2017 Catawba County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 18, 2018

I. Executive Summary

Catawba County Cooperative Extension continued to address local issues and assist citizens with sound, research-based information on a variety of topics in 2017. As part of the county budgeting process, Cooperative Extension worked with the Advisory Council, County Budget Staff, County Management and County Commissioners to identify key outcomes that are unique to Extension work. In addition, CES continued to make progress in leading the implementation of the Catawba County Farm and Food Sustainability Plan.

A number of workshops were held for farmers working with row crops and livestock including rotational grazing, pasture management, hay management in a drought, pesticide safety, and traditional commodity (soybean, wheat, and corn) programs. The livestock program expanded the use of demonstration sites to further promote recommended techniques. Over 500 farmers were reached with these workshops. One particular highlight took place on December 11, 2017, when 58 producers attended a program on how to apply for cost-share programs and regulation updates from the highway patrol. 97% of participants reported that this workshop helped them to avoid a traffic ticket. With a conservative estimate of $100 per traffic ticket avoided (some tickets easily exceed $300), we estimate total savings at $5,500 in savings for our farmers. Additionally, 75% of producers reported that they are more likely to apply for a cost-share program with the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Soil and Water as a result of attending the workshop. With a conservative estimate of $250 in savings for every farmer utilizing a cost-share program (many programs will save farmers several thousands of dollars), we estimate a total saving at $10,700 in savings for our farmers.

The 4-H program had many hundreds of youth contacts with school programs and clubs. 186 youth are developing life and leadership skills and exploring career interests as a result of participating in 13 different volunteer-led 4-H clubs. Two school-based clubs, located at St. Stephens High School and Mt. View Elementary, are providing opportunities for 4-H involvement for youth that would not be reached through typical community-based clubs. Two 4-H clubs are led by teens, who have been long-time 4-H club members, who are now leading groups with adult oversight. 4-H programs reached over 800 students in the Catawba County school system in an effort to promote healthier lifestyle choices. Of the participating youth, 72% of the parents reported observing their 2nd grader consume more fruits and vegetables and 83% reported their child drinking more water (and less sugary drinks) after participating in Steps to Health. Based on student pre and post evaluations, 42% of the students reported eating more and trying new fruits and vegetables, reading food labels more often, 37% reported choosing more low-fat dairy options and increasing physical activity. Even parental impact was reported, with 70% of the parents reporting drinking fewer soft drinks and more water, 76% being more physically active, 68% reading nutrition labels, and 60% eating more fruits and vegetables.

The Eat Drink and Be Local (EDBL) week successfully involved 5 restaurants in the event that committed to serving at least one meal primarily comprised of local food. In addition, the Farm to Fork Feast had over 230 attendees and was supported by a great diversity of community organizations and businesses. EDBL also surveyed over 200 people participating in farmer market cooking demonstrations with over 85% of participants reporting that they were purchasing more local produce as a result of the efforts. The overall impact on increased consumption of local food as a result of EDBL was estimated at over $20,000.

In 2017, 33 presentations for vegetable and fruit production were provided at 3 libraries with over 1000 participants. Participants were surveyed at the end of each presentation. Results of those surveyed found that over 85% reported growing more vegetables as a result of the program, 80% of those already growing a garden expanded their production as a result of the program, and 85% of participants reported consuming more fruits and vegetables as a result of the programs.

The Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) program offered 5 ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification classes, a Farm-to-Fork food safety training for farmers’ market vendors, telephone assistance, and a variety of home food safety classes. Over 70% of ServSafe participants achieved a passing score on the certification exam.

II. 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 154,000. The largest city is Hickory and the county seat is Newton. Catawba County has a diverse economy and is home to manufacturing including machinery, metal work, 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.

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.
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
59Number 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
57Number of animal producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
16500Net income gains by producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
8Number of waste management certifications gained or maintained due to Extension education efforts
* 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
20Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
5553Number of adults (including producers, food business owners, etc.) who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
618Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
1951Number of individuals who gain knowledge or acquire skills related to vegetable/fruit gardening, and if also reporting under Urban and Consumer Agriculture Objective, divide up the reported number appropriately between the two objectives to avoid duplication.
71Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
755Number 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
28Number of new and existing access points for consumers that expand or improve their offering of local fruits and vegetables. Access points include farmers markets, retail stores, school food programs, community gardens, institutions other than schools (e.g. hospitals, universities, etc.), and other systems/access points not noted (e.g. restaurants, etc.).
36Number of producers selling their agricultural products to local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional) for consumption in NC.
2Number of producers who diversified their marketing strategies into local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional).
4Number of new farms (beginning farmers) selling into local markets for local consumption (in this reporting period).
2Number of new local food value chain businesses, other than farms (in this reporting period).
13Number of individuals who begin home food production by starting a vegetable and/or fruit garden, and if also reporting under Urban and Consumer Horticulture Objective, divide up the reported number appropriately between the two objectives to avoid duplication.
* 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
35Number of food service employees receiving ServSafe certification
60Number of participants trained in safe home food handling, preservation, or preparation practices
32Number of participants trained in Good Farmers Market Practices
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
35Number of participants implementing ServSafe
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Individuals and groups will acquire leadership and decision making capacities needed to guide and actively participate in local and state organizations.
Leadership is important to every level of a community sharing in the creation of wealth and well-being. Youth and adult leaders must be capable of motivating groups to achieve common goals that impact North Carolina families and communities.They will need the confidence and skill to guide and support North Carolina community and state organizations. Citizens participating in the 2007 NC Tomorrow survey denoted the importance of leadership by clearly requesting leadership training (54%), social advising, community advising and technical assistance (45%)from their university system.
Value* Outcome Description
24Number of adults increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
5Number of adults assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
56Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
25Number of youth assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
4Number of adults increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
5Number of adults assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
46Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
21Number of youth assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
* 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
37Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
* 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
38Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
730Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
60Total number of female participants in STEM program
82Number of youth (students) participating in 4-H dropout prevention (student at-risk) programs
152Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
138Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
126Number of adults increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
37Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of entrepreneurship
2Number of adults increasing knowledge of entrepreneurship
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
22Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
730Number of youth (students) gaining knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
147Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
37Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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
21025Number 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
16820Number 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
840500Total 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
510Number of participants growing food for home consumption
26000Value of produce grown for home consumption
* 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
138Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
521Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
582Number of participants increasing their physical activity
20Number of participants who consume less sodium in their diet
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

IV. 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.

V. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 20,962
Non face-to-face** 34,596
Total by Extension staff in 2017 55,558
* 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.

VI. Designated Grants Received by Extension

Type of GrantAmount
Contracts/Grants $0.00
Gifts/Donations $6,950.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $0.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $3,270.00
Total $10,220.00

VII. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 24.14
4-H: 133 433 974 $ 10,453.00
Advisory Leadership System: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Extension Community Association: 29 2,494 49,104 $ 60,205.00
Extension Master Gardener: 117 1,284 933 $ 30,996.00
Other: 42 623 132 $ 15,039.00
Total: 321 4834 51143 $ 116,693.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VIII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Catawba County Extension Advisory Council
Martha Calderon, Chair
Russell Hedrick, Vice Chair
Justus Rowe, Secretary
Sue Stulpin
Gene Rice
Marty Rice
Tracy Paul
Austin Pearce
Tim Roberts
Alex Spruell
Julie Covington
Melissa Early
Andy Bisulca
Susan Bisulca
Jennifer Andrews
Rainy Arts
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
Pai Moua Lee
Cho Yang
Sa Lee
Beverly Hester
Rodney Miller
Randy Willis
Kia Xiong
Michelle Eley
Martha Calderon
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
Melissa Early
Damaris Chacon
Women in Agriculture advisory committee
Martha Calderon
Mai Xiong
Susie Devein
Susan Proctor
Amanda Cline-Grant
Cheryl Caldwell

IX. Staff Membership

George Place
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (828) 465-8240
Email: george_place@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.

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, Agribusiness - 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: 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.

Rachel McDowell
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer & 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.

Ann Simmons
Title: Area Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (704) 878-3157
Email: ann_simmons@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Develop, implement and evaluate educational programs in Health, Nutrition, Food Safety, and Volunteer Leadership Development.

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.

Lara Worden
Title: Area Agent, Agriculture
Phone: (704) 922-2118
Email: lara_worden@ncsu.edu

X. 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