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 the best decisions in a farming operation is always complex and usually difficult. UGA Extension recommendations often make these decisions easier by providing unbiased, research-based information. If the research can be done locally with a county producer, the data is more applicable to local producers. To assist Washington County farmers, the Washington County Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent has worked with Extension specialists to perform on-farm research projects with local producers. Research projects conducted in 2018 were included in the UGA On-Farm Cotton Variety Evaluation program. As part of a state effort, 14 varieties of cotton were planted in large blocks and evaluated to yield. The Parasite Resistance in Beef Cattle Study Evaluation was assessed to determine the level of resistance to dewormers in beef cattle in Washington County. The On-Farm Corn Nutrient Study Evaluation was performed to determine nutrient availability and uptake during progressive growth stages of corn. This will give farmers a better understanding of how to fertilize for corn production. Demonstrated research is important to help farmers understand and have confidence in recommendations from UGA Extension in Washington County.
4-H Youth Development
Georgia has one of the highest pregnancy rates in the nation among teens age 15 to 19. According to 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics, 23.6 in 1,000 girls aged 15 to 19 became pregnant in Georgia. In Washington County, the birth rate for girls aged 15 to 19 was 32.6 in 1,000, higher than the state average.
The county saw 19 births to teen mothers in 2016. Beginning in 2013, the Washington County 4-H Club focused on helping youth become more knowledgeable about making positive relationship choices, understanding the consequences of having sex before marriage, developing good communication skills, and determining values to help prepare for future goals by offering a program called Relationship Smarts. Since then, more than 1,050 students have been reached. The majority of students who have participated in this program have gained confidence in establishing healthy relationships, reporting that they were very likely to use the skills learned, and overall found the program either helpful or very helpful. One student recently commented, “This program helps build up confidence and helps you get through certain obstacles in friendships and relationships.”
Family and Consumer Sciences
Washington County Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) Agent Georgeanne Cook provides programming that improves the health, wellness and financial capability of individuals and families served. The agent offered Virtual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) to the community free of charge, creating a tax-preparation savings of $4,250.
In Georgia, two people die from diabetes-related causes and 16 adults are newly diagnosed every five minutes. Diabetes-awareness classes and diabetes-education classes are provided to all residents of the area at no cost. Diabetes lessons include nutrition labeling, portion control and meal planning.
A food safety program provided 168 restaurant managers the opportunity to complete National ServSafe® Managers Certification. The cost savings of $50 each for 119 individuals adds up to $5,950 in savings for our participants. Collaborating with the community and providing resources to help residents live a healthier lifestyle is a top priority for Washington County Extension.