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.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Stewart County’s Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) program continues to grow under the direction of County Extension Agent and Coordinator Liz Singley. Her focus is providing programming to increase the health, wellness and financial capacity of individuals and families living in Stewart County. To increase youth knowledge on financial matters, she taught multiple personal finance classes to economics students at Stewart County High School. Additionally, she held nutrition and wellness classes at the Stewart County Senior Center every month to encourage the elderly to practice healthy lifestyle choices. Singley also secured local support for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Obesity Grant awarded to Stewart County. To help the youngest residents of Stewart County develop healthy eating habits, she taught the Food, Fun and Reading program at Head Start. In addition, 182 Stewart County pre-K, kindergarten and elementary students were taught proper hand-washing techniques to help reduce the spread of germs and school absenteeism. The Stewart County FACS program received a Department of Family and Children Services Relationship Smarts Grant. The Relationship Smarts curriculum was used to teach 51 seventh- and eighth-grade students the importance of maintaining healthy relationships and developing effective communication skills.
4-H Youth Development
The Stewart County 4-H Club had a successful year. Members attended both Cloverleaf and Junior/Senior District Project Achievement events where they learned research, writing and public speaking skills while developing the confidence to stand up in front of a group and deliver a presentation. A total of 24 Cloverleaf 4-H’ers, four juniors and five seniors competed at the district level with nine members placing first. Deontavious Kitchens competed at State 4-H Congress in the General Recreation Project after placing first at District Project Achievement.
Stewart County 4-H’ers were active all summer. Thirteen members attended Cloverleaf Camp at Camp Burton on Tybee Island. Three junior members attended Junior Camp at Camp Fortson in Hampton, Georgia, and four senior members attended Senior Camp at Rock Eagle. Stewart County 4-H had several educational and fun out-of-county opportunities for youth, visiting an Atlanta Hawks game, Georgia Aquarium, Stone Mountain, Wild Adventures and the Georgia National Fair. Stewart County 4-H members competed in Cotton Boll Consumer Judging. They learned to compare goods based on quality and value when determining which item to purchase. In September, Blair Harris joined the Extension staff as the 4-H program assistant. Stewart County 4-H continues to thrive and grow under her leadership.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Stewart County is known for its agriculture and natural resources. Agriculture occupied 59,254 acres and generated $19.4 million in total farm-gate value in 2017. Timber sales and hunting leases accounted for $10.3 million of the total farm-gate value in 2017, or 53 percent. Row and forage crops grown on 8,506 acres make up 28 percent of the total farm-gate value ($5.4 million), with peanuts and cotton being the most widely grown crops. Other crops were grown on fewer acres but were a valuable source of diversification for farmers, especially hay, corn and wheat. Pecans provided another $1.2 million in farm-gate value. Other agricultural enterprises in Stewart County include livestock (primarily cattle and horses), guide services and wildlife food plots. Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent Laura Griffeth worked with the Stewart County Schools on management and plans for athletic fields.