2019 McDowell County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 27, 2020

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; Agriculture Production & Profitability; Environmental Stewardship and Natural Resources; Health and Nutrition, and Educational Achievement and Leadership.

Program efforts included 29,419 contacts made with residents including 15,836 face-to-face contacts through office visits, workshops, seminars, and demonstrations, and 151,618 contacts made through telephone, email, website, social media, and newsletters. We value the 951 volunteers who extended our educational outreach. They contributed 3,097 hours valued at $78,758 at $25.43 per hour. The McDowell County Center generated $19,575 in grants, donations, and other funds for program use.

Highlighted below is a narrative of the programming of the McDowell County Center for 2019:

Agriculture & Natural Resources

Cooperative Extension strives to increase the production and profitability of McDowell County's agricultural producers as well as foster 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 2019, 135 livestock producers adopted extension recommended best management practices related to pasture management, and 150 acres had proper nutrient applications.

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. Eight, 103, and 435 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 the Tabernacle Community Garden Annex, a community garden, in Marion. Cooperative Extension partnered with Marion East Community Forum, a community with a limited resource audience and a diverse ethnic population, to increase access to local healthy food options. Approximately, 5,000 pounds of produce from different access points were donated for consumption to our vulnerable population. The fresh produce provided a healthy alternative to the processed foods that are often distributed at food pantries. Community gardens were also utilized for educational training for the community and volunteer groups.

Cooperative Extension continued to steer Foothills Food Hub project development with several partners. It involved management of a project developer with oversight of project development. 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.

Approximately 2,500 people improved knowledge, attitude, skills and aspirations regarding gardening and landscaping practices. The Urban & Consumer Agriculture program initiated an Extension Gardener training series with topics ranging from small fruits to lawns. Sixty three residents participated in the Extension Gardener training series.

Keep McDowell Beautiful had several successful litter reduction programs. One hundred eighty two volunteers spent 604 hours removing a total of 6,500 lbs. of litter and debris from the roadways and waterways. The removal of litter improves water quality and improves appearance of Lake James and our community.

4-H & Youth

McDowell 4-H focused on school enrichment with field days, embryology, and Summer Discovery. Approximately, 525 students increased knowledge in STEM through 4-H. McDowell 4-H also supported 6 clubs that enhanced life skills and focused learning. McDowell 4-H used 86 volunteers to deliver these programs.

Keep McDowell Beautiful has classroom learning programs in three 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 and other agencies to deliver the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). EFNEP reached 827 youth. Ninety two percent improved their diet quality and 55% are moving more.

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. Ninety three individuals learned how to prepare local foods including food preservation techniques. Those same individuals learned safe handling practices.

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 is projected to be 45,470 in 2020. The population increased 6.3% between 2000 and 2010 and will continue to steadily increase. Unemployment rate is at an all-time low at 4.8% (2016). Although unemployment has decreased over these past few years, unemployment and underemployment is considered an issue. The county median income was $37,926 in 2014. 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 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 issues were identified using a needs assessment process in 2018. The needs assessment process including stakeholder forums, leadership and community surveys, and county manager interview. Cooperative Extension staff also performed a trend analysis and ranked program priorities (as identified by the needs assessment) by considering both need and impact. Programs were then transferred to a Needs Assessment Prioritization Matrix to identify our "stars" and "horizons".

The following priority areas were identified:

1. Agriculture & Natural Resources
Local food system development
Home, community, & school gardening
Ag land preservation/Land use planning
Good, profitable production practices, reduction in environmental impacts
Pasture management
Composting, reusing, recycling consumer goods
Agriculture awareness
Food safety

2. Family & Consumer Sciences
Home food safety, food preparation, & food preservation
Healthy lifestyles
Nutrition education to limited resource families
Access to affordable, healthy food

3. 4-H & Youth Development
Life Skills
4-H Clubs
Citizenship & Leadership
Increasing education attainment

The Cooperative Extension staff plans develop strategies to address these issues. They will address these issues through a variety of educational programs and activities.

III. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

Our family and consumer sciences programs improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

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

Value* Outcome Description
24Number of pesticide applicators receiving continuing education credits
4Number of pesticide credit hours provided
35Number of crop (all plant systems) producers increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, and/or skills as related to: 1. Best management production practices (cultural, nutrient, and genetics) 2. Pest/insect, disease, weed, wildlife management 3. Financial/Farm management tools and practices (business, marketing, government policy, human resources) 4. Alternative agriculture, bioenergy, and value-added enterprises
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
15Number of crop (all plant systems) producers adopting best management practices, including those practices related to nutrient management, conservation, production, cultivars, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), business management, and marketing
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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

Value* Outcome Description
2Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
7Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
75Number of animal producers who increased knowledge of farm business management, business planning, financial management, marketing, or estate planning.
37Number of animal producers who learned how to develop a management plan (i.e. grazing plan, feeding plan, drought plan, business plan, disaster plan, etc.)
107Number of producers who increased knowledge of pasture/forage management practices (field improvement, herbicide management, grazing season extension, weed control, forage quality, haylage production, nitrate testing, etc.)
25Number of producers who increased knowledge of nutrition, ration balancing, mineral supplements, breeding, and reproduction
10Number of producers who increased knowledge of the strategies to promote animal health and welfare and reduce the potential for infectious diseases through proper use of vaccines, biosecurity, detection and identification of common diseases, appropriate use of animal medications, and mitigation of antimicrobial resistance transmission
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
3Number of producers who diversified their marketing strategies into local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional).
1Number of new farms (beginning farmers) selling into local markets for local consumption (in this reporting period)
2Number of producers (and other members of the local food supply chain) who have increased revenue
20Number of participants that have adopted farm safety practices
11Number of producers adopting extension-recommended practices related to planning, marketing, and financial management
150Number of acres where Extension-recommended nutrient applications were used
3Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to quality assurance (vaccinations, castration, culling techniques, etc.)
2Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to genetic improvement (AI, heifer/bull selection)
7Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to nutrition (mineral, feed rations)
2Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to internal parasite management (fecals, deworming)
135Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices related to pasture management
15Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to nutrition, ration balancing, mineral supplement, breeding, and reproduction
7Number of producers using improved biosecurity practices
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our community development programs build strong and thriving communities.

Value* Outcome Description
1093Number of participants who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems
14Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
50000Dollar value of in-kind resources contributed by organizations or community
145000Value of grants received by organizations, communities, or Extension where Extension was instrumental in initiating, facilitating, or providing technical assistant in the development of the grants to support community or economic development work
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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

Value* Outcome Description
28Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
525Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
286Total number of female participants in STEM program
42Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
783Number of youth increasing knowledge of life skills
445Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
18Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
30Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
571Number of youth using effective life skills
41Number of youth willing to participate in conservation actions
7Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles beyond Extension, including community boards and task forces
75Number of youth who grow food in school gardens.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our natural resource and environmental programs conserve our precious natural resources and maintain a clean and healthy environment.

Value* Outcome Description
141Number of participants willing to participate in conservation actions (such as rain gardens, wildlife management, conservation easements, land trusts, generational planning, etc.)
3Number of child and youth educators aspiring to implement quality outdoor learning environments for children
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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

Value* Outcome Description
117Number of individuals who gain knowledge or acquire skills related to vegetable/fruit gardening
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
20Number of individuals who grow food in community gardens.
14Number of individuals who begin home food production by starting a vegetable and/or fruit garden
1750Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease, wildlife) and soil management
460Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
40Number of participants growing food for home consumption
11Number of participants adopting composting
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our food safety and nutrition programs create a safer and more sustainable food supply and improve the health and nutrition of individuals, families, and our communities.

Value* Outcome Description
93Number of participants who increase their knowledge of safe home food handling, preservation, or preparation practices
93Number 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
8Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
8Number of participants increasing their physical activity
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 15,836
Non face-to-face** 743,697
Total by Extension staff in 2019 759,533
* 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 $7,268.00
Gifts/Donations $3,000.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $3,700.00
United Way/Foundations $2,300.00
User Fees $3,306.82
Total $19,574.82

VI. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 25.43
4-H 106 339 1318 $ 8,621.00
Advisory Leadership System 84 68 539 $ 1,729.00
EFNEP 62 141 0 $ 3,586.00
Extension Community Association 14 20 70 $ 509.00
Extension Master Gardener 114 641 646 $ 16,301.00
Other: Agriculture 7 67 0 $ 1,704.00
Other: Community, Family & Individual Development 313 687 50 $ 17,470.00
Other: Forestry & Natural Resources 251 1134 50 $ 28,838.00
Total: 951 3097 2673 $ 78,757.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Advisory Leadership Council
Amy Moomaw
Richard Hill
Randall Thomas
Melissa Biddix
Rhonda McFadden
Donna Pyatt
Charles Harris
Emily Roberts
Tony Brown
Steffonza McIntyre
Alex Portelli
Alexus Boykins
4-H Advisory Committee
Donna Pyatt
Carlene Anderson
Peggy Braswell
Lara Johnson
Sharon Fairchild
Terry Good
Branson Peek
Alyson Biddix
Hannah Ellis
McDowell Honey Bees
Ed Speer
Merrill Davis
Karen Speer
Jim Austin
Ray Revis
Adam Wright
Sharron Fairchild
Jason McCurry
Kaylyn Fairchild
Beef Cattle
John Knighten
Boyce Pool
Tommy Allison
Ken Burleson
David Parker
Will Penland
Charles Harris
Robert Wilson
Dustin Laws
John Fisher
Agricultural Youth
Craig Lawing
Lawrence Moore
Dustin Laws
Dianne Frisbee
Megan Jornigan
Tracy Schill
Maranda Schill
Megan Lawing
Local Food Advisory Council
Eileen Droescher
Janet Bryan
Brenda Vaughn
Cathy Hohenstein
Emily Roberts
Corey Jackson
Adam Lawing
Alvin Lytle
Amanda Pittman
Belinda Swepson
Paula Avery
Alex Portelli
Ginger Webb
Heather Edwards
Keep McDowell Beautiful
Teresa Church
Lynn Greene
Ronnie Harvey
Jimmy Lewis
Al Reel
April Shoup
Greg Johnson
Randall Thomas
Brant Sikes
Brian Crisp
Bob "Pineapple" Wilson
Richard Carpenter
Extension Community Association
Jeannie Walker Elliott
Debbie Smith
Frieda Lytle
Dee Daughtridge

VIII. Staff Membership

Molly Sandfoss
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (828) 652-8104
Email: Molly_Sandfoss@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Administration responsibilities overseeing the overall Extension program in McDowell County. Also, specializing in Local Foods System Development, Consumer Horticulture, Small Farms, & Market Gardens.

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

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

Marti Day
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Dairy
Phone: (919) 542-8202
Email: marti_day@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for educational programs for dairy farmers, youth with an interest in dairy projects and the general public with an interest in dairy foods and the dairy industry.

Tom Devine
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock
Phone: (828) 652-8104
Email: tldevine@ncsu.edu

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

Juliet Eirikis
Title: Extension Asst
Phone: (828) 255-5522
Email: jmeiriki@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: SNAP-Ed Steps to Health Nutrition Educator in Buncombe, McDowell, and Mitchell counties

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: Area 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.

Craig Mauney
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables and Fruits
Phone: (828) 684-3562
Email: craig_mauney@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities, training and technical support to commercial fruit and vegetable growers, agents, and industry in Western NC. (My office is located at the Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center not the Henderson County Extension Center as is noted by IT on this website. Please do not contact the Henderson County Extension Center as I am not located there.)

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

Ashley Robbins
Title: Area Specialized Agent - Dairy
Phone: (919) 542-8203
Email: ashley_robbins@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Marti Day and I are the Area Specialized Dairy Agents - the county-based arm of the Cooperative Extension Dairy Team. We are out here in the counties to help you set and reach your farm, family and business goals. We have collaborative expertise in the areas of Waste Management, Udder Health, Cow Comfort, Nutrition and Forage Management with specialties in (Ashley)Reproduction, Records Management, Animal Health and (Marti)Alternative Markets, Organic Dairy, Grazing Management, and On-farm Processing. We hope to provide comprehensive educational programs for our farmers, consumers and youth for every county across the state. We are here for you by phone, email or text and look forward to working with you!

Elena Rogers
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Food Safety - Fresh Produce Western NC
Phone: (828) 352-2519
Email: elena_rogers@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide educational programs, training and technical support focusing on fresh produce safety to Agents and growers in Western NC.

Debbie Stroud
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9149
Email: dlstroud@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Area Specialized Agents in Consumer and Retail Food Safety help to ensure that Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Agents have access to timely, evidence-based food safety information. This is accomplished by (1) working with FCS Agents in their counties, (2) developing food safety materials and (3) planning and implementing a NC Safe Plates Food Safety Info Center.

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) 414-3873
Email: mdwoodwa@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: NC Cooperative Extension's Goals include: - NC's natural resources and environmental quality will be protected, conserved and enhanced. - NC will have profitable, environmentally sustainable plant, animal and food systems. Protecting our environmental resources, particularly drinking water quality, is a top priority in NC. NC Cooperative Extension is a leader in teaching, researching, and accelerating the adoption of effective water quality protection practices.

IX. Contact Information

McDowell County Center
60 E Court St
Marion, NC 28752

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