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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for January, 2012

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

Extension Colleagues:

I hope your 2012 is off to a great start. Happy New Year! There is no doubt 2012 is going to be a very interesting year. Can you believe there is already talk on campus about a promising football season due to returning talent, potential recruits and the upcoming season's schedule? Some are predicting an SEC championship or even being a strong contender for a national championship. Now that sounds good.

The state budget revenue collection picture continues to be very positive and we seem to be entering a legislative session where our elected officials are interested in working together to address tough issues facing Georgia. Our district directors are reporting on results of meetings with state legislators and telling me the discussions are going well. There is strong support and appreciation for our Extension programs. Let's hope that translates into support for no further budget reductions and perhaps budget enhancements. Now that sounds great!

As we post the first edition of Extension E-News for 2012, I want to share with you the highest priority goals of your Extension administrative team for 2012. They are as follows:

Rebuild the leadership team for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

  • In early 2012 we will advertise and fill the position of district director for Southwest District. Ken Lewis has announced his retirement effective the end of April 2012. Ken has graciously agreed to stay on as DED on a part-time basis until the position is filled. Once an individual is identified and goes into the DED position, Ken will go into the Southwest District program development coordinator-ANR position for one year. This move has two advantages. First, it will give the new district director an opportunity to use Ken as a mentor/consultant as they transition into their new role and it adds strength and experience back to our ANR program leadership team.

  • Work with and support Dean Linda Fox and FACS leadership in identification, transition and orientation of a new associate dean for Family and Consumer Sciences-Extension and Outreach. This search is currently underway and we look forward to interviews in early February.

  • In the summer of 2012 we will advertise and begin the process to fill the position of district director for Southeast District. As you know, Lannie Lanier is now in his second term as a retire/rehire in this position and he has expressed his sincere desire to turn over the helm of Southeast District to a "full-time" district director at the end of the calendar year.

  • Fill the program development coordinator-ANR position in Northeast District. We currently have one full time ANR-coordinator in county operations (Sheldon Hammond-NW District). The positions in NE and SW Districts are vacant (responsibilities being covered by the district directors) and Phil Torrance (retire/rehire) serves as our ANR-PDC in SE District. Our goal is to advertise and fill the NE District ANR-PDC position as soon as possible. Later this year, when Ken Lewis moves into the SE District ANR-PDC slot, we will accomplish our goal of a full complement of individuals providing program leadership for ANR at the county level.

Identify and secure funding for key Extension positions in the state.

  • District directors continue the process of screening, interviewing and filling high priority county Extension agent and county Extension coordinator positions as funds are identified and become available. We will continue throughout the year to work diligently to identify and secure additional funding and direct that funding to the highest priority agent positions in the state.

  • Work with department heads, CAES administrative team and the Ag industry to identify and secure funding for top priority Extension specialists positions.

  • Work with the CAES administrative team and unit heads to identify and fund key support positions in CAES and in Cooperative Extension.

In 2012 we will remain focused on the main issues that came out of our Review of County Operations process. We will continue to strive to make the best use of our current resources and place those resources in high priority areas. We will continue to seek out additional resources to fund our programs and we will look at new, more efficient ways to deliver our programs.

On behalf of your administrative team, we all look forward to being with you at Winter Conference 2012, Jan. 18-20, at Rock Eagle. The program committee has done a superior job of pulling our program/training opportunities together and Rock Eagle is prepared to host a great conference. We have new cabins, a new dining hall, new employees and the 150th Anniversary of the Morrill Act to celebrate! See you there!

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Tony Tyson explains our current situation with retire/rehires in county agent positions;
  • Arch Smith announces opportunities for 4-H in 2012 and leadership counselors for the upcoming camping season;
  • Laurie Cantrell writes about New Year's Resolutions and how to stay on track in keeping those resolutions;
  • Steve Brown provides information on the new 2010 Farm Gate Value Report; and
  • Laura Perry Johnson provides an update on the strategic planning process.

County Operations

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

What Next When the Rehired Retirees Exit the Scene?

We currently have about 35 retired county agents working in county offices, most in the position that was vacated when they retired. About three years ago, Dean Angle decided to use the offer of a one-year rehire as an incentive for people who were close to retirement age. This was done in order to meet our budget cuts without laying off any more employees than we had to.

This arrangement allowed us to continue some programs at a minimal cost of state dollars and to keep some people on board who had many years of valuable experience. We have continued some of these rehires beyond one year because it was the only viable short-term solution to keeping some positions filled. For most of these positions, we are investing no more than 35 percent of the state funds that we paid when the employee was full time and we don't have to pay benefits for retirees. In most cases the counties make up the difference in order to pay the employee for 49 percent of full time. In some cases the counties have opted to pick up 100 percent of the cost.

Questions that are beginning to come up often are "How long will the rehires continue?" and "Will we be able to fill the positions with permanent replacements?" The answers are not simple. Some rehires have ended, either because the employee chose to end it or because we decided to go in a different direction. We have recently filled a few with permanent replacements, either through internal transfers or external hires.

When we discontinue the rehires that are paid with state funds it will free up dollars that can be reinvested in new hires. Usually the amount is not enough to fill the position with a full time replacement. Therefore, if we were to end all 35 rehires today, we would probably only be able to backfill about half of them with the dollars that are freed up. Whether or not a particular position gets refilled in the short term also depends on where the county fits into the tier structure we devised last year. It also depends on the availability of county matching funds.

At some point the rehires will end and our desire is to permanently fill as many positions as possible with the funds available. As mentioned, this process has already begun. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis with the goal of maintaining quality programs and services to our clients.


Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

The Value of Agriculture to Georgia

I hope you've had a chance to look over the recently released 2010 Farm Gate Value Report. You can find tons of fascinating nuggets of information there. Our Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development deserves a lot of credit for pulling this information together. The total farm gate value in 2010 was a record $12,002,461,213. This huge number grows to an even bigger number when you factor in the Georgia industries that process, package, ship and market Georgia's agricultural output.

We've talked a lot about Public Value Statements recently. What impact does twelve billion dollars have to Georgia's economy? Not all of that money goes into the pockets of farmers. It goes to seed companies, chemical companies, tractor companies, banks, fuel bills, fertilizer bills, etc., etc. What does go into the farmer's pocket then goes out to home mortgages, car payments, education, power bills, medical bills, etc., etc. We've all come to know that an economy can't be solely based on services. Somebody has to actually produce something that has value. That's what agriculture does. It produces 12 billion dollars worth of value and pumps it into our economy. Not just farmers benefit from that, all Georgians do.

As our legislative session gets underway, I hope that our budget developers realize the public value of agriculture, as well as the fact that agricultural output is dependent upon unbiased, scientifically based information.

The following are a few interesting facts from the 2010 Farm Gate Value Report:

Georgia produces 20 different commodities with farm gate values over $100,000,000 and 48 with a value over $10,000,000. That's not only a sign of high value, but high diversity as well.

Colquitt County had the highest farm gate value in 2010 at $475,048,630 followed by Franklin, Habersham, Madison, Banks, Mitchell, Hart, Jackson, Tattnall and Hall in the top ten.

The top livestock county was Oglethorpe. Laurens topped the forestry category while Grady led in ornamental horticulture value. Bacon County was the highest in the fruit and nut category, Dooly led the row and forage crop category and Colquitt was tops in vegetables.

There's lots more information in the report. Take a look and think about how the overall economy in your county is impacted by agriculture.


Family and Consumer Sciences

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

The Key to Keeping New Year's Resolutions

As we usher in the New Year, many of us make resolutions to change for the better. Forty-five percent of the population makes resolutions. Unfortunately somewhere along the line, resolve wanes and 78 percent of the people fail to keep them. A recent article at listed the most popular resolutions for 2012. UGA Extension Family and Consumer Sciences has the resources to help Georgians succeed in achieving their goals.

At the top of the list are goals to improve well-being by losing weight, exercising more and eating better. Eating better and increasing physical activity are the key components to reducing the risk of chronic disease and managing chronic illnesses. Walk-A-Weigh is an eight week program that incorporates both healthy eating and walking. This weight control program offers lessons, handouts, pre-made menus, recipes and a walking program that can help people control their weight, diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases and achieve permanent weight loss through healthy eating, physical activity and behavior change. Focus on Diabetes, The Rite Bite Diabetes Cooking School and The Cancer Prevention Cooking School are just a few of the other programs and materials available to keep Georgians healthy and their resolve strong.

Also among the resolutions, are those to improve finances by getting out of debt, saving for the future or a major event and improving credit scores. Following the principles learned from How You Spend Makes a Difference, a family can have up to 20 percent more cash on hand by following seven easy steps to improving spending practices. When Your Income Drops are fact sheets designed for individuals and families experiencing a reduction in income through lay-off, reduction in hours or job loss. Other financial programs such as Your Good Credit and Managing Your Credit Wisely will help you to understand the information found in your credit report and how to improve your credit score. Fiscal Fitness: Getting Out of Debt teaches how to assess your situation, save money on finance charges and get out of debt faster. Other programs and fact sheets educate Georgians on various aspects of wills, estate planning, insurance and risk management to encourage a culture of saving and investing.

Also in the saving arena, many people make resolutions to save for home improvements or a new home, to save on utility bills or to save through resource conservation. Programs such as Steps on the Path to Home Ownership help people turn the dream of having their own home a reality. And for renters, Renting 101 guides you through the complex maze of landlord and renter rights. Resource conservation programs focus on low- and no-cost ways for consumers to reduce expenses associated with energy, water and waste in their homes and to conserve natural resources. More information on conservation measures can be found at the UGA Greenway website. We have seen a resurgence in home food preservation as an approach to saving money. Programs such as Canning Foods At Home: The Basics teach the correct methods of food preservation, as well as other resources, such as So Easy to Preserve and The National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Starting a relationship, getting married, becoming better parents also made the list of popular resolutions. Healthy families are based on healthy relationships, and learning about the skills needed for a healthy relationship starts early. Agents across the state conduct Relationship Smarts with high school aged students to help them understand how healthy relationships develop, teaching them positive communication and conflict-management skills, as well as helping to reduce their risk for intimate partner violence and teen pregnancy. Cooperative Extension helps engaged couples get off on the right foot. Prepare, a premarital enrichment program helps couples prepare for a healthy, lasting marriage. Blended families face unique challenges. A program for couples in stepfamilies and their children, Smart Steps, focuses on the issues that stepcouples and stepfamilies face and the knowledge and skills they need to build a strong and healthy family. Lastly, becoming a parent can be a stressful transition. The Guide for New Parents includes information on various topics from all areas of Family and Consumer Sciences that can help your growing family.

Improving education, advancing in a career or getting a better job are common goals set at the New Year and Family and Consumer Sciences has the resources to help Georgians accomplish these goals. In 2012, Money Matters! Basic Personal Finance for Aspiring Entrepreneurs workshops are being offered throughout the state for people interested in starting their own business. Extension Family and Consumer Science joined forces with the Georgia Restaurant Association to provide Georgia's food service industry with the best in food safety training - ServSafe® manager and employee certification programs. Other programs for food handlers include the Occasional Quantity Cook, Keeping Children Safe and Well in a Child Care Center, and Smart Caregivers Fight BAC!®. Trainings conducted by Family and Consumer Sciences agents for child care providers, including the new Basic Core Skills for Child Care Providers, help ensure the quality of child care for Georgia's children and help providers reach their continuing education requirements.

All this information and more can be found at Whether or not you make New Year's Resolutions, Extension Family and Consumer Sciences is here to help Georgians keep their resolve and improve their quality of life!


4-H and Youth Development

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

I hope each of you enjoyed some time away from the office and a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends. One of the things I have always enjoyed about working with the university is our week off between Christmas and New Year's, which was not the case in my previous job as a hog farmer. In that profession there are no days off and no annual and sick leave.

I particularly enjoyed spending time with my family. My son, Daniel, and I made the trip to Tampa and the Outback Bowl. Of course, I don't have to tell you how all that turned out. I really did enjoy the time that Daniel and I spent together during the holidays and at the Outback Bowl.

As I returned to work on Wednesday, Jan. 4, just like everyone else, I was thrust back into the daily activity of work. The beginning of a new year brings a lot of opportunities for 4-H members. We know that all Extension staff and many 4-H volunteers immediately began submitting portfolios, preparing Horse Quiz Bowl teams for contests, helping young people prepare livestock for the upcoming state livestock show and local livestock shows, working on the finishing touches for demonstrations for Junior/Senior Project Achievement, promoting summer camp and conducting school club meetings. It looks like 2012 will be just as busy as past years and I'm sure with the wonderful county 4-H staff we have in our state, Georgia 4-H will continue to shine as one of the best 4-H programs in the country.

One of the crown jewels of a 4-H'ers career can be the opportunity to serve as a summer camp counselor at one of our five 4-H centers. Counselor Selection Weekend was held Jan. 7-8 at Rock Eagle 4-H Center and 61 of 73 applicants without previous experience in the Georgia 4-H Summer Camping Program accepted the invitation to interview for a job as a 4-H camp counselor in 2012. Besides sitting with four separate interview panels, the applicants were evaluated on their ability to work together in a group recreational setting. It is expected that about half of the 61 interviewees will be hired to work this summer. That announcement will be made the week of Jan. 23. We say "Good luck" to all our applicants and "Congratulations on a job well done" during the selection weekend.

In addition to the interviews for first-year counselors, 41 excellent experienced counselors applied for 15 leadership positions for the summer of 2012. Those leadership counselors are as follows:

Ellie Baldwin, Bleckley County, Cherokee Mico - Rock Eagle;
Margo Braski, Houston County, Muskogee Mico - Rock Eagle;
Sarah Burr, Henry County, Captain - Burton on Tybee;
Christopher Campbell, Carroll County, Special Interest Mico, Rock Eagle;
Hannah Eaton, Morgan County, Sports & Recreation Mico - Rock Eagle;
Laura Leigh Fox, Oconee County, Cloverleaf Adventure Mico - Rock Eagle;
Steven Goldman, Madison County, Muskogee Mico - Rock Eagle;
Kelsey Holcombe, Hart County, Major Interest Mico - Rock Eagle;
Bob Jasperse, Pickens County, Cherokee Mico - Rock Eagle;
Mary Alice Jasperse, Pickens County, Waterfront/Head Mico - Rock Eagle;
Reese Simmons, Spalding County, Shawnee Mico - Rock Eagle;
Ashley Sturm, Dawson County, Captain – Jekyll;
Christin Taylor, Bleckley County, Mama Bear – Wahsega;
Laura Walton, Cherokee County - Fortson Crew Chief; and
Rachel Wigington, Pickens County, Shawnee Mico - Rock Eagle

We want to thank the following individuals who assisted with the interview process during the selection weekend:

Brandon Ashley, GA 4-H Counselor Alumni Association;
Kathy Baldwin, Southwest District 4-H PDC;
Melanie Biersmith, State 4-H Specialist;
Terri Camp, Rock Eagle 4-H Center Director;
Trudy Christopher, Cherokee County Extension Agent;
Ina Hopkins, 4-H Alumna;
Timothy Jennings, Union County Extension Agent;
Stephanie Myers, Evans County Extension Agent;
Allen Nasworthy, Fortson 4-H Center Director;
Ronnie Silcox, Extension Animal and Dairy Science Specialist;
Arch Smith, State 4-H Leader;
Beth Stewart, Georgia 4-H Counselor Alumni Association;
Donna Stewart, Jekyll Island 4-H Center Director;
Laura Waters, State 4-H Specialist;
Patrick Willis, Berrien County Extension Agent; and
Charlie Wurst, State 4-H Specialist

Each year we produce the Georgia Cloverleaf which is an annual report of the Georgia 4-H program. A limited number of copies of the annual report will be made available to each county during Winter School. If your county needs additional copies, there is a form you can submit to the State 4-H Office and hopefully we'll be able to provide additional copies. Please feel free to use information in the Georgia Cloverleaf to continue to increase support for your 4-H program. Also, remember that the Georgia Cloverleaf, Clover Cornerstone (the newsletter of the Georgia 4-H Foundation), and Wingspan (the newsletter of Rock Eagle 4-H Center), among other 4-H newsletters and publications, are archived at and are available for your use.


CAES Strategic Planning

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

Process is Important!

When I first started trying to educate myself about strategic planning, everything I read and every expert I consulted, said the same thing – "You have to follow process. The process is crucial to success!" To begin with, I wondered what they meant, but as the process is unfolding, it is becoming more and more clear.

What is the process we are following? The first step in our plan is to gather as much input as we can from as many people, groups and organizations as we can. We are doing this using the context of four main themes or questions to make the masses of information we are receiving more manageable. These questions are:

  1. What forces and trends will affect CAES in the next 10 years?
  2. What is CAES doing well?
  3. What are we not doing so well?
  4. What would the ideal CAES look like in 2020?

The way we ask these questions might vary slightly by the audience, but gathering data in these main themes helps us to put some manageable parameters in the process and also allows us to compare data gathered across groups.

We have been asked why we are gathering such widespread input and why we are spending so much time, effort and resources meeting so many groups face-to-face. Wouldn't a survey be just a good? The answer is "no." The process we are following of gathering as much open-ended input from as many people and diverse groups as we can find is ensuring us that all issues are brought to the table for discussion in the beginning. It is like a huge net we are throwing out. As we progress we will begin to categorize this data into themes and drill down on the big and recurring issues. Protocol in strategic planning assures us this is the proper way to gather data that will be reliable and valid in the end.

Our timeline has us gathering this data in January and February, so your prompt participation is of the essence. Once we assimilate all of the information, we will begin to sort and look for common themes. That is when we might use surveys, personal interviews or other means to clarify responses, gather more specific information or target certain themes. As we progress, we will continue to be as transparent and open about the process and allow you to be as involved as you want to be. Eventually, we will post much of the raw data to the website ( for everyone to see the responses we are getting.

To date we have completed four of 10 departmental faculty meetings, 1 of 6 regional meetings and many of the interviews with key officials. We are already seeing common themes emerge. If you were able to attend one of the sessions, I hope you saw for yourself how common themes emerge from multiple groups. As I see this happen, I become more and more convinced the process is actually working!

The CAES Strategic Planning Process is in full swing. Every day we are gathering more data and progressing in the process. If you have not made a point of being a part of this important effort, I urge you to change that today. There are still many ways you can be involved including the following:

  • Attend one of the regional meetings (please preregister at our website)
  • Attend an on-campus town hall meeting for staff and non-departmental faculty
  • Go to the website and fill out the on-line survey (We prefer your in-person participation, but this is preferable to not being involved at all.)

I also encourage you to bookmark and keep checking our website, We are posting information every day. If you have questions or comments, send them to us via our website or contact me, Jean Bertrand or one of the committee members. Thank you for being a part of a process that involves us all.


Personnel actions since December 1, 2011

New Hires

  • Bamboo Farm & Coastal Gardens—Kristina White, Utility Worker I, 12/09/11
  • Bibb County—Kelle Ashley, 4-H Agent, 12/19/11
  • Dougherty County—Alexia Harris, EFNEP, 01/12/12
  • Fayette County—Kimberly Jackson, ANR, 12/01/11
  • Grady County—Sharon Liggett, Archway, 01/01/12
  • Richmond County—Suzanne Holmes, PA, 12/01/11
  • Sumter County—April Bowen, 4-H Operation Military Kids, 12/06/11
  • Tift County—Ashley Davis, CEA 4-H, 12/01/11
  • Wayne County—Kaye Lynn Hataway, CEA 4-H, 12/01/11

Part-time Positions:

  • Bacon County—Stacey Lynn Jones, PA (county funded), 12/12/11
  • Bleckley County—Susan Newby, PA (county funded), 11/01/11

Temporary Part-time Positions:

  • Lowndes County—Layvette Evans, 4-H CEPA Intern
  • NW District Office—Lisa Carlino, Accounting Assistant, 12/01/11

Transfers/Position Changes

  • Alita Bailey—transferred from Accounting Assistant to Administrative Specialist I in the NW District Office, 12/01/11
  • Donald Gardner—transferred from Bryan County to Glynn County, CEA-ANR, 12/01/11
  • Robert Jones—transferred from Pierce County to Emanuel County, CEA-4-H, 12/01/11
  • Daniel "Tucker" Price—transferred from Crisp County CEC/ANR to Cook County CEC/ANR, 02/01/12


  • Calhoun County—Paul Wigley, CEC, 01/01/12
  • Mitchell County—Rad Yager, 01/01/12
  • NW District Office—Evelyn Baughman, Administrative Specialist, 01/01/12
  • SW District Office—Debbie Dotson, Administrative Specialist, 01/01/12
  • SW District PDC 4-H Office—Sue Cromer, Administrative Associate, 01/01/12
  • Towns County—Robert Brewer, Senior Public Service Associate, 12/31/11
  • Turner County—Merilyn Collins, 4-H CEPA, 01/01/12


  • Taylor County—Robbie Morrison, CEPA 4-H, 01/04/12