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.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
UGA Extension in Cook County provides lifelong learning to the people of Cook County through unbiased, research-based education about agriculture, the environment, communities, youth and families. This information is generated by university specialists and disseminated through the Cook County Extension office to residents of the county via informal educational meetings, newsletters, blogs, emails and newspaper articles. This county delivery system has been an effective tool for UGA Extension for more than 100 years.
Cook County is an agriculture-based community. In 2017, Cook County had a total farm-gate value of more than $102 million. Cook County is home to traditional crops like corn, cotton, peanuts and soybeans, but it is the county’s vegetable production that is exceptional. Cook County’s vegetable production comprised 16 percent of the total value. The Cook County Extension office is a Cook County farmer’s go-to source for accessing the latest, unbiased, research-based information related to agricultural production. In 2018, this information was disseminated directly to Cook County farmers from the Cook County Extension office via seven formal agriculture production update meetings; nine published newspaper articles; and 39 emailed or blogged “Ag Updates,” which highlighted current crop production challenges with UGA recommendations. Much of this research-based information was generated locally on Cook County farms through research trials investigating pecan ambrosia beetle trapping, crop fungicide effectiveness and cotton and peanut variety performance, among other things. A total of six research/demonstration trials were conducted in Cook County in collaboration with local growers and UGA crop specialists. In 2018, data from the local peanut fungicide trial was presented at the National County Agents Association (NACAA) Annual Meeting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as well as the American Peanut Research and Education Society (APRES) annual meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia, by Cook Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent Tucker Price. Data from this trial is referred to by UGA peanut specialists during peanut production meetings in other peanut-producing counties, as well as during the Annual Peanut Farm Show attended by peanut producers across the U.S.
4-H Youth Development
The mission of Georgia 4-H is to assist youth in acquiring knowledge, developing life skills and forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive and contributing members of society. This mission is accomplished through experiential learning focused on agricultural and environmental issues, agriculture awareness, leadership, communication skills, foods and nutrition, health, energy conservation and citizenship. The Cook County Extension 4-H agent coordinates programming for the youth of Cook County. This vibrant 4-H program has a total of 291 Cook County 4-H’ers enrolled. Sixteen 4-H club meetings are conducted in Cook County schools each month. The Cook County 4-H program boasts active participation in 4-H District Project Achievement competition, cotton boll and consumer judging, forestry judging, poultry judging, Project SAFE (Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education) Modified Trap Team events, community service and 4-H summer camps. The Cook County 4-H staff also offers in-school lessons on topics such as bullying prevention, coping with stress on standardized tests, proper etiquette and healthy living.