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 UGA Cooperative Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources agents provide answers for homeowners and farmers about many topics including, but not limited to, soil fertility, safe pesticide application, water usage, home gardening and crop and pasture management. The Extension office conducts soil, forage and water testing through the Agricultural and Environmental Services Laboratory at UGA. By correctly identifying plants, insects, diseases and weeds, ANR agents help Georgians make sound pesticide use decisions daily. These fertilization and pest management recommendations help reduce unnecessary pollution inputs into Georgia waterways. All these services are available through local UGA Cooperative Extension offices. Local needs-based programming is the goal for UGA Extension.
Locally produced food and fiber has become a big sector of agricultural production in Hancock County. Beef cattle producers are an integral part of the community and their industry supports multiple feed and supply stores, as well as machinery dealers and mechanical repair shops. The area has been in a moderate drought since late spring. This turned into a severe drought in late summer and into the fall. This combined with low beef prices to create a financial hardship. Producers were able to develop drought plans that organized cattle inventory as sell groups in order of sells depending on length and severity of drought, as well as method of sale for each group; established supplemental feeding plans and built up soil fertility so maintenance would cost less and recovery would be more complete and less costly.
4-H Youth Development
Georgia 4-H’s mission is to assist youth in acquiring knowledge, developing life skills and forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive and contributing members of society. This is accomplished through hands-on learning experiences focused on agricultural and environmental issues, agriculture awareness, leadership, communication skills, foods and nutrition, health, energy conservation and citizenship. 4-H has made a tremendous impact on the lives of young people through local programming delivered in the school system. Hancock County 4-H Club provides an in-school curriculum for grades five through 12, after-school activities and project-specific clubs, as well as district and state competitions.
Family and Consumer Sciences
UGA Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences agents provide answers to Georgians about canning, freezing, food preservation and safety each and every day. Foodborne illness can be costly to the state and community and can even be deadly. The elderly, chronically ill and young children are at high risk for complications of foodborne illnesses that are likely to require hospitalization. Improperly thawed or mishandled food can easily cause economic disaster. To assist county residents, publications featuring all aspects of food preservation and food safety are available in our local office. Also, UGA Family and Consumer Science Extension agents provide ServSafe® certification classes for individuals in the food service industry. This certification is required by all food service establishments.
Hancock County Extension assisted the Housing Authority in Sparta, Georgia, this year by identifying mold in housing units and providing information to apply for a U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant to renovate these facilities.