Wednesday, November 10, 2010

N.C. Cooperative Extension partners with 10% Campaign to promote local foods

Renay Knapp and Susan Colucci with North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Henderson County will be extension’s local foods coordinators, supporting the 10% Campaign. The campaign is an effort to encourage North Carolina consumers to spend 10 percent of their food dollars on foods from local sources.

Through the campaign website – -- consumers and business will pledge to spend 10 percent of their food dollars locally, purchasing products from area farmers and food producers. Campaign participants will receive weekly email reminders to report how much money they spent on local food. The website will show consumers how their dollars spent on local foods grow.

North Carolinians spend about $35 billion a year on food. If each person spent just 10 percent on food locally – roughly $1.05 per day – then approximately $3.5 billion would be available in the state’s economy.

Cooperative Extension’s local foods coordinators will help connect consumers and food producers and support local businesses and organizations who want to spend 10 percent of their food dollars locally. Local food coordinators will personally contact businesses and organizations that register through the website to help them develop a plan for purchasing local products.

In addition, the 10% Campaign website provides a “Find Local Foods” page with links to help consumers find local food and farm products in their own communities. A “Learn More” page includes links to information on a variety of partner organizations, such as Slow Food USA and Eat Smart, Move More NC. There are also links to educational information on topics ranging from how to set up a workplace community-supported agriculture program to how to cook seasonal, local products.
To find out what’s happening with local foods in your county, visit your Cooperative Extension website A link to the Local Foods page can be found in the left hand column of your county center’s home page. Help us build North Carolina's local food economy by joining the campaign and encouraging your family, friends and neighbors to do the same.

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) and Cooperative Extension are partners in the campaign. Extension, based at N.C. State and N.C. A&T State universities, serves all the state’s 100 counties and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee. CEFS is a partnership of N.C. State, N.C. A&T State and the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Sciences that provides research, outreach and education on sustainable agriculture and promotes local food economies in North Carolina.

The Compass Group of Charlotte, the world’s largest food service provider, is leading the way in the campaign by pledging to purchase 10 percent of its food from local sources. Compass Group is developing a parallel model farm-to-institution buying program and will purchase 10 percent of the produce it serves in its North Carolina accounts from local farmers in the state.

Funding for the 10 Campaign and website is provided by Golden LEAF.

Edited by Sue Colucci, area extension agent

Friday, September 17, 2010

NC Establishes Exterior Quarantine to Prevent Thousand Canker Disease

Declaration of Exterior Quarantine for the Walnut Twig Beetle and the Fungal Pathogen that causes Thousand Canker Disease in Walnut Trees

The Commissioner of Agriculture, the Plant Industry Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS), and the Plant Pest Administrator hereby immediately establish an exterior quarantine for the walnut twig beetle, Pityophthorus juglandis, and the fungal pathogen, Geosmithia morbida sp. nov., that causes Thousand Canker Disease in walnut trees, Juglans spp., for the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah and Washington and any other state found to be infested or infected. This exterior quarantine is needed to prevent the establishment, dissemination, or potential spread of Thousand Canker Disease ands its vector into North Carolina and other states.

For complete information, go to this website.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thousand Cankers Disease Discovered in East TN

Plans underway to survey and restrict movement of walnut material in Tennessee.

Check out this press release from Tennessee. I will be sure to send more information as it becomes available as NC assesses the threat of this pathogen to our native forests.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture today announced the discovery of Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD), the first detection of the destructive tree pest east of the Mississippi River. The discovery was made in July by a TDA forester.

“The discovery of TCD in Tennessee is unexpected, but we’re prepared to help slow the spread of the infestation and protect our forest resources.” said state Agriculture Commissioner Ken Givens. “We will be working closely with stakeholders to determine the extent of the infestation and to take steps to limit its spread.”

TCD is a progressive disease that kills a tree within two to three years after initial infection. The disease-causing fungus, Geosmithia, is transmitted by a small twig beetle. Branches and trunk tissue are killed by repeated infections by the fungus, as the beetles carry the fungus into new bark.

The TCD discovery comes a week after emerald ash borer (EAB) was found. Both TCD and EAB have the potential to cause significant damage to Tennessee forests. It is imperative that citizens work to prevent the spread of both.

In response to the find, TDA plans to issue a quarantine in Knox county prohibiting the movement of firewood and black walnut nursery stock and limiting the movement of black walnut timberland other material that can spread TCD. TDA plant inspectors and foresters will conduct a thorough survey of trees in the areas to assess the extent of the infestation and to see if more quarantines are warranted.

See this link for more information including a disease checklist and control measures.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's Fair Time!

The Haywood County Fair will begin next week with exhibit take in on Tuesday, August 24th. Take in will begin at 9am in building B at the Haywood County Fairgrounds. I hope to see you there.

With the fair being a little earlier this year, I expect to see an increase in both flowers and vegetables. Therefore, it is even more important that you carefully select your entries. Judges will be looking for quality entries that adhere to the fair guidelines. If you are planning to enter something in the fair please be sure to read the fair brochure for specific guidelines for the division that you are entering. If you don't have a brochure, you are welcome to stop by the extension office and pick one up.

We will have volunteers available on the day of take in to help you with your entries.

Please be sure to attend the fair and support our local agriculture!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Late Blight Confirmed on Tomatoes in Henderson County

This week Plant Pathologist Kelly Ivors found and confirmed late blight (by microscopic examination) in one small shaded area of a conventional tomato field in Henderson County. We have not been able to confirm its presence anywhere else in the tomato production areas of NC this summer, so I believe this is the start of the tomato late blight epidemic in WNC. We've had some rains recently and I'm sure it's out there elsewhere now, or soon to arrive.

Without proper preventative measures, late blight can completely defoliate and destroy a crop within one to two weeks. The disease can be severe on tomatoes grown in the mountains of North Carolina, as well as in late plantings in the Piedmont.

The first symptoms of late blight on tomato leaves are irregularly shaped, water-soaked lesions on lower leaves. During high humidity, white cottony growth may be visible on underside of the leaf. As the disease progresses, lesions enlarge causing leaves to brown, shrivel and die. Fruit lesions appear as dark, greasy spots that eventually turn a chocolate brown color, and can enlarge to the point of encompassing the entire fruit.

Refer to this website for more details on the symptoms of this disease. The application of fungicides plays a significant role in the control of late blight. Fungicides containing copper, chlorothanonil, or mancozeb are recommended for treatment in home gardens.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

No fruit on your tomatoes?

We have had some seriously warm weather here in the past few weeks for WNC. Daytime temperatures above 90°F and night temperatures above 70°F result in reduced flowering and fruit set. There is considerable evidence that night temperature is the critical factor in setting tomato fruit, the optimal range being 59° to 68°F. With night temperatures much below or above this critical range, fruiting is reduced or absent. Low temperatures reduce the production and viability of pollen. High temperature, especially if accompanied by low humidity and moisture, hinders fruit set through failure in pollination and/or fertilization.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Apple Recipe Contest - September 3, 2010

The annual Apple Recipe Contest is only weeks away and NC Cooperative Extension is looking for both amateurs and professionals to enter their original non-copyrighted recipes. Winners will receive great prizes, a ribbon, and I can't forget to mention the bragging rights that accompany winning the contest at the NC Apple Festival. Recipe entry forms and the written recipe must be mailed, faxed, or delivered by September 1, 2010 to NC Cooperative Extension. If you would like more information, contact Renay at 828-697-4891.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Blossom-end rot on tomatoes

We have been receiving several calls lately concerning tomatoes that are rotting on the blossom end. The problem is blossom-end rot. Blossom-end rot is a fruit disorder that causes the blossom end of a tomato fruit to rot. The rot is dark brown in color and has a tough, leathery feel. It is usually worse on the first fruit cluster but can be a problem throughout the season.

Blossom-end rot is caused by a lack of calcium in the fruit. If the soil pH is too low, calcium is not available to the plant. Dry weather contributes to the problem.

You can also reduce blossom-end rot by spraying with a calcium chloride solution. Ideally, you should start spraying when the first green tomatoes are about the size of a silver dollar then spray once a week for three to four weeks.

Inconsistent watering encourages the problem of blossom-end rot. So, water as needed to maintain uniform soil moisture. Tomatoes need about 1 inch of water per week. During hot dry weather they may need more. Blossom-end rot tends to be worse on staked tomato plants and when high rates of nitrogen fertilizer have been applied.

While the tomatoes that are already affected will continue to be deformed, they are safe to eat. Simply cut out the bad portion and eat the rest.

For more information see:

Photo credit: Darrell Blackwelder

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fresh Market Tomato and Vegetable Field Day - August 19th Noon-4:30pm

Mark your calendars now and reserve the date for the annual tomato field day at the Mills River (formerly Fletcher) Research Station! This is your opportunity to see new up and coming varieties and learn the latest about disease, insect, and weed control for staked tomato production and vegetables in western North Carolina. As always, the afternoon field day will be followed by a pig pickin' at Lake Julian.

Tomato field day is sponsored by North Carolina State University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, NC Agricultural Research Service and NC Cooperative Extension Service, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the North Carolina Tomato Growers Association. For more information, contact Denny Thompson at 828.684.7197 or Jim Walgenbach at 828.684.3562.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Be Careful in the Heat!

The combination of heat, humidity and physical labor can lead to fatalities. The two most serious forms of heat related illnesses are heat exhaustion (primarily from dehydration) and heat stroke, which could be fatal. Signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke need immediate attention. Recognizing those warning signs and taking quick action can make a difference in preventing serious injury or a fatality.

Follow these guidelines to insure a safe and pleasurable gardening season.


Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which causes premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, cataracts, and skin cancer. There are no safe UV rays or safe suntans. Be especially careful in the sun if you burn easily or spend a lot of time outdoors.

Here’s how to block those harmful rays:

• Cover up. Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

• Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Be sure to follow application

directions on the bottle or tube.

• Wear a hat. A wide brim hat, not a baseball cap, works best because it protects the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp.

• Wear UV-absorbent sunglasses (eye protection). Sunglasses don’t have to be expensive, but they should block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation. Before you buy sunglasses, read the product tag or label.

• Limit exposure. UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.


The combination of heat and humidity can be a serious health threat during the summer months. If you work outside you may be at increased risk for heat related illness. So, take precautions.

Here’s how:

• Drink small amounts of water frequently.

• Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable

clothing—cotton is good.

• Take frequent short breaks in cool shade.

• Eat smaller meals before work activity.

• Avoid caffeine and alcohol or large

amounts of sugar.

• Work in the shade.

• Find out from your health care provider if

your medications and heat don’t mix.

Herbicide Injury Showing Up in Henderson County

I have had multiple samples of herbicide injury on fruits and vegetables come in the office the past few weeks. Keep in mind that tomatoes are SO sensitive to some broadleaf herbicides that you can just walk past the plants with a sprayer on a hot day and they can get enough fumes to affect them. Above is a picture of what the injury can look like on tomatoes. Leaves tend to be stringy and malformed. Be sure to keep herbicides away from your fruits and vegetables.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Japanese Beetles are Emerging

Japanese beetles are now beginning to emerge which means egg laying will start in early July. Effective applications of insecticides for white grubs will be mid July - early August. Despite the dry weather earlier this year, the beetles are right on schedule. See the image to the left to see the full life cycle of Japanese Beetles.

Fire ants Moving throughout NC

In the past few years I have seen fire ant mounds in the southern most areas of Henderson County. Fire ants have also become quite active where present throughout the NC and baits will work quite well in the spring when workers are actively foraging. Be sure and use fresh bait and carefully follow label directions. Take the time to understand the product and that most baits take several weeks or more than a month to be fully effective. Click here for a full article on fire ant management.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Herbicide Carryover in Hay, Manure, Compost, and Grass Clippings:

Caution to Hay Producers, Livestock Owners, Farmers, and Home Gardeners
Many farmers and home gardeners have reported damage to vegetable and flower crops after applying horse or livestock manure, compost, hay, and grass clippings to the soil. The symptoms reported include poor seed germination; death of young plants; twisted, cupped, and elongated leaves; misshapen fruit; and reduced yields. These symptoms can be caused by other factors, including diseases, insects, and herbicide drift. Another possibility for the source of these crop injuries should also be considered: the presence of herbicides in the manure, compost, hay, or grass clippings applied to the soil.

To read the full article from NC State University, click here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pesticide Collection Date Set

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in cooperation with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Henderson County center will be offering a Pesticide Collection Day for residents in Henderson, Buncombe, Haywood, Polk, Transylvania and surrounding counties. The local site manager will be Mr. Marvin A. Owings, Jr. Agricultural Extension Agent for Henderson County. Collection will be Tuesday, July 20th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Jackson Park.

Nearly all pesticide products will be accepted. For liquid pesticide containers larger than 5 gal or for unlabeled pesticides, please contact the Cooperative Extension Office for information before bringing to the collection event. No gas cylinders are accepted at the event; however, assistance information can be provided. Contact the Cooperative Extension Office for more information. Don't miss this opportunity for residents in Henderson and surrounding counties. For more information contact the Henderson County Extension Center at (828) 697-4891.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Be on the lookout for bagworms now!

Bagworms hatched a couple weeks ago and are still quite small. Therefore they can be difficult to find although they have constructed tiny bags that can be seen on leaves and needles of infested plants. It is easier to look for the large bags left from last year’s bagworm adults. These will be empty, but are a good indication that small bagworms are likely roaming a plant. This is because female bagworms are flightless and overwinter and lay eggs in their bags on trees and shrubs. Thus, baby bagworms hatch and grow up on the same plant as their mother was on the previous year.

Early in the year the best strategy is to hand pick the bags before eggs hatch to prevent infestations. Although it is too late for that now, at this point the small caterpillars have not eaten much or caused much damage. This increases dramatically as they will grow until they easily defoliate branches, causing unsightly ornamental plants. Small caterpillars are also much easier to kill than large ones. This is because they have less body mass to dilute toxins and their protective bags are not as thick. Therefore less toxic chemicals such as Bt formulations can be very effective when targeting small caterpillars. Other chemical options that are considered compatible with natural enemies are Acelepryn, TriStar, and spinosad. More information can be found in Ornamentals and Turf Insect Information Note No. 81.

Steve Bambara, NCSU Extension Entomologist

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bullington Center has new website

The Bullington Center, once the nursery of Bob Bullington, is on 12 acres of rolling land. Visitors are welcome to visit and enjoy the gardens which includes a therapy garden, shade garden, perennial borders, native woodland garden, pumpkin patch and herb garden.

These gardens incorporate some of the many unusual mature trees that Mr. Bullington collected and introduced to the area. There is a half-mile nature tail through the wooded area of the grounds. The facilities at the Center include a multipurpose room, a greenhouse and headhouse (used for hands-on workshops) and an amphitheater.

Click here to visit the new Bullington Center website and for more information.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fireflies are Back

It has been an entire year, but with a good rain behind us, the lightning bugs have returned “right on time.” Hopefully, this will be a good year for these delightful beetles. Be sure to visit a wooded area with moist soils some evening.

Lightning bugs (or fireflies) produce a heat-free source of light through a biochemical reaction. The light flashing patterns are used to attract mates. Different species have different flash patterns. There are even flashing predator beetles which attract a meal by mimicking the flash of the female and wait for their meal to arrive. In some species, the larvae, which live in shallow soil, are known to glow, also. What could be better than the miracle of light coming from an insect? How about . . . the larvae eat snails and slugs! It doesn't get much better than that.

Steve Bambara, Extension Entomologist, NCSU

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Haywood County Garden Tour

The Haywood County Garden Tour is just a month away. On June, 26, 2010 you will have the opportunity to visit several of the counties finest gardens. The tour will begin at 9am and run till 4pm, rain or shine and the cost is only $10 per person. The tour will begin this year at the Haywood County Extension Center at 589 Raccoon Road in Waynesville. Advance tickets are available at the Extension Center, Rux Gardens, Mountain View Nursery and Hazelwood Soap and Twigs & Leaves. Tickets will also be available on the day of the tour at the Extension Center. For more information, call 828-456-3575.

Mosquitos Appearing Soon

The recent bout of heavy but very needed rain will likely trigger a significant increase in mosquito activity in about 10-14 days. In residential areas in particular, now is the time for homeowners to take the initiative to reduce the likelihood of serious mosquito problems around your property before they become reality. Before resorting to insecticide applications, consider a few other critical tasks:

Standing water is the critical item because mosquitoes will not be able breed without it. Permanent bodies of water can pose a more formidable impediment but most of our problems in residential areas are the result of MMOs or "Man-Made Objects" (yes... we guys will take the blame).

Natural low-lying areas will begin to dry slowly but make sure you're not contributing to the problem with clogged drainage ditches, tire ruts, etc.

Other water-collecting items such as empty buckets, tires, dishes under outdoor potted plants, the tarps over boats, equipment, etc. need to be emptied, inverted, discarded or whatever is workable to remove the water.

Have birdbaths? They make great observation posts for watching mosquito larvae in the water. There's no need to add chemicals. Do yourself and the birds a favor and flush out the birdbath. Same thing applies to pet water bowls outdoors (livestock water troughs out in pastures are another issue since they're not always as easily flushed out or routinely maintained).

Excuse time is over - get out the ladder and climb up there and unclog those rain gutters. The decaying leaf material and other debris actually attract mosquitoes. If you're planning home improvements, consider gutter guards to divert the debris. Also, make sure that your downspouts direct the water away from the house and not simply create a big puddle along the side of the house. If you have those concrete or plastic splash blocks, make sure they're directing water *away* from the foundation.

Finally, if you're using rain barrels to collect that precious rain runoff, make sure you have them screened, which helps keep out the junk and the mosquitoes as well.

And while you're at it, get your neighbors to do the same. Mosquito control "takes a village" but it only takes one village idiot to make life miserable for the rest of the neighborhood.

From Charles Apperson and Mike Waldvogel, NCSU Extension Entomology

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Question: How Do Make a Plant Pathologist's Day?

Answer: Bring in a sample of the spore horns (or telial horns) of the Cedar Apple Rust pathogen. This sample was brought in today from a Henderson County homeowner.

The fungus that causes the disease, Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae, is unusual because it must spend a phase of its life cycle as a parasite on Juniperus species, such as red cedar or ornamental junipers and a part of its life cycle on apple or crabapple trees.

Cedar-apple rust can be severe on apple, therefore Henderson County apple growers are more aware of this disease than most homeowners. Infections of apple fruit result in lower fruit quality and early fruit drop. Leaf spots may cause early defoliation, especially during dry summers. If trees are defoliated several years in a row, they become weakened and stressed. Fruit bud formation may be reduced after one year. The disease is not as harmful to juniper, causing galls but not severely affecting plant vigor.

Click on the link for more information on Cedar Apple Rust.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Entertaining Video form Utah State Extension

I got a great chuckle out of this video produced by Utah State University Extension. Take a few minutes and enjoy the hard work put into this video of "Gnome Control in the Garden".

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Henderson County residents can dispose of expired medication at four Ingles locations Saturday, March 20th.

Operation Medicine Drop takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Howard Gap Road and Highland Lake Road Ingles in Hendersonville, as well as the Fletcher and Etowah locations.

See my previous post from November 13th for more information on the importance of keeping medicines out of our waterways.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wood Ashes as Soil Amendment

Wood ashes are often used as a soil amendment. They contain potash (potassium), phosphate, boron, and other elements. Wood ashes can be used to raise soil pH; use twice as much wood ash as limestone for the same effect as lime. Ashes should not come into contact with germinating seedlings or plant roots as they may cause root damage. Spread a thin layer during the winter and incorporate into the soil in the spring. Check pH yearly if you use wood ashes. Never use coal ashes or large amounts of wood ash (no more than 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet), as toxicity problems may occur.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Time to Think about Preemergent Herbicides

It is time to think about preemergent herbicide applications for summer annual weed control in turfgrass environments. Preemergent herbicides offer a great option for select annual grass and broadleaf weed control in warm- and cool-season turf. Preemergent herbicides are commonly used for crabgrass and goosegrass control but also control other grass and broadleaf weeds propagated from seed. As with any herbicide, one must be mindful of the herbicide mode of action. Specifically, with preemergent herbicides, application timing, application coverage, and single versus split applications among other factors are crucial to the results obtained.

Preemergent herbicides are typically applied late winter for control of many summer annual weeds, particularly annual grasses including crabgrass and goosegrass species. Application timing is critical with these products to obtain desired results. Specifically, smooth and large crabgrass germinate when 24 hour mean soil temperatures (four inch depth) reach 55 degrees F whereas goosegrass germinates when 24 hour mean soil temperatures reach 60 degrees F. Since these herbicides control susceptible species as they grow through the herbicide treated zone, the herbicide barrier must be established prior to weed seed germination. In most areas in NC, this occurs in mid- to late-March. If you are not able to track 24 hour mean soil temperatures on-site, you can visit this site and find a site in your geographic region to track 24 hour mean soil temperatures.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Plant Sale in Progress

The Haywood County Master Gardener Association is now taking orders for their small fruit sale. Orders will be taken through March 5th, 2010. Pick up dates this year will be on Monday, April 5th from 10am till 6pm and Tuesday, April 6th from 8:30am till 4pm. If you have questions about the sale or would like to receive an order form via email, please contact our office at 828-456-3575.

Friday, January 29, 2010

With impending winter weather expected across the state this weekend, North Carolina Cooperative Extension specialists at North Carolina State University can provide information on dealing with the storm.

Resources have been posted to Cooperative Extension's disaster page. Other winter storm resources from the national Extension Disaster Education Network are online so look for those too.

For a complete list of Cooperative Extension experts who can speak about disaster, visit:

Additionally, extension specialists are available to provide information on the following topics.

Preventing frozen pipes
Frozen water and sewer pipes can cause extensive damage to a home. Dr. Sarah Kirby, Cooperative Extension housing specialist, can provide information on preventing frozen pipes.
Dr. Sarah Kirby, 919-515-9154 or

Food safety
When the power goes out, the clock starts ticking on foods in refrigerators and freezers. Dr. Ben Chapman, Cooperative Extension food safety specialist, can provide information on what's safe to eat and preparing meals when the power is out.
Dr. Ben Chapman, 919-809-3205 or

Landscape damage
Trees and shrubs are often damaged by winter storms. Dr. Barbara Fair, North Carolina Cooperative Extension landscape specialist, can answer questions about dealing with damaged trees and shrubs.
Dr. Barbara Fair, 919-513-2804, 919-749-2011 (mobile) or

North Carolina is a major producer of both pigs and poultry (chickens and turkeys). Because these animals are typically raised in buildings, a winter storm is unlikely to have an impact, unless there are power outages. Farm animals such as cattle, goats and sheep, on the other hand, are typically kept in pastures and could be impacted by winter weather. Dr. Matt Poore, Cooperative Extension livestock commodity coordinator and ruminant nutrition specialist, can answer questions about cattle, goats and sheep. Dr. Jean-Marie Luginbuhl, Cooperative Extension specialist, can answer questions about goats and sheep.
Dr. Matt Poore, 919-515-7798 or
Dr. Jean-Marie Luginbuhl, 919-515-8743 or

North Carolina Cooperative Extension is an educational agency supported by county governments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and N.C. State and North Carolina A&T State universities. County agents, backed by specialists at the two land-grant universities, conduct educational programs related to agriculture and forestry, family and consumer sciences, 4-H, community and rural development and other issues.