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New Business Model For NC Cooperative Extension

The NC National Guard visits a 4-H camp.
NC National Guard
Flickr Creative Commons

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension wants communities across the state to help the organization change its business strategy. 

The Cooperative Extension is in the middle of a series of 12 meetings to adjust to budget cuts.  The group funds agricultural, nutrition and youth education programs like 4-H camps.  Four of those camps are shutting down by the end of the year. 

Cooperative Extension director Joe Zublena  says he's asking people for feedback about which programs matter the most.

"It may be agriculture or youth development, so we would say, 'Okay, well here are the resources that we can bring forward to build programs around it.' It's a cutback, no question about that, but it's due to the economic conditions," Zublena says.

He says the organization is cutting back to make sure programs remain effective.

"Our 4-H program has development research behind it.  We have nutrition programs that do very well.  All these things have very positive factors.  We just can't do it everywhere for everything," Zublena says.

"I think we have the relevance.  You see the needs in society we can address, but we don't have the resources to do it to the capacity that's really needed."

There have been $20 million in cuts to the Cooperative Extension's budget since 2000.  Zublena says changes will be in place by next May.

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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