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
Our 4-H Youth Development programs help young people and adult volunteers find a supportive environment where they learn together and are challenged to reach their full potentials. In a cooperative effort with Marion County Schools, close to 200 Marion County youths participated in monthly educational programs that covered subjects such as character building, healthy lifestyles and agriculture awareness. In 2016, more than $4,000 was raised to fund sponsorships, which helped make it possible for more than 30 Marion County youths to participate in the 4-H summer camp program, District Project Achievement and numerous other leadership-building opportunities that allowed them to expand their horizons and prepared them for the future involvement in our community. Many of our 4-H’ers performed community service projects, either as requirements or enhancements to their other project work. In turn, the community has gained a generation of young people who care about where they live and are willing to make a commitment to improving it.As the UGA Extension Youth Development program, 4-H is part of a national network. Georgia 4-H reaches more than 175,000 students in the state, ages 9 to 19, and develops the knowledge, life skills and attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive and contributing members of society. This mission is fulfilled through hands-on, core learning experiences in agricultural and environmental awareness, leadership, communication skills, foods and nutrition, health, energy conservation and citizenship. Georgia 4-H’ers are well-known for sharing their knowledge and volunteering throughout their communities. Students can participate locally in school and county club meetings organized by 4-H Extension agents and at the state level through competitions, summer camps and conferences. Some 4-H competitions and events are also offered regionally and nationally. Research indicates that, as a result of 4-H, members are more engaged in their academic studies, less likely to be involved in risky behavior and more likely to graduate from high school and continue their education than youth who do not participate i n 4-H.
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Marion County is small in acreage, but the agricultural diversity makes the job of the county’s UGA Extension agent exciting and somewhat challenging. Marion County has agricultural enterprises that cover almost every commodity that Georgia is famous for, like peanuts, corn and cotton. Much of our work conducted throughout the year is done via phone, office and site visits. A significant portion of our time during the fall is devoted to our two major row crops: cotton and peanuts. Critical decisions are made to help farmers determine proper cotton defoliation to prepare the crop for harvest. Additionally, peanut maturity testing is a great tool to evaluate optimum harvest timing and other factors that may impact the value and quality of this crop. Marion County also grows a rather unique agricultural crop – the county is one of the top producers of pine seedlings in the state. Additional natural resources enterprises in Marion County include agritourism activities, such as hunting leases for deer and turkey. Livestock operations include cattle, goats, sheep and horses.