2018 Ashe County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 25, 2019

I. Executive Summary

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Ashe County Center is made up of 10 full time office staff and 23 part-time Afterschool staff. In 2018, staff made 22,084 face to face contacts through educational programs, workshops, field visits, office visits, and meetings. There were 9,846 non face to face contacts made through emails, newsletters, and telephone calls. Ashe County staff secured $276,451.00 in additional resources that supported programming efforts.

In 2018, 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 $95 million industry. Elongate Hemlock Scale, a quarantinable pest in Florida, risked the reduction of Christmas tree sales in 2018 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 2018 pest finds in line with normal regulatory pest finds and maintaining a $25 million market.
• Ashe County growers produced approximately 950 acres of pumpkins in 2018 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.
• Two hundred people received new Worker Protection Standards training to help them meet new federal guidelines.
• Two hundred thirty one people received training on how to safely handle pesticides while keeping the environment and community safe.

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, 19,500 head of cattle and 950 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, one local farmer entered hay samples into the NC State Fair competition, placing 1st.

Volunteer Readiness:
• Three hundred fifty four Extension volunteers made 7,182 contacts and contributed 1,380 hours of volunteer service, valued at $24.69 per hour, for a total economic value of $34,072.

School to Career (Youth and Adults):
• Ashe County 4-H reached 2,245 youth in 2018 through quality educational programming.
• Over 300 children participated in high quality 4-H afterschool programs and 109 youth participated in the seven 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 87 migrant children in local schools, connected 43 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:
• 803 youth participated in the 4-H Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). 86% 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.

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 $54.89 million dollars in 2016. 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 $110 million, led by Christmas trees and greenery which were a $90 million industry in 2017. According to the United States of Agriculture (USDA), Ashe County has 1,140 farms totaling 112,462 acres. Farmland, including 22,595 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 700 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 million realized last year from cattle production and livestock sales; other agriculture products include hay (11,000 acres with over 25,000 tons in 2017); 1,000 acres of pumpkins were grown with over $6 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
1112Number 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
66Number 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
641Number 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
7424000Net 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
861Number of producers reporting increased dollar returns per acre or reduced costs per acre
319Number of producers reporting reduction in fertilizer used per acre
23350Number 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
810Tons 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
159Number 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
159Number of animal producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
85934Net 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.

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

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
5Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
326Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
387Number 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* 21,069
Non face-to-face** 9,846
Total by Extension staff in 2018 30,915
* 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 $123,100.00
Gifts/Donations $27,800.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $18,000.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $107,551.00
Total $276,451.00

VI. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 25.43
4-H: 17 92 110 $ 2,340.00
Advisory Leadership System: 84 187 667 $ 4,755.00
Extension Community Association: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Extension Master Gardener: 138 657 1,677 $ 16,708.00
Other: 115 444 4,728 $ 11,291.00
Total: 354 1380 7182 $ 35,093.00
* 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
Rusty Barr
Maggi Birdsell
Sue Bradshaw
Trathen Cheek
Cynthia Coldiron
Jennifer Gilbert
Doug Goss
Kitty Honeycutt
Russell King
James Miller
Candi Miller
Tyler Rash
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
Julia Houck
Ashe County 4-H Migrant Education Advisory Team
Vilma Alvarado
Sandra Fuentes
Jose Olvera
Veronica Olvera
Claudia Perez
Michelle Pelayo
Ashe County 4-H Middle School Advisory Board
Elaine Cox
Connie Register
Heather Windish
Tonya Sheets
Jennifer Glass
Erica Roten
Farmland Preservation Committee
Trathen Cheek
Ryan Huffman
Joel McNeill
Martin McVey
Cecil Miller
Todd Young
Vickie Young
Micah Orfield
4-H Summer Parks Advisory Team
Jennifer Glass
Michelle Pelayo
Erica Roten
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
Perla Reyes
Erica Roten
4-H Westwood LEADS Advisory Team Members
Jennifer Robinson
Mandy Keziah
Lola Cox
Erica Roten
Extension Agricultural Livestock Advisory Committee
Randy Baldwin
Gary Bare
Judy Bare
Keith Barlow
Trathen Cheek
Andrew Cox
Kim Furches
Richie Gardner
Julia Houck
Kerry Krider
Shelley McNeill
Michelle Pelayo
Gail Sheets
Tracy Taylor
Micah Orfield
Extension Christmas Tree Advisory Committee
Rusty Barr
Andy Cheek
Ben Cheek
Joe Freeman
Carrie McClain
Amber Scott
Andrew Sexton
Charles Sturgill
Extension Consumer Horticulture Advisory Committee
Paul Caudill
Lori Goodman
Martha Grissom
Laurie Helgren
Nancy Jordan
Russell King
Penny Moore
Terri Palmer
Peggy Holt-Ward
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
Jennifer Glass
Erica Roten
Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Advisory Committee
Maggi Birdsell
Melissa Fowler
Jane Gardner
Jennifer Glass
Heather Greene
Eloisa Hernandez-Ruiz
Scott Licken
Jamie Little
Michelle Pelayo
Martha Turner
Paula Williams
Linda Worsham

VIII. Staff Membership

Travis Birdsell
Title: County Extension Director and 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 Agent, Small Farm Management
Phone: (828) 264-3061
Email: richard_boylan@ncsu.edu

Amanda Butalla
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (336) 846-5850
Email: amanda_butalla@ncsu.edu

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.

Jill Cockerham
Title: Program Assistant, Local Foods
Phone: (336) 372-5597
Email: jccocker@ncsu.edu

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

April Dillon
Title: Area Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (704) 482-4365
Email: april_dillon@ncsu.edu

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

Catie Gaddy
Title: Extension Program Assistant, Afterschool
Phone: (336) 846-5850
Email: catie_gaddy@ncsu.edu

Caroline Goss
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H
Phone: (336) 846-5850
Email: caroline_goss@ncsu.edu

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

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

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