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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for July 2013

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

Extension Colleagues:

It is hard to believe the summer of 2013 is passing by so fast and the countdown to the first Georgia football game is closing in on less than 40 days! I hope each of you is finding some time this summer to take a break, relax and enjoy family and friends. Make sure you take time to refresh before the summer of 2013 slips away and the fall school/work schedule resumes.

New additions to our Extension Team. We are very excited to announce a new Director of County Operations and the arrival of five new faculty on July 1, 2013.

  • Mr. Greg Price, former District Director for Northwest District, is our new Director of County Operations. Greg has been a valued member of our Extension Leadership Team for more than four years and I look forward to working with him in his new role.
  • Dr. Erick Smith is our new small fruits horticulturist and carries an 80% Extension / 20% research appointment. Erick comes to us from Washington State University and his office is located on the Tifton campus.
  • Dr. Tim Coolong is our new vegetable horticulturist and carries an 80% Extension / 20% research appointment. Tim was previously at the University of Kentucky and his office is located on the Tifton campus.
  • Dr. Jacob Segers is a new assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Science. His appointment is 85% Extension / 15% teaching and his office is located on the Tifton campus.
  • Dr. Jillian Fain is a new assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Science. Dr. Fain comes to us from Clemson University and her appointment is 40% Extension / 60% teaching. She is based on the Athens campus.
  • Dr. Ashfaq Sial is a new assistant professor in the Entomology Department and will provide leadership for our IPM programs and blueberry pest management. His appointment is 60% Extension / 40% research and he will be based on the Athens campus.

Update on critical positions in UGA Extension: Last month we released the job announcements for the District Director positions in both Northeast and Northwest Districts. Please help us identify and recruit viable candidates to apply for these positions. The deadline is the end of July and we hope to complete interviews by late August. In the next two months you should see a job announcement come out for the position of Associate Director for 4-H.

Great year for Georgia 4-H. Georgia 4-H is about to complete the 2013 camping season, and we are in the final stages of preparation for State 4-H Congress. Thanks to our agents, camp counselors, volunteers, camp staff and 4-H'ers for another great 4-H camping season. I look forward to being with many of you in Atlanta on July 23-26 for State 4-H Congress.

Wet weather a challenge. The spring and early summer of 2013 will certainly go into the record books as one of the coolest and wettest seasons in recent years. The mild temperatures and relatively volatile weather has presented challenges for our agricultural producers, agents and specialists. Prolonged periods of rain and excessively wet fields have made it difficult to manage many weed, insect and disease problems. As I travel across the state I hear from producers who are very appreciative of the efforts of our agents and specialists who have been involved in detecting and monitoring disease and insect problems that pose significant risks to producers.

2013 GEAFCS State Professional Improvement and Annual Conference. This professional development opportunity is right around the corner!  It will be held August 8-9 in McDonough. To register, go to the GEAFCS website and click on the “Annual Session Registration Packet” link. You will find the registration form and all the information you will need to plan your trip. I hope to see you in McDonough!

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Greg Price provides his first contribution as Director of County Operations and shares his background and Extension philosophy on county programming;
  • Steve Brown writes about Extension programming resources for forestry and wildlife;
  • Arch Smith offers updates on some of the important events happening this summer with Georgia 4-H; and
  • Deborah Murray shares valuable resources available for supporting safe home food preservation, and offers a few reasons for why you should definitely take that summer vacation.


County Operations

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

I walked into my new office in Conner Hall as Director of County Operations on July 1. Tony Tyson was good to me; he left me a few pieces of furniture, a calculator, four coasters, a plastic plant and a file called “Extension Disaster Plan.” I was somewhat relieved when I realized the file didn't contain budget information, but was our planned response to natural disasters. Tony left something else that will benefit this office: a legacy of sincerity and fairness. I am humbled to have an opportunity to serve you in this position and I am honored to follow Tony Tyson.

I come to this position with a variety of experiences, including county agent, state specialist, program development coordinator and district director. I spent my childhood on the farm where our family managed several beef and dairy cattle operations throughout northwest Georgia. When I decided to enroll in the animal science program at Berry College there was never a doubt I wanted a career in agriculture. I am grateful that Extension has given me that opportunity.

Many people have asked about my vision for county operations. My vision includes a strong county component based on local delivery, solid local needs assessment and visible local impact. I have watched other states move toward regional programming with poor results. I believe I have a good understanding of the budget and organizational pressures that have encouraged other states to attempt alternative staffing patterns. I also understand the strength of our organization and firmly believe that our greatest asset is a strong county system.

So what is my definition of the county delivery system? I believe it is an ANR, 4-H and FACS program in every county. Ideally, it means county agents and staff in a county office working in partnership with local government. As we have seen, sometimes budgets may limit the number of agents or staff in a county office. In these cases we should use innovative ways to offer local access to programs not represented by local agents. I believe this gives us more opportunity to build that program in the future.

Regardless of how the citizen gets the information, the local office is paramount to the success of our programs. The county office is not the gatekeeper of information; it is the foundation of our outreach model. If we remain true to the county delivery system model, I firmly believe we can expand programs in more positive budget times.

Finally, my concept for program development is also locally centered. We must develop a plan of work through a process of local needs assessment using a variety of tools, from one-on-one discussions to surveys to program development teams. As representatives of the state's land-grant university, we do have the obligation to bring national trends and emerging issues to the conversation, but ultimately our plans should be locally driven. At the same time, we cannot be all things to all people. We have to focus our programs in areas where we have the expertise and resources. Counties should not bypass these restrictions by programming in areas not supported by the state program structure. Limiting our plan of work to areas where we have expertise and resources is not top-down programming; it is a reality of our organizational structure. We can change this over time by redirecting state dollars to high-priority program areas or securing additional funding.

I appreciate the opportunity to share with you a little bit about my background and my vision for county operations, and I look forward to working with each of you as we continue to move UGA Extension soundly and sustainably toward the future.


Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

Extension Programming in Forestry and Wildlife

Extension of research-based information obviously depends on a strong connection to research. That connection can be made in several different ways, but the traditional method is via Extension Specialists who provide relevant and easy-to-understand versions of cutting edge information. With our organizational structure at UGA, Cooperative Extension must pull information from expert sources in other colleges. Faculty in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources are the traditional source of information to support Extension programs in forestry and wildlife, and we are grateful for the invaluable support they provide.

However, there is another source of forestry and wildlife information that you may not be as familiar with. The directors of the 13 Southern Region states jointly fund a Southern Region Extension Forester. His name is Dr. Bill Hubbard and he is located on the UGA Athens campus. Dr. Hubbard and his staff generate research-based information to support Extension programs. Many of those resources can be found at

Forestry and wildlife issues are important in every one of our 159 counties. Check out the resources available through the office of the Southern Region Extension Forester. This is a great way to find the information needed to support your local forestry and wildlife programs.


Family and Consumer Sciences

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

Extension Offices Busy with Food Preservation Questions

Home food preservation remains an important and popular cultural activity, and at this time of year local offices get many calls about canning, freezing and other methods of preserving garden produce. It is important that we provide those who use us as a resource the most reliable information available concerning food safety and food quality, and our specialists are here to support you with these questions. It is critical that those who practice preserving and processing foods at home have access to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, which is the primary source for current research-based recommendations for most methods of home food preservation. The National Center for Food Preservation center here at UGA, directed by Dr. Elizabeth Andress, was established with funding from USDA-NIFA to address food safety concerns for those who practice and teach home food preservation and processing methods. For more information, visit

Is Starting a Business for You?

FACS agents have scheduled 23 “Is Starting a Business for You?” workshops in partnership with the Small Business Development Center. Workshops are scheduled to take place across the state in August, September and October. For more information, visit

Georgia Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences

FACS Agents, specialists and retired members will be meeting for their annual meeting at the Henry County Extension Office on August 8-9. The keynote speaker, Dr. Caree Jackson-Cotwright, recently with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity will address this year's theme: “Expanding, Engaging, Enriching: Through Partnership.” Dr. Jackson-Cotwright will be joining FACS faculty this fall semester. Her focus will be community nutrition.

Why Take a Vacation?

If you haven't taken a vacation yet, you might want to plan one before summer's end. Studies have documented the positive effects of taking time off to do something besides work. Here are some reasons why you should make time to rest and recharge. Vacations:

  • promote creativity
  • stave off burnout
  • can keep us healthy
  • promote overall wellbeing
  • can strengthen bonds
  • can help with job performance
  • relieve stress in lasting ways


4-H and Youth Development

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

The Georgia Association of Extension 4-H Agents (GAE4-HA) hosted Oceans of Fun, a program that provided educational and recreational activities for the children of school administrators attending the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL) Conference on Jekyll Island July 14-17. Georgia 4-H also had a booth in the Exhibit Hall that promoted the value of 4-H programs such as Project Achievement, Environmental Education and Step Up and Lead, as well as information on how 4-H can help local school systems meet the requirements of the College and Career Ready Performance Index for Elementary Schools. Many thanks to Judy Ashley, Melanie Biersmith, Glen Blair, Jenny Brown, Menia Chester, Ashley Davis, Lynn Davis, Denise Everson, Kasey Reid Hall, Greg Hickey, Sonya Jones, Mandy Marable, Cindy Meadows, Al Parker, Cheryl Poppell, Abby Smith, Rachel Stewart and Kim Taylor for all of their hard work at the GAEL Conference. We also owe a special thank you to these spouses who helped: Cliff Brown, Blaine Everson, John Jones and Joan Parker.

On July 15, Georgia 4-H sponsored a family night activity and dinner at the Jekyll Island Convention Center. Afterward, Georgia 4-H Clovers and Company performed their final show for the 2012-2013 cast. It was a great week for Georgia 4-H at the GAEL Conference! Many thanks to the county Extension agents and State 4-H faculty members who represented Extension at GAEL.

Next week will end the 109th year of the Georgia 4-H Program with the 71st State 4-H Congress in Atlanta. During the week we will recognize our special events and scholarship winners and will also coordinate competition for both Leadership in Action and Senior Project Achievement. Many private donors and public officials will join us throughout the week as we celebrate yet another successful 4-H year. During State 4-H Congress we will also recognize several 4-H staff members for their outstanding contributions to the 4-H program. These awards include the William H. Booth Award for Outstanding 4-H Agents and the Ryles Rising Star Award for a 4-H employee with fewer than five years of service. The GAE4-HA Friend of 4-H Award and the Green Jacket Award recipients will also be recognized during the annual banquet.

Finally, mark your calendars for the 2013 Georgia 4-H Gala, which will be held at the Loews Atlanta Hotel on Saturday, August 10. The theme for this year's gala is “Come Back to Camp.” During the event, Georgia 4-H will present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. Harold Darden, retired Associate State 4-H Leader Emeritus. Tickets are available online at


Outstanding Extension program

We are pleased to announce that the July winner for the Outstanding Extension Program contest is the Eighth Annual Insectival which was coordinated by Jule-Lynn Macie with Rockdale County Cooperative Extension.

The Eighth Annual Insectival was held Saturday, May 11, 2013 from 10am-2pm. The Insectival is an insect festival with something for the whole family! The Insectival is for those that love bugs and those that loath them! The goal of the insectival is to show people that 97% of the world’s insects are beneficial and to give those who are afraid of insects a chance to overcome those fears in a nonthreatening environment.

Rockdale County InsectivalActivities included: Face Painting, Cockroach Races, Insect Collections, Honeybees, See Like an Insect Booth, aquatic insects, insect crafts, insect themed carnival games, APHIS invasive species booth, Edible Insects participants joined the I Ate a Bug Club, Master Gardener Plant Clinic Booth, Mealworm fried rice demonstrations, Cricket Spitting contest, Insect balloon art, and lots of insects that live in Rockdale County including live insects to hold! Participants learned about the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY of the insect world!

The program utilized 41 adult and teen volunteers this year. The event was attended by 153 participants. All three program areas of the Rockdale Extension office worked together to conduct this very popular annual event.


Personnel actions since June 1, 2013

New Hires

  • Bacon County – Renee Holland, Public Serv Asst – Blueberry Farm, 6/1/2013
  • 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
  • Burke County – Rebekah Bowen, Public Serv Asst, 7/1/2013
  • Dooly County – Jay Porter, Public Serv Rep, 7/1/2013
  • Evans County – Kali Wasdin, Co Extension Associate, 6/1/2013
  • Floyd County – Kelli Salmon, Public Serv Rep, 7/1/2013
  • Greene County – David Daniel, Public Serv Rep, 7/1/2013
  • Muscogee County – Barbara Collins, Public Serv Asst, 7/1/2013
  • Pulaski County – James Freeman, Public Serv Rep, 6/1/2013
  • Tattnall County – Rachel Stewart, Public Serv Asst, 7/1/2013
  • Tattnall County – Leslie Garrett, Public Serv Rep, 8/1/2013
  • Washington County – Georgeanne Cook, Public Serv Asst, 6/1/2013

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
  • Oglethorpe County – Marcus Eason, Public Serv Rep, transferred from County Extension Associate, 6/1/2013
  • VOVRC Director – Cliff Riner, Public Serv Asst, transferred from Tattnall County, 7/1/2013


  • Henry County – Kelly Brannen, CEPA, 6/30/2013
  • Jones County – Thelma Oliver, County Secretary, 6/30/2013
  • Northeast District – Norman McGlohon, District Director, 7/31/2013
  • Quitman County – June Swain, County Secretary, 6/26/2013
  • Spalding County – Carol Gulliford, County Secretary, 6/25/2013