2018 Rutherford County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 24, 2019

I. Executive Summary

The mission of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service-Rutherford County is to provide citizens with research-based educational information in order to improve the quality of their lives. We are the "extension" arm of NC State and NC A&T Universities to the people of Rutherford County. Our educational efforts are offered through many different methods and address the needs and issues most important to our citizens. The Extension program in Rutherford County was guided by a needs assessment that involved staff, Advisory Council members, Extension client group leaders, community leaders, fellow agency personnel and county government partners. This team identified major issues facing Rutherford County. Seven of these were incorporated into our 2018 Plan of Work:

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


In 2018, program efforts included 34,288 contacts with clients. There were 16,178 face to face contacts through one-on-one visits, workshops, meetings, and demonstrations. Additionally, there were 18,110 non face to face contacts that were made through educational newsletters, technical telephone assistance, and e-mail requests. There were thousands of additional non face to face contacts made through weekly newspaper articles and radio programs. These numbers are not easily accessible for reporting. We are blessed with a solid volunteer base that provided 2798 hours of service to Rutherford County Cooperative Extension. These hours, at $24.69 per hour, are valued at $69,083 of service to our organization. These volunteers made an additional 3040 client contacts that aren't listed in the above Extension Agent contacts.

Listed Below are some highlights from each of our program areas:

Horticulture:
The Spring Garden School Symposium organized by Rutherford Master Gardeners had 100+ people in attendance; gardening and landscaping classes were offered. Each participant had 6 contact hours and evaluations reported knowledge and attitude changes in the areas of rose pruning, IPM practices and techniques to name a few topics. We also engaged with 18 individuals who had never participated in an Extension program before.

30 individuals participated in the Fall Gardening class series and 10 of the participants will be continuing into the Master Gardener training course in 2019, gaining us 10 new volunteers for the Master Gardener program. Those who participated in classes reported improved knowledge of subjects including IPM and pest and disease management, native plants and where to plant them and organic methods of gardening. 100% of participants said that they would utilize IPM methods to reduce their fertilizer and pesticide use and scout regularly for pests in their landscapes.

The Rutherford Food Network steering committee met and determined two major projects to pursue for 2018-2019, one of which is the establishment of a community garden. This garden has engaged other community partners such as the Hospital and Town of Rutherfordton and will be able to offer a space for classes and workshops for community building and education as well as have fresh, local produce that will feed families in need.

Over 30 home owners had their landscape issues diagnosed and solutions for their problems determined, saving them around $5000 in costs from damage, pesticide and fertilizers; 8 beginning farmers were assisted in farm planning and enterprise decisions and have continued to improve their practices and sell their products at local markets and stores as well as engage with the existing farming community in our county.

Livestock:
Partnering with Clemson Extension and local ag businesses, we hosted Regional Equine Educational Workshops that targeted 5 NC and 3 upstate SC counties. This workshop focused on pasture forage management and reached nearly 150 equine owners. Based on post workshop surveys, 95% of participants increased knowledge in the areas of efficient grazing management (pasture rotation and forage selection), the importance of soil sampling and soil health to a pasture system, and the importance of forage sampling (knowing what you are feeding your horse based on nutritional requirements).

Hosted 4 different Beef and Dairy promotional events for May Beef Month and June Dairy Month. We set up our tent at Farmer’s markets and grocery stores and gave out samples of beef products and ice cream to consumers, as well as healthy recipes for preparing wholesome meals. These promotional events reached over 1500 consumers and increased knowledge and awareness of how beef and dairy producers strive to produce safe, healthy and wholesome products for the consumer through best management practices learned through Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training.

Continued to assist local cattle producers in a Value-Added Marketing program through the Mountain Cattle Alliance. We shipped 11 tractor trailer loads of cattle (~825 head) valued at $792,000. These calves were sold at premiums ranging from $100-$200/head. At an average of $150/head on 825 head of cattle, that is an additional $123,750 profits back in the pockets of these producers.

Worked with a local producer on a Forage Research Demonstration Plot dealing with seed head suppression in Kentucky 31 Fescue. Fescue has some toxic properties found primarily in the seed head that negatively affect livestock performance. With this demonstration plot, we were able to show producers how they can potentially manage around fescue toxicosis, making their livestock operations more efficient.

Small Ruminant Workshops were held to educate 50+ sheep and goat producers across western NC in the areas of forage management, animal health, genetics and marketing, predator control, and parasite control. Post workshop surveys indicated an increase in knowledge in these areas for 90% of participants. Survey comments also indicated that this workshop was valuable to them and provided feedback for this workshop to be impactful in the future.

Farm City programs were held to increase ag awareness among local leaders and all 4th graders (600+) in Rutherford County. The adult program dealt with agricultural issues both state and nationally, while the 4th grade poster contest theme, "Grow it, Make it, Use it", focused on how the $80 billion NC agricultural industry touches our lives daily with food, fiber and forestry.

Family & Consumer Sciences:
Thirty different cooking and nutrition classes designed to encourage healthier diets reached
130 individuals with 94% of those increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and 46%
preparing food at home more often and using healthier cooking techniques.

Food preservation workshops focused on pickling and fermentation helped 10 individuals
increase knowledge of safe food preservation methods. Post-surveys indicated that 100% of
participants gained knowledge about proper equipment, best storage practices, and
appropriate foods for fermenting; 90% have a better understanding of the role of lactic acid
bacteria in fermenting and have access to additional resources for safely preserving food at
home.

Kids & Chefs summer day camp provided 12 youth with 30 hours of instruction in agriculture,
nutrition, and cooking. Youth practiced skills such as harvesting food, safe food handling,
proper knife skills, healthy cooking methods, and making healthier food choices.

Steps to Health Color Me Healthy program was conducted in 4 preschool classrooms, reaching
62 students with 9 educational sessions. Based on teacher and parent feedback, 92% of
parents observed improvement in their child’s willingness to taste fruits and 88% improvement
in willingness to taste vegetables. Teachers reported seeing similar improvement in their
students’ willingness to try new foods and participation in physical activity.

4-H:
Cooperative Extension also conducts the 4-H youth development program in Rutherford County. 4-H teaches life skills and leadership development to youth ages 6-19 in a myriad of ways. Nearly 10,000 Rutherford County youth & adult volunteers were involved in 4-H programs in 2018. These activities included classes on cooking, sewing, nature, electricity, and art.

We were fortunate to host Speedway to Healthy twice during 2018. We served all county fourth grade students during two different school years reaching a total of 1552 students.Teachers reported that the educational exhibit helped reinforce the classroom nutritional lessons, and both students and teachers became more conscious of their water intake.

Over seventeen different Summer Fun workshops engaged youth ages 5-18 in curricula including Agriculture, STEM, Electricity, Entomology, Equine Science, Expressive Arts, and Cooking. Over 50% of the participants expressed knowledge gained.

4-H Teens are developing leadership skills that allows them to lead on greater platforms. In the past year, three Rutherford County youth served as 4-H West District Officers, while two served as NC State 4-H Officers. In order to achieve these titles, these youth had to work hard to build their skill sets as well as their resumes. They each led with confidence in their leadership abilities, as a result of their 4-H experiences.

II. 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.

III. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

North Carolina's plant production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.

Value* Outcome Description
6Number of crop (all plant systems) producers increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, and/or skills as related to: 1. Best management production practices (cultural, nutrient, and genetics) 2. Pest/insect, disease, weed, wildlife management 3. Financial/Farm management tools and practices (business, marketing, government policy, human resources) 4. Alternative agriculture, bioenergy, and value-added enterprises
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
7Number of crop (all plant systems) producers adopting best management practices, including those practices related to nutrient management, conservation, production, cultivars, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), business management, and marketing
10000Net income gains realized by the adoption of best management practices, including those practices related to nutrient management, conservation, production, cultivars, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), business management, and marketing
7Number of producers reporting increased dollar returns per acre or reduced costs per acre
3Number of producers who adopted a dedicated bioenergy crop
2Number of acres planted to a dedicated bioenergy crop
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

North Carolina's animal production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.

Value* Outcome Description
220Number of animal producers increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, and/or skills as related to: 1. Best management production practices (cultural, nutrient, and genetics) 2. Pest/insect, disease, weed, wildlife management 3. Financial/Farm management tools and practices (business, marketing, government policy, human resources) 4. Alternative agriculture, bioenergy, and value-added enterprises
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
55Number of animal producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
265000Net income gains by producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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.

Value* Outcome Description
444Number of pesticide application credit hours provided
24Number of participants trained in safe home food handling, preservation, or preparation practices
4TOTAL number of food handlers receiving food safety training and education in safe food handling practices (new required data for federal reporting)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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.

Value* Outcome Description
19Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
21Number of youth participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
29Number of adult participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
30Number of hours adult volunteer training conducted
6Number of hours youth volunteer training conducted
8Number new volunteers recruited
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
20Increased number of hours contributed by trained youth volunteers
1335Increased number of hours contributed by trained adult volunteers
5Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
7Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
6Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles beyond Extension, including community boards and task forces
8Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles beyond Extension, including community boards and task forces
5Number of youth volunteers recruiting and/or training new volunteers
8Number of adult volunteers recruiting and/or training new volunteers
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways

Value* Outcome Description
23Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
372Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
107Total number of female participants in STEM program
24Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
3723Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
36Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of entrepreneurship
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
20Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
400Number of youth (students) gaining knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
400Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
36Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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

Value* Outcome Description
75Number of participants improving knowledge, attitude, skills and aspirations regarding gardening and landscape practices including plant selection and placement, turfgrass management, soil management, growing food, water conservation and water quality preservation, storm water and erosion management, green waste management, pest and wildlife management
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
63Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease) management, fertility management, water conservation, water quality preservation and pruning techniques
51800Total cost savings from the use of extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease) management, fertility management, water conservation, water quality preservation and pruning techniques
63Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
48080Cost savings from the appropriate selection of landscape plants
63Number of participants implementing extension-recommended practices to conserve water use and protect water qualtiy
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Youth and adult program participants will make healthy food choices, achieve the recommended amount of physical activity and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases.

Value* Impact Description
70Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
458Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
40Number of participants increasing their physical activity
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 16,063
Non face-to-face** 18,110
Total by Extension staff in 2018 34,173
* Face-to-face contacts include contacts that Extension personnel make directly with individuals through one-on-one visits, meetings, and other activities where staff members work directly with individuals.
** Non face-to-face contacts include contacts that Extension personnel make indirectly with individuals by telephone, email, newsletters, news articles, radio, television, and other means.

V. Designated Grants Received by Extension

Type of GrantAmount
Contracts/Grants $10,600.00
Gifts/Donations $22,175.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $0.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $0.00
Total $32,775.00

VI. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 25.43
4-H: 20 800 400 $ 20,344.00
Advisory Leadership System: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Extension Community Association: 6 132 102 $ 3,357.00
Extension Master Gardener: 15 1,123 528 $ 28,558.00
Other: 123 743 2,010 $ 18,894.00
Total: 164 2798 3040 $ 71,153.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. 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

VIII. Staff Membership

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

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.

April Dillon
Title: Area Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (704) 482-4365
Email: april_dillon@ncsu.edu

Richard Goforth
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (910) 893-7530
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 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.

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

Stephen Randall
Title: Office Support Specialist
Phone: (828) 287-6011
Email: scranda3@ncsu.edu

Cynthia Robbins
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 287-6190
Email: cynthia_robbins@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Youth development programs to build life skills Volunteer development

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.

IX. 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