2017 Cleveland County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 19, 2018

I. Executive Summary

NC Cooperative Extension delivered a comprehensive educational program and related support services to Cleveland County citizens during 2017. We were visible and engaged in the local community, generating 17,171 face-to-face contacts and 250,712 other contacts during the year. A staff of six (6) county-based agents delivered a range of needs-based educational services to 4,500 citizens engaged in 110 planned demonstrations, conferences, training courses, and workshops. Highlights of our efforts in selected major program objectives are detailed below.

Profitable and Sustainable Agriculture Systems: Extension programs helped farmers understand and address a broad range of issues that impact profitability and sustainability of local farm enterprises. Program participants improved knowledge, attitudes and/or related to management of the farm enterprises, realizing $5.5 million in additional net gains from the adoption of best management practices across all farming commodities (plant and animal systems).

Local Food Systems: A range of interdisciplinary Extension programs supported continued growth and expansion of Cleveland County’s local food system. Continued leadership and support provided to farmers' market operations provided direct-to-consumer marketing opportunities for 75 small family farms and food-based business owners. As a result, these farm families realized a combined increase of $134,181 in annual sales. The Power of Produce (POP) Kid's Club program yielded 6,318 teaching contacts and provided a platform for hosting a number of market tours by public school classrooms, school groups, day care facilities, faith-based and community-oriented youth service organizations. Local cost-share provided $12,636 in POP shopping tokens, increasing vendor sales by that amount. POP Kid’s Club provided meaningful ways for community volunteers to contribute to market operations (by organizing and leading learning activities), helped attract additional young families as regular market patrons, and increased the purchasing power or limited resource families with young children. The program also empowered youth to make their own food-buying decisions, thereby cultivating the next generation of farmers’ market customers. End of season surveys revealed the following impacts: 56% of vendors reported growth in the customer base as compared to the prior year; 78% reported an increase in sales; average annual sales per vendor rose by $1,407 (12% increase); card services processed an additional $12,784 in electronic sales transactions over prior year. One-hundred forty-four (144) citizens learned how to prepare local foods, including the use of research-based home food preservation techniques. Three (3) tons of surplus food was donated to organizations that feed the hungry in our local community. Sixteen (16) youth were taught gardening skills through our 4-H youth development program.

Safety and Security of our Food and Farm Systems: NC Cooperative Extension provided farmers, commercial applicators, and home gardeners with objective information about pests and pesticides and promoted sound decision making and safe handling practices to people who chose to use pesticides. During the program year, we provided 535 hours of re-certification training to 464 pesticide applicators. Eighty-one (81) farms adopted
farm safety practices that saved them $150,000 in lost work days. Twenty-five (25) farms were certified in Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) or Good Handling Practices (GHPs), mitigating $650,000 in risks from food and safety hazards.

Leadership Development: NC Cooperative Extension helped individuals and groups acquire the leadership and decision making capacities needed to guide and actively participate in local and state organizations. As a result, 241 citizens (adults and youth) improved knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership and assumed new or expanded leadership roles in the local community. Extension & Community Association members contributed total of 6,311 volunteer service hours valued at $148,687. Thirty-eight (38) Extension Master Gardener volunteers contributed 1,141 hours to community beautification and horticulture education efforts during 2017.

Community Development: NC Cooperative Extension collaborated with the Cleveland County Heath Department and the NCDA&CS Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division to conduct a Hazardous Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day. NC Cooperative Extension actively participated in advertising and promoting the event and was on-site to categorize and containerize assorted pesticides. One hundred sixty-two (162) households were served by the activity, which diverted 161,220 units (107.3 pounds) of prescription medications from the waste stream and collected 425 pounds of pesticides for environmentally-safe disposal. Several thousand pounds of other hazardous materials (paints, solvents, batteries and other materials) were also removed from family dwellings. Efforts to integrate production agriculture into the county's economic development initiatives helped local farmers leverage $199,500 in grant funds to expand and diversify their farming enterprises.

Parenting and Caregiver Skills: Thirty-six (36) kinship care families improved family functioning and well-being through their participation in Extension's Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Program, a multi-agency and volunteer collaborative. As a result of their involvement in other Extension family and consumer sciences programs, 54 adults reported using newly-acquired or improved life skills (goal setting, stress management, self-care and healthy relationships), 61 adults increased their use of identified community resources, and 54 parents and other caregivers of children adopted positive parenting practices (such as communication and discipline). There were 2,230 educational contacts made with caretakers, children, and volunteers during 2017.

School to Career: NC Cooperative Extension's 4-H youth development program provided an array of opportunities for Cleveland County youth to increase their skills that enable them to become competitive and productive in our global society and workforce. Two hundred twenty-one (221) youth participated in 4-H clubs and special interest programs during the year. Twenty-three(23) developed public speaking skills and gained self-confidence through their involvement in the 4-H Presentation Program at the district and/or state level. Seventeen (17) youth gained critical life skills and earned $13,000 through their participation in the Cleveland County 4-H Dairy Steer Project. During the program year, 4-H projects and activities enabled over 850 student opportunities to increase knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), 530 student opportunities for skill building in citizenship and career/employability areas, and helped increase knowledge of healthy lifestyles with 396 activities engaging youth.

II. County Background

This County Plan of Work represents NC Cooperative Extension’s commitment to the delivery of research-based information and educational programs aimed at improving quality of life for Cleveland County citizens during 2017. The plan (in line with the organization's re-alignment of resources where Cooperative Extension is most needed, best equipped to provide solutions, and can make the greatest impacts on local communities and economies) begins the process of focusing Extension work within three identified core program areas: Agriculture, Food, and 4-H Youth Development. The information needs of Cleveland County residents and issues affecting them were assessed through an informal environmental scanning process that engaged professional staff in structured dialog with a broad range of advisory volunteers identified in "Advisory Leadership System" section below.

Cooperative Extension program objectives to be addressed in Cleveland County during 2016 include:

1) Profitable & Sustainable Agriculture Systems: Thriving farms are essential to economic prosperity and quality of life in Cleveland County. Though it employs only 2% of the population, production agriculture is arguably Cleveland County’s leading industry, contributing $149 million to the local economy each year and occupying 39 percent of the county's land mass. The production of food and fiber supports hundreds of other jobs in the agricultural service, food retail, and forest industries. Added non-traditional economic development benefits of agriculture include preservation of open space and enhancements to our rural landscape, conservation of natural resources, and contributions to culture by providing connections between people and their food. Major commodities produced on the county's 1,036 family-owned farms include poultry, beef cattle, forages, row crops, fruits & vegetables, and nursery plants. Cooperative Extension's educational programs and related support services will address a broad range of issues that impact profitability and sustainability of Cleveland County's diverse farm enterprises, including: a) evaluating and adopting new technologies; b) improving marketing strategies; c) assessing opportunities for enterprise expansion and/or diversification; d) managing pests and waste materials with minimal environmental impact; e) enhancing product quality & value; f) increasing profits through value-added production and direct sales, and; g) understanding and complying with food safety, environmental protection, and labor regulations. In addition, NC Cooperative Extension will lead a pioneering effort to bring grant funding to Cleveland County to benefit large-scale agricultural economic development projects, as well as small family farming operations. These efforts unite Extension with other agricultural service organizations, the local Economic Development Partnership, and county government around a common goal.

2) Local Food Systems: NC Cooperative Extension will support and strengthen a food system that provides significant agricultural, economic, health and social benefits to the local community. Our programs and services will empower farmers to increase their capacity to supply safe and wholesome products for direct local food sales, and help consumers make informed food purchases. Cooperative Extension will support continued infrastructure development of Foothills Farmers' Market during its ninth season of operation by administering a $99,904 USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant during 2017. This grant-funded project improves access to local foods in low income/low access segments of the community by uniting FNS/SNAP recipients with our markets through targeted outreach, incentives, and support services. It significantly increases revenues for farmers by stimulating SNAP/EBT and debit card sales and capitalizing on a growing demand for local food. The project retains existing market shoppers by instituting a customer loyalty program and provides start-up funding to pilot the nationally recognized Power of Produce (POP) Kid’s Club at our Uptown Shelby Market. By teaching children to make healthy eating choices and engaging them in activities that help them understand where their food comes from, we hope to attract the parents of these youngsters as shoppers while building lifelong relationships with the next generation of customers. It launches an aggressive promotion campaign to heighten market visibility and alert the community about the relocation of two of our markets to new state-of–the-art facilities. The project bolsters efforts to firmly establish a fledgling market in Downtown Kings Mountain by financing management personnel and a comprehensive market promotion and vendor recruitment initiative. Other related program goals include increasing sales of locally-grown foods to local industry and small institutional kitchens, and; continuing and enhancing Cooperative Extension's "Cleveland County Kitchen" cable television project to educate the public about the benefits of local foods and to provide consumers with the knowledge and skills to eat locally. Affiliated Extension-sponsored workshops and demonstrations will educate citizens, including youth, to be confident and successful in growing home vegetable gardens, purchasing and preparing local foods, preserving food safely, and making wise choices at mealtime.

3) Safety & Security of our Food & Farm Systems: NC Cooperative Extension will provide re-certification training for private pesticide applicators (farmers) and commercial license holders in Cleveland County, and will partner with the Cleveland County Health Department to implement a pesticide container recycling program. We will deliver farmers’ market foods safety training to approximately 50 farmers’ market vendors, deliver Beef Quality Assurance Certification Training to area cattle producers, and inform and instruct private households in safe home food handling, preservation, and preparation practices. Farmers will be trained to utilize pesticides sparingly and safely, to prevent post-harvest losses and to comply with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations. Conservation of natural resources will come into play when evaluating agricultural economic development projects.

4) Leadership Development: Cleveland County prospers when local citizens become actively engaged in making our community a better place to work and live. NC Cooperative Extension will support this initiative through a multifaceted service learning approach that teaches the concepts of responsibility, commitment and involvement by helping adults and youth develop their individual leadership skills and identify opportunities to contribute to the local community. The program’s goals are to increase the number of citizens (youth and adults) increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership, and; to grow the number of citizens (youth and adults) assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community. Targeted audiences will include 4-H members, Extension Master Gardener Volunteers, Extension & Community Association members, Foothills Farmers’ Market board members, and others.

5) Parenting & Caregiver Skills: A growing number of Cleveland County families face challenges that require children to be raised by grandparents or other relatives. Cleveland County has responded to this need by organizing a kinship care support group. The Broad River Grandparents Raising Grandchildren & Kinship Care Support Group (BRGRG) provides educational programming, awareness, advocacy and support for the children and grandparents/relatives who are parenting for the second time. NC Cooperative Extension will continue to lead this multi-agency initiative by convening BRGRG advisory committee meetings, hosting monthly support group meetings, ensuring delivery of relevant programs, and coordinating volunteer support and financial resources to benefit participating families.

6) School to Career: Four (4) goals will guide growth and direction of Cleveland County's 4-H youth development program during the program year: a) to increase the number of school aged youth participating in 4-H; b) to foster improved community relations, partnerships and support for the 4-H Program; c) to grow program resources, and; d) to increase diversity among 4-H membership. In line with these goals, the focus of our efforts during 2017 will be: 1) volunteer recruitment and training; 2) club operational management; 3) expanded school enrichment opportunities (including Embryology); 4) integration of 4-H into programs that target/serve minority and at-risk youth (Broad River Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Communities in Schools, Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland County, etc.), and 5) aggressive grantsmanship and resource development activities. In addition to imparting career-based knowledge, these and other 4-H youth development activities will also aid Cleveland County youth in the development public speaking, responsibility, decision-making, time management, teamwork, follow-through on commitment, record-keeping, and interpersonal relationship skills.

7) Urban & Consumer Agriculture: The Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program will provide educational assistance to citizens concerning residential lawns, fruits, vegetables, trees, and ornamentals through the utilization of a trained and supervised volunteer staff. The agent will also conduct clinics and workshops to teach the general public how to design, install, and maintain their lawns and landscapes in line with sound cultural and environmental principles, and to grow food crops for personal use. Newspaper, local cable programming, and social media will be used to disseminate gardening information to the public. NC Cooperative Extension will also provide leadership and support to organizations seeking to establish community and school gardens, and teach youth to grow vegetables successfully by engaging them in the 4-H Mini Garden Contest.

8) Healthy Eating, Physical Activity & Chronic Disease Reduction: In Cleveland County, more than 60% of adults and 40% of children are overweight or obese. Additionally, fewer than 20% of Cleveland County adults consume five or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day, and fewer than half meet daily physical activity requirements. Cleveland County residents who make healthy food and lifestyle choices will reduce their risk for developing chronic diseases. Ultimately, this will lead to reduction in health care costs, increased longevity, greater productivity and improved quality of life. Extension educational and health promotion programs targeting youth, limited resource households, adult and older adult audiences emphasize healthy eating and physical activity in an effort to reduce weight-related chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and stroke. Major program initiatives during 2016 include delivery of a "Steps to Health" program targeting senior adults and a “Living Healthy With Diabetes” diabetes self-management program.

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.
Value* Outcome Description
247Number of crop (all plant systems) 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
7Number of Extension initiated and controlled County demonstration test sites (new required for GLF/PSI reporting)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
182Number of crop (all plant systems) producers adopting best management practices, including those practices related to nutrient management, conservation, production, cultivars, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), business management, and marketing
5480833Net income gains realized by the adoption of best management practices, including those practices related to nutrient management, conservation, production, cultivars, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), business management, and marketing
186Number of producers reporting increased dollar returns per acre or reduced costs per acre
85Number of producers reporting reduction in fertilizer used per acre
40150Number of acres in conservation tillage or other Best Management Practice
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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
248Number 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
37Number of animal producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
41200Net income gains by producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
10Number of animal producers implementing Extension-recommended best management practices for animal waste management
1000Tons of livestock organic by-products utilized (nutrients from waste, compost, etc)
25000Net income gain by using livestock organic by-products instead of synthetic fertilizers
5Number of waste management certifications gained or maintained due to Extension education efforts
1500Number of acres where Extension-recommended waste analysis was used for proper land application
* 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
75Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
100Number of adults (including producers, food business owners, etc.) who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
6318Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
75Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
222Number 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
6Number 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.).
75Number of producers selling their agricultural products to local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional) for consumption in NC.
15Number of producers who diversified their marketing strategies into local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional).
453000Gross sales of local foods by producers. (Increase in gross sales to be calculated at the state level.)
75Number 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).
6000Number of pounds of local foods donated for consumption by vulnerable populations.
13Number of individuals who begin home food production by starting to raise backyard livestock.
* 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.
Value* Outcome Description
464Number of commercial/public operators trained
535Number of pesticide application credit hours provided
36Number of participants participating in AgriSafe personal protective equipment (PPE) selection or fit testing
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
81Number of participants that have adopted farm safety practices
150000Value of number of non-lost work days
25Number of persons certified in Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) or Good Handling Practices (GHPs)
25Number of participants developing food safety plans
500000Value of reduced risk of farm and food hazards
* 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.
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
28Number of adults increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
32Number of adults assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
31Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
26Number of youth assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
70Number of adults increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
21Number of adults assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
26Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
7Number of youth assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Youth and adults will address community issues and/or challenges through volunteerism.
Youth and adult volunteers in North Carolina contribute thousands of hours each year to strengthen communities and create strong foundations for the future. As these individuals engage in service, they are gaining new skills, generating new programs to serve their communities, building successful organizations, and fostering an ethic of service. Cooperative Extension is poised to support the development of interpersonal skills, leadership experiences, and content knowledge to ensure that citizens are prepared to engage in meaningful service throughout the lifespan. Current research suggests that youth and adult participation positively impacts civic engagement and contributes to the development of leadership capacities. With its presence in every county, Cooperative Extension is uniquely positioned to contribute to building a stronger ethic of service among youth and adults.
Parents and caregivers will effectively use recommended parenting, self care practices and community resources.
North Carolina communities are only as strong and viable as the families that reside there. To create and maintain viable communities where children and youth succeed and the elderly are protected and cared for parents and caregivers need knowledge and skills that build their capacity to function effectively and carryout their responsibilities. They need to be equipped to: 1) foster positive parent-child relationships, 2) address anti-social behavior with appropriate disciplinary techniques, 3) implement positive role modeling, child monitoring and supervision strategies and 4) prevent practices that lead to the abuse and neglect of children. State data suggest that strengthening parenting skills could serve as an asset to families and communities. Risk and needs assessment data on 46,041 youth involved in NC courts found that 59% of the youth had problems in school, 40% had relationships with peers associated with gangs and delinquent behavior, 40% had parents who were either unable or unwilling to supervise them, and 68% had parents with either marginal or inadequate supervision skills. A large percentage of NC working families with children under six (63.34%) must rely on child care services. Child care practitioner education and training is key to providing quality childcare. Family members provide care to a rapidly growing aging population that could double, reaching 2.8 million in the next two decades. A majority of elderly North Carolinians suffer from multiple chronic illnesses. Caregiver demands can trigger health problems, financial and emotional stress. Families who provide care and support for elderly family members also need skills to succeed with less stress and financial burden and need to be linked to community resources that provide support for the care and maintenance of elderly family members.
Value* Outcome Description
89Number of youth and adults increasing knowledge of life skills (such as goal setting, stress management, self-care and healthy relationships)
93Number of adults increasing their knowledge of community resources
54Number of parents and other caregivers of children increasing their knowledge of positive parenting practices (such as communication and discipline)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
54Number of youth and adults using effective life skills (such as goal setting, stress management, self-care and healthy relationships)
61Number of adults increasing their use of identified community resources
36Number of parents/other caregivers of children adopting positive parenting practices (such as communication and discipline)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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.
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.
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.
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
129Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
89Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
79Number of participants increasing their physical activity
83Number 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* 17,175
Non face-to-face** 233,541
Total by Extension staff in 2017 250,716
* 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 $257,402.00
Gifts/Donations $204,041.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $700.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $0.00
Total $462,143.00

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: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Advisory Leadership System: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Extension Community Association: 95 875 690 $ 21,123.00
Extension Master Gardener: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Other: 299 809 456 $ 19,529.00
Total: 394 1684 1146 $ 40,652.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

County Advisory Council
Katie Spangler Earl
Jim Toole
Susan Allen
Dotty Leatherwood
Ervin Lineberger
Debra Blanton
Joan Parrish
Wayne Yarbro
Tammy Bass
Caroline Greene
Ron McCollum
Janice Morton
Carole McDaniel

Profitable and Sustainable Agriculture Systems
Will Thompson
Randy McDaniel
Lisa Yarbro
Steve Cline
Mark Greene
Ronnie Spangler
Dennis McCracken
Randy Wellmon
Trip Goforth
Arlan Bush
Stephen Cline
Danny Howell
Jack Arey
Dr. Rhod Lowe
Ervin Lineberger
Loyd Lewis
Harold Lineberger
Ethan Lineberger
Elbert Hoyle
Charles Edwards
Edley Lattimore
Jack Boyles
Debra Blanton
Jason Rhodes
Jody Black
Local Food Systems
Amber Brown
Dayna Causby
Emily Parker
Roxie Cogdill
Audrey Whetten
Jan Harris
Jenny Dellinger
Harvetta Fuller
Jessica Talbert
April Crotts
Jessica Bridges
Chris Huffman
Ted Alexander
Tim Crotts
Cathey Noell
Sandy Smith
Angie Smith
Tyler McDaniel
Ron McCollum
Tammy Bass
Rick Howell
Debra Blanton
Greg Tillman
Pat Farley
Jean Ann Privett
Mary Sue Boyles
Joan Parrish
Les Dixon

Safety and Security of Food & Farm Systems
Sam Lockridge
Cindy Prewitt
Charlie Jones
Will Thompson
Luke Beam
Ethan Henderson
Jeff Crotts
Brad Bumgardner
Mike Spake
James Webb
Mark Greene
Pat Farley
Debbie Lail
Karen Grigg
Leadership Development
Pat Farley
Mary Sue Boyles
Betty Bridges
Mary Jane Seagle
Joan Parrish
Les Dixon
Lou Reese
Jean Ann Privett
Mary Lee Jones
Lorinda Richard
Clara Carter
Dana Giles
Parenting and Caregiver Skills
Anne Short
Karen Wright
Fonda Cromer
Dottie Richardson
Antoinette Thompson
Kaylie Lemmon
Janice Morton
Jan Kendrick
Dana Hamrick
Cathy Taylor
Gail Ross
Roxanne Rabb
Linda Geter
Danielle Williams
Donna Mikell
Symantha Franklin
Linda Justice
Colin Ashley
Jane Armstrong
School to Career
Susan Allen
Sharon Robbs
James King
Katie Earl
Sam Lockridge
Alan Norman
Derek Greene
Sherri Greene
Mark Bramlett
Dr. Rhod Lowe
Robbie Henderson
Will Thompson
Shannon Kennedy
Urban and Consumer Agriculture
Thomas Lewis
John Carroll
Dotty Leatherwood
Jim Toole
Travis Shidal
Craig Oliver
Pat Parr
Marty Martin
John Cline
Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction
Tammy Bass
Jane Armstrong
Linda Page
Debbie Vaughn
Sharon Eaker
Karen Grigg
Paulette Putnam
Angela Padgett
Danielle Williams
Pat Farley
Joan Parrish
Vontella Dabbs

VIII. Staff Membership

Greg Traywick
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (704) 482-4365
Email: greg_traywick@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Administration, Livestock, Local Food Systems, Pesticide Education, Community Development, Pest Management

Nancy Abasiekong
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (704) 482-4365
Email: nancy_abasiekong@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Foods & Nutrition, Food Safety, Health & Wellness, Human Development,ECA Liaison

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.

Candice Christian
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer & Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9148
Email: Candice_Christian@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: The overall goal of the Area Specialized Agents (ASAs) in Consumer & Retail Food Safety is to support FCS Agents in delivering timely and evidence-based food safety education and information to stakeholders in North Carolina.

Julie Flowers
Title: Area Agent, Agriculture - Consumer Horticulture
Phone: (704) 922-2104
Email: julie_flowers@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Julie Flowers is the Consumer Horticulture Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Gaston and Cleveland County. She coordinates the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program, helps homeowners resolve horticultural issues, and leads public workshops/speaking engagements on a variety of horticultural topics. Julie possesses an Associates Degree in Horticulture and Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture Education. She is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Horticulture.

Charlie Godfrey
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (704) 482-4365
Email: jcgodfre@ncsu.edu

Richard Goforth
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (704) 283-3801
Email: richard_goforth@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: 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.

Andrew Scruggs
Title: Area Agent, Agriculture - Field Crops
Phone: (704) 736-8461
Email: andrew_scruggs@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide support for field crop producers in Cleveland and Lincoln counties.

Daniel Shires
Title: Area Agent, Agriculture
Phone: (704) 482-4365
Email: daniel_shires@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Commercial Fruit & Vegetable Crops

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.

Annie Thompson
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (704) 482-4365
Email: annie_thompson@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Administrative Assistant- 4-H, Agriculture, Horticulture, Family & Consumer Sciences, Livestock, Beekeeping

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.

Lara Worden
Title: Area Agent, Agriculture
Phone: (704) 922-2118
Email: lara_worden@ncsu.edu

IX. Contact Information

Cleveland County Center
130 S Post Rd
Suite 1
Shelby, NC 28152

Phone: (704) 482-4365
Fax: (704) 480-6484
URL: http://cleveland.ces.ncsu.edu