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.
IN-SCHOOL 4-H PROGRAMMING CREATES SCIENCE AWARENESS
In Tattnall County, Cooperative Extension staff engage with more than 300 unique students each year in hands-on learning to increase their awareness of agricultural and environmental science. In total, the 4-H staff spent more than 100 hours in 2019 teaching agricultural and environmental science programming to youth through in-school programs. Topics of these in-school 4-H programs range from crop and vegetable production to conserving water resources. One middle school teacher said, “Because we teach weathering, erosion, deposition and the water cycle for part of our standards, I thought those 4-H lessons in particular flowed well with our content and added an extra layer to the kids’ knowledge.” Another teacher commented, “Even though we live in a rural county, so many of our students have no idea where food comes from, which is why the 4-H agriculture lessons are so important.” In addition to offering in-school STEM programming, Tattnall County 4-H also provides support for statewide 4-H science programs, such as Mission Make-It Statewide Engineering Challenge and the Georgia 4-H STEM Ambassador program.
FACS: CHILD SAFETY IN VEHICLES
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 Family and Consumer Sciences Extension program can save the lives of young children. In Tattnall, more than 520 children received safer car seats since 2016 and 200 seats have been inspected for use. Of those, 40% were incorrectly installed but were useable, while the other 60% were out of date. Upon completion of the class, parents demonstrated 100% ability to install child seats correctly. This grant-funded program provided a savings of $52,000 to Tattnall County. As a result of the Child Passenger Safety Program, the FACS agent has intergraded a teen-safety program. This program addresses seatbelts and distracted driving. A campaign and an interactive program has been offered during prom week at Tattnall High School. After the 2019 prom week, 600 students pledged to wear their seatbelts 100% of the time.
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES: VIDALIA ONIONS
Tattnall County grows more than 4,000 acres of Vidalia onions, giving the commodity a farm gate value of nearly $51 million. For this reason, research was conducted to try and prevent a potential devastating disease in Vidalia onions. Center rot in onions can cause significant damage in an onion crop, at times up to 100% loss. Research efforts were made to determine what bactericide application at which growth stage would give the best control. Using research data from 2017 to 2019, researchers concluded that farmers utilizing Kocide 3000 during bulb initiation or bulb swelling stages could reduce center rot incidence by up to 20%. This would add more than $5,000 per acre in value in fields with significant center rot incidences. These results were presented at multiple vegetable and Extension programs. Currently agents from Tattnall County are using information garnered from these studies to determine if timely insecticide applications coupled with bactericide applications could further reduce center rot incidences.