The Live Healthy Live Well signature program reached more than 100 county residents via social media through two six-week, online wellness challenges. Evaluations confirmed 87 percent of participants adopted one or more of the recommended practices to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases including increasing physical activity, improving their diet and using stress coping techniques. Comments included “I learned to take time for myself and get in more physical exercise.” “I am also more aware of what I have to eat.” While research on the cost savings of workplace wellness programs varies, studies typically show a return of $3 per $1 spent.
Million Hearts: Improving Cardiovascular Health Across Ohio classes assisted 10 people in making changes to lower their risk factors in heart disease. At the end of the classes, 100 percent cited they are using less salt, using more spices to flavor their foods and using healthier cooking oils. Plus, 80 percent are trying to be more physically active. After a class on reducing sodium taught at the Commission on Aging, written comments from the 42 adult attendees included, “I am going to read labels.” and “I am going to use more herbs in my cooking.”
This year, 85 participants completed pesticide training and recertification learning about new technology and safety updates to renew their private applicator’s license. Based on the farm size breakdown of 3 percent less than 49 acres, 86 percent between 50 and 1,999 acres, and 10 percent more than 2,000 acres, participants represent a large number of acres being covered by a licensed private pesticide applicator.
This year, 42 teens served on the Junior Fair Board and spent numerous hours being trained by Extension professionals while planning fair activities for 1,200 junior fair participants. Junior Fair Board members developed 21st century skills that will help them transition into the workforce as young adults. In post-fair interviews, teens shared in interviews that they improved upon or developed “teamwork,” “communication,” “time management,” and “leadership” skills, all marketable skills, from their Junior Fair Board experiences.
In 2016, the Business Retention and Expansion program (BR&E) helped local companies create at least more than 100 new jobs and retain more than 1,000 jobs in the community. This yielded an estimated amount of $15,900 in capital investment.
A Manufacturing Day tour to local manufacturing companies has helped more than 180 students in ninth grade gain awareness of modern manufacturing needs and increased their knowledge on skills and careers in manufacturing industries. The assistant superintendent said, “We appreciate the opportunity for our students to witness and explore the job areas in our community in this worthwhile program.”
“At the beginning I thought I didn’t need to come to this, but it’s been helpful. I feel I can now make better judgements and decisions,” commented a student in the Youth Leadership Development Program. Knowledge was gained on leadership/character building, peer leadership, responsible decision making, time management and goal setting by 32 students from local schools.
4-H camp created memories and taught independent living skills such as decision making to 154 4-H members in third to 10th grade during a five-day overnight camp. A first-time camper wanted to stay at camp all summer because of his counselors. The 36 teenage counselors played a valuable role in the lives of the campers. Utilizing 19 middle school trained counselors, Cloverbud Day Camp with 29 younger campers (5- to 8-year-olds), was held consecutively. For camp, 100 percent of both groups of counselors were responsible for the safety of campers, completing safety training, along with risk management and planning the camp program and activities. One teen summed up an important part of being a counselor: “My goal is to have a fun and safe experience they (campers) won’t forget!” Through bi-monthly meetings, counselors learned workforce development skills while learning to work as a team, used effective communication skills and demonstrated leadership skills. In post-camp evaluations, most counselors recognized their skills had improved. All counselors were required to set personal goals before camp; numerous teens stated in post-camp evaluations that their goal of improving their “public speaking goal” had been met.
A recent study by Ohio State showed that the average cost of foodborne illness to Fayette County could be $11 million to $20 million per year. In 2016, 32 participants attended the 16-hour ServSafe Food Safety Manager (Level 2) training, and 26 passed the exam with an average score of 85 percent. Level 1 (Safe Food Handler) training was attended by 55 county food service employees. A 63 percent increase was seen in pre- and post-tests.
Real Money. Real World. provided 300 seventh- and eighth-grade students from county schools with hands-on experience in personal finance. During a simulation where 32 community volunteers staffed booths, the students spent their “salaries” on items in a typical monthly budget. Comments collected included, “I need to improve my grades so I can get into college,” “I will open a savings account so I can start saving money now,” and “I did not realize how expensive childcare can be.”
By participating in 4-H community clubs organized by 139 adult volunteers, 727 youth ages 5-19 years old learned valuable life lessons through completing 4-H projects.
Estate planning for farm families is a difficult topic, but can have a significant impact on the longevity of the family farming operation. Assets, liabilities, off-farm family members and on-farm family members require a lot of planning. At least 26 of the 30 farm family members attending the beginner’s estate planning workshop stated they will begin the dialogue needed to pass the farm to the next generation and would like additional programming.
In parenting classes, 22 parents said they were encouraging their children more and using at least one of the discipline techniques learned. During classes on newborns, parent comments included “I feel more confident taking care of my baby.” “My grandmother said I was spoiling my baby, but now I know picking her up when she cries is not spoiling her.”
This summer, Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) partnered with the Fayette County Farmers’ Market to provide more than 1,200 pounds of fresh produce to the Fayette County Food Pantry. Fayette County won the state MGV produce challenge for small groups.
Farmers must produce more food on fewer acres and need to preserve those acres. A demonstration plot using a variety of cover crop options was viewed at the county field day. The different cover crop mixtures offer benefits to the different field crops that would be planted during the next growing season. Farmers could calculate an average of 20 to 30 pounds of fixed nitrogen per acre from a cereal grain cover crop, with nitrogen costs at $700 per ton that results in a $7 to $10 savings per acre of corn.
Field day speakers and demonstrations provided 325 individuals with knowledge in chemical resistant crops, grain marketing, aerial mapping, pesticide handling and calibrating chemical applicators. Several farmers commented on the quality of speakers, the topics presented and knowledge gained from the event.
In 2016, 10 Master Gardener Volunteers volunteered 735 hours of service to our community worth $16,956.45. The Master Gardener Volunteers receive many complements from the Sponsor-A- Pot program and from plantings at “The Point” and Veterans Park.
OSU Extension collaborated with Ohio State students in the City and Regional Department to revise and update the county comprehensive land use plan. The collaboration has helped the county save between $60,000 - $80,000. More than 257 county people have been involved in the process attending some of the seven meetings.
Citizenship and service are an important aspect of the Fayette County Teen Leadership Council; 24 teens learned about local government while attending a school board and a city council meeting. Several assisted with setting up the spring and summer election polling stations and organizing a community 5K Paws for a Cause for the Humane Society. From these experiences, teens became aware of the impact local government has on their lives. Two teen leaders were selected as state 4-H achievement award winners due to their 4-H projects tied to their community involvement, and they will attend the National 4-H Congress in Atlanta.
This year, 40 local agricultural businesses exhibited at the county field day, representing more than $5 million in inventory. A comment from one of the equipment dealers: “I cannot miss this event. The local farmers support the businesses that are here. I would be willing to pay more to exhibit at this event.”
Through the eXtension Ask an Expert program, three volunteers answered 135 horticulture questions on plants and bugs. Volunteered time amounted to $507 with a coordinator answering 51 additional questions.
Partnering with Soil and Water, MGVs mitigate and educate youth at a YMCA wetland project. They also partner with Ohio State to provide pollination data from their phenology garden, predicting pest emergence resulting in less pesticides applied.
Pesticide and fertilizer training can lower production costs and increase awareness of environmental impact on our water supplies. Calibration techniques were highlighted in training sessions, helping farmers verify they are only applying the amount needed of a certain product. Of the 40 attendees, 25 committed to calibrate their personal sprayer before using it.