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
Stephens County agriculture has an annual economic impact of $156,791,482. The agriculture community is very diverse in its production. The county houses poultry, cattle, goats, blueberries, small row crop and produce farming, and bee and honey production. Stephens County Extension addressed limited field corn production in 2016 and 2015. The UGA Extension agent in Stephens County set up trials to assess the effectiveness of nematode suppression in fields with historical documentation of nematode presence. Results indicated that corn yields were not affected by the treatment of an in-furrow nematicide, nor by nematode populations being at threshold levels. The results from the trials supported the idea that the expense of nematicides did not significantly increase yield or reduce nematode levels as opposed to using no nematicide. By not applying an in-furrow nematicide, this trial supported a savings of $24 per acre with no reduction in yield or increase in nematode populations. The significance of the trials was economically and environmentally beneficial, and supported the idea that local Extension research targeting local issues reduced unwarranted pesticide applications.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
The U.S. education system has a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) focus at the forefront of educational priorities in order to improve student achievement in these subjects. Teach for America predicts that, by 2018, 8 million STEM jobs will be available in the U.S., but the vast majority of students will be unprepared to fill them. According to the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education’s “The Education Policy Toolbox,” “STEM jobs (in Georgia) are growing faster than jobs as a whole, 17 percent as compared to 10 percent.” By 2018, the organization predicts that STEM jobs in Georgia will represent 4 percent of all jobs in the state. But we have fewer youth seeking positions in science-related careers. It is imperative that we equip our youth now with the necessary skills to compete in the world’s workplace. With the need to prepare students through opportunities and experiences in the areas of STEM, the Stephens County 4-H agent implemented a geocaching trail for the Stephens County Middle School 4-H Club at a Stephens County park. The goal of the geocaching program was to increase awareness and boost interest in the areas of STEM. Students learned in an exciting, new way, outside of the traditional classroom and in an exploratory environment that encouraged physical activity, creativity, team-building, collaborative thinking, problem-solving and thinking skills that are important in preparing our youth for careers in STEM areas.University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. The following are examples of our impact in the county over the past year.