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
In 2018, livestock producers in Emanuel County received 82 days of significant rainfall. In 2019, producers received only 54 days of measurable rain throughout the summer forage season. These extremes caused nutritional stresses in livestock as forage quality decreased. Due to the lack of quality forage production, local Agriculture and Natural Resources agents initiated educational programs to educate livestock producers on the importance of forage quality and nutritional planning. These programs included a forage production field day, cow-calf nutritional program, and a forage production update. Each meeting emphasized the importance for forage quality and taking forage samples to organize and plan feedings based on each livestock group. The programs encouraged farmers to develop nutritional plans for these individual livestock groups. As a result, the ANR agent has noticed higher body condition scores, improved reproduction and overall healthier livestock.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Approximately 48 million Americans experience foodborne illness, half being under the age of 15, resulting in 3,000 deaths annually, according the Centers for Diease Control and Prevention. (CDC). State law requires all food service managers to obtain national ServSafe certification from an accredited instructor, and school nutrition staff are required to complete continuing education units (CEUs). In rural counties, there are few, if any, national food safety instructors resulting in limited training. Stellar collaborative relationships and professional reputation resulted in a significant increase in food safety programming by Candler/Emanuel cooperative Extension. Since 2018, Emanuel County Family and Consumer Sciences provided food safety education to various groups from 12 rural counties to meet state requirements. Nearly 450 food service managers and food handlers, including school nutrition workers serving almost 80,000 meals daily, received over 200 hours of food safety education, resulting in 100 ServSafe certifications, and nearly 10,000 hours of CEUs. Without the ServSafe training provided in Emanuel County Extension, participants could travel more than 100 miles to receive non-extension training, paying more than $100 in registration and fuel costs, thus Extension-sponsored training potentially saved participants more than $10,000.
4-H Youth Development
ll fifth grade students enrolled in public school in Emanuel County participate in in-school 4-H programming. During the 2018-2019 school year, students were instructed by 4-H staff on various topics relating to English/Language Arts and 4-H project development. Lessons focused on selecting and using sources of information, how to write speeches and visual aids. Approximately 300 students received hands-on experience with practical application of technology by using Chromebooks to create posters for speeches and fair booths.
After participating in 4-H lessons:
- 72.7% of students reported that they were more confident in the ability to speak in front of people.
- 65.8% reported to be better at preparing a presentation or report.
- 81.9% said they learned more about research and sources of information.
- 80.4 % claimed they were more confident in their ability to make a poster for 4-H or school using Google Slides.
In addition to participating in the in-school lessons on communication, students also had opportunities for experiential learning through District Project Achievement and fair mini-booth contests. Thirty-eight fifth graders chose to further their skills and learning through participation in these activities with the mini-booth contest seeing a 157% increase and District Project Achievement increasing by 25% over the previous year.
When asked how in-school 4-H programming enhanced current curriculum in the classroom, one teacher stated, “The in-school program reinforced writing and research skills and introduced new methods for creating presentations,” while another claimed that 4-H “helped with student confidence and their ability to speak in front of classmates.”