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.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Forestry is a major industry in Twiggs County, providing jobs, resources and income for stakeholders in Twiggs County. The Twiggs County Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent targeted this audience through a pine-management short course to help landowners apply research-based forestry practices to increase productivity in their pine stands. There were a total of 16 participants who were also able to earn two hours of forestry continuing-education credits and two hours of logger continuing-education credits, which are necessary to maintain Georgia Master Timber Harvester status. In post-program evaluations, participants stated that they would change their current pine-management practices based on the course. By implementing the pine-management strategies covered in this program, primarily competition control and species selection, landowners were expected to save about $5,000 over the long-term production of their trees.
4-H Youth Development
The Twiggs County 4-H program is a product of UGA Extension and Fort Valley State University (FVSU) Cooperative Extension. It operates under the leadership of FVSU 4-H and maintains consistent participation numbers every year. The FVSU 4-H program’s mission is to empower youth to reach their full potential while working and learning in partnership with caring adults. The program provides positive youth development and experiential learning opportunities for youth in various areas, including leadership, healthy living, financial literacy, agriculture and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). At the end of the 2018 school calendar year, FVSU 4-H collaborated successfully with Georgia 4-H to facilitate the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s 4-H Mentoring: Youth and Families with Promise program to 4-H family participants for the final year of a successful eight-year national grant. The FVSU 4-H agent delivered in-school club meetings and educational programs to 352 Twiggs County public-, private- and home-schooled audiences that included a 4-H raised-bed garden for the third year at the elementary school. The agent takes club members to events including cotton boll and consumer judging, the Georgia National Fair, 4-H summer camps and FVSU 4-H campus-based activities. Youth are involved in leadership and public-speaking activities through participation in Project Achievement events on the district and state levels.
Family and Consumer Sciences
The FVSU Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agent provided nutrition education and materials for adults and youth through various programs and activities. As a result, consumers are more likely to make better food choices for themselves and their families. Programs used grant funding to establish community and school gardens. The agent went on home visits to reach citizens at risk for or suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and/or cancer. Healthy living activities were also implemented, including walk-a-thons, Zumba dance classes, recipe cards, vegetable giveaways and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) events.
These practices will lead to healthier youth who attend school regularly with better academic success and adults who have the ability to eat healthier and lessen the occurrence of expensive chronic diseases. By improving the overall health habits of county residents, fewer hospitalizations and medications will be required, reducing health care costs for individuals, taxpayers, small businesses and corporations. The FACS program provided research-based publications about food safety.