COVID-19 Resources
UGA Extension Office

Our Impact

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.

On February 1st Polk County Extension welcomed our new Agriculture and Natural Resources/4-H agent, Gibson Priest to Extension. Gibson grew up in 4-H where he showed and judged livestock competitively. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin where he has a degree in Agribusiness Management. Gibson is excited he is here and would like to visit with you about your operation or garden very soon. Many of you have met Gibson already, but if you have not, please do not hesitate to give him a call, send him an email, or better yet stop by the office for a visit.

Gibson had been in the office six whole weeks when the COVID-19 quarantine shut down not only the Extension office but the nation as well. 2020 provided its share of challenges and hurdles for many, but due to the support and resilience of the agricultural community, homeowners, and youth Gibson received a delightful welcome as our new agent. As the pandemic stormed on Gibson found himself fully immersed in a variety of trainings, both virtually and face-to-face. The trainings help Gibson be better equipped to serve producers, homeowners, and youth of Polk county.

New for Polk Extension is a Facebook page to complement our outreach programming. This addition has allowed us to better showcase not only what we are doing in the county but our competitive 4-H youth and their many accomplishments. In 2020 the Facebook page consisted of 13 posts which reached 2895 people. Please visit our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/UGA-Extension-Polk-County-116731523453338/) and while on the page click on the Like button. Gibson also wrote eight newspaper articles in 2020 ranging in topics from Carpenter Bee Control to Crape Myrtle Pruning for the Polk Standard Journal, with many more to come.

4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

In 2020, there were 765 youth enrolled in Polk County 4-H. Our 4-H staff conducted 15 meetings each month focusing on STEM, Healthy Living, Germs, Weather & Climate and Farm to Fork. Polk County 4-H’ers gave 260 hours of service in the Polk County community. Polk County volunteers donated 724 hours valued at more than $11,801.

Polk County had 31 4-H’ers compete in District Project Achievement, where youth present demonstrations to a group of their peers and judges. 4-H'ers in grades 7-12 also complete a portfolio, much like a resume. Participating in the competition helps students develop research, writing and presentation skills that also aid them in performing better on school related tasks and tests and becoming work-ready young adults. Three 4-H’ers moved on to compete at State, which was competed virtually by submitting video recordings of participants giving their speeches. Polk County had 4-H'er, Minnes Smith, to Master in the Fashion Reveue category. Anna Prince placed 4th in the Physical, Biological, and Earth Science category and Joseph Croker placed 4th in the Textiles & Merchandising category.

Nine 4-H’ers increased their knowledge and developed critical thinking and oral presentation skills by participating on the Cotton Boll & Consumer Judging team.

The shooting sports program, known as Project S.A.F.E. (Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education) allows 4-H youth the experience of solving problems and meeting challenges that develop their self-confidence. The Polk County BB Gun Team had our highest participation with 4 teams consisting of 27 members. Unfortunately, due to school closures, we had an incomplete season with only completing one match. Polk County 4-H’er Sam Stewart placed first in the prone position at the match.

Agriculture

During 2020 we received 155 soil samples, 4 water samples, and 4 forage samples for analysis. We would like to see those numbers increase because “Unless you test, it is just a guess” and who wants to guess on what you are feeding your animals, putting in your soil, or yourself for that matter. Results from a soil sample allow for one to adjust the soil pH and fertilizer (if needed) based upon a scientific analysis instead of just throwing out what you think is needed. When speaking of forage sampling, it is best to sample right after harvest, not later on down the road. By sampling sooner than later the producer can decide early on about what extra nutrition might be needed for their animals instead of waiting until winter to make that decision when supplemental nutrition could be more difficult to find. For more information on testing services offered through the Extension office please reach out to Gibson.

 

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