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.
Family and Consumer Sciences
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cooking for a Lifetime Cancer Prevention Cooking Schools reached out to men and women ages 21 years and older who live in eligible rural Georgia counties. The school encourages participants to be screened for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer. Another goal was to increase the participants’ awareness about eating and exercise habits, as well as choosing healthier foods in the grocery store to reduce risk for cancer and improve health. Sylvia Davis, Mitchell County Extension Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agent, offered four two-hour programs as part of the USDA Cancer Prevention: Empowering Communities in the Rural South curriculum. The program reached approximately 100 participants from July 2017 through June 2018. Following the program, 86.4 percent of participants said they were definitely going to get a Pap test and 82.5 percent were definitely going to get a mammogram. Eighty-three percent said they would definitely get a colonoscopy. Earlier detection through screening can contribute to reduced health care costs as well as improved survival from related cancers.
4-H Youth Development
The Mitchell County 4-H Club offers youth programming and events that increase students’ knowledge of agriculture, water conservation, critical-thinking, leadership and public speaking. Agriculture is the No. 1 industry in Mitchell County, so youth are subjected to it daily whether they realize it or not. Our club meetings focus on relaying information about different crops grown in Mitchell County and how they impact the daily lives of the 4-H’ers. Hopefully, the youth within our community will begin to see that agriculture is not only farming, but something that their parents are involved in, whether they work at the poultry processing plant, the grocery store or the insurance office.
Our annual, three-day 4-H2O Camp, which educates 4-H’ers about water use, conservation and efficiency, had 153 youths and adults in attendance. Overall, nine counties from the Southwest District participated in this event. We invited speakers from Georgia and Florida, Mitchell County 4-H’ers, and colleagues from C.M. Stripling Irrigation Research Park to assist us in instructing.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
In peanut production, fungicides are one of the most costly expenses. Fungicide programs range from $50 per acre to more than $130 per acre, so the more local data a producer has, the better decisions they can make. There are many fungicides out there to choose from, and all claim to be better than the others. UGA Extension has a very large data set on many of these, but there is always a need for better local data. Peanut diseases cost Mitchell County producers hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. The primary diseases are white mold and leaf spot.
This year, five different fungicide programs were tested. The programs ranged from older programs with only Bravo and Folicur to the newest Elatus and Miravis programs, along with more moderately priced common programs. Each treatment was evaluated for fungicide efficacy and disease ratings were taken right before digging.
The results of this study shows that growers can justify the increased cost of the newer fungicide programs. The yield increase will more than pay for the cost, with an average yield increase of 650 pounds per acre. Peanut contracts are averaging 20 cents a pound, resulting in an increase of $130 per acre, more than double the additional cost of the newer fungicides. Mitchell County averages more than 30,000 acres of peanuts a year. This equates to growers getting an additional $75 of income per acre.