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

Extension E-News

Greetings for November 2013

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

Extension Colleagues:

In the last four weeks, I have logged a lot of miles and have traveled to all corners of the state and represented UGA Extension at several state and national meetings. I was able to see the peak of the leaf color change as we moved across the districts and it was great to be face-to-face with all our agents, share an update from CAES administration and hear about your concerns. We could not have had better weather for this years' Swisher Sweets Sunbelt Expo and we had great attendance and participation in the UGA Exhibit. Thanks to the multitude of our faculty, agents and staff that worked so hard to make this year's exhibit such a success. Reports from the GACAA food booth at Sunbelt Expo indicate another successful year and I do appreciate the time and energy of the many volunteers that worked this booth and helped promote UGA, Extension and GACAA.

District Program Planning Conferences were well attended in Athens, Tifton and Statesboro. Thanks to Greg Price for covering for me at the Northwest District meeting. I am sorry to have missed being with our county faculty in Griffin. During our Program Planning Conference Sessions we revealed and discussed the budget brochure - College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences FY 2015 Budget Request for Research & Extension. The good news is that state revenues continue to move in a positive direction. However, we know our elected officials have tough jobs as they work to resolve the most pressing issues facing our state. It is time for us to congratulate newly elected officials and reconnect with those that have been serving and make sure they are familiar with CAES, UGA Cooperative Extension and the impact of our work in their district. Please do not underestimate the power of the local connection with these elected officials. And, thank you for your on-going work to keep us connected with them.

Rock Eagle was the site for several recent events and celebrations. Dean Angle held a one-day retreat for our department heads and, on that same day, we held a wonderful celebration and dedication of the Diane Davies Natural History Museum. In November, Rock Eagle celebrated the 1 millionth participant in our environmental education program. Congratulations to Diane for this much deserved recognition!

Ribbon cutting of Diane Davies Natural History Museum
Ribbon cutting/dedication of Diane Davies Natural History Museum at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. View more photos on Flickr.

I appreciated the opportunity to attend the annual GACAA at Lake Lanier Islands and address the executive committee. Thanks to the leadership of GACAA for an outstanding meeting at this beautiful location. And, I also represented us at the National 4-H Council Board of Trustees fall meeting in Chevy Chase, Maryland. During the last four weeks I met and visited with more than 20 of our newest agricultural agents and nine of our newest specialists at ANR agent and ANR specialist foundations trainings in Athens. I was also engaged in interviews for two faculty positions and the associate state 4-H leader. It is truly rewarding to see so many new faces in our Extension family and to know there are so many outstanding individuals seeking opportunities to work for UGA Extension.

I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving holiday and GO DAWGS!

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Greg Price urges agents to thank their stakeholders during the time of Thanksgiving;
  • Steve Brown welcomes new faces into the Extension family;
  • Deborah Murray discusses Extension's mission under new UGA leadership; and
  • Arch Smith provides an update on the Georgia 4-H tax status.


County Operations

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

November is a month dedicated to giving thanks. This is also true within Cooperative Extension. One of the most important items on your November to-do-list should be giving thanks to those that fund us. Have you properly thanked your local stakeholders within the last year? Have you shared your programming impact? If not, now is a good time.

All counties should have a plan for communicating with stakeholders. We need to work our plan. Overall marketing is important but it is equally important to have a targeted plan for this very specific group. It starts with knowing who your local stakeholders are. Stakeholders are those individuals that do or can have a direct influence on your funding at the local, state and national level. We need to share the impact of our work and the need for resources.

Annual reports to your local boards, thank you notes for local donors, and appreciation events are all tools you can use. Program Development Teams or Extension Leadership Councils can be a great asset in sharing your impact. Master Gardeners and even 4-H members are all willing to help.

November is also an especially important month for visiting with our state legislators. It is important to communicate throughout the year, but this month we should include our college funding needs and priorities in addition to your local program impact. So, if you have not already done so, now is the time to contact your local state delegation to thank them for their support. While we appreciate the opportunity to visit with them in Atlanta, the most important communication takes place at home before January.

Finally, thank YOU for all the work you do to support the mission of Cooperative Extension and the citizens in your county.


Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

The New Faces of ANR

Cooperative Extension has lost a lot of very good employees over the last few years. For too long, economics prevented us from replacing them. Thankfully, we have now begun that process. As we approach our 100 year anniversary, everyone should take a little time to study our history. You will find that we enjoy a strong reputation that was built by many pioneers of agricultural and natural history education. Georgia's strong agricultural status and the preservation of our abundant natural resources didn't just happen naturally. It happened because hard working and creative Cooperative Extension employees taught our citizens how to make it happen. In order to stay relevant over a 100-year period, any organization, public or private, must maintain a steady and smooth transition of employees.

Last month, we held two significant events: the largest ANR Foundations Training for new ANR agents in recent history and a New Specialist Foundations Training. In the week long ANR agent training, we covered many of the technical subject matter areas that new agents have to master and also gave the state pesticide certification exam. In the two-day specialist training, we introduced specialists to the publication process, the county delivery system, legal issues, money management and other important subjects.

It is wonderful to have so many extremely bright, well qualified people joining our ranks. Please help me welcome them and begin to form productive collaborative relationships with them. We have an enormous mission and no one can succeed alone.

ANR Specialists
New Specialists (L to R): Jacob Segers (beef cattle), Tim Coolong (vegetable horticulturist), Steve Brown (assistant dean for Extension), Pam Knox (climatologist), Mark Abney (peanut entomologist), Jillian Fain (animal science-youth programs), Sheri Dorn (Master Gardener Ext. Volunteer program coordinator), Erick Smith (small fruit horticulturist) and Ash Sial (IPM and blueberry entomologist).


ANR Agents
New ANR agents (front row, l-r): Stephanie Hollifield (Brooks), Andy Shirley (Ben Hill), Mark Freeman (Pulaski), Charlotte Mote (Houston), Renee Holland (blueberry area agent), Eddie Beasley (Berrien), Rolando Orellana (Fulton), Ben Shirley (Bacon), Trey Gafnea (Meriwether), (back row, l-r) Todd Leeson (Fulton), David Daniel, Jr. (Greene), Matt Roberts (Colquitt), Nathan Eason (White), Will Lovett (Brantley/Charlton), Robbie Jones (Baldwin), Joel Burnsed (Twiggs), Brian Maddy (Troup), Nick McGhee (Terrell), Jeremy Taylor (Lanier) and Jay Porter (Dooly).


Family and Consumer Sciences

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

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, many will attend or watch via technology the investiture of UGA's 22nd President Jere W. Morehead. This ceremony, steeped in tradition and symbolism, marks the beginning of a new era in the history of UGA. President Morehead has said his focus will not only be on strengthening the core academic mission of the university but, he states “we owe the state our service in addressing its most pressing problems.”

The change in leadership at the top at a land-grant university brings new ideas, new foci, and a renewed sense of the obligations of the university's core missions, including the Extension mission. As we celebrate a new university president, the 100th celebration of the Smith Lever Extension Centennial, and the history of a land-grant university as the oldest public university in the nation, it is time for us to evaluate and ask the question, “How are we doing in addressing Georgia's most pressing problems?”

In a speech made in Augusta on Oct. 29, 2013, President Morehead made this comment about the land-grant mission: “Service is the fourth component of our academic core. As a land-grant university, designated under the Morrill Act of 1862, we are charged with serving the people of this state by connecting the needs of the people of Georgia with the vast resources of this campus. While we serve the state in many ways – Cooperative Extension and programs in agriculture and family and consumer sciences are the most familiar – I want to spend most of my time with you this morning on economic development and our role. One of the most important ways we can serve Georgians is by assisting the state in its economic development efforts.”

Many of the things we do impact the economic development efforts of the state, whether it is improving the health of individuals and families so we have a healthy workforce, preparing our youth to participate in the workforce, providing the skills entrepreneurs need to create new economies or supporting the important agriculture industry in our state. President Morehead is creating a sense of urgency for us with his words: “we need to get to work.”

An economic priority for our FACS Extension program is supporting local communities by building the skills of individuals and families in the creation of new jobs through our partnership with the Small Business Development Centers. Because of this partnership, nearly 200 individuals have been reached through “Is Starting a Home-Based Business for You?” and “Starting Your Home-Based Business.” The response has been very positive as indicated in the response of this participant: “I left the session with complete confidence that I had acquired knowledge of the most essential methods and techniques to set up my business.”

We will keep you posted on these and future efforts to address Georgia's most pressing problems.


4-H and Youth Development

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

The question about the 4-H tax status is asked almost every week. While we do not have a final answer from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), we are in direct communication with someone in the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS who is working with our attorney to develop a solution that will bring all Georgia 4-H Clubs under the umbrella of the Georgia Extension 4-H Foundation. In the past, when you filed your Form 990, you used the number 2704 as the Group Exemption Number (GEN) for 4-H. We were advised this week that we should have a new GEN for Georgia 4-H within the next few weeks. We are in the process of sending additional documentation to the IRS. Once this process is complete, we will send you the new GEN and provide information about how to send thank you/receipt letters to your local 4-H donors. In the meantime, please continue to include the following statement in thank you letters you send to your 4-H donors:

The ____________ 4-H Club is a chartered 4-H organization under the control of the Georgia Extension 4-H Foundation, Inc. (“Extension”). Georgia's 4-H Clubs are currently transitioning from a national group tax exemption maintained by the USDA to a Georgia group exemption maintained by Extension. Upon receipt of a final determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service, we will supply you with written notice regarding the deductibility of your contribution for Federal Income Tax purposes under Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.

As we approach the Thanksgiving season, I am reminded of Christmas morning 1977. I was 6 and a half months out of college and just beginning to live my dream of being a large-scale hog farmer. As I headed back to the house for Christmas morning with my family before heading off to church services, I stopped the truck on the top of a hill on the dirt road. On that peaceful morning, I could see the lights of two dairy barns and the lights of my neighbor's barnyard. I felt a great sense of pride to be involved in agriculture, but most of all, I was thankful that I had work to go to everyday. Obviously, raising hogs did not work out in the long run, but I have been able to be a part of agriculture through 4-H.

Needless to say, I am thankful I have a job. I am thankful for my family and thankful to be part of the nation's best 4-H program and to work with America's best 4-H staff at the county, district, and state level. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Outstanding Extension program

The November winner for the Outstanding Extension Program contest is the Growing and Marketing Satsuma Mandarins as a Commercial Crop in Southern Georgia conference coordinated by Jake Price of Lowndes County.

The program was designed and presented to educate farmers and small landowners of the possibilities of growing satsumas commercially and marketing the fruit to Georgia schools and other outlets. Satsumas are mandarins that resemble a tangerine in size. They have been growing in southern and coastal Georgia homesteads for decades but no attempt has been made to turn them into a commercial crop because of potential cold damage. New freeze protection methods like windbreaks, irrigation techniques, and improved cold-hardy rootstocks may change that.

Conference presenters included scientists and economists from UGA, University of Florida, the director of the food and nutrition program at the Lowndes County School system and a Georgia/Florida nurseryman from Georgia.

Eighty-five people attended the conference from numerous counties in Georgia as well as Florida and Alabama. Eighty-nine percent of the attendees consider themselves farmers or small landowners. On average the audience said their knowledge of Satsuma production increased 60 percent. All attendees said the meeting will help them decide whether or not to grow satsumas.

Satsuma orangesThe director of the Lowndes County School Food and Nutrition program explained to the audience how satsumas could become part of the school lunch menus. Lowndes County Schools feed more than 8,000 kids per day. Combined with Valdosta schools and numerous private schools, 18,000 satsumas could be sold to feed these children for one lunch day in Lowndes County alone. The school system market in Georgia represents a tremendous opportunity to market this high quality citrus fruit.

Since the August meeting, two citrus nurseries in Alabama and Louisiana have sold all 2,000 of their satsumas trees on trifoliate rootstock to Georgia customers. Trifoliate is currently the preferred rootstock because of its cold tolerance. A rootstock evaluation trial is being planned in Lowndes County with UDSA geneticist and researcher Dr. Kim Bowman of Ft. Pierce, Florida. This replicated trial should provide long term data on the best citrus rootstocks to plant in Georgia.


Personnel actions since October 1, 2013

New Hires

  • Bamboo Farm – Norman Winter, Director, 10/1/2013
  • Bamboo Farm – James Hughes, Grounds Foreman I, 10/1/2013
  • Ben Hill County – Heather Ferguson, VISTA, 11/9/2013
  • Calhoun County – Stephen Houston, VISTA, 11/9/2013
  • Camden County – Jessica Warren, Public Serv Asst, 11/1/2013
  • Clarke County – Elisabeth Lohmueller, County Secretary, 10/24/2013
  • Clay County – Chris Kennedy, County Extension Assoc/Resource Manager, 11/1/2013
  • Dekalb County – Ada Lopez, CEPA, 10/14/2013
  • Early County – Stanton Spence, VISTA, 11/9/2013
  • Elbert County – Alexandria Walsky, County Secretary, 10/24/2013
  • Fulton County – Todd Leeson, Public Serv Asst, 10/1/2013
  • Habersham County – Cassandra Hunter, Program Coordinator II, 10/1/2013
  • Houston County – Lakeisha Levi, CEPA, 10/3/2103
  • Lee County – Deirdre Shumate, Program Asst, 10/1/2013
  • Polk County – Crystal Hollis, 4-H CEPA, 10/31/2013
  • Quitman County – Ruchelle Priester, County Extension Assoc/Resource Manager 4-H, 11/1/2013
  • Richmond County – Carmen Scruggs, CEPA, 10/14/2013
  • Stewart County – Kayla Craft, Public Serv Rep-FACS Agent, 11/1/2013
  • Sumter County – Dorcas Reyes, CEPA, 10/3/2013
  • Troup County – Bonny Savelle, 4-H CEPA, 10/31/2013
  • White County – Nathaniel Eason, Public Serv Rep, 10/1/2013
  • Whitfield County – Ania Arias-Luciano, CEPA, 10/14/2013
  • Whitfield County – Stanislava Tomazin, CEPA, 10/14/2013

Transfers/Position Changes

  • Emanuel County – Jeffrey Burke, Public Serv Rep, 10/1/2013 (transferred from Sumter County)
  • Food and Nutrition – Hadley Standring, CEPA, 10/23/2013 (transferred from Dekalb County)
  • Northeast District – Judith Ashley, Director, 10/1/2013 (formerly ANR agent and CEC in Walton County)
  • Northwest District – Sheldon Hammond, Director, 10/1/2013 (formerly Ag PDC for NW District)


  • Bulloch County – Cathy Deal, County Extension Assoc, 10/14/2013
  • Crawford County – Britney Holloway, Public Serv Rep, 10/4/2013
  • Franklin County – Ricky Josey, Public Serv Assoc, 10/1/2013
  • Grady County – Donald Clark, Public Serv Asst, 10/1/2013
  • Hart County – Charles Rice, Sr Public Serv Assoc, 10/1/2013
  • Richmond County – Renate Lopez, CEPA, 10/15/2013
  • Stewart County – Sandra Gay, rehire, 11/1/2013
  • Sumter County – April Bowen, OMK, 11/1/2013
  • Ware County – Virginia Boatright, Public Serv Asst, 10/1/2013