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:
PEANUT MATURITY CLINICS
Peanut maturity is a vital part of peanut production. Premiums are paid and deductions taken from the peanut base price based on maturity. While acting as the Seminole County Agriculture and Natural Resources agent, peanut maturity clinics were held twice a week. Over 100 peanut samples were tested for optimum maturity and digging date. To do this, a 200-pod sample representing a single field is pulled by the farmer and taken to the Extension office, where the agent blasts the sample with a pressure washer to reveal the inner hull color. Inner hull color is used to determine peanut maturity by judging them on a profile board according to color. When a peanut matures, the inner hull changes color from white (immature) to black (full maturity). If producers decide to dig too early, a projected 30 percent yield loss across the county’s 9,000 acres of peanuts can equate to a loss of nearly 6,000 tons, representing an estimated value of $2.4 million countywide or about $270 per acre lost.
4-H ADDRESSES NUTRITION EDUCATION
In order to improve overall nutrition and encourage healthy eating habits for youth, Seminole County 4-H educates fifth-grade students about the importance of food and nutrition. The 4-H agent teaches lessons from the 4-H Healthy Lifestyles curriculum during fifth-grade 4-H meetings in school. Emphasis on nutrition and exercise was presented in lessons on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ChooseMyPlate using guidelines on smart food choices and food and physical activity’s contributions to overall health. Members of 4-H also learned the most effective hand-washing method and how to prepare food safely to prevent foodborne illness. A summer cooking class was taught, with emphasis on hand-washing, proper food handling and nutrition. Results from evaluations before and after the program showed that the 4-H’ers who participated significantly improved their food and nutrition knowledge by 57 percent. One hundred thirty-five fifth-grade 4-H members participated in this program. Fifteen 4-H’ers participated in a summer cooking class, which involved making healthy snacks through hands-on activities in the kitchen. A total of five 4-H’ers have participated in cooking demonstrations during the year. The 4-H agent also participated in the Albany Exchange Club Fair with an exhibit entitled “My Plate.” A total of 20,000 people viewed this exhibit, which educated and encouraged the public to eat healthy foods from the MyPlate guidelines. One fifth-grade teacher said, “After the Healthy Lifestyle lessons, I have noticed students reading nutrition labels and comparing the foods they are eating during snack time. They always enjoy seeing the realistic food models and talk about them for days after club meetings.”