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
Bermudagrass stem maggots (BSM) have caused severe economic losses to Dodge County hay growers over the past several years. The first case of BSM was confirmed in Dodge County in 2012. Since that year, BSM have become a major issue for hay producers in Dodge County. Education and familiarity with this pest was a must for producers in Dodge County if they expected to be quality producers of hay in the area. There are approximately 9,000 acres of hay grown annually in Dodge County, with a dollar value of $2.7 to $3.2 million. If BSM are not scouted for and treated in a timely manner, yield losses in Dodge County could be expected of between $1.5 to $2 million annually. Education one management of BSM has been brought to in Dodge County growers and results have been to bring a positive dollar value back to the county.
4-H Youth Development
Agricultural literacy can be cultivated in any person, no matter their age or experience. Helping others understand the important role agriculture plays in their everyday lives became a target goal of the Dodge County 4-H Program Development Team. UGA Extension in Dodge County Extension and the Dodge County 4-H Club set out to provide an agricultural literacy experience through enrichment, citizenship and general 4-H programming. After identifying this goal, the agent and program development team immediately began brainstorming and planning an educational component that would not only be informative, but fun, stimulating and motivating as well. As a result of the educational events, 46 children and adults were provided information about agriculture from production to the end product, in a fun yet educational capacity. After this program, students were more informed about the benefits provided by our agricultural community, the community’s career options, access to the locally grown food supply and the local economy. Adults are now more cognizant of the educational need within our community. Celena McDermitt, a parent, said the following of the program, “Through the Ag Literacy Program offered by Dodge County 4-H this past summer, my daughter gained a greater appreciation and understanding of the agricultural aspects within our own county. Her desire to share information obtained during this program, with not only me and her dad but friends and other family as well, has been exciting. Growing up here, I have always known that we were a large agricultural community. However, as with life, we take many things for granted, just as I have in assuming that my child automatically knew where her food came from and what opportunities were in front of her in the agricultural industry. We are greatly appreciative of the time taken by Dodge County 4-H to put this program together and share with the youth of Dodge County how valuable sustainability is in this area.”
Family and Consumer Sciences
Although Dodge County does not have a Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agent based in the county Extension office, we strive to assist local residents with their questions. Common questions cover food safety, food preservation, mitigating mold and mildew, healthy meal planning, nutrition, family budgeting, and much more. These issues and others are answered through a wide variety of free UGA Extension publications available at the county office and phone conferences with FACS agents from surrounding counties. Neighboring FACS agents often conduct programming that our county residents are welcome to attend.