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
Agricultural production remains strong in Putnam County. Long known for dairy production, beef cattle and egg production have become key components in our agricultural economy. UGA Extension in Putnam County provides on-site consultations, soil testing, insect identification, advice on weed management and nutrient-management assistance to the farm community. Our programming efforts for 2018 included pesticide applicator trainings to provide license recertification credit and to update applicators on pesticide use methodologies. Forage programming remains strong with educational opportunities for producers in summer forages and pasture weed management. On the other side of the coin, the Lake Country and its growing residential population is in constant need of assistance with lawn and landscaping issues, vegetable gardening, and irrigation management. Lake Country property owners also seek assistance with site development, wildlife management and forestry issues.
Putnam County Extension conducts homeowner site visits regarding pest and disease management, plant selection, turf issues, pesticide selection, weed identification and wildlife damage control. Laboratory services provided to county residents included soil and water testing. We provided property owners with educational programs on vegetable gardening, pruning, plant selection and fruit production. In 2018, 150 site visits were conducted with farmers, homeowners and land owners, and more than 1,500 phone calls and emails provided solutions to our residents’ problems. We also handled and provided consultations for 265 water, soil and plant samples. Our Master Gardener Extension Volunteer (MGEV) program continues to be a valuable tool for our outreach efforts. In 2018, the program had 56 active volunteers serving Putnam County, donating more than 2,500 hours of service to the community. We also conducted our biennial area MGEV training with 21 graduates of the program.
4-H Youth Development
The Putnam County 4-H Club provides an environment for its participants to develop skills through the essential elements of independence, generosity, belonging and mastery. 4-H youth develop skills that are valuable not only to the community, but to the youth as they grow into successful adults. There are approximately 757 students in grades four through 12 enrolled in Putnam County 4-H. Through a partnership with the Putnam County Board of Education and the Putnam County School System, UGA Extension conducts approximately 33 monthly in-school educational programs to support the curriculum offered and to encourage fourth- through sixth-grade students to develop leadership, communication skills and self-confidence. Students in fourth through sixth grade attend educational programs related to English language arts and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) throughout the year.
In addition to in-school educational programming, Putnam County 4-H hosts three specialty clubs. The Putnam County 4-H Archery Team participates in the Georgia 4-H State Indoor and Outdoor Archery Tournaments. The Putnam County 4-H Art Club and STEM Club meet throughout the year after school to participate in hands-on activities related to art and science. Putnam County 4-H is represented yearly at Cloverleaf District Project Achievement, Junior/Senior Project Achievement, Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging and summer camp.