In 2016, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) of Putnam County held more than 150 direct nutrition education classes to residents of all ages, reaching more than 1,752 participants.
More than 1,074 school-age youth participated in nutrition education classes at Ottawa Elementary, Putnam County YMCA, and the ESC Migrant School in 2016. These classes use the research-based ‘Balance My Day’ curriculum to learn about healthy eating habits and staying active.
Preschool nutrition programs were held at Putnam County Head Start locations and Early Discovery Preschool in Leipsic bimonthly. More than 539 preschoolers participated in the year-long education series which included lessons on eating breakfast, drinking water, and active play.
Cooking Matters, a component of Share Our Strength’s, No Kid Hungry campaign, was offered at the OSU Extension – Putnam County office through SNAP-Ed. The six-week course is designed to help low-income families shop and cook healthy meals on a budget. A total of 15 participants attended the series, and 73 percent of them reported using food assistance programs within 30 days of starting the program. After completing the program, participants were more confident in their abilities to cook nutritious meals for their families.
4-H Tech Wizards is a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) after-school/group mentoring program for under-represented youth, grades four and five. 4-H Tech Wizards capitalizes on emerging technology as a way of involving youth and their families in learning basic life and workforce skills. The program helps youth aspire to post-secondary education, productive jobs and careers, and community engagement. The program is offered in collaboration with Ottawa Local Schools and maintains a consistent enrollment of 25 youth and seven trained mentors. Tech Wizards met 42 times in 2016. School truancy and suspensions have been reduced by 65 percent among those enrolled in the program. All participants increased their engagement with the community by using newly developed technology skills to give back to their community. They produced Holiday greeting cards for local nursing facilities and developed landscape designs for school building grounds.
Real Money. Real World. is a hands-on experience that gives young people the opportunity to make lifestyle and budget choices similar to those they will face as adults. OSU Extension – Putnam County 4-H offered the program to 1,158 students in grades 7-12. The Real Money. Real World. program consisted of four parts: pre-simulation preparation (including lessons on managing a check book, understanding a paycheck, and lifestyle/career choices), a hands-on budget management and decision-making simulation, and a post-session evaluation of choices made. Students participated in four hours of classroom training and two hours in the simulation. Self-assessment results showed the curriculum was successful in providing motivation for intent to change behaviors in spending. Students reported significant changes in their financial behavior after the program. Based on teacher comments: participants reported changes in the extent to which they now repay money owed on time, set aside money for the future, and compare prices. Students indicated they now think more carefully about spending money.
Influences on Career Choices for Northwest Ohio 4-H members: Area 4-H educators conducted a research project to determine what factors influence high school seniors when making decisions related to future careers and college education. Parents of students were asked to indicate what careers their child intended to pursue, what people and factors influenced those career choices, and their familiarity with and impressions of the job opportunities in Northwest Ohio. Parents of 4-H members were sorted from the sample to measure any differences in responses. Among the most interesting points of this research project include: 4-H parents believe they have significantly higher influences on their children’s choice of career than do non-4-H parents. The 4-H parents feel that high school, 4-H community involvement, and student interests are significantly more influential in shaping their child’s career path. A much greater percentage of 4-H parents believe that their seniors will go into areas of study related to agriculture. While only 4.6 percent of non-4-H parents believe that their children will enter the field of agriculture, 25.8 percent of the 4-H parents believe the same. 4-H parents indicated a stronger interest in having their child remain in northwest Ohio to live and work as adults.
Putnam County Farm Safety Round-Up: OSU Extension – Putnam County worked collaboratively with the Putnam County Health Department to conduct the 17th annual Farm Safety Camp. All nine school districts participated in the countywide program. Putnam County’s third-grade students rotated through several safety sessions including grain entrapment, pond safety, working safely around chemicals, electricity, tractors, and techniques in basic first aid. There were 557 students that attended the camp. Students completed a survey with a 92 percent response rate. Third graders were able to recall 10 out of 12 safety messages taught at the day camp with a minimum accuracy level of 89 percent.
The Putnam County 4-H program profile for 2016: The 4-H program had 756 traditional 4-H members completing more than 1,275 4-H projects. Fewer than 2 percent of the enrolled 4-H members did not complete their 4-H projects for the year. These members made up 24 community clubs led by 132 trained adult advisers. The expanded shooting sports program doubled enrollment in 2016 as it added two new shooting disciplines to its list of offerings. 4-H camp enrollment increased 30 percent to 175 campers and trained counselors attending in 2016.
Agronomy Night: More than 115 farmers learned about maximizing soybean production and management, using farm data to improve precision agriculture and useful farm apps at the 2016 Putnam County Agronomy Night.
PAT/FACT: OSU Extension – Putnam County conducted two pesticide applicator trainings (PAT, 160) with three hours on proper pesticide use. Farmers also received two hours of fertilizer applicator certification training (FACT, 145). New PAT had 24 farmers trained to sit for the exam.
Youth Quality Assurance: More than 360 Putnam County youth participated in livestock quality assurance programs taught by local Extension educators. Participants learned how to raise 4-H and FFA livestock projects in a humane manner while safely contributing their market animals to our nation’s wholesome food supply. Proper animal care, nutrition, reading a feed tag label, and the correct use of antibiotics were some of the topics addressed. As a result of the livestock quality assurance training, there were no cases reported of drug residues within junior fair livestock animals in 2016. There were no reported cases of animal abuse and/or maltreatment during exhibition at the junior fair within the county. None of the drug use notification forms were returned from ODA to Putnam junior fair programs because of missing or incomplete information.
County Educational Meetings: OSU Extension – Putnam County hosted an OSU Income Tax School (32), Annie’s project (17), a Beef Marketing meeting (22) and monthly Ag Council update meetings. Two commodity banquets were held (Beef and Dairy) with 600 people attending and a Putnam County Farm Bureau Farmer Share Breakfast was conducted this year.
Soil Health Research at Putnam County SHARP Site: Putnam County Commissions gave nine acres for replicated (4x) long-term soil health research on a Corn-Soybean-Wheat rotation using conventional tillage, no-till, and no-till + cover crops (ECO faming). Research continues on the plot.
Publications: Agricultural articles were published in the Putnam County Sentinel and adjourning county papers. Fact sheets and papers on cover crops were written.
Correspondence and Phone Calls: Phone calls, emails, and office visits on cover crops, manure, farm rental arrangements, farm management issues and horticulture were handled this year.
Master Gardener Volunteers completed 325 hours of service to the community in a variety of programs which include the Village of Ottawa Tree School and the 2016 Master Gardener Volunteer Garden Fair which had more than 60 attendees and more than 100 visitors to the Gardener’s Market. Master Gardener Volunteers are currently developing a pollinator garden at Quarry Farms as the next community outreach project.