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Registration for the PLANT Beginning Farmer Class is Open

The 13th annual beginning farmer class, PLANT (People Learning Agriculture Now for Tomorrow), starts Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. This class covers many production and business related topics for aspiring farmers (see below).

Each class meets for three hours, from 6-9 p.m. at the Orange County Cooperative Extension office, located at 306-E Revere Road, Hillsborough, NC.  Each three-hour class is split into three segments, taught by experienced local vegetable growers, University professors, Extension specialists or agents, or other topic related experts.

This class is part of the PLANT Beginning Farmer program run by Orange County Cooperative Extension that started in 2008. To register, please go to here or look for class information on the homepage of the Orange County (NC) Cooperative Extension website. Registration deadline is January 3, 2020.

If you have questions about this class or any aspect of the Beginning Farmer Program can call Mike Lanier at 919-245-2063 to discuss your interest.

Typical Topics Covered in this Class

  • Cover Crops
  • Drip Irrigation
  • Equipment for Small Farms
  • Farmers Market Set-up and Display
  • Financial Resources
  • Food Safety
  • Introduction to Soils/Soil Testing
  • Legal Issues Pertinent to Farm Start-up Businesses
  • Livestock and Poultry Enterprise Opportunities
  • Local Farmers Market Representative(s) Talk About Their Markets
  • Observations on Direct Marketing Farm Products
  • Overview of Soil & Water, FSA, and NRCS Programs and Resources
  • Perspectives of a Young Beginning Farmer
  • Planting and Growing Vegetables
  • Post-Harvest Handling
  • Season Extension and High-Tunnel Production
  • Starting a Farm/Preparing a Cash Flow
  • Transplant Production
  • Vegetable Diseases
  • Vegetable Insects
  • Weed Control with and without Plastic
  • Whole Farm Planning

Rich re-elected Chair, Price re-elected as Vice Chair

The leadership of the Orange County Board of Commissioners will have a familiar look in 2020. Penny Rich was unanimously re-elected as Chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners for 2020 during Monday night's meeting. She will serve her second term as Chair.

Renee Price was unanimously re-elected as Vice Chair. She will serve her second term as Vice Chair.

Rich was originally elected to the Orange County Board of Commissioners in 2012. She is in her second term on the BOCC. She served on the Chapel Hill Town Council from 2009-2012. She is active in the arts and served on the Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) Board of Directors from 2001-07.

Price was also elected to the Board of Commissioners in 2012 and was re-elected in 2016. She is active in the National Association of Counties, serving in various leadership roles.
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Chair Penny Rich
Photo of Vice Chair Renee Price
Vice Chair Renee Price
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Orange Community Players Present
It’s A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play

This beloved holiday classic comes to life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. The story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve. It takes the help of a lovable angel to show George what life would be like if he hadn’t been born.

Join us for this joyous story of redemption that resonates with all ages. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the Passmore Center (103 Meadowlands Dr., Hillsborough). Doors open 30 minutes prior to each show. Call 919-245-2015 for more information.

Friday, Dec. 6-7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 7-2 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 8-2 p.m.
Tickets: Adults: $15 in advance/$18 at the door
Seniors and Students: $12 in advance/$15 at the door
Children: $8 in advance and at the door

Holiday Jazz: Music to Your Ears

The sounds of holiday jazz and pizzazz will be music to your ears featuring Gary Brunotte & George Hindenach. This dynamic duo will jazz up the Holiday Season with their renditions of the Holiday Classics. The show will be held at the Seymour Center (2551 Homestead Rd., Chapel Hill) on Wednesday, Dec. 18, from 10-11 a.m.

You’ll love Gary’s musical talent on the Hammond Organ and George on the drums.  They will be taking you on a Sleigh Ride through a Winter Wonderland. Get ready for an exciting musical experience. 
Register by Monday, Dec. 16 for this free program. For more information, call 919-968-2070.

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Cover of the 2019 State of the Environment Report

Two new projects analyze state of local environment, emphasize conservation

A State of the Environment report for Orange County and the Eno-New Hope Landscape Conservation Plan were released Wednesday, Dec. 4, at an Environmental Summit hosted by Orange County and the Eno-New Hope Landscape Conservation Group. The summit brought together local governments, conservation groups, universities, and ecologists to discuss current environmental work and achievements in a 4-county area including Chatham, Durham, Orange, and Wake. A major focus of the summit and these two new reports is on opportunities for regional collaboration to provide local solutions to some of our urgent environmental problems.

The 2019 State of the Environment report was produced by the Orange County Commission for the Environment (CFE), a citizen board that advises the Orange County Board of Commissioners on matters related to the natural environment. The CFE completed the first State of the Environment report in February 2000. Following that initial effort, the Commission for the Environment decided it would continue to monitor environmental indicators so that it might identify the status and trends of environmental quality in Orange County. Subsequent reports were completed in 2002, 2004, 2009, and 2014.

The 2019 report highlights Orange County’s ongoing commitment to a healthy environment, including a transition to 100% renewable energy county wide by 2050, maintaining a Rural Buffer planning zone to limit urban sprawl for over 30 years, actively supporting local, sustainable agriculture, and reaching the goal of conserving 10% of the County’s land. The report also points out that continued population growth, along with global threats like climate change, will test the County’s resilience and responsiveness to environmental change.

The report’s well-researched recommendations on topics such as land and biodiversity conservation, watershed health and vulnerability, and energy insecurity for low income households will help Orange County improve its resilience, increase protections for its most vulnerable residents, and continue to show leadership in environmental conservation. For more information and to download this and previous Orange County State of the Environment Reports, please visit

For more information on Eno-New Hope Landscape Conservation Plan, including how to support these efforts, please visit
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