Polk hires interim ag economic development director
Published 1:49 pm Sunday, June 30, 2013
Polk County has a new interim Agricultural Economic Development Director with the hiring last week of Dawn Calton Jordan.
Jordan begins her new position today, July 1, and will work out of the Mill Spring Agriculture Center.
Jordan replaces former ag economic development director Lynn Sprague who resigned earlier this year. Sprague was the county’s first ag director.
Jordan attended Gardner-Webb University and graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne University with a degree in community services.
She has served as executive director of the River Ministries in Polk County, a nonprofit. She and her husband, Terry, own Restoration Farm.
“Community support has always been a part of who we are in this county and agriculture certainly brings us together,” said Jordan. “We can all agree that food is important.”
Jordan has been actively involved in Polk County agriculture through local markets and the development of the Mill Spring Ag Center, states a press release sent from the county.
“As Interim Agricultural Economic Development Director I want to see our county continue to move forward in developing a strong and expanding market for our products. I want to support the farmers and producers in development of new ventures or strengthening existing ones. There are also many young farmers that are looking for mentorship and opportunities to gain experience, we have a lot of agricultural experience within our borders, I would like to see connections between the two.”
Polk County is historically an agricultural area, Jordan said. The county has maintained that economic base which has been, and continues to be a strength for Polk citizens, she said. Jordan said as a county, we are strategically positioned to offer local products into local and regional markets and these markets are expanding rapidly as the demand for local continues to rise.
The education of the positive aspects of local, fresh produce is important as well, she said.
“Our county leaders were forward thinking in the hiring of an Agricultural Economic Development Director five years ago,” said Jordan. “Through the ongoing efforts of Farmland Preservation and Polk Soil and Water Board, our farmlands are being supported and preserved for future generations, that is my goal as well.”
Jordan was raised in Green Creek and continues to live in Green Creek with her husband Terry. Dawn and Terry have four grown children. They attend Grace Foothills Church in Tryon and enjoy camping, hiking with their dogs and visiting historical places.
Following Sprague’s resignation, the Polk County Board of Commissioners held a joint meeting with the Polk Soil & Water District and the Polk County Farmland Preservation Board in order to discuss the future of agriculture in Polk County. The meeting was highly attended with many residents speaking on the importance of replacing the agricultural economic development position. Commissioners stated at that time that they had continued funding for the position and department in next year’s budget, which begins today. Commissioners later decided to advertise for an interim director in order to quickly fill the position.