01/02/14 — Hiring process ongoing for new ag agent

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Hiring process ongoing for new ag agent

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 2, 2014 1:46 PM

Interviews are scheduled next week for five applicants for the Wayne County Cooperative Extension livestock field agent position that has been vacant since May.

The position could be filled by March or as early as February, Wayne County Extension Director Kevin Johnson said.

The job posting received a "phenomenal" pool of candidates, Johnson said. More than 20 people applied for the job, he said.

Johnson has been handling some of that office's duties since May when Eileen Coite left to become Extension Service director in Sampson County.

There had been concerns early on that the federal sequester, as well as state cuts in the North Carolina university system would mean the job would remain open.

In November, Wayne County commissioners agreed to reclassify the job of 4-H program assistant Summer Young to include youth livestock. There was no cost increase associated with the reclassification.

It was along the same time that the Cooperative Extension Office had been cleared to begin advertising to fill its livestock agent position.

Johnson credits the support of County Manager Lee Smith and commissioners for helping to make that happen as quickly as it did.

It is a valuable position and county officials had made known they wanted to expedite the process, Johnson said.

"They stepped up and made this happen," he said.

One of the first tasks the new agent will face is the annual Junior Livestock Show and Sale to be held in early April at the Wayne County Fairgrounds.

However, having Mrs. Young on the job and a good support staff have helped the Extension Service weather the office being vacant, Johnson said.

"So whoever gets the job, it will not be like everything is thrown at them at once," he said.