Cooperative Extension Service
The Cooperative Extension Service is a partnership in outreach education funded by federal, state and local governments. The program is administered in Georgia by county extension agents from the University of Georgia (UGA) and Fort Valley State University.
County agents rely on research-based information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations, and faculty from the two universities. The Cooperative Extension Service began in 1914 as a mechanism to teach farmers and their families how to improve their quality of life. Today it delivers education throughout the state in agricultural and environmental sciences, family and consumer sciences, 4-H and youth development, and related areas. Here in Stephens County, the University of Georgia Extension staff is Susan Yearwood, County Extension Coordinator and 4-H Agent, VACANT, County Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent, and Tabitha Bohannon, County Extension Administrative Assistant.
The mission of Georgia 4-H is to assist youth in acquiring knowledge, developing life skills, and forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive and contributing members of society. This mission is accomplished, through “hands on” learning experiences, focused on agricultural and environmental issues, agriculture awareness, leadership, communication skills, foods and nutrition, health, energy conservation, and citizenship.
Exploring and discovering, encouraging and challenging, that’s what Georgia 4-H is all about. As a program of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Cooperative Extension System, 4-H is part of the nationwide Extension network. 4-H’ers are known for sharing their research-based knowledge and technology to people where they live and work. 4-H combines federal, state, and local expertise and resources.
Agriculture is a driving economic force in Stephens County with an estimated farm gate value of $52,160,015. The vast majority of agricultural production can be attributed to the thriving poultry and cattle industries in the county. Broiler production is particularly important with a total value of $27,557,165. Beef cattle production is also very important with a combined value of $15,380,848. There are a total of 227 farms in Stephens County spanning 19,509 acres with an average of 86 acres per farm.