2020 Caldwell County Plan of Work

Approved: February 3, 2020

I. County Background

Caldwell County North Carolina is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The 2013 county population estimate is 81,990. Caldwell County has the greatest elevation range (900 to 5,964 feet above sea level) of any county in North Carolina. There are seven incorporated municipalities in the county: Lenoir, Granite Falls, Hudson, Cajah Mountain, Gamewell, Sawmills, and Cedar Rock.

Caldwell County ranks 82 in North Carolina for total cash receipts from agriculture. This totals $20 million in farm income. The Green Industry accounts for over 60% of the agricultural income in Caldwell County.

The Caldwell County Extension Center is committed to developing and delivering research, education, and demonstration programs that will improve the lives and prosperity of the people of Caldwell County. Over the past year, the Caldwell County Extension Center, and its Advisory Council, have been involved in identifying the needs of the citizens of Caldwell County. By networking and partnering with volunteers, from both the private and the professional sectors, the Center has identified county needs through the use of surveys and personal interviews. These needs have been filtered through the programming areas of Agriculture, Food, and 4-H Youth to create a plan of work targeted at addressing these identified needs. We believe through this dynamic process, we can provide the greatest service to the people of Caldwell County and make the best use of the resources entrusted to us.

For 2020 the Caldwell Extension Center efforts focus on six of the Cooperative Extension Objectives

Plant Production Systems - plant production programs improve production, profitability, and sustainability of the agriculture sector.

Caldwell Landscapers Workshop - This is a day long event where practitioners in the landscape industry receive updates from NC State University research, as well as practical information that when applied can improve managed landscapes impact on the environment by better managing water runoff, fertilizer use, and pesticides. In addition attendees earn required continuing education credits for NC Commercial Pesticide License and NC Landscape Contractors License.

Annual Caldwell Winter Crop Meeting - This meeting provides a conduit for local growers to learn from the Caldwell County on-farm research conducted the previous year as well as from other research conducted across the State. NC State Extension Specialists provide, industry personnel and County based Agricultural Agents lead this educational meeting for the growers.

Farm visits - During the growing season growers have questions and NC Cooperative Extension can help growers address issues in real time. In addition to the knowledge and experience of the county agent they are backed by University Specialists, as well as a variety of labs to diagnose issues.

Animal Production Systems  - animal production programs improve production, profitability, and sustainability of the agriculture sector.

Extension Cattle Call is a collaborative newsletter written by agents in the western Piedmont of NC. This monthly publication helps cattlemen improve their operation by providing researched based solution to the challenges of cow calf farmers as well as stocker production.

Quarterly Cattlemen’s Meetings - The Caldwell Extension Center partners with the Caldwell County Cattlemen’s Association to provide educational meetings for cattlemen. Meeting topics are selected at the annual county cattlemen’s board of directors meeting.

BEES (Beekeeper Education & Engagement System) - This is an effort of NC Bee Specialist David Tarpy to educate novice, intermediate, and advanced beekeepers using distance education. This system provides resources to help beekeepers connect with research based information. This educational opportunity is being shared and provided to the Caldwell County Beekeepers Association as well as any other local beekeepers.

Farm visits - During the year cattlemen have questions and production concerns that NC Cooperative Extension can help address in real time. In addition to the knowledge and experience of the county agent they are backed by University Specialists, as well as a variety of labs to diagnose animal and forage issues.

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

Re-staffing - With new leadership the Caldwell Extension Center is strengthening the foundation of the Caldwell 4-H Youth Program. This foundation includes following the NCSU background process for volunteer leaders, clubs following best practices, and re-introducing the essential elements of 4-H back into the program. Having a vacant 4-H Agent position has created a wonderful opportunity to re-invigorate passionate 4-H youth, parents, and volunteer leaders.

4-H Gardening Club - The Caldwell Extension Center through, a partnership between the horticulture agent, the 4-H Agent, and trained Master gardeners, provides an opportunity for youth to have a successful garden. The horticulture agent organizes educational sessions for youth in conjunction with the 4-H Agent to teach gardening principles. Youth also receive transplants, seeds, and fertilizer. At the end of the summer there is a harvest celebration.

Natural Resource and Environmental Systems - Our natural resource and environmental programs conserve our precious natural resources and maintain a clean and healthy environment.

Caldwell County has a long history of working with Specialists in Biological and Agricultural Engineering at NC State University. In 2018 $401,000 in funding was secured to construct a Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance (RSC) at the Broyhill Park in uptown Lenoir. This project is a collaboration between NC State University, the Caldwell Extension Center, and the City of Lenoir. Once complete this project will be monitored for its ability to reduce stormwater runoff volume and improve water quality. Pre-construction monitoring is going on now. Construction is planned for late this summer.

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

Community Garden and Demonstration Project - The Caldwell Extension Center has forged relationships with the City of Lenoir Community Gardening Project. The City of Lenoir manages the garden site and community gardeners while the Caldwell Extension Center, with help from Master Gardeners, provides educational “garden demonstrations”. This year will include a pepper variety trial, straw bale gardening, ginger demonstration, and seed saving demonstration. In addition a series of educational workshops will accompany the various projects in the garden.

Seed Library - The Caldwell Extension Center and the Caldwell County Public Library partnered three years ago on a seed library project. This is a volunteer managed and staff lead project to offer seeds to the public. The goal is to have 100 or more check out seeds from the library.

Food Safety and Nutrition - 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.

Safe Plates - This is an educational program geared toward the food service industry. It helps ensure that food safety by training workers and managers about safe food handling practices. Inspected food establishments are required to have this training.

Steps to Health - Steps to health is a program taught to third grade youth. This is a program to encourage healthy eating habits. Youth learn life long skills through this program.

II. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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.

III. Relationship to County Government Objectives

Cooperative Extension assists Caldwell County Government in fulfilling its 21st century mission through sustainable community partnerships that help address local needs. Caldwell County Government's goal is to provide all residents with services that are basic and necessary for a decent quality of life, stewardship of natural resources, and a proactive vision of an ever changing world. The Caldwell County Extension Center offers educational programs that help citizens improve their quality of life through programs for youth and families, programs for homeowner and farmers to enhance natural resources, and programs that assist communities in addressing a changing world.

Caldwell County government is an equal partner with North Carolina State University in support of the Caldwell County Extension Center. This partnership is through their direct funding of the local center and a shared vision and mission for the Caldwell County Extension Center.

IV. Diversity Plan

The Caldwell County Cooperative Extension Center is an informal educational outreach of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University. As an educational partnership, it's our mission to help all people harness research-based knowledge for economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and improved quality of life. The Caldwell Extension Center is committed to practices which promote equal opportunities for all citizens of Caldwell County. Employment and informal educational programming opportunities are offered to all people regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability or sexual orientation. The Caldwell County Extension Center's staff will make all reasonable efforts to identify and recruit underserved audiences. The groups will be contacted by use of newspapers, newsletters, radio, posters, flyers, TV, and one-on-one contacts.

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

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Livestock Committee
Jack Adams
John Cassavaugh
Ronnie Holman
Jim Munday
Bryan Reid
Dewey Reid
Lee Vines
Phillip Wike
Michael Willis
4-H and Youth Development Committee
Crystal Taylor
Robbie Denning
Lisa Deal
Wendy Willett
Jamie Willis
Ron Lackey
Horticulture Committee
Ellen Roberts
Jeff Smith
Lynda Campbell
Allen Caldwell
Charles Beck

County Advisory Council
Libby Brown
Lee Cox
Dr. John Dockery
Toney Helton
Ronnie Holman
Kim Siddons
Gerald Sprinkle
Pete Kidder
Tom Bowman

VII. Staff Membership

Seth Nagy
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (828) 757-1290
Email: seth_nagy@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide educational programs and demonstrations for farmers in Caldwell County to help improve their livestock and field crop production. Assist with 4-H youth and horticultural programming in the county. Provide administrative support and leadership for the entire County Extension Program.

Allen Caldwell
Title: Field Faculty Emeritus
Phone: (828) 757-1290
Email: allen_caldwell@ncsu.edu

Sarah Christas
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture
Phone: (828) 757-1254
Email: scadams2@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

Diana Ford
Title: Receptionist
Phone: (828) 757-1290
Email: diana_ford@ncsu.edu

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

Marissa Herchler
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Animal Food Safety
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, pet food and ingredient facilities in North Carolina. Please contact Marissa with any animal food safety-related questions, or Preventive Controls for Animal Food (PCAF/PCQI) training inquiries.

Sarah Kocher
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 757-1258
Email: samoyer2@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Professional educator who provides leadership to the local 4-H program and manages its day-to-day operation

Tina Lovejoy
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (828) 757-1290
Email: tina_lovejoy@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Support

Margie Mansure
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences - Nutrition and Foods
Phone: (828) 264-3061
Email: margie_mansure@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Margie Mansure is an Extension Agent, Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, and Culinarian who serves Watauga and Caldwell counties. Diet culture is nothing new, but social media has made it even more prevalent. Anyone with a “fit” appearance has the tools to promote themselves as an expert, along with a diet encouraging strict rules and even elimination of many healthy foods. Through her personal and professional journey, Margie has realized that food choices should not be complicated or stressful, as stress is hazardous to well-being. Food choices are not a moral issue. Food should provide pleasure and nourishment for the body and spirit. That’s why Margie works to: 1. Promote purchasing from local food producers for fresh, flavorful food and beverage choices and development of community. 2. Help people develop cooking skills by offering hands-on cooking classes and instructional videos. Developing any skill-set requires time and perseverance. But being able to prepare your own fresh, fabulous tasting and nourishing food to share is definitely worth the energy investment.

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.

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.

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.

VIII. Contact Information

Caldwell County Center
120 Hospital Ave
Suite 1
Lenoir, NC 28645

Phone: (828) 757-1290
Fax: (828) 757-1251
URL: http://caldwell.ces.ncsu.edu