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
At the University of Georgia Vidalia Onion and Vegetable Research Center, an annual variety trial is conducted each year to evaluate new and existing onion varieties for yield, flavor and quality. Each year, seed companies submit seed varieties to be evaluated. Established Vidalia varieties, as well as new varieties, are grown from seed, transplanted, grown, harvested, graded and sampled in replicated plots. For each variety grown, the researchers obtain important information on maturity, total yield, marketable yield, yield for colossal, jumbo, and medium sizes; percentage of culls, and flavor analysis. This data is then compiled with statistical analysis, published and shared with growers and industry. The Vidalia Onion and Vegetable Research Center is the only location in the Vidalia onion industry that conducts unbiased, university-level research for variety evaluation. The difference between growing an underperforming variety and one that is in the top 10% can easily be a marketable yield of 200 or more boxes per acre. At a price of $20 per box, this means an increase of $4,000 in revenue per acre. For an operation that grows 250 acres of onions, this is a decision worth $1 million.
4-H Youth Development
Living in rural Georgia, kids tends to struggle with how they spend their time. If they are not engaged in some type of school sport, there generally isn’t much left to do. In Montgomery County, 27% of the population is below the poverty level. The Montgomery County 4-H Club strives to provide positive and affordable programs. After-school workshops and weekend events in 4-H help youth develop leadership skills, meet new people and become more productive citizens. In 2019, we had more than 112 youth involved in approximately 15,658 hours of service learning in 4-H. We met our Cloverleaf Camp quota last year and 4-H’ers participated in junior and senior camp. Montgomery County also had 4-H’ers participate in various activities such as State Council, district and state BB competitions, Fall Forum and several livestock events such as the Junior Livestock show in Perry, Georgia, and other livestock shows around the state. Youth in 4-H give back to the community through organized community service programs throughout the year. We are teaching youth about the importance of giving back, improving our communities and developing innovative solutions to solve problems, large or small. 4-H’ers learn skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, community engagement and a sense of compassion, confidence and pride.