2019 Buncombe County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 17, 2020

I. Executive Summary

In 2019, the Cooperative Extension Staff of the Buncombe County Center were proud to serve the citizens of Buncombe County. Following is a summary of some of the ways citizens received services and were impacted by the programs of the Extension Staff. Buncombe County Cooperative Extension Staff reached 337,902 citizens with research based educational information through telephone, email, digital media & mass media channels. Buncombe County Extension Staff provided 1,070 non degree credit training hours involving 6,707 Buncombe County Citizens. Buncombe County Cooperative Extension also has a tremendous volunteer network. 1,333 volunteers gave over 14,493 hours of service to their communities. This equates to an estimated dollar value for services rendered to Buncombe County Citizens of almost $370,000 dollars. Below are some programming highlights for 2019.

1,006 county residents have a commercial or private pesticide license or certification in one or more of 16 categories including Landscape, Turf, Agriculture pests, etc. In response to the need for recertification hours for citizens to retain their licenses, Cooperative Extension partnered with the Biltmore Estate, Turfgrass Council of NC, and the NC Department of Agriculture to offer recertification classes in 2019. According to industry data provided by N.C. State University, the total value of income retained by allowing citizens to retain their pesticide certifications and gain continuing education credit locally is well in excess of $3,000,000.

NC Cooperative Extension worked with others to move the county along in its strategic planning for decreasing obesity and poor health outcomes, particularly with low income audiences. 4,516 youth and adults increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables, increased their physical activity, and gained more knowledge of healthy lifestyles as a result of Family & Consumer Science education efforts. These programs directly tie in the efforts of other partners including the Health and Human Services department and the public schools. The majority of citizens reached with this information are youth at lower socioeconomic levels that are at the greatest health risks from poor nutritional habits and low physical activity levels.

3,180 livestock producers received one on one consultation or attended Extension led workshops in 2019. In one example, a team of Cooperative Extension Agents led by Dr. Deidre Harmon, Extension Livestock Specialist, worked in conjunction with the North Carolina Cattlemen's Association and the WNC Regional Livestock Center to host the WNC Area Beef Conference. 62 Beef Cattle Producers from across the region participated in the conference. Topics included heifer development programs and estrous syncronization systems. As a result of the program all respondents indicated an increase in knowledge of the topics that were presented. The total economic impact of the conference was $125,350 according to data collected from participants on the evaluation.

Cooperative Extension also conducts the 4-H youth development program in Buncombe County. 4-H teaches life skills and leadership development to youth ages 6-19 in a myriad of ways. Over 5,000 Buncombe County youth were involved in 4-H programs in 2019, while over 34,000 youth and adults received information and materials from the program. These activities ranged from local food camps to special interest programs like shooting sports and livestock judging. Research shows that youth involved in 4-H programs are four times more likely to make positive contributions to their communities, twice as likely to make healthier choices, and twice as likely to participate in science, engineering, and computer technology programs during high school. Girls who participate in 4-H programs are three times more likely to take part in science programs in high school than girls who are not involved in 4-H activities.

Buncombe county supports education efforts with small farms by supporting an agent tasked with serving this emerging audience. The small farms agent has assisted over 3,000 citizens this year through classes and one on one consultations. Due to assistance from the small farms agent, sixteen youth were able to explore local farms and be exposed to local food. This opportunity allowed youth to evaluate farming as a possible career choice and be exposed to local food sources in our county. In addition to educational programs and onsite consultation, the small farms agent also assisted almost 14,000 citizens with information provided over the phone or online.

Extension's Consumer Horticulture Agent and trained Master Gardener volunteers assisted county residents with problem solving and education to help them make better choices in plant selection, controlling pests, composting, conserving water and growing food. In 2019 almost 67,000 clients received gardening information or training from the consumer horticulture agent or Master Gardeners. The Mountain Gardener newsletter has reached over 4200 households 12 times. Radio programs (48) and other mass media efforts (website, face book, blog, online and print media made over 12 million contacts with county residents and visitors.

These are just a few examples of how Cooperative Extension in Buncombe County improves the quality of citizen's lives every day by providing research based information. Our grassroots approach to programming allows citizens to influence the program areas our agents address in daily programming efforts. Thank you for the opportunity to serve the citizens of Buncombe County.

II. County Background


As a results-oriented organization, Cooperative Extension is committed to 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. Therefore it is important to note demographic characteristics of the County.

Buncombe County has the seventh largest population of the North Carolina counties. According to 2018 estimates, the County's total population was 257,607 individuals.

While 76% of the population resides within areas classified as urban, agriculture remains important to the economy. Buncombe County has 71,480 acres of farmland remaining constituting 1,060 farms. Agriculture income from the 2012 census of agriculture was estimated at $55.8 million, with greenhouse/nursery plants, beef cattle and milk being the leading income generators. Extension also works extensively with green industry companies now, which include landscaping, arborists, golf courses and retail nursery personnel. This growing segment of agribusiness adds an estimated additional $26.7 million dollars of revenue to the local economy.

Delivering timely, relevant educational programs that meet critical local needs in the areas of agriculture, food systems and 4-H/youth development is the cornerstone of Cooperative Extension's mission. NC Cooperative Extension - Buncombe County Center, is further charged with providing unbiased research based educational information to the residents of Buncombe County. This mission is fulfilled on behalf of USDA, NC State and A&T State Universities and Buncombe County government.

Work plans are developed with guidance from community residents who serve on various Advisory Committees for our organization. As a part of this Long Range Planning process, staff of NC Cooperative Extension – Buncombe County Center work with Specialized and Program Advisory Committees, volunteers from the community and the Extension Advisory Council to update program needs each year. These groups utilized existing county and state data in their group work to identify major educational need areas for Buncombe County citizens. Data was also collected via surveys and focus groups to be included in determining priority needs. Educational objectives were developed to guide the work of staff members. Five priority areas were identified during this process and include:

Economically Viable Agricultural Systems
Preservation and Improvement of Environmental and Natural Resources
Strengthening and Sustaining Community and Economic Development
Improving Human Health/Safety
Increasing Leadership, Personal Development and Citizenship Skills

Primary educational delivery methods utilized employ a wide variety of hands-on, experiential educational methods by which research-based information is shared with targeted learners. Those methods include 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 are other educational methods such as seminars, client visits, fact sheets, blogs ,websites, and internet based interactive classes that serve to support and reinforce learning, as well as provide motivation for continued learning.

Various evaluation methods will be used to evaluate program impacts. Some items measured are increased knowledge, skills and/or evidence of the implementation of recommended practices in agriculture and family and consumer sciences. Surveys will be used extensively to obtain impact data. While the impact of educational programs on youth and communities requires longitudinal measurements, youth and community leader involvement in leadership development activities will be used as an indication of effectiveness of educational efforts. In addition to the objective measures of program impact, success stories documenting program successes with individual farms, families, and groups will be written and recorded. We appreciate the opportunity to serve the citizens of Buncombe County in 2019.

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
449Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
349Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
272Number of pesticide applicators receiving continuing education credits
557Number of pesticide credit hours provided
1182Number 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
2Number of Extension initiated and controlled county demonstration test sites
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
206Number of producers who diversified their marketing strategies into local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional).
130Number of producers (and other members of the local food supply chain) who have increased revenue
44Number of new farms (beginning farmers) selling into local markets for local consumption (in this reporting period)
11Number of participants that have adopted farm safety practices
1222Number 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
5Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
50Number of animal producers who increased knowledge of farm business management, business planning, financial management, marketing, or estate planning.
90Number of animal producers who learned how to develop a management plan (i.e. grazing plan, feeding plan, drought plan, business plan, disaster plan, etc.)
542Number 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.)
100Number of producers who increased knowledge of nutrition, ration balancing, mineral supplements, breeding, and reproduction
152Number 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
5Number of producers who increased knowledge of animal waste management practices
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
111Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to quality assurance (vaccinations, castration, culling techniques, etc.)
100Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to genetic improvement (AI, heifer/bull selection)
46Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to nutrition (mineral, feed rations)
74Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to internal parasite management (fecals, deworming)
162Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices related to pasture management
45Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to nutrition, ration balancing, mineral supplement, breeding, and reproduction
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our community development programs build strong and thriving communities.

Value* Outcome Description
96Number of participants who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems
910Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
35Number 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)
150Number of participants acquiring knowledge and skills to convene and lead inclusive groups
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
4200Dollar value of in-kind resources contributed by organizations or community
4200Value 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
* 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
1848Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
877Total number of female participants in STEM program
34Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
2979Number of youth increasing knowledge of life skills
1947Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
117Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
227Number of youth demonstrating increased knowledge of natural resources and environmental issues
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
83Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
455Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
455Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
146Number of youth using effective life skills
156Number of youth increasing their physical activity
26Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
313Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
189Number 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
112Number of participants willing to participate in conservation actions (such as rain gardens, wildlife management, conservation easements, land trusts, generational planning, etc.)
2254Number of participants increasing their knowledge about best management practices (including storm water systems, septic system maintenance, erosion control, rain gardens, forestry, etc.)
12Number of child and youth educators aspiring to implement quality outdoor learning environments for children
601Number of adults demonstrating increased knowledge of natural resources and environmental issues
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
112Number of participants implementing extension-recommended practices to conserve water use and protect water quality
112Number of participants that adopted recommended agroecosystem adaption strategies for production agriculture or natural resource management, including for invasive species, pest management, pollutant loads, and wetlands.
* 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
620Number 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
100Number of individuals who grow food in community gardens.
345Number of individuals who begin home food production by starting a vegetable and/or fruit garden
75Number of individuals who begin home food production by starting to raise backyard livestock.
425Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease, wildlife) and soil management
220Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
426Number of participants growing food for home consumption
285Number 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.

Value* Outcome Description
87Number of participants who increase their knowledge of safe home food handling, preservation, or preparation practices
87Number of individuals who learn how to prepare local foods, including through use of home food preservation techniques.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
12Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 19,919
Non face-to-face** 158,736
Total by Extension staff in 2019 178,655
* 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.

V. Designated Grants Received by Extension

Type of GrantAmount
Contracts/Grants $0.00
Gifts/Donations $5,665.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $0.00
United Way/Foundations $9,700.00
User Fees $300.00
Total $15,665.00

VI. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 25.43
4-H 287 4305 5166 $ 109,476.00
Extension Community Association 61 945 1185 $ 24,031.00
Extension Master Gardener 975 9185 13982 $ 233,575.00
Other: Agriculture 10 58 0 $ 1,475.00
Total: 1333 14493 20333 $ 368,557.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Urban Horticulture/Master Gardener
Barbara Hayes
Sheila Dunn
Bob Wardwell
Renee Lampila
Gail Banner
Kyle Gilgis
Lyn McNab
Ann Ammons
Charles Gershon
Donna Sapp
Mary Koppenheffer

Green Industry
Ann Higgins
Bill Quade
Michael Balough
June Jolley
Brad Martin
Anthony LeBude
Kevin McCrae
Bill Glenn
Anthony Cole
Jerry Roberts
Charles Shook
Justin Gillespie
Tim Worley
Madison Baldwin
Julia Schniedewind
Jackie Gillespie
Sonia Worley
Ginny Judd
Jackie Justice
John Schnautz
Tony Seker
Health, Nutrition, Foods, Parenting, Child Development & Family Relationships
Danielle Arias
Amy Barry
Tara Chandler
Rebecca Chapman
Darcel Eddins
Nelle Gregory
Patrice Harrison
Stephanie Kiser
Terri March
Carol McLimans
Beth Palien
Leigh Pettus
Alphie Rodriguez
Robert Simmons
Beth Stahl
Jane Anne Tager
Monica Weinstein
Community & Rural Development
Cindy Ball
Christopher Jayne
Kyle Carver
Anthony Cole
Denny Dillingham
Brenda Humphrey
David McMahon
Small Farms
Ashley Eppling
Thomas Gibson
Alison Kiehl
Anne & Aaron Grier
Tom Elmore
Molly Nicholie
Claudine & Paul Cremer
Rebecca Vann

VIII. Staff Membership

Steve Duckett
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (828) 255-5522
Email: steve_duckett@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for county office administration, Community and Rural Development programs, Row Crops, Pond Management.

Alison Arnold
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Consumer Horticulture
Phone: (828) 255-5522
Email: alison.arnold@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for all consumer horticulture topics including the Master Gardener program.

Meghan Baker
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture
Phone: (828) 255-5522
Email: meghan_baker@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.

April Dillon
Title: Area Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (704) 482-4365
Email: april_dillon@ncsu.edu

Lauren Greene
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (336) 651-7347
Email: lauren_greene@ncsu.edu

Brandy Hansen
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (828) 255-5522
Email: brandy_hansen@ncsu.edu

Noah Henson
Title: Area Agent, Agriculture - Livestock, Dairy, Equine, Forages
Phone: (828) 255-5522
Email: nbhenson@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.

Cathy Hohenstein
Title: Area Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (828) 255-5522
Email: cathy_hohenstein@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: I am a Registered Dietitian with responsibilities for issues related to food preservation and preparation, nutrition, food safety and quality, health and wellness, human development through the ages from childhood to older adults, and healthy homes.

Jessica Hughes
Title: County Extension Support Specialist
Phone: (828) 250-4870
Email: jbhughe4@ncsu.edu

Holly Jordan
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 255-5522
Email: holly_jordan@ncsu.edu

Craig Mauney
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables and Fruits
Phone: (828) 684-3562
Email: craig_mauney@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities, training and technical support to commercial fruit and vegetable growers, agents, and industry in Western NC. (My office is located at the Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center not the Henderson County Extension Center as is noted by IT on this website. Please do not contact the Henderson County Extension Center as I am not located there.)

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!

Elena Rogers
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Food Safety - Fresh Produce Western NC
Phone: (828) 352-2519
Email: elena_rogers@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide educational programs, training and technical support focusing on fresh produce safety to Agents and growers in Western NC.

Clifford Ruth
Title: Area Agent and Regional Certification Program Coordinator, Agriculture
Phone: (828) 255-5522
Email: cdruth@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Current Responsibilities: Provide educational programs primarily for the folk in the commercial green industries in WNC as well as pesticide education for farmers in Buncombe and Transylvania County. Coordinate certification and licensing workshops across the western third of the state. (30 counties and EBCI)

Debbie Stroud
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9149
Email: dlstroud@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Area Specialized Agents in Consumer and Retail Food Safety help to ensure that Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Agents have access to timely, evidence-based food safety information. This is accomplished by (1) working with FCS Agents in their counties, (2) developing food safety materials and (3) planning and implementing a NC Safe Plates Food Safety Info Center.

Amanda Taylor
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Nursery and Greenhouse, Western Region
Phone: (828) 475-2915
Email: amanda_jo_taylor@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides programming to commercial nursery and greenhouse producers in Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey Counties.

Skip Thompson
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Aquaculture
Phone: (828) 456-3575
Email: Skip_Thompson@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide educational opportunities and technical support to the trout and carp aquaculture industries in 42 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) in western North Carolina. Fish health, production management, and waste management educational programs will assist trout farmers, fee-fishing pond managers, carp ponds and trout fingerling producers with the management and sustainability of their facilities.

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.

IX. Contact Information

Buncombe County Center
49 Mount Carmel Rd
Suite 102
Asheville, NC 28806

Phone: (828) 255-5522
Fax: (828) 250-6011
URL: http://buncombe.ces.ncsu.edu