Monthly Newsletter
October 2021

Extension programs and resources are available to all county residents. Feel free to forward our newsletters on to family and friends. Watch out for monthly announcements of events as this newsletter arrives in your inbox each month or keep up with us on Facebook or Instagram.

(If you do not wish to continue getting this newsletter you may unsubscribe at the link below.)

Technology on the Farm

Mechanization has long been an agricultural driver from the horse-drawn seed drills of the 1700s to modern combine harvesters with satellite-based navigation systems. Today, farmers are increasingly turning to robots and other advanced technology.

In this episode of Farms, Food and You, two NC State faculty members with their fingers on the pulse of technological innovation for agriculture discuss their research and what they think it will mean for the farms of the future.

Master Gardener Tips:

Cover Crops - Crimson Clover

Often considered “green manures,” cover crops are not grown for consumption, but for purposes of improving/maintaining health of soil and garden.

Crimson Clover (Trifolium incarnatum) it is the most common legume cover crop and forage plant in the US. In the home garden it helps correct nitrogen depleted soil, adds winter interest and its breathtaking blood-red blooms attract pollinators.

Seeded in the fall it functions as a winter annual and establishes quickly and matures well in cool weather. It prefers sandy loam, but also grows well in poor, dry, sandy soil. It does not tolerate heavy clay or waterlogged areas.

To use it as a cover crop in a small raised bed or home garden, clear vegetation, prepare the seedbed, broadcast the seed following the seeding rate, incorporate seed and irrigate only if precipitation is absent to promote germination.

In the spring, incorporate and wait for debris to decompose before planting your garden. If you have a small garden, remove the cover crop to the compost pile and apply the finished compost to the garden beds as needed.

For more information, contact the Extension Master Gardener Helpline at 910-947-3188, Monday-Friday

By: Claudia Watson, EMGV, Moore County

Photo credit: Best Forage

Slow Internet. No Internet. We need to know!

Be on the look out for a county-wide NC Broadband survey coming to your house during the first two weeks in December. The Moore County Digital Inclusion Task Force, recently appointed by the Moore County Board of Commissioners, need you to answer the survey and help us identify where the gaps in broadband coverage are. This will ensure that funds received from federal and state programs can be dispersed to expand broadband services in the actual areas and households that presently lack intranet access.

Ironically, those without internet or broadband access will not see this digital newsletter and announcement. But those who do, can help spread the word about the forthcoming survey to family, friends and neighbors.

If you can't wait to answer the 5-minute survey, it can be completed online at or by phone: 919-750-0553 (English); 919-750-8860 (Spanish).

In the meantime, Moore County Cooperative Extension has compiled some useful information and resources for addressing the digital divide in Moore County. Go to the Extension Broadband Access page and scroll to find links that accentuate rural broadband issues that affect how all of Moore County can better learn, earn, and access healthcare with equitable connectivity to broadband and digital technology.

Tobacco ‘s Decline Promoted Growth in the North Carolina Wine Industry

Recently, I joined a wine tasting group, primarily to learn about the many varietals of wine which I know little about. Growing up, my mother, who was big on social etiquette, ingrained in my conscientiousness that a gracious guest should always present a bottle of wine to a dinner party host. But in wine stores, I usually find myself overwhelmed from the wine varieties available. My solution to overcoming this dilemma was to learn about all the nuances involved for selecting gift worthy wines through an association with wine connoisseurs.

Several weeks ago, my wine cohorts and I took a tour of a few wineries in the Yadkin Valley where the area has become known as North Carolina’s Napa Valley. Although winemaking is found throughout the state, winemakers have migrated to the Yadkin Valley because the elements of the soil, temperature, topography, and weather typical of the valley all combine to define the essence of an area’s wine. The altitude, the rolling hills, good drainage and adequate sunlight are conducive to cultivating the grapes grown in the region. The area is hot in the daytime and cools off at night. That difference of high and low temperatures gives grapes the opportunity to rest and concentrate their sugar which makes for make great wine.

The Yadkin Valley is also served by the viticulture and enology program housed at Surry Community College in Dobson. With leadership from NC State Extension, the community college developed the degreed viticulture program which teaches students about all aspects of the wine business including plant science, vineyard stock selection, propagation, soil health, vine nutrition, pest management, and fermentation science, as well as the planning, layout, economics, and management of vineyards.

Though wine making in North Carolina has been around since the first settlers landed on Roanoke Island in1524, the wine industry has gone through many transitions over the last five centuries. Most of North Carolina’s earliest vineyards, were destroyed during the Civil War, either from neglect, lack of a workforce or bankruptcy. Winemaking steadily returned after some regulatory retribution during Reconstruction until North Carolina to become a dry state in 1908 which lasted through the nationwide Prohibition that began 1920. By the time alcohol manufacturing was legal again in 1933, most of the nation’s wine production had moved west and North Carolina turned its focus to other less time-consuming cash crops like tobacco, cotton and soybeans. The wine industry returned on a limited basis after World War II, but it wasn’t until after the 1998 U.S. Master Tobacco Settlement, which diminished the state’s most profitable agricultural sector, that winemaking accelerated in the state. The Master Tobacco Settlement came about as a result of the 1990’s, campaigns, bills, and lawsuits against the tobacco industry. The settlement enabled the NC General Assembly to establish the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission in 2000 to lessen the economic and financial impact to farmers and tobacco-related businesses caused by the sharp decline of tobacco markets. Funds allocated from the Tobacco Trust Fund enabled farmers to transform their tobacco farms to vineyards. The Yadkin Valley seized on the Tobacco Trust Fund and the farmers in the region who transitioned from tobacco to vineyards ushered in an explosion of winemaking in North Carolina.  

Today, North Carolina’s 100 counties are home to 186 wineries. More than 525 vineyards are spread across 2,300 acres which collectively produces just over 1.1 million cases of wine per year. North Carolina’s diverse landscape makes it possible to grow all varieties of classic European grapes, with wineries around the state specializing in French, Italian and German-styled vintages, along with dozens that produce wine made from North Carolina’s two native grapes, the muscadine and scuppernong. These varieties ensure that consumers today, no matter their taste preferences, will have no trouble finding a North Carolina wine that pleases their palates.

NC State Extension has been instrumental over the last two decades in the growth and success of the NC wine industry. Extension specialists in small fruit production and viticulture conduct on-going field trails in research vineyards. Data is compiled and shared with growers and winemakers that help increase yields. Extension specialists also have organized forums and meetings that have brought together muscadine, bunch grape, and table grape growers. This has nurtured a spirit of collaboration across the state which has been vital to the industry’s growth.

Currently, wine production contributes about $2 billion to the agricultural economy in North Carolina, provides about 10,000 jobs, and brings about 2 million tourists to economically strapped NC rural communities. North Carolina now ranks tenth in both grape and wine production in the United States. The state's wine industry continues to expand, and today it is one of the United States' five most visited state destinations for wine and culinary tourism.

I still find myself overwhelmed when I need to choose a hostess gift. My wine group hasn’t helped me there. At least I know, I can’t go wrong with a bottle of NC wine.

To find out more about vineyards and wineries in the Sandhills and around the state visit NC Wine.

Written by Deborah McGiffin, County Extension Director

Only a Few More Weeks for Free Soil Testing

From the beginning of April till the end of November having your soil tested is free to North Carolinians. During December through March soil test will run you $4.00 a sample.

Healthy soil is the foundation of successful gardening. The first step to cultivating healthy soil is having your soil tested. Collecting soil samples only takes a few minutes and has many benefits. It can help you save money in your lawn, garden and landscape, can result in healthier plants by telling you which nutrients are already in your soil and which you need to add, and can protect water quality by preventing unnecessary fertilizer applications. What Will Soil Testing Tell Me About My Soil?

One of the most important things the soil test measures is soil pH, or how acidic or basic your soil is. Soil pH levels in North Carolina range anywhere from 3.5 (very acidic) to 8.0 (basic) or higher. Most ornamental plants, vegetables, fruits, and lawns prefer to grow in soils where the pH is 5.5 to 6.5, though acid-loving plants such as azaleas, camellias, gardenias, loropetalum, and blueberries prefer a soil pH between 5.0 and 5.5.

Soil testing is the only way to know if your soil is too acidic, if you need to add lime to raise pH, and if so how much. Many people apply lime unnecessarily, which can raise soil pH too high, resulting in poor plant growth. Soil test results will also tell you which nutrients you need to apply for the type of plants you are growing. If nutrients are needed, they can be supplied with either natural (organic) or synthetic fertilizers.

Soil test results will not determine if there are diseases or herbicide residues in your soil, or if poor drainage or soil compaction are causing plant problems. If you suspect these issues contact your local Cooperative Extension office for advice.

Click on this link to learn more about how to collect a soil sample and submit it for testing,
View the video below to learn how to make this year's winning "grand champion" recipe from the renowned North Carolina Apple Festival.
Maintain, Don't Gain
Holiday Challenge

This holiday season, the only thing that should be “stuffed” is the turkey. Many Americans gain between 1 and 5 pounds each holiday season. While it might not sound like much, most people never manage to lose those extra pounds. You are invited to join the 15th annual Eat Smart, Move More, Maintain, don’t gain! Holiday Challenge. Rather than focusing on trying to lose weight, this FREE seven-week challenge provides you with strategies and resources to help maintain your weight throughout the holiday season.
Last year, more than 44,670 people from around the world participated. Now it’s time for the 2021 Holiday Challenge!

The 2021 Holiday Challenge:

November 15th – December 31st

Registration does not close and you may sign-up at any time.

For questions regarding the Holiday Challenge, please refer to the Holiday Challenge FAQ Page.

Holiday Challenge Features

All Holiday Challenge features will be sent directly to your email inbox when the program begins. Holiday Challenge features include the following:
  • Weekly Newsletters
  • Daily Tips
    • Survive a holiday party
    • Manage holiday stress
    • Stay active during the winter
  • Weekly Challenges
  • Healthy holiday recipes
  • Support through social media

It's Apple Picking Time for the 2021 Virtual Sandhills Farm Tour

The 2021 Virtual Sandhills Farm Tour continues this month with part deux of a visit to James Creek Orchards and Cider House. This second half of the James Creek tour gets behind the scenes to look at how they make their cider using fresh fruit from their orchard. Click here to learn how cider is made; then enjoy the year-round apple pickings offered at the James Creek Cider House, adjacent to the orchards.

Never Too Soon to Make Summer Plans

Once again Moore County 4-H has reserved the week of June 19-24 to camp at Millstone 4-H Center

For a short time Millstone 4-H Summer Camp Is Offering a Discount

Millstone 4-H Camp is an ACA accredited camp that provides age appropriate, small group experiences in a safe, enjoyable environment. Campers enjoy daily activities such as swimming, canoeing, nature programs, horseback riding, target sports, climbing wall, arts and crafts, hiking, campfires, talent shows and more!

Next summer, Moore County 4-H will take a small group of campers, ages 9-12, on this overnight camp experience. We are still in the process of determining the overall cost of camp for our Moore County 4-H participants, but we typically offer a discount rate for those who provide their deposit and enroll/re-enroll in Moore County 4-H early in the new year. Thanks to grant funding, donations and sponsorships we are able to offer this camping experience at a reduced cost to families and provide scholarships for those in need! If you would like to be placed on the email list to be the first to receive the Discount Offer & Scholarship Information, please complete this Millstone 4-H Camp Interest Form.

*If you were to sign up for this camp directly with the Millstone 4-H Camp Center, the camp fee is $500.

2022 International NC 4-H Outbound Opportunities

Announcing 2022 Outbound 4-H International Program Opportunities to the following countries: Japan, South Korea, Costa Rica, Norway, Taiwan, Romania, and Argentina.

North Carolina 4-H, through the States' 4-H International Exchange Program offers opportunities for members and their families to become part of a growing tradition that includes leadership, cultural exploration, and fun! Through the 4-H Inbound and Outbound exchange programs provided through NC 4-H, families gain a wealth of knowledge, life-changing experiences, and shared memories that will last a lifetime!

Summer Outbound programs provide 4-H youth with the opportunity to travel to foreign countries for a cultural immersion experience. Outbound delegates live with volunteer host families and engage in experiential learning about a new way of life. Delegates experience aspects of daily life that allow them to more deeply understand both their host culture and their own culture. Our network of like-minded international partners recruit host families and plan enrichment activities for the delegation. The Outbound program is open to current or recent 4-H members who have participated in a county or state program.

NC 4-H International Exchange Program
Online Applications for 2022 Outbound are due by December 15, 2021.

Read more Moore County Extension news »
NC State University and N.C. A&T State University work in tandem, along with federal, state and local governments, to form a strategic partnership called N.C. Cooperative Extension.

Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made at least 5 days before the scheduled event
to Deborah McGiffin at or 910-947-3188.


Email Marketing by ActiveCampaign