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:
Alfalfa is becoming more important across Georgia, and this is no different in Hall County. Through Extension programming, producers have become more familiar with growing alfalfa. Our programming provided new information to growers and reinforced what they already knew about growing alfalfa. Sixty-three percent of participants reported that fertilization of alfalfa was the most useful topic, but 50 percent also liked learning about establishment methods. In 2016, 15 acres produced 120 tons of alfalfa, which was used to support a dairy operation in the county. Corn silage is typically used as a mainstay to feed the herd, but the drought of 2016 reduced the farmer’s corn yield by more than 90 percent. Along with leftover silage stores, the harvested alfalfa will get the producer through the winter and early spring.
There are approximately 165 active Master Gardener Extension Volunteers in Hall County, with 15 members in the class of 2016. One focus of Hall County Master Gardeners is pollinator gardens. Master Gardeners have eight pollinator gardens, and they actively educate the community about the importance of establishing pollinator gardens. In addition, the Redbud Chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society partners with Hall Master Gardeners in education, conservation, sustainability and outreach. Monthly educational meetings and field trips are held to enhance continuing education for Master Gardeners and to educate the public. When it comes to youth gardening, the Master Gardeners support eight schools. They lead preschool, homeschool and university horticulture classes. Their most recent endeavor is the creation of a community garden at Head Start for the children and their families.
EXPANDED FOOD AND NUTRITION EDUCATION PROGRAM
The Hall County Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) served 209 clients with a total of 1,204 direct education sessions. EFNEP reached 791 participant family members, and volunteers donated $1,000 through in-kind service hours. Our community partnerships included Gateway Domestic Violence Center, Habitat for Humanity, Angel House and Ace Hardware Distribution Center. Clients reported measurable improvements in the four core areas of the program, which include diet quality (45 percent improvement), food safety (34 percent), food budget (38 percent), and food security (34 percent).
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
The Hall County 4-H Club has long been known for its excellence in hands-on education in and out of the classroom. The Hall County 4-H staff delivers science enrichment and agricultural awareness in the school environment. A key element to in-school programs is the opportunity for youth to learn about public speaking through the 4-H demonstration process. Writing and presenting 4-H demonstrations accomplishes a variety of Georgia Performance Standards in an enjoyable format. Some schools opt to connect to the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) by having students prepare presentations titled "What I Want to Be When I Grow Up." This allows schools to earn important bonus points for their fifth-grade portfolios. Hall County 4-H’ers participate and compete in a wide variety of after-school clubs and activities. In 2016, 4-H’ers visited local government offices to learn what they do. Hall County 4-H’ers also enjoyed learning target sports under the guidance of certified 4-H coaches. The Hall County 4-H Horse Club, Poultry Judging Team, Camping and Recreation Club and summer camp experiences round out a well-diversified 4-H program.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.