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2023 Impacts & Success Stories

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By the Numbers

Program Area no. of participants no. of programs/events no. of technical assistance requests no. of outreach contacts (newsletters, social media, newspapers, fairs, etc.)
4-H & Extension Youth Programs 2,878 135 n/a 21,807
Animal Production Systems 353 13 216 11,244
Food Safety & Nutrition 253 42 33 20,965
Consumer Horticulture 297 24 1,724 115,881
Community Development n/a n/a 24 40,794

670 youth received STEM activity kits

500 youth participated in livestock shows at the Haywood County Fair

1,038 is the average viewership of the Director’s monthly updates

189 residents received soil test kits

2,302 received home food safety information through our online channels

540 community members experienced local food demonstrations

no. of Volunteers no. of hours served no. of client contacts Dollar Value of Volunteer Effort
611 7,722 29,534 $231,275
Institutional Outcomes no. of impacted community members
# of youth increasing their knowledge of agriculture 613
# of pounds of local food donated for consumption by vulnerable populations 1,774
# of individuals who gained knowledge related to fruit and vegetable gardening 132
# of participants who gained knowledge in best management practices for landscapes, lawns, and gardens 528
# of producers who adopted best practices for beef cattle management 335
# of producers who increased knowledge of livestock animal health and welfare 435
# of food handlers who increased their knowledge of commercial food safety 48
# of participants who increased their knowledge of home food safety 1,706

2023 NC State Extension Annual Report

Extension featured in ‘Our State’ magazine

Telling Our Stories, Celebrating Our Successes

The WNC Dairy Beef Feeder Steer Program is in its 10th year of being offered. Youth from across WNC who have not previously participated in a livestock project submit applications in January of each year for selection into the program. Various hands-on clinics and work days are offered throughout the program for the participants to learn how to feed, care for, exhibit, and keep appropriate records for their project. The participants end the program after showing and selling their calf at the Mountain State Fair.

Haywood County has not had strong youth participation in the past and had three participants in 2023. One participant won the herdsmanship award at the Mountain State Fair. Another participant purchased a show calf for a beef cattle project while also receiving the overall 1st place record book. The third participant conquered fear and didn’t quit while persevering and received the overall 2nd place record book.

The Junaluska Elementary School Garden 20-Year Celebration highlighted the impact of volunteers in their community and how important collaboration is for school gardens. Marcia Tate, an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer, organized a celebration; that had approximately 500 people in attendance. The event started with a parade of 87 second graders who recently completed the gardening classes. The program highlighted collaboration between the art teacher, media coordinator, principal, and volunteers. Guests were invited to tour the garden.

This fall, the volunteer team taught approximately one hour of gardening curriculum to five second-grade classes each Friday. In 2023 alone, extension volunteers logged 775 volunteer hours working on the school garden with a total of 3,695 contacts. The celebration highlighted a successful school garden program!

During the summer, the ‘Med instead of Meds’ program was offered. This six-session class series focused on eating a healthy Mediterranean-style eating pattern. Classes focused on the 7 simple steps to eating the Med Way. Each session explored 1-2 simple steps, a mindfulness skill, and recipes. Participants engaged in hands-on recipe preparation and taste testing. Extension partnered with the Health Department to market the class and to offer an Instant Pot as a door prize opportunity to participants who attended every session.

The 10 participants ranged from senior citizens, young and older working individuals, and early retired individuals including two husband and wife couples. As a result of the program, 70% of the participants serve and eat healthy proteins, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains more often. 60% of the participants feel confident that they will eat and drink added sugar and highly processed foods less often. Participants reported that the most helpful skills learned from the Med Instead of Meds program included: “ways to use seafood and olive oil”, “cooking different foods”, “things you can substitute” and “correct way to read labels”.

Haywood County 4-H organized and instructed four workshops that led up to the fair officially named 4 ’til the Fair. These workshops would give youth a different focus every week. With guidance from Extension Staff, youth would create tie-dyed tshirts, and agriculture-themed paintings, take photos, and sew pillows. Youth were able to showcase skills they may have already had or even a new skill that they had learned during the workshop. All products made by youth who participated in these workshops would be taken to the fair for entry into the youth division of the exhibit hall.

12 different youth entered a total of 67 items into the youth section of the exhibit hall from these workshops alone. Several youth who came to the 4 ‘til the Fair workshops also entered additional items on their own. Many of the items created during these workshops also received placement ribbons during judging. 15% of all youth entries were submissions that were created during the youth exhibit workshops.