2018 Columbus County Plan of Work

Approved: January 24, 2018

I. County Background

Columbus County is the third largest county in land area in North Carolina and has 10 incorporated towns (Whiteville, Tabor City, Fair Bluff, Chadbourn, Lake Waccamaw, Bolton, Sandyfield, Brunswick, Cerro Gordo, and Boardman). Columbus County is close to two large retirement areas, the North Carolina coast, and Myrtle Beach. The county has witnessed a trickle of retirees moving into the county, but not in large numbers.

Total County population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013) is 57,246. Population by race is White - 35,730 (64.0%), Black - 17,719 (30.5%), American Indian – 1,859 (3.5%) and other races 1,394 (2.4%). Columbus County’s population is 49.5% male and has a median age of 36.9. 13.8% of the county’s population is over the age of 65. 2.3% of the county’s total population reported themselves as Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

The economy in Columbus County continues to change in major ways. Agriculture, while still important in county earnings and income, employs only 2% of the workforce. Tobacco is still a cornerstone in the agricultural sector in county earnings despite national trends that have caused its decline in recent years. Timber is a large industry as over 400,000 acres of the county are forested. Non-traditional agriculture such as garlic and commerical pecan production has increased over the last 3 years. In 2016 the unemployment rate averaged 6.0% which is better than 6.8% in 2015 .

One of the top issues in the county continues to be the extremely high obesity rate and the rise of major health problems for adults and youth. For the last several years Columbus County has been in the bottom tier and is considered an unhealthy county. In 2017 Columbus County again was voted as one of the most unhealthiest counties in the state. In partnership with our local county government and other organizations, Extension will continue to provide educational leadership through programs that address the most pressing issues and needs in the county. Extension will continue to provide programs that are specifically targeting these issues.

The Advisory Leadership System continues to be instrumental in developing our overall plan. Meetings, focus groups, face to face interviews, trend data, and data available from other agencies and groups, was utilized to identify current issues to be addressed by Cooperative Extension. The major county issues identified by the citizens of Columbus County to be addressed by the Extension this year fall under the following objectives: 1) Profitable and Sustainable Plant and Animal Systems 2) Local Food Systems, 3) Safety and Security of our Food and Farm Systems, 4) Leadership Development, 5) Volunteer Readiness, 6) School to Career (Youth and Adults), 7) Natural Resources Conservation and Environmental Sustainability, 8) Urban and Consumer Agriculture and 9) Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction.

There continues to be many challenges as well as opportunities in the upcoming year. However, as we continue to work with our local Advisory Leadership System, specialists and administration from NC State University and NC A&T State University, Cooperative Extension can and will make a difference in the lives of Columbus County citizens. As the county's link to NC State University and NC A&T State University, the Columbus County Center and staff of NC Cooperative Extension are committed to providing educational programs in response to the local needs identified. This working document outlines some of those programs and Extension's plan of work for the next year.

II. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

III. Relationship to County Government Objectives

Columbus County government does not presently have a strategic plan.

Cooperative Extension is viewed as a county department. The County Extension Director is considered a county department head and attends monthly county department head meetings. The County Extension Director meets periodically with the county manager. The director also reports to the board of commissioners annually at a commissioner's meeting to present a departmental update. In addition, the Cooperative Extension Staff and advisory council provide a "Report to the People" annually. This year Extension continues to be given the task by County Government to be the lead organization in developing agricultural markets outside of Columbus County. There is also a renewed focus on maximizing the profitability of traditional and non-traditional agricultural farms.

The County of Columbus provides Extension's operating budget, facilities, and vehicles. County administrative offices are available to assist Cooperative Extension in fulfilling its role as a county department. The personnel director is involved in filling vacant positions. The administrative secretary works closely with the county finance and purchasing staff. The county attorney is also available if needed. County officials are invited to participate in various Extension functions. In 2018 the county will graciously continue to work with Cooperative Extension in filling vacant positions to prevent a reduction in services.

The County Extension Director also serves on the Local Emergency Planning Committee, County Animal Response Team and Safety Team. In case of a natural disaster, the CED is one of two department heads designated to maintain the Supply Command Center at the county 911 center. The Columbus County Cooperative Extension government building is also listed as the designated sight if the state needs to come in and set up an Emergency Command Center during or after a major natural disaster.

The Columbus County staff is prepared to assist county government during emergencies by providing educational materials to help citizens make informed and appropriate decisions concerning the health and safety of their families. Extension is also ready to assist with any disaster and recovery operations especially those associated with animal welfare and rescue.

IV. Diversity Plan

Cooperative Extension is committed and continues to embrace the value of diversity and the elimination of discrimination. Extension is available to all people regardless of race, color national origin, socioeconomic status, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation in keeping with Extension's Comprehensive Affirmative Action Plan. All Reasonable Efforts will be used to ensure that program opportunities are available to the citizens of county. These include, but are not limited to, targeting underrepresented groups through media, flyers, personal letters, social media and personal contact.

Columbus County will also continue to address diversity through the following:
1. An inclusive advisory leadership council with members representative of the total county.
2. Develop and implement programs to include all citizens.
3. Seek out opportunities to serve on committees and boards that serve a diverse group of people.
4. Participate in events such as health fairs and other events that target minority groups.
5. Target under served minority groups.
5. Cooperative Extension will use resources to translate documents into the Spanish language to further enhance communication among multicultural groups where applicable.

V. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods

Delivering timely, relevant educational programs that meet critical local needs is the cornerstone of Extension’s mission. Extension educational programs are designed to equip the citizens of Columbus County with the knowledge, skills and tools to improve their economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and quality of life. An Extension program delivery system is a planned and organized mix of educational methods used during an educational program. Extension educational methods are the specific ways by which research-based information is shared with targeted learners. Extension educators in our county employ a wide variety of hands-on, experiential educational methods, such as interactive workshops and classes, demonstrations, field days and tours, that allow learners to fully engage in the learning process, test new knowledge and/or practice new skills during the educational session. Equally important, this plan will also include educational methods such as seminars, client visits, fact sheets, newsletters, and home study kits that serve to support and reinforce learning as well as provide motivation for continued learning. Armed with the most current literature on effective teaching and learning, Extension educators also skillfully select educational methods based on the learning style preferences and special needs of the targeted learners. These client-focused methods afford learners the opportunity to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to change their lives in meaningful ways. Another key feature of Extension program delivery that is evident in this plan is our commitment to being customer driven and customer focused. As such, in addition to the County Extension Center, Extension educational programs are delivered online, in community centers, on farms, and other locations in order for our programs to be available and accessible to, and fully utilized by, the citizens of Columbus County.

In Extension, success is defined as the extent to which our educational programs have made a difference in the lives of the citizens of Columbus County. Evaluation methods are the way we make those observations about first and foremost whether any changes occurred as a result our educational programs, and subsequently the significance of those changes. As an educational organization, the changes we seek focus on key outcomes such as the knowledge and skills participants gain from our programs. More specifically, in this plan, we are using quantitative research methods such as retrospective testing, pre and post tests and/or surveys to measure change in knowledge gained, the application of that knowledge, number of new skills developed, and types of new skills developed. Extension, as a results-oriented organization, is committed to also assessing the social, economic and/or environmental impact that our programs have on the individuals who participate, their families and communities and ultimately the county as a whole (i.e. true significance of the changes stemming from our programs). We plan to measure these impacts in both the long and short-term. In this annual plan (short-term), we have outlined financial impacts as our primary evaluation methods. Another value held in Extension is actively listening to and dialoguing with targeted learners. Therefore, this plan also includes qualitative evaluation methods such as testimonials from program participants, and interviews and focus groups with participants.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Advisory Council
Ricky Bullard
Esther Collier
Kathryn Faulk- Chair
Kipling Godwin
Phil Gore
Dewey Graham
Harold Shuman
Jeannie Stanaland- Secretary
Brenda Troy
Marie Campbell
4-H
Alice Connor
Karla Freeman
Leslie Jones
Rita Knox
4-H County Council
Ethan Kellihan
Alex Kellihan
Devan Young
Constance Freeman
Columbus County Beekeepers Association
Eddie Ward
Tony Parker
Bonnie Jupina
Bertha Floyd
Charles McDuffie
Lenwood Williams
Carl Cutler
Columbus County Farmers Market
Harold Shuman
Myra Godwin
Johnny Reynolds
Carolyn Shuman
Al Daniels
Horse Livestock
Amanda Thompson
Leslie Reed
Cathy Prince
Kerry Kenner
Eric Tachau
Jackie Johnson
Kim Torelli
Pork Producers
Timmy Kinlaw
Jerry Willoughby
Carolyn Creech
Donald Strickland
Sonny Hart
Keith Enzor
Commercial Horticulture
Bobby Williams
Mackie Bullock
Harold Shuman
Ricky Bullard
Jerry Robinson
FCS Advisory Leadership
Esther Collier
Jackie Roseboro
Sandra Nobles
Kip Godwin
Jamika Lynch
Carol Caldwell
Kristi Priest
Extension and Community Association County Council
Ramona Barnes
Hilda Bullard
Sandra Nobles
Barbara Larrimore
Connie Wilson
Hilda Jordan
4-H Horse Committee
Tami Cumbee
Valerie Gensel
Rachel Lowery
Alissa Simmons
Mikell Todd
Alberta Horn
Kim Torelli
Field Crops Advisory Committee
Carrol Johnson
Harry Hart
James Worley
Alan Ward
Bennett Wilder
Ernie Freeman
Mackie Bullock
Kevin Godwin
Dewayne Johnson
4-H Youth Council
Adrienne Blanks
Matthew Blanks
Jon Jones
Bailey Sutherland
Cattle Producers
Ethan SCott
Christine Long
Charles Lennon
Russell McPherson

VII. Staff Membership

Dalton Dockery
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (910) 640-6605
Email: dalton_dockery@ncsu.edu

Rebekah Benton
Title: EFNEP Educator, Extension Program Associate
Phone: (910) 640-6607
Email: rebekah_thompson@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Nutrition Program Associate 4-H EFNEP. Provides nutrition education for Columbus County youth.

Amanda Collins
Title: County Extension Office Assistant
Phone: (910) 640-6605
Email: amanda_collins@ncsu.edu

Phyllis Creech-Greene
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock
Phone: (910) 641-3996
Email: phyllis_creech@ncsu.edu

Meleah Evers
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (910) 640-6605
Email: meleah_collier@ncsu.edu

Mike Frinsko
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Aquaculture
Phone: (252) 448-9621
Email: mike_frinsko@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide technical training and assistance to commercial aquaculture producers in the Southeast Extension District

Carsha Hayes
Title: County Extension Office Assistant
Phone: (910) 640-6605
Email: carsha_hayes@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.

Jonathan Jacobs
Title: Program Assistant, Agriculture
Phone: (910) 640-6605
Email: jcjacobs@ncsu.edu

Lynette Johnston
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-0303
Email: lynette_johnston@ncsu.edu

Colby Lambert
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Forestry
Phone: (910) 814-6041
Email: colby_lambert@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities and technical support to forest landowners, agents, and forest industry in eastern North Carolina.

Danny Lauderdale
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Nursery and Greenhouse, Eastern Region
Phone: (252) 237-0111
Email: danny_lauderdale@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides programming to commercial ornamental nursery and greenhouse producers in eastern North Carolina.

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

Stephanie McDonald-Murray
Title: Regional Nutrition Extension Associate - Southeast EFNEP and SNAP-Ed
Phone: (910) 296-2143
Email: stephanie_mcdonald@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Job Description: Provides programmatic supervision to the EFNEP program in the South East District.

Rachel McDowell
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer & Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9155
Email: romcdowe@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Support FCS Agents in delivering timely and evidence-based food safety education and information to stakeholders in NC.

Nannetta Rackley
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (910) 640-6605
Email: nan_rackley@ncsu.edu

Diana Rashash
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Water Quality/Waste Management
Phone: (910) 455-5873
Email: diana_rashash@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Water and wastewater issues of all types: stormwater, aquatic weed ID & control, water quality & quantity, septic systems, animal waste, land application of wastewater, environment & sustainability, climate, etc.

Margaret Ross
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (252) 670-8254
Email: margaret_ross@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Working with commercial poultry producers to assist in writing nutrient management plans and conducting educational programming.

Michael Shuman
Title: Extension Technician, Agriculture
Phone: (910) 640-6605
Email: michael_shuman@ncsu.edu

Chip Simmons
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Food Safety
Phone: (919) 414-5632
Email: odsimmon@ncsu.edu

Nakoma Simmons
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (910) 640-6607
Email: nakoma_simmons@ncsu.edu

Evelyn Smith
Title: 4-H Program Assistant
Phone: (910) 640-6607
Email: evelyn_smith@ncsu.edu

Allan Thornton
Title: Extension Associate
Phone: (910) 592-7161
Email: allan_thornton@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Vegetable Extension Specialist. Conducts Extension and applied research programs for commercial vegetable and fruit growers and agents in eastern North Carolina.

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.

VIII. Contact Information

Columbus County Center
45 Government Complex Rd
Suite A
Whiteville, NC 28472

Phone: (910) 640-6605
Fax: (910) 642-6315
URL: http://columbus.ces.ncsu.edu