OSU Extension – Gallia County participated in three community health fair events, providing educational information and activities designed around healthy food choices, serving size, daily exercise, and 4-H food and nutrition projects for youth. A total of 630 people attended these three events.
Gallia County 4-H provided “Recognizing, Reporting and Preventing Child Abuse” training to 139 4-H volunteers and 19 teen camp counselors. This training certified that 100 percent of our 4-H volunteers were aware of signs and types of child abuse and actions to take to if abuse is suspected. Each year these volunteers donate approximately 100 hours to youth development programming in our county, for an estimated 13,900 hours of positive adult mentoring. This training along with regular background checks helps to ensure a safe and positive 4-H experience.
4-H camp builds critical life skills for both campers and counselors. Six different summer camping opportunities were offered to children in Gallia County, including Special Needs camp and STEM camp. Gallia County counselors completed 20-40 hours of comprehensive training including Counselor College, a weekend training program. During the training, 100 percent of the counselors completed a job application, went through an interview process and successfully completed their work experience as a summer camp counselor. Also, 37 percent of these counselors became CPR/first aid certified, six percent earned their high ropes certification, and six percent earned their lifeguarding certification. Evaluations showed 100 percent improved in emergency preparedness, leadership skills, and communication skills.
In 2016, 39 teens enrolled in the Gallia County 4-H Teen Leaders program took part in at least one county or state leadership event. Teens served as 4-H summer camp counselors, Cloverbud day camp counselors, quality assurance trainers, taught STEM activities to fourth graders, conducted CARTEEN programs, assisted with community service events and conducted learning stations at the Gallia County junior fair. These teens provided more than 2,500 service hours teaching and leading events. Five outstanding teens were recognized for personally contributing between 75 to 180 hours to county leadership events.
The 4-H scholarship and achievement program awards teens with opportunities to travel, attend state level camps and earn money for college. In 2016, $24,500 was awarded in college scholarships, trips and camp scholarships to 4-H members in Gallia County.
The Ohio School Report Card indicates that both of our county school systems have slipped into the lower grade ranges. The third-grade math proficiency shows a drop from 90 percent proficient in 2012 to 30 percent proficient in 2016. At the high school level, only 17.9 percent of students are proficient in the physical sciences. Gallia County 4-H set STEM based programming as its number one goal for 2016. To date, we have provided STEM programming to more than 1,000 students within the Gallia school districts. This includes monthly Saturday Cloverbud educational programs, after-school programming, school enrichment programs, and camping programs. Gallia County saw a 60 percent increase in kids registering to attend our summer STEM camp in 2016, and individual program evaluations showed an 80 percent increase in subject material based knowledge.
Gallia County 4-H served 895 youth through 45 community clubs and is the largest non-school youth program in the county. County 4-H clubs include 12 specialty clubs which focus on horses, dogs or shooting sports and two school enrichment clubs which operate as part of a school classroom. The diversity of our club settings allows us to offer 4-H to a variety of children including those with physical or economic needs. Participation in a community club gives children the opportunity to develop life skills and to participate in a community service project. Each year, 100 percent of our clubs conduct at least one community project.
The Gallia County Homemakers is made up of 17 ladies, who meet monthly for educational programs, social activities and to conduct community service projects. This year’s project was making blankets for newborns.
Ohio Valley Extension Education and Research Area educators, partnered with the Ohio Agricultural Research Development Center’s Jackson Agricultural Research Station to present Forage and Beef Field Night for 225 clients on profitable beef management practices. Participants learned about heifer selection, economics of heifer production, management options, nutrition, and the new Veterinarian Feed Directive. Pre- and post-event surveys show that producers increased their knowledge of heifer selection and management to keep the cow in the herd.
A variety of educational outreaches were conducted, including a home canning workshop and appearances on WSAZ’s “The Saturday Report.” Topics included home and garden, farmers' markets, produce auction, natural resources and pest control. This broadcast viewing area includes southern Ohio, West Virginia and northern Kentucky.
This year, 32 produce growers attended good production practices training for produce growers, ensuring their practices would provide consumers a safe, wholesome product to feed their families. As a result, growers are using the training to reach out to buyers who require that they be trained and following the GAP program.
The Agriculture and Natural Resources educator worked with the Gallia County commissioners and the Gallia County Economic Development Office to support the Gallia County Farmers' Market and Produce Auction, which provides fresh produce to local residents and a marketing opportunity for local produce, meat and egg producers.
Three sessions of Ohio Beef School held in the county provided education on marketing, management and herd health. This year, 30 producers took part in the educational seminars.
Quality assurance training was provided to 328 4-H and FFA fair exhibitors, with another 76 exhibitors taking the test-out option. The goal of quality assurance is to improve the quality of the market products produced by youth exhibitors. Through educational efforts, the Gallia County junior fair has shown an increase in successful market animal production, ensuring residue-free products and enhanced animal care practices.
Agriculture awareness education programs were presented to 481 fourth grade students, their teachers and adult chaperones. Students learned where their food comes from, giving them a greater appreciation for agriculture.
All 45 4-H clubs in Gallia County participate in at least one community service project. These projects provide much needed services and donations to many of our community events including: Gallipolis in Bloom, the Snack Pack Program and supporting our local food and animal shelters. In 2016, 45 percent of our 4-H clubs took part in a county service project led by the K9 Corps entitled “Pennies for Protection,” which raised more than $2,500 to buy bullet-proof protective vests for our K9 officers in and around Gallia County. A total of three vests have been presented to the three local K9 officers working in the county and funding is almost complete for a fourth vest to be presented to a neighboring county’s K9 officer.
The 4-H CARTEENS program is a bimonthly driver’s safety program facilitated by 12 trained 4-H teen leaders in partnership with the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Gallia County Juvenile Court. The goal is to promote safe driving practices and to reduce teen crashes. Survey results show that 93 percent of the teens completing the program plan to change at least one of their driving habits and 98 percent of the teens increased their driver’s safety knowledge.
Gallia County junior fair: In 2016, 1651 4-H projects were successfully completed. Of these projects, 571 were market projects, which sold for a grand total of $477,602 ($365,316 above market value), 735 were general projects and 345 were non-selling animal projects. 4-H exhibitors also earned more than $24,000 in fair premiums and prize money from Holzer Health Systems and other community sponsors. Monies from the sale of market projects, fair premiums, and awards go directly to the 4-H and FFA families involved in the fair.
Pesticide applicator testing and recertification was provided to 94 individuals. These individuals were seeking either commercial applicators certification or private applicator certification. Training focused on sprayer calibration, personal protective equipment and the latest research in pesticide application and safety.
This year, 32 producers completed Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training (FACT) in Gallia County. This certification is required for anyone applying commercial fertilizer to more than 50 acres where crops grown will be marketed. This is part of an effort to ensure proper use of fertilizers and protecting water supplies.
This year, 28 people attended the Tobacco Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification program to be updated on new laws and regulations for production and marketing of tobacco. GAP certification is required for individuals who will be marketing tobacco.
OSU Extension partnered with Gallia County SWCD to provide educational programing at the 2016 Farm City Day. This program provided soil health and composting information and activities for more than 300 attendees. As a result of these efforts, the OSU Extension – Gallia County office has seen an increase in fall soil samples being conducted.