A lifelong resident was named recently the 2022 Conservationist of the Year for Bulloch County.
Jason Mallard, who lives in Portal, was honored during the 72nd Annual Conservationist of the Year Banquet hosted by the Ogeechee River Soil and Water Conservation District. The banquet was held last month at First Baptist Church in Statesboro.
Mallard started his career in conservation in 2005 when he served in the position of Irrigation and Resource Specialist with the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission in Statesboro.
In the position, he completed hundreds of audits on irrigation systems for uniformity and efficiency and worked with livestock producers with exclusion fencing and stream crossings.
To further his ability to help producers with efficiency, Mallard became a certified irrigation designer through the Irrigation Association.
Also, Mallard began promoting soil moisture sensor technology to help row crop producers conserve water resources and help save pumping cost.
In 2015, he became an Extension Agent for the University of Georgia and has served in Jenkins and Screven County. In these counties he continued developing programming with soil moisture sensors and worked with producers on grant applications to receive over $22,000 toward the purchase of soil moisture sensors.
The sensor programming impacted over 2,800 acres and saved an estimated 76 million gallons of water.
In 2022, Mallard became an Area Ag Water Agent for the University of Georgia Extension Service and now promotes ag water irrigation management in South Georgia.
Mallard works with other agents and their producers with the same programming in irrigation water management. During 2022, the programming is estimated to have saved more than 100 million gallons of water.
In addition to his fulltime job, Mallard said he enjoys working with his wife Raina, his two sons and his parents after hours and on weekends raising cattle on their family farm.
The Mallards utilize rotational grazing, heavy use areas and watering facilities for conservation purposes.
Also, the Ogeechee River Soil and Water Conservation District awarded an education scholarship to Austin Collins, a student at Southeast Bulloch High School.