UGA Extension Office

Our Impact

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.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

Elbert County Extension hired Brian Bradford as the Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent in January 2022. Elbert County continues to be a significant contributor of agriculture revenue for the state of Georgia. Commodities like poultry, beef cattle, row crops, timber, and ornamental horticulture are produced by farmers in our community. Services are provided to commercial farmers, family farmers, homeowners, and home gardeners in the county. Soil, water, and hay samples are received regularly and processed at the UGA lab. Our office is available to help the community with their agricultural needs. Don’t forget, we are temporarily located in the Paul J Blackwell Learning Center on Campbell Street.

4-H Youth Development

Elbert County 4-H continues a strong partnership with Elbert County Middle School, where each student in the fifth through eighth grades receives in-school club programming. Due to this collaboration, the 4-H Staff is able to go above and beyond regular monthly in-school club meetings to also offer the Georgia 4-H Journeys in Health and Safety: The Opioid Crisis pilot program with all seventh-grade students and Relationship Smarts for all eighth-grade students. Beyond the classroom, Elbert County 4-H works diligently with the Elbert Partners for Health Mental Health & Substance Abuse Task Force, Elbert County Farm Bureau, and Keep Elbert County Beautiful. These affiliations bring extra resources to 4-H programming. Afterschool activities include a sixth grade “Earthies” Science Club, ELEVATE Club (Engaging Learners to Explore and Value Agriculture, Technology and the Environment), Young Riders Horse Club and Voices from the Margins Club. Competitive events beyond District Project Achievement include Horse Quiz Bowl, Life Smarts, Horse Judging, Livestock Judging, Shotgun Team, and Poultry Judging. Elbert County 4-H also offers significant contributions to the Elberton 12-County Fair, where contacts reach over 14,000 and total exposure is over 31,000 contacts.

Family and Consumer Sciences

Many issues facing our children, adults, families, and communities can be addressed by Family & Consumer Sciences programming. In Elbert County, the Family & Consumer Sciences (FACS) agent made the following impact.

  • Free tax assistance and e-filing for basic returns were offered by appointment from February until April. The agent and the Virtual VITA volunteers at UGA completed 62 returns with Federal refunds totaling $80,890 and state refunds totaling $27,126 (Georgia $21,095 & South Carolina $6,031). Over $21,400 of the total refunds were from Earned Income Tax Credits, an additional $23,800 from Child Tax Credits or credit for other dependents, and almost $20,000 in Recovery Rebate Credits. More than $18,600 was saved in tax preparation fees by Elbert County tax filers. 
  • The National Diabetes Prevention Program was created to address the increasing burden of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes in the U.S. The yearlong Prevent T2 program was offered from January 2021-December 2021, and a second class was offered from September 2021-August 2022. A total of 31 participants completed the year-long program and lost 367 lbs.

In addition to the weight loss, 7 of the individuals who had already been diagnosed with diabetes saw improvement in their A1c. These seven individuals achieved a total reduction of 9.6% in A1c. Three of these individuals saw such improvements that their medicines were either reduced or discontinued. An additional six individuals who were at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes saw improvements in A1c, cholesterol, or blood pressure and were able to make medication reductions. Three changes were consistently self-reported by participants: (1) 75% reported that they had cut back on sweets & bread, (2) 79% reported drinking more water, and (3) 100% reported making healthier food choices.