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
Peanuts continue to be a leading crop in Baker County. Farmers depend on peanuts for the majority of their personal net farm income every year. Baker County Extension, as part of the University of Georgia, continues to provide unbiased, research-based production recommendations that have improved production, profitability, yield and quality of Baker County peanuts.
The passage of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill has continued to encourage the planting of peanuts. The local Extension agent is seen as an educational resource with on-farm test plots, production meetings, timely newsletters and as-needed farm visits. This gets the latest research to the farms in a timely matter, allowing for the quick application of improved production techniques. Baker County farmers have been open to adopt new production technology such as GPS-guided tractors, new irrigation techniques, fungicide spray programs and harvesting based on UGA hull scrape techniques. In 2017, Baker County planted 17,500 acres of peanuts, with an average yield of 4,767 pounds per acre. The average peanut price was 21 cents per pound, resulting in more than $17 million in Baker County peanut sales. UGA Extension is seen as a vital part in the continued success and profitability in peanut production in Baker County and improving net farm income for all Georgia farm families.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Who doesn’t love bingo? Clients at the Baker County Senior Center love to play this fun and popular game. Family and Consumer Sciences agent Sylvia Davis has put a twist on the game to help promote exercise and healthy eating by playing exercise bingo and nutrition bingo with senior center participants. Lack of physical exercise and poor nutrition can lead to health-related problems. Thirty percent of adults in Baker County are obese and 27 percent have reported that they are not getting the daily exercise they need. These bingo games are a fun way to teach adults how to eat healthy foods, how to avoid chronic disease and weight gain, how to stretch and exercise to help reduce the risk of obesity, and how to improve balance. These activities have been valuable to the seniors, and the director at the senior center has observed a visible change in seniors’ willingness to exercise and make healthier food choices at the center.
4-H Youth Development
Many students fear getting up in front of people and speaking. Project Achievement helps reduce the fear and build public speaking skills. Nineteen 4-H’ers from Baker County participated in Project Achievement from fifth through 12th grade. Not only did they develop better public speaking skills for the competitions, but they learned time management, sportsmanship, self-confidence and, most of all, courage. Summer camp was also offered and four 4-H’ers spent a week at the 4-H Tidelands Nature Center on Jekyll Island. At camp, the 4-H’ers were able to work on their social skills through teamwork activities and friendly competitions with other 4-H’ers around the state. They also were able to learn about marsh and beach ecology and seine fishing, as well as going on nature hikes and swimming in the ocean, which many had never experienced.