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 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. Elbert County Extension is currently without an Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent; yet, we are still providing services for the commercial farmer, family farmer, home owners, and home gardeners in the county. We are dedicated to collecting soil, water and hay samples to be processed at the UGA lab. Our focus is to continue to help the community with their agricultural needs.
4-H Youth Development
Elbert County 4-H continues to offer youth development opportunities for students in kindergarten through 12th grades despite the difficulties of programming during a pandemic. During the end of the 2020 school year, 4-H Staff converted Club Meetings to a virtual format to continue delivering content to Elbert County Students. Even without offering afterschool transportation, the Young Riders Horse Club and Cloverbuds Program have continued meeting face to face to instruct youth while practicing health guidelines set forth by the University of Georgia. Positive developments over the last year include an Elbert County 4-H’er being selected for the American Quarter Horse Youth Association Young Horse Development Program contest, the 6th High Senior Individual in Virtual Georgia 4-H State Horse Quiz Bowl Contest, the winning District Team in the Virtual Poultry Judging Contest, virtual Georgia 4-H State Horse Show Educational Contests Winners and the State Champion Junior Varsity LifeSmarts Team. In addition to these youth accomplishments, Elbert County 4-H was recognized on the national level with awards from Southern Region in Excellence for Animal Science Programming, Excellence in Communicative and Expressive Arts and Excellence in Global Citizenship Programming.
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 was offered by appointment from February until May. The agent and the Virtual VITA volunteers at UGA completed 26 returns with Federal refunds totaling $27,318 and state refunds totaling $4841. Over $12,720 of the total refunds were from Earned Income Tax Credits. More than $7,800 was saved in tax preparation fees by Elbert County tax filers.
- The National Diabetes Prevention Program was created in 2010 to address the increasing burden of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes in the U.S. The yearlong Prevent T2 program was offered in 2020 and started as a face-to-face class and then had to move to a conference call format when COVID-19 became an issue. Several participants dropped from the program when the pandemic hit. Ten participants completed the program losing a total of 98.8 pounds. One participant stated “I learned I could be more active and make healthier choices if I put my mind to it!” Another participant stated “I am reading the nutrition facts labels and using them to make healthier choices.” 80% of the participants reported increased physical activity minutes as well as reduced their intake of sweets. 90% of the participants reported drinking more water improved food choices.