John McLemore, County Extension Agent
Coffee County Extension is committed to fostering a healthy and prosperous Georgia by providing science-based information to families, farmers, and communities. In 2019, Coffee County Extension honored this commitment through a variety of programing. We want to share with you our 2019 Annual Report. For more information, please contact the Coffee County Extension office at 912-384-1402.
Coffee County continues to be one of Georgia’s ten largest agricultural counties. The 2018 agricultural statistics reports Coffee County’s annual farm gate value at over $296.2 million.
The UGA Extension Agriculture agent began work in Coffee County in December of 2018. The county agent made 358 farm visits, had 293 office visits, 296 phone calls and 1100 written correspondence. To achieve his program goals, the agent interacted with diverse audiences through 15,930 contacts, 361 volunteer hours, 22 prof. development events, submission of two abstracts for national meetings, assignment to two committees, and a recipient of a tobacco improvement award. The Extension office offered technical support through UGA laboratory analysis of 251 soil, 12 water, 8 poultry litter, 15 feed and forage, and 57 plant tissue samples. Extension agriculture specialists visited Coffee County 13 times to provide group educational programs and individual troubleshooting assistance. The Coffee Extension office conducted 10 on-farm research projects to provide growers with valuable information about insect and disease control as well as variety performance.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Extension implemented the SNAP-ED program in Coffee County in 2016. This program is designed to teach low income families how to prepare healthy, nutritious meals at low cost. Since its beginning, the program has been offered to over 250 families with great success. The two classes are Food Talk: Better You which is offered as an hour and a half class over a period of four weeks, or Food Talk which is an hour class held over a period of six weeks. These classes offer a combination of tips on meal planning, exercise for all ages, cooking on a budget, avoiding hidden sodium and added sugars, and more. Both the Food Talk: Better U and the Food Talk courses are centered on helping families find the means to have family dinner ready in a matter of minutes. These courses are designed to teach the average family skills that are necessary to maintain healthy diets while leading the hectic lives most Americans lead.
4-H and Youth
In-school meetings for 5th-6th grade youth and after school club meetings for 7th-12th grade youth (58 mtgs./mo.) help promote and perpetuate a robust county 4-H program. Coffee County 4-H staff (4 FTE) work with 1,395 youth monthly. All in-school programming correlates with the Georgia Performance Standards and enhances the educational process through hands-on activities. A fifth grade teacher at Indian Creek said, “I enjoy having 4-H in my class. 4-H provides my students with quality life lessons and learning opportunities that they normally would not have. It’s a wonderful program that I look forward to every year.”
District and State Events
110 members competed at Project Achievement (5th highest in the state), a regional public speaking contest, with four advancing to and two winning state competition (77 placed, 3 county awards for participation)
62 attended 4-H summer camps (39 scholarships were given for over $10,000)
50 members competed on a target sports team at a county, area, state, or national match
14 competed in judging event competitions
46 members competed in state horse and livestock shows (7 advanced to regional championship horse show)
13 participated in district and state educational/leadership conferences
Two members achieved Master 4-H status by winning their Project Achievement competition at the state level.
Community Service/Leadership Opportunities
Community service and leadership opportunities are offered to 4-H youth monthly in Coffee County. 4-H members donate canned foods to support the local food banks and pop tabs to help the Ronald McDonald House Charities (400 canned foods and 500 pounds of pop tabs). They spend time giving service to the Adopt-A-Highway program, going to Pet Therapy visitation at the local nursing homes, and much more. Additionally, over 230 members serve their clubs in leadership roles as club officers and 56 members have completed the Georgia 4‑H Certified Teen Leader Training. Currently, one member (Jeremiah Brantley) is representing Southeast Georgia (39 counties) as board member for the Southeast District Senior Board of Directors.
Volunteer Leader Program
Coffee County is fortunate to have adults willing to step up and lead as volunteers. Over 70 have completed requirements to be Certified Chaperons. Also, 9 volunteers have completed the Georgia 4‑H Certified Coaches Training for Target Sports. These volunteers run the 4-H Target Sports program. Coffee County 4-H’s volunteer led clubs include .22 Rifle, Air Pistol, Air Rifle, Archery, BB Rifle, Horse Club, and Shotgun.