Monday, June 13, 2011

Do we have leaders or are we destined to walk in circles?

Below are some quotes and a story from Thomas Dismukes. I am always happy to see his newsletter appear in my inbox and enjoy the quotes he provides as well as his stories. This weeks is no exception.

As I read the news, I am more convinced than ever that we are becoming like a row- boat with one oar. We will row our hearts out and get nowhere. We as humans are tied to our needs to first insure that our basic needs are met. When times are difficult, as they most definitely are and have been for sometime, we are looking and grasping for security and leadership. I don't see it on the horizon but I am hopeful. Please enjoy Mr. Dismukes story and look him up to see more of his wit and wisdom.

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.” A. Lincoln

“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” A. Lincoln

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” A. Lincoln

“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” A. Lincoln

“I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” A. Lincoln

“I am a slow walker but I never walk back.” A. Lincoln

“The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.” A. Lincoln

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” A. Lincoln

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” A. Lincoln

“As our case is new, we must think and act anew.” A. Lincoln

I am fascinated by the similarities between nature and human communication. Though my first experience with horses was riding one upside down in an international bareback rodeo competition, I soon gained a great admiration for the animal. A fascinating quality about these animals holds true to human interaction as well. Every horse looks for two things, security and leadership. To break a horse or as Monty Roberts calls it “joining up” you must first show the horse that you will protect it and it is secure in your presence. Secondly, you can and will, lead the horse. Those same characteristics are what human beings seek as well. Am I secure in your presence and will you lead me to greener pastures? Napoleon Bonaparte, said ba sically the same thing, “Men are moved by two levers only: fear and self interest.”

Even insects display the same desire for security and leadership. Have you ever raced termites? Next time you’re out in the woods, grab a few termites under a rotting log. Put them in a container; find yourself a sheet of paper and a “Bic” ink pin. (A few other brands will work as well, but you’ll have to experiment.) Place a termite on the sheet of paper, being gentle not to crush the little fella. Many insects secrete a pheromone leaving an invisible “trail” for others to follow. You’ll notice this phenomenon with a line of ants. Termites do the same thing, but it just so happens that the chemicals in a Bic pen are similar enough to the termite’s pheromone that you can trick it to follow you wherever you lead it.

Once you place the termite on the sheet of paper, let it walk around a minute or two. At this point the termite has no direction to follow. It is desperately searching for the security of its colony and the leadership to get there. As the termite walks the paper, start a line of ink just in front of the predicted path. It may take a few tries but the termite will soon follow the ink line wherever you draw it. If you draw a circle the termite will just keep going around and around. If you want to get creative, get a few friends over and have a termite race! But do you understand my point? People are desperately searching for leadership. Leadership they can follow because of the character you have established.

(Excerpt from “A Leader’s FOCUS” by Thomas Dismukes

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Farm Grant Opportunities

Here is a possible opportunity for cost share grants to assist local farmers water analyisi and good agricultural practice analysis. Please review the details and contact information listed below.

NCDA&CS is offering two cost-share grants to assist farmers with on-farm food safety efforts

RALEIGH -- Fruit and vegetable farmers can apply for two cost-share grants offered through the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to assist with the costs for water analysis and independent certification of an operation’s good agricultural practices.

“Both of these grants help farmers with their on-farm food safety efforts, which are critical to marketing their farm products,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “I am glad we were able to secure these USDA funds to assist our growers. Farmers can apply for both grants, which will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.”

This is the third year for the Water Analysis Cost Share grant program, which will reimburse growers up to $200 for certified laboratory analysis of irrigation and/or packing house wash water for the presence of generic E.coli bacteria. Growers can be reimbursed for one water test or multiple tests throughout the year.

For more information or to obtain an application for the Water Analysis Cost Share program, go to, or contact Kevin Hardison at (919) 707-3123, or

The department has previously offered the Good Agricultural Practices Certification Assistance Program, which covers up to $600 for independent audits of a farm’s GAP or good handling practices.

To be eligible, growers must have a third-party audit from an approved government agency or company that verifies GAP or GHP efforts, the audit must be conducted in 2011 and the grower must submit an application to participate in the program prior to the audit. The audit can be for farm review, field harvest and field packing activities, packing house facility, storage and transportation, and traceback.

For more information or to obtain an application for the GAP Certification Assistance Program, go to, or contact Shirley Nicholson at (919) 707-3126, or

“Food safety is important at every level of the food chain,” Troxler said. “Produce buyers are demanding assurances from growers that their produce is safe. It’s going to become more difficult for farmers to market their fruits and vegetables if they don’t have a program in place to make sure their produce is free of contamination.”

Funding for both NCDA&CS-managed grants comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.