“The local staff brings the university to the people by offering local educational programming in the areas of agriculture, community development, family and consumer sciences and 4-H and youth development,” said local Extension employee LeAnn Crump.
The Richmond County Center of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension is a part of North Carolina State University's College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, and the School of Agriculture at North Carolina A&T State University.
Funding is provided through Richmond County, Land Grant universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Perhaps the area of expertise that Extension is best known for is agriculture.
"Cooperative Extension provides farmers and homeowners with education and training on sound production practices that help contribute to increased yields, lower costs, and quality products,” said County Extension Director Clinton McRae. “Richmond County is lucky to have two helpful, knowledgeable agriculture agents. Information is delivered on new technology, research advances and environmental concerns that enhance profitable livestock, crop production, and homeowner practices.”
Resources are available on a variety of subjects, including farmers markets, field crops, forestry, home horticulture and home landscaping, pond management, pesticides, horticulture, poultry, livestock, forages and waste management. Staff contacts are Livestock Agent Tiffanee Conrad-Acuna and Horticulture Agent Paige Burns.
According to McRae, family and consumer science resources are also readily available.
"The family in its diverse forms, is the basic unit for raising children and supporting growth and development of all members", he said. “Strengthening families is the goal of the family and consumer sciences program.”
Subject areas include nutrition and wellness, food safety and preservation, family resource management, Extension and Community Association, Inc., Human Development and Parenting Education. Staff contact is Clinton Mcrae.
When it comes to Extension’s role in the lives of young people, 4-H is the largest informal education youth organization in the world.
Open to all youth between ages of five and 18, 4-H helps its members develop and expand record keeping, leadership, responsibility and communication skills through participating in activities on the local, district and state levels according to 4-H Agent Michelle Stumbo.
“There are many ways to participate in 4-H activities.; 4-H Clubs are the basis of the county program,” said Stumbo. “Through clubs, youth can participate in livestock shows, community service, leadership training, and social skills development. Summer Fun classes and 4-H Camp help to keep the brain working by providing hands-on learning experiences and activities during Summer Break. School enrichment programs are developed to enhance educational programs by allowing youth to participate in hands-on science like Science Adventures Days for 5th graders and Embryology for 1st graders.”
4-H has no membership registration fee or required uniform. According to Stumbo, there may be minimal costs for project manuals and some 4-H activities or events. Some clubs have dues to help defray the costs of project materials and refreshments.
A club is a group of five or more young people, guided by an adult leader. Members can elect officers and each member chooses one or more projects. Each club may explore a single subject or several subjects. “4-H members elect club officers, conduct their own business, work together on community service activities, meet new friends, and most important, have lots of fun!” said Stumbo.
Many community clubs meet for an hour or two after school, in the evening, or on Saturday. A 4-H club may be organized on a community or neighborhood basis and use local facilities, such as the public library, recreation centers, churches, or member’s homes. Also it can be organized within a school using the school’s facilities, time and staff. 4-H Clubs are allowed to use the County Extension meeting rooms if they are not booked.
4-H projects are challenging, but practical, planned courses of study with learning experiences centered around a specific subject. Members usually work on a project (subject area) for a year at a time. Hands-on, learn-by-doing involvement is the most important aspect of a project. Making, growing, caring for, observing, and participating are all involved in 4-H projects. The areas range from traditional agricultural and horticulture to computers, aerospace, robotics and even pets!
“One of the most important aspects of 4-H project work is that the 4-H Member decides what they want to learn and do as they explore a subject they have chosen. They may select one or more projects, and receive a project manual, which guides them through the activities,” said Stumbo. “This allows the project to be self-paced, and gives children important skills in setting and working toward their goals.”
The Cooperative Extension invites the public to visit its office at 123 Carolina St. in Rockingham. To contact Extension, call 997-8255 or email an agent: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org.