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 COVID19 pandemic prompted the Lamar County School System to close its schools March 2020. As a result, 4-H programming in a traditional classroom setting came to an abrupt end. The Lamar County 4-H Program scheduled daily virtual educational sessions to continue learning and face-to-face engagement during the annual observance of Georgia Agriculture Awareness Week, March 23-27.
The Lamar County 4-H program scheduled five daily educational sessions to coincide with the statewide observance of Georgia Agriculture Awareness Week, March 23-27. Each day, an aspect of agriculture was highlighted with a corresponding activity or challenge. Monday, March 23 was designated as “Hands-On Gardening Day”. The students and educator that attended this session were given a brief overview of the importance of agriculture as a means of food and fiber. As a hands-on activity, attendees were shown how to construct an “Herb Garden” in a mason jar. Tuesday, March 24 was designated as “Buy Georgia Grown Day”. The session began with a fun agriculturally related puzzle as an icebreaker where attendees had to work collaboratively. The “Make Mine Georgia Grown” puzzle was created using ProProfs software. The students were also given a brief overview of the importance of agriculture. The hands-on component of the session was a scavenger hunt where students were given 10 minutes to find items in their home related to Georgia agriculture and show them to attendees. A myriad of items were shown including frozen packs of bacon to canned corn! Students worked together using a whiteboard to write a letter to local producers for “Ag Hero Day” on Wednesday, March 25. The letter was published in the local newspaper in the Editorial section. Thursday, March 26 found attendees listening to stories to strengthen literacy skills. The county Extension ANR agent was invited to participate and read, “Time for Cranberries”. Friday, March 27 was designated as “Make My Plate Georgia Grown Day”. The hands-on activity for the day was to have the attendee use USDA MyPlate as a guide and take a picture of them eating a nutritious meal with food items produced in Georgia.
Twenty-one students in first through eighth grades attended the five-day sessions offered via the Zoom platform. Approximately 20 Educational Contact Hours (ECH) were credited to the sessions.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
2020 was a difficult year for the agriculture industry in Lamar County, not only were they hit with COVID-19 struggles, but we also had a major storm come through our area. Many farms and homes were impacted by the tornadoes and our community will be continuing to rebuild and restore for years to come.
Even with the struggles of COVID, Lamar County Cooperative Extension hosted several producer-oriented workshops for the surrounding counties, allowing participants to earn credit hours for their private and commercial pesticide licenses and gain knowledge needed to identify problems and implement solutions on their farms. These programs were offered online instead of face-to-face, and were recorded and added to our extension website, for producers to go back and view at any point.
With the need to focus on technology-based learning and resources, the Lamar County Extension website gained many new resources. Under the Agriculture and Natural Resources tab, we now have many pages with educational videos, pictures, and write-ups focused on different agricultural topics. Each page is a focused resource, so the individual does not have to jump around to other places. There new pages include: Toxic Weed Identification, Pastures and Forages Educational Resources, Livestock Management Educational Resources, Local Agricultural Videos, Georgia Forages Videos, and UGA Beef Team Videos.
The subpage titled "Toxic Weed Identification" is a page where the 22 most common toxic weeds in the southeast are listed. For each weed; there is a picture, description, list of animals affected, signs of ingestions, and how and where the toxicity is.
The Subpage titled "Local Agricultural Videos" is a page with videos created by the ANR Agent. These videos may be recording of educational programs, teaching basic testing techniques, or showcasing "A Day in the Life on an ANR Agent."
As usual, the Southeastern Hay Contest was a success. More than 55 samples from Upson and Lamar counties were entered, with three producers placing first in their respective categories and one placing second. Our counties are continuing to be recognized for our pride in producing high quality forages.
We know this year has been a difficult one, but we are making the most of it. Our community is ready to get back to our more traditional face-to-face programming and our numerous outdoor activities