More than 13,200 Fairfield County residents participated in one of 684 classes taught via Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed). In post-program evaluations, 80 percent of adult participants reported confidence in making one positive change to their lifestyle, 71 percent of teen participants reported eating at least one kind of fruit and vegetable daily, and 83 percent of youth participants reported doing things to be active most days of the week.
Fourth-graders improved their health and fitness through Crunch Out Obesity, a six-week program during physical education class. Students learned how to use an exercise ball and were given their own ball and a training guide to use at home with their families. Extension provided education on healthy behaviors, and 63 percent of students reported implementing positive changes such as increased physical activity, reaching or maintaining a healthy weight, and having more energy.
This year, 85 adults participated in one of six Live Healthy Live Well programs on planning and preparing healthy food. Participants reported learning new information and indicated their goal to implement a change to improve their health.
This year, 543 youth in grades 7-12 participated in hands-on budget management and decision-making practice in Extension’s Real Money. Real World. financial education program. In all, 97 percent of participants reported this program gave them a better idea of what is involved in earning, spending, and managing money. Also, 67 percent reported increased awareness that having a spending plan can help meet various living expenses and needs. Students now understand the connection between education and income, as 71 percent plan to get more education or training after high school.
Extension hosted the three-session Ohio Beef School webinar series, bringing nationwide presentations to 42 local cattlemen and high school students. The programs addressed some of the most important issues currently facing Ohio’s beef industry including economics, risk management, reproduction, genetics, and meeting consumers’ expectations.
Fruit tree pruning is a needed skill for both the backyard grower and the commercial fruit producer. In early spring, 25 local fruit growers participated in a hands-on workshop pruning apple trees at a local orchard and learning about all aspects of growing apples and peaches.
Youth raising and exhibiting market swine, beef, and lamb in Fairfield County had the opportunity to participate in “real world” livestock production programs which offered hands-on experience regarding the importance of added market value traits and that product quality is satisfying and safe to the consumer. The market barrow Muscle Quality and Performance (MQP) contest, the Beef Performance and Carcass Quality contest, and the Lamb MQP contest each taught participants and their families the importance of livestock growth, performance, and carcass characteristics. More than 100 participants and their families involved in the barrow and lamb contests participated in follow-up learning sessions conducted by faculty of the Ohio State Department of Animal Sciences. Participants were able to visually appraise their animals’ carcasses while in the meat cooler. In total, 81 youth completed projects in market swine, lamb, or beef quality and performance.
In Fairfield County, 112 older adults participated in one or more of nine presentations about aging issues and available community resources. Surveys indicated 75 percent of participants gained new information, and 62 percent planned to make a positive change based on information learned in the Extension program.
This year, 900 4-H members developed valuable life skills by completing 2,297 4-H projects for exhibit at the Fairfield County junior fair.
Also, 22 older 4-H members developed leadership and public speaking skills by visiting elementary schools in Fairfield County to teach students about and encourage participation in the 4-H youth development program.
This year, 49 teens served as 4-H camp counselors, completing a comprehensive 4-H camp counselor training program. Evaluations indicated that as a result of training, counselors developed leadership, social, emergency preparedness, and organizational skills to provide younger 4-H members with better learning experiences.
Nearly 300 Fairfield County youth developed life skills through participation in one of three summer 4-H camps. Campers indicated they met new people, learned and practiced new skills, citizenship, outdoor living, responsibility, and improved self-esteem. More than 97 percent of the campers indicated they wanted to return to camp next year.
More than 350 youth and parents learned about the educational benefits of 4-H youth development by participating in Fairfield County’s Eighth Annual Discover 4-H Day. Good news: 100 percent of those who completed a post-event evaluation said they learned something by participating and would recommend the event to other families.
Extension programs reached 94 participants with programs on how to safely store and preserve foods using USDA-recommended safe food handling practices. All workshop attendees reported increasing their knowledge of safe food preservation practices. One participant who was improperly canning green beans using the boiling water method decided she was going to use the pressure canning method from now on based on what she learned. After the programs, 95 percent of the participants indicated they planned to implement safe canning practices they learned through the program, decreasing risk of foodborne illness caused by unsafe preservation practices.
Five Fairfield County agricultural businesses were toured by 97 participants during the 2016 Local Foods and Farms tour series. Topics ranged from growing grapes for wine production, solar farm operations, and growing and marketing vegetables and fruits. Evaluations showed 84 percent of respondents increased their knowledge of local foods and 98 percent of respondents would recommend local foods farm tour programs to others.
4-H members learned how to ensure animal and food safety; 751 members attended one of 46 quality assurance trainings taught by Extension and Fairfield County junior fair volunteers. Participants learned through hands-on activities emphasizing the importance of maintaining medication and treatment records, proper administration techniques, and how to follow appropriate feed processor procedures and feed tag recommendations.
Through cooperative efforts of the Fairfield County Fair Board, OSU Extension, Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District, and Fairfield County Farm Bureau, the AGmazing Agri-Center was part of the 2016 Fairfield County fair. More than 20,000 visitors toured the building which was filled with information from food safety to growing fruits and vegetables to creating a wildlife habitat. Featured activities included apple tasting in cooperation with the Ohio Apple Growers Association, the Fairfield County Cattlemen’s Chili Cook-off with help from the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, and the 4-H Legacy Breakfast to benefit the Fairfield County 4-H Endowment Fund. Fairgoers could also see woodworking, electrical, and welding projects from local FFA chapters, and learn about decision-making skills needed to raise a market hog project via the 4-H Commodity Challenge. Special speakers engaged visitors on a variety of topics, from CAUV values with the county auditor to the Unleashed Canine 4-H Club demonstrating “Dogs at Work and at Play.”
Electronic newsletters, social media, weekly radio shows, a county website, and weekly newspaper columns were used to educate agricultural producers and homeowners of the latest research-based information to assist them in being competitive in farming and caring for their home landscape. Contributions are also made to statewide magazines such as the Ohio Farmer, Ohio's Country Journal, and the Ohio Cattleman. In addition, the OSU Extension – Fairfield County office publishes the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter. More than 200,000 electronic newsletters and individual pieces of information are distributed annually to clientele.
The Fairfield County Master Gardener Volunteer program hosted a spring program titled “Dig into Gardening,“ attended by 160 gardeners from five central Ohio counties. “Dig into Gardening” focused on native plants, pollinators, and incorporating beneficial plants into gardens and outdoor living spaces. In post-program surveys, 143 participants rated the conference Outstanding or Excellent. One participant noted, “I learned so much about a wide variety of plants and got lots of ideas for trouble spots in my yard, very thorough coverage of topics.”
Training was offered to 116 local farmers to meet the new statewide fertilizer certification requirement. The training emphasizes conducting a soil test and then adding only the needed amount of fertilizer based on the soil test results. Emphasis is also given to timing the application so as not to apply before a large precipitation event. The goal is to save the farmer money and reduce harmful algae blooms in local waterways caused by fertilizer runoff.
Pesticide Applicator Training was offered twice in 2016 to 104 local farmers. Local producers reviewed safety precautions concerning handling, mixing, applying, and storing pesticides. By completing the local three-hour training, participants are now qualified to renew their private pesticide applicator license for three years.