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:
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Since 2011, Monroe County Extension has aided beef cattle producers in finding a direct marketing alternative that offers economic incentives for premium-quality beef. As a result, the Georgia-Iowa Family-Farm-to-Family-Fork program formed. Cattle are shipped directly from Monroe County farms to family-owned feedlots in Iowa, where they are finished for harvest. After harvest, farmers are able to obtain carcass data, analyzed by the county agent, to make production decisions so they may improve their herd. For 2016, farmers shipped to Iowa and received carcass data for nearly 3,000 steers and heifers. In order to provide the citizens of Monroe County with a resource for locally grown foods, Monroe County Extension collaborated with local organizations to create a farmers market. Open Fridays from spring to fall, shoppers purchase locally grown produce and homemade goods from local farmers. Farmers and homeowners have access to a variety of diagnostic and laboratory testing services through the Extension office. In 2016, 288 soil samples, 58 water samples, and 30 feed and forage samples were processed. Additionally, 175 weed, disease and insect specimens were identified in the field.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Monroe County 4-H offers youth many opportunities to get involved. In 2016 we carried 95 4-H’ers to summer camp, 80 to competitive team events, 30 to Leadership Council and 50 to District Project Achievement. We present monthly programs in fifth- and sixth-grade classes, serving 600 youth. Programs include an introduction to 4-H, Project Achievement, summer camp promotion and two College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI) lessons in finance and marketing. We meet monthly with our Junior and Senior 4-H’ers through our Junior/Senior Leadership Council. Together, they have logged over 380 community service hours. These 4-H’ers volunteer and partner with Monroe County Adult Community Education (MCACE) in creating, placing and maintaining four Free Little Lending Libraries throughout our county. The 4-H’ers help with labeling dictionaries and thesauri, donated by MCACE, that are given to all third- and sixth-graders. Gardening Day at a local assisted living center is held each spring. Youth weed, rake, plant annuals and freshen up the outdoor area. Monroe County Senior 4-H’ers partner with Special Olympics in Monroe County for awards presentations and record keeping during the local games.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
Studies show there are 2.5 million cases of foodborne illness each year in Georgia at a cost of $4.7 billion dollars. Monroe County Extension provides education in food safety to prevent foodborne illness through ServSafe®, Food Preservation, and general audiences’ food safety training. Employee ServSafe® courses was offered to food handlers. The course participants was administered a pretest and a post-test to 54 participants. The average score on the post-test was 90 and revealed a 27-point increase. Yes, You Can! was presented on safe food preservation. Food preservation class participants came from 12 different cities in Georgia and Tennessee. All of the food preservation participants indicated an increase in knowledge and 60 percent of the participants indicated an increase in knowing when to use boiling water versus pressure canners. 109 participants received 437 hours of food safety training. These food safety trainings make good sense and save money by reducing foodborne illness risks in Monroe County. 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.