Making A Difference in Our County
We're working hard for the citizens we serve. Here are some examples of successful projects from the past year:
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Agriculture continues to be a major economic force in Elbert County, accounting for approximately $143 million in generated annual revenue for local and state economies. Like the state of Georgia as a whole, poultry is the No. 1 agricultural commodity in Elbert County, generating approximately $114 million annually. Beef cattle is the second most profitable commodity at a little over $9.6 million, and row crop farming continues to be a major player at $5.6 million. Crops such as soybeans, corn, wheat, oats, canola, barley and cotton still make up the annual rotation. Ornamental horticulture, hay and straw production, and many other commodities contribute to the county economy as well. UGA Extension continues to impact agriculture by providing connections to sources for hay; offering programs for assisting with drought relief through our agricultural directory; and by making 495 site visits, 134 office visits, and 432 phone and email contacts. Elbert County schools saved in excess of $5,000 on exterminating fees when the local Agriculture and Natural Resources agent collaborated with UGA entomologists to prompt an alternative response to a bedbug encounter.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
In an effort to increase agricultural awareness, the Elbert County Extension office partnered with the Elberton 12-county Fair to operate a livestock and small animal barn. The mission of the 4-H Barn was to increase agricultural awareness in the community, provide alternative items to the animal exhibits, and promote UGA Extension and Elbert County 4-H. Extension agents worked with 4-H volunteers and fair employees to clean and paint the existing animal barn to make it more aesthetically appealing and welcoming to fair patrons. Small animal pens were updated, including goat, hog and rabbit pens. New pens were set up to house horses and cattle. An area with seating was designated for the rabbit, dog and horse shows, which had nearly 60 people in attendance. The barn’s update went incredibly well. At least 3,000 people walked through the barn during the week. Over 300 patrons participated in the guess-the-weight-of-the-hog activity, and an additional 300 patrons took advantage of horse rides offered. The interactive events created an atmosphere of interest and enhanced a connection to agriculture.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
The Family and Consumer Sciences agent oversaw the Teens as Planners (TAP) program that began originally with a grant for Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR) in 2009. Over the course of the program, 23 TAP participants graduated from high school. In 2013, there were 11 high school graduates who had participated in TAP. The Elbert County High School graduation rate in 2013 was 81.2 including the 11 TAP graduates. If the 11 students had not graduated from high school, then the graduation rate would have been 75.3. In 2014 and 2016, there were six graduates who were TAP participants. The 2014 graduation rate was 82.8 and the 2016 graduation rate was 79.8. If six TAP students hadn’t graduated in each of those years, then the graduation rates would have been 79.7 and 76.5, respectively. According to the National Center for Education Statistics’ figures, an individual who doesn’t receive a high school diploma or a GED will have a loss of income of $680,000 over their lifetime (Rouse 2007). Therefore, the 23 TAP high school graduates will earn a total of $15,640,000 more over their lifetime than they would have if they had not graduated from high school.University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. The following are examples of our impact in the county over the past year.