Making A Difference in Our County
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. The following are examples
Agriculture and Natural Resources
UGA Extension in Irwin County serves as the connection to unbiased information for the citizens of Irwin County. A key component of our programming is agricultural production meetings where agents and specialists present the most current information. In 2018, there were 11 such meetings where information was presented to a total of 615 farmers and agribusiness leaders in attendance. These meetings provided the latest information on cotton, corn, peanut and pecan production. Other meetings addressed disease, weed control, cotton defoliation, irrigation strategies and more. In addition to these meetings, our office staff also has opportunities to collaborate in the planning and presentation of information on numerous other topics, such as agriculture awareness events for fifth graders. Applied research is another way to gather and share information. Through applied research on-farm trials, information is collected on the local level. In 2018, our office staff participated in four trials focused on peanut row pattern, peanut burrower bug, two cotton variety trials and a corn variety trial. Educational efforts go beyond the county boundary through presentations of significant on-farm trial results to area, district, state and national venues in presentation or poster form.
The traditional role of helping our clientele one-on-one is still our strongest asset. Much of the work conducted throughout the year is via phone, office and farm or site visits. We provide a strong program in soil, water, nutrient and tissue sampling. Irwin County was fourth in the state for soil sample submissions through the Extension office. Our clientele’s immediate concerns pertaining to production agriculture or other issues require precise answers to help make decisions in a multitude of situations. For example, Irwin County Extension conducts a major effort to determine peanut maturity. In 2018, a total of 421 individual tests were conducted to determine proper peanut-maturity dates.
Our efforts are shared through various communications methods in addition to office, phone and site visits. Twenty-eight newsletters were emailed as appropriate throughout 2018, with each issue reaching 400 farmers and agribusinesses. Information updates are also sent via text messages to 170 farmers per message. We use Facebook and maintain an excellent webpage.
4-H Youth Development
The Irwin County 4-H Club is the largest youth organization in the county with 360 members from ages nine to 19. Two Irwin County 4-H members were District Board members who led Irwin County 4-H members on the district level. We have 17 individual clubs that meet each month and each club elects officers. Each year, we hold an officer training at our office. These officers come together to learn the leadership duties of their position so that they can conduct the club meetings. Thirty-one 4-H members developed their public speaking and leadership skills by participating in 4-H Project Achievement. Two participants went on to compete at State Congress. We also participate in 4-H Poultry Judging, 4-H Consumer Judging and community development. We have begun training for the 4-H Horse Quiz Bowl. We also had one of our 4-H members win third place in the Dean’s Award at 4-H State Congress. Another 4-H member was a scholarship recipient.