2018 Stokes County Plan of Work

Approved: February 2, 2018

I. County Background

Stokes County is a rural county located in the central Piedmont region of the state, North of Winston Salem, on the Virginia-North Carolina state line. The people in Stokes County live in a beautiful region which contains a small east-west traversing mountain range within its borders. It is the location of Hanging Rock State Park and the Dan River flows through the county affording a wealth of outdoor recreation opportunities for its citizens and many visitors. The county is 456 square miles and has a population of 46,588 people, which 94% are white, 5% are black, 2.7% Hispanic and .3% American Indian. In 2014 , Stokes County had an unemployment rate of 4.8% which is down from 6.9% in 2013. It has fallen 4% in just two years which signals an upswing in the regional economy. A large majority, 67% of the citizens commute out of the county for work, and have a median income of $42,703 which is also the trend of the national economy of more jobs but wages are not as high as prior to the great recession. This year's median income is a drop of $6,431.
Stokes County lost a valuable source of tax-based revenue when R.J. Reynolds Tobacco decided to remove its stored tobacco from the large storage warehouses at the south end of the county. The Stokes County Economic Development Director is no longer employed with Stokes County and the Planning Director is now serving a dual role of Planning Director and Economic Development. Agriculture remains an important industry supplying $59 million in gross domestic product and providing 23% of the local jobs. The Stokes Extension Center will be building a strong relationship with the County Manager and Planning Director to keep them abreast of the agriculture industry improvements. Our long standing relationship with Forsyth Tech Stokes Campus will continue as we collaborate on new educational opportunities for offering job seeking skills and training.
The Extension Staff, in consultation with our Extension Advisory Council, local County Government and Specialized Advisory Committees, will continue to communicate and discuss additional areas of concern for the citizens where Extension can focus their attention. We have surveyed our Advisory Council annually and have regular communication with the local County Manager.

Stokes County has a large number of small and limited resource farmers that are looking for outlets to sell their products. Work shall continue to provide support and training for farmers who sell at the King Farmer’s Market and with Carolina Markets on-line marketing program. Additionally, the Master Gardener program will be continued in 2018 having 20 volunteers to work assisting the local center and providing community service and new course offerings to the citizens. The Master Gardener program will take place in the western section of the county in partnership with Surry County to develop regional cohesion among groups.

4-H youth development has added two clubs in 2017 and will continue to seek partners and opportunities to add more. Currently there are 61 youth in traditional 4-H clubs, 256 other one-time event members, and 242 youth served in our summer programming. In 2018, we shall continue Stokes County youth attending a 4-H camp with sponsorship support for youth, and will be include nature activities in summer programming. 4-H will also continue teaching STEM curriculum in elementary schools, outdoor education and robotics, along with many other activities. There is growth for 4-H youth to participate in livestock events through county 4-H clubs and in regional activities.

Pest control continues to be a major issue with horticultural crops. New pesticide chemistry preserves natural enemies by killing a small range of pests. The difficulty is that growers also find that old pests emerging that were once controlled by older, broad-spectrum pesticides. Extension will focus on how to assist growers in managing these emerging old pests, as well as the new ones. Individual site visits and pesticide training classes will be a regular feature of this work. The crops agent will continue to provide producers his time and expertise. The Horticulture agent will regularly work in pesticide management as well.

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 agricultural crops industry makes major contributions to local communities and the state’s economy. In 2014, the estimated farm gate value of crops was $4.72 billion, placing NC as the 17th largest in the nation. North Carolina is one of the most diversified agriculture states in the nation. The state's 50,200 farmers grow over 80 different commodities, utilizing 8.4 million of the state's 31 million acres to furnish consumers a dependable and affordable supply of food and fiber. Tobacco remains one of the state's most predominant farm commodities. North Carolina produces more tobacco and sweet potatoes than any other state and ranks second in Christmas tree cash receipts. The state also produces a significant amount of cucumbers for pickles, lima beans, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, strawberries, bell peppers, blueberries, chili peppers, fresh market cucumbers, snap beans, cabbage, eggplant, watermelons, pecans, peaches, squash, apples, sweet corn, tomatoes, and grapes. There is continual technological change and the relative profitability of individual farm enterprises changes over time; therefore, farmers must respond by modifying their farming operations. Changes in consumer demand create new opportunities for producers. Growth in alternative forms of agriculture will include, among others, organic and niche market production. Educational and training programs for producers of plant agricultural products and services will enhance their ability to achieve financial and lifestyle goals and to enhance economic development locally, regionally and statewide.
North Carolina's animal production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.
North Carolina's livestock industry makes major contributions to local communities and the state’s economy. In 2014, the estimated farm gate value of livestock, dairy, and poultry was $8.85 billion, placing NC as the 7th largest in the nation. Hogs & pigs have historically been an important part of North Carolina agriculture. The industry has changed dramatically since the 1980s from the small farm raising a few hogs to large confinement type operations. North Carolina's number of cattle & calves on farms has remained relatively stable throughout time. Milk cow inventory and milk production have continued to decline in the state. Unlike other commodities, broiler production in North Carolina is increasing throughout the state. There is continual technological change and the relative profitability of individual farm enterprises changes over time; therefore, farmers must respond by modifying their farming operations. Changes in consumer demand create new opportunities for producers. Growth in alternative forms of agriculture will include, among others, organic, niche market production, and pasture-raised livestock. Educational and training programs for producers of animal agricultural products and services will enhance their ability to achieve financial and lifestyle goals and to enhance economic development locally, regionally and statewide.
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.
Farmers will increase their capacity to supply product for local food sales through market planning efforts, producer and consumer education, beginning farmer training programs and local market infrastructure development. The fastest growing area of consumer demand in agriculture continues to be organic. Farmers' markets continue to expand as do multiple efforts in local sustainable agriculture. Nationally, "Buy Local, Buy Fresh" movements have emerged in the face of concerns about the risks involved in long distance transportation of industrialized food production. Increasingly, public officials and business leaders see promotion of local farm products as good public policy and local economic development. Additionally, individuals will learn to supplement their current diet by growing their own fruits and vegetables as individuals or as community groups.
Youth and adults will address community issues and/or challenges through volunteerism.
Youth and adult volunteers in North Carolina contribute thousands of hours each year to strengthen communities and create strong foundations for the future. As these individuals engage in service, they are gaining new skills, generating new programs to serve their communities, building successful organizations, and fostering an ethic of service. Cooperative Extension is poised to support the development of interpersonal skills, leadership experiences, and content knowledge to ensure that citizens are prepared to engage in meaningful service throughout the lifespan. Current research suggests that youth and adult participation positively impacts civic engagement and contributes to the development of leadership capacities. With its presence in every county, Cooperative Extension is uniquely positioned to contribute to building a stronger ethic of service among youth and adults.
Community members, organizations and local government will engage in collaborative dialog and decision-making to build economically, socially and environmentally resilient communities. This will be done through inclusive engagement, partnership building, and/or community planning.
Throughout North Carolina, communities that come together to collaboratively address issues and/or interests are enhancing the community's quality of life and its economic, social and environmental resiliency. The state's growing population and economy is producing significant changes in its communities and in some cases resulting in the emergence of new communities. The perspectives, capacity and skills of all community members are essential to aligning community decisions and actions with local needs, assets and priorities. NC Cooperative Extension has an important role in engaging and supporting the ongoing work of citizens, organizations, and communities in decision-making, and strategic dialog to influence positive public policy, foster development of partnerships, create empowered communities, be prepared to address the high potential for natural and human-caused disasters.
Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways
We are living in a new economy powered by technology, fueled by information and driven by knowledge. Extension programs provide opportunities for youth and adults to improve their level of education and increase their skills that enable them to be competitive in our global society and workforce.
Consumers and communities will enhance the value of plants, animals, and landscapes while conserving valuable natural resources and protecting the environment.
Residential, commercial and public entities will make decisions regarding plant selection, placement and management that will decrease water consumption, preserve and improve water quality, mitigate storm water contaminants, reduce erosion, energy consumption, and greenwaste, expand wildlife habitat, improve real estate value, and improve diet and nutrition of consumers. The horse and "farmer lifestyle" industry will continue to grow and have an increasing impact on North Carolina's economy, while protecting the environment. The NCDA&CS reports that 65,000 horse producers own over 225,000 horses which annually generates over $704 million of gross revenue from training, showing, boarding and breeding establishments in addition to agri-business sales of horse-related products. The total economic impact of the NC green industry is $8.6 billion, involving 151,982 employees, and 120,741 acres of production (Green Industry Council, 2006). North Carolina residential consumers spend $5.9 billion dollars per year on garden and landscape related expenses (Green Industry Council, 2006). For 2007, North Carolina's population is estimated to be 8,968,800 (LINC). The population grew by 1,323,288 (15%), between 1997 and 2007 and it is projected to grow by another 1,330,055 (13%), over the next ten years (LINC). Over 50% of the population now lives in urban areas. Despite evidence of the ecological and financial benefits, environmentally responsible landscaping strategies are not being implemented widely. Renovating a landscape to incorporate water conserving strategies may result in using 36% less water. Urban water run-off accounts for the majority of water pollution, mostly pesticides and fertilizers, that does not come from a specific industrial source. Selection of well-adapted plants, effective pest management, and appropriate care and feeding of plants will greatly reduce dependence on fertilizers and pesticides. Rain water that is not absorbed by the soil becomes erosive storm water runoff, which transports pollutants such as fertilizer, pesticides, sediment, motor oil, litter, and animal waste to local streams and rivers. Landscape designs will include rain gardens and other runoff catchment facilities (underground cisterns, etc.) that are attractive and easy to maintain in residential areas. Homeowners will learn that proper plant selection and placement can reduce winter heating bills by as much as 15% and summer cooling bills by as much as 50 percent, while reducing the need to prune over-sized plants. Wild habitat areas are rapidly being converted into housing and commercial properties, displacing native plants and animals. Choosing native or adapted plants that provide food and shelter creates a haven for butterflies, birds, lizards, and other animals. Edible landscaping can increase the amount and expand the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed.
Youth and adult program participants will make healthy food choices, achieve the recommended amount of physical activity and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases.
Many North Carolinians are affected by chronic disease and conditions that compromise their quality of life and well-being. Heart disease, stroke and cancer continue to be leading causes of death in our state. In addition, obesity and obesity related chronic diseases such as diabetes continue to rise at alarming rates. Healthy eating and physical activity are critical to achieve optimal health. Many North Carolinians have diets that are too high in calories and too low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Portion sizes, foods eaten away-from-home and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages continue to rise. In addition, most North Carolinians do not engage in regular physical activity. The prevalence of overweight and obesity has nearly doubled in the past 10 years. If the trend of overweight is not slowed, it will eliminate the progress we have made in reducing the burden of weigh-related chronic disease. One in every three US children born after 2000 will become diabetic unless many more people start eating less and exercising more. The cost of obesity in North Carolina in health care costs alone is over 2 billion dollars. There are many proposed reasons for the obesity epidemic, however unhealthy eating and physical inactivity are widely recognizes as primary contributors to the problem. Those who make healthy food choices and are physically active are more likely to achieve and maintain a healthy weight as well reduce chronic diseases. Ultimately, this will lead to reduction in health care costs, increased longevity, greater productivity and improved quality of life.

III. Relationship to County Government Objectives

We will be carrying out these programs throughout the 2018 year in collaboration with our advisory leadership and county partners to reach our goals. Stokes County Cooperative Extension continues to have an excellent working relationship with county government. The County Manager stays abreast of the programming and impacts made by Extension in the county. Stokes County does not currently have a strategic plan that links to the Extension Plan of Work. The county did develop a five year capital spending plan which we presented our requests.

IV. Diversity Plan

The Extension office in Stokes County is committed to providing educational programs to all citizens of the county. Special efforts are made to advertise, market and target specific groups when appropriate. Programs are advertised in mass through newsletters, newspapers, flyers, etc. as appropriate. Minority populations in Stokes County are small and extra efforts are made to advertise to these groups, such as through the Walnut Cove Senior Center and other outlets. Personal contacts are made with individuals and through minority group leaders in the communities across the county. We have a diverse membership on our advisory council and shall seek building new volunteer clubs with members of the African American and Hispanic communities. We have made in roads to the foster care youth, the local food banks and new low income health building planned for the Pine Hall community.

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 Stokes 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 eclectic mix of educational methods used during an educational program. Extension educational methods are the specific ways by which research-based information 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, 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 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 focus. 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 Stokes 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 Stokes 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

Extension Advisory Leadership Council
Sue Mitchell
Sue Jarvis
John Barnes
Joan Barnes
Jay Mitchell
Sharon Hartman
Brad Rice
Rick Morris
Horticulture Advisory Committee
Wayne Flippen
Don Bennett
Ron Simmons
Jay Mitchell
Ray Tugel
Cheryl Ferguson
Livestock and Forages Advisory Committee
Austin Armstrong
Jessica Armstrong
Mark Bray
Marilynn Lankford
Ronnie Lankford
Darryl Lester
Tilda Lindsey
Jerry Mitchell
Clay Tuttle

VII. Staff Membership

Carl Mitchell
Title: County Extension Director & Ext Agent, Agriculture - Livestock & Field Crops
Phone: (336) 593-8179
Email: ctmitch4@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.

Taylor Furr
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (336) 593-8179
Email: taylor_furr@ncsu.edu

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

Tim Hambrick
Title: Area Agent, Agriculture
Phone: (336) 703-2857
Email: tim_hambrick@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Area Field Crop Agent for Forsyth, Stokes, and Surry, and Yadkin counties. Responsibilities include educational programming and research in flue cured tobacco, corn, small grain, and soybean production.

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

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: Extension 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.

Rachel McDowell
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer & 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.

Amy McKenzie
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (336) 593-8179
Email: amy_mckenzie@ncsu.edu

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

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

Stokes County Center
700 N Main St
Danbury, NC 27016

Phone: (336) 593-8179
Fax: (336) 593-8790
URL: http://stokes.ces.ncsu.edu