2020 Guilford County Plan of Work

Approved: January 17, 2020

I. County Background

As part of the eleven-county Piedmont Triad region, Guilford County is centered along the Piedmont industrial crescent stretching from Raleigh to Charlotte. With a population estimated at 517,600 Guilford County is ranked third in the state. Major cities include Greensboro (287,027) and High Point (111,223). Over 117,820 school age youth reside in Guilford County communities. 4-H partners with young people, families, schools and communities to create dynamic youth development programs and support structures for all young people. Guilford County Schools’ Strategic Plan calls for an implementation of inquiry-based science instruction and recognizes the importance of STEM, and 4-H is instrumental in leading these efforts in communities around across the County.

Agriculture continues to be an integral part of Guilford County, blending urban and rural. As reported in the 2019 NC Agriculture Statistics Report, about 90,750 of our 413,565 acres in the county are farmland. NCDA&CS reported Agricultural Income for Guilford County is $55.7 million. Top commodities include: hay, grain crops, nursery and greenhouse operations, livestock and horses, but interest in local foods is bringing on a shift in what is being grown on many farms. There are still 14,100 acres of hay that is harvested yearly, ranking us 16th in the state for hay production. Guilford County also ranks 2nd in the state for horses with an equine inventory of 10,940 and value of $66,504,000. There are 14,000 head of cattle which we rank 18th and 1,500 head of milk cows where we rank 4th not to mention 8,000 hogs and 355,000 layers. The nursery and greenhouse industry are also still a viable industry with over 10 wholesale nurseries and greenhouses in the county. Issues involving residential and consumer horticulture such as pest management and home food production continue to intensify each year. Cooperative Extension is the only agency designed to provide pesticide applicators training.

Some of the leading health concerns in Guilford County are the lack of physical activity and healthy eating which has led to high levels of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer amongst the County's population. Chronic disease alone causes about two-thirds of all deaths in Guilford County. These chronic diseases can be caused by lack of physical activity and healthy eating. Being overweight or obese can lead to chronic diseases as well. A few statistics that affirm these findings are the County Health rankings which says that Guilford County has a 31% overweight and obesity rate according to the BMI scale. The most recent Community Health Assessment for Guilford county has indicated that 38% of residents report having high blood pressure and another 31% report having high cholesterol. We know that according to good research that these two conditions lead to heart disease and stroke. County Chronic disease can lead to shorter lifespans and reduce a person's quality of life as well as add unnecessary stress. There is also a high cost associated with chronic diseases such as money and time with doctors’ visits, medications, healthcare, and additional services. Research has shown that lifestyle modification through the incorporation of healthy habits can prevent chronic diseases. These healthy habits include healthy eating, physical activity, and exercise. NC Cooperative Extension has the necessary educational resources and programs to address these issues. FCS agent and Nutrition Educators plan to implement evidence-based nutrition education and physical fitness programs to address the obesity epidemic as well as the control/prevention of chronic diseases.

Another aspect of food is food safety. This includes Safe Plate training and certification. This need is expressed and supported by local food establishments including restaurants, grocery stores and school cafeterias, thus this program will continue in the future. There also continues to be an interest in safely preserving food as well as creating value added food and Extension will continue to work in this area.

Financial woes continue to plague Guilford County's limited-resource families with 15.7 percent of the population living below the poverty level. The Median Household income is $46,896. The Top employer is Guilford County Schools followed by Moses Cone. In addition, 5.6 percent of the county's population is currently unemployed, slightly above the state's unemployment of 4.1%. Cooperative Extension can assist these individuals with financial management information and job-hunting skills. Cooperative Extension offers financial literacy to help strengthen families. Audiences include limited resource individuals, single mothers, and displaced individuals residing in transitional housing.

The Board of Commissioners ranked the county priorities as: High Quality K-12 Education, Health People, Economic Development, Public Safety and Recreation and Culture. These priority issues will be addressed by Cooperative Extension through our objectives this year.

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

Guilford County Government is a high performing local government organization that maintains a culture which embraces diversity, strives for equality, inspires individual and organizational excellence in an effective, fiscally sound and sustainable manner, and promotes quality development while protecting the character of communities and citizen engagement in supporting community health, citizen welfare and prosperity, public safety and educational opportunities in a business friendly environment.

The Six strategic issues/objectives our County Commissioners have set are:
Providing High Quality K-12 Education
Healthy People
Economic Development
Infrastructure - safe and adequate public facilities
Public Safety- safe and secure communities
Organizational Excellence - providing the highest possible level of service
Recreation and Culture- enhance the quality of life in the community by supporting leisure physical activities and cultural opportunities

Cooperative Extension contributes to every one of the strategic goals in some way. Because our primary mission is research-based education, we help create opportunities for all residents via our educational outreach efforts. We reach Guilford County citizens through informal education which results in personal enrichment, and certification in pesticide licenses and safe plate. We encourage cultural diversity and have an active diversity committee. Nutrition, health and well-being are one of our major initiatives as is School to Career. Extension provides research-based information in agriculture (which includes field crops, livestock, dairy, forestry) and commercial horticulture to Guilford County citizens to support economic growth that provides a high quality of life. Customer service is of utmost importance to our staff to provide Guilford County citizens with efficient and timely information.

IV. Diversity Plan

Guilford County continues to welcome and acknowledge the positive impact related to differences in age, culture, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental abilities, race, sexual orientation, political beliefs, marital or family status, spiritual practice, and all dimensions of human diversity.

The population of Guilford is very diverse with the following statistics: 57.4% White; 34.6% Black; 4.9% Asian; and 7.9% Hispanic. The Hispanic population is the fastest growing segment of the county's population. The majority of our registration forms for programs include a space for any special needs of participants. We have in the past provided a Spanish translator as well as an interpreter for the hearing impaired as requested. We submitted five marketing brochures to Extension to have them translated into Spanish. Consulting with a new group called the Immigrant Advisory Board to see if there are ways Extension can become more engaged. There are 115 different dialects spoken in the Guilford County school system. We have in the past provided a Spanish translator as well as an interpreter for the hearing impaired as requested. Master Gardeners have translated several vegetable gardening publications into Spanish and other publications are available on-line from other universities. Our Legacy Demonstration Garden is ADA equipped. A booklet has been prepared for assisted living facilities to use this garden.

One way in which the Cooperative Extension office in Guilford County ensures that all reasonable efforts are made is to reach new, under-served, culturally diverse and any other audiences is via mass media. Over a year, we reach 25 million viewers and listeners through our television spots on WFMY-TV and WGHP-TV, and radio programs through Clear Channel stations. Although this viewership carries into other counties, we are helping to impact a vast population. The majority of individuals in the county own a television so we provide them with educational information in this way.

We are also directly connected with a number of organizations that provide assistance to the limited resource community of Guilford County.

Facebook and YouTube provide new avenues to connect with citizens. The Extension Facebook page is updated to keep people current with events and educational material. YouTube provides a means to increase viewership of the "Answer People" shows by splitting segments which could be targeted at specific needs.

For the past three years, programs have been offered through the public library system at four different branches. Our web site provides us with another avenue of reaching citizens since many individuals use a computer on a daily basis.

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 Guilford 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 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 focused. As such, in addition to the County Extension Center, Extension educational programs are delivered online, in community centers, on farms, and other locations so our programs are available and accessible to, and fully utilized by, the citizens of Guilford 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 Guilford 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 knowledge gained, the application of that knowledge and 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 open conversations with targeted learners. Therefore, this plan also includes qualitative evaluation methods such as testimonials from program participants through interviews and focus groups.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Guilford County Advisory Council
Jeanne Aller
Melanie Buckingham
Dennis Elliott
Elaine Fryar
Odile Huchette
Rhonda Ingram
Marian King
Heidi Majors
Alison Manka
Amanda Hodges
Michael Romano
D. Malcolm Schug
Doug Thorne
Ray Trapp
Carolyn Velez
Carl Vierling
Nicole Villano
Michael Washington
Lindsay Whitley
Chris Wilson
Extension Master Gardener Advisory Committee
Karen Williams
Christina Larson
Barb Purdie
Rose Foster
JoAnn Shaw
Linda M. Anderson
Deborah Pelli
Vern Allen
Jill Hollingsworth
Sue Morris
Laura Tew
Kay Quinlivan
Karen Price
Linda Hayes
Debbie Frisbee
Jeanne Aller
Dottie Brogdon
4-H Volunteer Leaders Advisory Committee
Lisa Dillon
Sue Archer
Ivey Harris
Felicia Jones
Tanya Gold
Karen Wallace
Ernestine Alston
Alfreda Poteat
Betty Ingold
Emily Clapp
Rhonda Imgram
Farrah Beeson
Kay Coltrane
Janet McNeal
Jennifer El Najjar
Jeff Woodward
Patti Hoyt
Leah Dunlap
JessicalBlack
Shawnee Robinson
Equine and Small Ruminant Specialized Committee
Steva Allgood
Sara Jo Durham
Danny Sell
Kelly Olson
Beef Committee
Thom Atkinson
Bruce Humble
Sidney Wray
Shannon Oliver
Guilford County Farmers
Gerald Frayar
Trey Early
Erin Early
Tommy Black
Edward Lewis
Jamey Walker
Community and School Garden Advisory Committee
Michelle McNair
Michael McNair
Britt Huggins
Julie Hale
Brittaney McClure
Victoria Hensley
Jamilla Pinder
Alyssa McKim
Trish Nelson
Mark Taylor
Franchesca Elliot
Dan Coley
Lucy Banks
Josie Williams
Akeem White

VII. Staff Membership

Molly Alexi
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (336) 641-2417
Email: molly_alexi@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: County Extension Director; Community and Rural Development

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

Shameca Battle
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (336) 641-2415
Email: ssbattle@ncat.edu
Brief Job Description: The Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Science is responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating effective and comprehensive educational programs and training designed to solve social and economic problems in family and consumer sciences confronting socially disadvantaged and limited resource families

Lisa Benavente
Title: Regional Nutrition Extension Associate - Urban Programming, EFNEP and SNAP-Ed
Phone: (919) 515-3888
Email: lisa_benavente@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides programmatic supervision to the EFNEP program in Wake, Durham, and Orange Counties. Responsible for training new EFNEP educators and volunteer development.

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.

Deb Fuller
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (336) 641-2433
Email: ddfuller@ncsu.edu

Ben Grandon
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture
Phone: (336) 641-2416
Email: ben_grandon@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.

Stacey Jones
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Commercial Nursery and Greenhouse
Phone: (704) 920-3310
Email: stacey_jones@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: I work with commercial greenhouses and nurseries to help them with growing related issues. These issues range from pests (insect, disease, and weeds), substrates, nutrition, and other miscellaneous topics.

Peggie Lewis Joyce
Title: Area 4-H Agent - Central Region
Phone: (336) 242-2080
Email: peggie_lewis@ncsu.edu

Meredith Kreeger
Title: EFNEP Educator, Extension Program Assistant
Phone: (336) 641-2445
Email: mlkreeger@ncat.edu

Cole Maness
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock and Forage Crops
Phone: (336) 641-2400
Email: scmaness@ncsu.edu

Robin McNeill
Title: EFNEP Educator, Extension Program Assistant - Youth
Phone: (336) 641-2422
Email: rsmcneil@ncsu.edu

Crystal Mercer
Title: Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator
Phone: (336) 641-2414
Email: crystal_mercer@ncsu.edu

Sarah Paschall
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (336) 641-2423
Email: sehyder@ncsu.edu

Megan Reid
Title: County Extension Support Specialist
Phone: (336) 641-2421
Email: amreid@ncat.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!

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.

Hanna Smith
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture
Phone: (336) 641-2407
Email: hanna_smith@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for the Extension Master Gardener volunteer program, consumer horticulture, and commercial nurseries, greenhouses, and landscape companies.

Lauren Taubert
Title: County Extension Support Specialist
Phone: (336) 641-2424
Email: lauren_taubert@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Support for 4-H and Urban Horticulture.

Raven Tuffin
Title: EFNEP Educator, Extension Program Assistant - Adult
Phone: (336) 641-2411
Email: rstuffin@ncsu.edu

Vince Webb
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (336) 641-2400
Email: vince_webb@ncsu.edu

Quina Weber-Shirk
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Community and School Gardens
Phone: (336) 641-2427
Email: jjwebers@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: My goal is to support a vibrant network of community and school gardens throughout Guilford County which contribute to a just and sustainable food system. I do this by coordinating educational programs for community and school gardeners including garden site visits, technical assistance with garden start-up, community organizing, garden-based curriculum and activities, and year-round sustainable gardening practices. As part of Cooperative Extension, I am here to be a resource to the residents of Guilford County -- let me know how I can best support your community gardening efforts! Focus areas: Community Gardens, School Gardens, Farm to School, Farm to Early Child Education (ECE), FoodCorps Guilford County co-supervisor, Local Foods

Anna-Beth Williams
Title: Extension Agent, Field Crops, Commercial Fruits & Vegetables, Local Foods
Phone: (336) 641-2416
Email: anna-beth_williams@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

Guilford County Center
3309 Burlington Rd
Greensboro, NC 27405

Phone: (336) 641-2400
Fax: (336) 641-2402
URL: http://guilford.ces.ncsu.edu