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.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Atkinson County’s farm-gate value totals more than $107 million, excluding broiler-integrator production, and ranks 41st in total farm-gate value out of all Georgia counties.
Agriculture is a vital part of Atkinson County. UGA Extension provides unbiased, research-based education, playing a vital role in helping producers maximize profits and production. We hold production meetings specific to the crops grown in Atkinson County so that we can share new technologies and recommendations for the coming year. Meetings held this past year addressed corn and soybean production, peanut production, cotton production, area tobacco updates and blueberry production. Our office conducted trials in cotton-variety selection and tobacco production this past year. The information collected was shared with local farmers to help them maximize profit.
Each year, the Atkinson County Extension agent blasts about 125 or more peanut samples from separate fields and places them on a maturity board. He also opens some of the peanuts and asks questions about the leaves and vines to determine a recommended date for digging. This free service provided by Atkinson County Extension helps farmers maximize profits by giving them information on the optimum time to dig for the best yield and grade. In 2017, Atkinson County had 12,410 acres of peanuts and ranked 31st in the state for farm-gate value of peanuts. Determining maturity can save farmers 200 to 400 pounds of peanuts per acre. If a farmer gains 200 pounds per acre at a price of $400 per ton, they can gain another $40 per acre just by harvesting at the right time. Farmers also can get a little extra premium for a better grade. This total equates to $496,400 for the farmers in the county. Atkinson County Extension will continue to do what it takes to help the community and its farmers.
4-H Youth Development
The simplest way for 4-H to serve the greatest number of students is through in-school programming. This mission is accomplished through hands-on learning and experiences focused on agriculture awareness, leadership, communication skills, foods, nutrition, health, energy conservation and citizenship.
Atkinson County 4-H reached more than 300 students in 2018. Members participated in 103 activities, with total enrollment for activities and competitions reaching 2,398 students. A study of 4-H’ers shows that 4-H youth excel beyond their peers. That study, the Tufts Positive Youth Development Research Report, concluded that 4-H’ers are four times more likely to contribute to their community, two times more likely to be civically active and two times more likely to make healthy choices. Atkinson County was recognized for increasing their participation more than 50 percent in District Project Achievement at the district meeting in August. Atkinson County 4-H’ers competed in events including Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging, Georgia National Fair exhibits, livestock shows and many community service events such as canned-food drives and pop-tab collection. Each of these programs, club meetings and community service events helps accomplish the mission of Georgia 4-H to assist youth in acquiring knowledge and developing life skills, enabling them to become self-directing, productive and contributing members of society. Atkinson County 4-H encourages and challenges youth to explore and discover so that they can learn to recognize their potential and build on the foundations of personal self-esteem and confidence.