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
Brooks County Extension is committed to meeting the needs of Brooks County commodity producers through field troubleshooting and research efforts. Annually, Brooks County Extension conducts approximately 15 to 20 research trials or projects to assist producers with agronomic production issues and challenges. In 2018, one of the applied research trials addressed disease control for one of Georgia’s favorite and most valuable crops, watermelon. Brooks County is home to approximately 254 acres of watermelons, a production level which equates to more than $1.5 million in farm-gate value, and annually places Brooks County in the top 19 counties for watermelon production in Georgia. However, each year watermelon producers in Brooks County and throughout Georgia face potential challenges with their disease management programs and profitability margins from the threat and development of Phytophthora fruit rot. To address this production challenge, Brooks County Extension collaborated with two of Brooks County’s watermelon producers to conduct both in-field and postharvest efficacy fungicide application research trials. Evaluations of several fungicide products and combination fungicide spray programs were assessed to determine the level of control provided against Phytophthora fruit rot. The results from the Brooks County Extension watermelon disease trial were analyzed and recommendations were prepared to provide the most effective fungicide options for suppression of Phytophthora fruit rot. The most recent recommendations, developed with contributions from Brooks County Extension research trials, were shared with watermelon producers throughout the Southeast U.S. at the annual Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference in Savannah, Georgia.
Brooks County Extension supports the beef cattle industry across Southwest Georgia. Brooks County is home to 6,500 beef cattle, which equates to more than $3.5 million in farm gate value. In 2019, Brooks County Extension hosted the UGA Master Cattleman Program. This program lasted eight weeks and brought UGA specialists to the county each week to speak on a specific topic ranging from nutrition and forages to record keeping and everything in between about beef cattle production. This program had 79 registered participants, 78 from Georgia and one from Florida, representing 17 counties. At the end of the course, 72 participants earned Master Cattleman certification.
4-H Youth Development
Brooks County Extension is dedicated to the education and growth of youth in our community. 4-H summer camp is one of the many fun ways we reach our youth. In 2019, Brooks County had youth attend all three core 4-H summer camps. Senior 4-H Camp was a great opportunity for youth in ninth through 12th grades to network with other youth, explore focus-area classes, canoe, hike, dance, show off their skills on the ropes course or at trivia, and spend a day on the UGA Athens campus learning about college life. Junior Camp helped 4-H’ers build relationships with youth from all over Southwest Georgia. They also learned about ecology, herpetology, canoeing and seining and got to shop in the Historic District on Jekyll Island. Finally, Cloverleaf camp introduced our fourth through sixth graders to 4-H summer camp. They spent the week at Rock Eagle 4-H Center gaining independence, canoeing, swimming, dancing and hiking. This year’s camping season is right around the corner, and we are excited for another great year.