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.
NEWTON COUNTY ANR
Newton County continues to be stronghold of agriculture in North Georgia. The traditional commodities of beef cattle, forage crops, pasture land, Christmas trees and nurseries still dot the landscape of the county, but the proximity to I-20 has brought an influx of new businesses, new extension consumers and the opportunity for Extension to serve a more diverse clientele. Newton County Cooperative Extension processed more than 500 soil and water samples in 2019, along with addressing landscaping, pest and disease questions, and provided pesticide training for commercial applicators. The Newton ANR program had a transitional year in 2019. Ted Wynne, Extension agent and agriculture leader retired after a long and successful career with extension and, after a thorough search, UGA Extension hired Ashley Best to succeed Wynne. Best comes to Newton County with a stellar background in traditional agriculture, a successful career in the classroom teaching and a unique understanding of working with a suburban population. As Newton County agriculture changes, so does Newton Extension.
4-H AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
In 2019, Newton County 4-H’ers participated in an “AG-venture” by traveling the southern U.S., meeting new friends, and experiencing the impact of agriculture and natural resources in southern communities. The group explored national parks, family farms, wildlife refuges and state parks in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee. Of course, 4-H is a is “learn by doing” youth organization, so these 4-H’ers experienced riding on a wheat combine, how to soil sample a field, held a live cotton boll weevil, and explored natural environs including restored prairies, longleaf pine forest and even a petrified forest. Overall the 4-H’ers camped in five different states and traveled 2,500 miles. This Ag-Venture was an opportunity to focus on STEAM learning and was funded by the Newton County Farm Bureau. 4-H continues to have a presence in Newton County schools and is working with home school parents and youth with the focus on Making the Best Better!
PROJECT FREE (Fostering Relationships and Economic Enrichment)
Project FREE (Fostering Relationships and Economic Enrichment) is a federal-grant funded program that provides evidence-informed programs that enhance healthy couple and co-parenting relationships and financial capability. Our Elevate program provides couples (married or unmarried) with strategies to manage stress and conflict. In 2019, the fourth year of the grant, Newton County Extension served nine couples in two four-week sessions.
Our Together We Can program helps single parents develop strategies and skills to manage stress and conflict, promote a positive co-parenting relationship with their child’s other parent, and develop future healthy romantic relationships. In 2019, the fourth year of the grant, Newton County Extension served 16 clients in two four-week sessions.
We empower our clients to building financial capability in our Discovering Money Solutions program. In 2019, the fourth year of the grant, Newton County Extension served a 18 clients through the program in Rockdale County, with families from Newton County participating.