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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways

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.

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.

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.

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 24.69
4-H: 306 3,957 3,305 $ 97,698.00
Advisory Leadership System: 175 246 552 $ 6,074.00
Extension Community Association: 12 4 30 $ 99.00
Extension Master Gardener: 159 1,101 531 $ 27,184.00
Other: 147 1,209 546 $ 29,850.00
Total: 799 6517 4964 $ 160,905.00
* 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

Janet Bryan
Title: Program Assistant, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (828) 652-8104
Email: jlbryan6@ncsu.edu

Brent Buchanan
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Dairy
Phone: (315) 212-1277
Email: babuchan@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, Agriculture 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, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (336) 651-7347
Email: lauren_greene@ncsu.edu

Marissa Herchler
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Animal Food Safety (FSMA Programs)
Phone: (919) 515-5396
Email: marissa_herchler@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Marissa is an Area Specialized Agent for animal food safety, with emphasis on the new Food Safety Modernization Act rules, as they apply to feed mills in North Carolina. Please contact Marissa with any FSMA related questions, or PCQI training inquiries.

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, and healthy homes.

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: 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: County Extension Administrative 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: (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.

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