2017 Ashe County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 22, 2018

I. Executive Summary

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Ashe County Center is made up of 10 full time office staff and 40 part-time Afterschool staff. In 2017, staff made 90,629 face to face contacts through educational programs, workshops, field visits, office visits, and meetings. There were 21,755 non face to face contacts made through emails, newsletters, and telephone calls. Ashe County staff secured $410,765.00 in additional resources that supported programming efforts.

In 2017, Cooperative Extension, Ashe County Center Staff used the county and program area advisory leadership and previous county-wide needs assessment to identify programming needs. Priorities identified for needed Extension programming and impacts included:

Profitable and Sustainable Plant Production Systems:
• Ashe County was number one in the nation in the production of Christmas trees and greenery, a $90 million industry. Elongate Hemlock Scale, a quarantinable pest in Florida, risked the reduction of Christmas tree sales in 2017 for local tree growers. Extension efforts and recommendations enabled Christmas tree growers to continue shipping over 1.25 million trees into the state of Florida bringing 2017 pest finds in line with normal regulatory pest finds and maintaining a $25 million market.
• Ashe County growers produced approximately 1,000 acres of pumpkins in 2017 valued at over $6 million annually. Ashe County’s contribution to state pumpkin production has helped make NC fourth in pumpkin production in the United States.
• One hundred forty three people received new Worker Protection Standards training to help them meet new federal guidelines.

Profitable and Sustainable Animal Production Systems:
• Agriculture, as the largest component of the local economy, is a vital industry to Ashe County. With over 300 livestock farmers, 19,000 head of cattle and 750 head of sheep and goats in the county, individual farm visits with the Extension Livestock Agent continues to increase and be an important resource for farmers. These field visits resulted in improved farm safety, increased livestock reproduction totaling $2,810 - $10,625 per visit depending on livestock, and improved forage quality, saving producers $3,000 in feed cost.
• As a result of improved forage quality, two local farmers entered hay samples into the NC State Fair competition, placing 1st and 3rd.

Volunteer Readiness:
• Five hundred fifty five Extension volunteers made 8,158 contacts and contributed 22,040 hours of volunteer service, valued at $24.14 per hour, for a total economic value of $532,046.

School to Career (Youth and Adults):
• Ashe County 4-H reached 2,471 youth in 2017 through quality educational programming.
• Over 300 children participated in high quality 4-H afterschool programs each school day and 72 youth participated in the six-week summer day camp.
Sixty five percent of youth participating in tutoring sessions improved academically. One hundred percent gained knowledge of life skills.
• The Migrant Education Program Coordinator enrolled 76 migrant children in local schools, connected 36 families to community services and educational opportunities, translated and interpreted pesticide education and farm safety training for producers and farm workers.

Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction:
• Seven hundred seventy five youth participated in the 4-H Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). Eighty six percent of participants showed improvement in their knowledge of nutrition and the origin of their food, 73% improved food handling practices and 40% increased their level of physical activity.
• Twelve commercial food service owners and managers gained knowledge of safe food handling practices and were nationally certified in food safety.
• One hundred twenty six water samples from private wells and springs that provides drinking water for 208 households were screened for coliform bacteria. Twenty three percent of the water samples screened were found to be contaminated, and participants took steps to improve their water quality based on recommended practices.

II. County Background

Ashe County is a mountainous county in the northwestern corner of North Carolina with a population of 27,281, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The county experiences four distinct and beautiful seasons. The three townships include Jefferson, the county seat, Lansing and West Jefferson. The charm of small town living draws thousands of tourists each year resulting in $51.59 million dollars in 2015. Ashe County is the home of thriving businesses including GE Aviation and American Emergency Vehicles, the number one manufacturer of domestic ambulances in the United States. Ashe County Airport has the highest elevation of any airport in North Carolina. The county is the leading producer of Christmas trees and greenery in the United States.

White persons, not of Hispanic/Latino origin account for 92.4% of the population. The largest growing minority group is of Hispanic/Latino origin and comprises 5.3% of the population.

Agriculture is a large component of the local economy, valued at $104.5 million,led by Christmas trees and greenery which were an $85 million industry in 2016. According to the United States of Agriculture (USDA), Ashe County has 1,140 farms totaling 112,462 acres. Farmland, including 22,603 acres in the Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program, adds to the beauty of the county while providing goods and services for the local economy. Christmas trees and greenery support 800 year round jobs and an additional 2,000 jobs during harvest season. The County ranks 13th in cattle production in the state with over $12.7 million realized last year from cattle production and livestock sales; other agriculture products include hay (11,000 acres with over 25,000 tons in 2016); 925 acres of pumpkins and squash (cucurbits) were grown with over $5 million realized; fruits, vegetables, berries, milk, wool, honey, sheep and goats providing diverse agriculture commodities. The local food movement is strong with producers unable to meet demand. Many farmers work off-farm for the majority of their income, with farm income under $60,000. Interest in gardening is high, as is home food preservation.

Adult and childhood obesity rates remain high in the county and are considered a major health issue. The county is a graying community with over 30% of the County’s population over the age of 60. By 2020 the County is projected to rise to fifth in the state of persons 65 years of age or older.

Cooperative Extension, Ashe County Center used county and program area advisory leadership to identify programming needs through a county-wide needs assessment. Programming areas that were identified included:
• Continue to support current farming operations through education of best practices
• Assist citizens in developing successful diverse agriculture ventures
• Continue utilizing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles to support environmental stewardship and cost saving practices
• Life skills for youth and adults
• Provide youth development programs to keep youth actively involved and learning; leadership skills and agriculture
• Promote academic success through coordination of services for youth
• Health, safety and well-being of all families
• Food preservation, food safety and drinking water quality
• Resource management

III. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

North Carolina's plant production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.

Value* Outcome Description
1125Number of crop (all plant systems) producers increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, and/or skills as related to: 1. Best management production practices (cultural, nutrient, and genetics) 2. Pest/insect, disease, weed, wildlife management 3. Financial/Farm management tools and practices (business, marketing, government policy, human resources) 4. Alternative agriculture, bioenergy, and value-added enterprises
67Number of Extension initiated and controlled County demonstration test sites (new required for GLF/PSI reporting)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
620Number of crop (all plant systems) producers adopting best management practices, including those practices related to nutrient management, conservation, production, cultivars, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), business management, and marketing
6834000Net income gains realized by the adoption of best management practices, including those practices related to nutrient management, conservation, production, cultivars, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), business management, and marketing
820Number of producers reporting increased dollar returns per acre or reduced costs per acre
356Number of producers reporting reduction in fertilizer used per acre
21550Number of acres in conservation tillage or other Best Management Practice
1Number of producers who adopted a dedicated bioenergy crop
100Number of acres planted to a dedicated bioenergy crop
718Tons of feedstock delivered to processor
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

North Carolina's animal production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.

Value* Outcome Description
125Number of animal producers increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, and/or skills as related to: 1. Best management production practices (cultural, nutrient, and genetics) 2. Pest/insect, disease, weed, wildlife management 3. Financial/Farm management tools and practices (business, marketing, government policy, human resources) 4. Alternative agriculture, bioenergy, and value-added enterprises
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
125Number of animal producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
323637Net income gains by producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Producers will increase sales of food locally to more agriculturally aware consumers through market development, producer and consumer education, and new farmer and infrastructure support.

Agricultural producers, workers, food handlers and consumers will adopt safer food and agricultural production, handling, and distribution practices that reduce workplace and home injuries/illnesses, enhance food security, and increase the quality and safety of food that North Carolinians prepare and consume.

Individuals and groups will acquire leadership and decision making capacities needed to guide and actively participate in local and state organizations.

Youth and adults will address community issues and/or challenges through volunteerism.

Value* Outcome Description
250Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
23Number of youth participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
5Number of adult participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
30Number of hours adult volunteer training conducted
20Number of hours youth volunteer training conducted
8Number new volunteers recruited
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
5Increased number of hours contributed by trained youth volunteers
10Increased number of hours contributed by trained adult volunteers
1Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
3Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles beyond Extension, including community boards and task forces
7Number of youth volunteers recruiting and/or training new volunteers
5Number of adult volunteers recruiting and/or training new volunteers
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Community members, organizations and local government will engage in collaborative dialog and decision-making to build economically, socially and environmentally resilient communities. This will be done through inclusive engagement, partnership building, and/or community planning.

Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways

Value* Outcome Description
989Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
172Total number of female participants in STEM program
663Number of youth (students) participating in 4-H dropout prevention (student at-risk) programs
19Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
1482Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
23Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of entrepreneurship
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
6Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
989Number of youth (students) gaining knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
1482Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
23Number of adults gaining career / employability skills
23Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Youth and adult program participants will make healthy food choices, achieve the recommended amount of physical activity and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases.

Value* Impact Description
21Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
595Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
327Number of participants increasing their physical activity
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 90,629
Non face-to-face** 21,758
Total by Extension staff in 2017 112,387
* Face-to-face contacts include contacts that Extension personnel make directly with individuals through one-on-one visits, meetings, and other activities where staff members work directly with individuals.
** Non face-to-face contacts include contacts that Extension personnel make indirectly with individuals by telephone, email, newsletters, news articles, radio, television, and other means.

V. Designated Grants Received by Extension

Type of GrantAmount
Contracts/Grants $340,903.00
Gifts/Donations $20,560.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $7,500.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $41,802.00
Total $410,765.00

VI. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 24.69
4-H: 250 18,805 2,471 $ 464,295.00
Advisory Leadership System: 51 1,092 0 $ 26,961.00
Extension Community Association: 31 1,438 226 $ 35,504.00
Extension Master Gardener: 104 411 1,087 $ 10,148.00
Other: 119 294 4,374 $ 7,259.00
Total: 555 22040 8158 $ 544,168.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Ashe County Extension Advisory Council
Judy Bare
Kim Barnes
Rusty Barr
Sue Bradshaw
Trathen Cheek
Cline Church
Cynthia Coldiron
Debbie Fishel
Doug Goss
James Howell
James Miller
Candi Miller
Karen Powell
Sam Shumate
Tracy Taylor
Janet Ward
Joe Ward
Phyllis Yates
Sam Yearick
Vickie Young
Ashe County Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Advisory Council Members
Sue Bradshaw
Tim Church
Tom Efford
Diane Killen
Sandy Long
Fawn Roark
Mary Gordon Tugman
Linda Worsham
Ashe County 4-H Advisory Council
Tracy Vannoy
Jamie Little
Scott Turnmyre
Joallen Lowder
Bill Clark
Joseph Shimel
Veronica Olvera
Charlotte Council
Ethan Council
Doug Goss
Deanna Stoker
Julia Houck
Ashe County 4-H Migrant Education Advisory Team
Keila Fuentes
Veronica Olvera
Wendy Duron
Sandra Fuentes
Gloria Parra
Michelle Pelayo
Ashe County 4-H Middle School Advisory Board
Elaine Cox
Connie Register
Heather Windish
Tonya Sheets
Carter Calhoun
Jennifer Miller
Erica Roten
Farmland Preservation Committee
Trathen Cheek
Ryan Huffman
Joel McNeill
Martin McVey
Cecil Miller
Vickie Young
Carolyn Shepherd
4-H Summer Parks Advisory Team
Erica Roten
Jennifer Miller
Michelle Pelayo
4-H Blue Ridge LEADS Advisory Team
Callie Grubb
Tonya Denny
Amber Lane
Erica Roten
4-H Mountain View LEADS Advisory Team Members
David Blackburn
Lori Hensley
Meghan Blevins
Erica Roten
4-H Westwood LEADS Advisory Team Members
Jennifer Robinson
Mandy Keziah
Lola Cox
Erica Roten
Extension Agricultural Livestock Advisory Committee
Andrew Cox
Kim Furches
Kerry Krider
Trathen Cheek
Gail Sheets
Micah Orfield
Extension Christmas Tree Advisory Committee
Mitch Poe
Joe Freeman
Tim Miller
Ben Cheek
Andy Cheek
Andrew Sexton
Carrie McClain
Extension Consumer Horticulture Advisory Committee
Laurie Helgren
Dori Gold
Nancy Jordan
Paul Caudill
Penny Moore
Jody Sloan
Rosemary Jayne
Eloise Shepard
Dianne Drum
4-H LEADS Afterschool Administrative Committee
Phyllis Yates
Jamie Little
Callie Yates
Tonya Denny
Elaine Cox
Heather Windish
David Blackburn
Lori Hensley
Jennifer Robinson
Mandy Keziah
Carolyn Shepherd
Erica Roten
Jennifer Miller
4-H LEADS Afterschool Transportation Committee
Shea Coldiron
Elaine Cox
Jerri Baker
Dustin Farmer
Lyndsi Williams
John Ring
Matthew Key
Susan Carter
Denise Austin
Danny Miller
Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Advisory Committee
Maggi Birdsell
Jane Gardner
Eloisa Hernandez-Ruiz
Jamie Little
Jennifer Miller
Roger Newton
Vickie Roark
Lynn Robinson
Carolyn Shepherd
Martha Turner
Paula Williams
Linda Worsham
Melissa Fowler

VIII. Staff Membership

Jennifer Glass
Title: Interim County Extension Director & Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (336) 846-5850
Email: jennifer_glass@ncsu.edu

Travis Birdsell
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture
Phone: (336) 846-5850
Email: travis_birdsell@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for Christmas tree, home horticulture and local foods programs

Richard Boylan
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture
Phone: (828) 264-3061
Email: richard_boylan@ncsu.edu

Brent Buchanan
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Dairy
Phone: (315) 212-1277
Email: brent_buchanan@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Dairy Extension Programming in Western North Carolina Counties of Haywood, Madison, Buncombe, Transylvania, Henderson, Yancey, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford, Mitchell, Avery, Burke, Cleveland, Watauga, Caldwell, Catawba, Lincoln, Gaston, Ashe, Wilkes, Alexander, Iredell, Alleghany, Surry, Yadkin, and Davie.

Rhonda Church
Title: EFNEP Educator, Extension Program Associate
Phone: (336) 846-5850
Email: rhonda_church@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: EFNEP Nutrition Education Program with limited resource audiences.

Jamie Davis
Title: COSS Office Assistant
Phone: (336) 846-5850
Email: jsdavi22@ncsu.edu

Brad Edwards
Title: Program Assistant - IPM
Phone: (336) 846-5850
Email: brad_edwards@ncsu.edu

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

Jessica Ham
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (336) 846-5850
Email: jessica_hodgson-ham@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.

Bill Lord
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Water Resources
Phone: (919) 496-3344
Email: william_lord@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Water quality education and technical assistance

Craig Mauney
Title: Extension Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables & 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.

Rachel McDowell
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer & Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9155
Email: romcdowe@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Support FCS Agents in delivering timely and evidence-based food safety education and information to stakeholders in NC.

Currey Nobles
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9520
Email: canobles@ncsu.edu

Micah Orfield
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock
Phone: (336) 846-5850
Email: micah_orfield@ncsu.edu

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.

Mitch Woodward
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Watersheds and Water Quality
Phone: (919) 250-1112
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

Ashe County Center
134 Government Cir
Suite 202
Jefferson, NC 28640

Phone: (336) 846-5850
Fax: (336) 846-5882
URL: http://ashe.ces.ncsu.edu