UGA Extension Office

Our Impact

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.


Coffee County 4-H wants to help 4-H’ers to understand the interconnectivity of the world to the ocean and how the health of our local waterways contributes to the health of the coastal marshes and oceans. This issue is important because of the reliance of local waterways not only to local agriculture necessities but also to the coast because of the amount of industries that humans rely upon that originate there.

Coffee County 4-H took seven 4-Hers to the Dept. of Natural Resources Coastal Division to meet one of the agents there who proceeded to teach about marine education through a variety of activities. 4-H’ers learned how to properly rig their fishing poles as well as tie proper knots to tie hooks. Then, they went to the nearby dock to fish with the poles they had built themselves while also having the opportunity to learn proper seining techniques as well as look for marine wildlife under buoys. After spending the morning fishing, 4-H’ers went inside to participate in a variety of marine education activities about resources and competition, recording fish populations and proper management of wildlife populations. After, 4-H’ers proceeded to return outside to hike in the marsh to observe Fiddler carbs and sea snails as well as talk about the purpose and benefits of marshes.

During the classroom session, 4-H’ers had several different environmental/life sciences activities that pertain to the GSE standards taught in 7th grade, but tailored to the local coastal marine environment. This enabled students to relate the material back to the morning’s fishing as well as to the hike through the marshes and their observations there. By providing a mixture of seeing, hearing, and doing, students could make firmer connections to why marine education is pertinent to their lives. In summary, 4-H’ers were able to take with them tangible skills as well as intangible knowledge about Georgia’s waterways and coast. 


Coffee County is home to over 33,500 irrigated acres of cotton, peanuts, and corn. Growers use different methods to determine when to turn on a pivot including; weather data, soil conditions, and the most common method of “well my neighbor cut his on.” Some of these methods can lead to the overuse of irrigation systems. By helping farmers understand irrigation and other water management tools, they can make the best use of the water available through rain or irrigation systems.

To address irrigation management needs; the Coffee County ANR Agent and UGA Water Team placed soil moisture sensors in Coffee County. Two CropX soil moisture sensors were installed in two separate irrigated cotton fields. Cooperating growers had the opportunity to use the sensors throughout the crop season to minimize irrigation costs while maximizing yields. During the season, the County Agent maintained contact with growers to address any questions regarding the technology and its application on their farm. While the two cooperating growers got hands-on knowledge from the project, we also wanted to educate all Coffee County producers on water management practices.

This irrigation water programming was very beneficial to Coffee County and our State’s water supply. Growers stated, “I would have cut on the pivot in the past, but the soil moisture sensor showed there was adequate water available to that crop so I chose not to run the pivot.” Research shows that farmers who over-irrigate through normal scheduling methods; see an estimated water savings of up to 2” or  54,308 gallons per acre by using water sensors. The CropX sensors helped growers manage pivot systems on approximately 150 acres. Using previous research data, we can estimate that this project saved over 8,146,000 gallons of water across 150 acres. Coffee County Extension hosted an irrigation efficiency and utilization workshop to educate growers on all aspects of water management with over 30 growers in attendance. Overall the project reduced pumping costs for local producers while increasing water conservation and awareness across the state of Georgia.


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