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
Through their participation in 4-H, students are given opportunities to grow and learn as they develop important life skills such as leadership, responsibility, critical thinking, public speaking and citizenship. Through various competitive events held during the year at the district and state levels, they get the chance to showcase what they have learned. Jasper County Cooperative Extension Coordinator and 4-H Agent Kasey Hall works closely with the youth to prepare them and serves as the coach for the judging team competitions. There were 20 members who participated in Poultry Judging. The Senior team placed first at the area contest for the first time and advanced to the state contest, and one team member was named the overall high individual out of 55 participants in ninth through 12th grades. The Junior team placed second among the seventh and eighth graders, and one team member had the second highest individual score out of 105 participants. At the area Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging contest, 12 participated and two 4-H’ers placed third as individuals among the Juniors in the seventh and eighth grades and the Cloverleafs in the fifth and sixth grades. The Junior team also placed third overall. District Project Achievement (DPA) is a favorite competition for many 4-H’ers where they present illustrated talks on topics of their choosing. A total of 39 competed in the Cloverleaf, Junior and Senior divisions, and one seventh grader was elected as President of the Northeast District Junior Board of Directors. Two Senior 4-H’ers placed first at district and advanced to state, where one placed second in her project and the other placed first and achieved Master 4-H’er status. This same outstanding 4-H’er also received a state 4-H scholarship and spent the summer as a camp counselor at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center. (It had been 10 years since Jasper County 4-H had a camp counselor.) This was the third year that Jasper County participated in the grant project with the Department of Family and Children Services and UGA Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) Extension, during which Hall presented nine lessons from the Relationship Smarts curriculum to 106 ninth graders at Jasper County High School. During the program, the students participated in lessons that focused on the foundations of healthy relationships, decision making, dating violence and breaking up, communication and conflict management skills, and the impact of technology and social media on relationships and themselves.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office in Jasper County offers many services to local clientele. Soil, forage and water tests are conducted through UGA’s laboratories, and in-office and on-site consultations are provided on an extensive number of topics, such as lawn health and maintenance, pond management, home gardening, insect control, herbicide and pesticide use, livestock herd management, land use decisions and orchard care, among others. Charlie Todd, Jasper County Agriculture and Natural Resources agent, assisted homeowners and producers in the county with their specific questions and provided programming focusing on the production of timber, hay and cattle. While not in the field, Todd often attended meetings where he would represent the county’s agriculture interests with including the Upper Ocmulgee River Resource Conservation and Development Council, Piedmont Cattlemen’s Association, Morgan County Cattlemen’s Association and area dairy production meetings.