There are few agencies that have touched as many lives in Sampson County over the years as our N.C. Cooperative Extension. Its far-reaching impact can be found in fields and homes, gardens and offices, schools and wellness centers, and that, we firmly believe, only scratches the surface.
For the last 103 years — the state’s Cooperative Extension is three years younger than our home — the agents and directors who have made up this all-encompassing agency have been a phone call away for farmers and teachers, young people and their parents and, really, any resident of Sampson County.
All it takes is a walk through old documents and photographs to see how our Extension agency is steeped in history — and to recall with fondness the times when perhaps you or your family had your own personal encounter with the agents there — to know just how valuable it has always been to Sampson.
For thousands of young people, that involvement likely has come through 4-H programs that have enriched their lives and helped them grow into productive citizens. Teaching everything from public speaking to sewing, riding horses to showing pigs and cows, wood-burning to etiquette and just about everything else in between, these programs have given youngsters from all walks of life a great way to spend their time and invaluable life lessons that will help them long into the future.
Then there’s the Family and Consumer Science programs which offer improved awareness of health, family, finances, aging and elder care, to include the Eat Smart Move More, Weigh Less initiative and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education. All are popular programs that provide education, training and a path to better living.
And, of course, the pinnacle of Extension offerings is in the agricultural area, where agents provide a wide range of educational events and support services to farmers and other residents in need of assistance.
Even with all those services, it doesn’t even touch on the variety of other offerings available through our Livestock Arena and the myriad promotions offered through the Extension that gives citizens a better understanding of the value of everything from row crops to the swine and poultry industries to our county.
Combine all that with a group of friendly, courteous and always-willing-to help people who put the cooperative in Cooperative Extension and Sampson has a jewel in its midst that likely never gets the full credit it deserves.
Today we tip our hat to new director Eileen Coite and her staff, as well as the dozens of people who have worked for the Cooperative Extension through the years, all who have helped to put agriculture in Sampson on the map, and great service in the laps of all those who partake of its offerings.