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.
ANR PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
Following the Master Cattleman Program in 2018, strong interest was expressed by participants in the topic of marketing meat directly from the farm. A four-session program, “Marketing Your Beef Locally,” was developed and delivered. To maintain the multi-county audience, each session was scheduled in a different location in northwest Georgia.
Sessions included “Starting a Retail Meat Business,” by Tommie Shepherd of the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development and Nora Guzman from the UGA Small Business Development Center; “Finishing Beef on Your Farm,” by UGA Animal and Dairy Science Department Head Francis Fluharty; “Meat Fabrication Demonstration” by Hailey Robinson, ANR agent for Upson and Lamar Counties; and “Finishing Beef on Grass and Forage,” by Macon County ANR Agent Erin Forte and Aaron Knighton of the Geortgia Department of Agriculture Meat Inspection Division.
Based on the sessions, participants indicated they were encouraged to develop business plans, utilize social media for merchandizing, improve feedbunk management, reevaluate nutrition programs, focus on meat quality, plant clover to enhance pasture nutrition, and use annual forages to improve distribution of high-quality grazing. Two partcipants said they were actively working with the UGA Small Business Development Center, a service they were not aware of before the program. One individual contacted Fluharty to improve his nutrition program to produce animals with high meat quality. A fourth individual related that conversation with Aaron Knighton provided clear direction about concerns he had had for several years without resolution.
4-H PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
Whitfield County 4-H’ers continue to make the best better. In 2019, Whitfield County 4-H collaborated with National 4-H Council and Microsoft to serve their community. As recipients of a Microsoft grant, 4-H’ers became digital ambassadors in their communities with the goal of aiding and assisting adults in utilizing technology. Through the 4-H Tech Changemakers program, 4-H teens across fifteen states led digital skills training and taught the value of digital tools.
Three Whitfield County 4-H’ers attended the 4-H Tech Changemakers training sessions at Oho State University along with 4-H’ers from Catoosa and Gordon counties. An additional 25 Whitfield County 4-H’ers received regional or local training to build their internet skills and better understand the technology challenges the adults in their community may experience. Sessions providing helpful “Grab and Go” technology lessons and individual technical support will continue into 2020 at local venues in Whitfield County including the community center, the library, churches and schools.
Whitfield County 4-H hosted the second annual 4-H Life 101 Financial Conference at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC). Twenty-two 4-H’ers from Walker, Floyd, and Whitfield counties participated in classes and activities focused on the Federal Reserve, money personalities, financial timelines, simple and compound savings, SMART goals, education centers and career possibilities. GNTC instructors gave tours and explained high school and college options. Guest speakers from the community talked about their careers and provided insights into the preparation required to enter their professions.