“We have a pretty diverse set of agriculture here in Bartow County and that’s something we should be proud of and hopefully something we can preserve for the future,” Pugliese said.
According to information provided Friday, the office, which employs four full-time positions, conducted 692 diagnostic services; 4,034 total agriculture and natural resources consultations; 3,828 contacts through ANR education and outreach; and conducted the first open house at the Extension office on West Cherokee Avenue.
The Bartow County Cooperative Extension Office is part of the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, working on three main programs: agriculture and natural resources; 4-H youth development; and family and consumer science. Currently, the FACS position is vacant following the retirement of former program coordinator Kathy Floyd.
Through Friday’s event, Pugliese said the office hoped to spread information about Extension and the services it offers.
“We need help communicating the values of this Extension program and not just for Bartow County but the entire state of Georgia,” he said. “… The three main things we want to get out of this are advocates for Extension, folks who can help us get the word out as to what we’re doing and help us find support for the program; marketing the programs as you know is very important. …. Then the third thing is the resource development, help us find resources, funds, vehicles and things to make the program happen.”
While the breakfast is something the office had conducted previously, Friday’s was the first for Pugliese.
“That’s something we are supposed to be doing, and we have done it in the past. … This is just the first opportunity that I’ve had actually to pull this off,” he said.
Former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk said the programs are just one example of state and local governments working together for the community.
“… If you look at what 4-H does for these kids, it’s a great educational program and I’ve participated in most of their award ceremonies over the years and you see the excitement of the kids for their accomplishment as well as for the things that they’re learning. It’s beyond just agriculture — it’s dealing with the public and public speaking,” he said. “… For the Extension service, we’re still heavily agriculture in northwest Georgia and a lot of our economy depends upon our farmers and the agriculture community. This shows that the type of service that state government can provide to the citizens that they get a great return on investment because the more efficient farmers are, the lower costs the crops are, the more they can expand and grow, and so it’s a great partnership between the state government and local community.”
Reaching out to government officials is one way the public can assist Extension in continuing its efforts.
“The public can help us by talking to their local elected officials, their state elected officials and saying, ‘This is a program we need to fund. We need to make it a priority as the economy improves and resources are available we need to look at this as far as building back up the Extension program,’” Pugliese said.
For more information on the Bartow County Cooperative Extension, call 770-387-5142, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.caes.uga.edu/extension/bartow.