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
omes and struggle with healthy relationships. A lack of positive models of a healthy relationship lead to unhealthy situations that can lead to an increase in risky behaviors. In Turner County, the rate for teen pregnancies was 54 out of 1,000 for females ages 15-19, higher than the national average. Teens today must also learn how to adapt personal relationships due to the influence of technology and social media.
Turner County 4-H offered the Relationship Smarts Plus curriculum to seventh graders, reaching 94 youth. The Relationship Smarts Plus curriculum, developed by the Dibble Institute, focuses on personal development related to identity, goal, and values; distinguishing between healthy versus unhealthy relationship behaviors and safe choices in forming relationships; preventing dating violence; developing communication skills; and making mature relationship decisions. A special emphasis was placed on technology and social media. Each lesson included a hands-on learning activity and in-depth discussions that supported the content in a safe, non-judgmental environment, with the focus of learning healthy examples of relationships. In the values lesson, students identified their top three personal choices and practiced skills to learn more confidence in staying true to their values. A majority of seventh graders (92%) indicated that they were more confident and could better communicate the importance of their choice of values in healthy relationships. By gaining awareness and personal communication skills, students feel more confident in using these skills and behaviors in their everyday lives.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
In 2019, the Turner County Cooperative Extension Agriculture and Natural Resource program has worked with crop producers and homeowners to maximize productivity and make decisions that create desired outcomes. The program achieved this by conducting in-county research, holding crop production meetings, making site visits and maintaining other avenues of communication to homeowners and crop producers. Conducting an in-county cotton variety trial was a major highlight of the year. The data collected from this trial will enable local producers to see how different cotton varieties compare when they are planted in Turner County, allowing them to make more-informed decisions when selecting cotton varieties to grow in the next growing season. Turner County Cooperative Extension supported peanut producers by holding peanut maturity clinics almost daily during the peanut harvest season. In these clinics, farmers brought a sample of peanuts from their field to the extension office so the peanuts could be blasted with a pressure washer and placed on a maturity board where farmers could determine the ideal date to harvest their peanuts to maximize peanut yield and quality. During the 2019 harvest season, the extension office advised farmers when to harvest peanuts from more than 70 peanut samples submitted. New information related to recent research, upcoming meetings, clinics and information sessions that are relevant to farmers and homeowners is dispersed by email, site visits, postcards and an active county Extension blog.