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
UGA Cooperative Extension in Walton County offers numerous services such as soil testing, water testing, plant identification and on-site consultations to local clientele. The Walton County Extension office processed more than 500 diagnostic samples in 2019, and the Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Agent, Joel Burnsed, conducted 90 on-site consultations at farms and homes in Walton County. Also, the ANR Agent lead more than 34 educational classes open to Walton County citizens. Topics included well-water maintenance, soil testing services, gardening and pollinators. With a farm gate value of more than $38 million dollars in Walton County, the ANR agent serves an important role in assisting farmers with everyday issues that may arise. Other services available to farmers through the Extension office include plant disease identification, soil tests, forage nutrient tests, pesticide recommendations and sprayer calibration. The Walton County Master Gardener Extension Volunteer (MGEV) program contributed more tha 2,500 hours of service to the community through free gardening classes at local libraries, the “Ask A Master Gardener” booth at the farmers market, and several other community-oriented projects.
4-H Youth Development
Walton County 4-H programs are offered for youth to learn and excel in leadership, citizenship, public speaking and critical-thinking skills.
The Walton County school system focues on career readiness and the Walton County 4-H program offered a wide range of in-school and extracurricular activities to more than 1,500 students in 2019.
Walton County 4-H gives students opportunities to participate in several specialty clubs including Shooting Sports disciplines (Air Rifle, Archery, BB and Shotgun), Goat Club, Horse Club, Homeschool Club, Wildlife Judging, Poultry Judging, Horse Judging and Hippology. The Walton County 4-H Senior Precision Air Rifle and Senior Hippology teams both placed first at state contests and achieved Master Status. Walton County 4-H BB Team placed second at the Daisy National BB Competition. The Walton County 4-H Goat Club was awarded a first place Junior Herdsmen Award at the Georgia National Fair. The Walton County 4-H Shotgun team was the second place Senior Team at the Georgia 4-H State Modified Trap Contest.
PROJECT F.R.E.E.(Fostering Relationship and Economic Enrichment)
Project F.R.E.E. (Fostering Relationship and Economic Enrichment) programs are helping parents develop skills to strengthen the quality of their couple and/or co-parenting relationships.
Parenting responsibilities place demands on all couples. Our Elevate program provides couples with strategies and skills to manage stress and conflict while strengthening their relationship. In 2019, 40 couples enrolled in five Elevate programs.
For parents who are apart, parenting can be challenging. Our Together We Can program helps single parents develop strategies and skills to manage stress and conflict and promotes positive co-parenting relationships and developing future healthy relationships. In 2019, 53 individuals enrolled in four Together We Can programs.
These no-cost, eight-hour programs include a meal, child care and gift cards for attending each class. Parents can also participate in research that will support future programs. Each participant can earn up to $175 for completing research surveys. More information is available at ugaprojectfree.com.