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 animal production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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 24.69
4-H: 63 25 702 $ 617.00
Advisory Leadership System: 11 38 9 $ 938.00
Extension Community Association: 18 237 0 $ 5,852.00
Extension Master Gardener: 18 181 17 $ 4,469.00
Other: 30 18 424 $ 444.00
Total: 140 499 1152 $ 12,320.00
* 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: babuchan@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

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 & 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 and 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.

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
376 1st Ave SW
Taylorsville, NC 28681

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