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.
Bulloch County Cotton Fungicide Trial Addresses Areolate Mildew
Areolate Mildew is a reoccurring issue for cotton growers in Bulloch County. Each summer cotton growers inquire about applying cotton fungicides to increase yields when Areolate Mildew is present. Determining if a fungicide application is warranted can be a difficult decision to make for growers. Percent of foliage defoliated, future weather and maturity of the cotton crop all play a role in determining if a cotton fungicide application is needed. Most growers are willing to apply one fungicide application to their cotton.
The Bulloch County extension agent worked with a local cotton farm and the UGA Cotton Plant Pathologist to set up an on-farm demonstration in 2021 to answer the question about whether a fungicide application to manage Areolate Mildew can increase cotton yield enough to make a positive return on investment (ROI).
The results of four different cotton fungicide treatments applied in the on-farm demonstration showed that the average of all fungicide applications increased cotton yield by 250 pounds per acre. The greatest yield increase was 291 pounds per acre and the least was 185 pounds per acre. The ROI of all applications averaged $236.75 per acre, assuming $0.95 cotton. Bulloch County cotton growers planted 43,646 acres of cotton in 2022. If Areolate Mildew is a problem and growers apply one cotton fungicide application to address the issue, Bulloch County cotton grower’s revenue would increase by $10.3 million. The on-farm research demonstration to address Areolate Mildew has been initiated again in 2022.
4-H Program Enhancement Through Volunteer Leaders
A volunteer is someone who does something for other people or for an organization, willingly and on one’s own accord. A 4-H Volunteer is many things—mentor, advisor, friend, teacher, referee, role model, pacesetter, and much more. Most importantly, 4-H volunteer leaders genuinely care about young people and wants to help them grow. According to the 2000-2021 Georgia 4-H Annual Report, the Georgia 4-H program has over 4100 volunteer leaders that assist with providing positive youth development opportunities to over 240,000 4-H Youth across the state. Bulloch County 4-H has strategically worked to recruit and retain a large base of volunteer leaders that continue to grow the program. The growth of volunteers has helped to expand the Bulloch County 4-H program by offering a variety of volunteer led programs, such as a variety of shooting sports and judging teams, and serving as adult chaperones during summer camp and various district/statewide events.
4-H Volunteers are an integral part of 4-H and play a vital role in 4-H programs. Without their service, many programs would not be possible. Georgia’s population has increased 11 out of the 11 years between year 2010 and 2021. According to USA Facts, the state grew ban an average of 1.2% each year. While populations across Georgia continue to increase, state and local budgets have not allowed for hiring enough additional 4-H youth development professionals to further extend the beneficial programs of 4-H to the expanding populations. One of the biggest needs in the 4-H program includes more human capacity to engage more young people in the 4-H program. For example, Bulloch County 4-H currently serves over 1700 youth in 5th-12th grade. The 4-H staff delivers in-school programming to 89 classrooms in 18 different schools. Considering the staff is made up of 2 full time and 2 part time members, the role of volunteers is essential in order to provide a wide variety of programming for the youth of Bulloch County. It is through volunteers that the Bulloch County 4-H program has grown in areas beyond the 4-H staff expertise and ability. Volunteers do expand capacity of the 4-H staff and assist with providing positive adult and youth partnerships that young people need for positive youth development. With the population of Bulloch County growing each year, Bulloch County 4-H needed to find a way to expand the program beyond what the 4-H staff could endure and maintain on a daily basis.
The Bulloch County 4-H program is supported by 40+ “core” volunteer leaders that serve as coaches for judging teams, shooting sports coaches, chaperones for trips, summer camp cabin leaders, fair food booth workers, and everything else in between. Each certified volunteer leader received training and completed the Volunteer Leader Risk Management Training Course. In addition, volunteers who serve as shooting sports or judging team coaches have also received additional specialty certified coach training for their chosen disciplines. Of the core volunteers, 21 of them are certified coaches for one or more 4-H programs. In addition to the core volunteers, Bulloch County 4-H has an organized Volunteer Leader Association that includes 25 additional members that volunteer behind the scenes to provide support to 4-H programs through fundraising, marketing, advisory panels, and community support. New volunteers are being certified each quarter, and our judging teams and shooting sports disciplines are working to add 1-2 additional certified coaches each year moving forward.
Volunteers are mission-centric as they chaperoned 4-H events and camps, led 4-H judging teams, judged projects, coached shooting sports programs, and organized fundraisers. Last year Bulloch 4-H volunteers provided 3 volunteer led judging teams (Forestry Judging, Cotton Boll & Consumer Judging, and Poultry Judging), coached indoor archery, outdoor archery, and modified trap shotgun. During the summer, 27 volunteer leaders attended camps and chaperoned over 294 Bulloch County 4-H’ers at Rock Eagle 4-H Center, Wahsega 4-H Center, and Camp Jekyll. They also logged over 3,000 hours of volunteer service to the Bulloch County 4-H program and over 1,200 hours of service to the 4-H shooting sports program. And when they weren’t coaching youth, they were helping raise over $20,000 to support Bulloch County 4-H programming. According to Track It Forward, those volunteer service hours equate to an approximate value of $83,100 worth of volunteer time. These volunteers have been extremely supportive of all 4-H youth and have used their personal knowledge and expertise to lead groups of Bulloch County 4-H’ers to great heights in their 4-H career.
In 2021-2022, examples of these volunteer-led successes include:
· State Indoor Archery:
o 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Overall Individual—Novice Division
o 1st Place Overall Individual—Cloverleaf Compound Division
o 4th Place Overall Individual Male & Female—Junior Recurve Division
o 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Overall Individual Male—Senior Recurve Division
o 4th Overall Individual Female—Senior Recurve Division
· State Outdoor Archery:
o 1st Place Overall Individual—Cloverleaf Compound
o 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Place Overall Individual—Senior Recurve Division
o 1st Place Team—Cloverleaf Novice Division
o 1st Place Team—Senior Recurve Division
· State Modified Trap Shotgun:
o 4th Place Overall Individual—Senior Division
· District CBCJ:
o High Overall Individual Senior
· National 4-H Archery Tournament:
o 3rd Place Senior Recurve Team
o 2nd Place Overall Senior Recurve Individual
· State Forestry Judging:
o 1st Place Senior Team
o 1st Place Overall Senior Individual
Because of volunteers, the Bulloch County 4-H program is able to offer a wide variety of programs to youth at a level beyond what the 4-H staff is physically capable. These 4-H volunteers chose to serve in order to help their kids, other youth, and to build positive relationships with youth throughout the community. Their willingness to serve comes from within. When asked why do you volunteer so much with 4-H, core volunteers responded, “Seeing a child come out of their shell and try new things and begin interacting with others is more important than any ribbon, medal or trophy. Witnessing the pure joy and excitement of youth celebrating each other’s victories, no matter how great or small, is the most gratifying reward possible. The 4-H program is a place where everyone can lean and grow and find out who they want to be in life. Through volunteering, we are able to reach more kids by continually growing the size and scope of the Bulloch County 4-H program”.