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.
4-H Youth Development
Service-learning, particularly for youth, offers young people unique opportunities to link what they learn in the classroom to real-world situations in their communities. Such opportunities help young people learn how to negotiate, plan and execute ideas, which will be helpful as they enter college or careers. However, empowering young people to think critically in identifying a community need, devising a plan, marketing a project, and facilitating a service-learning project to initiative, can prove a challenging process that requires time, patience, mentoring and support on behalf of a caring adult.
Many local 4-H students have expressed thoughts about how there are few opportunities for service projects that are truly youth-planned and led in the community. In 2018, nine 4-H members in seventh through 12th grades participated in the 4-H Seeds of Service Program. Through this initiative, students learned valuable project-management skills while pledging their hands to significant service. Combined, the students collected 1,095 items for nine entities in need and $213 for a longtime local firefighter battling a disease. During project reflection activities, one 4-H’er stated, “Nowhere else am I empowered like I am in this 4-H program. Most everywhere else, we are told what to do and how to do it with little freedom to investigate and explore. I like how we can come to you with any idea and you are open to helping us implement the idea without barriers.” Another 4-H’er commented, “This opportunity showed me that you don’t have to change the world all at once, but just help one person when you can. I learned that no matter who you are, how young or old you are or where you’re from, you can make a difference. I’m glad I was able to be a part of this service project, and I’m happy to know it helped someone who needs it.”
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Center rot in onions can cause significant damage in an onion crop. At times up to 100 percent yield can be affected and severe economic damage can be noted. Research efforts were made to determine the stage of growth and the fungicide application that successfully controls and minimizes incidence of center rot in onions. Because center rot in onions is such an economically damaging pathogen, local Vidalia onion agents from Toombs, Tattnall, Evans and Montgomery counties, along with UGA vegetable pathologist Bhabesh Dutta, designed and conducted research trials to investigate and determine the effect onion growth stage has in center rot incidence. Throughout 2017 and 2018, research concluded that utilizing Kocide 3000 during bulb initiation, bulb swelling or all three growth stages, farmers can reduce their center rot Incidence by up to 20 percent. This would be a more than $5,000 dollar per-acre value to the grower in fields with significant center rot incidences. Utilizing the information found in this research and incorporating Kocide 3000 into their spray programs, farmers reduced their center-rot incidence while increasing the yield and economic value of their annual onion crop.