This year, 1,100 Darke County residents participated in several health fairs where they received information about food safety and keeping food the correct temperature to prevent foodborne illness.
This year, 85 preschoolers were screened through the Vision In Preschool program, with six of the preschoolers being recommended for further vision testing. Early screening allows parents to have any potential vision issues corrected so that the children are able to see properly which enhances their ability to succeed in school.
This year, 75 youth and teens participated in healthy snack lessons during We Are the Majority Camp. Healthy snacks were based on the My Plate method. Youth and teens learned recipes using fruit and vegetable were very palatable and beneficial to long-term health.
This year, 30 Darke County residents had their pressure dial canner gauge checked for proper pressure. Pressure was checked to ensure proper food preservation for families so they would eat properly canned food with less risk of contracting food-borne illnesses.
In 2016, 34 special needs students (grades 9-12) from five county school districts participated in Real Money. Real World. to learn about the correlation between education, occupation, and future earning potential. Comments from students who participated in the program include “Living on your own can be expensive,” “Now I understand why I need a good education,” and “I’m going to plan to go to college now that I know I can.”
This year, 23 teens served as 4-H camp counselors. Counselors completed 24 hours of training and developed life skills related to supervision and management, leadership, communication, and teamwork. In all, 90 percent of the counselors reported an increase in their abilities related to communication and teamwork.
This year, 1,146 youth participated in 45 community 4-H clubs. Youth reported an increase in their level of life skills related to organization, time management, record keeping, financial management, communication and leadership. Observations from members include “4-H taught me the importance of being part of the community and giving back” and ‘4-H gave me the confidence to try new things.”
In 2016, 110 campers, ages 9-14, participated in a four-day residential 4-H camp. Campers learned life skills and the importance of teamwork. Campers’ observations include “4-H camp has taught me about myself and how I fit in with my peers,” “4-H camp lets me learn to make decisions on my own,” “4-H camp gave me the chance to try new things and to meet new people,” and “I love 4-H camp!”
Students in grades kindergarten to third grade (1,282 in all) participated in 4-H STEM school enrichment projects designed to teach science-related concepts. Students were able to explain key science concepts such as pollination, germination, the life cycle, the importance of earthworms in our soil and the basic needs of plants.
Successful Co-Parenting reached 156 divorcing parents. The attendees learned how to communicate with their children and the importance of minimizing conflict with their child’s other parent.
4-H CARTEENS in Darke County reached 135 teens plus their parents in 2016. Teens reported an increase in the importance of using safety belts and the awareness of drinking and driving. Parents reported an increase in the awareness of risks related to teen drivers.
Over the past four years, extensive manure management research has been completed in Darke County. Four swine dress manure and one dairy manure plots that covered 250 acres resulted in a savings of $179 per acre over a two-year period, resulting in a total savings of $44,750. A total of 190 acres were done using a drag hose. In 2016, we completed our third year of a drag line sidedress manure application in standing corn. Research has shown that swine manure applied as a sidedress outperformed the traditional 28 percent nitrogen application by an average of 15 bushels per acre. Using a 6,200-gallon swine manure sidedress application in a corn soybean rotation meets all nutrient needs with no additional commercial fertilizer needed. This will open a new window for manure application by placing the manure in the right place at the right time for maximum value.
422 youth enrolled in livestock projects completed livestock quality assurance training. Participants learned the importance of utilizing good production practices related to livestock care as they raise and market quality food animals for consumer consumption.
This year, 168 Darke County farmers who hold a private pesticide applicator license attended a recertification session. After training, 100 percent of the attendees reported they had improved practices to protect the environment, have improved pesticide handling practices, and were better informed about compliance with pesticide and environmental regulations. Purdue University places a $625 value per-hour on pesticide certification training based on Extension pest management knowledge, cooperation with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, prevention of individual and commercial mishandling of toxic chemicals, and potential increases in productivity. In Darke County this translates to $105,000 of economic benefit.
Environmental stewardship is important to Darke County farmers. Mandated by new legislation, 220 producers attended to receive their fertilizer certification. Education topics included soil sampling, phosphorous and nitrogen management, crop fertility, lime recommendations, and economics of fertilizer application. Almost all strongly agreed the training increased their knowledge of phosphorus and nitrogen management. More than 75 percent of the participants agreed they would change their nutrient management practices. All farmers applying fertilizer to 50 or more acres are mandated to complete their initial certification by September 2017.
Nearly 1,000 Darke County producers and landowners participated in 29 production agriculture and natural resources programs in 2016. These programs were held on a variety of management issues which included: cover crop management, factors affecting beef quality, pesticide re-certification, precision ag innovations, soybean and corn management, farm succession and farm taxes.
OSU Extension conducted on-farm research in Darke County in corn production, soybean production, cover crops, and organic/inorganic nutrient management production to benefit Darke County farmers. In 2016, 11 on-farm research fields were planted, monitored and harvested. Data was collected at one local farm for inclusion in a statewide soybean pollinator study. Seven farms participated in phytophthora soil collections in collaboration with OARDC research.
Through a partnership with the Darke County Solid Waste District, 4-H members learn about the importance of recycling, environmental protection and preserving our natural resources. 4-H clubs are encouraged to participate in the Solid Waste District’s annual Trash Bash. More than 1,200 4-H members and their families clean up trash and debris along 300+ miles of county roads. This results in more than 14 tons of garbage and recyclable materials being removed from our county roads on an annual basis. Comments from 4-H members who participate in the program include “I am never going to litter again” and “We need to take better care of our environment.”