2018 Montgomery County Plan of Work

Approved: January 19, 2018

I. County Background

Montgomery County is a small, rural county in central North Carolina. According to the latest census, the population is approximately 27,820 with 63.9% white, 19.2% black, 1.6% Asian, American Indian and Alaska Native 0.8% and 14.5% Hispanic or Latino. Located at the geographic center of North Carolina, Montgomery County offers businesses unrivaled access to the region, the state, and the eastern United States. A vast transportation network, available buildings and land, a prime location, countless outdoor recreation opportunities, and small town quality of life are just a few of the reasons businesses and employees succeed here. Our location makes Montgomery County a beautiful place to live and do business. We are close to everything, yet we are still able to maintain the small town values that make us who we are.

Montgomery County Cooperative Extension conducted an extensive environmental scan utilizing surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews and advisory committee meetings. The Advisory Leadership Council then prioritized the needs of the county citizens and selected to continue to address the following objectives with an addition to address a growing interest in local foods:

• Profitable and Sustainable Plant and Animal Production Systems
• Safety and Security of our Food and Farm Systems
• School to Career (Youth and Adults)
• Community Development
• Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction
• Volunteer Readiness
• Local Food Systems

Montgomery County Cooperative Extension staff will design, implement and evaluate educational programming in the identified areas to bring about positive change for the citizens of Montgomery County.

II. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

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

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

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.

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.

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.

Community members, organizations and local government will engage in collaborative dialog and decision-making to build economically, socially and environmentally resilient communities. This will be done through inclusive engagement, partnership building, and/or community planning.

Parents and caregivers will effectively use recommended parenting, self care practices and community resources.

Adults and youth will apply financial management practices to increase their economic security, which include to: meet basic necessities, increase savings, reduce debt, and build long-term assets.

Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways

Youth and adult program participants will make healthy food choices, achieve the recommended amount of physical activity and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases.

III. Relationship to County Government Objectives

Montgomery County Commissioners have listed a number of goals to work towards in 2018 with which Cooperative Extension can make a meaningful contribution. The Board’s goals and objectives focus on the following priorities:

1. Ensuring financial management and accountability
* Cooperative Extension will plan ahead and work with partnering agencies to decrease spending and manage our resources as efficiently as possible. We will work with the county manager and finance department to ensure we are staying within our budget and all financial statements match. We will continue to apply for grants and look for alternative funding.

2. Encouraging broad participation in economic development efforts
* Cooperative Extension will work with the county to promote economic development and our Extension Agents will promote our 10% campaign and Agri-business opportunities as we continue to support our local farmer's market.
* We will continue to expand our Youth Leadership Montgomery program which increases awareness of the county’s resources and the need for young leaders to become actively involved.

3. Developing a comprehensive public safety plan
* Cooperative Extension works with the Emergency Preparedness Committee to assess the damage to agriculture after disasters, as well as extreme weather conditions. Efforts have been made to establish a County Animal Response Team. The Livestock Agent will continue to work on this during the coming year.

4. Collaborating on education issues
* Extension Agents will work with schools and community clubs to give hands-on experiences that will enhance what children are learning in classrooms and prepare them for a successful future.

7. Developing a long-term recreation plan
* The county 4-H Youth Development program works to provide educational recreation opportunities for all ages through community clubs and our Summer Fun program.
* Agents will work with Master Gardeners and Extension and Community Association members to provide recreation, volunteer, and economic opportunities to the citizens of Montgomery County.
* The Family and Consumer Science Agent will work with youth and adults teaching them to eat smart and move more.
* The Livestock Agent will work with youth throughout the year teaching them how to care for their animals and preparing them to show at our local Livestock Show in the Fall.

8. Improve Communication
* In order to improve communication between other departments and Cooperative Extension, the Director will attend monthly Commissioner meetings and send a monthly report to be included in their packet. We will also continue to send a monthly newsletter out electronically using Constant Contact.
* Cooperative Extension will utilize social media sites to expand marketing efforts and keep our county website up to date.

IV. Diversity Plan

Montgomery County Cooperative Extension is committed to embracing the value of diversity and the elimination of discrimination on the basis of irrelevant characteristics such as race, nationality, social-economic status, religious beliefs, ethnicity, family and marital status, gender, age, or disability. These differences are the basis for our values, attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions that allow us to develop educational programs for the betterment of our county. The following methods will be utilized to promote the importance of diversity:

• To be inclusive, relevant, and responsive to planning, designing, implementing, and evaluating programs for diverse audiences.
• Incorporate diversity into publications, exhibits, mass media, and other marketing efforts.
• Utilization of curriculum that emphasizes diversity.
• Incorporate measures of diversity into staff appraisals.

This plan of work when implemented provides a framework to assist Extension staff in accomplishing the programmatic goals in a manner consistent with the Extension vision, mission, and values.

V. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods

Delivering timely, relevant educational programs that meet critical local needs is the cornerstone of Extension’s mission. Extension educational programs are designed to equip the citizens of Montgomery County with the knowledge, skills, and tools to improve their economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and quality of life.

An Extension program delivery system is a planned and organized eclectic mix of educational methods used during an educational program. Extension educational methods are the specific ways by which research-based information is shared with targeted learners. Extension educators in our county employ a wide variety of hands-on, experiential educational methods, such as interactive workshops and classes, demonstrations, field days and tours, that allow learners to fully engage in the learning process, test new knowledge and/or practice new skills during the educational session. Equally important, this plan will also include educational methods such as seminars, client visits, fact sheets, newsletters, and home study kits that serve to support and reinforce learning as well as provide motivation for continued learning.

Armed with the most current literature on effective teaching and learning, Extension educators also skillfully select educational methods based on the learning style preferences and special needs of the targeted learners. These client-focused methods afford learners the opportunity to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to change their lives in meaningful ways. Another key feature of Extension program delivery that is evident in this plan is our commitment to being customer driven and customer focused. As such, in addition to the County Extension Center, Extension educational programs are delivered online, in community centers, on farms, and other locations in order for our programs to be available and accessible to, and fully utilized by, the citizens of Montgomery County.

In Extension, success is defined as the extent to which our educational programs have made a difference in the lives of the citizens of Montgomery County. Evaluation methods are the way we make observations of any changes occurring, as a result, our educational programs, and the significance of those changes. As an educational organization, the changes we seek to focus on key outcomes such as the knowledge and skills participants gain from our programs. More specifically, in this plan, we are using quantitative research methods such as retrospective testing, pre and post tests and/or surveys to measure the change in knowledge gained, the application of that knowledge, number of new skills developed, and types of new skills developed. Extension, as a results-oriented organization, is committed to also assessing the social, economic and/or environmental impact that our programs have on the individuals who participate, their families and communities and ultimately the county as a whole (i.e. true significance of the changes stemming from our programs). We plan to measure these impacts in both the long and short-term. In this annual plan (short-term), we have outlined financial impact and cost-benefit analysis as our primary evaluation method. Another value held in Extension is actively listening to and dialoguing with targeted learners. Therefore, this plan also includes qualitative evaluation methods such as testimonials from program participants, and interviews and focus groups with participants.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Montgomery Advisory Leadership Council
Janno Lewis
Debbi Musika
Bruce Thompson
Lane Poole
Lowell Russell
Cindy Taylor
Don Thompson
Kayla Shomaker
Archie Smith
Myra Taylor
Gary Dunn
Jeremy Martin
Charles Lucas
Shirley Harris
David Clark
Family and Youth Program Committee
Kimberly Burger
Kristen Cook
Kimberly Berger
Linda Sedberry
Chanda Stokes
Cindy Taylor
Vance Thomas
Jessica Blake
Montgomery County Agriculture Advisory Board
Benny Hampton
Archie Smith
Boon Chesson
Jeremy Haywood
Jimmie Byrd
Ray Allen
Bruce Thompson
Andrew Gahagan, Ex Officio-County Planner
Joseph Huntley, Ex Officio-Soil and Water
Bee Keepers Board
Molly Kinney
Bill Tingen
Ron Kinney
Patty Tingen
Buck Lewis
Janno Lewis
Nancy Rupert
Cattleman Board
Archie Smith
Eddie Maness
Danny & Sondra McRae
David Hurley
Jeff Maness
Gene & Charlon McNeill
Mitchell Scheer
Donald Bulla
Jack Callicutt Jr.
Jim Chandler
Jeremy Haywood
Franklin Byrd
Horticulture Advisory Committee
David Clark
Meng Kong
Charles Lucas
Gary Dunn
Jennifer Hare
Joyce Morris Hicks
Faye Strider

VII. Staff Membership

Molly Alexi
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (910) 576-6011
Email: molly_alexi@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: County Extension Director; Community and Rural Development; and Family and Consumer Science

Candice Christian
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9148
Email: Candice_Christian@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: The overall goal of the Area Specialized Agents (ASAs) in Consumer & Retail Food Safety is to support FCS Agents in delivering timely and evidence-based food safety education and information to stakeholders in North Carolina.

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.

Kim Gibson
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (910) 576-6011
Email: kim_gibson@ncsu.edu

Richard Goforth
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (704) 283-3801
Email: richard_goforth@ncsu.edu

Chrissy Haynes
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (910) 576-6011
Email: chrissy_haynes@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.

Sequoia Hill
Title: Nutrition Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (910) 576-6011
Email: shill3@ncsu.edu

Stacey Jones
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Commercial Nursery and Greenhouse
Phone: (704) 920-3310
Email: stacey_jones@ncsu.edu

Colby Lambert
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Forestry
Phone: (910) 814-6041
Email: colby_lambert@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities and technical support to forest landowners, agents, and forest industry in eastern North Carolina.

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

Deborah Malarz
Title: Program Assistant
Phone: (910) 576-6011
Email: deborah_malarz@ncsu.edu

Currey Nobles
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9520
Email: canobles@ncsu.edu

Rhonda Peters
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (910) 576-6011
Email: rtpeter2@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.

Brad Thompson
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture
Phone: (910) 576-6011
Email: brad_thompson@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Commerical and Home Fruit and Vegetable Production, Master Gardener's, Beekeeping, Agriculture

Allan Thornton
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables and Fruits
Phone: (910) 592-7161
Email: allan_thornton@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Vegetable Extension Specialist. Conducts Extension and applied research programs for commercial vegetable and fruit growers and agents in eastern North Carolina.

Jamie Warner
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock and Forestry
Phone: (910) 576-6011
Email: jamie_warner@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Beef Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Horses, 4-H Livestock, Forages, Forestry, Voluntary Agriculture Districts, Local Foods

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.

VIII. Contact Information

Montgomery County Center
203 W Main St
Troy, NC 27371

Phone: (910) 576-6011
Fax: (910) 576-2635
URL: http://montgomery.ces.ncsu.edu