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
Farmers in Bleckley County grow a variety of crops, including cotton, peanuts, corn, soybeans, wheat, oats and rye. In today’s ever-changing field of agriculture, staying up to date on farming practices and technology requires access to timely, accurate and reliable information. To address this need, the newly hired UGA Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources agent started a blog/newsletter called Bleckley County Ag. Posts on the blog can be anything from a reminder for a meeting to an update on current agriculture policy such as the U.S. Farm Bill to recommendations for controlling a certain pest that is causing damage to crops. There are currently more than 50 farmers and agribusinesses who receive the blog through email, and there were 24 individual blog posts throughout the year.
UGA Extension in Bleckley County provides services to farmers, residents and homeowners in the local area. Along with taking calls and making site visits to homes, the Extension agent writes a monthly column in the Shopper’s Guide, a weekly sales paper distributed to households in different counties. These articles usually update the public about how our local farmers are doing as well as give tips to help homeowners with their lawns, gardens, etc.
Also located in the Bleckley Extension office is Southeast District Water Educator David Hall. In a collaborative effort led by Hall and four surrounding county agents, the Bleckley County Extension office held an agricultural irrigation meeting attended by about 100 people. Information was presented by UGA Extension specialists, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Those in attendance received valuable information on how to irrigate their crops more efficiently.
4-H Youth Development
Bleckley County 4-H meets with approximately 550 students, grades five through 12, during and after school instruction time. Students are engaged in agriscience, healthy living, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), language arts, citizenship and leadership lessons, activities and programs throughout the year. Bleckley County 4-H also has a strong volunteer program with more than 20 volunteers leading clubs, including shooting sports clubs (shotgun, BB and archery), a horse club and a homeschool club. Certified volunteers also coach judging teams and chaperone weekend and weeklong events.
Throughout the year, Bleckley 4-H’ers have excelled at the Georgia National Fair, winning Superior Performance County, placing first in Consumer Judging and placing in the state Trap, Skeet and Sporting Clays State Tournament and sending the most students to the state Project Achievement and Leadership in Action programs. We pride ourselves not just on blue ribbons, but in performing more than 1300 hours of service to our community and excelling in leadership projects locally, regionally and statewide. Furthermore, we have students serving on the district and state boards of directors and 4-H’ers winning college scholarships, serving as camp counselors and being part of the performing arts group Georgia 4-H Clovers and Company.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Although Bleckley County Extension does not have a Family and Consumer Sciences agent based in the office, we strive to assist local residents with their questions. Common questions regard food safety, food preservation, and treating mold and mildew. These topics and others are answered through a wide variety of free UGA Extension publications available at the county office or by phone conferences with Family and Consumer Sciences agents in surrounding counties.