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
Wheeler County provided four livestock-related programs in 2015, with University of Georgia specialists as guest speakers. They addressed forage weed management, herd health and nutrition, forage quality and animal husbandry. These programs were well attended, with 45 participants from Wheeler County. Cattlemen from multiple counties, managing approximately 1,000 head of cattle, gained knowledge from these programs. As a result, a Wheeler County producer incorporated brassicas (forage turnips) into his winter forage program of oats and rye to extend his yearly grazing through October and November. For the producer’s 200-head herd, the extended grazing equals $12,000 to $19,000 in increased profits each month. Added grazing for 30 to 60 days is valued around $20,000 per 100 head in annual net profit, compared to feeding hay over the same time. The producer said he could tell a difference in his herd’s overall appearance and quality with the changes he made to his forage program. Cattle and forage producers mentioned that they would start testing their forages for quality to improve their production. Each county represented showed an increase in forage quality testing. From 2014-2015, Wheeler County showed an increase in forage quality testing samples, from zero to 12. One producer commented that, after attending the meetings, he realized how small inputs can add up to significant improvements and money saved on the farm. Wheeler County’s UGA Cooperative Extension program development team provided input for the program topics implemented in 2015.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Although Wheeler County Extension does not have a Family and Consumer Sciences agent based in its office, we still strive to assist local residents with their questions. Common questions asked are in regard to food safety, food preservation, dealing with mold and mildew, healthy meal planning, family budgeting and SNAP-Ed materials. These topics and more are answered through a wide variety of free UGA Extension publications available at the county office or through phone conferences with Family and Consumer Sciences Extension agents in surrounding counties. Often, neighboring agents are conducting programming that our county residents are welcome to attend, and we can provide information on registration.
4-H Youth Development
Following a needs assessment, a “Make GOOD Choices” event was held at the Wheeler County Middle High School prior to prom. It focused on educating more than 500 students about alcohol, drugs, abstinence and sexually transmitted diseases, distracted driving, cyber bullying, sexting (sending sexually suggestive or explicit messages or photos over wireless devices), online safety, peer pressure, self-confidence and dealing with stress. Wheeler County’s UGA Extension, Tri-County Family Connection, Wheeler County Sheriff ’s Department, Alamo Police Department, Glenwood Police Department, Georgia State Patrol, Community Service Board of Middle Georgia and South Central Health District of Georgia sponsored the event. Students made a paper chain with things that they didn’t like about themselves and what peers pressured them to do. This provided an anonymous way for students to vent. The chain will be used to provide topics for future events.