As a member of the Fulton County Wellness Committee, Extension created a variety of activities in the wellness program for more than 400 county employees. An on-site “Waist Watchers” program was offered. Stairway signage, framed restroom messaging, indoor walking routes and maps, outdoor walking routes and maps, virtual walks, as well as organized walks in central locations encouraged county employees to add physical activity to their day. In addition, quarterly lunch and learns and a digital learning library on the intranet provided employees insight and tools to improve their overall health and wellness. Wellness incentives were offered as well throughout the year to maintain motivation. Called “Fuel Your Day,” those incentives included bottles of water, apples, and vegetable trays delivered to the county offices.
Woman’s Day at the Fulton County fair, which was co-hosted with the Ohio Homemakers and Community Educators (OHCE), was a huge success. More than 150 attendees, both male and female enjoyed informative programming including soap making and basic photography.
Parenting programs were facilitated at the regional jail (CCNO) to provide support to those parenting and co-parenting. Active Parenting in 3, an evidence-based curriculum was used, along with video support and interactive exercises. Both male and female classes were offered to encourage the 78 participants to adopt new skills in parenting, including mutual respect, communication, avoiding power struggles and effective discipline.
Weekly classes were provided to more than 100 Fulton County Jobs and Family Services clients who were in the job-seeking process. The focus of the classes was to help job seekers improve their personal and life skills as well as develop their workforce abilities, with the ultimate goal of successful employment and self-sufficiency. Classes include interviewing skills and developing personal and professional skills.
Fulton County 4-H served 998 youth through 40 4-H clubs. Fulton County 4-H is led by adults who provide safe, inclusive environments for youth to determine goals and make educated decisions. Members develop leadership and interviewing skills as part of being club members and officers. The program encourages youth and parents to work as a team to problem-solve building skills for resiliency. Parents are involved in participation at club events and are encouraged to learn along with their children.
This year, 197 volunteers worked directly with youth, ensuring positive youth development experiences. The volunteers provide leadership in the 4-H program, and each volunteer donates approximately 100 hours per year. At the current Ohio rate of $22.14 per volunteer hour, this equates to $436,158 worth of volunteer support to our county’s future leaders. Support for their efforts includes initial screening and background check, fingerprinting, orientation to the role and continuing training provides a safer, caring environment to nurture youth.
This year, 100 percent of the eligible Fulton County 4-H Junior Fair exhibitors with livestock projects completed quality assurance training. The five training sessions were a collaborative effort of the Fulton County 4-H educator, Senior Fair Board members, FFA advisers and 4-H advisers/volunteers. A total of 786 youth learned about animal ethics, animal husbandry and raising quality food-chain animals, thus providing a safer food source for consumers.
This year, 204 youth (including 33 teen counselors and 10 adult volunteers, one of whom is a registered nurse) participated in 4-H camp. Participation in the camp program contributes to a caring community environment and improved social and physical development.
Each year, approximately 200 teen traffic offenders complete the Northwest Ohio 4-H CARTEENS program, which is cooperatively offered by 4-H in Defiance, Fulton, Henry and Williams counties. This peer-to-peer-taught program focuses on re-education about Ohio traffic laws, distracted driving, seatbelt safety, speeding, and sharing the road with large farm equipment; and it has reduced the amount of repeat teen offenders.
Youth need a clear understanding to manage their finances. The school-enrichment program Real Money. Real World. provided financial education to 247 Fulton County 12th-graders through hands-on simulation. Participants gained financial knowledge during a real-life simulation of occupation, salary, family and budget balancing. These youth commented, “I’m living at home so my parents can pay all these bills” and “I’m not having kids. They’re too expensive.”
Managing nutrients to improve water quality is a very important impact area for Fulton County. Since 2014, more than 800 farmers have completed Fertilizer Applicator Certification and Training (FACT) at programs in Fulton County. Attendees learned best management practices for managing soil test levels and applying nitrogen and phosphorus. This year, 22 on-farm research trials were conducted throughout the county to evaluate nutrient management practices. As water quality is important to all stakeholders, including farmers, 18 water quality monitoring stations were installed by farmer volunteers to monitor dissolved reactive phosphorus leaving the field. On-farm research emphasis continues to be the 4 Rs (right rate, right source, right time, and right placement) of nutrient application on farm fields.
The February “NextGen Farm Management Series” was repeated with more than 31 farm participants, including several from neighboring states. As a result, 55 percent of attendees developed a farm mission statement, 65 percent of attendees completed year-end balance sheets, and 74 percent improved their farm recordkeeping system.
To keep commercial farmers informed of the latest precision farming concepts, the Northwest Ohio Precision Agriculture Sprayer Clinic was held in August with a focus on reducing pesticide drift, increasing efficacy and improving spray technology. Participants were able to earn pesticide applicator credits and Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) continuing education units. Producers and consultants representing more than 279,000 acres were impacted by this program. Via this summer field day, the annual Northwest Ohio Corn-Soybean Day and smaller private pesticide applicator re-certification programs, 309 farmers were educated on how to manage their herbicide sites of action for resistance prevention and manage crop pests effectively.
An Intensive Corn Management School was held for more than 20 producers to learn the most up-to-date, research-based information to guide their corn production. Producers used hands on activities to learn about weed control, nutrient management and disease prevention.