Former agent named county extension director
A former extension agent is returning to Watauga County to head
up the local agency.
Jim Hamilton, currently a forestry instructor at Haywood Community College, has been named county extension director for the Watauga County center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. Hamilton served as an extension agent in Watauga County from October 2002 to February 2005.
Hamilton's appointment is effective Jan. 4 and was approved and announced by Watauga County manager Rocky Nelson and Dr. Jon Ort, director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.
Hamilton succeeds Sue Counts, who retired Nov. 1, 2008 after 15 years at the agency, including 10 as director. For the past year, 4-H director Karee Mackey has been serving as interim director.
Prior to joining the cooperative extension service in 2002, Hamilton worked as an environmental scientist for TRC Garrow and Associates, an extension trainer for CHP International and a regional campus recruiter for the U.S. Peace Corps.
While working in the county, he worked with forest managers and growers in the Christmas tree industry, helping with efforts to eradicate the Southern pine beetle and hemlock woolly adelgid and advocating for choose-and-cut signs and promotion.
After leaving Watauga, he became assistant professor of forestry outreach for the Alabama A&M University Center for Forestry and Ecology, where he served until February 2006. He has worked at Haywood Community College since then.
He holds a doctorate in forestry from N.C. State University, a master's degree in forestry from Auburn University and a bachelor's degree in natural resources and anthropology from the University of the South.
"We are pleased that Jim will be returning to Watauga County to lead cooperative extension and continue the progress of our agricultural and natural resources community," said Harvey Fouts, district extension director for the West District, which includes Watauga County.
"Jim is very innovative and shows his passion to help all people advance themselves through better living, better farming and better communities."
The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service partners with communities and local governments to deliver education and technology in the home, on the farm and in communities.
Technical assistance is based on research from N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University.
The service is funded jointly by state and county government.