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Continuing Education for Agriculture

Are you a bit of a Pinterest fanatic combined with a love for the land and desire to recycle?  Then the new Up-scaling for the Garden classes starting soon at Northeast Texas Community College might just be the place for you.  Director of Agriculture, Rene’ McCracken will be sharing her love of environmental stewardship and passion for re-purposing “junk” in two sessions of courses offered through the NTCC Continuing Education Program.

“I developed the premise for the classes after watching episodes of ‘Junk Gypsies’ and ‘Picker Sisters’.  I just love the idea of repurposing un-used items into one-of-a kind practical conversation pieces in my garden and home,” McCracken explained.   There will be two sessions offering different topics and projects.  The first session on September 30th and October 1st will include: A class project of creating a papercrete planter, and a discussion and planning of re-design for each student’s “found junk”.  The second class meeting will see the completion of the individual projects.  Each student is required to provide their own items to re-purpose.  Tools will be provided by the NTCC Ag Department. 

If you would like to find out more information on the class or register contact Lisa York in NTCC Continuing Education at 903-434-8267 or lyork@ntcc.edu.


New Goat Project Added to NTCC Farm

The early 90's saw the import of a new breed of goat to the U.S., the Boer (the Angus Cattle of the goat industry), has over the past decade quickly become a viable option for small farmers in Texas to diversify their operations and become more sustainable. Unfortunately, with the newness of the industry and few sources for research based information on care and handling of the meat goat breed many producers that have invested their time and money into starting an operation have been anything but sustainable.

Recognizing the lack of readily available research based information applicable to farms in East Texas and determining the role that the Northeast Texas Community College Farm could play, a new addition to the NTCC farm of a commercial Boer goat herd began in August 2013. "I first became aware of Boer goats and meat goat production while working as a county extension agent in Cherokee County prior to my employment as Agriculture Director for NTCC. Despite my own lack of knowledge on the breed, I purchased my first goat in 2006 and with the aid of the PVAMU International Goat Research Center specialists and the East Texas Goat Raisers Association members received a "crash course" in the requirements of a goat farm in East Texas," admitted Rene' McCracken.

The NTCC Sustainable Agriculture program lends itself to the support of alternative agriculture enterprises. The diversification of pastured poultry and commercial meat goat production to the traditional cow-calf and hay farm was a natural progression for the conversion of the college farm to a more sustainable operation while providing hands-on experience to students. As an added benefit, area goat producers now have the option to take a hands-on continuing education course aimed at providing much needed techniques and management guidelines to arm those novice goat producers to the "tenured" professionals with the knowledge they need to improve their own goat farms. The first, Meat Goat Management Course is scheduled for, Saturday, October 12, 2013. Enroll now by contacting Lisa York at 903-434-8134 or lyork@ntcc.edu.

Instructor, Rene' McCracken will begin the course at 8 am and conclude at 2 pm. Topics to be covered include: general herd health, internal parasite control, nutrition and breeding. Registration and fees are $45 per person and will include all materials and lunch. Additional C.E. courses will be planned for the future and other topics in agriculture are currently available.

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This page last updated by R. McCracken on 10/07/2013

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