2019 Brunswick County Program Impact Report

Approved: February 6, 2020

I. Executive Summary

The end of the decade was a solid year for Cooperative Extension in Brunswick County based on strengthening partnerships and volunteer work. Projections were released this year that the population of Brunswick County is 1st in the state and 4th in the nation for percentage population growth and is on track to increase the number of residents by 50% within 15 years. Such an increase in population demands a higher volume and specialty of service to Cooperative Extension clients moving here. This is the reason for bolstering local partnerships at this point in our history – to reach more residents without doubling staff.

4-H Youth Development efforts included developing inroads for teacher training and in-school enrichment: Teacher Workday training has been attempted for years and finally occurred; Embryology was delivered in all Elementary schools; Butterfly curriculum was close behind. One youth attended the Global Youth Food Institute, 2 rounds of the Empowering Youth and Families program made big impacts in the participating families, Teenage volunteers grew in number and diversity, and a partnership with the Health Department is delivering more content to young people

Horticulture programming reached 40,000 people and Extension Master Gardener Volunteers gave over 8,000 volunteer hours in 2019 through on-site courses throughout the county, site visits, and major improvements to the Demonstration Garden at the Extension office. Our relationship with local nurseries is stronger than ever with on-site pest monitoring and consultations.

Agriculture efforts focused on finalizing the Brunswick County Agricultural Development Plan which goes to press in early 2020. The Agriculture census shows new farms in the area and many of them have received information and services from our office. Industrial Hemp is growing here with the number of licensed growers more than doubling this year; all of them are supported with training, resources, and/or consultation by Cooperative Extension.

Family and Consumer Sciences programs need personnel to fully implement, but Extension Master Food Volunteers are filling the gap and making a difference, especially in limited resource families and youth. Food Corps Service Members are in 4 local schools, conducting regular taste tests of healthy vegetables cooked in culturally appropriate ways, and are growing school gardens throughout the County.

On an administrative note, some staff members have moved on to other opportunities for their career, and some positions are easier to fill than others. However, support is strong from campus and county stakeholders, and other partners to fill all vacancies as soon as possible. The advisory council prioritized personnel as a top administrative focus. Also, a new County Manager comes to us from nearby Pender and is already helping to communicate the great things happening in the County and prominently includes Cooperative Extension successes and events in his monthly report to the media and public. Next year is poised for growth in many ways.

II. County Background

The Brunswick Vision strategic plan of 2017 included Extension staff to lead a citizen input group and serve on a guiding unit. The needs assessment portion identified many issues in the county that provide opportunities for Extension programming (promote agribusiness and agritourism; preserve shoreline, protect waterways and other environmental features; attract younger residents; and preserving agricultural and rural heritage). Marketing is an organizational issue that must be addressed based on Advisory Council input and because in the Brunswick Vision plan a forced ranking of departments ranked Cooperative Extension low, even though service satisfaction with Extension was mentioned specifically as a strength of the county by participants in the survey.
The staff will focus on three main areas in 2019: Marketing of our programs to underserved audiences, Leveraging Local and State Resources, and Strengthening Community Partnerships. These priority areas are based on needs assessments and observations by staff and advisory groups. We are looking forward to a highly productive year with a full staff.


With over 125,000 residents, Brunswick County consistently has one of the fastest growth rates in North Carolina and is often among the leading growth counties nationwide as the local economy continues to rebound from a large recession which started late in the last decade. County Government is highly stable and fiscally sound with good leadership at the administration and department levels with nearly 1,000 employees working for the good of our residents.

Geographically, the county is a large (847 sq mi) coastal plain entity predominated by sand, low topography, shifting barrier islands and several small river systems which are completely contained within our borders. Economically, the county is split: the southern portion of Brunswick (below Highway 17) tends to be affluent along the coast while the portion of the county North of the highway is more rural with pockets of economic challenges.

Historically, the area was settled by Europeans in the early 1700's due to the region's valuable Naval Stores and Cape Fear River port. A colonial challenge to the tax stamps at Brunswick Towne preceded the Boston Tea Party by eight years. British forces and the Union Navy defeated the nearby Fort Anderson's inhabitants during their respective wars and the location remains as a state historic site. Today, Brunswick County has more municipalities than any other county in North Carolina and arguably the most number of golf courses here on the “Golf Coast.”

In Brunswick County, Extension is in a unique position to provide educational programming to various groups based on the identified needs. Several programs in the county target limited resource audiences with about 17,400 residents living below the poverty level. By curating the research-based information generated at North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University, we can provide Brunswick County citizens with the information and solutions to meet the needs of the county.

III. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

Our family and consumer sciences programs improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

Our plant production programs improve production, profitability, and sustainability of the agriculture sector.

Value* Outcome Description
3Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
4Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
67Number of pesticide applicators receiving continuing education credits
8Number of pesticide credit hours provided
12Number of crop (all plant systems) producers increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, and/or skills as related to: 1. Best management production practices (cultural, nutrient, and genetics) 2. Pest/insect, disease, weed, wildlife management 3. Financial/Farm management tools and practices (business, marketing, government policy, human resources) 4. Alternative agriculture, bioenergy, and value-added enterprises
1Number of Extension initiated and controlled county demonstration test sites
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
5Number of producers who diversified their marketing strategies into local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional).
5Number of producers (and other members of the local food supply chain) who have increased revenue
4Number of new farms (beginning farmers) selling into local markets for local consumption (in this reporting period)
3Number of producers reporting reduction in fertilizer used per acre
65Number of acres in conservation tillage or other Best Management Practice
24Number of crop (all plant systems) producers adopting best management practices, including those practices related to nutrient management, conservation, production, cultivars, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), business management, and marketing
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our animal production programs improve production, profitability, and sustainability of the agriculture sector.

Value* Outcome Description
2Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
2Number of animal producers who increased knowledge of farm business management, business planning, financial management, marketing, or estate planning.
6Number of producers who increased knowledge of pasture/forage management practices (field improvement, herbicide management, grazing season extension, weed control, forage quality, haylage production, nitrate testing, etc.)
1Number of producers who increased knowledge of nutrition, ration balancing, mineral supplements, breeding, and reproduction
2Number of producers who increased knowledge of the strategies to promote animal health and welfare and reduce the potential for infectious diseases through proper use of vaccines, biosecurity, detection and identification of common diseases, appropriate use of animal medications, and mitigation of antimicrobial resistance transmission
8Number of producers who increased knowledge of how to prepare, mitigate, and recover from natural disasters impacting animal agriculture
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
1Number of producers who diversified their marketing strategies into local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional).
1Number of new farms (beginning farmers) selling into local markets for local consumption (in this reporting period)
2Number of producers (and other members of the local food supply chain) who have increased revenue
1Number of producers adopting extension-recommended practices related to planning, marketing, and financial management
2Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to internal parasite management (fecals, deworming)
3Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices related to pasture management
3Number of producers using improved biosecurity practices
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our community development programs build strong and thriving communities.

Value* Outcome Description
40Number of participants who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems
12Number of participants who developed new jobs skills
6Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
3Number of participants who increased their awareness, knowledge or skill in business related topics (e.g., management, product development, marketing, business structure options, business law and/or liability)
2Number of participants that increase their knowledge of disaster preparedness planning, mitigation and recovery
3Number of participants acquiring knowledge and skills to convene and lead inclusive groups
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
1Number of local food value chain businesses created due to Extension’s programming or technical assistance
40000Dollar value of in-kind resources contributed by organizations or community
25000Value of grants received by organizations, communities, or Extension where Extension was instrumental in initiating, facilitating, or providing technical assistant in the development of the grants to support community or economic development work
1Number of (eg., community and economic development, land use, disaster, etc.) new, revised or adopted plans that have begun to be implemented in communities, organizations, local governments, or businesses
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our 4-H youth development programs grow the skills young people need to succeed in life and career.

Value* Outcome Description
35Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
725Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
333Total number of female participants in STEM program
14Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
3611Number of youth increasing knowledge of life skills
269Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
107Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
82Number of youth demonstrating increased knowledge of natural resources and environmental issues
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
55Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
2Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
7Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
109Number of youth using effective life skills
101Number of youth willing to participate in conservation actions
2Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
2Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles beyond Extension, including community boards and task forces
2Number of youth assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
789Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
269Number of youth who grow food in school gardens.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our natural resource and environmental programs conserve our precious natural resources and maintain a clean and healthy environment.

Value* Outcome Description
4Number of participants willing to participate in conservation actions (such as rain gardens, wildlife management, conservation easements, land trusts, generational planning, etc.)
4Number of participants increasing their knowledge about best management practices (including storm water systems, septic system maintenance, erosion control, rain gardens, forestry, etc.)
3Number of child and youth educators aspiring to implement quality outdoor learning environments for children
4Number of adults demonstrating increased knowledge of natural resources and environmental issues
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our consumer horticulture programs teach families and communities about environmentally friendly methods for gardening and controlling pests.

Value* Outcome Description
238Number of individuals who gain knowledge or acquire skills related to vegetable/fruit gardening
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
120Number of individuals who grow food in community gardens.
134Number of individuals who begin home food production by starting a vegetable and/or fruit garden
35898Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease, wildlife) and soil management
26235Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
223Number of participants growing food for home consumption
65Number of participants adopting composting
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our food safety and nutrition programs create a safer and more sustainable food supply and improve the health and nutrition of individuals, families, and our communities.

IV. Other Objectives

Continue development of the "Gardens of Brunswick" concept as a premier horticultural destination site and teaching garden.
1) In cooperation with Extension Master Gardener Volunteers and Brunswick Community College's Horticulture Department, continue development of complementary plants collections with plant identification labels at the main campus and the government complex that will be marketed as the "Gardens of Brunswick". 2) In cooperation with Extension Master Gardener Volunteers and Brunswick Community College's Horticulture Department, develop an internship program where college students assist in the expansion of the Brunswick Botanical Garden and other county-owned properties. 3) Incorporate the Brunswick Botanical Garden and the storm water best management practices demonstration into a comprehensive plan for enhancing the landscaped areas of the Brunswick County Government Complex. 4) Develop and implement major events centered around the botanical garden with educational and community development components. These may include tours of the gardens and special events highlighting specific plant collections or other aspects of the garden. 5) Incorporate additional areas (Buildings F and G, new fuel station, parking lot in front of Building N) into the Brunswick Botanical Garden to improve aesthetics, properly handle storm water and expand the educational mission of the garden.

V. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 10,707
Non face-to-face** 659,513
Total by Extension staff in 2019 670,220
* Face-to-face contacts include contacts that Extension personnel make directly with individuals through one-on-one visits, meetings, and other activities where staff members work directly with individuals.
** Non face-to-face contacts include contacts that Extension personnel make indirectly with individuals by telephone, email, newsletters, news articles, radio, television, and other means.

VI. Designated Grants Received by Extension

Type of GrantAmount
Contracts/Grants $1,000.00
Gifts/Donations $0.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $0.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $0.00
Total $1,000.00

VII. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 25.43
4-H 128 376 1971 $ 9,562.00
Extension Master Gardener 684 13069 36728 $ 332,345.00
Extension Master Food Volunteers 24 96 518 $ 2,441.00
Total: 836 13541 39217 $ 344,348.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VIII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

County Advisory Council
Jane Kulesza
Ron Skubic
JoAnn Shandley
Michael Gore
Allison Campbell
Yvette Gosling
Margaret Shelton
Marilyn Graham
Montrell Miller
4-H Advisory Committee
Bobbi Lawrence
Sydney Blair
Autumn Apple
Amelia Apple
Arletta Aleshire
Elizabeth Jones
Melinda Johnson
JoAnn Shandley
Horticulture Advisors
Jeanne Pavero
Merry MacBarb
Vicki Fuhrmann
Vic Stephens
Krystyna Ochota
Grace Wrigley
Voluntary Agricultural District
Chip Carroll
Jody Clemmons
Sam Bellamy
Marc Green
Mamie Caison
Kirstie Dixon
Michelle Kasey
Local Foods Policy Council
Jane Kulesza
Margaret Shelton
Michael Callahan
Lewis Dozier
Morgan Nelms
Kathleen Hoolihan
Christy Fieros

IX. Staff Membership

Mark Blevins
Title: County Extension Director - Agriculture Agent
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: mark_blevins@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Mark directs the total county program in beautiful Brunswick County and has service responsibilities for agriculture, environmental issues and community development. His career has included student internship work at the JC Raulston Arboretum and the Eastern Band of Cherokee, before starting his career in Extension as the Horticlture Agent in Gaston County in 2005. Mark has been the Brunswick County Extension Director since 2011. "As the Agriculture Agent, I help farmers increase their sustainability (environmental, economic, and social) and improve confidence in their decisions through scientific research. As the County Extension Director, I lead, support and equip this staff so farmers, gardeners, families, and youth have access to solid science from our Universities to make the biggest difference we can in Brunswick County."

Haylee Allen
Title: Program Assistant, Empowering Youth and Families Program
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: hballen2@ncsu.edu

Gina Britton
Title: County Extension Support Specialist
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: Gina_Britton@ncsu.edu

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.

Jamie Fox
Title: Program Assistant - 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: jfox4@ncsu.edu

Mike Frinsko
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Aquaculture
Phone: (252) 448-9621
Email: mofrinsk@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide technical training and assistance to commercial aquaculture producers in the Southeast Extension District

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.

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

Peggie Lewis Joyce
Title: Area 4-H Agent - Central Region
Phone: (336) 242-2080
Email: peggie_lewis@ncsu.edu

Michelle Kasey
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: michelle_kasey@ncsu.edu

Morgan King
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: mhking3@ncsu.edu

Colby Lambert
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Forestry
Phone: (910) 814-6041
Email: colby_lambert@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities and technical support to forest landowners, agents, and forest industry in eastern North Carolina.

Danny Lauderdale
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Ornamental Nursery and Greenhouse, Eastern Region
Phone: (252) 237-0111
Email: danny_lauderdale@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides programming to commercial ornamental nursery and greenhouse producers in eastern North Carolina.

Angie Lawrence
Title: EFNEP Nutrition Educator, 4-H Program Associate
Phone: (910) 253-2592
Email: angie_lawrence@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: EFNEP Nutrition Educator 4-H Program Associate

Shawn Lennon
Title: Program Assistant - Agriculture, Horticulture
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: slennon@ncsu.edu

Stephanie McDonald-Murray
Title: Regional Nutrition Extension Associate - Southeast EFNEP and SNAP-Ed
Phone: (910) 296-2143
Email: stephanie_mcdonald@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Job Description: Provides programmatic supervision to the EFNEP program in the South East District.

Krystyna Ochota
Title: Consumer Horticulture: Program Assistant/Master Gardener Coordinator
Phone: (910) 253-2595
Email: kochota@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Assist with Consumer Horticulture Program planning and implementation Coordinate Master Gardener activities and training Provide training and education to Master Gardeners and the public, including classes, Infoline, Ask and Expert

Diana Rashash
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Water Quality/Waste Management
Phone: (910) 455-5873
Email: diana_rashash@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Water and wastewater issues of all types: stormwater, aquatic weed ID & control, water quality & quantity, septic systems, animal waste, land application of wastewater, environment & sustainability, climate, etc.

Ashley Robbins
Title: Area Specialized Agent - Dairy
Phone: (919) 542-8203
Email: ashley_robbins@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Marti Day and I are the Area Specialized Dairy Agents - the county-based arm of the Cooperative Extension Dairy Team. We are out here in the counties to help you set and reach your farm, family and business goals. We have collaborative expertise in the areas of Waste Management, Udder Health, Cow Comfort, Nutrition and Forage Management with specialties in (Ashley)Reproduction, Records Management, Animal Health and (Marti)Alternative Markets, Organic Dairy, Grazing Management, and On-farm Processing. We hope to provide comprehensive educational programs for our farmers, consumers and youth for every county across the state. We are here for you by phone, email or text and look forward to working with you!

Margaret Ross
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (252) 670-8254
Email: margaret_ross@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Working with commercial poultry producers to assist in writing nutrient management plans and conducting educational programming.

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

Alyssa Spence
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agromedicine, Farm Health & Safety
Phone: (252) 527-2191
Email: arramsey@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: I work with the NCSU Applied Ecology-Toxicology & Agromedicine Department to serve the18 counties in the Southeast District, providing health/safety resources and programming to field agents in this area.

Lee Stiles
Title: Program Assistant, Empowering Youth and Families Program
Phone: (252) 222-6352
Email: lastiles@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Empowering Youth and Families Program Assistant facilitates the curriculum through educating, lecturing, and demonstrating ways to prevent opioid misuse among youth. This program also strengthens family bonds.

Email: clsyracu@ncsu.edu

Allan Thornton
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables and Fruits
Phone: (910) 592-7161
Email: allan_thornton@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Vegetable Extension Specialist. Conducts Extension and applied research programs for commercial vegetable and fruit growers and agents in eastern North Carolina.

Tom Woods
Title: Extension agent - Horticulture
Phone: (910) 253-2610
Email: tom_woods@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Create and implement non-formal education programs Support Commercial & Ornamental Horticulture Landscape & turf management Home Horticulture and Community Gardens Manage Master Gardeners Urban Forestry Interface Manage Pesticide Safety, Re-certification & Recycling Training

Mitch Woodward
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Watersheds and Water Quality
Phone: (919) 414-3873
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.

X. Contact Information

Brunswick County Center
25 Referendum Dr
Bolivia, NC 28422

Phone: (910) 253-2610
Fax: (910) 253-2612
URL: http://brunswick.ces.ncsu.edu