2019 Bladen County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 17, 2020

I. Executive Summary

The Cooperative Extension program in Bladen County connects the resources and knowledge of our state's land-grant universities to people in our county through informal educational opportunities. Our efforts are guided by the needs and issues identified by county advisory committees and our staff then develop programs to address those needs with the resources available.

In 2019, Agents worked to provide 197 programs, trainings, and workshops with 655 hours of training that allowed for informal educational opportunities for 7,039 youth and adults. Extension Agents and Program Assistants reported 13,377 face-to-face contacts and 987,080 non-face to face contacts. These efforts were possible by funding from state and local government in addition to receiving grants, donations, and user fees that totaled $28,231 in fiscal resources. A total of 401 volunteers provided 1,814 hours which equates to $46,129 in volunteer dollars.

Below is an overview of some of Bladen County's most significant impacts of 2019:
In its sixth year, the Chicken Harvesting Program was a huge success. The 85 chicks were hatched by 302 second graders and 23 teachers in the 4-H Embryology project, were raised to market weight by 65 Ag Education high school students. The birds were processed by 23 volunteers and Extension Agents in collaboration with the NCSU Poultry Science Department. A processing demonstration reached 46 high school students. As a result, 85 needy families received a whole chicken from the food pantries in Bladen County.

Educational programming for livestock producers was conducted using a variety of methods including meetings, a bi-monthly newsletter, postcards, educational pamphlets, farm tours, telephone consultations, and farm visits. Program topics included forage management, weed control, beef production practices and animal waste management. Animal Waste management included 27 sludge surveys and 2 calibrations. These farmers realized a savings of over $9,000. Extension provided 25.5 hours of continuing education credits allowing 166 producers to get 595 hours of credit. 22 farmers attended the initial 10 hour animal waste class. 2 sludge plans and 1 waste plan amendment was written on 337 acres ensuring the farmers were following best management practices. Extension also assisted 65 farmers with general permit applications and wrote 63 mortality checklists as part of the farms waste utilization plan.

Due to agriculture disaster from flooding from Hurricane Florence, Bladen County Extension assisted farmers in applying for NC General Assembly allocated disaster relief funds. Extension assisted 88 farmers directly with their applications and helped 35 farmers by answering questions over the phone to save them a trip to Elizabethtown. The total Bladen County applications receiving funds was 180 and the total Bladen County received funds was $3,750,227.25

Bladen County Blueberry farmers grow approximately 6,000 acres, making Bladen the largest producer in the state. Extension assisted farmers by holding a program in which 70 growers received up-to-date research as well as required pesticide credits. With between 5,000- 6,000 acres of peanuts grown in Bladen County, an educational meeting was held for growers in Bladen and surrounding counties. The 40 farmers in attendance placed a cumulative financial benefit of $42,540 on the information they received. 31 corn and soybean farmers attended an educational meeting. 294 farmers attended pesticide training and received 5,292 credit hours.

The Master Gardener Plant Sale in Bladen County raised money to support two $500 scholarships for area students.

Bladen County 4-H uses a network of staff, community partners, volunteers, research-based curriculum and peers to provide opportunities for youth ages 5-18 to "learn by doing" and "make their best better". Locally, our 4-H program focuses on preparing youth to successfully transition from k-12 school to college and career by offering life skills, job preparedness, STEM programs, etc. In addition, our program targets school aged youth to offer healthy lifestyles prevention and education programs, primarily through SNAP Ed funded initiatives. Lastly, 4-H is committed to training and growing our volunteer network of youth and adults to better serve and expand programs in the community. Partnerships with Bladen County Schools ensure that our programs reach youth in all areas of our county. Some school based programs include: 2nd grade embryology, 3rd grade Ag 'Em Up field days, 8th grade job shadow day, Snap-Ed nutrition/health programs at select schools, special 4-H elective classes at select schools, by request programs for in school/after school classrooms, and 4-H Juntos at both high schools and one middle school. Last year over 1,600 of the county's around 5,000 youth were served through NC Cooperative Extension programs.

During the tri-annual county health assessment process Bladen County residents prioritized exercise, nutrition and weight as the number one priority as published on the 2018 Bladen County Health Assessment. Over thirty percent of Bladen County youth between the ages of 2 and 18 are considered overweight or obese. Contributing factors include, increased screen time, decreased physical activity, and poor eating habits among others. In an effort to address obesity rates and contributing factors the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent offered a SNAP-Ed program, “Steps to Health”, to 73 third graders. After the completion of the program, forty percent of parents reported their children eating more fruits and vegetables and 60% observed their children trying new foods. In addition, 3rd grade teachers commented, "some students now point out information from the nutrition facts on snacks and milk in the cafeteria." Also, the Steps to Health Program is currently in progress with an additional 14 second grade students 19, third grade students, and 10 4th grade students. A similar SNAP-Ed program designed for adults called "Take Control" is in progress with over 15 adults in Bladen County.

These are just a few examples of how Cooperative Extension in Bladen County improves the quality of citizen's lives every day by providing research based information. We will continue to offer solid, needs based programs focused on improving the lives, land and economy of Bladen County citizens.

II. County Background

Bladen County is the 4th largest county in North Carolina with a total area of 875 square miles. According to the 2017 Census, 33,478 people live in Bladen County with 40.2 persons per square mile. The racial makeup of the county is 60.6% White, 34.3% Black, 3% American Indian, and a Hispanic/Latino population of 7.9%. The per capita income in 2017 was $20,839 and median household income is $32,396. Poverty rate in Bladen County is 20.7%. The unemployment rate is 4.9%

Bladen County School's have identified more than 71% of enrolled students as economically disadvantaged according to 2017 data used by the NC DPI School Report Card system. Of the 12 public schools, more than half of the student population at each school is identified disadvantaged, with one of the schools having over 90% of their total population identified.

Agriculture and related industries are a significant contributor to the local economy. The value of farm products at the farm gate level is estimated to be greater than 364 million dollars and ranks Bladen County 6th in Total Farm Cash Receipts in the state due to a diverse agricultural economy. Bladen is number 1 in blueberry production, number 3 in hogs, number 2 in grapes by acreage and number 5 in turkeys in North Carolina. Smithfield Foods is the largest employer in the county with over 4,000 employees and they process approximately 34,000 hogs per day.

The Extension staff worked with local advisory committees and members to determine the needs, issues and trends facing the county. Through this process, the staff selected the following Extension objectives to focus on in 2018: Profitable and Sustainable Plant Production Systems, Profitable and Sustainable Animal Production Systems, Safety and Security of our Food and Farm Systems, Volunteer Readiness, School to Career (Youth and Adults), Urban and Consumer Agriculture and Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Bladen County, with local resources and access to the resources of North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University, is in a unique position to provide educational programming to various groups based on identified needs. Continuing to work with and through our local advisory system, county government, and the citizens of Bladen County, the staff will plan, develop, implement and evaluate educational programs to serve citizens. Several programs in the county target limited resource audiences, due to the high percentage of minorities in the county and the high percentage of people living below the poverty level. Utilizing research-based information generated at North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University can provide Bladen County citizens with the information and solutions to meet the needs of the county.

III. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

Our family and consumer sciences programs improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

Value* Outcome Description
263Number of adults increasing knowledge of life skills (such as goal setting, stress management, self-care and healthy relationships)
26Number of adults increasing their knowledge of community resources
57Number of parents and other caregivers of children increasing their knowledge of positive parenting practices (such as communication and discipline)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
57Number of parents/other caregivers of children adopting positive parenting practices (such as communication and discipline)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our plant production programs improve production, profitability, and sustainability of the agriculture sector.

Value* Outcome Description
33Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
8Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
42Number 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
3Number of producers who diversified their marketing strategies into local markets (direct, intermediated/food service, institutional).
20Number of producers reporting reduction in fertilizer used per acre
250Number of acres in conservation tillage or other Best Management Practice
21Number 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.

Our animal production programs improve production, profitability, and sustainability of the agriculture sector.

Value* Outcome Description
4Number of animal producers who increased knowledge of farm business management, business planning, financial management, marketing, or estate planning.
5Number of animal producers who learned how to develop a management plan (i.e. grazing plan, feeding plan, drought plan, business plan, disaster plan, etc.)
87Number of producers who increased knowledge of pasture/forage management practices (field improvement, herbicide management, grazing season extension, weed control, forage quality, haylage production, nitrate testing, etc.)
93Number of producers who increased knowledge of nutrition, ration balancing, mineral supplements, breeding, and reproduction
81Number of producers who increased knowledge of the strategies to promote animal health and welfare and reduce the potential for infectious diseases through proper use of vaccines, biosecurity, detection and identification of common diseases, appropriate use of animal medications, and mitigation of antimicrobial resistance transmission
229Number of producers who increased knowledge of animal waste management practices
595Number of animal waste management credits earned through Extension programs
29Number of Extension conducted on-site sludge surveys or equipment calibrations
15Number of producers who increased knowledge of how to prepare, mitigate, and recover from natural disasters impacting animal agriculture
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
40Number of participants that have adopted farm safety practices
40Number of farmers, employees or family members adopting regular use of appropriate PPE following AgriSafe or Certified Safe Farm participation
5Number of producers adopting extension-recommended practices related to planning, marketing, and financial management
100Number of producers implementing Extension-recommended best management practices for animal waste management
10000Number of acres where Extension-recommended nutrient applications were used
10Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to quality assurance (vaccinations, castration, culling techniques, etc.)
10Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to genetic improvement (AI, heifer/bull selection)
23Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to nutrition (mineral, feed rations)
17Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to internal parasite management (fecals, deworming)
50Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices related to pasture management
25Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to nutrition, ration balancing, mineral supplement, breeding, and reproduction
75Number of waste utilization/waste management plans developed or updated
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our community development programs build strong and thriving communities.

Value* Outcome Description
105Number of participants who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems
7Number of participants who developed new jobs skills
167Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
5Number 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)
40Number of participants acquiring knowledge and skills to convene and lead inclusive groups
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our 4-H youth development programs grow the skills young people need to succeed in life and career.

Value* Outcome Description
23Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
1348Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
553Total number of female participants in STEM program
168Number of youth (students) participating in 4-H dropout prevention (student at-risk) programs
31Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
277Number of youth increasing knowledge of life skills
1020Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
57Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
965Number of youth demonstrating increased knowledge of natural resources and environmental issues
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
23Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
114Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
12Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
207Number of youth using effective life skills
10Number of youth increasing their physical activity
119Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
4Number of youth assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
29Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our natural resource and environmental programs conserve our precious natural resources and maintain a clean and healthy environment.

Our consumer horticulture programs teach families and communities about environmentally friendly methods for gardening and controlling pests.

Value* Outcome Description
5Number of individuals who gain knowledge or acquire skills related to vegetable/fruit gardening
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
25Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease, wildlife) and soil management
5Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
6Number of participants growing food for home consumption
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our food safety and nutrition programs create a safer and more sustainable food supply and improve the health and nutrition of individuals, families, and our communities.

Value* Outcome Description
48Number of school personnel who increase their knowledge of School HACCP principles
18Number of food handlers who increase their knowledge and skills in safe food handling practices
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

IV. Other Objectives

Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan
II. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan North Carolina's plant, animal and food systems will become more profitable and sustainable. Educational and training programs for producers of agricultural, horticultural and of forest 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 producers produce a wide variety of agricultural, food, fiber, and horticultural products that make major contributions to local communities and the states economy. In 2006, the estimated farm gate value of agricultural and horticultural production was $8.2 billion, placing NC as the 8th largest in the nation. The total economic impact of these agricultural, horticultural and food industries accounts for approximately one-quarter of the states economy. North Carolina farm numbers have declined consistently for decades as a result of economies of scale and global competition in traditional agricultural commodities. Producers of traditional commodities have been forced to expand or leave agriculture. 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 unable or unwilling to compete in commodity production. North Carolina's rapidly growing population creates competition for resources and the need for well informed and well crafted public policy to resolve conflicts and meet societies goals. New enterprises will develop or agriculturally-based enterprises will add value to and diversify farms by producing energy feedstocks, bioenergy, or other value-added products that will increase rural economic development. Growth in alternative forms of agriculture will include, among others, organic, niche market production, and pasture-raised livestock. Opportunities for diversification of operations and increased income on North Carolina farms will increase as emerging, alternative and entrepreneurial agricultural business opportunities are created in the marketplace. 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. 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. Youth and adults will address community issues and/or challenges through volunteerism. Youth and adult volunteers in North Carolina contribute thousands of hours each year to strengthen communities and create strong foundations for the future. As these individuals engage in service, they are gaining new skills, generating new programs to serve their communities, building successful organizations, and fostering an ethic of service. Cooperative Extension is poised to support the development of interpersonal skills, leadership experiences, and content knowledge to ensure that citizens are prepared to engage in meaningful service throughout the lifespan. Current research suggests that youth and adult participation positively impacts civic engagement and contributes to the development of leadership capacities. With its presence in every county, Cooperative Extension is uniquely positioned to contribute to building a stronger ethic of service among youth and adults. Community members, organizations and local government will engage in collaborative dialog and decision-making to build economically, socially and environmentally resilient communities. This will be done through inclusive engagement, partnership building, community planning, and/or influencing public policy. This will include building disaster resilient communities through community members increasing knowledge and skills to prepare, mitigate, respond and recover from disasters. 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. Parents and caregivers will effectively use recommended parenting, self care practices and community resources. North Carolina communities are only as strong and viable as the families that reside there. To create and maintain viable communities where children and youth succeed and the elderly are protected and cared for parents and caregivers need knowledge and skills that build their capacity to function effectively and carryout their responsibilities. They need to be equipped to: 1) foster positive parent-child relationships, 2) address anti-social behavior with appropriate disciplinary techniques, 3) implement positive role modeling, child monitoring and supervision strategies and 4) prevent practices that lead to the abuse and neglect of children. State data suggest that strengthening parenting skills could serve as an asset to families and communities. Risk and needs assessment data on 46,041 youth involved in NC courts found that 59% of the youth had problems in school, 40% had relationships with peers associated with gangs and delinquent behavior, 40% had parents who were either unable or unwilling to supervise them, and 68% had parents with either marginal or inadequate supervision skills. A large percentage of NC working families with children under six (63.34%) must rely on child care services. Child care practitioner education and training is key to providing quality childcare. Family members provide care to a rapidly growing aging population that could double, reaching 2.8 million in the next two decades. A majority of elderly North Carolinians suffer from multiple chronic illnesses. Caregiver demands can trigger health problems, financial and emotional stress. Families who provide care and support for elderly family members also need skills to succeed with less stress and financial burden and need to be linked to community resources that provide support for the care and maintenance of elderly family members. Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways We are living in a new economy powered by technology, fueled by information and driven by knowledge. Extension programs provide opportunities for youth and adults to improve their level of education and increase their skills that enable them to be competitive in our global society and workforce. North Carolinians will make decisions and adopt practices that implement effective resource protection and conservation. The natural resources in North Carolina are an important asset that benefit all citizens, but many citizens are unaware of the consequences of actions and practices they implement. The continued population growth of North Carolina is putting pressure on natural resources in terms of quantity and quality. To have a healthy and productive natural environment, professionals and citizens must be knowledgeable of environmental issues and conservation and management opportunities. Consumers and communities will enhance the value of plants, animals, and landscapes while conserving valuable natural resources and protecting the environment. Residential, commercial and public entities will make decisions regarding plant selection, placement and management that will decrease water consumption, preserve and improve water quality, mitigate storm water contaminants, reduce erosion, energy consumption, and greenwaste, expand wildlife habitat, improve real estate value, and improve diet and nutrition of consumers. The horse and "farmer lifestyle" industry will continue to grow and have an increasing impact on North Carolina's economy, while protecting the environment. The NCDA&CS reports that 65,000 horse producers own over 225,000 horses which annually generates over $704 million of gross revenue from training, showing, boarding and breeding establishments in addition to agri-business sales of horse-related products. The total economic impact of the NC green industry is $8.6 billion, involving 151,982 employees, and 120,741 acres of production (Green Industry Council, 2006). North Carolina residential consumers spend $5.9 billion dollars per year on garden and landscape related expenses (Green Industry Council, 2006). For 2007, North Carolina's population is estimated to be 8,968,800 (LINC). The population grew by 1,323,288 (15%), between 1997 and 2007 and it is projected to grow by another 1,330,055 (13%), over the next ten years (LINC). Over 50% of the population now lives in urban areas. Despite evidence of the ecological and financial benefits, environmentally responsible landscaping strategies are not being implemented widely. Renovating a landscape to incorporate water conserving strategies may result in using 36% less water. Urban water run-off accounts for the majority of water pollution, mostly pesticides and fertilizers, that does not come from a specific industrial source. Selection of well-adapted plants, effective pest management, and appropriate care and feeding of plants will greatly reduce dependence on fertilizers and pesticides. Rain water that is not absorbed by the soil becomes erosive storm water runoff, which transports pollutants such as fertilizer, pesticides, sediment, motor oil, litter, and animal waste to local streams and rivers. Landscape designs will include rain gardens and other runoff catchment facilities (underground cisterns, etc.) that are attractive and easy to maintain in residential areas. Homeowners will learn that proper plant selection and placement can reduce winter heating bills by as much as 15% and summer cooling bills by as much as 50 percent, while reducing the need to prune over-sized plants. Wild habitat areas are rapidly being converted into housing and commercial properties, displacing native plants and animals. Choosing native or adapted plants that provide food and shelter creates a haven for butterflies, birds, lizards, and other animals. Edible landscaping can increase the amount and expand the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed. Youth and adult program participants will make healthy food choices, achieve the recommended amount of physical activity and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases. Many North Carolinians are affected by chronic disease and conditions that compromise their quality of life and well-being. Heart disease, stroke and cancer continue to be leading causes of death in our state. In addition, obesity and obesity related chronic diseases such as diabetes continue to rise at alarming rates. Healthy eating and physical activity are critical to achieve optimal health. Many North Carolinians have diets that are too high in calories and too low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Portion sizes, foods eaten away-from-home and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages continue to rise. In addition, most North Carolinians do not engage in regular physical activity. The prevalence of overweight and obesity has nearly doubled in the past 10 years. If the trend of overweight is not slowed, it will eliminate the progress we have made in reducing the burden of weigh-related chronic disease. One in every three US children born after 2000 will become diabetic unless many more people start eating less and exercising more. The cost of obesity in North Carolina in health care costs alone is over 2 billion dollars. There are many proposed reasons for the obesity epidemic, however unhealthy eating and physical inactivity are widely recognizes as primary contributors to the problem. Those who make healthy food choices and are physically active are more likely to achieve and maintain a healthy weight as well reduce chronic diseases. Ultimately, this will lead to reduction in health care costs, increased longevity, greater productivity and improved quality of life.

V. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 13,377
Non face-to-face** 987,080
Total by Extension staff in 2019 1,000,457
* 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.

VI. Designated Grants Received by Extension

Type of GrantAmount
Contracts/Grants $15,065.34
Gifts/Donations $9,919.43
In-Kind Grants/Donations $2,475.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $772.00
Total $28,231.77

VII. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 25.43
4-H 186 696 4072 $ 17,699.00
Advisory Leadership System 8 12 0 $ 305.00
Extension Community Association 6 19 0 $ 483.00
Other: Agriculture 201 1087 0 $ 27,642.00
Total: 401 1814 4072 $ 46,130.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VIII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Bladen County Extension Advisory Council
Brenda Brisson
Greg Elkins
David Gooden
Michael Inman
Andy James
Rufus Lloyd
Dorothy McKoy
Linda Rivenbark
Kaleb Sargent
Jimmie Smith
Carol Strickland
Gwen Thompson
Joyce Walters
Joyce Ward
Wilbur Ward
Louella Willis
Harold Wright

Bruce McLean - Advisory Council (Specialized Committee Field Crops & Comm. Hort)
Field Crops
Wade Byrd
Wanda Clay
Dean Morris
Travis Walters
Joyce Ward
Wilbur Ward

Commercial Horticulture
David Allen
Kristen Brinkley
Ralph Carter
Eddie Hester
Chris Tatum
John Taylor
Ron Taylor
Danny Winzeler
Rebecca Spearman-Advisory Council (Specialized Committee Livestock)
Rusty Patterson
Pat Patterson
Kaleb Sargent
Clarence Thornton
Charles Gillespie
Krista Hansen
Joy Morgan
Channing Gooden
Michael Inman
FCS Agent-Advisory Council (Specialized Committee FCS)
Janet Miller
Kory Hair
Elizabeth Ann Harris
Kelsey Edwards
Berkley Pridgen
Willie Kay McDuffie
Tiina Mundy
Carol Strickland
Linda Rivenbark
Marianne Valentiner
Olga Bauer
Stacie Kinlaw -Advisory Council (Specialized Committee 4-H)
Lisa Barnes
Hope Derry
Katrina Harbison
Rhoda Hayes
Kelli Hill
Rev. Lorraine Jackson
Andy James
Susan Lanier
Tiina Mundy
Louella Wills


Consumer Horticulture Agent - Advisory Council (Specialized Committee)
Bonnie Cox
Dick Noble
Christine Seme
Gwen Thompson
Eddie Walters

IX. Staff Membership

Becky Spearman
Title: County Extension Director and Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock
Phone: (910) 862-7851
Email: becky_spearman@ncsu.edu

Elizabeth Blanks
Title: 4-H Life Skills Program Coordinator
Phone: (910) 862-4591
Email: elizabeth_blanks@ncsu.edu

Bridget Bloomer
Title: Program Assistant
Phone: (910) 862-4591
Email: babloome@ncsu.edu

Nelson Brownlee
Title: Area Agent, Small Farm Management
Phone: (910) 671-3276
Email: ncbrownl@ncat.edu
Brief Job Description: Small Farmers, Recordkeeping, Financial Management, Alternative Crops and Enterprises, Beekeeping

William Craig
Title: Extension Agent, Horticulture
Phone: (910) 862-4591
Email: wkcraig@ncsu.edu

Mike Frinsko
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Aquaculture
Phone: (252) 448-9621
Email: mofrinsk@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide technical training and assistance to commercial aquaculture producers in the Southeast Extension District

Joel Fulton
Title: Office Support
Phone: (910) 862-4591
Email: jfulton@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.

Krista Johnson
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (910) 321-6865
Email: knunderw@ncsu.edu

Lynette Johnston
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-0303
Email: lynette_johnston@ncsu.edu

Peggie Lewis Joyce
Title: Area 4-H Agent - Central Region
Phone: (336) 242-2080
Email: peggie_lewis@ncsu.edu

Stacie Kinlaw
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (910) 862-4591
Email: skinlaw@ncat.edu

Colby Lambert
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Forestry
Phone: (910) 814-6041
Email: colby_lambert@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities and technical support to forest landowners, agents, and forest industry in eastern North Carolina.

Danny Lauderdale
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Ornamental Nursery and Greenhouse, Eastern Region
Phone: (252) 237-0111
Email: danny_lauderdale@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides programming to commercial ornamental nursery and greenhouse producers in eastern North Carolina.

LaToya Lucy
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (910) 862-4591
Email: latoya_lucy@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Assistant to CED,Agriculture (Livestock) Support, Bladen Extension Computer Contact, Leave Administrator, Social Media

Diana Rashash
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Water Quality/Waste Management
Phone: (910) 455-5873
Email: diana_rashash@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Water and wastewater issues of all types: stormwater, aquatic weed ID & control, water quality & quantity, septic systems, animal waste, land application of wastewater, environment & sustainability, climate, etc.

Margaret Ross
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (252) 670-8254
Email: margaret_ross@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Working with commercial poultry producers to assist in writing nutrient management plans and conducting educational programming.

Chip Simmons
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Food Safety
Phone: (919) 414-5632
Email: odsimmon@ncsu.edu

Alyssa Spence
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agromedicine, Farm Health & Safety
Phone: (252) 527-2191
Email: arramsey@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: I work with the NCSU Applied Ecology-Toxicology & Agromedicine Department to serve the18 counties in the Southeast District, providing health/safety resources and programming to field agents in this area.

Wesley Stallings
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture- Grain Crops
Phone: (910) 455-5873
Email: wcstalli@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Agriculture-Grain Crops

Matthew Strickland
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture- Field Crops
Phone: (910) 862-4591
Email: matthew_strickland@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: I work with Farmers in the Bladen County area in production, certification, and training in row crops and commercial horticulture fields.

Allan Thornton
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables and Fruits
Phone: (910) 592-7161
Email: allan_thornton@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Vegetable Extension Specialist. Conducts Extension and applied research programs for commercial vegetable and fruit growers and agents in eastern North Carolina.

Mitch Woodward
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Watersheds and Water Quality
Phone: (919) 414-3873
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.

X. Contact Information

Bladen County Center
450 Smith Cir
Elizabethtown, NC 28337

Phone: (910) 862-4591
Fax: (910) 862-6939
URL: http://bladen.ces.ncsu.edu