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.
4-H Youth Development
Hart County ranks in the top five counties in the state in Farm Gate Value over the last 15 years. This is due primarily to the poultry industry. Even with all this agricultural value, young people still don't understand where their food comes from. GENYouth Insights (2020) found only 21% of youth surveyed said they know where the food they eat comes from with 40% stating they know little to nothing at all about food origination.
The Hart County 4-H Agent wanted to expand the knowledge of our young people in the area of agriculture. One event that we were able to get in before the Covid-19 shut down was the "Crunch 4 Lunch" Event at Hartwell Elementary School to celebrate Georgia Apple Day. The Hart County 4-H Agent put together a 15 minute presentation that was presented to each grade level at the end of their lunch time. The presentation included information on how apple trees rely on pollinators to create the apples, what apple trees look like in various stages of production, the importance of apples to Georgia and where they are grown, nutritional information and lots of apple fun facts. As each class existed the lunchroom they were encouraged to evaluate what they had learned during the presentation by dropping an apple token into one of three boxes: 1) I learned nothing new today about apples, 2) I learned 1-2 new things about apples, or 3) I learned 3 or more things about apples. About 560 students and adults from Pre-K to 5th grade were part of the lesson. Approximately 87.5% learned something from the information presented--22.5% learned 1-2 new things and 65.15% learned 3 or more things from the presentation. Kids asked several questions while exiting the program and wanted to look at the pictures more closely as they left. Many made comments that they didn't know apple trees started with flowers and how pretty they were in bloom.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
In 2022, to address the needs of the agricultural community as well as the homeowner population in Hart County, Extension offered educational programs, testing services, and research-based information. The program with the most impact on the community this year was the availability of testing services. Through water, soil, and feed and forage analysis, Hart County Extension was able to give the community results and recommendations based on researched information. However, there has been a need for community outreach in order to make the public aware of this resource as well as other resources and services provided through the Extension office. The agriculture and natural resources agent worked on community outreach through radio appearances, social media posts, newspaper articles, a newly launched monthly newsletter, and presenting the Extension mission to clubs and associations throughout the Hart County Community.