2018 Currituck County Plan of Work

Approved: January 22, 2018

I. County Background

According to 2010 census data, Currituck County’s population is 23,547. Over the past 10 years, Currituck has experienced greater than 25% population growth. The Department of Commerce includes Currituck County in the Hampton Roads, Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Currituck is conveniently located 50 miles from the International Port of Virginia and Norfolk International Airport. The Hampton Roads MSA is the 27th largest market in the United States. There are 1.6 million people living in the Hampton Roads area. From an economic perspective Currituck has a high median income of $49,863, low unemployment and low property tax rate. This accounts for the migration of many new residents into the county. The unique landscape, Outer Banks, and tourism also attribute to the influx of people. The largest industry in Currituck is tourism. According to the Currituck County Department of Travel and Tourism, over 18 percent of Currituck’s working population is employed by the Leisure and Hospitality Industry.

Still, approximately 81% of Currituck citizens commute to jobs outside the county. Conventional places of employment only account for 5,460 workers most with low skills. Rapid growth has brought about many changes in social, economic, and political structures. The effects of development have also impacted the available natural resources and rural nature of the county. Many public policy issues and individual needs have surfaced that need the attention of political leaders, public officials, agencies and departments.

Agriculture accounts for 8% of the county's jobs. Major crops grown in Currituck are corn, wheat, soybeans, with some vegetables, fruits, nuts and berries. Roadside produce stands are prolific, especially during the summer months, though not all of these sell "Currituck Grown" produce. There are 80 active farms in Currituck County with cash receipts totaling just over $29 million.

Currituck Cooperative Extension has conducted a comprehensive investigation of the demographic changes, data, trends and issues to determine the direction and focus for educational efforts over the coming years. A needs assessment utilizing surveys and advisory leader input was conducted to establish the county-wide Extension emphasis. As a result, 6 issues were identified as high priority/urgency and include:

Health, Nutrition and Well-being
Environmental Stewardship
Family Financial Management
Youth Development
Farmland Preservation
Alternative Agriculture Economic Opportunities
Enhancing Local Food Production and Consumption

Staff members have developed plans to provide a complete program effort in each of the respective areas. Collaboration and networking with other agencies will be strengthened to address opportunities, problems, and issues holistically.

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 animal production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.

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.

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.

Individuals and groups will acquire leadership and decision making capacities needed to guide and actively participate in local and state organizations.

Youth and adults will address community issues and/or challenges through volunteerism.

Community members, organizations and local government will engage in collaborative dialog and decision-making to build economically, socially and environmentally resilient communities. This will be done through inclusive engagement, partnership building, and/or community planning.

Adults and youth will apply financial management practices to increase their economic security, which include to: meet basic necessities, increase savings, reduce debt, and build long-term assets.

Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways

North Carolinians will make decisions and adopt practices that implement effective resource protection and conservation.

Consumers and communities will enhance the value of plants, animals, and landscapes while conserving valuable natural resources and protecting the environment.

Youth and adult program participants will make healthy food choices, achieve the recommended amount of physical activity and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases.

III. Relationship to County Government Objectives

Currituck County has a long standing history of conducting public policy education through Cooperative Extension. Extension will continue to spearhead such efforts at the request of County Government. Consultations with the County Manager and with Board of Commissioner members confirm that the programs are consistent with the needs of the county and parallel efforts targeted by the commissioners.

A major area of interest within County Government is county wellness. Cooperative Extension serves as a lead member of the county wellness team and provides education to all sectors of the community on health, nutrition, physical activity and disease reduction. With a large population of overweight individuals and few doctors per person, Cooperative Extension hopes to lead a proactive approach to wellness and disease prevention.

Currituck County maintains a "Buy Local" campaign to stimulate local economic growth. In support of this initiative, Cooperative Extension is educating the public on locally produced foods. Programs are planned and conducted that connect producers and small agribusinesses with consumers.

Extension has taken an active role emergency preparedness. Numerous trainings and educational materials for all aspects of emergency preparedness have been produced by the Currituck Center. Staff members participate in operating emergency public information hotlines, distributing educational information, and conducting post event assessments of damage.

Cooperative Extension takes a lead role in addressing county issues that arise and providing staff development for county employees as well as facilitating crucial conversations. In the coming year, Extension will continue to lead the county communications and marketing team as well as serve as the lead agency for providing department head and supervisory trainings.

IV. Diversity Plan

All reasonable efforts are being implemented to provide services to diverse audiences. Public awareness of programs remains a priority for marketing Extension programs to underserved groups. Annually, programs are audited to target groups that have little or no participation in programs to ensure inclusiveness. Civil rights plans of actions are updated annually. Staff are committed to positive action to secure equal opportunity and ensure that all programs are offered without exception, to individuals regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability. Staff members have received training to be aware of diverse ethnic and cultural characteristics and are equipped to design programs that meet culturally congruent learning styles. With notification, staff can accommodate individuals with disabilities for most programs. Our facility meets all requirements for accessibility and human resources have been allocated to meet the needs of all clientele groups.

Plans to provide equal opportunity include advertisement and marketing through sources that reach all walks of life. Targeted groups are given direct notice of events and activities. Financial difficulty is even addressed through the use of scholarships, waivers, and donations. Equal representation and opportunity are also reflected in staffing patterns for our agency and associated boards and councils.

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 Currituck 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 eclectic 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 Currituck 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, videos, 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 Currituck 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 Currituck 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 impact and cost benefit analysis 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

Senior Programming
Sheila Gregory
Evelyn Henley
Erline Jones
Georgia Kight
Health & Wellness
Olivia Jones, Chairman
Amy Underhill
Angelia Siddle
Stephanie Leahey
Debbie LaShomb
Stacy Joseph
James Mims
Kim Dozier
Lindsay Voohees
Kristina Ussery
Leslie Price
Sarah Alford
Sheila Gregory
Debra Embrey
Donna Keene
Rebecca Christenbury
Sarah Tyson
Extension & Community Association
Evelyn Henley
Erline Jones
Georgia Kight
4-H Volunteer Leaders Association
Heather Campbell
Kathy Melton
Stacy Belue
Currituck County Advisory Leadership Council
Josh Bass
Lisa Bess
Bobby Hanig
Theresa Dozier
Julie Folwick
Shelly Haskell
Evelyn Henley
Peggy Jordan
Peggy Lilienthal
Jaileen Morelen
Megan Morgan
Renja Murray
Randy Owens
Harvey Roberts
Sandra Tunnel

VII. Staff Membership

Cameron Lowe
Title: County Extension Director, Currituck & Camden
Phone: (252) 232-2261
Email: cameron_lowe@ncsu.edu

Chris Blaha
Title: Agriculture Technician, Agriculture
Phone: (252) 232-2261
Email: ctblaha@ncsu.edu

Billy Caudle
Title: 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (252) 232-2262
Email: wscaudle@ncsu.edu

Candice Christian
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and 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.

Erin Eure
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Fruits & Vegetables
Phone: (252) 357-1400
Email: erin_eure@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities and technical support to commercial fruit and vegetable growers, agents, and industry in northeastern NC.

Sherry Fischlschweiger
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (252) 232-2261
Email: sherry_fischlschweiger@ncsu.edu

Steve Gabel
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Aquaculture
Phone: (252) 482-6585
Email: steve_gabel@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for aquaculture educational programs for the NC NE extension district.

Sheila Gregory
Title: Program Assistant, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (252) 232-2261
Email: sheila_gregory@ncsu.edu

Tom Harrell
Title: 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (252) 232-2261
Email: tom_harrell@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.

Olivia Jones
Title: Area Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (252) 232-2261
Email: olivia_jones@ncsu.edu

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

Sherry Lynn
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (252) 232-2261
Email: sherry_lynn@ncsu.edu

Stephanie Minton
Title: 4-H Program Assistant
Phone: (252) 232-2262
Email: stephanie_minton@ncsu.edu

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.

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

Scott Tilley
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Field Crops
Phone: (252) 793-4428
Email: scott_tilley@ncsu.edu

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

Currituck County Center
120 Community Way
Barco, NC 27917

Phone: (252) 232-2261
Fax: (252) 453-2782
URL: http://currituck.ces.ncsu.edu