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.
Monroe County Extension Provides Virtual Programs
Traditional Extension face-to-face programming in agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, and 4-H is interactive and hands-on. However, due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, all the spring and summer 2020 educational programs were shifted to a virtual delivery. The Monroe County Extension faculty and staff worked diligently to provide virtual programs and trainings. Total interaction for all these programs reached over 75,000 contacts.
- Healthy Homes Series
- Lawn Pest Management updates
- Home and Garden DIY Projects
- Animal Science Contests
- Financial Success Series
- Summer Activity Kits
- Virtual Farm Tours
- Backyard Barnyard Basics
- Dairy Quiz Bowl
- Virtual 4-H Club Meetings
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program
Annual income tax preparation services can involve expensive fees for an individual or family. For some, these fees can create a hardship during an already stressful time. In partnership with the University of Georgia’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Internal Revenue Service, the Monroe County Extension office offered the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to its local residents. Through this program residents with financial challenges were able to obtain income tax preparation services free of charge.
During the 2020 tax season, the Monroe County Extension office scheduled 35 families for tax preparation services. Of those scheduled, 22 families had tax information sent for preparation. Of those 22 families, 3 submitted tax information for previous years. Based on the returns filed, 72% received a federal refund and 76% received a state refund. Federal refunds totaled $10,362 and state refunds totaled $4,967. Earned Income Credit totaled $2,520. An additional savings of $1,603 due to Child Tax Credit or credit for other dependents.
The VITA program allowed the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent the opportunity to share financial programs, as well as other programs offered by the Monroe County Extension office, to the families served in this program.
4-H & Youth Development
Monroe County 4-H aims to offer a variety hands-on learning experiences for youth in agriculture, consumer sciences and leadership. Monthly in-school club meetings are offered to 250 fifth-graders and 300 sixth-graders and 60 seventh and eighth graders. 4-H’ers are able to participate in a variety of after-school special interest clubs and activities including: Senior Club, Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging, Poultry Judging, Shotgun Team, Dairy Quiz, Hippology, Project Achievement, and Livestock and Horse exhibition.
In 2020 a group of high school 4-H’ers felt inspired to give back to the community and create change by creating “4-H for a Difference” a club focusing in community service activities. Through this club, 4-H’ers have served over 100 hours of service by writing first responder thank you cards, crafting wreaths for assisted living facilities, and creating gifts for our local mail carriers.
Agricultural Diagnostics Services
Monroe County citizens have access to a variety of diagnostic and laboratory testing services through the Extension Office. In 2020, 217 soil samples, 127 water samples and 33 feed and forage samples and 3 animal waste samples were processed. Additionally, more than 400 weed, plant disease and insect specimens were identified in the field.