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A publication for alumni and friends of the University of Georgia® College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

southscapes FALL 2017




MODERN AGRICULTURE IS A BEACON OF SCIENTIFIC ACHIEVEMENT. Through a spectrum of scholarship and support, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences equips graduates to champion progress in this global industry.

Alumnae Alexis Barnes (left) and Tracey Troutman (right) and student Thomas Gottilla have served as presidents of the college’s MANRRS chapter, which celebrates 20 years of student support in 2017.





ONLINE EXTRAS For more stories, visit caes.uga.edu/alumni/ southscapes.html. Georgia 4-H contests channel participants’ enthusiasm into a love of the culinary arts and food product development.



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 ABOUT THE COVER: Check out exclusive, behind-the-scenes video footage of the Southscapes cover shoot at tinyurl.com/southscapesfall2017.

From the Dean By the Numbers Noteworthy From Four Towers Class Notes Lead Dawgs Then & Now




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Amelia Day, a Georgia 4-H’er from Houston County, won the National 4-H Council’s 2017 Youth in Action Award for her creation of the nonprofit Operation: Veteran Smiles.

UGA researchers are working with scientists from three universities to explore the sustainability of agriculture and forestry in southern Georgia and northern Florida that’s dependent on the Upper Floridan Aquifer.



Alumnae Breanna Coursey, Amanda Stephens and Hannah Rull are in new positions in the UGA-Athens Office of Academic Affairs, and alumna Katie Murray has taken over recruitment at UGA-Tifton.

Alumna and UGArden Farm Manager JoHannah Biang is creating garden systems to maximize water and nutrient resources in South Africa.

From the Dean

southscapes CREATIVE DESIGN SPECIALIST Katie Walker COPY EDITORS Kathryn Schiliro, Erin Yates CONTRIBUTING WRITERS April Bailey, Charlene Betourney, Erica Cooke, Sharon Dowdy Cruse, Sam Fahmy, Keith Farner, Denise Horton, Merritt Melancon, Josh Paine, Kathryn Schiliro, Clint Thompson, Erin Yates CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS Albany Herald, Tom Campbell, Sharon Dowdy Cruse, Jordana Dale, Lori Edwards, Lindsey Hayes, Gerald Henry, USDA/Preston Keres, Leathers Photography, Caitlin Lemoine, Blane Marable, Seth McAllister, Megan McCoy, Merritt Melancon, Corey Nolen, Dot Paul, Calvin Perry, Edwin Remsberg, Clint Thompson, Andrew Davis Tucker, Katie Walker, Nathan Webb, Caroline Williams DIRECTOR Angela Rowell Office of Communications and Creative Services DEAN AND DIRECTOR Sam Pardue College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences SENIOR DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT Mary Ann Parsons Office of Development and Alumni Relations DIRECTOR OF ALUMNI ENGAGEMENT Suzanne Griffeth Office of Development and Alumni Relations Suggestions? Questions? schiliro@uga.edu

SOUTHSCAPES is published semiannually for alumni, friends and supporters of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences by the CAES Office of Development and Alumni Relations and produced by the CAES Office of Communications and Creative Services.


new academic year is underway here at the University of Georgia. Once again, we have a freshman class that set records in terms of academic preparedness. The college’s graduate student enrollment continues to increase, and this summer we saw a 22 percent increase in summer enrollment. More than 78 percent of those students are from the state of Georgia. This fall, we were approved to begin recruiting students into 16 degree pathways in the Double Dawgs Program (see page 32), a new UGA initiative that allows students to earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years or less. We are excited about the future for these students. In August, we co-hosted listening sessions with the UGA College of Engineering in Tifton and Gainesville, Georgia, to discuss needs within agriculture that require engineering-based solutions. We received excellent feedback “The future of agriculture is complex from producers, growers and and challenging, but with the business leaders that will combination of exceptionally bright lay the foundation for a new students entering the field and the level of cooperation between emergence of new tools and technologies agriculture and engineering. that they will have at their fingertips, Over the summer, we I am confident that they will solve the also began conversations world’s grand challenges and help with potential corporate agriculture grow faster and stronger.” and governmental partners to integrate big data, the agriculture cloud and informatics as tools to help solve the challenges facing agriculture and food production. These new, high-tech tools will help us efficiently use current technologies, such as drones, to speed up the data-collection and problemsolving processes. The future of agriculture is complex and challenging, but with the combination of exceptionally bright students entering the field and the emergence of new tools and technologies that they will have at their fingertips, I am confident that they will solve the world’s grand challenges and help agriculture grow faster and stronger. COREY NOLEN

MANAGING EDITOR Kathryn Schiliro

UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences uga_collegeofag @UGA_CollegeofAg


Sam Pardue Dean and Director College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences FALL 2017

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by the numbers compiled by merritt melancon

Supporting the future: CAES’s impact on Georgia commodities Agriculture is Georgia’s largest industry, and it accounts for more than 50 percent of some Georgia counties’ economic output. The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is committed to helping farmers grow their businesses and their communities by supporting the state’s agriculture and related industries.

$545 MILLION CAES’s impact on Georgia’s economy

$205.5 MILLION UGA Cooperative Extension’s impact on Georgia’s economy For every $1 received in taxpayer funding, UGA Extension generates $3.54 in economic impact.

The college’s research has had the greatest impact on the commodities featured below over the course of a year, but CAES’s impacts are present throughout Georgia agriculture. The counties with the highest 2016 farm gate value for each commodity are represented.


Broilers: poultry house ventilation yielded cost savings

Madison County

$23.1 MILLION Cotton variety trials

$3.3 MILLION Peaches: brown rot treatment (avoided losses)


Cotton: Palmer amaranth control

Dooly County

Macon County

$31 MILLION Vegetable variety trials

$1.9 MILLION Pecans: selective fertilization

Pulaski County

Dougherty County

$21.5 MILLION Peanut variety trials

$11.4 MILLION Peanuts: harvest timing assistance

Miller County

$2.6 MILLION Corn variety trials

Decatur County

$6.6 MILLION Blueberries: spotted wing drosophila control


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$4 MILLION Onions: reduced nitrogen use

Tattnall County


Fits the Profile UGA food scientists track the culprits of foodborne illness by pioneering research in bioinformatics


Like most researchers, University of Georgia food scientists Xiangyu Deng and Henk den Bakker have traditional white coats and labs filled with beakers, flasks and Bunsen burners. As pioneers in the field of food safety bioinformatics, however, they spend most of their time at their computers. This UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences research team fights foodborne pathogens by developing computer software. The software creates graphs that are used to find genomic differences between strains of foodborne bacteria. “By studying graphs of complete populations of a pathogen, we can look for genetic variation in genomes that help us to fingerprint bacterial strains,” den Bakker said. “Basically, this makes it easier to find bacteria with a similar genomic fingerprint, for instance, bacteria involved in a disease outbreak.”  This work means that scientists can detect the source of a foodborne illness outbreak faster. The sooner the source is found, the sooner the outbreak can be stopped. Together with Lee Katz, a bioinformatician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, den Bakker and Deng, who was awarded a Creative Research Medal from the UGA Research Foundation for his work, formed the UGA Food Safety Informatics Group. “We are able to analyze really large chunks of data in a matter of hours using the data Dr. Deng has collected through SeqSero and the software program I created,” said den Bakker, who joined the Center for Food Safety faculty on UGA’s Griffin campus last spring. “We recently analyzed 390 salmonella genomes in about four hours. This normally takes scientists days to do. And we can now add new genomes to the data set and rerun the data in just 20 minutes.” The publicly accessible National Center for Biotechnology Information Sequence Read Archive currently includes genomic information for more than 70,000 genomes, what den Bakker calls a “ginormous chunk of data.” The cloudbased SeqSero software tool quickly classifies strains of salmonella and identifies serotypes, or individual, distinct strains, using whole-genome sequencing. Continued on page 4 FALL 2017

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q UGA food scientists Xiangyu Deng (left) and Henk den Bakker developed software that uses bioinformatics to mitigate foodborne pathogens.

extension how-to

“For investigation and surveillance purposes, you need to be able to profile your suspects at different levels, from general demographics to fingerprints. If your suspect is salmonella, serotype determination, or serotyping, is the first step of your profiling.” XIANGYU DENG

Continued from page 3 Developed by CAES food science researcher Shaokang Zhang under Deng’s direction, SeqSero is used by public health officials and scientists across the globe. After researchers upload sequence files, the system sends an analysis in minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no charge. Deng compared the system to a detective investigating a crime. “For investigation and surveillance purposes, you need to be able to profile your suspects at different levels, from general demographics to fingerprints. If your suspect is salmonella, serotype determination, or serotyping, is the first step of your profiling,” he said. “It’s now possible to do all the profiling with whole-genome sequencing, and it saves a lot of time and (steps in) workflow.” The research team sees its data collection and next-generation analysis algorithms being used to help food companies test raw products for pathogens before allowing them into their plants, den Bakker said. Learn more about the food safety center at ugacfs.org. • Sharon Dowdy Cruse

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Whether you have acres of lawn or a container garden on your stoop, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension can help you grow your curb appeal. Extension horticulturists, plant pathologists, and crop and soil scientists provide research-based information that you can use to improve your home landscape. To learn about what to grow in your plant hardiness zone or how to protect against grass diseases, check out UGA Extension lawn and garden publications like these: Care of Ornamental Plants in the Landscape (Bulletin 1065) Most established ornamental plants require care to stay healthy and attractive. Regular fertilization, pruning, watering, mulching and pest control are all part of a good landscape management program. This publication provides guidelines for the care of established ornamental plants in the landscape and addresses low-maintenance alternatives to traditional cultural practices throughout. Common Landscape Diseases in Georgia (Bulletin 1238) Knowledge about Georgia’s common landscape plant diseases allows both professional and amateur growers to better fight disease and produce healthy plants. This bulletin describes some of the most troublesome diseases of Georgia’s landscape plants, helping you to identify plant diseases and plan methods of treatment. Landscape Plants for Georgia (Bulletin 625) Need to know what to grow? This publication includes a list of plants appropriate for Georgia organized into various sizes and groups. The design qualities of plants — their form, size, color and texture — are emphasized according to the principles and requirements of good landscape design and plant maintenance. The bulletin also considers hardiness and disease- and insectresistant qualities. UGA faculty provide unbiased, peer-reviewed information and recommendations to the public through Extension publications. • Erin Yates

Find these publications and more at https://t.uga. edu/387.





q As a CAES student, Carson Dann established a pollinator garden along the edge of the geographygeology building on UGA’s Athens campus.

Buzzing bees, thriving sustainable plants and pollinator enthusiasts enjoy the geography-geology building’s rooftop garden on the University of Georgia Athens campus thanks in part to College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences alumna Carson Dann (BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’17). For the past year, Dann, who was named a Nesbitt-Flatt Outstanding Senior in the college, dedicated her time to managing a pollinator conservation project. When she started, the rooftop garden was already well established, but she wanted to see it grow even more. “First, I wanted to open it up to more of the community,” Dann said. “I wanted to get the word out, especially to the student body. The second (reason she wanted to see the garden expand) was pollinator conservation. I wrote the grant (application) to The


Bee Happy Alumna used grant to create rooftop pollinator haven Pollination Project and I received it. With the help of incredible community members and volunteers, we got the work done in a year.” Soil, water, animals, sustainability and even air quality come back to food and human consumption, Dann said, adding that nearly 75 percent of crops use animal-mediated pollination. Pollinators are a crucial part of food production and environmental sustainability. Dann used the grant she received from The Pollination Project to plant a pollinator garden along the edge of the rooftop using plants from the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. When these

plants bloom, they attract pollinators. “I am really amazed at the implications that smaller and seemingly insignificant things can have,” she said. “It’s a project of ‘I’m going to take these wildflower plants, put them on a roof, watch bugs come and invite people up to see them.’” Now that she’s graduated, Dann has passed garden management on to Emma Courson, the urban agriculture intern for UGA’s Office of Sustainability. Dann is proud of the work she accomplished, but warns that it’s easy to get discouraged when working in sustainability. She said this project is one small step toward making a true impact. “What I’ve learned is that it’s the small things that make the greatest difference,” she said. “It’s those things coming together, not one person coming to save the world or one garden saving all the pollinators. It’s one gardener inspiring others.” • Erica Cooke FALL 2017

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reenhouse research is a vital part of University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences scientists’ work. University scientist Esther van der Knaap’s research on tomatoes — and their development from a tiny to a very large fruit — requires a greenhouse. “We need a greenhouse facility where we can grow the plants under the same conditions in different seasons,” van der Knaap, UGA Athens campus horticulture professor, said. “Therefore, we need good climate control to obtain similar results regardless of whether the plants are grown in summer or winter.” Peggy Ozias-Akins, a UGA Tifton campus scientist and director of the UGA Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, was instrumental in the university’s work in sequencing the first peanut genome. She uses greenhouse research for genetic crossing, disease phenotyping, reproductive development studies and transgenic line analysis. “It’s very important to keep our greenhouses functioning properly so we can have healthy plants,” Ozias-Akins said. UGA-Tifton plant pathologist Tim Brenneman conducts winter trials through greenhouse research. Cold temperatures don’t allow peanut plants to grow in the field. In the greenhouse, Brenneman screens plants for disease resistance, evaluates seed treatments, characterizes the movement or residual activity of fungicides in plants, and inoculates mycorrhizal fungi on pecan trees. Mycorrhizal fungi — truffles, in this case — are part of a beneficial relationship between

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u A greenhouse at the UGA Tifton campus Coastal Plain Station is verdant in the September light. Inset: UGA scientist Peggy Ozias-Akins examines a peanut plant with a student in her greenhouse lab.

the fungi and the plant in which the fungi improve the mineral nutrition of the tree. The controlled environment of the greenhouse is an advantage for scientists because they can manipulate the conditions under which their plants are being grown, Brenneman said. In the field, researchers have to deal with unpredictable weather patterns daily. “Detailed studies on the effects of temperature and moisture have to be done in the greenhouse as studies on specific isolates of airborne pathogens would be immediately compromised under field conditions,” Brenneman said. “These facilities can never replace field studies, but they greatly complement them and allow us to work more efficiently in the field.” Greenhouses enable controlled experiments, which lead to developments in the crop and horticultural sciences, and are essential to the future of UGA research. • Clint Thompson



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Brain Glue could help heal damage from traumatic brain injuries With a gel-like consistency similar to Jell-O, Brain Glue, a scaffold that can protect brain tissue and enhance brain healing, could serve as a treatment for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Developed by researchers at the University of Georgia’s Regenerative Bioscience Center (RBC), Brain Glue supports neural stem cell function and protects transplanted stem cells, which are capable of repair. It can be formed to any shape, so Brain Glue can be applied to fill any voids in the brain after severe trauma. The RBC team that designed and created this new hydrogel was led by Lohitash Karumbaiah, assistant professor in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Unlike other synthetic hydrogels, Brain Glue provides a variety of possibilities to trap neural stem cells and protective factors to provide a more natural, regenerative healing environment, all within a supporting framework made of components native to the brain. “TBI is a complex sequence of events caused by physical injury that damages the brain tissue and is then followed by a cascade of secondary events that often lead to long-term brain damage,” said Karumbaiah. “The Brain Glue works to support the function of the surviving cells, to facilitate repair and stabilize the damaged brain during these secondary events.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 1.7 million TBIs occur in the U.S. each year, and for moderate to severe TBIs, there is no effective treatment. “There is nothing people can do clinically to help heal or regenerate the brain after a severe TBI. That was our starting point to address the problem,” Karumbaiah said. The brain has a plasticity, capacity for self-renewal and a stimulation process to spawn new neural cells. “What we did next was look at the brain’s neurogenesis process and the ability to self-renew, then built a complementary scaffold consisting of protective agents to create a very porous, yet pliable, multifaceted, regenerative solution,” he said.

The National Institutes of Health awarded Karumbaiah $1.5 million for his TBI work, which was initially funded through a seed grant program by the Regenerative Engineering and Medicine Center, a collaboration between UGA, Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he partnered with Ravi Bellamkonda. The RBC team will continue to work on scalable treatments for TBI with tools to not only protect neural stem cells, but also to evaluate how they work. This combined approach could encourage the activity of the brain to remodel itself and potentially restore function, providing new hope for TBI victims. • Charlene Betourney

“There is nothing people can do clinically to help heal or regenerate the brain after a severe TBI. That was our starting point to address the problem.” LOHITASH KARUMBAIAH

u The top photo shows damage to the brain structure, which was largely repaired due to neurogenesis, facilitated by the application of Brain Glue (right). FALL 2017

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p Keith Bertrand greets one of the college’s Jersey cows, which were donated to CAES in 2014. This summer, Bertrand retired as head of the Department of Animal and Dairy Science after nine years of leadership.

Grant funding doubled, ADS education consolidated under Bertrand’s leadership Keith Bertrand retired this summer after nine years at the helm of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Animal and Dairy Science. He leaves behind a thriving department with a robust academic program that’s significantly grown its grant funding. “Our undergraduate student numbers have almost doubled from 2008 to today. We probably were at 150 or 160 (students) when I took over the department and now we’re at 300. The graduate student numbers are around 50 (students) in our department, which is the highest it’s been in probably the last 50 years,” Bertrand said. Grant funding more than doubled in Bertrand’s nine years. In 2008, the department received $1.9 million in grant funds. In 2016, that total reached more than $4 million. Bertrand estimated that, in 2015, half of the department’s funding came from grants or from commodity sales. “One of the biggest changes has been that

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faculty in all areas, whether you are talking within it. When Bertrand arrived in Athens, research, teaching or Extension, have to there were animal and dairy science be a lot more focused on pursuing external departments on the UGA Tifton, Griffin funding,” Bertrand said. “When I came to and Athens campuses and Extension Athens, (Georgia), in 1983, the animal science and dairy science department heads of all those departments. These departments areas had a lot more resources were functioning separately, provided by the state and federal which is not the case now. governments in terms of what “The way it is set up now they needed to provide for their provides many more opportunities programs. Now, faculty have to to cooperate across disciplines go out and obtain a substantial and across program areas in portion of the resources needed by terms of research, teaching and their programs to be successful.” Extension. There used to be many BERTRAND For more than 30 years, more faculty with 100-percent Bertrand was a staple in the Extension appointments. department. He taught undergraduate That doesn’t happen very often now,” courses, advised and mentored students, Bertrand said. “Most have appointments and was involved in researching breeding in research and teaching as well.” values predictions for economically Bertrand retired from the department in important traits in livestock. June. UGA-Tifton Professor John Bernard is Bertrand believes that the department is acting as the interim department head while excelling now because research, teaching a search is conducted for a permanent hire. and Extension programs are encompassed • Clint Thompson

q Allen Moore took up the post of CAES associate dean for research in July. He was previously the head of UGA’s Department of Genetics.

Noteworthy new hire

Geneticist Allen Moore spent his career studying the nurturing behavior of insects. Now he nurtures the careers of researchers working within the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Moore, who took on the role of CAES associate dean for research on July 1, plans to support collaboration among researchers and to help scientists leverage their grant-seeking efforts to bring in more funding. “I like the challenge of trying to expand the research that goes on “We have phenomenal here at UGA,” Moore said. “We have researchers here who phenomenal researchers here who are are doing amazing doing amazing work. If I can facilitate that, that’s just fun. I get a lot of work. If I can facilitate enjoyment out of watching others that, that’s just fun. I succeed.” get a lot of enjoyment Moore most recently served as out of watching head of the Department of Genetics others succeed.” in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Before that, he held research and administrative posts at the University of Manchester and the University of Exeter in England and in the Department of Entomology at the University of Kentucky. CAES Dean Sam Pardue announced Moore’s selection in late April after a national search to replace the longtime associate dean for research, Robert Shulstad. Moore’s own recent research focused on the impact of genetics on behavior, especially in regard to genes activated after an animal — specifically burying beetles, in his study — becomes a parent. Moore received his doctorate in behavioral genetics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1988. He has participated in academic research for decades. Working with agricultural researchers, especially at UGA, offers great opportunities thanks to the college’s existing culture of collaboration, he said. “In the College of Ag, you have, all brought together, people who think differently, and that is a resource that most other colleges and schools don’t have,” Moore said, referring to the teams of basic and applied scientists who come together to solve problems at CAES. “That diversity provides for the exciting possibility of bringing people together and allowing them to creatively interact.”


Allen Moore named CAES Associate Dean for Research

In addition to fostering collaboration, Moore also aims to provide researchers with more support when they submit new grant applications. The college earned more than $69 million in extramural funding in 2016, a historic high. However, Moore feels that number could be higher with more support staff in the college’s grant support office. “My focus is going to be very much on people doing research and how we facilitate people doing research,” Moore said. “Given all the constraints we have — the federal budget, the state budget, things I cannot change — I can help people make the most of what we have.” • Merritt Melancon FALL 2017

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VENI, VIDI, VITICULTURE In the 1980s, when Georgia Winery and Habersham Winery opened their doors, the north Georgia mountains were known more for moonshine than for fine wine. Now, Georgia wineries draw thousands of visitors a year and contribute more than $81.6 million to the state’s economy annually. Georgia’s wine industry is thriving and pushing its way onto supermarket and wine shop shelves by sheer will and a little bit of that rogue moonshiner spirit. Vineyard and winery owners have worked to gain a foothold for the state in the world of wine while managing the challenges that come with farming wine grapes in Georgia. In the last few seasons, with the addition of multiple north Georgia vineyards as well as the establishment of vineyards in the southern Piedmont region, Georgia’s wine industry is hitting critical mass, said Larry Lykins (BSA – Animal Science, ’96; MS – Animal Science, ’98), who also has an education specialist degree from the University of Georgia. Lykins is the owner of Cartecay Vineyards in Ellijay, Georgia, and vice president of the Georgia Wine Producers. “It started in 1980 with Georgia Winery and Habersham Winery; that was the first wave,” Lykins said. “Then we had the second

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q Harvesters set out to pluck wine grapes from vines at western Georgia’s Trillium Vineyard in September 2016.


GEORGIA WINE IS ON THE RISE WITH GUIDANCE FROM UGA EXTENSION For the past three decades, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents and specialists have supported Georgia’s wine grape industry. Today, under Extension viticulture specialist Cain Hickey’s leadership, the Extension Viticulture Team is advancing Georgia’s wine industry. Hickey is creating new platforms that will allow members of the team to speak directly to area growers. The team includes: Fruit disease specialist and plant pathology Professor Phil Brannen Entomology specialist and Assistant Professor Brett Blaauw


Weed management Extension specialist Wayne Mitchem, whose efforts jointly support UGA, North Carolina State and Clemson universities

wave with about eight to 10 Environmental Sciences vineyards opening in the 1990s, administrators and the Georgia and then we had a third wave General Assembly to put Learn more about between 2008 and 2012. That’s together funding for a UGA the history of when we opened. As for what Cooperative Extension state grape cultivation in we’re seeing today, I wouldn’t viticulture specialist and hired Georgia, the state’s even call it a wave anymore. It’s Cain Hickey in 2017. Hickey’s wine offerings just steady growth.” expertise will help to take the and wine industry Today there are almost 60 industry to the next level, said advocacy at caes. wineries in Georgia, spread Emily DeFoor, president of the uga.edu/alumni/ across the north Georgia Georgia Wine Producers and southscapes.html. mountains, the west Georgia general manager of Habersham foothills and even on the flat Winery in Helen, Georgia. expanses of the Coastal Plain. “Just having a point person On land that used to be cattle pasture, who can give us good information and help sorghum fields or pinelands, a diverse us organize workshops and field days for group of planters have staked their claim our producers is huge,” DeFoor said. “It’s in the name of grapes and winemaking, a a pivotal turning point for us as we shift big investment that often takes seven to into truly supporting the industry. We are 14 years to break even, said Lykins. just absolutely delighted that Cain joined Georgia Wine Producers worked UGA, and he has been a great addition to with UGA College of Agricultural and the industry.” • Merritt Melancon

County Extension coordinators Paula Burke (Carroll County), Nathan Eason (White County), Phillip Edwards (Irwin County), Clark MacAllister (Dawson County Extension coordinator and Lumpkin County agent), Melissa Mattee (Union and Towns counties), Keith Mickler (Floyd County) and John Scaduto (Rabun County) Extension Agent Heather Kolich (Forsyth County) The viticulture team is a knowledge base and network of support for growers, said Mattee. She’s been working with grapes for over a year and having a network of fellow Extension experts to rely on has been essential. “A lot of it is just the team leaning on each other, asking, ‘What are you seeing? Are you seeing powdery mildew? Are you seeing this? Are you seeing that?’” Mattee said. “It’s just keeping each other apprised (of the latest information). If we see something show up in vines that we haven’t seen before, then we ask another (team member) or Cain or Dr. Brannen. We’ve got a good team dynamic.” To learn more, visit the viticulture team’s blog at blog.extension.uga.edu/ viticulture. • Merritt Melancon FALL 2017

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CAES supports the next generation of winemakers In the nine years since the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences launched its “Viticulture and Enology in the Mediterranean Region” May term in Cortona, Italy, almost 200 students have learned about Italy’s wine industry while earning credit for horticulture, food science or plant pathology courses. Phillip Stice (BSA – Biological Science, ’10) used the knowledge he gained during his May 2010 trip to land an internship at north Georgia’s Tiger Mountain Vineyards and, eventually, a job as a wine sales representative with Specialty Wine Distributors. He works with chefs, bar managers and wine shop owners to curate wine lists that feature boutique vintages from France and California. Stice took part in the viticulture and enology May term, and it gave him the foundation he needed to start his career. “It was a great base of knowledge and gave me the jump-start I needed to start my career, but I’m excited that they’re putting more resources into wine growing now,” Stice said.

Stice produces a small amount of As a graduate student in plant wine under his own label. He worked pathology, Stephanie Bolton (MS – with family friends at Caymus Vineyards Food Science, ’12; Ph.D. – Plant in Rutherford, California, to bottle Pathology, ’16) helped to lead the his Stice Russian River chardonnay college’s viticulture and enology study in 2014 and his Stice Russian River abroad trip, performed research on zinfandel in 2015. fungi from Vitis vinifera vineyards in Taylor Lee (BSA – the southeastern U.S., Food Science, ’13) and surveyed mycotoxins 2017 WINEGROWERS learned about jobs in the in red wine. Today, she OF GEORGIA INTERNS wine industry during his works as the grower time in the study abroad communications and Renee Kuraly, environmental program. sustainable winegrowing chemistry major, expected “If I had not taken director for the Lodi spring 2019 UGA’s viticulture and Winegrape Commission, Junyi Zhou, food science enology course, I would a California winegrowers major, expected fall 2018 have been pretty lost,” advocacy group. Lee said. “(Bolton) brings an Nghia (Nick) Nguyen, He worked as a lab extensive knowledge of horticulture major, expected technician at Robert grape growing along with fall 2017 Mondavi Winery in Napa a strong background Valley, California, before in sustainability Emma Johnston, food science starting his master’s initiatives,” Lodi major, expected fall 2018 degree in viticulture and Winegrape Commission enology at the University Board Chairperson of California, Davis. He is currently Galen Schmiedt said. “Her valuable working at E. & J. Gallo Winery in connections within the academic and Modesto, California. research communities will continue “Most people have this romantic to position Lodi as an innovator in the vision of what winemaking is,” Lee viticulture and enological world.” said. “But it’s a lot of dirty work. You Internships with Georgia wine get your hands messy. That’s something producers are also a cornerstone of I really enjoy about it … Even though winemaking education at CAES. The it has this culture of fanciness around program pairs students with north it, it’s still agriculture at its core. We’re Georgia vineyards and provides a still working with the land to produce a stipend for living expenses. great product that people enjoy.” • Merritt Melancon



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t In spring 2017, the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ Agricultural and Environmental Services Laboratories (AESL) offered its first Soil Testing and Plant Analysis Scholarship to Rachel Earwood, a senior studying water and soil resources in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. The annual $1,000 scholarship, funded by retired UGA soil scientists Bill Segars (left) and David Kissel (right), supports a junior or senior studying crop and soil sciences. Segars, who died in July 2017, worked his way through UGA by hoeing cotton near his hometown in Banks County, Georgia, and completed his degree in 1964 thanks to a scholarship. After he received his doctorate in agronomy from Clemson University, he worked as a UGA Cooperative Extension agronomist and served as Extension’s first water quality coordinator. He was a widely acclaimed expert in the area of waste management and groundwater protection. Kissel is the retired director of AESL.




t New turfgrass research and education facilities can now be found on each of CAES’s three campuses. The UGA Griffin campus (left) is the site of the largest of the three facilities.

The Grass is Greener UGA debuts turfgrass facilities on Athens, Griffin and Tifton campuses Now we have state-of-the-art facilities and the team can be located in the same building,” said Paul Raymer, UGAGriffin professor and turfgrass breeder. “Entomologists, plant pathologists, agronomists and support staff were scattered across campus in six or seven buildings. Now we can work together in a facility designed to support our turfgrass research program.” The funds replaced antiquated facilities at UGATifton with new greenhouses and a headhouse to support UGA’s expanding warmseason turf breeding program. “The grass breeding program in Tifton has developed turf and forage grasses during the past

60 years that have been used successfully on every continent except Antarctica,” said Brian Schwartz, UGATifton associate professor and turfgrass breeder. “Even with aging facilities, cultivars like ‘Tifton 85,’ ‘TifBlair,’ ‘TifEagle’ and ‘TifTuf’ have successfully entered and dominated the marketplace over the last 30 years.” UGA-Athens turfgrass faculty now have new greenhouses and a combination classroom and office complex to use for undergraduate teaching and research programs. “These world-class facilities will enhance UGA’s undergraduate and graduate education programs, enable

our turfgrass scientists to conduct innovative research, and position the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to retain and recruit the top turfgrass scientists necessary to ensure a prosperous future for the vital Georgia turfgrass industry,” said CAES Dean and Director Sam Pardue. UGA-bred turfgrasses cover lawns, championship golf courses, urban green spaces, and Major League and Little League playing fields across the world. Since 1990, the UGA Turfgrass Team has generated close to $12 million in royalty income, with a significant portion of the revenue returned to UGA turfgrass research. • Sharon Dowdy Cruse





University of Georgia, state and industry leaders officially opened new UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences turfgrass research and education facilities on the university’s Athens, Griffin and Tifton campuses on Sept. 21. UGA-Griffin houses the largest of the new facilities and served as the site of the ribbon cutting. During the 2014 legislative session, Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly appropriated funds for the statewide turfgrass facilities enhancement project, which was also supported by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. At UGA-Griffin, the new turfgrass research building sits adjacent to the turfgrass research plots. The building houses offices for seven turfgrass scientists, staff, postdoctoral research associates, visiting scientists and graduate students. It includes labs, conference and classroom spaces, and attached greenhouses. “Even though we have an excellent team, our buildings and greenhouses were old.

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Weathering Disaster Extension agents help farmers, residents recover following destructive weather

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Between tornadoes in January and Irma in September, Georgians saw widespread destruction, flattened homes and longterm power losses statewide in 2017. These storms also destroyed thousands of pecan trees, a significant source of revenue for southern Georgia farmers. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells estimated that about 30 percent of this year’s pecan crop was lost to Hurricane Irma — downgraded to a tropical storm when it reached Georgia — as it moved through the state on Sept. 11. Winds knocked immature nuts to the ground, broke limbs and toppled trees, many of which were between 5 and 25 years old. Growers in Georgia’s Peach and Berrien counties lost thousands of trees, he said. “A lot of the trees that were blown down were just coming into good production, which is a tough loss to take,” Wells said.


u Winds destroyed roofs and toppled trees during a January 2017 storm in Worth County, Georgia.

The tornadoes that swept through Albany, Georgia, in January marked the first time that James Morgan, 12-year UGA Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent in Dougherty County, witnessed such devastation. “I have helped some of our farmers with assessments. A lot of their center irrigation pivots were destroyed as well as a lot of pecan acreage. I have helped collect data and worked with the local storm recovery team to put a value on how much of the farms were affected,” Morgan said. More than 4,000 mature pecan trees, or 400 acres, were damaged in Dougherty County. Thirteen center pivots and numerous hay barns were also destroyed. “For farmers with pecan trees, it is pretty overwhelming to say, ‘How am I going to replace these mature trees?’ They lost them during a time when they were not bearing. And now they’re going


to have to wait six or seven years before production can start up again,” Morgan said. “It’s a big financial hurt to them.” The same tornadoes that ripped through Dougherty County on Jan. 21 and 22 impacted Cook County, Georgia. At least 235 acres of pine trees, five center irrigation pivots and two ponds’ dams were destroyed, according to Tucker Price, Cook County Extension coordinator. He said Extension’s organized response system helped in the storm’s aftermath. “Extension was a resource that people could count on for information, whether they needed debris removed or some land cleared or to know where to donate clothes,” Price said. “Partnering with Cook County government officials, we were able to get that information out in a timely manner at the local level.” Several weather-related events have tested UGA Extension’s response system.

A drought in fall 2016 hampered Georgia’s peanut crop. An unseasonably warm winter and late freeze in March hindered Georgia’s blueberry and peach crops. “In times of natural disasters, county agents are relied upon for their expertise in crop management. Farmers may ask if they should abandon their crops, reduce inputs or continue to try for maximum yields. Correct answers from our agents can determine their financial outcome for the year,” said Tim Varnedore, Southwest District Extension director. The mid-March freeze severely limited blueberry and peach production. Damage totaled near 100 percent on all rabbiteye and southern highbush blueberry varieties except for those that were saved using overhead frost protection, said Jeremy Taylor, former ANR agent in Lanier County, Georgia. Taylor, who currently serves as the ANR agent in

Coffee County, Georgia, encouraged use of frost protection, identified the extent of freeze damage in commercial fields, communicated with crop insurance agencies and recommended applications to prevent the spread of diseases. “Extension is the only resource growers can use for information that will help their business,” Taylor said. “We are here to make sure Georgia growers are equipped with the information to make good decisions on their farms that help them produce a good crop and stay sustainable.” Weather conditions are unpredictable, but Laura Perry Johnson, associate dean for UGA Extension, believes that agents are essential resources during emergencies. “Agents know the community and the people who live there. They know how to make connections and how to find the people who are needed to get things done,” Johnson said. • Clint Thompson FALL 2017

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As part of an irrigation efficiency study by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, a 29-person team of social scientists, agricultural economists, climatologists, agricultural engineers and UGA Extension agents from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is researching agricultural irrigation to increase water-use efficiency in row crops common in southern Georgia. Laura Perry Johnson (BSA – Animal Science, ’87; MS – Animal Science ’89; Ph.D. – Animal and Dairy Science, ’93), associate dean for UGA Extension, started the project in response to a report issued during the Georgia-Florida water wars, a legal dispute over water from the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers. During the trial, Georgia was criticized for agricultural water use that,

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according to the report, had remained largely unchecked, Johnson said. “We’re working all the time to be more efficient and effective in our water use,” Johnson said. “(We’d) like to be able to show that we have promoted the adoption of technology and that we can document a decrease in agricultural water usage or at least obtain higher efficiency with our water usage.” The team consists of 13 Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agents from Extension’s Southeast and Southwest districts. Each agent identified two local cotton farmers who they felt were progressive and willing to adopt technology. Three soil water-tension probes, each with three sensors, were installed in those farmers’ fields. The farmers irrigated using data from the probes, and they verified the

information provided by an irrigationscheduling smartphone app developed by team member and UGA precision agriculture expert George Vellidis. “We have to increase production with equal or less water. We feel like you can do that by adopting technology that helps you better schedule your irrigation,” said Calvin Perry, team coordinator and superintendent of UGA’s C.M. Stripling Irrigation Research Park in Camilla, Georgia. “We’ve seen through research that, over a growing season, when you apply water is often as or more important than how much water you apply. You can potentially increase yields and quality with the same amount of water if you put it on at those critical times.” This project allows irrigation experts like Vellidis, Perry and Assistant


UGA Extension team studies agricultural irrigation in Georgia

q Vendors install soil moisture probes in cotton fields with Seth McAllister (below), UGA Extension agent in Terrell County, and Jeremy Kichler, Colquitt County Extension coordinator (inset, at right).



Professor Wes Porter to efficiency practices, familiarize county agents including costs and and farmers with Vellidis’ producer behavior. Gary SmartIrrigation Cotton Hawkins, a UGA Extension Learn more about CAES’s involvement App and soil moisture specialist in water resource in an Upper sensors to increase management and policy, Floridan Aquifer adoption of these tools. is working with Extension sustainability “The (SmartIrrigation 4-H specialist Melanie study and UGA Cotton App) consistently Biersmith and agricultural Extension’s efforts increases both water-use climatologist Pam Knox to boost water efficiency and cotton to share the knowledge education at caes. yield over a standard gained from this research. uga.edu/alumni/ ‘checkbook’ practice, both “Extending the southscapes.html. in wet and dry years,” knowledge gained on Porter said. “This project the farm to these other is pivotal in leading citizens helps spread an effort at advancing irrigation the word that farmers are working scheduling tools and technology to better manage water resources to adoption on farms across our state.” produce the food and fiber we use Johnson enlisted the help of and consume daily,” Hawkins said. Abigail Borron and Jessica Holt, Ian Flitcroft, UGA Weather Network assistant professors in the college’s manager, and Extension ANR Program agricultural leadership, education Development Coordinators Bobby and communication department, to Smith, Jule-Lynne Macie, Wade Parker measure and understand producer and Scott Utley are also on the team. and agent perceptions and behaviors “Putting too much water on the associated with technology adoption. crops does not help and can reduce They are studying ideas, attitudes water availability for other people,” and beliefs to provide producers with Knox said. “Our project on the use water-use information, training and of smart irrigation techniques that technology. Agricultural economists includes the monitoring of soil Adam Rabinowitz and Amanda Smith moisture will help make sure there is are examining the economics behind enough water available for everyone.” the implementation of these irrigation • Clint Thompson

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Livestock and bonds Livestock programs help youth make lifelong connections

u Inset: At 17, Chris Campbell showed heifers like this one at the Georgia National Fair in Perry, Georgia. Campbell is now the 4-H agent in Carroll County, Georgia.

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Youth livestock programs, whether through 4-H or FFA, teach young people to appreciate agriculture by caring for animals. They also teach life lessons. “The Georgia 4-H Livestock Program is a footprint for learning to be successful in an endeavor from the ground up. Dr. Dan Daniel said the animal is the device used to get the child through the gate to opportunities,” said Heather Shultz (MAL - Agricultural Leadership, ’10), University of Georgia Cooperative Extension 4-H livestock programs specialist. Shultz grew up in Manteca, California, where she showed cattle through 4-H and FFA. She was part of an FFA team that led to her livestock judging at the junior college and collegiate levels. Now, Shultz’s 11-year-old daughter is in her third year of showing livestock.

“In the summer and during school breaks, she gets up and feeds and cares for her animal. She rinses and works her heifers so their hair will grow,” she said. “During school, as parents, we help with the bare necessities, but a lot of the work is done on the weekends. She has to make sure their nutrition is good, keep accurate records, identify when their next shots should come and keep them healthy.” Livestock program alumni seem to agree that, through these programs, they learned to accept defeat, make improvements and try again. “Looking back, I learned way more from losing than I ever did from winning,” said Chris Campbell (BSA – Agribusiness, ’14; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’16), now a UGA Extension 4-H agent in Carroll County. “Livestock showing and judging programs teach students that, if they don’t


t U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue tours the livestock arenas and helps judge the goat and cattle show during the Georgia State Fair at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Georgia, on Oct. 6.

p Keely Shultz followed her mother’s footsteps into the livestock judging arena. Shultz is the 11 year-old daughter of UGA Extension 4-H Livestock Programs Specialist Heather Shultz. Inset images: Lindsey (Bell) Hayes, now the Decatur County UGA Extension coordinator and 4-H agent, is pictured with livestock show judge Garry Childs at the Swine Time Festival around 1988. Laura Perry Johnson went from cattle shows to running the show as the current associate dean for UGA Extension. As a high school senior, then-Decatur County 4-H’er Kameron Landeen, now an AmeriCorps community service specialist with Decatur County Extension, showed “Bullet,” a crossbred barrow that won Reserve Champion Market Barrow in the state livestock show.

succeed the first time, there is room for improvement and a reason for the loss.” Participants also learn to make quick decisions, according to Grady County UGA Extension Coordinator Deron Rehberg (BSA – Animal Science, ’88; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’07). “In livestock judging, you learn decision-making skills, how to think on your feet and to be able to back up your thinking with sound reasoning,” Rehberg said. “Giving oral reasons while judging also helps young people perfect their public speaking skills.” Growing up in the Thomas County, Georgia, 4-H program, Rehberg showed steers and heifers at the local, district and state levels and exhibited the State Reserve Champion steer his senior

year. As a member of the judging team, he traveled to national competitions. The 4-H livestock program and Project Achievement introduced Rehberg to UGA animal science professors. “So, it just made sense to go to UGA and join the UGA Livestock Judging Team,” he said. By middle school, Caroline (Black) Lewallen’s (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’11) favorite part of showing animals was the friends she made around the state, many of whom she is still in touch with. “When I graduated from high school and moved from Commerce, (Georgia), to Tifton, (Georgia), and then to Athens, (Georgia), I didn’t have to worry about making friends because most of my friends at ABAC (Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College) and UGA


I had known for years,” she said. She remembers livestock showing with her brother, Ward Black (BSA – Agricultural and Applied Economics, ’09; MS – Agricultural and Applied Economics, ’11), as family time. “My brother and I showed our first animals the same year — 1998. It quickly became our family’s way to spend time together, and that story stayed true the entire time we were showing cattle,” said Lewallen, now the agritourism and marketing coordinator at Jaemor Farms in Alto, Georgia. “Before we knew it, our cattle show friends also became ‘family.’ Without the help of the Shirley and Merk families in Jackson County, (Georgia), we would have never had this opportunity. Stone Shirley (BSA – Animal Science, ’78) and his brother, Mark (BSA – Animal Science, ’78), our Extension 4-H agent, helped us select our first show animals out of my parents’ pastures, and we were off to the races.” Lewallen hasn’t forgotten the hard work that is a part of taking care of livestock. “I learned to never quit until the job was done and I carried that same work ethic over into my career,” she said. “I also think this skill set teaches you to demand the best quality you or someone else can provide. Dirty water buckets weren’t good enough then, and they aren’t now.” Associate Dean for UGA Extension Laura Perry Johnson (BSA – Animal Science, ’87; MS – Animal Science, ’89; Ph.D. – Animal and Dairy Science, ’93) was also an active 4-H’er who showed cattle, and it was no surprise that she enrolled at UGA as an animal science major. The skills she picked up showing cattle still serve her today. “It’s because of my meat- and livestock-judging background that I’m in the career I chose,” she said. “Livestock judging programs teach youth how to make sound decisions, and they have to defend their decisions with clear communication. It also teaches teamwork skills that translate to the workplace. Raising, caring for and exhibiting livestock gives young people the opportunity to learn so many life skills, including responsibility, work ethic, sportsmanship and compassion.” • Sharon Dowdy Cruse FALL 2017

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The University of Georgia Research Foundation named Peggy Ozias-Akins, UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences horticulture professor, a 2017 Distinguished Research Professor. The coveted title is awarded to UGA faculty who are internationally recognized for fostering creativity in their discipline. Ozias-Akins applies advanced biotechnology and molecular biological tools, some of which she developed herself, to improve crops like peanuts. She is an expert on apomixis, the asexual production of seeds in plants. Studied for decades, Ozias-Akins pioneered the application of forward genetics, genetic engineering and genomics to the process. Her team was among the first to localize apomixis to a chromosomal region and find the first associated plant gene. Her work lays the foundation for research into the systematic application of apomixis in plant breeding, which could have an enormous impact on agriculture worldwide. As director of UGA’s Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, Ozias-Akins works with other institute faculty to create plant varieties that are higher yielding, more disease resistant, more nutritious or have greater ornamental value. Working with the federally funded Peanut and Mycotoxin Innovation Lab at UGA, Ozias-Akins and her colleagues search for genetic markers that indicate resistance to aflatoxin, a cancer-causing chemical produced by molds


Ozias-Akins named UGA Distinguished Research Professor

that grow in soil, which could impact the peanut industry. She also co-chairs the Peanut Genome Consortium, an extension of the International Peanut Genome Initiative. As a member of the initiative, she helped to sequence the commercial peanut, which will jump-start breeders’ ability to identify genes or forms of genes for specific traits, like disease resistance. “The peanut is … a fascinating crop. It flowers above ground while it fruits below,” she said. “Growing peanuts, there are a lot of challenges from both foliar and soilborne pathogens.” Her research at UGA has helped create peanut lines that are resistant

to fungal contamination and produce fewer allergens. She has introduced several genes into peanuts, including one that reduces the allergens. “Some of the proteins in peanuts can cause severe reactions in humans. We were able to knock down the production and, in some cases, almost eliminate those proteins,” she said. “Unfortunately, no companies want to push a genetically modified peanut because it takes a lot of money and years to get regulatory approval.” A native of Tifton, Georgia, Ozias-Akins joined the UGA Tifton campus faculty in 1986. • Sharon Dowdy Cruse



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t The first representative of the University of Georgia to receive the award, UGA Cooperative Extension Program and Staff Development Specialist Kristi Farner was granted a 2017 Dissertation Recognition from the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement. Farner’s dissertation, “Institutionalizing Community Engagement in Higher Education: Case Study of Processes Toward Engagement,” was chosen by the association to receive the award because it “advances research on service-learning and community engagement through rigorous and innovative inquiry and has the potential for impact — including on the study of it, the practice of it, and/or the cultures and systems within which it is undertaken.” As a co-author, Farner references her dissertation in a chapter for the “Cambridge Handbook of Organizational Community Engagement and Outreach.” Farner was recognized by the association at a conference in September in Galway, Ireland. She graduated last December with a doctorate in adult education from the UGA College of Education’s Department of Lifelong Education, Administration and Policy.



Read more faculty news at caes. uga.edu/alumni/ southscapes.html.

p UGA Regents Professor Michael Strand (right) talks with doctoral student Kerri Coon of Springfield, Virginia, in his lab in the biological sciences building on UGA’s Athens campus. Strand has received one of the highest honors a scientist can receive — election to the National Academy of Sciences. He is the eighth UGA professor to become a member.

Profound Honor

UGA entomologist Michael Strand elected to National Academy of Sciences

University of Georgia Regents Professor Michael R. Strand 220 research papers, and his findings have been cited at a has received one of the highest honors a scientist can level that places him in the top 1 percent of biologists. receive — election to the National Academy of Sciences. “Dr. Strand’s work underscores the profound impacts that Strand, who holds an appointment in the entomology basic science can have on agriculture and human health,” said department of the College of Agricultural Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and and Environmental Sciences and an affiliated Provost Pamela Whitten. “He exemplifies the “Dr. Strand’s work appointment in the genetics department of the kind of world-changing research and instruction underscores the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, is UGA’s that make the University of Georgia one of profound impacts eighth member of the National Academies, the nation’s leading public universities.” which include the National Academy of Strand’s expertise is sought around the globe. that basic science can Sciences, National Academy of Engineering He has delivered seminars and symposia in nearly have on agriculture and National Academy of Medicine. every department of entomology in the U.S. and human health.” “The University of Georgia commends Dr. and at universities and conferences in Europe, Strand on this most prestigious recognition,” said Asia, South America, Africa and Australia. In PAMELA WHITTEN UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “Dr. Strand’s Athens, he has taught undergraduate survey influential research is representative of the high courses in entomology and has mentored more caliber of faculty at UGA and the strength of our growing research than 50 doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows who have enterprise. It is an honor to have him represent this university gone on to careers in government, industry and academia. in an organization of such tremendous national importance.” Strand has earned several honors over the course of his career, Strand’s primary research interests are in the study of the including being named a Fellow of the American Association for interactions among insects, parasites and microorganisms. the Advancement of Science and of the Entomological Society Applications of his work focus on insects that are important of America. In 2013, he was named Regents Professor, an honor to agriculture and that transmit human diseases, such as bestowed by the Board of Regents of the University System of malaria and Zika. His work has garnered nearly $28 million Georgia to distinguished faculty whose scholarship or creative in external funding from agencies such as the National activity is recognized both nationally and internationally as Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture and innovative and pace setting. He joined the UGA faculty in 2001. National Science Foundation. He has published more than • Sam Fahmy FALL 2017

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“CAES empowered me to commit to helping farmers around the world. CAES faculty had the vision to prepare me for opportunities to conduct applied research that directly impacts farmers worldwide. As I’ve implemented this knowledge to help farmers in Haiti manage yield-limiting diseases of peanuts, I can see the difference it makes in the success of their crops and in the success of their families. I’m very appreciative for the resources that allowed me to learn and conduct research in Tifton and abroad.” ABRAHAM FULMER BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’09 Ph.D. – Plant Pathology, ’17

u Learn more about Abraham’s amazing research on page 42.


You can ensure that future students have experiential learning opportunities, like education abroad, internships, research and leadership programs, by giving to CAES today. Give online at caes.uga.edu/alumni/gifts or by mailing in the attached envelope.

BRIGHT FUTURES MODERN AGRICULTURE IS A BEACON OF SCIENTIFIC ACHIEVEMENT. Through the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) organization and scholarships like the Broder-Ackermann Global Citizen Award, students gain the experience necessary to innovate in agriculture and in the larger international community. Academic opportunities like the Double Dawgs Program and the college’s partnership with the University of Padova in Italy equip students for roles in the global workforce. The college provides a range of academic and support programs to empower students to become the torchbearers of tomorrow’s agricultural industry.

In the manner of



t Alumna Tracey Troutman served as president of the CAES chapter of MANRRS in 2006. Now, she supports diversity in agriculture on a national scale, as outreach and diversity branch chief for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.




Today, more than 60 percent of University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences students are female, and about 20 percent identify as underrepresented minorities. Of the college’s living alumni, more than 1,500 reported they were a minority and 32 percent — more than 5,800 — are women, according to UGA’s Giving and Alumni Information Link System. Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) brings awareness to the modern face of agriculture and the natural resource sciences. An organization that focuses on students from traditionally underserved and underrepresented backgrounds in agriculture and related sciences, MANRRS provides continuing education, peer and professional mentoring networks, and professional development to members in high school, college and higher education, and to those who’ve already started their careers. This year, the UGA chapter of MANRRS celebrates its 20th year at the college, a milestone for a group that started when minority students made up only 10 percent of the UGA student body. “Agriculture is something we should all be concerned about, regardless of who we are, especially in terms of the security of our nation,” said Don McLellan, former MANRRS faculty advisor. “We must make sure we’re all discussing food production, water quality and the environment. Those issues affect us all, and we must all be at the table.” Continued on page 28 FALL 2017

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p CAES alumnae Tracey Troutman (left) and Alexis Barnes (center) were both MANRRS presidents during their time at the college. They passed the organization’s legacy at UGA to Thomas Gottilla (right), who leads the UGA student organization today.

“THIS IS A GOOD THING” Students at Michigan State and Pennsylvania State universities started MANRRS in 1984 to build a community of support among minority agriculture and natural resources students and professionals. UGA’s first experience with the organization, however, came when student Norbert Wilson (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’93) was asked to attend the MANRRS national conference by thenAssociate Dean Wen Williams. “I went to the conference, came back and told Dr. Williams, ‘This is a good thing,’” said Wilson, who is now a professor of food policy at Tufts University. “(I saw) that there were other students of color who were studying agriculture and

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that companies, industries and the government were interested in hiring people from diverse backgrounds. It was deeply encouraging to see other students and faculty with similar backgrounds and experiences studying agriculture.” The UGA chapter of MANRRS was established in 1997, and Professor Emeritus Robert Shewfelt, 2006 Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of Food Science and Technology, was the chapter’s first faculty advisor. There were about 10 MANRRS members then. Shewfelt helped the students with logistics and arranged for speakers for meetings. “They had unique challenges to face and having an organization where they could sit down and talk

to each other and share experiences was the most important thing about the organization,” said Shewfelt. McLellan, then-CAES director for the Office of Human Resources and Diversity Relations and Young Scholars Program director, acted as MANRRS faculty advisor from 2000 to 2007. MANRRS grew and chapter members encouraged one another to join college programs, like CAES Ambassadors, and to apply for internships, WILSON scholarships and study abroad programs, said McLellan, now the lead senior diversity and inclusion specialist for the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Then-MANRRS member Tracey Troutman (BSA – Avian Biology, ’07; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’08) was one of the first CAES students to take

advantage of an internship in Brussels. Members were also active in regional and national MANRRS conferences. “We provided a strong base in supporting their work so that they do and feel the same way as any other student at UGA,” McLellan said. “College life is a defining part of an individual’s development, and we didn’t want anything other than positivity.” By the mid-2000s, chapter membership grew about fourfold. The chapter started drawing in more undergraduates than graduate and doctoral students. “I brought in my friends, focused on (students) outside the college and opened it up to all majors,” said Troutman, who joined the chapter in 2003 and was named president in 2006. The chapter offered students exposure to professional development, networking and job opportunities while growing ties to the university and Athens, Georgia, communities through service and engagement. Members worked concession stands, held canned food drives and volunteered to help at college events. MANRRS even hosted the inaugural Georgia Daze, an event that brought underrepresented high school students to UGA’s Athens campus to experience life as a college student, at CAES. “We were pretty much the face of the College of Ag,” Troutman said. “Every event that happened on South Campus, we were there … We were everywhere, we did everything.”

BEYOND CAES There are currently 30 student members of MANRRS at UGA and around 2,000 nationwide. In addition to biweekly meetings, the student group continues to host professional development and networking events. Members attend regional and national conferences to connect with students, faculty and professionals from across the country. “MANRRS plays a significant role in the academic and professional lives of its members by offering members opportunities to enhance leadership, organizational and public speaking skills, and to experience professional critiques in a rigorous but nurturing

environment,” Associate Professor Shavannor Smith, current MANRRS faculty advisor, wrote in an email. MANRRS alumni mentor undergraduate and graduate students who join the club. Mentors and their protégés share a major. “Students rarely join the club with an understanding of the depth and breadth of agriculture,” said Victoria David, director of the CAES Office of Diversity Affairs. “We work to introduce students to agricultural industry leaders from all fields and help students see the full spectrum of employment and research opportunities out there.” For many students, their time in MANRRS has defined their time at CAES and has helped them choose majors and foster connections that have aided them in landing their first internships and jobs. “The leadership positions I’ve held have been a huge part of my professional growth in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced, and I’ve seen it do the same for others,” said Alexis Barnes (BSA – Food Industry Marketing and Administration, ’17), former MANRRS president and current John Deere marketing representative. “I am sitting here on Independence Avenue in Washington, D.C., because of MANRRS. I got a lot of exposure through other organizations, but when it came down to employment, MANRRS sealed the deal for me,” said Troutman, MANRRS’s national secretary, a position she was elected to by MANRRS members. Troutman was recently selected to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s efforts in the Combined Federal Campaign, which has been charged with raising $1.5 million for charities nationwide. “MANRRS is a game changer … Years later, we changed lives that may not have finished school or may not have gone to school or to the College of Ag. It made leaders of so many students like me.” • Merritt Melancon and Kathryn Schiliro



p Top: MANRRS members helped to build the Hilsman Middle School greenhouse in Athens, Georgia, as part of UGA’s fall 2017 Dawg Day of Service. Middle: MANRRS members attended the 2016 regional cluster meeting in Atlanta, where members Alexis Barnes and Jeeten Mistry placed third in regional contests. MANRRS faculty advisor and Associate Professor Shavannor Smith (far left) and staff advisor and CAES Office of Diversity Affairs’ Program Coordinator Narke Norton (far right) accompanied the group, which included MANRRS national officers from UGA: Thomas Gottilla (left) and Ayodele Daré (right), in gold jackets. Bottom: Undergraduate and graduate MANRRS students attended the national Career Fair and Training Conference in Houston.

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F O N O I T C E L REF L E D O M E L O AR Alexis Barnes (BSA – Food Industry Marketing and Administration, ’17) believes the Young Scholars Program positioned her for success at the University of Georgia and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “I met a lot of great people and got to know some of the faculty,” she said of the program. Through Young Scholars, high school students intern with CAES professors and researchers for the summer. Barnes participated in the program twice and decided early on to become a CAES student. “They (the faculty) weren’t just recruiting talent,” Barnes said. “They really wanted to see us shine.” During her time in Young Scholars, Barnes learned about Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). The organization empowers individuals of underrepresented and diverse backgrounds through continuing education, mentoring and advocacy. Barnes became the president of UGA’s chapter of MANRRS during her senior year of college. As a MANRRS member, she was both a mentor and a protégé. Barnes and the entire executive officer team hosted biweekly meetings and other networking events, which helped her grow professionally. “We discussed problems that weren’t straightforward, so you learn to solve them while learning responsibility,” Barnes said. “We learned that you can’t innovate without courage and you can influence without authority.”

Barnes currently works as a marketing representative for John Deere. She was interviewed on the spot at a MANRRS national conference for an internship with the company and subsequently interned with John Deere twice prior to accepting her current position. As a representative on the tillage product line marketing team, she helps to develop new solutions for customers and assists with on-site trainings. “MANRRS really taught me how to lead people,” Barnes said. During her time at UGA, the Decatur, Georgia, native also worked in the Office of Diversity Affairs and was a CAES Ambassador. She said the former opened her eyes to how best to carry out cross-collaborative initiatives and the latter matured her in social settings. “Being a CAES Ambassador wasn’t just a resume booster,” Barnes said. “It was a lot of work, and it taught me what it means to care about the big picture.” Barnes is eager to become involved with John Deere’s MANRRS team. It has been encouraging for her to meet other African-American men and women in the agriculture industry. “It’s almost scary to see how I’m one of those role models now, but I can’t wait to give back,” she said. • April Bailey

FALL 2017

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All of the college’s Double Dawgs Program pathways are listed at caes.uga. edu/alumni/ southscapes. html.


STUDENTS TO EARN BACHELOR’S, MASTER’S undergraduate and graduate coursework in five years saves a year’s worth of tuition costs — at least $12,000 — and a year of time. Through the Double Dawgs Program, the HOPE Scholarship could cover the cost of students’ first year of graduate school. Potentially, assistantships could pay for the second year of graduate school, also considered the fifth year of the Double Dawgs Program. “For those of us in the millennial generation, it can be difficult to find a job,” said Mary Kate Bagwell, who is currently one of five students in her agribusiness cohort pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees. She’s a fifth-year senior and second-year graduate student. “The ability to get bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years, to have that extra skill set and added degree, better prepare me for the job market.” Students may apply for entry into Double Dawgs pathways as undergraduates, then apply for admission to the graduate portion of their pathway, according to Broder. Students must meet the admission requirements of their respective graduate programs. Students admitted to the Double Dawgs Program follow a program of study approved by a departmental advisory committee. Many of these students are already doing research as undergraduates and simply expand that research into their graduate program. “It all goes back to work ethic and time management,” Bagwell said. “If anyone has the opportunity to do it, I really think it’s something everyone should take advantage of … The fact that UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is stepping up their game like this makes the college stand out.” • Kathryn Schiliro ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER


IN AN EFFORT TO PROVIDE STUDENTS WITH LOWER TUITION COSTS AND A COMPETITIVE EDGE AFTER GRADUATION, THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA DEBUTED THE DOUBLE DAWGS PROGRAM THIS FALL. The program enables students to earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years or less. Fourteen colleges and schools within the university offer more than 100 pathways through the program. The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is offering 16 pathways. Students apply to the Double Dawgs Program in their junior year, take graduate courses during their senior year, then enroll in one more year of graduate coursework. Previously, only select students, many of whom were in the university’s Honors Program, took graduate courses in their senior year. “(The Double Dawgs Program) is open to CAES students with strong academic records,” said CAES Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Josef Broder. “This program will allow our top CAES students the opportunity to take graduate courses in their senior year and complete their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years.” Beyond the advanced education gained, completing

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FIRST UGA STUDENT BEGINS STUDY AT ITALY’S rowing up in Moore and his wife, Casey, Tifton, Georgia, moved to Italy in May and Logan Moore (BSA have settled in a small – Agriscience and town outside Padova. Environmental “We live in an apartment just Systems, ’16) knew he would outside the town’s center and follow the family tradition of I take public transportation to earning his associate’s degree Legnaro, Verona, Cittadella, from Abraham Baldwin Istrana or Castelfranco Agricultural College. Veneto most days of the Remaining in his week, either working on hometown and earning my project or helping his bachelor’s degree my co-worker with her from the University of project,” Moore wrote Georgia Tifton campus in an email. “Every made sense, too. day on the train or But after learning he bus, I study the Italian MOORE could simultaneously language and improve earn master’s degrees my communication from the UGA College of skills. I am not yet fluent, Agricultural and Environmental but I can communicate Sciences and the University of to a certain degree.” Padova (UNIPD), one of Italy’s The new program is the leading research institutions, result of faculty relationships Moore decided to spread his that date back two dozen wings. He is spending 18 years to when Francesco months conducting research Morari, UNIPD associate and taking classes at UNIPD, professor of environmental making him the first UGA agronomy, traveled to UGAgraduate student to pursue the Tifton to conduct research. new dual master’s degree “Francesco and I became opportunity. friends and, through the years, we’ve looked for opportunities to collaborate,” said George Vellidis, UGA crop and soil sciences professor. In 2015, UGA and UNIPD signed a memorandum of understanding to offer this dual graduate degree in sustainable agriculture. The next year was spent studying all aspects of the programs at the two universities, from admissions requirements to required courses. Moore was accepted into the program at UGA in fall 2016. He is studying the brown


Ag Dawg experiences

ITALY BY DEGREES marmorated stink bug, a relatively new pest in both Georgia and Italy that can cause millions of dollars in damage if not controlled. Moore is detailing the damage stink bugs cause to cherries and kiwis and determining the effects of the landscapes around orchards on stink bug infestations. By the time he returns to UGA next fall, Moore plans to have completed his research and defended his thesis. “The University of Padova is a top-ranking institution in many areas of research, including agriculture,” Vellidis said. “By studying there for a year or more, our graduates will develop

a global perspective and understanding of agriculture. They’ll also have had the opportunity to live and learn in a place that has different ways of doing things. Those experiences will prepare them to explore a far broader range of professional opportunities.” Two Italian students arrived at UGA in August and are conducting research at UGATifton with Professor Peggy Ozias-Akins and Assistant Professor John Snider. A second UGA student, Aaron Bruce from Lakeland, Georgia, will go to UNIPD in January 2018, and two more UGA students will follow in May 2018. • Denise H. Horton FALL 2017

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In high school, Samaria Aluko — currently a senior studying biological science — was a sprinter, a passionate, intense, focused runner who could run the 200-meter dash in under 27 seconds. Now she channels that intensity and drive into improving and saving lives, and she maintains her laser-like focus on radical compassion. 


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To hear the Broders’ story and learn more about the Global Citizen Award, visit https://tinyurl. com/broderackermann.

“People are dying, here and outside the More than two dozen students applied for country,” said Aluko, from Acworth, Georgia, the inaugural award, but Aluko’s ability to who plans to use her University of Georgia embrace local communities while keeping sight College of Agricultural and Environmental of the global community made her stand out. Sciences degree to launch a career in “Samaria’s personal commitment to international medicine. “When you imagine providing modern health care on a global scale becoming a doctor, it seems like a glamorous is truly remarkable,” Josef Broder said. “She job: the white coat, bragging rights and has devoted her studies to understanding an impressive paycheck. But the purpose different cultures and languages around the of being a doctor is trying to save lives. If world. Her work with infant mortality in that requires me to go someplace where Uganda, communicable diseases in Peru and it’s a little dangerous or less Instagramthe homeless in the Athens area exemplify worthy, I can do that. I want to do it.” her passion for creating a healthier world Aluko takes part in homeless outreach for all citizens. Samaria’s hands-on efforts in Athens, Georgia, and works with refugee to advance health care and alleviate hunger communities in Clarkston, Georgia. With her and poverty across the world captures the mentor, Professor Juliet N. Sekandi of the true spirit of the Global Citizen Award.”  UGA College of Public Health’s Global Health Aluko is the child of an immigrant. Her father Institute, Aluko participated in is from Nigeria, and she’s one of “SAMARIA’S HANDSresearch to understand barriers seven children. Aluko’s parents ON EFFORTS TO to health care access in refugee emphasized the importance of ADVANCE HEALTH communities in the U.S. and to reaching beyond her comfortable CARE AND ALLEVIATE surroundings to help others. effective treatment for tuberculosis HUNGER AND POVERTY in developing countries. Her drive She also works with UGA’s to help isn’t born out of blind African Student Union to share ACROSS THE WORLD idealism. She’s learned about the African culture with the broader CAPTURES THE TRUE world’s challenges and tried to SPIRIT OF THE GLOBAL university community and is chart a course to help solve them. constantly exploring new cultures. CITIZEN AWARD.” “My parents raised me in a She has studied abroad in Ecuador, JOSEF BRODER where she strengthened her Christian household, and I believe this calling is my way of being an Spanish language skills, and example of Christ’s love,” Aluko said. “If I see Scotland, where she addressed food insecurity something that’s wrong, I want to fix it. My and agricultural education. She’s currently life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for learning to speak Korean and Yoruba. finishing the work assigned to me by the Lord.” In addition to her CAES degree in biological This spring, Aluko became the first science, Aluko is earning an Undergraduate recipient of the college’s Broder-Ackermann Certificate in Global Health through the College Global Citizen Award. CAES Associate Dean of Public Health. Through UGA student group for Academic Affairs Josef Broder (BSA MobileHealth@UGA, she is developing an app Agricultural Economics, ’71) and his seven to equip pregnant women and mothers with siblings endowed the annual $1,000 award the information they need to have healthier in spring 2017 in honor of their parents, pregnancies. MobileHealth@UGA is also Hans Broder and Margrit Ackermann. collecting old cell phones to redistribute so The Broders’ parents, who immigrated to women without a smartphone can use the app. the U.S. from Switzerland in 1952 to run a Uganda has one of the highest maternal dairy in Stockbridge, Georgia, ensured that mortality rates in the world because women their children had an international mindset often do not have access to prenatal or postnatal even as they grew up surrounded by rural health care or self-care information. But at Georgia farmland. The siblings wanted to least 65 percent of adult Ugandans have access recognize students who are driven to build to a smartphone, according to a Pew Research international lives, either by working or Center study, and apps, like this one through studying abroad or by engaging with the MobileHealth@UGA, are a reliable, low-cost international community in Athens and at UGA. way to deliver the information mothers need “We wanted to recognize (our parents) not to protect themselves and their children. only for everything they did for us, but for being When Aluko graduates in May 2018, she globally minded,” Josef Broder said. “Coming plans to spend a year working with a medical here opened doors for all of us, and we wanted clinic operated by Hands on Peru before to pay them back for the gift they gave to us.” attending medical school. • Merritt Melancon FALL 2017

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 UGA CAES Alumni Association  @UGA_CAES_Alumni  UGA CAES Alumni

class notes FROM FOUR TOWERS


ur college is solving some of Georgia’s, and the world’s, most significant challenges. The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Association is taking steps to ensure that we continue to provide meaningful support for the college’s pursuit of progress and innovation. This past February, a group of alumni gathered at the Four Towers Building to begin developing a strategic plan for the association. The 18-person committee represented a broad cross section of our graduates. These volunteers, some newly engaged in the association, brought innovative ideas and constructive feedback as to how we could move our association forward. In the months that followed, our alumni board adopted the following mission: “To connect, engage and celebrate alumni, JOEL MCKIE students and friends of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.” In our five-year plan, we committed to six strategic goals that relate to themes of alumni enrichment, communication, governance, recognition, Discover ways to engage with resource development and student connections. your fellow To accomplish these big goals, one of Ag Dawgs at our first endeavors was recruiting highly caes.uga.edu/ engaged volunteers to fill our expanded, alumni. 24-person board. Our new board met in June to develop a strategy to involve committee members who reflect the diversity of our graduates. We invite you to connect, or perhaps reconnect, with the CAES Alumni Association during this exciting time! Our website, at caes.uga.edu/alumni, highlights plenty of opportunities to get involved. Come join us, and go Ag Dawgs!

Joel McKie BSA – Agribusiness, ’05

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1940s David Hsi (MS – Agronomy, ’49) is a professor emeritus at New Mexico State University. Hsi received his doctorate in agronomy and plant genetics from the University of Minnesota in 1951. He is the recipient of the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences Alumni Society. He’s an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow and is listed in Marquis’ “Who’s Who in America” and “Who’s Who in the World.” Hsi resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Gerald Smith (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’64) is a self-employed real estate appraiser. Smith resides in Americus, Georgia.

Capt. Charles M. “Chuck” Walker (BSA – Dairy Science Manufacturing, ’49) retired from the U.S. Navy, where he was a naval aviator, in 1977, after more than 31 years. In 1996, he retired after 18 years at Jacksonville University, where he was the director of alumni and parent relations. Walker resides in Jacksonville, Florida.

1970s Harry Sloan (BSA – Animal Science, ’70) retired after spending eight years in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear program and 35 years in Duke Energy’s nuclear department. Sloan lives in Troutman, North Carolina, on Lake Norman.

1960s Robert W. Powitz (BSA – Agriculture, ’64) is the principal forensic sanitarian for R.W. Powitz & Associates P.C. Powitz is the recipient of the National Environmental Health Association’s 2017 Walter S. Mangold Award, which honors individuals for their outstanding contributions to the environmental health profession. He resides in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

James Wightman (BSA – Plant Pathology, ’64) is an independent contractor with expertise in metals and ceramics. He designs and sells high-temperature metal, carbon fiber and ceramic fixtures. Wightman resides in Milford, Pennsylvania. Tommy Perkins (BSA – Agronomy, ’66) is retired. Perkins resides in Statham, Georgia.

Alexander “Lex” Kromhout (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’71) is the owner/manager of The Hammock Ranch Preserve LLC. Kromhout resides in Vero Beach, Florida. Jackson Phillip Keathley (Ph.D. – Entomology, ’72) is president of J. Phillip Keathley LLC. Keathley resides in Greenbrier, Tennessee. Marvin Dewberry (BSA – Animal Science, ’73) is retired. Before retirement, he worked for University of Georgia Cooperative

alumni news

Randy Drinkard (MS – Horticulture, ’75) is a retired University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent. The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences employed Drinkard for 35 years, from 1980 to 2015. He resides in Marietta, Georgia. Hiram Larew (BSA – Horticulture, ’75) retired as director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Center for International Programs in 2015. He currently serves as a global food security specialist and adjunct professor for the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He holds similar appointments at Oregon State University and Montana State University. Larew resides in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.


William Edmunds (Ph.D. – Food Science, ’76) is retired. Edmunds resides in Plainfield, New Jersey. John A. Ramay (Ph.D. – Agricultural Leadership, ’76) is a retired agricultural education instructor. He now spends his time serving and helping others. Ramay resides in Hazlehurst, Georgia. William Smith (BSA – Agronomy, ’76) is the golf course superintendent for the


Country Club of Columbus. He was inducted into the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association’s Hall of Fame in 2015. Smith resides in Pine Mountain, Georgia. Tommy Coleman (MS – Soil Genesis and Classification, ’77) retired from Alabama A&M University, where he was a professor. Coleman resides in Huntsville, Alabama. Jerry L. Edwards (BSA – Horticulture, ’77) is the president of J&D Properties. Edwards resides in Roswell, Georgia. Ben Treen (BSA – Biological Science, ’77) is a physician. He joined United Dermatology Associates’ Mansfield and Arlington, Texas, offices as the procedural and Mohs surgeon in September. Treen resides in Arlington. John Ellsworth (BSA – Dairy Science, ’78) is the president of Success Strategies Inc. Following prior career roles in consulting and commercial banking, Ellsworth spent the last 19 years as a finance and strategy consultant working with agricultural clients in the dairy, wine grape and almond industries. He resides in Kansas City, Missouri. Thomas Carter (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’79) is the executive director of the Georgia Development Authority. Carter resides in Jersey, Georgia.


Extension for 10 years; Home Depot for 19 years, where he was an assistant manager for three of those years; and two years as an H&R Block tax professional. He also owned a garden center for three years. Dewberry resides in Bremen, Georgia.

p Bob Whitaker (BSA – Dairy Science, ’54; MS – Dairy Science, ’59) has donated to the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences annually for the past 60 years, an effort to show his appreciation for a $200 scholarship he received while a student at the college. The $200 scholarship covered his tuition with some money left to spare. To thank him for 60 years of giving, the college’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations organized an effort to send Whitaker more than 60 personal notes of thanks from CAES students, alumni, faculty and administrators.

1980s Jo Phillips (BSA – Horticulture, ’80) is the horticulture manager for Hills & Dales Estate. Phillips resides in Warm Springs, Georgia.

Cristian Lopez (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’81) retired from his position as a telecommunications technician. Lopez resides in Brookhaven, Georgia.

Paul B. Tillman (BSA – Biological Science, ’80; MS – Poultry Science, ’84) started his own consulting company, Poultry Technical Nutrition Services, in 2006. He received the Poultry Science Association’s USPOULTRY Distinguished Poultry Industry Career Award at the association’s 2017 annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, for his more-than-30-year career in animal agriculture. Tillman resides in Buford, Georgia.

Rick Nelson (BSA – Agronomy and Horticulture, ’81) is a horticulturist for the city of Acworth, Georgia. Nelson resides in Acworth. Michael Kogut (Ph.D. – Poultry Science, ’83) is a research microbiologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. Kogut resides in College Station, Texas.

Bill Reynierson (BSA – Ornamental Horticulture, ’83) is the owner of The Green Reyno. Reynierson resides in Lawrenceville, Georgia. W. Franklin Evans (BSA – Entomology, ’84) is the ninth president of Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina. Prior to accepting this position, he was the interim president of South Carolina State University, where he also served as provost and chief academic officer. Evans resides in Denmark, South Carolina.

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class notes 1980s (continued) Mark Tribby (BSA – Biology, ’84) is the owner of Hill High Animal Hospital with his father and fellow veterinarian, David Tribby. Both are graduates of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. They opened their latest veterinary hospital in Augusta, Georgia, this year. Mark Tribby resides in Augusta. Manjur Chowdhury (Ph.D. – Entomology, ’85) is the CEO of SAFEWAY Bangladesh. Chowdhury resides in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Jean Bertrand (Ph.D. – Animal and Dairy Science, ’87), the associate dean for undergraduate studies at Clemson University’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, received the 2017 Distinguished Educator Award from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture organization. Johnny Bryan (MS – Agricultural Economics, ’87) is the market president of Colony Bank. Bryan resides in Sylvester, Georgia. David Golden (MS – Food Science, ’87; Ph.D. – Food Science, ’91) was named the executive assistant to the president at the University of Tennessee in December 2016. Golden resides in Knoxville, Tennessee. Nancy Smallwood (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’88) was recently hired as the Hall County, Georgia, grants manager after completing a contract position as a U.S. Department of Agriculture peer team review leader and a

Department of Education 21st Century grant reviewer. She obtained more than $11 million in grants for various northeastern Georgia government agencies. Dixie Truelove (BSA – Dairy Science, ’88), vice president of Truelove Dairy Inc. and University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Association board treasurer, has been named to the UGA Board of Visitors Class of 2017-2019. She also received Leadership Georgia’s E. Dale Threadgill Community Service Award. Truelove and her husband, Mike Smith, reside in Clermont, Georgia. 1990s Brad Smith (BSA – Poultry Science, ’90), a graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, is a veterinarian and the owner of Animal Wellness Hospital of Highlands. Smith resides in Clayton, Georgia. Joanne Sullivan (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’90) is the Southeast medical sales manager for Evolve BioSystems. Sullivan resides in Raleigh, North Carolina. Cathleen (Collett) Williams (MS – Dairy Science, ’91) is a professor and curriculum coordinator at the Louisiana State University School of Animal Sciences. Williams resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Stanley L. Beasley (BSA – Ornamental Horticulture, ’93) was promoted to landscape buildings supervisor for the Athens-Clarke County, Georgia,

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Landscape Management Division, where he’s been employed for over 21 years. Beasley is in charge of crews responsible for landscaping around Athens-Clarke County government buildings as well as decorating the downtown Athens business district for Christmas each year and installing the community Christmas tree and the lights in the large oak trees on Clayton and Broad streets. Diane Helton (BSA – Animal Science, ’93) is an IV pharmacy technician at Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, Georgia. Helton resides in Cohutta, Georgia. Lee Brown (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’94) is the president of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association. He is self-employed as the owner of Southland Power Fence and Equipment Company in Colbert, Georgia. Brown resides in Comer, Georgia. Bo Warren (BSA – Agribusiness, ’95) is the policy director at the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Warren resides in Monroe, Georgia. Paula (Nail) Lay (BSA – Animal Science, ’96) is a nurse practitioner in Emory Healthcare’s cardiovascular intensive care unit. Lay resides in Locust Grove, Georgia. Rongrong Li (Ph.D. – Food Science, ’98) is a senior food scientist with Lakeview Farms in West Chester/ Delphos, Ohio. Li has been working as research scientist, product developer or sensory project manager in poultry, flavor and meat companies since 1999. She resides in West Chester, Ohio.

Angela Rocio Camargo Nino (MS – Food Science, ’99) is a senior quality assurance manager at Panera Bread. She resides in Richmond Heights, Missouri. 2000s Brian Lucas (BSA – Environmental Soil Science, ’00) is the owner of Lucas Soil Evaluation. Lucas reides in Waverly Hall, Georgia. Daniel Singleton (BSA – Plant Pathology, ’00; MPPPM – Plant Protection and Pest Management, ’01) is a physician and the owner of Marion Family Medicine PC in Buena Vista, Georgia. Following graduation, Singleton served in the Peace Corps for three years, then attended medical school at Mercer University and graduated in 2010. He returned to Georgia in 2013 after a residency in family medicine in South Carolina and has been practicing medicine in his hometown of Buena Vista ever since. Jimmy Greer (BSA – Horticulture, ’01) is a transformer parts specialist at PSC Parts Super Center. Greer resides in Rome, Georgia. Brad Merry (BSA – Agribusiness, ’01) is the owner of Merry Lumber Company and its sister company, EverStake. Merry resides in Augusta, Georgia. Drew Benson (BSA – Poultry Science, ’02; Ph.D. – Poultry Science, ’06) is an assistant professor in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Poultry Science. He is responsible for teaching “Avian Anatomy and Physiology,” “Introductory Poultry Science”

and “Avian Biomedical Techniques” courses. He also conducts research in poultry reproductive physiology. Krishaun Caldwell (MFT – Food Science Technology, ’02) is a senior microbiologist at PAR Pharmaceutical. Caldwell resides in Huntsville, Alabama. Caryn Doerr (BSA – Food Science, ’02) graduated with a master’s degree in product design and development management from Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and the Segal Design Institute in June. Doerr resides in Chicago. Jessica Eubank (BSA – Animal Science, ’00; MED – Agricultural Education, ’02) is the 4-H Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences agent for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension in McDuffie County. She previously taught middle and high school science classes. Eubank resides in Washington, Georgia. Amanda Freeman (BSA – Biological Science, ’02) is a science teacher for the Emanuel County, Georgia, Board of Education. She received her master’s degree in teaching from Georgia College (formerly Georgia College and State University) in 2008 and a specialist degree in instructional technology from Kennesaw State University in 2015. Freeman resides in Adrian, Georgia. Stephanie Ray Butcher (BSA – Animal Science, ’03; BSA – Dairy Science, ’03), the coordinator for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension in Coweta County, received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.

alumni news LEAD DAWG

Stinging Curiosity A curious University of Georgia graduate student in the mid-1970s, Justin Schmidt (Ph.D. – Entomology, ’77) didn’t set out to research the evolution of eusociality, high-level societal organization by a group of animals. But about 40 years later, he’s become known as “The Connoisseur of Pain” by The New York Times magazine or, more commonly in his field, as “The Man Who Got Stung for Science.” Looking to apply his interest in chemistry to agriculture, Schmidt was curious about how the pain of snake and other venoms compared to insect stings. “In science, we can’t just translate words into meaningful comparisons for scientific analyses,” he said. “How do we do that? Everything is pretty much digital. It’s got a number, a plus or a minus, a ‘1’ or a ‘0’ … So I concluded that we can actually rate (the stings) on a scale comparing the numbers of how much they hurt.” Enter the Schmidt sting pain index, which puts the strength of various insect stings on a scale. Schmidt described honeybees as the

most common sting and a sort of baseline when compared to a host of other insects, like fire ants, sweat bees, tarantula hawks or bullet ants. “My hypothesis was the reason they could become social and deter things like possums and skunks and raccoons is they had a sting that is very effective,” he said. “How can you measure that? That was the genesis of the sting pain scale.” The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences alumnus has experienced 83 different types of stings as part of his research and developed the scale from below 1 to 4, with 4 being excruciatingly painful. Still, Schmidt doesn’t see himself as having a high pain tolerance and said, because it’s subjective, there’s no way for different people to truly compare pain. Schmidt explained that, in the mid-1970s in his field, much of the research was centered on mathematical and genetic theories about why insects evolved eusociality. He dismissed the description of himself as a pioneer or trailblazer.


Justin Schmidt endured more than 80 types of stings to study eusociality in insects

p Justin Schmidt developed a scale to use in comparing the pain of various insect bites.

“I was just a poor graduate student,” he said. “I was thinking I wanted to get my degree and go off, get a job and do science. I was thinking, ‘How do we measure this?’ There hadn’t been anything before, and it was simply a tool that I sort of thought of as a solution.” In May 2016, Schmidt, currently an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona, published a book, “The Sting of the Wild,” that he described as something to pass down

to future generations of students who have a love of science and as a tool to help people and insects get along. Schmidt was the keynote speaker at a fundraising event for The Friends of the Georgia Museum of Natural History in October and plans to offer more seminars at UGA. • Keith Farner

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class notes 2000s (continued) Timothy Daly (MS – Entomology, ’03) works for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension as the Agriculture and Natural Resources agent in Gwinnett County. Daly resides in Snellville, Georgia. Briley Edwards (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’03) is the vice president of commercial lending at Colony Bank. Edwards resides in Cordele, Georgia.

highlighted in a marketing campaign for Zoetis. Hutchens resides in Perry. Shine Taylor (BSA – Biological Science, ’04; MS – Entomology, ’06) is the field development representative in Florida and Puerto Rico for DuPont Crop Protection, focusing on vegetable and citrus production. In April, he became product development manager for insecticides in the U.S. as well. Taylor resides in Bradenton, Florida.

Clay Talton (BSA – Animal Science, ’03; MS – Animal Science, ’06) is the associate director of field services for Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB). He worked for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension before becoming GFB Second District field representative. He was also on the GFB Young Farmer Committee and won the bureau’s Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award in 2013. Talton resides in Macon, Georgia.

Stephen E. Lumor (MS – Food Science, ’05; Ph.D. – Food Science, ’08) is a senior scientist with IOI Loders Croklaan in Channahon, Illinois. Lumor resides in Romeoville, Illinois.

Lee Gross (BSES – Environmental Economics and Management, ’04) joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service as a senior international agricultural program specialist in the Office of Capacity Building and Development. Gross is based in Washington, D.C.

Shimat Joseph (MS – Entomology, ’06; Ph.D. – Entomology, ’10) is the new University of Georgia Cooperative Extension turfgrass entomologist, based on the UGA Griffin campus. Joseph will lead the arthropod integrated pest management programs for turfgrass and ornamentals in Georgia and will work with the UGA Turfgrass Team, Extension personnel, growers and industry representatives to deliver insect management plans for turfgrass and ornamentals. Joseph resides in Peachtree City, Georgia.

John Hutchens (BSA – Animal Science, ’04) is a veterinarian for Westmoreland and Slappey Animal Hospital in Perry, Georgia. His work with Convenia and Apoquel to relieve a dog’s severe skin infection, caused by allergies, was recently

Ray Daniels (BSA – Agribusiness, ’06) is the head of marketing of professional pest management and vector control for Bayer. Daniels resides in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Katie Murray (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’06) is the admissions counselor for the University of Georgia Tifton campus. She resides in Moultrie, Georgia. Jordan Shaw (BSA – Food Science, ’06) is a food safety manager with Sysco, based in Des Moines, Iowa. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in business from the University of Iowa. Shaw resides in West Des Moines. Billy Skaggs (MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’06) is the certification program manager for the Georgia Crop Improvement Association. He also serves as the executive director of the Georgia Seed Association and as the secretary of the Georgia Soybean Commodity Commission. Skaggs resides in Gainesville, Georgia. Rebecca A. Creasy (BSA – Food Science, ’07) is a faculty member in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University. She serves as an advisor for the Texas A&M Institute of Food Technologists Student Association and coaches students in the Maroon and White Leadership Fellows program. Creasy resides in College Station, Texas. Brenda Jackson (MS – Animal Science, ’07) is the county coordinator for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension’s Murray County office. Jackson resides in Chatsworth, Georgia. Zachary R. Lumpkin (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’07) is an agriculture teacher for Whitfield County, Georgia, Schools. Lumpkin resides in Dalton, Georgia.

Ashley Sealy (BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’07) is the geographic information system (GIS) and data coordinator for Mitchell Electric Membership Cooperative (EMC). Sealy resides in Camilla, Georgia. Chris Chammoun (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’08) is the director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Agribusiness in Tifton, Georgia. Sungeun Cho (MS – Food Science, ’08; Ph.D. – Horticulture, ’12) is an assistant professor at Michigan State University. Cho resides in East Lansing, Michigan. Ali McDaniel (BSA – Food Science, ’08) graduated with a master’s degree in business administration from Georgia State University in 2016. She resides in Alpharetta, Georgia. Jacob Segers (BSA – Animal Science, ’08; MS – Animal Science, ’10) is an assistant professor of animal science and a Cooperative Extension beef cattle specialist at the University of Georgia. Segers resides in Tifton, Georgia. Marcus Jones (BSES – Environmental Resource Science, ’09) is the president of MJ Realty Service PLLC. Jones resides in Detroit. Jennifer Mangon (BSA – Food Science, ’09) is the vice president of development for Operation HOPE. Mangon resides in Atlanta. James Nipper (MFT – Food Technology, ’09) manages his company, Food Production Services, which specializes in third-party food safety audits and hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) training. Nipper resides in Eatonton, Georgia.

Glen Ramsey (MS – Entomology, ’09) became the technical services manager for Rollins Inc. in April. Ramsey resides in Lilburn, Georgia. 2010s Jocelyn Masiglat-Sales (Ph.D. – Food Science, ’10) is the director of the Philippine National Food Authority’s Food Development Center, which provides scientific support through testing, research and training to food safety regulatory agencies of the Department of Agriculture and industry food business operators. Masiglat-Sales resides in Manila, Philippines. Anudhan Ponrajan (MS – Food Science, ’10) received his doctorate in agricultural and biological engineering from Purdue University in August 2016. He is employed as a research and development engineer with General Mills. Ponrajan resides in Minneapolis. Patrick Rohling (BSES – Environmental Resource Science, ’10) is a district conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Rohling resides in Phenix City, Alabama. Andrew Ross (BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’10; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’12) is the middle Georgia field representative/ office manager for U.S. Rep. Austin Scott. Ross resides in Warner Robins, Georgia. Mark Smith (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’10) is a strategic communications consultant and digital strategist for Booz Allen Hamilton. Smith resides in Alexandria, Virginia.

alumni news LEAD DAWG

Boilermaker Special For Donya Lester (BSA – Animal Science ’81), key relationships formed at the University of Georgia helped launch a three-decade career that’s become influential in the field of agricultural alumni relations across the country. Lester has worked at Purdue University in alumni relations for 27 years. She is currently the executive director of the Purdue Agricultural Alumni Association and director of public engagement for Purdue Agriculture, part of a career that began at UGA 31 years ago. In 1986, Lester became the first development officer at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. In 1990, she was hired at Purdue, the first woman in her position at the agricultural alumni association and the first person from the National Agricultural Alumni Development Association (NAADA) to be hired in alumni relations at a college of agriculture that she didn’t attend. The groundwork for these opportunities came from Lester’s relationship in the mid-1980s with Louis Boyd, an assistant to the dean who headed up UGA’s animal sciences department when Lester was a student. Boyd told Lester that the university was decentralizing development officers and that a development officer for CAES would soon be hired. Lester landed the job and eventually found herself at a NAADA conference with Mauri Williamson, a dean who was working at Purdue. Because of Williamson, she said, Purdue was in a class by itself in terms of an institutional commitment to alumni and stakeholder relations. Lester became Williamson’s hand-picked successor. “Relationships were the key to finding those successful pathways. Building strong relationships with people was the surest way for people to bring opportunities to you that fit your skills


Donya Lester pioneered agricultural alumni relations at UGA and Purdue

p For more than three decades, Donya Lester has helped Boilermaker and Bulldog alumni alike keep close ties to their respective schools. — people who know you the best know best what you can do,” she said. “Larry Benyshek (former CAES animal and dairy science department head) got me my first job after grad school because he knew what I could do. And then this new opportunity came about because Louie (Boyd) knew me very well and Louie knew what the college needed, so I had a great deal of trust there, stepping into an unfamiliar role.” Lester ultimately found her passion in alumni relations. She said the job at Purdue has been the best way to contribute, advance a land-grant university and help solve the world’s problems. However, as someone who didn’t grow up in the livestock world, Lester credits professors at UGA, who took extra time and exposed her to new and different things, with her experiential learning and broader view of agriculture. “People like Dan Daniel (former UGA

Cooperative Extension animal science department head), Curly Cook (also a former Extension animal science department head) and Calvin Alford (former Extension animal scientist who worked with 4-H youth livestock programs) saw potential in me as a 4-H’er (in Polk County, Georgia,) and, later, as a UGA student and made sure that I knew what opportunities existed and how to access them. They helped me see a world beyond where I grew up, where I lived, and to see how other people did things. They taught me to have an appreciation for that, but also to know that if I worked to learn about these worlds, that I could be a participant in them even though I didn’t grow up in them,” she said. “I will always be grateful to them for opening my eyes to a world of opportunities.” • Keith Farner

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Peanut Protector Abraham Fulmer’s study of foliar disease aids international peanut production


Abraham Fulmer’s (BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’09; Ph.D. – Plant Pathology, ’17) research experience in leaf spot disease in peanuts and his passion for international work make him a valuable commodity in the peanut industry. Fulmer earned his doctorate from the University of Georgia Tifton campus. He performed his dissertation research on two foliar diseases: early leaf spot and late leaf spot in peanuts. He studied the nature and behavior of these diseases to learn whether growers should manage them as two distinct diseases or as one. “What I’ve done is take a lot of the factors that we know contribute to the risk in a field — rotation, planting date, variety being used — and tracked how both diseases develop year after year,” Fulmer said. “My results show that we can use a lot of this information to predict when each disease will start and which disease will be predominant. This is important for growers as there appears to be an opportunity to refine our fungicide timings for prescription programs based on which disease is in the field.” Fulmer worked on this project for seven years and traveled to Haiti for three or four months for each of the last three years to study the disease there. As part of UGA’s Peanut and Mycotoxin Innovation Lab (PMIL), he assisted Haitian peanut farmers in better understanding and managing peanut diseases, including leaf spot. “These farmers truly grow peanuts organically. Unfortunately, this results in major yield losses each year due to heavy disease pressure,” Fulmer said. The lab funded Fulmer’s research in Haiti while he mentored college students and coordinated research among PMIL partners. Part of his work involved fungicide, fertility and seed row spacing trials, but he focused on finding a disease-resistant variety of peanut that would grow successfully in the country. Fulmer is currently fielding multiple job opportunities within the agricultural industry, but his choice will ultimately hinge on the ability for him to continue international work. “Whatever I do, I want to be able to remain somewhat involved, whether it’s volunteering a few weeks a year or taking on more of an international role, in continuing to work with people in developing countries. It is something I feel pretty committed to,” Fulmer said. • Clint Thompson

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class notes 2010s (continued) Regina Fitzpatrick (BSA – Animal Science, ’11) became the college events manager for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in August. She earned her master’s degree in agricultural education from Clemson University in 2015 and, prior to this position at UGA, planned youth and teacher conferences for South Carolina FFA and Clemson Extension. Fitzpatrick resides in Martin, Georgia. Kimberly (Fennell) Hardy (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’11) is the sanitation manager at Post Holdings/ Golden Boy Foods. Hardy lives in Nashville, Georgia. Bo Mathis (BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’11) is a sales representative for Dow AgroSciences. Mathis resides in Tifton, Georgia. Travis Voyles (BSES – Environmental Economics and Management, ’11) is on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space and Technology professional staff. Voyles resides in Washington, D.C. Justin Hand (BSA – Agribusiness, ’12) is a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources and 4-H agent for Tift County. Hand resides in Tifton, Georgia. Jonna (LeVine) O’Sullivan (BSA – Food Science, ’12) is a regional sales manager for PERC Coffee Roasters. O’Sullivan resides in Atlanta.

Emily Reece (BSA – Agribusiness, ’12) is a relationship manager and assistant vice president at AgGeorgia Farm Credit. Reece resides in Perry, Georgia. Breanna Coursey (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’13) is the director of student and employer engagement for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Coursey resides in Athens, Georgia. Marjie Dickey (BSA – Food Industry Marketing and Administration, ’13) was tapped by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to be the agriculture water project manager for the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. Dickey resides in Atlanta. Sara (Spinks) Hand (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’13) joined the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in January as the assistant director and education/interpretation/ outreach manager. Hand resides in Tifton, Georgia. Taylor (Kronn) Walker (MS – Food Science and Technology, ’13) is a project manager for Advanced Manufacturing Technology Inc., a company out of Jamestown, New York. She was also accepted into the Institute of Food Technologists’ Emerging Leaders Network. Walker resides in the greater Seattle area. Kathleen Marasigan (MS – Entomology, ’14) is a research professional I for the University of Georgia. Marasigan resides in Tifton, Georgia.

alumni news Alec Shepherd (MAB – Agribusiness, ’14) is a business analyst for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Shepherd resides in Athens, Georgia. Ashton Ergle (BSA – Food Science, ’15) is a technologist II at Tucker, Georgia-based CSM Bakery Solutions. Ergle resides in Flowery Branch, Georgia. Andrew Fennell (BSA – Agricultural and Applied Economics, ’15) is an account executive with AGDATA. Fennell resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. Sarah Harrison (BSA – Poultry Science, ’15) was promoted to complex environmental manager at Tyson Foods. Harrison resides in Assawoman, Virginia. Sarah Loughridge (MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’15) is the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension livestock specialist, based in Athens, Georgia, housed in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Animal and Dairy Science. She works with junior livestock and livestock judging programs. Prior to this position, she was an agricultural education instructor in the Union County, Georgia, school system. Brittany Saylor (MPPPM – Plant Protection and Pest Management, ’15) is a technical sales specialist with SePRO Corporation, where she works with the pre-emergence cotton herbicide, Brake, across the Southeast. Previously, she was a precision agriculture specialist. Saylor resides in Tifton, Georgia.


Helping Sunbelt Shine Chip Blalock promotes agribusiness through the Sunbelt Expo The Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition in Moultrie, Georgia, in mid-October boasts more than 1,200 vendors and exhibitors, a 600-acre farm, and thousands of attendees looking to learn about the latest agricultural and related research and equipment. Expo Executive Director Chip Blalock (BSA – Animal Science, ’87) — aptly nicknamed “Mr. Expo” by some — has been at the helm of the event for two decades. Originally from Athens, Georgia, Blalock got his start running the University of Georgia Block and Bridle Club’s Great Southland Stampede Rodeo. He was chairperson of the event during his senior year at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “It taught me skills like teamwork, the importance of committees and having good committee chairs to do their thing without micromanaging them,” he said. “Just being a 22-year-old kid exposed to signing a contract with a stock contractor and knowing that if we didn’t come through, it had my name on it, that taught me a lot of responsibility early on that I carry to this day.” After working as a UGA Cooperative Extension agent, then in sales for a few years, Blalock was hired as the assistant director for the Sunbelt Expo by Ed White in August 1997, but ended up the executive director two months later when White suddenly passed away a week before the doors opened. The best advice Blalock received came from former head of security Roy Lightfoot. “He said, ‘You just shake the hands and kiss the babies and let us take care of everything else,’” Blalock said. “That situation gave me a great perspective.” This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Sunbelt Expo and, while the premise is still the same, Blalock and his team always look for ways to improve the experience for guests, add exhibits that reflect today’s needs, and showcase the latest research from corporations, UGA and all p Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition Executive of the Southeastern land-grant universities. Director Chip Blalock celebrates the 40th “In agricultural research, we have a big anniversary of the expo with Suzanne Griffeth, CAES responsibility to feed, clothe and provide shelter director of alumni engagement. for the world,” Blalock said. “It’s a challenge, but the research that we do with universities and corporations is vital … It’s an honor to make sure the technology is tried and true so when the farmer gets it, they’re ready to go.” Blalock enjoys traveling to promote Sunbelt Expo and speaking to Extension professionals, Farm Bureau leaders and teachers. He also travels to visit the Swisher Sweets Farmer of the Year finalists in each of the 10 Southeastern states represented. Additionally, Blalock spent the past two years as president of the Farm Show Council, a coalition in which about two dozen agricultural trade show leaders share their latest information and best practices. “He’s led us through so many changes,” said Gina McDonald, the Sunbelt Expo’s vice president for marketing. “We’ve got to be progressive and forward thinking, and he’s that person for us. He’s a great leader and friend. He gives you room to grow and listens to all ideas. We work together and he leads as a group. We’re a true team.” • Josh Paine CONTRIBUTED

Kerri (Fisher) Mikolaizyk (BSA – Food Science, ’14) is a scientist II at The Coca-Cola Co. Mikolaizyk resides in Atlanta.

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Flavor of Georgia Jaime Foster’s nutty idea paid off with win


When Jaime Foster (BSA – Animal Science, ’99) arrived at the University of Georgia, her plan was to become a veterinarian and to save every animal that walked through her door. “Little did I know that many of the classes that I was required to take, that had zero relevancy to becoming a veterinarian in my young mind, would be so valuable to my career in food manufacturing and the nut butter industry,” Foster said. Those classes covered agribusiness, food science and plant production, and they have since played an important role in the success of Foster’s blossoming business. Foster’s career path veered away from veterinary medicine. She and her husband, Harry Foster, started their own business, Georgia Grinders, in 2012. Using her grandfather’s recipe from the 1970s, the Fosters launched Georgia Grinders with their first product, NaturAlmond. They refined the production process and expanded the manufacturing facility from 1,000 square feet in Chamblee, Georgia, to 6,000 square feet in order to add to a portfolio of simple nut butters. The business took advantage of Georgia’s statewide production of peanuts and pecans. Experts in the field took notice, and the Fosters were named the grand prize winners of UGA’s 2017 Flavor of Georgia contest, organized by the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. The winning product was their Georgia Grinders Pecan Butter. Jaime Foster called it an honor, and the recognition has helped sales quadruple since the win. p Harry (left) and Jaime Foster won Georgia Grinders is a corporate UGA’s 2017 Flavor of Georgia contest. sponsor of the Night of Hope Gala, an event to celebrate and support amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, research at Emory University. Jaime Foster’s mother recently passed away from ALS, and she said her mother’s 2011 diagnosis opened her eyes to life’s fragility. “Watching the quality of her life rapidly decline acted as a catalyst for leaving corporate America to follow my dreams of launching my own business,” said Jaime Foster. “There is no guarantee that the sun will shine tomorrow and life is way too short to live complacently.” Georgia Grinders also supports DeKalb County Schools and its community-based vocational training program as well as The Giving Kitchen. • Keith Farner

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class notes Chasity Tompkins (BSA – Agricultural and Applied Economics, ’15; MAEE – Agricultural and Environmental Education, ’17) works as a graduate research assistant in the Georgia 4-H state office. She was accepted to the University of Georgia educational theory and practice doctoral program. Tompkins resides in Monroe, Georgia. Brian Weldy (MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’15) is a research professional II/data manager for University of Georgia Crop and Soil Sciences’ Statewide Variety Testing. He resides in Milner, Georgia. Amanda (Miller) Wooditch (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’15) is an agriculture teacher at Atkinson County High School in Pearson, Georgia. Wooditch resides in Pearson. Erin Burnett (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’16) is a creative projects specialist for the Georgia Department of Agriculture. She is pursuing a master’s degree in agricultural and environmental education from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Burnett resides in Atlanta. Michael Corbin (BSA – Poultry Science, ’16) is a broiler breeder flock supervisor for JBS-Pilgrim’s. Corbin resides in Nashville, Georgia. Victoria (Weaver) Corbin (BSA – Animal Science, ’16) is a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension educator in Atkinson County. Corbin resides in Nashville, Georgia.

Joshua Grant (MS – Entomology, ’16) is an Agriculture and Natural Resources agent with University of Georgia Cooperative Extension in Crisp County. He resides in Arabi, Georgia. Jeremy Long (BSA – Biological Science, ’16) is a veterinary student at Mississippi State University. Long resides in Starkville, Mississippi. Daniel Moore (BSA – Poultry Science, ’16) is a production superintendent for Pilgrim’s Pride. Moore resides in Gainesville, Georgia. Tate (Izlar) O’Rouke (MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’16) is the commercial and industrial marketing representative for Jackson Electric Membership Corporation. She resides in Gainesville, Georgia. Ashley Sapp (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’16) is an agriculture teacher for the Effingham County, Georgia, Board of Education. Sapp resides in Springfield, Georgia. Brittany Spaid (BSES – Entomology, ’16) is pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Georgia. Spaid resides in Metter, Georgia. Shu Yang (MS – Horticulture, ’16) is a graduate research assistant at Virginia Tech. Yang resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Kayla Alward (BSA – Animal Science, ’17; BSA – Dairy Science, ’17) is a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Georgia. Alward resides in Athens, Georgia.

alumni news Katherine Cassell (BSES – Environmental Resource Science, ’17) is a research assistant at the University of Georgia. Cassell resides in Atlanta. Colton Ginn (BSES – Environmental Economics and Management, ’17) is an environmental health and safety assistant for Reeves Construction Company. Ginn resides in Covington, Georgia. Anna Johnson (BSES – Water and Soil Resources, ’17) is a graduate research assistant in the Auburn University College of Agriculture’s Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences. Johnson resides in Auburn, Alabama. Alex Maxwell (MS – Food Science, ’17) is a consumer sensory insights scientist at Nestle Purina. Maxwell resides in St. Louis. Mara McGurl (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’17) is the multimedia communications manager for the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association. She resides in Atlanta. Alex Merritt (BSA – Agricultural and Applied Economics, ’17; BSES – Environmental Economics and Management, ’17) is a Peace Corps agricultural volunteer. Neena Molavi (BSA – Animal Science, ’17) is a research specialist at Emory University’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Molavi resides in Atlanta.


Farmer of the Year Everett Williams recognized for his dairy industry advocacy For 39 years, Morgan County, Georgia, dairy farmer Everett Williams (BSA – Dairy Science, ’75) has helped to chart a path for all the state’s dairy farmers. New technologies and constant innovation have allowed the Williams family to grow the size and productivity of their herd while making WDairy, just outside of Madison, Georgia, a model for stewardship and sustainability in the dairy business. In March 2017, when Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal recognized Williams as “Georgia Farmer of the Year,” he emphasized Williams’ dedication to agriculture and innovation. “It’s a big honor to be chosen,” Williams said. “I just think this a great program because it helps to spotlight agriculture in the state of Georgia.” Lucy Ray, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension coordinator for Morgan County, nominated Williams because of his family’s commitment to the county’s agriculture, their family’s agricultural legacy and the land. Both Everett and Carol Williams p Gov. Nathan Deal poses for a photo with dairy farmer Everett Williams, (BSA – Animal Science, ’75) are strong who was selected as the 2017 Georgia Farmer of the Year. advocates for the dairy industry. They spend time talking to civic and youth groups about the impact of Georgia’s dairies and offering tours of their dairy to anyone interested. He currently serves as president of the Georgia Milk Producers, and she serves as president of Georgia Dairy Youth Foundation and helps to lead other organizations. “I feel that Everett is an ideal Farmer of the Year,” said Ray. “He’s got one of the most technologically advanced dairies in the state. Also, Everett is very community minded, and the entire family is involved with the agricultural Learn more about community statewide.” Everett Williams As Farmer of the Year, Everett Williams represented Georgia at the Sunbelt and WDairy on Agricultural Exposition in Moultrie, Georgia, in October. This also placed him in UGA Extension’s the running for Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year, an YouTube channel: award given at the Sunbelt Expo. https://tinyurl. Everett Williams’ father, John Williams, converted the family’s land in Morgan com/GFOTY2017 County from a cotton farm to a dairy in 1958. Everett Williams remembers his father working to milk 50 cows a day. Today, the farm milks 1,700 cows daily. Everett and Carol Williams raised four children on the farm: Justin Williams, 36, who received his bachelor’s degree in finance from UGA; Daniel Williams (BSA – Dairy Science, ’07), 34; Katie Williams (BSA – Agribusiness, ’11), 28; and Michelle Williams, 27, who received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Georgia College. All four children have been involved in the farm throughout their lives, and both Justin and Daniel Williams have returned to Morgan County to take WDairy into its third generation. • Merritt Melancon MERRITT MELANCON

Alexis Barnes (BSA – Food Industry Marketing and Administration, ’17) is a marketing representative for John Deere. Barnes resides in Urbandale, Iowa.

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Full circle

Mary Ann Parsons takes helm of CAES Office of Development and Alumni Relations

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In moving to a director position within the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Office of Development and Alumni Relations, Mary Ann (Davis) Parsons (BSA – Agricultural Communications, ’02; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’06) feels her career has come full circle. As a CAES graduate student, Parsons worked in the college’s Office of College Advancement as an alumni and development specialist in 2004. She accepted a full-time position with Georgia 4-H in 2005, most recently acting as the executive director of the Georgia 4-H Foundation. There, she managed a team that, last fiscal year, put the foundation 164 percent over its fundraising goal. She was named assistant director of the CAES development office in 2011, then interim director in 2013. As of August, she’s returned to the college, to the same office — it’s now called the “Office of Development and Alumni Relations” — and, as the senior director of development, she has a vision of engagement. “Moving into this role, I’m excited because the university’s in a capital campaign and our college has an opportunity to increase the donor base with alumni and other supporters and for them to see the value of what we do through instruction, research and Extension.” Parsons sees her role, and that of her team, as one of fostering connections. By engaging stakeholders, she hopes to continue increasing alumni involvement and giving to meet the goals of the dean and the needs of the college. “(We) should be seen as a connector and trusted resource to connect their (stakeholders’) passions to priority needs of the college,” Parsons said. “In turn, that will open doors for us.” Parsons grew up in Bainbridge, Georgia, on a cotton and peanut farm. She raised swine beginning in fifth grade — she sold that operation when she came to UGA — and raised and showed cattle starting in 10th grade. She was actively involved in Georgia FFA as state vice president from 1998 to 1999, was a Georgia FFA Southern Region Star Farmer and National FFA Prepared Public Speaking finalist. She earned her American FFA degree in 2000. Parsons entered UGA as a sophomore — she stayed in Bainbridge her freshman year while she was a state FFA officer — and was immediately approached about starting an agricultural sorority on campus. She became the charter president of Sigma Alpha that fall. Parsons belonged to numerous other CAES and South Campus organizations during her time as a student. Since receiving her graduate degree, she’s served on CAES Alumni Association, Sigma Alpha, National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, and National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association boards and committees. She’s been presented with awards by the some of the same organizations and was a part of Georgia Trend magazine’s 40 Under 40 in 2012. Parsons started in her new position on Aug. 1 and is available at parsonsm@uga.edu. • Kathryn Schiliro

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Five under 40 FIVE CAES ALUMNI NAMED TO UGA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION’S 40 UNDER 40 Five University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences alumni are part of the UGA Alumni Association’s 2017 40 Under 40. The association’s annual 40 Under 40 list recognizes young UGA graduates who plan to maintain a lifelong commitment to the university and impact lives through their professional and personal endeavors. 1. Travis Moore (BSA – Food Science, ’03) is a senior brewmaster for AnheuserBusch InBev in Kirkwood, Missouri. His philanthropic efforts at the brewery include involvement in the United Way and the Anheuser-Busch Emergency Drinking Water Program in partnership with the American Red Cross.

2. Marcus Jones (BSES – Environmental

4. Sam Watson (BSA – Agricultural

Resource Science, ’09) is the president of the Detroit Training Center. Through the center, he provides vocational, skilledtrades training, which creates jobs for Detroit residents who have difficulty finding gainful employment. To date, more than 7,500 people have been trained through the center, which is currently expanding to Flint, Michigan, to create jobs around replacing that community’s old, lead pipes.

Education, ’02) is the representative for Georgia State House District 172 and is a partner in Chill C Farms and Moultrie Melon Company in Moultrie, Georgia. At Chill C Farms, Watson manages the production of 500 acres of vegetables and coordinates sales to produce buyers. He decided to run for state house in 2011.

3. Lauren Griffeth (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’05) is an administrative director in the UGA CAES Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication in Athens, Georgia. She draws inspiration from the strong female mentors she’s found in Georgia 4-H, UGA Cooperative Extension and the UGA Women in Agricultural Leadership Initiative. She is penning a book about the role women will play in agricultural leadership as the world’s population increases.

5. Casey Bethel (MS – Agronomy, ’05) is the 2017 Georgia Department of Education Teacher of the Year and is based at New Manchester High School in the Douglas County School System. In an effort to bring the needs of Georgia’s students and their families to the attention of the federal government, he’s met with President Donald Trump, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Georgia’s senators. To see the full 40 Under 40 list, visit alumni. uga.edu/40u40/. • Kathryn Schiliro

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Moodern Amenities Renovated classroom at the UGA Teaching Dairy helps students milk their education 48  southscapes // FALL 2017

This fall, students taking courses at the University of Georgia Teaching Dairy are better equipped to learn thanks to recent renovations to the dairy’s classroom space. Updates included an increase in the footprint of the classroom — capacity grew from 25 to 30 students — air conditioning, a new roof, new furniture and technology. A demonstration window in place between the classroom and milking parlor that let too much moisture into the classroom was walled up. Until this spring, the dairy hadn’t seen any student-related facility upgrades in about 40 years. The most recent renovations to the facility were to the barn and milking parlor.


t At left, clockwise: The Four Towers Building on the UGA Athens campus housed the university’s dairy starting in 1935. CAES Assistant Professor Jillian Bohlen leads a class in the teaching dairy’s renovated classroom space. Students get hands-on experience with the dairy cows at the facility. Updates to the classroom’s exterior included a new roof. Above: This overview shows the teaching dairy today. Right: This shows the dairy in 1974, when it moved from the Athens campus to its current Winterville, Georgia, location.

“It’s not, to us, just a building and a pretty facility, and we have nice, clean chairs to sit in now,” said UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Assistant Professor Jillian Bohlen (BSA – Dairy Science, ’03; MS – Animal Science, ’05), who teaches courses at the dairy. “To the students, it meant that we cared about this farm again.” The dairy currently houses a variety of courses — basic animal practicum, dairy production and management, dairy cattle evaluation and applied animal reproduction classes — that have a hands-on component. Student workers and interns, some of whom are preveterinary students gaining dairy knowledge, are constantly involved in the dairy’s everyday tasks, like milking the herd and feeding calves. In addition to classroom upgrades, a designated space for the dairy’s office was re-established. Until the renovations, the dairy’s single classroom also functioned as an office space where dairy records were kept and student workers clocked in and out. Space for a break room and an area for students to congregate and do group work were also added as part of the renovations. Bohlen plans to incorporate a display featuring the history of the farm to the walls of that area.


See the renovated dairy classroom space at https:// tinyurl.com/ UGATeachingDairy.

“It needed to be refreshed in a major way,” CAES Facilities and Real Property Director J. Dorsey said. “It’s a small project in the grand scheme of things, but it will make a big difference out there.” These renovations, totaling $750,000, began in summer 2016 and concluded this spring. While the cost of the roof was picked up by the university’s Facilities Management Division, the college paid for the bulk of the updates with instructional and state funds. “The general dairy industry in this state, they’re proud that the university’s invested in this dairy as well (and) excited to see that maybe this will bring even more student interest to the farm, which is a positive for them as we look for the next generation to enter the industry,” Bohlen said. UGA’s dairy, established in the 1800s, moved into a new barn in 1935 with a herd of Jersey and Holstein cows. That barn, now the Four Towers Building, currently houses the UGA Visitors Center and the college’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations, activity center, and Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication. The dairy was moved to its current location in Winterville, Georgia, about 10 miles from the Athens campus, in 1974. • Kathryn Schiliro

Office of Development and Alumni Relations 117 Four Towers University of Georgia Athens, GA 30602-4352




Between the camera and the cowboy The sun sets on the backs of two Uruguayan gauchos on horseback. Hooves stomp and cattle stampede through the field as the gauchos carefully herd the cattle out from the ranch and into a pen. Photographer Caroline Williams, a senior majoring in agricultural education at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, was studying abroad in Uruguay. She was participating in a program with that country’s National Institute of Agricultural Research and had the opportunity to witness a cow-calf operation when she snapped the photo that won CAES’s 2017 Agriculture Abroad Photo Contest. “It takes you back in time to see all of (the gauchos) on horseback and to see what they wear,” Williams said. “They all wore chaps and berets or some kind of cowboy hat. It was pretty cool.” Williams said that it was humbling to see many people using horses and other animals to help with farm work. Reflecting on age-old traditions of farming and herding, she pointed out the differences between Uruguayan and American agricultural practices. “We’re so much more mechanized,” Williams said. Williams enjoyed studying the gauchos’ work with the cattle and the Uruguayan way of life and agriculture. Throughout her study abroad experience, she said she was reminded of the peaceful, historic methods that were, and are, used to tend livestock and was impressed by the passion these producers have for their work. • Erica Cooke

Southscapes—Fall 2017  

Modern agriculture is a beacon of scientific achievement. Through a spectrum of scholarship and support, the College of Agricultural and Env...

Southscapes—Fall 2017  

Modern agriculture is a beacon of scientific achievement. Through a spectrum of scholarship and support, the College of Agricultural and Env...