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

Extension E-News

Greetings for February 2014

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

Extension Colleagues:

The year 2014 may go down as having one of our coldest winters in recent history. This edition of E-News comes to you from an icy Athens, Ga. As I write this piece, I am at home and trying to stay warm by the fire. We are into day two of this ice storm with more snow and other types of freezing precipitation on the way. By the time you read this, it will most likely be 65 degrees here. In February, you have got to be flexible in your taste for the weather in this part of the world.

The first six weeks of this year have been very productive. In mid-January, at Extension Winter School 2014, we initiated the yearlong celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Smith Lever Act Waded Cruzadowith a keynote address from Montana State University President Waded Cruzado. I had previously heard President Cruzado speak on the importance of the land grant university system and Cooperative Extension's role within that system and was thrilled when she accepted our invitation to speak and help us kick off our celebration. She did an excellent job of reminding us of Extension's strong history of contributions to agriculture and quality of life and also addressed the importance of a strong Extension system as we go forward into the next 100 years.

Thanks to the program planning committee members for their efforts in planning and executing the many learning, networking and professional development opportunities held during Winter School 2014. And, thanks to the Rock Eagle staff for taking great care of us while we were there.

2014 Winter School Participants

Winter school participants

View more pictures from 2014 Winter School on Flickr.

At Winter School we also unveiled our new marketing program and a new brand for UGA Extension. You will soon see this new brand on our websites, stationery, newsletters and marketing/promotional materials.

UGA Extension

Tools and resources:

Also, during the last six weeks CAES hosted 2014 Georgia Ag Forecast sessions in Athens, Macon, Bainbridge and Lyons. Each site had record attendance. The sessions in Tifton and Cartersville were cancelled due to inclement weather and have been rescheduled for Feb. 28 and March 7 respectively.

Of course, this time of year we also focus our attention on the legislative process going on in Atlanta. It appears this year that our legislators are on track to wrap up this session in record time. Since the beginning of the session, CAES administration and faculty, as well as members of our CAES Advisory Council, have had many contacts with legislators attending the ACCG legislative reception and training sessions, Georgia Agribusiness Council annual meeting and legislative breakfast and CAES legislative reception. I ask that you continue to work closely with our legislators, keep them informed about our budget challenges and communicate the impact of programs. We have several opportunities to interact with legislators coming up soon including 4-H Day at the Capitol (Feb. 24), Family and Consumer Sciences Day at the Capitol (Feb. 19) and Ag Day at the Capitol (March 18).

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Greg Price writes about the public service promotion process;
  • Steve Brown reflects on how the research and Extension's culture has changed for the better;
  • Deborah Murray reports on the benefits of the new FACS County Resource Guide; and
  • Arch Smith provides a 4-H facilities update.


County Operations

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

Public Service Promotion System

The information for the 2014 public service faculty promotion process was released through email on Feb. 5. We have not completed the last cycle and the new cycle has begun. I guess this is true of many parts of our job.

Newly appointed Associate Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, Dr. Paul Brooks will provide university level leadership to this process. Tony Tyson and I recently visited with Dr. Brooks to share our enthusiasm and support of the process. In preparing for this meeting, I was reminded of the interconnectivity of Cooperative Extension and the University of Georgia Office of Public Service and Outreach.

County Extension agents have not always been so closely associated with PS&O. In July 1995, county agents first received faculty status and became part of the university public service faculty. This fundamental change opened up new opportunities for county agents and Cooperative Extension. The item most recognized is the opportunity to participate in the public service promotion system.

Today, UGA Cooperative Extension proudly holds more than 50 percent of the entire public service faculty members at UGA. With a 100-year history we are still fairly new to a faculty recognition system for county agents. In fact, few of our sister programs around the nation have a similar system. Other extension programs often call on me to share the history of our faculty promotion system. It is envied by many of our extension colleagues.

For county agents to effectively participate in the promotion system, I encourage you to start early and keep good records. The most important record is a good annual faculty activity report and impact statement. And, register and attend both the UGA and the Extension promotion workshops at least one year in advance. Submit a well-prepared mini-dossier and take every opportunity to seek advice from others who have recently completed the process.

Please visit with your district Extension director and develop a plan for your participation. I would also remind everyone this is a faculty driven process. Please take every opportunity to support the system through various committees when invited.


Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

Research and Extension Done Right

When I came to UGA in 1990, UGA Agricultural Experiment Stations and UGA Cooperative Extension were two entirely separate entities. Extension departmental faculty were not welcome on UGA experiment stations across the state unless they had an official research appointment (and most didn't) or they were formally included on a research project by a project leader. It wasn't that Cooperative Extension faculty weren't respected. It was the culture of the time that research and Extension budgets were entirely separate. Research money went strictly to research and Extension money went strictly to Extension. Both entities did great work, but we lived in our silos. Our research was certainly relevant and Extension recommendations were certainly connected to real science, but our administrative structure didn't facilitate the connection between the two.

Today, the culture has completely reversed. Most of our departmental Extension faculty have research appointments and commonly conduct applied research that supports their Extension programs. Many of our Extension departmental faculty, as well as many ANR agents, have research projects on experiment stations - now called research and education centers. It can be argued that this system puts a lot of pressure on our Extension faculty to perform in non-Extension functions. But, I would also argue that Extension's connection to timely, relevant research-based information is as strong in Georgia as anywhere in the country.

This was on my mind as I attended the ribbon cutting for the new J. Phil Campbell Sr. Research Center in Watkinsville. After serving as a USDA Agricultural Research Service research station for 76 years, the 1,055-acre farm and laboratory complex was transferred to the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in fall 2013 to expand the college's education, research and outreach programs. Some of our Extension faculty have already been assigned space at the facility and are actively engaged in research projects. In an unprecedented move, a significant portion of the facility has been designated as the new home for the Oconee County Extension office. That would not have happened in 1990.

Congratulations to Dr. Bob Shulstad and the UGA Agricultural Experiment Stations for this new acquisition. A lot of great things will happen at this facility, some cutting edge basic research, some immediate problem-solving research, some quality regional, statewide and national educational programs and even some quality Oconee County ANR, FACS and 4-H programs. Now that's the way it oughta work!


Family and Consumer Sciences

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

FACS County Resource Guide

Often we do not see the impact of projects that are undertaken as part of leadership programs conducted both by internal and external organizations. In 2011, a group of FACS agents participating in the 2011 ExTEND, an advanced leadership program of the Extension Academy for Professional Excellence, developed a very important tool to provide support for FACS programming in those counties with FACS agent vacancies. The ExTEND Agents and FACS Resource Guide contributors were Betty English (Richmond County), Denise Everson (Clarke and Oconee counties), Janet Hollingsworth, (Appling County) Lisa Jordan (Chatham County) and Joann Milam (former Washington County FACS agent, now Southeast District director).

I wanted to learn more and found that ExTEND provides an opportunity for Extension Academy graduates who have a serious interest in furthering their professional leadership development and making a significant contribution to Georgia Extension. ExTEND participants complete an Extension project identified by administration.

As a result, the FACS County Resource Guide was developed. County secretaries across the state are using the guide. I want to share with you some significant facts I gleaned about the impact of the FACS County Resource Guide and how it is being used at the county level.

County Secretary Survey
Some 134 county secretaries responded to the survey.

  • 65 percent report using the guide while 62 percent reported having attended a training for using the guide.
    Lesson Learned: Training is important and the percentage of those being trained is almost equal to the percentage of those using the guide.
  • 98 percent report receiving 1 to 10 requests a week for FACS information with 2 percent reporting receiving more than 15 requests a week.
    Lesson Learned: FACS programming and information is very relevant to our clientele and expected.

The recommendations from the survey analysis to Extension administrators included the following:

  • To update the FACS Resource Guide
  • Send information to all counties after the update with the web location
  • To provide an additional training update to all county secretaries and resource managers
  • To ensure our website is user-friendly for local offices and consumers

I want to congratulate this group of ExTEND professionals for the impact they have had and will continue to have on the Extension system.

2011 ExTEND Participants

ExTend class of 2011
Pictured (L to R) are: First Row – Marcie Simpson, Denise Everson, Janet Hollingsworth, Betty English; Second Row – Marie Trice, Tony Tyson, Bob Waldorf, Joann Milam, Lisa Jordan, Jessica Hill, Rhea Bentley, Steve Brown, Jule-Lynne Macie, Wade Parker, Beverly Sparks and Mary Ellen Blackburn.
Learn more about ExTEND.


4-H and Youth Development

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

This winter has been cold and wet, creating some problems at 4-H centers in Georgia. Frozen pipes during the first week of January caused more than $150,000 in damages at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. One school ended up staying at Jekyll Island 4-H Center the entire last week of January because of ice in the Atlanta metro area, and a number of our user groups have had to find new dates for their conferences. Despite the weather, we have many exciting changes at the 4-H centers. Here is an update on our 4-H facilities.

Burton – The greatest challenge at Burton 4-H Center is the creek bank that is eroding behind the cabins and dining hall. Some underground electrical, sewer and water lines are already exposed. Our original plan was to construct a wooden bulkhead to correct the problem. It has taken some time to get the required permits, so in the meantime, we have decided to construct a living shoreline that will reduce our costs and will be more environmentally-friendly. Living shorelines are erosion control techniques that provide increased opportunities for species diversity and productivity, improve water quality, and protect embankments while mimicking natural environments. This project will double as an educational resource for 4-H Environmental Education students and 4-H campers. Some of the costs of the living shoreline may be covered by a grant that we are working in collaboration with UGA Marine Extension. There only three or four living shorelines in Georgia.

Fortson – Georgia 4-H leases Fortson 4-H Center from the Fortson Youth Training Center, Inc. Board of Directors. The Fortson board recently completed the purchase of an additional 1.6 acres of land. The land purchase was needed because one of Fortson's buildings was partially located on a neighbor's property. We continue to see an increase in business at Fortson. We appreciate the support of Jerry Whitaker and the Fortson Youth Training Center as they have helped finance many of the improvements at the facility over the past ten years.

Jekyll Island – Governor Deal and the Georgia General Assembly put $12 million in the FY2014 DNR budget to construct a new youth facility on the site of the Jekyll Island 4-H Center. Since the end of January, I have met with Jekyll Island Authority officials on two occasions to learn more about the new facilities. I think 4-H users will be pleased. The construction will take place in phases to minimize the interruption of 4-H programs at the new facility.

Rock Eagle – We are also pleased that the Governor and the General Assembly have provided $12.5 million since FY2012 for new cabin construction at Rock Eagle. We have 11 new cabins in use, 5 under construction, and construction will begin within the next few days on 6 more cabins. By June, we will have a total of 16 new cabins for summer camp. We have funding to replace 34 of the 54 cabins at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. In addition to the dollars provided by the state, the Georgia 4-H Foundation has raised more than $3.7 million dollars in private funds to support the cabin replacement project.

Wahsega – Our plans to add restrooms and a separate bedroom and bath for adult chaperones have taken longer because of additional time required to secure the necessary permits for construction. We made a similar addition to two cabins in the 1990s. This project will make these additions to the remaining 14 cabins. We hope to begin construction later this year, once the permitting is complete.

Our 4-H centers are an important part of the success of the Georgia 4-H program. Last year we served over 110,000 guests. (That number does not include Rock Eagle Sunday lunch business, weddings, and offsite catering.) 

I hope to see you soon at one of Georgia's 4-H centers.


Outstanding Extension program

The February winner of the Outstanding Extension Program contest is the Expanded Food and Nutrition Program in Action coordinated by Angela Hairston of  Fulton, Clayton and Cobb County Cooperative Extension.

In 2013, EFNEP partnered with 36 social service agencies to reach 850 families in Fulton, Clayton, and Cobb counties. A total of 571 families completed the required series of six nutrition education sessions. Reaching the 850 families indirectly benefited more than 2,600 family members of the EFNEP participants. The EFNEP team held a second agency recognition luncheon to recognize agencies that partnered with EFNEP to help families eat healthier meals in 2013.

A team of program assistants delivers EFNEP under the directions of the Extension areas agent. The program assistants conducted a series of six general nutrition education sessions for social service agencies and clients in Fulton, Clayton, and Cobb counties. Teaching techniques consist of group discussion, hands-on learning activities and food demonstrations to address issues such as reducing fat, sugar and salt intake when selecting prepared foods or when cooking meals. Program participants receive recipes demonstrated on site and incentives such as measuring cups or spoons, recipe calendars, menu planners, and other items distributed at each nutrition session.

Based on participants’ responses to pre/post entry and exit surveys, 571 adults modified their behavior by making healthier food choices toward food management, nutrition, and food safety practices. Seventy-one percent of the participants made changes in food resource management practices by planning meals in advance, comparing prices when shopping, using a grocery shopping list and running out of food before the end of the month less often. Seventy-nine percent showed improvement in their nutrition practices of planning meals in advance, making healthy food choices, reducing salt intake, reading nutrition facts on food labels and encouraging their children to eat breakfast. Seventy-one percent improved their food safety practices by not allowing meat and dairy foods to sit out for more than two hours, no longer thaw foods at room temperature and always follow the recommended practices.

Thirty out of the 36 EFNEP partner agencies provided food and/or gift cards (valued at $600) to help Extension purchase items for food demonstrations. Cost savings to 36 agencies of $216 each if they paid $10 per nutrition education session for the series of six sessions offered by the EFNEP program. St. Vincent de Paul Church / Sullivan Center donated Hallmark Products - Thomas Kincaid paintings, assortment of gifts bags, thank you cards, and various packs of stationery for agency recognition luncheon participants with an estimated value of more than $2,500.


Personnel actions since December 1, 2013

New Hires

  • Banks County – Caitlin Bennett, Public Serv Rep, 12/1/2013
  • Bulloch County – Victoria Tillery, County Extension Associate, 1/1/2014
  • Coweta County – Rebekah Long, County Secretary, 1/2/2014
  • Pickens County – Loren Brogdon, County Extension Associate, 12/10/2013
  • Richmond County – Linda Taylor, CEPA, 12/05/2013
  • Richmond County – Elizabeth Whitaker, CEPA, 12/05/2013
  • Ware County – Jacqueline Nunn, Public Serv Rep, 12/01/2013
  • Union County – Jammie Murphy, County Secretary, 2/1/2014
  • Walton County – Jennifer Daniel, Public Serv Rep, 2/1/2014
  • Wayne County – James Knight III, Public Serv Rep, 12/1/2013

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
  • Northwest District – Jule-Lynne Macie, transferred from Rockdale County to ANR PDC, 2/1/2014
  • Southwest District – Scott Utley, transferred from Turner County to ANR PDC, 2/1/2014


  • Ben Hill – Wanda McLemore, County Secretary, 12/31/2013
  • Colquitt County – Glenn Beard, Sr Public Serv Assoc, 12/31/2013
  • Fayette County – Jeanette Martin, County Secretary, 12/05/2013
  • Miller County – Timothy Moore, Public Serv Asst, 12/31/2013
  • Murray County – Sharon Lichey, Public Serv Rep, 1/31/2014
  • Talbot County – Erica Randall, County Extension Associate, 1/8/2014
  • Tift County – Michael Goodman, CEPA,  12/23/2013
  • Washington County – Beverly Waller, County Secretary, 1/31/2014