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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for January 2014

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

Extension Colleagues:

Happy New Year and welcome to the first edition of Extension E-News for 2014. I hope you each had a great holiday break and were able to spend some quality time with family and friends and are ready for a productive and rewarding 2014. This will be a special year for Cooperative Extension nationwide as we celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Smith Lever Act. We will kick off that celebration next week at 2014 Winter School. You will not want to miss the Winter School opening session keynote address on the importance of the Smith Lever Act presented by Montana State University President Wade Cruzado.

As the new legislative session begins there is much excitement and anticipation and I thank those of you involved in contacting our legislators regarding the needs of CAES for the coming budget cycle. The state budget revenue collection picture continues to be positive and we seem to be entering a legislative session where our elected officials are interested in working together. It also appears they have plans to compress the session and wrap up their business as quickly as possible. Our district directors are reporting on results of meetings with state legislators and tell me the discussions are going well and there is strong support and appreciation for CAES and Georgia Extension programs. Let's hope that translates into support for budget enhancements.

As we post the first edition of Extension E-News for 2014, I will continue the tradition of sharing the highest priority goals of your Extension administrative team for the coming year. You will recognize some of these goals as we carry them over from last year.

We will strive to make the best use of our current resources and place those resources in high priority areas. We will continue to seek out additional resources to fund our programs and we will look for new, more efficient ways to deliver our programs.

We will work with department heads, the CAES administrative team and our industry partners to identify and secure funding for top priority Extension specialists positions. We have critical vacancies in many areas, but those identified as top priority include water resource management, grain crop agronomy, poultry nutrition, food and feed crop plant pathology, green industry entomology, fertility for vegetable crops, forage specialist, an invasive species specialist and a state specialist to work in the area of recruitment, training and retention of volunteers.

District directors will continue the process of screening, interviewing and filling high priority county Extension agent and county Extension coordinator positions as funds are identified and become available. We will continue throughout the year to work diligently to identify and secure additional funding and direct that funding to the highest priority agent positions in the state.

We will work with the CAES administrative team and unit heads to identify and fund key support positions in CAES and in Georgia Cooperative Extension.

We will identify, recruit and hire key members for our leadership team for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. We made great progress in 2013 toward rebuilding our administrative leadership team. We hired two new district directors, a director of county operations and two new ANR PDCs. In early 2014, we will reopen the search for an associate state 4-H leader and the ANR-PDC position in Southeast District. We will also work closely with and support FCS Dean Linda Fox and Debbie Murray as they address the vacancy created by the upcoming retirement of Laurie Cantrell.

We will focus on opportunities for professional development for new and mid-career faculty. In 2014, we will offer two leadership development opportunities for our new and mid-career faculty. Look for more information in the near future on the Leadership Academy and Extension Academy coming from Tony Tyson, coordinator of these two programs.

On behalf of your administrative team, we look forward to being with you at Winter Conference 2014, Jan. 22-24, at Rock Eagle. The program committee has done a superior job of pulling our program/training opportunities together, Rock Eagle is prepared to host a great conference and we have much to celebrate. See you there!

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Greg Price announces the addition of Tim Gray, Georgia Extension's first fiscal compliance coordinator;
  • Steve Brown urges Extension agents to make innovation a priority in the new year;
  • Deborah Murray welcomes new staff members to the Walk Georgia program and invites the Extension “family” to roast Laurie Cantrell good-bye; and
  • Arch Smith provides 4-H fundraising tips to help garner support for Georgia 4-H.


County Operations

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

Fiscal compliance coordinator joins Georgia Extension

The county checking account is near and dear to the heart of a county program. It is the source of a lot of management effort, but it's also critical to working effectively at the county level.

In recent years we have made several changes to improve our fiscal management system and allow us to continue to have these local accounts. We converted to QuickBooks Online, revised the County Fund Policy and are now piloting the use of credit cards.

2014 brings another opportunity to improve our efforts and keep these local accounts as a viable option for county operations. Timothy (Tim) Daren Gray recently joined our CAES team as our fiscal compliance coordinator, a newly created position. His role in the CAES business office will be threefold: answer questions and train on all things related to QuickBooks Online, make recommendations to the County Funds Policy, and conduct internal audits of UGA Extension offices. He will spend 80 percent of his time working with county offices.

For QuickBooks Online, Tim will serve as a statewide Helpdesk for daily operating issues. He will also conduct individual and group training sessions throughout the year. Tim says he hopes “to ensure that all secretaries and CECs in Extension offices are properly trained in using QuickBooks Online” and urges everyone to call him with any related questions.

For the County Funds Policy, Tim will make recommendations to administration for improving the policy based on current issues, concerns expressed during county office visits, and ways to improve internal controls.

For the internal audits, he will conduct random audits of Extension offices to test compliance with the County Funds Policy and relevant UGA policies. These audits are meant to ensure policy compliance, discourage fraud, and help the office maintain an orderly fiscal environment.

“I look forward to meeting all Extension office personnel and working with you as a helpful asset to Cooperative Extension. I would also like to emphasize that my role regarding auditing is not meant to be accusatory, but is to help and protect all personnel in the county Extension offices and UGA,” he said.

A native of Georgia, Tim has spent most of his life in Athens. He completed both his bachelor's (Chinese language and literature) and master's (public administration with a specialization in public finance and budgeting) degrees at UGA and obtained additional accounting and financial management training from Louisiana State University.

Please welcome Tim at or (706) 542-1861. He started his orientation to the job on Nov. 15 and is now available to assist you.


Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

A New Year’s resolution to be innovative

Extension's 100-year anniversary has caused me to think about how we have changed over that time period — Not how time has changed us, but how we have consciously changed when we had to. Change happens TO everyone, but Extension has had to opportunity to MAKE change happen in a positive way and we have to constantly re-equip ourselves to make that happen BEFORE it's obvious that we should have. In the private sector they call that innovation.

I recently read an article in Forbes magazine about the importance of innovation to corporations. The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has made innovation a priority for everyone in his company. He doesn't believe that innovation is the responsibility of the boss, but every employee. He has three keys to innovation. First, he surrounds himself with people who have a creative track record. He says, “I want people who are stubborn about their vision of creating something new and valuable. I want them to be relentless on their vision, but very, very flexible on the details of how to get there.” Second, Bezos has radically decentralized the work of innovation so that the majority of employees feel like it's an expectation of the job. He likes small teams (what he calls “two pizza” teams because they can be fed by two pizzas) so that each team is empowered to make things happen, not subjected to a huge bureaucratic process. Third, Bezos teaches his teams to experiment with innovation. “Experiments are key to innovation because they rarely turn out as you expect and you learn so much,” he said.

So, here we are, 100 years old with a great track record. But change is happening around us at a rate never seen during the last 100 years. It's getting harder and harder to stay a step ahead of what's going on in agriculture and to affect positive change. As an organization, we are in more need of innovation right now than ever before. There are a lot of differences in how the public and private sectors do their jobs, but I believe we could take a lesson from Jeff Bezos and Amazon.

As we start our second century, think about how we as an organization can be more innovative and how YOU as a part of that organization can bring about innovation. Innovation can come in many forms. It may be a solution to a problem or it could be a new teaching method that brings about adoption of an innovative technique. Whatever form it takes, innovation is critical to our survival in Cooperative Extension. Like Bezos, I know that innovation doesn't come from administration. It comes from our talented employees. Administration's job is to create an environment where innovation is not smothered, but is nurtured and grows.

In the public sector, rules, regulations and policies often stymie innovation. Those rules, regulations and policies are an inevitable part of our existence and we must operate within them. Let's make the New Year's resolution to not let them keep us from being innovative.


Family and Consumer Sciences

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

Welcome to our new Walk Georgia Team Members

Maria Bowie, our Walk Georgia marketing and program coordinator, announced the hiring of Kathryn Schiliro as the new help desk/editor for the program. As you work with your communities to implement Walk Georgia, get to know Kathryn's friendly face and voice. A native of Brunswick, Ga., she graduated from the University of Georgia's Grady College in 2006 with her undergraduate degree in journalism. She was the managing editor of the Morgan County Citizen, Madison, Ga.'s weekly newspaper, from 2006 to 2013. During that time, the Georgia Press Association named the newspaper the “Best Weekly” in the state for four consecutive years. She lives in Athens, with her husband David, and her “furbabies,” Holden, Zooey and Divot – two Boxer mixes and a cat, respectively – all rescue animals. She sees the Walk Georgia program as an opportunity to improve the lives of state residents and is excited to be a part of the team charged with growing Walk Georgia. Kathryn brings lots of good ideas and is working very hard to help take Walk Georgia to more audiences across Georgia. She can be reached at (706) 542-2956 or

We also want to welcome new CAES technology team members, Aaron McCoy and John French. Aaron and John will be devoting their time to the new technology platform. They, along with other Walk Georgia team members, will also work to improve the already award-winning Walk Georgia program.

$500 Minigrants Available

There are $500 grants now available for county offices for support of local participant incentives and promotion. Please email with your name, county, an outline of how you plan to use these funds and a list of community partners/in-kind sponsors by Feb. 1. Registration for the Spring 2014 campaign opens Feb. 1. Activity can be logged Feb. 2 through April 26.

Brochures (sets of 100) and posters (sets of 25) are available by emailing They will also be distributed during Winter School. All county promotional material, including a PowerPoint, fill-in news article, poster, brochure w/dates, PSA, etc. are available at Dates have been updated on the public website:

Laurie Cantrell Retirement Roast and Party

Laurie Cantrell has given us permission to roast her during our FACS program area meeting at Winter School on Wednesday in Callaway. If you would like to come by and say a few words in “roast” of Laurie, feel free to stop by after 4:30 p.m. to share your stories about working with Laurie over her career in Extension.

Marnie Dekle, on behalf of the Northeast and Southeast Family and Consumer Agents, sent invitations announcing a Laurie Cantrell's Retirement Celebration set for March 20 at 5 p.m. at the Oconee County Civic Center, 2661 Hog Mountain Road, Watkinsville, Ga. To RSVP, click here.


4-H and Youth Development

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

Fund-raising is a major part of Georgia 4-H

I began my career with Extension as a county agent in Carroll County on March 1, 1985. Later that month, I went with several 4-H families to the state steer show at the Little Arena and Coliseum on the University of Georgia campus. It was my first experience with a 35MM camera, so I asked Newton County Agent Mike Welborn to help me load a roll of film in the camera. He replied, “Arch, there are many things that you have to know to work in Extension that they did not tell you in the interview.” Another part of the job that was not explained in the interview was that you will be a fundraiser, constantly asking others for financial support.

Over the years I have learned some important habits that make for successful funding raising and increase your ability to influence a larger audience:

(1) Make a list of the needs of your local program. The list may include 4-H scholarships for project achievement, State 4-H Council, and camp or college funds. Make sure you include equipment needs for livestock show teams, Project SAFE, and office equipment. And don’t forget to include a fund for your next mini-bus to transport 4-H members.

(2) You must be passionate about the work you do. When donors realize how much you care about what you do, they are more likely to support your program. I always enjoyed making a donor visit with Diane Davies because she had such tremendous passion for the 4-H Environmental Education program and, more often than not, we were successful in our task.

(3) Be prompt in sending donors a thank you/receipt letter for their gift. Letters should go out within a week of the gift.

(4) When cultivating major individual donors, show interest in their personal lives. Hear what they say. Listen to their needs and interests so that you match their interests with your program needs. When visiting donors, while you may not always ask for money, you should always thank them for their support.

(5) Send a personal hand-written note to donors to let them know you appreciate their support.

(6) Once a year have your 4-H members call each of your donors to simply say, “Thank you.” National 4-H Week would be a good time to make these calls.

(7) Always have 4-H members send thank-you notes to donors in your county.

(8) Use volunteers to help solicit funds for your 4-H program. People give to people, and someone else may be more successful than you in securing a gift. I do not know how many private and public dollars I have helped 4-H obtain, but I do know that I never raised a dollar by myself—it was always a team effort.

Six days a week, I receive an e-mail from Case Consulting Services. In one of Ben Case’s recent e-mails, he provided a list of “Why People Give” by Jamie Phillippe of the Chicago Community Trust. The list reads as follows:

  • Belief in the institution and its purposes
  • Belief that current needs are important
  • Sense of loyalty, gratitude, affection
  • Tax considerations
  • Friendship and respect for solicitor
  • Honoring the past
  • Funding the future — not the past
  • Involvement with peers
  • Recognition
  • Identification with a “winner”
  • And the # 1 reason people give – They were asked!

Georgia 4-H is a winner so make sure you keep asking!


Outstanding Extension program

The January winner for the Outstanding Extension Program contest is the Gordon County Agricultural Tours coordinated by Greg Bowman and his ANR Extension Leadership Team with Gordon County Cooperative Extension.

On Aug. 23, 2013, Greg, Gordon CEC, and his ANR Extension Leadership Team coordinated a day of agricultural tours for elected officials, Gordon County Chamber of Commerce and other local citizens. The purpose of the event was to make the participants more agriculturally aware of agriculture in Gordon County. The group toured Oostanuala Farm, an approximately 400-head commercial cow/calf operation that extensively uses artificial insemination. The next stop was Hunt's Turf Farm where the group watched sod being harvested and learned about this family-owned operation. The group also toured Thomason's Egg Farm where up to 80,000 table eggs are produced daily. The tour concluded with a stop at Resaca Sun, an 8,000-acre NW Georgia farm where canola, corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and other crops are grown.

A meal provided by Payne Farms was served. The farm focuses on locally grown vegetables and is home to the annual strawberry festival. The last stop on the tour was the new Gordon County Agricultural Service Center that opened in October 2013.


Personnel actions since December 1, 2013

New Hires

  • Banks County – Caitlin Bennett, Public Serv Rep, 12/01/2013
  • 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

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
  • 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
  • Tift County – Michael Goodman, CEPA, 12/23/2013