2018 Transylvania County Plan of Work

Approved: February 8, 2018

I. County Background

North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, Transylvania County Center works with an advisory leadership system to remain in touch with the most pressing needs of the county. Extension Advisory Leaders were utilized to discuss strategies, objectives and the capacity of the local staff to address issues as they related to Cooperative Extensions mission. In addition, Cooperative Extension conducts evaluations of all programs to constantly improve their effectiveness and make sure that we can document the level to which we are improving knowledge gain and affecting positive behavior change. As a result of these discussions and Extension Staff recommendations the following statewide objectives were selected for major program emphasis.

Through our environmental scanning we have devised the following priorities for our programs in 2018 (goals similar to last year, but updated):
Local Foods-
Engage at least 200 customers per month with educational material at the Farmers Market
Log at least 2000 volunteer hours from our Master Gardeners
Incorporate at least 30 private land owners in the Hemlock Cost share program
Consult with staff and experts to update the County's ordinance on Voluntary Ag Districts
Enroll at least 20 more people in the Voluntary Ag District Program

Provide adequate classes for Landscape Contractors to meet their CEU requirements to stay in business
Provide classes for the 100+ Pesticide Applicators to insure that they remain compliant with environmental law.
Provide classes for the 15 Private Pesticide Applicators
Support regional Master Gardener Program

EFNEP and Ag Program Assistant-
Provide Nutrition Education to 500+ Transylvania County students through EFNEP programming
Address Nutrition, Physical Activity and Weight Health Priority established by the Transylvania County Community Health Assessment (CHA)
Support the 4-H locavore program
Maintain Nourishing North Carolina Garden

Coordinate with local schools to provide Beef Quality Assurance training to all animal science students.
Provide educational programs for at least 100 beef producers at a district-wide conference.
Engage with at least 100 livestock producers in the county to promote best management practices.

Provide high quality STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) programs for youths during and after school to promote critical thinking and prepare them for STEM careers
Help youths develop "Soft Skills" to enhance their future employability
Empower youths ages 9 - 18 to take on new or expanded leadership positions at the club, county, district and state levels of the 4-H program. Maintain Adult Volunteer Involvement - @100 adults - to offer quality youth programming beyond what the 4-H Agent can provide.
Partner with other agencies to provide youth programming

II. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

North Carolina's plant production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.
North Carolina's agricultural crops industry makes major contributions to local communities and the state’s economy. In 2014, the estimated farm gate value of crops was $4.72 billion, placing NC as the 17th largest in the nation. North Carolina is one of the most diversified agriculture states in the nation. The state's 50,200 farmers grow over 80 different commodities, utilizing 8.4 million of the state's 31 million acres to furnish consumers a dependable and affordable supply of food and fiber. Tobacco remains one of the state's most predominant farm commodities. North Carolina produces more tobacco and sweet potatoes than any other state and ranks second in Christmas tree cash receipts. The state also produces a significant amount of cucumbers for pickles, lima beans, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, strawberries, bell peppers, blueberries, chili peppers, fresh market cucumbers, snap beans, cabbage, eggplant, watermelons, pecans, peaches, squash, apples, sweet corn, tomatoes, and grapes. There is continual technological change and the relative profitability of individual farm enterprises changes over time; therefore, farmers must respond by modifying their farming operations. Changes in consumer demand create new opportunities for producers. Growth in alternative forms of agriculture will include, among others, organic and niche market production. Educational and training programs for producers of plant agricultural products and services will enhance their ability to achieve financial and lifestyle goals and to enhance economic development locally, regionally and statewide.
North Carolina's animal production systems will become more profitable and sustainable.
North Carolina's livestock industry makes major contributions to local communities and the state’s economy. In 2014, the estimated farm gate value of livestock, dairy, and poultry was $8.85 billion, placing NC as the 7th largest in the nation. Hogs & pigs have historically been an important part of North Carolina agriculture. The industry has changed dramatically since the 1980s from the small farm raising a few hogs to large confinement type operations. North Carolina's number of cattle & calves on farms has remained relatively stable throughout time. Milk cow inventory and milk production have continued to decline in the state. Unlike other commodities, broiler production in North Carolina is increasing throughout the state. There is continual technological change and the relative profitability of individual farm enterprises changes over time; therefore, farmers must respond by modifying their farming operations. Changes in consumer demand create new opportunities for producers. Growth in alternative forms of agriculture will include, among others, organic, niche market production, and pasture-raised livestock. Educational and training programs for producers of animal agricultural products and services will enhance their ability to achieve financial and lifestyle goals and to enhance economic development locally, regionally and statewide.
Producers will increase sales of food locally to more agriculturally aware consumers through market development, producer and consumer education, and new farmer and infrastructure support.
Farmers will increase their capacity to supply product for local food sales through market planning efforts, producer and consumer education, beginning farmer training programs and local market infrastructure development. The fastest growing area of consumer demand in agriculture continues to be organic. Farmers' markets continue to expand as do multiple efforts in local sustainable agriculture. Nationally, "Buy Local, Buy Fresh" movements have emerged in the face of concerns about the risks involved in long distance transportation of industrialized food production. Increasingly, public officials and business leaders see promotion of local farm products as good public policy and local economic development. Additionally, individuals will learn to supplement their current diet by growing their own fruits and vegetables as individuals or as community groups.
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.
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

Transylvania County government is and will continue to be a valued partner in providing quality Extension education to our citizens. The County as well as the Town of Rosman and the City of Brevard are also important clients and will continue to receive technical information and assistance from Cooperative Extension when possible to assist with leadership development, community planning and infrastructure management. The Transylvania Cooperative Extension Center will also continue to be a resource to county and municipal government in times of disaster, providing planning, assessment and mitigation assistance in the form of technical information, communication with citizens and manpower as needed.

As noted above, the county has taken on a higher portion of the overall Extension budget in order to comply with the state strategic plan. We greatly value the support we receive from the county and we look forward to continuing to serve the county.

IV. Diversity Plan

Transylvania County has a total population of about 33,000 people of which 52% are female and 48% male. The racial make up is 92.5% white, 5.3% black, 1.6% Hispanic,.5% Asian and 1% other.

Transylvania County Cooperative Extension programs are made available to all citizens. Reasonable efforts to reach all county citizens with information about programs are continually evaluated and improved.

The Transylvania County Cooperative Extension Center is committed to the provisions of equal employment opportunity for all staff, accessibility to programs for all citizens, to the cultural value of diversity and to the elimination of discrimination on the basis of irrelevant characteristics such as race, nationality, religious belief, political beliefs, family and marital status, gender, age, or disability. In addition to this, NC State University has a policy covering sexual orientation.

Cooperative Extension is also committed to Affirmative Action, that is, the development of programs and practices which promote equal opportunity for members of target groups identified by legislation as having experienced disadvantages in employment.

In fulfilling this policy, NC Cooperative Extension Administration will:
1. Promote the development of an environment that is supportive of employment equity and diversity principles ensuring that the policies and practices reflect and respect the social and cultural diversity contained within the Organization, including the volunteer staff and Advisory Leadership Council, and the community it serves.
2. Provide equal employment opportunity by identifying and removing barriers to participation and progression in employment and programs.
3. Provide environments and conditions that are supportive and free from discrimination.
4. Comply with State and Federal legislation on discrimination, equal employment opportunity and affirmative action.
All Extension staff are expected to understand Affirmative Action guidelines and to be in compliance with NIFFA (USDA) and NC State University guidelines.

V. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods

Delivering timely, relevant educational programs that meet critical local needs is the cornerstone of Extension’s mission. Extension educational programs are designed to equip the citizens of Transylvania County with the knowledge, skills and tools to improve their economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and quality of life. An Extension program delivery system is a planned and organized eclectic mix of educational methods used during an educational program. Extension educational methods are the specific ways by which research-based information is shared with targeted learners. Extension educators in our county employ a wide variety of hands-on, experiential educational methods, such as interactive workshops and classes, demonstrations, field days and tours, that allow learners to fully engage in the learning process, test new knowledge and/or practice new skills during the educational session. Equally important, this plan will also include educational methods such as seminars, client visits, fact sheets, newsletters, and home study kits that serve to support and reinforce learning as well as provide motivation for continued learning. Armed with the most current literature on effective teaching and learning, Extension educators also skillfully select educational methods based on the learning style preferences and special needs of the targeted learners. These client-focused methods afford learners the opportunity to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to change their lives in meaningful ways. Another key feature of Extension program delivery that is evident in this plan is our commitment to being customer driven and customer focus. As such, in addition to the County Extension Center, Extension educational programs are delivered online, in community centers, on farms, and other locations in order for our programs to be available and accessible to, and fully utilized by, the citizens of Transylvania 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 Transylvania County. Evaluation methods are the way we make those observations about first and foremost whether any changes occurred as a result our educational programs, and subsequently the significance of those changes. As an educational organization, the changes we seek focus on key outcomes such as the knowledge and skills participants gain from our programs. More specifically, in this plan, we are using quantitative research methods such as retrospective testing, pre and post tests and/or surveys to measure change in behavior, knowledge gained, the application of that knowledge, number of new skills developed, and types of new skills developed. Extension, as a results-oriented organization, is committed to also assessing the social, economic and/or environmental impact that our programs have on the individuals who participate, their families and communities and ultimately the county as a whole (i.e. true significance of the changes stemming from our programs). We plan to measure these impacts in both the long and short-term. In this annual plan (short-term), we have outlined financial impact and cost benefit analysis as our primary evaluation methods. Another value held in Extension is actively listening to and creating dialog with targeted learners. Therefore, this plan also includes qualitative evaluation methods such as testimonials from program participants, and interviews and focus groups with participants.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Green Industry Advisory Committee
Ken Allison
David Bradley
Alan Johnson
Anthony LeBude
Joey Galloway
Lynn Goldsmith
Hope Janowitz
Chad Owenby
Lynn Goldsmith
4-H and Youth Development
Jim Boyer
Margaret Brown
Christine Kosiba
Casey Lance
Linda Locks
David Mackey
Donovan Merrell
Kae Parker
Andrew Shook
David Smith
Ren Uriarte
Keri Zink

David Mackey
Joffrey Merrill
John Blythe
Beecher Allison
Glen Sentelle
Anthony Hall
Clarence Raines
Frank Summey
Farmland Preservation/AAB
Devin Gentry
John Blythe
Leslie Logemann
Maryann Duvall
Leroy Newell
John Witherspoon
Jeff Parker
Emily Pohlman
Jimmy Whitmire
Natural Resources
Peter Chaveas
Mark Tooley
Justin Pettit-Mee
Lee McMinn
Woody Noland
Dan Hodges
Jeff Parker
Steve Pagano
David Whitmire
Jason Guidry
Jennifer Kafsky
Mac Marrow
Davis Whitfield-Cargile
Kent Wilcox
Dave Casey
Extension Program Development Council (County Advisory Council)
Carol Parker
Clare Hannon
Dale Robertson
Dick Bir
Jennifer Kafsky
Jason Davis
Mark Tooley
Jennifer Williams
Page Lemel
Shelly Webb
Lynn Goldsmith
Nicola Karesh

VII. Staff Membership

Bart Renner
Title: County Extension Director & Extension Agent, Agriculture
Phone: (828) 884-3109
Email: bart_renner@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Small Farms & Local Food Programs

Mary Arnaudin
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (828) 884-3109
Email: mary_arnaudin@ncsu.edu

Addison Bradley
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock, Field Crops
Phone: (828) 884-3109
Email: acbradl2@ncsu.edu

Brent Buchanan
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Dairy
Phone: (315) 212-1277
Email: brent_buchanan@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Dairy Extension Programming in Western North Carolina Counties of Haywood, Madison, Buncombe, Transylvania, Henderson, Yancey, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford, Mitchell, Avery, Burke, Cleveland, Watauga, Caldwell, Catawba, Lincoln, Gaston, Ashe, Wilkes, Alexander, Iredell, Alleghany, Surry, Yadkin, and Davie.

Sara Freeman
Title: EFNEP Educator, Agriculture Program Assistant
Phone: (828) 884-3109
Email: sara_freeman@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides Expanded Food and Nutrition Programs to limited resource families in Transylvania County. Provides and supports Agriculture programs in Transylvania County.

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.

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.

Maryann Mickewicz
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (828) 884-3109
Email: maryann_mickewicz@ncsu.edu

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

Elena Rogers
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Food Safety - Fresh Produce Western NC
Phone: (828) 352-2519
Email: elena_rogers@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide educational programs, training and technical support focusing on fresh produce safety to Agents and growers in Western NC.

Cliff Ruth
Title: Area Agent and Regional Certification Program Coodinator, Agriculture
Phone: (828) 255-5522
Email: cliff_ruth@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Current Responsibilities: Provide educational programs primarily for the folk in the commercial green industries in WNC as well as pesticide education for farmers in Buncombe and Transylvania County. Coordinate certification and licensing workshops across the western third of the state.

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.

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

Transylvania County Center
106 East Morgan Street
Suite 109
Brevard, NC 28712

Phone: (828) 884-3109
Fax: (828) 884-3142
URL: http://transylvania.ces.ncsu.edu