Would you be willing to give five cents for a lot of knowledge? Its a good bet that the farmers of North Carolina are willing.
Theyll have a chance to vote on just that question November 4 in a statewide referendum on renewing and adding a third nickel to the Nickels for Know-How program.
Gov. Jim Hunt, Chancellor Marye Anne Fox and Dean Jim Oblinger, along with Nickels for Know-How bill sponsors Rep. Dewey L. Hill and Sen. Charles W. Albertson gathered at the state capitol on Wednesday, June 9, to sign the bill calling for the referendum. Other influential members of the farm commodities industries, N.C. States College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the N.C. General Assembly also attended.
If the referendum passes, the additional nickel will not be added until January 1, 2001, in deference to some of the challenges now faced by our agricultural community, Hunt said.
Nickels for Know-How is a 48-year-old voluntary tax on feed and fertilizer produced in North Carolina. Initially the tax was one nickel on every ton of feed or fertilizer; later, a second nickel was added. Even though the tax is voluntary, no one has ever asked for a refund of Nickels for Know-How contributions.
Every six years, as is required by law, there has been a statewide referendum on the program. It has always passed by more than 90 percent. All producers or users of feed or fertilizer in North Carolina are allowed to vote in the referendum.
The money raised goes to the N.C. Agricultural Foundation Inc., which in turn distributes the funds through scholarships, fellowships, faculty support, professorships, research and Extension activities.
In 1998, Nickels for Know-How raised more than $797,000. Fox thanked the farmers and producers of the state, the General Assembly and the governor for their support of Nickels for Know-How.
Ruby McSwains historic Worthy House near Sanford led visitors to feel they were stepping back in time when they arrived on a Sunday in June to break ground for a new county agricultural center on the grounds.
About 350 friends, supporters and Lee County residents turned out for the ceremony in the shade of ancient oaks and pecan trees. Some guests rocked quietly on the porch; others brought lawn chairs to sit and listen to the ceremonial remarks. Punch and refreshments were served in the cool of the back yard and in the parlor inside the house, accented with vases of cut flowers arranged by Ms. Ruby herself.
In 1997, Mrs. McSwain donated the house and 300 acres of land to the N.C. Agricultural Foundation Inc. to be managed by the Lee County Center of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. It is the largest planned gift ever received by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. In addition, Mrs. McSwain set up endowments to aid research and extension activities and provide for upkeep of the house.
Sundays groundbreaking was for the Ernest and Ruby McSwain Extension Education and Agriculture Center. The facility will serve as home to the Lee County Extension center, as well as offices of the Lee County Soil and Water District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Development and the Farm Service Agency. More than 200 donors have contributed $300,000 to pay for an auditorium for the center, along with other improvements.
Dean Jim Oblinger recognized the efforts of Mrs. McSwain and Lee County Extension Director John Hall in making the new center a reality. He also pointed out the important role that partnerships have played in the development of the center.
Mrs. McSwain accepted accolades, roses and a plaque of appreciation during the ceremony. At the conclusion, she joined other local and N.C. State University dignitaries in turning the soil, marking the official groundbreaking. About 20 local friends, heeding the Colleges invitation to bring your own shovel, joined McSwain to turn a bit of dirt themselves, symbolizing the important role this center will play in the lives of all Lee County citizens.
to Noteworthy Giving contents
Its no surprise to see hats at a garden party, and the 1999 Gala in the Garden, held May 2 in the J.C. Raulston Arboretum, was no exception. There were colorful head toppers of all sorts. But perhaps what topped everything that evening was an announcement made by Chancellor Marye Anne Fox: Lib and Willie York of Raleigh have established a $300,000 challenge grant to support the arboretums future education center.
More than 650 arboretum supporters and friends enjoyed a dinner under a big white tent as they listened to the news of the challenge.
The gala netted more than $38,000 toward construction of the education center. Groundbreaking for the center will begin as soon as the $4.2 million necessary for construction is raised.