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
Georgia House Bill 713 mandates a minimum course of study in career education in kindergarten through 12th grade. According to the National 4-H Council’s 4-H Career Readiness Framework, research has shown that, to be successful in college and prepared for the workforce, young people need to explore topic areas, develop skills necessary for success, immerse themselves in the field of work and experience these skills at work. To support teachers in fulfilling these requirements, Lamar County 4-H provided grade-specific experiences for youth to make them aware of college and post-secondary career opportunities.
Lamar County 4-H partnered with Lamar County Elementary School to teach lessons focused on college and career readiness to approximately 153 fifth grade students during six monthly in-school 4-H educational sessions. The lessons focused on career exploration in finance, marketing, health science and engineering. Each of the interactive lessons helped to enhance basic academic skills while raising awareness about work skills and career options.
An evaluation of the college and career readiness program found that through 4-H, 93% of the students know that graduating from high school is important, 83% of the students know where to find information to help them make career decisions and 85% of the students know that a bachelor’s degree takes about four years to earn. An overwhelming 88% of the students learned that a plan is essential in reaching career goals.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
The Lamar County Cooperative Extension office hosted several producer-oriented workshops for the surrounding counties. These workshops allowed the participants to earn credit hours for their private and commercial pesticide licenses and to gain the knowledge needed to identify problems and implement solutions on their farms.
The most successful program of the year was the two-day Baleage Short Course hosted in March. Lamar County Extension co-hosted the event with Monroe County Extension. A number of University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agricultural specialists, equipment dealers and agricultural sponsors played an integral role in the success of the event. The Baleage Short Course was one of only two offered in the state and allowed Lamar County agriculture to shine.
County participation in the Southeastern Hay Contest was a success. More than 55 samples were entered from Lamar and Upson counties, earning them recognition for submitting the most samples in the region. Additionally, two local producers entering hay samples placed first in their respective categories. The severe drought of 2019 in Lamar County caused many producers to experience extreme loss of their fields, pastures and crops. This also forced earlier-than-normal feeding of winter hay reserves, which in turn decreased availability for others not producing their own hay. The 2019 drought took its toll on the area, but there is a hopeful outlook for more moderate conditions in 2020.
In addition to programs for producers, the Extension office hosted a seven-class lunch-and-learn series covering a variety of topics ranging from exotic cooking to home gardening. A presentation focusing on the Great Georgia Pollinator Census initiative was included in the programming.