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.
Agricultural and Natural Resources
Root-knot nematodes have become a major pest in cotton and cause more economic damage to Georgia crops than any other species of nematode. Chemical treatment options have slowly been phased out for nematode control in cotton production. With more than 30,000 acres of cotton planted each year in Burke County in fields where root-knot nematodes are proven to reduce yields, planting a cotton variety that has resistance to root-knot nematodes has become a viable option. UGA Extension Burke County agents continue to conduct on-farm research trials in order to provide useful, up-to-date information producers can utilize when determining what to plant each year. Commercialized resistant varieties show strong yield potential even with high populations of root-knot nematodes and may prove to be sound economic alternatives to other options. Results indicated resistant varieties producing yields as high as 919 pounds per acre versus nonresistant varieties, which yielded 760 pounds per acre in a field where root-knot nematode pressure was high. Taking into consideration Burke County’s average yield of 913 pounds per acre, and assuming a $0.80 per pound cotton price, the increase in yields in infested fields would translate to an increase in profits of approximately $122.40 per acre.
4-H Youth Development
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 fourth- through eighth-grade youth focus on building an interest in health, agriculture and 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 2017, more than 60 youth competed on seven 4-H judging teams; 49 youth attended 4-H summer camp; and 14 youth participated in livestock show programs with four species. 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.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Incidence and mortality rates for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer in Burke County exceed state and national averages. The Burke County Family and Consumer Sciences agent offered the Cooking for a Lifetime Cancer Cooking School in her community. This program is designed for citizens who are rarely or never screened for breast, cervical or colorectal cancer in an effort to encourage cancer screenings and to motivate them to make positive changes in their food intake and activity levels. The program covers topics such as eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables; limiting sugary drinks and alcohol; reducing the intake of processed and red meat; and controlling sodium intake. As a participation incentive, the agent offered $25 each in farmers market vouchers to two residents through a random drawing at the conclusion of the program. Not only did the majority of participants indicate that they plan to seek cancer screenings, they were also provided access to fresh fruits and vegetables through program incentives. This program is motivating local residents to eat healthier and be more physically active to prevent cancer and improve health.