We work with 1 in 4 Alabamians—1.2 million success stories.

Here are a few.

Expanding Our Reach through Volunteers

Volunteers invest their time in Extension programs and expand the organization’s reach. If paid, volunteers would represent 137 full-time equivalent employees, extending by 25% the 559 paid full-time staff members.

Donated Hours
Program Donation

202,579 hours
83,925 hours
Master Gardeners
4-H volunteers
97 FTEs
40 FTEs
$18/hour = $3,646,422
$18/hour = $1,510,650

286,504 hours
137 FTEs
TOTAL = $5,157,072

Engaging Audiences through New Media

ACES is using contemporary media to make our programs available to the people of Alabama. In the past 12 months, these efforts have continued to advance:
  • ACES Facebook. Traffic has increased 139% and now scores as the most highly engaged Extension Facebook site in the South.
  • ACES iBooks. An ACES iBook, Gardening in the South, represents 66% of sales compared to 33% for print copies. Four iBook titles are now available, 5 are in production, and 10 are in early stages of development.
  • Emergency Handbook. ACES has created and Emergency Handbook for Alabama to help people prepare for and recover from natural disasters. WSFA-TV in Montgomery, the flagship of Raycom Media television stations, will promote the iBook as part of its Hurricane Week coverage. Additional Raycom television stations in Huntsville WAFF-TV, Birmingham WBRC-TV, Dothan WBFX-TV, and Columbus WTVM-TV have been invited to participate.
  • Signature Programs. ACES is developing 16 signature programs that combine online teaching, mobile app development, e-pubs/iBooks, e-newsletters, and web traffic trending. The first Signature Programs will be available to the public in late 2015.

Leading Environmental Recovery and Economic Growth

  • Five years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Extension’s Mobile Bay Oyster Garden Program has helped start 14 commercial oyster farms and engaged 82 hobbyist oyster gardeners to produce 59,330 oysters at 41 sites.
  • Because of Extension, one of the most fragile pieces to the marine ecosystem is making a comeback, and commercial oyster farming is developing as a new economic activity.

Building a Stronger 4-H

Renewed support of 4-H by ACES administration and donors has created 9 endowed positions called 4-H Foundation Agents. The 4-H program is now available in more than 50% of Alabama schools. Current 4-H members identified programs of greatest interest:
  • Environmental Education 31%
  • Technology and Engineering 15%
  • Leadership and Personal Development 15%
  • Animals 12%
  • Health 12%
  • Communications/Arts 9%
  • Consumer and Family Studies 4%
  • Ag in the Classroom 2%

Targeting Better Lives for Young Alabamians

  • For 18 years, 4-H Teens Getting Involved for the Future (TGIF) has been offered to sixth graders in Choctaw, Conecuh, Elmore, Hale, Marion, Tuscaloosa, and Sumter Counties- and teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease rates have dropped.
  • 1,354 7th graders participated in the All Stars program to prevent, reduce, or eliminate negative and promote positive behaviors. The result: a 40% to 60% reduction in substance abuse and an 80% reduction in sexual activity.
  • The Life Skills program to influence factors that promote substance use and other risky behaviors has reduced alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use by 50% to 75% among the 150 7th graders participating. Inhalant, narcotic, and hallucinogen use is also down.
  • Be SAFE helped 63% of young people in the program improve knowledge in selecting a college, and 58% in choosing a career in science. It also reduced bullying and built positive peer relationships.

Reaching 4.5 million with Buckmasters/ACES Partnership

  • An emerging partnership with the Buckmasters television program and digital media has brought natural resource management information to 4,539,006 viewers and readers in North America, elevating the ACES natural resource management profile.
  • Support from Buckmasters has moved Alabama Extension into a leading role in the National 4-H Shooting Sports Program.

Promoting Fresh Food with Community Gardens

  • 2,098 pounds of fresh food were produced by a community garden started in Florence.
  • The 48 garden beds served a low-income community that included physically disabled individuals and veterans.

Celebrating EFNEP's 50th Anniversary

  • 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of EFNEP, a nutrition education program for limited resource audiences—a program piloted in Alabama.
  • 18,000 people in 39 counties made better food choices and moved off public assistance.
National Impact on Public Assistance Enrollment

Food Assistance
Program Entry
Program Exit

Promoting Market Gains for Beef Producers

  • Beef producers using Extension-recommended management and health protocols for feeder calves realized an average $162.12 per head more in marketing over weekly auction sales—$860,000 for 5,516 head of Alabama-bred and raised feeder calves.
  • Bulls sold at Beef Quality Improvement Association events sold for an average of $4,932, and bred heifers sold for an average of $2,417 or $475 net gain per animal.

Achieving Higher Profits with IPM Guidelines

  • Alabama typically produces more than $70 million in specialty crops and local foods. Tomato production increased by 26% in 2014 resulting in high demand for support from Extension specialist and regional agents.
  • The Alabama vegetable integrated pest management (IPM) program is now the largest educational initiative in Commercial Horticulture Program reaching more than 1,000 participants. In 2014, IPM adoption rate was about 70% in vegetable crops, preventing crop losses of 50% or more on 500-plus farms.
  • Producer training and direct consultation resulted in average increased profits of $439 per acre or a $4.9 million direct impact statewide.

Growing Agronomic Crop Profitability

Farmers across Alabama continued in 2014 to rely on Extension guidance when faced with threats to crops and profitability.
  • Soybean growers advised to treat 100,000 at-risk acres for frogeye leaf spot, setting the stage for a 20% increase in soybean yields worth $12.1 million.
  • IPM tactics for insect control in stored grain increased value of cereal crops by $1 per bushel. Specialists worked directly with one farmer who had on-farm storage capacity of 300,000 bushels, representing an increased farm income of $300,000.
  • More than 29,000 acres of corn were treated for southern rust, leading to yield gains of $8.7 million. ACES alerted producers of the pending outbreak and offered fungicide recommendations.
  • $50 to $75 per acre savings on 200,000 acres with improved weed control for corn and cotton. Enhanced recognition of herbicide-resistant weeds created a total savings of $10 to $15 million for Alabama producers.
  • Target spot described as an emerging disease threat to cotton that could potentially reduce yields by as much as 30%. Extension recommendations eliminated the overuse of fungicides, resulting in savings of $6,000,000.