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.
CALHOUN COUNTY 4-H PROGRAM
The Calhoun County 4-H Club, led by Shanda Ashley, provides various opportunities to the youth of this community that help them learn valuable life skills. Healthy lifestyles and financial literacy lessons are taught during club meetings. Due to COVID, these meetings were held virtually and some were able to be held in the local schools during 2020. 4-H continues to offer opportunities such as District Project Achievement competition, summer camp, robotics activities, Project S.A.F.E programs, livestock projects, Enviroscape classes, and other 4-H events in a modified format. The Calhoun County 4-H Club also works to raise funds to assist with activity fees. These opportunities offered by 4-H helps to improve a young person’s public-speaking skills, strengthen their decision-making skills, and enhance their math, science and writing skills.
CALHOUN COUNTY AGRICULTURE
Calhoun County is home to a bustling agricultural community with peanuts, cotton, and corn as the predominant crops grown and sold. In 2019, Calhoun County ranked 5th in the state in corn production, 3rd in the state in sorghum production, as well as ranking in the top 10 in grape, pecan, and southern pea production. The 2019 total farm gate values were reported at $108,081,659 in Calhoun County. If left uncontrolled, diseases can cause a greater than 50 percent yield reduction in some crops. With the valuable information provided by specialists and from on-farm data, producers, consultants and chemical salesmen can better protect crops. The more effective we are in disease control, the more impact we can have on profit and the economy of Calhoun County. A variety of educational activities have been designed and are being conducted to document yield-loss potential of row crop diseases, test new control programs, and educate farmers on these diseases. Effective management and chemical control options are viable tools that all producers in the county must have to protect their crops. Educational programming led by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources agent Luke Crosson will also raise awareness in the general public and with public officials about Extension’s efforts and impact.
Family and Consumer Sciences
UGA Extension provides nutrition education programs and educational materials for adults and youth. By improving the overall health habits of Georgians, fewer hospitalizations and medications will be required, reducing health care costs for individuals, taxpayers, small businesses and corporations. The Calhoun County Extension office can provide publications and assist residents in locating applicable programs in nearby counties.
Healthier Together Calhoun
The Centers for Disease Control awarded grant funds to the University of Georgia for fighting obesity in Calhoun County. As a result, Healthier Together Calhoun began in November of 2016. Calhoun County Extension is working with UGA partners to implement community-based strategies during two years (which was then extended an additional 5 years) to support behavioral and environmental changes for healthy eating and physical activity for children and families. Educational outreach will be conducted through 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences with the help of a program assistant, Stacey Williams, supported by the grant. A community coalition with municipal workgroups was formed to give input for working on project goals and measuring success. The project goals were:
- Increase Access to Healthy Foods (Installed community gardens, grab and go coolers, food banks coolers, training to lunchrooms and equipment, and offering Faithful Families Training opportunities).
- Increase Access to Healthy Activities (Installed walking trails, fitness equipment, “walk your city” signs, provided additional playground equipment, after-school programs, and repaired sidewalks).
- Increase Communication about Health-Related Events and Activities (A Facebook page was created to highlight healthy recipes, exercises, and the latest information about the community and health. https://www.facebook.com/healthiertogethercalhoun