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 Georgia 4-H summer camping experience is unparalleled in the nation. To help extend the camp opportunities to all 4-H members, Lanier County 4-H has worked to lower the cost of camp and offer scholarships and fundraisers. In 2019, more than $6,600 was raised for camp through grants, donations and onion sales. Because of these development efforts, more youth in Lanier County have been able to benefit from 4-H camp. Ten 4-H’ers attended Junior Camp at Camp Jekyll and 24 members attended Cloverleaf Camp at Fortson 4-H Center. At 34 total, this is 12 more campers than in 2018.
In 2019, 21 youth benefited directly from onion sales and scholarships. Lanier County 4-H’s District Project Achievement (DPA) participation increased by 44% with nine Cloverleaf, three junior and one senior participants attending DPA contests. Our 4-H enrollment increased from 174 youth in 2018 to 265 youth in 2019. Lanier County 4-H continues to offer a variety of activities including in-school club meetings for fifth through 12th graders, Consumer Judging, Poultry Judging, Modified Trap Shotgun team, leadership conferences, summer activities, community service opportunities and livestock shows. Lanier County youth have the opportunity to learn new skills, increase self-confidence, make new friends, experience different surroundings and participate in many new things. These elements of positive youth development will continue to grow Lanier County 4-H’s total program, building its local social capital now and for many years to come.
Family and Consumer Sciences
The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) uses federal, state and local resources to provide research-based nutrition education to low-income families with children, teaching them how to purchase and prepare nutritious meals on a budget.
Participants learn to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy while decreasing sodium, improving food safety and increasing exercise, which results in improved health and wellbeing, reduced health care costs and less absenteeism from work.
In 2019, EFNEP reached 317 adults and 226 youth in the Laurens County region. Of that total, 257 graduated and 85% improved their diet quality by eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking less sugary beverages. I
n addition, the Laurens County FACS Agent taught 52 nutrition, food safety and food preservation classes to 842 participants, resulting in 1,835 educational contact hours.
The Agent is a certified ServSafe® instructor and teaches the ServSafe® Manager and Food Handler courses. In 2019, 42 high school students took the class and 98% passed the online exam and received certification.
The Agent taught eight ServSafe® Manager classes to 57 managers in the food service industry, resulting in 501 educational contact hours. Of those participants, 84% passed the exam and received certification from the National Restaurant Association, which is good for five years.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
In 2018, Laurens County’s total farm gate value was $59.5 million. UGA Extension plays a vital role in helping producers maximize profits by providing unbiased, research-based information. The Laurens County Agriculture and Natural Resources agent coordinated with UGA Extension specialists to provide production meetings related to cotton and peanuts. More than 100 individuals attended these meetings. The use of auxin-based herbicides by row crop producers has steadily increased. Using Pesticides Wisely trainings were held across the state as well as in Laurens County. More than 165 pesticide applicators attended the Laurens County training. Farmers, agribusiness and homeowners submitted more than 900 soil, plant, household water, forage and plant samples for testing at the UGA Extension labs in Athens