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
During the pandemic quarantine we continued to offer our members plenty of learning opportunities through virtual activities and contests. From photo contest to cooking contest, spirit day activities to virtual classes. Our high school members put together at home activity packages for over 150 students and they were delivered by school bus drivers with the home lunch deliveries. Members continued growing their pumpkins throughout the summer for our Pumpkin Growing Contest and as school restarted, we were fortunate enough to be able to step back into the schools and continue our in class programming. 4th grade was All About Georgia Agriculture, 5th grade was Water & Environmental Science while 6th grade had a variety of lessons from Careers in Agriculture to Healthy Lifestyle Choices.
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 currently 8 4-H members on the livestock show team showing, dairy, beef, goats and hogs.
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.