Nickels For Know-How

A self-assessed check-off that support agricultural research, extension, and teaching programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at NC State University is set for a vote on Nov. 16, 2011. 

User of feed and fertilizer in North Carolina will vote on Nov. 16 on whether to continue the 15 cents per ton self-assessment on fertilizer and animal feed produced in our state. Since 1951, the Nickels check-off has been voted on every six years and has passed in the 13 previous referenda by an average 90% favorable vote.

Tri-Chairs of the Nov. 16 Referendum are Mr. Larry Wooten, President of the NC Farm Bureau, Mr. Jimmy Gentry, President of the NC State Grange and Mr. Jim Smith, Chairman of the NC Agricultural Foundation, Inc. and a farmer from Granville County.

Dean Johnny C. Wynne of CALS says “Since Nickels for Know-How began in 1951, most of the state’s research-based agricultural advances have at some point shared “Nickels’ funds.”

In addition, Nickels for Know-How provides support for fund raising efforts in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences that generate over $20 million annually in private contributions. This is a $50 return on every $1 dollar invested. Some of the entities that Nickels provides operating support for include the NC Cooperative Extension Service Foundation, the NC 4-H Development Fund, the NC FFA Foundation, the NC Family & Consumer Sciences Foundation, the NC Dairy Foundation, the CALS Alumni and Friends Society, and the JC Raulston Arboretum Board of Directors.

Nickels funds have helped the College to raise funds for over 790 endowments valued at over $125 million that provide over $800,000 in scholarships to 550 undergraduate students in the College. In addition, these endowments support faculty efforts, county extension programs, commodity research efforts, and other programs in CALS. 

Efforts to keep rural agricultural students at NC State through the “Spend a Day at State” program, the CALS Student Ambassadors Program, CALS Teaching and Advising Awards, Workshops for High School Vocational Agriculture Teachers, On-Campus Internships and Annual Scholarship Enhancement are also funded by Nickels. 

Some examples of those faculty-driven projects are as follows: 

* Construction of the NC State research-based animal feed mill

• The North Carolina Dairy Advantage Program for dairy farmers

• Switchgrass varieties as feedstock for bioethanol production

• Avian Flu Education Program

• Development of effective human pathogen control for fresh produce

• Academy for Excellence in Commodity Association Leadership

• Maximizing profit in North Carolina peanuts

• Family & community disaster preparedness education

• Development of the “ASPIRE” Program – SAT prep for rural students

• Strengthening agricultural programming in 4-H through commodity groups

• Franklin County 2-day Educational Goat & Sheep Conference

• International competitiveness of the NC swine industry

• Helping NC farmers survive during difficult times

• Developing 4-H livestock programs and educational materials

• Using Vitamin-E to improve pork quality

• Composting swine manure for nutrient removal

• Alernatives to herbicide spraying for woody vegetation

• Integrating swine waste management with greenhouse tomato production

• Off-season production of small fruits

• Development of a method for estimating potato yield losses

• Processing mortality silage into valuable poultry and swine feed products

• Fertility regimes for high density apple orchards in Western NC

• Foliar fertilizer use in NC cotton

• Using animal waste for horticultural compost production

• Role of darkling beetle migration in the re-colonization of NC turkey houses

• Assessment of flood impacts on agricultural soils in NC

• Profitable peach production as part of a diversified farming operation in NC

• Evaluation of cover crops & conservation tillage for conventional & organic sweet potato production

• Development and delivery of on-farm HACCP educational safety programs

• Mechanisms of protein degradation in chicken skeletal muscle

• Water movement & nitrate leaching in constructed turf systems

• New forage grazing strategies to improve conversion of grass to beef

• Development of niche markets for new orange and yellow watermelon cultivars

• Integrated strategies to minimize disease risk & enhance strawberry enterprises

• Development of an online course on Feed Mill management

• Biology, ecology and control of tropical spiderwort

• Enhancing quality and safety of North Carolina specialty meat products

• Developing a superior striped bass

• Birth control for fire ants

• Maximizing turkey meat yield through early post-hatch nutrition

• Wheat transformation for drought tolerance

These are just a few of the ways Nickels for Know-How has worked to support North Carolina farmers and agribusinesses. NC State University is grateful to the citizens who make this possible by voting on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 for the statewide Nickels Referendum.

This year, polling places will be set-up at the Burke County Cooperative Extension Office and the Burke County Farm Bureau office. For additional information and polling locations where you can vote, contact the Burke County Cooperative Extension Service Office at 439-4460 or by going to

Spring Williams-Byrd
County Extension Director

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