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.
4-H Youth Development
Dawson County is becoming more densely populated and many students do not live near or have access to agricultural experiences like they did in the past. Students lack knowledge of where their food comes from. One need that was identified was an avenue for 4-H students who live in Dawson County neighborhoods to have the capability to show livestock. 4-H students did not have access to livestock show equipment, trailers to haul livestock or a barn to house show animals. Each year local families would call looking for livestock show resources.
To provide an after-school agriculture experience, Dawson County 4-H collaborated with Dawson County FFA to start the Dawson County 4-H Livestock Show Team for fourth through eighth grade 4-H’ers. Through this collaboration, younger students are now able to start showing earlier in school and continue developing their showmanship skills through high school. There are 16 4-H members on the livestock show team who show dairy heifers, beef heifers and goats. While being on a livestock show team, 100% of the members maintained primary care of their project animals for up to one year, gained extensive knowledge in animal production, and competed at various shows.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Although Dawson County does not have a Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agent based in the county Extension office, we strive to assist local residents with their questions. Common questions cover food safety, food preservation, dealing with mold and mildew, healthy meal planning, nutrition, family budgeting, SNAP-Ed resources and more. These issues and others are answered through a wide variety of free UGA Extension publications available at the county office and phone conferences with Family and Consumer Sciences agents from surrounding counties. Often neighboring FACS agents are conducting programming that our county residents are welcome to attend. Our office can provide that information to residents.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
The UGA Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources agent in Dawson County, Clark MacAllister, assists farmers and homeowners with many topics including soil fertility, safe pesticide usage, private pesticide license testing, water usage, home gardening, small farm startups, and crop and pasture management. The UGA Extension office in Dawson County also provides soil, water, forage, and plant-pathogen testing through the Agricultural and Environmental Services Laboratory at UGA.
The Amicalola Regional Farmers Market was started by a local group of citizens and stakeholders to promote consumption of local produce and crafts. The group was able to secure a market venue at Veterans Memorial Park and worked with the local Board of Commissioners to secure permits. The farmers market had several new and returning vendors from last year’s market. The UGA Extension agent acted as market manager for the market season. The Amicalola Regional Farmers market successfully increased access to fresh, local fruits and vegetables to citizens of Dawson County and surrounding areas.