2018 Alexander County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 24, 2019

I. Executive Summary

There were many successful programs held by North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Alexander County in 2018. These programs were designed to address major needs within Alexander County. Several major county needs identified by our local Environmental Scan were addressed.

Nutrition education and culinary skills are at an all-time low. Obesity rates in Alexander County continues to grow. Obesity has been linked to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer, which are many of the leading causes of preventable death. Med instead of Meds is a six-session series, 3 hours long per session. A total of 9 individuals attended the series. As a result of the program, all participants gain knowledge on the Mediterranean eating pattern, mindful eating, strategies for eating the Med way, and strategies to implement the Med way of eating. Based on post evaluation, 100% of the participants now serve and eat whole grains more often, 66.7% of the participants use olive oil and serve and eat fruit and vegetables more often, 55.5% serve and eat nuts more often, 44% serve, eat, and drink added sugar and processed foods less often. The art of home foods preservation is declining due to the readily available access to canned, dried, and frozen product in the grocery stores. Home foods preservation is especially essential when you have your own garden and an overabundance of fruits and vegetables. Preserving the Harvest series was created to address the concern of food waste and how to extend the shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables. The series consists of four workshops: basic canning, jams and jellies, pickling and fermentation, and dehydration. Each workshop had a different number of attendant: 5 attended basic canning, 2 attended jams and jellies, 6 attended pickling and fermentation, and 8 attended dehydration. Real money, Real world is a simulation that teaches middle school students on budgeting and how secondary education can play a role in having better jobs, better homes and a better quality of life. The simulation was implemented towards all the 8th grade students at West Middle school and all the 7th-grade students at East Middle school. As a result of this program, 61% of students responded that they will start to give priority to their education, 50% stated they plan to attend college, 64% plans to start using a budget sheet to managing their money, and 48.7% stated they will start saving money regularly.

The Horticulture program continued focused on increasing local foods to citizens of Alexander County. Extension continued to support and expand the three local community gardens through the acquisition of new funds and through the assistance of several Master Gardeners. Also through working with the city of Taylorsville and local produce vendors, the Alexander Farmers Market continues to remain strong as a viable Saturday morning market. This has a huge impact on both our local vendors and produce buyers. Our farmers market held strong at 13 different vendors selling during our summer market, with most produce vendors selling out daily. This amounts to approximately $15,600 worth of fresh produce purchased and eaten by our local citizens. There were 11 individuals trained through the Certified Master Gardeners Class series. In addition, a tree fruit grower pruning school and winter school were held for approximately 60 local and regional apple, peach and Asian pear producers. A Food Safety workshop was held which trained 22 producers on proper safe food practices for on-farm harvesting and packing.

This past year Alexander county 4-H continued to offer many school enrichment programs including, Wake up to Ag, Embryology, and Health Rocks. 4-H was also involved in the after-school programs at 6 of the elementary schools in the county. 4-H reached over 1,000 youth in the school systems this year. 4-H also offered some great summer day camps in 2018, we educated approximately 100 kids in many areas of the curriculum including STEM, aquaculture, Agriculture, and Culinary Arts. Alexander County is also home to five youth clubs including 85 kids with several different focus areas. 4-H gives children a different style of learning by focusing on a hands-on approach with the belief that youth learn best by doing. We look forward to continuing our great program in 2019!

NC experienced many weather-related challenges last year. None being more devastating than hurricane Florence. Many farmers faced difficult times in Eastern NC due to flooding, loss of livestock and loss of feed for livestock. Alexander County Cooperative Extension along with local farmers collected and delivered over $4,000.00 worth of donations to help out farmers in need. Learning to give back is important and it's never too early in life to start. Members of the Alexander County 4-H Livestock Club held a baked goods fundraiser to support the local animal shelter to purchase needed supplies. The club members raised over $550.00. The youth purchased and delivered the needed supplies to the Alexander County Animal Shelter. Cattle producers in Alexander County had the opportunity to attend the Foothills Forage Tour held in Caldwell County. Producers were able to see pasture where Chaparral had been applied to reduce seed head production in fescue. Fescue grass is the main source of forage for cattle in this area. Fescue contains an endophyte that can have negative effects on cattle in the summer. The endophyte is primarily located in the seedhead of fescue. Chaparral applied at the right time will reduce seedheads from forming. The demonstration showed that seedhead production was reduced but endophyte levels still remained higher than the targeted levels. A side result was that by spraying Chaparral it did encourage other grass species to grow as a result of reduced weed pressure.

In looking at the total year’s efforts, Cooperative Extension in Alexander County made 17,808 educational contacts. Through grants from United Way, Farm Bureau, Carolina Farm Credit, etc. over $2,300 were acquired to assist Extension Programs locally. Also in 2018, 40 volunteers contributed 2,452 hours of volunteer service valued at $60,540 to assist Extension educational programs in Alexander County. All in all, NC Cooperative Extension in Alexander County made a big difference in many people's lives in 2018.

II. County Background

Alexander County is a small, fairly rural county in North Carolina with a population of 37,198. The major racial mixes in Alexander County are 87.1% white, 5.5% black, and 5.2% 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 10th 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 most recent Environmental Scan that will be addressed are:
- Hands-on learning for youth
- Improving youth life skills
- Changing unhealthy youth lifestyles
- Maintaining healthy farm communities
- Small family farm survival
- Family financial planning
- Healthy family activities
- Buying local foods

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.

III. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

North Carolina's plant production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.

Value* Outcome Description
46Number 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
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
29Number 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
127800Net income gains realized by the adoption of best management practices, including those practices related to nutrient management, conservation, production, cultivars, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), business management, and marketing
20Number of producers reporting increased dollar returns per acre or reduced costs per acre
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

North Carolina's animal production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.

Value* Outcome Description
357Number of animal producers increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, and/or skills as related to: 1. Best management production practices (cultural, nutrient, and genetics) 2. Pest/insect, disease, weed, wildlife management 3. Financial/Farm management tools and practices (business, marketing, government policy, human resources) 4. Alternative agriculture, bioenergy, and value-added enterprises
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
50Number of animal producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
185250Net income gains by producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Producers will increase sales of food locally to more agriculturally aware consumers through market development, producer and consumer education, and new farmer and infrastructure support.

Value* Outcome Description
10Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
102Number of adults (including producers, food business owners, etc.) who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
558Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
481Number of individuals who gain knowledge or acquire skills related to vegetable/fruit gardening, and if also reporting under Urban and Consumer Agriculture Objective, divide up the reported number appropriately between the two objectives to avoid duplication.
8Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
11Number 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
26Number of producers selling their agricultural products to local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional) for consumption in NC.
1Number of producers who diversified their marketing strategies into local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional).
2833200Gross sales of local foods by producers. (Increase in gross sales to be calculated at the state level.)
2Number of producers (and other members of the local food supply chain) who have increased revenue.
1Number of new farms (beginning farmers) selling into local markets for local consumption (in this reporting period).
38Number of individuals who grow food in community gardens.
150Number of youth who grow food in school gardens.
10Number of individuals who begin home food production by starting a vegetable and/or fruit garden, and if also reporting under Urban and Consumer Horticulture Objective, divide up the reported number appropriately between the two objectives to avoid duplication.
550Number of pounds of fresh produce donated for consumption by vulnerable populations.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Adults and youth will apply financial management practices to increase their economic security, which include to: meet basic necessities, increase savings, reduce debt, and build long-term assets.

Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways

North Carolinians will make decisions and adopt practices that implement effective resource protection and conservation.

Value* Outcome Description
307Number of participants increasing their knowledge about best management practices
1Number of participants certified to implement and maintain BMPs
5Number of child and youth educators aspiring to implement quality outdoor learning environments for children
152Number of youth and adults demonstrating increased knowledge of natural resources and environmental issues
28Number of youth willing to participate in conservation actions
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
7Number of participants that adopted recommended climate adaption strategies for production agriculture or natural resource management, including for invasive species, pest management, pollutant loads, and wetlands.
197Number of acres under recommended climate adaption strategies for production agriculture or natural resource management, including for invasive species, pest management, pollutant loads, and wetlands.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Consumers and communities will enhance the value of plants, animals, and landscapes while conserving valuable natural resources and protecting the environment.

Value* Outcome Description
554Number of participants improving knowledge, attitude, skills and aspirations regarding gardening and landscape practices including plant selection and placement, turfgrass management, soil management, growing food, water conservation and water quality preservation, storm water and erosion management, green waste management, pest and wildlife management
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
271Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease) management, fertility management, water conservation, water quality preservation and pruning techniques
7975Total cost savings from the use of extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease) management, fertility management, water conservation, water quality preservation and pruning techniques
19Number of participants who use extension-recommended pest management practices in homes, public facilities, businesses or in community pest management programs
1330Cost savings from using extension-recommended pest management practices in homes, public facilities, businesses or in community pest management programs
53Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
5300Cost savings from the appropriate selection of landscape plants
34Number of participants growing food for home consumption
6800Value of produce grown for home consumption
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Youth and adult program participants will make healthy food choices, achieve the recommended amount of physical activity and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases.

Value* Impact Description
8Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
203Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
8Number of participants increasing their physical activity
8Number of participants who consume less sodium in their diet
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 9,055
Non face-to-face** 8,694
Total by Extension staff in 2018 17,749
* 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.

V. Designated Grants Received by Extension

Type of GrantAmount
Contracts/Grants $0.00
Gifts/Donations $2,300.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $0.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $0.00
Total $2,300.00

VI. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 25.43
4-H: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Advisory Leadership System: 13 48 14 $ 1,221.00
Extension Community Association: 6 2,199 9,059 $ 55,921.00
Extension Master Gardener: 21 205 55 $ 5,213.00
Other: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Total: 40 2452 9128 $ 62,354.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Advisory Council
Trudy Perry-Chair
Gary Herman
Carry Cash
Sandra Miller
Chris Dugan
Corey Parker
Traci Fox
Amy Childers
Milton Campbell
Wayne Wooten
Matt Cooksey
Poultry
Shawn Brown
Martha Smith
Kathy Gilreath
Darryl Moore
Carl Bentley
Louise Hatton
Lee Herman
Master Gardener
Phill Bowman
Venus Bowman
Ronnie Robinette
Chad Ritchie
Wayne Wooten
Beef
David Herman
Daniel Chapman
Eugene White
Rodney Herman
Trevor Chatham
Charles Johnson
Dustin Queen
Brad Gilreath
Brandon Brown
Horse
Denise Vick
Amanda Jagniszak
Dr Tiffany Bradford
FCS Volunteer Leadership
Wanda Stafford
Ella Mae Nichols
Kay Bowman
Micki Earp
Family & Consumer Science
Macy Jones
Laura Crooks
Kristen Jolly
Micki Earp
Bria Marlowe
April Eckard
4-H & Youth
Merlyn Davis
Stewart Akers
Amy Chapman
Robin Cowan
Heather Houston
Brooke Wike
Crystal Hoke

VIII. Staff Membership

Lenny Rogers
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (828) 632-4451
Email: lenny_rogers@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: julie_campbell@ncsu.edu

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

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: der_xiong@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

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.

Currey Nobles
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9520
Email: canobles@ncsu.edu

Elena Rogers
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Food Safety - Fresh Produce Western NC
Phone: (828) 352-2519
Email: elena_rogers@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide educational programs, training and technical support focusing on fresh produce safety to Agents and growers in Western NC.

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) 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.

IX. 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