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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for August 2013

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

Extension Colleagues:

Summer is always a very busy time for our employees and this July and early August have been especially busy. And it doesn't show any signs of slowing down anytime soon! The students are all back in Athens and I am ready for fall, football and cooler weather.

71st 4-H State Congress

Our State 4-H staff, agents, program assistants and associates, volunteers and specialists closed out the 2013 4-H year with a great 71st 4-H State Congress. During the week 48 4-H'ers became Master 4-H'ers in their project areas, more than 30 received scholarships and over 150 were recognized as special events winners. We recognized Dr. Gail Hanula and former Senator John Bullock with the GEA4-HA Friend of 4-H Award and Governor Nathan Deal with the Green Jacket Award. Congratulations to all for a great congress and a very successful year.

Georgia 4-H Gala

The Georgia 4-H Gala was held last weekend in Atlanta and was a spectacular evening. The gala is our major fundraising event for Georgia 4-H and all proceeds from the event benefit the Georgia 4-H camping program. Former Extension agent Walter Reeves served as host for the gala and First Lady Sandra Deal served as honorary chair. During the evening we honored Mr. Harold Darden with the Lifetime Achievement Award and spotlighted the accomplishment of serving more than 1 million youth through our Environmental Education program.

Key Extension positions

We have been moving forward to fill some key positions in Extension. The search committee for the Northeast and Northwest District director positions has been named and charged and committee members have been hard at work. Dr. Lori Bledsoe is providing leadership for this committee. We expect to complete interviews by the end of the month and name the new directors by mid-September. Also, I will charge the committee that will guide us in hiring our next associate state 4-H leader by the end of August. Dr. Laura Perry Johnson will provide leadership for this committee and I ask her to work with the committee and complete the search by the end of December 2013.

CAES Advisory Council

The CAES Advisory Council met in Tifton for two and a half days to learn more about our programs on the Tifton Campus and to discuss the needs and priorities of the college, Cooperative Extension and the agricultural experiment stations. Our council is working on strategies to communicate and educate more urban legislators on the importance of agribusiness in Georgia and the impact of CAES programs. Our county agents will play an important role in interacting with these legislators, so stand by for more information from our advisory council as their work progresses.

Coming up in late August-mid September:

  • PLN and ASRED meeting (Nashville, August 19-23)
  • ESP State Conference (Athens, August 29)
  • Extension Program Planning Week (Athens, September 9-13)
  • Galaxy (Pittsburgh, September 15-20)
  • International Agribusiness Conference and Expo (Savannah, September 24-26)

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Arch Smith highlights 4-H activities in August;
  • Deborah Murray looks forward to building a volunteer army; and
  • Steve Brown appreciates the fact that Extension careers are far from assembly line jobs.


County Operations

Greg PriceGreg Price, Director of Extension County Operations, 706/542-1060,

Tune in next month for Greg's update


Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

Could you be an assembly line worker?

Everyone is different, but I've long held that there is something unique about people who are attracted to Extension jobs. We're different than the general population – not better, certainly not worse, but different.

Assembly line in 1913
Ford assembly line, 1913. The magneto assembly line was the first.

The assembly line was an invention of the Industrial Revolution that vastly increased the efficiency of manufacturing. I think most of us in Extension would have been awful assembly line workers – using the same motions to produce the same product from the same inputs, all day long. While highly efficient, the assembly line requires a unique type of worker that can stay mentally and physically sharp during a repetitive process.

Conversely, most Extension workers struggle to stay mentally and physically sharp in the face of an enormously diverse workday. When I started contributing to this newsletter, I swore that I would refrain from just recording a log of my recent events and work experiences. In the interest of this subject, I'm going to briefly break that self-imposed rule and tell you about my last week.

I attended an Associate Dean's meeting, an Administrative Council meeting and a meeting about the SE ANR PDC position. I interviewed a candidate for the Coastal Georgia Bamboo Garden. I spoke at a joint meeting of the American Peanut Shellers and Peanut Buying Point Associations, the Dean's Advisory Council and the GEAFCS Association. I welcomed 21 new Extension agents to Foundations 1 training. I took several phone calls and emails from angry master gardeners. I attended the 4-H Gala in Atlanta. I spent about 12.5 hrs. riding in a vehicle. I accepted final proposals for Peanut and Mycotoxin Innovation Lab projects in Africa and Haiti and prepared for a review. I read and responded to about 300 emails on a wide array of subjects. I signed about 100 4-H Foundation deposits and check requests.

From this list I hope you see that there is NO typical week, but all in all, it was an average week in terms of workload and diversity. Your weeks are probably at least as busy and diverse as mine. We hardly work an assembly line. I'm human and sometimes I get to feeling sorry for myself, but the fact is, I cherish the diversity of my job. I remind myself that I could be on an assembly line fitting part A to part B. No matter how much I may have disliked a specific task during my day, there is always something different coming tomorrow. Enjoy the diversity of your Extension job. Do the best you can with one task, then move on to something entirely different. Extension folks were made to thrive in that environment. It's what we do and we're good at it.


Family and Consumer Sciences

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

Focus on FACS volunteers

One of the areas of focus for me, after increasing the number of FACS agents across the state (we are making progress), is the development of a strong volunteer base of leaders to help Extension address some of the serious issues facing our state. Whether it is improving the health of Georgians, improving local economies through assisting community members interested in starting a home-based business, or improving the outcomes for families, we cannot do the work alone. Master Volunteer programs are an excellent way to increase our reach throughout the state and build stakeholder support for all of our programs.

Sonja Koukel, Ph.D. and the National Association of Extension Family and Consumer Sciences vice president for professional development, notes that volunteerism has been the hallmark of Extension. For a century throughout the U.S. volunteer consumers have worked along side FCS Extension educators to expand the outreach mission of Extension - offering educational programs, conducting demonstrations and providing organizational assistance. Through these efforts FCS volunteers help leverage the local Extension capacity to provide access to otherwise unreached audiences.

At this year's Galaxy Conference a new national NIFA Master FCS Volunteer Program will be launched at the Galaxy NEAFCS Super Seminar scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, from 9 to 11 a.m. Presenters will be Beverly C. Samuel, NIFA national program leader, Housing and Community Living Division of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Dr. Michael P. Vogel, Montana State University Extension Family and Consumer program leader.

The Master FCS Volunteer Program is a NIFA initiative to promote volunteerism within the five core FCS areas (family economics, health, housing and environmental health, human development, and food and nutrition) and showcase examples of successful programs in these areas.

This presentation will unveil the Master FCS Volunteer Program with the comprehensive review of the three modules (Cooperative Extension, leadership and public policy, and marketing and branding) and 12 volunteer lessons.

I look forward to bringing this program to Georgia and working with our program development team and local agents to grow our programs through building an army of volunteers.


4-H and Youth Development

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

School is back in session! Classes started this week at UGA, and school systems all across Georgia either have or will soon begin the academic year. August 1 marked the beginning of the 110th year of Georgia 4-H.

The past year was a tremendous success, and we celebrated during the 71st Annual 4-H Congress in late July the successes of our winners in scholarship, leadership in action, special events, and project achievement. Congratulations to all the winners. View more information and photos.

Special recognitions were awarded to several outstanding Georgia Association Extension 4-H agents. The William H. Booth Award nominees were Ian Cowie, Lumpkin County; Leonard Anderson, Dekalb County; Kevin Tatum, Coffee County; and Zona Medley, Colquitt County. Zona Medley, representing the Southwest District, was selected as the state honoree. Read more about the presentation.

The Ryles Rising Star Award was presented to Allen Nasworthy, center director at Fortson 4-H Center. The Ryles Rising Star Award recognizes an outstanding 4-H professional with fewer than five years of employment in 4-H work. Read more about the Ryles Rising Star Awrd and this year's recipient.

We are grateful to Georgia Electrical Membership Corporation President Chief Executive Officer Paul Wood for sponsoring the Annual Banquet and the William H. Booth Award.

GAE4-HA presented Dr. Gail Hanula with the “Friend of 4-H Award” during the 4-H Leadership Banquet and also presented former state senator John Bulloch of Thomas County with the “Friend of 4-H Award” during the Annual Banquet. Governor Nathan Deal was recognized as the recipient of the Georgia 4-H Green Jacket Award. Since Governor Deal was unable to be at the closing banquet he shared a video clip of his appreciation of the honor.  View the video clip.

The fifth Georgia 4-H Gala was held this past Saturday at the Loews Atlanta Hotel. More than 400 friends, alumni, and corporate sponsors of Georgia 4-H attended. Associate State 4-H Leader emeritus, Mr. Harold Darden, was honored with the 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award. We also had a special video recognition of the Georgia 4-H Environmental Education program. The EE program will serve the 1,000,000th participant in October 2013. View video links for Mr. Darden and the EE program recognition.

Georgia's first lady, Mrs. Sandra Deal, was the honorary chair of the 2013 Georgia 4-H Gala. In her comments she reminisced about her involvement as a 4-H volunteer when all five of the Deal children participated in the Hall County 4-H program. Governor and Mrs. Deal's oldest daughter was a National Citizenship winner. Mrs. Deal was joined at the podium by her husband. Governor and Mrs. Deal delighted and inspired the audience with their comments about the value of the 4-H program. President Jere Morehead brought greetings from the University of Georgia while former Dekalb County Extension Agent Walter Reeves served as Master of Ceremonies. Our special thanks go to 4-H alumni Brandie Rucks Park and Tino Johnson for serving as co-chairs of the Gala.

State Congress recognizes success of Georgia 4-H'ers and the Gala is a time of building friendships and partnerships so that Georgia 4-H’ers can continue to develop positive life skills. Congress was a great wrap to the 109th year and the Gala was a great start to the 110th year of Georgia 4-H.


Outstanding Extension program

We are pleased to announce that the August winner for the Outstanding Extension Program contest is the Sustainable Agriculture Series which was coordinated by Adam Speir with Madison County Cooperative Extension in collaboration with Oconee County Extension, Elbert County Extension, Franklin County Extension, Banks County Extension, Jackson County Extension, Crop and Soil Science Department, Plant Pathology Department, and College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

This program series was developed to meet the needs of a growing population of beginning farmers who are interested in production of vegetables, fruits, and livestock on small acreages with practices that are considered organic, sustainable, or naturally grown. Many of these clients have limited agricultural experience, are unfamiliar with certain management strategies, and have had limited access to research-based information sustainable production.

This program series was intended to serve as an introduction on important areas of production while also trying to gauge what other needs exist to develop future programming. County agents met with Extension specialists to determine the program agendas, which focused on organic insect and disease management, food safety, pasture management, and small business management and marketing. Each program was hosted at the J. Phil Campbell Research and Education Center and Oconee County Extension office.

Sustainable Agriculture programThe format for each program consisted of a talk delivered by an UGA Extension Specialist followed by a question and answer session with experienced farmers that were selected to be part of a "farmer roundtable." This allowed for peer-to-peer interaction and discussion between farmers of various experience levels.

In each of the four programs, an overwhelming percentage (over 80%) of participants indicated plans to make some degree of change (either major or minor) to their practices. This involved such practices as attracting more beneficial insects, use of crop rotation and cover crops, use of legumes in pasture programs, improved marketing and business planning, and self-inspections of farms for food safety concerns.

Comments on the programs were encouraging, (ex. "Thanks so much for the series. Very helpful and have shared this info w/many others.") and several ideas were suggested for future programs, which we plan to pursue. The concept for this program had also reached agents in other parts of the state, who are planning on developing a similar program in Northwest District.


Personnel actions since July 1, 2013

New Hires

  • Bacon County – Benjamin Shirley, Public Serv Asst, 7/1/2013
  • Ben Hill County – Andrew Shirley, Public Serv Rep, 7/1/2013
  • Brantley/Charlton County – William Lovett, Public Serv Asst, 7/1/2013
  • Brooks County – Stephanie Hollifield, Public Serv Asst, 8/1/2013
  • Burke County – Rebekah Bowen, Public Serv Asst, 7/1/2013
  • Columbia County – Linda Luoma, County Secretary, 7/8/2013
  • Dooly County – Jay Porter, Public Serv Rep, 7/1/2013
  • Floyd County – Kelli Salmon, Public Serv Rep, 7/1/2013
  • Greene County – David Daniel, Public Serv Rep, 7/1/2013
  • Haralson County – Donna Buzzard, Program Asst, 8/5/2013
  • Henry County – Ashley Dalba, Program Asst, 8/1/2013
  • Jones County – Brandi Johnson, County Secretary, 8/15/2013
  • McIntosh County – Brenda Sailors, Program Assistant, 7/4/2013
  • Muscogee County – Barbara Collins, Public Serv Asst, 7/1/2013
  • Spalding County – Barbara Morales, County Secretary, 8/5/2013
  • Stephens County – Nicole McCollum, County Secretary, 8/1/2013
  • Tattnall County – Leslie Garrett, Public Serv Rep, 8/1/2013
  • Tattnall County – Rachel Stewart, Public Serv Asst, 7/1/2013
  • Towns County – Billie Harvey, County Extension Associate, 8/1/2013
  • Troup County – Brian Maddy, Public Serv Asst, 9/1/2013

Transfers/Position Changes

  • Baldwin County – Robert Jones, Public Serv Asst, transferred from Emanuel County, 8/1/2013
  • Burke County – Rebekah Bowen, Public Serv Asst, transferred from Jones County, 7/1/2013
  • Director of County Operations – Greg Price, transferred from Northwest District Director, 7/1/2013
  • Toombs County – Lesli Garrett, Public Serv Rep, transferred to Tatnall County, 8/1/2013
  • VOVRC Director – Cliff Riner, Public Serv Asst, transferred from Tattnall County, 7/1/2013


  • Banks County – Gina Chappelear, Public Serv Asst, 7/16/2013
  • Camden County – John Robert Edalgo, Public Serv Asst, 7/19/2013
  • Decatur County – Mitchell May, Public Serv Assoc, 7/16/2013
  • Hall County – Roxanne Hulsey, Program Asst, 7/26/2013
  • Lumpkin County – Ian Cowie, Public Serv Assoc, 8/1/2013
  • Northeast District – Norman Glohon, District Director, 7/31/2013
  • Walton County – Roy Glen Blair, Public Serv Asst, 9/1/2013
  • Wayne County – Kaye Lynn Hataway, Public Serv Asst, 8/30/2013