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
Georgia’s peanut crop is affected annually by white mold and leaf spot diseases. There are a large number of fungicides labeled to protect peanut crops from these two diseases. With low profit margins, farmers in Southeast Georgia need comparative data to make the best decisions possible to bring the greatest return on every acre of peanuts. The Screven County Agriculture and Natural Resources agent and other UGA faculty developed a research project to analyze the efficacy and economical differences in commonly used fungicides. This project was implemented by comparing 11 different treatment programs and an untreated check in 2018 and has continued into 2019 with nine treatments and an untreated check. Once all yield data was collected, means were compared using Fisher’s protected LSD and treatments were compared by adjusted net revenues (revenue adjusted for yield, fungicide costs and application costs) in order to determine profitability using the different treatments. As an estimated minimal impact from this programming, any producer switching from any of the lower yielding programs to one of the three top yielders would gain an estimated minimum of $15 net revenue per acre.
4-H Youth Development
Even in rural communities, fewer and fewer people are living on farms. With each passing generation young people are further removed from production agriculture. Junior livestock projects and showing are the learn-by-doing strategy embodied by the 4-H youth program. Youth livestock project participation gives youth something work towards while developing personal skills, building self-esteem, teaching responsibility and learning about animal production. Livestock projects provide an experiential learning approach to animal production agriculture. The tangible benefits most readily observed from showing livestock are pride, confidence, responsibility and knowledge. The care, management and showing of livestock provide involvement for all youth on an individual basis.
Screven County youth have the opportunity to participate in the 4-H beef cattle, swine, sheep and/or goat projects each year. Agents work with the youth and their families to teach animal selection, housing, health and daily care. Youth are responsible for maintaining primary care of their project animals for up to one year. Youth are provided with opportunities to learn about showing livestock through hands-on instruction. Several local livestock shows were hosted for these youth and their animals to get experience in the show ring throughout the year. Students also participated in and excelled at the State 4-H livestock shows. Tagging clinics, veterinarian health checks and show clinics were held at the local Ag Center to help youth be successful in their individual livestock projects. Several youths also shared their livestock projects with others through 4-H project presentations. The ability for these youth participants to learn by doing is the most valuable part of all livestock projects. Students learned about responsibility, dedication, sportsmanship, agriculture, financial management, goal setting, discipline and teamwork. Following the State 4-H Livestock show, one livestock project parent stated, “The students in Screven County have a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow through showing livestock with 4-H. The lessons learned at home, in the show barn and in the show ring are life lessons that they will realize and be thankful for throughout the rest of their life.”