Field trips to working farms excite students

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 27, 2016

By Morgan Watts

Rowan Cooperative Extension

Students who participated in the North Carolina Farm School got to see first-hand on May 18 what it takes to be a successful beef cattle and produce farmer in Rowan County.

Participants started the day off by traveling to Correll Farms in Cleveland. Correll Farms/Red Barn Market is primarily a produce farm but has other farming avenues, as well. This family-owned operation grows a vast variety of products, ranging from asparagus to peaches.

Participants were also able to learn what products sell best in our Rowan County markets and some of the marketing strategies that will be beneficial for them if they decide to start their own produce endeavor.

Correll Farms specializes in an old-fashioned home delivery option where they deliver produce right to your doorstep. They offer baskets in two sizes. Correll Farms also participates in several farmers’ markets in the area. The Farm School participants got to learn some very beneficial things for starting their own produce business.

After visiting Correll Farms, the participants went to the Piedmont Research Station where they saw a presentation about intensive grazing, which was provided by Jonny Rogers from the Amazing Grazing program at N.C State University.

In case you do not know what intensive grazing is, it is where livestock are moved to fresh pasture several times throughout a single week. It can be a lot of work, but it is worth it in the end because it aids in keeping the soil and land.

The participants also had a farm-to-fork lunch consisting of a variety of products from pulled pork and potatoes to strawberries. Almost all of the products served were grown in Rowan County by local farmers.

After lunch, the participants had the opportunity to go to Circle D. Farm, a beef cattle farm run by Oscho Deal and his son. Oscho Deal raises Angus/Gelbvieh crosses. He talked to the group about how the Amazing Grazing program has impacted his herd and business in a positive way.

He also talked about how many new reproductive technologies like artificial insemination and synchronization protocols have affected and improved his herd. Deal also gave the group a tour of his operation where we got up close and personal with some of his cattle. The participants were able to see the fields and the corrals. A highlight of his farm is a stream restoration project that saved his stream bank and improved the water quality. With this project, he was able to put in a better water system for his animals and land.

The N.C. Farm School is an awesome opportunity for anyone interested in farming. It’s a hands-on way to learn production practices from experts and network with experienced farmers and N.C. State University specialists. It includes eight classes and six field days.

For more information about the NC Farm School, please call Rowan Cooperative Extension at 704-216-8970, or visit