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.
GORDON ANR OFFERED A VARIETY OF PROGRAMMING EFFORTS IN 2022
Face to face as well as print and social media programming were plentiful in 2022 for Gordon Extension. In regards to print and social media work, there were over 100 researched based educational articles provided for both The Calhoun Times and the online paper, Gordon Gazette. These articles were on seasonal topics for farmers as well as homeowners including information on livestock management, vegetable gardening, soil testing and care of ornamentals for example. In addition, there were over approximately 50 “Tips-of-the-Week” on seasonal topics prepared for the Gordon Extension/4-H Facebook page along with a monthly “Tip-of-the-Month” for the Gordon County Extension ANR Newsletter.
Gordon County Extension was the host county for the NW Georgia Corn/Soybean Production Meeting. This event had 78 total participants and centered on management topics for these two valuable commodities. UGA Extension specialists were guest speakers and private and commercial pesticide recertification hours were given for this event. Gordon Extension also hosted a Feral Swine Workshop in April 2022. Feral swine can be a damaging pest for agricultural crops and homeowner properties. This event promoted the use of the Coosa River SWCD swine trap. UGA Wildlife Specialists, Dr. Mike Mengak, was a guest presenter and talked about ways to eradicate feral swine from a researched based aspect. A trap was on display for visual observation. Thirty people participated in this workshop.
Gordon Extension hosted a “How to Grow Your Vegetable Garden Transplant” workshop in March 2022 where Bob Westerfield was the guest presenter. Tips on now to growing successful transplants were shared. Greg Bowman, Gordon County Extension Agent, discussed the importance of soil testing and how the process works in a county office for the twenty-five class participants. In addition, Gordon Extension hosted in September 2022 a NW Georgia Turf-grass Up-date for landscape professionals, sod farm managers and staff as well as staff from county parks and recreation. Thirty-five people participated. Topics covered were turfgrass management for Fall, weed control strategies for turfgrass and turf disease up-dates and fall disease prevention activities. Pesticide recertification hours were available.
The UGA Extension/ ABS Global, Inc. Artificial Insemination Training School was held from August 26- August 28th in Gordon County with Gordon Extension as the host. Seventeen participants from three states participated in this 3-day event. Participants learned about bovine anatomy and physiology, bovine reproductive tracts, bull semen tank care and bull semen handling, cow heat detection, proper timing of insemination and cattle heat synchronization as well as hands on practice of A.I. techniques.
The goal is to give cattle producers a way to use superior genetics on top bulls in order to improve their cow herds.
Finally, Bowman was a presenter to 175 high school youth at the Stockyard Field Day at the Calhoun Stockyards in Calhoun. Youth from five counties attended this event. Bowman centered on the career of a livestock nutritionist including degree path and salary. The agent shared information and visuals on the basics of cattle nutrition. In addition, in May 2022, Bowman and Gordon County 4-H agent, Allie Griner had a booth at the Gordon County Young Famer Ag Day where they presented to 375 third grade youth on how to plant pumpkin seed and youth were allowed to demonstrate this skill.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCE PROGRAMMING IN 2022
Gordon County currently does not have a FACS agent, but did offer one Lunch & Learn class on home canning in April 2022. Angelica Bridges, UGA FACS agent presented on pressure canning and even tested eight pressure canners for proper function in preparation for the summer canning season.
GORDON 4-H - MAKING THE BEST BETTER IN 2022
In 2022, Gordon County 4-H’ers have had great success, with five Master 4-H’ers last program year with 2 winning scholarships, 1 Master Showman, and 2 winning state Project Achievement, and five already this year with a state winning Food Challenge team and a Master Showman. The poultry judging team had the area high individual and also earned the right to compete at the state contest. Youth also served in significant leadership roles as national shooting sports ambassadors, state and national tech ambassadors, district junior and senior boards, as well as a state board officer this year. We also have youth applying for major recognition for National 4-H Conference, Dean’s Award, Livestock Catalog Student Spotlights, and National Youth in Action Awards. We have a livestock judging team that earned second place at state and qualified to represent Georgia at the Western National Roundup 4-H Livestock Judging Competition in Denver, Colorado in January.
New Programs to Address Youth Interest:
Coming out of the pandemic, our program has been re-energized with new and returning 4-H members engaging in a variety of activities. We already had a wide base of programs for youth to participate in, but in the last year we have added an investment challenge club (much like the stock market game), a land judging team (placed 3rd in the state at their first ever contest), a food challenge team (juniors placed fourth, and seniors placed 1st in the state at their first ever contest, earning the right to represent Georgia at the national contest in Texas next September), and a Chick to Chicken Project (generated $750 in donations, as well as an additional $500 after the show).
Already planned to add in the coming months are robotics teams through the schools, a rabbit club (following on the heels of the success of the small animal chick to chicken project), and a .22 rifle team. We also plan to host the newly created Darby Livestock Judging Contest to honor the memory of a former Gordon County 4-H’er and support the livestock program’s legacy in our county.