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
With the ongoing water wars between the states of Florida and Georgia, it is important to educate our youth about the importance of water conservation. Water plays a vital role in South Georgia agricultural production. Mitchell County 4-H established 4-H20 camp in 2008 in collaboration with the C.M. Stripling Irrigation Research Park in Camilla, Georgia. The three-day camp is packed with educational and fun hands-on activities that focus on water quality, water conservation, water usage and global water issues. Scientists, researchers and field-related experts present materials in an outdoor classroom setting. 4-H’ers learn about various water related topics such as aquifers, personal water use, hydration, plus waters and animals of the Gulf, the importance of irrigation and water conservation to agriculture and the importance of a clean water supply for recreational purposes in Southwest Georgia. The program started out with just 10 participants in 2008 but has grown since then to include as many as 13 counties from across Southwest Georgia. The camp hosted 252 participants in 2019 and has served more than 2,000 youth and adults over the 12 years since the program began.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
In 2017, UGA Extension initiated the AgWET project with two primary objectives: to train county Extension agents on advanced irrigation scheduling tools and to have the trained agents transfer that knowledge to two growers in their county and provide the growers with scheduling tools to deploy in center-pivot irrigated fields. In 2019 Mitchell County was in Phase 3 of AgWet, with Mitchell County Cooperative Extension partnering with the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District (FRSWCD). Mitchell Extension received funding from the Lower Flint-Ochlocknee and Upper Flint Regional water councils to carry out this project for the next two years. Each year Mitchell County Extension has played an increasingly important role in this program. From that first year the program has grown from two growers to six growers in 2019 demonstrating the program and many others adopting new technology including moisture sensors and irrigation apps. This program has made Mitchell County a leader and a model for smart irrigation and water conservation in row crops.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Obesity, poor nutrition, food safety education and limited physical activity are significant concerns for the residents in Mitchell County. The Family and Consumer Science program offered educational programs for youth and adults focusing mainly on nutrition, exercise and food safety. Pre-K students in Mitchell County schools participated in nutrition lessons that helped them learn about proper nutrition and eating healthy snacks. Students also learned about hand washing and how important it is to prevent the spread of germs and to prevent getting sick. Senior citizens in Mitchell County were also engaged in lessons that focused on health and wellness. They enjoyed participating in nutrition and exercise bingo along with aerobic activity. Seniors as old as 94 participated and stated that they were less stressed and were more flexible after each session.