Watauga Extension honored for economic impact

Congratulations to Watauga County’s Cooperative Extension staff: More than 430 people were on hand earlier this week when the staff was honored for its contributions to economic growth in Western North Carolina.

On Tuesday evening, the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce presented the center with its Alfred Adams Award for Economic Development, sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank.

Sharing the award with New River Power and Light Co., the Extension Center was honored for having generated what county Extension director Jim Hamilton considers a conservative economic impact of close to $3 million over the past five years.

Hamilton based that estimate on the value of grant funds brought into the county, the value of volunteer contributions and direct reported economic impact for farmers and agricultural economy. “It does not include cumulative impact of Extension’s youth and nutrition programs and the value of Extension’s agritourism marketing program,” he said.

In all, the center delivered nearly 1,000 meetings, workshops, field days, demonstrations, lectures and programs to more than 31,000 total participants.