2020 Chatham County Plan of Work

Approved: January 21, 2020

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 situated between the triangle and triad metropolitan areas in North Carolina, there is a significant amount of developmental pressure on the agrarian lifestyle enjoyed by many within the county and an increased need to promote sound agricultural literacy amongst the county population.

Agriculture and agribusiness continue to be the largest industries in Chatham County and remain significant to the local economy. The 2017 Census of Agriculture reported that there are 1,116 farms in the County, of which 98% identified as family farms. The county ranks second in the state in beef cow production, second in its sheep and goat population, third in equine population, fourth in all cattle production, eleventh in hay production, and sixteenth in broiler production. In addition, Chatham County is nineteenth in the state in livestock, dairy, and poultry income; it also ranks twenty-ninth in total farm income.

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, native plants, 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.

In order to promote overall wellness amongst the county’s residents Extension programs such as Med Instead of Meds, Junior CHEF, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education, and Matter of Balance will promote healthy lifestyles with reduction in body weights and an increase in physical activity for both adults and youth. 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) to help develop a committed and competent future workforce for the county.

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. 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.

II. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

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

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

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

Our community development programs build strong and thriving communities.

Our 4-H youth development programs grow the skills young people need to succeed in life and career.

Our natural resource and environmental programs conserve our precious natural resources and maintain a clean and healthy environment.

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

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.

III. Relationship to County Government Objectives

With the adoption of the Chatham County Comprehensive Plan (http://www.chathamnc.org/home/showdocument?id=37025), we will continue 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 2020 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 farm-scale BMPs that protect water quality.

With guidance provided by the Chatham County Comprehensive Plan, Cooperative Extension serves as a member on two county Collaborative Impact Teams (CITs): (1) Natural Resources & Agriculture and (2) Human Services. As such, Cooperative Extension will assist in providing guidance to prioritization of objectives outlined in the comprehensive plan and collaborative efforts amongst county departments and partnering agencies.

Cooperative Extension serves on the Chatham County Agricultural Advisory Board and assists with the Voluntary Agricultural District program in Chatham County.
Additionally, Cooperative Extension assisted in the development of a county-wide Farmland Protection Plan and Agricultural Economic Development Plan and will coordinate efforts to update this plan as it applies to 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 promote 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 ensure that weather, crop, and disaster reports are submitted in a timely fashion to keep state and federal elected officials aware of local conditions and impacts.

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 numerous 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 for the Chatham County Center.

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 and applicability to our clientele.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Chatham County Advisory Leadership Council
Meredith Leight
Bob Atwater
Cindy Dameron
Tommy Glosson
Mary Dickerson
Mary Nettles
Dr. Barbara Walton
Ron Dameron
Brenda Williams
Larilee Isley
Charles Lutterloh
Sharon Day
Cindy Poindexter
Maria Correa
Cecil Wilson
Chatham County 4-H and Youth Advisory Committee
Julia Austin
Mary Dickerson
Elizabeth Fridley
Rob Bergmueller
Katelyn Batchelor
Raegan Brinkman
Maddie Loops
Victoria Smith
Loretta Batchelor
Sandra McLaurin
Linda Bergmueller
Chatham County Family & Consumer Education Advisory Committee
Tammy Matthews
Susan Hardy
Edna Williams
Chatham County Livestock Advisory Committee
Kathy White
Phillip Watson
Thomas K. (Chip) Price, III
Brent Norwood
Loretta Batchelor
Todd White
Sam Groce
Wyatt Culberson
Eugene Beavers
Lynn Crissman
Chatham County Dairy Advisory Committee
Neill Lindley
Leigh Lane
Chris Bowman
Keith Hockett
George Teague
Patrick Purcell
Eddie Patrick
Neil Moye
Chatham County Horse Advisory Committee
Margaret Moore
Gary Moon
Charlie Bolton
Jim Thomas
Marty Allen
Janet Allen
Larilee Isley
Shannon Clark
Area Commercial 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
Paige Moody
Daniel Sundberg
Chatham County Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Committee
Cathy Jones
Robin Kohanowich
Judy Lessler
Fleming Pfann
Ben Shields
Tenita Solanto
Bobby Tucker
Beekeeping Advisory Committee
Maggie Frantz
Mimi Gussow
David Jones
Julia Kopacz
Jody Moore
Phil Uptmor
Pat Weisbrodt
Grayum Wells
Ray Wise
Kirby Zeman
Dairy Youth Advisory Committee
Janice Lindley
Jean Thomas
Mike Strickland
Samantha Gasson
Wayne Lutz
Margie Grubb
Connie Kivett
Chatham County Agriculture Advisory Board
Tandy Jones
Ben Shields
Sharon Day
Doug Burleson
Cathy Jones
Bobby Tucker
Tenita Solanto
Sarah Justice

VII. Staff Membership

Ginger Cunningham
Title: County Extension Director and Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development & Forestry
Phone: (919) 542-8249
Email: ginger_cunningham@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides administrative leadership to Chatham County Center personnel and oversight of county-based programming. Assists youth with educational and enrichment opportunities related to 4-H club, camping, and school enrichment (4-H STEM) programming, in addition to delivering educational programming within the field of forestry.

Jonas Asbill
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (336) 318-6000
Email: jonas_asbill@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Serving the poultry industry across 20 counties in the North Central and Northeast districts

Kristina Britt
Title: Livestock and Forages Agent
Phone: (919) 542-8202
Email: akbritt@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.

Erin Eure
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Fruits and 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.

Tara Gregory
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (919) 542-8247
Email: tara_gregory@ncsu.edu

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.

Matt Jones
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Ornamental and Consumer Horticulture
Phone: (919) 542-8243
Email: matt_jones@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Matt has been a horticulture extension agent with NC State University since 2015 and in Chatham County since 2018. His education and outreach program targets home gardeners, ornamental nurseries, and landscape professionals, and he is the program coordinator for the Extension Master Gardener program in Chatham County. He previously worked as a research associate in nut crops for University of California Cooperative Extension and interned at the Arnold Arboretum. Matt was an Erasmus Mundus Fellow and earned his M.Sc. in Horticultural Science jointy from the University of Bologna, Technical University of Munich, and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna. He also has a M.S. in Botany and undergraduate degrees in botany and microbiology from the University of Oklahoma.

Stacey Jones
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Commercial Nursery and Greenhouse
Phone: (704) 920-3310
Email: stacey_jones@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: I work with commercial greenhouses and nurseries to help them with growing related issues. These issues range from pests (insect, disease, and weeds), substrates, nutrition, and other miscellaneous topics.

Peggie Lewis Joyce
Title: Area 4-H Agent - Central Region
Phone: (336) 242-2080
Email: peggie_lewis@ncsu.edu

Brandi King
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (919) 542-8202
Email: blking4@ncsu.edu

Kaley Lawing
Title: Extension Agent, Community Resource Development/ 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (919) 542-8248
Email: kblawing@ncat.edu

Liz Mauney
Title: 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (919) 542-8257
Email: enmauney@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!

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

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.

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