2019 Avery County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 17, 2020

I. Executive Summary

Through our office and staff, citizens have access to the resources and expertise of the North Carolina University system and the world. We measure our impacts one citizen and one issue at a time. This document is not inclusive of all that the Avery County Cooperative Extension Center does, but rather a brief snapshot of the breadth and depth of our total work.

The Avery County Cooperative Extension Center partners with groups, associations, organizations, and individuals within our different communities to develop, implement, and evaluate educational opportunities, that will provide solutions to the very important issues facing the lives of Avery County citizens. Our programs enrich the lives, land, and economy of Avery County specifically and North Carolina, in general. These programs are developed through listening to our advisory leadership council, programmatic advisory committees, government officials, commodity stakeholders, volunteers, youth leaders, and citizens.

These issues and needs have been identified through different listening sessions such as; one on one conversations, surveys, meetings, phone conversations, and other feedback. Once the broad areas of need have been determined, we prioritize the issues, develop, and implement programs to answer those needs. We also have the capability to address issues that may arise during the year after all of the original priorities are set.

However, another parameter that affects our ability to change the lives of our friends and neighbors is funding. This parameter is one that we as a staff have minimal impact upon, but through our stakeholders and advocates, we are able to positively communicate our needs to our local government that funds the bulk of our programming. This cooperative effort between county, state, and federal monies allow us to reach out to our clients. The staff works diligently to ensure all programs possible are available and accessible to all citizens, no matter their specific situation. We embrace the diversity of people, ideas, and cultures found in Avery County.

Historically, there have been four main program areas that North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service has offered to the citizens. However, in these new times, we strive to work as an integrated team, not allowing historic program delineations to reduce our effectiveness. By focusing on identified needs facing Avery County’s citizens, it allows our staff, volunteers, partners, and cooperators to utilize synergy and bring all available resources on a given issue. By networking and collaborating with our partners, it allows our staff to present a high-quality total program that truly impacts the lives of Avery County’s citizens. In many of the programs, the staff and program partners, work tirelessly across their specific disciplines to provide the necessary solutions to today’s problems. By listening to our citizens and striving to understand their needs first, the Avery County Cooperative Extension Center Staff can more efficiently and effectively answer our clients’ educational needs.

From previous environmental scans, the following issues were shown to be of paramount importance to our citizens;

1. Agriculture in 21st century has changed dramatically since the early 70’s and even since 1990’s. A multitude of issues, agronomic, cultural, plant pharmaceutical, marketing, and political face these farmers today. Being a farmer today is more difficult, regulated, demanding, and costly than at any time in the history of farming. Farmers have to deal not only with the agrarian landscape, but the environmental, political, and public one as well. Our agriculture in Avery has diversified to include local food production, nursery production, landscape maintenance, livestock production, agronomic crops, forage pasture production, forestry, and Christmas Tree production. Being that the case, we have selectively programmed in the following areas;
a. Marketing of value-added crops, development of new markets
b. Safe application of pesticides
c. Pest Management, IPM, Conventional, and Organic
d. Alternative Agricultural production
e. Pasture Management
f. Animal Husbandry
g. Christmas Tree and Ornamental Production
h. Local Food Production, vegetable, and fruit

2. There are many issues facing youth in Avery County. Many of these issues center around the sentinel issues facing families and youth, drugs, academic success, citizenship, healthy living, and volunteerism. Our programs have been designed to meet the community at their most deep-seated needs in order to effect positive change. We are now doing specific programming for the established programming instead of doing all administration for it. We also meet the needs through such items listed below;
a. Academic achievement and educational success through multiple and varied programming in the school system, with a major emphasis placed upon STEM programming
b. Citizenship and Leadership was addressed through 4-H Summer WOW day camp programming as well as the establishment of 4-H Clubs and their activities.
c. Development of life skills was targeted through specific programming in both summer and throughout the school year.
d. Healthy living programming was implemented at all 4-H avenues, such as our Summer WOW, school enrichment, and club activities.
e. Volunteerism issues were addressed by providing training, and mentoring of valued, background checked adults.

3. Chronic diseases and unhealthy living habits are issues that face an overwhelming segment of our population. Many of our chronic diseases may be mitigated through proper living habits that many adults and children are inadequately knowledgeable about. Our programs in this area are such that 4-H and EFNEP work together to reach this periodically forgotten audience. Some of the programs are directed toward the impoverished families that have an unfortunate tendency to be single parents versus a couple. This type of family unit suffers under more strain in this difficult world than others which puts their focus not on healthy living choice but rather survival. Some of the avenues in which this programming is presented to this audience are;
a. EFNEP educational series for limited income families
b. EFNEP educational series for youth,
c. 4-H Clubs, school enrichment, Summer WOW Day camp,
d. Healthy living challenges.

Additional Funding

The Avery County Cooperative Extension Center was able to leverage over $86,150.00 in grants, in kind contributions, and gifts to enhance our programming effort. This money was leveraged through partnership grants with WAMY, a local action group, private individuals, in kind donations, one-time grants, Innovative Grant program, and gifts. The monies have been used in our 4-H youth development programs, and our agricultural programs. If you add in the money set aside to build the conference center located on our campus the overall total climbs to $1,286,150.00.


The role, as a county agent is to effect positive change. Change is a word that is simple to pronounce, but yet difficult to accomplish. Many times, when change occurs, it can be viewed as negative. Change does not occur with only one conversation, project, or event. To change some aspect of a given response, farming business decision, or personal life decision, takes trust in the individual making the request or suggestion, and it takes acceptance of new knowledge that one may have not recognized prior. It is our responsibility in this non-formal educational system to show that change is not negative, but rather positive. This type of change cannot occur without some form of contact, and usually multiple times. In Avery County, we strive to meet the public in both direct and indirect contacts. For Avery County in 2019 we had 30,008 direct contacts and 145,915 indirect contacts.

As you read this report you will learn about the many different impacts that our programs have made upon the people, one activity at a time, and one person at a time.

II. County Background


Avery County is the 100th and last county formed in North Carolina. The county was formed in 1911 from parts of Caldwell, Mitchell, and Watauga Counties. Avery County was named after Waightstill Avery, a colonel in the American Revolutionary War and the first Attorney General of North Carolina (1777-1779). The county seat is Newland which is located at elevation of 3500 feet and has the distinction as being the highest county seat east of the Mississippi.

Our greatest assets in Avery County are our mountains, streams and other natural resources. It is both beautiful and rugged. Avery County attracts tourists, outdoor enthusiasts, skiers, fishermen, and others on vacation seeking escape from the high temperatures off of the mountains.
Our local people are of Scottish descent and settled here during the revolutionary war. This county has deep agrarian roots, and a fierce independence that has been forged over many years of subsistent farming.

It is from this backdrop that the Avery County Cooperative Extension Center serves the citizens of Avery County.


Avery County has a total area of 247 square miles (158,080 acres) and is extremely rural and mountainous with all of the county's terrain located within the Appalachian Mountains range. The highest point in the county is Grassy Ridge Bald, which rises to 6,165 feet (1,879 m) above sea level. Most of Grandfather Mountain (whose highest point is Calloway Peak 5,964 feet), shared with Watauga and Caldwell counties, is within Avery County.

At an elevation of 5,506 feet (1,678 m) above sea level, Beech Mountain (also shared with Watauga County) is the highest incorporated community east of the Mississippi River. At an elevation of 3,621 feet (1,099 m) Newland is the highest county seat in the Eastern United States.

There are many wild trout streams and ski resorts (such as: Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain) located within its boundaries. There are outdoor attractions year round and many of our visitors travel to Avery to enjoy its natural agrarian beauty.


Avery County has no major industries. Tourism is the leading industry in Avery County, generating $51 million in sales each year. The South's highest ski slopes, nine major golf resorts, and scenic Grandfather Mountain attract visitors year round to support a wonderful variety of outdoor activities, quality restaurants, and lodging facilities. Agri-Tourism has become an important segment of both our agriculture and tourism industries.

The second largest industry is second home construction. The third greatest source of income, by far, comes from agricultural production.

Avery County has been known in the past as the "Christmas Tree Capital of the World" and agriculture is the third largest employer and represents approximately $34 million dollars income annually. This industry is in constant flux and ebbs and flows depending upon the rest of the non-agricultural economy.


As of the census of 2010, there were 17,797 people, 7194 households, and 4,422 families residing in the county. The population density was 70 people per square mile (27/km²). There were 13,890 housing units at an average density of 48 per square mile (19/km²).

The racial makeup of the county was 91.9% White, 4.0% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.3% Asian, and 4.5% of the population was Latino of any race.

There were 7194 households out of which 23.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.6% were non-families. 28% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.81.

The median income for a household in the county was $34,918. Males had a median income of $25,983 versus $21,652 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,465. Private non-farm employment change was down 23.7%.

There are 13,890 housing units in the county, of which 6004 are considered seasonal. There were 7226 vacant units and 1567 rental units. Avery County has over 4.3 billion dollars in property value. However, 70% of the homes are owned by seasonal residents, or absentee owners who rent their housing as either vacation units of full time residences.

Environmental Scan

The Avery County Cooperative Extension Staff, volunteers, advisory groups, governmental partners, and citizens determine our program areas through environmental scans. It is Cooperative Extension’s way of determining the critical issues in the county. From the last scan we have determine the following content areas, and their subsidiaries are areas of concern for our specific county in 2019. However, even though each issue or area of concern listed below is important, due to fiduciary and personnel limitations, our agents and agency will be addressing specific issues that are deemed critical by the specific programming committees. By focusing on a few of these areas, it is our hope that greater impacts can be made.

1. Agriculture
a. Ornamental and Christmas Tree production
i. Farm Demonstration
ii. Pesticide Education
iii. Propagation/Seedling production
iv. Value Added Production
b. Landscape development and Maintenance
i. Contractor License Education
ii. Landscape Issues
iii. Turfgrass Issues
c. Local Foods, small fruit, and Tree fruit production
i. New Production Education
ii. Market Expansion
iii. Small Farm Development
iv. Value Added Production
d. Livestock
i. Pasture Management
ii. Market Development
iii. Value Added Product
iv. Animal Health education
2. Youth
a. Volunteer Development
b. Youth K-12 School Enrichment
c. Club Development
d. Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction
e. School To Career
3. Community Development
a. Volunteer Development
b. Leadership Development
c. Resource Development


There are over 135 farmers in Avery County who receive 25% of their disposable income from the production and sale of livestock. Estimated gross sales of livestock (beef, sheep, goats, and horses) were over $2.8 million in 2007. Over 90% of livestock producers in Avery are small, part-time, limited resource farmers. The livestock industry is changing into a value-added industry where the producers are utilizing on farm sales instead of just taking the animals to the “sale”. Because of this there is a need for education in these particular areas of production.

There are approximately 45 local food producers of varying size and skill. This portion of the agricultural segment has multiple challenges including pre-and post-harvest quality issues, GAP certification, pest information, management strategies, and business planning.

Production of native ornamentals is the second largest agricultural commodity in Avery County, generating close to $7-9 million annually. Growers must constantly improve quality and consistency of shape, color, grade, and root ball of their product. Collected and cutback material is considered suspect by many buyers because of poor survivability. Availability of quality nursery-grown plant materials is vital to maintaining or increasing existing markets. Presently, this segment of the market is undergoing a major change, and the new growers need production, business, and marketing education. New invasive diseases, insects, and weeds are becoming issues within our counties. Educational efforts will focus on addressing these areas/

Production of Fraser fir Christmas trees accounts for $22-25 million annual income, the largest agricultural commodity in Avery County. Avery County growers are rapidly approaching a major transition, from one generation to the next. With this transition, comes inherent challenges, primarily, will this land stay in agricultural production, or will it be divided and sold to development. The heirs to the majority of this land are not farmers, but rather professionals who have moved either physically away from the farm or ideologically moved away.

Avery County growers need to improve their business management skills as a means of maintaining their profit margin. Decision making needs to be based on cost-benefit analysis, enterprise budgets, and farm record keeping. Growers must develop new marketing techniques, identify new product niches, and seek markets for new regions of the country. Growers need to evaluate and adopt new chemicals, equipment, and techniques on the basis of cost-effectiveness, utility and environmental impact. Growers need to coordinate cultural practices, fertility, and harvest practices to insure that a quality product reaches the consumer. Presently, the oversupply of Fraser fir is over, and one casualty of this over supply is that we have reduced the number of growers from 950 to just 450. However, the acreage will likely remain very similar to the early 2000’s. Education based upon these changing times will help grower’s transition into and out of markets. With such issues as Elongate Hemlock Scale and how other states are viewing these problems, as well as possible resistance of Balsam Twig Aphid to commonly used pesticides. Not to mention the multiple new invasive species of insects, diseases, and weeds that are creating challenges for our growers.

Community and Youth Development

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 and lifelong learning. Current research suggests that youth and adult participation positively impacts civic engagement and contributes to the development of leadership capacities. In Avery County with the budget cuts that have been experienced and with the major changes of how Extension is planning on accomplishing its mission, have necessitated Avery County to greater focus on the recruitment, training, and retention of quality volunteers. These core volunteers will learn about service, civic engagement, and leadership, and will become a cornerstone on how we can effectively and efficiently reach our target audience. As we continue to train and utilize new volunteers, our outreach and circle of influence will increase thereby allowing Avery County Cooperative Extension Center to positively change the lives of Avery County citizens.

School to Career

Avery County has approximately 2,300 youth ages 5-19 years old. Changes in family structure, work force, and lack of parental involvement are only a few of the major issues facing Avery's youth. The county offers very few opportunities for youth of any age to cultivate leadership and communication skills. Our youth need greater opportunities to explore our world safely to ascertain the direction their lives should take. In order for this program to be successful though, it takes adult volunteers to help guide the youth. Research has illustrated the most successful youth programs involve the partnering of caring adult volunteers with the youth served. The development of a pool of trained volunteers is a major concern to the Avery County 4-H program. Volunteers need training and guidance to meet the challenges in the 4-H leadership development part, such as communication, club management, and decision-making skills.

Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction

Incidence of obesity in both youth and adults are high in Avery County. 62% of adults and 25% of children are obese, with 35% of children aged 5-11 classified as overweight. High poverty levels puts families at risk of eating poorly due to financial stresses, and the lack of knowledge of how to eat healthily puts them further at risk. Nor do many residents make healthy lifestyle choices and informed food decisions following the recommended MyPlate guidelines.

Avery County Cooperative Extension Center welcomes the opportunity to serve our citizens with solutions to their critical issues. As these issues are not within a vacuum an integrated approach is necessary and important in reaching our potential of change with our clients. As a team we will work diligently to inform, educate, and move our clients towards the knowledge to make an informed decision with respect to their specific issue, thus allowing our citizens to be able overcome their challenges and making Avery County a better place to live, work, and play.

III. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

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

Value* Outcome Description
20Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
5Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
342Number of pesticide applicators receiving continuing education credits
898Number of pesticide credit hours provided
194Number 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
14Number of Extension initiated and controlled county demonstration test sites
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
5Number of producers who diversified their marketing strategies into local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional).
6Number of producers (and other members of the local food supply chain) who have increased revenue
5Number of new farms (beginning farmers) selling into local markets for local consumption (in this reporting period)
126Number of farmers, employees or family members adopting regular use of appropriate PPE following AgriSafe or Certified Safe Farm participation
75Number of producers reporting reduction in fertilizer used per acre
362Number 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
20Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
20Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
12Number of animal producers who increased knowledge of farm business management, business planning, financial management, marketing, or estate planning.
10Number of animal producers who learned how to develop a management plan (i.e. grazing plan, feeding plan, drought plan, business plan, disaster plan, etc.)
185Number 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.)
17Number of producers who increased knowledge of nutrition, ration balancing, mineral supplements, breeding, and reproduction
187Number 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
1Number of producers who increased knowledge of animal waste management practices
175Number of producers who increased knowledge of how to prepare, mitigate, and recover from natural disasters impacting animal agriculture
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
10Number of producers who diversified their marketing strategies into local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional).
5Number of new farms (beginning farmers) selling into local markets for local consumption (in this reporting period)
150Number of producers (and other members of the local food supply chain) who have increased revenue
1Number of farms certified as a Certified Safe Farm
1Number of farms that made safety improvements following a CSF on-farm safety review
30Number of participants that have adopted farm safety practices
30Number of farmers, employees or family members adopting regular use of appropriate PPE following AgriSafe or Certified Safe Farm participation
15Number of producers adopting extension-recommended practices related to planning, marketing, and financial management
1Number of producers implementing Extension-recommended best management practices for animal waste management
125Number of acres where Extension-recommended nutrient applications were used
50Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to quality assurance (vaccinations, castration, culling techniques, etc.)
10Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to genetic improvement (AI, heifer/bull selection)
30Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to nutrition (mineral, feed rations)
35Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to internal parasite management (fecals, deworming)
50Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices related to pasture management
185Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to nutrition, ration balancing, mineral supplement, breeding, and reproduction
30Number 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
35Number of participants who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems
9Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
15Number of participants who increased their awareness, knowledge or skill in business related topics (e.g., management, product development, marketing, business structure options, business law and/or liability)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
25000Dollar value of in-kind resources contributed by organizations or community
* 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
20Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
1038Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
521Total number of female participants in STEM program
800Number of youth (students) participating in 4-H dropout prevention (student at-risk) programs
40Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
1038Number of youth increasing knowledge of life skills
1038Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
1038Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
1038Number of youth demonstrating increased knowledge of natural resources and environmental issues
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
40Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
800Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
800Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
800Number of youth using effective life skills
670Number of youth willing to participate in conservation actions
1038Number of youth increasing their physical activity
50Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
25Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles beyond Extension, including community boards and task forces
100Number of youth assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
800Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
738Number of youth who grow food in school gardens.
* 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.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 30,008
Non face-to-face** 145,915
Total by Extension staff in 2019 175,923
* 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 $1,260,800.00
Gifts/Donations $24,700.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $650.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $0.00
Total $1,286,150.00

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 98 1196 8761 $ 30,414.00
EFNEP 205 205 205 $ 5,213.00
Extension Community Association 9 120 4500 $ 3,052.00
Other: Agriculture 24 132 580 $ 3,357.00
Total: 336 1653 14046 $ 42,036.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Agriculture Committee
Dewayne Krege
Gretchen Blackburn
Lear Powell
Andy Vaughan
Dee Clark
Jack Wiseman Jr
4-H Advisory Board
Dewayne Krege
John Hicks
Ruth Shirley
Tim Hartley
Amy Greene
Rachel Townsend
Brooke Buchanan
Aaron Ricker
ALS Council
Dewayne Krege
Amos Nidifer
Jack Wiseman, Jr
Tommy Burleson
Tammie Woodie
Robin Ollis
Elaine Ollis
Shawn Hoilman
Shannon Mathis
Brandon Townsend
Bobby Gragg
Lizz Burt
Gretchen Blackburn
James Dean
Rhonda Arnold
Kelly Johnson
Local Foods/Farmers Market
Kyle Kitchen
Amos Niddifer
D C Smith
Waightstill Avery

VIII. Staff Membership

Jerry Moody
Title: County Extension Director, and Extension Agent, Horticulture
Phone: (828) 733-8270
Email: jerry_moody@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: County Extension Director and Agricultural agent responsible for Christmas Trees, Ornamentals, Turf, landscape, pesticide education, consumer horticulture, greenhouse and administration.

Melanie Cashion
Title: EFNEP Educator, Extension Program Assistant
Phone: (828) 733-8270
Email: melanie_cashion@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Program Assistants help families learn the practical skills necessary to improve the nutritional quality of the meals they serve their families. The hands-on, learn by doing approach of EFNEP allows the participants to make multiple positive behavior changes. These include better managing their food budgets, preparing and eating more meals at home, increasing physical activity, making healthy food and drink choices, limiting TV time, controlling portion sizes and using safe food practices.

Kim Davis
Title: County Extension Support Specialist
Phone: (828) 733-8270
Email: kim_davis@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.

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

Arizona Gragg
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (828) 733-8270
Email: aggragg@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.

Alicia Hicks
Title: 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 733-8270
Email: alhicks2@ncsu.edu

Bill Hoffman
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture and Natural Resources
Phone: (828) 733-8270
Email: wfhoffman@ncat.edu

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.)

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.

Michelle South
Title: Area Agent, Agriculture - Livestock
Phone: (828) 733-8270
Email: michelle_south@ncsu.edu

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.

Bobbie Willard
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 733-8275
Email: bobbie_willard@ncsu.edu

Mitch Woodward
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Watersheds and Water Quality
Phone: (919) 414-3873
Email: mdwoodwa@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: NC Cooperative Extension's Goals include: - NC's natural resources and environmental quality will be protected, conserved and enhanced. - NC will have profitable, environmentally sustainable plant, animal and food systems. Protecting our environmental resources, particularly drinking water quality, is a top priority in NC. NC Cooperative Extension is a leader in teaching, researching, and accelerating the adoption of effective water quality protection practices.

IX. Contact Information

Avery County Center
661 Vale Rd.
Newland, NC 28657

Phone: (828) 733-8270
Fax: (828) 733-8293
URL: http://avery.ces.ncsu.edu