Making A Difference in Our County
We're working hard for the citizens we serve. Here are some examples of successful projects from the past year:
EXTENSION ASSISTS FARMERSDURING DROUGHT
Forage production is very important to the livestock producers in Banks County. More than 8,300 acres produce hay in the county, providing feed for the estimated 12,000 beef cattle, 80 dairy cattle, 3,800 goats and sheep, and 1,500 horses being raised in Banks County. During the summer of 2016, a severe drought settled in on the north Georgia region, followed by one of the worst invasions of fall armyworms in the last 40 years. With little or no grass to feed cattle, and hay reserves already being used, livestock producers were at a loss as to how to feed their livestock through the winter months. The Banks County Extension agent provided educational materials through media and email to combat the armyworms and to develop alternative feed sources to substitute for hay. All of the 76 producers assisted planned to apply pesticides for armyworms according to UGA Extension recommendations, protecting thousands of acres of pasture and hayfields. Beef cattle producers used Extension assistance to provide alternative winter feeds for their cattle from either least-cost feed rations using cheaper byproduct ingredients, high-fat liquid supplements, or hay from other states or other areas of Georgia. During the drought period, 58 samples of forage were tested for quality to assure proper cattle nutrition throughout the winter.
AGRICULTURAL LABORATORY SERVICES
Banks County Extension provides a great service to the farmers and homeowners of the county with soil, forage, litter and water testing through the Agricultural and Environmental Services Laboratories at the University of Georgia. The Banks County agent interprets and gives recommendations based on the lab results. In 2016, 159 soil, 39 water, 73 forage and 27 litter samples from Banks County were tested.
EDUCATING YOUTH FOR CAREERSIN AGRICULTURE
The importance of young people receiving formal education and staying in the agricultural industry is imperative to keep up with the future strenuous demands on production. To better educate youth and generate interest in potential degrees and careers within the agricultural industry, the Extension 4-H agent in Banks County developed the Our Future Farm Tour. The four-day summer program gave 15 middle school and high school 4-H'ers the opportunity to explore four diverse degrees within the agriculture industry and discover potential career paths under each field. The Our Future Farm Tour was offered during the past two summers to a combined total of 15 youth. On each day of the program, youth gathered at the Banks County Farm Bureau office to have a formal classroom session with an industry expert or university specialist with a degree in that field. The program featured agricultural degrees including equine business, poultry science, agribusiness, turf sciences, animal science, dairy science, entomology and food science. Concluding the classroom portion of the program, youth were able to tour Banks County farms related to the degree that they had just learned about.University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. The following are examples of our impact in the county over the past year.