2020 Gates County Plan of Work

Approved: January 26, 2020

I. County Background

Gates County is a rural Tier 1 county located in the northeastern North Carolina. It is categorized as a “bedroom community” for Virginia. There are no large industries in this county, which makes it necessary for 48% of the people to commute to Virginia and surrounding North Carolina counties in order to earn adequate wages. There are several small businesses, most paying their employees minimum wages. There are no large supermarket chains, McDonald's or Walmart. Two Dollar Generals and a Family Dollar are located in the county. The major employers in Gates County are the school system, county government, North Carolina Department of Transportation and agriculture. A Chamber of Commerce was formed in 2010. Due to current economic situations and budget reductions from the state to the local government, this area has been tremendously impacted, thus resulting in some industries closing, personnel cutbacks or lay offs (i.e. shipyard, International Paper). High speed Internet is accessible to approximately 70% of households in Gates County.

Agriculture and forestry have long been important components of the economy of this county. Gates County has a total land area of 217,884 acres. Total acreage attributed to crops and timber is 192,860 of which 44,032 (25%) acres are in harvested cropland and 145,273 (75%) are forestland. Additional agriculture statistics: 182 farms; 348 acres average farm size; and 58.3 average age of farmers. Most recent 2012 statistics indicated delivered value of timber was $15,300,000. Major cash crops include cotton, soybeans, wheat, peanuts, and corn for grain. North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCDA) most recent 2017 data indicates agriculture income as follows: livestock - $41,914,915; crops - $21,844,212; and government payments – $4,304,528 for a total of $68,063,655 in cash receipts. The total county impact of forestry according to 2012 statistics indicate output of $50,200,000, $12,700,000 in labor income , and 271 jobs. As a neighbor to Virginia, Gates County is experiencing an influx of commuters who work in Virginia and build their homes in Gates County. As a result, prime farmland is being eyed for its development potential. As individuals move into this area from more urban areas, they are less likely to have an understanding of agriculture. There is a potential for farm and non-farm conflicts in rural areas and education of both segments of the rural population is needed to avoid and address potential conflicts.

Gates County’s population is approximately 11,346 of which 35.11% are non-white and 63.19% white. Of the total population, 253 persons have been identified as Hispanic. Census statistics are as follows: 4,439 households; 15.7% of the residents fall below the federal poverty level; 13% receive food assistance; the unemployment rate is approximately 5.8%; property rate per $100 value is $.64; poverty rate is 18; elderly poverty rate is 17; 25.2% uninsured ages 19-64; median household income is $35.647; per capita income is $19,337; 81% home ownership; 1.4% substandard housing; 21% unaffordable housing; 18% with less than HS diploma; 75.6% High School diploma; 11.5% Bachelor’s degree or higher; 44.9% of graduates take SAT; average SAT is 1,358.

Childhood population statistics are as follows: 2,903 (24%) between 0-18 years of age; 40% of those are minorities; 9.1% live in single-parent families; child poverty rate is 24.1; 74% of all the County’s school age children are eligible for free and reduced lunch; 11% w/o health insurance; 28% on Medicaid; 3.2% (9th grade) dropout rate; 82% graduation rate; school expenditures per pupil is $10,213; 42 juvenile complaints; 25% of child abuse and neglect cases substantiated; 405 (28%) of youth ages 12-18 are overweight.

The Gates County Community 2012 Health Assessment reveals that the top five (5) reported leading causes of death in Gates County are 1) Cancer, 2) Heart Disease, 3) Diabetes 4) Cerebrovascular Disease/Stroke and (5) Chronic Lower Respiratory. The three health priorities identified in the 2010 Community Health Assessment are Obesity, Chronic Disease Management and Prevention/Early Detection-Access to Health Care. The "Generation Z" age group, born between 1990-2002, which will be the new workforce in 2020 are 33% overweight. The county has one doctor, one dentist, one pharmacy, one nursing home, one assisted living facility and no hospital.

Gates County has seven swamps, one of which is the Great Dismal Swamp, and Merchant's Millpond State Park. Water resources and forestland attract tourists interested in outdoor recreation. The Merchant's Millpond State Park Visitor Center opened in 2009, which provides natural resource education to the public and meeting space. Natural resource conservation and energy conservation need to be addressed to ensure resources are used wisely and eco-tourism can be developed.

The county's rural nature and limited resources has contributed to the strong level of collaboration, partnerships and networking. The people are interested in improving their quality of life, while maintaining the rural characteristics of the county. They believe in helping each other to accomplish this goal which fortifies their spirit of ownership and belonging and vested interest in local issues. Additional strengths are family oriented values, appreciation for services that are provided, interdependence and the ability to provide more personalized services as a result of being able to put a “face” to various issues impacting families.

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 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. Other Objectives

County Plan of Work

IV. Relationship to County Government Objectives

Gates County Government does not have a strategic plan, however there are some critical issues that the county is trying to address: economic development, entrepreneurship, eco-tourism, infrastructure, smart growth issues, zoning enforcement, high speed internet access, lack of waste water treatment system, landfill management, recycling and identification of grant opportunities and resources. The Extension Plan of Work links to the County's issues by assisting in the area of economic and workforce development, environmental stewardship, eco-tourism, and increasing leadership skills. Extension will continue to be involved in grantsmanship and resource identification, which will support programming efforts that impact county identified needs and issues.

V. Diversity Plan

Overall, the Extension Service in Gates County is reaching a diverse audience, which is representative of the county population. Many of the programs that are grant funded have specifically targeted audiences (gender, low-income, specific barriers, etc.), which may lend some program units to being out of compliance as it relates to gender, ethnicity or race. The target audience may not have a diverse population thus that specific program may not have a diverse audience. However, the participation numbers for the total Extension program (Family Consumer Science, 4-H and Youth, Agriculture, and Community Resource Development) are in compliance as defined by Civil Rights guidelines.

In the area of agriculture, there are a limited number of women and minority involved. This is culturally related as many women assumed the role of “helper” to their husband's farm operation, rather than “farmer”. There is one minority part-time farmer in the county. Agriculture information will continue to be delivered utilizing creative strategies to reach a diverse non-farming community. These strategies include school enrichment and youth and family oriented programs.

Hispanic population is 2.3% (81) in the county. Hispanic workers are employed in the landscaping industry, greenhouse industry, and to some extent, to provide labor for harvesting and other agricultural tasks involving hand labor. However, the majority commutes to Gates County during the day to work and live in neighboring counties. This is due to lack of housing in the county. Programming for this audience is a challenge due to communication barriers and limited Hispanic households to target. Currently there is no staff that speaks Spanish at a level that could be a benefit to outreach efforts. There are a limited amount of Hispanic children in the school system and they are being reached through various 4-H activities such as school enrichment.

VI. 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 Gates 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 the educational programming process. Extension educational methods are the specific ways by which research-based information is shared with targeted learners. Extension educators in the 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 provides 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 the commitment to being customer driven and customer focus. As such, 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 residents of Gates County.

In Extension, success is defined as the extent to which our educational programs have made a difference in the lives of the residents of Gates County. Evaluation methods are the way we make those observations and determine whether any changes occurred as a result the educational programs, and subsequently the significance of those changes. As an educational organization, the changes sought focus on key outcomes such as the knowledge and skills participants gain from the program and the adoption of those behaviors. More specifically, in this plan, the use of 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 is used. Extension, as a results-oriented organization, is committed to also assessing the social, economic and/or environmental impact that its’ program has on the individuals that participate, their families and communities and ultimately the county as a whole (i.e. true significance of the changes stemming from programs). The plan is to measure these impacts on a short-term and long-term basis. In this annual plan (short-term), the financial impact and cost benefit analysis has been outlined. Another value held in Extension is utilizing various evaluation tools while actively listening to and dialoguing with targeted learner. Therefore, this plan also includes qualitative evaluation methods, testimonials from program participants, interviews and focus groups with participants.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Advisory Leadership Council
Ann Askew
Dan Askew
Reggie Askew
Sylvia Boone
Pat Familar
Jonathan Jones
Henry Jordan
Paul Lilley
Tivante Reid
Lola Rountree
Teresa Robinson
Philip Barry Williams
Renee Nicholson

Agriculture Advisory Committee
John Askew
Robbie Umphlett
Paul Lilley
Felton Outland, Jr.
Rick Morgan
Ralph Rascoe, Sr.
Dennis Trotman
George Kittrell, Jr.
Helen Eure
Reggie Askew
Paul Askew
Matt Lowe
Josh Miller
Lynn Hobbs

4H and Youth Committee
Dan Askew
Jeffrey Dent
Amylynn Ashley
Sallie Ryan
Teresa Robinson
Tomas Robinson
Tivante Reid
Johnathan Jones
Xaviar Roscoe
Gregory Crandol
Katie Conrad
Lee Brooks
Jeremy Wright
John Elliott
Renee Nicholson

Family Consumer Science Advisory Committee
Esther Lassiter
Pat Familiar
Robert Jordan
Andy Riddick
Connie Wolfrey
Katie Conrad
Sylvia Boone

Commercial Horticulture Advisory Committee
Louis Nixon
Jeff Smith
Lorne Wiggins
Greg Hughes
Fred Smith
Adam Bunch
Jasper Evans
Allan Thornton
Forestry Advisory Committee
Scott Sheets
Robbie Umphlett
J.R. Rountree
Doug Wassum
James Caddy
Brian Saunders
Matt Lowe
Paul Smith

VIII. Staff Membership

Helen Eure
Title: County Extension Director and Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (252) 357-1400
Email: helen_eure@ncsu.edu

Nettie Baugher
Title: Area Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Horticulture
Phone: (252) 357-1400
Email: nettie_baugher@ncsu.edu

Keli Boone
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (252) 357-1400
Email: knboone@ncat.edu

Candice Christian
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9148
Email: cadescha@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: The overall goal of the Area Specialized Agents (ASAs) in Consumer & Retail Food Safety is to provide North Carolinians with technical food safety information and to support Family and Consumer Sciences agents in delivering timely and evidence-based food safety education and information to stakeholders.

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.

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.

Jared Harrell
Title: Area Agent, Agriculture - Livestock
Phone: (252) 426-5428
Email: jared_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.

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

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.

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.

BJ Okleshen
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (252) 357-1400
Email: bj_okleshen@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!

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.

Katy Shook
Title: Area Agent, Agriculture - Consumer Horticulture
Phone: (252) 482-6585
Email: katy_shook@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Chowan, Gates & Perquimans County Consumer Horticulture Agent & Extension Master Gardener Coordinator

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

Paul Smith
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture
Phone: (252) 357-1400
Email: paul_smith@ncsu.edu

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.

IX. Contact Information

Gates County Center
112 Court St
Gatesville, NC 27938

Phone: (252) 357-1400
Fax: (252) 357-1167
URL: http://gates.ces.ncsu.edu