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:
REDUCING FOODBORNE ILLNESS RISKS THROUGH TRAINING
Nine farmers attended the “Enhancing the Safety of Locally Grown Produce” course offered to farmers market vendors in collaboration with Extension Foods Specialist Judy Harrison. As a result of the training, when comparing levels of knowledge before and after the session, 100 percent of farmers increased their knowledge of how the use of manure, harvest and storage practices, and the conditions during transport to market, can affect produce safety. Eighty-three percent increased their knowledge of how land that is used to grow produce can affect the crops' safety. Sixty-seven percent increased their knowledge of how the water used with produce, as well as farm worker hygiene, can affect produce safety. The safe practices these farmers learned can reduce costs associated with foodborne illnesses, prevent devastating losses to farmers and help local agricultural markets and businesses continue to flourish, thus boosting local economies and the reputation of Georgia products. Through the program, nine market vendors were trained in food safety practices. The Extension office also conducted a Freezer Meals for Busy Families program with the board of commissioners human resources office.”
SCIENCE EDUCATION THROUGH
4-H To provide science education beyond elementary school, Paulding County 4-H offered two science-based judging teams – forestry judging and poultry judging – that aided students in building science content knowledge, developing critical-thinking skills and improving their confidence. These teams gained science knowledge and placed well at district and area contests. The Senior Forestry Judging Team placed second at the district competition and ninth at the state contest. The Senior Poultry Judging teams placed first and fourth at the area contest. Senior Team A advanced to the state competition, where they placed fifth. Four 4-H’ers represented Paulding County at 4-H State Congress, and Paulding County had one Master 4-H’er. Paulding County 4-H’ers were state winners of the Georgia 4-H Food Challenge and the third place national team at the Texas State Fair. The 4-H staff conducted science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programming, and 3,283 second- through fourth-grade students were reached through science-resource-guide programming.
HIGH TUNNELS OFFER GROWING OPTIONS
The agent organized a High Tunnel Vegetable Production Field Day, attended by 20 new and beginning farmers, to showcase environmentally sustainable growing practices on small farms with high tunnels. Instructors were UGA Extension specialists, representatives from the UGA Small Business Development Center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rolling Hills Resource Conservation and Development Council. In a follow-up survey, 40 percent of respondents said that they added cover crops to their rotations as a result of what they learned at the field day, and others said that they were able to use the information to adapt and improve their practices. Twenty-five percent of respondents indicated that they would spend more time planning their crop rotation in order to extend their growing season. As a result of the field day, participants began implementing new practices to improve their production and to improve practices for soil health and fertility. The Extension office conducted 74 programs and events relating to water conservation, horticulture, farming and gardening to make a total 3,600 contacts. The office conducted training to provide continuing education units to pesticide applicators in coordination with the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The office also conducted a Rivers Alive Cleanup in cooperation with the Paulding County Water Authority.