Upcoming Events



2016 Coffee County Invitational Heifer Prospect Steer Show

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The 2016 Coffee County 4-H / FFA Invitational Heifer & Prospect Steer Show – sponsored by the Coffee County Cattlemen’s Association is scheduled for Friday, October 7th (6:00 p.m. – Showmanship) and Saturday, October 8th (8:00 a.m. – Heifer show, Prospect Steer show to follow) at the Coffee County Farm Center in New Brockton, Alabama. The check-in time for all show entries is 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 7th.

The entry fee is $25.00 per calf (heifer or steer), which must accompany an official entry form (an official entry form may be duplicated as needed). September 30th is the deadline for submitting entries. Payment for all entries received after the deadline of September 30th, must include a late fee of $25.00 per exhibitor (not per calf) in addition to the base entry fee of $25.00 per calf. Paid entry fees will be returned to exhibitors for all entered calves which are exhibited in the show. No refunds will be given for late fees.

Please contact me (334-894-5596) with any questions about this show. If you need any help to complete an entry, please contact me in advance of the September 30th entry deadline.

 

Special Note: *All beef cattle involved in exhibitions, shows and rodeos are required by law (Animal Disease Traceability Act) to be individually identified with an officially approved identification tag (Alabama State Veterinarian’s Office – 334-240-7253). Official tag information is needed for each entry.

Coffee County 4-H Livestock Judging

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Coffee County 4-H has grown deep roots in quality Livestock Judging Teams…roots the 4-H Team takes great pride in. Each Monday evening at 6:00 pm at the Coffee County Extension Office, the Coffee County 4-H Livestock Judging Team meets to prepare for upcoming competitions.

There are many skills gained from being a member of the Livestock Judging Team. Team members will practice, travel, give oral reasons, judge in contests, win and lose as a team in addition to individual awards. Participants will put in many hours working and practicing to become the best at what you do. 4-H’ers who participate in livestock judging will gain mental toughness as they learn to make good decisions and be confident in themselves. By putting in practice and hard work knowledge will be gained on how important it is to set goals and work to achieve them.

If you are interested in making the time commitment to be part of an amazing Livestock Judging Team, contact Annie Hendrix or Katelyn Ellis for additional information, 334-894-5596.

Southeast Alabama Regional 4-H Chick Chain

It’s time for our 4th Annual Southeast Alabama Chick Chain Project! This year students from 8 Alabama Counties and 6 Florida Counties will come together to test their wings in a poultry science project and make a little money at the same time!

Each 4-H’er will pay a $50 deposit, and will receive 5 chicks from 2 breeds for a total of 10 chicks. Participants will then raise the chicks for approximately 20 weeks. Each 4-H’er will bring their 3 best birds from the same breed to a show and auction on Saturday, October 1, 2016. The show will be comprised of both showmanship classes as well as judging the individual chicken pens.

Throughout the course of this project, 4-H’ers will not only be responsible for taking care of their birds, but also keeping records on expenses, profits, and production practices. Workshops and meetings on everything from poultry production, fundraising, and showmanship will be held during the project’s duration to insure participants are prepared and educated on how to successfully complete their poultry science project.

If you are interested in participating in this year’s Chick Chain Project, or for more information, please contact Katelyn Ellis, 4-H Foundation Agent, at the Coffee County Extension Office, 334-894-5596.

You can fine the registration form here: 2016 Registration Form

To look at breed descriptions, click here: Breed Description

 

 

 

Gotta Prune Those Plants? Maybe Not.

Pruning? Think twice!
Pruning? Think twice!

When it comes to yard work during the wintertime, pruning plants is considered by far the top chore. It is common in January and February to see your neighbor and other homeowners spending their Saturdays cutting on the plants around their home. They are working away cutting back those plants.  All this interesting work and the funny shaped plants left behind might inspire you to go get your pruning shears out and go ahead and prune your plants.

Before you do that, ask yourself this important question: Just why are you pruning those plants?  Because your neighbor is pruning theirs?  The fact is you may NOT need to prune your plants.

The practice of pruning plants is somewhat overrated and many times not even necessary. If done correctly, pruning is a technique used to aid in the health and beauty of ornamental plants.  Pruning should be done to remove dead and poor growth, and somewhat control the plant’s size and shape.  It will encourage flower or fruit production, and can discourage disease and promote growth by letting light and air into the interior of the plant.

More importantly, pruning encourages re-growth. The simple translation: pruning stimulates growth.  It triggers growth at the cut and/or other places.  All those branches and limbs that were just cut will grow right back and typically twice as thick.  The result is more to be pruned later and more yard work for yourself.  There is no stopping a plant from reaching its mature size; its genetics.

Many people who prune their plants do not understand why they are doing it, nor do they know how to do it properly. Plants should not be pruned just because your neighbor was pruning theirs or because someone said it was a good idea. Care-free pruning, especially if done wrong, can actually do more harm than good.

The key is to have a logical reason to prune or not. An answer of “it has gotten too big” is usually just an excuse and result of having a big plant in a small space.  Be smart on plant selection and know the mature size before planting it.

When to prune is also important and depends on the type of plant and the reason for pruning. For almost all plants, however, fall and early winter are bad pruning times, because the tender re-growth stimulated by pruning will be damaged by cold weather. February tends to be the best time for most plants, especially evergreens and fruit crops. However, when it comes to flowering plants, the general rule of thumb is this: if the plant begins blooming before May, prune immediately after blooms fade; if the plant begins to bloom in May or later, prune in late February or early March, before the start of new spring growth.

Extension has plenty of resources and expertise on how to properly prune fruit trees, crape myrtles, roses, muscadines, and all other plants. Contact our office and we can help. If your plants look fine and are doing great, then there may be no reason to prune.

For more information, contact the Coffee County Extension Office, call 334-894-5596 or visit www.aces.edu.

Thanks to Shane Harris, CEC Tallapoosa County, for this article.

Armadillos Give Homeowners Headaches

armadillo-bannerThe state of Alabama is blessed with an abundance of wildlife diversity – deer, turkeys, fish, birds, butterflies, etc.  But not all wildlife are looked upon favorably or welcomed residents.  Of all the wildlife related calls the county Extension offices receive, the number one concern tends to always be about armadillos.  Yes, I’m referring to those “possums on the half-shell”.  Those critters that like to wander into your backyard at night and dig holes in the lawn, garden, and flowers beds. They are nuisance animals that cause unsightly damage and give homeowners headaches.

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Reeves Selected as Alabama Beef Ambassador

Reeves Selected as Alabama Beef Ambassador

Amanda Reeves has been selected to serve as the Alabama Beef Ambassador. Reeves, a senior at Kinston high school, was chosen from a group of Alabama youth as the 2015-16 Alabama Beef Ambassador.  She participated in an interview and evaluation process through which she demonstrated her knowledge of the beef industry.

Amanda Reeves, Alabama Beef Ambassador
Amanda Reeves was recently selected as Alabama Beef Ambassador.

Reeves grew up on a west Coffee County farm owned by her family. The farm, AGR-Advanced Genetic Resources, is a leader in the beef industry.  Reeves has been an industry advocate since a very young age, winning her first public speaking event promoting the beef industry at age nine.  She has continued to participate in contests at local, county, state and national levels.

From 4-H events such as livestock judging, public speaking, and demonstrations, Reeves has been an advocate for the beef industry from one end of the state to the other. She now has the opportunity to take her message nationally, as she competes in September for a spot on the National Beef Ambassador team.

Over the past years, Reeves has spoken to senior citizen centers, civic groups and organizations, after-school programs, and even taken her message to grocery stores. She has shared her personal experiences, industry messages on nutrition, production, animal welfare, and other key topics.

The National Beef Ambassador Program works with youth in states across the country. Beef Ambassadors educate consumers in their respective areas about beef and beef production.  This program is essential because today’s youth are exposed to anti-beef messages that often find their way into schools.

According to Annie Hendrix, Coffee County 4-H Leader, the program is impactful in its nature. “The partnership between agencies such as the Coffee County Cattleman’s Association and the Extension office to support our youth and promote the beef industry and agriculture for future generations is vitally important.”  Hendrix is quick to note the enthusiasm Reeves displays.  “Amanda’s passion and drive for the industry make her the perfect ambassador to represent Alabama.”

Josh Carnley, Coffee County Commissioner representing District 3, comes from a farming family heavily involved in the beef industry and is extremely proud to have Reeves represent Coffee County and the state of Alabama. “The Coffee County Commissioners have enjoyed watching Amanda grow and learn of her successes through the 4-H program and the Junior Cattleman’s Association,” he said.

Carnley said the Commission is proud to have her as the Alabama Beef Ambassador. “She has grown into an outstanding young lady who is academically strong and well-spoken and we wish her the best of luck at the national competition.”

Deer Food Plot Tips

Deer Food Plot Tips

Most folks in the Deep South are in the midst of firing up their tractors or ATVs and getting winter food plots installed on their whitetail properties. Winter food plots serve as a supplement to a white-tailed deer’s diet during a time of nutritional stress after mast crops are no longer available. A few tips for your winter food plots:

A clover food plot. Clover, in addition to other types of vegetation, can help attract deer.
A clover food plot. Clover, in addition to other types of vegetation, can help attract deer.
  • Always take a soil sample! Lime and fertilizer recommendations will allow you to prep your soil so that your plot is not a bust.

Send in one sample box per food plot. Label your boxes so that you will remember which one belongs to which plot when you receive the results. Soil test boxes can be picked up at the Coffee County Extension Office and sent to the Auburn Soil lab. The quickest way to receive test results is by selecting to have them returned via Email. For each plot, take three separate samples per acre, mix together in a bucket, then take an adequate amount of that plots total mix and place in a test box and label for that individual food plot. Repeat this process for each separate food plot you plan to plant.

  • Do not buy a food plot mix based on what the front of the bag looks like or says! 

There are all kinds of mixes out there and some are really great. But a lot of times you are not getting your money’s worth. Always look at the label to see what percentages of actual seed are in the bag. Many times the majority of seed may be a plant that has the least nutritional value or browse preference for whitetail deer, such as Ryegrass. We suggest buying individual bags of seed and mixing it yourself or planting them separately. For example, in a 1.5 acre plot, you could plant .5 acre of clover, .5 acre of oats and .5 acre of winter peas.

  • Think about placement and variety.

Be strategic in your food plot placement. Just because there has historically been a food plot in one area doesn’t mean it’s the best spot to have it. Look at an aerial map and perform scouting. Strategically placing a food plot based on bedding areas, water sources, and travel corridors can lead to greater success. Being smart about what you plant is also important. If someone is planting wheat as a cover crop on several fields nearby, you most likely do not want to plant wheat in your small plots. As previously mentioned, planting two or three different types of vegetation in a single plot can make it more attractive to deer and allow for extended usage later into the season.

For more information on deer tips, contact Jordan Graves, Regional Extension Agent for Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources. He may be reached at the Coffee County Extension Office at 334-894-5596 or by email at JDG0041@auburn.edu.

Recipe of the Month: Chicken & Rice Soup

Makes 12 servings. One serving (1 cup) contains: 125 calories; 28 mg cholesterol; 129 mg sodium; 11 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 3 g fat or 22% of total calories.

Ingredients:

2 quarts chicken broth 1 tablespoon dehydrated parsley flakes
2/3 cup uncooked rice 3 cups bite-sized pieces cooked chicken
1 cup chopped celery 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
3 tablespoons dehydrated onion flakes

Pour broth in a large pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil and add rice gradually to keep broth boiling. Stir to be sure that rice grains do not settle to bottom. Add celery, onion, and parsley gradually to keep mixture boiling. Stir. Reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Gradually add chicken and season with pepper. Turn heat up to get the mixture simmering again; then reduce heat, cover, and continue simmering for 10 minutes. If soup becomes too thick, add boiling water or heated canned chicken broth. Serve hot. If soup will not be used within a few days pour it into moisture-vapor-resistant freezer containers and freeze. The soup should be cooled before pouring into containers.

Courtesy of the Auburn Cookbook