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.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Fall 2018 brought a new Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) program assistant to Coffee County. The SNAP-ED classes “Food Talk” and “Food Talk: Better U,” which focus on meal planning, how to read nutrition labels and eating healthy on a budget, were reintroduced and welcomed by the local community. These free, government-funded classes were held at the Coffee County Boys and Girls Club to start the program off again. Participants enjoyed a series of 90-minute classes from the Food Talk program. Exercise practices, controlling sodium and sugar intake, how to cook healthy meals in less than 30 minutes, and many other aspects of a healthier lifestyle were discussed through these lessons. The classes are fun, laid-back and engage participants in many skits and activities throughout each lesson. All participants left each day with extenders and received their diplomas in graduation form at the end of the “Food Talk: Better U” course. The program has been well received in Coffee County and continues to make a difference in the community by educating residents on healthier lifestyles.
4-H Youth Development
The 4-H staff worked extremely hard to keep up their long tradition of having the most participants at the Project Achievement competition. For the past 10 years, the 4-H staff has helped between 74 and 115 youth prepare for the contest by recruiting students at schools, transporting them from schools to the UGA Extension office in Coffee County and assisting them with project research. Once a student had research information, they were given time to write their six- to 12-minute speech. Staff proofed their speeches and then assisted them with making posters to illustrate their speeches. Regardless of how each child placed in their project, they all learned skills that will benefit them for life, including research, writing, critical thinking, creativity and public speaking.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agriculture in Georgia is economically important, contributing more than $13.75 billion to the economy. In 2017, Coffee County’s total farm-gate value was $223.5 million, which is ranked in the top 15 of all Georgia counties. UGA Extension plays a vital role in helping producers maximize profits by providing unbiased, research-based information. Each year, Coffee County Extension conducts field trials to provide production recommendations pertinent to local growers. The 2017-2018 trials addressed cotton-variety selection and tobacco-production issues. Annually, Coffee County Extension hosts a variety of grower meetings to present research results, information on new technologies and recommendations for the coming season. Meetings in 2018 addressed corn, soybean, peanut, cotton, tobacco and blueberry production. Each year, the Coffee County Extension agent offers peanut maturity clinics throughout the harvest season. Determining maturity can save farmers 200 to 400 pounds of peanuts per acre at harvest and help growers receive the best grade possible for their peanuts. The Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent in Coffee County also fields questions presented by growers, agribusinesses and community leaders to maximize profits and promote agriculture.
Coffee County Extension welcomed a new ANR agent, John McLemore, in December 2018.