2018 Macon County Plan of Work

Approved: January 29, 2018

I. County Background

Macon County is located in southwestern North Carolina bordering Georgia to the south, touching South Carolina in the southeast, and is two counties east of Tennessee. The US Census Bureau estimates Macon County's population at 33,922 in 2010, an increase of 13.8% in 10 years. Since 2010, the population has barely increased. Current population is estimated at 34,376.

Macon County is considered a Tier 1 county. An estimated 16.4% of the population lives below the poverty level. Median household income is $39,593. This remains under the 2009 level of $42,186. Unemployment is at 3.8%, an improvement from 2016's level of 4.9%. Economic growth remains slow, but has improved. Housing starts increased from 75 in 2013, to 85 in 2015, to 93 in 2017. There has been an increase in small businesses in the last few years. Four 'Dollar General' retail stores and a micro brewery (Macon County's second) have been built. Tektone, a small electronics company, has expanded with plans to hire an additional 35 employees. Harmony House, a seller and distributor of dehydrated foods, both domestically and internationally will be expanding from an 8500 square foot facility to an over 32,000 square foot location with intentions to expand employment. A new "Super" Walmart and a "Super" Ingles have been built, replacing older, existing stores, but we have recently learned our KMart retail store is being closed.

The county's topography is characterized by mountains and rolling hills separated by narrow valleys with altitudes ranging from 1500 feet to 5000 feet. The soils are primarily clay, clay loam or loam and only a small percentage of the land is suitable for commercial agriculture. Of the 140,800 acres of land in the county, more than forty-six percent is US Forest Service, leaving approximately 75,000 acres in private, forest and agricultural use. Major commodities produced in addition to timber include beef cattle, horses, forages, hay, corn, Christmas trees, ornamental plants, trellised tomatoes, small fruits, vegetables, and truck crops.

In 2015, the Macon County Center conducted a needs assessment. Information from this assessment combined with feedback from the county Advisory Leadership System identified priority needs.

The top needs and issues to address in agriculture are:
1. Education on new technology, varieties and practices.
2. Alternative agriculture opportunities (syrup making, mushroom production, grass fed beef etc.).
3. Home horticulture assistance (landscapes, vegetable gardens, pest control).

Under 4-H and Youth, needs identified were:
1. Volunteer leader training and support.
2. Educational activities and clubs.
3. Youth concerns (drugs, bullying, alcohol, education)
4. 4-H camp.

Community and Resource Development (CRD) needs were:
1. Community Organization Support.
2. Education and meeting facilities (Ag Center).
3. Macon County Fair Support.

Family and Consumer Education needs that were identified were:
1. Healthy food choices (shopping, meal planning, eating out).
2. Food preservation.
3. Chronic disease prevention (heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, stroke).

County programs will address these identified issues and others as needed under North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s statewide program objectives listed below.

II. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

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

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

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.

Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways

Consumers and communities will enhance the value of plants, animals, and landscapes while conserving valuable natural resources and protecting the environment.

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

III. Relationship to County Government Objectives

The Macon County Extension Center has worked diligently to bring research-based information to the county's citizens. Extension is a recognized provider of information on dealing with natural and man made disasters and provides information on recovery and preparedness on behalf of the University and county government. Macon County Extension serves as the point of contact for animal responses during a time of emergency or natural disaster. Extension plans are to aid Macon County Government, providing community contacts and volunteers for assistance during times of disaster. Extension can also assist with educational efforts relating to conservation of farmland and maintenance of green space, which has been identified as a county priority. Many issues in Macon County's comprehensive plan are being addressed by Cooperative Extension on state, regional and county levels. This document is currently being revised.

Extension staff works with county government on a variety of educational needs and projects for the betterment of Macon County. Pesticide licensing tests and pesticide education classes provides city and county employees a way to become certified to apply pesticides and classes to meet their continuing education requirements. Cooperative Extension partners with the county on the Macon County Community Garden, the Environmental Resource Center and the Macon County Fair. The 4-H Expanded Food and Nutrition Program delivers health and nutrition information to the county’s elementary schools. Extension provides "Safe Plates" food safety certification classes for commercial food service.

IV. Diversity Plan

Macon County Cooperative Extension is committed to the value of diversity and the elimination of discrimination on the basis of characteristics such as race, nationality, socio-economic status, religious belief, ethnicity, family and marital status, gender, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability. North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s Macon County Center is also committed to affirmative action, the development of programs and practices that promote equal opportunity for members of target groups identified by legislation as having experienced disadvantages in employment.

Macon County's 2016 population of 34,376 is 89.5% white. The persons of minority populations were 9.5% of the total population. The largest of these minority populations is Hispanic at 6.8% followed by African American at 1.7% of the total population. Data also shows 16.4% of the population is below poverty level, 12.3% of the population over 25 years of age has no high school diploma, 18.9% of the population is under age 18 and 27.38% is over age 65, up from 23.8% in 2010. People with disabilities comprise 11.8% of the total population.

Our staff seeks to provide programs to under served audiences by being inclusive, relevant, and responsive in planning, designing, implementing and evaluating programs that target diverse audiences and recognize the value of all people. We plan to meet this objective by assessing the needs of our county clientele and involving all groups of citizens in the assessment process. Target audiences will be identified and programs will be planned to meet the identified needs. Programs in Macon County are open to all people. All reasonable efforts will be made to make educational events available to every resident of Macon County. Dissemination of event announcements and information will include flyers, newspaper articles, newsletters, radio, email, and on our website.

V. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods

The cornerstone of Extension’s mission is to deliver timely, relevant educational programs that meet critical local needs. Extension educational programs are designed to equip the citizens of Macon County with the knowledge, skills and tools to improve economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and quality of life. The Extension program delivery system is a planned and organized mix of educational methods that best serve the audience. 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, classes, demonstrations, field days and tours that allow learners to fully engage in the learning process, test new knowledge and practice new skills during the educational session. Of equal importance are educational methods such as client visits, fact sheets, educational publications and newsletters that serve to support and reinforce learning as well as provide motivation for continued learning. Our educational publications may be found on line at "https://macon.ces.ncsu.edu"

Extension educators 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 knowledge and skills in their preferred way of learning. As such, in addition to traditional classes held at the County Extension Center, Extension educational programs are delivered online, in community centers, on farms, and other locations in order for our programs to be available, accessible and fully utilized by the citizens of Macon County.

Success is defined as the extent to which Extension's educational programs have made a difference in the lives of the citizens in Macon County. Program evaluation is utilized to make observations about changes that occur as a result of our educational programs and the significance of those changes. As an educational organization, the changes we see focus on key outcomes such as the knowledge and skills participants gain from our programs. To measure the impacts of our educational programs, we use methods such as pre and post-tests or surveys to measure knowledge gained, the application of that knowledge, new skills developed, change in practices and economic effect.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Macon Advisory Council
Pam Bell
Mike Breedlove
Warren Cabe
Dorothy Crawford
Charles Deal
Claudette Dillard
Alan Marsh
Susie McCoy
Chris Stahl
Claire Suminski
Jerry Sutton
Kathy Tinsley
Ronnie Beale


Livestock Advisory Committee
Roger Seay Jr.
Jim Ledford
Steve Ledford
Jamie Brooks
Warren Cabe
Pam Bell
Field Crops and Forages Committee
Charles L. Deal
Mark Bell
Harold Huscusson
Everardo Ortiz

Community Development Committee
Nikki McCall
Jerry Sutton
Claudette Dillard
Gail Stiwinter
Kathy Kahler
Suzanne Williams
Steve Waldroop
Janie Sutton

Horticulture Committee
Roger Beattie
Cindy Powell
Belinda Anderson
Don Carringer
Nolan DeWitt
Jean Hunnicutt
Mike Breedlove
Joyce Haas
FCS Advisory Council
Kathy Tinsley
Pat Wilcox
Betty Cabe
Macon County 4-H Volunteer Leader's Committee
Jamie Brooks
Noreen Cyphers
Cliff Cypher
Pat Wilcox
Kathy Young
Linda Kocur
Pam Owens
Shannon West
Linda Kocur
Macon County 4-H Youth Leader's Committee
Gabrianne Ivey
Lindsay Wood
Sydney Lambert
Emmie Albers
Morgyn Brannon
India Elliot
Cayleigh Kolodzik

VII. Staff Membership

Alan Durden
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (828) 349-2049
Email: alan_durden@ncsu.edu

Marilyn Bradley
Title: Admin and Business Support
Phone: (828) 349-2046
Email: mmbradle@ncsu.edu

Joe Deal
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock, Forages and Pastures
Phone: (828) 349-2046
Email: joe_deal@ncsu.edu

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

Deborah Hunter
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (828) 349-2046
Email: debbie_hunter@ncsu.edu

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 & 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

Carol Pitts
Title: EFNEP Educator, Extension Program Assistant
Phone: (828) 349-2046
Email: carol_pitts@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides youth with nutrition, food safety, food resource and management knowledge in an effort to make positive change behaviors.

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.

Julie Sawyer
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (828) 456-3575
Email: julie_sawyer@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Duties and responsibilities include: Food Safety, Food Preservation, and other Family and Consumer Sciences.

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.

Tammara Talley
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 349-2226
Email: tammara_cole@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: 4-H Youth Development

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 38 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) 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.

VIII. Contact Information

Macon County Center
193 Thomas Heights Rd
Franklin, NC 28734

Phone: (828) 349-2046
Fax: (828) 349-2405
URL: http://macon.ces.ncsu.edu