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
The Fannin County Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) program serves farmers and homeowners by providing information on safe pesticide use, pest and disease management, home gardening, small farm startups, crop and pasture management, water quality and land-use decisions. Additionally, Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEVs), with their horticultural expertise and passion for serving the public, immensely help the Extension office further its educational influence within the community.
Since the arrival of the county’s new ANR agent in September, assisting growers with pest and disease management has been a top priority. Numerous large- and small-scale operations benefited from on-site consultations. The ANR agent also conducted field research to assist local wine grape producers identify Pierce’s Disease and resistant strains of powdery mildew in their vineyards. Many local producers will use results from this research to modify vineyard-management techniques and reduce disease levels. In partnership with the Fannin County Young Farmers Association, the ANR agent coordinated a Pond Management Workshop to provide 27 residents from four counties with research-based information. Farmers and landowners were educated on proper pesticide usage and new products that are available. The workshop also provided an opportunity for local farmers to earn pesticide credits, which are essential for many farmers to continue operations.
As more people move into the county, homeowner needs increase. Commonly used services include soil, water and plant testing through UGA laboratories and on-site consultations. Residents also benefit from county educational programs developed to address local needs and interests. Weekly columns in the newspaper featured gardening tips and information about agriculture and natural resources topics. With a thorough needs assessment currently being conducted, the future looks bright for ANR programming in Fannin County.
4-H Youth Development
Fannin County 4-H has an enrollment of 272 young people. 4-H provides various opportunities to these youths. In the past year, 4-H’ers worked on a community project that helps local veterinarians to inoculate pets to help control the spread of rabies. This low-cost activity helps educate young people and the public on the dangers of rabies. In addition to helping with this event, 4-H members brought joy to nursing home residents with visits and gifts. Leadership is another aspect of 4-H in Fannin County. Older members are developing leadership skills as they assist younger members in their project and community work. Besides county activities, members have participated in various competitions that teach life skills. Other opportunities that 4-H provides include the chance to see other parts of the state. Because of community participation, many 4-H’ers have earned scholarships to take part in statewide activities.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Although Fannin County does not have a Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agent based in the county Extension office, we strive to assist local residents with their questions. Common questions cover food safety, food preservation, dealing with mold and mildew, healthy meal planning, nutrition, family budgeting, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) resources and more. These issues and others are answered through a wide variety of free UGA Extension publications available at the county office and phone conferences with FACS agents from surrounding counties. Often neighboring FACS agents conduct programming that our county residents are welcome to attend. Our office provides programming information to residents.