Decatur County 4-H to participate in GA 4H Ag Tech program

Published 9:42 am Thursday, December 21, 2023

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Once again, Decatur County has been selected to participate in the newly created Georgia 4-H Ag Tech outreach program. Evan Hutto, Gavin Hughes and Scott Ross Hayes are bridging technology gaps within the agriculture community with the 4-H Ag Tech Changemakers program, part of the National 4-H Tech Changemakers initiative.

Students trained as 4-H Tech Changemakers create educational opportunities for adults to learn essential workforce-related technology. Georgia 4-H created the 4-H Ag Tech Changemakers program to expand the subject area coverage to include agriculture-specific skills, and youth take the skills they learn to provide outreach programming to their local farming communities. Ag Tech focuses on reaching diverse audiences, adults and youth alike, and providing important and useful information on agriculture technology. 4-H Youth are tasked with providing outreach to their communities by planning and leading programming with support from their county agents/staff.

University of Georgia precision agriculture specialists developed and facilitated comprehensive training which piloted in September of 2022 with Decatur County being one of nine counties selected to participate in the first-year cycle.  Decatur County 4-H’ers, Olivia Griner, Rachel Hayes and Brannon Parker served as program ambassadors for the pilot year and participated in various county agriculture related meetings.  The required training equips the students with knowledge of cutting-edge agricultural methods, programs and equipment. Topic areas include drones, soil sampling, digital pest and weed identification, sprayer calibration, irrigation scheduling apps, and GPS guidance aids. Hutto, Hughes and Hayes attended training in Perry, Georgia in September 2023.

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Grant funding for 4-H Tech Changemakers provides youth with equipment to use in their communities such as state-of-the-art drones, tablets, sprayer calibrators and guidance aid systems that allow students to teach with a hands-on approach. Decatur County 4-H 2023-24 Ag Tech Changemakers will lead programming at UGA Extension Productions meetings beginning January 2024.

“We are thrilled to expand our existing Tech Changemaker programming into the agriculture sector with this program,” said Katie Bowker, program coordinator for Georgia 4-H Tech Changemakers. “Agriculture is a huge industry in Georgia and we are eager to connect students with new ag technologies. In turn, we connect our communities with them as well.”

Georgia 4-H empowers youth to become true leaders by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships, and community awareness. As the premier youth leadership organization in the state, 4-H reaches hundreds of thousands of people annually through UGA Extension county offices and   4-H facilities. For more information about 4-H programming in Decatur County, please call the Extension office at 229-248-3033.