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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for December 2013

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

Extension Colleagues:

The holiday season is upon us and it is hard to believe 2013 is about to come to an end. I extend sincere thanks to each of you for your hard work this year. Your persistence, your positive attitudes and continued focus on outstanding programs make this a truly wonderful organization. Your creativity and resiliency is amazing and it has been a year of great progress. As I reflect on 2013, I would say it was a year of rebuilding. We have been truly fortunate to add many new faces to our agent and specialist ranks. We have a new director of county operations, two new district directors and will soon name several new ANR program development coordinators.

In counting our blessing for the progress made throughout the year, I want to note a few highlights and offer thanks:

  • Thanks to Dean Scott Angle, Dr. Joe Broder and Dr. Bob Shulstad for their steady leadership of CAES and consistent support of our Extension programs.
  • Thanks to our district directors and county coordinators for their work to leverage our limited state and local funds to hire/replace agent positions. Our county agent numbers increased by 42 positions from 2011 numbers.
  • Thanks to our legislators, the CAES administrative team and department heads for their support in filling new Extension specialist positions. We now have a new beef cattle specialist, a vegetable horticulturist, a small fruits specialist working in blueberries, IPM and blueberry pest management specialists, an irrigation specialist (jointly with Auburn University), a dairy specialist and a peanut entomologist. And in early 2014, we will add additional faculty specializing in dairy heat stress management, peach production and beef cattle production.
  • Thanks to those within our organization who stepped up into higher leadership positions. We made significant progress in identifying and hiring great individuals for two district director positions (Northeast - Judy Ashley and Northwest - Sheldon Hammond) and we are in the process of filling two program development coordinator positions. A third ANR program development coordinator position will be announced early in 2014.
  • Thanks to our many alumni, friends, volunteers and contributors who gave their time, energy and financial support to our programs.  We could not accomplish our work without you.

As we end 2013 and look forward toward 2014, please take time for a much deserved break and spend some quality time with family and friends. I look forward to seeing all of you at Winter School 2014.

Happy Holidays!

ANR Specialists


In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Greg Price provides an update on our growing partnership with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia;
  • Steve Brown explains why program development coordinators are essential to Extension;
  • Deborah Murray asks us to remember the Extension Workers' Creed; and
  • Arch Smith shares Harold Darden's memories and "pay it forward" mentality.


County Operations

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

ACCG/Georgia Extension Relationship Grows

In 2004, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension created a liaison position with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG). This position was created in response to the identified need for more over-arching coordination and cooperation between Extension and ACCG at the state level. The position would strengthen our abilities to meet the needs of county government and the people they serve. The liaison position was co-funded with a physical office in Athens and Atlanta. I was honored to be the first one to serve in this role, followed by Jeff Christie. Over time this position has been extremely beneficial. While local county agents have always maintained a strong local relationship with county government, the liaison position strengthened this local relationship while creating new state level partnerships and new collaborations. We are grateful to Mr. Jerry Griffin, past ACCG executive director, and Mr. Ross King, the new director, for their commitment to Extension.

This past fall Jeff Christie accepted a full time position with ACCG as the leadership development deputy director. In his new role Jeff will continue to work with Cooperative Extension, but it will not be his primary focus. In recent meetings, Ross King, Beverly Sparks and I have shared similar visions about the future. We believe the working relationships between our organizations have grown and matured far beyond the one that existed in 2004. In essence, the liaison position did exactly what it was intended to do and can be labeled a great success.

So where do we go from here? We are discontinuing the one liaison position and expanding it with multiple one-on-one relationships with different members of the ACCG administration team. For example, I will work directly with my counterpart at ACCG. Our Extension communication staff will work directly with the communication staff at ACCG. Both organizations will identify specific projects or initiatives upon which to collaborate. At least one (maybe two) of our monthly state Extension administrative team meetings will be held in the ACCG headquarters. This will give us a unique opportunity to enhance our one-on-one relationships. ACCG leadership will also be invited to campus for meetings.

At the 2014 ACCG Annual Conference in Savannah both Cooperative Extension and ACCG will be celebrating 100-year anniversaries. Cooperative Extension and the GACAA Farm House will unite for this very special year forming a showcase exhibit in the center of the Savannah convention floor. ACCG will donate an exhibit space the size of 26 traditional exhibit booths valued at $10,000. As a result, we will have a unique opportunity to highlight our program to all county commissioners in a way we have never experienced.

We have even more exciting news to share about our partnership with ACCG, but you will have to wait until the annual meeting for that announcement.


Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

What the heck is a PDC?

I get that question a lot, not just from those outside CAES, but sometimes even from those within. Make no mistake, the organizational structure that we take for granted is not well understood by most of our collaborators. Everyone has at least a pretty good concept of what county agents, specialists and administrators do, but a program development coordinator, or PDC, is a bit more difficult to understand. Many think they are just another level of administration in a complex bureaucratic structure. As I write this, we are in the process of filling two ANR PDC positions, one in the SW District and one in the NW District. To me, PDCs fill a critical role in how Extension operates. Most of us within Extension know how they serve as critical mentors, councilors and problem solvers to ANR agents in their districts, but their job has a statewide component as well.

When you're in a position like mine, you can see the big picture better than most. It's clear to me that no matter how much we want to be one big happy family, reality is that specialists operate in a specialist's world and that world is a different planet from an agent's world. If we don't diligently work to tie them together, the worlds don't intersect very well. The program planning process is supposed to bring the two worlds together, but admittedly, the process often falls short of that goal. Program evaluation, reporting of impacts, and agent training are other important areas where the two worlds must work together in order to be successful. But all of those processes just don't happen. Somebody has to consider these things to be their job if they are going to happen. As ANR program leader, it's ultimately my job to make sure those things happen in ANR, but I can't do it alone. The ANR PDCs play a critical role in communication between agent world and specialist world. They also help me make important things happen in ANR program development and implementation.

Throughout our history, several Extension leaders have served in PDC roles. Most recently, Ken Lewis, Phil Torrance, Sheldon Hammond and Bobby Smith have been the ones helping me coordinate ANR programs. Sheldon's moved on to his DED role and Ken and Phil have been working as hire backs for several years. We will soon have a major turnover. I want to thank Ken, Phil and Sheldon for all they have done for me and for UGA Cooperative Extension. Bobby will soon be the veteran and I look forward to working with him and the new PDCs in the future. Time continues to pass on. The issues change, but in some ways, things stay the same. The next generation of ANR PDCs will have to step up to the plate and help me bridge worlds so that critical programs keep going.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and gets some much needed rest. When we come back in January, programs will need to be planned, implemented, evaluated and reported. Worlds will have to be bridged.


Family and Consumer Sciences

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

Coca-Cola's Lucy Reid is Winter School luncheon speaker

Lucy Reid, the head of Coca-Cola's North America Scientific & Regulatory Affairs Group and a FACS and CAES graduate and double DAWG, will be the opening luncheon speaker on Wed., Jan. 22. Lucy, a former 4-H'er, credits 4-H for her interest in foods. She works with a team that includes chemists, nutritionists, and food scientists and also works with scientific and regulatory affairs directors from several different countries. She will speak to Coca-Cola's approach to nutrition and obesity. During the FACS program area meeting, she will address FACS agents, health navigators, specialists and administrators more specifically about nutrition. I know you will find her comments most relevant as the food industry impacts all of us including food producers, families, or youth. This is our opportunity to hear directly from an expert in the food industry.

Time to reflect on what is important

During this season of holiday cheer and new beginnings with the new year upon us, we need to take time to reflect on our life's work and what it means to the people we serve. All of us working in Extension stay with the work because we have a passion for service and the people we work for and with. Let us not forget the Extension Workers' Creed. I would suggest you take the time to review it on the Epsilon Sigma Phi website, our professional organization (Read the Extension Professionals' Creed). Sometimes we might question its relevance in turbulent times, but it does very clearly define the values that our organization has stood by for the test of time.

On the Texas A&M AgriLife website, it is noted that Extension in that state is known for its "leadership, dedication, expertise, responsiveness, and trustworthiness." I think we can also say that about Georgia Extension. As we reflect at the end of 2013, I challenge each of you to reflect on these four criteria. Examine what you have done this past year that serves as examples to our organization. On your New Year's resolution list, jot down something for each criteria that you will do this coming year that will serve as models of dedication, expertise, responsiveness, and trustworthiness, for your colleagues and the people you work with.

What will you dedicate your work to? How will you hone your expertise? How will you improve your responsiveness to working with your county's pressing issues? And what can you do to build trustworthiness in someone or some organization that does not know Extension or you?

I hope you have a great holiday and I look forward to being with everyone at Winter School.


4-H and Youth Development

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

Giving the gift of education

Earlier this week, Andrea Burruss, Mary Ann Parsons, and I visited with Harold Darden, associate state 4-H leader emeritus. Mr. Darden is 93-years-old, the recipient of the 2013 Georgia 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award and one of 14 Georgians who are a member of the National 4-H Hall of Fame. Mr. Darden reminisced about growing up on the farm in Troup County during the Great Depression. When he finished high school he went to work at Callaway Mills. After working at the mill for a few months, Mr. Darden said his supervisor told him that Mr. Fuller Callaway wanted to meet with him in his office. Mr. Callaway offered to pay for Harold Darden's college education. Mr. Darden was thrilled at the chance to go to college and as a result of Mr. Callaway's gratitude he graduated from Auburn a few years later. Mr. Darden became a county Extension agent and was able to save a little money. A couple of years later, he visited Mr. Callaway and offered him a check to repay for his college education. Mr. Callaway told Mr. Darden, "You do not owe me anything."

As I listened to Mr. Darden, I realized that more than 70 years later, he is still grateful for the gift and opportunity Mr. Callaway provided him. I reminded Mr. Harold that he dedicated his life to paying that gift forward to many other 4-H members, staff and friends. As I reflected on this visit with Mr. Darden, I also realized that the gift of an education is a gift for a lifetime. As Extension and 4-H professionals we give the gift of the educational resources of the University of Georgia to farmers, families and 4-H members across the state of Georgia. There are many who benefit from our efforts and most of the time, few return to say thank you.

I wish for each of you a Merry Christmas and a safe Holiday Season. But most of all—I say thank you for what you do for Cooperative Extension and 4-H each day of the year.


Outstanding Extension program

The December winner for the Outstanding Extension Program contest is the Savannah Farm to School Workshop coordinated by 4-H agent Trish West and Extension staff with Chatham County Cooperative Extension.

In Chatham County, farm to school programming is used to educate the community on the importance of sourcing local food for schools and providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, such as school gardens, farm field trips and cooking lessons. Working with Georgia Organics and the Savannah-Chatham Public School System, Chatham County Extension developed three workshops for a community-wide farm to school workshop.

Farm to SchoolThe workshops kick started farm to school programming in Chatham County through networking, sharing, and hands-on education. Seventy-five educators, students and community leaders participated. They learned the basics of farm to school by exploring easy ways to integrate activities across the curriculum and into the cafeteria. The workshops included “Best Practices for Planning and Building your Edible School Garden” developed by ANR agent Dave Linville, “Preparing Food With Kids: Hands-on Kids” developed by FACS agent Jackie Ogden and “Fun and Easy Garden Lessons” developed by Trish and FACS agent Lisa Jordan.

Participants learned turnkey lessons that they can use with kids while meeting Georgia performance standards. Favorite curriculums and resources were also discussed. In addition to workshops, participants brainstormed with community stakeholders.

The program was promoted through Georgia Organics, Chatham County Extension and the Savannah Chatham County Public School System.


Personnel actions since November 1, 2013

New Hires

  • Banks County – Caitlin Bennett, Public Serv Rep, 12/01/2013
  • Camden County – Jessica Warren, Public Serv Asst, 11/01/2013
  • Clay County -  Chris Kennedy, County Extension Associate, 11/01/2013
  • Pickens County – Loren Brogdon, County Extension Associate, 12/10/2013
  • Quitman County – Ruchelle Priester, County Extension Associate, 11/01/2013
  • Richmond County – Linda Taylor, CEPA, 12/05/2013
  • Richmond County – Elizabeth Whitaker, CEPA, 12/05/2013
  • Stewart County – Kayla Craft, Public Serv Rep, 11/01/2013
  • Ware County – Jacqueline Nunn, Public Serv Rep, 12/01/2013

Transfers/Position Changes

  • Gilmer County – Toni Gill, transferred from CEPA to Public Serv Rep, 12/01/2013
  • Hancock County – Randie Gray, transferred from County Extension Associate to Public Serv Rep, 12/01/2013


  • Ben Hill – Wanda McLemore, County Secretary, 12/31/2013
  • Candler County – David Spaid, Public Serv Assoc, 11/30/2013
  • Colquitt County – Glenn Beard, Sr Public Serv Assoc, 12/31/2013
  • Fayette County – Jeanette Martin, County Secretary, 12/05/2013
  • Madison County – Julie Strickland, CEPA, 11/30/2013
  • Miller County – Timothy Moore, Public Serv Asst, 12/31/2013
  • Pickens County – Clarcy Kirby, County Extension Assoc, 10/31/2013
  • Tift County – Michael Goodman, CEPA,  12/23/2013
  • Union County – Judy Carpenter, County Secretary, 11/30/2013