Owings named Henderson Extension Director

Date posted: December 22, 2011

Media contact: Daniel Smith, West District Director, N.C. Cooperative Extension, 828.687.0570 or daniel_smith@ncsu.edu

Marvin Owings, long-time Cooperative Extension agent in Henderson County, has been named to direct Extension programs in the county.

Owings has served as interim Henderson County director since late 2010, when Denise Baker, then Henderson director, became director of the Extension program in Yancey County.

Owings joined Cooperative Extension as an agent in Henderson County in 1985, after a 10-year association with the South Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. Owings holds two degrees from Clemson University, a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and a master’s degree in agriculture.

He is well-known in Henderson County for his innovative work with apple growers and beekeepers. County growers are responsible for more than 85 percent of North Carolina’s commercial apple production, and apple production provides $24 million in average annual gross income to the county. There are 150 commercial apple growers in the county.

Owings plans and coordinates an annual day-long apple school that attracts more than 120 growers. He also created the first Master Pomology program in the country, established the county’s first apple variety and rootstock demonstration block and was instrumental in starting the Blue Ridge Direct Market Association to promote locally grown apples and apple products.

The Blue Ridge Apple Growers Association gave Owings its Friend of the Apple Grower award in 1990, while in 1993 he was recognized by Hendersonville First Baptist Church for outstanding service to agriculture. In 1989, he received the North Carolina Beekeepers Association Extension Worker of the Year Award.

“I am pleased to have Marvin Owings join our administrative team in the West Extension District and look forward to working with him,” said Daniel Smith, director of Cooperative Extension’s West District, which includes Henderson County.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension is an educational agency supported by county governments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, N.C. State University and North Carolina A&T State University. A staff of agents serves each county and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. Backed by specialists at the two land-grant universities, agents conduct educational programs related to agriculture and forestry, family and consumer sciences, 4-H, community and rural development, and other issues of concern to North Carolina citizens. The extension service is headquartered in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University.

Written by: Dave Caldwell 919.513.3127, dave_caldwell@ncsu.edu

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