Making A Difference in Our County
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. The following are examples of Extension’s impact in the county over the past year.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agriculture pays approximately a quarter of Ben Hill County’s tax base, making it a significant contributor to all services produced for its citizens. Ben Hill County is proud of its agricultural strength, diversity, and history of excellent producers.
University of Georgia Extension extends lifelong learning through unbiased, research-based education, helping producers maximize profits and production while being good stewards of land and the environment. Production meetings are a major resource for agricultural programming in Ben Hill County. Through commodity-specific production meetings, producers learn about new technologies and recommendations for the coming year.
Ben Hill Agriculture and Natural Resources conducted educational sessions and updates for youth and adults alike. Ben Hill Extension was able to host and present 12 adult educational programs reaching over 720 participants. Ben Hill Extension was able to reach and educate youth from many south Georgia counties. Presentations on Agricultural and Livestock Production in Georgia was presented 7 different times in 3 Georgia counties and reached over 2,430 youth.
Ben Hill ANR & 4-H partnered together in 2022 and 2023 to work with 4-H Tech Changemakers. 4-H Tech Changemakers is a unique, community-centered program that tackles the digital divide head-on. Empowering young people with the support needed to use their digital skills, 4-H Tech Changemakers deliver adult skill-building workshops to create practical, real-world solutions to increase digital know-how and drive economic opportunity in their community and beyond. The goal for adult participation is 250 individuals.
4-H Youth Development
In 2021, Ben Hill County 4-H had one judging team with a focus on agriculture, poultry judging. To broaden their scope and the needs of those youth, Ben Hill 4-H added Land Judging and Forestry Field Day to our programming in 2022. Youth are now gaining skills and knowledge on livestock, soils and plants, and forestry.
During the 2021-2022 4-H programming year, 486 students from 5th-12th grade learned about agriculture and environmental science through in school club meetings, judging team practices, and middle school club time. This totaled 23 club meetings and 31 judging team practices for a total of 70 hours of instruction by Ben Hill 4-H staff and volunteers.
Youth showed excitement for new judging teams and the challenge to learn new information. They tackled the state land judging contest after just learning the material for the first time that same month. Ben Hill youth on the senior team received 2nd high team in the state and we had the 1st high individual for the contest. This new found excitement for agriculture led to the development of our Ag Tech Changemakers program in Ben Hill County. Youth are excited to learn more about agriculture and teach others.