Friday, September 21, 2018

September 2018 Meeting Minutes

WCNRC September 2018 Meeting Minutes

Members Present- Mike Henshaw- Vice Chair, Kerri Roberts- Secretary, Jeremy McDonald, Lauranne James, Andy Baril, Casey Hammock, Carl Godsey, Andy Scott

  • -         Mike opened the meeting in Allison Cochran’s absence. He covered FAWN dates of October 15-16 and handed out draft programs. He reported the cost of the shirts for FAWN was $2000 and the proposed bus transportation cost for FAWN is $1200
  • -         Mr. Godsey asked if anyone on the council has approached the BOE to see if they would help with the bus cost. Mike said they had not but he would talk to Jeff Hendrix at the bus shop.
  • -        Lauranne reported there is a Winston County Outreach Meeting on September 21. It is sponsored by NRCS and Alabama A&M and all are invited to attend.
  • -        Andy Baril said he is now back working in Winston County. He swapped regions with Spencer Bradley to stay in the NW part of the state as the Extension Forestry Agent. He reported there is a PLM in Fayette and Lamar counties September 28.  October 4 there is a NW Landowner’s Tour in Greene County. Walker County was the Natural Resources Council of the year winner. October 15 is the NRCS Landowner’s conference in Prattville.
  • -        Jeremy reported they site prepped and burned the Payne Outdoor Classroom area. They are contacting area Ag teachers to see about their classes planting shortleaf pine to learn about reforestation practices. Transportation could be an issue and they might ask the council to sponsor this event in the future.
  • -        Andy S. said they have written a proposal to the Land & Water Conservation Fund proposing to purchase 40 acres in the Sipsey Wilderness. He asked for letters of support from the council and Extension. The council agreed to support this effort.
  • -        Mike, Kerri, and Andy S. brought up the Centennial anniversary of the Bankhead Forest, which officially was January 15, 2018. Andy said that no official events have been planned in celebration. Andy mentioned in order for FS to be in charge of planning something of that magnitude, it would have needed to be started months ago. He did say the FS would support another partner group hosting an event in the forest. Andy B motioned that the WCNRC take the lead as a partner group planning/hosting a centennial event. Carl seconded the motion. None opposed. Mike mentioned the Archeofest which was a hit in years past and wondered if the centennial event could look similar to that event. A list of 12 partner groups that might like to be involved quickly was brought to light including: Lawrence County, Back Country Horsemen, Sipsey Hiking Group, Wild South, Alabama A&M, RC&D, Local Retirees, Bankhead Liaison Panel, AFC, DC&R, Jasper Lumber/Grayson Mill, Al Forestry Assoc.
  • -        Mike suggested there be a planning committee and that Kerri take lead. Jeremy offered to help on the committee. Andy said Double Springs Community Unity may want some organizing part too and Kerri said she would reach out to them and see in what way the WCNRC can be part of making this event happen.
  • -        Mike closed the meeting. 
Minutes by Kerri Roberts, Secretary WCNRC

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

September Council Meeting

The Winston County Natural Resources Council will meet at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 20, at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.  We will review the draft FAWN programs, take a look at the FAWN t-shirts, and Kerri will introduce an educational youth program called iNaturalist.  Hope you can make it.

Mike Henshaw, WCNRC
V. Chair

Monday, September 17, 2018

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Farming Basics Online Course Available

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.—More people than ever are interested in giving farming a try.  In the past, people turned to farming family members for help.  Today, most people are generations removed from farming.
To help budding farmers get started, Alabama Extension now offers a free online course, Farming Basics. Launched Sept. 10, the course addresses critical topics in agriculture.

Alabama Extension director Gary Lemme calls the course a groundbreaking digital effort.

“Anyone who is considering farming but has little to no experience will reap rewards by completing the course,” says Lemme.  He adds that Farming Basics is a valuable tool for experienced farm owners as well.

“Established producers can use the course as a refresher in best practices,” says Lemme.  “Additionally, they can use it to train new employees.”

Jewell and Russell Bean of S & B Farm in Barbour County agree the course is exactly what beginning farmers need.

“Farming Basics is filled with good information,” Russell Bean says. “We recommend it as a resource not only for beginning farmers but seasoned producers as well.”

Farming Basics’ five chapters feature video presentations and additional resources which enhance the course’s content depth. A short quiz at the end of each chapter offers participants the opportunity to review and reinforce content concepts. The course takes about two hours to complete. Upon completion, participants receive a certificate.

Dr. Ayanava Majumdar, Farming Basics project leader, says more than 200 people have already pre-registered for the course.

“Farming is challenging for experienced farmers, and it can be overwhelming to people new to it,” says Majumdar.  “Our goal with Farming Basics is to help new producers develop knowledge and critical skills, enabling them to reduce mistakes and achieve profitability more rapidly.”
The course covers farm management and marketing, pesticide safety, food safety, basic crop production and pest management. Find the course at

Farming Basics follows the proven model of Beef Basics, Alabama Extension’s first online agriculture course.

Lemme says these courses serve as the foundation of the organization’s growing commitment to online learning.

“Because of programs like this, we are becoming a nationally recognized leader in digital learning.”

This course is part of Alabama Extension’s overarching Beginning Farmer program, a collaborative effort of a wide range of institutions, producer organizations and nonprofit agencies. The Alabama Beginning Farmer Program is funded by a grant from the USDA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program.

Currently, the Beginning Farmer program provides intense on-farm guidance to more than 60 beginning farmers, including military veterans, women and socially disabled individuals. The advisory service has an 85 percent adoption rate and has increased yields by improving crop quality and reducing insecticide use with pest prevention.

Alabama Extension operates as the primary outreach organization for the land-grant functions of Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities.

Contact: Katie Nichols
Alabama Cooperative Extension System