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
In 2019, there were 793 youth enrolled in Polk County 4-H. Our 4-H staff conducted 32 meetings each month focusing on STEM, healthy livin, and financial literacy. Polk County 4-H’ers gave 1,250 hours of service in the Polk County community. Polk County volunteers donated 1,131 hours valued at more than $18,785.
Polk County had 58 4-H’ers compete in District Project Achievement, where youth present demonstrations to a group of their peers and judges. They 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. Two 4-H’ers moved on to compete at State, with Grace Prince placing second and Katelynn Borders placing fifth.
Eighteen 4-H’ers increased their knowledge and developed critical thinking and oral presentation skills by participating on Cotton Boll & Consumer Judging and Poultry Judging teams.
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 16 members compete at the state contest, and Polk County 4-H’er Olivia Cleveland placed third in the sitting position. The team also competed for the first time at Nationals in Rogers, Arkansas.
Twenty-four sophomores from Cedartown and Rockmart High School participated in Polk County’s Polk Youth Leadership program. They attended four leadership sessions on Understanding Leadership, Communicating Effectively, Appreciating Differences and Future Academic Plans.
USING PESTICIDES WISELY
As the world’s population is expected to approach 10 billion people by 2050, family farms are faced with a mighty challenge of feeding and clothing them all. To meet this demand, science confirms growers must have access to economically effective pesticides. Furthermore, new technologies like auxin-tolerant cotton and soybeans and their respective herbicides will be a vital part of long-term success. However, it is equally important that all pesticides are used carefully and strategically in ways that protect the consumer, the grower and their neighbors, and our environment.
With pesticide stewardship being so critically important, UGA Extension and the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) teamed up to create the first of its kind large-scale classroom and on-farm training program titled Using Pesticides Wisely (UPW). More than 112 field experiments were conducted across Georgia, developing methods to improve on-target pesticide applications with results being shared with nearly every cotton and soybean producer in Georgia via face-to-face classroom trainings. In 2019, a UPW classroom training was conducted for Northwest Georgia growers including those from Polk County.
All attendees were surveyed and asked numerous questions. With greater than 85% of attendees responding to the survey, more than 99% of them believed the training was worth their time and would help them improve on-target pesticide applications.
Additionally, UGA Extension has documented a 67% reduction in pesticide drift complaints since UPW began. In 2017, when more than 2,700 official investigations into dicamba off-target movement deposition occurred, there were none in Georgia. Once again during 2018 and 2019, Georgia was extremely successful with no confirmed dicamba drift complaints by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.