2018 Swain County Plan of Work

Approved: January 10, 2018

I. County Background

Swain County is located in the southwestern mountains of North Carolina. It is the home of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is a rural mountain county with abundant natural resources, a mild, temperate, and diverse climate with some of the most scenic beauty of the southern Appalachian Mountains. The county is a desirable place to live for native residents and retirees from others areas, especially Florida. Swain County is a popular tourist destination located 65 miles from Asheville, 150 miles from Atlanta, 100 miles from Knoxville and three hours from Charlotte. One of the unique features of Swain County is the amount of federal ownership of land in the county. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Nantahala National Forest, Fontana Lake (TVA reservoir) and state game-lands amount to over 80% of the land area of Swain County, which creates challenges for tax base increase and economic development in some respects. Economically, tourism is king along with other industry such as timber, technology, secondary service and shipping increasing (FEDEX). The tourism draw is the Smoky Mountain Railroad, Trout Fishing, Mountain Biking, Hiking, Rafting and Camping.

The population of Swain County is currently estimated at approximately 14,434 in 2015. The recent economic development and growth of The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City and the Harrah's Cherokee Casino has lead to additional increases in tourism and resident population. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the whitewater rafting industry in the Nantahala Gorge also have a great economic impact on the economy within the county. Unemployment in the county is 10.5 % as of January 2016. This is down from one of the highest in the region and state between 14% - 17% as of Autumn 2012. Swain County is a Tier 1 county according the state of North Carolina, which means it is an impoverished county with an overall poverty rate of about 16.2% in 2015. This has created a demand on our office with additional programming and assistance in gardening, food preservation, local food systems, youth development, community development, health insurance assistance (SHIIP) and leadership.

An Needs Assessment (Delphi Test) was initiated in the winter and concluded in the spring of 2013. The assessment identified several issues that can be addressed by Cooperative Extension. This Needs Assessment utilized several methods to collect information. These methods included: mailed and direct surveys, personal interviews, focus groups, and results from available data. Information was gathered from the general public, clients, growers, farmers, youth, advisory groups and others. This Environmental Scanning - Delphi Method was used to identify the trends within the county in order to identify emerging trends and issues that extension can help address. We are still looking at this assessment even in 2017. We implement a new NCSU Needs Assessment in March 2018 to help guide the future Swain Extension work from 2018 and beyond.

The Needs Assessment asked Individuals to rank a number of issues according to their importance. The Extension staff analyzed the results and a ranking was developed based on the highest scoring issues/needs. Based on the final scores the Needs Assessment identified several major issues. These included: Environmental Stewardship, Improving Health and Nutrition, Youth Development Needs and Improving Agriculture Systems. These needs are addressed by Agent's IPOA and work is being done in these areas. More and more, we look for direction from the book "The People and the Profession-Selected Memories of Veteran Extension Agents" to guide our work. This means in 2018 that we are going to continue to "strive to revive" traditional extension programs in agriculture and food, because at our Christmas Staff Retreat in December 2016 we as a staff determined that Swain County has issues in apathy, drugs, poor parenting, lack of commitment and other social ills that we feel a formal gardening program could address work ethic and responsibility to youth and their families. This also fits well with the NC State Extension Strategic Plan.

Many requests come from the public through multiple communication avenues, which we always strive to address and solve. However there are rare occasions when we have to direct the public to another source for help like the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and close partner agencies with Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).

Swain County Cooperative Extension will address these issues in numerous ways. In the area of Environmental Stewardship, programs will target environmental and conservation education primarily, along with work in natural resources management such as ponds and wildlife . Programs addressing health and nutrition will include healthy eating, physical activity and chronic disease. Community and Leadership development and Family and Consumer Science will focus on heritage tourism, hospitality and customer service and community pride. In the area of Youth Development, programs on life skills, school to career (youth and adults), leadership development, nature and science studies and critical thinking will be utilized. Needs related to Agriculture and Horticulture will be addressed with programs on cultural practices, master gardener (MG), farm and business management, economic/environmental sustainability, alternative crops, marketing, safety an security of food and farm and many other topics.

Cooperative Extension has the resources and expertise to address these issues in Swain County. Our educational programs address the needs and issues most important to local citizens. We provide relevant, responsive and inclusive programs that result in positive changes in the lives of our clientele. We utilize advanced information technology for educational program delivery, communications and accessing research-based information. Our staff is committed to lifelong learning, individual and community empowerment and inclusiveness. We strive to work by the "Extension Workers Professional Creed" of Epsilon Sigma Phi. We are also following the 4-H Girls Tomato Clubs of yesteryear where the youth learn leadership development through agriculture and food programs. The Educate, Demonstrate, Guide and Empower (EDGE) model adopted from the Boy Scouts of America organization is also practiced by Swain Extension, which will be the practice again in 2018.

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.
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.
Training and educational programs for farmers, agricultural workers, food handlers, and consumers will provide research-based programming, materials, information and expertise to compel these individuals to implement practices relating to the overall safety and security for the food supply and farming systems. Components of this include on-farm, packinghouse, and transportation management, retail and food service establishments, and consumer’s homes. Therefore targeted audiences include farmers and agricultural workers and their families, food handlers and workers (both amateur and commercial), transporters, processors, business operators, food service and retail staff, supervisors of any food facility, long term care facility staff and individuals who purchase, prepare and serve food in their homes. With an estimated 76 million foodborne illnesses annually, costing an estimated $1.4 trillion, food safety highlights a specific area of risk to be addressed by Cooperative Extension. The recent produce-related foodborne illness outbreaks have brought public attention to a problem that has been increasing nationally for the last ten years. The issues of foodborne illness and food safety pose immediate risks for farmers affecting the areas of economics, consumer demand, and market access. Because no processing or kill steps are involved with produce that is typically eaten raw, the best measures to limit microorganisms and fresh produce related illness are to prevent microbes from contaminating the product. Practices like Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), Good Handling Practices (GHPs), and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) represent a systematic preventive approach to food safety, protecting agricultural products as they move from farm to retail and restaurants and finally to families. While there is currently no legal requirements for growers to implement GAPs, buyers have responded to the public concern by requiring their produce growers to adhere to current guidelines and possibly even require GAPs certification. The main areas of concern incorporate production, harvesting, packing, and transporting produce in the areas of water quality, manure management, domestic and wildlife management, worker health and hygiene, transportation, traceability, and documentation. For North Carolina growers to be competitive and produce safe product, it is important that they gain knowledge about and implement food safety programs that minimize physical, chemical and biological hazards Food safety risks do not stop at primary production. As risks associated with pathogens can occur at many junctions between primary production and consumption, food safety is a truly farm-to-fork issue. The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have defined 5 factors that lead to foodborne illness outbreaks: Inadequate cooking or processing procedures; improper storage and holding temperatures, cross-contamination between potentially contaminated raw materials and ready-to-eat foods (either directly or through poor sanitation); and poor implementation of personal hygiene practices. The preventative steps targeting risk reduction taken at each of the components making up the food supply chain are critical in preventing food-borne illness. Educational programs including ServSAFE, School HACCP workshops, food safety at childcare and senior centers, and targeted farm-to-fork food safety inclusion for all food handlers is necessary for important for advances in knowledge and implementation of preventative programs. Equally important is that families and children have a secure food supply. Hunger in American households has risen by 43 percent over the last five years, according to an analysis of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data released in the report "Household Food Security in the United States, 2004." The analysis, completed by the Center on Hunger and Poverty at Brandeis University, shows that more than 7 million people have joined the ranks of the hungry since 1999. The USDA report says that 38.2 million Americans live in households that suffer directly from hunger and food insecurity, including nearly 14 million children. That figure is up from 31 million Americans in 1999. Limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and food-insecure individuals, families and communities will be provided with information and opportunities to enhance household food, diet and nutritional security. Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the United States, and consistently ranks as the first, second or third most deadly industry along with mining and construction. Agriculture is unique in that the work and home place are often the same, exposing both workers and family members to hazards. In the United States on average each year, there are 700 deaths and 140,000 injuries to those who work in agriculture, defined as farming, forestry and fishing. Farmers, farmworkers and their families are at high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries (primarily from tractor roll-overs, machinery entanglements, and animal handling incidents), musculo-skeletal conditions, work-related lung diseases, noise-induced hearing loss, heat stress and heat stroke, pesticide exposure and illness, skin diseases, behavioral health issues, and certain cancers associated with chemical use and prolonged sun exposure. The health and safety of migrant and seasonal farmworkers are complicated by other conditions such as infectious disease, hypertension, and diabetes, as well as cultural and language barriers. Farmers and farmworkers alike are subject to lack of access to health care. Agricultural injury and illness are costly, with total US annual costs reaching $4.5 billion and per farm costs equaling $2,500, or 15% of net income. Median health care coverage for farm families is $6,000 per year. In North Carolina, 27% of farm families do not have health insurance, while 29% of farmers do not have health insurance. Many others have health care coverage with high annual deductibles and high premiums. Agromedicine is a comprehensive, collaborative approach involving both agricultural and health scientists to develop solutions addressing the health and safety issues of the agricultural community through research, education and outreach. The North Carolina Agromedicine Institute, a partnership of NC State University, NC A&T State University and East Carolina University in collaboration with others, develops and evaluates effective programs to reduce injury and illness in agriculture, forestry and fishing. One such program is called Certified Safe Farm (CSF) and AgriSafe. CSF and AgriSafe were first developed and researched in Iowa. CSF and AgriSafe are being adapted to North Carolina agriculture by the NC Agromedicine Institute and its Cooperative Extension collaborators. Certified Safe Farm combines AgriSafe health services (wellness and occupational health screenings and personal protection equipment selection and fit services) conducted by trained AgriSafe health providers, on-farm safety reviews conducted by trained Extension agents, and community education and outreach to achieve safety and health goals established by participating farmers and their employees and families. Insurance incentives and safety equipment cost-share programs for participating farmers are still being developed. Other ongoing educational programs addressing agricultural health and safety include farm safety days for children, youth, or families, employee hands-on farm safety training, the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program for youth, and youth ATV operator safety certification programs.
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.
North Carolinians will make decisions and adopt practices that implement effective resource protection and conservation.
The natural resources in North Carolina are an important asset that benefit all citizens, but many citizens are unaware of the consequences of actions and practices they implement. The continued population growth of North Carolina is putting pressure on natural resources in terms of quantity and quality. To have a healthy and productive natural environment, professionals and citizens must be knowledgeable of environmental issues and conservation and management opportunities.
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

Swain County Government strives to have excellent schools, close-knit communities that emphasize family life, abundant recreational opportunities and beautiful surroundings. The Swain County Cooperative Extension Center has goals in the area of building strong communities through leadership, enhancing the economy in the capacity of tourism, agriculture and services. Conservation stewardship is another goal of Swain Cooperative Extension Center and this achieved through conservation education programs and environmental educational programs. Developing strong communities and youth development will be accomplished through family and parenting skill development through family and consumer science and 4-H and Youth Development educational programs. The goals of the Swain County Government and Swain County Cooperative Extension are one in the same, in which both are focusing their goals on building strong communities, economic development, heritage preservation, enhancing farmers market, building and preserving families and protecting the environmental and beautiful surroundings through conservation stewardship action such as land use planning and conservation education.

The County Manager of Board of County Commissioners in the Fall of 2017 is seeking assistance in 2018 with some downtown Bryson City projects especially with the new Farmer's Market site, Butterfly Garden (4-H Garden Club will help develop), Island Park project connecting key points in town with the start of a new Greenway Trail System to make Bryson City more walk-able. This closely parallels our most recent development of the "Smokies Skiwalking School" that is designed to help people move more in the mountains by skiwalking, however more accessible trails are needed in the more populated areas. The county has purchased (2017) about 12 acres for fairgrounds of having the 2nd Annual County Fair, which they want Swain Extension to being a formal member of the Swain County Fair Committee. As always, we strive to meet the requests of the county government and build positive relationships with these projects.

IV. Diversity Plan

The Swain County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension values the diversity of our county as a very rich and positive attribute. We value all people and feel the differences among us should be accepted and embraced as a great strength of our population. These differences are the basis for our values, attitudes, beliefs and perceptions that allow us to work together for the betterment of our world.

We continue to welcome and acknowledge the positive impact related to differences in age, culture, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental abilities, race, sexual orientation, political beliefs, marital or family status, spiritual practice, and all dimensions of human diversity.

The Swain County Extension Center is committed to the provision of equal employment opportunity for all staff, the value of diversity, and the elimination of discrimination on the basis of irrelevant characteristics such as race, nationality, religious beliefs, ethnicity, family and marital status, gender, age, sexual orientation, or disability. We will ensure equal employment for all qualified people and will seek to employ a diverse work force. Further, the organization will strive for equality of opportunities in the workplace.

We will strive to be inclusive and responsive in planning, designing, implementing and evaluating all educational programs. Additionally, we will work to target new or under-served audiences, recognizing the value of all people. We will continue to seek out new and alternative methods to reach under-served audiences in the county. We want all people in the county to know they are always welcome to be part of any program or activity conducted by Swain County Cooperative Extension.

In summary, we will help anyone that seeks and requests help and assistance in our areas of extension work. We will not turn anyone away unless they are exhibiting unlawful and/or dangerous behavior.

V. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods

Delivering timely, relevant educational programs that meet critical local needs is the cornerstone of Extension’s mission with Swain Extension being no exception. Extension educational programs are designed to equip the citizens of Swain 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 mixture 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, which 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, social media; websites, radio and other methods that serve to support and reinforce learning as well as provide motivation for continued learning. Utilizing 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 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 Swain 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 Swain 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 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. We plan to measure these impacts in both the long and short-term.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Swain County Extension Advisory Council
Jean Brady
Kate Welch
Wayne Cope
Alison Woodard
Ken Mills
Clarence Wiggins
Becky Williamson
Mike Glover
Family and Consumer Science Advisory Committee
Don Casada
Jean Brady
Marlene Vinson
Dicky Barker
Mary Huckabee
Kerri Cannon
Ricardo Bella






4-H Advisory Committee
Don Casada
Pattie Joe Taylor
Jeff Marley
Neil Holden
Urban Horticulture Advisory Committee
Beverly English – Swain
Boyd Wright – Swain -
Johnny Sue Henderson – Jackson
Virginia Milligan - Jackson




Commercial Horticulture Advisory Committee
Mike Glover – Swain
Bill Williams – Swain
Kelley Penn – Swain
Nan Balliot - Jackson
Diane Ammons – Jackson



VII. Staff Membership

Rob Hawk
Title: County Extension Director, Jackson and Swain Counties
Phone: (828) 586-4009
Email: robert_hawk@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: I provide educational opportunities and technical assistance to the citizens in my area to bring about change for better communities and individuals through community and leadership development, livestock and conservation education. I provide administration and leadership for the extension staff of Jackson and Swain Counties as the County Extension Director.

Christy Bredenkamp
Title: Area Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture
Phone: (828) 586-4009
Email: christine_bredenkamp@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for public education in commercial and urban horticulture. This includes providing leadership, educational opportunities, training, and technical assistance to beekeepers, Christmas tree, nursery, and vegetable growers in the Smoky Mountains of Jackson and Swain Counties. Additional efforts include pro-active and trouble-shooting workshops and assistance for gardeners in the areas of plant diseases, insects, and cultural problems in landscape and garden settings.

Dee Decker
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (828) 488-3848
Email: dee_decker@ncsu.edu

Lauren Greene
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agribusiness - 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.

Jen Hill
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 488-3848
Email: jen_hill@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.

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

Kendra Norton
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock
Phone: (828) 586-4009
Email: kendra_norton@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.

Debbie Stroud
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (910) 814-6033
Email: dlstroud@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Area Specialized Agents in Consumer and Retail Food Safety help to ensure that Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Agents have access to timely, evidence-based food safety information. This is accomplished by (1) working with FCS Agents in their counties, (2) developing food safety materials and (3) planning and implementing a NC Safe Plates Food Safety Info Center.

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.

Skip Thompson
Title: Area Specialized Agent - Aquaculture
Phone: (828) 456-3575
Email: Skip_Thompson@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide educational opportunities and technical support to the trout and carp aquaculture industries in 38 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) in western North Carolina. Fish health, production management, and waste management educational programs will assist trout farmers, fee-fishing pond managers, carp ponds and trout fingerling producers with the management and sustainability of their facilities.

Melissa Vaughn
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (828) 488-3848
Email: melissa_vaughn@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

Swain County Center
60 Almond School Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713

Phone: (828) 488-3848
Fax: (828) 488-3575
URL: http://swain.ces.ncsu.edu