NC State intern says he’s learned a lot in Rowan County

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 15, 2014

This summer Rowan County Cooperative Extension has opened my eyes to what the true role of extension is.
My name is Michael Everhart, and I am a senior at North Carolina State University majoring in agriculture business and livestock and poultry management. Over the summer I was given an opportunity to have an internship with the Rowan County office, through N.C. State University.
On the first day of work I went out to a farm with Thomas Cobb, the livestock agent, and we helped with a poultry processing workshop at Wild Turkey Farms. The extension office had raised the birds to show consumers the costs of raising your own poultry. I was able to go with Thomas to deliver lambs for a 4-H project, and the following week go back out and shear them.
In the following weeks, two other interns from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and I were given the chance to design an orchard that will go behind the extension office. The orchard was designed to show the average homeowner what varieties of fruit trees and vines were the easiest to manage and the most productive in Rowan County.
I got to work with Danelle Cutting, the horticulture agent, over the last couple of months and we’ve done some really exciting things, including going to a pond and looking at freshwater jellyfish that were found in Rowan County. We’ve also been to a peach orchard and Millbridge Elementary to work in the raised bed gardens.
I’ve had the chance to be on the radio program on Thursday mornings with some of the extension agents as well as Darrell Blackwelder, the director. I drew out a map of the Southern Living garden we have at the office and began a fertilizer trial with it, comparing three different types of fertilizer.
I’ve been able to attend Master Gardener’s meetings as well as Rowan Cattlemen’s events. As interns, we were given a project to build a chicken coop for laying hens to showcase three different breeds of chickens. We designed the coop in three separate sections so we could track the feed intake and the number of eggs laid to see what breed was most economical.
Summer fun activities with Sara Drake and the 4-H kids were a load of fun, too. We had mini day camps where the kids were able to go to different places across the county to learn and explore. They got the chance to see where some of their local food comes from and even cook some of it for themselves.
I have learned a lot from Toi Degree, the family and consumer services agent, when I helped her with cooking demonstrations at the office and the Farmers Market. Recently, the Market Chef competition has been going on at the Farmers Market and that has been exciting.
Extension has a wealth of knowledge to give and everyone who works here is very willing to help. As my internship ends and I have to make my way back to Raleigh, I realize how much I learned and enjoyed working for Cooperative Extension this summer. I have met many wonderful people across the county and I feel like I have made a lot of great contacts and friends for the future.
Michael Everhart is an intern with the Cooperative Extension Service.