2020 Pender County Plan of Work

Approved: January 21, 2020

I. County Background

Pender County is a rapidly growing county located in southeastern North Carolina. The county's population increased 19.1% between 2010 and 2019 to an estimated 62,162. Pender’s population is evenly divided among males (49.9%) and females (50.1%) with the ethnic breakdown being: Caucasians - 80.9%, Blacks/African Americans - 15.1% and Hispanic/Latino - 7.4%.

Agriculture production generated $155 million in 2018, a decrease of $18 million from 2017 due in part to the impact of Hurricane Florence. Tourism is the second largest industry and rebounded in 2018 with a 5.6% increase to $101.7 million in sales tax revenue.

Pender County Extension programs support these industries by assessing needs and delivering research-based education programs to meet those needs. In a 2017-2018 state wide needs assessment conducted by NCSU, Pender County residents expressed a high level of interest for programs in the following areas:

• Preserving agricultural farmland (agriculture)
• Strengthening the local food system (agriculture)
• Protecting air and water quality (tourism)
• Helping communities prepare for natural disasters (tourism)
• Reducing obesity through education about healthy food choices and exercise (nutrition)
• Helping youth develop leadership, citizenship and life skills (youth and adult leadership)

Pender County Extension Agents address these needs by conducting on-farm research and demonstration trials. Variety trails and nutrient management studies are conducted with the support of NCSU faculty. Land owners with timber are support with Extension programs focusing on marketing and estate planning and wildlife enhancement and other related topics. Pesticide safety training and pesticide disposal programs are held annually in conjunction with the NC Department of Agriculture's Pesticide Division. The Urban Horticulture program helps homeowners address problems with lawn and tree care, soil fertility and pest management, with the goal is to minimize the impact of over fertilizing and misapplication of pesticides. The Extension Master Gardener program in Pender County leads a Horticulture in the Classroom program in 6 Pender County elementary schools using horticulture and food production to meet the STEM requirements in schools.

The Pender County Extension Urban Horticulture and Local Foods program provides direct support for many of Pender County’s single family home owners who have little to no knowledge of how to properly maintain a landscape or grow a garden. The Pender County Extension Urban Horticulture and Local Foods programs work with these county residents answering landscaping and gardening questions, with support from the Extension Master Gardener volunteer program.

Pender County Health Department's Community Health Assessment conducted in 2014 indicates high blood pressure (52% of the population), high cholesterol (45%) and obesity (40%) are the three most serious health problems in adults and children. NC Extension is helping tackle these issues with support from a full time Extension Associate Nutrition Educator who conducts SNAP-Ed education for K, 1st and 3rd grade youth, senior citizens and minority audiences. The 4-H program is also partnering with the Pender County Health Department to lead the Extension Youth and Family Program. This program focuses on strengthening communication in families with teen age youth with an emphasis on opioid abuse.

Pender County Extension 4-H Youth Development Program also provides non-traditional, experiential learning activities for youth age 5-19 across the county. With 17 schools and more than 13,000 students, 4-H is works to help youth across the county through school enrichment programs, summer day camps, public speaking programs and leadership development workshops for teens at the district and state level.

II. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

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

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

Our community development programs build strong and thriving communities.

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

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

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

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.

III. Relationship to County Government Objectives

The Pender County Cooperative Extension staff consists of: (CED/Field Crops; Urban Horticulture & Local Foods; 4-H Youth, an administrative secretary and a Nutrition Educator). The County Extension Director (CED) serves as a county department head and field crops agent. He serves as the County Agriculture Response Team leader for agriculture disaster recovery efforts. During times of disaster, the CED serves as Extension's point of contact for the County's Emergency Operations Center, advising and leading efforts to respond to agriculture issues. The CED also serves on the CTE Advisory Board for Pender County Schools and as an adviser for the Topsail High School Agriculture program.

Pender County Extension’s Plan of Work ties in with the county’s economic development goals supporting the county's largest industries – agriculture, forestry and tourism. In agriculture Pender County Extension works to improve crop yields and farm income by conducting on-farm research and demonstrations and leading on-farm food safety education programs. The County Extension Director also serves as a member of the Pender County Tourism planning board.

Extension Agents serve on the Burgaw Tree Commission, the County Agriculture Response Team and the Cape Fear Fair & Expo planning committee. The CED and 4-H agent attend monthly Pender County Farm Bureau Board meetings, providing updates to the board on Extension programs and initiatives. Extension participates in and supports the NC Blueberry Festival. This year Extension will lead bus tours to the Castle Hayne Research on the day of the Blueberry Festival to show people the behind the scenes work in the blueberry industry. The Pender County Extension 4-H program participates in the Burgaw Christmas Parade each year.

Pender County's proximity to two large, urban or suburban communities creates opportunities to help farmers generate income through local food production and agri-tourism ventures. All Extension Agents work to help new and small farmers find niche markets for these products and try delivering programs that will attract new farmers to the crop production business. The Vacation Food Supported Agriculture program is a new venture helping small farmers get fresh, local produce delivered to people renting beach front properties.

Educational programs in home horticulture are offered through the Pender County Extension Urban and Consumer Horticulture Agent, who leads the Pender County Master Gardener program. This program and its volunteers reach more than 3,000 youth and adults annually. They provide research-based information about environmentally sound gardening practices, promote the growth of native plants, non-invasive species and emphasize environmentally safe applications of fertilizer and pesticides in home landscapes, to protecting groundwater and other parts of the environment. The Urban and Consumer Horticulture Agent also coordinates and leads the Extension Master Gardener volunteer training each year from January through April.

The commercial horticulture program also supports the county's commercial horticulture industry by offering pesticide applicator re-certification classes, Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) food safety training, marketing training, helping small and large farmers better understand the complexities of the food industry. In 2020 FDA mandated fresh produce safety training will be held to help new and existing farmers be in compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) mandates. Extension’s role in educating farmers about these new rules and regulations continues to grow.

4-H Youth Development programs in 2020 will focus on volunteer leadership development to establish new 4-H clubs, provide educational programs such as leadership training, with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. 4-H programs will also emphasize leadership development and training for adults and youth, exposing them to activities will offer them the life skills they need to lead more successful, healthier lives. Making sure the programs have a high levels of activity associated with them can help work on the county's obesity problem referred to in the Pender County Health Assessment. With more than 47 percent of the county's youth either overweight or obese, these are critical issues that will affect all citizens in the county in the next 20 to 30 years.

IV. Diversity Plan

Pender County Cooperative Extension presents information and programs to all individuals in the county. Programs are advertised in local county newspapers, the Wilmington Star News, Pender County government official press releases and public service announcements and all social media outlets. The Pender County Extension website and Facebook pages and Eventbrite meeting registration are used by agents and staff to provide Pender County residents with the latest research-based information on the latest topics relevant to the seasons or to residents' needs.

Pender County Extension will expand its partnership with Pender County High School's Juntos program. Juntos focuses on helping Latino youth and families position students for higher education. This partnership will help build the bridge between Pender County Extension and the Latino community. Also through the USDA SNAP-Ed program, Extension is reaching a high number of minority students across the county in kindergarten, 1st and 3rd grade as well as senior citizens.

Pender County 4-H programs offer students in public, private and home school settings research-based curriculum that complies with NC Department of Public Instruction's STEM - science, technology, engineering and math - guidelines. Pender County 4-H will begin to work with the Juntos program at Pender High School to improve its relationships with the Hispanic population in the county. The Juntos club will be a part of the County 4-H program and participate in traditional 4-H activities such as; writing project record books, doing presentations and public speaking at county, district and state level 4-H events. Pender County Extension collaborates with other county agencies to assist in reaching traditional and nontraditional audiences for Extension programs. All reasonable efforts are made to invite and include a diverse audience in all Extension programs including advisory groups, 4-H clubs, ECA clubs, and other groups.

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 Pender County with the knowledge, skills and tools they need to improve their economic prosperity and quality of life. Extension Agents 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.

The 2020 plan of work includes seminars, client visits, fact sheets, newsletters, social media posts that serve to support and reinforce learning. Armed with the most current literature on effective teaching and learning, Pender County Extension agents 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 Pender County.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Pender County Extension Advisory Council
Gary Mintier
Don Rawls
Annette Lewis
Jean Talbot
Allen Vann - Assistant County Manager
Bob Simon
Waitus English III
Buron Lanier
Sonya Royes
Martha Highsmith
Jamie Craft
Urban Horticulture & Local Foods Advisory Committee:
Nancy Ash
Gary Mintier
Debbie Shackelford
Sandy Rowe
Nancy Mercure
Bobbi Crawford
Nancy Kurul
John Smith
4-H and Youth Advisory Committee:
Samantha Hermann
Amy Millis
Sonya Allen
Kayla Bolick
Edelmira Segovia
Ashley Dedecker
William Sanders
Field Crops and Commercial Horticulture Advisory Committee:
Billy Savage
Don Rawls
Keith Farrior
Jimmy Porter
Stuart Baucom
Lucas Carter
Hank Bond

VII. Staff Membership

Mark Seitz
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (910) 259-1235
Email: mark_seitz@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: In addition to the administrative duties associated with County Extension Director, Mark Seitz works with field crop producers, provides pesticide education for field crop and commercial fruit and vegetable producers. Mark is also covering education and client calls related to livestock.

Tiffanee Conrad
Title: Extension Agent, Horticulture & Local Foods
Phone: (910) 259-1235
Email: tiff_conrad@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Home Horticulture and Local Foods

Breyana Davis
Title: SNAP-Ed Steps to Health, Nutrition Educator
Phone:
Email: bddavis5@ncsu.edu

Mike Frinsko
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Aquaculture
Phone: (252) 448-9621
Email: mofrinsk@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide technical training and assistance to commercial aquaculture producers in the Southeast Extension District

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.

Reatha Hoffman
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (910) 259-1235
Email: reatha_hoffman@ncsu.edu

Lynette Johnston
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-0303
Email: lynette_johnston@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.

Danny Lauderdale
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Ornamental Nursery and Greenhouse, Eastern Region
Phone: (252) 237-0111
Email: danny_lauderdale@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides programming to commercial ornamental nursery and greenhouse producers in eastern North Carolina.

Lori McBryde
Title: Area 4-H Agent, East Region
Phone: (919) 989-5380
Email: lori_mcbryde@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide support the Eastern 34 Counties of the Northeast and Southeast Districts in 4-H Youth Development.

Liz Peterson
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (910) 259-1235
Email: eapeter2@ncsu.edu

Diana Rashash
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Water Quality/Waste Management
Phone: (910) 455-5873
Email: diana_rashash@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Water and wastewater issues of all types: stormwater, aquatic weed ID & control, water quality & quantity, septic systems, animal waste, land application of wastewater, environment & sustainability, climate, etc.

Margaret Ross
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (252) 670-8254
Email: margaret_ross@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Working with commercial poultry producers to assist in writing nutrient management plans and conducting educational programming.

Chip Simmons
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Food Safety
Phone: (919) 414-5632
Email: odsimmon@ncsu.edu

Alyssa Spence
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agromedicine, Farm Health & Safety
Phone: (252) 527-2191
Email: arramsey@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: I work with the NCSU Applied Ecology-Toxicology & Agromedicine Department to serve the18 counties in the Southeast District, providing health/safety resources and programming to field agents in this area.

Wesley Stallings
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture- Grain Crops
Phone: (910) 455-5873
Email: wcstalli@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Agriculture-Grain Crops

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.

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.

VIII. Contact Information

Pender County Center
801 S Walker St
Burgaw, NC 28425

Phone: (910) 259-1235
Fax: (910) 259-1291
URL: http://pender.ces.ncsu.edu