2017 Columbus County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 23, 2018

I. Executive Summary

In 2017, the NC Cooperative Extension Service in Columbus County planned, delivered and evaluated programs relevant to the needs of Columbus County citizens. Programs were identified and as prioritized by our Extension Advisory Council with support from specialized committees that work with our Extension Agents. Through the tireless efforts of our Extension staff members, local community support, local businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies and the Columbus County Commissioners great programing accomplishments were Achieved. Over 614 volunteers gave 20,555 hours of their time that was valued at $496,198.00. In addition, there were 27,939 contacts made through face to face, telephone, email, cable TV and newsletters. All of these clients received the benefits of our Extension programs in Columbus County. Then entire staff worked to provide 114 meetings, trainings and educational workshops that allowed for informal educational opportunities for 2,190 youth and adults during 532 hours of instruction.

The Agriculture program was highly successful this year. Agriculture agents educated the public through workshops, news articles and public events. In Columbus County, farmers are always looking for ways to increase profitability through traditional as well as alternative crops. Agricultural agents met these needs through programmatic efforts in various ways. Agents worked with traditional row crop farmers, small farmers, commercial vegetable growers and livestock producers regarding overall best management practices specifically in terms of production issues. Notable impacts included over $118,000.00 of net income gains that were realized by the adoption of agent recommended best management practices related to nutrient management, conservation, production, cultivars and pest management. By adopting recommended practices and participating in Extension programs large and small farmers, homeowners and businesses have helped to reduce the environmental impacts of waste products, pesticides and fertilizers. Extensions efforts are critical to the continued sustainability of the agricultural industry in Columbus County. One of the most successful Agricultural impacts involved Extensions partnership with the Columbus County Cattlemen's Association in planning a cattle handling presentation and demonstraion that featured expert Dr. Temple Gradndin. There were over 200 people from accorss North and South Carolina in Attendance. Livestock and the farming industry provided over $10,000 in funding to support this event, with $5000 being donated to the Boys & Girls Hoome farm and exhibition center. However, economically for the whole county the impacts were far greater interms of funds spent to stay in hotels and eating at resturants etc.

Extension programs for Family and Consumer Sciences addressed several issues in 2017. Columbus County continues to be one of the most un-healthiest counties in North Carolina and the most pressing issues are centered-around obesity. Our Family and Consumer Science Agent (FCS) along with the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) continue working to solve this problem. In most rural parts of North Carolina and specifically in Columbus County we still have a love for deep fried foods and barbeque. According to statistics, 34% of adult residences in Columbus County are obese. A staggering 17.1% of youth are overweight, and 18.3% are considered obese. The Columbus County FCS Agent and EFNEP Assistant continue to be active in the fight against childhood obesity. Good Health continues to be a major concern for adults the Steps to Better Health Choices program was conducted with 18 Seniors. As a result of the program 80% of the Seniors increased their fruit and vegetable conusmption which led to better health. Also in 2017, the Color Me Healthy Program was conducted with 49 Ransom Head Start Children over a 9-week period of time. The Children in the program enjoyed trying the fruits and vegetables, and always wanted more. They also enjoyed participating in the activities including physical activity. 82% of the parents observed an improvement in their child's health and a willingness to eat more fruits and vegetables.

The Columbus 4-H program in partnership with youth Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)reached 2077 youth and adults. Many participated in 4-H traditional and non traditional clubs and has seen a 10% growth. Eventhough many things were accomplished we wanted to share this story as a shining light for the 4-H program as it focuses the value of volunteering. 4-H Youth along with volunteers organized a horse club so that youth would learn and develop life skills in a safe and nurturing environment. The interdisciplinary programing between the 4-H and Livestock agent led to the formation of a new horse club. In 2017, the club had nineteen members, with three trained volunteers and eight parents. Nineteen youth are now working on a project book for county completition. Youth are taking turns doing club presentations and 75% of parents have seen an increase in their youth's self-confidence. Volunteering is also an important part of 4-H and is associated with positive outcomes during the teen years as well as in adulthood. Research has shown that youth who volunteer are less likey to become pregnant or to use drugs, and are more likey to have a more positive academic standing. In Columbus County the NCCES partnered with the Boys & Girls home to offer youth an opportunity to improve their horsemanship skills by volunteering to assist with horse camps. One youth took advantage and volunteered for three different camps. In 2017 this particular 4-her won Championships in Novice adn Youth Western Pleasure in the Waccamaw Equestrian Show Series. The 4-Her applied for and was accepted as a participant in the American Quarter Horse Association's Young Horse Development Program. Whe ws given a registered foal valued at $2000.00 which she is now caring for and training for competition in 2018. 4-H continues to make a different in the lives of our youth.

This is just a glimpse of the program impacts and successes we have had as a total staff. In 2017 the Columbus County Cooperative Extension truly focused on meeting needs and we will continue to provide outstanding programs that have positive impacts on the citizens of Columbus County.

II. 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 2016 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.

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
279Number 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
2Number 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
239Number 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
4503Net 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
103Number of producers reporting increased dollar returns per acre or reduced costs per acre
56Number of producers reporting reduction in fertilizer used per acre
1222Number 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
284Number 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
81Number of animal producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
2500Net income gains by producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
75Number of animal producers implementing Extension-recommended best management practices for animal waste management
53Number 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.
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
37Number of food service employees receiving ServSafe certification
9Number of participants trained in safe home food handling, preservation, or preparation practices
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
9Number of eligible participants enrolled in Food Stamp program
49Number of participants implementing ServSafe
* 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.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
29Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
16Number of youth participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
5Number of adult participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
12Number of hours adult volunteer training conducted
6Number of hours youth volunteer training conducted
7Number new volunteers recruited
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
55Increased number of hours contributed by trained youth volunteers
101Increased number of hours contributed by trained adult volunteers
4Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
3Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
24Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles beyond Extension, including community boards and task forces
* 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.
Value* Outcome Description
21Number of youth (students) participating in 4-H dropout prevention (student at-risk) programs
98Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
23Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members in 4-H clubs that have dropped out of high school
35Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
24Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of entrepreneurship
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
11Number of participants increasing their knowledge about best management practices
12Number of child and youth educators aspiring to implement quality outdoor learning environments for children
12Number of youth and adults demonstrating increased knowledge of natural resources and environmental issues
6Number of youth willing to participate in conservation actions
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
3Number of participants that adopted recommended climate adaption strategies for production agriculture or natural resource management, including for invasive species, pest management, pollutant loads, and wetlands.
23Number of acres under recommended climate adaption strategies for production agriculture or natural resource management, including for invasive species, pest management, pollutant loads, and wetlands.
2Number of participants that adopted recommended climate mitigation practices such as water-use efficiency, livestock production feeding practices, carbon sequestration, reducing carbon or energy footprint.
2Number of acres under recommended climate mitigation practices such as water-use efficiency, livestock production feeding practices, carbon sequestration, reducing carbon or energy footprint.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Consumers and communities will enhance the value of plants, animals, and landscapes while conserving valuable natural resources and protecting the environment.
Residential, commercial and public entities will make decisions regarding plant selection, placement and management that will decrease water consumption, preserve and improve water quality, mitigate storm water contaminants, reduce erosion, energy consumption, and greenwaste, expand wildlife habitat, improve real estate value, and improve diet and nutrition of consumers. The horse and "farmer lifestyle" industry will continue to grow and have an increasing impact on North Carolina's economy, while protecting the environment. The NCDA&CS reports that 65,000 horse producers own over 225,000 horses which annually generates over $704 million of gross revenue from training, showing, boarding and breeding establishments in addition to agri-business sales of horse-related products. The total economic impact of the NC green industry is $8.6 billion, involving 151,982 employees, and 120,741 acres of production (Green Industry Council, 2006). North Carolina residential consumers spend $5.9 billion dollars per year on garden and landscape related expenses (Green Industry Council, 2006). For 2007, North Carolina's population is estimated to be 8,968,800 (LINC). The population grew by 1,323,288 (15%), between 1997 and 2007 and it is projected to grow by another 1,330,055 (13%), over the next ten years (LINC). Over 50% of the population now lives in urban areas. Despite evidence of the ecological and financial benefits, environmentally responsible landscaping strategies are not being implemented widely. Renovating a landscape to incorporate water conserving strategies may result in using 36% less water. Urban water run-off accounts for the majority of water pollution, mostly pesticides and fertilizers, that does not come from a specific industrial source. Selection of well-adapted plants, effective pest management, and appropriate care and feeding of plants will greatly reduce dependence on fertilizers and pesticides. Rain water that is not absorbed by the soil becomes erosive storm water runoff, which transports pollutants such as fertilizer, pesticides, sediment, motor oil, litter, and animal waste to local streams and rivers. Landscape designs will include rain gardens and other runoff catchment facilities (underground cisterns, etc.) that are attractive and easy to maintain in residential areas. Homeowners will learn that proper plant selection and placement can reduce winter heating bills by as much as 15% and summer cooling bills by as much as 50 percent, while reducing the need to prune over-sized plants. Wild habitat areas are rapidly being converted into housing and commercial properties, displacing native plants and animals. Choosing native or adapted plants that provide food and shelter creates a haven for butterflies, birds, lizards, and other animals. Edible landscaping can increase the amount and expand the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed.
Value* Outcome Description
52Number of participants improving knowledge, attitude, skills and aspirations regarding gardening and landscape practices including plant selection and placement, turfgrass management, soil management, growing food, water conservation and water quality preservation, storm water and erosion management, green waste management, pest and wildlife management
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
51Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease) management, fertility management, water conservation, water quality preservation and pruning techniques
5850Total cost savings from the use of extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease) management, fertility management, water conservation, water quality preservation and pruning techniques
45Number of participants who use extension-recommended pest management practices in homes, public facilities, businesses or in community pest management programs
6000Cost savings from using extension-recommended pest management practices in homes, public facilities, businesses or in community pest management programs
30Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
1400Cost savings from the appropriate selection of landscape plants
325Number of participants growing food for home consumption
8000Value of produce grown for home consumption
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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
10Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
787Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
755Number of participants increasing their physical activity
2Number 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* 18,843
Non face-to-face** 9,329
Total by Extension staff in 2017 28,172
* Face-to-face contacts include contacts that Extension personnel make directly with individuals through one-on-one visits, meetings, and other activities where staff members work directly with individuals.
** Non face-to-face contacts include contacts that Extension personnel make indirectly with individuals by telephone, email, newsletters, news articles, radio, television, and other means.

V. Designated Grants Received by Extension

Type of GrantAmount
Contracts/Grants $500.00
Gifts/Donations $2,372.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $1,295.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $6,710.00
Total $10,877.00

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: 145 918 693 $ 22,161.00
Advisory Leadership System: 49 117 170 $ 2,824.00
Extension Community Association: 24 16,796 230,393 $ 405,455.00
Extension Master Gardener: 6 26 112 $ 628.00
Other: 390 2,698 2,183 $ 65,130.00
Total: 614 20555 233551 $ 496,198.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Advisory Council
Ricky Bullard
Esther Collier
Kathryn Faulk- Chair
Kipling Godwin
Phil Gore
Dewey Graham
Haywood McKoy
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
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
Sarah Gray
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
Davis Lowery
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

VIII. 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.

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.

IX. 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