2020 Alleghany County Plan of Work

Approved: January 26, 2020

I. County Background

Alleghany County is a rural county in the northwest mountains adjoining the Virginia border. It has a NC Department of Commerce designation as a Tier 2 county. Census estimates the county population of approximately 11,161 permanent residents. The county population is 88.2% white, 9.9% Hispanic and 1.9% Black. 27% of the population is age 65 or older. There are seven voting townships. The town of Sparta is the only incorporated town, with a population of just under 1,800 people. Alleghany County faces issues common to other rural mountain counties including loss of employment opportunity, new jobs creation, workforce preparedness, public school facility improvement, and maintaining a balance of providing county services with funding revenue sources that encourage quality of life for all county citizens.

Through formal and informal discussions, the Alleghany Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension met with the following groups to identify issues, needs and opportunities for developing county extension programs. The groups that were utilized to identify needs include; Extension Advisory Leadership Council members and Program Committees, elected County and Municipal Officials, County Manager, and County Department Heads, Chamber of Commerce, civic groups, community based organizations, agricultural commodity groups, and citizens. These responses identified priority issues to include: Economic Development; Community Development; Volunteerism Development; Youth Development; Health and Nutrition and Profitable and Sustainable Agriculture.

The Extension staff of the Alleghany Center will continue to respond to identified issues and opportunities in several ways. They will continue to deliver quality educational programs through varied delivery methods. Evaluation of these programs will be used to measure outcomes and demonstrate accountability to local partners. Extension’s networks, contacts and community involvement creates relationships with NC State University, North Carolina A&T State University and the public sector ensuring availability to expertise that can help address local issues. Finally, Cooperative Extension in Alleghany County is seen as a committed community partner through civic engagement, providing leadership in community initiatives, and commitment of organizational and human resources in seeking solutions to local priority issues. The Extension staff will strive to continue this model and level of achievement.

Cooperative Extension will provide educational programming that will empower people and provide research based knowledge for solutions addressing identified issues and will report under the following statewide objectives:

Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Chronic Disease Reduction
Food Safety
4-H Youth Development Programming
Profitable and Sustainable Animal Production Systems
Community Development
Plant and Animal Production Systems

II. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

Our family and consumer sciences programs improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

Our plant production programs improve production, profitability, and sustainability of the agriculture sector.

Our animal production programs improve production, profitability, and sustainability of the agriculture sector.

Our community development programs build strong and thriving communities.

Our 4-H youth development programs grow the skills young people need to succeed in life and career.

Our consumer horticulture programs teach families and communities about environmentally friendly methods for gardening and controlling pests.

Our food safety and nutrition programs create a safer and more sustainable food supply and improve the health and nutrition of individuals, families, and our communities.

III. Relationship to County Government Objectives

Cooperative Extension works with the county government operations at all time of the year but especially during times of emergencies or natural disasters. Alleghany County Cooperative Extension will work with Emergency Management (Daniel Roten, County EMS Director) to provide individuals, businesses and communities knowledge and recommended practices to improve preparedness from disaster and emergencies and to increase safety in the home and work environment.

The Alleghany County Land Use Development Plan provides a framework for coordinating land use planning, infrastructure planning, and natural resource protection while guiding community growth and development. Various county ordinances exist to regulate activities that would impact goals stated in the Land Use Development Plan. The Extension County Plan of Work links to the County Land Use Development Plan through several of the Statewide Extension Objectives including: Profitable and Sustainable Agriculture Systems. It is under these objectives that agents report individual plans of work, educational activities, outcomes and impacts.

IV. Diversity Plan

Alleghany County's racial and ethnic population totals 12.9%. The makeup is 9.7% Latino and 1.9% Black and 1.4% other.

The composition of the advisory committees for various groups is often determined by the officers of clubs such as ECA clubs, or board members from Christmas Tree and Cattle Associations. To increase diversity on these groups, at-large members need to be added to be sure these groups fairly represent the county population. Marketing efforts and programming opportunities are also being made to under-represented groups in hopes of gaining interest and involvement. Many publications are now being offered in both Spanish and English.

Alleghany Cooperative Extension has classes and activities with all 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders in the county. However, with the Black population being only 1.7% we often have entire grades without any black students. The Latino population is higher at 9.8%, but a large portion of this population is working males. Many times the student Latino population is below the county percentage. The entire county population is approximately 11,031 with the older population, 65 years and older is near 27%.

Our goal is to locate members of minorities that are willing to serve and attend our meetings that will help us be sure our programs are balanced and representative. This will also help us to sustain interest from these populations within the community.

A few of the efforts we are utilizing include:

1. Networking with and providing programs and materials to the local Food Closet and Alleghany CARES (Christians Associated for Relief & Emergency Services). For many of our programs we offer materials in both English and Spanish.
2. Participating with and using Alleghany Cares to identify diverse families with needs
3. Working with DSS (Department of Social Services)to identify residents with special needs
4. Working with the local school systems and child care facilities to identify families and youth with needs
5. Working with the Farm Worker Health Educators to identify individuals and families with needs

V. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods

Delivering timely, relevant educational programs that meet critical local needs is the basis of Extension’s mission. Extension educational programs are designed to equip the citizens of Alleghany County with the research based knowledge and to help individuals possess the skills and tools to improve their economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and overall quality of life. An Extension program delivery system is a planned and organized mix of educational methods used during an educational program. 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. This plan will also include educational methods such as seminars, client visits, fact sheets, and newsletters and the use of television, radio and social media that serve to support and reinforce learning, as well as provide motivation for continued learning. By being aware of the most current resources on effective teaching and learning, Extension agents also skillfully select educational methods based on the learning style preferences and special needs of the targeted learners. These client-focused methods allow learners the opportunity to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to change their lives in meaningful ways. Another key feature of Extension program delivery plan is our commitment to being customer driven and customer focused. In addition to the County Extension Center, Extension educational programs are delivered 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 Alleghany 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 Alleghany County. Evaluation methods are the way we make those observations about whether any changes occurred as a result of our educational programs, and subsequently the significance of those changes. As an educational organization, the changes we focus on are key outcomes such as the knowledge and skills participants gain from our programs. We also use quantitative research methods such as 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 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. We plan to measure these impacts in both the short and long-term. Another value held in Extension is actively communicating with targeted learners and we will also use qualitative evaluation methods such as testimonials from program participants, and face-to-face interviews and surveys with participants and focus groups .

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Christmas Tree Specialized Committee
Kimberly Sides
Kathy Shore
Scott Smith
Buddy Deal
Livestock Specialized Committee
Bobby Davis
Scott Stoker
Gail Sheets
David Gambill
Brad Gambill

Advisory Council
Michael Carter
Bob Bamburg
Larry Prince
Susie Gambill
Coby LaRue
Gerald Leftwich
Cliff Phillips
Veronica Riley
Ken Richardson
Charles Rudy
Susan Worrell
Jane Wyatt

Extension Community Association
Theresa March
Twyla Kennedy
Eleanor Plummer
Susan Worrell

4-H Advisory Committee
Tiffany Boyer
Elizabeth Brooks
Brad Edwards
Veronica Riley
Susan Worrell

Dairy Producers Committee
Jimmy Joines
Randolph Fender
Frank Fender
Greg Crouse
Youth Dairy Advisory
Justin Dalton
Nick Robson
Blue Ridge Livestock Advisory
Bill Hash
Travis Dalton
Melissa Gambill
Maggie Evans
Justin Dalton
Nick Robson

VII. Staff Membership

Amy Lucas
Title: County Extension Director and Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (336) 372-5597
Email: amy_lucas@ncsu.edu

Jill Cockerham
Title: Program Assistant, Local Foods
Phone: (336) 372-5597
Email: jccocker@ncsu.edu

Marti Day
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Dairy
Phone: (919) 542-8202
Email: marti_day@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for educational programs for dairy farmers, youth with an interest in dairy projects and the general public with an interest in dairy foods and the dairy industry.

April Dillon
Title: Area Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (704) 482-4365
Email: april_dillon@ncsu.edu

Lauren Greene
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (336) 651-7347
Email: lauren_greene@ncsu.edu

Michele Hamm
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (336) 372-5597
Email: michele_hamm@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.

Carmen Long
Title: Area Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (336) 401-8025
Email: carmen_long@ncsu.edu

Craig Mauney
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables and Fruits
Phone: (828) 684-3562
Email: craig_mauney@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities, training and technical support to commercial fruit and vegetable growers, agents, and industry in Western NC. (My office is located at the Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center not the Henderson County Extension Center as is noted by IT on this website. Please do not contact the Henderson County Extension Center as I am not located there.)

Ashley Robbins
Title: Area Specialized Agent - Dairy
Phone: (919) 542-8203
Email: ashley_robbins@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Marti Day and I are the Area Specialized Dairy Agents - the county-based arm of the Cooperative Extension Dairy Team. We are out here in the counties to help you set and reach your farm, family and business goals. We have collaborative expertise in the areas of Waste Management, Udder Health, Cow Comfort, Nutrition and Forage Management with specialties in (Ashley)Reproduction, Records Management, Animal Health and (Marti)Alternative Markets, Organic Dairy, Grazing Management, and On-farm Processing. We hope to provide comprehensive educational programs for our farmers, consumers and youth for every county across the state. We are here for you by phone, email or text and look forward to working with you!

Elena Rogers
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Food Safety - Fresh Produce Western NC
Phone: (828) 352-2519
Email: elena_rogers@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide educational programs, training and technical support focusing on fresh produce safety to Agents and growers in Western NC.

Amanda Taylor
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Nursery and Greenhouse, Western Region
Phone: (828) 475-2915
Email: amanda_jo_taylor@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides programming to commercial nursery and greenhouse producers in Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey Counties.

Aaron Ray Tompkins
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture
Phone: (336) 372-5597
Email: aaron_tompkins@ncsu.edu

Mitch Woodward
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Watersheds and Water Quality
Phone: (919) 414-3873
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

Alleghany County Center
90 S Main St
Sparta, NC 28675

Phone: (336) 372-5597
Fax: (336) 372-2279
URL: http://alleghany.ces.ncsu.edu