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NTCC Plans “March Into Agriculture”

NTCC plans “March Into Agriculture” events

Submitted by: René McCracken, Director of Agriculture NTCC

Celebrating National Ag Day At NTCC

NTCC students and faculty are working determinedly to prepare the Sustainable Market Garden for the 4th annual March into Agriculture experience set for Mar 31. “In response to and celebration of National Ag Week, we are delighted to open our gates and share our farm with the community to initiate an appreciation for farming.” said Director Rene’ McCracken. “While we cannot hope to have a “perfect” farm, we strive to provide a living example of what is possible for small farm operators in northeast Texas.”

 Building a Sustainable Market Farm

Historically, at 2886 FM 1735 in Mount Pleasant, a 400-acre cattle ranch bore the Northeast Campus in 1985. Initially, 250 acres remained a cow and calf operation for NTCC and Ag students to have labs. Later, completing the Elizabeth Hoggatt Whatley Complex in 2011 added the new Sustainable Agriculture Degree and Certification options. In addition, it launched the idea of building a Sustainable Market Farm to serve as a living lab for the students to apply classroom instruction to actual farm projects. Today’s result is a traditional cattle ranch and sustainable market farm for our students and community to see and learn from. 

Creative ideas continue to come from students and staff, plus resources from grants and private donations to build the dream farm. SARE, or Sustainable Agriculture Research Education, is a grant focused on educating producers and consumers on the benefits of sustainable agriculture practices. A SARE Education Grant partly funds the event to improve and design an online curriculum. Visitors will get a sneak peek of the lessons built thus far. 

Current demonstration projects include Soil health building, Keyhole garden, compost tea, meat goats, backyard chicken flock for egg production, weeding geese, cover crops for gardens and pastures, Kune Kune Pig project, muscadine vineyard, greenhouse production of vegetable transplants, rainwater harvesting and run-off management. 

These sustainable spaces will be open for free hands-on access to experience a sustainable farm in action. This year will be more interactive – starting at 1:00 pm Mar 31, you can pitch in with our crew to build and expand our huglekultur gardening beds! Don’t worry. It’s easier done than said!

NTCC Farm School Tours: We especially want to invite area school and daycare groups to tour the farm and help us “stock the shelves” of our NTCC Eagle Pantry. Price of admission for the day – just one canned food item per guest or $1! Come out to NTCC Farm Open House/Farm – Fri. Mar 31, 1o am to 2:00 pm. Click here to RSVP.

NO FOOLING OR KIDDING AROUND!

Plant Sale and Goat Yoga 

The fun continues on Saturday, Apr 1, beginning at 10:00 am. Stop by, purchase plants, or just come and spend the day with us. For more info, contact Rene McCracken at 903-434-8267 rmccracken@ntcc.edu, check us at www.ntcc.edu/ag, or follow us at NTCC Ag Department on Facebook.