2016 Bladen County Program Impact Report

Approved: February 4, 2017

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 develops programs to address those needs with the resources available.

In 2016, Agents worked to provide 130 programs, trainings, and workshops that allowed for informal educational opportunities for 4,329 youth and adults. Extension Agents and Program Assistants reported 13,043 face-to-face contacts and 39,567 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 $20,277 in fiscal resources. Volunteers provided 2,284 hours which equates to $53,811 in volunteer dollars.

Below is an overview of some of Bladen County's most significant impacts of 2016.

In it's third year, Chicken Harvesting Program involved 600 people. The 70 chicks, hatched by 320 second graders and 21 teachers in the 4-H Embryology project, were raised to market weight by 100 Ag Education high school students. The birds were processed by 20 volunteers and Extension Agents in collaboration with the NCSU Poultry Science Department. A processing demonstration reached 31 high school students and 25 farmers and agents. As a result, 70 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 25 sludge surveys and 12 calibrations. These farmers realized a savings of over $9,000. Extension provided 18 hours of continuing education credits allowing 152 producers to get 1-6 hours of credit. Livestock and horse operations spend more than 70% of their operating costs in feeding costs. Seventy farmers requested assistance in 2016 on over 600 acres. Ten farmers requested assistance with ration formulation for 200 head of cattle, 20 goats and 10 pigs. Following recommendations, producers saved over $18,000 due to increased forage availability or improved quality.

Bladen County Blueberry farmers grow 6,000 acres, making Bladen the largest producer in the state. Extension assisted farmers by holding a program in which 135 growers received up-to-date research as well as required pesticide credits. Growers placed a cumulative value of $131,550 on the information they received. With almost 6,000 acres of peanuts grown in Bladen County, an educational meeting was held for growers in Bladen and surrounding counties. The 74 farmers in attendance placed a cumulative financial benefit of $37,000 on the information they received. The Master Gardener Plant sales expanded this year and continue to support a scholarship program for area students.

Thirty-seven percent of Bladen County youth between the ages of 2 and 18 are considered overweight or obese. In 2015, the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent offered the SNAP-Ed program, “Steps to Health”, to 92 second graders. Parents reported 75% of their children eating more fruits and vegetables and 83% observed their children drinking fewer sodas. 100% of parents observed their children reading nutrition fact labels in order to choose healthier items. “Better Choices”, the SNAP program for Seniors, was conducted with 33 participants. Forty-two percent of participants reported eating more fruit and 28% are eating more whole grains. In order to stretch their food dollars, 30% reported using grocery ads and coupons more often.

Bladen County 4-H provides an opportunity for youth ages 5-18 to “learn by doing” by using a network of staff, community partners, volunteers, research based curriculum, and peers. The Bladen County 4-H program focuses some efforts to provide research based curriculum and resources to students in Bladen County Schools during school and after school hours e.g. Embryology project for 2nd grade, Snap-Ed for select schools, Girls on Track/Girls on the Run programs at local middle schools, special elective classes at schools, by request, 8th grade Job Shadow program, and much more! In addition, our county is growing our reach within local communities with the organization of two new clubs, increasing our 4-H membership by almost 30%.

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 2013 Census, 34,843 people live in Bladen County with 40.2 persons per square mile. The racial makeup of the county is 60.5% White, 35% Black, 2.7% American Indian, and a growing Hispanic/Latino population of 7.3%. The per capita income in 2013 was $17,890 and median household income is $30,471 compared to the state average of $24,745 and $45,570 respectively. 24.4% of the population is below the poverty level compared to the state average of 16.8%.

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 383 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 5 in grapes, number 6 in peanuts and number 9 in turkeys in North Carolina. Smithfield Foods is the largest employer with over 4,000 employees and they process approximately 32,000 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 2016: Profitable and Sustainable Agriculture 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, 24.4%, 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

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.
Value* Outcome Description
1742Number of participants 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, govenment policy, human resources) 4. Alternative agriculture, bioenergy, and value-added enterprises
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
265Number 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
398500Net income gains realized by the adoption of best management practices, including those practices related to nutrient management, conservation, production, cultivars, pest management (weeds, diseases, insects), business management, and marketing
175Number of producers reporting increased dollar returns per acre or reduced costs per acre (new required data for federal reporting)
63Number of producers reporting reduction in fertilizer used per acre (new required data for federal reporting)
400Number of acres in conservation tillage or other Best Management Practice (new required data for federal reporting)
4Number of producers who adopted a dedicated bioenergy crop (new required data for federal reporting)
15Number of acres planted to a dedicated bioenergy crop(new required data for federal reporting)
153Number of animal producers adopting extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
52250Net income gains by producers adopting extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
278Number of animal producers implementing Extension-recommended best management practices for animal waste management
45Tons of livestock organic by-products utilized (nutrients from waste, compost, etc)
1000000Net income gain by using livestock organic by-products instead of synthetic fertilizers
179Number of waste management certifications gained or maintained due to extension education efforts
1997Number of acres where extension-recommended waste analysis was used for proper land application
8Number of participants that adopted recommended climate mitigation practices such as water-use efficiency, livestock production feeding practices, carbon sequestration, reducing carbon or energy footprint. (new required data for federal reporting).
120Number of acres under recommended climate mitigation practices such as water-use efficiency, livestock production feeding practices, carbon sequestration, reducing carbon or energy footprint. (new required data for federal reporting).
* 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.
Training and educational programs for farmers, agricultural workers, food handlers, and consumers will provide research-based programming, materials, information and expertise to compel these individuals to implement practices relating to the overall safety and security for the food supply and farming systems. Components of this include on-farm, packinghouse, and transportation management, retail and food service establishments, and consumer’s homes. Therefore targeted audiences include farmers and agricultural workers and their families, food handlers and workers (both amateur and commercial), transporters, processors, business operators, food service and retail staff, supervisors of any food facility, long term care facility staff and individuals who purchase, prepare and serve food in their homes. With an estimated 76 million foodborne illnesses annually, costing an estimated $1.4 trillion, food safety highlights a specific area of risk to be addressed by Cooperative Extension. The recent produce-related foodborne illness outbreaks have brought public attention to a problem that has been increasing nationally for the last ten years. The issues of foodborne illness and food safety pose immediate risks for farmers affecting the areas of economics, consumer demand, and market access. Because no processing or kill steps are involved with produce that is typically eaten raw, the best measures to limit microorganisms and fresh produce related illness are to prevent microbes from contaminating the product. Practices like Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), Good Handling Practices (GHPs), and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) represent a systematic preventive approach to food safety, protecting agricultural products as they move from farm to retail and restaurants and finally to families. While there is currently no legal requirements for growers to implement GAPs, buyers have responded to the public concern by requiring their produce growers to adhere to current guidelines and possibly even require GAPs certification. The main areas of concern incorporate production, harvesting, packing, and transporting produce in the areas of water quality, manure management, domestic and wildlife management, worker health and hygiene, transportation, traceability, and documentation. For North Carolina growers to be competitive and produce safe product, it is important that they gain knowledge about and implement food safety programs that minimize physical, chemical and biological hazards Food safety risks do not stop at primary production. As risks associated with pathogens can occur at many junctions between primary production and consumption, food safety is a truly farm-to-fork issue. The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have defined 5 factors that lead to foodborne illness outbreaks: Inadequate cooking or processing procedures; improper storage and holding temperatures, cross-contamination between potentially contaminated raw materials and ready-to-eat foods (either directly or through poor sanitation); and poor implementation of personal hygiene practices. The preventative steps targeting risk reduction taken at each of the components making up the food supply chain are critical in preventing food-borne illness. Educational programs including ServSAFE, School HACCP workshops, food safety at childcare and senior centers, and targeted farm-to-fork food safety inclusion for all food handlers is necessary for important for advances in knowledge and implementation of preventative programs. Equally important is that families and children have a secure food supply. Hunger in American households has risen by 43 percent over the last five years, according to an analysis of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data released in the report "Household Food Security in the United States, 2004." The analysis, completed by the Center on Hunger and Poverty at Brandeis University, shows that more than 7 million people have joined the ranks of the hungry since 1999. The USDA report says that 38.2 million Americans live in households that suffer directly from hunger and food insecurity, including nearly 14 million children. That figure is up from 31 million Americans in 1999. Limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and food-insecure individuals, families and communities will be provided with information and opportunities to enhance household food, diet and nutritional security. Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the United States, and consistently ranks as the first, second or third most deadly industry along with mining and construction. Agriculture is unique in that the work and home place are often the same, exposing both workers and family members to hazards. In the United States on average each year, there are 700 deaths and 140,000 injuries to those who work in agriculture, defined as farming, forestry and fishing. Farmers, farmworkers and their families are at high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries (primarily from tractor roll-overs, machinery entanglements, and animal handling incidents), musculo-skeletal conditions, work-related lung diseases, noise-induced hearing loss, heat stress and heat stroke, pesticide exposure and illness, skin diseases, behavioral health issues, and certain cancers associated with chemical use and prolonged sun exposure. The health and safety of migrant and seasonal farmworkers are complicated by other conditions such as infectious disease, hypertension, and diabetes, as well as cultural and language barriers. Farmers and farmworkers alike are subject to lack of access to health care. Agricultural injury and illness are costly, with total US annual costs reaching $4.5 billion and per farm costs equaling $2,500, or 15% of net income. Median health care coverage for farm families is $6,000 per year. In North Carolina, 27% of farm families do not have health insurance, while 29% of farmers do not have health insurance. Many others have health care coverage with high annual deductibles and high premiums. Agromedicine is a comprehensive, collaborative approach involving both agricultural and health scientists to develop solutions addressing the health and safety issues of the agricultural community through research, education and outreach. The North Carolina Agromedicine Institute, a partnership of NC State University, NC A&T State University and East Carolina University in collaboration with others, develops and evaluates effective programs to reduce injury and illness in agriculture, forestry and fishing. One such program is called Certified Safe Farm (CSF) and AgriSafe. CSF and AgriSafe were first developed and researched in Iowa. CSF and AgriSafe are being adapted to North Carolina agriculture by the NC Agromedicine Institute and its Cooperative Extension collaborators. Certified Safe Farm combines AgriSafe health services (wellness and occupational health screenings and personal protection equipment selection and fit services) conducted by trained AgriSafe health providers, on-farm safety reviews conducted by trained Extension agents, and community education and outreach to achieve safety and health goals established by participating farmers and their employees and families. Insurance incentives and safety equipment cost-share programs for participating farmers are still being developed. Other ongoing educational programs addressing agricultural health and safety include farm safety days for children, youth, or families, employee hands-on farm safety training, the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program for youth, and youth ATV operator safety certification programs.
Value* Outcome Description
4Number of food service employees receiving ServSafe certification
17Number of participants trained in safe home food handling, preservation, or preparation practices
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
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.
Value* Outcome Description
108Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
70Number of youth participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
5Number of adult participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
7Number of hours adult volunteer training conducted
29Number new volunteers recruited
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
425Increased number of hours contributed by trained youth volunteers
686Increased number of hours contributed by trained adult volunteers
4Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
27Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
2Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles beyond Extension, including community boards and task forces
32Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles beyond Extension, including community boards and task forces
1Number of youth volunteers recruiting and/or training new volunteers
7Number of adult volunteers recruiting and/or training new volunteers
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways
We are living in a new economy powered by technology, fueled by information and driven by knowledge. Extension programs provide opportunities for youth and adults to improve their level of education and increase their skills that enable them to be competitive in our global society and workforce.
Value* Outcome Description
20Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
374Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
32Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
92Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
10Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of entrepreneurship
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
20Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
320Number of youth (students) gaining knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
92Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
10Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Consumers and communities will enhance the value of plants, animals, and landscapes while conserving valuable natural resources and protecting the environment.
Residential, commercial and public entities will make decisions regarding plant selection, placement and management that will decrease water consumption, preserve and improve water quality, mitigate storm water contaminants, reduce erosion, energy consumption, and greenwaste, expand wildlife habitat, improve real estate value, and improve diet and nutrition of consumers. The horse and "farmer lifestyle" industry will continue to grow and have an increasing impact on North Carolina's economy, while protecting the environment. The NCDA&CS reports that 65,000 horse producers own over 225,000 horses which annually generates over $704 million of gross revenue from training, showing, boarding and breeding establishments in addition to agri-business sales of horse-related products. The total economic impact of the NC green industry is $8.6 billion, involving 151,982 employees, and 120,741 acres of production (Green Industry Council, 2006). North Carolina residential consumers spend $5.9 billion dollars per year on garden and landscape related expenses (Green Industry Council, 2006). For 2007, North Carolina's population is estimated to be 8,968,800 (LINC). The population grew by 1,323,288 (15%), between 1997 and 2007 and it is projected to grow by another 1,330,055 (13%), over the next ten years (LINC). Over 50% of the population now lives in urban areas. Despite evidence of the ecological and financial benefits, environmentally responsible landscaping strategies are not being implemented widely. Renovating a landscape to incorporate water conserving strategies may result in using 36% less water. Urban water run-off accounts for the majority of water pollution, mostly pesticides and fertilizers, that does not come from a specific industrial source. Selection of well-adapted plants, effective pest management, and appropriate care and feeding of plants will greatly reduce dependence on fertilizers and pesticides. Rain water that is not absorbed by the soil becomes erosive storm water runoff, which transports pollutants such as fertilizer, pesticides, sediment, motor oil, litter, and animal waste to local streams and rivers. Landscape designs will include rain gardens and other runoff catchment facilities (underground cisterns, etc.) that are attractive and easy to maintain in residential areas. Homeowners will learn that proper plant selection and placement can reduce winter heating bills by as much as 15% and summer cooling bills by as much as 50 percent, while reducing the need to prune over-sized plants. Wild habitat areas are rapidly being converted into housing and commercial properties, displacing native plants and animals. Choosing native or adapted plants that provide food and shelter creates a haven for butterflies, birds, lizards, and other animals. Edible landscaping can increase the amount and expand the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed.
Youth and adult program participants will make healthy food choices, achieve the recommended amount of physical activity and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases.
Many North Carolinians are affected by chronic disease and conditions that compromise their quality of life and well-being. Heart disease, stroke and cancer continue to be leading causes of death in our state. In addition, obesity and obesity related chronic diseases such as diabetes continue to rise at alarming rates. Healthy eating and physical activity are critical to achieve optimal health. Many North Carolinians have diets that are too high in calories and too low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Portion sizes, foods eaten away-from-home and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages continue to rise. In addition, most North Carolinians do not engage in regular physical activity. The prevalence of overweight and obesity has nearly doubled in the past 10 years. If the trend of overweight is not slowed, it will eliminate the progress we have made in reducing the burden of weigh-related chronic disease. One in every three US children born after 2000 will become diabetic unless many more people start eating less and exercising more. The cost of obesity in North Carolina in health care costs alone is over 2 billion dollars. There are many proposed reasons for the obesity epidemic, however unhealthy eating and physical inactivity are widely recognizes as primary contributors to the problem. Those who make healthy food choices and are physically active are more likely to achieve and maintain a healthy weight as well reduce chronic diseases. Ultimately, this will lead to reduction in health care costs, increased longevity, greater productivity and improved quality of life.
Value* Impact Description
103Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
637Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
216Number of participants increasing their physical activity
5Number of participants reducing their BMI
41Number of participants who consume less sodium in their diet
* 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* 12,795
Non face-to-face** 39,417
Total by Extension staff in 2016 52,212
* 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 $1,000.00
Gifts/Donations $12,973.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $600.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $5,659.00
Total $20,232.00

VII. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 24.14
4-H: 19 4 40 $ 97.00
Advisory Leadership System: 19 34 0 $ 821.00
Extension Community Association: 7 5 0 $ 121.00
Extension Master Gardener: 182 1,116 310 $ 26,940.00
Other: 183 1,125 51 $ 27,158.00
Total: 410 2284 401 $ 55,136.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VIII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Bladen County Extension Advisory Council
Leon Martin, Chair
Angela Autry Whitaker
Joyce Gillespie
David Gooden
Connie Kinlaw
Barbara Knight
Kenneth Kornegay
Rufus D. Lloyd
Dorothy McKoy
Linda Rivenbark
Jimmie Smith
Joyce Walters
Brook Gillis
Bruce McLean - Advisory Council (Specialized Committee Row Crops/Hort)
Faye Collins
George Council
Alice Freeman
John Graham
Joe Horne
Trish Inscoe
Mike Melvin
Christine Seme
Joan Taylor
Gwen Thompson
Eddie Walters
Jim Smith
Cynthia Benovitz
Steve Williams
Donna Gray
Rebecca Spearman-Advisory Council (Specialized Committee Livestock)
Rusty Patterson
Pat Patterson
Brook Gillis
Clarence Thornton
Charles Gillespie
Krista Hansen
Joy Morgan
David Smith
Channing Gooden
Michael Inman
Sandra Cain- 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)
Katrina Harbison
Kelli Hill
Connie Kinlaw
Willie Kay McDuffie
Louella Wills
Peggy Monk
Tiina Mundy



IX. Staff Membership

Christy Strickland
Title: County Extension Director, Robeson & Interim County Extension Director, Bladen
Phone: (910) 671-3276
Email: christy_strickland@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide Supervision to Robeson staff and to provide programming in the areas of Food Safety, Healthy lifestyles and Food Preservation.

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

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

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

Joel Fulton
Title: County No Pay
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.

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

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

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

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

Rachel McDowell
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer & Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9155
Email: romcdowe@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Support FCS Agents in delivering timely and evidence-based food safety education and information to stakeholders in NC.

Bruce McLean
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Field Crops and Commercial Horticulture
Phone: (910) 862-4591
Email: bruce_mclean@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Field Crop and Commercial Horticulture (Fruits and Vegetables)

Nancy Olsen
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Home Horticulture, Master Gardeners
Phone: (910) 862-4591
Email: nrolsen@ncsu.edu

Sharon Parrish
Title: County Extension Support Specialist, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (910) 862-4591
Email: sharon_g_parrish@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Part-time employee

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

Becky Spearman
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock
Phone: (910) 862-4591
Email: becky_spearman@ncsu.edu

Allan Thornton
Title: Extension Associate
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) 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.

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