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Extension Stats and Strengths

NC State Extension is the educational outreach unit of North Carolina’s preeminent research enterprise – NC State University. Extension transforms science into everyday solutions for North Carolinians through programs and partnerships focused on agriculture and food, health and nutrition, and 4-H youth development.

At NC State, what we Think and Do helps grow North Carolina.

What’s New?

NC State Extension Annual Impact Video 2020

NC State Extension Annual Report 2019-20

Download 2019-20 NC State Extension Annual Report

Extension Grows North Carolina 1-Pager

Cover of the 2019 NC State Extension Impacts Booklet

Extension Impacts Booklet (Print version)

Extension Impacts 1-Pager (2020)

Individual Impact Graphics (.zip)

Download the Full Report

4-H Impacts Report (Summer/Fall 2020)

4-H Impacts Report (Fall/Winter 2019)

4-H Impacts Report (Spring 2019)

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at NC State University by the numbers impact sheet for 2020

CALS By the Numbers 2020

N.C. Agriculture and Agribusiness Overview (1-Pager)

Extension's annual economic impact to North Carolina is $2.1 billion


Extension is the largest non-formal educational outreach organization in the 17-campus UNC system.

  • 101 local centers – an office in every county and with the Eastern Band of Cherokee
  • 1,058 Extension professionals
  • 1.5M direct contacts with North Carolinians
  • 13,000+ programs

Extension’s economic and functional impacts on the state are large in scale, with benefits of Extension financially eclipsing the cost of operations by many multiples.

  • $36M in annual tax revenue generated
  • 1,456 jobs supported (direct employment with Extension and jobs supported by Extension expenditures)
  • $2.1B annual economic impact

Volunteers also play a key role in supporting our programs and helping NC State Extension to pursue local needs and opportunities. In 2019, our volunteers…

  • Contributed over 680,000 hours to assist in the delivery of Extension programs
  • Worked the equivalent of 328 full-time employees
  • Donated time and services worth $17.3 million in economic value

NC State Extension creates a 27-to-1 return on investment for our government investments


2019-2020 NC State Extension annual impacts handout

Extension is Everywhere | Impacts Handout 2019-20

Cover of the 2019 NC State Extension Impacts Booklet

NC State Extension Impacts Booklet 2020 (Print version)

Agriculture core program area icon_NC State ExtensionAGRICULTURE Food and Nutrition core program area icon_NC State ExtensionFOOD & NUTRITION 4-H youth development logo_NC State Extension4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
NC State Extension keeps North Carolina’s agriculture industry – the state’s leading economic sector – growing and sustainable by connecting growers with research-based information and technology. NC State Extension helps people make healthier decisions, reduce their risk of chronic disease and live better lives through programs from gardening and nutrition to local food systems and food safety. Extension’s 4-H program addresses the diverse issues and backgrounds of today’s youth, helping to grow more than 260,000 youth into healthier, more involved citizens and future leaders.
542,507 face-to-face contacts
124,521 participants attended training programs
96,792 farms adopted Extension best management practices
$1.67B annual impact generated by NC State research and Extension with just five crops – blueberries, peanuts, sweet potatoes, tobacco and tomatoes
219,860 face-to-face contacts
71,973 participants attended training programs
4,646 food service employees trained
8,131 North Carolinians
increased their physical activity
46,554 North Carolinians increased
their consumption of fresh fruits
and vegetables
591,854 face-to-face contacts
261,210 total 4-H’ers (8,400 attended residential and day camps)
141,371 youth gained
valuable knowledge in STEM fields
31,781 youth gained career and employability skills
41,657 youth increased their knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or aspirations regarding leadership

NC State Extension supports the $92.7 billion North Carolina agriculture industry by connecting growers with the research-based information and technology they need 


Agriculture is North Carolina’s largest industry, generating $92.7B annually while generating roughly 17 percent of the state’s workforce and gross state product.

The N.C. agriculture industry — including food, fiber and forestry — is the third most diverse agriculture economy in the country, with more than 80 commercial crops and a large animal agriculture presence.

  • 772,000 jobs
  • 47,000 farms
  • 8.1M farm acres
  • #7 in livestock cash receipts
  • #8 in agricultural cash receipts

Extension Drives Rural North Carolina’s Economy

Extension’s statewide network of centers and partnerships uniquely position us to support North Carolina’s rural communities, where the majority of our food and agricultural products are produced. Through efforts like Cultivate NC, NC AgVentures, local food programming and Latino services, we facilitate job creation, build sustainable agriculture and local food economies, help farmers increase productivity and profits, and promote access to education for rural youth.

In 2019, rural areas actually saw the fastest job growth rate of any other geographical zones. A few of Extension’s contributions included…

  • Provided educational services to more than 1M rural North Carolinians, most of whom live in ^Tier 1 and 2 counties (our most economically-distressed regions)
  • 85,468 producers in rural counties adopted Extension best management practices (from production and pest control to business management and marketing)
  • 4,407 participants gained knowledge and/or skills to increase their families’ economic security
  • 33,360 youth in our rural counties gained key career and employability skills through Extension’s 4-H programs
  • 65,998 youth in rural counties increased their knowledge of local food and agricultural systems

^The N.C. Department of Commerce assigns county tier designations based on economic development conditions, with Tier 1 representing the “most distressed” counties and Tier 3 the “least distressed.”

Connecting Rural Communities

Red icon illustrating the globe to symbolize an internet networkIn the past year, Extension upgraded 22 county centers – all in rural counties* – to broadband internet services through the N.C. Research and Education Network (NCREN), one of the nation’s first statewide education and research communications networks.

As trusted hubs of knowledge and expertise in rural North Carolina communities, these Extension county centers are better equipped to promote access to 21st century learning and solutions. This new future-proof network is a vital building block for growing our state’s rural communities and economies.

*N.C. Rural Center-defined counties with an average population density of 250 people/sq. mi. or less

More N.C. Agriculture Resources