2017 Buncombe County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 19, 2018

I. Executive Summary

In 2017, 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 responded to 255,147 citizen information requests through telephone, email, newsletters and news articles to provide educational information and resources. Buncombe County Extension Staff provided 1,138 non degree credit training hours involving 10,025 Buncombe County Citizens. Buncombe County Cooperative Extension also has a tremendous volunteer network. 1,960 volunteers gave over 15,428 hours of service to their communities. This equates to an estimated dollar value for services rendered to Buncombe County Citizens of almost $400,000 dollars. Below are some programming highlights for 2017.

805 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 2017. 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 support connecting those with limited incomes with local produce. First, as part of the CHIP working groups, the FCS agent worked with others to move the county along in its strategic planning for decreasing food insecurity while still promoting food safety and healthy eating. This group also supported the Double Up Food Bucks program which was started in two small neighborhood stores. This program matches dollar for dollar up to $20 for every SNAP dollar spent on local produce. The matching can then be spent later on any type of produce. Cooperative Extension is able to promote the program in their education programs as well as conducting education programs with those participating in the Double Up program. Reports from the two stores indicate that since summer there are 233 participants and over $4,600 worth of produce has been purchased with the DUFB matching funds they have from local grants. With this participation, they are looking to expand the program to other stores in the Western part of the state.

Over 3,000 livestock producers received one on one consultation or attended Extension led workshops in 2017. 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. Despite the blizzard like conditions, 65 Beef Cattle Producers from across the region participated in the conference. Topics included the EPD's of Bull Selection, Bull Maintenance and Feeding, Matching the Bull to the Cow Herd, Hay Sampling/Evaluation/Supplementation, EPDs and Live Animal Evaluation, Round Bale Maintenance and Feeding, and Bull Breeding Soundness Exams. 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 6,000 Buncombe County youth & adult volunteers were involved in 4-H programs in 2017, while over 27,000 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 3,500 citizens this year through classes and one on one consultations. Due to assistance from the small farms agent, one grower was able to increase production from one quarter acre to two acres this year and hire three additional workers. In addition to educational programs and onsite consultation, the small farms agent also assisted almost 23,000 citizens with information provided over the phone or online.

Extension's Consumer Agriculture Agent and trained Master Gardener volunteers assisted county residents with problem solving and education to help make better choices in plant selection, controlling pests, composting, conserving water and growing food. In 2017 over 12,700 residents were assisted by phone or in person. 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 2016 estimates, the County's total population was 253,699 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 2017.

III. 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.
Value* Outcome Description
1444Number 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
6Number of Extension initiated and controlled County demonstration test sites (new required for GLF/PSI reporting)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
252Number 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
65500Net income gains realized by the adoption of best management practices, including those practices related to nutrient management, conservation, production, cultivars, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), business management, and marketing
18Number of producers reporting increased dollar returns per acre or reduced costs per acre
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
2209Number of animal 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
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
1027Number of animal producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
562758Net income gains by producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
425Number of animal producers implementing Extension-recommended best management practices for animal waste management
165710Tons of livestock organic by-products utilized (nutrients from waste, compost, etc)
5Number of waste management certifications gained or maintained due to Extension education efforts
1000Number of acres where Extension-recommended waste analysis was used for proper land application
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
879Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
1558Number of adults (including producers, food business owners, etc.) who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
294Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
1260Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
63Number 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
459Number of producers selling their agricultural products to local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional) for consumption in NC.
397Number of producers who diversified their marketing strategies into local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional).
26Number of producers (and other members of the local food supply chain) who have increased revenue.
40Number of new farms (beginning farmers) selling into local markets for local consumption (in this reporting period).
4Number of new local food value chain businesses, other than farms (in this reporting period).
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Agricultural producers, workers, food handlers and consumers will adopt safer food and agricultural production, handling, and distribution practices that reduce workplace and home injuries/illnesses, enhance food security, and increase the quality and safety of food that North Carolinians prepare and consume.
Training and educational programs for farmers, agricultural workers, food handlers, and consumers will provide research-based programming, materials, information and expertise to compel these individuals to implement practices relating to the overall safety and security for the food supply and farming systems. Components of this include on-farm, packinghouse, and transportation management, retail and food service establishments, and consumer’s homes. Therefore targeted audiences include farmers and agricultural workers and their families, food handlers and workers (both amateur and commercial), transporters, processors, business operators, food service and retail staff, supervisors of any food facility, long term care facility staff and individuals who purchase, prepare and serve food in their homes. With an estimated 76 million foodborne illnesses annually, costing an estimated $1.4 trillion, food safety highlights a specific area of risk to be addressed by Cooperative Extension. The recent produce-related foodborne illness outbreaks have brought public attention to a problem that has been increasing nationally for the last ten years. The issues of foodborne illness and food safety pose immediate risks for farmers affecting the areas of economics, consumer demand, and market access. Because no processing or kill steps are involved with produce that is typically eaten raw, the best measures to limit microorganisms and fresh produce related illness are to prevent microbes from contaminating the product. Practices like Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), Good Handling Practices (GHPs), and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) represent a systematic preventive approach to food safety, protecting agricultural products as they move from farm to retail and restaurants and finally to families. While there is currently no legal requirements for growers to implement GAPs, buyers have responded to the public concern by requiring their produce growers to adhere to current guidelines and possibly even require GAPs certification. The main areas of concern incorporate production, harvesting, packing, and transporting produce in the areas of water quality, manure management, domestic and wildlife management, worker health and hygiene, transportation, traceability, and documentation. For North Carolina growers to be competitive and produce safe product, it is important that they gain knowledge about and implement food safety programs that minimize physical, chemical and biological hazards Food safety risks do not stop at primary production. As risks associated with pathogens can occur at many junctions between primary production and consumption, food safety is a truly farm-to-fork issue. The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have defined 5 factors that lead to foodborne illness outbreaks: Inadequate cooking or processing procedures; improper storage and holding temperatures, cross-contamination between potentially contaminated raw materials and ready-to-eat foods (either directly or through poor sanitation); and poor implementation of personal hygiene practices. The preventative steps targeting risk reduction taken at each of the components making up the food supply chain are critical in preventing food-borne illness. Educational programs including ServSAFE, School HACCP workshops, food safety at childcare and senior centers, and targeted farm-to-fork food safety inclusion for all food handlers is necessary for important for advances in knowledge and implementation of preventative programs. Equally important is that families and children have a secure food supply. Hunger in American households has risen by 43 percent over the last five years, according to an analysis of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data released in the report "Household Food Security in the United States, 2004." The analysis, completed by the Center on Hunger and Poverty at Brandeis University, shows that more than 7 million people have joined the ranks of the hungry since 1999. The USDA report says that 38.2 million Americans live in households that suffer directly from hunger and food insecurity, including nearly 14 million children. That figure is up from 31 million Americans in 1999. Limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and food-insecure individuals, families and communities will be provided with information and opportunities to enhance household food, diet and nutritional security. Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the United States, and consistently ranks as the first, second or third most deadly industry along with mining and construction. Agriculture is unique in that the work and home place are often the same, exposing both workers and family members to hazards. In the United States on average each year, there are 700 deaths and 140,000 injuries to those who work in agriculture, defined as farming, forestry and fishing. Farmers, farmworkers and their families are at high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries (primarily from tractor roll-overs, machinery entanglements, and animal handling incidents), musculo-skeletal conditions, work-related lung diseases, noise-induced hearing loss, heat stress and heat stroke, pesticide exposure and illness, skin diseases, behavioral health issues, and certain cancers associated with chemical use and prolonged sun exposure. The health and safety of migrant and seasonal farmworkers are complicated by other conditions such as infectious disease, hypertension, and diabetes, as well as cultural and language barriers. Farmers and farmworkers alike are subject to lack of access to health care. Agricultural injury and illness are costly, with total US annual costs reaching $4.5 billion and per farm costs equaling $2,500, or 15% of net income. Median health care coverage for farm families is $6,000 per year. In North Carolina, 27% of farm families do not have health insurance, while 29% of farmers do not have health insurance. Many others have health care coverage with high annual deductibles and high premiums. Agromedicine is a comprehensive, collaborative approach involving both agricultural and health scientists to develop solutions addressing the health and safety issues of the agricultural community through research, education and outreach. The North Carolina Agromedicine Institute, a partnership of NC State University, NC A&T State University and East Carolina University in collaboration with others, develops and evaluates effective programs to reduce injury and illness in agriculture, forestry and fishing. One such program is called Certified Safe Farm (CSF) and AgriSafe. CSF and AgriSafe were first developed and researched in Iowa. CSF and AgriSafe are being adapted to North Carolina agriculture by the NC Agromedicine Institute and its Cooperative Extension collaborators. Certified Safe Farm combines AgriSafe health services (wellness and occupational health screenings and personal protection equipment selection and fit services) conducted by trained AgriSafe health providers, on-farm safety reviews conducted by trained Extension agents, and community education and outreach to achieve safety and health goals established by participating farmers and their employees and families. Insurance incentives and safety equipment cost-share programs for participating farmers are still being developed. Other ongoing educational programs addressing agricultural health and safety include farm safety days for children, youth, or families, employee hands-on farm safety training, the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program for youth, and youth ATV operator safety certification programs.
Value* Outcome Description
7Number of food service employees receiving ServSafe certification
133Number of participants trained in safe home food handling, preservation, or preparation practices
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
7Number of participants implementing ServSafe
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Youth and adults will address community issues and/or challenges through volunteerism.
Youth and adult volunteers in North Carolina contribute thousands of hours each year to strengthen communities and create strong foundations for the future. As these individuals engage in service, they are gaining new skills, generating new programs to serve their communities, building successful organizations, and fostering an ethic of service. Cooperative Extension is poised to support the development of interpersonal skills, leadership experiences, and content knowledge to ensure that citizens are prepared to engage in meaningful service throughout the lifespan. Current research suggests that youth and adult participation positively impacts civic engagement and contributes to the development of leadership capacities. With its presence in every county, Cooperative Extension is uniquely positioned to contribute to building a stronger ethic of service among youth and adults.
Value* Outcome Description
290Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
12Number of youth participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
24Number of adult participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
70Number of hours adult volunteer training conducted
8Number of hours youth volunteer training conducted
50Number new volunteers recruited
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
172Increased number of hours contributed by trained youth volunteers
816Increased number of hours contributed by trained adult volunteers
21Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
3Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles beyond Extension, including community boards and task forces
12Number of adult volunteers recruiting and/or training new volunteers
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Community members, organizations and local government will engage in collaborative dialog and decision-making to build economically, socially and environmentally resilient communities. This will be done through inclusive engagement, partnership building, and/or community planning.
Throughout North Carolina, communities that come together to collaboratively address issues and/or interests are enhancing the community's quality of life and its economic, social and environmental resiliency. The state's growing population and economy is producing significant changes in its communities and in some cases resulting in the emergence of new communities. The perspectives, capacity and skills of all community members are essential to aligning community decisions and actions with local needs, assets and priorities. NC Cooperative Extension has an important role in engaging and supporting the ongoing work of citizens, organizations, and communities in decision-making, and strategic dialog to influence positive public policy, foster development of partnerships, create empowered communities, be prepared to address the high potential for natural and human-caused disasters.
Value* Outcome Description
6493Number of participants increasing knowledge and skills in convening and leading inclusive, representative groups (including limited resources, new resident, or immigrant groups) for evidence based community development
2387Number of participants developing skills in leading community, economic, and/or disaster planning and change
1Number of communities that have included agricultural and food system considerations into disaster preparedness plans or procedures due to Extension’s involvement
6Number 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)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
6Number of businesses created, retained, or expanded due to Extension’s community and economic development programming
1Number of local food councils in which Extension is involved
96Number of participants who report new or expanded leadership roles and opportunities undertaken
55000Dollar value of in-kind resources (funding, in-kind service or volunteers) contributed to Projects or Programs in which Extension was critically involved by an organization or community to support community or economic development work
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
23Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
2659Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
1330Total number of female participants in STEM program
28Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
367Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
389Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of entrepreneurship
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
23Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
2659Number of youth (students) gaining knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
389Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
389Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
North Carolinians will make decisions and adopt practices that implement effective resource protection and conservation.
The natural resources in North Carolina are an important asset that benefit all citizens, but many citizens are unaware of the consequences of actions and practices they implement. The continued population growth of North Carolina is putting pressure on natural resources in terms of quantity and quality. To have a healthy and productive natural environment, professionals and citizens must be knowledgeable of environmental issues and conservation and management opportunities.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
1100Number of participants improving knowledge, attitude, skills and aspirations regarding gardening and landscape practices including plant selection and placement, turfgrass management, soil management, growing food, water conservation and water quality preservation, storm water and erosion management, green waste management, pest and wildlife management
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
1541Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease) management, fertility management, water conservation, water quality preservation and pruning techniques
42497500Total cost savings from the use of extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease) management, fertility management, water conservation, water quality preservation and pruning techniques
223Number of participants who use extension-recommended pest management practices in homes, public facilities, businesses or in community pest management programs
31707500Cost savings from using extension-recommended pest management practices in homes, public facilities, businesses or in community pest management programs
180Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
225Number of participants growing food for home consumption
95Number of participants adopting composting
170Number of participants implementing extension-recommended practices to conserve water use and protect water qualty
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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.
Value* Impact Description
226Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
173Number of participants increasing their physical activity
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 32,813
Non face-to-face** 222,335
Total by Extension staff in 2017 255,148
* 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 $5,000.00
Gifts/Donations $4,000.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $2,600.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $50.00
Total $11,650.00

VI. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 24.14
4-H: 267 4,005 3,872 $ 96,681.00
Advisory Leadership System: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Extension Community Association: 86 1,610 2,100 $ 38,865.00
Extension Master Gardener: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Other: 13 37 0 $ 893.00
Total: 366 5652 5972 $ 136,439.00
* 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
Annie Ager
Carolyn Smith
Cindy Ball
Michael Bellows
Charles Brown
Kyle Carver
Anthony Cole
Denny Dillingham
Brenda Humphrey
David McMahon
Ron Owenby
Martha Reeves
Iris Sluder
David Warren
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

Brent Buchanan
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Dairy
Phone: (315) 212-1277
Email: brent_buchanan@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Dairy Extension Programming in Western North Carolina Counties of Haywood, Madison, Buncombe, Transylvania, Henderson, Yancey, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford, Mitchell, Avery, Burke, Cleveland, Watauga, Caldwell, Catawba, Lincoln, Gaston, Ashe, Wilkes, Alexander, Iredell, Alleghany, Surry, Yadkin, and Davie.

Lauren Greene
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agribusiness - 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: Extension 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, Parenting and Caregiving issues and clothing and textiles.

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

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

Craig Mauney
Title: Extension Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables & 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.

Currey Nobles
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9520
Email: canobles@ncsu.edu

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.

Margaret Ruff
Title: EFNEP Educator, Extension Program Assistant
Phone: (828) 255-5522
Email: margaret_ruff@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide families with food resource management, nutrition education and food safety practices.

Cliff Ruth
Title: Area Agent and Regional Certification Program Coodinator, Agriculture
Phone: (828) 255-5522
Email: cliff_ruth@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.

Debbie Stroud
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (910) 814-6033
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 - 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 38 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) 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.

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