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:
EFFECTIVE PROGRAMMING DURING DROUGHT
In the livestock business, drought is an all-too-common occurrence. However, droughts are not typically as severe as the one experienced by Harris County beef cattle and horse producers in during the summer of 2016. The drought adversely affected 4,000 beef cows and over 800 horses in the county. The shortage of rainfall caused many producers to start feeding hay, because they had insufficient forage for their normal stocking rate. This put them in the very uncomfortable position of having to decide which cattle and horses to sell during herd reduction. These decisions are not easy to make, and there can be substantial costs unless proper management practices are followed. Harris County Extension responded to this issue by providing effective programming on proper management strategies for reducing animal numbers during drought conditions. The objective was to help producers formulate a plan of action that would minimize the effects of drought on horse and cattle operations. The primary goal was to optimize animal utilization of the remaining forage supply. The agent made county and regional presentations that showed the benefits and the costs associated with each management option. Agents made individual farm visits to help meet the program objectives. Through these efforts, it became possible to turn a very critical situation into a manageable year.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Harris County 4-H worked with youth all year to foster skills needed to be independent and aware of their surroundings. These students were able to master skills, make new friends and learn from caring adults. Harris County 4-H offered field trips, judging team events, shooting sports, science in agriculture and even overnight camping experiences. Students learned through community service opportunities how to give of their time to help others, and they gave back to the organization by selling fundraiser produce. Harris County 4-H is able to offer a vast array of youth activities throughout the year. The Harris County 4-H staff teaches a science-based curriculum that enhances classroom learning and an appreciation for agriculture. Science lessons are also taught during STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) events for all ages. The school year and summer day camps were packed with experiential science learning through 4-H. Volunteer leaders keep the shooting sports programs going with the disciplines of archery, BB and shotgun. Students are able to join these groups and master skills for life. Not only do the 4-H’ers engage in the sport, they learn teamwork and the art of competition. Harris County 4-H staff spent their time implementing programs to prepare youth for their future.
FOOD PRODUCTION, PRESERVATION AND SAFETY
Due to the resurgence of consumer interest in locally grown produce at farmers markets, UGA Extension Family and Consumer Sciences agents have developed a series of "Farm, Fresh and Fast" publications to be distributed at local farmers markets and you-pick vegetable farms. These educational pamphlets, along with many other publications on health and nutrition, are also available at the Extension office. The easy-to-read publications will help our residents make wiser food choices and save money, as they will have information on how to use fresh products when they are in season.