ELIZABETHTOWN — The Bladen County Cooperative Extension Office filled a four-month void recently, promoting Becky Spearman to the director’s post. She was formally introduced to the county’s Board of Commissioners on Monday.
Spearman takes over for Sandra Cain, who retired on Dec. 1, 2018.
“I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead, but I know there are big shoes to fill,” she said.
The rise to the director position “seemed like a natural progression” for Spearman’s career, which got its start in Tennessee. She is a graduate of Harriman (Tenn.) High School, as well as the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in animal science.
Spearman then earned a master’s degree in agriculture education from N.C. State and has been employed by the Bladen County Cooperative Extension Office since 2003, when she was hired as a livestock extension agent.
“I wasn’t all that sure about becoming a livestock agent when the position came up,” she said. “I was training on a farm for Murphy Brown at the time, but decided to apply.
“Since I got the job, I found that I enjoyed helping farmers,” she added.
That may be a long way from her high-school dream of becoming an animal science genetics professor, but things changed quickly in college.
“I knew then that I wanted to do something more hands-on,” Spearman said. “And with this job, I can be involved with all of our programs. Plus, I enjoy building leadership skills and working with the youth through 4-H and FFA.”
Spearman said she plans to be involved with each of the Extension Office’s efforts like Ag ‘Em Up, the chick project, goat project and livestock programs going forward. She also said the Extension Office is currently going through its own in-house evaluation process that could bring about changes down the road.
“We’re evaluating our service to our clients and the programs we have for youth,” she said. “That will tell us what we need to do in order to get better, because I think we can always do better.”
Spearman can be reached at the Extension Office at 910-862-7851.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.