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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for October 2012

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

Extension Colleagues:

It is a grand time of year to be working in the agricultural world and in the beautiful state of Georgia. In our most northern counties the leaves of the sourwood, dogwood and maple trees are showing us that fall has arrived. It should be peak color for the changing leaves by the end of the month and it appears we are going to have a spectacular show this year. The Georgia State Fair has just wrapped up for 2012 and Sunbelt Expo was last week. I encourage you to get out to one of our county fairs or festivals and join in the celebration of harvest time in Georgia.

Update, highlights from my desk since the last issue of E-News

  • I had two occasions to meet with Extension retirees in late September. The first meeting was held in Ellijay on September 25. Agents and retirees from all over north Georgia gathered to socialize, catch up on Extension news and thank Representative Rick Jasperse (former Pickens County Extension agent) for his work in representing the needs of agriculture and Extension in Atlanta. Ronnie Gheesling and the Gilmer County Extension office did a great job planning and hosting the event and the UGA Extension Retiree Association graciously provided funding for the meal. The second event was the annual meeting of the UGA Extension Retirees Association. This meeting was held at Rock Eagle on September 28 and President Wayne Jordan and the program committee did an excellent job planning a very informative meeting.
  • We celebrated with our Extension colleagues Bob Kemerait, Extension plant pathologist, and Brian Tankersley, Tift County CEC, for their recognition at the D.W. Brooks Luncheon on October 2. Bob received the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Extension (tenure track faculty) and Brian received the D.W. Brooks Award in Excellence for Public Service Faculty. Congratulations to these two outstanding Extension colleagues.
  • Elizabeth Andress will receive top honors from APLU at the upcoming meeting in Denver. Elizabeth will be recognized as the national winner of the Excellence in Extension Award. Congratulations, Dr. Andress!
  • Joann Milam was named the new district director of Southeast District. Joann is already shadowing Lannie Lanier whenever possible and will officially assume the position on December 1, 2012. Please join me in welcoming Joann to her new position. We certainly look forward to having her join the CES administrative leadership team.
  • Diane Davies, founder and former director of the Georgia 4-H Environmental Education program, was honored for her work by being inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame. The ceremony took place at National 4-H Headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and many of Diane's UGA colleagues, friends and family were present for the occasion. What wonderful recognition for a very deserving lady!
  • Nine new ANR agents joined us in Athens for a week of ANR Foundations training. Thanks to our ANR PDCs and all those involved in instruction, tours, demonstrations and in preparing and serving meals for our newest ANR agents.
  • Mark Risse will assume responsibilities of interim director of Marine Extension on December 1 and serve until the search for a new director is completed.

As always, if you have questions or concerns that any member of the Extension administrative team can address, please do not hesitate to contact us. I also look forward to being at each upcoming District POW meeting and enjoyed seeing many of you at Sunbelt Expo.

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Tony Tyson encourages agents to keep newly-elected officials informed;
  • Arch Smith provides a Georgia 4-H update;
  • Deborah Murray recaps highlights of the NAEFCS meeting and recognizes the accomplishments of the GTIPI program;
  • Steve Brown gives the stats on Georgia's record-breaking peanut crop; and
  • Laura Perry Johnson lets us know what's up with the college's strategic planning process.



County Operations

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

It's all about relationships

November 6 is Election Day and we will finally get some relief from the barrage of negative campaign ads, the robo-calls from various candidates and the campaign fliers in the mail. Many of us will also have a new crop of local elected officials. If you work in a county Extension office that means you have some work to do!

I wrote in July about the upcoming elections and I touched briefly on the importance of building relationships with your elected officials. Now I want to cover that topic in a little more depth as it relates to local elected officials and county Extension offices. Of course this effort should be led by the CEC, but everyone in the office can play an important role in building and nurturing these relationships.

Many of you will have some new commissioners or school board members after the fall election. These new officials may very well have a major role in determining the future local support for your office. For this reason it is critical for you to take this opportunity to inform them about what you do and to help instill in them an appreciation for the role of Extension in the community.

One of the first things you can do after the election is congratulate them. This can be done in person, through a phone call or a handwritten note. These small gestures will go a long way toward building a positive relationship. It's also a great way to get your foot in the door with that person before they get inundated with other details of their new job. When someone is newly elected to a seat on the board of commissioners or the school board, they are generally very eager to begin learning about their new role. This is a great time to meet with them, to educate them about what we do and also to inform them about the funding relationship between the county and the local Extension office.

Making a connection between the individual and Cooperative Extension is a great place to start the conversation. Perhaps they have used Extension information or are a former 4-H club member or their children or grandchildren may be in 4-H. Even if they have no prior knowledge of Extension, this is a great time to try to connect with them on a personal level.

This should be the time to begin to build a relationship with these individuals but it shouldn't end there. Invite them to major Extension events and, if possible, give them a role to play. Include them as a member of your program development team. The object is to keep them informed and supportive and if possible, get them involved. This is generally easier to accomplish if you start as early as possible after they are elected.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

UGA CAES helps Georgia dominate the peanut world

Georgia leads the U.S. in the production of several agricultural commodities. Agriculture is a dynamic industry, always changing with weather, commodity prices and corporate moves. Despite this constant change, Georgia's domination of the U.S. peanut market has been undisputed for many years. We have long led the nation in peanut acreage, and even though average yields for each peanut-producing state can vary from year to year, Georgia's peanut yields never fail to amaze the rest of the country. Even though a small acreage state may sometimes have higher per acre yields, Georgia's ability to consistently produce high average yields on much higher acreages has always been impressive.

What gives Georgia their almost unfair advantage when it comes to peanut production? Our coastal plain soils and long growing seasons are great for peanuts, but they are not unlike the conditions in many other peanut-producing states. We have incredible infrastructure investments in the Georgia peanut industry, but those are the result of our growers' successes, not the cause. I believe our biggest advantage is our investment in the research and extension programs that provide the information and genetics that drive the industry.

Georgia's peanut breeding program has consistently developed the peanut varieties that provide not only high yields but the production traits that increase grower, sheller and manufacturer profitability. Our commitment to a multi-disciplinary team concept to support the industry has resulted in quick, research-based, unbiased responses to production problems. Growers trust UGA to give them the information they need to make the critical decisions that affect their bottom line.

This year, Georgia planted 725,000 acres of peanuts. The next largest acreage was 215,000 in Alabama. Harvest is still underway, but the USDA currently estimates Georgia's average yield at a record 4150 lbs. per acre. That number is an amazing 590 lbs. above the 2009 record of 3560 lbs. per acre. The next highest projected yield is 4000 lbs. per acre on only 20,000 acres in Virginia. The highest average yield on the highest (by far) acreage means we are doing something right. Lots of pieces of the puzzle must come together to make a success story like this, but it clearly wouldn't happen without UGA.

Thanks to all of our research and extension departmental faculty and staff and county agents that help make Georgia the undisputed leader in the peanut industry.

Family and Consumer Sciences

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

Congratulations to NAEFCS winners and GTIPI

Georgia had great representation and two team award winners at the annual meeting of the National Association of Family and Consumer Sciences held in Columbus, Ohio, Sept. 23-28. Agents attending included Kisha Faulk, Jessica Hill, Helen Carter, Menia Chester, Rhea Bentley, Angela Hairston, Wayne Coachman, Andrea Scarrow, Lisa Jordan, Joann Milam, Janet Hollingsworth, Betty English and Terralon Chaney. Specialists attending included anet Valente (program development specialist–UGA), Laurie Cantrell (program development specialist–UGA), Dr. Pamela Turner (housing specialist–UGA), Dr. Joan Koonce (professor and financial planning specialist–UGA) and Keishon Thomas (housing specialist–FVSU). I was privileged to attend with other administrators including Greg Price, NW District director–UGA, Dr. Vivian Fluellen, interim program leader FCS–FVSU, and Marc Thomas, director of county operations–FVSU.

The UGA team of Michael Rupured (Extension family financial management specialist), Melinda Miller (SWD 4-H PDC), Kris Peavy (Randolph County CEC/4-H agent), and Rachel Hubbard (Lanier County FACS agent) won second place in the NEAFCS Dean Don Felker Financial Management Award. The award was for "Your Money Your Future," a financial literacy curriculum developed for middle-school youths.

Another team award was presented to Keishon Thomas and her team for Fort Valley State University's housing outreach program. The title of their project was Housing Education and Long-term Planning (HELP). The other team members are Marc A. Thomas, director County Operations; Maureen Lucas, assistant coordinator of programs; Terralon Chaney, Twiggs County FCS agent; Ricky Waters, Macon County ANR program assistant; Leon Porter, Houston County ANR program assistant; Gail Adams, Peach County FCS agent and Ginger Chastine, Hancock County FCS agent.

Dr. Keith Smith, associate vice president and director of the Ohio State Cooperative Extension program, was the closing keynote speaker. Dr. Smith's presentation, The Speed of Trust, was very good and contained some important insights and key points for Cooperative Extension in all states. Dr. Smith based his presentation on Stephen M.R. Covey's book, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything. In his book, Covey notes that the lack of trust will bring down the most powerful and profitable companies, organizations, and marriages. Covey says trust is "confidence born of the character and the competence of a person or an organization." Here are a few that I found really useful:

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson said "Our distrust is very expensive." Dr. Smith said when there is low trust in an organization the speed at which an organization operates slows down, resulting in higher costs of doing business and lack of impacts and results. The system becomes too bogged down in the inner workings of the organization. When there is a high level of trust, the organization operates at a much higher speed getting more done and accomplished with better use of tax dollars.
  • High trust leaders have four cores of credibility: integrity, intent, capability and results. As a leader in your profession and communities, how do you stack up?
  • High trust leaders talk straight, demonstrate respect, create transparency, right wrongs, show loyalty, deliver results, get better, confront reality, clarify expectations, practice accountability, listen first, keep commitments and extend trust.

Cooperative Extension is the people who work for it and each of us is a leader who builds the trust or mistrust in the public for our organization. Dr. Smith's words were powerful words to end an excellent professional development conference.

The GTIPI PRIDE parent/teen driver education program was one of five similar programs selected for inclusion in The Governor's Highway Safety Association publication Curbing Teen Driver Crashes: An In-Depth Look at State Novice Driver Initiatives. Frankie Jones and Dana Landy provided information and GTIPI's evaluation data to the national team that compiled and assessed state programs. GTIPI's approach is unique in its foundation in proven parenting education strategies and applying those strategies in the teen driving transition. The publication can be downloaded at GTIPI's program is described on pages 36-38.


4-H and Youth Development

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

Davies honored, grants fund positions, fair a success

October 7-13 was National 4-H Week and the week's events culminated with the National 4-H Hall of Fame induction ceremony. I attended the ceremony on Friday evening, October 12, at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Diane Davies, retired State 4-H Faculty and 4-H Environmental Education coordinator, is the 12th individual from Georgia to be selected for induction into the hall of fame since its inception in 2002. Diane was hired in 1979 to develop an environmental education program for Georgia 4-H at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. With six months and an annual budget of $300, Diane created the classes, secured the resources and served as the only instructor, administrator and promoter for nine years. The program was a resounding success and eventually expanded to all five Georgia 4-H centers. The Georgia 4-H Environmental Education program has become the largest of its kind in the United States and is looked upon nationally as a model for other states. Diane was also instrumental in securing gifts for the Georgia 4-H Foundation for the Natural History Museum and the enhancement of other facilities at Rock Eagle and the other 4-H centers. Others attending the induction ceremony were Scott and Teresa Angle, Beverly Sparks, Melanie Biersmith, Donna Stewart and many of Diane's former colleagues, family members and friends.

Budget cuts have been a main topic of conversation in Extension the past few years. Budget cuts have meant a reduction in personnel and particularly in Extension 4-H staff who deliver local programs. Several members of the state 4-H faculty have done an excellent job over the last couple of years finding funding to support 4-H programming efforts at the county level. Jeff Buckley and Dr. Laura Perry Johnson (now Southwest District Extension director), Casey Mull and Laura Waters have worked with National 4-H Council, Corporation for National Community Service, the Operation Military Kids program, the 4-H Military Grant, and Great Promise Partnerships to fund 38 part-time or full-time positions to help support county 4-H programs across the state. In addition, there are two AmeriCorps VISTA positions who work in the state 4-H office and there will be three additional AmeriCorps VISTA positions funded next year bringing the total number of 4-H support personnel to 41. Hopefully, these positions are making a difference in the communities in which they work by assisting the county Extension staff in delivering the local 4-H program.

Following is a summary of the six different programs that are currently being offered and supported through funding received by the state 4-H office:

The Georgia 4-H Mentoring Program Grant, funded through National 4-H Council in partnership with the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention, has funded three 30-hour per week county program assistant positions since mid-2011. These program assistants work with Extension agents in Fulton, Twiggs, and Chatham Counties. They facilitate mentoring activities, 4-H participation, and family strengthening programming for students involved in the "4-H Youth and Families with Promise" mentoring program.

The AmeriCorps State program, funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service, will fund 16 AmeriCorps member positions in high-need counties throughout the state. These members will deliver direct service in counties, including facilitating 4-H club meetings, preparing students for 4-H Project Achievement, and facilitating other 4-H base programs as determined by the needs of the local communities.

The Operation Military Kids Local/Regional Support Network (L/RSN) grants have funded four part-time program assistant positions since late 2011. These individuals, located in Sumter, Houston, Haralson, and Chattooga Counties, are responsible for maintaining communication between members of the local OMK L/RSN teams, coordinating military support programs and events for military youth in these areas, and raising awareness of the needs of military youth in these communities.

The 4-H Military Club project focuses on integrating military youth into 4-H programs statewide. As part of this project, counties with military installations also work with the before and afterschool programs provided by the military youth programs staff. Chattahoochee and Liberty Counties benefit from funding for a part-time program assistant to support these efforts.

The AmeriCorps VISTA program, funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service, has created 9 current VISTA positions and will fund 12 positions in the next year. Two VISTA volunteers work in the State 4-H Office with the remaining VISTA volunteers working in county offices throughout the state. These volunteers work for a minimum of two years and assist county offices and the State 4-H Office with resource development, fund-raising, grant-writing, and marketing.

4-H Great Promise Partnerships Grant targets at-risk youth with the goal of eliminating barriers to participation in Positive Youth Development Programming. In addition, youth are engaged in leadership adventure weekends, workforce preparedness, career exploration and community service. This grant will soon fund part-time program assistants in Clarke, Putnam, Chattooga and Union Counties.

We have just completed the 23rd Georgia National Fair in Perry. The State Market Lamb and Goat Show, as well as other 4-H livestock shows, were a great success and we appreciate the effort by many county Extension agents, members of the state 4-H faculty and Extension specialists who made the fair a success. Many counties were involved in assisting with the Clover Café and raising a few dollars to support their county programs. We're very fortunate in Georgia to have a facility like the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter. Any time you have a chance, express a special thank you to Randy Moore and Jim Floyd and members of the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority for their tremendous support of 4-H at the fair and their support of the Georgia Junior National Livestock Program.

CAES Strategic Planning

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

Teams work to put action to goals

It has been a bit over a year since we embarked on the CAES strategic planning process. On October 31, 2011, Dean Scott Angle charged a 22-person committee with gathering widespread input and developing a plan to move us toward 2020. On October 2, 2012, another huge step towards the successful attainment of this goal was made. Once again Dean Angle charged a group of faculty and staff members from our college to make further strides towards achieving our strategic planning goals. This time he spoke to the 79 members of the CAES strategic planning action teams.

These 79 individuals are divided into seven action teams, each focusing on a specific goal of the plan. It was so exciting to be in the room that day and be a part of this effort. The 79 members of these action teams represent the best and brightest of our college and they are quite an impressive group! To read who these people are, please go to our website at

Each action team is charged with developing a baseline of where we are now and benchmarks to measure progress as we move toward the specific goal. These teams will use the data generated in the first phase of the project and add additional action steps as needed to reach the goal. This progress will be posted to our website, so please stay tuned and check in often.

As you read the list of action team members you will recognize many names from Extension and probably see some you do not know from teaching and research and even within Extension. I encourage you to look these people up – get to know what they do, what their specialty is and why they stand out in our college. Getting outside of our circle and learning more about this huge and diverse college and the people who make it up will move us closer to the goal of being more integrated and understanding and appreciating others in the college. These are both goals in the CAES Strategic Plan. I challenge you today to do all you can to help us achieve these and the rest of the goals. Working together, I really do think we can accomplish the extraordinary.

Personnel actions since September 1, 2012

New Hires

  • Appling County—Stephanie Williams, Community Service Specialist-AmeriCorps Member, 9/24/12
  • Berrien County—Patrick Willis, CEC/4-H, 10/1/12
  • Bryan County—Shauna Williams, County Secretary, 9/13/12
  • Chattooga County—Kellie Holbrook, Secretary, 9/13/12
  • Crisp County—Justin Lanier, ANR Agent, 9/1/12
  • Dougherty County—Randy West, 4-H Agent, 9/1/12
  • Forsyth County—Emily Chow, County Ext. Assoc., 10/1/12
  • Houston County—Vincent Thomas, OMK 4-H, 10/1/12
  • Sumter County—Jeffrey Burkes, 4-H, 9/1/12
  • Terrell County—Mallory Maslak, 4-H Agent, 10/1/12
  • Terrell County—David Wagner, Acting CEC/ANR Agent, 10/1/12
  • Tift County—Melody Harper, FACS CEPA 4-H, 10/1/12
  • Washington County—Sheena Newsome, Community Service Specialist-AmeriCorps Member, 9/24/12
  • Wheeler County—Jesseca Campbell, County Extension Associate 4-H, 9/1/12
  • Whitfield County—Brooke Walker, EFNEP Agent, 10/1/12
  • Worth County—Larry Varnadoe, CEC/ANR Agent, 10/1/12

Part-time Positions:

  • Bryan County—Ashley Duffany, Program Assistant (county-funded), 9/17/12
  • Glynn County—Kristee Glace, Program Assistant, 9/13/12
  • Muscogee County—Amanda Gamble, 4-H Program Assistant, 9/6/12
  • Muscogee County—Mallory Jackson, 4-H Program Assistant, 9/6/12
  • Pike County—Allison Floyd, Secretary, 9/6/12

Transfers/Position Changes

  • Bacon County—Jakyn Jennings, Co. Extension Agent-4-H, transferred from Terrell County, 9/1/12
  • Bleckley County—Brandi McGonagill, Co. Extension Agent-4-H, transferred from State 4-H & Youth, 9/1/12
  • Lowndes County—Tammy Glasscock, reclassified from CEPA 4-H to Resource Manager, 10/1/12


  • Chatham County—Bascom "Ray" Johnson, Program Coordinator FACS-Weatherization, 9/30/12
  • Chatham County—Etholia Kent, PA State 4-H & Youth, 9/11/12
  • Coffee County—Eddie McGriff, Co. Extension Coordinator (ANR) - Retiree/Rehire, 9/14/12
  • Cook County—Sheryl Anderson, CEPA 4-H
  • Liberty County—Temberly Mitchell, PA State 4-H & Youth, 9/26/12
  • Sumter County—Tejal Patel, VISTA 4-H
  • Tift County—Burt Calhoun, Weatherization Program
  • Twiggs County—Kimberly Stephens, PA State 4-H & Youth, 9/21/12

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