2018 Martin County Plan of Work

Approved: January 30, 2018

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.

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.

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.

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

North Carolina's plant production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.
North Carolina's agricultural crops industry makes major contributions to local communities and the state’s economy. In 2014, the estimated farm gate value of crops was $4.72 billion, placing NC as the 17th largest in the nation. North Carolina is one of the most diversified agriculture states in the nation. The state's 50,200 farmers grow over 80 different commodities, utilizing 8.4 million of the state's 31 million acres to furnish consumers a dependable and affordable supply of food and fiber. Tobacco remains one of the state's most predominant farm commodities. North Carolina produces more tobacco and sweet potatoes than any other state and ranks second in Christmas tree cash receipts. The state also produces a significant amount of cucumbers for pickles, lima beans, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, strawberries, bell peppers, blueberries, chili peppers, fresh market cucumbers, snap beans, cabbage, eggplant, watermelons, pecans, peaches, squash, apples, sweet corn, tomatoes, and grapes. There is continual technological change and the relative profitability of individual farm enterprises changes over time; therefore, farmers must respond by modifying their farming operations. Changes in consumer demand create new opportunities for producers. Growth in alternative forms of agriculture will include, among others, organic and niche market production. Educational and training programs for producers of plant agricultural products and services will enhance their ability to achieve financial and lifestyle goals and to enhance economic development locally, regionally and statewide.
North Carolina's animal production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.
North Carolina's livestock industry makes major contributions to local communities and the state’s economy. In 2014, the estimated farm gate value of livestock, dairy, and poultry was $8.85 billion, placing NC as the 7th largest in the nation. Hogs & pigs have historically been an important part of North Carolina agriculture. The industry has changed dramatically since the 1980s from the small farm raising a few hogs to large confinement type operations. North Carolina's number of cattle & calves on farms has remained relatively stable throughout time. Milk cow inventory and milk production have continued to decline in the state. Unlike other commodities, broiler production in North Carolina is increasing throughout the state. There is continual technological change and the relative profitability of individual farm enterprises changes over time; therefore, farmers must respond by modifying their farming operations. Changes in consumer demand create new opportunities for producers. Growth in alternative forms of agriculture will include, among others, organic, niche market production, and pasture-raised livestock. Educational and training programs for producers of animal agricultural products and services will enhance their ability to achieve financial and lifestyle goals and to enhance economic development locally, regionally and statewide.
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.
Farmers will increase their capacity to supply product for local food sales through market planning efforts, producer and consumer education, beginning farmer training programs and local market infrastructure development. The fastest growing area of consumer demand in agriculture continues to be organic. Farmers' markets continue to expand as do multiple efforts in local sustainable agriculture. Nationally, "Buy Local, Buy Fresh" movements have emerged in the face of concerns about the risks involved in long distance transportation of industrialized food production. Increasingly, public officials and business leaders see promotion of local farm products as good public policy and local economic development. Additionally, individuals will learn to supplement their current diet by growing their own fruits and vegetables as individuals or as community groups.
Youth and adults will address community issues and/or challenges through volunteerism.
Youth and adult volunteers in North Carolina contribute thousands of hours each year to strengthen communities and create strong foundations for the future. As these individuals engage in service, they are gaining new skills, generating new programs to serve their communities, building successful organizations, and fostering an ethic of service. Cooperative Extension is poised to support the development of interpersonal skills, leadership experiences, and content knowledge to ensure that citizens are prepared to engage in meaningful service throughout the lifespan. Current research suggests that youth and adult participation positively impacts civic engagement and contributes to the development of leadership capacities. With its presence in every county, Cooperative Extension is uniquely positioned to contribute to building a stronger ethic of service among youth and adults.
Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways
We are living in a new economy powered by technology, fueled by information and driven by knowledge. Extension programs provide opportunities for youth and adults to improve their level of education and increase their skills that enable them to be competitive in our global society and workforce.
Consumers and communities will enhance the value of plants, animals, and landscapes while conserving valuable natural resources and protecting the environment.
Residential, commercial and public entities will make decisions regarding plant selection, placement and management that will decrease water consumption, preserve and improve water quality, mitigate storm water contaminants, reduce erosion, energy consumption, and greenwaste, expand wildlife habitat, improve real estate value, and improve diet and nutrition of consumers. The horse and "farmer lifestyle" industry will continue to grow and have an increasing impact on North Carolina's economy, while protecting the environment. The NCDA&CS reports that 65,000 horse producers own over 225,000 horses which annually generates over $704 million of gross revenue from training, showing, boarding and breeding establishments in addition to agri-business sales of horse-related products. The total economic impact of the NC green industry is $8.6 billion, involving 151,982 employees, and 120,741 acres of production (Green Industry Council, 2006). North Carolina residential consumers spend $5.9 billion dollars per year on garden and landscape related expenses (Green Industry Council, 2006). For 2007, North Carolina's population is estimated to be 8,968,800 (LINC). The population grew by 1,323,288 (15%), between 1997 and 2007 and it is projected to grow by another 1,330,055 (13%), over the next ten years (LINC). Over 50% of the population now lives in urban areas. Despite evidence of the ecological and financial benefits, environmentally responsible landscaping strategies are not being implemented widely. Renovating a landscape to incorporate water conserving strategies may result in using 36% less water. Urban water run-off accounts for the majority of water pollution, mostly pesticides and fertilizers, that does not come from a specific industrial source. Selection of well-adapted plants, effective pest management, and appropriate care and feeding of plants will greatly reduce dependence on fertilizers and pesticides. Rain water that is not absorbed by the soil becomes erosive storm water runoff, which transports pollutants such as fertilizer, pesticides, sediment, motor oil, litter, and animal waste to local streams and rivers. Landscape designs will include rain gardens and other runoff catchment facilities (underground cisterns, etc.) that are attractive and easy to maintain in residential areas. Homeowners will learn that proper plant selection and placement can reduce winter heating bills by as much as 15% and summer cooling bills by as much as 50 percent, while reducing the need to prune over-sized plants. Wild habitat areas are rapidly being converted into housing and commercial properties, displacing native plants and animals. Choosing native or adapted plants that provide food and shelter creates a haven for butterflies, birds, lizards, and other animals. Edible landscaping can increase the amount and expand the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed.
Youth and adult program participants will make healthy food choices, achieve the recommended amount of physical activity and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases.
Many North Carolinians are affected by chronic disease and conditions that compromise their quality of life and well-being. Heart disease, stroke and cancer continue to be leading causes of death in our state. In addition, obesity and obesity related chronic diseases such as diabetes continue to rise at alarming rates. Healthy eating and physical activity are critical to achieve optimal health. Many North Carolinians have diets that are too high in calories and too low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Portion sizes, foods eaten away-from-home and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages continue to rise. In addition, most North Carolinians do not engage in regular physical activity. The prevalence of overweight and obesity has nearly doubled in the past 10 years. If the trend of overweight is not slowed, it will eliminate the progress we have made in reducing the burden of weigh-related chronic disease. One in every three US children born after 2000 will become diabetic unless many more people start eating less and exercising more. The cost of obesity in North Carolina in health care costs alone is over 2 billion dollars. There are many proposed reasons for the obesity epidemic, however unhealthy eating and physical inactivity are widely recognizes as primary contributors to the problem. Those who make healthy food choices and are physically active are more likely to achieve and maintain a healthy weight as well reduce chronic diseases. Ultimately, this will lead to reduction in health care costs, increased longevity, greater productivity and improved quality of life.

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.

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
Tracey Harding
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
Tobacco and Peanut Advisory Committee
Ervin Bell
Greg Stalls
Donnie White
Bob James
Ben Cowin
Walter Stalls
Kevin Revels
Rob Turner
Lee Williams
Beef Cattle Advisoy Committee
Johnny Roberson
Sutton Edmondson
John Williams
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
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

Laura Oliver
Title: County Extension Director, Martin County
Phone: (252) 789-4370
Email: laura_oliver@ncsu.edu

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

Susan Chase
Title: Regional Nutrition Extension Associate - Northeast EFNEP and SNAP-Ed
Phone: (252) 902-1700
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 & Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9148
Email: Candice_Christian@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: The overall goal of the Area Specialized Agents (ASAs) in Consumer & Retail Food Safety is to support FCS Agents in delivering timely and evidence-based food safety education and information to stakeholders in North Carolina.

Erin Eure
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Fruits & 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 (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.

Lynette Johnston
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-0303
Email: lynette_johnston@ncsu.edu

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, 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.

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

Kyndle Nichols
Title: Program Assistant, EFNEP - Expanded Foods & Nutrition Educ.
Phone: (252) 789-4370
Email: kcnicho3@ncsu.edu

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

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

Cecil Sumner
Title: Agricultural Technician, Martin and Washington Counties
Phone: (252) 789-4370
Email: cecil_sumner@ncsu.edu

Scott Tilley
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Field Crops
Phone: (252) 793-4428
Email: scott_tilley@ncsu.edu

Susan Tyre
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (252) 789-4370
Email: susan_tyre@ncsu.edu

Whitney Watson
Title: Area Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (252) 794-5317
Email: whitney_watson@ncsu.edu

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

Martin County Center
104 Kehukee Park Rd
Williamston, NC 27892

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