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
Irwin County Cooperative Extension serves county citizens through multiple avenues. The foundation of many agent recommendations begins with soil testing. A total of 1,034 soil samples were submitted to the UGA Soil and Water Lab, which makes Irwin County seventh in the state in soil submissions in 2019. Another avenue of service is providing farmer information through county production meetings where information on weed management, peanut production, cotton production, disease management, irrigation scheduling, pecan production, cotton defoliation and other topics is delivered by specialists and agents, reaching more than 500 contacts. In addition to these meetings, our office staff plans and presents information in events such as fifth grade agriculture awareness, farmer recognitions and civic club presentations reaching an additional 500 contacts. Applied research is another way to gather and share information. Through applied research on-farm trials information is collected on the local level. In 2019, our office staff participated in numerous trials focused on pecan ambrosia beetle trapping, psyllid trapping in citrus, a peanut insecticide in-furrow study, two cotton variety trials, a peanut seed germination study, a corn variety trial and a peanut foliage-feeder study. Educational efforts go beyond the county boundary through presentations to district, state and national venues.
A main focus of the office is the traditional role of helping our clientele through one-on-one contacts made via phone, office visits and farm or site visits. Our clientele’s immediate concerns pertaining to production agriculture or other issues need precise decisions to help provide answers in a multitude of situations. For example, peanut maturity determination is done at our office, with a total of 359 individual tests conducted. Our efforts are shared through communication using various methods. Thirty newsletters were emailed, with each issue reaching 400 farmers and agribusinesses. Multiple information updates are also sent via text messages to 190 farmer cell phones. A video was produced on peanut pegging zone testing and 1,799 people have been reached via Facebook. Newspaper articles and feature stories are also submitted periodically.
4-H Youth Development
The Irwin County 4-H Club is the largest youth organization in the county, with 400 members from ages nine to 19. Participation in Project Achievement helps youth develop communication skills through project work showcased in county, district and state competitions. 4-H members are reached through 17 individual clubs that meet each month. Elected officers attend officer training and enhance their leadership skills. 4-H members attended camp, where we exceeded our quota. Poultry Judging is a county-favorite judging event and our team made it to state competition. 4-H participation also includes youth livestock projects, community service and numerous other activities. Two outstanding 4-H members and our program assistant attended 4-H Citizenship Washington Focus.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
Although Irwin County does not have a Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agent based in the office, we strive to assist local residents with their questions. Common questions cover food safety, food preservation, mold and mildew, healthy meal planning, nutrition, family budgeting and more. A Southwest District FACS agent came to our county to help with a pickling class at the high school.