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
For the past six years, the Oglethorpe County 4-H Club has seen an explosion in the number of youths participating in 4-H summer camping programs. Every summer, Oglethorpe County 4-H takes approximately 50 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders to Cloverleaf Camp, 15 seventh- and eighth-graders to Junior Camp, and three ninth- through 12th-graders to Senior Camp. Oglethorpe County 4-H takes pride in enabling every child who wants to attend camp to do so. In 2018, community members and businesses came together and donated funds to award 20 youths full or partial summer camp scholarships.
So, why all the success? 4-H’ers know that summer camp is fun, but it is also educational. Additionally, parents are being informed of the importance of summer camping experiences for their children, not only for the fun but also for the educational aspects of camp. Youths learn and foster many life skills during their week of camp, such as independence, respect for others, self-confidence, cleanliness, teamwork and resiliency. The success of the Oglethorpe County 4-H summer camping program improves the 4-H program as a whole and helps Oglethorpe County youth become more well-rounded individuals.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Being an active member of the community includes visiting the county senior center. The Oglethorpe County Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agent visited the Oglethorpe County Senior Center in July, August and September to lead a group of seniors in nutrition lessons including the “Importance of Water Consumption,” “Adding Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet” and “Improving Daily Exercise and Stretching.”
Professional development opportunities and trainings were a large part of the early months for the new FACS agent. Professional memberships are also an important part of the development of quality Oglethorpe County FACS programming. In November, the Oglethorpe FACS agent helped other Northeast District FACS agents in Madison, Georgia, plan the 2018 statewide Georgia Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (GEAFCS) Conference in the Northeast District. Oglethorpe County FACS attended the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences and GEAFCS professional development opportunities.
On December 8, 10 early-learning center providers attended a two-hour training on how to improve the quality of their nutrition and physical activity programs.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns. In order to be approved for funds through EQIP, a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) is required with the application.
Four Oglethorpe County poultry producers applied for EQIP funds without the required NMP. As the deadline to apply for EQIP was quickly approaching, the four producers came to the Oglethorpe (Agriculture and Natural Resources) ANR agent for assistance in developing the required plans. NMPs require plan writers to be certified. In an effort to improve the odds of EQIP funds being awarded to these producers in Oglethorpe County, the ANR agent, who is a certified Nutrient Management Plan writer, agreed to fast-track the writing of the plans.
As a result of the assistance provided by the Oglethorpe County ANR agent, each producer saved the $2,000 that a private consultant charges to write NMPs, for a total of $8,000 saved. In addition, $230,000 in EQIP assistance was awarded to these four poultry producers that would not have been awarded without the required NMP.