One of Bulloch County's own has traveled full circle as Susannah Martin Lanier, a passionate 4-H member in her school days, joins the Bulloch County Extension Service as the new 4-H leader.
Lanier grew up in the Brooklet area, attending Southeast Bulloch High School, where she "was really into 4-H and FFA," she said.
The daughter of Ben and Donna Martin took that passion for farm life and agriculture with her as she attended the University of Georgia, earning an agribusiness degree in 2007.
Afterwards, she returned home to spend seven years teaching agriculture education at her alma mater, Southeast Bulloch High. She taught students about animal and plant science, and was the FFA advisor.
She and her husband Luke Lanier, whose parents Sydney and Bonnie Lanier own farmland in Candler County, soon became parents as son Charlie, now 2 ½, came along. Lanier left her teaching position to become a marketing director for Shuman Produce out of Reidsville, but after a year, found herself back in Bulloch as the county's new 4-H agent.
The 32-year-old is expecting a second child soon she said. "We don't know (the sex of the child). We want to be surprised."
She enjoys traveling, which is a good thing since "we have family all over," she said. She is still a die-hard UGA Bulldogs fan, and likes to travel to Athens for games. Lanier and her family are very active members of the Metter United Methodist Church and live on property near her husband's family farm in Candler County, she said.
Lanier is excited to be back in the middle of the 4-H world.
"4-H provides so many opportunities to kids that would otherwise not have them," she said. Especially, "students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged and do not have resources. We offer leadership and learning opportunities that expose kids to thins they would never be exposed to otherwise."
As 4-H leader, Lanier works closely with student members as she leads meetings, helps with projects, attends club-related events and advises them. Her background as a 4-H member in school, an FFA advisor and an agriculture teacher lends experience and a flavor of rural and farming life to the things she teaches club members.
Through 4-H, students "Learn skills they will use their whole life," she said. "We start them out young and what we teach gives them skills that future employers would need to see in adults."
Lanier joined the Bulloch County Cooperative Extension Service Nov. 1. The office is in the Bulloch Center for Agriculture building on Langston Chapel Road.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.