NC Coop Extension

Register Now: ‘Backyard Ag’ Online Series for New Farmers

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-Information courtesy Paul McKenzie, Agricultural Extension Agent, NC Cooperative Extension

Living on a small farm is a dream shared by many, but the reality can be overwhelming. Those new to farming face the daunting tasks of building infrastructure, figuring out what to grow, negotiating tax and regulatory issues, estimating costs and much more.

Fortunately, N.C. Cooperative Extension has a seven-part online class that will put you on the path to success. This class series, called Backyard Ag: Taking it to the Next Level, is brought to you by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Centers of Person, Granville, Vance and Warren counties.

Class participants will learn about options for small acreages, government assistance programs, business planning, marketing, equipment basics and much more.

The series will begin on Wednesday, December 2, 2020, at 1 p.m. The class will continue on alternate Wednesdays through February 24, 2021. Each class will be held on the Zoom video conference platform, which can be accessed from any internet-connected computer, tablet or smartphone.

Presenters will include local Ag Extension Agents, as well as representatives from other ag-related agencies. Registration is required and can be completed online at

Warren Co. Flag

One Additional Death Reported; Increase in Spread of COVID-19 in Warren County

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

Warren County public health officials reported the latest fatality due to COVID-19 yesterday. The fatality was a 75-year-old resident. This brings the COVID-related death toll in the county to eight individuals.

At the time of this press release, the Warren County Health Department reports 558 positive cases of COVID-19 with 466 recovered cases and two individuals in the hospital. The Health Department is following 88 active cases as of 5 p.m. on November 17.

“Like other counties within the region and across the state, Warren County continues to see increases in new cases,” stated Dr. Margaret Brake, health director. “The percent of positive tests has increased from 2.5% in mid-September to 7.3%.”

On November 17, NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) launched the COVID-19 County Alert System to inform counties of their level of transmission of COVID-19 statewide. The system uses three metrics (case rate, percent of tests that are positive and hospital impact on a county) to place counties into three tiers: Yellow- Significant Community Spread; Orange-Substantial Community Spread: Red-Critical Community Spread.

According to NC DHHS officials, the system will update during the second week of the month.

Warren County is in the Orange Tier for the period of November 1, 2020 – November 14, 2020. Counties in the Orange Tier must have had at least 21 new cases in 14 days and also meet one of the following metrics: 8-10% positive cases or has a moderate impact on county hospital(s).

Warren County has 299 new cases per 100,000 population within the two-week period. This equals to 29.9 new cases per 10,000 people. Warren County cases have a moderate hospital impact. Brake shared that since Warren County does not have a hospital, the Warren County score for this metric is based on where the highest percentage of the county’s inpatient hospital admissions occurred.

The state has created a menu of actions that counties can take to slow the spread of COVID by individuals, businesses, and community organizations and public officials.

For county residents, some recommendations include wearing a mask at all times when you are not at home and maintaining physical distance from people who do not live with you; limiting the mixing of people who do not live in your household; avoiding settings where people congregate and large gatherings/celebrations; adhering to the no more than 10 people indoors for events.

Individuals who are at high risk for developing serious illness should consider staying home as much as possible and only going out for work, medical appointments or other business.

Other recommendations are that community and religious organizations should avoid any in-person indoor meetings, events, worship services, or other gatherings above the indoor mass gathering limit of 10 people.

For individuals who are caregivers, please take care to wear a mask and wash your hands when checking in on elderly parents or family members so that you do not spread the virus to them. If you are sick, please have someone else to check on your loved one.

All businesses are strongly encouraged to implement teleworking if feasible and cancel any non-essential travel. Businesses can also share messages about the importance of wearing a mask and practicing the 3Ws; post signs about the 3Ws at entrances in accordance with the executive order; provide face coverings to employees and patrons and support employees to stay home when they are sick.

Anyone who is sick or thinks he/she may have been exposed to COVID-19 should get tested for COVID-19.

For more information, please contact Public Health Director Dr. Margaret Brake at (252) 257-1185.

Henderson Christmas Parade

Majority of Local Christmas Parades Canceled; Oxford’s Still A Go


The Vance County Arts Council has announced that the Downtown Henderson Drive-Thru Christmas Parade originally scheduled for Saturday, December 5, 2020, has been canceled.

Likewise, the Town of Warrenton has also canceled its annual parade.

The Town of Louisburg has also announced that the Louisburg Christmas Parade originally scheduled for Sunday, December 6 has been canceled “due to COVID-19 concerns and the inability for the public and participants to social distance.”

As of the time of this posting, Oxford still plans to hold a “Reverse” Drive-Thru Christmas Parade on Friday, December 4.

In this “reverse” parade to be held downtown, floats, dancers and cars are stationary and spaced apart. Spectators can drive-through and enjoy from the safety of their vehicles. Candy will not be distributed.

The Oxford parade line up will start at 5 p.m., with the parade beginning at 6 p.m.

The public is reminded that plans change quickly with new COVID updates released daily. Please check WIZS and the respective organization’s webpage and social media sites for updates on holiday events.

Warren County Logo

Warren County Donates Equipment for VIPER Tower Improvements

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

Warren County completed the final task in its latest partnership with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol (NCSHP) and the Warren County Firemen’s Association- the donation and handoff of approximately $174,000 of equipment to make public safety improvements to the VIPER towers (owned and maintained by NCSHP) in Warren County.

Currently, only Warren County EMS and the Sheriff’s Office have the equipment to communicate on the VIPER network. With the county’s support to fund grant writing assistance, the Warren County Firemen’s Association applied for and received a $702,900 federal grant – matched by $66,900 from Warren County in FY 20 – to purchase updated radio equipment for all volunteer fire departments to communicate on this network. The equipment on the VIPER towers still needs to be upgraded in order for these radios to work.

“This partnership with NCSHP is another level of growth in emergency services infrastructure for Warren County citizens,” stated Warren County Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Tare Davis. “This much-needed advancement of new-age communication allows our fire departments to have what is necessary to keep us safe and respond to our county’s needs.”

The funding for the equipment was included in the FY 21 budget in fire protection. The county was required by NCSHP to purchase this equipment in order for these improvements to be made; by donating the equipment to NCSHP, the equipment will be maintained and upgraded by the state moving forward.

“Warren County has chosen a prudent course for designing a reliable interoperability communication system among all public safety agencies within Warren County by partnering into the state-owned VIPER system,” stated Dennis Paschall, Director of Warren County Emergency Services. “This phase will bring VIPER interoperability into volunteer fire departments that is a critical component in having VIPER capabilities within all the public safety agencies for natural and manmade responses.”

“As a county commissioner and fire commissioner, I’m grateful we have entered into this commitment for our brave men and women of our fire departments who volunteer every day,” Davis said.

For more information, contact the Warren County Manager’s Office at (252) 257-3115.

Warren Co. Flag

Warren Co. Economic Development Conducting First Existing Business Survey

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

Warren County Economic Development is conducting its first existing industries survey now through December 31, 2020. The goals of the survey are to learn more about the businesses currently operating in the county, as well as assess some of their operational and growth needs.

“One of our goals this year is to be more strategic about our business retention actions and start to develop a more formalized business retention and existing industry expansion program in Warren County,” said Charla Duncan, Economic Development Director. “We know that our small businesses are the backbone of this county’s economic development, and keeping them in the county and also encouraging their growth is a vital part of what this office does.”

In order to understand more about those businesses and their needs, data must be collected to make strategic decisions in the department, but also to make sure the county is aware of who is open for business.

“We do not have a database of existing businesses that tracks the level of detail we are hoping to use to develop a strategy that can evolve as our community changes and grows,” said Duncan. “This survey won’t be a singularly perfect instrument for that, but it’s an important piece of the foundation of strategic growth.”

The business survey can be completed by visiting the Warren County EDC website at (under the County Info section).

Each business that completes the survey will be entered into a drawing to receive one of three prizes: up to $450 in advertising & marketing funds with The Warren Record and/or Lake Gaston Gazette-Observer or with The Warrenist, or three hours of business coaching with Tabletop Media Group.

For more information, contact the Warren County Economic Development office at (252) 257-3114 or by emailing Charla Duncan at


Resurfacing Projects Awarded for Vance, Franklin and Warren Counties

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-Press Release, N.C. Department of Transportation

Thanks to five new contracts awarded by the N.C. Department of Transportation, totaling more than $17 million, nearly 120 miles of area roadway will be resurfaced.

  • Under a $3.5 million contract, Carolina Sunrock of Raleigh will mill and resurface pavement and improve shoulders along 17.7 miles of state-maintained roads throughout Durham County.
  • Under a $2.8 million contract, Carolina Sunrock will mill and resurface pavement and improve shoulders along 29.7 miles of state-maintained roads throughout Franklin County.
  • Under a $3.8 million contract, Carolina Sunrock will mill and resurface pavement and improve shoulders along 29.4 miles of state-maintained roads throughout Vance and Warren counties.
  • Under a $3 million contract, Carolina Sunrock will mill and resurface pavement and improve shoulders along 11.6 miles of state-maintained roads throughout western Wake County.
  • Under a $4.1 million contract, Fred Smith Company of Raleigh will mill and resurface pavement and improve shoulders along 30.4 miles of state-maintained roads throughout southern Wake County.

This work can start as soon as March 15, 2021, with most of the projects completed before the unofficial end of the paving season in mid-November, and all roads done by the end of July 2022.

For real-time travel information, visit or follow NCDOT on social media.

Paul McKenzie - NACAA

Paul McKenzie, Ag. Extension Agent, Receives Distinguished Service Award

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-Press Release, National Association of County Agriculture Agents (NACAA)

Paul McKenzie received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of County Agriculture Agents (NACAA) during the 2020 Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference. McKenzie was one of several honorees who represented the top two percent of the membership selected by their peers and the Director of Extension.

Paul McKenzie received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of County Agriculture Agents (NACAA) during the 2020 Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference. (Photo courtesy NACAA)

McKenzie has served over twenty years as an agricultural extension agent in four different counties, the last eleven years as an area agent serving Vance and Warren counties. In that capacity, McKenzie has implemented a comprehensive education program serving farmers, gardeners, woodland owners and licensed/certified pesticide applicators.

He oversees a Master Gardener volunteer program consisting of almost forty volunteers that contribute well over 1,000 hours of service to the community each year. In addition to gardening workshops, youth education projects, and informative newsletters, the Master Gardeners have implemented various educational gardening projects. The most recent and ambitious is a pollinator habitat garden at the Vance County Regional Farmers Market.

McKenzie was also instrumental in the campaign to raise grant money for the construction of the Vance County Regional Farmers Market and continues to support it through training and technical assistance for produce farmers and other vendors.

For several years, McKenzie has partnered with the local offices of the NC Forest Service to conduct educational workshops for woodland owners so they can make better management decisions that benefit wildlife, timber production, natural resources, and profitability.

Educational workshops, seminars and tours are a key component of his educational efforts, and he is involved in implementing dozens each year on topics such as pesticide safety, timber harvesting, high tunnel production, alternative crops, vegetable gardening and more. These well-run events have strong attendance, positive reviews and many repeat customers.

McKenzie is well-respected among co-workers both locally, regionally and across the state, having been called to serve as a mentor for several early-career Extension Agents. Through his good work and commitment to serve, he has fostered strong relationships with many partner agencies, including Farm Service Agency, Soil & Water District, the Small Business Center at Vance-Granville Community College and others.

Farmers and gardeners alike rely on Paul to provide accurate and reliable advice regarding garden problems, pondweeds, crop production, pest management and more.

Green Rural Redevelopment (GRRO)

Warren COVID-19 Testing & Resource Distribution Event – Oct. 30

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-Press Release, Green Rural Redevelopment, Inc. 

On Friday, October 30, 2020, a COVID-19 community testing and resource distribution event will be held from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the Warren County Armory Civic Center located at 501 US Highway 158 Business East in Warrenton.

As of the end of September, Warren County is seeing a 1.8% rate of COVID-19 infections among the residents. This is a high rate of infections, and in our rural community, the impact is enormous. This day-long event brings FREE, safe COVID-19 testing, free groceries for families and free personal protection equipment (PPE) to the residents of Warren County.

Broadening its commitment to the health and well-being of Warren County, GRRO’s Healing Hearts @ Home Program formed a community health initiative partnership with other organizations and agencies serving the county: Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, Duke Health, Warren County Public Health, Groundwater Solutions, Inc. (Genesis Project), Warren County and the Warren County Branch of the NAACP.

To further help people impacted by the Coronavirus, Warren County residents who get tested at the event will also receive free groceries, PPE and access to a wide range of support services. Testing and distributions will be provided through drive-up service, with minimal or no-contact, in accordance with all precautions recommended for the prevention of the spread of the virus.

Warren County Logo

Warren County Releases First FY 2021 Budget Book

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

Annually, the Warren County Manager’s Office works with the Finance Department to present a balanced budget that is then approved by the Warren County Board of Commissioners. The annual budget is then posted to the county’s website, which is a practice mandated by state statute but is also a best practice for organization transparency and public education.

For the FY 21 budget, Warren County has worked to create a budget book that puts the annual budget into a narrative framework with accompanying visuals. Instead of only presenting the ledger sheets to the public along with the budget message, Warren County has put those numbers into a broader context of county strategic development.

The FY 21 budget book is located at on the Finance Department page.

For more information, contact the Warren County Manager’s Office at (252) 257-3115.

Rabies Alert

Skunk Tests Positive for Rabies in Warren County

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

A skunk that was taken on October 12, 2020, from Warren Plains Road in Warren County has tested positive for rabies at the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health. The skunk was killed by the citizen’s dog. The dog’s rabies vaccination had expired, and the dog is currently under observation.

Dogs and cats not current on their rabies vaccination that come into contact with a rabid animal have very few options. One option is quarantining the animal for a period of up to six months at the owner’s expense; the second option is euthanizing the pet.

The top three wild animals testing positive for rabies in North Carolina continue to be the raccoon (number one), the skunk and the fox. The cat continues to surpass other domestic animals, such as the dog and livestock, in testing positive for rabies.

The feeding and keeping of stray and other unvaccinated cats presents a health risk to our communities and the animals themselves; this practice should be halted and is discouraged. The disposal of food scraps in yards and wooded areas attracts animals and is unsanitary. Residents are encouraged to dispose of food scraps by composting or placing scraps in covered rubbish containers to avoid attracting animals.

North Carolina law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets that are four months of age and older should be kept current on their rabies vaccination. Failure to vaccinate pets is a violation of state law and local ordinance and owners can face fines and criminal charges.

The Warren County Animal Control Department offers one-year rabies vaccinations. Vaccinations are available Monday through Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. for $5 each at the Animal Ark. Appointments can be made by calling the shelter at (252) 257-6137.