2020 Henderson County Plan of Work

Approved: January 29, 2020

I. County Background

Henderson County, located in the mountains of western North Carolina, is one of the fastest growing counties in the western part of the state, with a 9.4% population change from 2010 to 2018, and a current population of over 117,000. Henderson County ranks 26th in the state in population. In 2018, the county's population consisted of: 92.5% Caucasian, 3.4% African American and 10.4% Hispanic. Median household income, 2014-2018 was $52,815. About 25% of the county’s population is 65 years of age and older and 18.9% are 18 years of age or younger. The poverty rate is 9.7% which is lower than the state average of 14.0%. The county consists of 375 square miles which include mountains, valleys, lakes and streams, fertile bottom land and several floodplains. It straddles the Eastern Continental Divide which provides a diversity of topographic, temperature and precipitation conditions. Hendersonville, Mills River, Laurel Park and Fletcher are the county's incorporated areas with Saluda shared by Henderson and Polk Counties. The Village of Flat Rock also lies within Henderson County.

Henderson County has a diverse economy which includes several sectors that contribute significantly to the county's overall economic makeup. Some of these include agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, education services and tourism. Agriculture makes up 20% of the Henderson County Economy with 455 farms. The green industry, apples, and vegetables and small fruits make up the primary crop commodities in the county. Over 85% of the apples grown in NC come from Henderson County and the crop has a value of over $30 million. There are almost 5,400 jobs tied to agriculture in Henderson County.

There are 13 traditional and two charter elementary schools in the county as well as four traditional and one charter middle school and six high schools including the career academy and early college schools. There are three private schools in the county as well. Additionally, Blue Ridge Community College offers a wide array of career tracks including collaborative Bachelor's degrees in medically related curricula with Wingate University.

Consumer horticulture information demand continues to grow with our growing retirement population. Henderson County Master Gardeners logged over 9,000 volunteer hours in 2019 which was 4th statewide. The Master Gardeners program helps local homeowners with, proper plant selection and planting techniques, soil testing and nutrient management, pest/disease management, vegetable gardening, and environmental stewardship. The volunteers man the Master Gardener "Info. line", handling walk-in clients, and working on projects within the county. All agricultural programs provide information to help the agribusiness industry stay profitable and help landowners make good economic decisions in planning for land use, farmland preservation, and agricultural sustainability.

4-H Youth Development programs help youth with educational achievement and excellence in areas like public speaking, project records, leadership experiences, community service and citizenship. 4-H clubs and classes provide adult mentors and role models who enjoy helping youth learn skills they can use throughout their lives. 4-H teens help to teach younger members skills they have learned.

Youth educational programs at Bullington Gardens reach elementary school students to teach various elements of plant science, help high school sophomores to develop necessary job skills to become successful citizens and help students with significant developmental and physical disabilities to have a better quality of life. Additionally, as a complement to Urban Horticulture efforts, Bullington offers workshops throughout the year to adults on gardening, landscaping, soils, and other pertinent topics.

Nutrition and healthy eating are a focus of the Family and Consumer Science program along with Local Foods. Programs are conducted at several schools and at tailgate markets in the community to increase awareness of these issues.

(NCCES) North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, Henderson County also utilizes an ongoing needs assessment process, which involves Henderson County Commissioners, County Extension Advisory Council and Specialized Committees as well as the general public, to ensure that educational programs are meeting the people's educational needs.

In response to identified local needs, NCCES Henderson County set the following top three priorities for local long-range programming efforts:

1. Improving Agricultural Production, Sustainability and Natural Resource and Environmental Stewardship

2. Improving Health & Nutrition and promoting Local Food Systems

3. Leadership Development and School to Career Preparedness.

In keeping with the NCCES mission, the Henderson County Center will continue to monitor its ongoing needs assessment process by involving the County Commissioners, NCCES Henderson County Advisory Council and its Specialized Advisory Committees, along with the general public. This will insure changing community needs are met with timely, relevant, researched based educational programs, empowering people by providing solutions to their problems.

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. Other Objectives

Community, leader and volunteer development Youth and adults achieve educational success
Leadership is important to every level of a community sharing in the creation of wealth and well-being. Youth and adult leaders must be capable of motivating groups to achieve common goals that impact North Carolina families and communities.They will need the confidence and skill to guide and support North Carolina community and state organizations. Youth and adult volunteers in North Carolina contribute thousands of hours each year to strengthen communities and create strong foundations for the future. As these individuals engage in service, they are gaining new skills, generating new programs to serve their communities, building successful organizations, and fostering an ethic of service. Cooperative Extension supports the development of interpersonal skills, leadership experiences, and content knowledge to ensure that citizens are prepared to engage in meaningful service throughout the lifespan. Many North Carolinians are affected by chronic disease and conditions that compromise their quality of life and well-being. Heart disease, stroke and cancer continue to be leading causes of death in our state. In addition, obesity and obesity related chronic diseases such as diabetes continue to rise at alarming rates. Healthy eating and physical activity are critical to achieve optimal health. Many North Carolinians have diets that are too high in calories and too low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Portion sizes, foods eaten away-from-home and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages continue to rise. In addition, most North Carolinians do not engage in regular physical activity. The prevalence of overweight and obesity has nearly doubled in the past 10 years. If the trend of overweight is not slowed, it will eliminate the progress we have made in reducing the burden of weigh-related chronic disease. One in every three US children born after 2000 will become diabetic unless many more people start eating less and exercising more. The cost of obesity in North Carolina in health care costs alone is over 2 billion dollars. There are many proposed reasons for the obesity epidemic, however unhealthy eating and physical inactivity are widely recognizes as primary contributors to the problem. Those who make healthy food choices and are physically active are more likely to achieve and maintain a healthy weight as well reduce chronic diseases. Ultimately, this will lead to reduction in health care costs, increased longevity and a better quality of life. HCCE will conduct programs to this end.

IV. Relationship to County Government Objectives

NCCE, Henderson County Center, is committed to serving the clintele of Henderson County. Frequent contact with County Commissioners and the County Manager, along with our advisory members, makes sure that the Henderson County Center is on target with the issues and needs of the County.

The key initiatives that are guided by the county's plan as well as needs assessment from the commissioners and citizens include:
1) Maintaining a profitable and sustainable agricultural industry in the county through continued education efforts and programs that enhance the competitiveness of Henderson County producers.
2) Serving the growing urban population through the Master Gardener program and Bullington Gardens as well as through our consumer horticulture program. This includes offering training and education programs on lawn and landscape management as well as trouble shooting for homeowners and providing them with safe and effective solutions to manage their lawns and gardens.
3) Continuing to enhance awareness of healthy eating and healthy lifestyles as well as holding workshops on food safety for growers/packers. Continuing to hold workshops on food preservation and safe plates. Providing ongoing programs to youth on leadership development, decision making, goal setting, personal responsibility, environmental awareness, etc. Also, working with disabled children and adults at Bullington Gardens to provide horticultural therapy to these individuals.

We will continue to emphasize our volunteer training and utilization to enhance our programs and reach a broader audience. Our volunteers contribute significantly to our programs.

These are just a few of the programs Extension has that are valued by Henderson County. We continually update county government on the progress of our programs and their reach throughout the county. In addition, we adhere to the county's long-range plan to offer Extension programs to Henderson County clientele while maintaining fiscal responsibility.

V. Diversity Plan

The (NCCES) North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, Henderson County Center values diversity as a positive attribute in our county, state and country. Diversity is reflected in the cultural and core differences in our society. These differences are the basis for our feelings, values, attitudes, beliefs, religion and perceptions.

Programs in Henderson County are open to all people and are advertised to the general population through local media as well as the Extension web pages and newsletters. Efforts are made to reach minority and other under-served populations through networks, community efforts, and our advisory system. Our services are open to all, regardless of religion, age, income, ethnicity, gender, educational level, sexual orientation, or physical challenges.

Our equal opportunity statement is on all of our printed material: "North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation. North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating."

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 Henderson 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 other social media such as: email, YouTube, texting, Blogs, Facebook, Webinars, Instagram and Extension related websites.

All of these 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, in schools and other locations in order for our programs to be available and accessible to, and fully utilized by, the citizens of Henderson County.

The measure of success for Extension programs is the impact those programs have on the citizens of Henderson County. Evaluation methods are important tools to gauge the knowledge citizens have acquired due to these programs and the subsequent changes that are a result. Measures of change in knowledge gained, the application of that knowledge, the number and types of new skills gained are done by using quantitative research tools such as retrospective testing, pre and post tests and surveys. Extension as a results-oriented organization is also committed to assessing the social, economic and environmental impact that these programs have on the individuals who participate, their families and the community as a whole. Plans are to measure both the short and long term impacts of these programs. The financial impact and cost benefit analysis of our primary evaluation methods is outlined in this annual plan. Additionally, as Extension values listening to and dialoguing with targeted participants, this plan also includes qualitative evaluation methods such as testimonials and interviews with participants

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Henderson County Advisory Council
Henderson County Advisory Council
1. Chairman: Gary Steiner, Grower/Beekeeper
2. Joe Henski, Green Industry
3. Jonathon Speer, Green Industry
4. Jason Davis, Vegetables
5. Liz Enloe, Community Dev.
6. Caroline Patterson, HCPS
7. Becky Eatmon, 4-H
8. Joellen Johnson, Bullington
9. Lauren Baylor, BRCC
10. Beveryly Hargus, FCD/Livestock
11. Joey Popp, Local Foods
12. Dalton Rhodes, Small Fruit
13. Rex McCall, 4-H
14. Judy Swensen, FCS
15. Ditte Hess, EMGV
Ken Allison, Kenny Barnwell, Rick Jordan, Fred Pittillo, Danny McConnell
Rebecca McCall, Co. Commissioner
Jonathan Wallin Dir. Soil and Water Con.
John Mitchell, Business and Community director
Jeff Chandler, MHCREC
Jimmy Cowan, NC Farm Bureau
Kirby Johnson, Flavor 1st
Jerred Nix, BRAG
Noland Ramsey, CARET Rep
Roger Snyder, Mills River City Council
4-H & Youth Advisory Committee
Pat Newcomer
Tony Bryant
Cayden Brackett
Dave Bowen
Polly Simmons, Chair
Weston Simmons
Rob Queen
Haley Hargus
Kate Reavuori-Wilson, Secretary
Mary Lois Maybin
Emma Barber
Gabbi Torres
Hannah Brake

Green Industry Advisory Committee
Ken Allison
Hans Driesbach
Hunter Marks
MJ Cromwell
Martin Sanchez
Sean Hamilton
Chip Gilbert
Paul Oneill
David Winters
Mark Gymrek
Eric Adkinson
Joe Henski
Jerry Merrill
Livestock/Field Crops Advisory Committee
Jimmy Cowan
Noland Ramsey
Beverly Hargus
Family and Consumer Science Advisory Committee
Melody Heltman
Lori Bradley
Marilyn Cole
Sonia Gironda
Urban Horticulture Advisory Committee
Joellen Johnson
Sharon Mendelsohn
Jane Grossman
Deb Daniel
Astrid Ewing
Ellen Bernstein
Debbie Burguieres
Diane Milewski
Ditte Hess
Donna Gatnarek
Gina Moffit
Harold Showalter
John Berglin
Kate Wilson
Mary Smith
Pat Newcomer
Paula Thum
Sherri Cappablanca
Tamsin Allpress
Wendy Beville
Beekeeping Advisory Committee
Pat Roe
Padma Dyvine
Gary German
Jim Poe
Michael Gecewicz
Shane Masterson
Gary Clements
Bruce Jones
Blue Ridge Apple Growers Advisory Committee
Jerred Nix, Pres.
Mike Stepp, Vic. Pres
Dawn Creasman, Sec/Tres.
Trey Enloe
Stephanie Lively
Jason Blackwell
Danny McConnell
Cory Justus
Todd Kirmss

Jack Ruff, Tony Haywood, JD Obermiller

Henderson County Vegetable Advisory Committee
Dalton Rhodes
Mikey Pack
Eric Case
Mike Pressley
Paul Shoemaker
Stacy Fields
Gary Steiner
Abby Steiner
Blue Ridge Farm Direct Marketing Committee
Stephanie Lively, Pres.
Colby Buchanan, Sec./Treas.
Mike Stepp
Rita Stepp
Deb Lyda
Alicia Nix
Bullington Center Advisory Committee
Bill Burdett, Chair
Mary Louise Corn
Wendy Frye, Advisor
Joellen Johnson
Ray McKenzie-Wilson
Becky Polonsky
Constance Smith
Patrice German
David Marshall
4-H Special Projects Advisory Committee
Ardell Nolte
Elaine Hessong
Jill Holmes
Bessie Bright
Allet Rodriguez

VIII. Staff Membership

William Kelley
Title: County Extension Director and Extension Agent, Agriculture - Tree Fruit
Phone: (828) 697-4891
Email: wtkelley@ncsu.edu

Ty Ancrum
Title: EFNEP Program Assistant
Phone: (828) 697-4891
Email: tpancrum@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: I am the EFNEP Program Assistant of Henderson County. I will recruit and enroll adult and school-aged youth participants into the EFNEP program, make regular teaching visits to enrollees either in the home or in group settings, teach basic principles of nutrition and food preparation skills, and recruit volunteers from within the community involving them in leadership roles.

Karen Blaedow
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Vegetable and Small Fruit
Phone: (828) 697-4891
Email: karen_blaedow@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for providing educational programs in vegetable and small fruit horticulture as well as technical assistance to commercial farmers.

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

Noah Henson
Title: Area Agent, Agriculture - Livestock, Dairy, Equine, Forages
Phone: (828) 255-5522
Email: nbhenson@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.

Anne Higgins
Title: Administrative Director for Bullington Gardens
Phone: (828) 698-6104
Email: aghiggin@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Direct the administration of Bullington Gardens, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that serves Henderson County and surrounding communities as a botanical garden and a center for horticultural education. Coordinate all administrative duties at the gardens including meeting with the Board of Directors and carrying out the vision for the garden, leading fundraising efforts and grant submission, maintaining and adhering to budget, keeping all fiscal records current, coordinating volunteers, overseeing the maintenance and development of the property, and working closely with the Educational Administrator to conduct effective programs for schools and public.

Renay Knapp
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (828) 697-4891
Email: renay_knapp@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.)

John Murphy
Title: Bullington Gardens Director
Phone: (828) 698-6104
Email: john_murphy@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Manages Bullington Gardens property, oversees staff and volunteers and leads educational programs for adults and children.

Steve Pettis
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Consumer and Commercial Horticulture
Phone: (828) 697-4891
Email: steve_pettis@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Commercial and Consumer Horticulture Agent

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.

Denise Sherrill
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 697-4891
Email: denise_sherrill@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Help to nurture young people in Henderson County through 4-H clubs, classes and school enrichment. Oversee 4-H volunteers and work with community partners.

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.

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.

Skip Thompson
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Aquaculture
Phone: (828) 456-3575
Email: Skip_Thompson@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide educational opportunities and technical support to the trout and carp aquaculture industries in 42 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) in western North Carolina. Fish health, production management, and waste management educational programs will assist trout farmers, fee-fishing pond managers, carp ponds and trout fingerling producers with the management and sustainability of their facilities.

Keai Tilly
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (828) 697-4891
Email: keai_tilly@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.

Hannah Worrell
Title: 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 697-4891
Email: hlworrel@ncsu.edu

IX. Contact Information

Henderson County Center
100 Jackson Park Rd
Hendersonville, NC 28792

Phone: (828) 697-4891
Fax: (828) 697-4581
URL: http://henderson.ces.ncsu.edu