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
Agricultural production remains strong in Putnam County. Long known as a dairy county, beef cattle and egg production have quickly become key components in our local agricultural economy. Putnam County’s UGA Extension provides on-site consultations, soil testing, insect identification, advice on weed management and nutrient management assistance to the farming community. Our programming efforts for 2016 included a pesticide applicator training to provide license recertification credits and to update participants on new application and use methodologies. The "Alfalfa in the South" training provided local producers with research-based information on intercropping alfalfa for increased forage production in order to support dairy and beef cattle producers. A fall forage program gave cattle producers up-to-date information on how to manage cool-season forage crops in the face of impending drought. On the other side of the coin, the Lake Country and its growing residential population is in constant need of assistance with lawn and landscaping issues, vegetable gardening and irrigation management. Lake Country property owners also seek help with site development, wildlife management and forestry issues. The Putnam County Extension office conducts homeowner site visits related to pest management, pesticide selection, weed identification and wildlife management. Laboratory services were provided to county residents, including soil and water testing. We provided property owners with educational programs on vegetable gardening, plant selection, turf management and mosquito control. One of our biggest contributions to the Lake Country is our Master Gardener Extension Volunteer program. Established here in 1999, the program trains Master Gardener volunteers in alternate years. The volunteers pass their experience to the community at large through home visits and educational activities. In 2016, the program had 52 individuals serving Putnam County. These volunteers donated 3,530 hours of service at a calculated labor value of $79,810.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Putnam Extension 4-H professionals collaborated with Putnam County Elementary and Middle schools to increase participation in 4-H Project Achievement, a cornerstone of the Georgia 4-H program. Project Achievement allows students in grades four through 12 to research a topic of their choice and create a presentation to share with their peers. Participation in 4-H Project Achievement by students in Putnam County Elementary School increased 20 percent from last year, and participation by Putnam County Middle School students increased 900 percent over last year. Through 4-H Project Achievement, Putnam County students learned to take ownership of their project and to work toward a goal of bettering themselves and their community. Highlights from Putnam County 4-H from the past year include increased participation in 4-H cotton bowl and consumer judging. Students were taught the importance of cotton as an agricultural commodity and were taught to be responsible consumers. Putnam County 4-H’ers prepared for the district competition by learning to judge common consumer products, such as toothpaste, book bags and clothing, then to recite those reasons to a judge.It is essential that today’s youth understand the importance of agriculture. Putnam County Extension agents teamed up with Putnam County Elementary School teachers to create a 4-H Garden Club to introduce students to Georgia commodities through hands-on gardening activities.