Frequently Asked Questions – NC Cooperative Extension

If you have questions about our office or the services provided feel free to email this office at, call this office at 336-372-5597, or drop by our office at 90 South Main St., Sparta NC.

What types of services are offered by the Alleghany County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension?

  • There are currently 5 Alleghany County based Extension agents and technicians. They are Amy Lucas, Aaron Ray Tompkins, Carmen Long, Jill Cockerham and Brad Edwards. These agents and technicians provide assistance and leadership in the areas of 4-H Youth Development – educational opportunities for youth – 4-H; agriculture; lawn, garden and home and plant pests; burley tobacco; pesticide certification and re-certification; rural safety; family development; human environment; health and safety; family resource management; food safety and nutrition; Christmas tree production; commercial horticulture, including nursery and vegetable crops; local foods and alternative agricultural enterprises. There are also several regional agents that serve Alleghany covering areas including Poultry Operations, Animal Food Safety, Commercial Horticulture and more. Please visit our Meet our Staff page to learn more about the Alleghany Center.

What is Family & Consumer Science?

  • Family & Consumer Science is strengthening and sustaining families. Carmen Long is the Alleghany County FCS Extension Agent shared with Surry County. Programs are delivered to individuals and families to improve the quality of their lives. Educational information you can trust to help your family succeed, is provided in the areas of family development, human environment, health and safety, family resource management, food safety and nutrition.

What is 4-H?

  • 4-H is a fun program where you get to “Learn by Doing.” Everyone is invited to join! 4-H has special activities for you! 4-H offers something to match everyone’s interests. Best of all, membership is FREE! County 4-H programs include various educational opportunities for youth and promote life skill development through learning by doing experiences. Amy Lucas is the Alleghany County 4-H agent.

What is AIO?

  • AIO stands for Alternative Income Opportunities Program. The primary mission is to help sustain the family farm through identification, development and marketing of alternative agricultural enterprises.

What is BMP?

  • BMP stands for Best Management Practices. In Alleghany County, Bryan Davis, is the Christmas tree BMP technician. The main goal is to implement on-farm demonstrations relating to best management practices.

What is Choose & Cut?

  • Choose and Cut Day is always the first Saturday in December. It provides local growers an opportunity to market fresh Christmas trees from their farms. Families make holiday memories by going to participating tree fields and selecting the tree of their choice. For more information contact the Extension Office at 336.372.5597.

Is there a list of Christmas tree growers available?

  • Yes. We have a buyer’s guide listing members of the Alleghany County Christmas Tree Association as well as Choose & Cut farm brochures. To get your copy, please visit the Alleghany Christmas Tree Association Facebook page.

What is ECA?

  • The mission of the North Carolina Extension & Community Association, Inc. is to strengthen families through: leadership development, volunteer work, educational support, and research-based education from North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University. ECA members have a wide variety of educational opportunities, which include, family issues, environmental issues, global issues, special projects, family community leadership, and certified volunteer units. As an ECA member you will meet with other individuals for facts, fellowship and fun and have an opportunity to go places and do things – conference tours, workshops, conventions and other state events for club members.

Are there any ECA clubs in Alleghany County?

  • Yes. We currently have two different clubs. These clubs meet on a monthly basis. There is an annual membership due of $10.00 to become a member. The Career Club meets on the third Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. For information about this club contact Susan Worrell at 336-657-3251. The Sparta Club meets on the third Thursday of each month at 4:00 p.m. For information about this club contact Twyla Kennedy at 336-372-4403.

When should I take a soil sample?

  • April is a good time for horticulturists and homeowners to prepare for their spring gardening and landscape projects by taking soil samples. Warm-season grasses and many landscape plants will benefit from lime and fertilizer applied in the coming months. If you haven’t already done so, there is still time to take samples from fields where you intend to plant late spring crops like burley tobacco, corn, and fescue – orchardgrass pastures. In April, the lab can normally process samples within two weeks. When you receive your report, pay particular attention to lime recommendations and make an application as soon as possible for maximum effectiveness. This will allow you to determine fertilizer needs that are economical and environmentally sound.

Why should I take a soil sample?

  • To determine fertilizer needs that are economical and environmentally sound.

How do I take a soil sample?

  • Sampling methods vary from homeowners to various agricultural product producers. For further information on taking soil samples please call or come by the Cooperative Extension office. Follow the link to How to Take a Soil Sample. If you have further questions on sampling methods contact the Extension Office.
Sherry Dawson
Certified Elections Director

Ann Choate
Deputy Certified Elections Director
348 South Main Street
PO Box 65
Sparta, NC 28675
Phone: 336-372-4557
Fax: 336-372-5435
Department Links:
NC Board of Elections
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