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September 12, 2008

Dr. Jon Ort: Update on Extension team at research campus

The new North Carolina Research Campus at Kannapolis is an exciting development for our state and for N.C. State University, along with the other seven universities that have programs at the campus. I am pleased to share with you that North Carolina Cooperative Extension is also a part of this new venture. Our Extension team at the new campus will move into the N.C. State University building in October, just in time for the building dedication on October 20.

Earlier this year, the Program for Value-Added and Alternative Agriculture, initiated by Dr. Blake Brown, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, relocated to temporary offices at the new campus. With the move came the development of a multidisciplinary team to build on the value-added program and to develop programs that will complement the work of N.C. State University’s Fruit & Vegetable Science Institute at the new campus.

Here are the members of the new team:
* Dr. Blake Brown, the Hugh C. Kiger Professor in Agricultural and Resource Economics, directs Cooperative Extension program faculty.
* Gary Bullen, Extension associate, specializes in new enterprise evaluation, business skills development, direct marketing and financial management. He provides in-service training, programs and supporting resources for Cooperative Extension and community and government agencies.
* Leah Chester-Davis, coordinator of communications and community outreach, and Extension communication specialist with the Department of Communication Services, provides team leadership for communication plans, program delivery, packaging and marketing, and media relations.
* Diane Ducharme, Extension associate, horticulture and food safety, shares leadership of the N.C. Fresh Produce Safety Task Force, which is developing a comprehensive educational program on fresh produce safety.
* Rod Gurganus, Extension associate, entrepreneurial horticulture, works with agribusinesses, economic development officials and farmers to identify and develop horticultural opportunities for value-added and innovative agriculture.

These new positions have been set up so that team members retain their status as faculty members of their respective subject matter departments or are closely aligned with the appropriate subject matter department. We expect this to help strengthen collaboration and linkages throughout the system.

The team, under the direction of Dr. Brown, has secured more than $1.8 million in grant funding, which will be used to develop educational resources and to support statewide Extension efforts in the areas of value-added and alternative agriculture, and fresh produce safety. As things progress, we will keep you informed. For now, I encourage you to visit the team’s new Web site: www.cals.ncsu.edu/value-added/. This site has more information on our Extension program at the campus plus information about the campus itself. The site is your resource center for entrepreneurship in value-added and alternative agriculture.

-Dr. Jon Ort
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Associate Dean and Director

Posted by Natalie at September 12, 2008 02:40 PM