Watauga & Extension Impacts 2020

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The N.C. Cooperative Extension of Watauga County is just one spoke of our land grant university Cooperative Extension “wheel,” which provides research-based information and resources to our citizens and agricultural community, local food economy, and youth in every county in the state. During the past several months our county, state, and nation have faced unprecedented challenges with the coronavirus pandemic. Even during these challenging times, our Watauga County staff is meeting the needs of our own High Country Community.

Over the last few months, Horticulture Agent, Paige Patterson, carried out her Extension Master Gardener℠ program in Watauga County with a mix of online webinars and outdoor, socially-distanced learning activities…and 18 new volunteers graduated the program. Livestock Agent, Eddy Labus, worked with livestock and local meat producers and is helping facilitate the opening of our county’s first USDA certified facility to meet the processing bottleneck that has caused major delays in our local food system. Margie Mansure, our local food expert and FCS Agent, helped assemble 140 container gardens that were distributed to families at food distribution sites and created recipe cards that went into restaurant worker food boxes distributed via the Food Hub. She’s also been creating healthy cooking videos with the Extension team in Caldwell County. Richard Boylan, Specialty Crops Agent, is providing technical production information to our local vegetable growers to ensure that their supply of fresh, locally grown crops is available at our farmers markets and food hub. We’ve helped secure 2,000 masks, tyvek suits, and other safety equipment for our farmworkers and citizens during a time where this equipment can be difficult to come by. And we’re always available to help individual homeowners with questions about soil testing, landscape planting options, insect pest ID, and everything in between.

The collective efforts of our Cooperative Extension yield $2 billion in impacts across the state. Those successes are highlighted in the video below and on the NC State Extension Stats and Strengths page. For YOUR questions about agriculture, food, home gardens, and resources for youth, please call us at 828.264.3061.