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
Webster County is known for its traditional farming and is home to diverse row crops, forages and livestock. Agriculture is the top industry in the county and generated $25.9 million in total farm gate value in 2015. Row and forage crops make up 49 percent of total farm gate value. In 2015 9,254 acres of peanuts had a value of about $7.4 million, and 7,313 acres of cotton had a value of $3.9 million. Other crops were grown on fewer acres, but were a valuable source of diversification for farmers, especially corn and wheat. Livestock, primarily cattle, provided another $1.9 million in farm gate value. Other agricultural industries with farm gate values over $1 million each included timber, pecans and deer hunting leases. Farmers in Webster County stay on the cutting edge of technology. Most currently use grid sampling in obtaining soil sample results and spread lime and fertilizer at variable rates, with some areas receiving Extension-recommended application rates of lime and fertilizer and other areas receiving none. The Extension coordinator worked with a crop consultant in the area completing soil sampling for farmers by grids. From October 2015 to April 2016, 2,773 soil samples were collected in 5-acre grids from 300 fields for 15 producers in Webster, Stewart, Sumter and Terrell counties representing 14,706.6 acres. Laboratory analyses showed that only 52 percent of the acres (7,662.1 acres) required 3,878.8 tons of lime, which was put out only on the grids that required lime. These producers would have required 7,445.1 tons of lime, or 91.9 percent more lime. This reduction in lime required resulted in a savings of $124,817 to these producers.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Webster County 4-H was on a roll in 2016 thanks to the hiring of a full-time 4-H Extension educator devoted solely to the 4-H program. Members of 4-H attended both Cloverleaf and Junior/Senior District Project Achievement events, where they learned research, writing and public-speaking skills along with the confidence to stand up in front of a group and deliver a presentation. Seven Cloverleafs (a 150 percent increase) competed at the district level, and all placed in the top three. A Junior 4-H’er won first place in the pizza project, and a Senior 4-H’er won first place in the outdoor recreation project. Casey Willis competed at State 4-H Congress, the seventh straight year the county has had a State Congress competitor. In 2016, 4-H’ers were active all summer. Seven 4-H’ers and a teen leader attended Cloverleaf Camp at Camp Burton on Tybee Island, Georgia. They learned about marsh ecology, took nature hikes, went on a dolphin cruise and swam in the Atlantic Ocean. One Junior 4-H’er attended Junior Camp, also at Camp Burton on Tybee Island. Other summer activities included two sewing classes, a cooking class and a three-day summer day camp, with 75 participants. The start of school did not slow down Webster County 4-H’ers. Eight 4-H’ers prepared mini-booths for the Georgia National Fair and Albany Exchange Club Fair, and all placed in the top 10. Other activities included decorated agricultural products, recycled products, and scarecrow competition at the Georgia National Fair. This fall, 11 4-H’ers participated on the first Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging Team from Webster County in over 12 years. They practiced buying scenarios and prepared short commercials or public service announcements on cotton. They even decorated a float for the Olde Tyme Country Fair parade in Preston, Georgia.