Monday, October 20, 2014

Watauga County Operation Medicine Cabinet

Fall 2014 Drug Take-back Days

Help us keep pharmaceutical and control-substance drugs off the streets and out of the rivers! No questions will be asked, and any prescription and over-the-counter medications and medical supplies can be turned in anonymously. For more information, please call the Watauga County Cooperative Extension 828-264-3061.
Saving our kids and rivers from drugs



Saturday, October 25th

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Food Lion, Boone (Blowing Rock Rd)
  • Food Lion, Deep Gap (HWY 421)
  • Food Lion, Blowing Rock
  • Foscoe Fire Department 

Spooktacular Bats

I love Halloween, not only because it’s my birthday, but also because there is candy everywhere!!!  Not to mention all the costumes and decorations  - You begin to really know that fall is here! 
Seeing all the bat d├ęcor around town makes me think about how awesome bats are in our environment and how much they do for us!  According to NRCS, bats are the single most important controller of night-flying insects, including mosquitoes, moths, and beetles. For example, a single little brown bat can catch up to 600 mosquitoes in an hour. Watching bats fly around light posts catching bugs can be an interesting nighttime activity.

A bat house in your yard will help attract bats and provide them with much-needed roosting habitat. The house should be placed on a pole at least 15 feet high in a spot that receives sun most of the day. Tree trunks are usually too shady for bat boxes. Some bat species such as gray bats, red bats, and hoary bats will use shrubs and trees for roosting under loose bark or in cavities.
Here are instructions on how to build your own bat box.....
Build a bat house directions

It's not particularly good to have bats living in your home, so here are directions from NCSU Cooperative Extension on how to exclude bats from a dwelling....  Bat Exclusion Directions

For more information about bats visit Bat Conservation International

Many species of bats migrate in the fall and hibernate throughout the winter months in caves, mines, or buildings. If disturbed during hibernation, their metabolism is increased, depleting fat reserves and reducing their chances of survival.

Information for this article is from the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the USDA.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Watauga County Household Hazardous Waste Day

If you have Household Hazardous Waste you can drop it off at the Watauga County Sanitation Department (336 Landfill Rd. Boone) on October 25th from 9am to 2pm.  Items that will be accepted include: paint, household batteries, household cleaners, pesticides, oils, antifreeze, gasoline, propane tanks, lighter fluid, lab packs, oxidizers, florescent bulbs, and mercury.  If you have any questions please contact the Sanitation Dept. at 828-264-5305.

Sponsored by Watauga County Sanitation Dept, Watauga County Cooperative Extension, NC Department of Agriculture with assistance from the Watauga County Maintenance Department and the Town of Boone.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Grants Available For Watauga County Farmers

WNC AgOptions intent to apply deadline Oct. 24, 2014
Application deadline Nov. 21, 2014;

Western North Carolina farmers now have the chance to apply for farm diversification grants two separate times in the next two years. The N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission recently funded WNC Agricultural Options through 2016, guaranteeing that WNC farmers will receive a total of $340,000 in small grants in the next two application cycles.

WNC AgOptions awards farmers who are diversifying or expanding their operations $3,000 and $6,000 grants to offset the risk of trying a new venture. 
The upcoming application deadline is Nov. 21. All applicants should contact their Cooperative Extension Agents by Oct. 24 to set up an appointment to discuss their projects. Applications are available at and at local Cooperative Extension Centers. 

Applicants are encouraged to attend an information session 5:30p.m. to 7p.m. on October 16 at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River. Program leaders will offer an overview of the program, review requirements for applying, and give tips for writing applications. See for more details. The Watauga County Extension van will be traveling to this information session, and will leave from the Watauga County Extension Center at 3:00 PM on Thursday, 10/16. Interested growers who would like to ride along should contact Richard Boylan ( to reserve a seat in the van. 

WNC AgOptions offers grants to farmers in the following counties/units: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga and Yancey counties as well as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Interested farmers who live outside of this coverage area should contact RAFI-USA's Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund, also exclusively funded by the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. See

The administrator of WNC AgOptions is WNC Communities, a non-profit organization that has been improving agriculture in the region since 1947. WNC Communities provides a unique forum for leaders in western North Carolina to carry out innovative programs to improve the quality of life for rural communities and to enhance the agriculture economy.

"WNC Communities is delighted to serve as administrator for WNC AgOptions," said L.T. Ward, Vice President of WNC Commuities. "We are grateful to the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission and North Carolina legislators for their support throughout the past eleven years. We are extremely pleased the Commission has made a two year commitment, which is confirmation of their confidence in the success of this important and effective program."

Members of the WNC AgOptions steering committee include: representatives from N.C. Cooperative Extension, N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services–Marketing Division, WNC Communities, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project and other leaders in agribusiness. For more information, see the following: WNC Agricultural Options:; N.C. Cooperative Extension Centers: www.ces.ncsu.eduN.C. Tobacco Trust Fund; WNC Communities:

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In Watauga County, growers interested in developing grant proposals should contact one of the following Extension Agents (no later than 10/24!):
Fruit, Vegetable, Herb, Medicinal, or Mushroom projects: Richard Boylan -
Livestock projects: Eddy Labus -
Christmas Tree projects: Jim Hamilton -

Monday, October 6, 2014

National 4-H Week

As a 4-H agent, promoting 4-H can generate some ambivalence.  Most people have an image of 4-H, either based on their past experience or some pastoral image that appears to have been successfully imprinted upon society.  It seems that most everyone has a picture of 4-H and what it has been or should be.  The 4-H clover is said to be one of the most recognizable emblems.  The converging of the past and agriculture with the present-day 4-H creates a varied mix.  A person entering 4-H today with no previous knowledge of the organization might see an emphasis on science and technology; robotics and GPS are hot topics.   What a contrast!  So, what is 4-H?  The author of this article, describes some of the conflict.  His understanding of 4-H is that it is a youth development organization.  Someone else disagrees, insisting that 4-H is an agricultural education organization. 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

FREE Energy Conservation Workshop

North Carolina Cooperative Extension E-Conservation Program and Appalachian Voices
is offering a
Free Energy Conservation Workshop

Get a free energy kit, learn about ways to conserve energy, and apply for participation in our home energy efficiency upgrade program.

Thanks to State Energy Office funding, workshop attendees can qualify to receive $700 in energy conservation upgrades for their home! 

September 30th   5:30 - 6:45
Location: Agricultural Conference Center,
252 Poplar Grove Rd., Boone NC 28607

You’ll learn about energy-efficient strategies that will:
·        Reduce utility costs
·        Improve the health and comfort of your home
·        Lessen your overall impact on the environment
·        Receive a free energy kit with a CFL light bulb and low-flow showerhead
If your home does not exceed 2,200 square feet and was built prior to 2006, you qualify for the Home Assessment and Energy Retrofit Program valued at $800 ($100 paid by homeowner and $700 covered by a State Energy Office grant). This service retrofits your home with energy efficient measures such as air sealing, water heater insulation, new air filters and CFLs/LEDs. Learn more: