2018 Pender County Plan of Work

Approved: March 22, 2018

I. County Background

Pender County is a rapidly growing county located in southeastern North Carolina. The county's population increased 13.2% between 2010 and 2016 to an estimated 59,090, second fastest in NC. Pender’s population is evenly divided among males and females with the ethnic breakdown being: Caucasians - 79.9%, Blacks/African Americans - 16.6% and Hispanic/Latino - 6.5%.

Pender County has 25 miles of coastline driving a $92 million tourism industry. Eastern Pender County includes the towns of Topsail Beach and Surf City, and the rapidly growing unincorporated area of Hampstead. The western part of the county includes Burgaw, St. Helena, Watha, Atkinson, Rocky Point and Currie.

Pender County is also a large county by North Carolina standards covering 556,656 total acres, of which 55,775 acres is tillable farm land and more than 348,000 acres of private timberland. Pender’s land resources are primarily utilized by the agriculture and timber industry. Agriculture output in 2016 ranked 22nd out of 100 counties in NC, generating $153.7 million in revenue on 335 registered farms, with an additional $50 million estimated in spin off jobs and revenue. Pender County’s timber industry generated $110 million in production and employment in 2014 and ranked 19th in NC.

Pender County Extension programs focus on supporting these major industries by assessing needs and delivering research-based education programs to meet those needs. The Extension Field Crops program conducts on-farm research and demonstration trials to increase crop yield for greater grain production. Increasing grain production supports Pender’s and NC’s beef, pork and poultry industries, making these industry less dependent on grain imports.
Pender County Extension supports the timber industry by assisting the NCSU Forestry Department and NC Extension Area Specialized Agent – Forestry, in providing Extension programs for landowners with land use planning, estate planning and other related topics. In total sales, livestock production dominates the agriculture industry and Pender Extension works to provide answers for large and small producers. Most will be supported by Area Specialized Agents covering poultry and five Extension Livestock agents in Duplin, Sampson and Bladen County. These Agents are assisting with more technical knowledge about animal agriculture.

Pender County Extension supports research led by the NCSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), the NCSU Parks & Recreation Department and the NCSU Local Foods Program. Pender Extension agents and staff help bring the expertise of these NCSU departments to Pender County to provide experience, expertise and new ideas to stimulate this industry’s growth and to educate consumers on specific topics related to the work done in these departments.

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. In 2017 more than $156,000 in volunteer time was donated by the Pender County Extension Master Gardener volunteers in teaching and landscape maintenance for two county buildings and on landscape education throughout the county.

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. In 2017 NCSU will hire a full time Family & Consumer Science (FCS) Agent to serve New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick County. The FCS agent will address food safety, nutrition and food preservation as a means of helping residents improve their diets with the goal of reducing the diet related medical problems associated with the aforementioned chronic health problems. Pender County Extension 4-H Youth programs also support this effort with education programming focused on local food production through the 4-H Favorite Foods cooking program and other summer day camp foods and cooking activities.

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.

II. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

North Carolina's plant 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.

Consumers and communities will enhance the value of plants, animals, and landscapes while conserving valuable natural resources and protecting the environment.

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. Other Objectives

Pender County Plan of Action 2016

IV. Relationship to County Government Objectives

The Pender County Cooperative Extension staff consists of three full time Extension Agents: (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 and attends meetings to support programs offered by other county departments. Agents serve on committees with other departments, thereby strengthening Cooperative Extension's collaborative 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.

Pender County Extension’s 2018 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 demonstration experiments, studying pest management techniques and leading on-farm food safety education programs. This work helps farmers reduce crop loss, increase profitability and reduce product liability by having up to date food and farm safety plans. The County Extension Director also serves as a member of the Pender County Tourism planning board.

Extension staff members serve on the Burgaw Tree Commission, the County Agriculture Response Team and the Cape Fear Fair & Expo planning committee to bring 4-H youth programs to this event. The CED and 4-H agent attend monthly Farm Bureau Board meetings, providing updates to the board on Extension programs and initiatives and supports the NC Blueberry Festival, the Burgaw Spring Fest and the Burgaw Christmas Parade.

Pender County's proximity to three 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.

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 people annually, providing research-based information about environmentally sound gardening practices. This program promotes the growth of native plants, non-invasive species and the environmentally safe application of fertilizer and pesticides in home landscapes, thereby protecting groundwater and other parts of the environment.

The county's second largest industry – forestry, is supported by NC Extension with support from the NCSU Forestry Department and with assistance from an Area Specialized Agent in Forestry. Timber management planning, estate planning and stand management are the main focus. And Extension is helping with efforts to create a forestry and timber management association in Pender County.

Economic growth will also be supported by Extension in support of Pender County's $15 million horticulture landscape nursery program and fruit and vegetable industry. Good landscaping adds significant value to homes across the county and educating homeowners about proper weed, disease and insect control helps homeowners save money on fertilizer, seed and water use. Training programs led by the Pender County Horticulture and Local Foods Extension agent and supported by the county's growing Master Gardener program reached more than 3,000 home owners face to face and an additional 26,000 via email, newsletters and social media in 2017. The information shared helps homeowners and youth learn practices that are environmentally sustainable.

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, and helping small and large growers better understand the complexities of the food industry. In 2017 on-farm food safety training programs for commercial horticulture farmers becomes mandatory under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules. Extension’s role in educating farmers about these new rules and regulations continues to grow.

4-H Youth Development programs in 2018 will focus on volunteer leadership development to establish new 4-H clubs, provide educational programs such as leadership training, with an emphasis on programs in electricity, a life skill and equine club that also provide physical activity. 4-H programs will also emphasize leadership development and training for adult 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 youth 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.

V. 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 social media outlets. The Pender County Extension website and Facebook page are maintained by agents and staff with the latest research-based information on the latest topics relevant to the seasons or to residents' needs.

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.

VI. 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, environmental stewardship 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 2018 plan of work includes seminars, client visits, fact sheets, newsletters, social media posts and home study kits 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.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Pender County Extension Advisory Council
Don Rawls
Annette Lewis
Jean Talbot
Chad McEwen - Assistant County Manager
Bob Simon
Waitus English III
Buron Lanier
Lauren Lanier
Sonya Royes
Martha Highsmith
Jamie Craft
Urban Horticulture & Local Foods Advisory Committee:
Cheryl Shuford
Debbie Shackelford
Sandy Rowe
Nancy Mercure
Bobbi Crawford
Nancy Kurul
4-H and Youth Advisory Committee:
Michael Lanier
Amy Millis
Chris Montero
Sonya Allen
Tessa Seiter
Kayla Bolick
Dr. Duane Bell
Jose Heriberto
Field Crops and Commercial Horticulture Advisory Committee:
Billy Savage
Don Rawls
Keith Farrior
Jimmy Porter
Stuart Baucom
Lucas Carter
Hank Bond

VIII. 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.

Mike Frinsko
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Aquaculture
Phone: (252) 448-9621
Email: mike_frinsko@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, 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.

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

Tim Mathews
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture and Local Foods
Phone: (910) 259-1235
Email: tim_mathews@ncsu.edu

Rachel McDowell
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9155
Email: romcdowe@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Support FCS Agents in delivering timely and evidence-based food safety education and information to stakeholders in NC.

Morgan McKnight
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (910) 798-7660
Email: morgan_mcknight@ncsu.edu

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

Traci Spencer
Title: 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (910) 259-1235
Email: tjspenc2@ncsu.edu

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) 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

Pender County Center
801 S Walker St
Burgaw, NC 28425

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