2020 Martin County Plan of Work

Approved: March 4, 2020

I. County Background

Martin County is a northeastern county in North Carolina with access to both rural living and proximity to many modern amenities and more urban areas. Martin County has a population of 23,199 people and a land area of 461 square miles, including 127,187 acres of land in farms, 87,759 acres of which is harvested cropland. The racial make-up of the county is 55% white, 42.7% black, and 3.8% hispanic. The population of the county has steadily declined in recent years, and is projected to continue to decline directly affecting population-based revenues and raising a variety of community issues including school consolidation. The median family income is $34,957 and 22.5% of citizens are living below the poverty level. High school drop out rates, unemployment, housing, crime, and a variety of other social issues are ongoing priorities of the county. Growth in the county will depend largely on how these issues are addressed and helping to improve the employable skills of citizens. Martin County is a Tier 1 County indicating it is one of the most distressed communities in the state.

Agriculture is the major industry in the county with a market value of products sold totaling over $100 million. Major agriculture commodities include:

Peanuts: 9,706 acres (#1 in production for NC)
Cotton: 46,306 acres (#3 in production for NC)
Soybeans: 16,301 acres
Wheat: 7,510 acres
Tobacco: Valued at $26,140,000 Annually (#9 in production for NC)

Economic sustainability is of growing concern in Martin County. This issue was demonstrated in 2017 with the loss of Parkdale Mills, a major employer and economic driver in the community. This loss continues to affect not only the families of employees, but the local economy, tax-base, and county and town revenue. The economic stability of farm families is also an urgent need in the changing economic environment of farming. With the loss of government programs for tobacco and peanuts causing greater instability for farm families, all our resources - from tried and true production practices to alternative use of crops for renewable fuel feed stocks; to youth support systems and teaching youth life skills; to making every effort at educating families in healthy lifestyles and behavior will all be marshaled to meet this need in this agriculture based county. Career preparedness and "soft" skills were identified as needs for youth programming though the 2018 needs assessment, further demonstrating the need for economic development.

Youth often face heavy peer pressure to take part in harmful or risky behavior. Quite often, the child is not emotionally equipped to make good choices. Due to a variety of factors including health issues, high youth poverty rates, and low parental supervision, Martin County has a significant need for youth programming especially in the areas of leadership, career skill building, science and technology, and healthy lifestyles. The success of these youth as they enter adulthood will hinge on their success in these areas. These focus areas were confirmed by the 2018 needs assessment data.

Chronic disease, such as heart disease and diabetes, impose a particularly heavy burden on North Carolinians and Martin County citizens. Diet and lifestyle changes can help prevent serious complications related to these chronic diseases. Partnership development with schools and local health organizations are critical to success in addressing these concerns.

Extension staff members will work to conduct a comprehensive investigation of demographic changes, data, trends, and issues to determine the direction and focus for future Extension programming in the coming years. Staff plans will seek to address the identified areas.

Collaboration and networking with other agencies will be strengthened to address community opportunities, problems, and issues in a holistic way.

This data was sourced from the Martin County 2017-18 Financial Report, the United States Census Bureau, and the NCAGR Census of Agriculture.

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 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

County government priorities include economic and environmental sustainability leading to prosperity and improved quality of life. All Extension educational programs support those priorities. Open communication with county government is a continuing priority of Extension to ensure that programming is consistent with the needs of the county and parallel the efforts targeted by the commissioners.

In addition, Extension will continue to provide support and expertise in our respective areas as needed. This support will include consultations with the county manager and commissioners. Extension will also help to address county issues by helping to provided educational support and professional development opportunities, and foster community development. In times of disaster, Extension lends its resources to county government in whatever role requested, but is typically active in damage assessment in the agricultural sector, and in providing educational resources to citizens regarding food and water safety.

IV. Diversity Plan

All reasonable efforts are being implemented to provide services to diverse and underserved audiences throughout the county. Public awareness of programs remains a priority for marketing Extension programs to underserved groups. This marketing will expand in the coming year to make better use of technology and other resources to broaden our reach.

Staff are committed to positive action to secure equal opportunity and ensure that all programs are offered without exception, to individuals regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability. Staff members will receive up-to-date professional development opportunities on these topics ensuring that they are each aware of diverse ethnic and cultural characteristics, and are equipped to design programs that meet culturally congruent learning styles. With notification, staff will make efforts to accommodate individuals with disabilities for most programs. Our facility meets all requirements for accessibility and human resources have been allocated to meet the needs of all clientele groups. In addition, the accommodation statement will be included on all program announcements.

Plans to provide equal opportunity include advertisement and marketing through sources that reach all walks of life. Targeted groups are given direct notice of events and activities. Financial difficulty is also addressed through the use of scholarships, waivers, and program donations.

This year the Martin County Extension staff will be making concerted efforts to expand programming in underserved audiences through a variety of techniques including: offering programming in additional locations, including additional minority representatives and representatives from underserved areas of the county on advisory committees, actively seeking advice of leaders in underserved communities to identify needs and create access to programming, and creating new and engaging marketing materials to attract new audiences.

V. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods

Delivering timely, relevant, research based educational programs that meet critical local needs is the cornerstone of Extension’s mission. Extension educational programs are designed to equip the citizens of Martin 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 mix of educational methods used during an educational program from beginning to end. This system includes needs assessment, resource acquisition, program planning, educational experiences, evaluation, and reporting. 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, 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 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. As such, in addition to 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 and accessible to, and fully utilized by, the citizens of Martin 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 Martin 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. 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. Naturally, this plan includes both quantitative, such as surveys and tests, and qualitative evaluation methods, such as testimonials from program participants as well as interviews and focus groups with participants.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Martin County Advisory Leadership Council
George Ayers
Donald Beacham
Jean Brownfield
Barney Conway
Angela Cross
Shelly Coburn
Wesley Copeland
Georgie Griffin, III

Richard James
Stephen Lilley
Alice Matthews
Thomas Pierce
Nola Pritchett
Kit Reddick
Bull Ritter
Bernadette Rodgers
Walter Stalls
Tony Taylor
James Ward
Donnie White
Walter Whitfield
Willie Woolard
Family and Consumer Science Advisory Committee
Bernadette Rodgers
Brenda Moore
Cathy Barber
Ina Slade
Natalie Wiggins
Patricia Mooring
Ronnie Smith
Agriculture Advisory Committee
Steven Lilley
Scott Bowen
Georgie Griffin
Brent Jackson
Freddie Chance
Robert Turner
Chase James
Lee Williams
James Nicholson

Small Farms Advisory Committee
B. Kim Griffin
Willie Woolard
Thomas Pierce
Brent Jackson
Randy Pierce
4-H & Youth Advisory Committee
Jean Brownfield
Daniel Brownfield
Eric Manning
Donna Manning
Tonya Little
Lori Taylor
Tiffany Hassell-Abel
Cliff Hudson

VII. Staff Membership

Rod Gurganus
Title: County Extension Director, Beaufort & Interim County Extension Director, Martin
Phone: (252) 946-0111
Email: rod_gurganus@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: I work hard to identify, locate, develop, and extend unbiased, research-based information to the growers of Beaufort County.

Shelia Ange
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (252) 789-4370
Email: shelia_ange@ncsu.edu

Elizabeth Baker
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (252) 794-6179
Email: Elizabeth_baker@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Essential responsibilities for the position include planning, marketing, conducting and evaluating educational programs in Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) for Bertie County. Emphasis of the Family and Consumer Sciences program is on nutrition, food safety, health and wellness, food preservation, chronic disease reduction, and volunteer management.

Susan Chase
Title: Regional Nutrition Extension Associate - Northeast EFNEP and SNAP-Ed
Phone: (919) 827-2285
Email: susan_chase@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Job Description: Provides programmatic supervision to the EFNEP program in the Northeast District

Candice Christian
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9148
Email: cadescha@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: The overall goal of the Area Specialized Agents (ASAs) in Consumer & Retail Food Safety is to provide North Carolinians with technical food safety information and to support Family and Consumer Sciences agents in delivering timely and evidence-based food safety education and information to stakeholders.

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.

Erin Eure
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Fruits and Vegetables
Phone: (252) 357-1400
Email: erin_eure@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities and technical support to commercial fruit and vegetable growers, agents, and industry in northeastern NC.

Steve Gabel
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Aquaculture
Phone: (252) 482-6585
Email: steve_gabel@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for aquaculture educational programs for the NC NE extension district.

Lance Grimes
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture
Phone: (252) 789-4370
Email: lance_grimes@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Job responsibilities include: All field crops and pesticide education.

Marissa Herchler
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Animal Food Safety
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, pet food and ingredient facilities in North Carolina. Please contact Marissa with any animal food safety-related questions, or Preventive Controls for Animal Food (PCAF/PCQI) training inquiries.

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.

Danny Lauderdale
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Ornamental Nursery and Greenhouse, Eastern Region
Phone: (252) 237-0111
Email: danny_lauderdale@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides programming to commercial ornamental nursery and greenhouse producers in eastern North Carolina.

Lori McBryde
Title: Area 4-H Agent, East Region
Phone: (919) 989-5380
Email: lori_mcbryde@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide support the Eastern 34 Counties of the Northeast and Southeast Districts in 4-H Youth Development.

Desmond Miller
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (252) 789-4370
Email: dlmille5@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: The 4-H Youth Development Agent is a professional educator who provides leadership to the local 4-H program and manages its day-to-day operation. 4-H is a community of young people learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. The mission of 4-H is to develop youth and adults working with those youth, to realize their full potential—becoming effective, contributing citizens through participation in research-based, non-formal, hands-on educational experiences.

Joy Pierce
Title: County Extension Support Specialist
Phone: (252) 789-4370
Email: joy_pierce@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!

Margaret Ross
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (252) 670-8254
Email: margaret_ross@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Working with commercial poultry producers to assist in writing nutrient management plans and conducting educational programming.

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

Lisa Smith
Title: Family and Consumer Sciences Agent
Phone: (252) 789-4370
Email: lfsmith5@ncsu.edu

Scott Tilley
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Grain
Phone: (252) 793-4428
Email: scott_tilley@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

Martin County Center
104 Kehukee Park Rd
Williamston, NC 27892

Phone: (252) 789-4370
Fax: (252) 789-4389
URL: http://martin.ces.ncsu.edu