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
Each year, Tattnall County 4-H provides summer 4-H camping opportunities for youth in 4th through 12th grade. In summer 2021, camping numbers were significantly decreased in the wake of COVID-19. The Tattnall County 4-H staff also identified that financial need was an issue preventing many youth from attending camp. With this in mind, the 4-H staff reached out to local businesses, organizations and individuals to help sponsors camp scholarships. They also hosting a Tree Sale Fundraiser and a Plant & Bulb Sale Fundraiser. The 4-H staff also took advantage of statewide 4-H scholarships opportunities such as the Baker Trust Scholarship and the Rock Eagle Opportunity Scholarship program to support youth. Through these combined efforts, sixteen youth were able to attend camp on partial to full camp scholarships. A total of over sixty-five youth from Tattnall County were able to attend camp in 2023, up from less than 10 youth in 2021.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
Tattnall County Extension offered Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The program had a number of collaborative partners. UGA students were trained and tested to obtain the necessary Internal Revenue Service certifications to prepare taxes. The Tattnall County Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) Agent and team was also trained to receive documents from local residents and to connect them virtually to trained students at the University of Georgia in Athens. Residents of Tattnall County were able to get their taxes prepared for free, with the support of UGA trained students without ever leaving their community. In addition, the Tattnall County FACS Agent provided a variety of financial planning educational materials including savings, debt reduction and information about banking Institution and other financial products and services. In 2021, 33 returns were filed. The amount of tax credit refund dollars received through VITA for 2021 was $43,112, including $6,079 in EITC and $5,800 in child tax credits. The tax dollars returned to residents had a positive effect on the economy while providing a financial boost to citizens. The financial education component was well received by VITA participants. Tattnall County Extension provides both a practical, immediate monetary impact for low- to moderate-income families through VITA, as well as a long-term behavioral impact as the community focuses on creating a culture of savings and financial security through research-based educational programs. The Tattnall County FACS Agent is committed to providing practical, sustainable solutions to reduce poverty and build financial security for individuals and families.
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Tattnall County is diverse with many different agricultural commodities. Tattnall produces Vidalia Onions, cucumbers, watermelons, citrus, and many other fruit and vegetable crops. Tattnall County is the number one producer of Vidalia Onions. Our county produces roughly 55% of the 10,000 acres of onions grown (60 million farm gate value). Agents from Tattnall have participated in many onion related research trials at the Vidalia Onion and Vegetable Research Center (VOVRC). These trials include: variety testing, fertilizer, and disease trials. The onion agents from surrounding counties were awarded The Vegetable Award from Georgia Association of County Agriculture Agents (GACAA) for their work with bacterial diseases in onions.