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
Troup County has transitioned from a largely agrarian county that ranked as one of the top cotton-producing counties in Georgia at the beginning of the 20th century to an economy that has integrated industrial growth while maintaining the charm of an agricultural setting. Agricultural tourism is second only to livestock production in revenues produced in Troup County. Livestock production adds approximately $6.8 million per year to the county economy and agritourism adds another $4.4 million. The interest in homegrown produce and livestock grown in a sustainable manner has increased. The Market on Main and October Harvest Fest have been a hit with local citizens wishing to purchase fresh, locally grown food. Nearly 900 people are currently employed in agriculture-related businesses. The forest resources of Troup County provide an additional $2.6 million to the local economy. These lands not only provide wood and fiber to Georgia’s forest product industries, they also provide recreation in the form of hunting and fishing to many local citizens and tourists from outside the county.
UGA Extension in Troup County provides access to the most up-to-date information from the university. The office fielded more than 1,100 calls and made more than 190 site visits concerning home gardening, small orchards, small poultry flocks, livestock, pasture management, horticulture, wells, insect problems and myriad other subject areas. There are 241 farms comprising nearly 38,000 acres in Troup County. The county’s Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR agent makes site visits to these farms to help farmers make informed decisions, identify potential problems and determine solutions. Site visits are made to homeowners with horticulture problems as well. The city of LaGrange also relies on the Extension office to provide expertise with agricultural and horticultural issues. The Extension office acts as a liaison with other agencies, such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deliver more services to Troup County. UGA specialists from Griffin and Athens are available to add their input. Another valuable service that the office delivers is soil testing, water testing and forage analysis. The Master Gardener Extension Volunteer program has, in this past year, provided more than 1,900 hours of volunteer service for more than 34 projects in the county area.
4-H Youth Development
The 4-H program has been serving youth in Troup County for many years. More than 300 students are participating in leadership activities, community service and citizenship projects, contests, summer camps, judging teams, conferences, science activities and special-interest clubs such as BB and shotgun. Project Achievement provides 4-H’ers with the skills to grow from year to year by completing projects and preparing demonstrations, speeches or illustrated talks on topics of their choice. These activities form memories and teach life skills that they will carry the rest of their lives. One benefit of 4-H participation is that each student is able to learn and grow in project areas of interest to them. Projects include poultry, economics and science. This investment in the children of Troup County provides a foundation for success.