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
Approximately 598 4th and 5th grade youth participated in our fun, agriculture/STEM inspired lessons at Upson Lee Elementary School in 2020. Lessons were taught face-to-face and virtually, so all kids in the county could participate. The programs cover topics including: water density, atmospheric pressure, pH testing, and poultry science.
In our office, we decided to incubate some eggs and video the process for 4-Hers in the community, to follow along and feel apart of, in these more challenging times. We hatched three eggs, one rooster and two hens. At about three weeks old, those chicks were brought to the 4-H club meetings (in the school) for all the students to meet. We even had one of our senior 4-Hers do some poultry science videos talking about all things chicken, and had our three chicks star in some of those.
Our 4-H programming as a whole was definitely affected by the current situation. It has forced our office to become more virtual, we even created a YouTube channel. On the Upson Couny 4-H YouTube channel you can find a wide variety of educational videos. We have multiple "playlists" that target a different type of educational programming.
The playlist "Charlee's Chicken Coop" was created by one of our senior 4-Hers. She covers all different poultry science topics. She's got videos over egg freshness testing, egg candling, using self feeders and waterers, introducing our 4-H chicks, cleaning out the chicks "home", interviews with three UGA Poultry Science Specialists, and touring a local feed and seed store.
The playlist "Make It Monday's" has a wide range of crafts, experiments, and recipes for youth (and adults) to do at home. It's got topics ranging from making ice cream, to making an ocean in a jar!
The playlist "Workout Wednesday's" has multiple options of at-home workouts to keep kids (and adults) active during shelter-in-place, quaratine, or just to get the blood pumping. These videos cover stretching, alternative weight workouts, focused muscle group workouts, dances, etc.
The playlist "Ag Literacy (Story Time)" has videos of numerous agricultural books focused for youth. Many of these books were donated to us from our local Farm Bureau, to keep kids engaged in learning about different industries.
We know this year has been a difficult one, but we are making the most of it, and cannot wait to get back to our everyday activities and have all our kids back in the office.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
2020 was a difficult year for the agriculture industry in Upson County, not only were they hit with COVID-19 struggles, but we also had a major storm come through our area. Many farms and homes were impacted by the tornadoes and our community will be continuing to rebuild and restore for years to come.
Even with the struggles of COVID, Upson County Cooperative Extension hosted several producer-oriented workshops for the surrounding counties, allowing participants to earn credit hours for their private and commercial pesticide licenses and gain knowledge needed to identify problems and implement solutions on their farms. These programs were offered online instead of face-to-face, and were recorded and added to our Upson County 4-H YouTube channel and extension website, for producers to go back and view at any point.
With the need to focus on technology based learning and resources, the Upson County Extension website gained many new resources. Under the Agriculture and Natural Resources tab, we now have many pages with educational videos, pictures, and write-ups focused on different agricultrual topics. Each page is a focused resource, so the individual does not have to jump around to other places. There new pages include: Toxic Weed Identification, Pastures and Forages Educational Resources, Livestock Management Educational Resources, Local Agricultural Videos, Georgia Forages Videos, and UGA Beef Team Videos.
The subpage titled "Toxic Weed Identification" is a page where the 22 most common toxic weeds in th southeast are listed. For each weed; there is a picture, description, list of animals affected, signs of ingestions, and how and where the toxicity is.
The Subpage titled "Local Agricultural Videos" is a page with videos created by the ANR Agent. These videos may be recording of educational programs, teaching basic testing tehniques, or showcasing "A Day in the Life on an ANR Agent."
As usual, the Southeastern Hay Contest was a success. More than 55 samples from Upson and Lamar counties were entered, with three producers placing first in their respective categories and one placing second. Our counties are continuing to be recongized for our pride in producing high quality forages.
We know this year has been a difficult one, but we are making the most of it. Ou community is ready to get back to our more traditional face-to-face programming and our numerous outdoor activities.