2018 Chatham County Plan of Work

Approved: January 23, 2018

I. County Background

The 2010 Census denoted Chatham County's population is 63,505, an increase of 28.74% since 2000. Chatham County is 1 of 15 counties in North Carolina that has experienced a growth rate over 25% since 2000. The Raleigh/Durham Metropolitan Statistical Area of which Chatham County is included tied for the third fastest growing area in the nation at 41.8%. With Chatham County being sandwiched between the triangle and triad metropolitan areas in North Carolina, there is a significant amount of pressure on the agrarian lifestyle of the county from those seeking the rural setting but lacking an understanding of what that entails.

Agriculture and agribusiness continue to be the largest industries in Chatham County. The 2012 Census of Agriculture reported that there are 1,139 farms in the County, resulting in a 4.4% increase in the number of farms from the 2007 Census of Agriculture. The county ranks 2nd in the state in beef cow production, 4th in all cattle production, 16th in broiler production, 11th in the number of milk cows, and 5th in hay production. In addition, Chatham County is 19th in the state in livestock, dairy, and poultry income; it also ranks 29th in total farm income. Our agricultural income from livestock was driven down considerably by the closure of Townsends Poultry, but we are starting to see some rebound and are expecting considerable growth with the opening of Mountaire Farms' processing plant in Spring 2019. Chatham County continues to be considered a hotbed of organic production and continues to increase the number of small-scale vegetable and specialty farms.

During our last needs assessment, with participation from the Chatham County Extension Advisory Leadership Council, over 350 Chatham citizens provided valuable input. The top three identified needs consisted of the following: (1)environmental and natural resources management, (2) agricultural and food supplies, and (3) foods and nutrition, specifically with a focus on youth obesity.

As more urban populations move into Chatham, there is a greater need to educate those individuals about the importance of agriculture and agribusiness; this warrants a substantial need to increase the overall agricultural literacy of our county's citizens. We have worked with the County Commissioners’ Agricultural Advisory Board to develop a county-wide farmland protection plan and are implementing some of those recommendations to strengthen the agricultural industry in the county. With the completion and adoption of the Chatham County Comprehensive Plan, we will work earnestly to introduce strategies developed through this study in our own Extension programming. Our county office will address and promote the two main goals identified in the plan: (1) preserve, protect, and enable agriculture and forestry and (2) preserve the rural character and lifestyle of Chatham County. Overall, as recommended in the plan, we will act to support agriculture through increased education, outreach, and training efforts.

Production practices, bio-security, nutrient management, and marketing workshops for small scale poultry producers will be conducted to assist existing and new farmers succeed in these new and emerging poultry markets. Educational programs with an environmental protection aspect will be provided in areas such as litter and nutrient management, dead bird disposal, water quality issues, biosecurity, diversity, storm water management, farm profitability, waste recertification, and pesticide education. With over 59% of the land in timber, we will continue to help forest landowners to improve their best management practices, increase forest profitability, and improve forest health. Chatham County enjoys a national reputation for its abundance of small, diversified farms that yield produce, flowers, herbs, meat, poultry, dairy, and value-added products. This local food production depends on pollinators such as honey bees and native bees to produce high quality fruits and vegetables. Pollinator habitat demonstration projects and other educational programs will promote the importance of protecting the pollinators that local farmers rely on to pollinate their crops.

According to the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, 61.6% of the county residents are overweight or obese. Twenty-one percent of residents continue to consume five or less fruits or vegetables a day. Even with the increased awareness of the benefits of being physical active, only 28% of the residents meet daily recommendations for being physically active. Cooperative Extension programs such as Eat Smart / Move More / Weigh Less, Junior Chefs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education, and Youth in Motion will promote healthy lifestyles with reduction in body weights and an increase in physical activity for both adults and children.

Chatham County 4-H is successfully engaging over 3,700 young people from across the county in various youth educational programs such as community clubs, school enrichment programs, special interest events, and camps. With the generous support of the local United Way of Chatham County and partnerships with local agencies, 4-H is able to provide unique, quality programming that provides youth with new knowledge and skill sets in areas of leadership development, nutrition, citizenship, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

III. Relationship to County Government Objectives

With the completion and adoption of the Chatham County Comprehensive Plan (http://www.chathamnc.org/home/showdocument?id=37025), we will work earnestly to introduce strategies developed through this study in our own Extension programming. Our county office will address and promote the two main goals identified in the plan: (1) preserve, protect, and enable agriculture and forestry and (2) preserve the rural character and lifestyle of Chatham County. Overall, as recommended in the plan, we will act to support agriculture through increased education, outreach, and training efforts.

The 2018 Cooperative Extension Plan of Work directly relates to a number of strategic recommendations outlined within the Comprehensive Plan. Some of those strategic recommendations include the following:

- Support agriculture through increased education, outreach and training. This also includes encouraging participation in the VAD (Voluntary Agricultural District) program, while raising awareness of the benefits of participation in VADs.

- Continue to raise awareness of and appreciation for agriculture within the county, especially the value to the community (economy, environment, health with access to fresh nutritious foods, etc.).

- Promote and encourage sustainable agricultural practices including preserving soil fertility and minimizing soil loss, the production of agricultural goods that can be consumed or used in the county, and farmscale BMPs that protect water quality.

Cooperative Extension serves on the Chatham County Agricultural Advisory Board and the Grand Trees of Chatham Committee. Additionally, Cooperative Extension assisted in the development of a county-wide Farmland Protection Plan and Agricultural Economic Development Plan. Furthermore, Cooperative Extension also assists with the Voluntary Agricultural District program in Chatham County.

Youth and adult obesity has been identified in several county government studies as being one of the top health needs in Chatham County. Programs are being implemented that teach healthy lifestyles to both youth and adults.

Cooperative Extension staff serve on the County Emergency Operations Center team during emergencies and natural disasters primarily when agriculture is impacted. We work closely with sister agencies to make sure that weather, crop, and disaster reports are submitted timely to keep state and federal elected officials aware of local conditions.

IV. Diversity Plan

In furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability. In addition, the two universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.

All reasonable efforts will be made to ensure compliance with AA policies. Specific strategies and public notification efforts (i.e. targeted audiences, media outlets, flyers, personal contacts, working with community groups, etc.) will be carried forward to ensure the program is brought within the reach of all community residents. The Extension Reporting System will assist in monitoring the effort and ensuring compliance within program areas.

V. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods

Delivering timely, relevant educational programs that meet critical local needs is the cornerstone of Extension’s mission. Extension educational programs are designed to equip the citizens of Chatham County with the knowledge, skills, and tools to improve their economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and quality of life. An Extension program delivery system is planned, organized, and displays diverse educational delivery methods to ensure a successful educational program. Extension educational methods are the specific ways by which research-based information is disseminated to targeted learners. Extension educators in our county employ a wide variety of hands-on, experiential educational methods such as interactive workshops, 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 client visits, publications, newsletters, E-letters, website articles, and social media posts that serve to support and reinforce learning, as well as provide motivation for continued learning. Armed with the most current literature on effective teaching and learning, Extension educators also skillfully select educational methods based on the learning style preferences and special needs of the targeted learners. These client-focused methods afford learners the opportunity to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to change their lives in meaningful ways. Another key feature of Extension program delivery that is evident in this plan is our commitment to being customer-driven and customer-focused. As such, in addition to the County Extension Center, Extension educational programs are delivered online, in community centers, on farms, and other locations in order for our programs to be available and accessible to - and fully utilized by - the citizens of Chatham County.

In Extension, success is defined as the extent to which our educational programs have made a difference in the lives of the citizens of Chatham County. Evaluation methods allow us to make a determination whether any changes occurred as a result of our educational programs and, subsequently, the significance of those changes. As an educational organization, the changes we seek focus on key outcomes such as the knowledge and skills participants gain from our programs. More specifically, in this plan, we are using quantitative research methods such as retrospective testing and pre- and post-tests to measure change in knowledge gained, the application of that knowledge, number of new skills developed, and types of new skills developed. Equally important is our ability to utilize qualitative research methods; qualitative evaluation methods such as participant interviews and observations are invaluable tools as well.

The county web site (http://chatham.ces.ncsu.edu/) will be utilized to promote educational meetings and workshops and to provide researched-based articles that may be of interest to our clientele.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Chatham County Advisory Leadership Council
Bob Atwater
Chris Bouton
Ron Dameron
Cindy Dameron
Edsel Daniel
Tommy Glosson
Mary Dickerson
Clarence Durham
Dr. Barbara Walton
Brenda Williams
Larilee Isley
Charles Lutterloh
Sharon Day
Cindy Poindexter
Maria Correa
Cecil Wilson
John Wait
Chatham County 4-H and Youth Advisory Committee
Julia Austin
Mary Dickerson
Laura Dickerson
Gail Nelson
Leah Nelson
Phyllis Graham
Katelyn Batchelor
Loretta Batchelor
Chatham County Family & Consumer Education Advisory Committee
Tammy Matthews
Susan Hardy
Jennifer Parks
Chatham County Livestock Advisory Committee
Kathy White
Joe Wachs
Loretta Batchelor
Thomas K. (Chip) Price, III
Phillip Watson
Brent Norwood
Todd White
Clarence Durham
Scotty Scott
Corey Tally
William Culberson
Chatham County Dairy Advisory Committee
Neill Lindley
Leigh Lane
Chris Bowman
Keith Hockett
George Teague
Patrick Purcell
Eddie Patrick
Patrick Purcell
Neil Moye
Chatham County Horse Advisory Committee
Margaret Moore
Gary Moon
Charlie Bolton
Jim Thomas
Donald Whitt
Marty Allen
Janet Allen
Larilee Isley
Area Commerical Poultry Advisory Committee
Phil Bare
Todd Brooks
Jeff Beavers
Keith McDonald
Richard Williams
Brad Gee
Allan’s Foods Representative

Chatham County Horticulture Advisory Committee
Rob Bergmueller
Laurie Cousart
Melinda Fitzgerald
Maggie Frantz
David Higginbotham
Rene Higginbotham
Audrey Joy
Betsy Kraus
Keith Larkin
Bryan Lowrance
Paige Moody
Daniel Sundberg
Chatham County Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Committee
Cathy Jones
Robin Kohanowich
Henry Outz
Fleming Pfann
Bobby Tucker
Judy Lessler
Ben Shields
Beekeeping Advisory Committee
Pat Weisbrodt
Judy Pick
Maggie Frantz
Phyllis Fleming
Moya Hallstein
Ray Wise
Tom Buob
Dairy Youth Advisory Committee
Janice Lindley
Jean Thomas
Mike Strickland
Samantha Gasson
Wayne Lutz
Margie Grubb
Connie Kivett
Chatham County Agriculture Advisory Board
Esta Cohen
Sharon Day
Dr. John Dykers
Terrill Ellington
Cathy Jones
Tandy Jones
Bobby Tucker
Joseph Wachs
Wesley Hancock

VII. Staff Membership

Ginger Cunningham
Title: County Extension Director and Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (919) 542-8249
Email: ginger.cunningham@chathamnc.org
Brief Job Description: Provide youth with educational and enrichment opportunities related to club, camping, and school enrichment (4-H STEM) programming.

Victoria Brewer
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (919) 542-8202
Email: victoria_brewer@ncsu.edu

Daniel Campeau
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (919) 542-8202
Email: dan_campeau@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Work mainly with Commercial Poultry industry. I also work with small scale poultry production. Service area is now the North Central District from Guilford to Halifax with the southern edge being Chatham and Wake county respectively.

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.

Erin Eure
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Fruits & Vegetables
Phone: (252) 357-1400
Email: erin_eure@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities and technical support to commercial fruit and vegetable growers, agents, and industry in northeastern NC.

Tiffany Hancock
Title: County Extension Marketing and Media Support Specialist
Phone: (919) 545-8304
Email: tiffany_hancock@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.

Lynette Johnston
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-0303
Email: lynette_johnston@ncsu.edu

Matt Jones
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Ornamental and Consumer Horticulture
Phone: (919) 542-8243
Email: matt_jones@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Ornamental nurseries and greenhouses, landscape professionals, and home gardeners.

Stacey Jones
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Commercial Nursery and Greenhouse
Phone: (704) 920-3310
Email: stacey_jones@ncsu.edu

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

Liz Mauney
Title: 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (919) 542-8202
Email: enmauney@ncsu.edu

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.

Ashley Robbins
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock, Equine, Forages
Phone: (919) 542-8202
Email: ashley.robbins@chathamnc.org
Brief Job Description: Livestock, Equine, Forages and Field Crops

Debbie Roos
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Sustainable/Organic Production
Phone: (919) 542-8244
Email: debbie_roos@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Local Foods Coordinator; sustainable/organic production for diversified small farms; commercial vegetable and fruit production; farmers' markets and direct marketing; beekeeping; pollinator conservation; forestry

Chip Simmons
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Food Safety
Phone: (919) 414-5632
Email: odsimmon@ncsu.edu

Phyllis Smith
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (919) 542-8247
Email: phyllis_smith@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Registered Dietitian Areas responsible for Health and Wellness, Food Safety and Nutrition.

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.

VIII. Contact Information

Chatham County Center
1192 US 64W Business
Suite 400
Pittsboro, NC 27312

Phone: (919) 542-8202
Fax: (919) 542-8246
URL: http://chatham.ces.ncsu.edu