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
Forage production is a large component of agriculture in Morgan County. Hay and silage production accounts for roughly $280 million of Georgia’s annual agricultural value. Not only do beef and dairy operators need to efficiently produce and harvest forage as feed for their livestock, but production and sales of hay, baleage and silage are a thriving industry as well. Overall, hay and silage production adds $10.8 million to Morgan County’s economy each year. Morgan County is ranked 11th out of all the counties in the state for hay production and second in silage production, and the county produces a quality product. The Southeastern Hay Contest offers cash and prizes to winners in nine categories, as well as an overall winner, and is open to producers from 13 states. In 2016, Bohlen and Son Farm won the alfalfa category, the mixed grass category and the Overall High Quality Forage award in the contest. Prizes included cash and the use of a Massey Ferguson cutter for one year.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
Morgan and Oconee counties’ Family and Consumer Sciences Extension agent provided community-based training on topics related to early childhood education in order to help local child care professionals meet annual training requirements and to help them develop skills to provide quality learning experiences for young children. Child care providers receive certificates documenting clock hours of training at the conclusion of each session or series. These certificates are reviewed annually by the child care licensing surveyor to ensure that all child care staff are receiving state-required training hours. A total of 375 instructional hours were provided in the county for a small materials fee of $5 to recover the costs of printing and supplies. Other trainings cost an average of $25 an hour, and trainings are provided at six regional access locations across the state. The local training resulted in savings for the child care professionals, who are some of the lowest-paid workers in the state, of $3,560 (figured at $25 an hour minus the $5 materials cost for 178 participants). This does not include the travel savings provided by local access to training.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Morgan County 4-H has set about to engage more 4-H’ers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programming through the addition of robotics programming. A Senior 4-H member expressed an interest in starting a robotics project club for Cloverleaf 4-H’ers. The school system, high school robotics team and Morgan County 4-H formed an alliance to reach these students with a teen-led STEM robotics club. The program filled a niche for students who were interested in learning about robotics. Students have learned design skills and decision-making that allows them to make an idea a reality. Participants have also shown an increased awareness in how science, technology, engineering and applied math relate to their everyday lives. In addition, the students in the robotics club have also gained leadership and teamwork skills as they work with peers to plan, design and build each project. The club has also been a good introduction to the power of 4-H as club members enjoy time with older 4-H members who are serving as teen leaders for the program. High-school-aged teen leaders have grown their skills of facilitating, engaging and teaching younger students, sharing their passions for science, technology, engineering and math through robotics. 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.