2018 Robeson County Plan of Work

Approved: March 12, 2018

I. County Background

According to North Carolina Agricultural Statistics, Robeson County is the largest county in North Carolina generating over $396 million in cash receipts for agricultural commodities in 2015, ranking the county as the 5th largest agricultural county in North Carolina. Robeson County is located in southeastern North Carolina adjacent to the South Carolina border.
The county has a total area of 607,208 acres; harvested cropland is approximately 191,674 acres. Robeson County is in the top 10 most diverse counties in the United States based on racial, social, and economic indicators. In 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the county population to be 134,576 with approximately 38% Native American, 29% Caucasian, 24% African American, 8% Hispanic and Latino, and .5% other. 
Nearly 22,000 people live in Lumberton, the county seat. Another 32 towns and townships make up the county including the larger towns of Pembroke, Fairmont, Maxton, Red Springs, St. Pauls, and Rowland. Six other areas in the county are census-designated places. Based on recent estimates, over 45,000 households are located in the county. 
According to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture's website, 941 farms are located in the county with an average farm size of 282 acres. The major crops produced are corn, cotton, soybeans, hay, tobacco, peanuts, and small grains. Major animal production includes swine, cattle, and poultry. The estimated cash receipts from the sale of livestock, dairy and poultry in 2015 was approximately $304 million. 
The estimated median household income is $32,128. Approximately 32% of the population live below the poverty level. The unemployment rate for November 2017 was 6.5%. Robeson County is considered a TIER 1 county based on economic indicators provided by the North Carolina Department of Commerce. 
The Public Schools of Robeson County has 44 schools, which enroll approximately 24,000 children annually. The 2015 SAT average score in Robeson was 968. The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is also located in Robeson County with an average enrollment of 6252 (Fall 2017) students a semester. Robeson Community College has an average enrollment of almost 2000.
An environmental scanning process was completed in January 2013. The Robeson County Advisory Council and the specialized committees (field crops, horticulture, livestock, small farms, human development, foods/nutrition, 4-H, EFNEP, tourism, and beekeepers) assisted in prioritizing the issues and needs. The objectives listed below will be addressed in the 2018 Plan of Work for Robeson County. 
North Carolina Cooperative Extension is in a unique position to provide educational programming to various groups based on the identified needs. Several programs in the county target limited-resource audiences due to the large number of minorities in the county and the large number of people living in poverty. Taking research-based information generated at North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University can provide Robeson County citizens with the information and solutions to meet the needs of the 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.

Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways

North Carolinians will make decisions and adopt practices that implement effective resource protection and conservation.

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. Relationship to County Government Objectives

During recent years, the County of Robeson, Robeson Community College, the Regional Center of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, the Robeson County Partnership for Children, and the Robeson County Center for Community Action have completed strategic plans. Many Cooperative Extension staff members have served on most of the committees that developed these plans and were instrumental in ensuring members of their specialized committees were involved as well. The information gained from these processes, as well as information gained from advisory committee activities, provided the foundation for an effective on-going Plan of Work. Based on these plans, the major issues to be addressed during the next 20 years will be:

1. Economic development
2. Education and workforce development
3. Effective government
4. County image and marketing
5. Quality of life

The Plan of Work for North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, directly supports and addresses most of the objectives in these issues. As the economy begins to recover, there is increasing need for Cooperative Extension to support the county's attempt to deal with increasing pressure on citizens of Robeson County. All agents have intensified efforts within their program areas to help teach citizens to better deal with professional, family, and personal issues. Family and Consumer Sciences will focus on utilization of local foods, budgeting, food safety, increasing parenting skills, stress management, and developing healthy lifestyles. The 4-H staff will focus on helping youth understand and better deal with issues faced by their families. Also, 4-H will help youth enhance their self-esteem by providing positive activities. The agricultural staff will focus on sustainable agriculture during difficult times, value-added products, alternative sources of income, and intensifying the local food systems. Strong efforts will be made to take advantage of tourism and agri-tourism opportunities to increase job opportunities, increase family income, increase tax base, and increase sales tax receipts. All programmatic areas are sensitive to the needs of limited resource audiences and offer programs based on their specific needs.

The Crops Agent and the Extension Livestock Agent will work directly with the Robeson County Emergency Management Director to address needs related to disaster training, resource identification, damage assessment, and disaster assistance. Extension staff members coordinate the County Animal Response Team (CART) to handle livestock and companion animal issues during disasters. Also, the Robeson County Beekeepers will assist if an accident occurs while transporting honeybees. Furthermore, the Extension staff will also assist as needed with disaster relief in their communities by providing information related to disaster preparedness and recovery.

In 2011, county administration requested Cooperative Extension implement the 1st Robeson Leadership Academy. Four academies have been offered since 2011 and have been attended by 120 county department managers, supervisors, and other county employees from 25 different departments. The training focuses on effective communication, conflict resolution, understanding one's strengths, team building, and personal values related to leadership. Feedback from participants revealed an increase in knowledge in all of the training areas. A follow-up survey revealed 94% of the participants are incorporating other viewpoints into their decision-making process to respond effectively to other people. Also, 96% of the participants are limiting their involvement in The Drama Triangle and 85% are using effective communication strategies learned in the academy.

IV. Diversity Plan

Robeson County is in the top 10 most diverse counties in the United States based on racial, social, and economic indicators. The median household income is $30,167. Approximately 32% of the population lives below the poverty level. The unemployment rate for December 2014 was 7%. Robeson County is considered a TIER 1 county based on economic indicators provided by the NC Department of Commerce. The Robeson County Advisory Council and all Specialized Committees have representation from minority as well as limited resource clients.

Although 25% of the population is African American, only 6% of the farms in the county are owned and operated by African Americans. Also, fewer people are remaining on the family farm to continue the family tradition. The average age of a farmer in Robeson County is 58. Educational programs are being developed to cultivate interest in agriculture by a younger generation. Also, a partnership with Mt. Olive College and Farm Bureau will be continued to assist with farm transition programs and estate planning for farm families.

The Robeson County Extension staff will continue to deliver educational programs by providing a variety of activities in communities throughout the county. In addition, the staff will target the under-served and limited resource audiences through minority newspapers, community meetings, and special newsletters. Efforts will be made to network with agencies and groups that serve various minorities in order to make our programs and services better known and more accessible to these audiences. Also, ServSafe classes for Latinos will be offered again in order to provide training to the large number of Latinos who work in the food service industry.

V. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods

North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, gives our residents easy access to the resources and expertise of our two land-grant universities (North Carolina State and North Carolina A&T State). Through educational programs, publications, and events, Cooperative Extension field faculty deliver unbiased, research-based information to Robeson citizens. Our mission is: North Carolina Cooperative Extension partners with communities to deliver education and technology that enrich the lives, land, and economy of North Carolinians.

The Extension staff will continue to use traditional methods of delivering programs, such as meetings, workshops, field days, and tours. An increased effort will be made to develop and deliver cross-county programs such as Tri-County Cotton Meetings, Corn/Soybean/Small Grains Meetings, and a Cattle Conference. Staff will network with Extension staff in adjoining counties to develop food preservation programs, science-related 4-H activities, youth day camps/retreats, and urban horticultural programs. Also, Extension staff will utilize nontraditional methods of sharing information on a more timely basis with the use of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and E-mail groups.

In addition, staff will continue to provide a wide variety of hands-on experiential educational methods, such as interactive workshops, demonstrations, field days, and tours that allow learners to fully engage in the learning process. Equally important, this plan will also include educational methods such as seminars, client visits, fact sheets, newsletters, and home study kits to support and reinforce learning as well as provide motivation for continued learning. Utilizing the most current research on effective teaching and learning, Extension educators also skillfully select educational methods.

In Cooperative Extension, success is defined as the extent to which our educational programs have made a difference in the lives of the citizens of Robeson County. Evaluation methods assess any changes occurring as a result of our educational programs and, subsequently, the significance of those changes. As an educational organization, the changes we seek focus on key outcomes, such as increase in knowledge/skills of participants as well as behavior change.

More specifically, in this plan, we are using quantitative research methods, such as pre/post testing and surveys, to measure change in knowledge gained and behavior change. Also, qualitative instruments measure the application of knowledge and number/types of new skills developed. Cooperative Extension is a results-oriented organization, which is committed to assessing the social, economic, and environmental impact our programs have on the individuals who participate, their families, and ultimately, the county as a whole. 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 methods. Another time-honored value in Cooperative Extension is actively listening to the needs of targeted learners. Therefore, this plan also includes qualitative evaluation methods, such as testimonials from program participants, interviews, and information from specialized committees.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Robeson County Extension Advisory Council
Rogena Deese, Chair
Mark Moses
Lucius Epps
Lance Herndon
Ronald Hammonds
Rhonda Faircloth-Maynor
Ann Underwood
Varonica Livingston
John Wishart
Field Crops Specialized Committee
Lance Herndon
Anthony Lanier
Adrian Locklear
Georgia Love
Casey McQueen
Everett Moore
Lee Moore
Samuel Walton
Horticulture Specialized Committee
Anna Floyd
Bryan Freeman
Rick Gregory
Danny Kinlaw
Connie Locklear
Delton Oxendine
Carol Priore

Livestock and Forage Specialized Committee
Joe Clark, III
David Edwards
Alton Hagans
Ronald Hammonds
Ray Lowry
Lycurous Lowry
Michael Luxton
Johnny McEachern
Eddie Moore
Jim Smith
Woodrow Smith
Tommy Stone
Small Farm Specialized Commiitee
Ellery Locklear - Chair
Billy Blanks
Martin Brewington
Lucius Epps
David Hunt
Amy Locklear
Daniel Locklear
Jerry Lowery
Haywood McCormick
Clara Oxendine
Lesley Sanderson
Food and Nutrition Specialized Committee
Angela Allen
Vicki Bell
Allison Branch
Robert Canida
Rena Hill
Jay Leggette
Iris Locklear
Mahetta Manning-Commedo
Whitney McFarland
Joyce McRae
Monica McVicker
Ilene Oxendine
Virgil Oxendine
Carlotta Winston
Amy Cox
Julie Hernandez
Lee Hinson
Lugennia Hunt
Sandra Hunt
Jan Maynor
Dennis Watts
4-H Specialized Committee
Tanya Underwood - Chair
Representative Charles Graham
Jane Hurst
Tony Locklear
Chris Moore
Michael McNeill
Danielle Parnell
Ed Wilcox
Local Foods and Tourism Specialized Committee
Nila Chamberlain
Linda Clark
Everett Davis
Mickey Gregory
Brooke Herring
Ben Jacobs
Hayward McCormick
Kim Pevia
Beekeepers Specialized Committee
Martin Brewington - Chair
Terry Nunnery
Cathy Stanley
Glen Fields
EFNEP Specialized Committee
Monica Barnes
Erica Little
Tonya Locklear
Julie Castles
Lisa Troy
Shanita Wooten
Kathy Locklear
Vee Oxendine
Ron Ross
Verondia Tyndal
Lori Washington

VII. Staff Membership

Christy Strickland
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (910) 671-3276
Email: christy_strickland@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide Supervision to Robeson staff and to provide programming in the areas of Food Safety, Healthy lifestyles and Food Preservation.

Kareis Britt
Title: County Extension Office Assistant
Phone: (910) 671-3276
Email: ktbritt@ncsu.edu

Nelson Brownlee
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Farm Management
Phone: (910) 671-3276
Email: nelson_brownlee@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Small Farmers, Recordkeeping, Financial Management, Alternative Crops and Enterprises, Beekeeping

Taylor Chavis
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock
Phone: (910) 671-3276
Email: taylor_chavis@ncsu.edu

Shea Ann DeJarnette
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (910) 671-3276
Email: shea_ann_dejarnette@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: School Enrichment, In-school and After-School clubs, Summer Fun, Camping, Animal Science, Volunteer Coordination, County Programs, Program Funding, Community Service Opportunities, and Organizational Partnering.

Janice Fields
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (910) 671-3276
Email: janice_fields@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide programming in the areas of Food Preparation, Nutrition and Wellness, Food Safety, Food Preservation and Housing

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.

Mack Johnson
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture
Phone: (910) 671-3276
Email: mack_johnson@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Urban and Commercial Horticulture, Greenhouses, Alternative Crops, Pesticide Education for Consumer Agriculture, Recycling, Forestry, Coordinator for Robeson County Farmers Market and Master Gardeners

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

Jessie Jones
Title: County Extension Support Specialist, Agriculture and FCS
Phone: (910) 671-3276
Email: jessie_jones@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Performs all secretarial work for Agricultural and FCS agents.

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

Mac Malloy
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Field Crops
Phone: (910) 671-3276
Email: mac_malloy@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Corn, Soybeans, Cotton, Tobacco, Small Grains, Peanuts, Pesticide Education for Production Agriculture, Wildlife, Coordinator for Robeson County Crop Promotion Association

Wendy Maynor
Title: 4-H Program Associate
Phone: (910) 671-3276
Email: wendy_maynor@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: 4-H Program Assistant: community clubs, volunteer recruiting and training, member recruiting, develop community partnerships.

Stephanie McDonald-Murray
Title: Regional Nutrition Extension Associate - Southeast EFNEP and SNAP-Ed
Phone: (910) 296-2143
Email: stephanie_mcdonald@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Job Description: Provides programmatic supervision to the EFNEP program in the South East District.

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.

Ashley McRae
Title: Program Assistant, EFNEP - Adult
Phone: (910) 671-3276
Email: admcrae@ncsu.edu

Denese Prevatte
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (910) 671-3276
Email: denese_prevatte@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Assistant to County Extension Director. Provides support to 4-H staff and serves as computer contact and webmaster.

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.

Joanna Rogers
Title: Program Assistant, EFNEP - Youth
Phone: (910) 671-3276
Email: jnroger2@ncsu.edu

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

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.

VIII. Contact Information

Robeson County Center
455 Caton Rd
O.P. Owens Agriculture Center
Lumberton, NC 28360

Phone: (910) 671-3276
Fax: (910) 671-6278
URL: http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu