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:
PROJECT ACHIEVEMENT ESSAY CONTEST
The Project Achievement competition gives Georgia 4-H'ers the opportunity to learn and develop important life skills in a safe and positive environment, but many students choose not to participate because they don't fully understand the contest or what is expected of them. The Colquitt County 4-H agent partnered with the fifth-grade language arts teachers to help increase participation in Project Achievement. With the support from the language arts teachers, the Colquitt County 4-H agent taught the Project Achievement essay lesson during regular club meetings. The students received detailed instructions and guidance on writing the essay and how essays would be judged. Over 475 essays were submitted to the 4-H agent as part of the countywide Cloverleaf Essay Contest. Approximately 60 percent of all fifth-grade students in Colquitt County wrote essays for the county contest. Twenty-four percent of Colquitt 4-H’ers who submitted essays received invitations to participate in District Project Achievement, totaling 111 students. Seventy-nine Colquitt County 4-H’ers attended the dress rehearsal and practiced their presentation for different panels of judges. Eighty-six Colquitt County 4-H’ers completed the process and participated in District Project Achievement. Over 85 percent of those 4-H’ers placed in their categories.
SCHOOL NUTRITION CONFERENCE
School nutrition employees are required to receive training each year. With school budgets continually tightening, the employees no longer receive funds to pay for travel or training. Colquitt County Extension collaborated with the Colquitt County school nutrition director to provide a one-day conference that would meet educational requirements, be of limited cost to the school and be housed in the county. The Colquitt Extension agent hosted four sessions, “Know Your Dough” and “Food Safety” in 2015, and “Move More, Live More” and “Healthy Lifestyle” in 2016. During the six-hour conference, 201 employees received the required annual training. The Colquitt County Extension agent also collaborated with Sumter County and Mitchell County Family and Consumer Sciences agents to teach two sessions to a combined 111 employees.
WATERMELON PRODUCTION SYSTEM COMPARISON
Georgia is typically ranked third nationally in watermelon production, with approximately 22,000 planted acres worth roughly $138 million. Throughout the state, several different production systems are used to grow watermelons. Two of the most common methods are pivot irrigation with narrow-row plastic and drip irrigation with wide (4- to 5-foot), raised-bed plastic. Large-scale research is needed to evaluate differences in watermelon productivity using the two production systems. Findings from this research will be useful in helping growers choose the production system that is most profitable for them. To test the differences in productivity between the two systems, field trials were conducted at the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo grounds in Moultrie, Georgia, during the 2016 growing season. The total harvest data showed that the total yield and revenue was greater with the drip-irrigated system. Total yield in the drip-irrigated field was 42,420 lbs. per acre, while the pivot-irrigated field yielded 24,170 lbs. per acre. When using $0.16 as an average price per pound, the total return was greater for the drip-irrigated system ($2,058 per acre) compared to the pivot-irrigated system ($1,314 per acre). While the investment is greater for drip irrigation, this trial suggests that the increase in total yield and revenue for the drip-irrigated system would be worth the investment compared to using a pivot-irrigated system.