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:
GRANT TO HELP DETECT PEACH DISEASE, PESTS
Peach orchard establishment costs roughly $3,500 before a harvestable crop is produced in year three. Peach orchards have large trees and very small pests, and that’s a problem. Certain diseases and insects seem to sneak up on producers. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or “drones”) are being used in many areas of agriculture to aid in scouting and crop consulting. The Peach County Extension office saw this as a good opportunity to see if this technology could be applicable to peach production and the scouting of nearly 9,000 acres in middle Georgia. Extension engineers and others have shown that crops under certain stresses show up differently in normal digital imagery, but more so when certain spectral wavelengths are used. There are cameras available now that can take images in different spectral bands. We hope that we can find the spectral band or combinations that will give us images to help us pinpoint certain problems in the field. With normal digital imagery, we can see trees weakened due to waterlogging or sandy soils. With so many acres to cover and pests that are not easily detected by the naked eye, we decided to see if we could purchase a UAV and multispectral camera to conduct trials. Because the cost of the UAV was just over $1,000 and the camera required ranged from $3,500 to $6,500, we needed to find a funding source. The Georgia Agriculture Commodity Commission for Peaches offers grant money to fund research initiatives that focus on improving crop production. At the end of 2016, we submitted a grant proposal for a camera and UAV to determine whether this technology could benefit peach producers through early detection of peach pests. We were awarded the grant and are in the process of purchasing the UAV and camera. Next year’s annual report will show the progress we have made with this project.
MULTICOUNTY WORK ENHANCES PROJECT ACHIEVEMENT
Through Project Achievement, students learn valuable life skills such as organization, communication and confidence. Through the selection, research, development and presentation of illustrated talks, 4-H’ers develop strong life skills. Peach County 4-H works in partnership with Macon, Marion, Schley and Taylor counties’ 4-H programs to facilitate and promote student participation in Project Achievement and to emphasize the importance of this opportunity. The Peach County 4-H work group wanted to expand the number of 4-H’ers who participated in and benefited from Project Achievement. Peach, Taylor, Macon, Marion and Schley counties hosted a multicounty "Locked Into DPA (District Project Achievement)" lock-in. Thirty-two Junior and Senior 4-H'ers attended the event with five county staff members and two volunteers. The lock-in was designed for those planning to attend DPA and lasted from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Sessions focused on team-building, project selection, portfolio outlines, community service projects, demonstration examples, project exhibit fair and an anti-bullying video. A survey was given at the end of the lock-in and results showed a positive trend in enhancing students’ understanding of the portfolio and DPA process. The youth enjoyed the opportunity to meet others from different counties, to work together to help build portfolios and to participate in community service work. Of the 32 4-H’ers who attended the event, 19 attended DPA, and DPA participants from the five counties totaled 33 4-H’ers. Three 4-H’ers from the counties qualified for 4-H State Congress and one Peach County 4-H’er earned Master status by placing first in the veterinary science project. The lock-in helped the 4-H’ers with the process of project selection, portfolio building and general understanding of Project Achievement. The students learned how to create and organize their thoughts in both written and verbal formats, to communicate to others their ideas and to take confidence in the importance of what they had to say.