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
There are many challenges for sheep and goat producers in the Southeast U.S., however, with education and proper management, small ruminant operations can become profitable and sustainable long-term. More than 35 small ruminant producers were able to attend the Monroe County Sheep and Goat Short Course, a one-day educational program where they learned from UGA Extension agents and a Fort Valley State University Extension specialist. Topics included lecture sessions on breed selection, production schedules, reproduction, forage management, predator control and parasite management, in addition to a hands-on FAMACHA (FAffa MAlan CHArt) training, the basics of handling sheep and goats, hoof trimming and body-condition scoring.
Hay production in Monroe County generates more than $540,000 in annual retail sales in addition to livestock producers harvesting hay for their own operations. With recent dramatic weather, insect infestations and chemical-resistant weeds, hay producers are continuously facing production challenges. To better educate hay producers in sustainable hay production, UGA Extension in Monroe County held the Second Annual Monroe County Hay Field Day to share pest management strategies, pesticide safety and sprayer calibration with producers.
Farmers and homeowners have access to a variety of diagnostic and laboratory testing services through the Monroe County Extension office. In 2018, 294 soil samples, 41 water samples and 16 feed and forage samples were processed. Additionally, more than 350 weed, plant disease and insect specimens were identified in the field.
4-H Youth Development
The Monroe County 4-H Club offers many opportunities for more than 850 youths to gain knowledge and hands-on learning experiences through in-school club meetings, after-school leadership programs and community service projects, judging teams, shooting sports, and summer camp. In 2018, Monroe County 4-H’ers achieved high levels of success through state 4-H competitions, placing first in Horse Quiz Bowl and Senior Modified Trap. The Senior Modified Trap team achieved a perfect score, which 4-H officials said is the first perfect score in state competitions since 1988. In other state 4-H judging competitions, the Dairy Quiz Bowl team placed second and the Horse Judging Team placed third. Monroe County 4-H also had two 4-H’ers advance from District Project Achievement, Georgia 4-H’s largest public speaking and performing arts competition, to State 4-H Congress in Atlanta, where 4-H’er, Rilyn McKallip, placed second in the Performing Arts Instrumental project out of 11 state finalists.
While it is great to have 4-H’ers recognized for their hard work and dedication, success in 4-H is about more than winning the next competition. Success in 4-H is in the process. It is in the process that Monroe County youth challenge themselves, set new goals, gain new skills and truly work to “Make the Best Better.”
Family and Consumer Sciences
Extension provides information to Monroe County residents on food safety, food preservation, mold and mildew, healthy meal planning, nutrition, family budgeting and more through local newspaper articles, newsletter distribution, local presentations and by answering direct phone inquiries.