Healthy weight and diabetes education: At least 1 million Ohioans suffer from diabetes, and the 2015 Hancock County Health Assessment revealed that 19 percent of adults age 65 and older had been diagnosed with diabetes. The FCS program coordinator and SNAP-Ed program assistant collaborated with the YMCA and Blanchard Valley Hospital to provide a 10-week diabetes education program in 2016. Obesity prevention was the primary focus of the Coalition for Healthy Living group which meets monthly to coordinate activities and target needed changes to community feeding and fitness programs. On the Ball and Balance My Day are two evidence-based programs brought to local school-age children in 2016. This six-week program teaches youth how to incorporate healthy eating and activity in their day.
Sugar Shockers display at Healthy Kids Day: Children and their parents really embraced the importance of limiting sugared beverages as they compared the amount of sugar in drinks. Since a recent health assessment revealed that 35 percent of community parents are overweight and 24 percent are obese, engaging families at community events makes learning visual, interactive and fun. Many children exclaimed that water has “zero” sugar as they showed adults an empty container.
Cooking Matters is a series of six classes with hands-on food selection and preparation strategies for adults with limited resources. OSU Extension partners with Chopin Hall (a local food pantry) who sponsors all food, incentives, and new equipment. Participants learn the importance of reading food labels, meal planning, and food shopping on a budget. Class members practice basic culinary skills and are challenged weekly to prepare meals at home. SNAP-Ed program assistants and the FCS coordinator work cooperatively in teaching. Jackie, a Cooking Matters participant, said “It has taught me to substitute foods that I have on hand.” Jane said, "it taught me better options and choices of foods.” In the post-test survey, participants reported 100 percent confidence that they can buy and prepare healthy foods for their family. Chopin Hall has funds and is developing plans for a community kitchen to further support this program and more hands-on learning.
Food service manager training and certification: OSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences has partnered with the Training Achievement Program statewide to offer online training that meets new Ohio Department of Health rules. This program reduces the cost and gives managers training options.
Developing an engaged workforce for the future is important. Hancock County had two specific opportunities for young people this year. First, in a learning-by-doing process, 38 teens were selected as volunteer camp counselors for the Hancock County 4-H camp in 2016. Applicants learned how to complete applications, prepare for an interview, dress appropriately, and interview for the position. The counselor candidates completed a training program that included setting goals, agreeing to expectations, and developing a working relationship with the team members. This group planned and implemented a five-day 4-H camp for 200 children. In exit interviews, a majority of counselors indicated they learned and practiced skills they would be able to use in another job or be able to use their leadership and communication skills in their future adult careers.
Second, OSU Extension – Hancock County continued its partnership with Campfire of Northwest Ohio, Children’s Mentoring Connection and Findlay City Schools to work with at-risk youth in the Thrive program. Five different weekly programs conducted in the seventh, eighth and ninth grades served 100 youth. Through a yearlong series of workshops, guest speakers, peer and adult mentors the teens were immersed in workforce and life skill development. Increased attendance especially on programming days was noted by the schools as well as a decrease in discipline visits.
Hancock County served 1,883 youth through 42 4-H clubs, programs, and school enrichment in 2016. When discussing their experiences with a group of 4-H teens, the following was shared about the impact of 4-H: One 4-H member plans to open a bakery. “4-H has empowered me to have confidence in myself to achieve things I never thought possible, like starting my own home-based bakery: Pickles’s Pastries with Pizazz.” Another member shared “4-H has given me the opportunities to step out as a leader. I have not only become involved in my organization, but also my community.”
In 2016, Hancock Saves worked to provide programming for students and adults. The goal of these programs is to help participants set financial goals through the review of available tools and resources. In all, 377 students participated in a five-day financial education curriculum. The curriculum focused on general financial literacy topics including understanding wants and needs, setting up a budgeting plan, saving early and often and the importance of philanthropy. Students were evaluated through a pre- and post-test, and 76 percent (or 286) of the students indicated that they increased their knowledge of financial literacy topics throughout this program.
Ag Talk, a daily weekday radio program, provided timely crop production alerts and discussions on issues affecting agriculture so 70,000 listeners would have the latest information to make sound economic decisions.
This year, 20 beef producers participated in three programs to become more profitable, understand what customers prefer in beef products, utilize feed more efficiently, and how to develop a marketing plan.
The Master Gardener Volunteer program increased interest and availability of local foods via community education programs, answering individual gardening questions, and growing vegetable demonstration plots in community garden. Master Gardener Volunteers provided 4,847 pounds of fresh produce for the community’s “Feed the Hungry” challenge. Master Gardener Volunteers developed “Let’s Go Gardening,” a weekly radio program aired during the growing season to encourage individuals to raise their own vegetables.
Local foods has been a focus area for family and consumer sciences in 2016. Working with the Findlay farmers' market, radio station, and public library, we celebrated Ohio Local Foods Week in August and have provided classes and home food preservation updates and resources. A commitment to local food stimulates Ohio’s agricultural economy and puts more fruits and vegetables on dinner tables.
County Agent, a weekly newspaper column, reached 20,000 individuals each time to inform the non-farm audience about food production and importance of agriculture to the local economy.
This year, 800 participants learned about the importance of agriculture to the local economy on a county farm tour that allowed individuals to see firsthand the day-to-day operations of eight agricultural-related activities.
Also, 23 new individuals were trained as Master Gardener Volunteers to become a horticulture resource to the community by providing educational programs, answering yard and garden questions, and developing community service projects. The Master Gardener Volunteer program provides more than 5,000 volunteer hours to the community and answers more than 2,500 individual horticulture questions during the year.
This year, 65 future leaders, participating in the Hancock Leadership and Youth Leadership Ag Day learned about the county’s agriculture industry, its contribution to the local economy, and the adjustments agriculture has made to stay profitable, sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Hancock Saves provided programming to adults with a blend of activities including basic household budgeting, the importance of saving and setting smart goals, understanding and reviewing credit reports and first-time homeownership basics. As a community partner of United Way, collaborations were essential in reaching participants; the majority of attendees were referrals from partner community agencies. To maintain continuity, two sessions per month were held for lower-income residents at their current residence. This allowed the program coordinator to develop relationships with the participants with the goal of increasing outcomes for everyone participating. In all, 84 adults have participated in the financial literacy programming. Participants were evaluated through a pre- and post-test; 72 percent (73 of 84 people) indicated that they learned something new from the program.
In 2016, 373 producers renewed their private applicator pesticide license by completing training on the latest pesticide safety methods and proper ways to use pesticides to protect the environment and increase farm income.
Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training certified 295 producers and provided information on best management practices for nutrient stewardship, increasing profits with proper use of plant nutrients, and ways to reduce algae blooms in Lake Erie with phosphorus management.
A local soil fertility research program has provided results to better manage phosphorus and nitrogen in crop production systems. A fall soybean weed survey has been used to reduce the spread of weed resistance to current herbicide programs and identify weeds limiting yields. A Western bean cutworm survey has been used to prevent unnecessary applications of pesticides.