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.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Contributing nearly $20 billion to agriculture in the U.S., honeybees play a vital role in Georgia’s farming communities. Lanier County’s diverse row-crop and small-fruit production benefits from pollination, making it no exception. Kimberly Kester, Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent for UGA Extension in Lanier County, teaches youth and adults about honey production, honeybee pollination and how bees impact our food supply. A new series of classes for beginning beekeepers introduces the community to effective and research-based beekeeping practices. In collaboration with university specialists, on-farm row crop research results in improved crop varieties, enhanced integrated pest management and increasedprofitability. Beef and small ruminant producers also benefit from hands-on management workshops and university research publications provided by the agent.
Family and Consumer Sciences
The Lanier County Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agent collaborated with the Lanier County High School FACS teacher to educate future food-service workers in the proper methods of food safety and meeting FACS course requirements. The FACS agent presented the six-hour ServSafe® employee training in a two-day format to students. The lecture and hands-on activities focused on maintaining proper temperatures, cooking to correct internal temperatures and personal hygiene. Students also role-played food-safety scenarios at home and at food-service jobs. Twenty-eight students participated in the ServSafe® employee trainings. The evaluation showed that 100 percent of participants received a score of 70 or better on the post-test and received the ServSafe® Employee Certification. Analysis of pre- and post-test scores showed that 96 percent of students improved their scores, indicating a significant improvement in food-safety knowledge. The ServSafe® Certification Exam served as the pathway assessment for the FACS Food and Nutrition course, resulting in 11 senior students being eligible for graduation.
4-H Youth Development
The Lanier County 4-H Club had a successful year. 4-H has continued to grow in the community. 4-H partners with the school system to offer in-school club meetings to fifth through 12th grade students as well as after-school events and evening club meetings and activities. In 2018, Lanier County 4-H had a 16 percent increase in summer camp participation and a 44 percent increase in District Project Achievement (DPA) participation. Lanier County had one delegate advance to State 4-H Congress. Both summer camp and DPA teach youths invaluable life skills by providing them with the opportunity to build communication skills, increase confidence and develop leadership skills.
Lanier County 4-H also offers a variety of other activities including a Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging team, Modified Trap Shotgun team, leadership conferences, summer activities, community service opportunities and livestock shows. The 2018 Lowndes Area Market Hog Show Grand Champion was exhibited by a Lanier County 4-H member. By participating in various activities, 4-H’ers are learning skills to prepare them for a productive future. The 4-H agent has strong goals to continue to build the club’s capacity through fund development and volunteer support.