2018 Alamance County Plan of Work

Approved: January 8, 2018

I. County Background

Alamance County is in the Piedmont Region of North Carolina. North Carolina is one of the fastest growing states in the United States and Alamance County is a rapidly growing area because of the low tax rates and easy access to Triad and Triangle cities. The population of 150,000 continues to grow. The citizens have recognized one major attraction to the county is the open space versus continued uncontrolled development that would make the county a less desirable place to live. Rural areas of the county continue to have active farming operations. The county still has the traditional farming enterprises but smaller farms are on the increase. Some of the farms are part-time ventures and some are lifestyle farms producing vegetables and meat. Some of these new small farmers have made a decision to change their lifestyle by moving to the farm and living on a few acres producing vegetables, flowers, eggs and meat.

The Cooperative Extension office started the environmental scanning by surveying the specialized committees that the agents had in place. This gave us a grassroots look at what the specialized groups were concerned with in the county. These groups included; youth, school groups, farmers, health educators, food industry personnel, horticultural groups and non-farm groups. This information was compiled and the County Advisory Leadership group looked at the issues and ranked them as they saw the importance to the county. After the Advisory Leadership members ranked the issues the Cooperative Extension staff reviewed their recommendations to see how they lined up with the state objectives.

The major county issues identified by the citizens of Alamance County to be addressed by the Extension staff in 2018 are:

Profitable and Sustainable Agricultural Systems

School to Career

Leadership Development

Local Food Systems

Urban and Consumer Agriculture

Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction


Extension will use research based information to address these issues identified by the citizens of the county. Extension will work with specialists at NC State and A&T State University to obtain research based information. We will partner with county citizens, county government, other state and county agencies to bring educational information to citizens of the county and state. Volunteers will also be an important group of people to help with these issues since they work with youth, serve on many committees, give many hours of volunteer work in the Master Gardener program, allow on-farm tests on their property just to name a few activities they help with. Extension will do educational programming to address these issues, help citizens identify plant and animal problems and offer solutions to these problems. Youth will be offered the opportunity to learn life skills through educational programs, camps and specialized learning opportunities. Healthy lifestyles, including proper diets, safe food production and preparation will be addressed.

We will use the following methods to disseminate information to citizens of North Carolina and Alamance County; newsletters, newspaper articles, local radio, Facebook, emails, telephone consultations, home and/or farm consultations, local and area meetings, demonstrations and on-farm tests. We will also work with other organizations to help improve the lives of our citizens.

II. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

North Carolina's plant production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.
North Carolina's agricultural crops industry makes major contributions to local communities and the state’s economy. In 2014, the estimated farm gate value of crops was $4.72 billion, placing NC as the 17th largest in the nation. North Carolina is one of the most diversified agriculture states in the nation. The state's 50,200 farmers grow over 80 different commodities, utilizing 8.4 million of the state's 31 million acres to furnish consumers a dependable and affordable supply of food and fiber. Tobacco remains one of the state's most predominant farm commodities. North Carolina produces more tobacco and sweet potatoes than any other state and ranks second in Christmas tree cash receipts. The state also produces a significant amount of cucumbers for pickles, lima beans, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, strawberries, bell peppers, blueberries, chili peppers, fresh market cucumbers, snap beans, cabbage, eggplant, watermelons, pecans, peaches, squash, apples, sweet corn, tomatoes, and grapes. There is continual technological change and the relative profitability of individual farm enterprises changes over time; therefore, farmers must respond by modifying their farming operations. Changes in consumer demand create new opportunities for producers. Growth in alternative forms of agriculture will include, among others, organic and niche market production. Educational and training programs for producers of plant agricultural products and services will enhance their ability to achieve financial and lifestyle goals and to enhance economic development locally, regionally and statewide.
North Carolina's animal production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.
North Carolina's livestock industry makes major contributions to local communities and the state’s economy. In 2014, the estimated farm gate value of livestock, dairy, and poultry was $8.85 billion, placing NC as the 7th largest in the nation. Hogs & pigs have historically been an important part of North Carolina agriculture. The industry has changed dramatically since the 1980s from the small farm raising a few hogs to large confinement type operations. North Carolina's number of cattle & calves on farms has remained relatively stable throughout time. Milk cow inventory and milk production have continued to decline in the state. Unlike other commodities, broiler production in North Carolina is increasing throughout the state. There is continual technological change and the relative profitability of individual farm enterprises changes over time; therefore, farmers must respond by modifying their farming operations. Changes in consumer demand create new opportunities for producers. Growth in alternative forms of agriculture will include, among others, organic, niche market production, and pasture-raised livestock. Educational and training programs for producers of animal agricultural products and services will enhance their ability to achieve financial and lifestyle goals and to enhance economic development locally, regionally and statewide.
Producers will increase sales of food locally to more agriculturally aware consumers through market development, producer and consumer education, and new farmer and infrastructure support.
Farmers will increase their capacity to supply product for local food sales through market planning efforts, producer and consumer education, beginning farmer training programs and local market infrastructure development. The fastest growing area of consumer demand in agriculture continues to be organic. Farmers' markets continue to expand as do multiple efforts in local sustainable agriculture. Nationally, "Buy Local, Buy Fresh" movements have emerged in the face of concerns about the risks involved in long distance transportation of industrialized food production. Increasingly, public officials and business leaders see promotion of local farm products as good public policy and local economic development. Additionally, individuals will learn to supplement their current diet by growing their own fruits and vegetables as individuals or as community groups.
Individuals and groups will acquire leadership and decision making capacities needed to guide and actively participate in local and state organizations.
Leadership is important to every level of a community sharing in the creation of wealth and well-being. Youth and adult leaders must be capable of motivating groups to achieve common goals that impact North Carolina families and communities.They will need the confidence and skill to guide and support North Carolina community and state organizations. Citizens participating in the 2007 NC Tomorrow survey denoted the importance of leadership by clearly requesting leadership training (54%), social advising, community advising and technical assistance (45%)from their university system.
Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways
We are living in a new economy powered by technology, fueled by information and driven by knowledge. Extension programs provide opportunities for youth and adults to improve their level of education and increase their skills that enable them to be competitive in our global society and workforce.
Consumers and communities will enhance the value of plants, animals, and landscapes while conserving valuable natural resources and protecting the environment.
Residential, commercial and public entities will make decisions regarding plant selection, placement and management that will decrease water consumption, preserve and improve water quality, mitigate storm water contaminants, reduce erosion, energy consumption, and greenwaste, expand wildlife habitat, improve real estate value, and improve diet and nutrition of consumers. The horse and "farmer lifestyle" industry will continue to grow and have an increasing impact on North Carolina's economy, while protecting the environment. The NCDA&CS reports that 65,000 horse producers own over 225,000 horses which annually generates over $704 million of gross revenue from training, showing, boarding and breeding establishments in addition to agri-business sales of horse-related products. The total economic impact of the NC green industry is $8.6 billion, involving 151,982 employees, and 120,741 acres of production (Green Industry Council, 2006). North Carolina residential consumers spend $5.9 billion dollars per year on garden and landscape related expenses (Green Industry Council, 2006). For 2007, North Carolina's population is estimated to be 8,968,800 (LINC). The population grew by 1,323,288 (15%), between 1997 and 2007 and it is projected to grow by another 1,330,055 (13%), over the next ten years (LINC). Over 50% of the population now lives in urban areas. Despite evidence of the ecological and financial benefits, environmentally responsible landscaping strategies are not being implemented widely. Renovating a landscape to incorporate water conserving strategies may result in using 36% less water. Urban water run-off accounts for the majority of water pollution, mostly pesticides and fertilizers, that does not come from a specific industrial source. Selection of well-adapted plants, effective pest management, and appropriate care and feeding of plants will greatly reduce dependence on fertilizers and pesticides. Rain water that is not absorbed by the soil becomes erosive storm water runoff, which transports pollutants such as fertilizer, pesticides, sediment, motor oil, litter, and animal waste to local streams and rivers. Landscape designs will include rain gardens and other runoff catchment facilities (underground cisterns, etc.) that are attractive and easy to maintain in residential areas. Homeowners will learn that proper plant selection and placement can reduce winter heating bills by as much as 15% and summer cooling bills by as much as 50 percent, while reducing the need to prune over-sized plants. Wild habitat areas are rapidly being converted into housing and commercial properties, displacing native plants and animals. Choosing native or adapted plants that provide food and shelter creates a haven for butterflies, birds, lizards, and other animals. Edible landscaping can increase the amount and expand the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed.
Youth and adult program participants will make healthy food choices, achieve the recommended amount of physical activity and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases.
Many North Carolinians are affected by chronic disease and conditions that compromise their quality of life and well-being. Heart disease, stroke and cancer continue to be leading causes of death in our state. In addition, obesity and obesity related chronic diseases such as diabetes continue to rise at alarming rates. Healthy eating and physical activity are critical to achieve optimal health. Many North Carolinians have diets that are too high in calories and too low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Portion sizes, foods eaten away-from-home and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages continue to rise. In addition, most North Carolinians do not engage in regular physical activity. The prevalence of overweight and obesity has nearly doubled in the past 10 years. If the trend of overweight is not slowed, it will eliminate the progress we have made in reducing the burden of weigh-related chronic disease. One in every three US children born after 2000 will become diabetic unless many more people start eating less and exercising more. The cost of obesity in North Carolina in health care costs alone is over 2 billion dollars. There are many proposed reasons for the obesity epidemic, however unhealthy eating and physical inactivity are widely recognizes as primary contributors to the problem. Those who make healthy food choices and are physically active are more likely to achieve and maintain a healthy weight as well reduce chronic diseases. Ultimately, this will lead to reduction in health care costs, increased longevity, greater productivity and improved quality of life.

III. Relationship to County Government Objectives

Alamance County has a Destination 2020 Strategic plan that involved many town and community meetings. Some of the same issues that were in our environmental scan were also in the Destination 2020 plan. The top issue in the Cooperative Extension environmental scan meets the county issue of agricultural and rural area preservation. The second issue that fits with the county plan is healthy lifestyles which includes eating, physical activity and etc. Many of our programming efforts will overlap with the strategic plan of Alamance County.

Alamance County also had meetings in each of the county townships to find out what the residents preferred for the use of the land in their townships. Eight meetings were held and after the purpose of the meeting was explained the people in attendance were asked to complete a survey. Eight out of eight townships responded that they would like to see "More" traditional farmland in their immediate community and in Alamance County as a whole. This fits in well with the issues that the staff will be working on. Protecting rural areas and open space was at the top of the lists of things that these citizens would like to see.

Extension is called upon when crop or farm buildings may be damaged in times of flooding or wind damage to give an assessment to the county Emergency Management team. We also work with Emergency Management to determine how to get water to livestock in times of drought. This includes all types of commercial livestock. The livestock agent is also a member of the County Animal Response Team.

Extension is called on to answer questions about food safety in times of power outages due to ice storms and severe weather. There are many people who still preserve food and have freezers that are at risk in power outages. Extension partners with the county employee's health team to provide educational resources on food and nutrition and provide programs on nutritious eating and healthy lifestyles.

Cooperative Extension works with the Alamance County Landfill to conduct two paint and pesticide disposal days. This is important in that we can work to keep these hazardous materials from being placed in the landfill. Alamance County has no permanent disposal site so these disposal days helps the citizens dispose of these materials in the proper way instead of placing them in the landfill.

IV. Diversity Plan

Alamance County has a diverse population like most Piedmont counties of North Carolina. The population statistics of Alamance County are as follows; 67.3% White; 18.5% Black; 1.19% Asian; and 11.0% Latino. The Latino population can be variable due to several reasons. When manufacturing jobs are lost some of this population will leave. When the work in this sector picks back up the population will rebound.

Alamance County welcomes individuals of different race, age, culture, gender, physical and mental abilities, political beliefs, family status, religion, and sexual orientation. The county feels that these individuals can have a positive influence on society.

The Extension Office offers training for various cultures in the Serv Safe Program. Food preparation in other countries differ in many cases from what our county requires. Often restaurants cannot meet the requirements needed to remain in business unless they attend this training and pass the Serv Safe test. Tests can be given in Spanish or Chinese.

The Extension Office is now partnering with the library system to offer programming. We are able to reach a new audience. Typically some of their patrons are not Extension's usual audience.

The Extension Office has a local radio program twice a month where programming can be advertised. Announcements are published in the local papers about our programming efforts and to reach new and diverse audiences. We have a daily paper that goes to 28,000 homes. We have two weekly papers. One has a readership of 6,900. The other is the largest weekly paper in the state.

The County Advisory Leadership System acknowledges the diverse population of the county and strives to recruit diverse members. We have been able to increase our diversity on this board.

V. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods

Delivering timely, relevant educational programs that meet critical local needs is the cornerstone of Extension’s mission. Extension educational programs are designed to equip the citizens of Alamance County with the knowledge, skills and tools to improve their economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and quality of life. An Extension program delivery system is a planned and organized mix of educational methods used during an educational program. Extension educational methods are the specific ways by which research-based information is shared with targeted learners. Extension educators in our county employ a wide variety of hands-on, experiential educational methods, such as interactive workshops and classes, demonstrations, field days and tours, that allow learners to fully engage in the learning process, test new knowledge and/or practice new skills during the educational session. Equally important, this plan will also include educational methods such as seminars, client visits, fact sheets, newsletters, and home study kits that serve to support and reinforce learning as well as provide motivation for continued learning. Armed with the most current literature on effective teaching and learning, Extension educators also skillfully select educational methods based on the learning style preferences and special needs of the targeted learners. These client-focused methods afford learners the opportunity to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to change their lives in meaningful ways. Another key feature of Extension program delivery that is evident in this plan is our commitment to being customer driven and customer focus. As such, in addition to the County Extension Center, Extension educational programs are delivered online, in community centers, on farms, and other locations in order for our programs to be available and accessible to, and fully utilized by, the citizens of Alamance County.

In Extension, success is defined as the extent to which our educational programs have made a difference in the lives of the citizens of Alamance County. Evaluation methods are the way we make those observations about first and foremost whether any changes occurred as a result our educational programs, and subsequently the significance of those changes. As an educational organization, the changes we seek focus on key outcomes such as the knowledge and skills participants gain from our programs. More specifically, in this plan, we are using quantitative research methods such as retrospective testing, pre and post tests and/or surveys to measure change in knowledge gained, the application of that knowledge, number of new skills developed, and types of new skills developed. Extension, as a results-oriented organization, is committed to also assessing the social, economic and/or environmental impact that our programs have on the individuals who participate, their families and communities and ultimately the county as a whole (i.e. true significance of the changes stemming from our programs). We plan to measure these impacts in both the long and short-term. In this annual plan (short-term), we have outlined financial impact and cost benefit analysis as our primary evaluation methods. Another value held in Extension is actively listening to and dialoguing with targeted learners. Therefore, this plan also includes qualitative evaluation methods such as testimonials from program participants, and interviews and focus groups with participants.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

County Advisory Leadership System
Gerry Cohn
Dorothy Humble
Wayne Bunting
Jackie Cole
Dick Fisher
Dr. Ralph Houser
Carl Carroll
William Lock
Steve Love
Ruby Manning
Clay Smith
Angelo Enoch
Martha Jacoby
Brenda Morris
Pam King
Aeriel Miller
Marta McKensie


Field Crops Specialized Committee
Bill Covington
Douglas Smith
Carrie Burnette
Robert Saunders
Buster Sykes Demonstration Farm specialized Committee
Rett Davis
Bill Locke
Jackie Cole
Dick Fisher
Lynn Moseley
Keith Brady
4-H Advisory Board
Jenny Faulkner
Devlin Adams
Terry Isley
Tonja Walker
Stephen Byrd
Elizabeth Kenney
Laurie Newlin

Voluntary Agricultural District
Charles Ansell
Chris Murray
Greg Huffine
Bill Miller
Paul Walker
Charles Newlin
Steve Love

Livestock Specialized Committee
Janis Ansell
Frank Bell
Allison Cooper
Tracy Franklin
Carla Kirby
Brad Moore
Steve Sifford
Dr. John Parks
John Crawford
Lindsay Riddell
Consumer Horticulture Specialized Committee
Linda Humble
Dot Humble
Nan Schaller
Margaret Egede-Nissen
Miriam Jernigan
Linda Nunemaker
Ann Wooten
Liz Wells
Jennell Harris
Judy Driscoll
Susan Owen
Linda Douglas
Marti Lipsky
Beef Cattle Specialized Committee
Ken Culberson
Johnny Massey
Randall Smith
Frank Bell
Kenny Owens
Jonathan Massey
Leo Boswell
Larry Isley
Jim Roney

VII. Staff Membership

Mark Danieley
Title: County Extension Director & Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture
Phone: (336) 570-6740
Email: mark_danieley@ncsu.edu

Daniel Campeau
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (919) 542-8202
Email: dan_campeau@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Work mainly with Commercial Poultry industry. I also work with small scale poultry production. Service area is now the North Central District from Guilford to Halifax with the southern edge being Chatham and Wake county respectively.

Dwayne Dabbs
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Field Crops, Pesticide Coordinator
Phone: (336) 570-6740
Email: dwayne_dabbs@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide educational programs and answer questions pertaining to Field Crops in Alamance County, and provide Pesticide Applicators programs to earn re-certification credits.

Marti Day
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Dairy
Phone: (919) 542-8202
Email: marti_day@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for educational programs for dairy farmers, youth with an interest in dairy projects and the general public with an interest in dairy foods and the dairy industry.

Erin Eure
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Fruits & Vegetables
Phone: (252) 357-1400
Email: erin_eure@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities and technical support to commercial fruit and vegetable growers, agents, and industry in northeastern NC.

Eleanor Frederick
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (336) 570-6740
Email: eleanor_frederick@ncsu.edu

Marissa Herchler
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Animal Food Safety (FSMA Programs)
Phone: (919) 515-5396
Email: marissa_herchler@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Marissa is an Area Specialized Agent for animal food safety, with emphasis on the new Food Safety Modernization Act rules, as they apply to feed mills in North Carolina. Please contact Marissa with any FSMA related questions, or PCQI training inquiries.

Beverly Jenkins
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (336) 570-6740
Email: beverly_jenkins@ncsu.edu

Lynette Johnston
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-0303
Email: lynette_johnston@ncsu.edu

Stacey Jones
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Commercial Nursery and Greenhouse
Phone: (704) 920-3310
Email: stacey_jones@ncsu.edu

Taylor Jones
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (336) 570-6740
Email: taylor_jones@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide positive programs and educational opportunities to youth ages 5 through 18 in Alamance County.

Lauren Langley
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock and Forages
Phone: (336) 570-6740
Email: lauren_langley@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsibilities include livestock, forages, and youth livestock.

Bill Lord
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Water Resources
Phone: (919) 496-3344
Email: william_lord@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Water quality education and technical assistance

Rachel McDowell
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer & Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9155
Email: romcdowe@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Support FCS Agents in delivering timely and evidence-based food safety education and information to stakeholders in NC.

Cynthia Pierce
Title: County Extension Support Staff
Phone: (336) 570-6740
Email: cynthia_pierce@ncsu.edu

Chip Simmons
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Food Safety
Phone: (919) 414-5632
Email: odsimmon@ncsu.edu

Christine Stecker
Title: Horticulture Technician
Phone: (336) 570-6740
Email: christine.stecker@alamance-nc.com

Mitch Woodward
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Watersheds and Water Quality
Phone: (919) 250-1112
Email: mdwoodwa@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: NC Cooperative Extension's Goals include: - NC's natural resources and environmental quality will be protected, conserved and enhanced. - NC will have profitable, environmentally sustainable plant, animal and food systems. Protecting our environmental resources, particularly drinking water quality, is a top priority in NC. NC Cooperative Extension is a leader in teaching, researching, and accelerating the adoption of effective water quality protection practices.

VIII. Contact Information

Alamance County Center
209-C N Graham-Hopedale Rd
Burlington, NC 27217

Phone: (336) 570-6740
Fax: (336) 570-6689
URL: http://alamance.ces.ncsu.edu