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 YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Stewart County 4-H was on a roll in 2016. Quadarius Hardy worked with youth and doubled enrollment in just one year. Stewart County 4-H reached an all-time high at Cloverleaf District Project Achievement with 21 competitors, a 350 percent increase. Three seventh-grade 4-H’ers ran for Southwest District Junior Board, and one was elected, the first board member in 10 years. Eight seventh- and eighth-graders represented Stewart County at statewide Junior Conference this year, an increase of 150 percent over last year. Camping was a great experience for many Stewart County 4-H’ers, especially our fourth- through sixth-graders. They went to the Burton 4-H Center on Tybee Island, Georgia, and for many of the 17 Cloverleaf 4-H’ers – a 300 percent increase – this was their first trip to the beach. For seven years, Junior 4-H’ers from Stewart County were not in attendance at Junior Camp, but three attended in 2016, a 150 percent increase. Another important objective was exposing these 4-H’ers to places outside Stewart County by taking them on trips to the Georgia National Fair, Wild Adventures, 4-H Day at an Atlanta Braves game, Zoonosis Day at Chehaw Park, a strawberry picking and canning day, a multicounty lock-in and Back-to-School Bash, complete with water slides. In addition, the Stewart County 4-H program collaborated with the Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) program by starting a gardening club with middle school 4-H’ers. The youth planted several varieties of herbs and peppers. They learned how to fill the containers with soil, make a hole for the plant, and to finish the planting process by packing the soil, fertilizing and watering the plant. The youth learned about weeding and proper irrigation techniques and then got to harvest their own produce, which the cafeteria used in its lunch programs.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
In 2016, Stewart County FCS Extension continued health and nutrition education, focusing on youth in Stewart County. In addition to work with 4-H’ers, FCS partnered with the high school’s after-school program to offer cooking classes on topics ranging from canning to healthy meals. These classes not only taught the importance of a balanced meal and food safety, but also allowed students to grow some of the items that were used. FCS staff held numerous ServSafe® Manager Certification classes over the past year. This certification provides participants with the latest food safety practices approved by the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Code. This program is taught over a two-day period and is followed by an exam that tests participants’ knowledge of food safety, foodborne illnesses and proper storage of cooked and uncooked food.
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Stewart County is known for its natural resources. Agriculture occupied 46,066 acres (2007 Census of Agriculture) and generated $21.9 million in total farm gate value in 2015. Timber sales and hunting leases accounted for $10.4 million of the total farm gate value in 2015, or 47 percent. Row and forage crops make up 22 percent of the total farm gate value, with peanuts and cotton being the most often grown. Other agricultural enterprises in Stewart County include poultry, pecans and livestock.