2019 Macon County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 27, 2020

I. Executive Summary

Macon County Cooperative Extension is pleased to have had a successful year of educational program delivery to the citizens of Macon County. Seven specific objectives were addressed by agents, program assistants and volunteers in the areas of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Family and Consumer Science, Community Development and 4-H-Youth Development. The following paragraphs describe some of the highlights of our programs and their impacts on Macon County in 2019.

Family and Consumer Science Programming focused on two Food Safety areas; NC Safe Plates Food Manager Food Safety Certification and Safely Preserving Food at Home. Twenty-one food service managers participated in 14 hours of NC Safe Plates class instruction gaining skills and knowledge on preventing food borne illness. The food service managers took the exam and received their National Registry of Food Safety Professionals certification. The economic value for food safety education programs for the employees of food service establishments can be viewed in terms of increased job skills which in turn increases their employment opportunities. While the economic value of preventing a food borne illness is difficult to quantify, experts estimate the US societal cost of food borne illness at $36 billion per year and the average cost burden per illness of $3630.00

A total of 43 participants attended three safe home food preservation classes focusing on Safely Preserving Food at Home. While Botulism occurrences are rare, it is estimated that each botulism case costs the taxpayer over $725,000.

In the Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction program area 18 participants participated in a 6-week program totaling 12 hours of instruction focusing on increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, reducing sodium, choosing heart healthy fats, reducing sugar intake and increasing physical activity.

Macon County 4-H focuses on positive life skills for youth. Our goals are to help youth build independence, be generous citizens, master important skills and build the sense of belonging in their community. We partner with club volunteers, community businesses and parents to provide learning activities throughout the year. In 2019, Macon County 4-H provided youth with over 296 hours of after-school learning involving 462 youth, and 140 hours of summer experiential learning comprising 333 youth.

By participating in 4-H, Macon County youth are not only able to increase their overall school success but are able to increase their future employability, civic-mindedness and citizenship. This is reflected in part with fifty-one youth representing Macon County in regional, state and national 4-H events such as District Activity Day, AIRE, Shooting Sports, Horse, Project Record Book and State Presentations. Additionally, thirty-three Macon County 4-H'ers were able to demonstrate life skills by volunteering over 210 hours to the community. Service projects included: collecting socks for homeless, making comfort bags for kids in chemo, sewing warming bags for the senior center, baking cookies for nurses, serving at the Serving Spoon community kitchen, baking Christmas cookies (Cloverbuds) and making valentines for the elderly in the community along with building bluebird houses for the greenways.

The success of Macon County 4-H is due in part to adult volunteers (42) who share their knowledge and skills with 4-Hers by volunteering over 461 hours dedicated toward teaching youth.

Animal agriculture adds over six million dollars of value to the Macon County economy with over 3100 head of cattle and calves along with broilers, layers, goats, hogs, pigs, sheep, lambs, pullets, horse, ponies and turkeys. Approximately 3,322 acres of hay is produced in Macon County. Other agronomic crops, including corn, soy beans, and wheat are also produced on approximately 600 acres. Cooperative Extension supports these producers with individual consultations, workshops and through participation and support of the Jackson Macon Swain (JMS) Cattleman’s Association, the Macon County Poultry Club, and the Macon County Beekeepers Association.

Youth are the future of agriculture and the Macon County 4-H Youth Market Steer Club allowed five youth to participate and learn valuable husbandry, life and leadership skills. Additionally, Extension personnel conducted fifteen hours to 40 youth of hands on educational clinics (4) in showmanship and handling of livestock.

Extension provided producers with training in hemp production, re-certification opportunities in pesticide application and in bull breeding soundness exams. Interest has risen amongst the growers and the public on the use and the production aspects of Hemp. Extension personnel conducted one 7-hour Industrial Hemp program with over 52 growers from the region in attendance. Other program highlights include: holding 5 pesticide education classes resulting in the recertification of 72 pesticide applicators and a Breeding Soundness program benefitting twelve producers with having their bulls evaluated and given a Breeding Soundness Exam.

In 2019, thirty-eight Macon County Master Gardeners donated over 1453 hours of volunteer service to assist the educational efforts of Cooperative Extension with 66 of those hours assisting at the Macon County Fair. Donations to the program and Master Gardener fundraisers yielded over $3,276 to support their work.

Macon County Extension teamed with Jackson County Extension to provide licensed Landscape Contractors with the opportunity to earn the continuing education credits required to maintain their license. Seven hours of credit classes were provided to meet the required instruction. Twenty-nine persons attended five hours of technical training and 2 hours of business training over a two day period.

The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) taught 551 limited resource youth in Macon County basic nutrition concepts and food safety skills. Pre and post evaluation data from 551 of those youth indicate that approximately 92% either gained knowledge or improved their dietary intake according to Federal Dietary Recommendations; 70% have improved their food safety habits; and 62% gained knowledge or improved their physical activity practices. In 2019, EFNEP with the help of 21 volunteers is making a difference in our community with 250 hours and $6,347 in kind contribution. Macon County EFNEP programs obtained $5,665 in funding and support from local efforts.

The following are results of Cooperative Extension's programming efforts in Macon County:

• Staff members of the Macon County Center conducted or participated in 182 meetings, workshops, demonstrations, lectures and tours in the delivery of educational information to the citizens of Macon County. Four thousand and twenty-seven people attended 1001 hours of classroom and field instruction.

• Extension personnel in Macon County reported 15,700 face to face educational contacts.

• Macon County Cooperative Extension received $20,769 from supporters through donations, fund raisers, user fees and in-kind donations.

• Five hundred and fifty volunteers assisted with Cooperative Extension Programming giving 3,638 volunteer hours with a value of $92,515. This is the equivalent of 2.0 full time employees.
Volunteers also reported 10,908 client contacts.

II. 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 33,917 in 2010, with an average annual increase of 1.4%. Since 2010, the population has increased slowly. Current population is estimated at 34,732 with an annual increase of 0.2%.

In 2018, Macon County was considered a Tier 1 county, the fourth year as Tier 1. Macon has recently been designated as a Tier 2 county. An estimated 16.2% of the population lives below the poverty level. Median household income is $42,456. Unemployment is at 3.8%, an improvement from 2016's level of 4.9%.

Economic growth 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. We did see the closure of Kmart, a major retailer in our county.

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.

Extension Needs Assessment 2018

In 2018 NC Cooperative Extension conducted a statewide needs assessment. The assessment collected data from five sources in each county.
*Community Members
*County Manager Interview
*Extension Employees
*County Commissioners and County Managers
*Focus Groups, Stakeholders (ALS, Clients)

The assessment collected trend data and stakeholder input related to needs in Agriculture, Nutrition and Health, Youth Development and Community and Rural Development. The data was collected through electronic or paper surveys, focus group meetings and face to face meetings. Participants indicated Priorities, Preferred Delivery Modes and Satisfaction with Programs.

Based on the results of this assessment, Cooperative Extension in Macon County will focus on the following priorities:

Agriculture and Food
1. Assisting farmers and beginning farmers in agricultural production and profitability.
2. Strengthening the local food system.
3. Educational opportunities about home, community, and school gardening.
4. Supporting the ‘Green Industry’.

Nutrition and Health
1. Ensuring safe food handling practices to prevent food-borne illness.
2. Educational opportunities about home food safety practices, food preservation, and canning.
3. Reducing obesity through education about healthy food choices, healthy food preparation, and exercise.

4H Youth Development
1. Increasing youth STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) literacy.
2. Helping youth develop leadership, citizenship, and life skills.

Community Development
1. Building resilient communities through coalitions and collaborative efforts.
2. Building the capacity of nonprofits and community leaders.

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

III. 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.

Value* Outcome Description
72Number of pesticide applicators receiving continuing education credits
10Number of pesticide credit hours provided
70Number 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
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
3Number 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
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our animal production programs improve production, profitability, and sustainability of the agriculture sector.

Value* Outcome Description
18Number of producers who increased knowledge of pasture/forage management practices (field improvement, herbicide management, grazing season extension, weed control, forage quality, haylage production, nitrate testing, etc.)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
65Number of acres where Extension-recommended nutrient applications were used
2Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to quality assurance (vaccinations, castration, culling techniques, etc.)
1Number of waste utilization/waste management plans developed or updated
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our community development programs build strong and thriving communities.

Value* Outcome Description
9Number of participants who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems
5Number of participants who developed new jobs skills
14Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
5Number of participants that increase their knowledge of disaster preparedness planning, mitigation and recovery
9Number of participants acquiring knowledge and skills to convene and lead inclusive groups
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
5Number of (eg., community and economic development, land use, disaster, etc.) new, revised or adopted plans that have begun to be implemented in communities, organizations, local governments, or businesses
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our 4-H youth development programs grow the skills young people need to succeed in life and career.

Value* Outcome Description
43Total number of female participants in STEM program
19Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
189Number of youth increasing knowledge of life skills
26Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
189Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
18Number of youth demonstrating increased knowledge of natural resources and environmental issues
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
189Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
189Number of youth using effective life skills
11Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
11Number of youth assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our consumer horticulture programs teach families and communities about environmentally friendly methods for gardening and controlling pests.

Value* Outcome Description
321Number of individuals who gain knowledge or acquire skills related to vegetable/fruit gardening
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
18Number of individuals who grow food in community gardens.
32Number of individuals who begin home food production by starting a vegetable and/or fruit garden
500Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease, wildlife) and soil management
322Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
203Number of participants growing food for home consumption
54Number of participants adopting composting
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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.

Value* Outcome Description
152Number of participants who increase their knowledge of safe home food handling, preservation, or preparation practices
11Number of participants who increase their knowledge of Good Farmers Market Practices
41Number of food handlers who increase their knowledge and skills in safe food handling practices
68Number of individuals who learn how to prepare local foods, including through use of home food preservation techniques.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
21Number of participants developing food safety plans
15Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
301Number 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* 15,700
Non face-to-face** 356,865
Total by Extension staff in 2019 372,565
* 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 $3,000.00
Gifts/Donations $12,005.98
In-Kind Grants/Donations $0.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $5,764.00
Total $20,769.98

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 454 1880 9792 $ 47,808.00
EFNEP 54 301 0 $ 7,654.00
Extension Master Gardener 38 1453 1076 $ 36,950.00
Other: Food & Nutrition 4 4 40 $ 102.00
Total: 550 3638 10908 $ 92,514.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

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


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
Jerry Sutton
Claudette Dillard
Gail Stiwinter
Kathy Kahler
Suzanne Williams
Janie Sutton
Joan Maki
Tom Young

Horticulture Committee
Roger Beattie
Cindy Powell
Belinda Anderson
Don Carringer
Nolan DeWitt
Jean Hunnicutt
Mike Breedlove
Kent Ledford
Dave Sapin
FCS Advisory Council
Kathy Tinsley
Pat Wilcox
Betty Cabe

VIII. Staff Membership

Christy Bredenkamp
Title: County Extension Director, Macon
Phone: (828) 349-2046
Email: christine_bredenkamp@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for administration, community development, and public education in commercial and urban horticulture. This includes providing leadership, educational opportunities, training, and technical assistance to nursery, vegetable and specialty crops growers in Macon county. Additional efforts include pro-active and trouble-shooting workshops and assistance for gardeners in the areas of plant diseases, insects, and cultural problems in landscape and garden settings.

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.

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

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

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

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.)

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.

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.

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.

Kim Terrell
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (828) 349-2047
Email: kvterrel@ncsu.edu

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

Macon County Center
193 Thomas Heights Rd
Franklin, NC 28734

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