2017 Cherokee County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 19, 2018

I. Executive Summary

I. County Background

Cherokee County is located in Southwestern most portion of Western North Carolina. With abundant natural resources, the area has become a retirement destination in recent years. The current population is 27,300. Agriculture provides receipts of $25,719,000 of which the majority of the receipts are in livestock ($23,081,000). Public school enrollment was 3905 (K-12) while 312 school age children were enrolled in home schools. According to most recent census data, the median household income is $27,992. Individuals with substandard income living at the poverty level account for 15.3% of the county population. Census data also indicates that 19.22% of children under age 18 and 23.63% of children under age 6 live in poverty.
The CDC reports for obesity indicate that no state met the nation's Healthy People 2010 goal to lower obesity prevalence to 15%. Rather, in 2010, there were 12 states with an obesity prevalence of 30%. In 2000, no state had an obesity prevalence of 30% or more. North Carolina still has a state average of 29.6 with the ideal BMI goal less than 30. While North Carolina reports an average BMI of 29.6, this does not appear to be significantly lower. By state, obesity prevalence ranged from 20.5% in Colorado to 34.7% in Louisiana in 2012. No state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Obesity and related chronic diseases are prevalent among North Carolinian's. With 2/3 of adults overweight or obese, North Carolina ranks 13th in the nation for obesity, and 9th and 17th highest for adult diabetes and hypertension, respectively. Poor eating practices and physical inactivity are not limited to adults. Children are following closely in their footsteps, with only 1 in 4 eating recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables and almost half spending more than 2 hours watching television every day.

According to Louv, there is a connection between this negative trend and the absence of meaningful and consistent outdoor experiences. The EPA has found that the disconnect between children and nature has a profound impact on our children’s physical and mental health and sense of environmental stewardship. It is our responsibility to introduce children to the outdoor environment. Research has shown that the current generation of children treat nature as an afterthought, choosing to stay indoors playing video games, surfing the internet, and watching television, spending less time interacting with the environment and their families. Research confirms that there is no substitute for being outdoors. According to findings provided by North Carolina 4-H, there are over 1.9 million North Carolina citizens between the ages of 5 and 19. According to the Public Schools of North Carolina, State Board of Education, Cherokee County Schools have ranked fourth in the state by achieving an 92 percent graduation rate compared to the state's overall rate of 86 percent. A recent study found that North Carolina employers listed the following skills as critical: basic mathematics, reading comprehension, and the ability to integrate information and communication technology. Because of the new global, knowledge-based economy, there is greater competition for jobs outside of North Carolina and the nation’s borders. With the rise in job competition and the drop out rate in North Carolina being high, youth need a program like 4-H that bridges the school-based career coursework with experiential learning programs and life skill development.
There is also a movement to preserve the family farms through profitability. With the assistance of Ag Options and local groups, new and innovative crops and methods are being introduced to assist landowners in making their land generate profits. Also the local foods initiative has provided opportunities for producers to market products through local markets.

II. Executive Summary

Cherokee County Cooperative Extension staff, volunteers and advisory committees continue to serve by providing researched-based information from the land grant colleges to the citizens of Cherokee County and Western North Carolina. With face to face contacts exceeding 6000 and non-face to face contacts reaching over 14000, the county staff is committed to assisting with the issues that face our area. Over 90 non-degree classes were offered in the area of healthy lifestyles, leadership development, profitable and sustainable agriculture, and disaster preparedness. Volunteers invested over $34,000.00 in volunteer work in Agriculture, Community Development, Urban Horticulture, and 4-H.

Cherokee County staff responded by providing educational programs to help gardeners and farmers learn proper techniques and methods to save seeds, Healthy Lifestyle, good farmer’s market practices seminars, and beginning farmers workshops. Also, programs such as Master Gardeners and 4-H volunteer training assisted with maintaining a healthy volunteer corp to assist with programming. Some successes include:

Schools to Career
Obesity and related chronic diseases are prevalent among North Carolinian's. With 2/3 of adults overweight or obese, North Carolina ranks 13th in the nation for obesity, and 9th and 17th highest for adult diabetes and hypertension, respectively. Poor eating practices and physical inactivity are not limited to adults. Children are following closely in their footsteps, with only 1 in 4 eating recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables and almost half spending more than 2 hours watching television every day. NC Cooperative Extension's SNAP-Ed(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education) Program is Steps to Health. Cherokee County 4-H Agent, Shannon Coleman, partnered with Murphy Elementary School 2nd grade teachers and school administrators and provided the 2nd grade with the Steps to Health Program in 2017. All 70 2nd-grade students and 77 3rd grade students at Murphy Elementary School participated in the program.

Local Food Systems
In agriculture, educational programs reached over 500 residents to provide information in activities ranging from fire ant control to pruning workshops. A huge demand is information is to assist residents in growing food. Profitable agriculture focused on youth in 2017 and youth club that focused on animal agriculture. Finally over 60 residents received certified training as Master Gardeners, pesticide applicators and in practices in good applications.

Community Development
Since the drought and wildfires of 2016 residents have been interested in developing practices to assist with home protection. The Wild land Fire committee has developed a volunteer committee to assist with education in Fire wise practices. Also the county commissioners chose Cooperative Extension to assist with public awareness of safety during the Eclipse. Over 900 contacts and 174 contact hours was provided to assist with public safety issues related to county residents.

II. County Background

Cherokee County is located in Southwestern most portion of Western North Carolina. With abundant natural resources, the area has become a retirement destination in recent years. The current population is 27,300. Agriculture provides receipts of $25,719,000 of which the majority of the receipts are in livestock ($23,081,000). Public school enrollment was 3905 (K-12) while 312 school age children were enrolled in home schools. According to most recent census data, the median household income is $27,992. Individuals with substandard income living at the poverty level account for 15.3% of the county population. Census data also indicates that 19.22% of children under age 18 and 23.63% of children under age 6 live in poverty.
The CDC reports for obesity indicate that no state met the nation's Healthy People 2010 goal to lower obesity prevalence to 15%. Rather, in 2010, there were 12 states with an obesity prevalence of 30%. In 2000, no state had an obesity prevalence of 30% or more. North Carolina still has a state average of 29.6 with the ideal BMI goal less than 30. While North Carolina reports an average BMI of 29.6, this does not appear to be significantly lower. By state, obesity prevalence ranged from 20.5% in Colorado to 34.7% in Louisiana in 2012. No state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Obesity and related chronic diseases are prevalent among North Carolinian's. With 2/3 of adults overweight or obese, North Carolina ranks 13th in the nation for obesity, and 9th and 17th highest for adult diabetes and hypertension, respectively. Poor eating practices and physical inactivity are not limited to adults. Children are following closely in their footsteps, with only 1 in 4 eating recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables and almost half spending more than 2 hours watching television every day.

According to Louv, there is a connection between this negative trend and the absence of meaningful and consistent outdoor experiences. The EPA has found that the disconnect between children and nature has a profound impact on our children’s physical and mental health and sense of environmental stewardship. It is our responsibility to introduce children to the outdoor environment. Research has shown that the current generation of children treats nature as an afterthought, choosing to stay indoors playing video games, surfing the internet, and watching television, spending less time interacting with the environment and their families. Research confirms that there is no substitute for being outdoors. According to findings provided by North Carolina 4-H, there are over 1.9 million North Carolina citizens between the ages of 5 and 19. According to the Public Schools of North Carolina, State Board of Education, Cherokee County Schools have ranked fourth in the state by achieving an 80.9 percent graduation rate compared to the state's overall rate of 68 percent. A recent study found that North Carolina employers listed the following skills as critical: basic mathematics, reading comprehension, and the ability to integrate information and communication technology. Because of the new global, knowledge-based economy, there is greater competition for jobs outside of North Carolina and the nation’s borders. With the rise in job competition and the dropout rate in North Carolina being high, youth need a program like 4-H that bridges the school-based career coursework with experiential learning programs and life skill development.
There is also a movement to preserve the family farms through profitability. With the assistance of Ag Options and local groups, new and innovative crops and methods are being introduced to assist landowners in making their land generate profits. Also, the local foods initiative has provided opportunities for producers to market products through local markets. Area farmers have constructed high tunnel greenhouses through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) cost-share assistance for farmers. In a three-county area, the local NRCS office has helped construct over 40 with 60 more planned. Many of these growers do not have hands on experience growing produce and/or growing in a high tunnel.

III. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

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

Value* Outcome Description
57Number 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
57Number of animal producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
35568Net income gains by producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
4Number of animal producers implementing Extension-recommended best management practices for animal waste management
* 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
543Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
518Number of adults (including producers, food business owners, etc.) who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
25Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
251Number 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.
62Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
75Number 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
8Number 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.).
9Number of producers selling their agricultural products to local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional) for consumption in NC.
21Number of youth who grow food in school gardens.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Individuals and groups will acquire leadership and decision making capacities needed to guide and actively participate in local and state organizations.

Youth and adults will address community issues and/or challenges through volunteerism.

Value* Outcome Description
25Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
25Number of adult participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
60Number of hours adult volunteer training conducted
25Number new volunteers recruited
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
877Increased number of hours contributed by trained adult volunteers
60Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
6Number of adult volunteers recruiting and/or training new volunteers
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Community members, organizations and local government will engage in collaborative dialog and decision-making to build economically, socially and environmentally resilient communities. This will be done through inclusive engagement, partnership building, and/or community planning.

Value* Outcome Description
236Number of participants increasing knowledge and skills in convening and leading inclusive, representative groups (including limited resources, new resident, or immigrant groups) for evidence based community development
112Number of participants developing skills in leading community, economic, and/or disaster planning and change
155Number of residents that increase their knowledge in disaster preparedness planning, mitigation and recovery
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
55Number of participants who report new or expanded leadership roles and opportunities undertaken
45000Dollar value of in-kind resources (funding, in-kind service or volunteers) contributed to Projects or Programs in which Extension was critically involved by an organization or community to support community or economic development work
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways

Value* Outcome Description
9Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
225Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
134Total number of female participants in STEM program
15Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
150Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
9Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
225Number of youth (students) gaining knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
54Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability 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.

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
163Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
163Number of participants increasing their physical activity
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 7,105
Non face-to-face** 8,925
Total by Extension staff in 2017 16,030
* 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 $40,500.00
Gifts/Donations $0.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $0.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $0.00
Total $40,500.00

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: 376 792 2,700 $ 19,554.00
Advisory Leadership System: 14 34 0 $ 839.00
Extension Community Association: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Extension Master Gardener: 60 1,327 299 $ 32,764.00
Other: 87 343 1,636 $ 8,469.00
Total: 537 2496 4635 $ 61,626.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Community Development Advisory Committee
Robin Caldwell
Randy Wiggins
Calvin Mashburn
Mike Stiles



Agriculture Advisory Committee
Burke West
Tim Davis
Eric Carlson
Shawn Johnson

Youth and 4-H Advisory Committee
Leanne Cook
Angie Hopkins
Jan Griggs
Delores Howell
Brenda Blount
Kiffney Griggs
Michael Hopkins
Reagan Lindsay

VIII. Staff Membership

Doug Clement
Title: County Extension Director, Cherokee and Clay Counties
Phone: (828) 837-2210
Email: doug_clement@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: The CED administers the operations of the county Extension office. In this role, he/she is responsible for budget preparation, supervision of all professional and clerical staff, relations with public officials, and other typical administrative matters.

Cindy Chastain
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (828) 837-2210
Email: cindy_chastain@ncsu.edu

Shannon Coleman
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 837-2210
Email: shannon_coleman@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.

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.

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.

Debbie Stroud
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9149
Email: dlstroud@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Area Specialized Agents in Consumer and Retail Food Safety help to ensure that Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Agents have access to timely, evidence-based food safety information. This is accomplished by (1) working with FCS Agents in their counties, (2) developing food safety materials and (3) planning and implementing a NC Safe Plates Food Safety Info Center.

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.

Skip Thompson
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Aquaculture
Phone: (828) 456-3575
Email: Skip_Thompson@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide educational opportunities and technical support to the trout and carp aquaculture industries in 38 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) in western North Carolina. Fish health, production management, and waste management educational programs will assist trout farmers, fee-fishing pond managers, carp ponds and trout fingerling producers with the management and sustainability of their facilities.

Donna Tulley
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (828) 837-2210
Email: donna_tulley@ncsu.edu

Keith Wood
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture
Phone: (828) 837-2210
Email: keith_wood@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Field crops, commercial horticultural crops, urban horticulture, livestock, alternative energy, Local Food Coordinator

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

Cherokee County Center
40 Peachtree St
Murphy, NC 28906

Phone: (828) 837-2210
Fax: (828) 837-2172
URL: http://cherokee.ces.ncsu.edu