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
The Effingham County 4-H Club delivers quality education programming that strives to build young people into good leaders, good community members and good human beings by providing opportunities for leadership, community engagement, personal growth and fun through a variety of activities and events. The Effingham 4-H program serves youth in fourth through 12th grades and is open to all young people. In 2018, more than 2,300 students participated in various programs through 4-H. During these programs, students learned and excelled in leadership, citizenship, public speaking and critical thinking and engaged in building teamwork, character and good sportsmanship. Effingham 4-H offers a variety of in-school and after-school educational activities. Our goal is to help each young person to find a niche where they feel successful. Some of the programs offered include Project Achievement; Project SAFE (Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education) archery, shotgun and BB teams; Kids in the Kitchen Club; Make Me Move Club; STEM Club; Lego Challenge; summer camps; and many more. These programs allow students to engage in a positive learning experience. Additionally, Effingham 4-H has a standing tradition of excellence in the area of camping. Effingham was slated as the top camping county in Georgia for 2018, with more than 315 student campers. 4-H emphasizes the practical application of knowledge or “learning by doing” to develop skills and acquire a sense of responsibility, initiative and self-worth. Through leadership development and creating intentional processes, Effingham 4-H has been able to expand the leadership capacity in youth involved in the 4-H program. Increased leadership skills and abilities have been noticed beyond the 4-H program, reaching schools and the greater community.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Effingham County agricultural enterprises are estimated to have exceeded $53 million in 2018. UGA Extension in Effingham County functions as a service not only to those entrepreneurs engaged in agriculture, but also to homeowners and industry throughout the area. On average, Effingham County Extension works with 120 individual county residents per month to distribute sound scientific recommendations to solve a broad array of issues involving wildlife, water, soil, crop production and livestock production, to name a few. More than 632 soil, plant and water samples have were submitted through our office in 2018 to help address those issues. Of all the industries represented in Effingham agriculture, forestry products comprise a significant income flow, second only to row crops. Several research projects that aim to increase forest productivity are currently underway through the county office’s Agriculture and Natural Resources programming. We are working with a number of producers to assess the feasibility of forestry weed control methods and with several others to find practical ways of dealing with pine tip moths. Weed competition in young pine plantations have measurable impact on yield throughout the life of the plantation. Pine tip moths are a severe problem in flatwoods systems, as early infestations of the moth render pines unmarketable as saw timber and decrease yield of pulpwood production. The cost-efficient practices under study show promise in increasing pulpwood tonnage on an annual basis. With the $10 per ton pulpwood prices we saw in 2017, increasing production annually by a quarter of a ton would have yielded an additional $1 million in farm-gate value. These production studies give local producers specialized insights that improve their business sustainability.