2019 Catawba County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 17, 2020

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 2019. As part of the county budgeting process, Cooperative Extension worked with Program Advisory Committees, 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 and the Catawba County Strategic Plan.

A number of presentations and site visits were held for farmers working with row crops, commercial vegetable production, and livestock to provide more information and guidance in rotational grazing, pasture management, hay management in a drought, weed management, crop fertility, post harvest management, pesticide safety, and traditional commodity (soybean, wheat, and corn) programs. Industrial hemp production demonstrations of 4 varieties were established in 2019 and toured by over 50 participants including producers, business owners, and hemp investors interested in establishing more hemp infrastructure in Catawba County. 40 row crop farmers managing a total of 5,375 acres of cropland attended the Piedmont Commodities Conference on Dec 3, 2019 in Catawba County and over 80% reported that they learned new information that will help them save money and conserve soil and water. In June of 2019, 93 cattlemen that manage a total of 1,246 head of cattle attended a workshop on using native grasses in pasture management. Participants reported a total potential savings of 1,116 bales of hay resulting in a total potential savings of over $40,000 annually. Additionally, a workshop in September of 2019 attended by 65 cattlemen showed an estimated savings by participants of $58,500 in reduced fertilizer costs through the use of winter annual planting into pasture lands.

Pesticide and NC Landscape Contractor credits were offered at the March 7, 2019 Pro Ed Day at Killian's Hardware in Conover, NC. Over 100 people were in attendance, and 70 people received 4 credits toward their pesticide license for a total of 240 credits earned. On Dec 18, 2019 26 participants attended and 46 pesticide credits were earned towards better pest management in turf. Landscape professionals who are licensed to spray and apply pesticides and controlled chemicals have a median salary in NC of $32,270 (USA Wage, 2018). Landscape workers without licenses receive a median salary of $26,390 (USA Wage, 2018), thus each license credit earned results in a benefit of $2,940 in salary. The total of 326 credits earned have a potential increase in salary of over $950,000.

Twelve 'cooking with local food' classes were taught in 2019 to a total of 336 people. 80% of participants reported buying more local produce as a result of the classes with the average increase of $15 more worth of local food per week which could result in $111,840 of a possible increase in local farmer income over a 32 week season of sales. The small farmer group increased to 10 farms participating in a educational meetings, info sharing, and input purchasing together for savings and improved farmer to farmer support. In 2019 the CES in Catawba County produced the first Local Food Guide with 5000 copies distributed throughout the area to promote direct sales of farms in our area. Tracking the impact of this guide is difficult but 1079 people visited the on-line version of this guide in 2019.

Thirty three presentations were provided at 3 libraries in Catawba County and attended by over 1000 people in 2019. Of those participants, over 80% reported that the presentations have helped them to be more active in their landscape. 25% of all participants reported an increase of 30 minutes or more per day of activity. According to the American Heart Association, this level of activity saves individuals $2500 per year in medical costs. Thus, the increased activity from these gardening programs saved participants $625,000 in reduced health care costs. The average reported saving from the landscape and garden management knowledge was $35 per person. Thus the reported savings was approximately $35,000. In addition, 83% of all participants reported starting or expanding a garden as a result of the program.

The 4-H program had thousands of youth contacts with school programs and clubs. 678 elementary age students participated in a program called CATCH and Steps to Health which addressed physical activity and healthy eating choices. 69% of the parents of these participating kids observed their child eating more fruits and vegetables and playing outside more often. 80% of the parents observed their children drinking fewer sodas. Additionally, 65% of the parents reported eating more fruits and vegetables and 75% reported trying new foods. Catawba County Extension staff and volunteers offered a total of 144 hours of summer enrichment programs that reached 101 youth with a total of 1680 educational contact hours. Fifteen adults and youth volunteered 136 hours teaching summer programs. Topics included local foods, environmental education, healthy living, citizenship, workforce preparedness, and entrepreneurship. Based on parent evaluations, 76% of participating children discovered new interests and 91% expanded a current interest as a result of participating in 4-H Summer Spark programs. 52% reported learning information or developing skills that would help them in school classes. Top life skills developed as a result of participation were: critical thinking, social skills, teamwork, and healthy lifestyle choices.

II. County Background

Catawba County is located in the western part of North Carolina in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The population of the county is 157,424. It is the 18th largest county in North Carolina and one of the 27 urban counties with population of 100,000 or more. 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. Unemployment was around 3.8% for 2018. 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

Our family and consumer sciences programs improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

Value* Outcome Description
50Number of adults increasing knowledge of life skills (such as goal setting, stress management, self-care and healthy relationships)
53Number of adults increasing their knowledge of community resources
25Number of adults and professionals increasing their knowledge of human development over the life course and emerging best practices in parenting and caregiving
75Number of parents and other caregivers of children increasing their knowledge of positive parenting practices (such as communication and discipline)
113Number of people gaining basic financial management knowledge and/or skills (such as; budgeting, record keeping, goal setting, writing goals, consumer decision-making)
90Number of people gaining knowledge and/or skills in managing financial products and financial identity (such as; credit, debt management, identify theft, credit reports and scores, scams, banking skills)
150Number of people gaining knowledge and/or skills to increase family economic security (such as; how to access: SNAP benefits, SHIIP Medicare Part D; food cost management, cost comparison skills, shop for reverse mortgages, select long term care insurance, etc.)
28Number of participants increasing knowledge of best management practices related to reducing energy use/increasing energy efficiency
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
38Number of adults using effective life skills (such as goal setting, stress management, self-care and healthy relationships)
160Number of adults increasing their use of identified community resources
15Number of professionals using learned best practices with children/youth/adults/older adults
18Number of professionals granted CEUs, certifications, or other work- or volunteer-related credentials
113Number of people implementing basic financial management strategies (such as; developing a budget, keeping records, etc.)
50Number of people accessing programs and implementing strategies to support family economic well-being
28Number of participants engaging in best management practices related to reducing energy use/increasing energy efficiency
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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

Value* Outcome Description
40Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
40Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
40Number of pesticide applicators receiving continuing education credits
34Number of pesticide credit hours provided
4Number of Certified Crops Advisors receiving continuing education credits
85Number 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
10Number of Certified Crops Advisors credit hours provided
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
5Number of new farms (beginning farmers) selling into local markets for local consumption (in this reporting period)
10Number 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
38Number of animal producers who increased knowledge of farm business management, business planning, financial management, marketing, or estate planning.
157Number 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.)
120Number 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
38Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices related to pasture management
46Number 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
31Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
894Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
409Total number of female participants in STEM program
42Number of youth (students) participating in 4-H dropout prevention (student at-risk) programs
113Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
475Number of youth increasing knowledge of life skills
105Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
475Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
64Number of youth demonstrating increased knowledge of natural resources and environmental issues
* 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
123Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
40Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
452Number of youth using effective life skills
20Number of youth willing to participate in conservation actions
693Number of youth increasing their physical activity
66Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
12Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles beyond Extension, including community boards and task forces
23Number of youth assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
678Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
94Number of youth who grow food in school gardens.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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

Value* Outcome Description
480Number 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
20Number of individuals who grow food in community gardens.
96Number of individuals who begin home food production by starting a vegetable and/or fruit garden
384Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease, wildlife) and soil management
240Number of participants growing food for home consumption
40Number of participants adopting composting
* 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
135Number of participants who increase their knowledge of safe home food handling, preservation, or preparation practices
38Number of participants who increase their knowledge of Good Farmers Market Practices
68Number of food handlers who increase their knowledge and skills in safe food handling practices
861Number 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.).
38Number of participants developing food safety plans
340Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
130Number of participants increasing their physical activity
152Number 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 increase, support, and improve row crop production and Catawba County row crop producers’ farm profitability while also slowing the loss of the county’s farmland, two row crop presentations (e.g. best practices in soybean productions, industrial hemp, herbicide resistance management, agrochemical use, pest management, variety selection, etc.) will be held. At least 3 credits will be gained by participants towards X, N, D, O pesticide license requirements and/or Certified Crop Advisor continuing education credits. To educate Catawba County livestock farmers about pasture management in order to meet the nutritional needs of livestock, NC Cooperative Extension will host three meetings and/or farm demonstrations. Farmers will gain an understanding of grass species growth patterns, regional disease patterns, and the nutritional needs of grass pastures. This knowledge will aid in addressing environmental, disease, and low production challenges, resulting in increased length of time that pastures can be grazed by livestock or an increase in forage production. To help small farmers reduce input costs and increase productivity, market readiness and profits, a small farmers group will meet monthly during the winter and spring and bi-monthly during the summer and fall. These meetings will provide a place for farmers to discuss problems, explore opportunities for collaboration, receive disease and pest updates, and obtain programming specific to their needs. Eight presentations will focus on increasing productivity and profits, reducing input costs and crop loss and adopting food safety practices. At least two farm tours will be planned to demonstrate different production systems and equipment.
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. 4-H activities will 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 is an annual event that we hope to continue expand participation. In order to promote agricultural literacy within the general public, NC Cooperative Extension will distribute a local food guide with a description of all the ways consumers can access food produced in Catawba County. 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 reach at least 250 consumers that will report via written evaluation a greater understanding of how to grow, purchase, and or 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. In collaboration with Catawba County Library and their community garden project, at least 30 landscape management and vegetable gardening classes will be hosted for the general public. 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.

V. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 18,459
Non face-to-face** 519,290
Total by Extension staff in 2019 537,749
* 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 $5,945.83
In-Kind Grants/Donations $0.00
United Way/Foundations $2,000.00
User Fees $5,090.00
Total $13,035.83

VII. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 25.43
4-H 455 1951 5430 $ 49,614.00
Extension Community Association 19 173 0 $ 4,399.00
Extension Master Gardener 81 1553 357 $ 39,493.00
Other: Agriculture 21 15 0 $ 381.00
Other: Food & Nutrition 12 31 42 $ 788.00
Total: 588 3723 5829 $ 94,676.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VIII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

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
Tracey Paul
Amy McDonald
Amanda Freeland
Zack King
Jordan Johnson
Food Safety/Food Policy Council
Scott Carpenter
Tracey Paul
Garden Production Advisory Committee
Hugh McCammon
Pam Eavenson
Pam Holt
Cindy Rywak
Susan Bisulca
Peggy McCosh
Rachael Nagele

IX. 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.

Jenny Carleo
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Grain Crops
Phone: (704) 873-0507
Email: jscarleo@ncsu.edu

Natalie Cline
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (828) 465-8240
Email: nscline@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.

Glenn Detweiler
Title: Area Agent, Agriculture - Livestock
Phone: (828) 465-8246
Email: glenn_detweiler@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Agriculture-Livestock

April Dillon
Title: Area Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (704) 482-4365
Email: april_dillon@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.

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.)

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

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.

Adam Smith
Email: ansmith3@ncsu.edu

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) 465-8240
Email: alvigard@ncsu.edu

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.

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