One of the best parts about being a county agent is the diversity of topics I get to deal with on a daily basis. This week alone, I’ve had calls about turfgrass, pond management, cattle, water testing, oak tree pests, and more. The broad scope of these calls is what makes my job interesting, but realistically, I can’t know everything about all of them. One of the best parts of Extension is that I don’t have to- and neither do my clients. While I’m always going to encourage you to call me directly for assistance with anything related to agriculture and natural resources, I also want to recognize that you may choose to do some research on your own. This week, I wanted to give some pointers for where to look for information

            In some situations, referencing the manufacturer of a product is useful. For example, many chemical companies will provide full labels of their products online, so if you have questions about what rate to use an herbicide at or what pests an insecticide will kill, that can be a good starting point.

 If you’re looking for more general information, you can look for print or online resources. Print resources can be useful and found at the local library or through our Extension office, but you should make sure they are fairly recent (within the last 10 years or so) to ensure the information is up-to-date. This is particularly important for things like pesticide recommendations, since those change frequently.

When you look for online information, you should always be looking for websites that end in .edu, .gov, or .org, which are typically universities, government/regulatory agencies, or nonprofit/educational organizations. The websites with these domains are more likely to be written by reputable individuals and often have strict policies in place as to how things are published. For example, the UGA Publications website ( has a huge variety of information that is written by UGA faculty, edited by content experts, and reviewed every 3-5 years to ensure it’s still accurate and up-to-date. You can use information from other websites such blogs, but I recommend you do some investigating on who wrote the article, when it was published, and whether the recommendations made are supported by research. There can be a lot of bias and misinformation in blogs and .com websites, so be cautious when using those.

One last thought- there is a difference between scientific information and anecdotal support. Scientific information is supported by research that is peer-reviewed (evaluated by a 3rd party or institution), repeatable (produces the same results every time) and produces data with statistical significance (a change is due to the treatment, not chance). Open-access research studies can be found through Google Scholar or research databases, but interpreting scientific research can be challenging. Anecdotal information is personal experience and preference with something, within the context of that individual’s situation (i.e. growing conditions, management style, etc). Extension will always base our recommendations in scientific information, but anecdotal information can be used as a supplemental resource to help make decisions.

UGA Extension is here to help you find the research-based information you need. If you have specific questions or need help finding a resource, please feel free to contact us at or 706-359-3233.

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