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
Agriculture is much more than farming, and McDuffie County is a prime example of agricultural diversity. Its two major nurseries and forestry and livestock enterprises comprise the majority of the outputs, yet there is more diversity than those operations represent. Small, part-time operations, gardens and lawns all contribute to the agricultural makeup of our county. In 2018, working to help residents was a primary focus for the McDuffie County Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) program. Starting in early February, a seven-week gardening program explored a variety of topics facing homeowners. Classes included soils and soil testing, proper fertilization, weed identification and control, plus choosing the right plant for the right location. Participants gained knowledge about their landscape and gardens that allowed them to make sound decisions while working on their property. A follow-up program dealt with lawn care and the steps participants needed to follow for a better lawn next year. Proper application and spreader calibration were a focus of that training. Small livestock operations are scattered around McDuffie and surrounding counties, many of which are goat operations. In cooperation with Warren and Wilkes county offices, a goat program was offered to producers. This three-session training included an assortment of topics, including goat nutrition and health, pasture and hay management, animal selection, equipment and housing. Attendees were trained and certified in FAMACHA (FAffa MAlan CHArt), a training to help identify levels of internal parasites in small ruminants. This will help producers evaluate animals and make sound decisions on using dewormers.
4-H Youth Development
McDuffie County 4-H’ers develop skills that are valuable not only to the community, but also to the youths as they grow into successful adults. Approximately 700 students in grades four through 12 are enrolled in McDuffie County 4-H. Through a partnership with local schools, UGA Extension in McDuffie County conducts 25 monthly in-school educational programs encouraging fifth- and sixth-grade students to develop leadership, communication skills and self-confidence. In addition to in-school programming, McDuffie County 4-H hosts a Project SAFE (Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education) BB team, a consumer judging team and a poultry judging team. McDuffie County 4-H is also well-represented at Cloverleaf Project Achievement, Junior/Senior Project Achievement and summer camp. With help from ANR and Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agents, McDuffie County 4-H hosted Food Week, a summer day camp that provided information on nutrition and healthy food choices, smart decisions at the grocery store and hands-on healthy food preparation and preservation methods.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Information on food safety, food preservation, mold and mildew, healthy meal planning, nutrition and family budgeting is provided to McDuffie County residents through local newspaper articles, newsletter distribution, presentations and by answering phone inquiries. McDuffie County FACS was able to offer two Cooking for a Lifetime Cancer Prevention Cooking Schools in partnership with the American Cancer Society and the McDuffie County Health Department. These cooking schools, designed to reach out to citizens who are rarely or never screened for breast, cervical or colorectal cancer, inform participants of the recommended screening guidelines and encourage individuals to be screened. Twenty-four participants attended the schools and were shown ways to reduce their risk of certain cancers through healthy food selection and preparation.