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
UGA Extension in Lee County conducted meetings on pecans, corn, cotton, peanuts, weeds and crop diseases. Businesses supported county production meetings led by Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent Doug Collins. He demonstrated the construction and use of ambrosia beetle traps to protect young pecan trees to a group of 29 pecan growers at the pecan field day. Collins taught the soil and plant-physiology modules to the Master Gardener Extension Volunteer class in Dougherty County. Technical assistance was performed through 449 site visits, 1,050 face-to-face interactions, 601 in-office visits and 759 phone contacts. Nine monthly newsletters were produced and emailed to more than 50 farmers and members of the agricultural industry. Collins wrote 51 weekly newspaper columns that were published with accompanying photographs in the Lee County Ledger. Topics included homeowner issues like gardening and landscaping. Six newspaper articles by the agent were published in the Farm Beat section of the Albany Herald. These articles dealt with topics related to commercial agriculture. WALB-TV broadcasted four interviews with the ANR agent. The station’s broadcast is seen by 80 percent of the 30-county viewership. Collins collaborated with UGA Extension Agricultural and Applied Economist Greg Fonsah to create a pecan-production budget for small-scale producers. The agent collected data from growers to use in the budget, provided input based on his own expertise, and created a poster to share the findings. Courtney Wingfield, the county Extension secretary, handles client soil, water and plant tissue samples for laboratory submission and helps growers obtain and receive credit for pesticide licenses.
4-H Youth Development
The Lee County 4-H Club, led by 4-H Agent Mallory Wise and Extension Educator Anne Spelts, was involved in a wide variety of activities in 2018. 4-H’ers learned a wide range of skills, from marksmanship and teamwork to reasoning and public speaking. The Project SAFE (Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education) Shotgun Team has five certified coaches and 25 team members. Lee County was represented at the Area Poultry Judging Competition and at the Area Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging Competition. We had 11 middle-school and high-school participants at District Project Achievement and one went on to compete for Master 4-H status, the highest 4-H achievement, at State 4-H Congress. Also at District Project Achievement, two Lee County 4-Hers were elected as Southwest District Junior Board Members. There were also 10 fifth- and sixth-graders competing at Project Achievement in Moultrie, Georgia.
This past summer, a total of 30 students and three adults attended summer camp. Youth also had the opportunity to attend a variety of summer events including trips to Lake Blackshear, Launch Trampoline Park, museums and an escape room. In an effort to raise funds for camp and shooting sports, Lee County 4-H’ers sold more than 5,000 pounds of Vidalia onions. Other opportunities enjoyed by youth include a new club called “Fit In!”, animal club, our after-school club for middle- and high-schoolers and numerous community-service events.