Extension agents offer workshops | Yadkin Ripple

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Hannah Lepsch and Ashley Beard –

Bryan Cave, Yadkin County’s interim extension director, introduces Ashley Beard to the county board of commissioners. Beard is the county’s new family and consumer agent. –

Sixth-graders learn about various types of soil from Yadkin County Horticulture Agent Hannah Lepsch. –

New Cooperative Extension Horticulture Agent Hannah Lepsch is introduced at Monday’s meeting of the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners. – –

The Yadkin County Extension Agency welcomed two new staff members earlier this year who are both already busy providing new programming for the community. Ashley Beard, a recent graduate from Virginia Tech, joined the Cooperative Extension staff in June as the Family and Consumer Science Agent. Horticulture Agent Hannah Lepsch joined the Yadkin Cooperative Extension in April.

The family consumer science position was vacant for a time prior to Beard’s arrival. At the 2018-19 budget hearing, many community members spoke in favor of reviving the position.

“Ashley’s position was previously held by Marilyn Wells and she retired in December 2017,” explained County Manager Lisa Hughes.”The position remained vacant for the remainder of that year with no complaints from the community, so it was eliminated in the FY2018-2019 budget. After discussions with a few folks, it was decided to reinstate the position last spring and Ashley Beard was the selected candidate.”

“Ashley is enthusiastic, full of energy, bringing new ideas to the forefront for Cooperative Extension and our citizens,” Hughes added.

In her role as Family Consumer Science Agent, Beard works with youth and adults on teaching healthy eating habits and good nutrition, promoting the benefits of eating locally grown foods and food preservation safety.

“Hopefully next canning season I will start offering some canning classes,” Beard said. Her position is also responsible for offering pressure gauge checks for pressure canners.

“We highly recommend that be done once a year,” Beard said.

In her role as Horticulture Agent, Lepsch works with homeowners on any plant or gardening related questions as well as working local growers of vegetables, fruits and even industrial hemp.

“I did not expect that this would be a crop I would work on, but it’s a fun way to meet growers in the county because they’re really eager for information because there’s not a lot out there,” Lepsch said of the growing interest on industrial hemp.

“Hannah has hit the ground running and working with our farmers,” Hughes said. “At least once a week, I am being told about the great job Hannah is doing by someone in our community.”

Both Lepsch and Beard have been partnering with the Yadkin County Library to offer programming on nutrition, cooking and meal prep, garden planning and more.

Upcoming programs sponsored by the Yadkin County Public Library and Yadkin County Extension include a workshop on composting at 3 p.m. on Oct. 22 as well as a garden planning workshop at 3 p.m. on Nov. 5.

For more on upcoming workshops hosted by the Yadkin County Cooperative Extension, call 336-849-7908.

Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.

Hannah Lepsch and Ashley Beard

Bryan Cave, Yadkin County’s interim extension director, introduces Ashley Beard to the county board of commissioners. Beard is the county’s new family and consumer agent.

Sixth-graders learn about various types of soil from Yadkin County Horticulture Agent Hannah Lepsch.

New Cooperative Extension Horticulture Agent Hannah Lepsch is introduced at Monday’s meeting of the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners.