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
Providing positive opportunities for the youth of Early County is always a focus. To do this we follow the 4-H motto “Learn by Doing.” Providing in-school club meetings at both the public and private schools for youth in grades 5 – 12 has not only provided educational programs from science to citizenship to healthy living but also has encouraged participation outside of school activities.
Encouraging youth to participate in project achievement, where 4-H’ers learn to research a topic and prepare a demonstration on that topic helps them to develop writing, public speaking, and demonstration skills on a variety of topics. The Tech Wizards grant secured by Early County 4-H allowed 4-H’ers to participate in a small-group experience focused on science, technology, engineering, art, and math with Early County focusing on robotics. Other outside-of-school activities also include livestock events and shooting sports teams including archery and shotgun, teaching responsibility and safe handling within these disciplines. Community service projects, summer activities, and of course summer camp continue to provide educational, as well as fun and competitive events for the youth of Early County.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Cotton growers in the area were able to look at multiple years of county data to make a better decisions on varieties they had no experience with. Through these variety trials, we have found varieties with trait packages that yield well and have also discounted others. The fact that producers in Early County can plant a variety with confidence, that it has the potential to give him or her a profit because they have seen local data on the variety, which saves them time and money. The top-yielding varieties from these trials have consistently yielded over 200 pounds of lint per acre over the bottom varieties. By choosing these higher-yielding varieties, producers have the potential increase of $128.00 per acre at the $0.64 price or over $4,608,000.00 as a county annually.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Early County is one of many poverty counties in southwest Georgia. The county has a population of 10,619 with an average income of $34,900. With a high rate of poverty and a low average income, overall health and well-being are usually substandard as well, which the agent identified as needs for education to improve overall health and quality of life.
Striving to improve community health issues, the agent focused on improving community health and wellness by providing nutrition classes to a variety of adult audiences, as well as monthly nutrition classes for pre-k students. Financial literacy classes were conducted with adult audiences to teach the basics of finances, budgeting, and saving.
Addressing the issue of poor housing and chronic disease control and prevention, the agent has utilized the media to provide healthy homes topics, writing news articles for the local newspaper and using social media. Identifying a prevalent chronic disease in Early County, asthma, the agent developed a UGA brochure on asthma, “Breathe Easy: Understanding and Controlling Asthma,” providing education on understanding asthma as a chronic disease and how to minimize or eliminate triggers within the home environment.