2018 Cabarrus County Plan of Work

Approved: February 8, 2018

I. County Background

Cabarrus County, just east of Charlotte, has seen tremendous growth in the past 15 years. The county’s population is now over 192,000. While the county contains Concord and Kannapolis, two very populated municipalities, it also includes a longstanding rural agricultural community in its eastern reaches.

Cabarrus County is rapidly urbanizing with a high cost of living and a very technological and service driven economy. Also, there has been an increase in the Hispanic population in the county due to the availability of jobs in the building and green industry, as well as service-oriented jobs.

In the last decade, subdivision development has mushroomed in this area, altering the agricultural landscape. Cabarrus County’s eastern region has seen tremendous growth in new housing. As farmland is converted to other uses, the county suffers a loss of open space, increased environmental degradation and a loss of the social fabric and values characteristic of rural communities. Historically, Cabarrus County depended upon the traditional North Carolina industries - textiles, and later, tobacco - for their employment. Opportunities in these areas are rapidly decreasing as the nature of industry in the county becomes much more technologically driven.

Local, natural, and wholesome food is becoming important to people within our community and is considered safer and more flavorful by many. The proximity of locally produced food will reduce fuel consumption, vehicle emissions, costs and travel time, benefiting the whole region, not just the producers. Targeted counties (those surrounding Cabarrus) have a combined population of over 1.3 million generating considerable demand and economic opportunity. Currently, the unemployment rate in Cabarrus County is higher than the statewide rate due to prevailing economic conditions and the closing of the Philip Morris USA plant in Concord. The larger effort to more fully develop a local food economy will lead to additional economic opportunities and should lead to additional acreage in food production, benefiting the whole region economically, as well as environmentally. Additionally, since production, processing, sales and consumption will all occur in the same local region, all the money spent will recirculate through the local economy, making it stronger and more resilient. This is an extremely important initiative within Cabarrus County.

II. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

North Carolina's plant production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.

North Carolina's animal production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.

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.

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.

Individuals and groups will acquire leadership and decision making capacities needed to guide and actively participate in local and state organizations.

Youth and adults will address community issues and/or challenges through volunteerism.

Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways

Consumers and communities will enhance the value of plants, animals, and landscapes while conserving valuable natural resources and protecting the environment.

Youth and adult program participants will make healthy food choices, achieve the recommended amount of physical activity and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases.

III. Relationship to County Government Objectives

Cabarrus County's Strategic Goals include:
1. Preserve and enhance quality of life by addressing growth with sound public policies that sustain resources, provide high quality services, and fund infrastructure needs. We will do so by initiating a comprehensive, sustainable community initiative, with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Farmland Preservation Trust fund grant proposal as the centerpiece. This initiative will also include a plan to "green" county government operations and regulations.
2. Achieve community-wide preparedness to protect public safety, respond to routine and catastrophic events, and maintain and restore the well-being of all.
3. Use resources wisely and responsibly by protecting assets, minimizing risk, creating partnerships and using technology to maximize the value of county investments, expenditures and services.
4. A fully engaged community with a shared understanding of its issues and challenges and working together to achieve its goals.
5. Ensure that all citizens have equal opportunity and access to education, health care, and economic prosperity and encourage citizens to fulfill their potential and contribute to their community.

As you can see, the Cooperative Extension objectives fit easily within the structure of the county's goals and objectives.

IV. Diversity Plan

Cabarrus County's Extension Advisory Council is representative of the current population demographics described in census bureau statistics. Program opportunities are offered to all people regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Agents network with local organizations and other government agencies in an effort to identify special needs or expand current programs to under served audiences. Where applicable, "all reasonable efforts" will be implemented in order to ensure adequate notification of programs offered.

V. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods

Delivering timely, relevant educational programs that meet critical local needs is the cornerstone of Extension’s mission. Extension educational programs are designed to equip the citizens of Cabarrus County with the knowledge, skills and tools to improve their economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and quality of life.

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

In Extension, success is defined as the extent to which our educational programs have made a difference in the lives of the citizens of Cabarrus County.
Evaluation methods are the way we make those observations about first and foremost whether any changes occurred as a result our educational programs, and subsequently the significance of those changes. As an educational organization, the changes we seek focus on key outcomes such as the knowledge and skills participants gain from our programs. More specifically, in this plan, we are using quantitative research methods such as retrospective testing, pre and post surveys to measure change in knowledge gained, the application of that knowledge, number of new skills developed, and types of new skills developed.
Another value held in Extension is actively listening to and having conversations with targeted learners. Therefore, this plan also includes qualitative evaluation methods such as testimonials from program participants, and interviews and focus groups with participants.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Extension Advisory Council
Darrell Furr, Chair
Leslie Cook, Vice Chair
Candy Hooker
Jo Ann Lowder
Joyce Kluttz, Secretary
Barbara Looney
James Polk
Tommy Porter
Gary Ritchie
Wendy Tate
Ellen Vanderburg
Pat Wickliff
Diane Honeycutt - Board of Commissioners Liason
Cabarrus 4-H Foundation, Inc.
Philip McAuley, President
Judy Furr, Treasurer
Leslie Cook
Denise Cooper
Kim Law
Jo Ann Lowder
Lynne McAuley
Vickie Porter
Alisa Wickliff
Jean Thomas
Consumer Horticulture Advisory Committee
Wendy Tate
Mitchell Hagler
Scott Maxwell
Gerri Harris
Karen Lankheet
CeCe McFayden
Phillis Puttnam
Cabarrus Agribusiness Council
Randy Fisher
Marvin Bost
John Cline
Ned Hudson
Louis Suther
Jerry Pless
Tommy Porter
Vicky Porter
Larry Taylor
Agricultural Advisory Board
Leslie Cook, Vice Chair
Bob Blackwelder
Tommy Porter, Chair
Louis Suther
Eddie Moose
Tommy Barbee
Wendy Sellers
Aaron Ritchie, ex-officio for County Planning and Zoning Board
Family and Consumer Science Committee
Ann Benfield
Maria Curan
Kathleen Tucker
Joyce Kluttz
Judy Furr
Theresa Smith
Livestock Advisory Committee
Darrell Furr
John Cline
Gary Ritchie
Tommy Porter
Extension & Community Association Leadership Team
President: Pat Wickliff
Vice President: Dorothy Anthony
Sec: Debbie Mullis
Treas. : Bobbie Sheperis
Advisor: Joyce Kluttz
County Wide Issue Coordinators:
Barbara Looney
Judy Furr
Suzanne Whitmore
Linda Black
Kathleen Kent
Janet Stancil
Barbara Vehmann
Rose Freeman
Michelle McDonald
Linda Cordell
Gail Linker
Brian Stancil
Nancy Carlson

VII. Staff Membership

Robert Furr
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (704) 920-3310
Email: RBFURR@GMAIL.COM
Brief Job Description: Provide direction and leadership to the Cooperative Extension program in Cabarrus County.

Christine Barrier
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (704) 920-3310
Email: christine_barrier@ncsu.edu

Frankie Bogutsky
Title: County Extension Support Specialist
Phone: (704) 920-3310
Email: ftboguts@ncsu.edu

Beverly Bollenbecker
Title: 4-H Program Associate
Phone: (704) 920-3310
Email: beverly_bollenbecker@ncsu.edu

Candice Christian
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9148
Email: Candice_Christian@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: The overall goal of the Area Specialized Agents (ASAs) in Consumer & Retail Food Safety is to support FCS Agents in delivering timely and evidence-based food safety education and information to stakeholders in North Carolina.

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.

Furr
Phone:
Email: nafurr2@ncsu.edu

Richard Goforth
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (704) 283-3801
Email: richard_goforth@ncsu.edu

Renee Goodnight
Title: Nutrition Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (704) 920-3321
Email: renee_goodnight@ncsu.edu

Heenan
Phone:
Email: lgheenan@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.

Lauren Hill
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture
Phone: (704) 920-3320
Email: lhdunca3@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for Master Gardener program, consumer and commercial horticulture.

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

Nathan Kiger
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Field Crops and Livestock
Phone: (704) 920-3310
Email: nathan_kiger@ncsu.edu

Tracy LeCompte
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (704) 920-3310
Email: tracy_lecompte@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: 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

Pamela Outen
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (704) 920-3310
Email: pamela_outen@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.

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

VIII. Contact Information

Cabarrus County Center
715 Cabarrus Ave W
Concord, NC 28027

Phone: (704) 920-3310
Fax: (704) 920-3323
URL: http://cabarrus.ces.ncsu.edu