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.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Jeff Davis County grows more than 10,000 acres of peanuts annually. During the 2019 County Peanut Production Meeting, a discussion was started on UGA-recommended peanut-seeding rates. The majority of the peanut acres in the county are planted at nine or more seeds per foot. According to UGA, growers should plant six seeds per foot on singles and six to seven combined seeds per foot on twin rows. A peanut-seeding rate study was conducted in collaboration with a UGA Peanut Agronomist to evaluate the validity of the seeding rate recommendations. A randomized four-treatment test was conducted on different seeding rates using Georgia-06G, the top-planted peanut variety, with a farmer in the county. The research showed there was no statistical difference in yield among the four seeding rates. Thus, under normal planting conditions, no peanut yield is gained by planting the extra three seeds per foot. When planting GA-06G at six seeds per foot, farmers spend $117 per acre on seed. At nine seeds per foot, farmers would spend $172 per acre, an increase of $55 per acre in seed expense. When surveyed at the beginning of 2019, 75% of growers stated that they used UGA recommendations shared at county production meetings on their farm the majority of the time. Evaluation of peanut-seeding rates through local research encourages growers to assess current planting practices. Farmer adoption of reduced seeding rates will increase peanut profits.
4-H Youth Development
It’s buckles and banners, ribbons and trophies, prize money and life skills through livestock. Life skills are defined as psychosocial abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. Students showing livestock spend countless hours, miles and money to show the animals they love. Livestock showing is a lifestyle that a family adopts and commits to in order to reach their goals. Livestock participants build essential life skills through the involvement in the program. Youth exhibiting livestock in Jeff Davis County have opportunities to develop these skills through the local 4-H program over many years. Over the last four years, 68 students have exhibited animals at the local and state level and eight have participated at the national level all under the direction of the county 4-H agent. One student has been involved in this program for 12 years. The longevity of this member’s commitment has helped her build life skills and achieve goals. The student began her 4-H project when she was four years old in the show ring. The student exhibited her animals at the state level for eight years, winning the State Champion title three times; the only student to win the honor three times. The student earned her third Master 4-H’er status in February 2019 and also won her sophomore showmanship class. The impact of the project is evident in the student’s relationships, “My favorite part of showing pigs is the people it has brought into my life. I have made many friends around the show ring.” When asked how she would promote the show pig industry, the student responded by saying, “To me it’s fun. I love the task of gaining the pigs’ trust. My pigs are my teammates and it is so rewarding.” This student continues to show and raise pigs and considers showing pigs as “her sport.”