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
Bermudagrass stem maggot (BSM) was first discovered in Georgia in 2010. In 2011, farmers experienced the first BSM damage in Wayne County. Since then, BSM has become a destructive pest in Bermudagrass hay fields across the county. As BSM enters the larval stage, this insect damages the grass by feeding on the node, resulting in the death of roughly half of the upper part of the grass leaf blade. While the degree of damage depends on several factors, producers have reported up to an 80 percent yield loss in late summer due to this pest. The Wayne County Extension agent used unbiased, science-based research from the UGA Forage Team to educate hay producers on how to detect, treat and prevent BSM. This information includes specific insecticide selection, strategically timed applications and early detection methods for BSM. The Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent delivered this information through presentations at local cattlemen’s meetings, field days and on-site visits, along with multiple phone calls and office visits. Without this valuable information, from the Extension ANR agent, Wayne County hay producers would have lost an estimated $600,000 per year.
4-H Youth Development
4-H Project Achievement participants develop writing and presentation skills that help them perform better in school-related tasks and become more self-directed learners. Through the 4-H Project Achievement process, youth explore an area of interest, gain knowledge and skills within that chosen area, and prepare presentations that prove what they have learned about their specific topic. Last year during Cloverleaf District Project Achievement (DPA), the Wayne County 4-H Club had more than 49 students participate and rank third place or higher in their respective categories. Wayne County 4-H’ers truly exemplified the 4-H slogan of “learn by doing” and successfully shared their projects and topics with others. Each of the qualifying youths who participated in Cloverleaf DPA began with a writing contest on a topic of their choosing. The contest then yielded a selected number of participants who built upon their topic and developed them into speeches, posters and presentations with the help of teachers, 4-H staff and 4-H Certified Teen Leaders, leading Wayne County to a victorious turnout at the competition.
Family and Consumer Sciences
The senior adult population in Georgia is increasing. Older Americans are one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country, and it is estimated that, by the year 2020, there will be more than 77 million people over the age of 60 in the U.S. Providing information that leads to better health and nutrition is vitally important for this demographic group. Wayne County is a rural community with limited resources and access to health care, thus creating a need for more groundwork and preparation by Extension offices across the state of Georgia. The Family and Consumer Sciences agent has conducted various programs including information on the importance of eating healthy, monitoring high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, food safety and a list of other educational topics. UGA Extension in Wayne County serves as a resource for nutrition and health awareness for senior citizens, providing information and engaging them to make dietary changes and improve their quality of life.