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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for March 2014

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

Extension Colleagues:

The 2014 legislative session is about to end and we have been closely following budget development processes for our state budgets. Although the process is not yet complete we are seeing signs of strong support for CAES in Atlanta. The House version of the state budget provides for faculty positions for CES and Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) working in the areas of beef cattle research, wheat breeding and poultry science. In addition, the House version provides for bond funds for equipment needs in our AES budget ($1M), major repair and renovation funds for AES and CES ($4M), and funds for our turf facilities in Griffin, Athens and Tifton. The Senate version of the state budget added a county agent position to those listed above. The final version of the budget is not available yet, so stay tuned. Thanks to each of you for your part in keeping our legislators aware of our needs and up-to-date on the impact of our programs.

Later this month I will join Extension directors from across the nation at our National Extension Directors Association annual meeting in Sacramento, California. Our discussion at this meeting will be centered on best practices to communicate the impact of Extension programming as we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Smith Lever Act. Another important topic we will discuss is the newly formed ECOP subcommittee that will provide a platform for discussion of national issues related to 4-H. Five Extension directors and five state 4-H program leaders from across the nation will serve on this committee. In addition, there will be one representative for National 4-H Council and one representative for 4-H headquarters. The two individuals representing the southern region are Dr. Ed Jones, Extension Director at Virginia Tech, and Dr. Chris Bolan, State 4-H Director at Texas A&M Agrilife.

Important Dates:

  • Ag Day at the Capitol is March 18
  • ACCG and UGA celebrate their 100 anniversaries in Savannah at the ACCG annual conference March 11-13
  • VPPSO Annual Conference and the presentation of the Walter B. Hill Awards, the highest awards presented by UGA for accomplishments in Public Service and Outreach, will be presented on April 7
  • GAE4-HA annual meeting on Jekyll Island April 14-16
  • Extension Convocation and National Awareness event in Washington DC May 7-8
  • UGA Extension Centennial Celebration/Exhibit dedication in Athens on May 15

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Greg Price applauds Georgia agents for keeping legislators informed year round;
  • Steve Brown looks ahead to how Georgia agriculture will be affected when traffic increases at the Savannah port;
  • Deborah Murray introduces a newly renovated FACS website; and
  • Arch Smith gives an update on the success of new evaluation instruments being used in 4-H.


County Operations

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

Sharing Extension's Success at the Capitol

The 2014 Georgia State Legislature prepares to end its yearly session this week. This is a great time to thank each of you for your efforts to keep our legislators informed. It is very obvious that you work all year sharing the impact of your programming in the county. Every time I cross paths with a legislator, they talk favorably of their county Extension program.

It is also evident many of you started sharing the overall needs of our Extension and research programs last fall. While we do not always get everything we want, we are treated fairly, largely because of your efforts. It does not matter if we are seeking an entomologist, cabins at Rock Eagle or a new county agent position. Your team attitude continues to help us be successful.

I also want to recognize your support of special events such as Ag Day, 4-H Day and FACS Day at the Capitol. These are important opportunities and do not just happen. Additionally, the work of our agent professional associations to recognize our legislators in many ways is equally significant.

So, I am writing this article as I receive an email announcing Stephanie Butcher of Coweta County has been invited to our state capitol to appear in front of the House Education Committee and the House Natural Resources & Environment Committee. She has been asked to bring her local water education team and make a presentation the last week of the 2014 session. Stephanie will share Extension's role in local water education. This well-deserved honor is a result of impactful programming.

The take home message for me is clear — All of the efforts to inform our leaders about Georgia Extension are extremely important, but nothing trumps good old fashion quality programming. Thanks to Stephanie Butcher for reminding us of this important lesson. Thanks to all of you for making Extension look great every day.


Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

We Live in A Global Economy – Really

It's become a cliché, but we really do live in a global economy. Last month I toured the Savannah Port. I have several times before, but each time I learn something new and I'm further impressed by the volume of agricultural products handled by the fourth largest port in the U.S. Amazingly, there are more total products going OUT of Savannah than are coming IN. For the U.S. in general, we bring in much more than we ship out. But here in Georgia, agriculture helps us load those ships headed back to China and elsewhere.

Some of our individual farmers and commodity groups are actively engaged in marketing overseas. Others may not know anything about global agricultural markets, but you can bet they affect them. The prices our farmers receive for most commodities are directly influenced by what happens in other parts of the world and by the trade agreements we have with other countries.

World markets also affect the cost of inputs. More and more fertilizers prices are being influenced by world supplies and by speculators that buy up major deposits. The price of farm machinery is influenced by imports coming from other parts of the world and by the demand for U.S. machinery overseas. Look how the European decision to require wood pellets in power generation is changing the Georgia forestry business. While Georgia peanut farmers wait out the cold winter months, peanut prices are being influenced by the weather in Argentina where a crop is in the ground.

We can no longer escape the global economy even if we try. Our Extension economists often help us understand global influences on our major commodities, but we all (even ANR program leaders like me) need to do a better job of thinking about global economies and global opportunities for Georgia agriculture. We have a responsibility to help our producers understand the global forces that impact their lives. Not every farmer will become an active exporter, but they all need to have a better understanding of global economics.

f we really do deepen the Savannah River and the mega ships do start coming in, the world will be coming to Georgia like never before. Georgia Extension should play a role in getting us ready.


Family and Consumer Sciences

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

FACS Website Has A New Look

The UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences has a new look to our website. The FACS Outreach, Extension, and Public Service website (found at Agent Spotlight features Susan Howington, Ines Beltran and Jan Baggerly. We will create profiles for our FACS agents and spotlight them on our website.

If you are trying to find the internal agent resource link, you will find it as a red button labeled Agent Resources on the left. There is also a link to the Extension website, Extension calendar and FACS publications.

Walk Georgia at ACCG Annual Meeting

Did you know there will be a Walk Georgia exhibit at the registration area at this year's annual meeting of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia in Savannah in April? We will be greeting commissioners as they arrive. There will be a Walk Georgia event on Monday morning and county commissioners will get 1 CEU for participating. It will be a fun walk/run event so this is a great time to promote Walk Georgia with our county commissioners. A Walk Georgia exhibit will also be part of our Smith Lever Exhibit.

Health Literacy

There definitely has been a lot of controversy regarding the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace. Buried within this controversy is the issue that people do not understand health care much less health insurance. According to a report published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), nearly 90 million people have poor health literacy ( I attended a health literacy roundtable discussion about the social and economic impact of poor health literacy. This is estimated to result in billions of dollars of preventable health care costs. The IOM defines health literacy "as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic information and services needed to make appropriate decisions regarding their health." I know my health insurance literacy (as well as my health literacy) was put to the test when I was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. I know many of you have faced those same challenges and it has nothing to do with education. It isn't important to you until you need it. Improving health literacy and health insurance literacy would go far in solving many of the health care problems we struggle with today. According to the IOM, if patients cannot comprehend needed health information, attempts to reduce health care costs and disparities may fail.


4-H and Youth Development

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

During the first two weeks of March, I spent time with state 4-H specialists at the Southern Region 4-H Biennial and with state 4-H leaders at the National 4-H Leadership Conference in Washington, DC.

While attending the National 4-H Leadership Conference, I heard much discussion around developing strong funding partnerships to support 4-H programs. The conversation also included discussion about the national 4-H curriculum and program evaluation. Again, we are fortunate that in Georgia we produce curricula to support our entry-level 4-H in-school club meetings.

During the Southern Region Biennial our Georgia 4-H specialists were selected to offer nearly half of the presentations during the meeting. We are proud that the Georgia 4-H program is sharing our successes with other states and, even though our school-based delivery model is one of a few in the United States, we still produce curricula and other program materials that are useful to other programs.

During the biennial, Jeff Buckley and Jenna Daniel presented a workshop on a training program and a set of evaluation instruments that they developed with Casey Mull. Based on information presented by Nick Fuhrman in his Certified Master Evaluator program, the resources are designed to help state Extension specialists and county agents develop their own evaluation instruments, tabulate their own results, and communicate the data in the form of impact statements. The packet of resources consists of multiple survey templates that gather both quantitative and qualitative data. In addition, they developed a corresponding spreadsheet that simplifies the data entry process and provides instant tabulations that can be plugged into a set of sample impact statements.

Jeff, Jenna and Casey presented these resources at the 2012 Winter Conference and 2013 Regional GAE4-HA Meetings. Data gathered from participants showed that the percentage of participants who felt they could design evaluation instruments for their programs increased from 69 percent before the training to 91 percent after. In addition, the percentage of participants who are likely to develop their own evaluation tools in the future increased from 46 percent to 89 percent. 4-H PDCs report that they have seen improvement in the quality of impact statements as more agents include data gathered from surveys.

Since there has been a great deal of interest around the country, this group has been selected to present at several national conferences, including the 2013 GALAXY Conference, the 2014 Military Partnership Meeting and the 2014 National Associate of Extension and 4-H Agents Conference. The instruments are widely used in Florida 4-H and several other Southern Region states have requested the instruments. I hope you take advantage of these resources to more effectively document the impact of the important work you do each day. The resources are free and can be downloaded at


Outstanding Extension program

The March winner of the Outstanding Extension Program contest is the Small Farm Tour coordinated by Forrest Connelly with Stephens County Cooperative Extension.

The Stephens County Extension Small Farm Tour was an effort to market agriculture in Stephens County and its economic benefit to the community and the state. State and local elected officials, UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences administrators, UGA Extension administrators, representatives from the Georgia Department of Tourism and USDA Natural Resources and Conservation Service, local stakeholders and farmers participated in the tour that focused on three farms.

The program was kicked off with a light breakfast at the Stephens Extension Office. Tour participants rode the Stephens County 4-H bus, or drove personal vehicles, to the farm sites. Farm owners at each stop educated tour participants on the struggles and successes of the farm as well as their ties to the UGA Extension office. Participants saw crop progress, Extension research trials and marketing efforts by input of the farm operators and Stephens County Extension agents.

Agri-tourism and its benefits to farms and communities was the message throughout the tour. During the tour, one UGA Extension administrator commented "This is economic development." All three farm tour stops were featured at the 2013 Stephens County-Toccoa Farm City Banquet. The banquet was attended by leaders of both the Georgia Senate and House Ag Committees, Georgia ag commissioner and the president of Georgia Farm Bureau. Stephens County Agriculture has an economic impact of over $111 million to Stephens County's economy.


Personnel actions since January 1, 2014

New Hires

  • Bulloch County – Victoria Tillery, County Extension Associate, 1/1/2014
  • 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
  • Coweta County – Rebekah Long, County Secretary, 1/2/2014
  • Decatur County – Justin Ballew, Public Serv Rep, 1/1/2014
  • Grady County – Brian Hayes, Public Serv Asst, 1/1/2014
  • Henry County – Rebecca Heard, CEPA, 2/19/2014
  • Johnson County – Travis Woodard, Public Serv Rep, 3/1/2014
  • Union County – Jammie Murphy, County Secretary, 2/1/2014
  • Walton County – Jennifer Daniel, Public Serv Rep, 2/1/2014
  • Washington County – Jennifer Farrin, County Secretary, 2/27/2014

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
  • 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


  • 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
  • Forsyth County – Stephen Garton, Public Serv Asst, 2/28/2014
  • Henry County – Ashley Dalba, CEPA, 1/25/2014
  • Murray County – Sharon Lichey, Public Serv Rep, 1/31/2014
  • Richmond County – Lisa McGuire, CEPA, 2/6/2014
  • Talbot County – Erica Randall, County Extension Associate, 1/8/2014
  • Washington County – Beverly Waller, County Secretary, 1/31/2014