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:
Working with growers in the community and UGA, the Lanier County Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension agent is working to maintain and increase profitability of crops grown in Lanier County. Conducting research trials for agronomic crops means great strides in education for growers. This research leads to recommendations that are specific to our area and helps to ensure growers’ long-term productivity. For the fourth consecutive year, the agent conducted trials with local growers, university pathologists and graduate students to determine the efficacy of fungicides and herbicides in treating orange cane blotch of blackberry. This disease can lead to crop losses and economic hardship for growers in Lanier County. This is very important as increasing numbers of our local growers begin to plant blackberries. As a result of the research conducted in Lanier County, new fungicide chemistries are being recommended for effective control of this disease.
Lanier County 4-H held Life 101, a daylong program for seventh- through 12th-grade 4-H’ers to learn basic life skills. Members of 4-H learned, through hands-on experience, how to iron, sew on a button, change a tire and read a map. Guest speakers from the community spoke to 4-H’ers on: completing tax forms, applying for financial aid, signing legal documents, the consequences of being arrested and on probation, writing checks and budgeting, table etiquette and job interview skills. Seven adults volunteered 3.5 hours to Life 101. Ninety percent of participants showed increased knowledge in check-writing, 80 percent in applying for financial aid, 80 percent in table etiquette, 80 percent in ironing and sewing on buttons, 60 percent in basic car care, 80 percent in interview skills, 70 percent in signing legal contracts, 80 percent in understanding tax information, 70 percent in reading a map and 70 percent in understanding what happens when you are arrested. A parent said, “These are important skills that we all need to know!” Plans have been made to expand the one-day event to a two-day event.
Working with adults and youth, the Lanier County Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) agent provided a variety of educational programs to increase participants' knowledge of financial matters. The agent conducted a poverty simulation with 120 ninth-grade students. In the simulation, participants made daily life choices while maintaining their basic needs as low-income families. Results of the simulation revealed that 91 percent of participants understood that it takes more than a minimum-wage job to get ahead in life, and 75 percent will seek out information on beginning to prepare for education after high school. The FCS agent also provided tax preparation through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. The agent assisted with filing five federal tax returns, resulting in saving each taxpayer approximately $268 in tax-preparation fees. Returns to consumers totaled $3,902 in federal refunds, $623 in state refunds, and $1,241 in earned income credits. Each participant received a minimum of 30 minutes of financial counseling. Evaluation results for all financial literacy programs demonstrated knowledge gained in regard to money management as well as participants’ intent to change behaviors, such as saving more and reducing debt.