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
Making up the largest land area in Georgia, Ware County has a diverse agricultural community able to successfully cultivate many agricultural commodities. The county’s farm-gate value totals nearly $60 million, with blueberries and forest products as its two largest commodities. Superior research and education is the driving force of innovation, and no one knows this better than UGA Extension. Ware County is currently experiencing a vacancy in agricultural programming. Filling this vacancy is a must as Agricultural and Natural Resources (ANR) is an ever-changing field. Therefore, in order for producers to maintain a high level of progression, delivering unbiased education is essential. In addition, decreases in commodity prices have only served to emphasize the importance of Extension programming, which is critical to aiding farmers with day-to-day decisions. The new ANR professional will address these issues as well as pasture management, small fruit production, storm water drainage and leadership development. In order to better serve Ware County, forestry and wildlife will also become areas of focus.
4-H Youth Development
Youth who participate in 4-H develop skill sets that allow them to grow into successful adults, which benefits the greater community. The Ware County 4-H Club provides a positive environment that enables 4-H’ers to develop these skills through the essential elements of independence, generosity, belonging and mastery. There are more than 1,000 students in fourth through 12th grades enrolled in the Ware County 4-H program. Through a partnership with the Ware County School District and the Ware County Board of Education, UGA Extension conducts approximately 40 monthly in-school educational programs to encourage fourth- through sixth-grade students to develop leadership, citizenship and communication skills. In addition to in-school programming, Ware County 4-H hosts a specialty precision air-rifle team that competes in various 4-H competitions around the state. The Ware County 4-H program also hosts a book club and garden club that promotes farm-to-fork practices. Ware County 4-H is represented at numerous 4-H events such as Cloverleaf and Junior/Senior District Project Achievement, Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging, Poultry Judging, summer camp and livestock shows.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Ware County Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) Extension serves workers, consumers and families in meeting their basic and most important needs with a wide body of research-based knowledge about topics that affect their lives, including family, food, health, money and home. In fall 2018, Ware County Extension hired a new FACS agent who spent the remainder of the year establishing a community presence through various events, sharing information on timely topics with regular newspaper articles and social media postings, and educating youth on healthy relationship practices.
Ware County FACS also partnered with the Exchange Club of Waycross, Georgia, to facilitate the annual homemakers exhibit at the Okefenokee Agricultural Fair to showcase local talent to the community. Ware County FACS has a long tradition of helping individuals and families and strengthening the community through educational programs.