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
The Decatur County Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent assisted local growers with peanut maturity rating throughout the growing season. In 2019, nearly 50 samples of peanuts were blasted to reveal the hull color. Using this method determines the maturity of the sample, which helps producers determine the best time to harvest the peanuts. It is critical that growers make proper digging decisions to maximize yield and profit. Another significant program Decatur County offered this year was soil and tissue samples. In 2019, 484 soil samples were tested to determine the soil profile. Additionally, 235 tissue samples were used to determine the nutrient values within the plant. By using both the soil and tissue testing programs offered, Decatur County Extension helps growers and homeowners make decisions to maximize yield. Additionally, growers in Decatur County have participated in the AgWET project, using soil moisture sensors to increase water efficiency while potentially increasing yield. Three of the four growers who participated reported better water usage during their growing season.
4-H Youth Development
Decatur County 4-H promotes agriculture literacy through STEM programming, enrichment, citizenship and general 4-H programming locally, statewide and nationally. Improving agricultural knowledge increases a citizen’s ability to make better choices related to the overall health and well-being. Many do not know about the production of plan and animal products or realize the economic impact of agriculture. Even in an agrarian-dominated community such as Decatur County, people do not comprehend the essential relationship between agriculture, jobs, food, clothing and way of life. With more than 67,000 reported multi-generational contacts from 2017 through 2019, collaboration from agriculture-based entities has strengthened the success rate of efforts raising awareness of agricultural issues in Decatur County and beyond. Decatur County 4-H continues to lead many educational efforts locally, statewide and nationally. 4-H staff implement agriculture education through STEM enrichment for elementary youth, agricultural-science field days, national conference presentations and frequent hands-on experiential learning opportunities.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
Decatur County Family and Consumer Sciences was awarded a mini-grant as part of Collaborative Impact for Decatur County to provide health self-management education to senior citizens at the Decatur County Senior Center. Senior citizens in southwest Georgia often suffer from chronic diseases and are misinformed about the management and/or improvement of their health situation. UGA Extension provides monthly sessions incorporating healthy living through lessons in the importance of water consumption, maintaining a nutrient-rich diet, increasing movement, and sodium and sugar checks. Each teaching segment includes dialogue about chronic disease, recipe preparation, taste testing and physical activity. Seniors also planted cool weather vegetables in raised beds.