2019 Report to the People

The following 4-H Youth Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Family and Consumer Sciences articles printed in the 2019 Winter edition of the Oldham County Extension Newsletter and the 2019 Oldham County Extension Report to the People.

Report to the People


oc 4-H emerald winner

Raising Young Leaders

In 2019, Beth Huffman received one of the four Kentucky 4-H Emerald Awards. At the age of 9, this young lady joined Leaders of the Pack Dog Club where she still remains active today as a club co-leader.

Beth summed up her 4-H career: “4-H has shaped me in many ways. When I first joined, I was a shy kid who didn’t talk to anyone. Eleven years later, and I am now comfortable speaking in front of groups of people. This is a place I never thought I would be. 4-H has built my character and has changed my life. It has taught me so many important things, like the value of family because 4-H has been a second family to me. I couldn’t have asked for any better people to surround myself with than those I have met in 4-H. 4-H took a 9 year-old-girl who didn’t talk and has turned me into a strong and independent woman.”

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oc 4-h camp

Breaking 4-H Camp Records

Oldham County 4-H broke all county camp records with 370 attending the summer of 2019. At the close of camp, campers indicated 80% learned a new skill while at camp, 86% made their own decisions while at camp, and 84% worked with people different from themselves.

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oc extension leader award

Extending Our Reach

Each year, the Oldham County Cooperative Extension Service honors a volunteer who shows outstanding leadership and commitment to Extension programs.

2019 Extension Leader of the Year Ken Heppermann began volunteering by teaching a business management class for Extension in 2006. He has since served on the Oldham County Extension Council, helping identify needs that Extension can address through its programs, and on the District Board which provides oversight of funds and spending.

Oldham County Extension continues to move forward with improved services and educational programs for residents, thanks to the dedication of Ken and many other volunteer leaders.

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4h woodworkers

Building 4-H Leaders

4-H Woodworkers of Oldham County led a woodworking project for local girl and boy scouts, enabling 25 scouts to receive their woodworking badges. Each scout constructed a blue bird box. 4-H members also made birdhouses which they donated to Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve.

Club leader Sherry DeCuir shared the following, “I have watched the members develop confidence that comes from practicing a new skill. They are becoming more expressive with their ideas and becoming leaders.”

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4h public speaking program

Strengthening Public Speaking Skills

In 2019, Oldham County 4-H empowered over 507 youth through the 4-H Public Speaking program with 450 presenting at the club level, 28 attending the county event, seven competing at the District Event, and four individuals qualifying for the State Event.

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healthy choices program

Promoting Healthy Choices for Healthier Families

Sixty limited resource individuals graduated Extension’s Healthy Choices program taught by the Oldham County Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Assistant through three recovery programs: Roederer Substance Abuse Program, McCauley Halfway House, and District Drug Court. Goals for the program included improving overall nutrition while stretching food dollars.

Participants learned how to create healthy meals on a budget, proper food safety practices, and better food resource management. Classes included a cooking demonstration and food sampling of meals prepared. Participant self-reporting showed that:

  • 93% learned to plan meals before grocery shopping
  • 89% will make a grocery list before shopping
  • 95% showed a positive change in nutrition for at least one food group

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horse pasture

Strengthening Extension’s Service to the Horse Industry

Horses continue to be the top agriculture commodity in Oldham County. The last Kentucky Equine Survey ranked Oldham County as follows:

  • #4 in State in Value of Equine Sold at $7.2 million
  • #5 in State in Equine Operation Income at $11 million
  • #6 in State in Total Value of Equine and Equine-Related Assets at $163 million

Prompted by the 2018 Equine Extension Summit and the UK Equine Working Group, an initiative began to reach out to horse operations to learn about challenges and needed assistance.

The UK Horse Specialist and the Oldham County Agriculture Agent visited nine horse operations in 2019. Results included providing technical advice and drawings for arenas and facilities, including a proposed horse park project; providing renovation and management recommendations for a breeding farm to improve foaling conditions and foal health; and assisting in business planning for a horse facility seeking to increase farm income.

“Pasture management classes I have taken in Oldham County have helped me maintain healthy pastures and in turn a very healthy herd of Thoroughbreds. Without your expertise I would have been hard pressed in some of these trying weather years to keep the pastures in good condition.”

– Elizabeth Rosenberg, Le Bon Cheval Farm

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master gardeners

Teaching Home Horticulture and Volunteering

Oldham County Master Gardeners had another record-breaking volunteer year. Thirty-seven Master Gardeners contributed 2,156 volunteer hours in the community. Oldham County sites supported by Master Gardener work include Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve, Yew Dell Gardens, Brownsboro Area Trail Association, Harrods Creek Park, Friendship Health & Rehabilitation, and the Kentucky State Fair.

Master Gardeners have hosted and taught 17 public gardening programs since January 2018.

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water protection

Protecting Streams and Preventing Soil Erosion

Oldham County is home to many small streams, with many of these running through residential property. Many residents report flooding and drainage issues on their property due to streambank erosion and stream blockages. Oldham County Extension partnered with the Oldham County Engineer’s Office and the Curry’s Fork Watershed to offer ‘Backyard Streams,’ a program to teach residents about evaluating, maintaining, and repairing streams.

Twenty residents learned practices to reduce pollution from lawn fertilizers and pesticides; how to use buffered areas to prevent streambank erosion; other ways to dispose of limbs and leaves; and proper ways to repair damaged or unhealthy streams. Participants also learned about county recycling resources and technical assistance available to troubleshoot stream problems.

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oldham county extension

Extension At A Glance

  • 930 youth use skills learned through 4-H to conserve natural resources
  • 487 youth and adults adopted practices to conserve or protect soil and water
  • 1,591 Oldham County residents reported using leadership skills learned through Extension (communications, decision making, facilitating activities)
  • 2,730 youth and adults reported using life skills learned through Extension (science, engineering, and technology; gardening; caring for pets and livestock; culinary arts)
  • 174 Extension leaders were involved in addressing significant community issues
  • 631 farmers and residents incorporated best production practices learned through Extension
  • 70 youth mentored younger youth
  • 537 producers and residents utilized Extension diagnostic services (soil testing, forage testing, and pest identification and management)
  • 241 youth gained at least one new life skill as a result of participating in 4-H summer residential camp
  • 86,849 people reached through Extension programming

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Written by Lauren Fernandez, Oldham County Extension Assistant; Traci Missun, Oldham County Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent; Sherry Ragsdale, Oldham County EFNEP Assistant; and Kelly Woods, Oldham County 4-H Agent.

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