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 4-H program provided by the Miller County Extension in conjunction with the Miller County school system provides in classroom agricultural and STEM lessons that follow the Georgia Performance Standards for all fifth grade students. Miller Co. 4-H has been able to shift and adjust during these unusual times to not only offering traditional face to face programming, but also providing virtual programing to students. Miller Co. 4-H has expanded its programing, providing seeds and gardening instructions to approximately 850 students, provided virtual field trips learning about Georgia ecosystems, STEM project, entomology, pet care, and healthy snacks preparation. Students have also had the opportunity to have zoom classrooms with Q&A sessions taught by leaders in the fields of Meteorology, Paleontology and NASA Scientist. MC 4-H has been able to draw on and share programing from other 4-H counties across the state. This shared programing has allowed 4-H’ers a vast field of programing and activities while helping students with their mental health by experiencing other 4-H instructors, meeting new 4-H’ers across the state and catching up with 4-H’ers they may have previously met while attending 4-H events like Summer Camp or Project Achievement. For the 20-21 school year MC has worked closely with the MCSS facility an administration to make sure that 4-H is also serving the families who have elected to attend school virtually. The 20-21 school year will look different but MC 4-H is rising to the challenge and is committed to deliver the same great programing for students it always has.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Miller County growers cotton acreage consist of a multitude of cotton varieties, growers would lack effective variety performance information if not for the agent’s efforts in regards to cotton variety selection. Our programs now provide this information to growers several different ways which assist them in choosing the best cotton varieties for their operation. These programs have significant economic impact for Miller County’s Cotton growers, by affording them the information to maximize their profitability. The On-Farm Cotton Variety Performance Evaluation Program informs growers of the strongest performing cotton varieties to plant, and how to position them into appropriate environments, depending on the most yield-limiting factor in the growers' individual fields, which is often rainfall or capacity of irrigation systems or soils, but it can include factors like weed management (herbicide technology options) or nematodes. Improper variety selection cost growers upwards of $200 per acre in 2020 depending on the error in variety selection. Worst case scenario in 2020, improper variety selection cost $500 per acre for essentially a no-cost decision (if the grower was committed to planting cotton). These costs are higher than most other agronomic input decisions that a grower could make. For 2020 cotton prices, improper variety selection could cost growers up to an average of $207 per acre. Across Miller County in 2020, improper variety selection may collectively cost growers from $4,000,000 to $7,000,000 which is 30-35 percent of the total revenue expected to be generated in Miller County by cotton in 2020. Proudly, the UGA On-Farm Cotton Variety Performance Evaluation Program is expected to drastically reduce these costs, which returns this money to producers and Georgia's economy. Additionally, the extensive evaluation of plant growth could reduce costs to growers, and provides them the growth management information that could prevent them from implementing unnecessary yield-inhibitory growth management strategies. Growers are also more up to date and more cautious when applying their cotton herbicides in 2020. Improper use of synthetic auxin herbicides can cause thousands of dollars in damage to neighboring crops.