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.
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Agriculture is a driving economic force in Stephens County with an estimated farm gate value of $72,489,194. The majority of agricultural production can be attributed to the thriving poultry and cattle industries in the county. Broiler production is particularly important with a total value of $40,803,043. Beef cattle production is also very important with a combined value of $20,192,880 and hay production contributing $3,990,000. Growing sectors include market vegetables and cut flowers currently valued at $250,000, agriculture and natural resource-based tourism at $1,180,875, and horses valued at $575,000. There are 227 farms in Stephens County spanning 19,509 acres with an average of 86 acres per farm.
Stephens County Extension Office provides unbiased research-based information to the agricultural producers, homeowners, and businesses of Stephens County. The Extension Office provides programming in many different agriculture and natural resource topic areas. These topics include home gardening, vegetable production, native plants, wildlife, pasture management, and livestock management. Programs include seminars, workshops, field days, and site visits. The Extension office also provides soil, water, forage, and many other testing services. These results ensure community stakeholders receive accurate recommendations making them more productive and profitable while also protecting the environment. Site visits by the county agent are also a vital part of connecting with the producers and landowners of Stephens County and helping them solve their agricultural and natural resource issues.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Stephens County 4-H strives for excellence in youth programming through 4-H school monthly meetings, educational classes, community and citizenship projects, leadership activities, SAFE rifle competition team, and representation at local, district and state 4-H events. 4-H Project Achievement is a cornerstone of the Georgia 4-H program, and is an oral competition for 4-H'ers in grades 5th through 12th to develop public speaking skills. 4-H youth have the opportunity to choose an area of interest, research and share their knowledge with others. In 2022, Stephens County participation at Project Achievement was 51 Cloverleaf 5th grade 4-H’ers winning 10 first place, 13 second place, and 8 third place on the district level. At Junior Senior District Project Achievement, Stephens County had 28 middle and high school 4-H’ers compete for district awards. Stephens County 4-H received multiple district awards: The Most First Place Winners and Most Overall Winners. All Junior 4-H’ers received a district level awards with ten -1st place and two-2nd place winners. Eleven Senior 4-H’ers won on the district level with six advancing on to the state competition. At 4-H State Congress six 4-H’ers represented Stephens County with 1 state winner, 1 second place, and 2 third place winners. Stephens County Junior Rifle Team won first place in the Georgia 4-H State Rimfire Competition. In addition, another keystone area of Georgia 4-H is leadership. Stephens County has 2 4-H’ers serving on the Northeast District Board of Directors, 1 4-H’er serving on the Northeast District Senior Board of Directors, and 2 serving on the Georgia State Board of Directors and one in the capacity of Vice-President. Three Stephens County 4-H'ers were selected as Georgia delegates to attend the 4-H Southern Regional Teen Leadership Conference in Crossville, Tennessee. In the Georgia 4-H Ambassador Program, Stephens County had two 4-H’ers selected to the STEM Ambassador Program, and the Healthy Living Ambassador Program. Also, Stephens County had three 4-H’ers chosen to serve in a leadership position in the Georgia 4-H camping program.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCE
The Stephens County Extension Office address the areas of food safety, nutrition and child development to local citizens through community home and health fairs, and informational brochures.