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
Effingham County 4-H 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 though a variety of activities and events. The Effingham County 4-H program serves youth in 4th – 12th grades and is open to all young people. More than 2300 students participate in various programs through Effingham 4-H. During these programs, students learned and excelled in leadership, citizenship, public speaking and critical thinking skills as well as engaged in teamwork, building 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 archery team, project SAFE shotgun team, kids in the kitchen club, arts and crafts club, STEM club, lego challenge, summer camps and many others. 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 has been slated in the top 3 camping counties in Georgia for several years. 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 not just in the 4-H program but in school and community.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Effingham County agricultural enterprises are estimated to have exceeded $53 million. UGA Extension functions as a service not only to those entrepreneurs engaged in agriculture, but also to homeowners and industry throughout the county. 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 just to name a few. Over 600 soil, plant, and water samples are submitted through our office to help address those issues. Of all the industries represented in Effingham agriculture forestry products comprise the most income flow, second only to row crops. Several research projects with the objective to increase forest productivity are underway currently through the ANR extension office. 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 pine tip moths. Weed competition in young pine plantations have measurable impacts on yield throughout the life of the plantation. Pine tip moths are a severe problem in flatwoods systems, 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/ton pulpwood prices we saw in 2017, increasing production annually by .25 ton would have yielded an additional $1,000,000 value at the farm gate. These production studies give local producers local insights that improve their businesses sustainability.