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
In the late winter and early spring of each year, Dooly County Extension hosts several commodity production meetings. Specialists come from UGA to speak to local growers and give them the most up to date research and information on crops grown in Dooly County, most notably, cotton and peanuts. These programs help producers with weed management, varietal selection, disease detection/prevention, and proper resistance management for the pesticides used in crop production. Although the pandemic necessitated that our meetings be virtual in 2020, we were still able to reach our clientele and share the vital research and information needed prior to their planting season.
Education and outreach are both vital functions of Extension. Dooly County farmers must dig peanuts during a very narrow window in order to reach maximum yield potential while maintaining a good quality crop. As the end of the peanut growing season approaches, Dooly County Extension hosts peanut maturity clinics to aid farmers in determining the optimal time to dig peanuts. Offering these clinics both educates farmers on when to dig and is also a valuable outreach tool to maintain relationships with our farmers and to reaffirm Extension’s value to the community. By utilizing this service, farmers can obtain higher yields and better grades for their crop. This year, the Dooly County Ag agent assisted over 65 farmers and 10 consultants in testing more than 217 samples. This represents over 14,000 acres of peanuts which is approximately 75% of the total peanut crop in Dooly County for the year. According to our peanut specialist, Scott Monfort, digging peanuts two weeks early can cost farmers 744 pounds of peanuts per acre. Alternately, digging peanuts two weeks late can result in the loss of 1,746 pounds of peanuts per acre. Assuming the worst-case scenario that all 14,000 acres of peanuts in Dooly County that were sampled by the Dooly Extension agent were dug two weeks late, that could amount to a whopping 24,444,000 pounds of peanut yield lost. With peanuts valued at around $400/ton, the monetary result would be that farmers would stand to lose $4,888,800 in revenue.
Peanut Maturity Clinics are one of the many ways our Extension office in Dooly County assists our local community by striving to fulfill our mission to “extend lifelong learning to the people of Georgia through unbiased, research-based education in agriculture, the environment, communities, youth and families.”
4-H Youth Development
The Dooly County 4-H Program enrollment increased to 538 students in the 2019/ 2020 school year with the help of County Extension Program Assistant, Quadarius Hardy. Mr. Quad routinely presents approximately 144 in school club meetings annually. These meetings are held during school hours at Dooly County Public School and Fullington Academy. For the first time in almost 10 years, Dooly County had 4 club members participate in statewide Junior - Senior District Project Achievement. This event was held January 31st through February 2nd at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. It was a great experience and we believe that the best is yet to come. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic necessitating the cancellation of the event, 30 Dooly County 4-Hers had registered and were prepared to compete at Cloverleaf District Project Achievement in the Spring of 2020. In addition, our program had 28 youth who were planning to travel to Jekyll Island for Summer Camp in July of 2020. Unfortunately, camps had to be cancelled due to the virus. During Covid, Dooly County used their social media platform to promote virtual programs in order to keep their youth updated and engaged. Mr. Quad is diligently working to help provide the young people of Dooly County with opportunities to see all that Georgia 4-H has to offer. We continue to make every effort to provide quality programming for our youth during these challenging times. We expect to soon have many more exciting events on the schedule for our 4-Hers as we continue to build our program here in Dooly.