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.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
In 2019, the Colquitt County 4-H Club enrolled 1093 youths from fourth through 12th grades as active members in our clubs. Members are exposed to monthly educational meetings, monthly specialty club meetings, and multiple leadership conferences and community service activities. Though 4-H, 24 youths exhibited livestock, 62 youths attended 4-H summer camp and 80 youths participated in Project Achievement. All programmatic efforts would not be possible or successful without the Colquitt County Extension staff or volunteers. Colquitt County hosts an outstanding BB Team that provides Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education (SAFE) programs for 4-H’ers in the county. With three coaches and extra volunteers, the Colquitt County 4-H BB Team has increased in participation and is expecting even more participation in 2020.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
With above-average poverty rates in Colquitt County, the Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agent facilitated and offered the Virtual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. This program served a total of 31 households and 68 people face-to-face. Total federal tax refunds received were $17,465 and state tax refunds received totaled $3,891 equaling $21,356 in tax refunds. Total direct financial benefit to taxpayers and funds kept in or returned to Colquitt County was $32,156. Financial education on savings was also offered to participants.
In addition, a 2019 goal was to teach three ServSafe courses, with one in Spanish. Seven ServSafe classes were taught in 2019 including one in Spanish through a collaboration with Northwest District Extension. Sixty-seven people participated in the class and 43 received their manager certification (64%). This is an increase of 45 participants and four classes over the 2018 total of 22 participants with 18 passing. Pass rates vary between years based on client participation. We also served a larger minority and underserved population than in 2018.
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Cabbage production accounts for more than $38 million dollars in farm gate value for Colquitt County. Colquitt County is the biggest producer in Georgia for cabbage and various other brassica crops. However, it has not been easy for growers in Colquitt County to produce brassica crops due to the continuous battle with the diamondback moth (DBM). The DBM has had a long history of resistance to insecticides. To help growers, Colquitt County Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agents partnered with UGA entomologists to assess the DBM insecticide resistance across Colquitt County. DBM larvae are collected from various fields within Colquitt County and are tested for insecticide resistance. This research informs producers about insecticides that work in problematic fields. By doing this research, Extension agents and entomologists are evaluating the severity of insecticide resistance in an effort to assist farmers in better managing DBM larvae on their brassica crops. The results could potentially reduce yield loss and wasted insecticide costs due to insecticide-resistant DBM populations.