2018 Avery County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 18, 2019

I. Executive Summary

2018 was a year of change for the Avery County Cooperative Extension Center of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. Not only did our location change from an old existing building to our new location at Avery County’s Heritage Park. This change in location allowed for a newer perspective for our staff. Our dedicated staff continued to worked tirelessly to provide educational opportunities for our client base; the citizens of Avery County. In order to accomplish this, we utilized multiple pedagogic strategies, methods, and activities. This report will attempt to quantify and qualify these programs and impacts on the citizens of Avery County. This report cannot be fully inclusive, due to the breadth and depth of our programs, but rather it is merely a simple snapshot, a brief vignette into the actions of Cooperative Extension in Avery County.


This endeavor is never accomplished without the complete support of our partners;
United States Federal Government, USDA, North Carolina State Government, land grant institutions; North Carolina State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and our local County of Avery Government.

Historical Primer
To better acquaint you the reader to our areas of concern, a short historical perspective has been added to this document. Historically this partnership was made possible through many acts of Congress initiated over 158 years ago. This idea was envisioned over 20 years prior to the first passage by Professor Jonathan Baldwin Turner of Illinois College. The Michigan constitution of 1850 had included provisions to create an agricultural college to teach the arts and sciences of agriculture to the public of the state. In 1855 the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan was established. This institution served as a model for the initial Morrill act of 1862 first proposed by Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont. Initially it was passed but vetoed by Pres. James Buchanan. In 1861 J.S. Morrill re-introduced the bill and added a provision to teach military tactics along with the science and art of agriculture and engineering. This law was signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The second Morrill act of 1890 was specifically directed toward the former Confederate States. This act required each state to illustrate that race was not used to decide admissions or else to develop a separate land grant institution.

The second act that developed the system that provides researched based solutions to our 21st century was the Hatch act of 1887. This act funded agricultural research stations in all states under the direction of the land grant colleges and universities. This act allowed for the specific research on all subjects related to agricultural production including but not limited to: soil, water and their relations, animal husbandry, agronomic crop production, pasture and range management, forestry, rural and community development, processing, safety, utilization of food and agricultural products, and many other agrarian, rural, and urban issues. The research may be done on local, state, or national concerns.

All of this was remarkable, but one piece was still missing. How would the information generated be disseminated to the farmer, the general public? In 1914 the Smith -Lever Act was passed establishing the Cooperative Extension Service (see here for text of the document, https://nifa.usda.gov/sites/default/files/Smith-Lever%20Act.pdf ) However the seeds to this act was planted in 1881 through the Michigan Agricultural College and the Iowa Agricultural College through and organization called, “The Teachers of Agriculture” This group started farm demonstrations a method of teaching still employed today by our current staff. Seaman A. Knapp was impressed that he helped draft bills that would later become the Hatch Act. He moved to Louisiana where he could not convince local farmers to adopt his farming practices that he perfected. Still a common stumbling block even today. He provided incentives to farmers from other areas to come to Louisiana and grow the crops utilizing his methods. This worked. The native farmers began to adopt those “new” practices. In that vein his work in farm demonstrations were the beginnings of the Cooperative Extension Service that now exists throughout the entire country.
So, from this simple beginning, we now proceed to discuss what we have done to continue this auspicious work initially that began with one idea back in 1855 and grew from a simple seed into the giant tree that it is today. Our staff still employs hands on activities, and farm demonstrations to provide solutions to our issues and concerns of today.

Today we still have budgetary constraints, as well as time constraints on what we can accomplish. 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 concise 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 topics 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 Avery County Cooperative Extension Center Staff is responsive to the needs of all of our clients as based upon our staffing and financial parameters. 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.

Avery County Cooperative Extension programs are diverse both in scope and in demographics. We serve all of the citizens of Avery County, regardless of any type of classification. Historically, there have been four main program areas that North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service has offered to the citizens.
In Avery County, 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 has evolved multiple times over the history of the county, and in recent times the types of farming done 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. Most farmers have multiple jobs in order to begin to farm. 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, volunteerism. It is apparent through our environmental scan that the infrastructure in place needs supplemental support in order to execute their charges. Our programs have been designed to meet the community at their most deep seated needs in order to effect positive change. We initiated, planned, and implemented an afterschool program and for over 15 years operated it. We have since spun off this program to a local community action group WAMY. 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 $458,000.00 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, High Country Foundation donation, and gifts. The monies have been used in our 4-H youth development programs, and our agricultural programs.


Contacts

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 one on one, email, social media, correspondence, phone calls, newsletters, and class settings. We classify these contacts as either face-to-face or nonface-to-face. Face-to-face contacts are contacts that occur by meeting with the client face-to-face; non face-to-face is any other contact avenue. We had a total of 47,300 contacts of citizens in our county in 2018, of which 21,378 were of the face to face variety. We had a total of 5726 citizens attend one or more of our planned educational activities that had over 659 hours of instruction. We certified 358 growers in either pesticide application or in Landscape Contractor CEU’s. We had 30 new pesticide certifications in 2018



2018 Program Successes
Every time that we work with our citizens, hopefully a positive change occurs with our clients. Sometimes that change is not perceptible for a considerable length of time. Ultimately, we try to quantify and qualify these successes to rationalize the amount of public funding that we receive. However, the successes can be rather transparent, or not an item that can be seen in a concrete manner. So, in order to classify and quantify this ontological matter, our agents pick out a few activities that greatly impacted either a group, or single person from their entire repertoire of activities in a given year. This discourse describes the nature of the issue the client was experiencing, the group or groups of individuals, agencies, non-profits, etc, that were brought together to find a researched based solution for the problem. The activity that occurred to aid in making the case for change with the client, and finally the outcome. Along with the outcome, our agents use specific methodologies, rubrics, and matrices to ascertain a dollar value for the change. Sometimes this change is based upon an individual and can only be applied towards that individual, while other reports are a small sample of a much larger population, and at that time those results can be extrapolated for the entire population that is being described. Please take the time to peruse the stories listed below, but keep in mind that these are just a small sampling of what each agent accomplishes on a daily, monthly and annual basis.
Some of our successes for 2018 were:


Objective
Profitable and Sustainable Animal Production Systems
Title
Improving the youth interest and involvement in Agriculture
Situation
Avery County did not have a 4-H livestock program/club for youth. Youth did not have a group of which they could learn about or participate in Livestock related topics or events. Parents of youth had wanted to develop and institute some group or activity to meet this need.
Response
To answer this need, in 2017 The Avery County Cooperative Extension Center initiated a special interest club.
Evaluation
Evaluations of the program were completed via verbal interviews with both children and their parents.
Results
As a result of the Feathers and Fur Livestock Club there was increased participation from 0 to 15 active members. At the Avery Agricultural and Horticultural Fair, our youth section has increased to over 50 participants from a total of 10 the previous year, and for the first time having youth livestock shows. 5 youth also participated in multiple fair livestock shows.


Objective
Profitable and Sustainable Plant Production Systems
Title
Pesticide Respirator Fit Test
Situation
With the new pesticide respirator fit test requirements many growers needed to provide education, fit testing, and medical clearances for their workers. Many had difficulty understanding what was actually being required.
Response
Avery and Mitchell Extension Centers partnered with the NC State Agri-medicine Institute to provide educational programming and a fit testing day for the Christmas Tree, ornamental, and turf producers and their workers. We reached over 126 growers and their workers who will be applying pesticides in 2018.

Evaluation Methods
Spoke with growers during the day seeking input on how we can do it differently in the future and learning if they saw profit in attending it. We spoke with random participants as they were exiting the process. We had 5 testimonials.
Results
Since the medical clearance and fit testing normally costs growers $80.00 per person, we were able to save our growers over $10,000.00 in additional costs brought on by these new regulations. The growers benefitted by having their workers fit tested and trained for using respirators. The growers now have pesticide applicators that are medically cleared and fit-tested. These growers represented 4500 acres of trees being grown in Avery and Mitchell Counties.

Objective
Volunteer Readiness
Title
Avery County 4-H Shooting Sports Competes
Situation
A significant majority of adult and youth in Avery County enjoy and participate in some type of shooting sport, such as rifle, bow, pistol, shotgun, etc. An exploratory 'interest meeting' was held to determine the amount of interest in and need for an organized 4-H shooting sports club.
Response
In order to instruct youth in shooting sports, 4-H requires all adult leaders/instructors be trained and certified in the specific shooting discipline(s) they would like to teach. Avery County 4-H worked with our local chapter of Hunters Helping Kids, Daniel Boone Bear Club, and the High Country Sportsman Coalition to encourage adult participation. 3 new volunteers were trained in the disciplines of rifle, shotgun, and hunting skills, they also completed 4-H Club 101 Training in order to feel comfortable assisting youth with club organization. The lead volunteer developed a marketing brochure for the club.
Evaluations
At the regular monthly meetings surveys and other verbal evaluations are done to gauge the effectiveness of the program. Normally an average of 10 youth participates in these evaluations.
Results
In 2018, 4 youth club members successfully completed their Hunter Safety Course Certification and 6 of the regular club members competed in their first district and state 4-H Shooting Sports Tournament. The Avery 4-H Shooting Sports Club increased the adult volunteers from 3 to 5 committed adult volunteers to work with youth and 3 more adults have expressed an interest in receiving training/4-H certification in additional disciplines in the near future.


Objective
Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction
Title
Great Progress for one EFNEP Participant
Situation
High blood pressure costs the nation $46 billion each year and increases the risk for dangerous health conditions. The American Heart Association states that even a little weight loss can bring a lot of health gains in people who are overweight.
Response
NC Cooperative Extension's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) provided a ten session series of classes to local parents that included information on preparing and eating more nutritious meals at home. There was a strong emphasis on planning skills so less "junk" foods were consumed.
Evaluation Methods
After the series one participant shared program successes with the group.
Results
During the class one participant reported concerns about high blood pressure. Also, being a breast cancer survivor, she had asked her doctor for recommendations he could suggest for lifestyle choices to help. The doctor referred her to the EFNEP program. After the series the participant reported that she had lost over 10 lbs. and had lowered her blood pressure by eating less salt and exercising more per the recommendation of the program. She also shared that she was making more effort to plan healthy meals. She was excited to state that she no longer has to take blood pressure medicine due to the changes made through working with the EFNEP program.

Title
Skinless potatoes
Situation
A grower responding to a buyer’s request to purchase red skin potatoes started digging his potato crop only to damage the skins. The buyer would not accept the damaged potatoes. The issue long term was one of farm sustainability and profitability
Response
To answer the grower’s concern about how to harvest without damaging the crop, the Avery County Cooperative Extension Center contacted other centers and specialists to seek a possible solution. The Extension agent put together a practical solution from the advice and counsel of the different advisors. By mowing off the potato plants, it caused them to go into natural senescence and start hardening off the skins. This practical solution was implemented by the grower immediately.
Evaluation Methods
The grower contacted the Center and gave a testimonial about being able to market his potatoes, and without our advice and counsel would have lost the contract.
Results
The small grower was able to dig potatoes within the two week period and market 50 bushels for $ 16.00/ bushel for a total of $ 800.00 and now has the future contract and will be able to increase production, thereby increasing the farm’s sustainability and profitability.





Conclusion
This synopsis gives a brief description of the depth and breadth of the programs available to the citizens in Avery County. As with all of the programs in North Carolina, these are driven by the local needs of Avery County Citizens. The Avery County Cooperative Extension Service staff, working as a team, is providing solutions to the problems and issues of our citizens. These successes and the associated impacts are examples of the different types of programs that are offered to our public during any given year.
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II. County Background

History

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).

Newland is the county seat and was originally known as the Old Fields of Toe. It was renamed after North Carolina Lieutenant Governor, William C. Newland. Avery County has a strong and deep agrarian mountain heritage. Over the years Avery County citizens farmed, mined, logged, and entertained tourists. In the book,” A History of Avery County” by author Horton Edward Cooper, he stated,

“Because people make history, our citizens show an intense interest in the events of the past and are displaying an eagerness more than ever in local history; too, they have become eagerly interested in genealogy. All mountaineers enjoy a good anecdote. The people of Avery County are not all descendants of pioneers who came into this rugged land a good many generations ago, but we are proud of those and their descendants who can trace their ancestry to the four points of the compass... As a rule, our families are close-knit units and family pride exists no higher on earth than here. No stronger love for America and the American flag can be found anywhere in our country. We are proud of our inheritance, which for our rugged pioneer ancestors and several generations meant hardship, often disappointing toil, loneliness, self-sufficiency and a struggle for survival.”

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

Geography

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.

Industry

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. During the last few years all three sectors of our economy has suffered greatly. Christmas tree industry in particular is in the process of maturation and painful changes are evolving to something new.

Demographics

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 programs will aid in answering critical issues in Avery County for program year 2018.

1. Profitable and Sustainable Agriculture
2. Local Food Systems
3. Safety and Security of our Food and Farm Systems
4 Volunteer Readiness
5. School to Career
6. Healthy Eating Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction
7. Leadership Development

Avery County Cooperative Extension Center has decided to reduce the areas of focus in order to increase its potential impact. From our last environmental scan, we are planning to focus on Youth and Agricultural issues.

Profitable and Sustainable Agriculture Systems
Safety and Security of our Food and Farm Systems
Local Food Systems

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, and horses) were over $2.8 million in 2007. Over 90% of livestock producers in Avery are small, part-time, limited resource farmers. Livestock numbers have experienced a moderate increase during the past year and the trend appears to be growing.

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 $7.5 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.

Production of Fraser fir Christmas trees accounts for $25.8 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.

Farm safety and security is a growing issue. All farms need to participate in safety and security programs. We all want our food to be safe. Safe from unlabeled pesticides, from disease, and grown using the best management practices possible. Avery County growers need educational programs that focus on pesticide education, beef quality assurance, good agricultural practices, food safety, and on farm safety.

Volunteer Readiness
Leadership 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 throughout the lifespan. 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, it is imperative to recruit, train, and retain quality volunteers. These volunteers will not only learn about service, involvement, and leadership, but will be a cornerstone on how we can effectively 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 improve leadership and communication skills. Our youth need 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. Volunteer development is a major concern to the Avery County 4-H program. Volunteers lack the much-needed training to meet the challenges in the 4-H leadership development part, such as communication, club management, and decision-making skills. There is also a real need to expand the Avery County 4-H program with more trained adult volunteers and at the same time decrease the turnover rate.

Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction

Obesity in both youth and adult are high in Avery County; 62-66% of adults in Avery County are obese. 35% of children ages 5-11 were overweight and 25% were classified as obese in Avery County. With the poverty levels, most families don’t know how to eat healthy on a small budget. Nor do the Avery County residents follow healthy lifestyles and make informed decisions about their health. We plan to develop programs to increase the number of youth and adults that makes informed decisions concerning their health.

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

North Carolina's plant production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.

Value* Outcome Description
46Number 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
3Number of Extension initiated and controlled County demonstration test sites (new required for GLF/PSI reporting)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
43Number 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
1500Net income gains realized by the adoption of best management practices, including those practices related to nutrient management, conservation, production, cultivars, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), business management, and marketing
51Number of producers reporting increased dollar returns per acre or reduced costs per acre
34Number of producers reporting reduction in fertilizer used per acre
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

North Carolina's animal production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.

Value* Outcome Description
38Number 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
33Number of animal producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
32500Net income gains by producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
7Number of animal producers implementing Extension-recommended best management practices for animal waste management
2Tons of livestock organic by-products utilized (nutrients from waste, compost, etc)
750Net income gain by using livestock organic by-products instead of synthetic fertilizers
15Number of acres where Extension-recommended waste analysis was used for proper land application
* 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
3Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
1Number of adults (including producers, food business owners, etc.) who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
40Number 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.
2Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
38Number 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
2Number 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.).
38Number of pounds of local foods donated for consumption by vulnerable populations.
13Number 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.
* 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
295Number of commercial/public operators trained
29Number of pesticide application credit hours provided
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Individuals and groups will acquire leadership and decision making capacities needed to guide and actively participate in local and state organizations.

Youth and adults will address community issues and/or challenges through volunteerism.

Value* Outcome Description
78Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
8Number of youth participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
78Number of adult participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
16Number of hours adult volunteer training conducted
20Number of hours youth volunteer training conducted
20Number new volunteers recruited
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
100Increased number of hours contributed by trained youth volunteers
500Increased number of hours contributed by trained adult volunteers
5Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
5Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
2Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles beyond Extension, including community boards and task forces
2Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles beyond Extension, including community boards and task forces
2Number of youth volunteers recruiting and/or training new volunteers
2Number of adult volunteers recruiting and/or training new volunteers
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways

Value* Outcome Description
2688Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
1129Total number of female participants in STEM program
2688Number of youth (students) participating in 4-H dropout prevention (student at-risk) programs
30Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
2688Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
2688Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of entrepreneurship
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
2688Number of youth (students) gaining knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
2688Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
2688Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
* 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.

Value* Impact Description
1371Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
1371Number 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* 19,703
Non face-to-face** 25,022
Total by Extension staff in 2018 44,725
* 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 $17,350.00
Gifts/Donations $41,050.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $400,000.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $0.00
Total $458,400.00

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: 98 8,808 2,630 $ 217,470.00
Advisory Leadership System: 8 20 20 $ 494.00
Extension Community Association: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Extension Master Gardener: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Other: 48 216 216 $ 5,333.00
Total: 154 9044 2866 $ 223,296.00
* 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
Livestock
Elaine Ollis
Shawn Hoilman
Shannon Mathis
Brandon Townsend
Local Foods/Farmers Market
Kyle Kitchen
Amos Niddifer
D C Smith
Waightstill Avery

VIII. Staff Membership

Jerry Moody
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (828) 733-8270
Email: jerry_moody@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.

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

Lauren Greene
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (336) 651-7347
Email: lauren_greene@ncsu.edu

Tami Hagie
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (828) 733-8270
Email: tami_hagie@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: bill_hoffman@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

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) 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

Avery County Center
661 Vale Rd.
Newland, NC 28657

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