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 Jefferson County 4-H Club starts in fifth grade with lessons that teach about agriculture grown in our county. Sixth-graders are taught the importance of refraining from tobacco, drugs and alcohol. Seventh-grade 4-H’ers receive Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) lessons, in which they learn that water of sufficient quality and quantity is important for all water users. Eighth-grade students learn about financial literacy and homeschool student participate in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) curriculum, while high school students perform community and leadership activities to prepare them for their future.
Events that our 4-H’ers participate in are mini-booth exhibits in the county fair, Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging, Junior Conference, District Project Achievement, 4-H Day at the State Capitol, State Council, Goat Show Team, Dairy Heifer Team, Poultry Judging Team and summer camp.
This past fall, we took our fifth-grade students to the UGA Southeast Research and Education Center in Midville, Georgia, where they rotated between classes for poultry and cotton, Native American history, honeybees, cow and goat, growing grapes, peanut harvest and finishing the day up with a tour of the research facility.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
The diversity of Jefferson County agriculture was showcased in this year’s Jefferson County Ag and Safety Day held in April. This event, organized by UGA Extension in Jefferson County, was open to the general public and drew a crowd of more than 600 attendees. Each booth was decorated to highlight a different commodity produced in the county and provided educational materials on those commodities. Volunteers assisted event-goers to give them more information on these commodities, how they are grown and processed, and the by-products they contribute. Local agribusinesses collaborated to display equipment and provide equipment-safety education and demonstrations along with the local firefighter’s association and police. Agribusinesses also provided sponsorship and assisted with setup for the one-day event. The local cattlemen’s association served hamburgers and various commodity groups, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, provided educational materials and promotional items. Area 4-H’ers brought livestock and discussed care, fitting and preparing for shows and general facts about the species. Area musicians volunteered to entertain the crowd and the Jefferson County Farm Bureau arranged for the AirMed helicopter to arrive for the day. Commodities highlighted included peanuts, honey, vegetables,forestry, corn, soybeans, pecans, strawberries, wheat and oats, cotton, poultry/eggs, beef, and dairy. A petting zoo was provided by local farms. Demonstrations included feral-hog trapping systems; how to safely operate hay balers, tractors, lawn mowers and sprayers; home fire safety; bicycle safety; grain bin rescue and safety; target sports safety; and ATV and boating safety by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Attendees perused antique tractors as hit-and-miss engines churned homemade ice cream. Attendees gained a greater appreciation for agriculture and its contributions to Jefferson County.