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:
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Since 2014, returns on cow/calf operations have gone from over $500 per pair to less than $100. In 2016, Jenkins County Extension collaborated with members of the UGA Forage Team to establish cattle meetings and help with the needs of livestock producers within the county. Guest speakers for the meetings included UGA faculty members from the team. Although little can be done locally to affect the market price of cattle, Jenkins County Extension held successful educational meetings for local producers. Seminars focused on a variety of topics, including grazing and hay management, the importance of testing soils for fertility and hay for quality, best management practices (BMPs) for reducing forage waste, forage options related to animal nutrition needs, herbicide options for weed control, winter annual grasses and their respective forage distribution throughout the season, and winter annual yields. Cattle market prices continued to drop during the year, making good management decisions even more imperative to surviving this economic situation. Due to educational meetings on cattle production, the cattle producers within Jenkins County now have the most current BMPs and management styles based on university research. As an indication of the interest and enthusiasm in continuing to examine BMPs, a group has started to form a cattlemen’s association in Jenkins County.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Today’s families are often two to three generations removed from working the family farm. Many of today’s youth have little, if any, experience growing crops. Jenkins County Extension, in conjunction with Jenkins County Elementary School and the after-school BLAST program, developed six raised-bed gardens in an effort to bring agriculture to the classroom and our youth. With the 4-H school gardens, students were given the opportunity to use knowledge from the classroom in an outdoor setting. The outdoor gardens afforded students hands-on experience with plants and plant health. Students filled garden beds with soil, calculated the needed additions of lime and fertilizer, provided moisture and experienced the satisfaction that comes with seeing their final product – a mature crop they grew themselves. Through these garden projects, students gained knowledge and experience on how to grow their own fruits and vegetables. Eighty-nine students were involved in the school garden program, along with five teachers and five volunteers/sponsors. Students grew tomatoes, squash, peppers and strawberries, adding zinnias in an effort to enhance pollinator habitats. In addition to the school garden completed by the fifth-graders of Jenkins County, the fifth and sixth grades were involved in 4-H classroom projects like planting seeds in biodegradable pots that were taken home for transplant to start a home garden. A total of 173 students and six teachers experienced agriculture in the classroom.