2020 Edgecombe County Plan of Work

Approved: January 19, 2020

I. County Background

Edgecombe County is located in the northern Coastal Plains. It has a land area of 327,040 acres or 511 square miles. Ninety percent of the land is in woodlands and fields, each accounting for about 50% of the undeveloped property. Our county is considered a low wealth, Tier I county and statistics for health, income, education, work force, jobs and poverty paint a bleak picture, however, our citizens have an immense pride, friendliness and resourcefulness. The county did have a positive population growth in the latest census, but we continue to feel the effects of the decline of textiles and manufacturing which had been the foundation for employment and taxes. Opportunities are on the horizon with expansions of current local industries and construction of two major industries beginning in the county should stimulate more opportunities.

In spite of many negatives, residents continue to find ways to persevere and make Edgecombe County a great place to work and live. The county has nearly complete coverage for public water service, two public sewer systems, and is directing an effort to coordinate tourism opportunities in the county. Hurricane Matthew dealt a setback to the county and homeowners and businesses are still recovering from the lingering effects.

Our Extension Center will be transitioning in 2020 with a new County Extension Director and 4-H Program Assistant. In order for our Extension Center to plan and deliver meaningful, pertinent and life changing programs we are in the process of an organizational needs assessment and priorities and concerns will be sorted into two different groups; those that our Center could address that was within our "Mission" and those we could not based on the resources available to us. We utilize our Extension Advisory Council to further focus our efforts and assist with outreach. They provide an objective direction based on their insight of our Center's staff and strengths while adding their knowledge of the different segments of the community.

The following broadly represent the findings: 1) Improving Health and Nutrition 2) Increasing Leadership, Personal Development and Citizenship Skills 3) Increasing Economic Opportunity and Business Development 4) Increasing Educational Achievement and Excellence 5) Improving the Agricultural and Food Supply System 6) Environmental Stewardship and Natural Resource management.

Many of the identified issues for Cooperative Extension have also been cited as significant by Edgecombe County Government. Extension is providing leadership to protect natural resources and rural heritage in working with the Agricultural Advisory Board on the Voluntary/Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural District. County Commissioners adopted a customized Agricultural Development Plan which serves as a plan of work for the Agricultural Advisory Board along with recommendations which are aimed at enhancing agricultural enterprises and preserving working lands. Agriculture has remained a steady foundation of economic enterprise in the county providing over 19% of total income while providing 15.4% of county employment. However, 2020 will again present a very challenging year for many growers having come through a tough tobacco crop in 2019. Continued low commodity prices and cuts to tobacco contracts will continue to put downward pressure on agricultural income. A recent breakthrough in the trade with China may help stimulate some markets. Hemp has generated lots of interest among growers who are desperate to find replacement income, but this crop is in the infancy stage with lots of risks including condemnation of the crop or rejection by the purchaser.

Our Extension Center will continue to help protect our water resources by certifying farmers in proper pesticide usage, land application of animal and municipal waste and nutrient management particularly as new poultry operations provide alternative sources of revenue for county farmers. Extension will work closely with local governments to increase access for local farmers to sell farm products and increasing horticultural activities.

Cooperative Extension offers other programs that address the well-being of citizens, benefiting our county’s quality of life and ultimately our ability to recruit industry. Education focusing on nutrition and health for youth and adults will address the problem of overweight and obesity, leading to a reduction in chronic disease and health care costs. A new grant from 2019 for 3 years will allow important work to continue on physical activity and access to recreation will integrate resources at NC State University into fledgling Edgecombe County physical activity efforts. Newly developing programs will also enhance food security and safety. The Edgecombe 4-H and youth development program will continue to address important concerns, such as character issues, self-esteem, decision making and leadership development. We work very closely with county government on many other things such as disaster preparation, developing leadership capacity and reinvigorating rural development.

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 natural resource and environmental programs conserve our precious natural resources and maintain a clean and healthy environment.

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

Edgecombe County government certainly has several issues that it is concerned with. Many of these are listed in the Executive Summary above. Health and health care are of primary concern. As Edgecombe County has some of the highest incidences of breast cancer and diabetes there is certainly a need to address those diseases. Obesity and nutrition are also a significant concern to our citizens and adds cost to county government. Tourism and marketing our county's assets remain a focal point of county government. Of course, economic development is essential for our county to be able to improve the quality of life for our citizens and lower what is the second highest tax rates in North Carolina. Edgecombe County's large investment in education is evidenced by what our leaders see is the key to a healthier more vibrant county.

Our Extension Center staff has devoted time and effort to collaborate with County Government and municipalities to be prepared before a disaster occurs. Our staff has been trained at least in the minimum level of the Incident Command System which is the federal standard for dealing with any disaster. The ICS Command series allows our Extension Center to be able to work as a complete team with county and municipal governments in times of crisis. Our staff will continue to take ICS certification training in order to be fully functional and cross trained at each staff position so that Extension can be represented in the Emergency Operations Center at all times. Hurricane Matthew again demonstrated the importance of planning and coordination as our staff plugged into Operations to conduct damage assessment, EOC functions, shelter programming and emergency animal operations.

Our staff has worked extensively with other departments with "table top" exercises on things like an influenza pandemic, foot and mouth outbreaks, hurricane scenarios, planning large events and dealing with the media during a disaster. Our staff also has planned with our Emergency Services Office to stage large animal sheltering at our Eastern Carolina Agriculture and Education Center. We will continue to take these types of opportunities and makes these collaborations as they become available. Edgecombe County has one of the highest rates of participation in Homeland Security training in North Carolina. This allows for better funding through them for county efforts and projects. Extension is glad to fulfill its obligation to make sure we help Edgecombe County meet the needs of our citizens and the requirements of the State and Federal Government.

IV. Diversity Plan

Our Center is committed to making our programs and expertise accessible to all citizens of Edgecombe. This is an essential effort considering minorities account for 60% of our population (58% African American and nearly 4% Hispanic). Our plans for inclusion begin with broad representation on our Advisory Leadership Committees. Minority input will make sure our programs are relevant and accessible to "under served" audiences as well as aiding in marketing our programs. Our agents will use "all reasonable efforts" to market all of their programs. These efforts include 1) using mass media that caters to minorities 2) placing program advertising in high traffic public areas 3) using letters and visits to minorities encouraging participation 4) develop and utilize community group contacts that can assist in informing minorities of important information about topics and issues that are especially relevant to them.

Our agricultural agents will offer more programs to non-traditional agricultural producers and seek their input when designing and implementing programs.

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 Edgecombe 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, organized and targeted 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 focus. 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 Edgecombe 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 Edgecombe 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

Advisory Council
Alton Skinner
Jackie Heath
Barbara Campbell Davis
Jack Rich
Scott Kiser
Don Anderson
Dorothy Davis
Don Caudle
Gwen Pitt
Troy Lewis
Deborah Coley
Marie El Faysal
Rell Killebrew
Christine Exum Smith
Joy Chaffin
Cody Waters
Ruth McDowell
Agricultural Advisory Board
Tom Porter- Chairman
Don Anderson
Renee Long
Fred Hampton
Paul Drake
Ben Shelton
John R Grimes
Alton Skinner
Shane Varnell
Vernon Rhodes, III
Forestry Specialized Committee
Bill Purvis
Fred Hampton
Mike Wittig
Jack Rich
Seth Bauguess
Livestock Specialized Committee
Jeff Lancaster
Paul Drake
Rick Fulford
Dr. Cole Younger, DVM
Alton Skinner
Scott Kiser
Jerry Flanagan
Berry Hines
Ken Powell
Ashley Hamlet
George Alma Edwards
4-H & Youth Committee
Jeffrey Bradley
Johnica Ellis Kiser
Scott Kiser
Mallory Lancaster
Melissa Lancaster
Ayra Sundbom
Hailee Whitehurst
Brittany Anderson
Christine Smith
Shanell Knight
Jolyna Sundbom
Payden Kiser
McRae Kiser
4-H Livestock Show Committee
Amanda Evans
Scott Kiser
Angel Quincy
Drake Quincy
Seth Paramore
Donald Calhoun
Courtney Pitt
Edgecombe Master Gardener Volunteers Committee
Kim Page
Lynn Brady
Ruby Anderson

VII. Staff Membership

Tanya Heath
Title: Interim County Extension Director & Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (252) 641-7821
Email: tanya_heath@ncsu.edu

Jonas Asbill
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Livestock - Poultry
Phone: (336) 318-6000
Email: jonas_asbill@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Serving the poultry industry across 20 counties in the North Central and Northeast districts

Susan Chase
Title: Regional Nutrition Extension Associate - Northeast EFNEP and SNAP-Ed
Phone: (919) 827-2285
Email: susan_chase@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Job Description: Provides programmatic supervision to the EFNEP program in the Northeast District

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.

Natema Drummond
Title: EFNEP Nutrition Program Assistant, Adult and Youth
Phone: (252) 641-7821
Email: nsdrummo@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Partner with businesses that align with EFNEP principles, with the aim to provide nutrition education services to low-income families. Collaborate with local schools and coordinate with teachers in order to introduce and re-enforce healthy eating habits, the importance of hand washing, Fighting BAC! and increased physical activity daily through the "Eat Smart, Move More" initiative. Pair with organizations to teach adults how to manage financial resources, that they may improve the flow of healthier foods into the home. Provide classes to parents that include hands-on cooking, food demonstrations and nutritious tasting with the expressed goal of developing light food preparation skills and empowering more home cooks. Make available access to these free class series so that low-income, Edgecombe County residents will benefit from decreased health disparities, increase life expectancies and improved quality of life.

Erin Eure
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Fruits and 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.

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.

Melissa Helms
Title: 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (252) 641-7821
Email: mchelms2@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.

Email: kdhyman2@ncsu.edu

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

Shoneca Kent
Title: Extension Agent, Community and Rural Development
Phone: (252) 641-7821
Email: sekent@ncat.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, Ornamental 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.

Kelsey Lichtenwalner
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock
Phone: (252) 641-7827
Email: kelsey_lichtenwalner@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for helping farmers start, manage, grow, and improve their herd and/or farm, as well as educating the community about Agriculture.

Lori McBryde
Title: Area 4-H Agent, East Region
Phone: (919) 989-5380
Email: lori_mcbryde@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide support the Eastern 34 Counties of the Northeast and Southeast Districts in 4-H Youth Development.

Gloria Morning
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (252) 641-7821
Email: gloria_morning@ncsu.edu

Regina Moseley
Title: Area Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (252) 459-9810
Email: regina_moseley@ncsu.edu

Yvonne Murphy
Title: Health Matters Associate
Phone: (252) 641-7821
Email: yvonne_murphy@ncsu.edu

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!

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

Mitch Smith
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture
Phone: (252) 358-7822
Email: mitch_smith@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Mitch Smith provides leadership for educational programming in field crops,.

Debbie Stroud
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9149
Email: dlstroud@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Area Specialized Agents in Consumer and Retail Food Safety help to ensure that Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Agents have access to timely, evidence-based food safety information. This is accomplished by (1) working with FCS Agents in their counties, (2) developing food safety materials and (3) planning and implementing a NC Safe Plates Food Safety Info Center.

Spencer Thomas
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture, Beekeeping and Forestry
Phone: (252) 641-7815
Email: spencer_thomas@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsibilities include Consumer and Commercial Horticulture, Beekeeping, Forestry, and the Extension Master Gardener Program.

Scott Tilley
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Grain
Phone: (252) 793-4428
Email: scott_tilley@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

Edgecombe County Center
201 Saint Andrew St
Tarboro, NC 27886

Phone: (252) 641-7827
Fax: (252) 641-7831
URL: http://edgecombe.ces.ncsu.edu