2017 Swain County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 9, 2018

I. Executive Summary

Swain County Cooperative Extension identified and reported under ten statewide (10) major program areas for 2017: Natural Resource Conservation and Environmental Sustainability; School to Career (Youth and Adults); Community Development; Leadership Development; Profitable and Sustainable Plant and Animal Agriculture Systems; Local Food Systems; Safety and Security of our Food and Farm Systems; Urban and Consumer Agriculture and Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction. Educational programs in all ten (10) objectives that led to significant impacts for the 14,141+ citizens of Swain County. These objectives were chosen since Swain County is rural in nature and all the stated objectives are always an ongoing need for our rural county that has poverty, physical health and a disconnection of people to people and people to plants that sustains a rural community. The following report breaks down the impact per major program area. The Swain Cooperative Extension focused on starting a new effort in programming called "Passive Programming Pop-Ups," which entailed setting up small-micro educational information exhibits at extension office where the public could learn something quickly without seeing an agent or even prompt them to learn about extension and their services. One of the pop-ups included a follow-up on a newspaper article in regards to "Cowboy Ethics - Code of the West," which speaks to being a good role model citizen in the community. Swain Extension also helped with the First Annual "Swain County Agricultural Fair," which included administering the agriculture exhibits, marketing of fair and promoting all of Swain Extension Services on the day of the fair. Other worthy notes with Swain Extension in 2017 included 2017 Pesticide School, Clogging Club being invited to perform at the Mountain State Fair and the new 4-H Gardening Program.


AGRICULTURE/HORTICULTURE:

Educational programs and technical assistance was provided to enhance Swain County's agriculture, horticulture and local food systems in order to become more profitable and sustainable for 1,157 individuals (direct impact) in 2017 in Swain County. These services increased their knowledge in agriculture and horticulture, which will enhance their ability to achieve financial and lifestyle goals and to enhance economic development locally, regionally and statewide. Sixty-five (65) people increased their working of Local Food Systems, which has become very important in our rural county of Swain, especially with the Swain County Farmer's Market. In respect to Local Food Systems, Agent continued to assist the farmer's market manager with the oversight of the Swain Farmer's Market in 2017. Five hundred twenty seven (527) citizens directly benefited from greater profit and sustainability of their agriculture enterprise. Under the objective Urban and Consumer Agriculture, 403 individuals people gained valuable knowledge to help them with their horticulture pursuits, home horticulturists and home gardeners. Ninety (90) individuals gained knowledge in "Safety and Security of our Food and Farm Systems." Thirty-seven (37) Commercial Pesticide Applicators received training with 29 being new certifications and 4 recertified . Seven (7) Master Gardeners received training with 7 being re-certified. Seven (7) Extension Master Gardener (MGs) volunteers donated 412 hours valued at $9,946 to the community, which impacted 1,130 people. Agent presented twenty (20) major educational programs during 2017 in Swain County, which included programs ranging from Soil Testing; Bee Keeping; Pesticide Certification and Landscape Contractor classes. Also worked with producers on WNC AgOptions Grants. Program answered hundreds (100s) of phone calls and emails from public regarding agriculture production and horticulture questions, such as plant diseases, pests/insects and home gardening production. Agent estimated that 806 citizens of Swain County gained enough working knowledge in urban and consumer agriculture that the economic value was about $90,768 economic value from primarily home grown production in 2017. Discussion with a full-time farmer on the development of a regional Food Hub continued this year. Agriculture Agent and CED worked on developing the First Annual Swain County Agriculture Fain August 2017 in which both served on Fair Planning Committee. On of the major successes of 2017 in Agriculture and Horticulture was that Sixty (60) exams were administered and taken by 29 testers. Of the individuals taking the tests, 50 exams were passed and are now certified as pesticide applicators in their specific categories such as Private, Lawn Turf and Ornamental, AG Pest Plant and Forestry. In addition, participants realized a great deal of savings with less travel miles to take the exam. Agent and CED helped with the Appalachian Farm School (AFS) with educational presentations and marketing of school (12 participants). This was the third year in partnership with the Southwestern Community College Small Business Center in offering AFS. The drought of late 2016 brought much damage to pastures, especially horse pastures, so CED and NCSU Equine Forage Specialists worked with the Settlement of Thomas Divide to renovate and restore their public horse pasture in 2017. The result has been good with newly established grasses and rotational paddock fencing installed.


FAMILY and CONSUMER SCIENCE (FCS) and SHIIP:

The 2017 Family and Consumer Science (FCS) program had a successful year. FCS program implemented 174 educational activities and programs in Community Development and Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction. FCS programs ranged from Moving in the Mountains, primarily Clogging Club and Line Dancing (335 dancers); Senior Brain Games; Have a Healthy Heart; Food Preservation; Sewing; STAR Girls Self-Esteem Camp; Smokies Skiwalking School; 4-H Clogging: Cooking Smart; Eat More Fruits and Vegetables; County Wellness Program; Slow Cooking; Nutrition and Heritage Preservation (Folklife Play/Storytelling Initiative) of Swain County. FCS Agent is out in the community daily, which contributed to 5,063 personal individual contacts participating in FCS programs that aimed and targeted to build community through her Family and Consumer Science and Community Development work. FCS program worked with 2,299 people in the capacity of Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction programs and 2,764 in community development work. FCS Agent continues to work on the "Story-Telling/Community Heritage Theatre" initiative and has brought together 3 community leaders in the developing this initiative. The East Elementary School requested FCS Agent to come to the schools to teach Southern Appalachian Dance and Clogging at Mountain Heritage Day, which was a great success for hundreds of 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade students. The Swain County Seniors' Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) is fortunately part of the Swain CES Center and in 2017 SHIIP Volunteers saw 250 people and saved a total of $325,220 in Part D prescription drugs, which are impressive savings for our senior citizens in Swain County. Fifteen (15) volunteers worked 176 hours for 1,041 contacts for an economic impact of $4,249. SHIIP enrolled 159 clients in Part D plans, worked with 18 Low Income Subsidy applications (also known as Extra Help) and assisted 40 clients 64 years old or younger all of whom are on Social Security Disability. The Swain Clogging Club competed for the first time at the Mountain State Fair and the significance and success of this was that team members discovered that they learned at a faster rate during the practices for a competitive performance and they were more focused. Several team members said that engaging in public performances helped them to overcome their nerves and boosted their confidence in performing. The team members also expressed a willingness to take more risks in the future and also stated they had a better understanding for the competition rules.


NATURAL RESOURCES and CONSERVATION:

Natural Resources Conservation and Environmental Sustainability was mostly environmental and conservation education programming in 2017 from the Swain Extension Center with 330 citizens benefiting, 153 being 5th grade youth from this objective . About One hundred fifty-three (153) youth, all 5th graders gained a greater understanding of how to become better conservation stewards and make Swain County a more environmental friendly place to reside and gain a better understanding of the atmosphere that life within daily. CED worked as a presenter at "The Annual Soil and Water Conservation District" (SWCD) Field Days, which included each 5th grade youth receiving instruction in how to weather forecast from cloud and wind study, which was requested by the Swain School System since weather is part of the Core Curriculum of study in 5th grade in the county and state to work on the state standards and state End of Grade (EOG) Tests. The Leopold Education Project (LEP) Educators Training occurred in May 2017 with 9 local and regional educators and naturalists becoming certified as LEP Educators to teach primarily youth in "Land Ethics." The new 4-H "Explorer's Club" participated in nature hikes; weather study; and STEM projects. Approximately 100 citizens received tree seedlings from several community events, which included Swain Farmer's Market; Arbor Day Celebration and Veteran's Day to take home to plant for community conservation and beautification while demonstrating proper tree planting for home horticulture and conservation skill development.


4-H:

The Swain 4-H Agent strove hard in recruiting volunteers and educating youth in 2017 with efforts in marketing Swain 4-H at schools and community events at the Swain County Agricultural Fair and Heritage Arts Festival at Southwestern Community College. Swain 4-H Agent started building a stronger relationship with the Swain County Elementary Schools (East and West Swain Schools) to recruit 4-H members and leaders by incorporating STEM into the schools and even volunteering for the schools. In the area of 4-H and Youth Development, 1,898 youth participated 4-H related programs and projects. These programs and projects ranged from 4-H Embryology; STEM; mountain heritage; exercise; self-defense; outdoor recreation; nutrition; cooking; crafts; sewing; snorkeling; year-long 4-H Gardening program; STAR Girls Self -Esteem Camp; Summer Day Camp; 4-H DAD; 4-H Plant Sale; and leadership. Twenty-five (25) 4-H Club members participated in the two (2) formal active clubs with 1 of these a new 4-H Club; Young Explorers Club (new club) and Swain West 4-H Club. Two (2) of these clubs were heavily involved in STEM programs throughout 2017. They gained experience in developing not only their career of the future, but also learning how to become a better citizen and leader of the community with conservation; heritage; crime and spy science and physical science projects. The STEM program impacted 659 youth and 4 teachers with increasing their knowledge with not only science, technology and math, but also career skills. In 2017 4-H had 36 volunteers donate 160 hours for a total value of $3,862 that benefited 158 people. Swain 4-H acquired $1,988.40 in gifts and donations for the 4-H future programming needs. 4-H spent trained a total of 158 participants over 27 hours in 5 training sessions. An impact that the 4- H Agent had in 2017 with her program including working more closely with President and Vice President, according to the terms of the Scholarship to Congress, volunteered to be Teen Leaders during some Summer Fun activities and assisted with programs during Summer Fun in June. Both plan to attend Congress in July. Emily sang and played the guitar during 4H entertains and she was asked to participate in the Talent Showcase during Congress.


MARKETING:

Marketing is a large portion of the Swain Extension's staff work in order to market their programs especially with 4-H in 2017 to help bring back 4-H in Swain County, so the public will know to attend and participate as a community member. During 2017, forty eight (48) newspaper articles with a circulation of 3,900 weekly; 20 website news articles written; over 25,000 hits on our social media pages (face-book and website). Swain Extension attended several community festivals, which included the Heritage Arts Festival with Southwestern Community College, Bryson City Christmas Parade with the 4-H Clogging Club performing during parade, First Annual Swain County Agricultural Fair, setting up extension booth at Swain County Farmer's Market each Friday from May-October 2017 to market Swain Extension Agriculture and Horticulture services and programs. Started a new way to market extension was doing a downtown demonstration on tree planting between the National and North Carolina Arbor Day dates by giving out free tree seedlings. This was also done again on Veteran's Day in November.


GENERAL SUMMARY:

Swain County Cooperative Extension made 8,360 face-to-face contacts in 2017. 212 educational activities and programs radiated from the Swain County Extension Center in 2017. Swain Extension Agents facilitated 94 valuable Volunteers contributed 752 hours to Cooperative Extension in Swain County valued at $18,153 for 2,177 clients. Swain County Cooperative Extension - 4-H secured grants and donations totaling $1,988.40 that will be used for programming and summer camps. The Swain County Advisory Leadership System (ALS) has a great interest in the Swain County Cooperative Extension Center with 6 dedicated ALS members, which met once on August 25th. This Swain ALS meeting led to valuable feedback and discussion between the extension agents and council members for future programming in the community. Swain ALS members were pleased with our work and gave approval of past and future programming.

II. 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 with other industry such as timber, technology, secondary service and shipping increasing.

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.

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 2017 that we are going 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.

III. 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.
Value* Outcome Description
121Number 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
31Number 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
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
37Number of commercial/public operators trained
16Number of pesticide application credit hours provided
* 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.
Leadership is important to every level of a community sharing in the creation of wealth and well-being. Youth and adult leaders must be capable of motivating groups to achieve common goals that impact North Carolina families and communities.They will need the confidence and skill to guide and support North Carolina community and state organizations. Citizens participating in the 2007 NC Tomorrow survey denoted the importance of leadership by clearly requesting leadership training (54%), social advising, community advising and technical assistance (45%)from their university system.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
26Number of participants increasing knowledge and skills in convening and leading inclusive, representative groups (including limited resources, new resident, or immigrant groups) for evidence based community development
12Number of residents that increase their knowledge in disaster preparedness planning, mitigation and recovery
31Number of participants who increased their awareness, knowledge or skill in business related topics (e.g., management, product development, marketing, business structure options, business law and/or liability)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
4Number of participants who report new or expanded leadership roles and opportunities undertaken
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
4Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
659Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
548Total number of female participants in STEM program
2Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
4Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
606Number of youth (students) gaining knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
27Number of participants increasing their knowledge about best management practices
153Number of child and youth educators aspiring to implement quality outdoor learning environments for children
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
9Number of participants that adopted recommended climate adaption strategies for production agriculture or natural resource management, including for invasive species, pest management, pollutant loads, and wetlands.
* 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.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
648Number 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
648Number 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
24Number of participants who use extension-recommended pest management practices in homes, public facilities, businesses or in community pest management programs
116Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
366Number of participants growing food for home consumption
90768Value of produce grown for home consumption
14Number of participants adopting composting
* 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.
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.
Value* Impact Description
18Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
54Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
77Number of participants increasing their physical activity
2Number of adults who reduce their blood pressure
1Number of adults who improve their blood glucose (A1c.)level
3Number of adults who reduce their total cholesterol
8Number of participants who consume less sodium in their diet
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 8,695
Non face-to-face** 49,743
Total by Extension staff in 2017 58,438
* 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 $710.00
Gifts/Donations $1,278.46
In-Kind Grants/Donations $0.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $0.00
Total $1,988.46

VI. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 24.14
4-H: 35 161 6 $ 3,887.00
Advisory Leadership System: 2 3 0 $ 72.00
Extension Community Association: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Extension Master Gardener: 7 412 1,130 $ 9,946.00
Other: 50 176 1,041 $ 4,249.00
Total: 94 752 2177 $ 18,153.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Swain County Extension Advisory Council
Jean Brady
Kate Welch
Wayne Cope
Alison Woodard
Ken Mills
Becky Williamson
Mike Glover
Family and Consumer Science Advisory Committee
Don Casada
Jean Brady
Marlene Vinson
Dicky Barker






4-H Advisory Committee
Don Casada
Pattie Joe Taylor
Julie Richards
Jeff Marley
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
Darren Pressley – Jackson -?



VIII. 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.

IX. 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