James Hagan, Jeane, Melissa, Johnson, Kemberly V., Andrus, Aneisha
Family, Nutrition, & Health
The Nutrition Programs in Vernon Parish focuses on health, nutrition, physical activity, and obesity prevention among youth and adults. The nutrition and health components include the following programs: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP Ed) and General Nutrition Education.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP Ed)
SNAP- Ed is an evidence-based program that helps people lead healthier lives. SNAP- Ed teaches individuals about good nutrition, food dollar management, and how to be physically active. The goal of SNAP-Ed is to increase, within a limited budget, the likelihood that persons eligible for SNAP will make healthy food and lifestyle choices that prevent obesity, consistent with the most recent dietary advise reflected in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and USDA MyPlate.
Body Quest: Food of the Warrior
This obesity prevention program, created at the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, targets third-grade students. It is funded by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education, known as SNAP-Ed. This series of classes introduces kids to the Body Quest Warriors through iPad apps and traditional nutrition education combined. Children are also offered vegetables to taste throughout the program. The objectives are to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, increase physical activity, and enhance family environments. The goal of this 21-week program is to prevent childhood obesity in elementary youth. The Body Quest Program is currently conducted in two SNAP-eligible elementary schools in Vernon Parish.
Let’s Eat for the Health of It
Nutrition Agent, Aneisha Andrus, also presents healthy food tastings on quick and easy meals adults can make at home that are low cost and packed with nutrients using the Let’s Eat for the Health of It Curriculum. These lessons stress portion sizes, reading food labels, adding fruits and vegetables to the diet, the Dietary Guidelines, My Plate, food safety, and daily exercise.
4-H Youth Development
The Vernon Parish 4-H program has 31 traditional clubs for 9-19 year olds with an enrollment of 2128. 4-H is a traditional agriculture and family consumer science based program that teaches youth necessary life skills in the areas of personal development, decision making and communication. 4-H has also expanded to include economic development, citizenship/service learning and leadership. These life skills are taught through a variety of methods: club meeting programs, camp, workshops, contests, tours, social activities and more. Youth are also provided with the opportunity to gain knowledge and develop leadership skills beyond the local and parish levels through events such as State 4-H University, 4-H Marsh Maneuvers, Wild Woods Wonderings, Livestock and Horse Shows, Junior Leadership Conference and La. Co-op Leadership Conference. In addition to the traditional organized clubs, 4-H is offered on the Fort Polk Installation. Members can also join the 4-H Livestock Club and the 4-H Teen Leader Club. Vernon Parish also continues to have the largest 4-H enrollment in the state. Research has shown that youth who feel they belong to a group have a greater sense of independence, are more motivated and have fewer behavioral problems in school. 4-H uses the four elements of Positive Youth Development: Belonging, Mastery, Independence and Generosity to provide the youth of Vernon Parish with quality programs to engage the youth of Vernon Parish. Agriculture & Natural Resources
Vernon Parish Beef Alliance has fifteen producers that joined together to form an alliance. They developed a feeder calf program that ships about seven loads of calves which amounts to about $350,000.00 to Vernon Parish.
The Horse Industry in Vernon Parish has seen an increase in the number of race horses. This is generalized economic development for Vernon Parish through the purchase of feeds, fertilizer, equipment and pharmaceutical supplies.
LA Stock Horse Association conducted the finals competition in Vernon Parish which had 468 entries Not only did this assist with our equine program but brought in Economic Development to our parish.
Local Issues & Plans for this year.
1. Increase productivity and profitability of Louisiana Agriculture.
-Conduct farm and home educational visits
-Increase Agriculture Awareness parish-wide
-Conduct Master Horse Classes
-Assist with the Vernon Beef Alliance group
-Assist with the La. Stock Horse Association
-Write news column, web page content, and seminars on agriculture practices
2. Promote the wise use of natural resources and protection of the environment.
-Before and after hurricane information
-Conduct private pesticide re-certification classes
3. Build leaders and good citizens through 4-H youth development.
-The youth/adult partnerships of Vernon Parish will gain the knowledge and skills required to plan and conduct service learning/community service programs to meet the needs of their communities.
-4-H program will focus on involving youth and adults in activities which will encourage belonging, mastery, independence and generosity as they achieve necessary life skills.
-Will engage youth, teens, and adults in Development, as monthly lessons are taught on the Six Pillars of Character: Respect, Responsibility, Trustworthiness, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.
-Enhance both the Adult and Youth volunteer program through recruiting, one-on-one and group trainings, mentoring and recognition.
4. Strengthen families and communities
-FNP clients will receive training on feeding their families nutritionally on a budget
-Conduct workshops on disaster preparedness, Grab and Go Boxes, storm clean-up
and house cleaning after a storm.
-Teach classes on reducing credit balances and examining spending habits.
Who we reach.
6192 - Youth (includes 2128 4-H
members and 31 school 4-H clubs)
2000 - Adults
Ag & Natural ResourcesFamily Consumer Sciences
How we reach them.
4-H clubs Class series
School Enrichment Demonstrations
Field days Workshops
Newsletters Web sites
Expanding our efforts:
191 4-H Volunteers
105 Youth Volunteers
LSU AgCenter County Agents provide research-based information on plant, aquaculture, wildlife and animal enterprises to Vernon Parish clientele. The 2014 total dollar amounts from these commodities were:
—Plant enterprises - $83,192,176.
—Aquaculture and wildlife - $2,711,700.
—Animal enterprises - $35,930,582.
Data from the Louisiana Ag Summary
Web site: LSUAgCenter.com/agsummary
Population - 50,569
Land area (square miles) - 1327.91
Persons under 18 years old - 25.8%
Persons 65 years old and over - 11.4%
Median household income - $46,312
Persons below poverty - 17.5%