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 TEACHES LIFE SKILLS
During the ninth annual Mitchell County 4-H2O Day Camp, Mitchell County 4-H Agent Jennifer Grogan and Program Assistant Debra Cox collaborated with UGA’s C.M. Stripling Irrigation Research Park staff to educate youth about the importance of water in southwest Georgia. In 2016, 130 4-H members from 11 counties participated in three days of hands-on activities focused on water quality, conservation, usage and global issues. Evaluation results indicate that participants gained significant knowledge, which hopefully means that they will strive to protect and conserve our water supply while encouraging others to do the same. Since 2008, over $54,000 has been secured to fund the camp and 960 youth have participated. Grogan and Sylvia Davis, Family and Consumer Sciences agent, taught 4-H food project participants the life skills needed to combat issues associated with unhealthy eating habits. Topics included ChooseMyPlate, basic cooking skills, nutrition for life, and choosing a recipe and making it work with healthy modifications. After completing the classes and spending over 150 hours practicing, 4-H’ers competed in their food projects. Seventy-five percent of the 4-H’ers placed first at district competition, with the remaining 25 percent also placing. At state competition, 50 percent placed first. Evaluations confirmed that 4-H’ers gained skills and knowledge, hopefully leading them to become healthier citizens.
AGRICULTURE IS VITAL TO THE ECONOMY
Agriculture is a vital part of Mitchell County, contributing over $356 million in revenue and creating nearly 6,000 agriculture-related jobs. Mitchell County is No. 1 in the state for row crops and forages, which make up over 25 percent of the county’s farm gate value, with additional revenue in fruits and nuts (11.8 percent), livestock (12 percent) and poultry (30 percent). Plans of work for increasing sustainability and profitability for local producers involve on-farm research test trials. When an issue emerges with a row crop, the Mitchell County Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources agent works in collaboration with growers, research faculty and private industry seed and chemical companies to find the best approach to solve the matter. Data gained from test trials increase growth, yields, production and overall plant health. Weekly information submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture monitors plant growth, maturity and rainfall. Irrigation systems and the management of natural resources promote water conservation. Mitchell County Extension collaborates with staff at Stripling research park, on issues affecting agriculture.
INCREASING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY TO DECREASE HEALTH PROBLEMS
Two programs that Mitchell County Family and Consumer Sciences Agent Sylvia Davis focused on during 2016 – Walk Georgia and Move More, Live More – promoted increasing daily physical exercise, which can lead to a decrease in health problems. A total of 166 participants logged 432 miles of exercise or physical activity on the Walk Georgia website. Thirty-five school nutrition employees participated in the Move More, Live More program, where daily physical activity was encouraged as a way to reduce the risk of obesity and chronic disease. The knowledge gained was valuable to the school nutrition staff as well as to the school students they fed. As a result of this program, 80 percent plan to create goals to incorporate physical activity into their daily activities and 76.6 percent stated that they would use physical activity to reduce stress.