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:
BRINGING THE FARM TO SCHOOLS
Madison County currently ranks No. 2 in state farm gate value, but like many counties across the state, there are opportunities to improve local farm partnerships with county nutrition programs and schools. Through the Feed My School for a Week program led by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, as well as educational and outreach efforts by Madison County Extension staff, local school nutrition programs are increasing their local sourcing of beef, pork, grain, fruits and vegetables. Every year that these initiatives have taken place, we have seen an increase in school lunch purchases, ranging from 1 percent to 5 percent at each school. More importantly, school nutrition staff members are aware of local options when choosing vendors for future food purchases. This could allow for more local support of agricultural production. Because of these efforts across the district, the Madison County School District has been recognized for the past two years with a Golden Radish Award, which is a statewide recognition of school districts’ farm-to-school education programs. In future years, plans are to expand local farm-to-school opportunities across the entire school district, which serves over 3,000 students each day.
4-H PROVIDES YOUTH WITH OPPORTUNITIES
In 2016, Madison County 4-H worked to make the best better by educating fifth- through 12th-grade students. County Extension staff worked with volunteers and a program development team on a variety of issues to better our students and cultivate science skills. Eleven youth and adults were trained to serve as science and healthy lifestyles instructors, which led to program coordination that impacted over 1,600 youth this past year. Fifty-two students created and presented portfolios for Project Achievement. Twelve students also participated in Teen Leader certifications, allowing them to teach others new skills in their project areas and other educational experiences. Madison County 4-H has a very productive after-school program, with certified volunteers and staff members leading science experiences, including consumer, horse, poultry and wildlife judging programs; Project S.A.F.E. (Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education) BB gun, rifle, shotgun and archery teams; Equestrian Drill Team;Horse Quiz Bowl; Challenge Bowl; and others. Six teams and 32 individuals have earned the opportunity to compete at higher levels, and participants received individual and team awards.
IMPROVING SENIORS’ HEALTH
With a diabetes prevalence of 12 percent and an obesity rate of 32 percent, Madison County adults are less healthy than the Georgia state average. Knowledge on how to prevent and control health issues that occur over time, such as heart disease, diabetes and bone loss, is essential for being healthy and happy during senior years. The Madison County Family and Consumer Sciences Extension program provides monthly education on chronic disease prevention and control, senior wellness and nutrition to the Madison County Senior Center. In 2016, 12 Madison County seniors dedicated their efforts to living healthy lifestyles through the Walk Georgia program, and 14 others discussed diabetes, heart disease, bone health, the effects of these issues and how to control them. Seniors used the Madison County Recreation Department facilities for walking, enjoyed chair exercises for senior adults at the senior center twice monthly, and documented any physical activity progress they made at their own homes.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.