2020 Alexander County Plan of Work

Approved: January 22, 2020

I. County Background

Alexander County is a small, fairly rural county in North Carolina with a population of 37,268. The major racial mixes in Alexander County are 89.6% white, 5.5% black, and 4.3% Hispanic. Senior adults are expected to compose nearly 20% of the population by 2020. This will double their number from the year 1996. Geographically we are extremely diverse with being relatively flat in the southeastern section, having the Brushy Mountains in the northern and western sections and Lake Hickory bordering the entire southern portion of our county. The highest mountain is Hickory Knob at an elevation of 2,560 feet. However, the majority of the county is comprised of rolling hills. Agriculture is still a large income generator for its citizens, bringing in 212.3 million dollars last year. As small as our county is, it is ranked 3rd in apple production, 4th in poultry layers, 4th in dairy cows, 5th in peach production, 9th in broilers and 11th in beef cattle for North Carolina. Unemployment for Alexander County is approximately 4.1%. Only 13.0% of our citizens have a BS Degree or higher and 16.8% of our citizens are below the poverty level. Increasing numbers of Alexander County youth are overweight and an increasing number of school-age youth have been identified as diabetic. However, being rural and having a low property tax rate, we have become bedroom communities on the southern border for Hickory and on the eastern edge for Statesville. All these facts and situations add up to many educational opportunities for our local Cooperative Extension Center.

Issues identified in our 2018 Environmental Scan that will be addressed are:

- Healthy nutrition and eating habits taught in multiple school grades
- Teach various STEM and Agriculture programs throughout the school system
- Teach adult healthy eating habits
- Nutrition and preservation classes continually needed
- Teach the importance of healthy exercise at all ages
- Assist with more local food production
- A need to preserve Ag-heritage and Ag-knowledge
- Need more organic and healthy soil education

Alexander County Cooperative Extension is committed to developing programs to provide educational programs to help solve problems facing the people of the county within the scope of its mission and resources. Long-range planning has enabled Extension, over its 100 year history, to meet the changing needs of its clientele, and to design and implement programs addressing identified needs.

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 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

The Cooperative Extension Service works well with Alexander County Government. Assisting the huge county agriculture base, promoting volunteerism; assisting with county-wide events, scheduling and holding hazardous household waste days; weekly programs at county schools; putting in community gardens on various town and county sites; assisting with larger community events such as festivals and parades; etc.; are all examples of our partnership with county government. We have spearheaded many educational programs in these areas and continue to do so. Our continued relationship with our local government is a must for the continued progress of our Alexander County citizens.

IV. Diversity Plan

The Alexander County Cooperative Extension Center is an informal educational outreach of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University. As an educational partnership, it's mission is to help all people put research-based knowledge to work for economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and an improved quality of life. The Alexander Extension Center is committed to practices which promote equal opportunities for members of target groups identified by legislation as having experienced disadvantages. Employment and informal educational programming opportunities are offered to all people regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability or sexual orientation. The Alexander County Extension Center's staff will make all reasonable efforts to identify and recruit underserved audiences. The groups will be contacted by use of constant contact, newspapers, newsletters, radio, posters, flyers, TV, facebook, websites and one-on-one contacts.

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 Alexander County with the knowledge, skills and tools to improve their economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and quality of life. An Extension program delivery system is a planned and organized eclectic mix of educational methods used during an educational program. Extension educational methods are the specific ways by which research-based information is shared with targeted learners. Extension educators in our county employ a wide variety of hands-on, experiential educational methods, such as interactive workshops and classes, demonstrations, field days and tours, that allow learners to fully engage in the learning process, test new knowledge and/or practice new skills during the educational session. Equally important, this plan will also include educational methods such as seminars, client visits, fact sheets, newsletters, and home study kits that serve to support and reinforce learning as well as provide motivation for continued learning. 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 focus. 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 Alexander 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 Alexander County. Evaluation methods are the way we make those observations about first and foremost whether any changes occurred as a result our educational programs, and subsequently the significance of those changes. As an educational organization, the changes we seek focus on key outcomes such as the knowledge and skills participants gain from our programs. More specifically, in this plan, we are using quantitative research methods such as retrospective testing, pre and post tests and/or surveys to measure change in knowledge gained, the application of that knowledge, number of new skills developed, and types of new skills developed. Extension, as a results-oriented organization, is committed to also assessing the social, economic and/or environmental impact that our programs have on the individuals who participate, their families and communities and ultimately the county as a whole (i.e. true significance of the changes stemming from our programs). We plan to measure these impacts in both the long and short-term. In this annual plan (short-term), we have outlined financial impact and cost benefit analysis as our primary evaluation methods. Another value held in Extension is actively listening to and dialoguing with targeted learners. Therefore, this plan also includes qualitative evaluation methods such as testimonials from program participants, and interviews and focus groups with participants.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Advisory Council
Gary Herman-Chair
Tracy Campbell
Crystal Hoke
Sandra Miller
Chris Dugan
Ava Icenhour
Traci Fox
Amy Childers
Ronnie Reese
Matt Cooksey
Mike Richmond
Charissa Blackburn
Shawn Brown
Martha Smith
Kathy Gilreath
Darryl Moore
Carl Bentley
Louise Hatton
Lee Herman
Master Gardener
Phill Bowman
Venus Bowman
Ronnie Robinette
Chad Ritchie
Gayle Pleasants
Larren Hagen
David Herman
Daniel Chapman
Eugene White
Trevor Chatham
Charles Johnson
Dustin Queen
Brad Gilreath
Brandon Brown
Denise Vick
Amanda Jagniszak
Dr Tiffany Hubbs
FCS Volunteer Leadership
Wanda Stafford
Ella Mae Nichols
Carrie Pulley
Carolyn Campbell
Micki Earp
Family & Consumer Science
Jennifer Mitchell
Laura Crooks
Kristen Jolly
Micki Earp
Bria Marlowe
Christine Gates
Stephanie Jones
4-H & Youth
Merlyn Davis
Ava Icenhour
Brandon Brown
Amy Childers
Sandra Miller

VII. Staff Membership

Nancy Keith
Title: County Extension Director, Iredell & Interim County Ext Director, Alexander
Phone: (704) 878-3165
Email: nancy_keith@ncsu.edu

Allison Brown
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Agronomy and Livestock
Phone: (828) 632-4451
Email: allison_brown@ncsu.edu

Julie Campbell
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (828) 632-4451
Email: jscampbe@ncsu.edu

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

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 (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.

Der Holcomb
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (828) 632-3125
Email: dxiong@ncat.edu

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.)

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.

DJ Salyer
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 632-3125
Email: dj_salyer@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.

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

Alexander County Center
151 West Main Avenue
Taylorsville, NC 28681

Phone: (828) 632-4451
Fax: (828) 632-7533
URL: http://alexander.ces.ncsu.edu