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
The cotton industry in Georgia has experienced some drastic changes in recent years in variety selection and plant-growth regulator management for new cotton varieties. The Miller County Extension agent established programs to determine which cotton varieties will yield the best in the local climate and soil types. This program is part of a regional effort that encompasses variety trials in several counties in southwest Georgia. The trials help educate growers in cotton-variety decision making as well as how to place and manage certain varieties in environments that will optimize their performance. In addition, the Miller County Extension agent has collected data in support of the UGA Cotton Team’s effort to generate data to inform growers on how to understand growth potential of new varieties as they come to the marketplace and how to properly manage growth of these new cotton varieties so that yield potential is not inhibited. For 2019 cotton prices, improper variety selection could cost growers up to $197 per acre. Across Miller County in 2019, improper variety selection may collectively cost growers up to $5.9 million, or nearly 25 percent of the total cotton revenue expected to be generated in Miller County for 2019. The UGA On-Farm Cotton Variety Performance Evaluation Program in Miller County is expected to drastically reduce 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 and yield-inhibiting growth-management strategies.
4-H Youth Development
The Miller County 4-H Club, in conjunction with the Miller County School System, provides in-classroom agricultural, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and general science lessons that follow the Georgia Performance Standards for all fourth- through sixth-grade students. The 4-H program has grown and expanded during the 2018 school year, including in agricultural education. The Agriculture Field Day for elementary school students exposed more than 500 students to agricultural practices, activities and resources in our area, including emerging technology. In addition to agriculture- and science-based lessons, 4-H’ers have enjoyed day camps such as Cupcake Wars, with 17 participants who explored the practice of farm-to-fork by learning about every ingredient that goes into a cupcake, then creating and decorating their own cupcakes. 4-H’ers were encouraged to exploring their creative side with an Up-Cycle Art Show and explored their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills by building gingerbread houses. Miller County 4-H had participants in both the Georgia National Fair and Southwest Georgia Regional Fair. Public speaking is encouraged through Project Achievement, during which students give presentations or demonstrations on a topic of their choice. Miller County had 36 4-H’ers present projects in our local competition. One of the highlights for 4-H’ers is summer camp, with 15 to 20 students attending Cloverleaf Camp annually. In 2018, Miller County had three students attend junior camps, and this summer, 4-H will be sending ninth- through 12th-grade students to senior camp. We are pleased that 4-H has taken root here and is flourishing.