2019 Wilkes County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 17, 2020

I. Executive Summary

North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Wilkes County, staff used advisory councils such as the Wilkes County Advisory Council, Wilkes Master Gardeners, Cattlemen's Association, 4-H Volunteers, family and consumer science advisory groups, and other key county stakeholders to identify priority areas in educational programs. The Wilkes office 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 Corporation, 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 4-H School Enrichment is now in four elementary schools, totaling 29 classrooms ranging from 1st-5th grade. In 2019 we implemented “Clover Camp” in an effort to increase public school youth participation in our programming. Clover Camp is held on Wilkes County Schools' teacher workdays and exposes kids to crafts and artistry, hands-on activities, skill-building, and teamwork. We had 13 youth participate in our Clover Camp, many of them attending all nine sessions. Summer Adventures 2019 was a huge success totaling 42 participants in 28 events. Currently, there are three clubs (Clingman Clovers, Life Skills, Liberty Kids), totaling 39 youth. We held our 2nd 4-H Science Fair in November and had seven participants ranging in ages 5-12.

Wilkes County 4-H is growing! In 2019 we added new classrooms to our school enrichment program, added another community club, and completely booked up for Summer Adventures and Clover Camp. Wilkes 4-H continues to strive to increase the presence of 4-H in the community and reach new families by working directly and networking with community organizations such as Wilkes County Schools, Partnership for Children and the North Wilkesboro Housing Authority. We are looking forward to another great year filled with learning opportunities, fun, and 4-H memories!

2019 was full of new programming for FCS! A total of 37 programs were held. New and existing programs included; Lunch and Learn’s, Safe Plates, Med Instead of Meds, Color Me Healthy, Farm to School, Farmers Market Demonstrations, and Home Food Preservation. Existing partnerships were expanded to implement projects within the county. FCS worked alongside the Wilkes Community Partnership for Children (WCPC) as part of the NC Farm to Childcare program. We partnered with WCPC to host a series of cooking classes for parents. We also partnered with The Health Foundation to start a new mobile market, Wilkes Fresh. The Visit NC Farms App was launched in March, with a total of 24 assets listed. From July to December a total of 8,155 digital contacts were made through app notifications.

Eli Snyder started as a new horticulture agent in September 2019. She has started developing connections with both consumer and commercial horticulture groups in the county. She has attended and planned meetings for the Master Gardener group, and assuming leadership of Cub Creek Community Garden. In 2019, over 4713 lb produce were harvested from Cub Creek. She held two public gardening classes; one drew 19 people and the other 10 people, including 3 commercial growers. She has taken over leadership of the Master Gardener program, and planned continuing education for them in October and November. 10 private pesticide applicators attended an X certification training she taught in partnership with the field crops agent. She co-led a commercial greens workshop with the Area Specialized agent for 7 participants. She has been connecting with commercial grape, tree fruit, berry, vegetable, hemp, and specialty crop growers in the county, and helped 6 growers with applications for the NC AgVentures grant, offered for the first time in Wilkes County at the end of 2019.

In 2014, NC Cooperative Extension Wilkes County Center and Wilkes County Economic Development Corporation secured $45,000 to purchase equipment that could be used by local cattlemen to assist with their operation. This equipment included portable corrals, squeeze chute, and scales. Additionally, in 2017 Wilkes EDC contributed $16,175 for two more pieces of equipment to the program, which was weed wipers to assist with unwanted weeds. In 2019 $63,000 was secured to purchase four more pieces of equipment, 500 gallon sprayer, fertilizer / lime spreader, portable corral, portable cattle chute. Since the program’s inception, 65 producers were assisted 154 times, processing over 7,100 animals with an estimated increase in profit to the producers of $532,000

NC Cooperative Extension, Wilkes County, staff continues to base programming efforts based upon the needs of Wilkes residents. In 2019, 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. Wilkes County North Carolina is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 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 $282 million in cash receipts in 2017. 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 North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Wilkes County, 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.
- Educate existing producers on time saving best management practices that could potentially increase profits.

Many of the program areas identified as priorities will be addressed in conjunction with other agencies and institutions. It is the hope of NC Cooperative Extension, Wilkes County, that there will be a significant, positive impact on the residents of Wilkes County in 2019 and beyond.

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
69Number of adults increasing knowledge of life skills (such as goal setting, stress management, self-care and healthy relationships)
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
30Number of adults using effective life skills (such as goal setting, stress management, self-care and healthy relationships)
* 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
4Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
4Number 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
2Number 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
120Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
120Number of animal producers who increased knowledge of farm business management, business planning, financial management, marketing, or estate planning.
150Number 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.)
120Number of producers who increased knowledge of nutrition, ration balancing, mineral supplements, breeding, and reproduction
395Number 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
30Number of producers who increased knowledge of animal waste management practices
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
20Number of producers (and other members of the local food supply chain) who have increased revenue
120Number of producers adopting extension-recommended practices related to planning, marketing, and financial management
15Number of producers implementing Extension-recommended best management practices for animal waste management
3000Number of acres where Extension-recommended nutrient applications were used
30Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to quality assurance (vaccinations, castration, culling techniques, etc.)
30Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to genetic improvement (AI, heifer/bull selection)
60Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to nutrition (mineral, feed rations)
60Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to internal parasite management (fecals, deworming)
60Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices related to pasture management
60Number of producers who adopted Extension-recommended best management practices and production changes related to nutrition, ration balancing, mineral supplement, breeding, and reproduction
15Number of waste utilization/waste management plans developed or updated
* 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
18Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
417Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
234Total number of female participants in STEM program
2Number of high school age youth (students) participating as members of 4-H clubs
223Number of youth increasing knowledge of life skills
558Number of children/youth who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
151Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
417Number of youth demonstrating increased knowledge of natural resources and environmental issues
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
18Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
26Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
26Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
223Number of youth using effective life skills
312Number of youth willing to participate in conservation actions
181Number of youth increasing their physical activity
3Number of youth volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
255Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
33Number of youth who grow food in school gardens.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

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

Value* Outcome Description
16Number 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
33Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease, wildlife) and soil management
* 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
73Number of participants who increase their knowledge of safe home food handling, preservation, or preparation practices
33Number of participants who increase their knowledge of Good Farmers Market Practices
38Number of food handlers who increase their knowledge and skills in safe food handling practices
233Number of individuals who learn how to prepare local foods, including through use of home food preservation techniques.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
10Number of new and existing access points for consumers that expand or improve their offering of local fruits and vegetables. Access points include farmers markets, retail stores, school food programs, community gardens, institutions other than schools (e.g. hospitals, universities, etc.), and other systems/access points not noted (e.g. restaurants, etc.).
89Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
49Number of participants increasing their physical activity
44Number of participants who consume less sodium in their diet
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 16,559
Non face-to-face** 522,258
Total by Extension staff in 2019 538,817
* 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 $1,000.00
Gifts/Donations $19,562.93
In-Kind Grants/Donations $500.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $1,300.00
Total $22,362.93

VI. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 25.43
4-H 46 260 286 $ 6,612.00
Extension Community Association 3 15 0 $ 381.00
Extension Master Gardener 19 99 818 $ 2,518.00
Other: Food & Nutrition 2 16 0 $ 407.00
Total: 70 390 1104 $ 9,918.00
* 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
Faye Kennedy
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 Bryant
Josh Brown
David Hanks
Wilkes Voluntary Agricultural District Advisory Board
Benny Alexander
Dan Bumgarner
Dennis McGrady
Jimmy Church
Toby Speaks
Claude Shew Jr.
Wilkes Master Gardeners
Fay Kennedy
Gloria Watson
Ray Rich
Diane Stephens
Russell Golds
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 Yates
ECA Executive Board
Ruth Greer
Nila Johnston
Patsy Phillips
Sharon Burkenbine
Freda Perry
Nancy Eller
Joanne Gryder

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

Marti Day
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Dairy
Phone: (919) 542-8202
Email: marti_day@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for educational programs for dairy farmers, youth with an interest in dairy projects and the general public with an interest in dairy foods and the dairy industry.

April Dillon
Title: Area Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (704) 482-4365
Email: april_dillon@ncsu.edu

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.

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

Craig Mauney
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables and Fruits
Phone: (828) 684-3562
Email: craig_mauney@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities, training and technical support to commercial fruit and vegetable growers, agents, and industry in Western NC. (My office is located at the Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center not the Henderson County Extension Center as is noted by IT on this website. Please do not contact the Henderson County Extension Center as I am not located there.)

Ashley Robbins
Title: Area Specialized Agent - Dairy
Phone: (919) 542-8203
Email: ashley_robbins@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Marti Day and I are the Area Specialized Dairy Agents - the county-based arm of the Cooperative Extension Dairy Team. We are out here in the counties to help you set and reach your farm, family and business goals. We have collaborative expertise in the areas of Waste Management, Udder Health, Cow Comfort, Nutrition and Forage Management with specialties in (Ashley)Reproduction, Records Management, Animal Health and (Marti)Alternative Markets, Organic Dairy, Grazing Management, and On-farm Processing. We hope to provide comprehensive educational programs for our farmers, consumers and youth for every county across the state. We are here for you by phone, email or text and look forward to working with you!

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.

Eli Snyder
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Commercial and Consumer Hort.
Phone: (336) 651-7333
Email: elina_snyder@ncsu.edu

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: courtney_tevepaugh@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Nutrition and Foods Education - Local Foods Coordinator

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.

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