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 has grown under the direction of County Extension Agent and Coordinator Liz Singley Clarke. She focused on 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, reaching 265 students. Additionally, she held nutrition and wellness classes at the Stewart County Senior Center every month to encourage the elderly to practice healthy lifestyle choices, reaching 135 senior adults. To help the youngest residents of Stewart County develop healthy eating habits, she taught the Food, Fun and Reading program to 66 pre-k students at Head Start. Through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Obesity Grant awarded to Stewart County, community coalitions were formed to identify activities aiming to increase access to healthy foods and physical activity. Raised bed gardens have been established to provide fresh produce to local citizens. Walkability signs have been added throughout Lumpkin and Richland to encourage walking. Two walking trails are in progress in Stewart County as well.
4-H Youth Development
The Stewart County 4-H Club had a successful year led by Blair Harris, Stewart County 4-H program assistant. 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 25 Cloverleaf 4-H’ers and six seniors competed at the district level. Deontavious Kitchens was elected to the Georgia 4-H State Board of Directors. Four members attended Cloverleaf Camp. Harris led a series of Healthy Habits workshops, reaching 83 youth. The Stewart County Extension program received a Department of Family and Children Services Relationship Smarts Grant. The Relationship Smarts curriculum was used to teach 48 seventh-grade students the importance of maintaining healthy relationships and developing effective communication skills.
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%. Row and forage crops grown on 8,506 acres make up 28% 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.