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.
THOMAS COUNTY 4-H AT A GLANCE
The Thomas County 4-H Program is grounded in the belief that young people learn best by doing. In our county, 4-H members complete hands-on projects in areas like civic engagement, agriculture and health and science, in a positive environment where they receive guidance from adult volunteers and mentors and are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles.
Thomas County 4-H’ers are fortunate because they can concentrate on one focus area of their choice or they can try a variety of programs throughout their 4-H experience. Through participation in Georgia 4-H Project Achievement, 4-H’ers choose a project area of interest, research that topic, then write and present to a group of their peers. Through this experience, 4-H’ers develop public speaking, leadership, record keeping and many other skills. This opportunity empowers young people with skills that will last a lifetime. Challenging, encouraging, exploring and discovering is what the Thomas County 4-H Program is all about.
AGRICULTURE: Sydni's Ag Update
Sydni’s Ag Update is a radio program conducted by the Thomas County Extension Ag and Natural Resources Agent which airs on WPAX/WTUF, Georgia’s third oldest radio station which has been on air since 1922. This program covers agricultural news and information for growers, agribusinesses, and the general public. There is so much agricultural news for the public to sift through that there should be an unbiased voice for the community to hear. There are also nearly 300 licensed pesticide applicators in Thomas County who are presumably directly involved in the production of an agricultural product. With 44,451 Thomas County residents, this means that less than one percent are directly involved in production agriculture. Growers, agribusinesses, and community leaders need timely information on various topics in order to make critical management decisions. Radio reaches over 95% of almost every portion of the population, making it a far-reaching educational opportunity. To increase agricultural awareness through the radio program, the agent worked with Chris Hurst, one of the radio station employees at WPAX/WTUF to produce these programs. Currently the program reaches throughout several counties in South Georgia and North Florida and represents a total Farm Gate value of $1,388,215,194. From its start in April of 2019, the relationship grew and so did UGA Extension’s reach within the area. Since that time FACS and ANR have been able to share programs weekly. Sydni’s Ag Update has had an estimated audience of 20,000 listeners each week.
FACS PROGRAMMING: Strengthening Nutrition Education Efforts
The Thomas County Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) program has expanded and settled into the foundation of chronic disease and obesity prevention efforts through nutrition education in its partnership with the Live Better Thomas County initiative. As a member of the Live Better Advisory Board and Community Partner, FACS Agent Ashleigh Childs has provided content for monthly newsletters highlighting the nutritional benefits, food storage and preparation tips, and healthy recipes featuring the designated Live Better Superfood of the Month. These newsletters are distributed in the elementary school classrooms in the Thomasville City, Thomas County, and Brookwood School systems. The FACS program has established a visual presence among Live Better Try Day participants by accommodating for social distancing guidelines which do not allow for students to gather in the cafeteria for the traditional Try Day format. Educational videos have been created in partnership with Lewis Produce and Bob and Jeff’s IGA to share nutrition information about the Superfood of the month and the Try Day recipes in the classroom. Special guest appearances were made to classrooms to provide additional content on making healthy choices using MyPlate. Check out the UGA Extension Thomas County FACS Facebook page, or the Live Better Thomas County Facebook page to see them yourself!
UGA Extension Thomas County FACS continues to establish media exposure through a quarterly article shared in the Thomasville Scene Magazine, the Health Matters Magazine, and the weekly “Fast FACS” segment on the local broadcasting station, WPAX/WTUF 107.3