, he studied with Dr. Jason Shih, now an emeritus poultry scientist, on research related to bioenergy from waste products. After spending his nights, weekends and summers studying and conducting research, in 1989 he got his Ph.D. in nutrition, with a minor in microbiology. It was around this time that Williams took his only hiatus from agriculture. With the expertise he’d gained in waste-related research, he took a job as a laboratory supervisor for a waste remediation company in the Research Triangle and worked his way up to associate vice president. While he was happy with that job, when CALS’ administration came calling to offer him a job to develop what became known as the Animal and Poultry Waste Manage-

In February 1995, one of the state’s top newspapers published a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of reports that brought attention to the environmental effects of that system. And in July, a lagoon at a large Onslow County hog farm overflowed, spilling more than 20 million gallons of waste into the New River. Amid a public outcry over odor and the potential for more spills, the state General Assembly placed a moratorium that limited the industry’s growth. Then in 2000, Smithfield Foods and Premium Standard Farms entered into an agreement with the N.C. attorney general to fund research and development activities aimed at finding better ways to treat animal waste. N.C. State’s chancellor tapped Williams for the dubious honor

by Dee Shore

‘Poultry production in this state accounts for tens of thousands of jobs and millions in economic activity.

D

r. C. Michael Williams has spent his life immersed in the world of agriculture. While growing up on a tobacco farm near rural Bunn, he spent many of his high-school days caring for chickens and cleaning up their litter for a local pullet producer. Throughout his career, Williams has built on that agricultural background. He’s come to be a widely respected agricultural teacher and scientist – one who led one of the largest and most politically, socially and economically important research efforts in N.C. State University’s history. And today, he finds himself at the helm of academic, research and extension programs of one of the world’s leading – and indeed, one of its few – university poultry science departments. In September, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Richard Linton named Williams head of N.C. State’s Prestage Department of Poultry Science. In announcing Williams’ appointment, Linton said that while Williams served as

16 perspectives

interim poultry science head for a year, he had shown the kind of outstanding service worthy of leading a world-class department. Despite Williams’ farming roots, with his crew cut, conservatively starched suits and an immaculate Scott Hall office, he doesn’t fit the stereotype of agricultural-researcher-turned-administrator. And neither does his resume. In addition to his academic research and teaching experience, Williams has worked in the private sector and among global executives, scientists, entrepreneurs, government regulators, farmers and event politicians. Through it all, he’s earned a reputation for taking a sophisticated approach that takes into account the varied viewpoints that surround complex agricultural issues such as waste management and antibiotic use. That approach has taken Williams around the globe as a leading poultry scientist and waste management expert and speaker. But he’s never

strayed far from his humble agricultural roots. Or from N.C. State. That’s because he appreciates the opportunities he has been given at the university. He likes the people involved in agriculture. And through his research and teaching, he loves taking on the most complicated challenges that affect American agriculture today. Williams first came to the university to study zoology in the early 1970s. It was then that he took a CALS honors course that, as he put it, “introduced me to research and essentially launched my career.” The class spurred him, he said, to stay at N.C. State after he graduated in 1975 to study for a master’s degree in poultry science and to serve as a teaching assistant. He earned a master’s in poultry science in 1977, and, because he had proven to be a good teacher, longtime biological sciences coordinator Dr. Charles Lytle asked him to stay on as a biological sciences instructor. In the 1980s, Williams began pursuing a Ph.D. one course at a time while continuing to work as an

...We want to continue to see this industry grow and provide opportunities in North Carolina, and we want to see growth that is environmentally sustainable to all citizens of the state.’ ­- Mike Williams ment Center, or APWMC, in the 1990s, he didn’t refuse. Under Williams’s guidance, the College established the center in 1994 with partners from other universities and from the agricultural industry. The APWMC quickly became a national and international focal point for research and development related to waste management systems for animal agriculture. It was a time when hog and poultry production had been rapidly expanding in North Carolina, and it was not long before the hog industry’s lagoon-and-spray-field system, used for decades to manage swine waste, took center stage as a political issue.

of leading that $17 million effort. While related research continues, the project officially culminated in 2006 with Williams reporting on a combination of waste management technologies that he considered had met the requirements described in the agreement as “environmentally superior” to the traditional system. While Williams’ determinations have been controversial, they were informed by one of the university’s most significant research efforts ever. Some consider those efforts seminal, pushing the science of waste management ahead. Ongoing research focuses on making technologies more economically feasible and, in some cases, sources

of commercially valuable waste byproducts.

P

roblem solving to find such winwins is perhaps the hallmark of Williams’ approach to his ongoing duties as APWMC director and to his job as department head. He wants the department to continue making a difference for food production globally, but particularly in one of the nation’s leading poultry producing state – North Carolina. Here, he noted, poultry production accounts for about 38 percent of all cash receipts from agriculture. “Poultry production in this state accounts for tens of thousands of jobs and millions in economic activity,” Williams said. “We want to continue to see this industry grow and provide opportunities in North Carolina, and we want to see growth … that is environmentally sustainable to all citizens of the state.” To that end, poultry science’s 17 faculty members are continuing to address environmental challenges while also looking to solve other industry challenges such as developing more affordable feed sources, improving production efficiency and animal health, and meeting consumer demand for alternatives to antibiotics. And they are working hard to interest students in poultry science and prepare them for careers in a global industry that’s growing rapidly as an expanding world population increases the demand for affordable protein. Amid this growth, “the industry’s number one message to us,” Williams said, “is that we need to produce more students. They need more poultry production and processing managers, veterinarians and quality assurance personnel, and they need graduates who are prepared to cross disciplines – who not only are skilled in science but also understand business.” As a result, the department is planning to offer a professional science master’s degree in addition to its more traditional bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. And it’s working, Williams said, to increase the number of students enrolled in poultry science’s degree programs.

winter 2014 17


“As it stands right now, our graduating seniors typically have multiple job offers,” Williams said. “So we know we need more good students.” One of the challenges to recruiting enough students to fill industry demand is that students with passions for agriculture tend to come from rural areas. And students from those areas, Williams explained, often don’t have the college entrance test scores they need to compete with prospective students from urban areas. Two CALS programs are designed to help students past N.C. State admissions hurdles and prepare them for university success. Williams believes these programs are key to forging new pathways for such students to get into N.C. State: A.S.P.I.R.E. (ACT Supplemental Preparation in Rural Education) helps rural students prepare for the ACT, a test that N.C. State requires

18 perspectives

of prospective students. Better test scores, Williams explained, means better chances for these student to get into N.C. State to pursue studies in poultry and other agricultural sciences. (Related story, page 12.) While A.S.P.I.R.E. helps students raise their test scores so they can compete for admission, STEAM (Student Transfer Enrollment Advising and Mentoring) guarantees admission for agricultural students who meet certain criteria. As a CALS representative to N.C. State’s Faculty Senate, Williams lobbied hard for the program. He explained that through STEAM, students who have made N.C. State waiting list status can study at a North Carolina community college and other university for a year, then transfer to one of N.C. State’s bachelor’s-level agricultural programs. To qualify for guaranteed admission, a student must take targeted

noteworthy

NEWS

Research to focus on redhorse, Pee Dee River

S

cientists from N.C. State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will lead an effort to better understand the impact that changes in habitat and water quality are having on fish, mussels and crayfish in the Pee Dee River in North and South Carolina. Research will focus on the robust redhorse, a large and rare freshwater fish found in only three river drainages in the southeastern United States. The robust redhorse is a state-listed endangered species and is a priority species designated by the N.C. Wildlife Action Plan. The effort is being funded with a $460,000 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant, which will be matched with $225,400 in state funds. The grant was made through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s competitive State Wildlife Grants Program. Faculty members in the CALS Department of Applied Ecology will lead a collaborative research effort that will include the N.C. Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at N.C. State along with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Lead investigators on the grant are Dr. Tom Kwak, leader of U.S. Geological Survey and N.C. Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at N.C. State University; Dr. Greg Cope, CALS Department of Applied Ecology; Dr. Ryan Heise, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission; and Forrest Sessions, S.C.

Tom Kwak

Becky Kirkland

Poultry science students and researchers pay a visit to Williams (center) in Scott Hall. From left are Sarah Tong, Ilana Barasch, Debra Maxwell, Caitlin Evans, Jenna Scott and Susan Collins.

courses that will transfer to the university and maintain a 3.0 gradepoint average at the community college or other university. During their freshman year STEAM students get individualized mentoring and advising from university faculty members. And they take part in N.C. State classes during the summer that follows their high-school graduation. The STEAM program started last year, and 12 students with plans to matriculate to CALS programs, including poultry science, are now studying at community colleges across the state. Williams said he can relate to the students that A.S.P.I.R.E. and STEAM are reaching. Having grown up in a rural area himself, he went to Louisburg College for a year before being admitted to N.C. State as a sophomore. Though he doesn’t point it out himself, one could argue that Williams’ career successes are proof that students who choose such unconventional routes can not only be successful, they can make significant differences in preparing agriculture in North Carolina and around the globe solve problems now and in the future. “Agriculture has its fair share of challenges. And being a department head is a challenge, too,” he said. “In this position, what I hope to do is to listen, to be open-minded, to be a mediator, to treat everybody fairly – and in doing so, help position this department for continued success. “We want to, and need to, keep making a profound and significant impact not only for the poultry industry that we are here to serve,” he added, “but for all the people of this state.”

Department of Natural Resources. Collaborators on the project include Dr. Tom Augspurger with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Dr. Damian Shea and Dr. Seth Cullman, N.C. State University Department of Dr. Ryan Heise (right) and wildlife biologist Michael Fisk Biological Scihold a robust redhorse. ences; and Dr. Mac Law, N.C. non-native species, sedimentation State University College of Veteriand water pollution. nary Medicine. Recent research suggests that the Kwak explained that “this multidisciplinary research team of aquatic impact of emerging contaminants, such as endocrine-disrupting comecologists, environmental toxicolopounds and pharmaceuticals, may be gists and resource managers can detrimental to fish and other priority address complex, contemporary respecies, according to Heise, a fisheries search questions together that none research coordinator with the N.C. of us could approach individually.” Wildlife Resources Commission. Researchers will look at the im“Some of the chemicals that pact of habitat and water quality make it into our waters can mimic changes on the redhorse as well the effects of hormones in animals as other fish, mussels and crayfish and cause adverse effects,” Heise found in the Pee Dee River, which said. “After completing this study, forms at the confluence of the Yadwe hope to answer questions about kin and Uwharrie rivers in Montthe effects of different types of gomery County and flows from contaminants on robust redhorse North Carolina into South Caroand other aquatic animals, which lina. The robust redhorse has been should help us make better mannegatively affected by habitat modagement decisions in the future.” ification and fragmentation from — Dave Caldwell hydroelectric dams, introduction of

winter 2014

19


20 perspectives

also Abby’s mom, to submit a grant proposal to the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The proposal was to develop a summer and afterschool program that would introduce students to local environmental issues that could be addressed through science and engineering. When they received a $180,000 BWF grant, Arnaudin and Jennifer Williams allowed students to apply for a spot in the program that enabled them to acquire the equipment needed to conduct original research and present it at community symposiums, as well as at state and even international conferences. N.C. State University’s Science House faculty helped lead the summer orientation week and the N.C. Agricultural Foundation served as the fiscal agent. T.I.M.E. is now a school day course with summer and after school components, facilitated by Brevard High School teachers Williams and Laura Patch. T.I.M.E. is designed so students can develop a hypothesis and research project around an issue in which they are interested. Abby and Carly read about kudzu bugs in local newspapers and noticed them in their community. The girls were surprised to find that little was known about kudzu bug control and wondered what they could uncover themselves. “No one has any idea what the bug’s pheromone is, so we decided to start trying to figure that out,” Abby said. To explore the kudzu bug pheromone, the students have exposed their bugs to different scents, using an olfactometer that they adapted. The olfactometer uses a Y-shaped rod that allows the insects to climb upward from the bottom to the scent they prefer. If the insects show significant attraction to certain scents, those scents may contain chemicals within the insects’ pheromones,

Brevard sophomores Abby Williams and Carly Onnink conducted a study of kudzu bug pheromones.

chemicals the insects use to communicate. Pheromones can be used to devise traps or other insect control methods. “They put those chemicals in the trap to sort of trick the bug. The bugs think, ‘Oh, my buddy is telling me to be with him,’ when they’re really just being trapped. It’s not the only way to control them, but it’s part of the solution,” Carly said. Anyone who has ever brushed a small kudzu bug off a white shirt will recognize the “aggravated scent” that the bugs leave behind. Abby and Carly discovered last year that female kudzu bugs are attracted to the “aggravated scent.” Both males and females were attracted to pheromones from another insect, the brown marmorated stinkbug. Throughout their research, Abby and Carly have gained much experience and knowledge on their specimen, such as where to collect them locally, how to raise them in the lab and how to distinguish males from females. Much of their research last year was devoted to developing an olfactometer best suited to studying their insect. Their results earned them third

survey, outlining the cost of the project, risk involved, time required and more, says teacher Williams. Arnaudin’s role has been to help connect the science students with scientists who can help support their work, including some from the Mountain HorTeacher Jennifer Williams and 4-H agent Mary Arnaudin ticulture Crops worked together to develop T.I.M.E. Research and Extension Center in Mills River. Williams says that the class has Like all research programs, made an impact, with 67 percent T.I.M.E. is looking for its next of its graduates now enrolled in scifunding source, after a state grant ence majors as college students. Past was eliminated in last year’s budget students still get in touch with her to process. Recently Abby and a felsay, “That T.I.M.E. class really came low student appealed to a group in handy again” with college science of state entrepreneurs and came studies. — Natalie Hampton away with $2,000. Another student raised $1,000.

‘A rebirth of agriculture’: Extension helps unemployed veteran launch sustainable business, giving new life to an old family farm

W

Dee Shore

revard High School sophomores Abby Williams and Carly Onnink had just finished their entomology presentation at the 2013 State 4-H Congress, when N.C. State University entomologist and presentation judge Dr. Jack Bacheler turned to them and asked, “Where are you from?” That’s because Abby and Carly are among a group of science students in this small mountain town involved in the type of scientific research you might expect to find in a university laboratory. The T.I.M.E. for Real Science program (Time to Inquire, Matter and Explore) is a partnership between Transylvania County 4-H and the county schools. The girls’ research involves testing different scents to find out which are most attractive to kudzu bugs, an invasive insect species that attacks soybeans, an important commodity crop in North Carolina. The insects also annoy homeowners when they cluster on light-colored siding. Bacheler was impressed at the quality of the girls’ work on kudzu bug pheromones. He shared their research with his N.C. State colleague Dr. Coby Schal, who said the students’ work was equal to that of entomology graduate students. “These students were obviously very well mentored, but also brilliant in the way they posed the hypotheses, synthesized the literature and analyzed the results,” Schal told Bacheler. T.I.M.E. for Real Science started in 2007 out of a vision that two N.C. State University alumni had for replacing typical high school “cookbook” science labs with real scientific inquiry into their own questions. Mary Arnaudin, Transylvania County 4-H agent with a background in hands-on science, worked with Brevard High School teacher Jennifer Williams, who is

Becky Kirkland

B

place at the State Science Fair and a first place in the N.C. Student Academy of Science competition last year. They will present their work at the national American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in February, an award for their first place win. Both Abby and Carly say that the T.I.M.E. program has piqued their interest in science as a career. This year, the two girls plan to continue using their olfactometer, but to test attraction to specific chemicals rather than scents. In addition, they plan to analyze the kudzu bug’s aggravated scent through gas chromatography to determine its chemical components. The ultimate, future goal would be field testing identified chemicals in a pheromone trap in order to show how results found in the lab transfer to the natural world. 4-H Agent Arnaudin says that since T.I.M.E. began, student projects have shifted from mostly field work to more lab work. Before students begin a research project, they have to fill out a feasibility

Becky Kirkland

Brevard high school students’ research wins accolades

Robert Elliott started his Cypress Hall Farm operation in 2012.

hen Robert Elliott imagines his future as a farmer, he sees a large operation with a nice market where customers can buy affordable, sustainably produced vegetables and fruit from a 10- to 12-acre garden or chickens and turkeys from a yearly flock of 20,000. His customers bring their children to learn about farming and about where their food comes from. He’s able to innovate and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to what people want from their local farmer. And he is able to support a modest, if not comfortable, life for his family. It may be just a dream right now, but Elliott is making fast progress since the day when he found

winter 2014 21


Elliott, here with his free-range turkeys, calls Martha Mobley, Franklin County Extension agent, a “crucial resource” in launching his farm venture.

22 perspectives

know who to talk to to get the licenses I needed. I didn’t even know which licenses I needed. All I knew was that I wanted to raise chickens, process them and sell them.” Elliott says that Mobley – recently named the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s Extension Educator of the Year – was swift in her response, steering him toward a sustainable small farm conference that she and County Extension Director Charles Mitchell were offering. While some might be under the impression that the internet has all the information one would need to start an agriculture business, Elliott found it essential to get the type of guidance, hands-on experience and networking opportunities that the conference and other Extension programs offered. “A book or the internet is only going to take you halfway. The rest has to be hands-on, with other people,” he says. After the conference, Elliott started raising hoop-house chickens, then began an innovative free-range turkey operation, experimenting with both conventional largebreasted all-white turkeys and with the hardy breeds that his farming forefathers had raised. At first, he had trouble finding buyers. He’d sent emails and called local farmers market managers, but they didn’t respond. “Martha makes a quick phone call, and she says, ‘You’re going to the Rocky Mount market this weekend,’” Elliott recalls. “Business has just exploded since that day.” Elliott soon made connections with networks of small-scale sustainable farmers, local-food movement leaders, organic poultry producers and others who went on to provide moral support and insight into what works and what doesn’t. With that kind of help, he says, “things just seem to be falling into place, right when I need them to. It’s been amazing to me how fast things can grow when you have the right people, like the people from Extension, around you.” — Dee Shore

Piedmont Farm School helps small farmers get started

A

t Wild Turkey Farms in Rowan County, Georgi Goss and her sister Susan Agner listen intently as Lee Menius and his wife, Domisty, talk about their poultry and livestock operation. The Meniuses, both College of Agriculture and Life Sciences animal science alumni, are leading a tour of their farm as Goss and Agner and 35 other would-be farmers furiously take notes or snap photos with digital cameras. The group members are participating in the Piedmont Farm School, a seven-month N.C. Cooperative Extension education program that helps new and aspiring farmers develop successful small farms. The farm school was started last year by agricultural agents from seven counties who continue to lead the program today. The farm school is no small commitment: Participants pay $200 to participate and travel twice each month for an evening of classroom instruction and a day of farm tours. During this year’s farm school, the group visited operations from Burlington to Statesville and in between. Goss and Agner describe themselves as city girls who never even raised a garden. But both now own land in rural Rowan County, and they wanted some guidance on how to how to start a small farm. Agner, who is raising laying chickens on 10 acres, said she was motivated to join the farm school by “a desire to have better quality and better tasting food.” “The agents do a fantastic job, with both the classroom instruction and field trips. The program works well – it’s a perfect mix,” Goss said. The idea for the farm school came from Davidson County Extension advisory council member Jennifer Clark, wife of Lexington Mayor Newell Clark, who is an entrepreneur and local food advocate, said Amy-Lynn Albertson, Davidson County agricultural Extension

Natalie Hampton

In addition to their poultry operations, the two raise pigs, rabbits and ducks, host hunting tours and provide free farm tours. Elliott knew a thing or two about agriculture, because he’d lived on the farm with his aunt and uncle from the time he was 9 until he left to join the Marine Corps at age 18. And as a 4-H’er, he gained experience with goats and cows by participating in livestock shows and became the national winner of an annual 4-H chicken barbecue demonstration contest. His decision to return to agriculture came after reading Joe Salatin’s book Pastured Poultry Profits. He began to see sustainable production of his own food as freedom, a chance to revitalize the family farm and, ultimately, an opportunity for a better life. He perceived that farming was undergoing “a rebirth,” as he calls it, with “men and women leaving offices spaces and going back to the land to become the architects of a strong economic and agricultural movement.” Elliott wanted to be part of that rebirth. Because Mobley had been his 4-H agent, he decided to look her up at the county Extension center and see if she could steer him in the right direction. “You’ve got to think, I just came from a Marine Corps air wing hangar out to a field to start an agriculture business,” he says. “I didn’t

Dee Shore

himself an unemployed veteran with no job prospects. And for that progress, he credits the leadingedge wisdom and the support he’s gotten from the people of North Carolina Cooperative Extension – especially his Franklin County agricultural agent Martha Mobley. “I wanted to use my family’s farm to join the local food movement. My goals were simple enough, but the logistics of all things involved with growing a product have been far from simple,” he says. “Martha has been an absolutely crucial resource in showing me how to correctly raise, market and profit from the smallest to the largest farm ventures,” he says. “And she has provided me with new, profitable ventures that I could not have imagined on my own. “She has taken a beginning farmer and brought me into the mainstream market,” he says, “where my products are continuously selling.” And not only continuously selling – selling out. No matter how hard he tries, he says he can’t keep pace with the demand for the chicken eggs and heritage and conventional meat turkeys and chickens he produces. Elliott started the operation on the 850-acre Cypress Hall Farm with his wife, Michelle, in 2012. Most of the farm is leased to a local soybean producer, but the couple has carved out a slice of the land for sustainable production.

Lee Menius (left) conducts a tour of his poultry and livestock operation for a Piedmont Farm School group.

agent. Albertson and Jennifer Clark started developing a plan for what a farm school would look like. “One of our challenges as agents is getting farmers to talk about business planning,” Albertson said. “Also, we have lots of people who come in and want to know what they should do with a piece of land.” Albertson realized the farm school would be overwhelming for just one agent, so she asked agents in nearby counties if they’d like to help, and they said, “Yes.” The group worked out a plan for the Piedmont Farm School in 2011, and the first school was held in 2012. The first year, the agents hoped for 10 participants and set 30 as the maximum for the class. Colleagues told Albertson that the $150 fee for the program would discourage participation, yet the first group exceeded the class maximum at 34 and still had a waiting list. This year, the cost of the program rose to $200 and expanded to 40 participants. In the end, they accepted 50 participants and still had a waiting list. Participants come from as far away as Cary, Statesville and Troy, though most participants come from the Pied-

mont counties of Guilford, Forsyth, Davidson and Rowan. Agner said she and Goss signed up for the farm school after seeing an announcement in the local newspaper. Goss owns 68 acres of land she would like to farm on a small scale in her retirement. “I want to make sure I understand what I need to do,” Goss said. “I feel like I have learned more than most participants because I probably knew the least.” One of the biggest challenges of the farm school has been meeting the needs of a diverse group of participants, Albertson said. The 2012 class was largely former tobacco growers wanting to diversify. This year’s class includes some small farmers just starting out and others like Goss and Agner with no experience. “We try to find middle ground in our instruction where everyone feels comfortable,” Albertson said. This year, the agents team decided to make some adjustments in the curriculum after learning the experience level of those registered for the farm school. Goss said that the tours of working farms were very helpful for her. At Peregrine Farms in Alamance

winter 2014 23


24 perspectives

ventures that are avoided, Albertson said. “We count success as people not getting into something new when they shouldn’t,” she said. The Piedmont Farm School has been so successful that plans are in the works to develop additional schools around the state. Last year, the farm school’s team won a Search for Excellence Award from the North Carolina State Grange and N.C. Cooperative Extension Service. Team members were also recognized by the N.C. Association of County Agriculture Agents and were national finalists for this program. “The reason why we feel it works is because of the agents involved and the farm tours,” Albertson said. “The team approach has been really good for us. This would be really overwhelming for one person.” — Natalie Hampton

Hands-on Nursery provides a profitable and educational partnership

W

hat began as an innovative new teaching model nearly 10 years ago has evolved into the Hands-on Nursery, a full-fledged operation run almost entirely by students in Dr. Helen Kraus’ nursery management and nursery production classes in N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. On land nestled among the teaching and research gardens of the JC Raulston Arboretum, the Hands-on Nursery occupies several plant production areas and permanent buildings constructed by Kraus’ students. “The nursery came about because I really wanted to offer handson lab experiences to my students, and I was always having to create these artificial situations in a classroom,” says Kraus, CALS assistant professor of horticultural science. “So I thought if I just build a teaching nursery, I’ll never have to worry

about creating an issue. The plants will do that for me.” She and her students starting growing plants at the Hands-on Nursery in 2004, using nursery production systems that are common in North Carolina. “With containers, you can harvest the plant year round, you can sell the plant year round, and you actually get better survivability transplanting them into the landscape,” Kraus says. “So container garden plants just made sense.” They first built a simple growing facility for containerized plants, using cuttings propagated in a greenhouse behind the arboretum. Over the years, they’ve added additional growing facilities, as well as a winter protection house, shade structure and a potting and storage shed. “The class built all of these spaces, and they maintain them as part of their lab experience,” Kraus

New growing facilities and a winter protection house are among the production structures that have been added since Hands-on Nursery began in 2004.

says. “The students do everything from installing the irrigation to fertilizing to pest management – every aspect of production.” Kraus divides her students into the typical management teams of a nursery, such as propagation, production, marketing and sales. As a result, her students gain experience in everything from how to write a plant description to interacting with customers. “The decision-making is of most value to them,” she says. “I set up scenarios and let them problemsolve.” Each week during lab, Kraus assigns crew leaders who are responsible for managing a group of fellow students. The lab is not complete until the jobs are finished to Kraus’ satisfaction. “They’re learning to divide labor and focus on quality,” Kraus says. “The process is important.” The students also are learning to be teachers, thanks to a new partnership with Wake Enterprises, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities achieve their maximum level of independence. “A couple of years ago, a Wake Enterprises employee came and spoke to the horticulture club to

tell us about the program,” Kraus says. “And after that presentation, she and I started talking about ways that their participants could get hands-on experience here. Their program is designed around job skills and training, so it’s a great fit.” Four Wake Enterprises participants come to the Hands-on Nursery each week to work with Kraus’ students. “The participants really look forward to coming to work in the

nursery.” says Terri Quintero, a paraprofessional with Wake Enterprises. “They especially enjoy working with the students.” Kraus adds, “They pretty much do everything the students do. “That first year went so well, Wake Enterprises wanted to continue through the summer, so their participants starting coming one day a week during the summer months to help take care of the nursery.” The Hands-on Nursery started selling plants online this past August, and the proceeds are split between Kraus’ teaching program and Wake Enterprises. They also donate plants to nonprofit organizations. One of the program’s new goals is to be able to pay a fair wage to the Wake Enterprises participants. “We will never try to compete with our industry,” Kraus says. “We’re just trying to give an enrichment opportunity to our students and to the Wake Enterprises participants. And anytime we can give something away, we do.” To purchase plants from the Hands-on Nursery, visit: http:// projects.cals.ncsu.edu/hands-onnursery. — Suzanne Stanard

Becky Kirkland

In addition, a number of Extension specialists from campus and other research facilities have talked with the farm school members on topics ranging from specialty crops production to small fruits and tree fruits. On farm tours, producers are encouraged to share both their successes and the challenges they have faced along the way. The planning team wants class participants to come away with a realistic view of farming as a career, she said. During the tour of Wild Turkey Farms, Menius shares challenges he has faced with insurance, livestock processing, product marketing and land access. “A: Farming is a business,” he tells the farm school group. “B: You’ve got to know what you’re getting into.” The farm school Extension agents count success stories in both new operations that are started and risky

Becky Kirkland

County, the group learned how Alex and Betsy Hitt are making a good living on less than four acres in production. Goss said she learned the importance of fences, soil and water resources and marketing crops. She also learned about the many resources provided by Cooperative Extension. She was so motivated by the farm school that she signed up for a course in permaculture certification, which advocates a number of sustainable farming practices. She has attended workshops and conference in other places that she learned about through the farm school She also wants to investigate organic certification for her land. “Attending farm school has raised my awareness of available learning opportunities,” Goss said. She’s thinking about taking the farm school again to complete her business plan. “After taking the course the first time and learning about farming and marketing, I feel I finally know enough to write a realistic business plan. I’d like to do so with guidance from experienced and knowledgeable people,” she said. Albertson said that getting people to develop a business plan for their operation is a big focus of the training. Class members keep their draft business plans online so they can work on the plans during class time. The late Mike Roberts, Extension associate in CALS Agricultural and Resource Economics Department, taught the business planning portion of the training and helped guide the new farmers in developing their plans. (Roberts died in October following an accident at home. Extension agents say Mike’s passion for Extension work and helping farmers realize their dreams made Piedmont Farm School a success.) This year’s class has asked for more production information, along with the business planning, Albertson said.

Horticulture professor Dr. Helen Kraus says her students learn to divide labor and focus on quality in the nursery classes. And thanks to the partnership with Wake Enterprises, they also learn to be teachers.

winter 2014 25


A partnership with North Carolina 4-H made sense, Hancock said, because 4-H has long worked to understand and create awareness of the issues and stresses military families face and to build community partnerships to support children in these families. “With 4-H’s camping experts delivering a quality-camp experience, Golden Corral and its customers were able to provide the support for the campers to attend,” he said. “It worked like magic.” Camp Corral got its start in 2011 at North Carolina’s Millstone 4-H Camp, in the Sandhills region, with three one-week sessions. More than 300 children from military families took part. The camps are designed for children, ages 8 to 15, whose parents are serving or have served in the military. Preference goes to those children whose mother, father or other close relative has been wounded, disabled or died

The camp focuses on traditional activities and skill-building.

Courtesy Dolly Mercer, Golden Corral

he week of a lifetime,” “A blessing,” and “A 100 on a scale of 1 to 10”: These are just a few of the things that young campers are saying about a unique experience born in North Carolina, with help of 4-H specialists at N.C. State University. The program, called Camp Corral, is the brainchild of James Maynard, co-founder of the Golden Corral restaurant chain. During 2013, 2,211 children from military families spent a fun-filled week at one of 18 camps in 14 states. 4-H Camping Specialist Larry Hancock, who has worked with the program since its inception, explained that Maynard wanted to offer the camps as a way for his company to increase its impact on military families. Golden Corral got its start in military communities in southeastern North Carolina, and it has worked to honor and support disabled American veterans for more than a decade.

Brig. Gen. Tony McMillan (center) joins the children attending Camp Corral.

26 perspectives

in service. Golden Corral pays all the campers’ expenses, except for travel to and from camp. All the camps take place at YMCA and 4-H facilities. The camps focus on such traditional activities as swimming, canoeing, hiking, arts and crafts, archery, horseback riding and challenge courses, Hancock said. And campers spend their evenings around campfires or singing, playing games or talking in their cabins. Each camp also holds a military appreciation day or hero day. Camp directors work with area military installations and National Guard and military reservists to display equipment such as helicopters, Jeeps and Humvees. Service members also spend time with campers. “It is a week where kids are free to just be kids in a safe, secure, nurturing environment,” Hancock added. “It is a respite, a time when kids are separated from the day-today challenges of military families. “They have fun, and at the same time they build life skills, friendships and memories that will last them a lifetime.” Find out more about Camp Corral at http://www.campcorral.org. — Dee Shore

Seek, and you will find: Online horticulture portals provide for focused searches that users can trust

W

ith more than 2 billion websites indexed by popular search engines, the internet can be a daunting place to go to look for trustworthy information. But for growers, researchers, consumers and others interested in horticultural science information, handy new tools that the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences developed help them focus the hunt on reliable, research-based sources. Through its website at http:// www.cals.ncsu.edu/hort_sci/, CALS’ Department of Horticultural Science offers information portals on five topics: vegetables, fruits, ornamentals, weeds and floriculture, or flower production. After someone enters a search term, the portal returns only information from selected information from scientific journals, trade publications and N.C. State University’s website. The Floriculture InfoSearch (http://floricultureinfosearch.ces. ncsu.edu/) was the first of the portals, and it has an added component: an ever-growing archive of public documents, reports, magazines and other articles dating back to the 1800s. The American Floral Endowment (AFE), an industry nonprofit that funds research and scholarships, funded the archival project. Dr. John Dole, the department head, explained why having an archive made sense for floriculture. “In the floricultural industry, we grow many different plants. And some of these cycle through time. What’s new is old, what’s old is new,” said Dole, a floriculture expert. “Right now, for example, hydrangeas are very hot. They were hot many years ago. But much of the information from the last time has disappeared. So this is a way to preserve old literature for use by current researchers, industry and the public.” The floriculture archive will grow, Dole said, because the department will continue to scan and

Dee Shore

‘T

Courtesy Dolly Mercer, Golden Corral

Golden Corral partners with North Carolina 4-H to give military kids a free week of camping fun

Dr. John Dole came up with the idea for the portals, and Extension IT brought it to life.

hold on CALS Extension’s servers trade information and scientific articles no longer available elsewhere. And as funding becomes available, such archives may be added to the other portals, he said. Dole conceived of the portals, and North Carolina Cooperative’s Information Technology group – especially Director Rhonda Conlon, Technology Strategist Ray Kimsey and Application Development Specialist Rob Ladd – developed them. Michelle Healey and Brandon Hopper, Horticultural Science staff members, are leading the scanning and posting effort. Dole calls the project an “extension of Cooperative Extension.” “A big role for Extension these days is helping consumers and the industry sort through this big mass of stuff that’s on the internet. Before the internet became so important, Extension helped growers and everybody else sort through all of the printed information and the advice coming from salespeople,” he said. “Extension is still needed to do that, but we also have the internet. Our project is helping people sort

through the vast clutter on the internet to get to the information they really need.” The ability to focus searches on only the most reliable information is making the portals popular, particularly among those involved in horticultural industries, Dole said. “We are getting really good feedback from the industry,” he said. “They like it because it’s powerful and easy for them to use.” For example, Ken Altman, the owner of a nursery business with operations in three states and AFE secretary-treasurer, said he’s excited about the N.C. State project because it makes horticultural research “much more accessible and will safeguard the information should journals go out of print or researchers retire.” As Dole pointed out, “This project, including the AFE archive, will allow everyone to easily find and use the rich trove of great scientific and trade articles published over the years.” And that’s important, he said, because “information is of no use to anyone if they can’t find it.” — Dee Shore

winter 2014 27


Global connections: CALS team promotes international youth program partnerships

28 perspectives

CALS’ Dr. Marshall Stewart is greeted by Honduran school children.

representative Milton Flores, as well as other regional municipal leaders. The group even met the former president of Honduras. McCollum of 4-H and Davis of FFA are developing a plan for a 10day youth experience in Honduras for late July and August. “We want to turn ‘learn by doing’ into a leadership experience for our young people,” McCollum said. “We’re not going in with a set project,” said Davis of FFA. “We want youth to be engaged.” The plan is to bring four state 4-H officers and six FFA officers, plus two 4-H youth chosen at-large. The 4-H youth will be high school juniors or seniors, college students or recent 4-H alumni; the FFA officers are mainly college students. In addition, two Shelton Leadership Scholars from N.C. State will participate. In December, 4-H accepted applications for the two at-large positions. — Natalie Hampton

Curriculum trainees from Florida and Texas visited the Biofuels Farm.

Courtesy Amy Chilcote

nterest in bioenergy has soared as concerns about petroleum’s limited resources and its environmental impact have risen. But what exactly is bioenergy, and what does it mean for America today and in the future? With its latest science-based curriculum, North Carolina 4-H is helping middle-school students answer these and other timely questions. With a grant from BP America, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences recently developed and successfully piloted a series of lessons and activities tentatively titled Bioenergy: Farm-Based Fuels. Amy Chilcote, the 4-H curriculum specialist at N.C. State University, said it’s “an exciting and innovative science curriculum designed to engage youth about the importance of using renewable energy resources in developing an independent, sustainable energy culture.” In using the curriculum, young people explore reasons, resources and processes for biofuel producCourtesy Amy Chilcote

Courtesy Patricia Holoman

FFA’s Jason Davis studies a crop of palm oil fruit.

oversees two CALS initiatives in Patuca, Olancho, Honduras, also supported by UNA. “One of the things I believe is that there is a great need for international experiences for young people. This is part of making sure that young people have those experiences,” said Stewart, who has led both 4-H and FFA programs in North Carolina. In the past, North Carolina 4-H had a relationship with a similar Japanese program called LABO. The proposed partnership in Honduras would be supported by CALS International Programs and N.C. State University. Stewart said his goal was finding a site for an international program where youth could make a difference and learn from their experience. “We are looking for a place where we could have a longterm impact and experiences with depth,” he said. CALS is involved with two ongoing projects in Honduras. One effort involves extension work with growers, who are mainly women. Another project involves a farm at the Nueva Choluteca agricultural high school, which is used as a demonstration center for field days and other activities. Last summer’s informationgathering trip included a packed agenda, Stewart said. Sabella introduced them to partners at John F. Kennedy Agriculture High School established by U.S. Agency for International Development; ESNACIFOR, the national forestry school, Zamarano University; and other rural primary and secondary education centers. The team also met with USAID Mission Director James Watson, U.S. Department of Agriculture Director for Honduras Ana Gómez, and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Honduras

I

Courtesy Patricia Holoman

N

orth Carolina youth from FFA, 4-H and N.C. State University’s Shelton Leadership Initiative plan to travel to Honduras this summer, thanks to the efforts of N.C. State leaders. In August 2013, a team from N.C. State traveled to Honduras to investigate potential partnerships for North Carolina youth, said Dr. Marshall Stewart, special assistant to the dean and director of college strategy and leadership, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The delegation, led by Dr. John Sabella, director of CALS International Programs, included Stewart; Dr. George Wilson, horticulture sciences professor emeritus; Shannon McCollum, 4-H; Jason Davis, state FFA coordinator; former student and Fulbright student Alex Martin; and N.C. State sophomore and Shelton Scholar Will Pfitzner. Sabella, a former professor of sustainable agriculture at the Universidad Nacional de Agricultura (UNA) in Catacamas, Honduras,

North Carolina 4-H gets students charged up about bioenergy

Wilson County middle-schoolers follow the 4-H curriculum in conducting hands-on experiments on biofuel sources.

tion, as well as related economics and career opportunities. Moreover, they use critical thinking skills, Chilcote added, to deeply engage with the curriculum and to further evaluate environmental issues. The lessons guide students through hands-on experiments using the same techniques and materials as scientists studying bioenergy. For example, the students get to grow and manipulate algae and duckweed – both potential biofuel sources under varying conditions to see which conditions are best. The curriculum also helps students “cultivate numerous life skills,” Chilcote said, “including problem solving, communication, record keeping, cooperation and teamwork.” Students learn such things as renewable energy’s importance, how biofuel can be made and used, and its economic and environmental implications. Keeping in mind National 4-H Curriculum criteria, Chilcote set up an advisory team to guide curriculum development from the start.

“The team forms the backbone of the development process. We included content specialists as well as business and community leaders to ensure that the materials provide a clear picture of bioenergy and how it affects us locally, nationally and globally,” she said. Forming the advisory team were Hope Lanier of BP America; Liz Driscoll of the College’s Crop Science, Horticultural Science and Soil Science departments; Shawn Reese, formerly with the Biofuels Center of North Carolina; and 4-H agents Mason Lawrence and Vanessa Spiron. Dr. Matthew Veal, North Carolina Cooperative Extension specialist with N.C. State University’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and Helene Cser, an Extension associate with the university’s Forestry and Environmental Resources Extension, serve as content specialists. Dr. Penny Jeffrey, education director with the FREEDM Systems Center on N.C. State’s Centennial Campus, served as curriculum writer.

winter 2014 29


30 perspectives

ing formal public or private school classrooms, after-school activities and in club settings,” Chilcote said. Chilcote added that having a range of partners involved helped ensure that the curriculum would be holistic and could be used in diverse educational settings. Autumn Guin, N.C. 4-H evaluation specialist, said that students and instructors alike gave enthusiastic reviews during the 6-month pilot phase. “They were instrumen-

A rising phoenix is professor’s swan song

D

escribing why students in his landscape design studio create bamboo sculptures each semester, horticultural science Professor Will Hooker said, “The reason I have the students build the sculptures is that the majors in the class are in a design/build curriculum, and I’ve wanted them to have a building experience as part of their education.” This past October, as Hooker prepared to retire at the end of fall semester after 34 years in the College of Agriculture and Life

Sciences, he led his students in one more such experience — crafting an appropriately avian-themed sculpture as the swan song project under Hooker’s direction. “Phoenix Rising” is the bamboo creation taking wing majestically in front of the new home of the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at N.C. State University. The museum, moved from the university’s old Talley Student Center, is being reborn, like a phoenix from its ashes, in the Historic Chancellor’s Resi-

Will Hooker

Becky Kirkland

“Phoenix Rising” is the last bamboo sculpture project by landscape design students under the direction of horticulture Prof. Will Hooker. It soars on the lawn of the Gregg Museum, now housed in the Historic Chancellor’s Residence.

can be done and keeping your team motivated.” Another told Hooker that “having never worked with bamboo, at the designing phase of the project I was like, ‘This is impossible to make.’ But it all came together so quickly and smoothly. I’m so glad to have had other people there who were familiar with the material who helped make decisions with me on what to make first, what techniques to use, etc. It was definitely challenge after challenge, but I think it ended up really helping me grow personally, because, with the tight deadline, I had to make decisions and go forward.” Meanwhile, a third student said, “I always get too critical about things I could have done better. But this project is something that I can really be happy with because we all came together and made it happen. It’s definitely one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life.” Previous studio sculptures, each more whimsical and/or complex than the last, have been installed by Hooker’s students at the JC Raulston Arboretum, the N.C. State Fairgrounds, local elementary

schools and numerous regional gardens and public areas. And in assessing this, his last bamboo creation as professor, Hooker said something that really applies to each — and to his time at N.C. State: “It all came along beautifully.” – Terri Leith Becky Kirkland

In reviewing national and North Carolina teaching standards, which spell out what students in particular grades should be learning, the team decided to target sixth- through eighth-graders. While the team built the curriculum on a science foundation, teachers and leaders can integrate it with language arts, math, social sciences and other subjects, Chilcote said. After the advisory team reviewed the curriculum, it was time to test it in North Carolina counties. Agents from 12 county Cooperative Extension centers responded within less than 48 hours to an email message Chilcote sent asking for counties willing to pilot the curriculum. That was double the project plan’s goal of six pilot counties. In response, the Biofuels Center of North Carolina provided additional funding to allow so all 12 counties – Watauga, Guilford, Moore, Pasquotank, Sampson, Wilson, Currituck, Lee, Bertie, Cabarrus, Jones and Craven – could participate. “Each county decided to implement the pilot in formal or nonformal educational settings, includ-

dence on Hillsborough Street. Hooker’s students assembled the piece at Kilgore Hall, home of the CALS Department of Horticultural Science, before transporting it to the Gregg, where a bucket truck was used to hoist the piece in the air and hang it by cable from a high tree limb. Once installed, the orange, red, blue and yellow phoenix soared skyward as its vibrantly trailing tail swirled down to loop over the walk leading to the Gregg. The original design of the phoenix was done by student Michelle Ye, with fellow student Ben Jones designing the archway created by the tail. Hooker also shared feedback he received from the class about what they learned during the creation of the phoenix. And, certainly, their comments indicate that they had the kind of building experience he intended. One student reported that among the important lessons he learned during the project were “translating a concept into drawings that help people understand its construction, organization and communication — how to let people know what needs to be done when you’re not there to explain it; [knowing] where to compromise complexity of the details for speed; always remembering to take a step back and think about the big picture; having faith that it Becky Kirkland

Courtesy Amy Chilcote

Students and instructors gave enthusiastic reviews during the pilot phase of the curriculum.

tal in reviewing the curriculum and provided ideas and suggestions that improved the project,” she said. Because BP America wants the curriculum be used nationally, North Carolina 4-H has reached beyond the state’s borders to see if the curriculum will work elsewhere. In October, Florida and Texas professionals who will be part of a secondphase pilot study came to North Carolina for curriculum training. The second pilot, which will run through March 2014, is a key step, Chilcote said, in having the curriculum pass review by the National 4-H Curriculum jury, which selects curricula to be offered to 4-H programs nationwide. Dr. Mitzi Downing, Cooperative Extension’s interim state leader for 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences programs, said the curriculum is just one example of the way North Carolina leads the way among 4-H programs nationally in getting young people science, technology, engineering and math – or STEM – education. About 237,000 students take part 4-H STEM activities in North Carolina, which is more than in any other state. “Our science programs bring science to life for kids in the classroom,” Downing said. “It’s all hands on, it’s experiential, and it’s a lot of fun.” — Dee Shore

Ben Jones designed the archway created by the tail, and Michelle Ye designed the phoenix.

winter 2014 31


Marc Hall

noteworthy

ALUMNI

2013-2014 CALS Distinguished Alumni, Outstanding Alumni honored he College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has announced Dr. Edward Carroll Joyner and Dr. Ram Badan Singh as its 20132014 Distinguished Alumni. The two were honored at the N.C. State University Club during the College’s annual Alumni Awards Reception Oct. 11. Josh Starling, executive director of the North Carolina FFA Foundation, presided at the reception held at the N.C. State University Club, along with Dr. Richard Linton, College dean, and Gary Upchurch, past president of the CALS Alumni & Friends Society Advisory Board. The College’s Outstanding Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni were also announced. Linton welcomed those in attendance and congratulated the award winners, saying that they “represent the fulfillment of the promise of our land-grant mission in academics, research and extension. Their professional achievements and service to N.C. State and their communities exemplify the extraordinary possibility of achievement to our current students, who are our future alumni and leaders.” Joyner and Singh were recognized for their outstanding career achievements, which have brought honor to the College, and for their commitment to the land-grant principle of service to community, state and nation. Before receiving his award and responding, Joyner was paid tribute by Dr. Roger McCraw, professor emeritus in the Department of Animal Science. Singh,

32 perspectives

Marc Hall

T

Gathered at the awards reception are honorees (front row from left) Zhong, Menser, Lund, Guthrie, Thompson. Second row: Marlow, Marques, Linton, Hester, Landis, Joyner, Hunt. Back row: G. Upchurch, Hudson, W. Upchurch, Anderson, Baldwin.

Dr. E. Carroll Joyner stands next to a display honoring his and Dr. Ram Badan Singh’s selection as CALS Distinguished Alumni.

who was unable to attend the event but sent a video greeting, was honored in remarks from Dr. Charles Stuber, professor emeritus in the Department of Crop Science. Joyner, who lives in Youngsville, grew up on a Sampson County farm. He is a cattleman, entrepreneur and the leading developer of the Golden Corral Restaurant chain. He earned his N.C. State degree in animal industry in 1956, after working his way through college selling vegetables and washing dishes in the cafeteria. He continues to support the university by giving his time and financial support to enhance student life.

One example of this is the E. Carroll Joyner Visitors Center — a gateway for students and visitors to the N.C. State campus — that was dedicated in September 2006. Another is his 1987 establishment of the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Foundation to support beef cattle research at N.C. State. He also established an annuity that will provide future funds, as well as donating his herd of Angus beef cattle. In appreciation of his efforts on behalf of the university, Joyner was awarded the 1994 Watauga Medal, the University’s top non-academic award. And in 2003, N.C. State presented him with an honorary doctorate of letters.

Singh is president of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences of India and chancellor of the Central Agricultural University, Imphal. He earned his Ph.D. in genetics from the College in 1965. His career has been dedicated to improving food, nutrition and ecological security; cutting-edge research and technology development in agriculture; higher education and human resources development; and policy and program creation in Singh India, on the continent of Asia and globally. During the past 50 years, he has held several positions at national and international levels. He was a member of India’s National Commission on Farmers from 2004 to 2006; served as Assistant Director General of FAO of the United Nations and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific from 2000 to 2002; and held other senior

FAO positions from 1979 to 1994 in Bangkok and Rome. In 2003, Singh was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the President of India – one of India’s highest civil honors. Proclaimed as Distinguished Alumnus of Banaras Hindu University, Singh has been awarded doctor of science (honoris causa) degrees from several prestigious Indian universities, the Gold Medal from the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial International Scientist Award, Dr. Zhu Shoumin International College of Nutrition Award and Distinguished Alumnus Awards. He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Following the Distinguished Alumni Awards presentations, Starling announced the 2013 CALS Outstanding Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni. These awards recognize the excellence and achievement of former CALS students, both in their fields of expertise and in service to their community.

2013 CALS Outstanding Alumni David W. Anderson, Prestage Department of Poultry Science Lawrence W. Baldwin, Soil Science Dr. Robert E. Eplee (posthumous), Crop Science Dr. F. Eugene Hester, Applied Ecology Jart P. Hudson Jr., Agricultural and Resource Economics Robert C. Hunt, Animal Science Dr. Douglas A. Landis, Entomolgy W. Frank Lee, Agricultural Institute Ronald L. Marlow, Biological and Agricultural Engineering Livia Marques, Horticultural Science Dr. Harold H. Schmitz, Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences William B. Upchurch Jr., Agricultural and Extension Education

2013 Outstanding Young Alumni Dr. Amanda L. Guthrie, DVM, Animal Science Valaree L. Lund, Agricultural Institute Sarah Ilene Menser, Soil Science Dr. Sarah R. Thompson, Entomology Dr. Qixin Zhong, Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences. – Terri Leith

winter 2014 33


Paving the way: CALS alumna Margaret Carter

34 perspectives

“I was the only woman in many of my classes, especially engineering,” Carter says. “During my first year at N.C. State there were a lot of girls. Then it tapered off. I studied hard and worked in a lab during the summer.” Carter began her first job with the NCDA&CS a couple of years before finishing her degree. A junior chemist with the Food and Drug Protection Division, she worked in a number of labs that focused on quality control in every-

first granddaughter was born, and I helped keep her,” Carter says. She has two children and four grandchildren, and the whole clan lives in Raleigh, with the exception of her oldest granddaughter, who is a freshman at the University of South Carolina. A self-described “sports nut” – especially when it comes to her beloved Wolfpack – Carter used to cover sports for the university’s Agromeck yearbook. She also regularly attended N.C. State football

A

Carter was one of the first women to earn a degree from CALS.

thing from beverages to antifreeze. “What we did was protect the public,” Carter says, recounting a time she served as an expert witness in a trial in which a grocery chain had laced its meat with sulfites to keep it looking fresh. Carter retired in 1995 as supervisor of an NCDA&CS food lab. “I loved working there,” she says. “There was a lot of variety in my job, and I enjoyed the people. I could have retired earlier, but I just wasn’t ready to leave.” Immediately upon retiring, she launched herself into another important job: grandmother. “I retired just one month after my

and basketball games, as well as baseball spring training games and pro football training camps. On the prospect of becoming a fan of her granddaughter’s new university sports teams, Carter says with a grin, “I might could pull for them.” Above all, says Carter, is her family. “I’ve been very fortunate,” she says. “I got a good education, coming to a big university from a small town. “It’s my family that keeps me going,” she adds after a moment of quiet reflection. “Those kids – to see their faces – makes it all worth it.” — Suzanne Stanard

t the heart of the Duong, Green and Gharst Food Science Leadership Award Endowment is this simple principle: Being successful in college is about more than just making good grades. The leadership award, which recently attained endowment status, was established in 2009 by Drs. Tri Duong, Greg Gharst and Rodney Green — all alumni of the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences. According to the endowment agreement, the award recognizes undergraduate students exemplifying “outstanding future potential and initiative” in any area of Food, Bioprocessing or Nutrition Sciences at N.C. State. “We want this scholarship to reward students with leadership qualities, students who do more than stay in their lane and study books,” says Gharst, who earned all three of his degrees from the FBNS Department: a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences in 1994, and master’s and doctoral degrees in food science in 2004 and 2007, respectively. Gharst now works for the United States Food and Drug Administration in New York as director of microbiological sciences. He also is a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from Dec. 2008 to March 2010. “We all believe it’s important to acknowledge dedication above and beyond the scope of coursework,” says Green, who earned a master’s degree in food science in 2004. “So many scholarships don’t often recognize people who are taking on additional volunteer and leadership roles that may impact their ability to achieve certain GPAs. We want this award to go to more of a leadership, volunteering, culturebuilding type of person versus a purely academic respondent.”

Courtesy Rodney Green

anging among the family photos and memorabilia that line the front hallway of Margaret Carter’s home is a framed letter from late North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Jim Graham, thanking Carter for her many years of service. While the letter alone serves as a testament to this remarkable woman and her career, it’s the handwritten note from Graham at the bottom of the page, signed “your friend,” that speaks volumes. Carter, 86, served the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) for 47 years, paving the way for future generations of female scientists. She also was one of the first women to earn a degree from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, receiving a bachelor’s degree in agricultural and biological chemistry in 1950. “My daughter told me, ‘You believed in women’s lib before there was women’s lib,’” Carter says. “I knew it would be a challenge.” The youngest of seven children, Carter says her father fueled her determination to pursue a college education. “My dad was offered a football scholarship, but it didn’t cover his freshman year, so his family couldn’t afford to send him to college,” Carter says. “He instilled in us that we should find a way to go to college. You have to have it instilled in you. You really do.” She moved from her hometown of Americus, Ga., at the age of 16 to live with her sister in Charlotte. Carter spent her freshman year there at Queens College, then moved with her sister to Raleigh and enrolled at N.C. State. Along with a number of chemistry classes, Carter also studied calculus and physics, competing for enrollment slots with the influx of veterans returning at that time from World War II.

Suzanne Stanard

H

Duong, Green and Gharst Food Science Leadership Award Endowment created by FBNS alumni

Duong, Gharst and Green enjoy a reunion near the N.C. State campus.

Green, manager of research and development in the shelf-stable innovation team at Con-Agra Foods in Omaha, Neb., has been friends with Gharst and Duong since their days together at N.C. State. He says Gharst had the idea to create the award and approached Duong and him, and they jumped on board without hesitation. “Greg wanted to honor us, and I thought that was really cool,” says Duong. “And then I thought there might be a way to give even more, so I tossed out the idea of an endowment. I certainly wouldn’t be able to afford the entire endowment on my own. If it wasn’t for getting together with these two guys to do this, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.” Duong, who earned his food science doctoral degree in functional genomics from N.C. State in 2008, is an assistant professor in the Department of Poultry Science at Texas A&M University. All three alumni held multiple leadership positions in the Food Science Club and Institute of Food Technologists Student Association during their time at N.C. State. And they each say that their experiences

outside the classroom contributed to their individual successes just as much as their academic records. “The Food Science Department really felt like family,” Duong says. “Being at N.C. State really opened up a lot of doors for me.” Now in its fourth year, the program has given three $500 awards. The scholarship recipients also may be eligible for enrichment opportunities through the General H. Hugh Shelton Leadership Center, including no-cost registration to attend the annual Shelton Leadership Forum; an invitation to apply for a position as a mentor at a nationally acclaimed Leadership Challenge Summer Institute for aspiring high school student leaders; and opportunities to participate as student ambassadors in selected university events and activities. “There was just something about the department, the Food Science Club and the student IFT chapter that made for a really great overall experience as a student at N.C. State,” Green says. “It made me want to give back.” — Suzanne Stanard

winter 2014 35


noteworthy

a scholarship fund-raiser, and we thought it was a great idea because Art was so active with the students.” The first tournament was such a success that it quickly became an annual event. “It’s like a big family reunion where we get all of our friends and alumni and industry partners together with our students and faculty,” Jordan says. “It’s also a great opportunity for our students to meet people who’ve been through the program and to see what they’re doing now in industry.” The fifth tournament, held this past September at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course on N.C. State’s Centennial Campus, boasted a full field of 96 golfers and raised more than

GIVING

Bruneau Golf Tournament sponsor gives back to turfgrass program

36 perspectives

Many years later, when Heltemes received an email from the Center for Turfgrass Environmental Research and Education (CENTERE) about the inaugural Dr. Art Bruneau Golf Tournament Scholarship Fundraiser, he knew immediately that he wanted to be involved. “There was an auction to play a round of golf with Art, so I bid $1,000 and won,” he says. Heltemes has been a sponsor of the tournament ever since. He sold his Barefoot Grass Lawn Service in the late 90s and now is the franchisor for 12 successful Weed Man franchises in North Carolina and Georgia. He says it makes perfect sense to give back.

“It’s just wonderful how Ken has supported our program through this tournament,” Bruneau says. In its five-year history, the tournament has raised a total of $40,500 in scholarship awards. The idea for the tournament came to life during a staff meeting five years ago, says Jenifer Jordan, CENTERE web applications engineer and marketing specialist, who serves as the tournament’s co-director along with crop science lecturer Emily Erickson. “We realized that Dr. Bruneau was about to retire after nearly 30 years of service, and we wanted to do something to recognize him,” Jordan says. “Someone suggested

Deborah Johnson (left) and CALS Dean Rich Linton (right) present the Distinguished Service Award to Jimmy Gentry.

‘P Teamed as a foursome at the tournament are (from left) Art Bruneau, Ken Heltemes, Paul Brooks and John Roberts.

through the tournament, it’s nice to know I’m helping somebody.” Bruneau, who now teaches a PGA-certified turfgrass management course in the N.C. State College of Natural Resources, says, “We’re so grateful for Ken’s support. He’s made a real difference in the lives of our students. “I’m just honored and blessed and blown away by the fact that my name is associated with this tournament,” Bruneau adds. “It’s a wonderful cause.” If you’d like to tee up with Heltemes and Bruneau at the 2014 tournament, mark your calendar for Sept. 24, and keep an eye on www.turffiles.ncsu.edu. — Suzanne Stanard

Gentry honored, new Pullen Society initiative launched at CALS fall foundations luncheon Becky Kirkland

hen Ken Heltemes moved to Raleigh from Ohio in 1987 to start a new Barefoot Grass Lawn Service franchise, he didn’t know much about turfgrass. That changed when he crossed paths with Dr. Art Bruneau. “In my first year I really didn’t know anything about turfgrass,” Heltemes says. “I didn’t even know there were four types of turfgrass in North Carolina. “One day I was just distraught, and I discovered the university’s turfgrass research facility,” he adds. “So I pulled into the parking lot, and right there in front of me were all the turf types. I knew I was in the right place.” Heltemes was directed to Bruneau, professor emeritus of crop science and retired Cooperative Extension specialist. “He was nice enough to come out into the field with me,” Heltemes says. “I had no idea what was wrong with this particular lawn, and Art said it looked like there had been an application error. He came out a few more times that year to help us and again the following year, and we’ve been friends ever since.” Unaware of the impact he’d made, Bruneau says he was just doing his job. “I was in Cooperative Extension, and that’s what we’re there for,” he says. “We get a lot of joy out of helping others. I just did what anyone else in the turfgrass program would have done.”

Ada Zhou, N.C. State Turfgrass CENTERE

W

$11,000 for student scholarships. Weed Man was the lead sponsor of the 2013 tournament, as well as the sponsor of the “King Putt Contest,” which offered a $10,000 cash prize to be split between the winning golfer and turfgrass scholarships. Other top 2013 tournament sponsors include Parks Chevrolet, which provided three trucks and a Camaro as hole-in-one prizes; BASF; the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association; QualiPro and Smith Turf and Irrigation. “I worked my way through school, and by the time I got to that last year, I was so broke and so tired,” Heltemes says. “I got a scholarship and I’ll never forget that. So by giving a little bit

reparing the Way,” a campaign initiative for the foundation boards of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to join N.C. State University’s Pullen Society, was launched Nov. 7. The announcement was part of luncheon events during the fall joint meeting of the North Carolina Agricultural, Tobacco and Dairy

Foundation boards at NCSU’s University Club. During the luncheon, the foundations presented the annual Distinguished Service Award to Jimmy Gentry, president of the State Grange of North Carolina. Joining in the occasion were members of the boards of the foundations of the Extension and Com-

munity Association (ECA), Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS), N.C. Cooperative Extension and the 4-H Development Fund. Dr. Richard Linton, CALS dean, who hosted the event, called Gentry “one of the College’s most dedicated and influential advocates.” Gentry, who lives in Statesville, is a former vocational agriculture teacher and school administrator. He received his 1972 N.C. State bachelor’s degree in agricultural education, before earning two master’s degrees at N.C. A&T State University. He became State Grange president in 2003, was later elected to the National Grange Board of Directors, where he served as chairman, and was elected National Overseer in 2007. In addition to appointments as ex officio director of the College’s three major foundations, Gentry serves on the boards of directors of the N.C. Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation, the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service Foundation and the N.C. Agricultural Consortium.

winter 2014 37


38 perspectives

is at this place that good work is being done.” Hardesty, who grew up on a farm in the northeastern part of the state, told the group that he was the 10th out of 10 children and the first in his family to go to college. Today, his grandson, an N.C. State freshman, is the 17th family member to come to this university. “N.C. State and the Agricultural Extension Service made me who and what I am today,” he said, noting that it was an Extension agent who came to his family’s farm and encouraged him to go to college. Once he graduated from N.C. State, Hardesty said that he wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, as that agent had done in his. “I served 33 years in the Extension Service, because I wanted to do something for people. And now I want to do something for N.C. State. “N.C. State makes a difference, and it’s up to us to keep that spirit going. We need to do what we can and then reach a little higher.” – Terri Leith

New scholarship honors visionary agribusinessman Whitehurst Jr. of Greenville, a J.C. graduate of N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, was honored Nov. 1 with the creation of an annual scholarship in his name. The career of Whitehurst, who passed away this past April and was the founder of Coastal AgroBusiness Inc., was celebrated in a signing ceremony as Coastal AgroBusiness established the J.C. Whitehurst Jr. Agricultural Scholarship in the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation Inc. Fulfilling Whitehurst’s vision of enabling the success of the agricultural sector is one of his company’s primary goals. As a way to meet that goal, Coastal AgroBusiness is creating the new scholarship to recruit and reward agricultural and

life sciences students. It thus seeks to help fill the pipeline of highly trained professionals for agribusiness and farming. Family, friends and Coastal representatives, as well as one of the inaugural scholarship recipients, gathered for the ceremony hosted by CALS Dean Richard Linton in his Patterson Hall office. Annual donations from Coastal AgroBusiness will fund two merit-based $5,000 scholarships for undergraduate students enrolled in CALS each year. The awards will be made to students pursuing degrees in one of the following areas: agricultural business management in the CALS Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics; plant and soil sciences in the Crop Science and

Whitehurst Scholarship winner Whitney Phillips (second from right) thanks the Whitehurst family and tells them about her plans for graduate school.

Soil Science departments; an undergraduate entomology minor in the Department of Entomology; or a horticultural science major or minor in the Department of Horticultural Science. The scholarship will be awarded to residents of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, with the desire that the prospective recipients seek careers in the agricultural/agribusiness profession impacting those states. Whitehurst, who received his CALS degree in agronomy in 1951 and began a career in agribusiness, founded Coastal Chemical Corp., now Coastal AgroBusiness, in 1953 and served as president and CEO until 1997 (when his son, Jim, took over as president) and continued to serve as chairman until his death. Celebrating its 60th year, Coastal distributes a full line of crop-protection products, seed, fertilizer, equipment, parts and technology. The company maintains close contact with land-grant institutions such as N.C. State, Clemson and Virginia Tech, and is aligned with major manufacturers worldwide to stay on the leading edge of new technology, products and services. Dean Linton described Whitehurst as a “pioneer in the agribusiness industry and crop development” and emphasized the importance of scholarships in “recruiting and retaining the best

students so that they can make important changes in agriculture in the state, nationally and locally.” Present to exemplify that point was inaugural scholarship recipient Whitney D. Phillips of Indian Trail, a CALS senior double major in horticulture and plant and soil science. Phillips, who graduated in December and hopes to attend N.C. State’s graduate school, said she wants to work in vegetable and fruit breeding and eventually teach at the university level. “I want to make a difference in agriculture and plant breed-

ing,” Phillips said, as she thanked Coastal and the Whitehurst family for their support. Her co-recipient of the initial Whitehurst awards is Cameron Mitchell Davis of Seaboard, a senior in plant and soil science, who was unable to attend the event. Also participating were Dr. Sam Pardue, associate CALS dean and director of Academic Programs; from Coastal AgroBusiness, Tony Griffin, Jim Pearce, Mike Seymour and Scott Griffin; and from the J.C. Whitehurst Jr. family, widow, Ann Whitehurst, son, J.C. Whitehurst III ( Jim), and daughter, Helen Kirven. “We are so excited to have this day come,” said Jim Whitehurst, as he thanked the team from Coastal for having the original idea to create the scholarship. “We all thought it was a wonderful idea to set up a scholarship in honor of a guy who was a visionary in agribusiness and who loved agriculture and N.C. State, and who was a mentor to all of us and led us over the last 60 years.” Added his Coastal colleague Jim Pearce, “This is a fitting way to honor someone who worked to empower and help bright and upcoming minds in agriculture.” —Terri Leith

Becky Kirkland

gifts to N.C. State University, and has had the university in his will “for over 30 years,” he said. Lamm, of Lucama, who served in the Cooperative Extension Service for 32 years, said that, except for his wife, the College had been the most important thing in his life. “Giving back to N.C. State is tremendously important to me and Melda,” he told the audience. “I encourage you to do what’s right and give.” DeLoatche stirred up championship memories when he came to the mic – invoking the name of Everett Case and how the legendary Wolfpack coach brought big-time basketball to the Southeast. He reminisced about graduating from N.C. State during World War II and working with the Extension Service and then with Central Carolina Farmers. Working in feed manufacturing, he found himself reconnecting with faculty and researchers at N.C. State for “help with making better feeds and promoting better farm practices,” he said. “I’m here today to suggest to you that you consider your legacy for this institution, because it

Becky Kirkland

Deborah Johnson, chair of the N.C. Agricultural Foundation Inc., presented Gentry a plaque citing “outstanding leadership and advocacy by the North Carolina State Grange in support of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University and all the citizens of North Carolina.” Following the awards presentation, Linton announced the launch of “Preparing the Way,” CALS’ legacy gift initiative in the Pullen Society. The university’s R. Stanhope Pullen Society recognizes alumni and friends who support N.C. State with deferred gifts through estate planning methods, such as will bequests, life insurance, charitable gift annuities or charitable remainder trusts. The society is named for the philanthropist Pullen who donated the 62 acres of land that served as location for the land-grant college that grew to be N.C. State University. Said Linton, “Just as R. Stanhope Pullen’s gift of land established the first site for our university, our Pullen Society recognizes legacy gifts that prepare the way for the future.” He then invited “some board members and supporters who’ve left us a legacy gift to tell their stories.” Coming to the microphone were legacy donors (and all N.C. State/ CALS alumni) Robin Hampton, Bill Lamm, Brantley DeLoatche and Jerry Hardesty, who encouraged the audience members to join them in making significant estate planned gifts to support CALS. “My husband, Joe, and I would not have the lives and careers we have today if it weren’t for N.C. State. Our fathers went to school here, and we met here,” said Hampton. “We did this to honor our fathers and our families. What better way to leave a gift; what better way to leave a legacy?” Lamm, with his wife, Melda, was a charter member of the Pullen Society. He has endowed a CALS scholarship, among many other

On the steps of Patterson Hall are (clockwise from bottom right) Whitney Phillips, Ann Whitehurst, Tony Griffin, Helen Kirven, Scott Griffin, Jim Whitehurst, Sam Pardue, Mike Seymour and Rich Linton.

winter 2014 39


Scenes from

TTFC funds expansion of AgriSafe and Certified Safe Farm

40 perspectives

Becky Kirkland

T

2013!

Fabulous food. N.C. State ice cream. Face painting. The (food) science of beermaking. These were all part of the howling good time enjoyed by alumni, faculty, students and friends at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ annual tailgate, Aug. 31. And because it was Labor Day weekend, this year’s prefootball get-together was a beach-party themed End of Summer blast that filled the floor of Dorton Arena on the N.C. State fairgrounds.

agents, specially trained in safety, conducted 120 on-farm safety reviews, as part of the Certified Safe Farm program. During these one-on-one reviews, farmers received tailored recommendations for safety improvements on their farms. AgriSafe nurses, trained through the N.C. Agromedicine Institute’s Agricultural Medicine course, provided health screenings, assistance with personal protective equipment and health care referrals to farmers. “AgriSafe and Certified Safe Farm are saving lives, improving health and lowering costs on North Carolina farms. They are protecting agriculture’s most important asset, our people,” Barnes said. “We are proud that our state, through its strength in Extension and agromedicine, is leading the way in its commitment to health and safety in agriculture. This new funding will allow even more farmers, in more counties, to benefit from these programs.” The expansion will take the program from the three pilot counties to 18 more counties, including Alexander, Anson, Ashe, Craven, Franklin, Gates, Granville, Hoke,

Randolph, Robeson, Rowan, Scotland, Stanly, Union, Vance, Warren, Watauga and Wilson. Zublena thanked the TTFC for the award and the commission’s confidence in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cooperative Extension and the AgriSafe and Certified Safe Farm Project team. Also in attendance at the check presentation were, from Certified Safe Farm, Julia Storm, Tim Britton, Dr. Catherine LePrevost and Dr. Ernest Hodgson; from AgriSafe, Robin Tutor-Marcom and Barbara Gallagher; from the N.C. Agricultural Foundation, Kathy Kennel; and representatives of the 18 expansion counties. “Our award-winning team of agriculture agents in Duplin, Johnston and Sampson counties and agromedicine partners were successful in adapting this research-based program to North Carolina agriculture,” Zublena said. “We know our expansion counties will build on that success and continue to make a difference for farmers, families and workers in agricultural communities throughout the state.” – Terri Leith

Sponsored by CALS Alumni & Friends Society and the N.C. Agricultural Foundation Inc., the 2013 Tailgate preceded the N.C. State football team’s first game of the season, against Louisiana Tech – and a 40-14 Wolfpack victory!

CALS Came to the Fair!

A

showcase of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences programs was on view at the 2013 North Carolina State Fair. Prominent in the fair’s Agriculture Today tent was a CALS exhibit focused on accessibility in agriculture, with displays from the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Research Shop, the North Carolina AgrAbility Partnership and Extension therapeutic horticulture programs.

Nearby were cleverly decorated hay bales, created by 4-H’ers from across the state. In the Expo Center, the CALS Animal Science Club’s Milking Booth welcomed eager participants. And fairgoers lined up for Howling Cow Ice Cream, made in the College’s FBNS Department.

Photos by Terri Leith

Representatives from TTFC, Certified Farm Safe, AgriSafe, Cooperative Extension and the counties participating in the safety programs assembled at the state Extension conference in November 2013.

Photos by Becky Kirkland

hrough a grant to the N.C. Agricultural Foundation Inc., the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission (TTFC) is providing funds to expand and continue the work of the AgriSafe and Certified Safe Farm programs in North Carolina. The expanded support was announced Nov. 4 during the state Extension conference at N.C. State University. Representing the TTFC were William Upchurch, executive director, and Susan Barnes, commission board member. They presented a $300,000 check for the AgriSafe and Certified Safe Farm Expansion to the N.C. Agricultural Foundation, N.C. State University, Cooperative Extension and partners at the N.C. Agromedicine Institute. Dr. Richard Linton, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Dr. Joe Zublena, director of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, accepted. “Thanks to the overwhelming support of farmers in our state, we’re here today to announce a grant for the expansion of the AgriSafe and Certified Safe Farm Programs in North Carolina,” Barnes said. She then explained that these programs started as pilot projects in Duplin, Johnston and Sampson counties in 2009 with a three-year Tobacco Trust Fund Commission grant of $500,000. Among those leading the efforts to establish the AgriSafe Network of North Carolina and the Certified Safe Farm program were Dr. Greg Cope, CALS professor and campus coordinator for agromedicine at N. C. State; Robin Tutor-Marcom, director of the N.C. Agromedicine Institute, a partnership of East Carolina, N.C. State and North Carolina A&T State universities; and Dr. Ed Jones of Cooperative Extension. The program was initially offered in the three pilot counties, where Extension


perspectives College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Campus Box 7603 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC 27695-7603

Handling with CARE At Raleigh’s Curtis Dail SPCA Pet Adoption Center, CALS animal science majors Catherine Bartholf (left) and Ashley McDonald work with Sadie, a therapy dog in training. It’s all part of a special community service partnership, in which students teach ordinary shelter dogs to become extraordinary healing agents. (Story, page 8.)

Terri Leith

NONPROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID RALEIGH, NC PERMIT #2353

CALS Perspectives Magazine Winter 2013  

Perspectives: The Magazine of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State University

Advertisement