2020 Jackson County Plan of Work

Approved: January 6, 2020

I. County Background

Jackson County is located in the southwestern mountains of North Carolina. It is a rural county with abundant natural resources, a mild, but diverse temperate climate with the scenic beauty of the southern Appalachian Mountains. The county is a desirable place to live for native residents and retirees from other areas. Jackson County is a popular tourist destination located 50 miles from Asheville, 150 miles from Atlanta and less than three hours from Charlotte. The county’s 494 square miles encompass elevations from 1,800' to more than 6,400'. Mountain streams, waterfalls and scenic vistas highlight the landscape. Jackson County is both rural and small town with a diversity of programming needs due to it's nature. The county is considered one of the most rugged counties in Eastern America.

The latest population census of Jackson County is currently estimated at approximately 42,973 as of 2017. In addition, nearly 11,000 students attend Western Carolina University located in Cullowhee, NC which makes Jackson County unique to mountain counties because it brings a collegiate atmosphere and additional opportunities. Poverty rate is 17 with median household income of $45,078 with a per captia income of $23,674 and unemployment rate of 3.9% as of May 2018. Tourism and second home owners has increased once again with the economy improving starting in 2016 after the the economic downturn of 2008-2011. People continue to seek programming and assistance in gardening, youth development, agriculture marketing, soil sampling, wildlife nuisance assistance, livestock needs, food preservation, nutrition, food safety, home economics, Extension and Community Association (ECA) and leadership development. Jackson County has now been identified as Tier 1 County, which classifies it as one of the more poor counties in the state.

We are still operating off the 2013 Environmental Scan/Delphi Test. The 2013 assessment identified several issues that can be addressed by Cooperative Extension. Information was gathered from the general public, clients, growers, farmers, youth, advisory groups; committees, ECA Clubs and others. The life span of this survey has now reached its end and will be moving more towards the 2018 Community Needs Assessment even though the 2017 mentioned is still quiet relevant.

The Delphi Test asked individuals to rank a number of issues according to their importance. The CED analyzed the results and a ranking was developed based on the highest scoring issues/needs. Based on the final scores the Needs Assessment identified several major issues. These included developing strong leaders; helping farmers; health and nutrition (healthy eating and exercise); community development and developing a higher quality of living for people.

Many requests come from the residents of Jackson County, which we treat as an "Needs" of the public and address these requests by either helping the person(s) or directing them to the appropriate entity to help them. There are rare occasions when we are unable to address these requests in which we direct them to the appropriate resources to get them help. We have also determined that "Apathy," "Drugs," "Poor Parenting," Lack of Values," and "Economy" are major issues in county that we want to start addressing with our programs in 2019 with integrating programs. To address this issue, we are planning for a full staff integrated program in "Agriculture/Garden/Food" that strives to help with community pride; self-sufficiency and work ethic, primarily with youth and their parents.

Jackson County Cooperative Extension will address these objectives/issues in numerous ways during 2020. During the 2019 Annual Community Development Clubs (CDCs) Judging and Award programs the CDC Presidents said that "Drugs" and "Rapid Growth" in the area are two major issues that need to be addressed in Jackson County. Programs that might help address these two major issues and issues of Obesity; change of community development from face-to-face to virtual/electronic and from rural to semi-rural due to growth include the following. Health and Nutrition will include healthy eating, better nutrition, smart shopping, physical activity, chronic disease prevention, healthy lifestyle choices and Extension Community Association (ECA) Clubs. In the area of Youth Development, programs on life skills, public speaking, developing leadership skills, environmental education, nature study, new youth livestock clubs and critical thinking will be utilized. Needs related to Agriculture and Horticulture will be addressed with programs on cultural practices, master gardener (MG), farm and business management (addressed through the new Appalachian Farm School), livestock, alternative crops, Christmas Trees, marketing and many other topics. Since the 2013 Delphi Test was completed, the Jackson County Cooperative Extension is aiming to meet the needs of our county citizens. Natural Resources will be primarily with conservation education (Conservation Field Day for 5th Grade Students - Weather and Wildlife Education and the Leopold Education Project - (LEP), the Beaver Management Assistance Program (BMAP); wildlife nuisance and pest management education; farmland preservation and forestry. Community Development will include working with the Community Development Clubs (CDC).

Cooperative Extension has the resources and expertise to address these issues in Jackson County through educational public programs address the needs and issues most important to local citizens. These programs will be offered through day and night workshops; after-school; 4-H Clubs; association meetings; ECA; and in partnership with other resource agencies. We will provide relevant, responsive and inclusive programs that result in positive changes in the lives of our clientele. We utilize advanced information technology for educational program delivery, communications and accessing research-based information. Our staff is committed to lifelong learning, individual and community empowerment and inclusiveness.

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

Profitable & Sustainable AG. Animal Prod
Safety & Security of our Food & Farm Sys
School to Career (Youth and Adults)
Community Development
Urban and and Consumer Horticulture
Profitable & Sustainable Agriculture Sys
Natural Resources and Environmental Sust
Leadership Development
Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Ch

IV. Relationship to County Government Objectives

The Goals of Jackson County parallel The North Carolina Cooperative Extension goals quite closely. The Motto of the Jackson County Government is to "Wisely Use" the natural resources, which include the soil, waters, minerals and trees. In the capacity of human resources the county's goal is to enhance and improve upon intelligence of it's residents with quality education, agriculture, industry and recreation. Therefore in sum the goal of Jackson County Government is to focus upon quality education, environmental and economy for it's residents for a higher quality of life. The Jackson County Cooperative Extension Center works and strives to provide educational programs that focus on environmental issues, youth development and adult education with educational programs that build character, life skills and family and consumer science and enhance and improve agriculture and economic development. The goals of Jackson County Government are very similar to the goals and mission of Jackson County Cooperative Extension. The Jackson County Cooperative Extension center will work closely with the county government in times of emergencies and natural disasters, but more importantly extension's mission is to help the residents prepare with educational programs before an issue or emergency arises. The Jackson County Extension Center has a good working relationship with the county government and reciprocity is very good. Jackson Extension will continue to build positive relationships with the county commissioners, county manager and public works during these events through Department Head Meetings; Farmer's Breakfast; ALS Meetings; Workshops; Community Festivals and other Public Gatherings.

V. Diversity Plan

The Jackson County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension values the diversity of our county as a very rich and positive attribute. We value all people and feel the differences among us should be accepted and embraced as a great strength of our population. These differences are the basis for our values, attitudes, beliefs and perceptions that allow us to work together for the betterment of our world. All the Jackson County Extension Staff and all the Advisory Council Leadership Council members were trained in April 2018 in the latest Civil Rights and Diversity and Inclusion Training. The Agents will be training their program ALS members and Volunteer Leaders in 2020. Both Jackson and Swain Extension work cross-county with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) Extension Center to help serve their Native American (Cherokee) population as needed.

We continue 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 Jackson County Extension Center is committed to the provision of equal employment opportunity for all staff, the value of diversity, and the elimination of discrimination on the basis of irrelevant characteristics such as race, nationality, religious beliefs, ethnicity, family and marital status, gender, age, sexual orientation, or disability. We will ensure equal employment for all qualified people and will seek to employ a diverse work force. Further, the organization will strive for equality of opportunities in the workplace.

We will strive to be inclusive and responsive in planning, designing, implementing and evaluating all educational programs. Additionally, we will work to target new or under served audiences, recognizing the value of all people. We will continue to seek out new and alternative methods to reach under served audiences in the county. We want all people in the county and elsewhere to know they are always welcome to be part of any program or activity conducted by Jackson County Cooperative Extension.

In summary we work with anyone that needs help and seeks assistance. We will not turn anyone away unless they become unlawful and unsafe to our staff and participants.

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 Jackson County with the knowledge, skills and tools to improve their economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, social needs and quality of life. An Extension program delivery system is an planned and organized mixture 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, prescription follow-up letters and other methods that serve to support and reinforce learning as well as provide motivation for continued learning. Utilizing 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 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 citizens of Jackson 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 Jackson 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 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. 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. We plan to measure these impacts in both the long and short-term.

Our staff strives to work under the "Extension Workers Professionals' Creed" of Epsilon Sigma Phi, which we believe and practice daily. This will be no different for 2020. We look to the "People and the Profession - Selected Memories of Veteran Extension Workers" book as an inspiration and guide to our work each year. We are also striving to follow the original 4-H Girl's Tomato Clubs as an example to develop our Jackson Extension program by teaching leadership through agriculture, home economics and community development. Another model we practice is called "Educate, Demonstrate, Guide and Empower" (EDGE) through our extension educational programming. We will do this through volunteer leadership development and research based and quality extension educational programming in 2020.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Jackson County Extension Advisory Leadership Council
David Noland
Norma Bumgarner
Anna Lippard
Tom Rogers
Al McNeely
Jane Fitzgerald
Christmas Tree Advisory Leadership Committee
Jerry McAbee – Jackson
Tom Waller – Jackson
Scott Pressley – Jackson
Ryan Holquist – Jackson
Sherrie Marsden - Jackson

Urban Horticulture Advisory Leadership Committee
Beverly English – Swain
Boyd Wright – Swain
Johnny Sue Henderson – Jackson
Virginia Milligan – Jackson

Commercial Horticulture Advisory Leadership Committee
Mike Glover – Swain
Merrilyn Williams – Swain
Terry Swaim – Swain
Nan Balliot - Jackson
Inez Owens – Jackson

4-H Program Advisory Leadership Committee
Jude Lowery
Scott Ensley
Freya Kinner
Luisa Teran

Jackson County Community Development Club (CDC) Advisory Council
Gloria Rogers
Regina Mathis
Kristin Stevens
Randy Cabe
Family and Consumer Science Advisory Leadership Council
Lindsi Cauley
Jannelle Messer
Laura Passmore
Crystal ?
Jackson Extension Livestock Advisory Leadership Council
Margaret Massie
Brian Bumgarner
Barry Stevens
David Noland

VIII. Staff Membership

Rob Hawk
Title: County Extension Director, Jackson and Swain Counties
Phone: (828) 586-4009
Email: robert_hawk@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: I provide educational opportunities and technical assistance to the citizens in my area to bring about change for better communities and individuals through community and leadership development, livestock and conservation education. I provide administration and leadership for the extension staff of Jackson and Swain Counties as the County Extension Director.

Katie Ashley
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture
Phone: (828) 586-4009
Email: kaashley@ncsu.edu

Freda Childers
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant - Administration
Phone: (828) 586-4009
Email: flchilde@ncsu.edu

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

Heather Gordon
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 586-4009
Email: heather_gordon@ncsu.edu

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

Adam Griffith
Title: Area Agent, CRD
Phone: (828) 359-6935
Email: adgriff5@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.

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.)

Emily McClure
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (828) 586-4009
Email: ekmcclure@ncat.edu

Kendra Norton
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock
Phone: (828) 586-4009
Email: kendra_norton@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!

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.

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.

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

Jackson County Center
876 Skyland Dr
Suite 6
Sylva, NC 28779

Phone: (828) 586-4009
Fax: (828) 586-5509
URL: http://jackson.ces.ncsu.edu