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
There is a growing disconnect between youth and healthy food. Many children no longer recognize common, fresh foods. As a result, in 2015, the Towns County 4-H Club collaborated with Master Gardener Extension Volunteers to develop a new and exciting 4-H Garden Club. Towns County 4-H Garden Club projects include digging in the dirt, making stuff grow and engaging in crafty, practical activities that kids love. 4-H’ers now have the valuable opportunity to experience growing seeds into plants and food.
The Towns County 4-H Saddle-Up Club continues to offer 4-H’ers the opportunity to learn about different breeds, characteristics and habits of horses. Towns County 4-H Saddle-Up Club members will learn about establishing safe practices, saddling and bridling horses, providing hoof care, maintaining horse health, and ensuring proper feeding. Students also are given instruction on proper haltering, handling and riding of horses.
In the 4-H Project SAFE (Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education) program, 4-H’ers learn safe and responsible use of shooting equipment. Shooting sports teams aim to strengthen families by encouraging them to participate together in lifelong recreational activities. Without fail, the Towns County 4-H BB Team attracts eager students in the fourth through eighth grades. In the process of learning marksmanship skills, 4-H members will also develop leadership abilities and attributes to become better citizens of tomorrow.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Towns County maintained its traditional corn and vegetable production meetings in 2018. These meetings help to equip farmers for the upcoming season with the most current information in corn and vegetable production. UGA Extension in Towns County also uses these meetings as an opportunity for local farmers to earn pesticide credits, which are essential for many farmers to continue operations. Farmers were educated on proper pesticide usage and new products that are available. Extension promoted soil testing for farmers to get the most out of their crops. With the heavy clay soils we have in the mountains, it is important that farmers utilize proper soil management and pesticide usage to have the highest return possible. Farmers were also taught about the effects that nematodes can have on their crops and the new pesticides that can be used to control them.
Towns County Extension maintains strong relationships with local community partners including the Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center, Chestatee-Chattahooche Resource Conservation and Development Council, Blue Ridge Mountain Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Young Farmers program. Towns County Extension worked alongside these entities to provide more comprehensive programming for residents of Towns County. The year 2018 was the inaugural year of the wild-hog trapping program managed by Towns County Extension in coordination with the Young Farmers and Blue Ridge Mountain Conservation District. We are looking forward to the growth of this program as we work to reduce the damage that wild hogs have on farmers’ and homeowners’ land.