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
Monroe County 4-H strives to offer a variety of both knowledge and experience to the youth of Monroe County. During in-school club meetings, 270 fifth graders participate in hands-on agriculture science lessons and 300 sixth graders are engaged in learning about earth science each month. Outside of school students are encouraged to get involved in one of the many special interest clubs such as shotgun team, cotton boll and consumer judging, food challenge, dairy quiz, showing livestock and horses, horse judging or public speaking. Through these special interest clubs students learn skills that are necessary for a successful future.
One of the most important skills for youth to learn is leadership. In Monroe County 4-H students are given the opportunity to learn leadership skills and engage in opportunities to lead peers and younger youths. Students are offered a variety of leadership programs, as well as activities that provide an opportunity to develop and reinforce their leadership skills. These programs consist of in-school and after-school club officers, officer training, officer retreat, teen-leader training and various activities to lead younger youths throughout the year.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
To better educate forage and hay producers, Monroe County Extension coordinated two statewide trainings. GrassMasters, a seven-part series with topics focused on forage varieties, fertilization, pest management, quality and soil health, was attended by 35 farmers from 11 counties. The Baleage and Silage Short Course, a two-day intensive program with lecture sessions and field demonstrations, was attended by 75 producers from across Georgia and surrounding states.
Monroe County citizens have access to a variety of diagnostic and laboratory testing services through the Extension Office. In 2019, 316 soil samples, 56 water samples and 36 feed and forage samples were processed. Additionally, more than 375 weed, plant disease and insect specimens were identified in the field.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Family and Consumer Sciences is a component of Extension that focuses on providing programs to aid the residents in Monroe County with family, food, health, home, money and textiles. Classes include financial planning and budgeting, healthy eating and nutrition, disease prevention, food preservation, meal planning and home safety.
Nicole Walters joined Monroe County Extension as Family and Consumer Sciences sgent on Nov. 1, 2019. Walters graduated from Columbus State University with a master of science in public administration in health services and a bachelor of science in psychology. Her professional background includes front office representative for a large medical practice, administrator of an assisted living facility and billing manager for a medical equipment company. Walters recently completed certification training with the IRS and UGA to offer Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. This program will offer citizens of Monroe County the opportunity to have their income tax electronically filed for free. As she becomes more familiar with the community, Walters plans to offer a variety of other programming to help families improve quality of life.