2018 Catawba County Plan of Work

Approved: January 18, 2018

I. County Background

Catawba County is located in the western part of North Carolina in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With 58,500 households, the population of the county is nearly 155,000. The largest city is Hickory and the county seat is Newton. Catawba County has a diverse economy and is home to manufacturing including machinery, metalwork, plastics, cable, and furniture; retail, and residential development. Production agriculture continues to be challenged by urbanization, but the county has over 70,000 acres of farmland and over 600 farms. While traditional manufacturing has been negatively impacted by the economic recession recently and unemployment is high, agriculture posted an increase in gross farm income to a new high of $56,217,409 in 2012. In 2014, at over 62%, the majority of Catawba County’s cash receipts from agriculture stemmed from the raising of broilers. The County saw little to no revenue from the cash receipts of hogs, turkeys, cotton, peanuts, and tobacco. Total agricultural revenues amounted to $86,517,688, ranking Catawba County 45th in the State compared to other counties.

In order to determine greatest needs, Cooperative Extension conducts extensive issues identification through the use of multiple advisory committees. Catawba County's priority issues were determined to be (1) increase educational achievement and excellence with programs in 4-H and youth development; (2) local food system development; (3) advancement of the County’s Food and Farm Sustainability Plan; and (4) improve commercial agricultural and home production systems. Catawba County Cooperative Extension utilizes numerous program committees to help identify issues and responses from within a broad range of program areas, while assuring that these issues fit within our restructuring model – Agriculture, Food, and 4-H Youth Development. These committee recommendations are aligned with staff strengths to help ensure the development and implementation of educational programs that will positively impact the health and well-being of our citizens.

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.

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.

Parents and caregivers will effectively use recommended parenting, self care practices and community resources.

Adults and youth will apply financial management practices to increase their economic security, which include to: meet basic necessities, increase savings, reduce debt, and build long-term assets.

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. Other Objectives

Agriculture Development
Agriculture To educate new, beginning, or transitioning farmers on current and alternative enterprises, NC Cooperative Extension will host three field days and/or trainings in 2015 to demonstrate different sustainable and alternative production techniques including but not limited to livestock production, crop production, best management techniques, soil health and fertility, and season extension techniques. To increase support and further understand production and marketing needs of county row crop producers an initial advisory board of at least 8 producers will be formed in 2015. This advisory board will develop an executive summary of priority areas to guide row crop extension priorities. We will work to continue serving Catawba County horse owners or horse industry users with an increase of knowledge in horse management as a result of participating in educational programs, receiving newsletters/media releases or through personal assistance on weed control and pasture management on small acreage, farm management, disease control and prevention, horse evaluation/selection, hay and feed evaluation and horse waste management. To increase farm sustainability, NC Cooperative Extension will host meetings, workshops, or field days, and will provide one-on-one assistance and informal feedback to 30 beef/dairy farmers or confinement animal operations and animal waste management with a focus on soil testing, soil and pasture conservation practices, forage/feed analysis, and maintenance of waste operator certification.
4-H and Youth Development
4-H and Youth Youth ages 5-18 will develop targeted life skills and gain new subject matter knowledge as a result of participating in volunteer-led 4-H clubs, short-term and skill-building competitive programs. Programming will strive for participants to show an increase in subject matter knowledge and life skill development by a minimum of 20 percent with impact measured using a written evaluation completed by participating families, successful completion of skill building competitive programs, club expansion and development. It is worth mentioning that the number of youth reached for this outcome has been reduced from the FY 14 to reflect the loss of the support staff position, thus requiring the 4-H agent to dedicate more time to administrative tasks that were previously managed by the administrative assistant position. In 2015, 4-H activities include planning for 700 students that will participate in programs focused on healthy lifestyles and/or STEM education, which are key program areas identified for programming through National 4-H council. Programs will be offered through school classrooms and out-of-school settings with the intent to reinforce and extend grade level objectives. Youth participating in the healthy living program will increase their knowledge about and adopt positive healthy living behaviors related to healthy eating, avoiding substance use, and social and emotional development. Youth participating in STEM programs will increase their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math; show an increased interest in STEM, and improve their understanding of how STEM is used in everyday life. Thirty high school students, reflecting diverse backgrounds, will improve their leadership, citizenship, and college readiness skills participating in teen leadership programs such as Catawba County Youth Council, 4-H Ambassador, 4-H County Council, and college-preparedness programs. 100 percent of the teens will show an improvement in skills in at least one identified area. Skill development will be measured through pre and post training evaluations, completion of leadership portfolios, and the number of youth aspiring to advance to higher education.
Local Food System Development
To increase the capacity of local farmers, restaurants, and individuals to participate in the local food economy, NC Cooperative Extension will hold a local foods awareness week called Eat, Drink and Be Local. This will be the 2nd anniversary of this event and we hope to greatly expand participation. In order to promote agricultural literacy within the general public, NC Cooperative Extension will include 14 farms in public tours and strive to motivate over 1,300 visitors to participate in the tours. To address gaps in consumer knowledge of purchasing, preparing, and preserving fresh foods, NC Cooperative Extension will host six events that educate the public on using fresh fruits and vegetables. These events will plan to serve sixty consumers that will report via written evaluation a greater understanding of how to cook with fresh fruits and vegetables and 20 percent will report plans for incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables into their diets.
Food and Farm Sustainability Plan
Food and Farm Sustainability Plan To promote and support the local agricultural economy, being defined as within 75 miles of the center point of Catawba County, NC Cooperative Extension will provide educational programming that will increase the knowledge of 60 interested producers on different aspects of agricultural production such as fruit and vegetable production, livestock production, best farm management practices, and new direct marketing opportunities, which would enable them to begin/expand production. To recruit future fruit and vegetable producers, NC Cooperative Extension will further develop a youth component to educational programming. At least 30 youth will participate in the programming and at least 50 percent of participants will report an interest in fruit and vegetable production in the future. In collaboration with Catawba County Library and their community garden project, four fruit and vegetable gardening classes will be hosted for the general public in 2015. The library’s community garden project provides an added community amenity that contributes to building a healthy community by providing opportunities for all ages to learn about gardening and by helping to produce healthy foods that are shared with local people in need of nutritious meals. A total of fifty (50) participants will report knowledge gained in different aspects of fruit and vegetable gardening. Eighty five (85%) percent of the participants will report that they increased their physical activity, learned how to start or improve their gardening skills, or gained a stronger sense of well-being by helping local people have access to healthier foods. The garden production outreach will result in 1000 pounds of fresh produce for meal production or distribution at identified local food assistance program during growing seasons.

IV. Relationship to County Government Objectives

IV. Relationship to County Government Objectives
Catawba County Government is passionate about the Catawba County Extension Center and NC Cooperative Extension delivering education and technologies that enrich the lives, land, and economy in the county. Our Plan of Work for 2018 has been developed with Catawba County and continues to follow the objectives outlined in the Farm and Food Sustainability Plan. Additionally, we continue to work with our extension advisory council and other relevant stakeholders to prioritize programs and adjust where needed.

V. Diversity Plan

V. Diversity Plan
All reasonable efforts will be made to make educational events available to every resident of Catawba County. Dissemination of event announcements and information will include flyers, newspaper articles, newsletters, radio and television, email, website, and maintaining a presence at community events. We are putting a large emphasis on diversifying our use of social media and expanding the readership of our monthly update newsletter and weekly articles submitted to local newspapers in order to establish a regular and growing audience. We have expanded our outreach and programming throughout the libraries in Catawba County to reach a wider and more diverse audience. We are also working to diversify our volunteer base with the Advanced Gardener Program and Juntos Program with 4-H. We have created a training program that will now allow daytime-employed persons to become certified Master Gardeners through an evening library program combined with online curriculum developed in the Catawba County office. We will continue the 'Gardening in Spanish' workshops at the Newton library. These programs are conducted completely in Spanish for the growing Hispanic population in Catawba County. We are also reaching out to minority groups for participation on our Extension Advisory Council to have representation that is more aligned with our county demographics.

VI. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods

VI. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods
Extension educational methods are the specific ways by which research-based information is shared with our targeted learners and activity participants. Extension educators in Catawba 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.

In Extension, success is defined as the extent to which our educational programs have made a difference in the lives of the citizens of Catawba 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 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.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Catawba County Extension Advisory Council
Russell Hedrick, Chair
Martha Calderon, Vice Chair
Justus Rowe, Secretary
Sue Stulpin
Gene Rice
Marty Rice
Tracy Paul
Austin Pearce
Julie Covington
Andy Bisulca
Susan Bisulca

4-H Advisory Council
Sue and Kat Stulpin
Emily and Joanna Kanupp
Deval Mason
Holly Meier
Amanda Linder
Josh and Amy Wilson
Voluntary Agricultural District Board
Clarence Hood, Chair
Dave McCart, Vice Chair
Ken Arrowood
Jeff Elmore
Jeremy Lee
Susan Proctor
Joe Devine
Small Farms Committee
Karen Coto
Matt - The Bearded Farmer
Justus Rowe
Family and Consumer Sciences Advisory Committee
Lisa Adams
Sandra Hunt
Tracey Paul
Loretta Hefner
Ashley Benfield
Jessica Haynes
Karen Martinez
Janice Moore
Amy Bostian
Honey Estrada
Food Safety/Food Policy Council
Scott Carpenter
Tracey Paul
Damaris Chacon

VIII. Staff Membership

George Place
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (828) 465-8247
Email: gtplace@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: I serve as the director for Catawba County Cooperative Extension Services. I am also the extension agent for programming and consultation in food crops.

Anelle Ammons
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture and Natural Resources
Phone: (828) 465-8240
Email: asammons@ncat.edu

Brent Buchanan
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Dairy
Phone: (315) 212-1277
Email: babuchan@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.

Beth Cloninger
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (828) 465-8240
Email: beth_rogers@ncsu.edu

Glenn Detweiler
Title: Area Agent, Agriculture - Livestock
Phone: (828) 465-8240
Email: Glenn_Detweiler@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Agriculture-Livestock

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.

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.

Rachel McDowell
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9155
Email: romcdowe@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Support FCS Agents in delivering timely and evidence-based food safety education and information to stakeholders in NC.

Tina McGillvary
Title: 4-H Program Assistant
Phone: (828) 465-8240
Email: tmmcgill@ncsu.edu

Donna Mull
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 465-8240
Email: donna_mull@ncsu.edu

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.

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.

April Vigardt
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Local Foods
Phone: (828) 465-8243
Email: alvigard@ncsu.edu

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

Catawba County Center
1175 S Brady Ave
Newton, NC 28658

Phone: (828) 465-8240
Fax: (828) 465-8428
URL: http://catawba.ces.ncsu.edu