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
Living in rural Georgia, kids tend to struggle with how they spend their time. If they are not engaged in some type of school sport, then generally there isn’t much left to do. In Montgomery County, 27 percent 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 2018, 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 camp 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.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Pantoea ananatis, a gram-negative bacterium also known as “center rot,” is a significant problem for local onion producers. Center rot in onions can cause significant damage in a crop and is the most significant postharvest disease of Vidalia onions. This pathogen can cause significant economic damage, up to 100 percent yield loss. Onions infected with Pantoea when stored will rot from the center and deteriorate, infecting otherwise healthy onions stored with them. The three identified stages include first-leaf senescence, bulb initiation and bulb swelling. Based on these stages, we used three treatment options within these stages to determine the best treatment times and options. Throughout 2017 and 2018, research concluded that by utilizing Kocide 3000 during bulb initiation, bulb swelling or all three growth stages, farmers could reduce their center rot incidence by up to 20 percent. This would be a greater than $5,000-per-acre value to the grower in fields with significant center rot incidence.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Although Montgomery County does not have a Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agent based in the county Extension office, we strive to assist local residents with their questions. Common questions cover food safety, food preservation, dealing with mold and mildew, nutrition, family budgeting, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) materials and more. These issues and others are answered through a wide variety of free UGA Extension publications available at the county office and phone conferences with FACS agents from surrounding counties. Neighboring FACS agents often conduct programming that our county residents are welcome to attend.