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
Through Project Achievement, students learn valuable life skills such as organization, communication and confidence. Through the selection, research, development and presentation of illustrated talks, 4-H’ers develop strong life skills. Peach County 4-H works in partnership with teachers, volunteers and Teen Leaders to facilitate and promote the participation of students in Project Achievement and to emphasize the importance of this opportunity. This competition begins in elementary school and increases in complexity through 12th grade.
In 2019, 29 fifth through 12th grade 4-H’ers qualified and participated in District Project Achievement. Projects vary based upon the 4-H’ers interest area, allowing them the opportunity to research, learn and deliver information based on their lives. More than 65% of Peach County 4-H’ers placed in the top three in his or her category. Four high school-age 4-H’ers placed first in their projects, qualifying them for State Congress where three placed in the top three in the state. The students learned how to create and organize their thoughts both in writing and verbally, communicate the ideas to others, and gain confidence in what they had to say as important. Teachers spoke highly of the program and how it assisted their students in enhancing their English/Language Arts and communication skills. The 4-H’ers who participated were given a unique opportunity to learn skills that will help them not only in school, but also in the rest of their lives.
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Specialty crops like peaches and pecans account for more than $25 million in farm gate value to Peach County producers. Therefore, it is important for our office as well as our growers to stay up to date on the latest technologies and innovations to remain profitable and sustainable.
Over the past year, we have collaborated with researchers from the University of Georgia, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Fort Valley State University and North Carolina State University to put applied research plots in the orchards of Peach County producers and in our own research orchards. Through these collaborations and grants, thousands of dollars in support has been garnered and valuable research is being conducted in our production systems.
Research focuses on multiple issues facing growers including insect management and beneficial insects in orchard crops, disease management in peaches, peach orchard longevity with bedded systems, organic methods of insect management, and the long- and short-term effects of certain chemicals on peach and pecan production.
With our thriving agronomic crops industry as well as our commercial ornamental and turf producers, we have to be able to safely and effectively use agricultural chemicals to remain profitable. Technology has made farmers more efficient, but it is not without complication when there is such a diverse farming community. Our office has focused on the effects of accidental spray drift of certain herbicides to orchards as well as ways to use this new technology within our own systems.
technology within our own systems. The work that is being done allows us to show producers the safety of these new products and how they can benefit from them. We are also able to help them understand the long-term effects of misapplications and how they might affect their operations. Our growers are on the cutting edge, so we must remain there with them to be a vital asset to their operations.