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
UGA Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agents provide answers for homeowners and farmers about many topics, including soil fertility, safe pesticide application, water use, home gardening, and crop and pasture management. Extension offices conduct soil, forage and water testing through the Agricultural and Environmental Services Laboratories at UGA. By correctly identifying plants, insects, diseases and weeds, ANR agents help Georgians make sound pesticide use decisions daily. These fertilization and pest management recommendations help reduce unnecessary pollution inputs into Georgia waterways. All of these services are available through local UGA Extension offices. Local needs-based programming is the goal for UGA Extension. Locally produced food and fiber has become as a big sector of agricultural production in Hancock County. Beef cattle producers are an integral part of the community and their industry supports multiple feed and supply stores as well as machinery dealers and mechanical repair shops. The area has been in a moderate drought since late spring. This drought turned severe in late summer, lasting into the fall. This, combined with low beef prices, created financial hardship. Producers were able to develop drought plans that organized cattle inventory into sell groups in order of sales, depending on length and severity of drought as well as method of sale for each group; established supplemental feeding plans; and built up soil fertility so that maintenance would cost less and recovery would be more complete and less costly.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Georgia 4-H’s mission is to assist youth in acquiring knowledge, developing life skills and forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive and contributing members of society. This is accomplished through hands-on learning experiences focused on agricultural and environmental issues, agriculture awareness, leadership, communication skills, foods and nutrition, health, energy and citizenship. Hancock County 4-H has made a tremendous impact on young people’s lives through local programming delivered in the school system. All students, not just 4-H'ers, from ninth through 12th grades were invited to one-hour sessions focused, in part, on the Step by Step: College Awareness and Planning program developed by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. To complement the program, the Extension staff came up with a set of worksheets for each student to complete.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
UGA Extension Family and Consumer Sciences agents provide answers for Georgians about canning, freezing, food preservation and safety each and every day. Foodborne illness can be costly to the state and community, and can even be deadly. The elderly, chronically ill and young children are at high risk for complications to foodborne illnesses that are likely to require hospitalization. Improperly thawed or mishandled food can easily cause economic disaster. To assist county residents, publications featuring all aspects of food preservation and safety are available in our local office. Also, Family and Consumer Sciences agents provide ServSafe® certification classes for individuals in the food service industry. This certification is required by all food service establishments. Adopting safe food handling practices benefits all Georgians by reducing food poisoning and associated health care costs.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.