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.
KEY FACTS & FIGURES
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
N.C. AGRICULTURE OVERVIEW & IMPACT
Agriculture is North Carolina’s largest industry, generating $91.8B 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.
- 728,000 jobs
- 47,800 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
In 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
- NC State Research and Extension: We Grow North Carolina | Impact Handout (2020)
- Agriculture Built North Carolina: NC State’s Research and Extension Keep it Growing (N.C. Plant Sciences Initiative)
- N.C. Agricultural Statistics | N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services