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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for April 2012

Beverly SparksBeverly Sparks, Associate Dean for Extension, 706/542-3824,

Extension Colleagues:

This issue of Extension E-News brings some great news.

The budget development process for our state budget for FY13 is about to conclude. We are waiting for Governor Deal to sign off on the conference version. That should be done within the next couple of weeks. If the budget is approved as presented, Cooperative Extension and our college have much to be thankful for in light of the difficult fiscal times. The state budget for FY13 includes restoration of a 1.26 percent cut to Cooperative Extension, four positions for Extension/research faculty in the areas of soybean breeding, peanut entomology, vegetable horticulture and peach/small fruits horticulture, funds for replacement of worn-out/outdated equipment for our experiment stations, funds for the Food Product and Innovation Center in Griffin and funds for renovation of classrooms at the RDC in Tifton. Additional good news includes funding in the budget for cabins at Rock Eagle ($2.5 million) and maintenance and renovation funds for experiment stations and Extension facilities ($4 million).


The federal side of our budget continues to be in question. Bottom line is, we are anticipating a cut in our Smith-Lever funds for FY13. At this time we are uncertain of the timing or significance of the cut. Work on the federal budget continues and we will focus our efforts on maintaining our Smith-Lever funding.

Budget meetings for the college wrapped up last next week. During the meetings each department head, district head and unit head presented their top priorities and discussed challenges and opportunities for their units. Our goal is to complete the CAES budget process for FY13 by the end of May. I greatly appreciate the work of our department heads, district directors and unit heads during this difficult time.

Last week, I represented UGA Cooperative Extension at the spring meeting of the Association of Southern Region Extension Directors (ASRED) in Nashville, Tennessee Extension directors/administrators throughout the region are all facing fiscal challenges. Louisiana State University and Clemson sustained the highest of the cuts, losing more than 45 percent of their state budgets in the last three years. The good news is it appears some states (Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Tennessee) are turning the corner towards economic recovery and are beginning to rebuild and hire new employees. A prevalent theme during the conference was the desire to work together as sister, land-grant institutions to secure grant funds and better use resources across the region.

This week I will be attending a meeting of the National 4-H Council Board of Trustees in New York. The National 4-H Gala will take place the evening prior to this meeting, where I am looking forward to Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland being honored as a 4-H alumni and seeing members of Clovers and Company perform with her as she entertains at the gala.

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Tony Tyson introduces upcoming changes to our volunteer guidelines and policies due to concerns about liability in his article entitled "Are We Liable;"
  • Arch Smith provides an update from 4-H including information on tax return Form 990, Georgia hosting the Southern Region 4-H Biennial Conference on Jekyll Island, the successes of Laura Waters and 4-H in securing grant funds, and a look towards summer camp;
  • Laurie Cantrell discusses Family and Consumer Science programs addressing home food preservation across the state;
  • Steve Brown reviews the history and significance of our CAES poultry science program at UGA and recognizes the new UGA Extension Poultry Team; and
  • Laura Perry Johnson updates us on the CAES Strategic Planning Process.

County Operations

Tony TysonTony Tyson, Director of Extension County Operations, 706/542-1060,

Are We Liable?

As I pen this article, I have just finished a meeting with Arch Smith and Jenny Jordan to discuss changes to our Extension volunteer guidelines and policies. These changes are being implemented at the request of UGA Risk Management because of concerns about liability. My intent in this article is not to discuss these changes, as they will be shared with all 4-H personnel at 4-H Program Preview during the week of April 16-20 and with all Extension employees over the next few weeks. Rather, my intent is to discuss the topic of liability in general.

It seems that not a week goes by that our office doesn't receive a question related to liability. The questions often involve a volunteer or volunteer group questioning whether or not they are covered by the university's liability coverage. We also get questions from employees wanting to know if they are protected from lawsuits that may result from their activities. Years ago, these questions almost never came up, but we now live in a litigious society and it seems there are a lot of people who are constantly looking for an opportunity to sue someone. Consequently, our employees and volunteers are more concerned, and rightly so, about making sure they are protected. In responding to these questions, I make it clear that I am not an attorney. If a question arises that goes beyond the basics, we routinely consult with UGA's Office of Legal Affairs.

The University of Georgia is self-insured against state tort claims through Risk Management Services in the Department of Administrative Services. This coverage applies to employees and volunteers who are part of a structured program that is organized, controlled and directed by a UGA department for the purpose of carrying out the functions of the university. The liability coverage is for injuries and/or property damage employees or volunteers may cause others while acting in the course of their official duties. A volunteer would not be covered when their activities deviate from the course of their volunteer duties. In general, employees are covered against personal liability for damages arising out of the performance of their job duties. The limits of liability are $1,000,000 per person and $3,000,000 per occurrence. UGA's policy on State Tort and General Liability may be found at:

One question that comes up often concerns groups such as Master Gardeners. They often question whether or not their activities are covered. The short answer is that the individual members are covered as long as they are working on projects that are organized, controlled and directed by the Extension office. All other activities of the group would not be covered under the university's policy. The same answer would be true for 4-H volunteer leader organizations.

Many of our faculty members routinely make recommendations regarding pesticides, food safety, etc. that could result in personal injury or property damage if incorrect information is given or if the information given is misinterpreted. As a general rule, these employees would have liability protection as long as they are acting in an official capacity.

If you have questions that are not covered here, please don't hesitate to let us know. If we don't know the answer, we will consult with legal affairs. It never hurts to be cautious!


Agriculture and Natural Resources

Steve Brown Steve Brown, ANR State Program Leader, 706/542-1060,

100 Years of Poultry Science at UGA

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the hiring of the first poultry scientist at the University of Georgia. Mr. Leroy Jones was the first member of what became a premier poultry science department. Today, Georgia has the largest poultry industry in the U.S., and the value of Georgia poultry leads all agricultural commodities in the state. The poultry industry and its allied industries employ more than 100,000 Georgians and have an overall economic impact of more than $18 billion on Georgia's economy.

Did you know that Georgia produces 26 million pounds of chicken meat per day? We also produce 9.2 million table eggs and 7.8 million hatching eggs per day. The modern poultry farm can produce a 5-pound broiler in six weeks or less, down from the 16 weeks required to produce a 2.5-pound bird in the 1920s. That 5-pound bird is produced on less than 2 pounds of feed per pound of live weight, down from more than 4.5 pounds of feed per pound of live weight in the 1920s. These achievements in production efficiency are matched by advancements in minimizing environmental impacts and improvements in food safety.

This amazing progress has been aided by the exemplary research, Extension and teaching programs conducted by the UGA department of poultry science. Our Cooperative Extension poultry science specialists are well connected with the industry and are the go-to problem solvers for this enormous sector. Over the years, county agents have played a vital role in helping this industry grow as well. But because this industry has become so vertically integrated (hatcheries, feed production, broiler production, processing, etc. all controlled by the same company) the role of the county agent has changed.

That's why we recently formed an Extension Poultry Team to help facilitate some of the critical support functions that fall into the realm of county operations. These include nutrient management, energy efficiency and urban/rural interface issues such as odor and insect management. The poultry team concept is similar to other Extension commodity teams, but unique due to the structure of the poultry industry. Thanks to the following people for agreeing to serve on this team: Casey Ritz, Claudia Dunkley, Mike Czarick, John Worley, Melony Wilson, Nancy Hinkle, Brian Fairchild, Michael Wheeler, Bob Waldorf, Ricky Josey, Clay Talton, Mark von Waldner, Brenda Jackson, Tim Smith and Adam Speir.

Leroy Jones' arrival at UGA marked the beginning of a huge success story. Throughout the coming year, the UGA department of poultry science will celebrate a century of educating students, conducting research and serving poultry producers. From humble beginnings, poultry science at UGA has grown and developed into one of the most respected poultry programs in the world.

Celebration events marking the 100th anniversary are planned for the Spring Awards Banquet (April 27), the Poultry Science Association annual meeting (July 9-12), the Georgia Poultry Conference (Sept. 25-26) and Alumni Homecoming Tailgate (Nov. 2-3). Join me in congratulating UGA Poultry Science Department Head Dr. Mike Lacy and the entire department on completion of their FIRST 100 years.


Family and Consumer Sciences

Laurie CantrellLaurie Cantrell, Interim FACS State Program Leader, 912/681-0179,

Home Food Preservation: One Way to a Safe and Secure Food Supply

The revival of home food preservation continues to gain momentum motivated by a variety of factors including the movement to eat fresh, local foods year-round. Now that spring has arrived, people are out in their gardens and farmers are preparing their fields for the next crop of vegetables and fruits.

Once harvested, some of these foods will make their way to family kitchens and farmer's markets where we will enjoy them and wish they were available year-round at such a good price. Many Family and Consumer Sciences agents work directly with local farmers to bring their crops to market and to teach consumers how to safely preserve food.

FACS agent Susan Howington and Agriculture and Natural Resource agent Frank Hancock teamed up to established a locally grown farmer's market to meet the needs of local, small-scale producers. The market provides a place for them to sell their products. It also provides local consumers with a place to purchase goods of known quality.

Susan also provides market goers assistance with how to properly and safely preserve and store fruits and vegetables. Due to increased interest in home food preservation, she frequently gets requests to teach canning classes in Henry and surrounding counties.

Other FACS agents are teaching families how to preserve the bounty of their gardens and ensure safe and healthy foods are available year-round. "From the Garden to the Table" is the creation of Jessica Hill and Lynwood Blackmon in DeKalb County. Participants learn about planting a vegetable garden and safely canning and preserving their harvests. In Houston County, Peggy Bledsoe conducts "Preserve Now to Enjoy Later," a hands-on workshop that covers food preservation techniques, the equipment needed and when and how to use both pressure and water bath canners. In Dougherty County, Suzanne Williams holds a four-session food preservation series that includes both instruction and hands-on experiences. "You Can CAN!," taught by Denise Everson in Clarke County, provides participants with step-by-step instructions on safe methods for food preservation. Jackie Ogden in Chatham County is busy all season long exhibiting at the Forsyth Farmer's Market and teaching a number of "So Easy to Preserve Your Harvest from Your Garden" programs.

In addition to presentations and workshops, almost 3,000 Georgians were reached through face-to-face exhibits at fairs or festivals. County and state faculty judge food preservation entries at fairs. Extension agents offer dial gauge testing services, answer individual questions, display exhibits, distribute publications and submit articles for local media. And, last year close to 7,000 copies of the ever-popular So Easy to Preserve book were sold.

New FACS Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach

Dr. Deborah Murray will join the College of Family and Consumer Sciences on May 7. She currently serves as associate director of the University of Kentucky's Health Education Through Extension Leadership program. Prior to her current position, Murray spent 15 years with the UK Cooperative Extension Service in positions that included supervising and directing family and consumer sciences and 4-H county agents. She holds a bachelor's degree in vocational home economics from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, a master's degree in home economics education from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky and a doctorate in educational administration and leadership from UK. She brings extensive experience and a keen sense of the purpose and mission of land-grant universities. We are looking forward to adding her to our Extension family.


4-H and Youth Development

Arch SmithArch Smith, 4-H & Youth Development State Program Leader, 706/542-4H4H,

Running Toward the Mark

Many of you know that I am a casual runner, not to be confused with the previous State 4-H Leader who is a running addict. I enjoy running because of the benefits to my physical health and also because it improves my mental health and relieves tension. Often as I run across the dam on Rock Eagle Lake and begin an uphill climb at the end of my run, I play a mental game of counting the centerline marks in the middle of the road. There are 210 marks from the north side of the dam back to the lamppost at the end of my run. Counting those 210 marks helps me know the percentage of the most difficult part of that run. When I reach 70 marks I am one-third of the way there.

In comparison, when it comes to the construction of new cabins at Rock Eagle, our goal has been to build 52 new cabins. Four are completed and five are under construction. This means that later this fall we will have nine new cabins at Rock Eagle. An additional $2.5 million was appropriated by the General Assembly and we are awaiting the Governor's signature on the budget. If the Governor signs the budget, we will be able to construct seven new cabins beginning in the fall of 2012. We will then have funding for 16 new cabins which is just a little over 30 percent, or almost one-third, of the way through the process of securing funding to build 52 new cabins at Rock Eagle.

As I run up the hill, I know that those first 70 marks in the road are the most difficult because it is the steepest part of the climb as I seek the finish line at the lamppost. We should be extremely grateful to the state of Georgia for their support thus far, not only for new cabins at Rock Eagle but for all the other physical improvements that have been funded through the Legislature for our college over the past two years. I hope if the opportunity arises that you will express your appreciation to your local representatives in the House and Senate for their support of our college and Extension budget.

While we're discussing money, it is also tax time, and we remind all counties to file your 4-H Club 990 tax return by May 15, 2012. If your income is less than $50,000, you can file the 990N or electronic form. If your income is $50,000 or more, you should file the 990EZ Form. Information is available on the 4-H website that may assist you in filing your tax forms. Please make sure you file and file on time.

During the week of March 19-22, the Georgia 4-H state staff hosted the Southern Region 4-H Biennial Conference on Jekyll Island, Ga. The biennial conference is a gathering of state 4-H specialists from the 13 Southern states who come together for professional development and idea sharing. The 2012 biennial was a great success and the highlight of the week was closing remarks by Associate State 4-H Leader Emeritus and National 4-H Hall of Fame inductee Mr. Harold Darden. Mr. Darden entitled his closing comments "The Answer." While I try to not make a habit of including items in the Extension E-Newsletter that are included in the State 4-H Leader's E-Newsletter, I encourage you to take a moment to access the following link and listen to Mr. Darden's presentation. His comments begin approximately 11 minutes into the presentation if you prefer to skip the opening part of the program and introductions.

Laura Waters provided the following update on grants. Since July 2011, UGA Cooperative Extension offices and the Georgia 4-H program have received 28 grants totaling $1,044,727 in funding to support a wide range of projects. Many of these projects directly support county offices in delivering 4-H and Extension programming. These grants include $100,000 to support the Health Rocks! program for the third year, as well as $80,000 total in funding for partnerships supporting military youth at the local level. Georgia 4-H has also received $122,958 to support 4-H mentoring projects in three communities across the state, and statewide support of service-learning opportunities through the $25,000 Engaging Youth, Serving Community Grant. These are just a few of the examples of the great partnerships that have been established to fund UGA Extension and Georgia 4-H programs.

Counties have been very successful in securing external funding from local EMC grants, NRA Foundation grants, Wal-Mart Community Pride grants, local United Ways and community foundations to support project achievement, shooting sports, healthy lifestyles, service learning and other important 4-H programs. Support has also been sought for county vehicles, travel funds and other areas integral to successful county operations.

As we approach the summer season, we appreciate the work all of you do to promote summer camp. Remember that summer camp is an opportunity for children to learn at least one of the four essential elements - independence. Often that independence is simply being able to make that first trip away from home without being accompanied by a parent or guardian. It is also an excellent time for 4-H staff and volunteers to interact with young people and encourage them to remain active in 4-H.


CAES Strategic Planning

Laura Perry JohnsonLaura Perry Johnson, Co-Chair of CAES Strategic Planning Committee, 229/386-3414,

The Report is in Sight

The CAES Strategic Planning Committee met for two days in April and is making progress sorting through the data and beginning to form goals that help give direction and focus to our college. Many people have asked what our report would look like. That has been hard to say up until this week. We have been committed to following the process and the data and letting that guide our actions. Presently, we have seven to eight broad goals with more specific strategies and action items under each one. You will have to wait a few more weeks to know what the actual goals are, so stay tuned!

What else will be in the final report? We will begin with an introduction that gives a brief history and background of our college. The committee has reviewed the mission, vision and core values of the organization and a slightly edited version will be presented. We will follow that with a section that tells us what CAES is doing well. Yes, we do have many areas where we can improve, but it was gratifying to find broad consensus on the things we do well and need to continually improve. We will follow with the goals we developed and the strategies and action items that will move us towards the goals.

Once the report is written and presented, will we be done? Definitely not! Then comes the challenging and exciting job of actually implementing the goals. At this point we will have to broaden our scope and reach out to many others in the college and beyond. Many of you have the expertise needed to implement some of the programs and goals, so we will definitely need your help. Please look for ways to be involved.

We have posted our raw data and summaries of this data to the CAES Strategic Planning web site ( ). That way anyone who wants to can read the raw data for themselves. I warn you, it is hundreds and hundreds of pages long! It took the 22-member committee almost two months to read, analyze, re-analyze and summarize. (You may just want to read the summaries.)

The committee, comprised of your peers, has done an incredible job developing and implementing a process that will result in a plan we can all be proud of and that will lead us to be stronger and more focused. Jean Bertrand, my co-chair, and I applaud their efforts and would appreciate you letting them know that you appreciate their efforts on behalf of CAES. Here is a complete list of the committee:

As always, we encourage you to stay tuned to the process and the website. Much more information will be forthcoming.


Personnel actions since March 2012

New Hires

  • Lamar County - Darlene Williams, County Secretary, 3/15/12

County funded

  • Dodge County - Sandy Morgan, Program Assistant, 3/26/12
  • Tattnall County (Glennville) - Linda "Ann" Waters, Program Assistant, 3/01/12


  • Southwest District - Director Ken Lewis to retire on May 1. Will return as a rehire in June as the Southwest District ANR PDC.


  • Carroll County - Cody Williams, 4-H Program Assistant
  • Coweta County - Kecia Moronese, 4-H Program Assistant

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