2019 Caldwell County Program Impact Report

Approved: February 3, 2020

I. Executive Summary

The Caldwell County Cooperative Extension staff, its volunteers, and advisory leaders are proud to provide researched based information, educational programs, and on-farm demonstrations for the citizens of Caldwell County and the foothills region of North Carolina. During 2019, the Caldwell Extension Center assisted 3,169 citizens through educational programs and face to face contacts. Beyond face to face contact, educational outreach was also provided through monthly television programs broadcast on cable Channel 190, a weekly article published in the NewsTopic, Caldwell Journal, NCCE website, and social media. These efforts helped accomplish three main objectives;

1 - To strengthen the economy through profitable, sustainable and safe food, forest and green industry systems.
2 - To protect the environment and natural resources.
3 - To empower youth and families to lead healthier lives and become community leaders.

NC Cooperative Extension partnered with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and to provide a one-day workshop for licensed landscape contractors that offers all of their required landscape contractor credits as well as several credits towards maintaining their commercial pesticide applicators' license in late January. Five hours of technical credits were offered in courses taught by NC State Extension Specialists and NC Forest Service professionals. In addition, ISA certified arborist credits were offered as some landscapers also hold this certification. Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute's Small Business Center provided a two-hour class on marketing and social media presence to satisfy the business credit requirement. 113 people attended from 14 counties in North Carolina. The audience reported managing 15,680 acres of lawns and 2720 acres of landscapes in the region.

Caldwell County 4-H summer youth programs were designed to help empower the next generation (objective 3) and to teach them about the natural environment (objective 2). This was accomplished through summer day camping experiences such as the four day 4H2O summer day camp. During this water focused adventure youth visited local streams and assessed the water quality by taking measurements of temperature, turbidity, pH, and nitrate concentration. Youth also collected and identified the living creatures in the stream. The fish collection was performed with electroshock. This was done by the NC Regional Fish and Wildlife Biologist. Benthic organisms (insects and crustaceans living in the stream bed) were also collected and identified. Other water quality indicators were also identified. This included stream bed structure; sand, gravel, cobbles, or boulders; stream shading; and stream bank stability. Based on the species collected the youth classified the streams as Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor.

Through efforts of our Food and Nutrition program we help youth lead healthier lives (objective 3). 762 third graders learned about healthy eating in a 9 week structured program. The youth sampled foods and learned to read food labels. All this helps them learn healthy habits that will be with them for their entire lives.

Research and demonstration trials are essential activities for county extension agents to assist cutting edge clients. This year Caldwell Extension Center staff were involved with an industrial hemp grower conducting on-farm research. The trial was to examine the feasibility of industrial hemp as a potential crop providing economic sustainability (objective 1). In addition there were several trials at the Unity Park and Community Garden. These trials included garlic, sweet potato, greens, ginger, and turmeric. These efforts helped empower families lead healthier lives by including fresh vegetables into their diet (objective 3). Also, a herbicide trial was conducted in Caldwell County to explore the use of the herbicide Chaparral as a growth regulator in tall fescue (K-31) pastures. This study showed how controlling fescue seedheads can improve cattle performance and thus economic sustainability (objective 1).

It is through these efforts and many more summarized below that the Caldwell Extension Center helped produce positive changes in the three main focus areas of agricultural businesses, natural resources, and families in 2018.

II. 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 Councils, 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 2019 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 question 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 Academy - This is a new pilot program with NC Bee Specialist David Tarpy to educate novice and intermediate beekeepers. County based beekeeping clubs are great at getting people started in beekeeping. However, there are fewer beekeepers that are continuing to progress with their knowledge. This will provide a structured opportunity for beekeepers to attain Master Beekeeper status.

Farm visits - During the year cattlemen have question 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 - The Caldwell Extension Center is working to recruit and hire a 4-H Agent. Having a vacant 4-H Agent position has created a challenge to the local 4-H program. However, during this vacancy the program basics will be maintained. These basics include support for 4-H clubs, 4-H embryology with the Caldwell County School System (and home school groups), as well as supporting youth attending 4-H Residential Camps and cross-county summer youth camps.

4-H Gardening Club - The Caldwell Extension Center though the horticulture agent provides an opportunity for youth to have a successful garden. The agent organizes educational session for youth to learn how to grow a garden. Youth also receive transplants, seeds, and fertilizer. At the end of the summer pizza party celebration is help. The toppings for the pizzas all come from the youth gardens.

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.

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, provide 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.

III. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

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

Value* Outcome Description
39Number of pesticide applicators receiving continuing education credits
9Number of pesticide credit hours provided
104Number 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
64Number of producers (and other members of the local food supply chain) who have increased revenue
62Number of producers reporting reduction in fertilizer used per acre
100Number 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
8Number of animal producers who learned how to develop a management plan (i.e. grazing plan, feeding plan, drought plan, business plan, disaster plan, etc.)
8Number 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.)
9Number of producers who increased knowledge of nutrition, ration balancing, mineral supplements, breeding, and reproduction
60Number 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
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
2Number of new farms (beginning farmers) selling into local markets for local consumption (in this reporting period)
400Number of acres where Extension-recommended nutrient applications were used
1Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to quality assurance (vaccinations, castration, culling techniques, etc.)
5Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to nutrition (mineral, feed rations)
2Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices related to pasture management
7Number 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 4-H youth development programs grow the skills young people need to succeed in life and career.

Value* Outcome Description
28Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
17Total number of female participants in STEM program
7Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
184Number of youth increasing knowledge of life skills
22Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
64Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
3Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
64Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
14Number of youth increasing their physical activity
34Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
* 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.

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

Value* Outcome Description
17Number 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
23Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease, wildlife) and soil management
8Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
* 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
10Number of participants who increase their knowledge of safe home food handling, preservation, or preparation practices
17Number of food handlers who increase their knowledge and skills in safe food handling practices
12Number 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
53Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
44Number 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* 3,169
Non face-to-face** 456,313
Total by Extension staff in 2019 459,482
* 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 $875.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $0.00
United Way/Foundations $14,000.00
User Fees $3,200.00
Total $18,075.00

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 70 115 517 $ 2,924.00
Extension Master Gardener 85 1042 999 $ 26,498.00
Other: Agriculture 22 61 0 $ 1,551.00
Total: 177 1218 1516 $ 30,974.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. 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
Pete Walser
Robbie Denning
Lisa Deal
Angela Gilbreth
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

VIII. 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

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 (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.

Virginia Lopez
Title: Nutrition Educator, SNAP-Ed
Phone: (828) 764-9490
Email: Virginia_Lopez@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Virginia is a Nutrition Educator for NCSU -SNAP-Ed Steps to Health Program She helps educate and inspire limited resource North Carolinians to eat smart and move more through nutrition and food resource management education programs targeting elementary-age children, adults, Latino families, and older adults.

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

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: Teach children and general public good nutrition and health practices through a variety of methods, including cooking skill development, gardening and food preservation. Promote consumption of locally grown food by working with many community partners.

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.

Sarah Moyer
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

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.

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.

IX. 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