Monday, January 26, 2015

Radon Test Kits

Just a reminder, Radon kits are still currently available at the Extension Office.   These are short-term test kits and are free of charge (limit one per household).  

Radon is the odorless, colorless gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The effects upon the families it touches can be just as devastating as lung cancer caused by smoking tobacco.

January is National Radon Action Month.  Each year upwards to 22,000 people die from radon-induced lung cancer. Roughly 54 percent of those diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer are expected to live no more than five years after diagnosis.

The Alleghany Cooperative Extension Service is partnering with the NC Radon program to provide free short-term radon test kits in recognition of National Radon Action Month.  A limited supply of radon test kits are being made available locally during the month of January at the Alleghany County Office Building – third floor -90 S Main St, Sparta.  No kits will be mailed and will be limited to one per household. 

Approximately 7,000 kits are being distributed statewide. Only one kit per home is needed to determine if your home has a high level.  The North Carolina Radon Program website,, will have a list of all 83 participating organizations across North Carolina. The NC Radon Program website will also have a limited supply of kits available.  Once the supply of free kits have been exhausted, the NC Radon Program website will return to providing short-term radon test kits at a reduced cost of $5.34, a kit retailed at $15.00.

The North Carolina Radon Program of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services educates families and homeowners about radon gas, how to test for radon gas and how to lower the radon levels within a home. Lowering the radon levels in a home lower the risk of lung cancer.

The North Carolina Radon Program website also contains a new mobile application.  Meant to particularly help real estate brokers working in North Carolina, the mobile application will assist the user in determining how many tests have been conducted within a zip code as well as the highest radon level recorded in that zip code.  The user of the APP will also be able to locate a certified professional to assist them in testing or fixing the radon issue in their home.

For more information - contact the Extension Office @ (336) 372-5597.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Grant Money Available - Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture

Grants up to $5,000 Available to Farmers in a Five County Region
BOONE, NC – Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture is releasing a request for proposals for farmers focusing on increasing production through innovation and sustainable methods. Letters of intent are mandatory and will be due by January 16, 2014. Applications will be due by February 6, 2014. Farmers are required to work with their local extension agent on the application and throughout the grant cycle. Please contact the County Extension Agents in your county listed below.
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) is dedicated to strengthening the High Country's local food system by supporting women and their families with resources, education, and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture. With funding from Heifer International, a global non-profit organization dedicated to working with community to end hunger and poverty while learning to care for the earth, roughly $30,000 will be distributed to local farmers in Alleghany, Ashe, Wilkes, and Watauga counties in North Carolina and Johnson County, Tennessee.
Applicants are able to apply for funds up to $5,000. Those who are interested in grants of $3,001 to $5,000 are required to develop a business plan during the grant cycle. Resources on business plan development are available through BRWIA and local extension agents. This grant program is modeled after WNC AgOptions, exclusively funded by the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.
Applicants should be farmers who demonstrate the economic viability of farms in the five-county region. Support is provided to farmers who are diversifying or expanding their operations to increase farm income and encourage the sustainability of the farm businesses. Funding requests should be for items directly related to the growing and harvesting of crops for sale, including livestock.
Please contact Carol Coulter by email ( or phone (828-386-1537) with any questions. Applications for the grant are available on BRWIA’s website ( or through your local extension agent.