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:
PROJECT S.A.F.E. BENEFITS 4-H YOUTH
Project S.A.F.E. (Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education) is an active 4-H program, attractive to both youth and adult audiences. The Georgia 4-H S.A.F.E. program provides youth in the rural Johnson County community an opportunity to learn the safe, responsible use of firearms. Project S.A.F.E. is designed to assist young people in developing sel f-concept, sel f-assurance and a positive self image. Family ties are strengthened through this lifelong recreational activity. This small, rural community faces the same challenges as other similar areas in Georgia, and socioeconomic issues often prevent young people and families from accessing opportunities available to others who may have more resources. However, strong links to natural resources, wildlife, outdoor recreation and hunting, all of which are popular vocational and lifelong avocational activities, make the need for firearm safety essential. In response to these challenges, the county 4-H agent submitted a grant proposal to a local EMC. The Jefferson Energy Cooperative Foundation’s board of directors responded by awarding grant funds to the Johnson County 4-H program. In 2016, a practice range with the necessary equipment was established to support youth and volunteers in the program. The shotgun team has now doubled its membership. Through fundraising efforts, the team has raised over $3,000 to purchase shells and targets. The National Rifle Association provided $1,800 in shells and Farm Bureau of Johnson County provided $750 to purchase vests for the team members. The vests and the practice range have become a source of pride for the youth. They have all worked together to maintain the range grounds and they have been very receptive to the fundraising efforts.
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
The faces of agriculture in Johnson County have evolved over time, but our go-to products are holding steadfast and strong. Timber, cattle and soybeans are at the top. Cotton, peanuts, corn and wheat plaster the roadside landscapes too. Our youth livestock programs have kept swine in the county. Nursery and produce growers have set strong roots and dug in deep to earn a deserved piece of the pie. At times, neighboring counties with more resources overshadow our county. Our county doesn’t have a “big horse” to ride. It’s been 38 years since we galloped on Herschel Walker’s back into history. We do have a persistent group of farmers who bleed the blood of the land. Many of them till lands that were tended generations ago by their great ancestors.In 2016, there were over 10,000 acres of soybeans, cotton, corn, peanuts and small grains planted in Johnson County. With at least 50 cattle producers, beef remains a viable commodity. We have around 9,000 acres of grass that is cut for hay or grazed. We also had 3,000 acres of new stand trees established. Thousands of bales of pine straw continue to leave Johnson County every year. With 600 acres in plots designed for wildlife, we continue to draw hunters. More importantly, Johnson County is a place where our homegrown kids learn respect for the dirt, the dirt that grows our food and fiber, that wildlife roam, that we pray for rain to soak, that soils us only to be washed away and then replaced tomorrow.