College-wide Navigational Links | Go to Local Content
Main Content |
Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for September 2012

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

Extension Colleagues:

The fall semester is underway and our students, faculty and the Bulldog nation are energized. There is nothing like starting a new academic year, having the students return, attending the first home football game and hearing the Red Coat Band. It reminds us what is so special about Athens.

Late August/early September also marks an increase in the activities associated with Cooperative Extension. Our agricultural agents and specialists are entering the harvest season. FACS agents and specialists are fully engaged in delivery of programs and are working to expand the availability of FACS information and trainings to all counties in the state. And, 4-H agents and program assistants are kicking off the beginning of a new 4-H year!

Highlights of activities during the last four weeks are as follows:

  • Our program management team recently attended the southern region Program Leadership Network meeting in Orlando, Florida. At the same time and location, Extension administrators from all 1862 (ASRED) and 1890 land grant institutions (AEA) in the southern region met together. Topics for discussion included how to deal with budget issues on the state and federal levels and how we can best collaborate and work more effectively as a region to communicate the value of Extension and research.
  • Members of our program development team and Extension administration came together last week for our 2012 Program Planning Week. This time is set aside to determine program and resource needs and set calendars on proposed training opportunities for the upcoming year. We ended the week with our annual CAES Alumni Awards Banquet and South Campus Tailgate Celebration. Congratulations to our newest members of the Agricultural Hall of Fame, Dr. Gale Buchanan and Mr. Buddy Leger.
  • District directors and their teams are working hard to fill high priority vacant agent positions and are making good progress.
  • Southeast District will soon have a new district director. We have three excellent candidates that will interview for the position and we hope to have a new district director named and in place by December.
  • Our own Mary Ann Parsons was named one of the top 40 influential people in the state less than 40 years of age by Georgia Trend magazine. Congratulations to Mary Ann and her family.

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Tony Tyson hits the highlights of his official county operations update presentation at Program Planning Week and addresses progress made in hiring of county agents;
  • Arch Smith updates us on a visit from John Wendler and Andy Ferrin (great 4-H supporters), the fall 2012 Paper Clover Campaign and work with 4-H National Headquarters and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on communication regarding swine flu;
  • Deborah Murray provides an update on how FACS is working to provide resources for all agents, but especially to staff in counties that don't have an agent;
  • Steve Brown recalls growing up in an aerospace-oriented town and compares that experience to farmers and agriculture; and
  • Laura Perry Johnson discusses the beginning of the implementation phase of our CAES strategic planning process.

Have a great fall ... and, GO DAWGS!


County Operations

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

Hiring continues but at a slower pace

Last week was UGA Extension Program Planning Week in Athens and we spent most of the week planning the Extension calendar for 2013. Each year, as part of this week, we hold a kickoff event on Tuesday morning where the deans, associate deans and program leaders give an overview of the year's activities and plans for the coming year. For my part, I gave an update of county operations including the status of staffing in county offices.

The good news is district directors have been very busy hiring over the past year! We currently have 265 county agents in Georgia, which is an increase of 32 over last year. Some 246 of these positions have state funding and the remaining 19 are funded with grant funds or 100 percent from county funds. We were able to add these positions without any additional state funds. They were the result of filling vacant positions and leveraging the state funds we had with additional county dollars.

We have also added quite a few Extension associates in county offices. Twenty-three of these are 4-H associates, eight are resource managers and seven are some combination of the two. Some of these positions are new, but many are reclassifications of existing 4-H program assistant positions or county secretary positions. In each case, these new positions are an effort to better serve the needs of our local clientele using the resources and talents we have within our organization.

In the most recent state budget for fiscal year 2013 we were allocated an additional $362,000 earmarked for filling county agent positions. However, in light of the recent news that we are being asked to hold back 3 percent of our budget for a potential cut, we have put the use of these new funds on hold. This is unfortunate, because it would have allowed us to fill at least 10 more county agent positions and some critical needs in our county offices. We are hopeful that we will be allowed to use these funds later in the year, but everything hinges on how state tax collections do over the next few months.

In the meantime, we continue to fill a few positions as vacancies occur, but the rate of hiring will be slowed somewhat as we take a more conservative stance in light of budget uncertainties. Let's hope that the economy of the state will continue to improve so we can keep adding new faces to our organization.


Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

Thank you, Neil Armstrong

I admit it. I grew up as a science nerd in a very atypical Alabama town that happened to be home to a major NASA installation. A town that built the rocket that went to the moon. That's why the recent passing of Neil Armstrong, the first human being to set foot on any celestial body other than mother Earth, was especially significant to me. I graduated from a high school that was named for Virgil I. Grissom, one of the three Apollo astronauts killed in a cockpit fire during a training exercise. Previously a very typical Alabama town, Huntsville was transformed when President Kennedy pledged to put a man on the moon before the decade of the 1960s expired. The local economy that was once most strongly influenced by the current price of cotton became driven by a massive influx of federal government spending, both direct and indirect via the many contractors that poured into town from all over the world. I lived that transformation. I felt the ground shake under my feet when the massive Saturn V rocket engines were test fired. Wernher von Braun, the German rocket scientist that directed the program, once dropped candy in my trick-or-treat bag. I didn't understand the science that was being put to work just miles from my home, but I directly benefitted from the better roads and schools that came my way because it was there. Still just a teenager, I felt a huge sense of pride on that warm July night in 1969 when I looked up at the moon on which Neil Armstrong walked.

Today, it is hard for me to understand, why that event ranks so low in the public perception of significant historic events. Before desktop computers, cell phones and the Internet – before GPS, Google and Twitter – using less computing power than most of us now have in our personal automobiles – man found a way to put two human beings on the surface of the moon and bring them home again.

Science is an awesome tool. Scientific achievements continue to dazzle and then pale in comparison to subsequent ones. Scientific achievements are necessary to fuel progress, but it's what we do with scientific achievements that really matters.

To me, the scientific achievements of modern agriculture rank right up there with putting a man on the moon. But scientific breakthroughs alone don't make life on this planet better. Someone has to find a way to apply that breakthrough, put it work, adapt it, modify it and explain it to others until progress becomes a reality. Nobody combines scientific breakthroughs and scientific application better than land grant universities like the University of Georgia. We do the basic research, we make scientific breakthroughs, we make it work in the real world and we show people how to use the resulting technology for the betterment of mankind.

To the untrained eye, the cotton that still grows around my hometown may look just like it did before NASA came around. The fact is, that cotton and the technology that is used to grow it is a success story that rivals the other success story that happened there in the 1960s.

Thank you Neil Armstrong for what you did for the human race. Many failed to appreciate what you accomplished or the science that made it possible. Your humble ways certainly didn't draw public attention. Thank you too, agricultural scientists and those that put that science to work. Your accomplishments have benefitted man even more than that first trip to the moon, yet you share a place in the shadows with heroes like Neil Armstrong.


Family and Consumer Sciences

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

We are continuing in our efforts to build better support for FACS programing in all county Extension offices. We know this will not substitute for a FACS agent but will help county staffs address the needs of people in their counties. It is not acceptable to not try to meet those needs and here on campus our specialists and faculty will do our best to provide each county office with quality resources that can be accessed easily. Our first edition of FACS NEWS was sent the first week of September and we are getting positive feedback from county Extension offices across the state. This email newsletter provides links for resources for ALL counties but is specifically targeted to those counties without FACS agents. We will also make the FACS internal website available to all county offices. We are in the process of creating a FACS newsletter that can be sent directly to county offices, customized with county information and sent out to people you have on mailing or email lists. I will work with Dr. Sparks and the CAES and FACS technology team to develop a seamless website for FACS Extension and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences Extension website. We will also develop a county FACS website template that will provide a good online FACS presence for all county offices. We appreciate your input and I encourage you to let us know what your needs are so we can appropriately use the limited resources we have in the most beneficial manner possible.

Program Planning Week
Last week was my first Georgia Program Planning Week and I learned so much about how the process works here in Georgia. I feel that we have a tremendous team of administrators and specialists who are excited about the work they do and really have the interests of county programming at heart. I know from being in the county, it can be very isolating and often agents wonder what specialists and administrators do on campus, other than think of more ways to make your job more complicated. All of our jobs have become more complicated with new volunteer issues, more budget cuts, more people watching what we do and how we do it, and so much competition in all areas for support from stakeholders. The dedication of the professionals in Cooperative Extension was quite evident during program planning week. We are not crying about what we don't have, we are all looking at how we can work smarter and more effectively to support the county delivery system.

Program Development Conference
The FACS Program Development Conference will be Oct. 2 and 3 at the Georgia Center in Athens. The conference will be a little different than in past years. FACS agents have shared with the program development specialists needs that have been built into the conference. The program development team is working very hard to support agents with new tools for the plan of work process.

I am looking forward to being with Georgia FACS agents at the National Association of Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Meeting in Columbus, Ohio Sept. 24-28.


4-H and Youth Development

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

Fall brings paper clover campaign, swine flu precautions

I spent two days the last week of August with John Wendler, senior vice president for marketing with Tractor Supply Service, and Andy Ferrin, vice president of marketing for National 4-H Council. During their visit to Georgia, we helped them gain a greater understanding of the land grant university mission and resources that are available to the citizens of Georgia. It was also a good experience for me to see the great work that is being done by our county Extension staff as well as individuals in teaching, research and Extension at the University of Georgia. Mr. Wendler was very interested in how the 4-H Paper Clover Campaign can increase support for local 4-H programs. We discussed a couple of ideas that may help improve the campaign. I would encourage every county that has a Tractor Supply Service to be actively involved in promoting the paper clover campaign. Lindsey Fodor handles the details of that campaign for Georgia 4-H. Please contact Lindsey if you need additional information. She provided the following information concerning the fall clover icon campaign:

The fall 2012 4-H Paper Clover Campaign will take place Wednesday, Sept. 19 through Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012. Shoppers at any Tractor Supply Service store across Georgia can support 4-H by purchasing paper clovers for a $1 or more at the checkout counter. All funds raised will be donated to 4-H and will support 4-H youth development program activities. Be sure to contact your county TSC store manager and plan a 4-H activity for a few hours during this promotion at your local TSC store to show the customers and team members you appreciate their support of 4-H. Visit the paper clover toolkit ( where you will find promotional and informational materials to help you. County representatives must email me,, at the State 4-H Office by Tuesday, Sept. 18 before the beginning of the promotion to relay any funding percentage splits for TSC stores that service multiple counties. With your help and participation, fall paper clover can be another record-breaking promotion!

National 4-H Week is Oct. 7-13. Make sure you take time to recognize outstanding 4-H members in your community as well as thank all public and private partners at the local, state and federal levels who support Extension and 4-H work throughout the year.

Earlier this month, Dr. Ronnie Silcox provided information on swine flu to share with junior livestock exhibitors. I thought his information was very timely as we enter the fall show season so I have copied it below so you can provide this information to youth livestock exhibitors and others attending swine shows across the state.

Over the past few months close to 300 people have contracted a variation of swine flu (H3N2v). The majority of cases have been in Ohio and Indiana. Most of the people affected have exhibited swine or attended a fair or exhibition. It appears that this type of flu is transmitted from swine to people and that there has been no (or very little) person-to-person transmission. Symptoms and severity are similar to seasonal flu. It is expected that the number of cases will continue to grow as we go farther into fair season.

4-H National Headquarters and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention strongly urge you to immediately disseminate the attached fact sheet to all swine exhibitors, their families, and staff working at swine exhibits or shows. It is vitally important that this information be received prior to anyone attending a swine exhibit or show. The recommendation in this fact sheet should not be taken lightly. The number of flu outbreaks and states impacted continues to grow and it is the expectation that 4-H programs will take all reasonable measures to ensure the safety of participants and their projects.

The fact sheet for exhibitors can be found at

If you are conducting a local swine show or working with your local fair please read the following information:

For further information, see:

Brief summary of CDC recommendations:

  • Children younger than 5 years, people 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions (like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions) are at high risk from serious complications if they get influenza. These people should avoid exposure to pigs and swine barns during this fair season.
  • Don't eat or drink or put anything in your mouth in the pig barn.
  • Wash your hands often before and after exposure to pigs.
  • Don't take toys, pacifiers, bottles, strollers, or similar items into pig barns.
  • Note: You do not get swine flu from eating pork.

CAES Strategic Planning

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

The implementation phase begins

We have officially wrapped up the research, planning and design phase of the CAES Strategic Planning process. Now the hard work of the implementation phase begins. Dean Scott Angle, Jean Bertrand and I presented the plan to all three campuses in August. About 130 people attended in person at three locations and about 50 attended via Wimba sessions. If you missed the presentation, the link to the archive can be found at

Sept. 10, 2012 was the deadline for nominations to the action teams. The teams have been formed and formal invitations from the dean will be sent to the perspective members. There will be seven action teams with about 10 members each. We were delighted to receive hundreds of nominations and we have tried to put together diverse teams that bring unique skills and perspectives to each team. The 14 co-chairs and the team members will have a huge impact in the success of the implementation of the strategic plan from this time forward.

The dean will charge the action teams on Oct. 2 in Athens. From there, they will begin to work to form plans to address each strengthening goal. The action team will be responsible for making the plans for implementing both short and long-term goals, but they will need additional input and intellectual capital as well. These teams will consult with experts in the field and bring in the specific expertise they need to address their goal.

As we work to maintain our foundational strengths and address the strengthening goals addressed in the strategic plan, it will be imperative that we all stay informed and engaged in the process. This plan was created based on grass-roots input and will need continued strong support from the masses to be carried out properly. I urge you to stay on top of the process and be actively involved as we move forward. As always, you can get the latest at our web site (

In the words of Dean Scott Angle, "As we launch this plan, we value the time and ideas so many contributed to help us arrive at this point. We now have a clear path to what lies ahead. We need your continued support and guidance to stay on track and to make strategic adjustments along the way."


Personnel actions since August 1, 2012

New Hires

  • Camden County—Kim Huyer, County Extension Associate-4-H (100% County paid), 8/7/12
  • Carroll County—Elizabeth Coggins, 4-H Extension Associate, 9/1/12
  • Columbia County—Tripp Williams, ANR Agent, 8/1/12
  • Crisp County—Justin Lanier, ANR Agent, 9/1/12
  • Lowndes County—Jake Price, County Extension Coordinator/ANR
  • NE District—Bobby Smith, Ag PDC, 9/1/12
  • Randolph County—Brock Ward, ANR Agent
  • Richmond County—Winnie Garrett, CEPA, 8/23/12
  • Richmond County—Lisa McGuire, CEPA, 8/23/12
  • SW District—Melinda D. Miller, Southwest 4-H Youth Program Development Director (former Lowndes County CEC/4-H Agent)
  • Telfair County—Teresa Crosby, County Secretary, 8/2/12
  • Turner County—Jill Barnette, Secretary
  • Whitfield County—Nicole Densmore, 4-H Extension Associate, 8/20/12

Part-time Positions:

  • Effingham County—Alexis Floyd, PA Work Base Learning Student, 8/10/12

Transfers/Position Changes

  • Bacon County—Jaykn Jennings, 4-H Agent, transferred from Terrell County CEC/4-H
  • Bartow County—Kimberly Payne, reclassified from p/t Program Asst. to f/t Ext. Assoc., 9/1/12
  • Cherokee County—Louise Estabrook, ANR Agent, transferred from Fulton County, 9/1/12
  • Cherokee County—Ashley Witcher, 4-H Extension Associate, transferred from Forsyth County, 9/1/12
  • Dougherty County—Randy West, 4-H Agent, transferred from Crisp County SAAF Coordinator, 9/1/12
  • Irwin County—Jenny Sutton, reclassified from CEPA 4-H to County Extension Associate
  • Lowndes County—Tammie Glasscock, reclassified from CEPA 4-H to Resource Manager, 9/1/12
  • Tift County—Miles Drummond, reclassified from CEPA 4-H to SAAF Coordinator
  • Wheeler County—Brooke Jeffries, County Extension Coordinator-ANR, transferred from Secretary in Telfair County, 8/1/12


  • Berrien County—Tammy Kent, Secretary (over 30 years!)
  • Effingham County—Rebecca "Becky" Smith, Secretary, 8/31/12


  • Camden County—Beth Ada Carter, PA (county paid), 8/3/12
  • Glynn County—Deborah Jones, Co. Extension Agent-FACS, 8/31/12
  • SE District Office—Sherri Thompson, PA-Accounting, 8/17/12
  • Telfair County—Kelly Godfrey, PA Summer Intern, 8/3/12
  • Toombs County—Christopher Earls, EPS Summer Intern, 8/3/12
  • Toombs County—Brittany Garcia, PA (county paid), 8/17/12

Send your comments

Tell us what you think about the Extension E-Newsletter. Your opinions and comments are very important to us!