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
The Georgia farm gate value for goat production is over $20 million, with more than 125,000 goats statewide. A Master Goat Producer workshop was presented as a four-week series of classes to attendees from across the state as well as Tennessee and South Carolina. The curriculum covered topics such as raising healthy goats, grazing practices, business planning, parasite control, nutrition, reproduction, selection and hoof trimming. Niki Whitley, Fort Valley State University Extension animal science specialist, provided parasite control (FAMACHA) certification training. Sixty-seven registrants completed the four-week course, and almost half were inexperienced. They did not yet have goats, but were considering getting some after attending the class. Of those who already had goats, 35 percent raised meat goats and 14 percent dairy goats. Fifty-two percent of those with goats had them for less than five years. On a scale of very dissatisfied to very satisfied, 85 percent of were satisfied or very satisfied by the FAMACHA training, 82 percent were satisfied or very satisfied with health and diseases training, 78 percent were satisfied or very satisfied with reproduction and kidding training, and 67 percent were satisfied or very satisfied with nutrition training. Attendee comments include: “Just starting with goats and I really enjoyed learning more about them. All the speakers were very informative thank you.” “I like how it covered all the areas that a person needs to start a goat program from scratch; gives me a lot to think about.”
EXPANDED FOOD AND NUTRITIONEDUCATION PROGRAM
UGA’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) works to alleviate health disparities imposed by socioeconomic status by providing low-income Georgians with the knowledge, skills and resources to improve nutrition practices and increase physical activity. In 2016, UGA EFNEP directly reached 516 individuals in Whitfield County region, representing households of 2,091 individuals. Eighty-six percent of EFNEP participants reported that they were income-eligible to receive federal assistance. Seventy-six percent of participants were caregivers for children under the age of 19. EFNEP program assistants provided 2,428 sessions of the series-based “Food Talk” and “Hablemos de Comida” curricula. Community collaborators volunteered 67 hours of their time valued at $1,595 of in-kind services. Two hundred and fifty participants attended all sessions of the Food Talk or Hablemos de Comida curricula. These graduates reported improvements in behaviors related to the core areas of EFNEP: 64 percent more often used the “Nutrition Facts” on food labels to make food choices; 25 percent increased their daily physical activity by 30 minutes or more; 43 percent more often followed the recommended practice of not thawing foods at room temperature; and 34 percent less often ran out of food before the end of the month.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Whitfield County’s Teen Maze hosted 2,003 10th-graders from Dalton Public, Murray County and Whitfield County high schools who faced the consequences of randomly selected lifestyle choices associated with risky youth behavior. As a part of this community collaboration, the Whitfield County 4-H leaders designed and facilitated resource activities to increase student knowledge and encourage informed decision-making in regard to health and well-being. Ten interactive behavior stations targeted the safe use of social media, food choices, beverage nutrition, workforce/career preparation, the dangers of tobacco use, coping with stress and self-efficacy. Of the 1,003 students that completed surveys, 98.5 percent answered, “yes” to learning new healthy behavior information. When asked if these activities made them think about ways they could be more successful in the future, 88 percent of the students responded “yes,” 11 percent responded “maybe” and only 1 percent responded “no.”