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:
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Today, youth in rural Georgia struggle to stay involved in positive activities. In Montgomery County, 25 percent of the population is below the poverty level. The local 4-H club strives to provide constructive and affordable programs. Youth in 4-H give back to the community through organized community service programs throughout the year. In 2016, there were 105 youth involved in service learning in 4-H. Through Project Achievement, 41 youth developed a speech and presentation on a topic of their choice. Project Achievement enhances public-speaking skills while encouraging 4-H’ers to explore their interests. Teaching kids responsibility and how to care about themselves, the community they live in, and the well-being of others is imperative to developing the future leaders of rural Georgia.
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
For the past two years, Montgomery County has grown over 400 acres of snap beans, with an average farm gate value of $1.9 million. Snap beans have a very short growing season, and it is imperative for growers to monitor the crop closely and harvest them in a timely manner. Extension agents in Montgomery and Wheeler counties, in cooperation with the UGA Extension vegetable horticulturist, a local vegetable broker and industry representative, worked to put in a research plot to provide relevant data. ‘Caprice’ snap beans were planted on five successive days in spring 2016 and were harvested when the beans from those plants, planted on day three, were deemed mature. The purpose was to determine the impact of delaying harvest by one or two days, or harvesting early, on field and graded yields. Although field yields went up with delayed harvest, the packout rate percentage went down. The research data showed a 15 percent increase in packout yield when the beans were harvested early or on time. This could mean 30 more bushels to the acre per crop. Prices per bushel vary greatly from spring to fall, ranging from $10 to $20 a bushel; at approximately $450 per acre, that adds up to positive results fast. A midseason snap bean update was held to share the results. The small tailgate-style meeting was very informal, and growers spoke freely with one another and asked questions. All of the snap bean growers in Montgomery and Wheeler counties were present at the update. One producer changed planting practices in the fall as a result of the information he received. He said, “Seeing the research data allowed me to feel confident and make a change in my snap-bean-planting practices. I was able to hear about what other growers were doing too.”
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
Although Montgomery County does not have a Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) agent based in the county Extension office, we strive to assist local residents with their questions. Common questions cover food safety, food preservation, dealing with mold and mildew, nutrition, family budgeting, SNAP-Ed materials and more. These issues and others are answered through a wide variety of free UGA Extension publications available at the county office and through phone conferences with Family and Consumer Sciences agents from surrounding counties. Neighboring FCS agents often conduct programming that Montgomery County residents are welcome to attend. Our office provides that scheduling information.