Sprague leaving agricultural development post May 1

Published 9:08pm Monday, April 1, 2013

Polk County Agricultural Economic Development Director Lynn Sprague announced this week he would be leaving his post to take on a new position with the Southern Resource Conservation and Development Council.
“I was very pleased to come to Polk County and bring the resources that I knew to the county level. Now I’m looking forward to taking what we did here and seeing what we can take to other counties,” Sprague said. “I think the process can work in other places. What we did here was really neat both economically and through community building.”
Sprague will serve as the SRCD council’s new executive director in Waynesville, N.C.
The council covers seven western counties and the Cherokee nation.
His work in the new position will include focus on natural resource management, recreational issues related to parks, marshland work, agricultural easements and economic work related to those natural resources among other items.
He said he doesn’t expect to experience as many one-on-one connections in the new job like he made here in Polk County.
“I’m going to miss the people. The idea that you can walk in the grocery store and talk shop is great. When I get spread out across seven counties I won’t have as much of that real local contact and I’m going to miss that,” Sprague said.
Sprague would have marked five years with Polk County this August. Three years ago he took on revitalization of the Mill Spring School into what is now the Mill Spring Agricultural Center.
“We took it from a dead horse to a live, vibrant building,” Sprague said of the new activity birthed in the center.
Sprague said he’s encouraged to know there are many people interested enough in the future of agriculture in Polk County to keep momentum going.
“I think we’ll be looking for people out at the ag center to take leadership for different programs,” Sprague said.
“We’re looking for someone to get up before 5 in the morning to start cooking breakfasts for 100 people for example. The ag breakfasts have done so much to bring people together … my only fear would be that there won’t be people at the griddle making those types of things happen.
Sprague said if there needs to be shifts in the county’s agricultural development program
it’s a good time to do it. He said he is very encouraged to know the farmers markets are in good hands and will continue to grow as well as various other programs that others have taken ownership of now.

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