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. Approximately $146 million was generated by commodities like poultry, beef cattle, row crops, timber, and ornamental horticulture. The Elbert County Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources agent places a strong emphasis on educating the public to the value agriculture adds to our lives. More than 11,800 visitors were exposed to local agriculture at our exhibits at this year’s Elberton 12-County Fair. These exhibits highlight local agriculture and its impact on our citizens with a strong emphasis on making a connection to where our food and fiber truly originates. Elbert County Extension also has a strong presence statewide when it comes to programming. One such example is the “Using Pesticides Wisely” certification program now required for cotton and soybean producers who want to use specific chemicals in their production. Elbert County programming impacted the production of almost 14,000 acres of agricultural land in 2019. Participants come from all over the state, as well as South Carolina, and 100% of participants responded that this programming will help them reduce pesticide drift.
4-H Youth Development
Elbert County 4-H continues to offer youth development opportunities for students in kindergarten through 12th grades. Unique learning opportunities in the past year include Relationship Smarts, “Cow & Plow,” and a Navajo Nation Trip. Relationship Smarts is a national curriculum taught to local eighth grade students. Each meeting included hands-on learning activities and in-depth discussions that reinforced content presented over six sessions. Results from this program are significant. Students indicated an increase of confidence in developing good and sensitive listener skills, handling conflict in a healthy matter and creating a healthy dating relationship. “Cow and Plow” was a spring break mini-camp hosted in Elbert County, which sought to teach youth the relationship between row crop farming and livestock (beef and dairy cattle) production. Program evaluation shows students gained an appreciation for Georgia Grown products, recognized the importance of education for efficient farming, and increased their knowledge of the dairy and beef industry. Graduating seniors traveled to Navajo Nation, meeting with professionals from Arizona State and New Mexico State to learn the history, artwork, culture, food and dance of Southwestern Native Americans. .
Family and Consumer Sciences
Many issues facing our children, adults, families and communities are addressed by Family and Consumer Sciences programming. In Elbert County, the Family and Consumer Sciences agent made the following impact. Free tax assistance and e-filing for basic returns was offered by the agent and the Virtual VITA volunteers at UGA. A total of 22 returns were completed with Federal refunds totaling $11,557 and state refunds totaling $4,668. More than $6,750 was saved in taxpreparation fees. Food safety education was offered to food service workers as well as the public. A total of 41 participants attended a ServSafe® Manager Certification course, with 35 successfully passing the ServSafe® Manager exam and receiving certification. An additional 85 participants were reached in seven general food safety education programs.The National Diabetes Prevention Program was created to address the increasing burden of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes in the U.S. A yearlong trial of the Prevent T2 program was offered and midpoint evaluation data showed 41 pounds lost, while two participants reduced their A1c and improved blood pressure. Participants reported increased physical activity minutes and improved food choices.