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
The 4-H program in Twiggs County is a collaboration between UGA Cooperative Extension and Fort Valley State University (FVSU) Cooperative Extension. Twiggs County 4-H 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 2019 school calendar year, FVSU 4-H collaborated successfully with Georgia 4-H to facilitate traditional in-school club meetings for students in fourth grade through middle school. The FVSU 4-H agent delivered in-school club meetings and educational programs to 320 Twiggs County public and private schools and to homeschooled audiences that included the a 4-H raised bed garden project for the fourth year at the elementary school. Community Service projects were held with the local senior citizen center, 4-H’ers participated in a two-day summer S.T.E.M. day camp, and the FVSU agent reached students through Vacation Bible School. The agent takes club members to judging events (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 by participating in District Project Achievement events on the district and state levels.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Through a partnership with Fort Valley State University and the University of Georgia, the 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 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 preservation and food safety.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Superior research and education are the driving forces of innovation, and no one knows this better than UGA Extension. While there is no Agriculture and Natural Resources agent housed in the Twiggs County Extension office, the Bleckley County ANR agent offers local residents information and answers many of their questions and concerns. They also provide residents with a broad spectrum of free publications to address agricultural concerns, including lawn care, gardening, herbicide and pesticide use, insect control and livestock management. Twiggs County Extension works in conjunction with Bleckley County Extension to provide producers within the county with yearly updates on the issues UGA researchers study and foresee in the topics of cotton, corn and soybean production, and pest management.