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 its 2018 strategic plan, the Tattnall County School System identified a need to improve English language arts skills. In response to that effort, the Tattnall County 4-H Club partnered with local elementary schools to offer a speech-writing contest. More than 150 youths participated, which involved selecting a topic, researching that topic and writing an essay. First- through third-place winners in the speech contest were invited to compete in the Project Achievement process. In an effort to make the program accessible to youth from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds and to minimize transportation barriers, workshops were held after school at each school where eligible youth attended. A total of 46 youths pursued this opportunity and competed with a speech and poster presentation (41), a cooking lab (two) or performing arts presentation (three). Through this process, youths were able to practice improved writing skills, create visual aids with technology, and become more confident speaking in front of others.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Families understand the importance of proper safety in vehicles and take steps to ensure that their children are transported in a safe manner. As a result, children are less likely to be injured or killed in vehicle crashes. The UGA Extension Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) program can save the lives of young children. In Tattnall County, more than 300 children have received safer car seats since 2016. One hundred fifty booster seats have been inspected for use. Half of these seats were incorrectly installed but were usable, while the other half were out of date. Upon completion of the class, 100 percent of parents demonstrated the ability to install child seats correctly. This grant-funded program provided a savings of $30,000 to Tattnall County. As a result of the Child Passenger Safety Program, the FACS agent has integrated a teen-safety program. This program addresses seatbelts and distracted driving. A campaign and interactive program has been offered during prom week at Tattnall County High School. After the 2018 prom week, 30 percent of students reported wearing a seatbelt for the first time.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Tattnall County grows more than 4,000 acres of Vidalia onions, with an onion farm-gate value of nearly $51 million. For this reason, research was conducted to try and prevent a potentially devastating disease in Vidalia onions. Center rot in onions can cause significant damage in an onion crop, with up to 100-percent yield loss and severe economic damage. Research efforts were made to determine the stage of growth and the fungicide application that successfully controls and minimizes the incidence of center rot within onions. Throughout 2017 and 2018, research concluded that by utilizing Kocide 3000 during bulb initiation, bulb swelling or all three growth stages, farmers can reduce their center rot incidence by up to 20 percent, with a more than $5,000-per-acre value to the grower in fields with significant center rot incidence. These results were presented at multiple vegetable and Extension programs so that growers and onion-industry professionals would better understand center-rot control efficiency.