2018 Rutherford County Plan of Work

Approved: March 8, 2018

I. County Background

Rutherford County is located in the foothills of North Carolina within approximately one hour's drive of Asheville to the west, Charlotte to the east, and the Greenville Spartanburg metro area of South Carolina to the south. According to data estimates from the US Census, Rutherford County's population is 67,810. This population is 85% White, 10% Black, and 3% Latino or Hispanic, with the remainder of the population being American Indian, Asian, or bi-racial. There are 27,466 total households in the county, with 50% being married couple households and 13.3% being single female head of household with no husband present. 15.8% of the population are seniors aged 60 or over.

Educational achievement figures show that around 19% of the adult population have less than a high school education. 81.4% have earned a high school diploma or higher, with 16.4% of this group earning a Bachelor's Degree or higher.

Rutherford County's median household income is $41,000 and the per capita income is $28.283. 23.9% of individuals are listed below the poverty level. 18% of the population receives food stamps. Rutherford County's child overweight/obesity rate is 29.5%, while the adult obesity rate is 27%, which does not include overweight. Current unemployment in Rutherford County is around 7.3%. Our housing units are 72.1% owner occupied and 27.9% renter occupied. The median value of owner occupied housing is $98,400, with approximately 50.9% of these structures valued under $100,000. 74.3% of all housing structures were built before 1980.

Around 60,000 acres are in production agriculture in Rutherford County. There are 638 farms according to the Census of Agriculture. Estimated farm cash receipts are $20,108,000 across the livestock and horticultural industries. Estimated revenue from the timber/wood products industry is 127,000,000. Average farm size is 93 acres, with 96.3% of farms being family owned.

By utilizing input from Advisory Council members, Specialized Committees, Extension client group leaders, community leaders, fellow agency personnel and county government partners, Rutherford County Cooperative Extension Agents were able to develop and implement programs to address needs/priorities identified by these groups. Agents then matched these priorities to the major state programs. While realizing we cannot fully address all aspects of these issues, agents have selected those aspects of the county priority issues which can best be addressed by educational programming in the following areas:

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

Cooperative Extension Agents in Rutherford County will adjust these focus programs each year and mirror them in their individual plans of work. This process will provide research based educational programs that will address these county priority issues to improve the quality of life for citizens of Rutherford 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.

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

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

Cooperative Extension in Rutherford County is proud to be a unit of county government, and to collaborate with the community in ways that further our mission.

Our plan links with the county strategic plan in several areas. Both are committed to maximizing agricultural income and improving economic opportunities for new and existing agribusiness. We also link with the county plan in emphasizing that youth develop their full potential and help them develop life skills. These life skills will help them meet critical goals such as graduating High School and continuing their education to become a productive citizen.

Wellness and healthy living are goals for citizens of all ages in Rutherford County, and Extension's nutrition education and parenting education roles will link very well with these initiatives in the Realize Rutherford Strategic Plan.

Conservation of natural resources and good water quality are also items that coincide in Extension's plan of work and the county strategic plan. Preserving farmland and open space resources, and being responsible stewards of our water and energy resources also link well in both plans.

In times of natural disaster, Extension will be a resource for the county in linking with the agricultural sector and rural communities. Our network of client groups and farmers throughout the county will help us spread information quickly, and the county's emergency management resources will help us link up with citizens who need our expertise in critical situations.

IV. Diversity Plan

Cooperative Extension in Rutherford County strives to serve all citizens without regard to ethnic, cultural, economic status or other divisions. To execute this idea we plan to advertise programming in a manner that reaches all intended audience members. Reasonable accommodations will be made to include any person with disabilities in programs they wish to attend.

All reasonable efforts will be made to reach under-served audiences such as Latino and African-American citizens by targeted advertising of programs in publications or areas where these audiences can be reached. All newsletters and program advertisements will carry the university approved diversity statement, and a welcoming atmosphere to all walk in clients will be maintained.

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 Rutherford 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 mix of educational methods used during an educational program. Extension educational methods are the specific ways by which research-based information is disseminated to 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. These variety of methods 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 Rutherford 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 Rutherford 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 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 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 methods. 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

Consumer Horticulture
Ramona Howell
Nancy Womack
Barbara Neuman
Tom Walker
Stephanie Howard
Debbie Clark
Rutherford County Advisory Leadership Council
Carole McDaniel
Jim Cowan
Jim Edwards
Jason Byrd
Lisa Higgins
Bob Young
Jill Miracle
Alan Toney
Wendy Shumaker
Kisha McDowell
Amanda Maishman
Yanet Cisneros
Barbara Mensch
Livestock and Forage Committee
Shannon Skipper
Ben Bradley
Jerry Brantley
Ronald Hawkins
Javan Calton
Bill Davis
Danny Camp
Johnny Bradley
Jim Carpenter
James Robbins
Kevin Jackson
Jerry Smith
Ken Ramsey
Community Development Board
Kay Carswell - Chair
Ron Gurley
Javan Calton
Barbara Evans
Harry Deaton
Diane Murray
Karen Laughter

Family & Consumer Sciences Committee
Cathy Holmes
Frances McAnally
Ellen Lopresti
Ruby Ham
Karen Laughter
Betty Harring
4-H Leaders Committee
Beth Corbin
Ginger Ruppe
Suzanne Gibson
Kiowa Cilone
John Cilone
Yanna Fishman
Candi Lovelace
Misty Ruppe
Amanda Maishman
Barbara Mensch
Cindy Dotson
Misty Yelton
Hillary Beam
Kim Swafford

VII. Staff Membership

Jeff Bradley
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (828) 287-6010
Email: jeff_bradley@ncsu.edu

Brent Buchanan
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Dairy
Phone: (315) 212-1277
Email: babuchan@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Dairy Extension Programming in Western North Carolina Counties of Haywood, Madison, Buncombe, Transylvania, Henderson, Yancey, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford, Mitchell, Avery, Burke, Cleveland, Watauga, Caldwell, Catawba, Lincoln, Gaston, Ashe, Wilkes, Alexander, Iredell, Alleghany, Surry, Yadkin, and Davie.

Hannah Bundy
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Consumer and Commercial Hort
Phone: (828) 287-6015
Email: hannah_bundy@ncsu.edu

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.

Tracy Davis
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (828) 287-6020
Email: tracy_davis@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for the development and implementation of relevant family and consumer educational programs for Rutherford County citizens. Program areas include nutrition, active lifestyles, wellness and self-management, food safety, home food preservation, local food systems, meal planning, shopping, and cooking.

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

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

Craig Mauney
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables & 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.

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

Cynthia Robbins
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 287-6190
Email: cynthia_robbins@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.

Amanda Taylor
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Nursery and Greenhouse, Western Region
Phone: (828) 475-2915
Email: amanda_jo_taylor@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides programming to commercial nursery and greenhouse producers in Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey Counties.

Terry Walker
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (828) 287-6432
Email: tkwalker@ncsu.edu

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

Rutherford County Center
193 Callahan-Koon Rd
Suite 164
Spindale, NC 28160

Phone: (828) 287-6010
Fax: (828) 288-4036
URL: http://rutherford.ces.ncsu.edu