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:
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Lowndes County 4-H has played an active role in teaching educational programming in the Lowndes County School System since the 1950s. 4-H staff members Laura Goss, Lynn Hall and Emily Teatro reach over 1,277 elementary, middle and high school students a month. Lessons, all of which correlate with state standards, cover science, language arts and leadership. Additionally, over 140 students are reached through after-school programs and clubs. The 4-H archery club placed in the top three in the state, and the shotgun team continues to excel. Lowndes County 4-H received a $2,000 grant to provide an after-school club for at-risk youth for the 2015-2016 school year. With community support and partnerships with businesses, Lowndes County 4-H continues to provide Kids Dig It, an event that gives youngsters a chance to see and ride large vehicles, raising funds for the overall program. Kids Dig It reached over 3,000 guests, 160 volunteers, 35 4-H members and 103 businesses. Eighteen middle and high school students submitted a portfolios of work collected throughout the year, in preparation for the annual public-speaking competition. A total of 398 fifth- and sixth-graders participated at the county level for Project Achievement. Fifty 4-H’ers advanced to the district competition held in Colquitt County. Project Achievement teaches youth writing skills, public-speaking skills and independence. Additionally, community service opportunities are offered monthly to members. Members wrote letters to soldiers, volunteered at the food bank, created no-slip socks for the elderly, volunteered at a city school garden and visited residents at a nursing home. Lowndes County 4-H reached 99 campers through a variety of camping opportunities. The overall 4-H program is seeing growth and continues to expand. In 2016, 4-H staff added meetings at Lowndes High and Valwood schools and Scintilla Charter Academy.
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Lowndes County has one of the largest populations (114,000) in southern Georgia, and the county houses a mixture of urban and traditional agriculture. Traditional agriculture includes cotton, peanuts, soybeans, corn, wheat, hay and tobacco. Horticulture crops include pecans, vegetables, muscadines, blueberries, and most recently, satsuma mandarins. The Georgia Citrus Association was formed in Lowndes County in 2016 and is open to citrus growers in Georgia, north Florida and Alabama. This organization helps growers set quality standards and promote and market their citrus. There is tremendous grower interest in citrus in Lowndes County, southern Georgia and northern Florida. Lowndes County Extension is the only office in Georgia working with citrus and has become the major source for information for satsuma growers in Georgia. Lowndes County Extension works with citrus experts in Florida, Texas and California to design and grow satsumas unique to the southeastern United States for research trials. Lowndes County Extension has currently installed two long-term research trials that will eventually give growers valuable information on newer rootstocks and early maturing varieties. In 2016, Lowndes Extension agents Jake Price and Michasia Dowdy and Fort Valley State University Extension Agent Josh Dawson set up and conducted research trials on tobacco, jalapeno peppers and sweet potatoes in order to support traditional agriculture, which continues to maintain a large presence in Lowndes County. Lowndes County agents continue to support county residents’ agricultural needs.