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 one of McDuffie County’s leading industries. The county’s agricultural make up consist of two major container plant nurseries, several large cow/calf operations and a variety of smaller livestock producers. The McDuffie County Cooperative Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent developed a series of meetings focusing on management and health issues for the small-scale livestock producers. The Backyard Chickens Keys to Success program focuses on the poultry producer dealing with both layer and meat type chickens. Equine and goat producers have concerns about grazing, land use and how to better utilize their resources. Reliable and research-based parasite and health information can also be difficult to find and understand. Working with Extension professionals and local veterinarians, many of these issues and concerns have been addressed. Helping individuals understand all aspects of raising livestock increases their enjoyment of owning livestock. Having limited resources, especially land, makes pasture management a major concern and a limiting factor for many of these small producers. Issues such as rotational grazing, pasture management, parasite control and nutrition are key to their success. Small production agriculture is a large component of McDuffie County and, with the variety of livestock being raised, these types of programs fill a much-needed niche.
4-H Youth Development
McDuffie County 4-H members develop skills that are valuable not only to the community, but also to the youth 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 Cooperative Extension 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 BB team, a consumer judging team and a poultry judging team. McDuffie County 4-H is also well represented at Cloverleaf Project Achievement and Junior/ Senior Project Achievement, as well as 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.
In December 2019, Allison Eaddy was hired as the 4-H/FACS Agent and is excited about getting the program up and running again.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Cooperative Extension provides information to McDuffie County residents on food safety, food preservation, mold and mildew, healthy meal planning, nutrition, family budgeting and more through local newspaper articles, newsletter distribution, local presentations, and by answering direct phone inquiries.
McDuffie County Extension also welcomed the addition of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) in July 2019. The program presents the eight-session Food Talk series to low-income families with children, as well as teenagers. In the Food Talk classes, participants engage in an interactive curriculum and learn all about what is in their food, how to cut back on sodium, sugars and fats, how to stay safe in the kitchen while preparing foods and how to save money while still buying healthy food that will provide sound nutrition to their families. In three short months, the program has reached more than 200 people through recruitment events, graduating more than 50 from the program.