COUNTY AGENT'S NARRATIVE REPORT
LIBERTY COUNTY, FLORIDA
DECEMBER 1, 1966 TO NOVEMBER 50, 1957
CHARLES R. SMITH, COUNTY AGENT, BRISTOL, FLORIDA
Evelyn F. Revell, Typist, Bristol, Florida
Liberty County is located in Northwest Florida, forty- fives miles
West of Tallahassee and is bound on the East by Leon and Wakulla counties,
West by Calhoun and Gulf counties, South by Franklin and North by Gadsden
county. The natural boundaries are, on the East the Oohlooknee River and
West by the Apalachioola River. The topagraphy ranges from almost level
to slightly rolling. The soils are mostly Muck, Norfolk, and Tifton series,
ranging from deep sands to heavier clay loams of pebbly phase.
II. TYPE OF AGRICULTURI
There are 556,000 acres of land in the county, of this total only
sane 50,000 acres is privately owned or can be called farm land. The other
485,000 acres is made up by the Apalaohioola National Forest, and is owned
by the St. Joe Paper Company and other Corporations. Farming is only a
part time business in that practically all of the 285 farmers have some
other source of income. The fact that these people work at other jobs
make it very difficult to organize and carry out an organized Extension
Program. The political and economic conditions make organization extremely
difficult and in some instances impossible.
Most of the families fall into the low income bracket and working
and planning is extremely difficult with these people. There are no
incorporated towns in the county, this fact along with others explains
why organization is such a difficult job. Extension work in this rural
undeveloped county falls into the personal service method in that the
County Agents have in the past worked on this basis and it is extremely
difficult to change the people into one of organization and planning the
Extension Program. It is recognized that for an Extension Program to be
effective the people must help plan and carry out a definite program based
on their needs and desires. The program of getting the people to help plan
and carry out their program is one that must be solved before this can
become a reality in this county.
The 4-H Program is not growing as it should, the above mentioned
facts are in part responsible for this. It has been impossible so far to
get local leaders to accept responsibility for leading the clubs, there
are no agricultural or civic organizations in the county to give support
to this important youth program and in most instances the parents of the
club members are indifferent and have shown no particular interest in
These conditions are reported in this narrative report to emphasis
the tremendous handicaps that exist in rural counties that slow down and
hamper the growth and development of the Extension Program and the people
of this county.
III. PROJECT ACTIVITIES
The inherent fertility of the soils of Liberty County is low. This
condition has accelerated due to the mal-practices in farming operations
The total amount of land being cropped is beoaning less and less each year.
During the past year emphasis has been on conserving the soil that is being
taken out of production. As farm land is being retired that land owners
have been encouraged to put their idle acres in some kind of permanent cover.
Grass and trees have been stressed as good types of permanent cover. The
County Agent has tried to get the ACP Allocation for this county raised.
One of the major problems is that the land owners do not have adequate
capital to adopt a program of soil conservation. The County Agent in
cooperation with the SCS Technician and Farm Forester has through personal
contact, news articles, and meetings attempted to acquaint the farmers
with the latest information on soil fertility and management )
B. FIELD CROPS.
Corn The acreage devoted to the production of corn was materially
reduced this year. The average rpoduction was high due to the excellent
weather conditions during the growing season. Improved practices were used
in that practically all acres planted were hybred varieties and rates of
fertilization were materially increased*
Most of the corn produced in Liberty County is hogged off* A small
amount is harvested for use in poultry rations and to dry lot hogs.
Major emphasis was placed on increasing the rates of fertilization,
and the planting of hybred varieties, and results were obtained as the
acreage production per acre was materially larger.
The County Agent secured from Hybred Seed Companies 100 pounds of
demonstration corn and placed it with farmers over the county.
Personal contacts, news articles, and letters were Extension methods
used in this field of work.
Wheat Wheat is grown as a winter grazing crop for battle and swine.
Small acreages are harvested for sale.
Oats This crop is grown chiefly as a temporary grazing crop for
cattle and swine.
Rye This crop has grown in popularity during the past couple of
years. The acreage devoted to Rye as a grazing orop has increased materially
The County Agent has through personal contqots and news articles pointed
out the advantages that Rye offers over the above mentioned crops.
Seed and Feed Crops In addition to the above mentioned crops there
are small acreages devoted to the planting of oowpeas, milo, sorghums,
sugar cane and sweet potabtes.
The production of small acreages of vegetables has been pointed out
to the farmers as a source of additional cash income. This has not been
increased during the past year. This is due in part to a lack of capital
and also the fact that the farmer works on jobs that require most of his
time. This Agent feels that this phase of work can be expanded and it has
received attention during the past year and will receive more in the
The planting of turnips, mustard, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, and
cabbage can bring in additional cash income. There is a ready market in
this local area for these products*
D. FORAGE CROPS.
Forage crops provide the cheapest source of feed for livestock*
There is under normal conditions enough forage available for 8 months
in the year. The principal problems in this field of work are (a)
Pastures are not properly managed to get maximum returns, (b) Livestock
owners do not provide adequate feed to overwinter their livestock,
(o) Permanent pastures are not fertilized sufficiently, (d) Not
enough acres of improved varieties of grasses and legumes,
The County Agent in cooperation with the North Florida Experiment
Station seourdd the plant material and assisted in the planting of 15
acres of Suwanee Bermuda grass on 3 farms during the past year.
The problems mentioned above have been pointed out to the farmers
of the county through personal contacts, news articles, and meetings.
Forestry and forest products provide a large share of the total
farm income for this county* The major problems in this field are poor
management practices* During the past year we have not had the services
of a Farm Forester and in general the management phase has suffered* The
majot portion of the county is in trees. The cropland that is being retired
is being planted to trees. The County Agent has by personal contacts,
news articles, and meetings pointed out the importance of good woodlot
The planting of red cedar in pine stands as a means of increasing the
cash income per acre has been given special emphasis* One land owner has
ordered and will plant 1000 red cedar seedlings this fall and this plot
will be used as a demonstration plot.
The County Agent was able to secure 65,000 free pine seedlings from
Paper.Companies for distribution to small land owners*
Two tours were held for land owners interested in Forestry which
pointed out the latest findings in fire control, planting technique,
land clearing, and the use of desirable species
The County Agent's Office handled all the orders for Pine and
Information on planting, fire control, management and wildlife
management were given to the land owners through letters, personal
contacts, news articles, tours, and meetings.
IV. ANIMAL HUSBANDIR
A. BEEF CATTLE.
There are some 3,000 head of cattle in Liberty County, most of these
being native range cattle. The primary problems in this field are parasites
control, not enough good bhlls, poor pasture, and pasture management.
This Agent through meetings, news articles, news letters, and personal
contacts, has throughout the year given emphasis to these problems.
The County Agent in cooperation with the U. S. D. A. oiroulated
petitions for Bangs testing. This county was certified as Modified
Bruoillosis free in October of this year.
The production of breeding and feeder hogs provides a source of
cash income for most of the farmers in te county. The type of hog varies
from native woods hogs to purebred herds. The principal problems in this fie
field areas (a) most hogs are of the lard type, (b) feeding program is
inadequate, (c) sanitation and disease control is poor.
The County Agent vaccinates hogs for Cholera as part of his duties
and has excellent contact with the swine producers. However, since most
of the farmers are part time, there can be no organized program for helping
in this field. Most information is given as personal contacts at the time
the hogs are imminized against Cholera.
The number of hogs an the farm and in the woods has reduced materially
during the past year. This is in part due to low hog prices and the cost
of feed. There has been some improvement in the quality of the hogs produced
which this Agent feels is a sign of progress.
V. AGRICULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS
The County Agent serves as Secretary to the County Conmittee of the
ASC in that he attends all meetings and advises with the County Office
Manager inthe operations of this Programe
The County Agent serves as Secretary to the following organizations:
I. District Supervisors of Soil COnservation Distriot
2. Tupelo Beekeepers Association
3. During the past year the County Agent served as Distriot 4-H
In addition to the above mentioned organizations the Agent works with
and holds office in the followings
a. American Red Cross
b. T. B. Association
o. Foundation for Infantile Paralysis
d. Also active in oivic and church work
VI. 4-H CLUB WORK
There are three boys 4-H Clubs in Liberty County* All clubs are
school clubs* This situation handicaps the progress of this work, along
with the fact that there is only one Agent in the county* Each club meets
monthly in the school and as a result of this the work has not progressed
as it should have*
During the past year 4-H Club members competed in the Distriot 4-H
Public Speaking Contest and Lamp Making C6ntesto Three boys attended Short
Course, 13 Summer Camp, and 33 boys attended the North Florida Fair. #-H
Judging teams competed in Quinoy and Tallahassee events.
There were 8 county medals awarded for outstanding work during the
The 4-H Pig Chain started last year was doubled during the current
year and we now have 4 boys with purebred gilts in the Chain.
VII. OFFICE FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT
Office space, desks, tables, and utilities are furnished by the
County. Typewriter, folders, filing cabinets, guides, and other necessary
equipment is supplied by the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation
Committee, and the Agricultural Extension Service.
In addition to the County Agent, the county has a full time SCS
Technician, one-fourth time Farm Forester, ans part time FHA.
The problem of protecting stored grains from insects and rodent
damage is one that has received amjor emphasis luring the past year. In
the past insects and rodents have destroyed a large portion of the stored
grains. The use of old open type barns and cribs are still present and are
a fi*iliar sight on farms in this county. The major problems involved in
correcting this situation are (a) Farmers to not have the necessary capital
to build or purchase storage facilities that are insect proof, (b) in
general farmers did not realize the tremendous destruction and loss of feed
and money that insects and rodents cause, (o) Farmers did not realize that
there was a lev interest credit plan available for the purchase of modern
steel storage facilities.
These facts were brought to the attention of the farmers by personal
oontaots and news articles. The amount of damage done, the fact that
their was help available and that by using the storage faoilitt loans
available the solving of this problem was within reach of all fo them.
As a result of the Extension activity there were three farmers that
purchased and oontruoted modern storage facilities during the past year
and several more have shown an interest.
This Agent feels that progress was made in this field anf that in the
future the use of old log type open cribs and barns will be replaced by
modern steel structures that will enable the farmer to protect his valuable