Making A Difference in Our County
We're working hard for the citizens we serve. Here are some examples of successful projects from the past year:
COVER CROP RESEARCH
Even with good crop rotations and significant irrigated acres, producers continue to look for ways to increase profitability and become more sustainable in their production practices. Agents implemented demonstration trials to address establishment and cover crop varieties as they relate to nitrogen credits for cash crops. They planted demonstration plots that compared three planting dates across nine cover crop mixes. Samples were taken to compare nitrogen credits just prior to termination of these plots for planting of the cash crop. Survey results indicated that 100 percent of field day attendees responded that they learned the value of the timely planting of cover crops. Farmer utilization of cover crops has increased in Burke County. Area producers increased acreage planted to mixed cover crops and 100 percent of producers gained knowledge on proper sampling for nitrogen using the nitrogen calculator. From the trial results, timely planting of cover crops can provide up to $26 per acre in nitrogen credit. This tool will allow producers to put a value on the nitrogen gained from cover crops. Farmers have indicated that they would support additional research on cover crop varieties and timely termination to optimize nitrogen credits.
POSITIVE LEARNING FOR YOUTH
Burke County 4-H strives to maintain a diverse program in which youth can be actively involved in the learning process. Monthly in-school club meetings for fifth- through eighth-grade youth focus on building an interest in science and creating awareness of career opportunities. Outside of the classroom, youth are actively engaged in learning essential life skills through hands-on involvement in 4-H programming. In 2016, more than 30 youth competed on 4-H judging teams; 70 youth attended 4-H summer camp; and 21 youth participated in livestock show programs. Members have also participated in regional leadership conferences and District Project Achievement, which allows youth to gain subject matter knowledge and have the opportunity to travel outside of rural Burke County. As the 4-H program continues to grow, Burke County youth will have even more opportunities to develop life skills through valuable experiential learning opportunities.
The Burke County Board of Commissioners wanted to reduce health care costs while improving the health, safety and well-being of the county’s workforce. In an effort to accomplish these goals, the Family and Consumer Sciences Extension agent has applied for and received a Health Promotion and Wellness Incentive Grant from the Association County Commissioners of Georgia’s Local Government Risk Management Services each year since 2011. To date, the agent has held a sun safety workshop, two flu shot clinics, an ergonomics workshop, nutrition and cooking classes, two heart attack and stroke prevention workshops with carotid artery plaque scans, and four health fairs that provided a variety of health screenings. Employees have responded positively to the health and wellness program, with 727 employees taking advantage of the information and screenings provided to them. Health care expenses for Burke County have remained stable, while premiums have increased in surrounding counties.University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. The following are examples of our impact in the county over the past year.