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
Dooly County is known for its agricultural impact in Georgia. Dooly ranks at the top in the state for production of cotton, peanuts/tree nuts, and grains. Over the past few years Dooly County and Southwest Georgia have been hit with natural disasters, causing the loss of many crops and infrastructures, but Dooly County producers are strong and resilient. This past year, as in past years, there were dry spells, high temperatures, and then rain at harvest times. The combination makes it difficult for producers to pull high yields, but Dooly persevered. Dooly County Extension provides the latest information on the upcoming year’s crops through its production meetings. These production meetings include cotton, peanuts, weed control and disease management. An average of 75 producers and industry leaders attended each meeting. Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent Ronnie Barentine took a new position with UGA Extension as the Program Development Coordinator in Tifton, Georgia. New agent Jeremy Register stepped into the Dooly ANR position in June.
Using Pesticides Wisely
Pesticides are very important to crop production. They are used to control weeds, insects and diseases. Pesticides are very effective on these pests, but they must be used in a way that protects the environment and farm workers. Barentine and Register conducted a series of meetings that taught farmworkers how to use pesticides wisely and safely. The training included information on equipment operation, drift and volatility control, tank cleanout, protection of sensitive crops, endangered species and bees. In addition, the training focused on farmworker protection. Workers learned about emergency information and assistance, personal protection equipment, decontamination sites, pesticide warning labels, restricted entry intervals and cleanup. Applicants received two hours of training that included certification in the Using Pesticides Wisely program and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Worker Protection Standard. A total of 40 farmworkers completed the trainings. In addition, UGA Extension in Dooly County had seven people complete testing to receive a private pesticide license. Dooly County Extension held weed control, cotton production and peanut production meetings that informed farmers of pesticide use and safety. A total of 170 participants attended these trainings.
4-H Youth Development
The Dooly County 4-H Club enrolled 530 students in the organization in 2019 with the help of new 4-H Youth County Extension Program Assistant (CEPA) Quadarius Hardy. Dooly County has a total of 24 monthly club meetings held during school hours at Dooly County public schools and Fullington Academy. For the first time in about seven years, Dooly County had 10 club members participate in statewide Junior Conference at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. Nine Dooly 4-H’ers enjoyed Cloverleaf Camp at the Burton 4-H Center on Tybee Island with intern Shelby Sangster prior to the Dooly County 4-H CEPA position being filled last summer. In 2019, Dooly County 4-H began working closely with the Salt of the Earth after-school program in order to fill a need in the community and connect with more of our youth. Hardy took approximately 50 youth to the Georgia Aquarium in November. He is working diligently to provide the young people of Dooly County the opportunity to see all that Georgia 4-H has to offer. There are many more upcoming events on the schedule for our 4-H’ers to look forward to as we continue to build our 4-H program in Dooly County.