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
The Grady County 4-H Club has always encouraged 4-H’ers to participate in 4-H Project Achievement, Georgia 4-H’s public speaking program. To provide additional leadership opportunities, agents created a program called “Green Crusaders.” The program allowed seventh- through 12th-grade Project Achievement participants to serve in mentoring roles, thus improving their leadership and communication skills while providing opportunities to improve the Sharing and Helping and Certified Teen Leader sections of their portfolios. During Green Crusader meetings, junior- and senior-level 4-H’ers created and taught hands-on lessons related to their main project area. 4-H agents provided guidance to older 4-H’ers as they planned their lessons and challenged them to go beyond lecture-style teaching and facilitate a self-learning, exploratory lesson for the younger 4-H’ers. Grady County 4-H staff organized five Green Crusader meetings after school at the 4-H office. We achieved great results from the program: 30 fourth- through 12th-grade 4-H’ers attended one or more meetings; 11 out of the 30 participates attending Project Achievement for the first time, and six out of the 11 participants went on to compete in Project Achievement. Five high-school 4-H’ers led hands-on lessons that related to their main project area. A summative assessment was conducted to measure knowledge and attitude with seventh- to 12th-grade 4-H’ers after the orientation meeting. Interviews were conducted in small focus groups and three recurring themes emerged from the raw data regarding mentorship and Project Achievement. One, being a mentor is being a leader and giving support, advice and guidance. Two, being a mentor is fun and it’s exciting. Three, portfolios seem like a lot of work, but with the club, it seems like it will be easy. First year Project Achievement participant Cheyne Norton stated, “Coming to Green Crusader meetings makes Project Achievement more interesting. It adds a little fun.”
Agriculture and Natural Resources
For years, peanut variety ‘GA-06G’ has been the standard variety in Georgia. ‘GA-06G’ was planted on more than 90 percent of the peanut acres in Georgia last year. Recently, Grady County growers have expressed interest in other peanut varieties that have come on the market. UGA Extension in Grady County worked with local growers to plant, evaluate and harvest four different peanut varieties this year. Since ‘GA-06G’ has been the standard for so long, Georgia growers have extensive experience with the variety. It has been a consistently high-yielding peanut, but growers are looking for a new standard for various reasons. The peanut market is requesting more varieties with high oleic-oil content. Growers have little experience with the new high-oleic varieties. Grady County Extension and UGA peanut agronomist Scott Monfort worked with local growers Sammy and Lafe Perkins to evaluate new peanut varieties. The study included peanut varieties ‘GA-06G’, ‘GA-16HO’, ‘TUFR 297’ and ‘AUNPL17’. All four varieties were evaluated and taken to yield. In this trial, the highest-yielding variety, ‘GA-16HO’, out-yielded the lowest-yielding variety, ‘AUNPL17’, by 600 pounds per acre. With the price of peanuts at $0.21/lbs., the 600 pound-per-acre difference in varieties could mean more than $126 per acre. Grady County grows 9,000 acres of peanuts annually; the impact of $126 per acre would result in more than $1.1 million in increased income. The results of this study will be shared at county production meetings and at statewide UGA Extension meetings.