2017 McDowell County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 29, 2018

I. Executive Summary

The goal of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service-McDowell County Center is to help improve the quality of people's lives. We give residents easy access to the resources and expertise of NC State University and NC A&T State University. Our educational programs address the needs and issues most important to our customers and communities. The following trends and issues were identified as priority areas for the Cooperative Extension program; Economic Opportunity; Environmental Stewardship and Natural Resources; Health and Nutrition, Family Financial Management and Educational Achievement and Leadership.

Program efforts included 28,338 contacts made with residents including 12,596 face-to-face contacts through office visits, workshops, seminars, and demonstrations, and 15,742 contacts made through telephone, email, and newsletters. We value the 799 volunteers who extended our educational outreach. They contributed 6,517 hours valued at $157,320 at $24.14 per hour. The McDowell County Center generated $27,436 in grants, donations, and other funds for program use.

Highlighted below is a narrative of the programming of the McDowell County Center for 2017:

Agriculture & Natural Resources

Cooperative Extension strives to increase the production and profitability of McDowell County's agricultural producers as well as fostered our young people that might choose agricultural careers. We focus on increasing knowledge, attitudes, and skills, related to best management practices and pest, disease, weed, and wildlife management. Cooperative Extension worked with animal producers with practices that improve animal husbandry and marketing. In 2017, one hundred ninety eight livestock producers had $180,350 of net income gains for adopting extension recommended best management practices.

With the average age of the McDowell County farmer rising, it is important to get youth involved in agriculture. Cooperative Extension had an active youth program with a Livestock Judging Team, Junior Livestock Show, and Agriculture Awareness Field Day. Thirteen, 89, and 573 youth participated in the each of these programs, respectively. By participation in youth agriculture programs, youth gained life skills and an appreciation for agriculture.

Cooperative Extension with a Local Food Advisory Council have established goals to develop McDowell County’s food system for economic development and food security. One new local food access point was Keeping It Fresh, a community garden, in West Marion. Cooperative Extension and Master Gardeners with many other agencies and individuals partnered with West Marion Community Forum, a traditionally underserved community in McDowell County, to break ground on Keeping It Fresh to increase access to local healthy food options. Approximately, 4,000 pounds of produce from different access points were donated for consumption by our vulnerable population. The fresh produce provided a healthy alternative to the processed foods that are often distributed at food pantries.

Cooperative Extension led the Community Food & Health Hub feasibility study with several partners. It involved several listening sessions with 85 stakeholders. Cooperative Extension is on the forefront of raising awareness of our local food system to the public and improving opportunities for increasing local food access.

Over 2,500 people improved knowledge, attitude, skills and aspirations regarding gardening and landscaping practices. Approximately $81,000 was saved using extension recommended practices related to pest and disease management in the landscape, proper landscape plants selection, and pest management practices in the home. The Urban & Consumer Agriculture program also utilized Master Gardener volunteers. Extension Master Gardener training was completed by 10 individuals. The Extension Master Gardener volunteers used their training and expertise to extend research-based knowledge to McDowell County citizens.

Keep McDowell Beautiful had two successful litter reduction programs. The annual Lake James/Catawba River Cleanup removed 2,320 pounds of debris. The removal of litter improves water quality and improves appearance of the Catawba River Greenway and Lake James. Keep McDowell Beautiful also initiated a litter survey at the Catawba River Park, future area of expansion for the Greenway. The program provided trash receptacles as this popular dumping hotspot. Over a period of time, the area was surveyed and a reduction in litter was recorded.

4-H & Youth

McDowell 4-H focused on school enrichment with field days, embryology, and Summer Discovery. Over 1,000 students increased knowledge in STEM through 4-H. McDowell 4-H also supported 2 special interest clubs that enhanced life skills and focused learning. McDowell 4-H used 291 volunteers to deliver these programs.

Keep McDowell Beautiful also initiated classroom learning programs in two elementary schools. Keep McDowell Beautiful assisted in beautification projects and learning gardens at each school.

Family & Consumer Sciences

In McDowell County, North Carolina Cooperative Extension partnered with local schools to deliver the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). EFNEP taught approximately 750 school age children K-5 nutrition education using 6 lessons. Ninety two percent of youth increased their diet quality, 75% increased their food safety practices, and 40% increased their physical activity. EFNEP also taught 13 low income adults. The average cost saving in food purchases was $83.10 per family.

Cooperative Extension are leaders in food safety and food preservation. As people are growing their own food or buying locally grown food, Cooperative Extension provided training for the public in food preservation and food preparation. Sixty five individuals learned how to prepare local foods including food preservation techniques.

II. County Background

McDowell County is a rural county located in Western North Carolina at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. McDowell's population was 44,989 in 2015. The population increased 6.3% between 2000 and 2010. Unemployment has decreased in November 2016 to 4.5%. Although unemployment has decreased over these past few years, unemployment and underemployment is considered an issue. The county per capita income was approximately $18,717 (2011-2015). Manufacturing is the main source of employment in McDowell County.

The county has many of the advantages and disadvantages of other rural counties. Some of the advantages are a clean environment, strong community spirit, strong family values and a low tax rate. Some of the disadvantages are lack of services, lack of activities for youth, and low wages. The county has seen an increase in population and increased competition for land in the last few years. In addition, the county population is changing with retirees moving into the county, the growth of the immigrant population and an increase in working people relocating to the county because of tax advantages.

This plan of work was developed to address a variety of trends and issues which affect the citizens of McDowell County. These trends and issues were identified using an environmental scan process in 2007. The Cooperative Extension Service staff began the scan process by completing a demographic profile of the county. This profile was a comprehensive document containing demographic information from a variety of sources. From the profile data the staff then compiled a preliminary list of trends and issues.

The Extension staff met with the County Advisory Council in July 2007 to discuss these trends and issues and to identify additional trends and issues. After this meeting the staff met with additional groups and boards affiliated with the Extension program. These groups were asked to identify the trends and issues that they believed were important for the county and for the Extension program to address. In addition, a needs assessment survey was conducted during July and August of 2007. This survey was available both in written and electronic form. The survey was emailed to numerous clients and stakeholders, included in newsletters mailed during this time and publicized in the local media.

From these meeting and the survey a variety of trends and issues were identified. The Advisory Leadership Council and other Extension leaders met again in early September 2007 to prioritize the trends and issues identified.

Additional data on trends and issues was gathered from agent observation and from meetings with stakeholder boards and committees in 2008-2015. The extension staff then met and discussed changes that should be made in the plan of work. The plan of work was then updated in 2015.

The following priority areas and the top trends and issues they involve were:

1. Economic Opportunity Through Improving Agriculture and the Food Supply
Production and sale of local agricultural products
Business development and management training for agriculture and small business
Development and promotion of local agriculture
Development of agritourism

2. Environmental Stewardship and Natural Resource Management
Protecting and improving water quality
Loss of farmland and other green space
Development pressure

3. Improving Health and Nutrition
Obesity
Proper nutrition and eating habits
Lifestyle-related disease

4. Increasing Educational Achievement and Leadership and Personal Development Skills
Teaching youth work ethic
The need for leadership skills
Citizenship skills
Service opportunities for youth
Need for volunteers

The Cooperative Extension staff plans to address these trends and issues through a variety of educational programs and activities. Some of these include local foods; livestock production; aquaculture production; forage and crop production; consumer horticulture; pesticide education; farmland preservation; nutrition, health and wellness training; volunteer development; traditional 4-H clubs; 4-H special interest activities; 4-H Summer Discovery; 4-H Field Days; youth livestock programs and 4-H School Enrichment.

III. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

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.
Value* Outcome Description
198Number of animal 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
40Number of animal producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
180350Net income gains by producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
35Number of animal producers implementing Extension-recommended best management practices for animal waste management
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
28Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
1056Number of adults (including producers, food business owners, etc.) who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
1127Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
45Number of individuals who gain knowledge or acquire skills related to vegetable/fruit gardening, and if also reporting under Urban and Consumer Agriculture Objective, divide up the reported number appropriately between the two objectives to avoid duplication.
10Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
65Number 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
5Number of new and existing access points for consumers that expand or improve their offering of local fruits and vegetables. Access points include farmers markets, retail stores, school food programs, community gardens, institutions other than schools (e.g. hospitals, universities, etc.), and other systems/access points not noted (e.g. restaurants, etc.).
59Number of producers selling their agricultural products to local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional) for consumption in NC.
45Number of individuals who grow food in community gardens.
4000Number of pounds of local foods donated for consumption by vulnerable populations.
58Number of youth who grow food in school gardens.
75Number of individuals who begin home food production by starting a vegetable and/or fruit garden, and if also reporting under Urban and Consumer Horticulture Objective, divide up the reported number appropriately between the two objectives to avoid duplication.
6Number of individuals who begin home food production by starting to raise backyard livestock.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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.
Training and educational programs for farmers, agricultural workers, food handlers, and consumers will provide research-based programming, materials, information and expertise to compel these individuals to implement practices relating to the overall safety and security for the food supply and farming systems. Components of this include on-farm, packinghouse, and transportation management, retail and food service establishments, and consumer’s homes. Therefore targeted audiences include farmers and agricultural workers and their families, food handlers and workers (both amateur and commercial), transporters, processors, business operators, food service and retail staff, supervisors of any food facility, long term care facility staff and individuals who purchase, prepare and serve food in their homes. With an estimated 76 million foodborne illnesses annually, costing an estimated $1.4 trillion, food safety highlights a specific area of risk to be addressed by Cooperative Extension. The recent produce-related foodborne illness outbreaks have brought public attention to a problem that has been increasing nationally for the last ten years. The issues of foodborne illness and food safety pose immediate risks for farmers affecting the areas of economics, consumer demand, and market access. Because no processing or kill steps are involved with produce that is typically eaten raw, the best measures to limit microorganisms and fresh produce related illness are to prevent microbes from contaminating the product. Practices like Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), Good Handling Practices (GHPs), and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) represent a systematic preventive approach to food safety, protecting agricultural products as they move from farm to retail and restaurants and finally to families. While there is currently no legal requirements for growers to implement GAPs, buyers have responded to the public concern by requiring their produce growers to adhere to current guidelines and possibly even require GAPs certification. The main areas of concern incorporate production, harvesting, packing, and transporting produce in the areas of water quality, manure management, domestic and wildlife management, worker health and hygiene, transportation, traceability, and documentation. For North Carolina growers to be competitive and produce safe product, it is important that they gain knowledge about and implement food safety programs that minimize physical, chemical and biological hazards Food safety risks do not stop at primary production. As risks associated with pathogens can occur at many junctions between primary production and consumption, food safety is a truly farm-to-fork issue. The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have defined 5 factors that lead to foodborne illness outbreaks: Inadequate cooking or processing procedures; improper storage and holding temperatures, cross-contamination between potentially contaminated raw materials and ready-to-eat foods (either directly or through poor sanitation); and poor implementation of personal hygiene practices. The preventative steps targeting risk reduction taken at each of the components making up the food supply chain are critical in preventing food-borne illness. Educational programs including ServSAFE, School HACCP workshops, food safety at childcare and senior centers, and targeted farm-to-fork food safety inclusion for all food handlers is necessary for important for advances in knowledge and implementation of preventative programs. Equally important is that families and children have a secure food supply. Hunger in American households has risen by 43 percent over the last five years, according to an analysis of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data released in the report "Household Food Security in the United States, 2004." The analysis, completed by the Center on Hunger and Poverty at Brandeis University, shows that more than 7 million people have joined the ranks of the hungry since 1999. The USDA report says that 38.2 million Americans live in households that suffer directly from hunger and food insecurity, including nearly 14 million children. That figure is up from 31 million Americans in 1999. Limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and food-insecure individuals, families and communities will be provided with information and opportunities to enhance household food, diet and nutritional security. Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the United States, and consistently ranks as the first, second or third most deadly industry along with mining and construction. Agriculture is unique in that the work and home place are often the same, exposing both workers and family members to hazards. In the United States on average each year, there are 700 deaths and 140,000 injuries to those who work in agriculture, defined as farming, forestry and fishing. Farmers, farmworkers and their families are at high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries (primarily from tractor roll-overs, machinery entanglements, and animal handling incidents), musculo-skeletal conditions, work-related lung diseases, noise-induced hearing loss, heat stress and heat stroke, pesticide exposure and illness, skin diseases, behavioral health issues, and certain cancers associated with chemical use and prolonged sun exposure. The health and safety of migrant and seasonal farmworkers are complicated by other conditions such as infectious disease, hypertension, and diabetes, as well as cultural and language barriers. Farmers and farmworkers alike are subject to lack of access to health care. Agricultural injury and illness are costly, with total US annual costs reaching $4.5 billion and per farm costs equaling $2,500, or 15% of net income. Median health care coverage for farm families is $6,000 per year. In North Carolina, 27% of farm families do not have health insurance, while 29% of farmers do not have health insurance. Many others have health care coverage with high annual deductibles and high premiums. Agromedicine is a comprehensive, collaborative approach involving both agricultural and health scientists to develop solutions addressing the health and safety issues of the agricultural community through research, education and outreach. The North Carolina Agromedicine Institute, a partnership of NC State University, NC A&T State University and East Carolina University in collaboration with others, develops and evaluates effective programs to reduce injury and illness in agriculture, forestry and fishing. One such program is called Certified Safe Farm (CSF) and AgriSafe. CSF and AgriSafe were first developed and researched in Iowa. CSF and AgriSafe are being adapted to North Carolina agriculture by the NC Agromedicine Institute and its Cooperative Extension collaborators. Certified Safe Farm combines AgriSafe health services (wellness and occupational health screenings and personal protection equipment selection and fit services) conducted by trained AgriSafe health providers, on-farm safety reviews conducted by trained Extension agents, and community education and outreach to achieve safety and health goals established by participating farmers and their employees and families. Insurance incentives and safety equipment cost-share programs for participating farmers are still being developed. Other ongoing educational programs addressing agricultural health and safety include farm safety days for children, youth, or families, employee hands-on farm safety training, the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program for youth, and youth ATV operator safety certification programs.
Value* Outcome Description
5Number of commercial/public operators trained
4Number of pesticide application credit hours provided
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
104Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
4Number of youth participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
3Number of adult participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
28Number of hours adult volunteer training conducted
20Number new volunteers recruited
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
200Increased number of hours contributed by trained adult volunteers
2Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
3Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Adults and youth will apply financial management practices to increase their economic security, which include to: meet basic necessities, increase savings, reduce debt, and build long-term assets.
North Carolina families are experiencing financial distress. A slowing state economy with depressed incomes, rising interest rates, housing and medical costs and increased living expenses for gasoline and food have strained household budgets. NC households (21%) lack access to enough food for an active healthy life for all household members. Families forced into home insecurity in the state reached 47% because of the inability to pay their rent or increased mortgage payments. Foreclosure starts increased 154% between the third quarter of 2006 and first quarter 2010 with projections of increases in foreclosures through 2012. The loss of housing as a primary asset hurts the family emotionally, psychologically and economically and impacts property values and tax revenue in communities. To avoid negative financial outcomes families need skills to develop and execute spending plans to better manage income to cover monthly living expenses, to evaluate, select and manage financial products, and to increase and protect family assets. Eighteen percent (18%) or 1 out of 5 households are asset poor and lack sufficient net worth to subsist at the poverty level for three months without a job or source of support. Due to inadequate savings 1 out of 3 households reported using credit cards to cover basic living expenses, including rent, mortgage payments, groceries, utilities and insurance. Credit card debt and changes in interest rate policies have forced many families to become delinquent on credit repayment. Families nationwide also report feeling that they have inadequate savings for emergencies, educating their children and retirement. Skills that help families develop and implement debt repayment strategies, make sound consumer decisions to avoid scams and frauds, like predatory lending and identity theft, and create and implement plans to achieve short-term and long-term financial goals like acquiring a home, saving for retirement and education and emergency funds can help families recover from poor financial management practices and become more financially secure. In the context of “the Great Recession” and high unemployment (10.4% North Carolina; 9% National (October 2011)) families need knowledge and skills to access information and programs that support family economic security during periods of unemployment, under-employment and/or retirement.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
32Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
1240Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
622Total number of female participants in STEM program
20Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
154Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
154Number of adults increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
32Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
622Number of youth (students) gaining knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
North Carolinians will make decisions and adopt practices that implement effective resource protection and conservation.
The natural resources in North Carolina are an important asset that benefit all citizens, but many citizens are unaware of the consequences of actions and practices they implement. The continued population growth of North Carolina is putting pressure on natural resources in terms of quantity and quality. To have a healthy and productive natural environment, professionals and citizens must be knowledgeable of environmental issues and conservation and management opportunities.
Value* Outcome Description
4Number of child and youth educators aspiring to implement quality outdoor learning environments for children
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
2703Number of participants improving knowledge, attitude, skills and aspirations regarding gardening and landscape practices including plant selection and placement, turfgrass management, soil management, growing food, water conservation and water quality preservation, storm water and erosion management, green waste management, pest and wildlife management
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
1622Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease) management, fertility management, water conservation, water quality preservation and pruning techniques
81100Total cost savings from the use of extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease) management, fertility management, water conservation, water quality preservation and pruning techniques
487Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
24350Cost savings from the appropriate selection of landscape plants
125Number of participants growing food for home consumption
375000Value of produce grown for home consumption
9Number of participants adopting composting
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 12,729
Non face-to-face** 15,929
Total by Extension staff in 2017 28,658
* 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 $2,750.00
Gifts/Donations $14,863.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $800.00
United Way/Foundations $4,000.00
User Fees $5,023.00
Total $27,436.00

VI. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 24.14
4-H: 306 3,957 3,305 $ 95,522.00
Advisory Leadership System: 175 246 552 $ 5,938.00
Extension Community Association: 12 4 30 $ 97.00
Extension Master Gardener: 159 1,101 531 $ 26,578.00
Other: 147 1,209 546 $ 29,185.00
Total: 799 6517 4964 $ 157,320.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Advisory Leadership Council
Marianne Plain
John Knighten
Randall Conley
Juanita Doggett
Heather Yzquierdo
Sharry Mikell
Tony Brown
Suzanne Rampey
Dee Daughtridge
Arvin Hicks
Patsy Hicks
John McKinney
Alex Portelli
Carrie Beth Hathcock
Consumer Horticulture
Jane Townsend
Toni Hollenbeck
Wayne Davidson
Linda Davidson
Kerrie Hillman
Martha Millren
4-H Advisory Committee
Lisa Mackay
Molly Sandfoss
Niki Cox
Carlene Anderson
Marlean Duncan
Carrie Beth Hathcock
Adam Miller
Branson Peek
Bee Keepers
Ed Speer
Bill Hendley
Karen Speer
Jim Austin
Wayne Holland
Adam Wright
Charles Revis
Merril Davis
Don Miller
Lindsey McEntire
Beef Cattle
Steve Cable
John Knighten
Dustin Laws
Will Penland
Charles Harris
Boyce Pool
David Parker
Wayne Duncan
Robert Wilson
Agricultural Youth
Craig Lawing
Dustin Laws
Lawrence Moore
Diane Frisbee
Kathy Norman
Ashley McCartha
Brian Price
Megan Jornigan
Tracey Schill
Megan Lawing
Mia Pace
Miranda Schill
Mitchell Price
Local Food Advisory Council
Tracy Cotton
Eileen Droescher
Juliet Eirikis
Tim Gautney
Lou Godfrey
Lynn Green
Cathy Hohenstein
Randy Hollifield
Emily Roberts
Corey Jackson
Amy Haynes
Adam Lawing
Alvin Lytle
Ray McKesson
Heather Peek
Amanda Pittman
Belinda Swepson
Paula Avery
Alex Portelli
Emily Roberts
Bunny Slough
Ginger Webb
Heather Yzquierdo
Keep McDowell Beautiful
Teresa Church
Lynn Green
Randy Hollifield
Ronnie Harvey
Jimmy Lewis
April Noles
Bill Poole
Al Reel
Chris Revis
Brant Sikes
April Shoup
Harriet Smith
Randall Thomas

VIII. Staff Membership

Molly Sandfoss
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (828) 652-8104
Email: molly_sandfoss@ncsu.edu

Brent Buchanan
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Dairy
Phone: (315) 212-1277
Email: brent_buchanan@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Dairy Extension Programming in Western North Carolina Counties of Haywood, Madison, Buncombe, Transylvania, Henderson, Yancey, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford, Mitchell, Avery, Burke, Cleveland, Watauga, Caldwell, Catawba, Lincoln, Gaston, Ashe, Wilkes, Alexander, Iredell, Alleghany, Surry, Yadkin, and Davie.

Matt Burneisen
Title: Program Assistant, Environment and Natural Resources - Keep McDowell Beautiful
Phone: (828) 652-8104
Email: mrburnei@ncsu.edu

Juliet Eirikis
Title: Extension Asst
Phone: (828) 652-8104
Email: jmeiriki@ncsu.edu

Lauren Greene
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agribusiness - 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.

Cathy Hohenstein
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (828) 255-5522
Email: cathy_hohenstein@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: I am a Registered Dietitian with responsibilities for issues related to food preservation and preparation, nutrition, food safety and quality, health and wellness, human development through the ages from childhood to older adults, Parenting and Caregiving issues and clothing and textiles.

Adam Lawing
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock
Phone: (828) 652-8104
Email: adam_lawing@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: Extension 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

Heather Peek
Title: EFNEP Educator, Extension Program Assistant
Phone: (828) 652-8104
Email: heather_peek@ncsu.edu

Chad Ray
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 652-8104
Email: chad_ray@ncsu.edu

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: (910) 814-6033
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.

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.

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.

IX. Contact Information

McDowell County Center
60 E Court St
Marion, NC 28752

Phone: (828) 652-8104
Fax: (828) 652-8104
URL: http://mcdowell.ces.ncsu.edu