2017 Wilkes County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 22, 2018

I. Executive Summary

Wilkes County Cooperative Extension staff used advisory councils such as the Wilkes County Advisory Council, Wilkes Master Gardeners, Cattlemens Association, 4-H volunteers, and key county stakeholders to identify priority areas in educational programs. Wilkes Extension also worked with the following agencies to develop and carry out programming efforts: Wilkes County Government, Wilkes County Schools, Wilkes Community College, Wilkes Economic Development Commission, Wilkes Health Department, Soil Conservation, and Wilkes Partnership for Children. Wilkes staff delivered programs both autonomously and in coordination with many of these agencies.

Wilkes County Extension staff served 28,306 clients through face-to-face contact.

One area identified as a priority by Wilkes Extension staff was to educate youth and adults on the strong agricultural community, the availability of local foods, and potential agricultural related jobs. In 2017, one of these efforts included Wilkes Ag Awareness Day. This event was organized by Wilkes Extension and educated over 600 third graders and their teachers on the diversity and importance of agriculture to the county. Our staff also organized the agricultural portion of the Wilkes Agricultural Fair, which is visited by a significant percentage of area residents.

In 2014, Wilkes Extension and the local Economic Development Cooperation office secured funding to purchase equipment that could be used by local cattlemen to assist with their operation. This equipment included portable corrals, squeeze chute, and scales. In 2017, this equipment was used to help cattlemen that did not originally have access to this equipment to process over 1,000 animals.

Wilkes Extension Service is responsible for organizing and managing the Cub Creek Community Garden for the town of Wilkesboro. In 2017, all of the 51 plots were rented to residents. Throughout the growing season, Wilkes Extension and the Wilkes Master Gardeners helped plot owners with gardening questions and pest related issues. As a result, over 6,000 pounds of produce were grown in the gardens, which is a record since the garden was established in 2011. Also, over 400 pounds of vegetables grown by Master Gardeners at the site were donated to local food banks.

In 2017, Wilkes 4-H concentrated on becoming more involved in the local public school system. Wilkes 4-H assisted teachers in educating youth on various issues related to the environment, including vermicomposting, pollinators, and weather. Wilkes 4-H secured funding to install a pollinator garden that is used in conjunction with the Cub Creek Community Garden. These programs will be expanded to more schools in 2018.

Wilkes Extension staff continue to base programming efforts based upon the needs of Wilkes residents. In 2018, as in past years, Extension staff will assess resident needs and will continue to try to expand programming efforts.

II. County Background

Wilkes County is the largest county in western North Carolina with a diverse business and agricultural climate. According to 2013 census data for North Carolina, the population of the county is 69,023, with the racial background as follows: 88.5% white, 4.4% African American, 5.7% is Hispanic, and 1.45% other. In 2015, the Wilkes County unemployment rate dropped slightly to 5.4% with approximately 23% of its residents living below the poverty line. The poverty rate is one of the highest in the area. In a 2011 USDA census, Wilkes County had two tracts that were considered food deserts, which are areas that residents have limited access to healthy, nutritious foods.

Agriculture is still the driving force in Wilkes. Of the 483,420 acres in Wilkes County, nearly 111,000 acres (23%) are in farming. According to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Wilkes County agriculture accounted for over $312 million in cash receipts in 2015. Wilkes County ranks seventh in the state in farm cash receipts and 3rd in broiler and cattle production. Agriculture agribusiness industries provide employment for 30% of the county workforce. On the negative side, the number of Wilkes farms has declined from 1,273 to 972 since 2002; a 24% reduction in that time period.

Wilkes County Extension uses county and program area advisory councils to determine programming needs. Extension works with key county stakeholders to identify priority areas in educational programs. Some of these stakeholders include: Wilkes County government, Wilkes County schools, Wilkes Community College, Wilkes Economic Development Commission, Wilkes Health Department, Soil Conservation, and Wilkes Partnership for Children. Wilkes Extension staff also works with these agencies to carry out programming efforts that address issues in the county.

The programming areas that were identified for Wilkes Extension programming include:
- Encouraging youth to explore opportunities in science related fields, which is the fastest growing job market in North Carolina.
- Educate residents on the availability of locally grown food and where to access these foods.
- Educate residents on how to grow their own food.
- Help improve agricultural production by working with growers to adopt best management practices and educating them on how to adapt new technology to their operation.
- Educate and assist residents interested in getting into an agricultural enterprises.

Many of the program areas identified as priorities will be addressed in conjunction with other agencies and institutions. It is the hope of Wilkes Extension that there will be a significant, positive impact on the residents of Wilkes County in 2017 and beyond.

III. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

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

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

Value* Outcome Description
249Number of animal producers increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, and/or skills as related to: 1. Best management production practices (cultural, nutrient, and genetics) 2. Pest/insect, disease, weed, wildlife management 3. Financial/Farm management tools and practices (business, marketing, government policy, human resources) 4. Alternative agriculture, bioenergy, and value-added enterprises
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
249Number of animal producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
245000Net income gains by producers adopting Extension-recommended best management practices, including those practices related to husbandry, improved planning, marketing, and financial practices
2Number of animal producers implementing Extension-recommended best management practices for animal waste management
983Tons of livestock organic by-products utilized (nutrients from waste, compost, etc)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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.

Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways

Value* Outcome Description
17Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
1812Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
989Total number of female participants in STEM program
7Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
27Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
23Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of entrepreneurship
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
1812Number of youth (students) gaining knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
27Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
23Number 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.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 15,542
Non face-to-face** 12,769
Total by Extension staff in 2017 28,311
* Face-to-face contacts include contacts that Extension personnel make directly with individuals through one-on-one visits, meetings, and other activities where staff members work directly with individuals.
** Non face-to-face contacts include contacts that Extension personnel make indirectly with individuals by telephone, email, newsletters, news articles, radio, television, and other means.

V. Designated Grants Received by Extension

Type of GrantAmount
Contracts/Grants $0.00
Gifts/Donations $2,600.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $0.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $0.00
Total $2,600.00

VI. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 24.69
4-H: 192 1,617 1,479 $ 39,924.00
Advisory Leadership System: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Extension Community Association: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Extension Master Gardener: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Other: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Total: 192 1617 1479 $ 39,924.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Wilkes County Extension Advisory Council
Beth Graf
Bob Hege
Nila Johnston
Betty Knight
Gwen Minton
Sharon Underwood
Martha Townes
Ray Rich
Julie Colglazier
Rodney Shepherd
Henry Church
Nelda Church
Wilkes County 4-H Advisory Board
Arbie Allison
Martha Townes
Brenda Dobbins
Barbara VanMeter
Teana Compeau
Jenn Wages
Greta Ferguson
Leshe Barnes
Julia Turpin
Sharon Underwood
Scott Graham
Wilkes Area Feeder Cattle Sales Committee
Shelmer Blackburn Jr.
Jimmy Church
Phillip LaPrad
Seth Church
Matt Eller
Eric Bumgarner
Glenn Weston
Don Parker
Neil Eller
Wilkes County Row Crop Advisory Board
Talmadge Mathis
John Mathis
Garrett Mathis
Josh Brown
David Hanks
Wilkes Voluntary Agricultural District Advisory Board
Benny Alexander
Dan Bumgarner
Dennis McGrady
Kirk Mathis
Toby Speaks
Claude Shew Jr.
Wilkes Master Gardeners
Fay Kennedy
Gloria Watson
Ray Rich
Diane Stephens
Wilkes Farmers Market
Roger Owens
Don Owens
Debbie Lowe
Garrett Griffin
Wilkes Livestock Advisory Board
Shelmer Blackburn Jr.
Seth Church
Terry Church
John Dyer
Brian Parker
Clayton Yanks
ECA Executive Board
Ruth Greer
Nila Johnston
Patsy Phillips
Sharon Burkenbine
Freda Perry
Nancy Eller

VIII. Staff Membership

John Cothren
Title: County Extension Director and Ext Agent, Agriculture - Livestock and Field Crops
Phone: (336) 651-7348
Email: john_cothren@ncsu.edu

MaryMorgan Arrington
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture
Phone: (336) 651-7333
Email: marymorgan_arrington@ncsu.edu

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

Lauren Greene
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (336) 651-7347
Email: lauren_greene@ncsu.edu

Whitney Greene
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (336) 651-7336
Email: whitney_greene@ncsu.edu

Marissa Herchler
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Animal Food Safety (FSMA Programs)
Phone: (919) 515-5396
Email: marissa_herchler@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Marissa is an Area Specialized Agent for animal food safety, with emphasis on the new Food Safety Modernization Act rules, as they apply to feed mills in North Carolina. Please contact Marissa with any FSMA related questions, or PCQI training inquiries.

Bill Lord
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Water Resources
Phone: (919) 496-3344
Email: william_lord@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Water quality education and technical assistance

Sam Lusk
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (336) 651-7335
Email: salusk@ncsu.edu

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

Rachel McDowell
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and 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.

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

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

Amanda Taylor
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Nursery and Greenhouse, Western Region
Phone: (828) 475-2915
Email: amanda_jo_taylor@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides programming to commercial nursery and greenhouse producers in Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey Counties.

Courtney Tevepaugh
Title: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (336) 651-7331
Email: csparke3@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Nutrition and Foods Education - Local Foods Coordinator

Mitch Woodward
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Watersheds and Water Quality
Phone: (919) 250-1112
Email: mdwoodwa@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: NC Cooperative Extension's Goals include: - NC's natural resources and environmental quality will be protected, conserved and enhanced. - NC will have profitable, environmentally sustainable plant, animal and food systems. Protecting our environmental resources, particularly drinking water quality, is a top priority in NC. NC Cooperative Extension is a leader in teaching, researching, and accelerating the adoption of effective water quality protection practices.

IX. Contact Information

Wilkes County Center
416 Executive Dr
Wilkesboro, NC 28697

Phone: (336) 651-7330
Fax: (336) 651-7516
URL: http://wilkes.ces.ncsu.edu