Empowering Sampson County: How Cooperative Extension is Building a Brighter Future

Article by Brad Hardison, Sampson County Extension Director Agriculture Agent - Horticulture
Sampson County Cooperative Extension is not just another service; it’s a beacon of knowledge and support for the citizens of our county. At its core, Cooperative Extension aims to provide reliable information and resources to tackle challenges, nurture skills, and pave the way for a thriving community. But what exactly does cooperative Extension entail, and how does it impact the lives of Sampson County residents?
Sampson County Extension specializes in three key areas: Agriculture and Food, Health and Nutrition, and 4-H Youth Development – Cooperative Extension is the cornerstone of education and empowerment in our county. Backed by the expertise of NC State and NCA&T, it ensures that every program and initiative is rooted in rigorous research and tailored to meet the unique needs of Sampson County.
For our youth, Cooperative Extension is a gateway to learning and discovery. Through initiatives like “Ag in the Classroom,” young minds are introduced to the vital role of agriculture in our county’s identity and economy. From cultivating their own crops to understanding the intricacies of sweet potato, strawberry, or pork production, these programs lay the foundation for future leaders who are not just informed, but passionate about their community. Through initiatives like teen court, youth inspire, and prevention programs, we address critical social issues and cultivate a culture of responsibility and empathy among our youth – something our youth desperately need with today’s issues involving mental health.
But the youth offerings don’t stop there. The 4-H youth summer programs are a testament to Cooperative Extension’s commitment to development. Whether it’s navigating the waters of the Coharie through kayaking, mastering the art of angling at fishing camp, honing creative skills in sewing classes, or indulging in friendly competition with cupcake wars, these experiences foster confidence, teamwork, and a sense of belonging among our youth.
For adults seeking to enhance their well-being, Sampson County Cooperative Extension is a trusted ally. Programs like “Steps to Health,” “LIFT,” “Cook Smart/Eat Smart,” food preservation, Master Food Volunteers and the Master Gardeners not only impart valuable knowledge but empower individuals to make informed choices for themselves and their families. From promoting healthy lifestyles to nurturing green thumbs, these initiatives are pathways to personal growth and community resilience.
For homeowners grappling with landscape or plant problems, Cooperative Extension is a lifeline. With expert guidance offered by our team of plant clinic experts, we can solve problems with expert guidance and practical assistance as you navigate challenges and transform your landscape into vibrant, thriving outdoor spaces.
And let’s not forget our farmers and ag business industries, the backbone of Sampson County. We stand shoulder to shoulder with them, offering indispensable resources and support. From pesticide education to yield testing, from troubleshooting crop and livestock issues to conducting official On-Farm variety trials, these programs are instrumental in bolstering the success and sustainability of our agricultural sector while preserving our natural resources such as soil, air, and water for the future generations. And let’s not forget about our farm workers. Programs on farm worker education, and safety training ensure that those who labor on our lands do so with dignity and security.
In essence, Sampson County Cooperative Extension is more than just an institution; it’s a catalyst for positive change and community empowerment. As we look to the future, you can lean on Cooperative Extension as a steadfast partner in our journey towards a brighter, more prosperous Sampson County.

NC Cooper (2)

NC Cooper (1)