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:
SERVING OUR CLIENTELE
Irwin County Extension serves as an unbiased source of information for the citizens of Irwin County. Agricultural production meetings, during which agents and specialists present the most current information, are a key component of our programming. In 2016 there were 11 such meetings, in which our staff presented information to a total of 549 farmers and agribusiness leaders in attendance. These meetings provided the latest information on cotton, corn, peanut and pecan production. Other meetings addressed disease, weed control, cotton defoliation, irrigation strategies and more. In addition to these meetings, our office staff has opportunities to plan and present information at numerous other functions, such as agriculture awareness events for first- and fifth-grade students. Applied research is another way to gather and share information. Through on-farm trials, research is conducted at the local level. In 2016, four separate trials focused on peanut fungicides, cotton thrips, corn and cotton varieties. Educational efforts go beyond the county boundary through presentations of significant on-farm trial results to area, district, state and national venues in presentation or poster form. Our traditional role of helping clientele one-on-one is still our strongest asset. Much of our work conducted throughout the year is via phone, office, and farm or site visits. We offer soil, water, nutrient and tissue sampling, and we fulfill numerous other needs. We provide our clientele with answers to concerns pertaining to production agriculture and other issues that require precise decisions. For example, one of our major efforts relates to peanut maturity determination, which is done at our office. In 2016, a total of 427 individual tests were conducted to determine proper peanut maturity dates. Our efforts are shared through various communication methods in addition to office, phone and site visits. Thirty-four newsletters were emailed as appropriate throughout 2016, with each issue reaching 400 farmers and agribusinesses. Information updates are sent via text message to 170 farmers per message. We also use Twitter and Facebook and maintain an active and engaging web presence.
4-H BUILDS LEADERS
The Irwin County 4-H Club is the largest youth organization in the county, with 400 members from ages 9 to 19. An Irwin County 4-H member was recently elected as the Georgia 4-H State Board president and leads 4-H’ers on the state level. On the district level, one of our 4-H members serves as the Southwest District Junior Board president. We have 15 individual clubs in the county and each elects officers. These officers come together to learn the leadership duties that accompany their positions so that they can conduct the club’s meetings. Many of our 4-H members are developing their public speaking and leadership skills by participating in 4-H Project Achievement. We also participate in 4-H poultry judging, 4-H consumer judging, Project S.A.F.E. (Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education) and community development. One of our 4-H members won the coveted Dean’s Award at 4-H State Congress. Two former 4-H members serve as 4-H camp counselors.