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
UGA Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Agent Bobby Solomon, who also serves as a Fort Valley State University (FVSU) county Extension agent, provides specialized, research-based educational information and technical assistance to farmers and homeowners countywide. Extension handled 1,475 office visits, including 107 in-person contacts, 390 phone contacts and 978 written or email contacts. In addition, the agent made 125 site visits and processed 51 soil and water samples through UGA laboratories. Also, recommendations were made through Extension publications pertaining to aquaculture, large and small ruminants, forage and small-grain production, forestry production and marketing, general agriculture and natural resources, horticulture, ornamentals, poultry, pond management, pecan orchard pest management, soil fertility, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) farm programs, water quality, and wildlife food plots.
To be eligible for payments and benefits under specified USDA farm programs administered by the Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), all program participants, either individuals or legal entities, must provide significant contributions to the farming operation to be considered “actively engaged” in farming. Contributions can consist of capital, land and/or equipment, active personal labor and/or active personal management. The management contribution must be critical to the profitability of the farming operation and the contributions must be at risk. In collaboration with the USDA, the Extension agent successfully provided unbiased education and outreach to nine new individuals and entities in Talbot County, which resulted in NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contract obligations of $227,000.
A beginning-farmer small ruminant producer needed 3,000 feet of fence installation and the county agent helped locate a contractor, saving the producer $5,800.
Through the FVSU Cooperative Extension Teaching Enlightening Achieving Mentoring (TEAM) program, the county agent trained and supervised a Central High School student learning about the many available ANR disciplines and agricultural careers. At the end of a six-week period, she received a stipend amounting to $2,100.