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:
MID-GEORGIA FORAGE SCHOOL
Extension offices in Lamar and Upson counties hosted the Mid-Georgia Forage School. Participants from Upson, Lamar, Pike, Spalding and surrounding counties attended this three-night program. Specialists from UGA covered topics including correct establishment of forages, soil fertility, weed control and poisonous plants. U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service representatives spoke about shade and water requirements for livestock. Upson County Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent Wes Smith did a lesson on rotational grazing and finished up with a pasture walk. This gave participants an opportunity to see firsthand the lessons taught by Smith. Those who needed private pesticide credits were awarded a one-hour credit for recertification. A follow-up survey sent five months after the class showed that the participants’ knowledge of forage management improved, and many participants used the knowledge gained at the class to implement forage management practices on their own farms.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
The Upson County 4-H Youth Development program provides a variety of hands-on learning opportunities through career-based club meetings that focus on the College and Career Ready Performance Index. Youth participate in decision-making and problem-solving activities, and compare different career opportunities. Career-based club meetings also provide youth with opportunities to expand their critical-thinking and communication skills. Through 28 monthly educational sessions, approximately 750 face-to-face youth contacts and over 300 educational contact hours were attained. In Upson County, youth are able to participate in public speaking, monthly community service projects, judging teams, shooting sports (BB gun team and shotgun team), summer programming and weeklong summer camps. Over 60 youths attended District Project Achievement, a 4-H public-speaking competition at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. Each 4-H’er gave an informational speech, cooking demonstration or performance in their respective project areas. Over 80 percent placed high, but all mastered their fear of public speaking. We offer youth the opportunity to develop life skills through participation on two project-based judging teams. These teams included Poultry Judging and Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging. Team participants met in after-school educational sessions for an initial orientation and received training on their team’s subject matter. Educational information was delivered through simulations, interactive media and field trips. Each judging team met for six 90-minute educational sessions to prepare for a competition to test their knowledge. Life skills through the 4-H program are invaluable and last a lifetime. Our high-school-aged students are able to serve as teen leaders and mentors to younger 4-H’ers. This not only provides younger 4-H members with good role models, but it also helps older youths gain valuable life skills. Certified 4-H volunteer leaders also provided Upson County with excellent leadership of the project-based 4-H BB gun and shotgun teams. These volunteer leaders contributed over 150 hours of instruction to training the teams. One hundred percent of the BB gun and shotgun teams qualified for state competition.