2018 Swain County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 16, 2019

I. Executive Summary

Major issues in Swain county include a fading agriculture community, especially animal husbandry, obesity/unhealthy lifestyle, lose of heritage and community and an horticulture industry that needs education and certification. Swain Extension has worked diligently to address these issues over the past 5 years, including 2018.

Year of 2018 was an excellent one for Swain County with greatest accomplishments with the new 4-H Clubs in Livestock, Shooting Sports and Hunting Sports. FCS/CRD had much success with the "Moving in the Mountains " - Cardio Class and Clogging Club (many competitive awards won). Animal Agriculture Agent worked hard to make the new 4-H Livestock and the Swain County Fair-Livestock Show both highly successful. Horticulture had the Local Pesticide School and the Blueberry and Grape Workshops. Volunteers helped make these new efforts successful with 196 volunteers donating 2,201 hours that worked directly with 2,365 people for an value of $54,343. Nearly $19,000 raised for Swain Extension programming from multiple sources.

2018 work in greater detail and GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

* 4-H and Youth Development worked with 2,574 directly through 6 maintained clubs and 12 new Clubs (mostly after school). Worked with the Annual 5th grade Conservation Field Day, Embryology and After School STEM programs.

* FCS/CRD worked face-to-face with 3,722 with the healthy lifestyle and nutrition programs at the Senior Center; weekly Community Healthy Lifestyle programs; Cardio Fitness Class and Clogging Club

* Animal Agriculture worked directly with 383 livestock contacts including the new 4-H Livestock Club; Swain County Fair and the equestrian management project at Thomas Valley Divide Horse Community.

* Horticulture had great impact with 1,408 citizens with Cane Workshops, Local Pesticide School and many gardening and small requests.

Here are a few of the most successful accomplishments for 2018 that are listed above:

SWAIN 4-H BULLETS and BOWS CLUB were able to send a senior rifle team (3 members) a junior rifle team (3 members), a individual Sr. rifle competitor, 2 individual Jr. rifle competitors, a Sr. Shotgun competitor, a Jr. Shotgun competitor, a jr. recurve competitor and a jr. compound competitor. Of those club members who competed at District, 4 members went on to compete at the State Competition in multiple disciplines. Of those 4 at the State competition, 1 received a bronze medal in Jr. Rifle.

CLOGGING CLUB (HERITAGE PRESERVATION & YOUTH DEVELOPMENT) provided opportunities for youth and adult dancers to boost their confidence, to overcome their fear of pubic performance, to increase their knowledge of traditional clogging steps and to experience how teamwork is utilized on a competitive level. Our success was measured by our awards: The teams won 1st place in four Traditional Premiere categories, 1st place in two Team Exhibitions, and individuals won 1st place in two solo traditional female categories. CARDIO CLASS group reported they were choosing healthier food choices than before they started the exercise class. Several participants reported they could feel an improvement in their cardiovascular endurance, stamina and agility. One participant commented ... "having a group that provides accountability and support makes a difference in sticking with an exercise routine."

4-H LIVESTOCK CLUB had a direct impact of the youth agricultural community of Swain County in 2018. The new Livestock Agent calculated that after talking with participants and parents, youth directly and indirectly associated with the farm alike, it was gathered that they had a positive experience with 4-H livestock. As a result of the visits and clinics we have more than 75% of participants who plan to participate in showing livestock for the 2019 show season, and 100% who have raised livestock at home in 2018. Several onlookers reported to the Livestock Agent that the SWAIN COUNTY FAIR LIVESTOCK SHOW that the youth livestock shows "were what made the whole fair", and inquired about making it out for the shows in 2019. 75% of the 15 participants in the Swain County 4-H Livestock Club plan to participate in the 2019 livestock shows as a result of the 2018 fair.

The BLUEBERRY and GRAPE PRODUCTION WORKSHOPS resulted in 100% stating that they gained knowledge about blueberry and grape production. 85% indicated they planned to change their pest management practices. 95% specified their plans to change soil fertility practices. 35% revealed their intent to switch from conventional to organic practices. 40% expressed their desire to establish a new blueberry or grape planting, while 5% of those surveyed disclosed their plans to establish a commercial blueberry or grape operation. As a result, participants increased their knowledge for long term sustainable production at home or as new commercial berry producers. LOCAL PESTICIDE SCHOOL at Swain Extension had 34 exams 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.

ADMINISTRATIVELY the Swain Extension ALS met twice in 2018, once in April and again in October. ALS members and Staff received "Civil Rights Training" at the April ALS meeting. Swain Staff received Canity Customer Service Training throughout 2018. CED trained in Management Essentials and Agents went to NCCE Annual Conference. Community Needs Assessment was done with ALS, staff, county government and other groups in the Spring of 2018. TEConomy study also completed as well. Swain Agent performed very well on Secret Shopper for Customer Experience study.

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 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.

III. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

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

Value* Outcome Description
142Number 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
36Number 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.

Value* Outcome Description
140Number of animal producers increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, and/or skills as related to: 1. Best management production practices (cultural, nutrient, and genetics) 2. Pest/insect, disease, weed, wildlife management 3. Financial/Farm management tools and practices (business, marketing, government policy, human resources) 4. Alternative agriculture, bioenergy, and value-added enterprises
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
18Number of animal producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
36000Net income gains by producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Agricultural producers, workers, food handlers and consumers will adopt safer food and agricultural production, handling, and distribution practices that reduce workplace and home injuries/illnesses, enhance food security, and increase the quality and safety of food that North Carolinians prepare and consume.

Value* Outcome Description
29Number of commercial/public operators trained
14Number of pesticide application credit hours provided
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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.

Value* Outcome Description
5Number 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
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
12Number of businesses created, retained, or expanded due to Extension’s community and economic development programming
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

Value* Outcome Description
16Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
2805Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
1226Total number of female participants in STEM program
21Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
14Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
12Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of entrepreneurship
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
14Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
2803Number of youth (students) gaining knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
12Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
10Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

North Carolinians will make decisions and adopt practices that implement effective resource protection and conservation.

Value* Outcome Description
201Number of child and youth educators aspiring to implement quality outdoor learning environments for children
50Number of youth and adults demonstrating increased knowledge of natural resources and environmental issues
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
24Number of participants that adopted recommended climate mitigation practices such as water-use efficiency, livestock production feeding practices, carbon sequestration, reducing carbon or energy footprint.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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

Value* Outcome Description
907Number 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
612Number 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
42Number of participants who use extension-recommended pest management practices in homes, public facilities, businesses or in community pest management programs
109Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
378Number of participants growing food for home consumption
111888Value of produce grown for home consumption
16Number 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.

Value* Impact Description
40Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
30Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
32Number of participants increasing their physical activity
32Number of participants reducing their BMI
5Number of adults who reduce their blood pressure
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 14,810
Non face-to-face** 63,166
Total by Extension staff in 2018 77,976
* 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 $6,850.00
Gifts/Donations $9,860.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $0.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $2,279.00
Total $18,989.00

VI. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 24.69
4-H: 123 959 56 $ 23,678.00
Advisory Leadership System: 10 4 40 $ 99.00
Extension Community Association: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Extension Master Gardener: 7 413 1,187 $ 10,197.00
Other: 56 825 1,082 $ 20,369.00
Total: 196 2201 2365 $ 54,343.00
* 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
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



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, Agriculture - 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: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables and Fruits
Phone: (828) 684-3562
Email: craig_mauney@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities, training and technical support to commercial fruit and vegetable growers, agents, and industry in Western NC.

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

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: (919) 515-9149
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, Agriculture - 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 42 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