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
As a result of increased food safety concerns related to COVID 19 and also, an increased interest in local sources of meats, more landowners in Harris County are fencing in the pastures and buying, cows, sheep, and goats to stock the pastures with. Limited pasture management skills make it difficult to provide an adequate amount of quality forage for their animals. This low-quality forage cannot move through the digestive system. This causes the animal to become impacted and die. After losing $10,000 worth of cattle, the producer contacted the Harris County Extension Office. The first order of business was to determine what caused the impaction. Harris County Extension Agent ran forage test on the hay. It was determined that hay was very low-quality. This poor-quality forage in addition to inadequate energy levels used for digestion in the cows from being thin was identified as the reason for impaction. While working with the individual producer to improve forage quality, the county agent developed county wide programming to educate producers on the importance of quality forage production. In a collaborative effort between Extension Beef Cattle Specialist and NRCS, the county agent offered Harris producers the Pasture Condition Score Sheet. To improve forage quality, producers were encouraged to implement soil and forage testing practices. The goals of the project are to:
• Identify livestock concentration and sacrifice areas
• Identify and reduce soil erosion and soil compaction areas
• Improve ground cover to 85% of pasture area
• Improve soil fertility and (pH) for 85% of producers who submit soil samples
as determined by the soil sample
• Improve forage quality for 85% of producer who submit forage samples as
determined by forage sampling
Harris County 4-H Teaches Youth Life Skill
HARRIS COUNTY 4-H ADDS VIRTUAL LEARNING
When doors were closing and activities slowed down, Harris County 4-H added new programming and audiences. Teaching youth has stayed as the top priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. When change happens, it can force you to find new ways of doing things. That’s exactly what we did.
Harris County 4-H started teaching students virtually in May 2020. The staff created videos to put on YouTube and started using Zoom to reach students. This opened the door to a new audience of children. The 4-H Clover Sprouts Club is open to Kindergarten to 6th grade students. Up to this point, 4-H only reached 4th grade and older. This new group of 4-H’ers are learning about Agriculture and Science through the STEM method. They met several times in the summer and once a month after school started in August. This group has grown to thirty-seven students who enjoy doing an experiment each month with 4-H.
Harris County 4-H has also kept teaching 5th and 6th graders in the school classrooms each month. These students were given a new opportunities to compete with 4-H though Project Achievement virtually. This was a game changer among our students. They competed with students from other schools in Georgia in public speaking and performing arts. There were two contests with 19 students in the first one and 44 in the second. Harris County 4-H was able to hold an awards ceremony to hand out medallions to winners and prizes for entering.
When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.
Family and Consumer Sciences
We do not have a Family and Consumer Sciences program in Harris County. We call on Muscogee County Extension for assistance.