N.C. Cooperative Extension in Jackson County FY 19/20 Accomplishments
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N.C. Cooperative Extension in Jackson County during this period worked directly face-to-face with 5,050 and indirectly either virtually (Zoom), social media, phone, or email with 30,780. Most of the programming from March 15, 2020, through July 2020 was done virtually due to COVID-19 which included Zooms; field visits with farmers practicing 6’ distancing and masks. Educational programs that consist of more than one session over a period day to months totaled 104 for 350 hours. Social media such as our Extension website and Facebook; weekly newspaper articles; email; phone; Zoom; field visits; classroom instruction; YouTube; publications and newsletters. Some of the Extension educational programs included Embryology; Ski-Walking; Med instead of Meds Diet; Pumpkins and Squash School project; 4-H STEM; Youth Leadership Council; Pasture Management and Healthy Lifestyle.
4-H and YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
“4-H Agent” worked with 1,415 that increased leadership, civic, and STEM Skills, along with a massive effort to get 1,393 students in the county to grow a small garden through the “School Pumpkin and Squash Program” during the beginning of the early stages of the COVID-19 when schools closed during the Spring of 2020.
Commercial and Residential Horticulture Agent worked directly with 183 individuals with increasing their consumer and personal horticulture production by helping with plant diseases and insect damage. Many programs were accomplished through Zoom programs in which 1,704 individuals gained knowledge to change to better management practices for their horticulture production. Beekeeping; Pesticide Certification Trainings; Christmas Tree research and production assistance with tree growers; Tomato production and working with Farmers Market Vendors with Marketing and horticulture issues with their crops. Provided Fruit Tree and Cane production instruction, along with best management practices for crop production.
“Animal Agriculture Agent” worked with 65 livestock producers that helped increase their pasture production, herd health, and best beef management practices called Beef Quality Assurance (BQA). Partner with the Jackson, Macon, and Swain Cattleman’s Association (JMS) monthly to disseminate educational programs on subjects mentioned above. Continued to help build a fledgling 4-H Youth Livestock Club.
FAMILY and CONSUMER SCIENCES
The Consumer and Horticulture program aided 1,927 private growers with increasing home garden and about two (2) dozen commercial producers through plant and pest disease, soil deficiencies with proper soil testing, and best plant production practices. Family and Consumer Science Agent helped 418 citizens increase their nutrition with cooking and healthy eating habitat educational program. These programs included the “Med instead of Meds” cooking program which teaches how to cook for a healthy Mediterranean diet. Worked with daycares and schools on “Parenting Skills” and taught 8 citizens on financial literacy skills.
The County Extension Director (CED) worked with 79 private landowners on best management practices for wildlife nuisances such as problems with snakes, squirrels, bears, groundhogs, bats, beavers, skunks, raccoons, and insects.
CED supported 4 active Community Development Clubs (CDC) with annual awards program through judging with winners receiving hundreds of funds. Educated the public about Best COVID-19 Practices with the 3 W’s, WASH your HANDS, WEAR MASK and WAIT 6’ DISTANCE.
Volunteers are the lifeline of any successful Extension program and our agents aid and support these volunteers to help with our programming. Over the course of FY 19/20 126 Volunteers donated 938 man-hours for a total economic impact of $23,854 that benefited 2,513 individuals of the county.
N.C. Cooperative Extension of Jackson County helped raise $7,450 for educational program materials such as ski-walking poles for the “Smokies Ski-walking School” and $6,000 of these fiscal resources helped with resource development for two (2) agribusinesses.