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
For the second straight year, Dooly County farmers were hit hard by a hurricane. Hurricane Michael barreled through the county on October 10, 2018. Cotton and pecans suffered the most damage. Before the storm, cotton farmers in Dooly were harvesting one of the best crops they’d had in years. They were picking up to 1,700 pounds of cotton per acre before the storm, and as low as 400 pounds per acre after the storm. The county lost 5 percent of its pecan orchards with yield losses up to 30 percent. Immediately after the storm, Dooly County UGA Extension Agent Ronnie Barentine began reporting damage estimates to Extension economists, state and national legislators, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This information was critical to helping economists and officials determine the type and amount of disaster relief needed to help farmers recover. Emails and newsletters were used to inform farmers of area disaster meetings and disaster programs available. Barentine assisted farmers with loss reports to crop insurance companies and assisted farmers with disaster relief applications.
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 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 clean-up. 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 persons attended these trainings.
4-H Youth Development
The Dooly County 4-H Club has enrolled 530 students in our organization this year with the help of our 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. This year, 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 36 youth to the Georgia Aquarium in December. 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.