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
Dougherty County pecan production is still recovering from the 2018 storms. Last year with 16,700 acres of pecans, an average of 600 pounds per acre, the Farm Gate value for 2019 was $18, 837,600. UGA Agricultural and Natural Resources program places a greater emphasis on making sure that producers in Dougherty County, along with other counties in southwest Georgia, as well as North Florida and East Alabama are aware of new chemicals, management practices, research projects, insects, and diseases that may face the next growing season. Pecan specialists from the UGA Tifton Campus are brought in every March to conduct a pecan production meeting.
Urban horticulture is also a main focus in Dougherty County. With the aid of the Master Gardener Extension Volunteers, homeowners receive technical assistance in the areas of composting, flowers, fruit and nut production, insect identification and control, lawn and plant care, pesticide safety, shrubs and trees, soil and water testing, vegetable gardening, weed identification and control, and water conservation.
In 2020 Fort Valley State University Cooperative Extension program provided annual/quarterly educational trainings/workshops to farmers to improve productivity while protecting the environment. The Extension Agent offers advice on pesticides to help farmers and homeowners to control and/or manage diseases and weed control, market products made from plants and animals, and assist farmers with establishing Co-ops. FVSU Cooperative Extension assists farmers with completing Farm Service Agency Loan Applications and Farm Plans as well as the Natural Resources Conservation Service Cost-Share Programs applications.
Family and Consumer Sciences
University of Georgia Family and Consumer Sciences Extension programs and publications provide chronic disease education, prevention and management programs for Georgians who are at risk for or suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and/or cancer. Dougherty County offers a yearly Diabetes Cooking School and Cancer Prevention Cooking School to inform county residents how good nutrition can prevent these diseases. By learning skills that address chronic disease, we can greatly reduce the cost of health care and teach people how to live healthier. Dougherty County FACS agent also provides free Virtual Income Tax Assistance (VITA) yearly working with the University of Georgia and University of Florida.
Recent statistics reveal that youth in Dougherty County lead the state of Georgia in sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Relationship and health education offered to this demographic teaches healthy relationships and goal setting for youth.
The federal Expanded Foods and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) works with low-income families with small children and includes a seven-week nutrition demonstration program.
4-H Youth Development
The Dougherty County 4-H Program works collaboratively with the school system and the community to make a brighter future for 1,500 4-H members.
By offering 4-H programs and specialty clubs, such as Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging, Poultry Judging, Project Achievement, MilkMake and Peanutrition competitions, summer learning workshops and college tours, 4-H’ers learn invaluable life skills.
Science, engineering and technology, along with 4-H AgriScience programs, allow youth to receive extended education through experiential activities.
4-H’ers benefit from in-school, after-school and evening club meetings and activities.
Dougherty County 4-H holds monthly club meetings in 11 elementary schools and four middle schools. High school students and home-schooled students take advantage of our monthly 4-H meetings held at the Extension office. Dougherty County 4-H also teaches good citizenship skills by taking part in community service opportunities like Stash the Trash, volunteering at nursing homes and participating in local food drives.