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
The Hart County 4-H Club offers students educational opportunities that will last a lifetime. Students in fourth through sixth grade participate in monthly in-school club meetings during their science classes. During this time, they are exposed to lessons that correlate with the standards of that class. Seventh- through 12th-graders participate by attending monthly after-school meetings and are taught leadership and life skills. UGA Extension in Hart County also offers a homeschool club meeting for fourth- through sixth-graders once a month. The curriculum rotates through lessons that are taught at in-school meetings.
All club members have an opportunity to participate in a wide variety of activities that include Project Achievement, livestock exhibiting, poultry judging, forestry judging, consumer judging, community service and leadership development. Youth also have the opportunity to learn many life skills by participating in 4-H summer camp.
Hart County 4-H staff and high school 4-H’ers reached students through several invited presentations. A soil lesson was presented to three different grades of students teaching the importance of soil and how to do soil testing. Our forestry judging team educated the entire student body at North Hart Elementary School and all third-graders at Hartwell Elementary School on how to identify various tree species. A lesson on electricity and creating a circuit was presented to a group of fourth-graders who used their newfound knowledge to create a circuit to add light to an art piece they created. Students at Hart Youth Development Resource Association (HYDRA) were taught skills to think outside the box and create action plans in a collaborative effort with UGA Archway to help with project planning for the recreation department.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Over the past year, Hart County has led the state in forage sampling. It also ranked fourth in the number of water microbiology samples. These two metrics represented a good opportunity for our Agriculture and Natural Resources agent to consult with producers and homeowners in one-on-one meetings about their forage and water systems. These meetings, along with Extension resources, help producers gain practical knowledge about forage production and help homeowners diagnose potential health issues stemming from contaminated water.
Many stackhouse nutrient management plans were completed for local poultry producers. These help assure our community that poultry producers are following safety standards in the care of their farms. The agent also worked with the board of commissioners and poultry industry partners to evaluate the county’s Poultry House Ordinance. Safe and healthy farms equal a safe and healthy community.
The residents of Hart County learned many lessons in agriculture through newspaper articles and meetings held throughout the year. Topics covered included the importance of soil testing, weed control, how the abundance of rain would affect local crops, and various gardening topics. A general agricultural meeting was held last March, along with a corn and soybean meeting in February. Two Extension specialists were brought in to address research being done that would benefit the local chapter of the Cattlemen’s Association. Another meeting with cattle producers was held. Multiple gardening presentations were given to various civic groups and garden clubs.
Hart County Extension also collaborated with UGA Archway, the Bowersville City Council and others to develop agritourism opportunities that will hopefully be used in conjunction with future Extension programs on gardening.