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.
School, community and family engagement is a goal for Berrien County Schools. Helping parents build strong connections with school personnel enhances their ability to support their children academically and socially. Likewise, the Berrien County 4-H staff builds relationships by mentoring students through monthly in-school programs. According to the Tufts University Study of Positive Youth Development, 4-H’ers are four times more likely to give back to their communities and two times more likely to be civically active. Through friendly classroom competition, Berrien County 4-H was instrumental in engaging parents in school activities and encouraging 4-H participation among students through positive behaviors and rewards.
A “Club of the Month” contest was instituted to encourage 4-H participation and parental engagement. In addition to points earned for their club, members also earn “Bulldog Bucks,” which could be spent on items in the 4-H store. Each fifth-grade teacher has their own 4-H club, earning points by completing tasks including returning parent-signed newsletters, completing Friends books, participating in activities, and involvement in community events. Each month, points are tallied with the top club receiving a trophy and banner to display. The club with the most points all year earns “Club of the Year”.
The competition and Bulldog Bucks have been successful tactics for increasing 4-H participation. One teacher wrote, “By encouraging students to participate we are building life skills that are necessary for student success. In addition, there is a good chance that parents will become interested in 4-H programming as their children discuss the activities at home.” Over the past five years, youth completed more than 1,500 Friends books and more than 2,500 newsletters were signed by parents. More than 400 youth participated in 4-H activities during the year. Youth demonstrated the importance of community engagement by collecting 600 pounds of tabs for Ronald McDonald House Charities, donating 179 toys to Toys for Tots, and creating more than 600 Valentines for local nursing homes. Nearly 150 items were collected to benefit local causes like military families, disaster relief and animal shelters.
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Southern root-nematode is a serious pest in tobacco production. Nematodes secrete chemicals causing the host plant roots to form root galls. Infestations restrict root functions resulting in plant stunting and yield reduction.
The UGA Extension Tobacco Specialist, the acting Berrien County ANR agent and a local tobacco producer collaborated to establish a replicated trial to evaluate six nematicide treatments for efficacy against root-knot nematode: Untreated Check; Telone @ 6 gallons/A injected in bed; Nimitz @ 1.36 pt/A in 18” band (3.5 pt/A broadcast); Nimitz @ 1.95 pt/A in 18” band (5.0 pt/A broadcast); Nimitz @ 2.73 pt/A in 18” band (7.0 pt/A broadcast); and Velum Prime @ 6.8 oz/A via transplant water.
Trial was transplanted in randomized complete-block experimental design and replicated four times. Telone was applied April 1. Nimitz was applied April 7. Velum Prime was applied in transplant water April 12. Each treatment equaled 4 rows. Plants were randomly selected and dug. The roots were visually examined for galling on July 21.
Telone treatment showed the greatest vigor among all treatments. The same treatments also showed significantly less root-knot nematode incidence, severity and damage when compared to other treatments. Nimitz treatments, regardless of rate, showed the greatest incidence, severity and damage among all treatments, including untreated checks. Velum Prime treatments showed less incidence of root-knot nematode, however greater severity and damage than the untreated checks.