Making A Difference in Our County
We're working hard for the citizens we serve. Here are some examples of successful projects from the past year:
Understanding the Farm Bill
The Agricultural Act of 2014 was passed in February 2014. Normally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has 90 days to write the rules and regulations, but the changes in the 2014 bill were so extensive that the first set of regulations was not released until September 2014. Upon release, farmers were faced with making decisions based on the changes to commodity programs, such as base reallocation, yield updates, Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The Bulloch County University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent collaborated with experts from UGA, the USDA Farm Service Agency and private industry to host a series of educational farm bill and insurance meetings for growers and agribusiness personnel in his region. The agent also assisted many producers one-on-one, which enabled them to make the best decisions for the duration of the farm bill. The current low prices make these decisions more important as safety net payments are expected to trigger in 2015-2016. The ARC and PLC payments could reach $4,000,000 for Bulloch County based on current price projections.
Small Farm Business Planning
Bulloch County’s agricultural economy is constantly changing, and new trends are creating opportunities for current producers and those new to agriculture, which could provide an entrance into various markets. Whether producers are developing a new venture or adapting an existing operation to meet new demands, having an understanding of the market and proper preparation are vital to a successful agricultural enterprise. The Small Farm Business Planning Workshop was a collaborative project of UGA Extension in Bulloch and Jenkins counties, Fort Valley State University Extension and UGA Small Business Development Center. The workshop covered important tools and resources an agribusiness needs to establish a solid foundation during its formative years. Participants learned business basics such as defining a target market, record keeping, understanding cash flow and the importance of a business plan.
Youth Encourage Literacy for Families
In 2015 Bulloch County 4-H held a book drive in all 70 4-H clubs in the county, and each club worked toward collecting gently used children’s books. Senior 4-H members, 4-H staff and program development team members worked together to identify local organizations and agencies that could benefit from the donated books. Bulloch County 4-H saw a great response to this community service project and had over 4,100 books donated, which were then given to local agencies and groups such as Safe Haven Women’s Shelter, Sallie Zetterower Elementary School and several child care centers. The largest donation was made to the Department of Family and Children Services; DFCS was able to provide over 150 children with age-appropriate books to help develop their reading skills. The Bulloch County social service manager said, “It is our hope that providing low-income children with a collection of books will not only provide them with opportunities to enhance their knowledge, but also provide opportunities to experience the bonding that occurs when parents and children read books together.”