The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service is wrapping up a series of listening sessions to help the agency create a new strategic vision and other program plans.
Listening sessions scheduled in Hillsborough and in Plymouth, N.C., will conclude the series of twelve meetings by mid-December.
About 1,500 county commissioners, managers, advisory council members, employees, Farm Bureau representatives, retirees, donors and other interested parties have participated in the initiative, according to Justin Moore, extension communications specialist with the N.C. State University Plants for Human Health Institute.
The Cooperative Extension Service in North Carolina, which has its 100-year anniversary in May, has seen recurring federal and state budget cuts totaling $20 million since 2000, according to a news release from the service. Those cuts have resulted in loss of about 90 positions — mostly at the county level — over the past four years, according to the release.
“We are at the point where we must prioritize what we can do best with the staffing that our funding will support,” Joe Zublena, N.C. Cooperative Extension Service director, said in the release.
The goal is to have a strategic plan in place by May.
The extension service is part of N.C. State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a national Cooperative Extension network.
The organization is seeking input from employees, government officials, community leaders and others, according to the release.