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 Lumpkin County 4-H Club is known for its excellence in hands-on education in and out of the classroom. The Lumpkin County 4-H staff delivers science enrichment programs in the school environment to more than 750 students monthly. Each year 4-H staff receives feedback from fifth and sixth grade teachers in how 4-H can best design their science lessons to complement the science knowledge and skills students are learning in their classes. In the past year, students have learned about physical and earth science knowledge in fifth grade and weather and climate in sixth grade. To reinforce the science skills learned in the classroom, Lumpkin County 4-H has 12 4-H’ers who work in the 4-H community garden called the Hometown Harvest Hoop House at the University of North Georgia (UNG) Appalachian Studies Program. With the help from UNG Garden Club, Lumpkin County students designed a research project to find out if soil moisture is higher or lower in tilled or untilled soil. Research findings found soil moisture levels are higher in untilled areas of the garden. This research led to receiving a $3,000 grant to expand the garden to provide more vegetables for the UNG Food Bank for the upcoming year.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
The UGA Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent in Lumpkin County, Clark MacAllister, assists farmers and homeowners with many topics, including soil fertility, safe pesticide usage, private pesticide license testing, water usage, home gardening, small farm startups and crop and pasture management. UGA Extension in Lumpkin County also provides soil, water, forage and plant-pathogen testing through the Agricultural and Environmental Services Laboratories at UGA. The Lumpkin County ANR agent was instrumental in setting up applied research in wine grapes all over north Georgia. The agent helped secure several grants to fund research testing of the efficacy of different leaf-pruning and trellising techniques in north Georgia vineyards. Research trials were evaluated for disease control and development of fruit quality. Many local producers will use this research data to modify canopy-management techniques and reduce disease levels.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Although Lumpkin County does not have a Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agent based in the county Extension office, local Extension personnel strive to assist local residents with their questions. Common questions cover food safety, food preservation, dealing with mold and mildew, healthy meal planning, nutrition, family budgeting, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) resources and more. These and other issues are answered through a wide variety of free UGA Extension publications available at the county office and through phone conferences with FACS agents from surrounding counties. Neighboring FACS agents often conduct programming that Lumpkin County residents are welcome to attend. The Lumpkin County Extension office provides information about programming in surrounding counties.