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:
COTTON VARIETY RESEARCH TRIALS
With the seemingly endless choices a producer has in cotton varieties and their different trait packages, cotton growers are often left scratching their heads as to which variety to plant. The Early County Extension agent responded to this need by conducting on-farm cotton variety trials. Farmers use this information to choose the varieties that perform well in their area. Early County plants an average of 35,000 acres of cotton each year, with annual farm receipts of over $22 million.. It is vitally important for cotton producers to choose the varieties with the highest potential for making a profit. In recent years several new varieties have been released, each trying to gain market share. The Early County agent worked with local producers to initiate a randomized and replicated cotton variety trial. No fewer than 12 varieties have been evaluated for the last 11 years. These trials have used over 430 acres in 14 variety trials. Cotton growers are able to look at multiple years of county data to make variety decisions. By choosing these higher yielding varieties, producers can potentially increase profits by $51 per acre at the $0.68 price, over the 2016 trial average, or $1,785,000 annually as a county.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Early County is growing 4-H’ers. With continued marketing of the 4-H program at various events within the county and providing programming in all public and private schools, grades pre-K though 12th, the program is thriving and continues to grow. The 4-H agent conducts monthly club meetings; offers a livestock program and the Project S.A.F.E. shooting sports program (including archery and shotgun); has secured the operation of the local food bank as a community service project for all 4-H’ers; organized a clothing closet at the public elementary school for fifth-graders to operate; collaborates with the elementary school and their Farm-to-School program; and has generated a volunteer base with continuous efforts to increase the volunteer pool. The 4-H agent also works to provide summer programming and fundraising projects to offset costs for 4-H’ers who wish to attend camp. Continuous efforts to market the program and provide educational programming are the focus of promoting the growth of Early County 4-H in the community.
Ann Centner, Family and Consumer Sciences agent, has been staying busy reviving programming in Early County. As an avid runner with a bachelor’s degree in consumer foods, the agent's focuses have been healthy eating and meeting the recommendations for physical activity. A county needs assessment revealed that 29 percent of adults are obese and 25 percent are inactive. This led the agent to continue marketing the Walk Georgia Extension program in an effort to promote health, fitness and well-being to all members of the community. Ongoing nutrition efforts were provided to members of the community to promote healthy eating, namely with monthly visits to Head Start and the two local senior centers. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is in its pilot stage in Early County, and the agent encourages citizens to schedule appointments to file their taxes.