College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Cooperative Extension

2024 N.C. Small Farmers of the Year

James Hartman

James Hartman, standing in front of his bee houses

Patrick Brown

Patrick Brown, holding a tray of baby lettuce ready for planting

38th Annual Small Farms Week

Small Farmers of the year standing with univerisity associates holding a plague.

N.C. Cooperative Extension named Patrick Brown of Brown Family Farms in Warren Co. and James Hartman of Secret Garden Bees in Cumberland Co. as Small Farmers of the Year, part of the 38th annual Small Farms Week, held March 24-30 through N.C. A&T Extension. From left N.C. A&T Extension Administrator M. Ray McKinnie; Interim Dean Shirley Hymon-Parker; Brown; Hartman and Chancellor Harold L. Martin, Sr.

Experiential Learning Program - Apply Now

for K-14 NC Educators and Administrators

A Row of Lettice growing in a field

Please apply to join us for a new project in supporting NC full-time K-14 teachers, staff, and administrators to engage in a 5-day innovative agricultural experiential learning program. This training is open for all disciplines. Each group will consist of 15 participants. The program is funded by USDA Professional Development for Agricultural Literacy (PDAL) Program and led by Dr. Kathleen Liang at NCA&T, offering new knowledge and skills to participants in a dynamic agri-food system interface to enhance everyone's ability and capacity to develop exciting new curricula/activities for our students. Attend all five days, and you will receive a certificate of completion and $1500* (depending on the training period and your school calendar year). The application deadline is January 31, 2024.

Our priority is to serve the K-14 schools working with socially disadvantaged and underserved populations in North Carolina, including teachers/staff who work as full-time employees in rural and urban areas and also teachers/staff who support students with special needs. Application is FREE and program fund will include Lodging, Meals, Materials and Program Travel covered by the Grant. Childcare, translation and special accommodations can be arranged.

The training will be held at the Cherry Research Farm, 604 Farm Road, Goldsboro, NC 27530. Some training sessions will also be arranged at the local hotel.

If you have additional questions or comments, please reach out to Tiffany Slade at 336-285-4653 or

Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T is changing the world, one community at a time, right here in the Triad and beyond. Our students and statewide staff provide research-based information to North Carolinians who have social, cultural, and economic barriers to upward mobility, enabling them to make decisions that improve their communities and lives.

Cooperative Extension serves as the educational outreach arm of the nation's land-grant universities. North Carolina A&T State University was established as a land-grant university under the Second Morrill Act of 1890, which expanded the land grant system to serve minority communities better. And Cooperative Extension was established more than 100 years ago. Our program works as an integrated, nationwide educational and outreach network that improves lives – particularly in rural areas – by working with farmers, families, youth, and communities.

N.C. A&T's Cooperative Extension division includes subject-matter specialists, county-based agents, and paraprofessionals who deliver programs through centers across the state, including Guilford County, the City of Burlington, and areas from the North Carolina coast to the edges of the Cherokee reservation in the mountains. Extension professionals use various delivery methods – from one-on-one demonstrations to virtual videoconferencing and online computer-assisted training – to address the unique needs of individuals and communities with limited resources.

How Cooperative Extension’s Services Help N.C. Grow Stronger

From offering educational gardening resources to creating economic opportunities for underserved communities, our services focus on five core areas:

  • Small Farms - Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T brings research-based information to small and limited-resource farmers and ranchers with educational programs that deliver the most up-to-date information on farming practices and technologies, agricultural business management, climate change mitigation, and food safety. Small Farms Week, Small Farms Field Day, and Small Farms Leadership 360 each year offer new ways to learn, grow and profit.
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources - Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T works with partners across the state to conduct educational programs to teach small farmers and communities new strategies for natural resource management, agricultural technology, soil health and climate-smart agriculture through our Plasticulture and high Tunnel Farming programs. N.C. AgrAbility enhances the quality of life for farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers with disabilities, and Agromedicne is dedicated to identifying and addressing the health and safety risks of agricultural workers and their families and communities in North Carolina. Our food safety farm-to-table program (link) gives growers the tools to bring nutritious, healthy food to market.  Food Safety -  Farm Safety starts on the farm. Extension at N.C. A&T's specialists share the science behind best practices in growing and harvesting fruits and vegetables so that delicious , nutritious foods get to from farm to table wiht minimal risk and maximum flavor.
  • Community and Rural Development - Communities find the tools they need to grow and thrive with Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T's Grassroots Leadership  Community Garden and Community Voices programs.
  • Families, Health and Wellness - with programs such as Try Healthy, 4-H Speedway to Healthy, SNAP-ED and EFNEP Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T provides low-income and minority communities knowledge about good nutrition and healthy eating habits.
  • 4-H Youth Development - 4-H provides positive youth development, mentorship and education. 4-H at N.C. A&T focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education with such programs as Tech Changemakers and our Innovation Station mobile learning laboratory, giving kids the learning opportunities to develop the skills they need to create positive change in their lives. 

Intern with Cooperative Extension! Apply for the 2024 Summer Internship Program with Cooperative Extension at North Carolina A&T State University. This enriching program offers students the chance to immerse themselves in various professional realms, including Agriculture, Community and Rural Development, 4-H Youth Development, and Family and Consumer Sciences. Learn more here!

A Rich History

A photograph of President Eisenhower and Oveta Culp Hobby, the first secretary of the U.S. Department of H.E.W., with NFA student officers.

The Cooperative Extension program at N.C. A&T has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1914. Aa vital partner of the N.C. Cooperative Extension alongside N.C. State University, N.C. A&T plays a unique role in bringing research-based agricultural knowledge and educational programs to farmers and rural communities in North Carolina.

Read more here

Resources for the Community

Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T convenes a community dedicated to growing each other and N.C. small farms.

Small Farms Research Innovation Center main Logo
Small Farms Research and Innovation Center The North Carolina A&T State University Small Farms Resource and Innovation Center (SFRIC) helps North Carolinians and underrepresented, minority, socially disadvantaged, and beginning farmers and ranchers grow thriving, just, local and regional food and agriculture systems. Find local food markets, resources for veterans, youth and families, sustainability and climate, heirs property solutions and more at
The center for environmental farming systems main logo
The Center for Environmental Farming Systems - The Center for Environmental Farming Systems is a partnership between N.C. A&T, N.C. Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services and NCSU that develops and promotes just and equitable food and farming systems that conserve natural resources; strengthens communities; improves health outcomes and provides economic opportunities in North Carolina and beyond.
The center for environmental farming systems main logo
NC AgrAbility - NC AgrAbility assists farmers or farmworkers struggling mentally or physically to remain in, or Veterans entering into, production agriculture in all 100 North Carolina counties and on tribal lands.

Upcoming Events

  • April 23, 2024 - N.C. Bioenergy Research Initiative annual research/industry update meeting. You will hear from top researchers on the latest development of specialty crops for North Carolina. We have a full day planned which includes lunch. Preregistration TBA

Collaborative & Economic Support for Emerging Issues through Cooperative Extension

Cooperative Extension embraces emerging issues with research-based programs focused on nine significant goals through its 4-H and Youth Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Community and Rural Development, and Family and Consumer Sciences programs.

  1. Community, Leader, and Volunteer Development
  2. Emergency and Disaster Preparedness
  3. Energy Conservation and Alternatives
  4. Environmental Stewardship and Natural Resource Management
  5. Healthy Weight Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention
  6. Life Skills and Parenting
  7. Sustainable, Profitable, and Safe Plant, Animal, and Food Systems
  8. Workforce and Economic Development
  9. Youth and Adults Achieve Educational Success

Climate-Smart Farming Research, Development, and Education Services

According to new research conducted by the Cooperative Extension and Environmental Defense Fund, small farms in North Carolina can adapt and improve profitability with climate-smart agriculture practices.

The findings show that with some effort and knowledge of the proper practices, small farms can improve productivity, increase market access, and reduce risks associated with extreme weather events.

Read these Cooperative Extension case studies for insights into how farmers can adapt climate-smart practices.

Find a local Extension Office

Cooperative Extension serves all 100 North Carolina counties. For more Extension offices, please visit

Points of Pride: Our impact on Greensboro and Beyond

Thanks to a team of staff in 48 counties across the state, generous support from N.C. A&T Board of Directors, volunteers, and students, we are changing thousands of lives. Every year, the Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T makes more than 500,000 contacts with North Carolinians living in limited-resource communities.

From our community garden guide to environmental science and agriculture education, each project the extension coordinates gets us one step closer to achieving our goals. Here's some of what we've accomplished through generous public support and funding.

  • 2,475 adults learned life skills like goal setting, stress management, positive parenting, and self-care.
  • 40,938 youth reached through 4-H programs, with 14,827 gaining STEM knowledge.
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources staff worked with 2,116 small-scale producers to increase their skills and knowledge.
  • 16,512 youth and adults were able to become more physically active, increase fruit and vegetable intake, and adopt behaviors to improve health.
  • 2,398 limited-resource individuals learned budgeting skills, and another 2,427 learned about credit scores, debt management, fraud protection, and banking skills.
  • 791 non-traditional leaders became better decision-makers and problem-solvers with the skills to address their communities' issues.
  • 505 youth and adults grew fruits and vegetables in home and community gardens.
  • 34 teachers and youth educators plan to implement high-quality, outdoor learning environments for children.

Cooperative Extension brings N.C. A&T’s campus to your community! Our impact continues to grow with a presence in every county and more than 110 campus and county staff. Learn more about how our programs reach well beyond the walls of our Greensboro campus.

Transforming Lives

Read about the dynamic work of Cooperative Extension at the 1890 Land-grant Universities in Transforming Lives, the stories of how we're changing lives and connecting people to vital information.

Read Our Free Cooperative Extension Publications

A powerful part of our mission is education, and our publications allow us to expand our reach beyond the borders of North Carolina with a national readership. If you'd like to receive FREE copies of any of our magazines, contact our specialist below!

Community Fresh Magazine Cover
Community FRESH: A Garden Guide

Rally your community and learn to produce food and flowers together! From your first seedling to a bountiful harvest, this interactive publication includes step-by-step guidance, worksheets, quick tips, and more! Filled with checklists and templates, this free magazine is rich with all of the information you need to start your community garden initiative. 

Contact: Mark Blevins, Assistant Administrator for Agricultural and Natural Resources,

All About Hemp Magazine Cover
All About Hemp

Whether you're just getting started with hemp or looking to expand your operation, this FREE guide covers everything you need to know. With guidance from horticulture experts and a collection of articles written by farmers, this resource is a must-read for farmers interested in cultivated hemp production. Given the industry's dynamic nature, staying up to date on regulatory developments is essential. This magazine shares everything you need to know about cultivation options, marketing practices, next steps, and more. 

Contact: Mark Blevins, Assistant Administrator for Agricultural and Natural Resources,

High Tunnel Farming Magazine Cover
High Tunnel Farming

This publication is a FREE resource for farmers who want to grow crops in their high tunnels 52 weeks out of the year. Whether you're building a high tunnel for the first time or are an experienced high tunnel grower, this resource contains valuable information. Our expert authors cover everything from basic high tunnel construction to crop guides and planting calendars.  

Contact: Mark Blevins, Assistant Administrator for Agricultural and Natural Resources,

Want to read the latest editions of each publication? Click the thumbnails above to open an interactive flipbook or download the PDF version of the magazine.

Contact Cooperative Extension

Coopertaive Extension Personal standing in the shape of the North Carolina Map

Renee Campbell
Executive Assistant to Dr. McKinnie, Associate Dean, Extension Administrator
Physical Address: 1601 E. Market Street, Coltrane Hall, Greensboro, NC 27411
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 21928, Greensboro, NC 27420
Office Phone:  (336) 285-4671

A Note About Language Access Services

Our goal is to reach as many North Carolinians as possible, so accessibility is a priority for the Cooperative Extension.

  • As an Equal Opportunity Employer and Provider, NC A&T Extension offers translation and interpretation services of its web content and program information free of charge. If you need translation or interpretation services, please contact Dr. Lauren Hargrave: