2017 Alexander County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 23, 2018

I. Executive Summary

There were many successful programs held by North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Alexander County in 2017. These programs were designed to address major needs within Alexander County. Several major county needs were identified by our local Environmental Scan and were addressed.

2017 was a very successful year for Alexander County 4-H. We continued to offer many school enrichment programs including Wake Up To Ag and Embryology. This year we also added a school enrichment program, Health Rocks, at one of the middle schools to youth in 6th, 7th and 8th grade. School Enrichment programs this year educated over 900 youth. 4-H programs were in 6 after-school centers in the elementary schools serving youth. 4-H programs are grounded in the belief that kids learn best by doing. Kids completed hands-on projects in areas of science, health, agriculture, and citizenship in the after-school programs. In 2017 Alexander County 4-H partnered with Communities in Schools for Reading Partners and served three Elementary Schools weekly. Two schools in Alexander County are using the Leader in Me Program and 4-H has an Enrichment group in both schools as part of their program. Alexander County 4-H provided day camps, workshops, overnight camps and enrichment courses for all ages during the summer. Our summer fun continued to fill up with youth on the waiting list for each event. We served over 100 youth in our summer fun learning experiences. Alexander County 4-H has approximately 80 youth in 4-H clubs. This year we were excited to add a new club. We look forward to providing youth with rich, educational, hands-on learning programs and activities for the 2018 year.

The Horticulture program continued to focus on increasing local foods for citizens of Alexander County. Extension continues to support and manage the three local community gardens through the acquisition of continuing funds and through the assistance of several Master Gardeners. Extension worked with the largest childcare facility in the county identifying and acquiring two local sources of food for their cafeteria meal preparation. 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, with 22 different vendors selling during our summer market. This amounts to approximately $15,400 worth of fresh produce purchased and eaten by our local citizens. There were 16 individuals trained through the Certified Master Gardener Class series. Also with Extensions help, 12 Alexander County Beekeeper educational sessions were held along with one educational Beekeeper Field Day.

Youth involved in Agriculture is the surest and best way to prepare them to become future agriculturalists and effective producers. At the very least it educates them so that they can be informed consumers as adults. In 2017, we trained 8 youth to participate in the State 4-H Livestock Skillathon and Quizbowl competitions. The seasoned Junior Team placed 3rd in the State in Skillathon and Quiz Bowl. Alexander County Cooperative Extension hosted a Select Sires Beef Field Day where approximately 65 participants were able to learn more about estrous synchronization and how artificial insemination can improve their beef herd. Participants were able to gain hands-on experience which will significantly increase the likelihood of implementation at their own farm. Alexander County producers once again participated in the 2nd Annual Foothills Forage Tour, held in Wilkes County. Producers were able to see hybrid bermudagrass being rotationally grazed and alfalfa harvested as haylage.

Nutrition education continues to be a priority for the Family and Consumer Science Program. Engaging youth through school gardens and taste testing such as the Taylorsville Learning Center reinforce priorities learned from Myplate and the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables to 52 students. Other youth programs implemented were Kids in the Kitchen and Speedway to Healthy curriculum and exhibit. Speedway to Healthy exhibit was a huge success. All third graders in Alexander County School Systems and the fourth graders at Taylorsville Elementary, a total of 424 students, was able to attend the exhibit with the help from a total of 24 volunteers and educators. Many teachers expressed how the exhibit was able to reinforce ideas and topics that were taught in class and have reported seeing changes in their students overall healthy behaviors. Fourteen adults participated in a workshop series called Phytoactive Eats where participants learned about probiotics, prebiotics, micro and macro nutrients, gut biomes, superfoods, and fermentation where 83% stated that they are planning to try one of the recipes shared and 75% stated that they were planning on increasing their fruit and vegetable intake. To raise awareness about the local food system, a 4 session preservations program called Preserving the Harvest series was implemented to educate adults on how to safely preserve food and the different types of preservations. To engage the youth audience, in collaboration with the Partnership for Children and Lulu’s Enrichment Center, a Farm to Child Care program was implemented. Staff at Lulu had a training session on nutrition and gardening and a written local foods policy was adopted by the Enrichment Center.

In looking at the total year’s efforts, Cooperative Extension in Alexander County made 22,262 educational contacts. Through grants from Farm Bureau, Carolina Farm Credit, etc. over $3,100 were acquired to assist Extension Programs locally. Also in 2017, 98 volunteers contributed 978 hours of volunteer service valued at $6,035 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 2017.

II. County Background

Alexander County is a small, fairly rural county in North Carolina with a population of 38,711. 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.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
370Number 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
40Number of animal producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
194000Net 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.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
37Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
162Number of adults (including producers, food business owners, etc.) who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
369Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
533Number 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.
37Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
16Number 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
3Number 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.).
56Number of producers selling their agricultural products to local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional) for consumption in NC.
2Number of producers who diversified their marketing strategies into local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional).
3152000Gross sales of local foods by producers. (Increase in gross sales to be calculated at the state level.)
36Number of producers (and other members of the local food supply chain) who have increased revenue.
6Number of new farms (beginning farmers) selling into local markets for local consumption (in this reporting period).
34Number of individuals who grow food in community gardens.
350Number of pounds of local foods donated for consumption by vulnerable populations.
107Number of youth who grow food in school gardens.
42Number 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.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Agricultural producers, workers, food handlers and consumers will adopt safer food and agricultural production, handling, and distribution practices that reduce workplace and home injuries/illnesses, enhance food security, and increase the quality and safety of food that North Carolinians prepare and consume.
Training and educational programs for farmers, agricultural workers, food handlers, and consumers will provide research-based programming, materials, information and expertise to compel these individuals to implement practices relating to the overall safety and security for the food supply and farming systems. Components of this include on-farm, packinghouse, and transportation management, retail and food service establishments, and consumer’s homes. Therefore targeted audiences include farmers and agricultural workers and their families, food handlers and workers (both amateur and commercial), transporters, processors, business operators, food service and retail staff, supervisors of any food facility, long term care facility staff and individuals who purchase, prepare and serve food in their homes. With an estimated 76 million foodborne illnesses annually, costing an estimated $1.4 trillion, food safety highlights a specific area of risk to be addressed by Cooperative Extension. The recent produce-related foodborne illness outbreaks have brought public attention to a problem that has been increasing nationally for the last ten years. The issues of foodborne illness and food safety pose immediate risks for farmers affecting the areas of economics, consumer demand, and market access. Because no processing or kill steps are involved with produce that is typically eaten raw, the best measures to limit microorganisms and fresh produce related illness are to prevent microbes from contaminating the product. Practices like Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), Good Handling Practices (GHPs), and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) represent a systematic preventive approach to food safety, protecting agricultural products as they move from farm to retail and restaurants and finally to families. While there is currently no legal requirements for growers to implement GAPs, buyers have responded to the public concern by requiring their produce growers to adhere to current guidelines and possibly even require GAPs certification. The main areas of concern incorporate production, harvesting, packing, and transporting produce in the areas of water quality, manure management, domestic and wildlife management, worker health and hygiene, transportation, traceability, and documentation. For North Carolina growers to be competitive and produce safe product, it is important that they gain knowledge about and implement food safety programs that minimize physical, chemical and biological hazards Food safety risks do not stop at primary production. As risks associated with pathogens can occur at many junctions between primary production and consumption, food safety is a truly farm-to-fork issue. The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have defined 5 factors that lead to foodborne illness outbreaks: Inadequate cooking or processing procedures; improper storage and holding temperatures, cross-contamination between potentially contaminated raw materials and ready-to-eat foods (either directly or through poor sanitation); and poor implementation of personal hygiene practices. The preventative steps targeting risk reduction taken at each of the components making up the food supply chain are critical in preventing food-borne illness. Educational programs including ServSAFE, School HACCP workshops, food safety at childcare and senior centers, and targeted farm-to-fork food safety inclusion for all food handlers is necessary for important for advances in knowledge and implementation of preventative programs. Equally important is that families and children have a secure food supply. Hunger in American households has risen by 43 percent over the last five years, according to an analysis of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data released in the report "Household Food Security in the United States, 2004." The analysis, completed by the Center on Hunger and Poverty at Brandeis University, shows that more than 7 million people have joined the ranks of the hungry since 1999. The USDA report says that 38.2 million Americans live in households that suffer directly from hunger and food insecurity, including nearly 14 million children. That figure is up from 31 million Americans in 1999. Limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and food-insecure individuals, families and communities will be provided with information and opportunities to enhance household food, diet and nutritional security. Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the United States, and consistently ranks as the first, second or third most deadly industry along with mining and construction. Agriculture is unique in that the work and home place are often the same, exposing both workers and family members to hazards. In the United States on average each year, there are 700 deaths and 140,000 injuries to those who work in agriculture, defined as farming, forestry and fishing. Farmers, farmworkers and their families are at high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries (primarily from tractor roll-overs, machinery entanglements, and animal handling incidents), musculo-skeletal conditions, work-related lung diseases, noise-induced hearing loss, heat stress and heat stroke, pesticide exposure and illness, skin diseases, behavioral health issues, and certain cancers associated with chemical use and prolonged sun exposure. The health and safety of migrant and seasonal farmworkers are complicated by other conditions such as infectious disease, hypertension, and diabetes, as well as cultural and language barriers. Farmers and farmworkers alike are subject to lack of access to health care. Agricultural injury and illness are costly, with total US annual costs reaching $4.5 billion and per farm costs equaling $2,500, or 15% of net income. Median health care coverage for farm families is $6,000 per year. In North Carolina, 27% of farm families do not have health insurance, while 29% of farmers do not have health insurance. Many others have health care coverage with high annual deductibles and high premiums. Agromedicine is a comprehensive, collaborative approach involving both agricultural and health scientists to develop solutions addressing the health and safety issues of the agricultural community through research, education and outreach. The North Carolina Agromedicine Institute, a partnership of NC State University, NC A&T State University and East Carolina University in collaboration with others, develops and evaluates effective programs to reduce injury and illness in agriculture, forestry and fishing. One such program is called Certified Safe Farm (CSF) and AgriSafe. CSF and AgriSafe were first developed and researched in Iowa. CSF and AgriSafe are being adapted to North Carolina agriculture by the NC Agromedicine Institute and its Cooperative Extension collaborators. Certified Safe Farm combines AgriSafe health services (wellness and occupational health screenings and personal protection equipment selection and fit services) conducted by trained AgriSafe health providers, on-farm safety reviews conducted by trained Extension agents, and community education and outreach to achieve safety and health goals established by participating farmers and their employees and families. Insurance incentives and safety equipment cost-share programs for participating farmers are still being developed. Other ongoing educational programs addressing agricultural health and safety include farm safety days for children, youth, or families, employee hands-on farm safety training, the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program for youth, and youth ATV operator safety certification programs.
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.
North Carolina families are experiencing financial distress. A slowing state economy with depressed incomes, rising interest rates, housing and medical costs and increased living expenses for gasoline and food have strained household budgets. NC households (21%) lack access to enough food for an active healthy life for all household members. Families forced into home insecurity in the state reached 47% because of the inability to pay their rent or increased mortgage payments. Foreclosure starts increased 154% between the third quarter of 2006 and first quarter 2010 with projections of increases in foreclosures through 2012. The loss of housing as a primary asset hurts the family emotionally, psychologically and economically and impacts property values and tax revenue in communities. To avoid negative financial outcomes families need skills to develop and execute spending plans to better manage income to cover monthly living expenses, to evaluate, select and manage financial products, and to increase and protect family assets. Eighteen percent (18%) or 1 out of 5 households are asset poor and lack sufficient net worth to subsist at the poverty level for three months without a job or source of support. Due to inadequate savings 1 out of 3 households reported using credit cards to cover basic living expenses, including rent, mortgage payments, groceries, utilities and insurance. Credit card debt and changes in interest rate policies have forced many families to become delinquent on credit repayment. Families nationwide also report feeling that they have inadequate savings for emergencies, educating their children and retirement. Skills that help families develop and implement debt repayment strategies, make sound consumer decisions to avoid scams and frauds, like predatory lending and identity theft, and create and implement plans to achieve short-term and long-term financial goals like acquiring a home, saving for retirement and education and emergency funds can help families recover from poor financial management practices and become more financially secure. In the context of “the Great Recession” and high unemployment (10.4% North Carolina; 9% National (October 2011)) families need knowledge and skills to access information and programs that support family economic security during periods of unemployment, under-employment and/or retirement.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
40Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
783Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
371Total number of female participants in STEM program
15Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
398Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
21Number of adults increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
24Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of entrepreneurship
2Number of adults increasing knowledge of entrepreneurship
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
40Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
371Number of youth (students) gaining knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
398Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
21Number of adults gaining career / employability skills
24Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
2Number of adults gaining entrepreneurship skills
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
North Carolinians will make decisions and adopt practices that implement effective resource protection and conservation.
The natural resources in North Carolina are an important asset that benefit all citizens, but many citizens are unaware of the consequences of actions and practices they implement. The continued population growth of North Carolina is putting pressure on natural resources in terms of quantity and quality. To have a healthy and productive natural environment, professionals and citizens must be knowledgeable of environmental issues and conservation and management opportunities.
Value* Outcome Description
134Number of participants increasing their knowledge about best management practices
4Number of child and youth educators aspiring to implement quality outdoor learning environments for children
68Number of youth and adults demonstrating increased knowledge of natural resources and environmental issues
15Number of youth willing to participate in conservation actions
* 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.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
680Number 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
335Number 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
8375Total 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
20Number of participants who use extension-recommended pest management practices in homes, public facilities, businesses or in community pest management programs
1400Cost savings from using extension-recommended pest management practices in homes, public facilities, businesses or in community pest management programs
52Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
4990Cost savings from the appropriate selection of landscape plants
30Number of participants growing food for home consumption
6000Value of produce grown for home consumption
1Number of participants adopting composting
* 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.
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.
Value* Impact Description
14Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
82Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
82Number of participants increasing their physical activity
14Number 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* 7,349
Non face-to-face** 14,915
Total by Extension staff in 2017 22,264
* 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 $1,000.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $0.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $380.00
Total $1,380.00

VI. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 24.14
4-H: 63 25 702 $ 604.00
Advisory Leadership System: 11 38 9 $ 917.00
Extension Community Association: 18 237 0 $ 5,721.00
Extension Master Gardener: 18 181 17 $ 4,369.00
Other: 30 18 424 $ 435.00
Total: 140 499 1152 $ 12,046.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Advisory Council
Steve Jeffords-Chair
Patty Hayes
Carry Cash
Tim Keever
Micah Henry
Corey Parker
Trudy Perry
April Echerd
Milton Campbell
Shawn Brown
Martha Smith
Kathy Gilreath
Darryl Moore
Carl Bentley
Louise Hatton
Lee Herman
Master Gardener
Phill Bowman
Venus Bowman
Ronnie Robinette
Steve Jeffords
Chad Ritchie
David Herman
Daniel Chapman
Eugene White
Rodney Herman
Trevor Chatham
Charles Johnson
Dustin Queen
Brad Gilreath
Brandon Brown
Denise Vick
Amanda Jagniszak
Dr Tiffany Bradford
FCS Volunteer Leadership
Colene Philmon
Ella Mae Nichols
Kay Bowman
Margo Mosley
Micki Earp
Family & Consumer Science
Evie Robertson
Natasha Beckner
Sandra Miller
Amy Childers
Michaele Costello
Wanda Stafford
Hazel Yoder
4-H & Youth
Trudy Perry
Denise Vick
Micki Earp
Courtney Bowman
Jacqueline Moose
Brandon Brown

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

Brent Buchanan
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Dairy
Phone: (315) 212-1277
Email: brent_buchanan@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Dairy Extension Programming in Western North Carolina Counties of Haywood, Madison, Buncombe, Transylvania, Henderson, Yancey, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford, Mitchell, Avery, Burke, Cleveland, Watauga, Caldwell, Catawba, Lincoln, Gaston, Ashe, Wilkes, Alexander, Iredell, Alleghany, Surry, Yadkin, and Davie.

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

Christy Crouse
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 632-3125
Email: cwcrouse@ncsu.edu

Lauren Greene
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agribusiness - 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 & 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: Extension Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables & 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.

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.

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.

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
376 1st Ave SW
Taylorsville, NC 28681

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