Making A Difference in Our County
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. The following are examples of Extension’s impact in the county over the past year.
SOUTHEAST GEORGIA PECAN FIELD DAY
Southwest Georgia plays host to many pecan field days, but more than 33,000 acres of pecans are grown in southeast Georgia. Growers in the southeast region needed local pecan trainings and field days that weren’t four hours away. Appling County Extension has hosted the Southeast Georgia Pecan Field Day for the past eight years. Topics addressed include fertilization, diseases, the pecan market, thinning, hedging, transplanting, using soil moisture sensors, and herbicide selection. Each year new topics that interest growers are discussed. Nearly 300 growers from 31 counties attended the field day in 2019. One grower commented on the importance of having a field day in east Georgia: “It gives growers a place to go that’s close to their farm. It’s basically the same insects and the same seasons we all have to fight down here together. I think we can learn to better produce pecans when everybody comes together and talks about it in our section of the state.”
GLEANING PROVIDES FRESH PRODUCE TO LIMITED INCOME FAMILIES
The overall health of Appling County citizens ranks below the state average. In Georgia, 65.7% of adults are overweight. In Appling County, 35% of adults are obese, compared to 30% in Georgia. Obesity and being overweight contribute to the development of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension, diabetes, cancer and osteoarthritis. CVD is the number one killer in Georgia. In efforts to improve the health of citizens, the Appling County FACS agent collaborated with the Coalition for a Healthy Appling County to implement a gleaning program. Gleaning provides fresh produce to limited-income individuals and families, promotes physical activity in those who glean, and fosters community among the volunteers and a sense of belonging to a group. Forty-five volunteers have gleaned 18 times and donated 6,985 pounds of fresh produce to limited-income citizens of Appling County. Produce is donated to the food bank, the senior center and other charity groups. Produce gleaned so far includes sweet potatoes, cabbage, Vidalia onions, strawberries, red potatoes, blueberries, corn, field peas, cantaloupe, honeydew, zucchini and greens. This project is impacting Appling County citizens in many ways, whether through receiving the produce or through volunteering their time to give back to their community.
GROWING FOR THE FUTURE
The mission of Georgia 4-H is to assist youth in acquiring knowledge, developing life skills and forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive and contributing members of society. To fulfill this mission, Appling County 4-H participated in Georgia 4-H Project Achievement, a public speaking competition. 4-H’ers choose from more than 50 project areas, research topics of interest, and prepare an oral presentation or demonstration with visual aids. In 2019, 21 4-H’ers from fifth through 12th grade competed in various project areas. Regular after-school workshops helped prepare the 4-H’ers to compete at their best. Nine fifth and sixth graders competed at Cloverleaf District Project Achievement, with all nine placing in their projects. Eleven seventh through 12th graders competed at Junior and Senior District Project Achievement. This experience gives youth experience in organizing their thoughts and the confidence to make a public presentation.