2020 Lee County Plan of Work

Approved: January 15, 2020

I. County Background

Lee County, located in the geographic center of the state, was formed in 1907 from parts of Moore and Chatham counties as the 98th county in North Carolina and was named for General Robert E. Lee. The city of Sanford is the county seat. Broadway is another municipality in the county. Lee County has 164,700 acres or 256.76 sq. miles in land and 2.44 square miles in water for a total of 259.2 square miles.

Lee County had an estimated population of 60,430 in 2017. The median household income was $49,272 with a per capita income of $23,613 in 2017 with a poverty rate of 14.8%. In 2017, Lee County population was categorized as 58.1% white, black (not Hispanic or Latino) 20.2% and Hispanic 19.2%. A diverse mixture of industrial manufacturing, retail sales, agriculture, and agribusiness result in a strong and stable economy. Major industries include cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, automotive components, furniture manufacturing, food processing, brick manufacturing, textiles, recycling industries, and electronic components manufacturing. Almost 38% of our county work force is employed in the manufacturing sector, 24% in the service industry, 14% in retail and wholesale trade, and 12% in government. The agriculture and agri-business sector employs approximately 12%.

We have two traditional high schools, and one Early College, eight elementary schools, three middle schools, a charter school as well as one alternative and one exceptional school and two private schools. The public schools are currently serving over 10,000 students from pre-kindergarten to high school.

In 2017 Agriculture and Agri-business brought in over $250 million to Lee County. Poultry and flue-cured tobacco were the major income producers for farmers. With over 60% of the land in the county classified as forestland, this industry generated over 25 million dollars for our landowners. The average age of our farmers is 58. The total number of farms in Lee County is 250 with over 35,170 acres in production. The average farm size is 141 acres.

Health and wellness issues continue to plague our county. Obesity trends show that over 40% of Lee county residents are considered overweight or obese. Obesity may increase the chance of developing costly chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke. The Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Science (FCS) Agent leads nutrition education and healthy lifestyle programs addressing these health concerns. The FCS Agent also facilitates a Health Task Force (LEEding Toward Wellness) a community collaborative effort with the group taking on broader policy issues related to health and wellness. The Expanded Foods and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) also addresses health concerns in our community, with a primary focus placed on bringing cooking, budgeting, meal planning and physical activity education and hands on training to limited resource individuals.

Lee County has an active Advisory Council and program committees. The Council meets quarterly and has been kept informed of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension's strategic plan. The Advisory Council supports the staff working in the areas of profitable and sustainable agriculture, leadership development, workforce preparedness, and food, nutrition, and health. Suggestions were also made to work with local farmers on emerging alternative crops, and marketing and financing production for agriculture. The Lee County staff is committed to providing responsive and relevant programs and will continue to partner with other county agencies to address issues in these areas.

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 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

The county's economic development plan states: "Lee County offers worldwide access, through its solid transportation network. A world-class workforce, supported by outstanding industrial training and prepared to produce results. And, an exceptional quality of life, offering the conveniences of small town life with quick and easy access to Raleigh, Durham and the rest of this famed Research Triangle region." The Commissioners have adopted a vision statement for use in leading, directing and prioritizing the work of Lee County Government. The motto is "Committed Today for a Better Tomorrow". The Mission is "Through vision and leadership, setting the standard for professional local government". The Core Values are: "We value our citizens; community; business and industry; competent, knowledgeable and courteous employees; cost effective, high quality service; and responsive and cooperative departments".

North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County values the partnership established with the County of Lee. The County Extension Director is a County Department Head and attends monthly Department Head meetings. The County Extension Director also serves on the Board of Directors for the Sanford Area Growth Alliance (SAGA), writes monthly columns for the alliance, provides quarterly agricultural updates and works to make sure agriculture is consistently represented at "the table".

A yearly “Report To The People” is presented to the County Commissioners, County Manager and other key stakeholders. County officials are invited to and participate in volunteer, youth and educational programs. In addition, the Commissioners and the County Manager are on our mailing and email list and receive timely information regarding Extension activities or updates.

In assisting county government with emergency operations, the County Extension Director and the Agriculture Agent serve on Lee County's local emergency planning committee. The County Director also reports to the Emergency Operations Center in the event of a disaster. Responsibilities include having direct links to Agricultural personnel to handle issues facing the agricultural community and being prepared to handle food safety issues. County USDA agencies are kept informed in the case of a natural disaster.

The McSwain Center is available during times of disaster to house FEMA and SBA officials. In addition to providing Extension staff a venue for their educational programs, the McSwain Center has been used as temporary office space for displaced county employees, one stop early voting, meeting place for county government, county employee appreciation luncheons and recognition, training site for Lee County Schools and local businesses, and a place for businesses and schools in the area to meet in case of evacuation. Civic, church and community members have rented the Farm Bureau Auditorium. Lee County Farm Bureau was a major contributor to the building campaign has a standing reservation to use the facility at least two times a year.

IV. Diversity Plan

North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County is committed to embracing the value of diversity and the elimination of discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, socio-economic status, religious belief, ethnicity, family and marital status, gender, age, sexual orientation, or disability. Diversity is valued among staff, clientele, and educational partners.

Cooperative Extension in Lee County will address diversity issues by:
•Providing, encouraging, and supporting opportunities which result in a total commitment to diversity.
•Promoting diverse partnerships with individuals, groups, and organizations.
•Reviewing, implementing, and maintaining policies and procedures which signify commitment to diversity.
•Building an employee and volunteer population that reflects the diversity of the county.
•Utilizing existing University resources which allow staff to gain experiences related to diversity.

In addition:
•Efforts will continue to be made to reach all demographics of the county population.
•Through the use of United Way funds, 4-H will continue to provide financial support to youth to help offset program costs for all youth.
•Each organization supported by Extension personnel and partnering with Extension will have on file a yearly Affirmative Action letter stating they will not discriminate against individuals interested in participating in their organization.
•Agents will continue to collaborate with community organizations in order to reach non-traditional groups and underprivileged youth.
•Discrimination statement will appear on all newsletter and flyers used to promote educational programs and events.
•All programs and events are open to the public and publicized as so.
Programs and events will be held during days and times that will attract minority and underserved audiences.
•All reasonable efforts will be made to assure members serving on Advisory committees reflect the makeup of the community.
•Based on the needs assessment and input from Advisory members, specific programs will be designed to meet the needs of underserved audiences.

V. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods

Delivering timely, relevant educational programs that meet critical local needs are the cornerstone of Extension’s mission. Extension educational programs are designed to equip the citizens of Lee 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 blend 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, including 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 training and 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. So that our programs are available and accessible to, and fully utilized by the citizens of Lee County, Extension programs are offered at the McSwain Center, delivered online, in community centers, on farms, and at other various locations throughout the 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 Lee County. Various evaluation methods are utilized to determine if changes occurred as a result our educational efforts, 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 and long term behavioral changes. More specifically, in this plan, we are using quantitative research methods such as retrospective testing, 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 (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 dialoguing with targeted learners. Therefore, this plan also includes qualitative evaluation methods such as testimonials from program participants, and interviews and focus groups with participants.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Advisory Council
Jim Foster
Alan Cox
Dal Langston
Avron Upchurch
Ira Smith
Amy Dalrymple
Susan Alexander
Sam Buchanan
John Cameron
Katelyn Lewis
Mark Luellen
Brad Thompson
Agricultural Advisory Board
AK Griffin
Cecil Cameron
Donald Nicholson
George Gilliam
Molly Whitaker
Tom Haislip
Wayne Watson
Ed Angel


Forestry Program Advisory Committee
Mark Luellen
Jeremy Isom
Bud Taylor
Charles Oldham
Martha Oldham
4-H Program Advisory Committee
Peggy Mann
Carole Stevens
Mary Hawley Oates
Larry Aiken
Patrick Kelly
Cindy Howenstein
Chris Kelly
Kristy Airey
Daniel Simmons
Zac West
Morgan Barbour
Master Gardener Volunteer Advisory Committee
Pat Banville
Avron Upchurch
Ann Kightlinger
Anna Culler
Georgianna Kiggins
Donna Frangipane
4-H Volunteer Leaders Advisory Committee
Bruce Ledford
Regina Fox
Myrna Rodriguez
Tammy Steger
Petra Wooten
Carol Smith
Karen Mersinger
LJ Carroll
ECA Leadership Team
Mildred Smith
Roland Armstrong
Sharon Raschke
Georgia Garner
Edna Foushee
Valerie Johnson
Peggy Abshear
Carol Cox
LEEding Toward Wellness
Lauren Stern
Amy Lawson
Holly Hastings
Cindy Laton
Roxanne Elliott
Zac West
Gwen Williams
David Montgomery
Lindsey Carver
Sarah Arthur
Mary Hawley Oates
Mindy Redi
Meg Moss
Patti Griffin
Pam Kerley
Anna Manning

VII. Staff Membership

Bill Stone
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (919) 775-5624
Email: bill_stone@ncsu.edu

Alyssa Anderson
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences - Nutrition
Phone: (919) 775-5624
Email: alyssa_anderson@ncsu.edu

Jenny Carleo
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Grain Crops
Phone: (704) 873-0507
Email: jscarleo@ncsu.edu

Minda Daughtry
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture
Phone: (919) 775-5624
Email: minda_daughtry@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Commercial Horticulture: Small Fruits, Tree Fruits, Vegetables Consumer Horticulture Community Gardening Master Gardener Volunteers

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.

Rhonda Gaster
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (919) 775-5624
Email: rhonda_gaster@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Works on all administrative aspects including but not limited to the following: Prepares and monitors all administrative correspondence, reports (budget, travel, leave, mail etc.) Maintains personnel files and confidential information. Updates staff on personnel policy changes. Works closely with CED in coordinating events, meetings, agenda, etc. Analyze monthly & daily financial reports relative to county budget. Prepare and process invoices for payment Assist CED in annual County Extension budget. Maintains 4 in-house checking accounts and makes quarterly reports. Maintain the center's webpage. Assist all agents with projects/programs. Maintain and monitors office supplies and publications. Manages calendar/reservations for events held in the auditorium. Reports to the County's General Services repairs needed at the McSwain Center. Serves on the Lee County Safety Committee. Maintains good relationship with Finance and General Services offices.

Richard Goforth
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (910) 893-7530
Email: richard_goforth@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

Pam Kerley
Title: 4-H Program Assistant
Phone: (919) 775-5624
Email: pkerley@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Support the 4-H agent, club communication and management, teen council, coordinate/attend/chaperone 4-H trips, STEM programming, program marketing, public speaking program, project record book program, awards collection and recognition program,

Colby Lambert
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Forestry
Phone: (910) 814-6041
Email: colby_lambert@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities and technical support to forest landowners, agents, and forest industry in eastern North Carolina.

Sarah Perry
Title: Program Assistant - EFNEP
Phone: (919) 775-5624
Email: saperry3@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!

Chip Simmons
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Food Safety
Phone: (919) 414-5632
Email: odsimmon@ncsu.edu

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.

Allan Thornton
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables and Fruits
Phone: (910) 592-7161
Email: allan_thornton@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Vegetable Extension Specialist. Conducts Extension and applied research programs for commercial vegetable and fruit growers and agents in eastern North Carolina.

Mitch Williams
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Field Crops, Livestock, Pesticide Coordinator
Phone: (919) 775-5624
Email: mkwilli2@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

Lee County Center
2420 Tramway Rd
Sanford, NC 27332

Phone: (919) 775-5624
Fax: (919) 775-1302
URL: http://lee.ces.ncsu.edu