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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for April 2014

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

Extension Colleagues:

Let's hope we have put the last cold weather behind us. We welcome Spring 2014 and a new growing season to Georgia.

News since the last issue of Extension E-News:

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Stanley Culpepper and Dr. Bob Kemerait. They recently received the Barnard Hill Awards from the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach. The Hill Award is named in honor of Chancellor Walter Barnard Hill, who led the UGA from 1899 until his death in 1905. Congratulations Stanley and Bob! Read the news release.

We celebrated the career of Laurie Cantrell, program development specialist for Family and Consumer Sciences in both Northeast and Southeast Districts. Laurie has had a long and distinguished career and she will be missed. Laurie, thanks for your dedication and years of service.

The budget development process for our state budget for FY15 is about to conclude. If the budget is approved as presented (keep your fingers crossed), Cooperative Extension and our college have many reasons to be thankful. The state budget for FY 15 includes positions for Extension/research faculty in wheat breeding, beef cattle research, poultry research and poultry nutrition, a director for Food PIC and one county agent position, funds for replacement of worn out/outdated equipment for our experiment stations ($1M), and maintenance and renovation funds for experiment station and Extension facilities ($4M). All we are waiting on is Governor Deal to sign off on the conference version and that should happen within the next couple of weeks. When this budget is approved, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL LEGISLATORS AND THANK THEM FOR THEIR SUPPORT OF THE BUDGETS FOR EXTENSION AND THE AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATIONS.

In March and April I represented UGA Cooperative Extension at several national or regional meetings. First, the annual meeting of the National Extension Directors Association (NEDA) was held in conjunction with the annual conference of eXtension in Sacramento, California. Most Extension directors/administrators throughout the southern region still face fiscal challenges at the state level and some, including North Carolina State University, face another round of significant budget cuts. The good news is it appears some of our sister states (Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky) are turning the corner towards economic recovery and are beginning to rebuild and hire new employees.

Our eXtension I-Team won the Outstanding Institutional Innovation Team Award at the eXtension National Conference. The team was selected for the award based on a series of lunch-and-learn online trainings aimed to help Extension faculty learn about the eXtension tools that are available to them. The team also evaluated the effectiveness of the trainings and online tours of the eXtension site and a periodic tip sheet providing updates on eXtension resources.

UGA's eXtension I-Team

Members of the team include Janet Sylvia, Diane Bales, Jeff Buckley, Willie Chance, Keith Fielder, Janet Hollingsworth, Michelle Lewis, Mark Risse, Todd Hurt, Faith Peppers, Amanda Tedrow, Steve Walker and Chris Adcock. Congratulations!

UGA representatives at the National 4-H Legacy GalaThe National 4-H Legacy Gala, along with the spring meeting of the National 4-H Council Board of Trustees, was held in Washington D. C. on April 3-4. Former Georgia 4-H'er Nancy Grace served as emcee for the gala and four members of Georgia 4-H's Clovers & Company performed during the evening. It was a spectacular evening at the Newseum and a showcase for Georgia 4-H.

The ACCG Annual Conference was held in Savannah April 12-14. This year's convention was held across the river at the new convention center and UGA Extension joined with ACCG and Yancey Brothers to celebrate a common milestone - 100 years of service to county government in Georgia. I will include more about this event in our next newsletter.


In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Greg Price reminds us that county offices are, for many, the doorway to first impressions of UGA;
  • Steve Brown explains the importance and usefulness of the farm gate value report;
  • Deborah Murray recaps her first ACCG meeting which included the Extension Centennial Exhibit, Farm House, Walk Georgia exhibit and 1.5 mile wellness walk; and
  • Arch Smith reminisces with retired Extension faculty member Bill Sell.


County Operations

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

Spring Cleaning

Spring is associated with many traditions such as the Macon Cherry Blossom Festival, trout fishing, spring planting, the University of Georgia rodeo, and egg decorating, just to name a few. However, one tradition that always seems to get more talk than action is spring-cleaning. It’s a tradition that is nice to think about, but few of us take real action, especially in our offices. Does your office have a spring cleaning day?

I have heard more than one person comment that the county Extension office is the local “front door” to UGA. We should take pride in our association with UGA, our colleges, 4-H and county government by putting forth a professional impression - an image of an organization on the cutting edge of technology and education. Another phrase I often hear relative to this topic is “You can never change a first impression.” What is the first thing a client sees when they enter your office?

We enter the same door every day and often don’t see the obvious. Look at your environment from the view of a client. Ask your program development team to evaluate their impression of your office. Make a spring-cleaning checklist and dedicate time on the calendar to complete it.

Look at the office structure. Is it time to inquire about painting? Does the landscape represent the lessons we teach? Is your kitchen area representative of the lessons we teach? Have you properly stored the poster-making materials after DPA?

Removing clutter is one of the most dramatic quick improvements you can make. Do you have out dated computer equipment that needs to be surplused? Go through your storage room and discard all but an office copy of out dated publications.

Public image is important but perhaps a more powerful result of spring cleaning is your increased productivity when your work space is organized and efficient. Look at those filing cabinets. Whether it's a single drawer or a full cabinet, you're likely storing unnecessary paperwork. Toss all unnecessary files and create a clean, organized filing system for important documents. Review the Extension checklist of what is needed in a program file for major educational programs.

Many of you are moving away from paper files to electronic files. While a visitor cannot see the clutter or disorganization in your electronic files, the lost work productively equals that of unorganized paper files. So while cleaning your physical desktop, take time to clean your computer desktop.

Finally, one spring-cleaning task that has been a personal tradition of mine is rediscovering that my coffee cup is supposed to be white on the inside.


Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

Farm Gate Value Reports are Important

Each year we publish a Farm Gate Value Report to document the value of agriculture to the state of Georgia down to county level resolution. The data is presented in numerous categories of agriculture including poultry, cattle, cotton, vegetables, pecans, forestry, etc. Each year, the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development coordinates this huge effort, but much of the actual data is provided by county ANR agents who are in a position to know, better than anyone, how much and what type of agriculture is present in their county.

The process isn't perfect and admittedly some numbers are reasonable guesses rather than hard facts. Still, the numbers we generate are the best available and they are widely used. Those in government and agribusiness take note of these numbers and watch for trends on how the numbers change over time. We recently asked agents to help us put together a one page annual report for each county. The ANR portion of that report had impact statements and farm gate value numbers that demonstrated how ANR programs impact Georgia's largest industry. At last week's ACCG Conference, we gave those county reports to the commissioners that determine how much county support we receive (currently about 28 percent of our statewide budget).

We all know that our mission is to present unbiased, factual information to the citizens of Georgia. The data we provide in the form of the farm gate value report is no exception. It's extremely important to our reputation that this data is as close to reality as possible. In the next few weeks, we will be asking ANR agents to finalize their input for the 2013 version of the report. Please take this task seriously. This report is widely used and your numbers ARE watched. If they are too high or too low, someone WILL wonder why. The ANR PDCs can help you if you have questions about how to complete the report.


Family and Consumer Sciences

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

ACCG Meeting

The Extension Centennial Exhibit, Farm House, and the Walk Georgia exhibit and wellness walk at this week's ACCG meeting were great successes. More than 190 county commissioners, and some spouses, came out at 7:30 a.m. on Monday to participate in the walking event held on River and Bay Streets in historic Savannah. It was truly an Extension event with 4-H members and volunteers from Effingham County cheering the commissioners on as they passed walking points on the 1.5 mile walk.

Georgia Extension was well represented in our exhibit and at Walk Georgia by Beverly Sparks, Steve Brown, Arch Smith, Greg Price, Joann Milam, Laura Perry Johnson, Sheldon Hammond, Judy Ashley, Karol Kelly, Al and Joan Parker, Melinda Miller, Justin Shealey, Todd Hurt, Lisa Jordan, Jackie Ogden, Janet Hollingsworth, Angela Rowell, Maria Bowie, and Kathryn Schiliro. Dean Linda Fox joined us for the Wellness Walk and I talked to many county commissioners about Family and Consumer Sciences and wellness programs in their counties.

We also worked with ACCG to provide the commissioners with a checklist of ideas for low or no cost county wellness programs. Many of our FACS agents are currently working with wellness programs and will provide more support to county commissioners as they implement their worksite wellness programs.

A few of the ideas we shared include creating a Walk Georgia Campaign and encouraging employees to participate in Walk Georgia by contacting their county Extension office. Besides Walk Georgia, we have many programs that work well in county wellness programs such as Walk a Weigh. Contact Connie Crawley at for more details.

Centennial Resolution

I was surprised to be asked to join Beverly, Greg, Steve and Arch at Monday's luncheon where we received the framed ACCG resolution recognizing Extension's 100 years of service to the State of Georgia. It was a highlight for me, since I have devoted 41 years of paid and non-paid service to Extension. I have had the opportunity to know and learn from some of the pioneers of Extension work. Following the centennial presentation, Dr. Sparks was surprised by a special recognition of the contributions she has made during her tenure as the director of Extension. She was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a warm recognition by the current president of the association. It was a special moment for all of us in Extension.


4-H and Youth Development

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

A few days ago, Georgia 4-H Foundation Executive Director Mary Ann Parsons and I visited with Bill and Edna Sell. For many years, the Sells have supported the 4-H program in many ways. Dr. Sell earned his undergraduate and master degrees from the University of Georgia and later received his doctorate from Cornell. He was an Extension agronomist who worked primarily with cotton. Bill reminisced about growing up on a cotton farm and plowing with mules. He talked about his time in the U.S. Navy, and he shared how much 4-H had meant to his two sons. I truly enjoyed the visit, as I never tire of hearing someone talk about a time when life seemed much simpler. He also spoke about how much he enjoyed working with the clientele, the many county Extension agents, Extension specialists, 4-H members and Extension Directors Bill Sutton, Hoop Eberhardt and Tal Duvall - all leaders of UGA Extension during Bill's years of service.

As I reflected on our visit with Dr. and Mrs. Sell, I thought about the many changes that have occurred during the past 100 years. Is the work of Extension as important today as it was in 1914 when the Smith Lever Act was passed? I know that Extension was valuable to my family on the cotton and cattle farm where I grew up in rural Georgia. Warren County Agent Floyd Yelton often visited with my father and other local farmers. He provided research-based advice and guidance to help increase yields and improve production practices. He was in the schools once a month to deliver the monthly 4-H program and encourage young people to participate in 4-H activities beyond the school classroom. I took advantage of those opportunities and it helped me understand that I needed to continue my education beyond high school. Yes, Extension and 4-H played significant roles in my life.

I have often said that 4-H is more essential today than it was in 1904 when G. C. Adams started the Boys Corn Clubs in Georgia. Many children do not have the support at home that is necessary for them to become productive citizens in our modern society. Extension programs and 4-H are still helping people improve their quality of life. As we celebrate the Extension centennial, I appreciate the positive difference Extension made in the life of my family. As an Extension worker, I am glad that there were people in Georgia like G. C. Adams and Phil Campbell—the early pioneers of Georgia Extension, the Bill Suttons, Hoop Eberhardts and Tal Duvalls—builders of strong foundations in Extension and 4‑H, and most importantly, the Bill Sells and Floyd Yeltons—Extension professionals who worked with 4-H members and Extension clientele to help bring about positive change that has made America the strongest nation on Earth.


Outstanding Extension program

The April winner of the Outstanding Extension Program contest is Great Start Columbus coordinated by Barbara Collins with Muscogee County Cooperative Extension.

Through a designated point of contact at the local Department of Family and Children Services office, home visitors assist families in accessing services.

Great Start Columbus is a Family and Consumer Science programs offered by Columbus/Muscogee County Extension. Great Start Columbus Home Visiting Programs are a component of the overall Great Start Georgia Initiative. Pregnant women or mothers of newborns to five-year-olds must meet the eligibilty criteria and live in Muscogee County to enroll in this free program.

Columbus-Muscogee Extension offers First Steps (FS), Parents as Teachers (PAT), Healthy Families (HF) and Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP). The Great Start program consists of three home visiting programs and a parenting information program for families that do not qualify for home visitation or who opt not to enroll in home visitation.

Community Partners, marketing with local news and print media -

A fulltime community screener partners with local doctor offices, hospitals, Department of Health and many other community organizations to find families in need. Referral partners include the Hope Harbor Domestic Violence Shelter, the local public housing authority and Family Connections.


Personnel actions since March 1, 2014

New Hires

  • Candler County – Christopher Earls, Public Serv Rep, 3/1/2014
  • Chatham County – Shantel Jackson, CEPA, 3/13/2014
  • Chatham County – Faidy Aguilar Davis, CEPA, 3/13/2014
  • Fayette County – Christina Bacon, County Secretary, 4/10/2014
  • Johnson County – Travis Woodard, Public Serv Rep, 3/1/2014
  • Pickens County – Jessica Sarten, Public Serv Rep,  4/1/2014
  • Richmond County – Ashley Kirvan, CEPA,  3/27/2014
  • Sumter County – Crystal Perry, Public Serv Asst, 4/1/2014
  • Tift County – Brittney Gunter, CEPA, 4/10/2014

Transfers/Position Changes

  • Cherokee County – Laura Witcher, transferred from County Extension Associate to Public Serv Rep, 3/1/2014
  • Colquitt County – Jeremy Kichler, transferred from Macon to Colquitt County, 3/1/2014
  • Mitchell County – Andrew Shirley, transferred from Ben Hill to Mitchell County, 4/1/2014


  • Bleckley County – Bryan McElvany, Public Serv Asst, 3/31/2014
  • Dawson County – Mary Dintelmann, Program Coord II, 3/21/2014
  • Elbert County – Clay Talton, Public Serv Asst, 3/22/2014
  • Glynn County – Kristy Glace, County Extension Associate, 4/4/2014
  • Newton County – Debra Eunice, County Secretary, 4/15/2014
  • Worth County – Keli Gunn, CEPA, 4/9/2014