2019 Clay County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 7, 2020

I. Executive Summary

I. Executive Summary
Clay County is located in the extreme southwestern corner of North Carolina bordering the Georgia line to the south and is one county removed from Tennessee. The county's estimated population is estimated to have grown from 7,155 in 1990 to 10,618 in 2012. This would make Clay County one of the fastest-growing counties in North Carolina. The county's topography is characterized by mountain and rolling hills separated by narrow valleys with altitudes ranging from 1500 feet to 5000 feet. With 140,800 acres of land in the county, almost forty-six percent is in the US forest, and approximately 75,000 are in private forest and agricultural use. Major commodities produced in addition to timber include beef cattle, horses, forages, hay, small grains, corn, soybeans, and truck crops. There has been an increase in exotic and niche farming operations in the county over the past few years.

An environmental scan was conducted in 2010 to determine the needs facing the citizens of Clay County. Our methods included surveys, individual interviews, and focus groups. The issues resulting from the environmental scan were presented to the Clay County Extension Advisory Council for suggestions.

The assessment has given us the necessary insights to begin to empower people and provide solutions that will enhance the quality of life for citizens of Clay County, North Carolina. NCCE can address these issues through collaborative programming with cooperating partners and agencies and on a regional basis where similar issues were identified.

There is also a movement to preserve 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 food initiative has provided opportunities for producers to market products through local markets. The awareness of local foods has provided more support and networks from other agencies such as the Health Department, Master Gardeners, Senior Centers, local producers, and many others. Educational programs to assist with the profitability of Agriculture.

Clay 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 Clay County and Western North Carolina. With face to face and non-face to face contacts exceeding 3556, the county staff is committed to assisting with the issues that face our area. 1890 citizens were impacted by educational programs by gaining knowledge, learning new skills and creating a value of over $87000. Staff spent 247 hours in a nonformal educational setting to assist with families in learning healthy lifestyles, being more productive as a farmer, our assisting 4-H volunteers in being successful mentors to youth.

Agriculture:
Fifty-five people attended from various North Carolina Counties and other adjoining states were conducted. The response was clear that this workshop increased awareness, including Field Faculty at various County Centers. Several said it saved them at least $35,000 by making informed decisions on the investment in the production of Hemp.
Clay County is working with a grant secured for the region to increase farm productivity. 30 farmers are aware of the grant and local chefs are taking advantage of certain components of the grant to assist with the local food initiative.

Volunteer Readiness:
124 4-H and Master Gardener volunteers provided $87000 in volunteer activity. The club promotes a healthy lifestyle and outdoor recreation for youth in Clay County. 4-H volunteers were increased. The biggest 4-H success was the 4-H Fly-Tying Club in which an enhancement fund of $25000.00 was secured for the club. Over 1200 contacts have occurred from the 4-H leaders and staff, which is an increase from 300 in 2018.

Family And Consumer Education:
Radon Education provided and increase of knowledge of the impacts of high levels of Radon in the home to 30 citizens. A mitigation partner was established for residents interested in the mitigation process.

II. County Background

Clay County is located in extreme Southwestern corner of North Carolina bordering the Georgia line to the south and is one county removed from Tennessee. The county's estimated population is 11,074 in 2017. The county's topography is characterized by mountain and rolling hills separated by narrow valleys with altitudes ranging from 1500 feet to 5000 feet. With 140,800 acres of land in the county, almost forty-six percent is in US forest, and approximately 75,000 are in private forest and agricultural use. Major commodities produced in addition to timber include beef cattle, horses, forages, hay, small grains, corn, soybeans, and truck crops. There has been an increase in exotic and niche farming operations in the county over the past few years.

An environmental scan was conducted in 2018 to determine the needs facing the citizens of Clay County. Our methods included surveys, individual interviews, and focus groups. The issues resulting from the environmental scan were presented to the Clay County Extension Advisory Council for suggestions.

The assessment has given us the necessary insights to begin to empower people and provide solutions that will enhance the quality of life for citizens of Clay County, North Carolina. North Carolina Cooperative Extension Clay County Center can address these issues through collaborative programming with cooperating partners and agencies and on a regional basis where similar issues were identified.

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. The awareness of local foods has provided more support and networks from other agencies such as the Health Department, Master Gardeners, Senior Centers, local producers, and many others. Educational programs will be conducted to assist with the profitability of Agriculture both on a horticulture and Livestock level.

Youth will receive educational programming opportunities such as Health Rocks to assist youth with healthier lifestyles. Also, the N. C. Cooperative Extension Clay County Center will be planning to provide assistance in the interest of agriculture by planning educational activities to enhance the School Agriculture curriculum.

III. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

Our family and consumer sciences programs improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

Our plant production programs improve production, profitability, and sustainability of the agriculture sector.

Our animal production programs improve production, profitability, and sustainability of the agriculture sector.

Value* Outcome Description
5Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
5Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
45Number of animal producers who learned how to develop a management plan (i.e. grazing plan, feeding plan, drought plan, business plan, disaster plan, etc.)
45Number of producers who increased knowledge of pasture/forage management practices (field improvement, herbicide management, grazing season extension, weed control, forage quality, haylage production, nitrate testing, etc.)
45Number of producers who increased knowledge of nutrition, ration balancing, mineral supplements, breeding, and reproduction
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
5Number of producers who diversified their marketing strategies into local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional).
5Number of new farms (beginning farmers) selling into local markets for local consumption (in this reporting period)
45Number of producers (and other members of the local food supply chain) who have increased revenue
45Number of participants that have adopted farm safety practices
3Number of farmers, employees or family members adopting regular use of appropriate PPE following AgriSafe or Certified Safe Farm participation
30Number of producers adopting extension-recommended practices related to planning, marketing, and financial management
200Number of acres where Extension-recommended nutrient applications were used
15Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to quality assurance (vaccinations, castration, culling techniques, etc.)
45Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to nutrition (mineral, feed rations)
3Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to internal parasite management (fecals, deworming)
45Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices related to pasture management
45Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to nutrition, ration balancing, mineral supplement, breeding, and reproduction
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our community development programs build strong and thriving communities.

Our 4-H youth development programs grow the skills young people need to succeed in life and career.

Value* Outcome Description
227Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
111Total number of female participants in STEM program
218Number of youth increasing knowledge of life skills
22Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
2Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
11Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
39Number of youth increasing their physical activity
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our natural resource and environmental programs conserve our precious natural resources and maintain a clean and healthy environment.

Our consumer horticulture programs teach families and communities about environmentally friendly methods for gardening and controlling pests.

Value* Outcome Description
380Number of individuals who gain knowledge or acquire skills related to vegetable/fruit gardening
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
70Number of individuals who grow food in community gardens.
22Number of individuals who begin home food production by starting a vegetable and/or fruit garden
8Number of individuals who begin home food production by starting to raise backyard livestock.
98Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease, wildlife) and soil management
122Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
290Number of participants growing food for home consumption
26Number of participants adopting composting
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our food safety and nutrition programs create a safer and more sustainable food supply and improve the health and nutrition of individuals, families, and our communities.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 3,775
Non face-to-face** 142,101
Total by Extension staff in 2019 145,876
* 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 $0.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $0.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $609.94
Total $609.94

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 56 598 943 $ 15,207.00
Extension Master Gardener 68 2845 2300 $ 72,348.00
Total: 124 3443 3243 $ 87,555.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

NC Cooperative Extension, Clay County Center Advisory Council
Glenda Cheeks
Sarah Smith
Bass Hyatt
Donna Gains
Ed Roach
Benita England


Agriculture Program Committee
Bass Hyatt
Charlie Kissling
Bill England
Horticulture Committee
Linda Milt
Jimmy Mixon
Danny Keith
4-H Advisory Committee
May Atkinson
Benita England

VIII. Staff Membership

Lisa Gonzalez
Title: County Extension Director and Agriculture Agent
Phone: (828) 389-6305
Email: lcgonzal@ncsu.edu

Marti Day
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Dairy
Phone: (919) 542-8202
Email: marti_day@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for educational programs for dairy farmers, youth with an interest in dairy projects and the general public with an interest in dairy foods and the dairy industry.

April Dillon
Title: Area Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (704) 482-4365
Email: april_dillon@ncsu.edu

Lauren Greene
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (336) 651-7347
Email: lauren_greene@ncsu.edu

Adam Griffith
Title: Area Agent, CRD
Phone: (828) 359-6935
Email: adgriff5@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.

Julie Lyvers
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 389-6305
Email: julie_lyvers@ncsu.edu

Craig Mauney
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables and Fruits
Phone: (828) 684-3562
Email: craig_mauney@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities, training and technical support to commercial fruit and vegetable growers, agents, and industry in Western NC. (My office is located at the Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center not the Henderson County Extension Center as is noted by IT on this website. Please do not contact the Henderson County Extension Center as I am not located there.)

Kelli Miller
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (828) 389-6305
Email: klmill22@ncsu.edu

Ashley Robbins
Title: Area Specialized Agent - Dairy
Phone: (919) 542-8203
Email: ashley_robbins@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Marti Day and I are the Area Specialized Dairy Agents - the county-based arm of the Cooperative Extension Dairy Team. We are out here in the counties to help you set and reach your farm, family and business goals. We have collaborative expertise in the areas of Waste Management, Udder Health, Cow Comfort, Nutrition and Forage Management with specialties in (Ashley)Reproduction, Records Management, Animal Health and (Marti)Alternative Markets, Organic Dairy, Grazing Management, and On-farm Processing. We hope to provide comprehensive educational programs for our farmers, consumers and youth for every county across the state. We are here for you by phone, email or text and look forward to working with you!

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

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.

Kim Terrell
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (828) 349-2047
Email: kvterrel@ncsu.edu

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 42 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.

Mitch Woodward
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Watersheds and Water Quality
Phone: (919) 414-3873
Email: mdwoodwa@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: NC Cooperative Extension's Goals include: - NC's natural resources and environmental quality will be protected, conserved and enhanced. - NC will have profitable, environmentally sustainable plant, animal and food systems. Protecting our environmental resources, particularly drinking water quality, is a top priority in NC. NC Cooperative Extension is a leader in teaching, researching, and accelerating the adoption of effective water quality protection practices.

IX. Contact Information

Clay County Center
25 Riverside Cir
Suite 2
Hayesville, NC 28904

Phone: (828) 389-6305
Fax: (828) 389-8872
URL: http://clay.ces.ncsu.edu