For Taylor Farley, the chickens definitely came first, then the eggs. Hundreds of them. Then thousands of them. Enough for the 14-year-old budding agricultural entrepreneur to pay for piano lessons and to begin saving for college.
Union County 4-H’ers have been spending time off from school installing water-saving aerators and energy-saving light bulbs and water-heater blankets in the homes of area senior citizens. In return, they’ve gotten plenty of hugs, as well as lessons in community service, leadership and energy conservation.
The loss of burley tobacco production and a glut in the Christmas tree market delivered a one-two punch to rural Madison County in recent years, but North Carolina Cooperative Extension and partner Madison Family Farms are helping the agricultural industry rebound through a grant-funded project aimed at opening up retail markets for locally produced Christmas trees and wreaths.
Since colonial days, the boxwood has been an important part of American gardens and landscapes. Research from N.C. State University is designed to help keep it that way, in spite of the threat to the plant posed by a disease new to the United States.
Rhonda Sherman’s vermiculture conference attracted 120 people this year from around the U.S. and five other countries.