2020 Rowan County Plan of Work

Approved: January 30, 2020

I. County Background

Cooperative Extension agents (educators) conduct diverse educational programs to support, develop, and enhance sustainable, profitable, safe plant, animal, and food systems. Programs are designed to allow youth and adults, the opportunity to achieve educational excellence equipping them with both life and parenting skills. Integrated educational programs are instrumental for citizens to maintain a healthy weight, as well as prevention of chronic disease. Volunteer and community leadership, along with economic and workforce development, are important issues for Rowan County. Programs are provided in natural resources management, environmental stewardship, energy conservation and emergency and disaster preparedness.

While Rowan County is classified as an urban county of 511 square miles, it has 925 working farms encompassing 118,914 acres. Approximately 40% of the population lives in the rural areas of Rowan County. Strawberry and tomato operations are ranked second and third respectively in North Carolina in total acreage and cash receipts. Field crops consisting of corn, soybeans, small grains, and hay account for 63,000 acres of farmland. The total cash receipts from these commodities account for over 81 million dollars to Rowan County’s total income. Interest in local foods continues to gain momentum with two viable farmers markets contributing over 500,000 dollars in total retail sales. Agritourism is a significant part of domestic tourism providing 15% of the overall impact. The full effect of tourism in Rowan County is $160 million with agritourism estimated at $24 million a year. Rowan County is home to two agritourism farm destinations, North Carolina’s only water buffalo creamery, and three wineries.

The county population had a slight increase in 2019 at 142,000 residents. The county’s unemployment is 3.8%, which is about the average unemployment rate in North Carolina. In Rowan County, 15% of the population live at or below the poverty level. Many challenges are facing the citizens of Rowan County. The emerging opioid crisis has become an issue that is a high priority. Rowan County has an average of 1.12 prescriptions for pain medication per resident, which equals to 84 pills/ resident. This is higher than the state average of 77 pills/ resident. Cooperative Extension is partnering with other County Departments and organizations to address the growing problem of prescription drug abuse. Other critical issues include poverty, lack of jobs and underemployment, chronic disease problems and obesity, loss of productive farmland and open space, and increased energy costs. These issues were prioritized through an environmental scan from advisory and ad hoc committees, governing officials, and local citizens. Targeted matters include decreased prescription drug abuse, eating healthy, improving health, chronic disease reduction, increased consumption of local foods, improving the agricultural and food supply system, environmental stewardship and natural resources, and increasing economic opportunity and business development.

The county commissioners recognize their top issues as increasing economic opportunity and business development; improving the agricultural and food supply system; increasing educational achievement and excellence; and improving health and nutrition. The educational goals and programming efforts of Cooperative Extension continue to dovetail with the goals and aspirations of Rowan County.

II. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

Our family and consumer sciences programs improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

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

Cooperative Extension’s Plan of Work was reviewed and approved by the county manager. The Rowan County manager and commissioners identified increasing economic opportunity and business development; improving education; health and wellness achievement, and excellence, improving the agricultural and food supply system; and improving health and nutrition as their primary goals. These needs identified by the county dovetail with the objectives and environmental scans initiated by Cooperative Extension. County commissioners also receive a yearly report documenting the agents and volunteers ongoing educational efforts. A representative from Cooperative Extension is present at meetings of county department directors reporting on Cooperative Extension’s progress to the manager as well as other county agencies.

IV. Diversity Plan

Cooperative Extension's Diversity Plan for Rowan County is to make a reasonable effort to insure our programs are available to all audiences, including new and under-served groups. Through newspaper, radio and electronic and social media Cooperative Extension reaches out to under-served audiences with our programs. Cooperative Extension has the capability of offering programs in agriculture, 4-H and youth, community development, family living and nutrition for the growing Hispanic/Latino population. Individuals with disabilities also have the opportunity to participate in educational programs. Cooperative Extension Advisory Council committees are committed to have diverse representation including race, gender, and geographic location throughout the county.

V. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods

Providing timely, relevant educational programs and information that meet critical local needs is the foundation of Cooperative Extension’s mission. Relevant educational programs are designed to equip the citizens of Rowan County with the knowledge, skills, and tools to improve their economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and quality of life. Cooperative Extension's program delivery system is a planned and organized mix of delivery methods employed during an educational program. Extension educational methods provide research-based information which 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, pre and post-tests, 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 includes educational methods such as seminars, client visits, fact sheets, newsletters, websites, email, social media and home study kits that serve to support and reinforce learning as well as provide motivation for continued learning. Equipped 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 programming is the commitment to being customer driven and customer focus. As such, in addition to the County Extension Center, Extension educational programs are delivered electronically, in community centers, local schools, farms, and other locations in order for our programs to be available and accessible to, and fully utilized by, the citizens of Rowan 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 Rowan County. Evaluation methods are the way we make those observations about first and foremost whether any changes occurred, as a result, our educational programs, and subsequently 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, telephone interviews, pre and post tests and/or surveys to measure a change in knowledge gained, the application of that knowledge, the 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). These impacts are measured for both the long and short-term learning. In this annual plan (short-term), we have outlined financial impact and cost benefit analysis as our primary evaluation methods. Another value held in Extension is actively listening to and conversing with targeted learners. Therefore, this plan also incorporates qualitative evaluation methods such as testimonials from program participants, and interviews and focus groups with participants.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Rowan County Extension Advisory Council
Gina Blandino
Teresa Herman
Paul Eudy
Stephanie Frisbee
Libby Watson
Daniel Overcash
Amber Phillips
Jim Greene
Debbie Scott
Cheryl Corell
Extension Community Association Rowan County Council
Janice Evans
Ruth Julian
Rebecca Lyerly
Anne Zaffino
Becky Barringer
Specialty Crops/Farmers Market
Mike Miller
Chantelle Johnson
David Correll
Chase Reynolds
Amy Smith
Kristine Turco
Paula Herion
Carol Corken
Pat Killian
Joyce Goodman
Tim Sloop

4-H Parents and Leaders Advisory Board
Carole Massey
Tom Barlow
Rebecca Barlow
Gina Blandino
Becky Causby
Jennifer White
Sherry Hill
Beth Stebe
Lance Wallace
Diana Wallace
Cheryl Oster
Maggie Boreman
Leigh Anne Powlas
Kris Mares

Rowan County Livestock Specialized Committee

Carrie Barnhardt
Beverly Phifer
Corrie Connolly
Steven Wetmore
Rowan County Cattlemen Advisory Board
Mark Mauldin
Artie Watson
Frank King
Oscho Deal
Kim Starnes
Lee Goodnight
Stephanie Frisbee
Jim Greene

Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee
Biff Yost
Michelle Patterson
Elaine Spaulding
Corrie Connally
Libby Watson
Beverly Pfifer
NC Farm School
Gary Bullen
Jennifer Rosecrans
Kathryn Holmes
David Fogerty
Mike Tate
Derek Washburn
Gary Dunn
Rowan County Agriculture Advisory Board (Farmland Preservation Board (VAD)
Kim Starnes
Mark Mauldin
Randy Elium
Mark Hammil
Michael Shepherd
Chris Sloop
Jason Walker
Rowan County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Association Board of Directors
Katherine Jones
Debbie Scott
Terri Myers
Teresa Harris
Dawn Holshouser
Carol Comer
Carole Massey
Sue Davis
Randy Cox
Rowan County Food Advisory Committee
Paul Eudy
Amy Smith
Teresa Mowery
Rowan County 4H Specialized Committee
Carole Massey
Neil Pfifer
Amanda Harkey
Field Crops Specialized Committee
Bryan Moore
Jenny Carleo
Brad Graham
Jason Smith

VII. Staff Membership

Amy-Lynn Albertson
Title: County Extension Director and Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture
Phone: (704) 216-8970
Email: amy_albertson@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Administration, Ornamental Horticulture, Forestry, Master Gardener Coordinator, Pesticide Coordinator

Laura Allen
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (704) 216-8970
Email: laura_allen@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for managing the total 4-H program in Rowan County.

Jenny Carleo
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Grain Crops
Phone: (704) 873-0507
Email: jscarleo@ncsu.edu

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.

Toi Degree
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (704) 216-8970
Email: toi_degree@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Food & Nutrition, Health & Wellness, Food safety, Food Presevation & Extension & Community Association (ECA) Liaison Agent.

Michael Fine
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture
Phone: (704) 216-8970
Email: mofine@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Local Foods, Fruits, Vegetables, Specialty Crops

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

Stacey Jones
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Commercial Nursery and Greenhouse
Phone: (704) 920-3310
Email: stacey_jones@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: I work with commercial greenhouses and nurseries to help them with growing related issues. These issues range from pests (insect, disease, and weeds), substrates, nutrition, and other miscellaneous topics.

Peggie Lewis Joyce
Title: Area 4-H Agent - Central Region
Phone: (336) 242-2080
Email: peggie_lewis@ncsu.edu

Craig Mauney
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables and 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. (My office is located at the Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center not the Henderson County Extension Center as is noted by IT on this website. Please do not contact the Henderson County Extension Center as I am not located there.)

Melva Menius
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (704) 216-8970
Email: melva_menius@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Assist Director and 4-H.

Brooke Peeler
Title: County Extension Support Specialist
Phone: (704) 216-8970
Email: brooke_peeler@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Part time employee - available from 10-2 M-F

Ashley Robbins
Title: Area Specialized Agent - Dairy
Phone: (919) 542-8203
Email: ashley_robbins@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Marti Day and I are the Area Specialized Dairy Agents - the county-based arm of the Cooperative Extension Dairy Team. We are out here in the counties to help you set and reach your farm, family and business goals. We have collaborative expertise in the areas of Waste Management, Udder Health, Cow Comfort, Nutrition and Forage Management with specialties in (Ashley)Reproduction, Records Management, Animal Health and (Marti)Alternative Markets, Organic Dairy, Grazing Management, and On-farm Processing. We hope to provide comprehensive educational programs for our farmers, consumers and youth for every county across the state. We are here for you by phone, email or text and look forward to working with you!

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.

Morgan Watts
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock and Row Crops
Phone: (704) 216-8970
Email: morgan_watts@ncsu.edu

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

Rowan County Center
2727 Old Concord Rd
Salisbury, NC 28146

Phone: (704) 216-8970
Fax: (704) 216-8995
URL: http://rowan.ces.ncsu.edu