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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for August 2012

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

Extension Colleagues:

The dog days of summer are here and the summer of 2012 is quickly drawing to a close. Students are back on campus, yellow school buses are on the road adding 10-15 minutes to your commute time to campus. Stores are crowded and parking spaces downtown are a rare commodity. These are all signs that mark the end of summer in Athens and the start of another academic year. I am ready for fall, football and cooler weather.

If you have been following recent state political news, you are aware of some difficult budget news and implications for higher education. The bottom line is that Governor Deal has asked all state agencies to hold back 3 percent of their state budget and submit plans for dealing with this reduction. In addition, the instructions indicate the same 3 percent could be held back in the 2014 budget. If required to cut our budget an additional 3 percent (approximately 880K) we would lose all the ground we have gained in funding positions in the last legislative session plus an additional ½ percent. Needless to say, your administrative team is working hard to minimize the impact of these potential cuts and focus on our highest priorities. I am sure Dean Angle will be providing additional information regarding this situation as news becomes available.

Late July and early August has been a period of great activity.

Earlier this month, Dr. Clint Waltz asked me to provide welcoming comments at the UGA Turfgrass Research Field Day. As I stood at the podium overlooking our turfgrass facilities on the Griffin campus, thirty-five years of history with the Georgia Experiment Station flashed before my eyes. The UGA Griffin campus has never looked better and I am so very proud of our legacy of strong research and Extension programs supporting our turfgrass industries. To the Griffin campus, UGA Turfgrass Team and industry supporters/sponsors, thank you for another great turfgrass field day.

Congratulations to NACAA and now past president of NACAA Paul Wigley for a very successful national meeting in Charleston. I am very proud of the Georgia contingency that attended the conference and the leadership roles Georgia agents hold in NACAA. Thanks to Tim Varnedore, Keith Mickler, Ricky Ensley, Laura Griffeth, Johnny Whiddon, and Steven Patrick for serving NACAA as committee chairs.

Our State 4-H staff, agents, program assistants and associates, volunteers and specialists closed out the 2012 4-H year with a great 70th 4-H State Congress. During the week 48 4-Hers became Master 4-H'ers in their project areas, 32 received scholarships and more than 150 were recognized as special events winners. At the closing banquet we recognized Mrs. Wanda Barrs with the Friend of 4-H Award from GAE4-HA and Chancellor Hank Huckaby with the Green Jacket Award. Congratulations to all for a great congress and a very successful year.

Congratulations to Bobby Smith, Morgan County CEC, for being selected to serve as the new ANR-PDC for Northeast District. Bobby will officially begin in his new role on Sept. 1, 2012.

The search committee for the Southeast District DED position has been named and charged. Tony Tyson is providing leadership for this committee and they are already hard at work. Please help the committee identify and recruit individuals to apply for this important position.

Coming up in late August-mid September:

  • PLN and ASRED meeting (Orlando - August 20-24)
  • ESP State Conference (Athens - August 30)
  • Extension Program Planning Week (Athens - Sept 10-15)

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Tony Tyson addresses the concept of banding together as one Extension;
  • Arch Smith highlights 4-H activities in August;
  • Deborah Murray highlights activities in Family and Consumer Sciences;
  • Steve Brown brags a little about the talent and dedicated employees in Georgia Extension; and
  • Laura Perry Johnson provides an update on the strategic planning process and encourages participation in action teams.

County Operations

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

We are One Extension

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the annual meeting of the Georgia Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (GEAFCS) held in Perry. At the close of that meeting, Deborah Murray, the new UGA Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach, addressed the group with a presentation titled "The Shape of Things to Come: FACS Cooperative Extension." She made two key points in her presentation that I want to expand upon here.

The first point was that "the work of Cooperative Extension is not about us, but about the people we serve." She continued that thought by saying "we have the privilege of doing what we do because of the people who came before us." Our predecessors left a legacy and reputation that we must preserve and protect if we are to survive as an organization. We would not have survived for nearly 100 years if not for the good work they did and the impact they had on the lives of the people they served.

When we go through difficult times like we have for the past four years, we sometimes become consumed with the changes and how they impact us personally. That is a natural reaction, but at the same time we don't need to lose sight of the focus of what we do - provide the best service possible to the citizens of the state. We must adapt to the world around us. We will do things differently than we did in the past, partly out of necessity and partly to take advantage of technologies that were not previously available to us. We will change, but we must keep our focus on the people we serve.

The other point Dr. Murray made that got my attention was that "we are one Extension." Our Extension programs are diverse and we each have our niche within the overall Extension family. In the end though, we are one family and we are strongest when we work together. During my 30 plus years in Extension, I have observed that when times get difficult, there is a tendency for us to retreat to our own corners and work to protect our turf at the expense of the organization as a whole.

I realize most of you were not in Extension when we experienced the big budget cut in 1991. Either way, I'm sure you have heard stories. In my opinion, one of the things that led to that debacle was that we were not working together. We had circled the wagons and begun shooting inward! We had urban vs. rural, and people in various program areas trying to convince the public (and politicians) that their program area was more important than the others. The result was that we all got hurt, and one program area (Community and Rural Development) was eliminated.

I'm not implying that we are anywhere near where we were in 1991, but in recent months I have noticed a tendency among some of us to go into a turf protection mode, sometimes at the expense of the total program. Those who don't pay attention to history are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. Let's make sure we don't go down that path. As Dr. Murray stated, "We are One Extension!"


Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

Outside Conner Hall

I have a unique job. Most of you can't imagine the complex and sometimes crazy situations that must be navigated. I'll admit there are days when the challenges seem so overwhelming that I get discouraged. But there are days when the talent and dedication of our employees re-energizes me and makes me proud to be part of this organization. That's true of ALL of our employees, but I'm going to wear my ANR Program Leader hat today and brag about our amazing ANR specialists and agents.

There are incredible ANR achievements every day and I am always hesitant to point out a few because I know I will leave out many more. My spirits were certainly raised during my recent travels when I observed an astounding display of talent and professionalism. The Georgia contingency at the NACAA meeting in Charleston was a dominant force at the national level. Paul Wigley did us proud as presiding president and he was supported by an amazing group of officers, committee chairs, moderators, presenters and poster presentors. Anyone attending could tell that Cooperative Extension in Georgia was not only alive and well, but thriving.

I recently attended the Southern Peanut Growers conference where, again, the University of Georgia was clearly the dominant land grant university presence. At the UGA Turf Field Day in Griffin our ANR employees impressed hundreds of participants from all over the South.

A couple of hundred very impressive kids were honored at the recent Georgia 4-H State Congress in Atlanta. I noticed several of our ANR specialists and agents there helping judge and providing support and encouragement.

I recently visited the farm of Mr. Barry Martin, our new Georgia Farmer of the Year. I heard him say over and over that he could have never accomplished what he has without the help of his ANR agent, Ronnie Barentine.

There are dozens of other events going on throughout the year. Dozens of other agents quietly go about making a positive difference in the lives of Georgia farmers every day.

Yes, there are days when my job can get pretty frustrating. But when I get out of Conner Hall and see firsthand what ANR is doing throughout our great state, it reminds me how important it is for administration to do all we can to support the great things that are happening. Afterall, supporting you is the only reason administration exists.


Family and Consumer Sciences

Deborah MurrayDeborah Murray, FACS State Program Leader, 706/542-4862,

Much-deserved national recognition

Congratulations to Georgia Extension Association of Family and Consumers Sciences on a very successful professional development conference held in Perry on August 9-10. I came away from that meeting with a strong sense of commitment to the Cooperative Extension program from Dean Fox, district directors, my fellow program leaders in agriculture and natural resources and 4-H and youth development, our FACS specialists and agents, and our county operations director. We have an excellent team to support the efforts of county agents. The partnership between Fort Valley and the University of Georgia was quite evident at this meeting and I look forward to working with my counterparts there to build on the strengths of Extension at both institutions. Congratulations to all of the UGA and Fort Valley agents who received awards at the meeting.

Dean Fox announced the selection of Elizabeth Andress as the recipient of the prestigious National Excellence in Extension award presented by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU). Elizabeth had been selected the Southern Region finalist with four other regional winners. The national recipient is selected from the regional winners who have "strived throughout their careers to achieve the benchmarks reflective of excellence in Extension educational programming." Lynn Bailey, her department chair, noted that Elizabeth is being recognized for the "high impact of her programming, her visionary leadership and anticipation of emerging issues for clientele and the system, and her integration of programs in partnership with university colleagues." She is also being recognized as a leader at UGA and in the field of food safety/food preservation and for her ability to maintain a sustained flow of external resources for Extension programs. Of note is the following excerpt from the award notification letter: "Elizabeth is referred to nationally as the person who has written the bible of modern day food preservation and kept it from becoming a lost art." Elizabeth will be honored as the recipient of this award at the 2012 APLU Conference set for November in Denver. Congratulations, Elizabeth!


4-H and Youth Development

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

August 1 marked the beginning of the 2012-2013 4-H program year. Throughout the month of August, the districts will be conducting 4-H updates. In addition to topics planned for discussion during updates, we are providing public value statements for eight major areas of the Georgia 4-H Program. They include in-school programs, environmental education, project achievement, summer camp, evaluation and judging events, Project SAFE, citizenship & leadership programs, livestock shows and schools programs. These public value statements are available online in several different formats for use by county Extension offices. They can be found at Please share these statements with stakeholders in your community.

This past weekend, Georgia 4-H held our annual 4-H alumni event "Twilight on the Lake" at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. More than 200 people attended the evening and enjoyed dinner and fellowship with old friends. Prior to Twilight on the Lake, we dedicated one of the new cabins to the Georgia 4-H Counselor Alumni Association. The association collectively committed half a million dollars to the construction of new cabins at Rock Eagle.

Mark your calendars now for Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013. This will be the date for the fifth Georgia 4-H Gala at Loews Atlanta Hotel. More information will soon be available on the 2013 gala.

Georgia 4-H's success depends on a public/private partnership. During our annual banquet at the 70th State 4-H Congress in late July, we honored many of our private donors and recognized public officials for their support. Wanda Barrs of Cochran, Ga., received the Georgia Association of Extension 4-H Agents "Friend of 4-H Award." Ms. Barrs was a 4-H'er and has been a long time supporter of the 4-H program. She currently serves as a member of the Georgia 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees and the State Board of Education and previously served as chair of the state board for nine years.

Georgia 4-H presented the fifth Green Jacket Award to Chancellor Hank M. Huckaby, an outstanding public servant who has supported the Georgia 4-H program. Chancellor Huckaby has been a wonderful supporter of 4-H and was recognized for his continuing efforts to help 4-H improve our programmatic delivery process.

We also recognized some outstanding agents. Keri Gandy Hobbs, who began her career in Sumter County and recently transferred to Jackson County as Extension 4-H Agent, received the Roger C. (Bo) Ryles Rising Star Award. This award recognizes an employee who has provided outstanding service to the 4-H program in the first five years of employment. Keri is an excellent example of the positive impact a young professional can have in the 4-H program.

The William H. Booth Agent Awards were also presented during State 4-H Congress. These awards recognize outstanding experienced agents in Georgia 4-H. The four district nominees were Cherry Hovatter, Spalding County, Northwest District; Cheryl Poppell, Toombs County, Southeast District; Shirley Williamson, Columbia County, Northeast District; and Deron Rehberg, Grady County, Southwest District. Deron was named the state winner of the William H. Booth Award. These four outstanding agents have provided great leadership to their local programs.

Congratulations to these agents for being recognized for their outstanding service to Georgia 4-H and the young people they serve. But just as importantly, thanks to all Extension paid staff and volunteers across our state that help make Georgia 4-H one of the best 4-H programs in the nation.


CAES Strategic Planning

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

Where do we go from here?

Last month I discussed the strengths of our organization that were determined when we asked the question, "What are we doing well?" We are calling these foundational strengths and they are definitely things we need to continue to do well or even improve upon. We also asked the question, "What do we NOT do well?" and "What would the IDEAL CAES look like in 2020?" From these questions as well as from examining the trends, we determined areas that we as a college need to improve upon or give more attention to. In our plan, these are the goals and we have seven of them. Under each goal, there are one or more strategies to help us achieve that particular goal as well as more specific action steps that might be taken to achieve the goal.

After months of data collection, analyzing and discussion, these are the goals that came out of our strategic planning process:

Goal 1: Educational programs: CAES educational programs will be at the forefront of all land-grant institutions

Goal 2: Accessibility of programs: CAES research and extension programs will be accessible and applicable to all segments of the population in the state of Georgia

Goal 3: Program focus areas: CAES will address the focus areas of

  1. Wellness;
  2. Breeding and genetics;
  3. Environmental stewardship; and
  4. Sustainable food production systems through teaching, research and extension programs that are timely and relevant to the citizens of Georgia, the nation and the world

Goal 4: Basic and applied research programs: CAES will have strong, well-supported and balanced basic and applied research programs

Goal 5: Faculty and staff productivity: CAES will have the most productive, innovative and respected faculty and staff workforce in the land-grant system

Goal 6: Funding strategies: CAES will maintain current funding, expand existing sources and search for a diversity of new funding resources

Goal 7: Internal and external communication: CAES will ensure understanding and appreciation of the value of our programs both within our organization and by the public

To understand these goals more fully, be sure to refer to the full strategic plan and read the strategies and action items below each goal that helps explain the concept. Also, remember all of the raw data as well as summaries are posted to our website so you can do further research if you want or need to.

Now that the plan is public, where do we go from here? Presently, action teams are being formed for each goal and these teams will soon get to work exploring and strategizing how to go about realizing the goal.

We are planning to have meetings on each campus with a WIMBA session broadcast and archived for those who cannot attend in person. We encourage you to attend these sessions and bring your stakeholders who gave input into the process in the beginning. These will be held August 28-29 in Tifton, Griffin and Athens. We will also be accepting nominations for the action teams (you can self-nominate). The deadline for these nominations is Sept. 10, 2012. Make a nomination.

Please stay tuned to our website ( for more details and to follow our progress. The plan is written and that was a huge hurdle, however, how we implement the plan will determine the worth of our efforts.

Personnel actions since July 1, 2012

New Hires

  • Dade County—Kristy Hammond, ANR/4H Agent, 8/1/12
  • Lowndes County—Jeffrey Burke, VISTA 4-H, 7/23/12
  • Mitchell County—Michele Cone, Secretary, 7/5/12
  • Murray County—Erin Kilgore, Extension Associate, 8/1/12
  • Paulding County—Brittani Kelley, 4-H Agent, 8/1/12
  • Southwest District Office—Ashley Brown, Senior Accountant, 7/16/12
  • Upson County—Amanda Gassett, 4-H Program Assistant, 7/26/12

Part-time Positions:

  • Bamboo Farm & Coastal Gardens, Savannah—Catherine "Cate" Williams, PA/Secretary, 19hrs/wk, 7/23/12
  • Chatham County—Jenell Griffith, PA, 19hrs/wk, 7/26/12

Transfers/Position Changes

  • Atkinson County—Tasha Davis, PA reclassified to County Ext. Associate - 4-H, 7/1/12
  • Calhoun County—Shanda Ashley, Agent reclassified to CEC, 7/1/12
  • Crisp County—Emily Reid, Agent reclassified to CEC, 7/1/12
  • Douglas County—Jeremy Cheney, 4-H CEPA reclassified to 4-H Agent, 8/1/12
  • Fulton County—Trina Chaney, EFNEP Program Assistant reclassified to Administrative Coordinator
  • Jenkins County—Elaine Lanier, PA reclassified to County Ext. Associate - 4-H, 7/1/12
  • Johnson County—Angela Marshall, Co. Secretary reclassified to County Ext. Associate - Resource Manager, 7/1/12
  • Long County—Charlotte McGinn, Co. Secretary reclassified to County Ext. Associate - Resource Manager, 7/1/12
  • Long County—Lisa Overbey, PA reclassified to County Ext. Associate - 4-H, 7/1/12
  • Tattnall County—Christopher Tyson, Co. Extension Agent (ANR) transferred from Worth County, 7/1/12
  • Tift County—Miles Drummond, CEPA 4-H reclassified to SAAF Coordinator, 7/1/12
  • Tift County—Roxie Price, FACS Agent, transferred from Dougherty County EFNEP, 7/1/12


  • Brooks County—Laura Chisholm, EFNEP, 7/1/12
  • Bryan County—Barbara Dubose, Co. Secretary, 7/31/12
  • Irwin County—Betty Whitley, 7/1/12
  • Jeff Davis County—Norma Lynn Thompson, Program Assistant, 7/31/12


  • Bacon County—John Justin Barber, PA-Blueberry Growers Association, 7/24/12
  • Bamboo Farm & Coastal Gardens—Kelli Bahr, PA-Summer Camp Teacher, 7/31/12
  • Bamboo Farm & Coastal Gardens—Meredith Wynn, Summer Intern, 7/26/12
  • Bryan County—Carey Anderson, PA, County-funded, 7/26/12
  • Glynn County—Bethany Presten, PA, 19hrs/wk, 7/25/12  

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