2017 Clay County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 19, 2018

I. Executive Summary

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 contacts exceeding 15000 and non-face to face contact, 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. There is also a movement to preserve the family farms through profitability resulting in over 2500 contacts and over 270 contact hours. 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. The Schools to Careers program has lead to positive changes in food and activity choices for both youth and parents. Extension Volunteers have volunteer service in the county over $60,000.00. Some successes included:

Healthy Lifestyles
More than 50% of our school population's families qualify for food assistance. As a result of limited resources, people do not always eat healthy which may result in obesity and other health issues. A child without good nutritional support may not perform as well academically and miss more school as a result of illness. All teachers saw visible, positive impacts on their students. Over 90 youth increased use of fruits and vegetables while the same amount increased physical activity. Adults also were provided educational opportunities in Healthy Lifestyles that resulted in similar success.

Programs such as the Winter Livestock Feeding class assisted farmers in being more profitable. The 19 participants gained knowledge in all of the topics offered. All but three indicated they might or would forage test. Most said they would or might improve pastures, use body condition scoring, improve fly control and modify stocking rates. All said they might change or add supplemental feeds. 66% said they might or would start rotational grazing.

Master Gardener Educational Program
The MG Association in Clay County has a consistent presence in the office and is recognized throughout the county. The 12 volunteers from Clay County that completed the course in 2017, have, since their certification coursework was complete in May, returned more than 200 hours. At a state volunteer hourly rate of $23.56, the value of their contribution to Extension and to the Clay County totals more than $4,700, in only 2 months time after course completion.

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 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 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 of 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 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 such as Small Farms Conference, Beef Cattle Management, and Alternative Crops to assist with the profitability of Agriculture.

Youth will receive educational programming opportunities such as Color Me Healthy and Health Rocks to assist youth with healthier lifestyles. Also with the new hire of an agriculture teacher in the school system, the Clay County Center will be planning to provide assistance in the newly emerged interest of agriculture by planning educational activities to enhance the school curriculum.

III. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

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.
Individuals and groups will acquire leadership and decision making capacities needed to guide and actively participate in local and state organizations.
Leadership is important to every level of a community sharing in the creation of wealth and well-being. Youth and adult leaders must be capable of motivating groups to achieve common goals that impact North Carolina families and communities.They will need the confidence and skill to guide and support North Carolina community and state organizations. Citizens participating in the 2007 NC Tomorrow survey denoted the importance of leadership by clearly requesting leadership training (54%), social advising, community advising and technical assistance (45%)from their university system.
Value* Outcome Description
428Number of adults increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
4Number of adults assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
428Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
4Number of adults increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
428Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
* 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.
Throughout North Carolina, communities that come together to collaboratively address issues and/or interests are enhancing the community's quality of life and its economic, social and environmental resiliency. The state's growing population and economy is producing significant changes in its communities and in some cases resulting in the emergence of new communities. The perspectives, capacity and skills of all community members are essential to aligning community decisions and actions with local needs, assets and priorities. NC Cooperative Extension has an important role in engaging and supporting the ongoing work of citizens, organizations, and communities in decision-making, and strategic dialog to influence positive public policy, foster development of partnerships, create empowered communities, be prepared to address the high potential for natural and human-caused disasters.
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
76Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
35Total number of female participants in STEM program
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
76Number of youth (students) gaining knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
* 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.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 12,388
Non face-to-face** 3,566
Total by Extension staff in 2017 15,954
* 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 $500.00
Gifts/Donations $0.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $0.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $0.00
Total $500.00

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: 75 675 1,687 $ 16,295.00
Advisory Leadership System: 14 44 0 $ 1,062.00
Extension Community Association: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Extension Master Gardener: 67 1,813 616 $ 43,766.00
Other: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Total: 156 2532 2303 $ 61,122.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Clay County Advisory Council
Tanya Long
Glenda Cheeks
Sarah Smith
Mark Leek
Bass Hyatt
Dorothy Ethridge
Donna Gains
Jan Maddox

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
Danny Keith

VIII. Staff Membership

Doug Clement
Title: County Extension Director, Cherokee and Clay Counties
Phone: (828) 837-2210
Email: doug_clement@ncsu.edu

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

Teresa Goley
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (828) 389-6305
Email: teresa_goley@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.

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

Julie Lyvers
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (828) 389-6305
Email: julie_lyvers@ncsu.edu

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.

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: (910) 814-6033
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 - 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.

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

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