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, egg production and row crops have become key components in our agricultural economy. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension in Putnam County provides on-site consultations, soil and water testing, insect and disease identification, advice on weed management and nutrient-management assistance to the farm and residential communities. Our programming efforts for 2019 included pesticide applicator trainings to provide license recertification credit and to update applicators on pesticide use methodologies. Home horticulture trainings were conducted for vegetables, roses, annual/perennial flowers, shrubs and turf grasses. Educational opportunities to aid producers in pasture-weed management and alternative summer forages were available. Lake Country property owners also sought assistance with site development, wildlife management and forestry issues. Homeowner visits to aid in instances of wildlife damage have become a regular event. Beaver, deer and feral hog damage to landscapes has become an exasperating issue for many Putnam residents.
Laboratory services provided to county residents included testing of soil, water, animal waste, feeds and forages, plant tissue and micro-biological samples, with 313 samples processed and consultations provided to community residents. In 2019, more than 150 site visits were conducted with farmers, homeowners and land owners. Responses to more than 1,500 phone calls and emails provided solutions to our residents’ problems. Our Master Gardener Extension Volunteer (MGEV) program continues to be a valuable tool for our outreach efforts. In 2019, the program had 53 active volunteers serving Putnam County, donating more than 2,600 hours of service to the community.
4-H Youth Development
Putnam County 4-H 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 752 students in fourth through 12th grades enrolled in Putnam County 4-H. Through a partnership with the Board of Education and the Putnam County School System, UGA Copperative Extension conducts approximately 35 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 grades attend in-school educational programs related to English Language Arts and STEM throughout the year. As a part of in-school programming, Putnam County 4-H started a County Project Achievement Competition as a capstone project to the English Language Arts curriculum taught, with 196 youth presenting in-classroom demonstrations during the month of December. In addition to in-school educational programming, Putnam County 4-H hosts three specialty clubs. The Putnam 4-H Archery Team participates in the Georgia 4-H State Indoor and Outdoor Archery Tournaments. The Putnam 4-H Art and STEM Clubs meet throughout the year after school to participate in hands-on activities related to art and science. Over the summer, youth attend educational workshops and trips related to career exploration, food and nutrition, physical activity and environmental education. Putnam County 4-H was represented at Cloverleaf District Project Achievement, Junior/Senior Project Achievement, Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging, 4-H Day at the Capitol, State Council, Fall Forum, Junior Conference, Southern Regional Teen Leadership Conference and Summer Camp during the 2018-2019 school year. For the 2018-2019 school year, Putnam County 4-H was recognized for increased participation in Cloverleaf District Project Achievement, Junior/Senior District Project Achievement, State Council and camp.