2019 Wilson County Plan of Work

Approved: January 9, 2019

I. County Background

Wilson County is located in the Coastal Plain Region of North Carolina and covers an area of 373 square miles. It has seven incorporated towns, with the City of Wilson being the largest (Population 49,628). The current population of the entire county is 81,667. The county's racial profile is approximately 47% white, 40% African-American, 10% Hispanic/Latino (Hispanics are included in applicable race categories) and 1.9% other.

Seventy-six percent or 25,704 working Wilson County residents worked inside of Wilson County. Twenty-four percent or 8,201 residents work within North Carolina, but outside Wilson County. Only 0.3% percent or 113 residents work outside of North Carolina. The unemployment rate reported in September of 2017 was 6.3% which was higher than the state unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, however it was down from the annual 2016 Wilson County rate of 8.1%. Wilson County is designated as a Tier 2 county and has remained in the Tier 2 classification since 2016.

Agriculture and agribusiness provided jobs for 11.2 percent of Wilson County's working residents according to a study completed by Dr. Mike Walden in 2015. Wilson County agriculture is critical to the economic viability of the rural communities in the county. Wilson County is a leader statewide in the production of a number of crops.

Agriculture continues to provide a major economic impact to the county with farm income estimates of over $114 million dollars in 2018. Wilson County farmers had many challenges in 2018 from mother nature. 2018 was the wettest year recorded at RDU, coupled with a drought in June and July and two hurricanes/tropical storms in the fall. Overall, estimated gross farm income is down over $32 million from the previous year. The majority of the decrease was due to decreases in tobacco but also to nursery income figures as Gardens Alive closed in 2018. These situations will bring financial challenges to the agriculture community in 2019.

Tobacco production remains the mainstay of most farming operations in the county and generated an estimated $25 million in gross farm income, more than any other commodity in Wilson County. Yield were decreased by at least 40% due to two hurricanes/tropical storms this fall. Tobacco was impacted more than any other crop. In addition to tobacco production, Wilson County has a long and rich history of selling tobacco and continues to be a hub of leaf sales. Completing the 129th season, the Wilson Tobacco Market is still the "World's Greatest Tobacco Market." Unfortunately, the hurricanes and tropical storms significantly impacted the volume of tobacco sold on the market.

Nursery and greenhouse production contributed $22 million to farm income in 2018, down $10 million from the previous year. Unfortunately, Gardens Alive, the largest container nursery in the state and located in Wilson County, was closed mid-season. Consumer horticulture thrives in Wilson County through the Wilson Botanical Gardens (WBG). The WBG is a 11 acre public garden and a 1 acre Children's Secret Garden has been installed. The WBG is maintained entirely by the Wilson County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers.

Sweet potatoes are the key horticultural crop grown in Wilson County. Sweet potato production generated sales of over $25 million in 2018. Agriculture producers continue to diversify into the production of vegetables and other specialty crops. This production has increased dramatically over the past five years and this trend is expected to continue. Wilson County is the second largest sweet potato producing county in North Carolina that has seven sweet potato packinghouses and facilities that have the capacity to cure 5.6 million bushels or approximately 1/3 of the state’s sweet potato crop. Other key commercial horticultural crops are watermelons, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, strawberries and others. There are also two vegetable packinghouses and one cucumber grader in the county.

This past year brought many changes to the Wilson Farmers Market Association. After electing new board members and officers, the group decided to sell twice per week at the new Whirligig Park Farmers Market shelter in downtown. The City of Wilson offered to provide management and marketing to assist the group. To be more reflective of the offerings, the name of the new market is the Wilson Farmers and Artisan market.

While agriculture continues to play a vital role in the county, Wilson County does have four companies that employ over 1000 employees. They are Bridgestone/Firestone, BB&T, Wilson Medical Center, Wilson County Schools, and Alliance One International. In addition, two companies, S. T. Wooten Construction, Inc. and Smithfield Packing Company, Inc. employ between 500-999 people. Wilson County is touted as the largest industrial manufacturing county east of I-95 and within the top 10 counties statewide. Wilson County also grows industry well. WalletHub, a personal-finance website, reported that Wilson was ranked among the top 10 best small cities in which to start a business.

The Wilson County School System serves 11,164 students. There are three high schools, six middle schools, 13 elementary schools, 2 early colleges, and 1 alternative school. The ethnic distribution of the public schools are: 44% black, 30% white, and 26% other. In addition to its public schools, the county is also home to Greenfield School, Wilson Christian Academy, and Community Christian School. The Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf, a public residential school for deaf children from kindergarten through grade 12, is also located in Wilson. Wilson Preparatory Academy and Sallie B. Howard are two charter schools in Wilson County.

Families and young people in the county face many challenges. In addition to having a high unemployment rate, Wilson County has an extremely high number of adolescent pregnancies and ranks high in the state for sexually transmitted diseases.

II. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

III. Relationship to County Government Objectives

Wilson County is dedicated to providing quality services to its residents in the most cost effective manner possible. The Cooperative Extension Service is an integral and valuable component in Wilson County government’s efforts to accomplish this goal. Wilson County is still very much an agricultural county with many of its residents relying on the income from crops, agribusiness, livestock, and horticulture and nursery products. The agricultural agents provide an extremely valuable service to these families and their employees by keeping them fully informed of the latest trends in best practices as well as the most up to date research in all areas of agriculture. Wilson County also has a diverse population who rely on the consumer and family science programs provided by the Cooperative Extension Service. Families and individuals benefit from the advice, information, and involvement that this agent provides to citizens in health and nutrition education. The Wilson County 4-H program is one of the best programs in the state. The young people who participate in this program consistently excel in state competitions in every aspect of 4-H programs. Many Wilson County 4-Her’s participate in conferences and competition at the national level. There are a large number of youth involved in the county already. Cooperative Extension continually improves its efforts to diversify its clientele and to involve even more young people. Another important aspect of Cooperative Extension is its efforts to involve more home owners in landscaping, beautification, land and water conservation, and drought management. Cooperative Extension provides advice, information, and research assistance and has the best Master Gardener program in the state. The services provided by Cooperative Extension provides educational programs at a world class level, in a cost effectively and efficiently method, to benefit the citizens of Wilson County.

IV. Diversity Plan

Cooperative Extension values diversity as a rich attribute that allows our county to fulfill its educational mission in North Carolina. Diversity is reflected in the core differences of all human beings and is valued among employees, clientele, and educational partners. These differences are the basis for our values, attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions that allow us to develop human road maps for the good of our world. We continue to welcome and acknowledge the positive impact related to differences in age, culture, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental abilities, races, sexual orientation, political beliefs, marital or family status, spiritual practice, and all dimensions of human diversity.

Cooperative Extension in Wilson County will continue to place emphasis on recruiting, training, and marketing programs and volunteers to spread the word about programs. Reaching a more diverse audience will enhance sustaining the programs and the mission of the organization. Wilson has a significant population of Hispanics and therefore programs will be marketed to target this audience and materials will be both in Spanish and English to create a helpful relationship with all Wilson citizens.

Cooperative Extension has a regional Farm Worker Safety and Health Educator position that is housed in Wilson County. This educator provides training to farm workers in Wilson, Edgecombe and Nash counties in Worker Protection Standards, Heat Illness, Green Tobacco Sickness, Pesticide safety, mental welfare and other areas. This will continue to expand our audience to Latino clients.

V. Primary Delivery and Evaluation Methods

Delivering timely, relevant educational programs that meet critical local needs is the cornerstone of Cooperative Extension’s mission. Educational programs are designed to equip the citizens of Wilson County with the knowledge, skills and tools to improve their economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and quality of life. A Cooperative Extension program delivery system is a planned and organized mix of educational methods used during an educational program. Cooperative Extension educational methods are the specific ways by which research-based information is shared with targeted learners. Extension educators in our county employ a wide variety of hands-on, experiential educational methods, such as interactive workshops and classes, demonstrations, on-farm tests, field days and tours, that allow learners to fully engage in the learning process, test new knowledge and/or practice new skills during the educational session. Equally important, this plan will also include educational methods such as seminars, client visits, fact sheets, newsletters, social media, and email that serve to support and reinforce learning as well as provide motivation for continued learning. Armed with the most current literature on effective teaching and learning, Extension educators also skillfully select educational methods based on the learning style preferences and special needs of the targeted learners. These client-focused methods afford learners the opportunity to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to change their lives in meaningful ways. Another key feature of Extension program delivery that is evident in this plan is our commitment to being customer driven and customer focus. As such, in addition to the County Extension Center, Extension educational programs are delivered online, in community centers, on farms, and other locations in order for our programs to be available and accessible to, and fully utilized by, the citizens of Wilson County.

In Cooperative Extension, success is defined as the extent to which our educational programs have made a difference in the lives of the citizens of Wilson County. Evaluation methods are the way we make those observations about first and foremost whether any changes occurred as a result our educational programs, and subsequently the significance of those changes. As an educational organization, the changes we seek focus on key outcomes such as the knowledge and skills participants gain from our programs. More specifically, in this plan, we are using quantitative research methods such as retrospective testing, pre and post tests and/or surveys to measure change in knowledge gained, the application of that knowledge, number of new skills developed, and types of new skills developed. Cooperative Extension, as a results-oriented organization, is committed to also assessing the social, economic and/or environmental impact that our programs have on the individuals who participate, their families and communities and ultimately the county as a whole (i.e. true significance of the changes stemming from our programs). We plan to measure these impacts in both the long and short-term. In this annual plan (short-term), we have outlined financial impact as our primary evaluation methods. Another value held in Cooperative Extension is actively listening to and dialoguing with targeted learners. Therefore, this plan also includes qualitative evaluation methods such as testimonials from program participants, and interviews and focus groups with participants.

VI. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

Wilson County Advisory Leadership Council
Karen Blume
Wanda Jones
Courtney Sharp
David Harrell
Bucky Robbins
Susan Barnes
Randal Barnes
Dennis Vick
RC Hunt
Pam Dew
Paul Farris
Sherry Lucas
KiKi Barrett
Paula Benson
Bonnie Wood
Dail Turner

Wilson County Ag Advisory Board
Randal Barnes
Dr. Frank Batten
Carroll Coleman
John Glover
William C. Harrell
R. C. Hunt
Augusta Jones
Lynn Pittman
Marion Pridgen, Jr.
John Lloyd Sharp
Linwood Scott, Jr.
Pender Sharp
Tim Shelton
Tommy Shingleton
Jerome Vick
Wilson County Livestock Association - Board of Directors
Pres- Thad Sharp IV
VP- Shelton Hinnant
Sec/Tres- Wiley Boyette
David Blalock
Adam Gardner
Jimmy Miller
Robert Simpson
Scott Sullivan
Wilson County Tobacco Advisory Committee
David Blalock
David Hinnant
Gerald Tyner, Jr.
Adam Gardner
Gary Scott
Ricky Webb
Brooks Barnes
Scott Sullivan
Lynn Pittman
Jason Beamon
Linwood Scott
Thad Sharp, IV
Spencer Davis
Rob Fulghum
Lin Vick


Wilson County Young Farmers Association - Officers and Board of Directors
President - Rob Fulghum
Vice-President - Frank Scott
Treasurer - Ron Lamm
Past President - Ryan Beamon

Travis Aycock
Rob Fulghum
Joey Kirby
Tyler Lamm
Daniel Sharp
Mark Batts
Adam Gardner
Rob Glover
Frank Scott
Bennett Williford
Ron Lamm
Andrew Lewis
Wyatt Scott
Walker Shelton
Thomas Webb
Wilson County 4-H County Council
Javan Harrell
Charlotte Edwards
Josiah Carpenter
Wilson County 4-H Advisory Committee
Akea Barrett
Pam Gardner
Beth Barnett
Brenda Wind
Randy Jones
Cynthia Smith
Edwina Lucas
Calvin Woodard
Sherry Lucas
Wilson County 4-H Development Fund Board Members
Paul Farris, Chairman
Adam Gardner
Pam Gardner
ECA Officers
Angela Abrams, President
Nancy Lamm
Ann Baker
Faye Taylo
Wilson County Forestry Advisory Committee
Billy Lamm
Dwight Batts
Bob Mazur
Colby Lambert
Bucky Robbins
Brandon Webb
Will Tulloss
Dylan Howard
CD Barrett
Wilson County Green Association Board
Janie Thomas
John Koster
Melissa Dudley
Wilson County Master Gardeners - Officers
Judy Buzard
Sue Holland
Wanda Jones
Jerney Minshew
Wilson Farmers Market - Board of Directors
Marcia Garcia, President
Johnathan Edwards, Vice President
Rejeanor Kiefer,Secretary Treasurer
Spencer Davis
Linda Long
Craige Moore
Syndey Pate
Ryan Groesser

Wilson Botanical Gardens Board
Robb Hignite
John Sugg
Scott Gordon
Jane Connor
Linda May

VII. Staff Membership

Norman Harrell
Title: County Extension Director - Agriculture, Field Crops
Phone: (252) 237-0111
Email: norman_harrell@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsibilities include administration and educational programs in tobacco, corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, wheat and hemp production.

Jessica Anderson
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock
Phone: (252) 237-0111
Email: jessica_a_anderson@ncsu.edu

Tommy Batts
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Horticulture, Pesticide Coordinator
Phone: (252) 237-0111
Email: tmbatts@ncsu.edu

Pam Beaman
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant, Agriculture
Phone: (252) 237-0111
Email: pdbeaman@ncsu.edu

Daniel Campeau
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (919) 542-8202
Email: dan_campeau@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Work mainly with Commercial Poultry industry. I also work with small scale poultry production. Service area is now the North Central District from Guilford to Halifax with the southern edge being Chatham and Wake county respectively.

Michelle Daughtridge
Title: County Operations Support Specialist, Agriculture and 4-H
Phone: (252) 237-0111
Email: mbdaugh2@ncsu.edu

Kenyatta Dixon
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (252) 237-0111
Email: kenyatta_lanier@ncsu.edu

Erin Eure
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Fruits and Vegetables
Phone: (252) 357-1400
Email: erin_eure@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities and technical support to commercial fruit and vegetable growers, agents, and industry in northeastern NC.

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

Cassidy Hall
Title: Area Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Phone: (919) 989-5380
Email: cdhobbs3@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: My goal is to educate consumers how to better their health through food-based programs. I encourage healthy lifestyles through nutrition education programs and food preservation. I serve as a resource to community members who want to live healthy on a budget while working with markets, food pantries, and community partners.

Joy Harrell
Title: 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (252) 237-0111
Email: joy_harrell@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

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.

Cyndi Lauderdale
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Ornamental and Consumer Horticulture
Phone: (252) 237-0113
Email: cynthia_lauderdale@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Commercial Ornamental and Consumer Horticulture

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

Jessica Manning
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (252) 237-0111
Email: jessica_manning@ncsu.edu

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.

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

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

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

Debbie Stroud
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9149
Email: dlstroud@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Area Specialized Agents in Consumer and Retail Food Safety help to ensure that Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Agents have access to timely, evidence-based food safety information. This is accomplished by (1) working with FCS Agents in their counties, (2) developing food safety materials and (3) planning and implementing a NC Safe Plates Food Safety Info Center.

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

VIII. Contact Information

Wilson County Center
1806 SW Goldsboro St
Wilson, NC 27893

Phone: (252) 237-0111
Fax: (252) 237-0114
URL: http://wilson.ces.ncsu.edu