A publication for alumni and friends of the University of Georgia® College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
southscapes FALL 2019
from SOLVING PROBLEMS GEOR GI
ISS U ES,
S FOR U R NS to CAE
E XTENSIVE INFLUENCE
CAES alumna Leslie Marbury, mission director in Rwanda for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), works with a student at the EP Kamashashi School in Kicukiro District. In Rwanda, half of second graders can read only one word. USAID works with local schools to train teachers and provide needed classroom equipment.
FOR THE BIRDS p.3 | THE WOMEN OF FFA p.14 | HURRICANE MICHAEL’S SILVER LINING p.16 | DRIVEN BY CURIOSITY p.36
The experiences offered by CAES help students like Ben Parker, a senior majoring in Applied Biotechnology, prepare for a government relations-focused career. Your gift provides current and future students access to transformative enrichment opportunities.
“All that I have accomplished so far from plant research, scholarships, federal policy experience, to a position on the Student Philanthropy Council has been because of Georgia alumni generously pouring in private money to better the knowledge and preparedness of the next generation of Georgia and national leaders.” Ben Parker BSAB – Applied Biotechnology, ’19
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 or by mailing in the enclosed envelope.
ANDY KATE MCCANNON
CONTINUE A TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE AT CAES.
From the Dean
southscapes MANAGING EDITOR Maria M. Lameiras ART DIRECTOR Katie Walker COPY EDITOR Erin Yates CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sharon Dowdy Cruse, Sadie Lackey, Maria M. Lameiras, Merritt Melancon, Josh Paine, Allison Salerno, Clint Thompson, Jennifer Whittaker, Mike Wooten, Erin Yates CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS Lisa Baxter, Sharon Dowdy Cruse, Dorothy Kozlowski, Maria Lameiras, Blane Marable, Andy Kate McCannon, Cindy Meadows, Merritt Melancon, Corey Nolen, Josh Paine, Edwin Remsberg, Clint Thompson, Andrew Davis Tucker, Katie Walker, Fred Zwicky/Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois DIRECTOR Angela Rowell Hurt 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? email@example.com UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences uga_collegeofag @UGA_CollegeofAg
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.
oth the Georgia Bulldogs and CAES kicked off this fall football season ranked No. 3 in the nation. This year, we are ranked third in the nation among all U.S. colleges of agriculture by Niche.com, an organization that ranks colleges and universities nationwide. Our growing reputation of excellence at home and around the world, along with our $628 million impact on Georgia’s economy, is indeed an Ag Dawg point of pride that we should celebrate. Yet, many in the South were beginning to wonder if fall would ever arrive this year — 91 days over 90 degrees Fahrenheit was a new record in Athens. As a result, much of the state now faces growing drought conditions. While this year’s weather challenges pale in comparison to the hurricane damage suffered in the past two years, it does remind us of the vital role the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences plays in supplying Georgia farmers with the innovations and PARDUE production solutions they need to succeed in their constant combat with nature to produce our nation’s secure food supply. In this issue of Southscapes you will get an inside look at our exceptional network of research centers all across Georgia. These facilities are living laboratories for our scientists to test new plant varieties and production practices customized for Georgia’s many growing regions and conditions. Others specialize in improving irrigation practices and livestock production. Through sound applied research, this critical link in our college’s landgrant university mission helps connect our basic research to the growers who need to put the discoveries on the ground. Another major focus for us this fall is kicking off a campaign to fund a new, state-of-the-art poultry science center on the Athens campus. Our poultry science department is No. 1 in the U.S. Our strong partnerships with Athens-area U.S. Department of Agriculture poultry research facilities and the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, coupled with our close proximity to the nation’s largest poultry producing area, makes UGA poised to become the epicenter of poultry science research and learning in the world. As we strive to reach these goals and answer Gov. Brian Kemp’s call for us to become the top agricultural college in the U.S., we value the support of all of you — our alumni and friends, our industry leaders and the entire Ag Dawg Nation. Together we can tackle this!
2017 National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association Award Winner 2018 Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences Award Winner THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, VETERAN, DISABILITY INSTITUTION.
Sam Pardue Dean and Director, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
// FALL 2019 // VOL. 15 • ISSUE 2
ONLINE EXTRAS E XTENSIVE INFLUEN CE
For more stories, visit southscapes.caes. uga.edu. PHOTOS FROM THE UGA AND CAES ARCHIVES. COVER PHOTO COURTESY OF USAID.
Wes Porter, a UGA Cooperative Extension precision agriculture and irrigation specialist, received the Educator/ Researcher Award from the PrecisionAg Institute, an advocacy and research organization dedicated to improving the understanding and adoption of technology in agriculture. More at southscapes. caes.uga.edu.
the world TURNS to CAES FOR SOLUTIONS
FABricate, an entrepreneurial pitch contest for UGA students sponsored by CAES, is offering a $10,000 prize for the 2020 winner. Read about this year’s winners and learn more about the contest at southscapes. caes.uga.edu.
18 exploring the CAES effect on Economics, p. 20 | Poultry Industry, p. 22 | Students, p. 24 | Research, p. 26 Youth, p. 28 | Environment, p. 30 | World, p. 32
southscapes // FALL 2019
From the Dean Noteworthy Lead Dawgs Class Notes From Four Towers
1 3 36 37 38
The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences operates research and education centers across Georgia that facilitate research by faculty, staff and students that impacts the breadth of the agricultural sector. For a broad overview of these centers and the work that is going on there, visit southscapes. caes.uga.edu.
Noteworthy COLLEGE, ACADEMIC, RESEARCH, OUTREACH & UGA EXTENSION NEWS
hile some young men collect baseball cards or video games, University of Georgia senior Vince Hix has a slightly more exotic hobby. “When I was four, my Dad bought me a few Rhode Island Red chickens for laying,” said Hix, an avian biology major in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “I’d get the eggs and sell them at church on Sunday. I’d fight all year to get $80 together to buy more chickens.” His operation began with 25 laying hens. He gathered eggs from these hens and sold them to buy feed, putting aside money when he could to grow his flock, always of different breeds — from unusually colored blue laced red Wyandottes
to fluffy-plumed Silkies. The power of networking grew from a simple operation of laying hens to a collection of approximately 1,000 rare and exotic birds from all over the world. Walking among hundreds of enclosures he built with the help of family, Hix rattles off names of birds at a dizzying pace. From the Australian emus and South American rheas that placidly stalk among Boer goats and sheep in his parents’ sprawling backyard to turacos from Africa and great argus pheasants worth thousands per breeding pair. While Hix has some domestic breeds — homing pigeons, turkeys, a variety of bantam chickens, pheasants and quail — he says he doesn’t like “the domestic stuff.” “I like the birds you find in the wild,” he adds. He branched out into more exotic
species beginning with pheasants he bought when he was 16 and expanded from there. “My parents said I could have anything I wanted as long as I took care of them and paid for them,” he said before pausing. “I don’t think they thought it would go this far.” Adam Davis, an associate professor in the Department of Poultry Science, is Hix’s advisor and faculty mentor. “I have had students who have had more experience with the poultry industry and broiler houses, but nobody has ever had as much experience in the exotics as Vince. He is, by far, more experienced than anyone I’ve ever met in my 20 years here as far as students go,” Davis said. “When there is something he is passionate about, he is very proactive. It doesn’t bother him to call whoever he needs to find out what he’s after.” Continued on page 4
For the Birds
CAES student creates a name for himself in the exotic bird industry
A male East African crown crane exhibits protective behavior in the enclosure he shares with his mate.
Continued from page 3 Many in the exotic bird industry have gotten to know Hix and have entrusted him with birds other facilities have had difficulty breeding. “He’s been successful at breeding birds no one else could breed. That’s led to zoos and a lot of people loaning or giving him birds if he will breed them and share the offspring,” Davis said. On his family’s property and on 40 acres he bought nearby to expand his collection, Hix has birds from every continent except Antarctica. “There are some birds at my house that you wouldn’t even
southscapes // SPRING 2019
think existed,” said Hix. Egyptian geese wander between enclosures holding birds with outlandish names like the violaceous turaco from Africa or far-flung locales like the black francolins from India, multihued Mandarin ducks from East Asia, bronze-tailed peacock-pheasants from Sumatra, great currasows from Costa Rica, and Bornean crested fireback pheasants who look as if they are wearing blue masks over their eyes. Among the many birds you will find in his possession, some are the last of their breed and others are rarely seen in the U.S. outside of zoos or sanctuaries.
Hix has been a part of multiple initiatives to preserve breeds of birds all over the world while still in college. In one enclosure are a pair of Edwards’s pheasants that are extinct in their native Vietnam. Hix has raised more than 40 of the birds with his breeding pair. When it comes to the Galliformes species — an order that includes about 290 species including turkeys, chickens, quail, partridge, pheasant, peacock, guinea fowl, and grouse — “I’d rate him No. 1 in the world as far as breeding,” said Davis. “Some of the curassows he’s breeding, no one else can breed.” Hix has put in many hours of hard work to create his exotic bird oasis. There is not an instruction manual for an operation like his, so much of his time is spent discovering the best ways to raise various “There are some species. He has built birds at my house relationships with exotic that you wouldn’t bird collectors and experts, calling them with even think questions and comparing existed.” notes on breeding. He – VINCE HIX also provides birds to zoos worldwide. “With exotic birds, it is a lot of trial and error,” said Hix, pointing out two breeding pairs of Ceylon jungle fowl in adjoining enclosures. He obtained one pair from another breeder who wasn’t able to successfully breed them. Hix was having similar issues with the pair until another breeder mentioned that he had luck getting fertilized eggs from his birds after he put a mirror in his birds’ enclosure, inciting jealousy in the male. In a play on the ploy, Hix got another pair of the birds and put them in an adjacent enclosure. “I’ve gotten 20-plus birds from them now,” he says. “It is just something I figured out. There’s nobody to tell you a lot of this.” In a henhouse on the property, Hix keeps dozens of Old English game hens whose sole job is to incubate the eggs of the exotic birds he breeds. “I hatch every bird underneath a hen and only have incubators for backup,” he said. In addition to the four hours a day he spends caring for his birds, Hix attends classes at CAES and works with Davis in his lab. “When Vince is talking casually to you, he makes it seem like there’s nothing to it, but he’s gone through a lot of observations
Vince Hix with some of the many chicks he raises on his family’s property in Jefferson, Georgia.
PHOTOS BY MERRITT MELANCON
and experience. He has a confidence; he’s not afraid to try anything. And, once he gets his mind set on something, it is going to happen. He is determined. This is why people come to him,” Davis said. “He really is extraordinary. Based on the success of his breeding and his personality — especially his personality — it’s hard to say no to Vince. People are comfortable doing things with him and loaning him birds and trying different things. Then, once he has success, that leads to other people contacting him from zoos to help them with breeding.” After graduation, Hix said he is considering medical school. Davis said he hopes Hix will apply to graduate school in avian biology so he can continue to work with him at CAES. “I’ve spoken to him about a master’s and a PhD. I also have friends who have a DVM and a PhD, and I think Vince is definitely suited to the PhD side, but he’ll go beyond that,” Davis said. “He’s gotten so much experience just by himself that, with a PhD, there won’t be anything he can’t do related to medicine and birds.” Regardless of where his career path leads him, Hix plans to build a house on his property near his parent’s farm, along with room for whatever other animals he gets the notion to collect. “I’d love to have aviaries attached to the house and a balcony where I can feed giraffes,” Hix mused before he was off to take care of his birds. • Sadie Lackey and Maria M. Lameiras
TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE Dressed in a red and black velvet suit “I was astounded by the number of and sporting his signature curly opportunities there were for people like mowhawk-esque coiffeur, Georgia me; people who have more unique or 4-H’er Mason McClintock cut a bold eclectic interests,” said McClintock who figure as he accepted the 2019 4-H is a member of Clovers and Company, Youth in Action Pillar Award for Civic Georgia 4-H’s performing arts group, and Engagement from the National 4-H recently completed his term as president Council at a ceremony in of Georgia 4-H. “4-H CAES student, former helped me realize that Washington, D.C., in March. Georgia 4-H President it’s okay to be different The 4-H Youth in and that it’s a good Mason McClintock Action Awards recognize inspires others in his thing. Every single day I 4-H’ers who have am driven to show others community overcome challenges and that same acceptance used the knowledge they and belonging that I gained in 4-H to create a found in 4-H.” lasting impact in their McClintock says 4-H community. introduced him to adult and McClintock was youth role models who cared Hear McClintock’s recognized for creating the for him and inspired him to story in his own Alma Entrepreneur Tour, a do the same for others. words at tinyurl. com/Mason project that exposed local “I am just a south Georgia McClintock. students to successful boy with a passion for business owners in their empowering others to be hometown of Alma, confident in themselves,” Georgia. To date, he has said McClintock. “To think introduced 50 youth to a variety of new that something as simple as making the career pathways. decision to live my truth has earned me “I wanted them to see that these the platform I have today is people are being themselves and being mindboggling.” successful,” said McClintock, who was • Sharon Dowdy Cruse attracted to the local 4-H program because he felt it was a place he could truly be himself. SPRING 2019
Old as dirt COMPOSITE ILLUSTRATION BY KATIE WALKER. CAKE PHOTO: ISTOCK.COMCSA-PRINTSTOCK. PITCHFORK: ISTOCK.COM/ DLERICK. RADISH: ISTOCK.COM/ KAANATES
UGArden celebrates 10th year of student-run growth
here is a lot more growing at UGArden — the University of Georgia’s student-run community farm — than just vegetables. Student involvement, community outreach and adoption of sustainable practices are all products of the work of students and staff at the garden. In May 2020, the garden will celebrate 10 years of excellence, all thanks to the continuous commitment from students, faculty, staff and donors. UGArden farm manager JoHannah Biang (BSA – Horticulture, ’09; MS – Horticulture, ’12) said the garden effectively integrates learning opportunities for students into the daily work they do on the farm, an experience they would not have without support from donors and the community. “Having an experience with food is a really important perspective for everyone to have. Without that support, we could not let just anyone come work here,” Biang said. Financial gifts have helped improve infrastructure and pay student interns, for example, but eager volunteers have created a sense of community for students, said Biang. “It makes them feel like they are not only a part of UGA, but a part of Athens as well.” Located roadside on S. Milledge Avenue, UGArden is deeply rooted in giving back to the community in a way that is both educational for local elementary and middle school students and sustainable for the Earth, said student assistant farm manager Victoria Luna, a fourth-year horticulture student. “The staff here does not forget about the UGArden’s focus — to educate,” said Luna. “Even if it takes extra time, knowledgeable people who work here take the time to show students how to get things done around the farm. What makes it all so special is that the work here is done in a sustainable, affectionate way, and then the crops go right back into the community.” For more information on how to support UGArden’s future growth, visit ugarden.uga.edu. • Sadie Lackey
THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX(WOOD)
southscapes // FALL 2019
Classic boxwood hedgerows serve as the structural backdrop for many formal gardens but — from Burgundy to Buckhead — the hedges that have kept the fanciest gardens trim and tasteful for decades are under attack. Boxwood blight, a fungal disease that attacks the time-honored shrubs, is destroying centuries-old hedgerows in some of the most famous gardens in Europe and the U.S. However, the ‘Emerald Colonnade’ holly, bred by College
of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences plant breeder John Ruter, is proving an excellent replacement for boxwoods due to its tiny leaves, rapid growth and modest water requirements. When boxwood blight was found at the 100-year-old formal garden at the Swann House at the Atlanta History Center in 2018, garden curators used ‘Emerald Colonnade’ to replace the garden’s boxwoods, said Sarah Roberts, vice president of Goizueta Gardens and Living Collections at the Atlanta History Center. The plants proved an ideal solution that could be integrated into the existing garden design without much downtime for the popular event venue. • Merritt Melancon
Pollinator Party More than 4,000 Georgians in 133 counties participated in the nation’s first statewide pollinator census, logging more than 133,963 insect interactions on Aug. 23-24. Citizen scientists from every corner of the state — from southwest Georgia woodlands to downtown Atlanta — logged 4,567 counts during the groundbreaking exercise. “I have heard several times that people will never look at their gardens the same way again and that slowing down for 15 minutes to look at the insects was eye-opening,” said Becky Griffin (MPPPM — Plant Protection and Pest Management, ’18), school and community garden coordinator for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and count organizer. Each participant spent 15 minutes focusing on one blooming plant, tallying the number and the types of insects they witnessed before reporting the type of plant, time of day, weather and location. Griffin and other pollinator experts are now crunching the data to determine if there were trends in which pollinators were most populous in different areas. Once analyzed, the results should provide a needed benchmark for the state’s native pollinator population. Pollinators, both domestic and wild,
Students at Colham Ferry Elementary School in Oconee County, Georgia, participate in the state’s first ever pollinator census on Aug. 23.
contribute about $367 million to the “The pollinator count opened the Georgia economy each year, according eyes of my students to the importance to a 2015 UGA study. of every living thing on Earth, Griffin modeled the including the tiniest program on the Great insects,” Parr said. The nation’s Backyard Bird Count, a “The education part of first statewide program run by Cornell this project is just as pollinator University that has important as the data,” census has citizen-scientists count said Kris Braman, citizen scientists professor and head of the the birds in their abuzz in Georgia entomology department at backyards on a given winter day. the UGA College of In addition to the data generated by Agricultural and Environmental the census, Griffin wanted the count Sciences. “It’s a wonderful chance for to serve as an educational experience people to learn more about the for Georgians. In addition to hundreds pollinators in their yards, what’s of adult volunteers, thousands of really happening to them, and how schoolchildren participated in the they can support them.” count. At Colham Ferry Elementary Griffin plans to publish count School in Watkinsville, Georgia, STEM insights on the census website at teacher Diane Parr’s students were ggapc.org and in academic journals. wowed by what they witnessed. • Merritt Melancon FALL 2019
VIEW FROM THE HILL
Katelyn Bickett, a sophomore agricultural communications major from Chickamauga, Georgia, who worked in Rep. Buddy Carter’s office Reaganne Coile, a junior agricultural communications major from Bogart, Georgia, who worked in Sen. Johnny Isakson’s office Alyson Dallas, a senior agribusiness major from Griffin, Georgia, who worked in Sen. David Perdue’s office Morgan Hart, a junior agricultural education major from Moultrie, Georgia, who worked in Rep. Rick Allen’s office James Matthews, a junior agribusiness major from Barnesville, Georgia, who worked in Rep. Sanford Bishop’s office Ben Parker, a junior applied biotechnology major from Perry, Georgia, who worked in Rep. Austin Scott’s office
Congressional Ag Fellows learn about crafting ag policy in D.C.
southscapes // FALL 2019
PHOTOS BY SHARON DOWDY CRUSE
The Congressional Agricultural Fellowship is a CAES experiential learning initiative funded by Georgia EMC and the Georgia Agribusiness Council. Since 1997, more than 100 students have participated in the program, which helps develop the next generation of agricultural policy makers by introducing them to the inner workings of Washington, D.C. Christy Cromley Seyfert (BSA – Food Science, ’98) was the first CAES student to serve as a Congressional Agricultural Fellow, in the office of former U.S. Congressman Saxby Chambliss. “After a 20-plus year career in public policy, I’m grateful for the opportunities resulting from an idea and experiment of thenCongressman Chambliss and UGA CAES leaders and made possible by program sponsors,” said Seyfert, executive director of government affairs for the American Soybean Association. “At the time, I knew that placement with the Chambliss office was an incredible honor. I was the first and certainly didn’t want to be the last in this experiment, so I made every effort that summer to learn about public policy, serve wherever needed, and maintain a positive attitude. This approach helped me become the first in a line of many talented individuals who have participated in this successful, expanded program,” she said. “In my case, this program changed the trajectory of my career, allowing me to work with outstanding policymakers and companies to support agriculture.” Now Seyfert shares her own career experiences and encourages students through the UGA Mentor Program. For more information on the program, visit mentor.uga.edu. • Merritt Melancon
MATURATION OF AN IDEA
High school students visit the UGA Griffin campus en masse to celebrate the centennial of the experiment station
Griffin Mentor Program launches to connect five students with researchers at Griffin Experiment Station
• • •
members of Georgia’s U.S. congressional delegation as part of the CAES Congressional Agricultural Fellows. The students spent 12 weeks working in a U.S. congressional office preparing briefs, attending committee hearings, conducting research for congressional staffers, and providing information and perspective on agricultural issues. The 2019 fellows included:
Cam Shepherd, a senior agricultural and applied economics major from Athens, Georgia, who worked in Rep. Doug Collins’s office
Vigorous Youth ISTOCK.COM/TERRIANA
This past summer, seven students from the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences immersed themselves in agricultural policy and the culture of Capitol Hill by working closely with
In 1989, only about 60 percent of African American students across the U.S. graduated from high school and only about 20 percent graduated from fouryear college degree programs. That was the national average, but in some areas students of all races and income levels fared much worse. That was the situation in Griffin, Georgia, when University of Georgia administrators were looking for a way to commemorate the centennial of the Griffin campus.
Students in the Young Scholars Program work 30 hours per week actively engaged in research under the guidance of UGA faculty mentors on the Athens, Griffin and Tifton campuses.
The Young Scholars Program was conceived as a way to connect underserved youth to a UGA campus near them. Over 30 years, it has introduced scores of students to careers in agriculture.
Professor Jerry Johnson and his wife, Marilyn, apply for USDA grant to launch Georgia Research Apprenticeship Program (G-RAP)
First three G-RAP scholars in Griffin are BeAtrice Lavetta Castlin, Wendy Ogletree, Lei Neishawn O’Neil
Young Scholars Program (YSP) officially launches, expands to Athens Campus
YSP expands to include more students from underrepresented populations. Twelve students participated at the Athens campus, and seven participated on the Griffin campus
The program expands to the Tifton campus and also adds national and international experiences through travel to California, Washington, D.C., Ghana, Honduras and Costa Rica
The YSP Precollegiate Research Conference launches, bringing Young Scholars from Griffin and Tifton to the Athens campus to be exposed to peer research and learn about the opportunities at UGA
Young Scholars hits 900 alumni mark
Young Scholars student-leadership program has launched new generations of science professionals In an effort to connect the campus to the community, the entire student population of Griffin High School was invited to tour the campus, leading to the establishment of the Griffin campus Mentor Program in 1989. That initial program eventually became the Young Scholars Program, a first of its kind initiative at UGA that began as a way to introduce underserved area teenagers to college life. Now the program is the state’s premier public university research
opportunity for high schoolers. “It made sense to have a program like this to introduce students to the collegiate experience, and since we were very much involved with agriculture, the students were going spend their summers in the labs of faculty of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences,” said Jerry Arkin, retired assistant provost and director of the UGA Griffin campus, who helped launch the Young Scholars Program.
Since its inception, more than 900 Georgia high school students have participated in the program, working alongside world-class CAES researchers on UGA’s Griffin, Tifton and Athens campuses. Students are able to work in labs and contribute to real research efforts, preparing them for the college experience. Young Scholars are paid for their time, so students who may need to work during the summer can still participate, and they are expected to behave like employees in their labs, meaning they learn those early professional skills many students don’t pick up until college or after. The program has launched the research careers of many students and broadened the horizons of students who may have never thought of careers in agriculture. As the program reaches new milestones over the next few years, program coordinators are working to contact Young Scholars alumni and gather their recollections about their time in the program and how it impacted their lives. Young Scholars Program alumni who would like to share their experiences should contact Victoria David, administrative director of the CAES Office of Diversity Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the program or how to apply, visit tinyurl. com/youngscholarsprogram. • Merritt Melancon
q Stanley Culpepper is the 2019 Walter Barnard Hill Fellow, UGA’s highest award in Public Service and Outreach.
Science in Service
PS&O AWARDS 2019
Five CAES faculty and staff recognized for service to Georgia
Five University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences faculty and staff received 2019 Public Service and Outreach awards based on their exemplary service to the state. The Walter Barnard Hill Fellow Award for Distinguished Achievement in Public Service and Outreach, UGA’s highest award in Public Service and Outreach, went to CAES Professor and UGA Cooperative Extension Agronomist Stanley Culpepper. The Hill Fellow Award is comparable to a distinguished professorship. As a weed scientist, Culpepper has been instrumental in finding ways to combat glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth, a weed that seriously threatens Georgia’s cotton production, and identifying alternatives to the pesticide methyl bromide for Georgia’s vegetable industry. Culpepper has been on the front lines, providing educational information to growers on the importance of targeted pesticide applications. He was chosen as one of 19 scientists who serve on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board’s Agriculture Science Committee. The committee advises the board on matters that have significant impacts on farming and agriculture-related industries.
southscapes // FALL 2019
Mandy Marable and Bill Tyson (BSA – Agronomy, ’92) received Walter Barnard Hill Awards for Distinguished Achievement in Public Service and Outreach. Marable, a 1996 master’s degree graduate of the UGA College of Education, joined UGA Extension in 2002 as a 4-H specialist after teaching special education for five years. Tasked with developing curriculum and programs, she most recently developed a partnership with the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that led to a 4-H Friends magazine focused on preventing zoonotic diseases. Friends is the primary curriculum resource 4-H agents use to deliver in-school programs. The publication has grown to a 10-topic series and a middle school publication, Journeys, has been introduced. Tyson began his career with UGA Extension in 1994 in Bulloch County as an “agentin-training.” He served as the Agriculture and Natural Resources agent and county Extension coordinator in Effingham County for 15 years before being recruited to coordinate the Bulloch County office in 2014. He earned his master’s degree from the UGA College of Education in 2008. Tyson stays on top of the latest agriculture technology and treatments through his on-farm research trials. In peanuts, his extensive research into cylindrocladium black rot (CBR) and white mold led to him being viewed as an expert in southeast Georgia on CBR control in peanuts. He has evaluated more than 35 fungicides in more than 60 combinations and systems for
the control of white mold. The Hill Award and Hill Fellow Award are named for Chancellor Walter Barnard Hill, who led UGA from 1899 to 1905 and pioneered the university’s modern public service and outreach mission. The Entrepreneur of the Year Award went to CAES alum Will Harris (BSA — Animal Science, ’76), a fourth-generation cattleman and owner of White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia. Sponsored by Cadence Bank, the award recognizes a company that has exhibited significant growth, benefited from opportunities through the UGA Small Business Development Center, and served as an advocate of business ownership. Harris was named the Georgia state winner of the 2013 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year. The organic farmer manages the largest USDA Certified Organic farm in Georgia where more than 40 varieties of heritage vegetables, fruits and nuts are grown. Harris also raises freerange, organic livestock on his 32,000-acre farm. Bodie Pennisi, a CAES horticulture professor and UGA Extension Specialist based on the UGA Griffin campus, was named a Public Service and Outreach Faculty Fellow for 2019-2020. She will work with the Small Business Development Center to implement an online business training module designed to help entrepreneurs and managers run a successful landscape management business. In the future, the module will be used across UGA Extension and adopted into a new online class for undergraduate students. • Sharon Dowdy Cruse
COMPOSITE ILLUSTRATION BY KATIE WALKER. ENTEROBACTERIACEAE: ISTOCK.COM/ KTSIMAGE. CHICKEN: ISTOCK.COM// A-DIGIT
New ideas for the fight against Salmonella A partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Department of Poultry Science in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is harnessing the research power of both organizations to improve food safety by addressing broiler gut health. Since 2016, a team of about 10 CAES poultry scientists have received approximately $3 million in USDA funding to research gut health in broiler chickens and how the use of nanoparticle vaccines and advanced poultry nutrition can keep flocks healthy. “The poultry industry has really moved into the ‘no antibiotics ever’ space and that has had a lot of consequences to the animals and in poultry production,” said Todd Applegate, department head and professor in the Department of Poultry Science. “Our researchers are having to tease out how best to come up with solutions to keeping animals and people healthy in the absence of antibiotics in commercial poultry farming. Having this support from the USDA, as well as their research capacity adding to our research capacity, is leading to many important lines of study.” CAES poultry scientist Ramesh Selvaraj is working to formulate a killed salmonella vaccine for the broiler chicken industry that can be added to feed in the form of a nanoparticle coating that resists gastric digestion. Other researchers are looking at compounds that can replace antibiotics — including prebiotics, probiotics and plant extracts — that can provide some protection against salmonella in the broiler chickens’ gut. “We are looking at the modes of action in gut health and genetic components of certain types of chickens. Every bird responds differently to pathogens — that is why we are looking at individuals from different broiler family lines for the range of responses so we can understand how better to cope with these challenges,” Applegate said. The Department of Poultry Science is currently recruiting candidates for an endowed faculty position that will be funded through USDA grant funds. “This will strengthen our collaborations and partnerships with the CAES poultry science ARS as we continue to work directly department receives with the scientists at the ARS in Athens looking at $3M ARS grant foodborne pathogens and the role of the microbiome in gut health,” Applegate said. “We hope that we can continue this line of research and collaboration with the USDA and ARS in the long term through the sharing of time, people and resources.” • Maria M. Lameiras
LOMBARDINI PLANTS ROOTS AS HEAD OF HORTICULTURE Plant physiologist Leo Lombardini joined the University of Georgia as head of the Department of Horticulture on Sept. 1. Lombardini, who will lead the department in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, comes to UGA from Texas A&M University, where he served on the faculty for the past 17 years. Most recently he was a professor of horticulture and director of the Center for Coffee Research and Education at the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture. “When the opportunity came up to continue my career at UGA, an institution which is known worldwide for its excellence in research, education and extension programs, as well as its traditions, I knew I could not pass,” Lombardini said. “And now I can say that I could not be prouder to join this prestigious department LOMBARDINI and university.” Looking ahead, he sees the next few years as a time of great change for the CAES Department of Horticulture as key tenured faculty members retire. “It will be challenging to replace so many outstanding scholars, colleagues and friends, but it will be important to take advantage of those opportunities to invest in the next generation of horticulturists who will form the foundation of the department’s future,” Lombardini said. “Though we might have new faces in the future, I can assure you that our commitment to excellence, research and teaching will not change.” He plans to spend the upcoming months traveling the state to learn more about Georgia’s horticulture industry and discuss ways to develop new and strengthen existing partnerships with industry leaders. A native of Italy, he received a laurea degree (equivalent to a bachelor’s and master’s degree) in forestry from the University of Florence in Firenze, Italy, and a doctorate in horticulture from Michigan State University. • Sharon Dowdy Cruse FALL 2019
ALEC faculty are highly rated for teacher education, extension education, leadership development, service learning, program development and evaluation, internationalization of curriculum, distance education, information and technology transfer, and organizational and community change.
The New Influencers
A new doctoral program in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication (ALEC) at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has been approved and has begun accepting applicants for its first cohort in fall 2020. The new degree program is the second graduate program for the department, which also offers a master’s degree in agricultural and environmental education, and has been in the works for more than five years, said ALEC Department Head Leslie Edgar. “There isn’t another doctoral degree program like this in the state, and the intent is to help better serve individuals who are interested in pursuing education in agricultural education, leadership and communications,” Edgar added. “Many of our graduate students are going into industry and politics, areas that require a global perspective, and we are incorporating subjects including global leadership and global impact to offer a broader perspective for doctoral students.” The deadline for applying for the first cohort ALEC launches of doctoral candidates in ALEC is Feb. 1, 2020. doctoral program “What makes this program unique for us to prepare future is that it will allow all of our new doctoral leaders of ag students to take courses from each of the core concentration areas in the degree program. industry This will help build the department’s research capacity in each of those areas,” Edgar said. The three concentration areas for the degree program are leadership, agricultural and extension education, and science communication. “Growing agriculture research and leadership is important for Georgia’s No. 1 industry and redefining science communications to educate the public on the science behind what we do is essential for the agricultural industry not only in the state, but nationally and globally,” Edgar added. “Having a program for industry leaders to be able to move from mid-level to advanced leadership and graduating students with
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the skill sets and capacity in leadership theory and practice to step into those roles is crucial to the future of the industry.” Nick Fuhrman, professor of agricultural leadership, education and communication, helped shepherd the application and approval process for the new doctoral program with input from the whole ALEC faculty. “Five years ago, we had quite a few junior faculty — energetic folks who were passionate about teaching — and we discussed that, if we really wanted to up our game in terms of scholarship and our research program, having a doctoral program would help us to get to national prominence as a program,” Fuhrman said. Those discussions led to an examination of doctoral programs at peer institutions — including the University of Florida and Texas A&M University — to determine how best to meet market needs with a program at UGA. “The program was a blank canvas for us. We could determine what we wanted our doctoral graduates to look like compared to those coming from other programs,” Fuhrman said. “We performed a needs assessment that started by looking at what already existed, what other programs were doing, what gaps there were that the others weren’t addressing and that we believed our students could add to the ALEC discipline nationally.” While other programs focus on preparing doctoral students for tenure-track faculty positions, Fuhrman and his colleagues saw a need among potential students for a program that would prepare them for executive-level opportunities throughout the agricultural industry. The ALEC doctoral program will hone students’ skills in academic research, but also teach them how to influence change through education, communication and leadership, Fuhrman said. “We will be able to prepare future faculty members, but we also want to prepare folks to go into industry, consulting, international development — a focus that was not being met out there to prepare folks to do those jobs and not just faculty jobs,” Fuhrman said. “There is not another doctoralgranting university in Georgia that offers a program like this.” Having a doctoral program also will strengthen the ALEC faculty’s research programs and provide teaching experience for students. “We have faculty who work in science communications within agricultural communications that will make this a strong suit in this program,” Fuhrman added. More information on the ALEC doctoral program is available at alec. caes.uga.edu/graduate/programs. • Maria M. Lameiras
CAES researchers fight fungi, unlock genetic mysteries and study insect societies Stories by Merritt Melancon
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associate professor in the Department of Plant Pathology. For people with compromised immune systems, fungal infections can be deadly, and medicines containing azole antifungal compounds are life-saving. Without treatment with azole antifungal compounds, or when the fungus resists treatment, the mortality rate is 88%, she said.
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tetraploid peanut and 52 additional types representing 12 species were sequenced with guidance from the diploids. “Because of its complex genetic structure, sequencing peanut was only possible using very recent developments in sequencing technology. The result is of unprecedented quality, and provides a reference framework for breeding and improvement of the peanut crop, and a whole new set of insights into the extraordinary genetic structure of peanut,” said David Bertioli (pictured), Georgia Research Alliance and Georgia Seed Development Distinguished Investigator and peanut researcher at UGA.
In most colonies, ants work in service of a single reproductive queen, but that’s not always the way ant societies function. CAES researchers have found colonies of tropical fire ants, native to Florida and coastal Georgia, that thrive with multiple queens and in close proximity to single-queen colonies of the same species. “The coexistence of two dramatically different social structures fascinated me,” said Kip Lacy (MS — Entomology, ’18), “I had to know more.” Lacy, who is a graduate fellow at The Rockefeller University, worked with fire ant researchers Ken Ross and DeWayne Shoemaker (BSA — Entomology, ’89; PhD — Entomology, ’95) at the University of Tennessee to isolate and document multi-queen colonies. Their work appeared in the April 2019 edition of Current Biology.
KILLER QUEENS ME R
Working to understand the genetics of peanut disease resistance and yield, researchers led by scientists at the University of Georgia have uncovered the peanut’s complicated evolution. Researchers working as part of the International Peanut Genome Initiative have previously pinpointed one of the peanut’s two wild ancestors and shown that the peanut is a living legacy of some of the earliest human agricultural societies in South America. Since then the team has mapped the entire peanut genome and identified the crop’s second wild ancestor and the novel mechanism by which the shy, seed-hoarding plant generated the diversity we see today. Parallel work by a UGA team led by UGA Regents Professor Andrew Paterson resulted in the publication of a gold-standard peanut genome in which the work with peanut’s progenitors were expanded to include the genome of the modern cultivated tetraploid peanut. The
University of Georgia mycologist Marin Brewer has been awarded close to $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture to search for ways to detect antifungal resistance in a naturally occurring fungus and identify the factors that contribute to its resistance in agricultural environments. Throughout the three-year study Brewer will focus on Aspergillus fumigatus, a fungus that is abundant in soil, compost and other organic debris. This fungus can cause serious lung infections in immunocompromised people and serious yield losses in crops like peanuts, corn, cotton and onions. “Antifungal treatments are used to treat both plants and people, but fungal resistance to these treatments is developing in both the clinical and agricultural environments,” said Brewer,
RESEARCH ROUND UP
Lacy worked with colleagues at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Gainesville, Florida, to help find and isolate the communities of native fire ants that still fill the shoulders and medians of Florida highways. In these areas, they found that multi-queen “polygyne” colonies would be nestled right next to single-queen “monogyne” colonies of the same species. Nests with single queens were found as close as 5 feet away from nests with as many as 13 queens, Lacy said. FALL 2019
From top, Carol Spruill Lawrence; Adabeth Pirkle Spruill’s FFA jacket; Hillary Smith Stringfellow; Jaky Cervantes (BSA – Agriculture, ‘17); Emma Lawrence (left), Spruill Lawrence (right), and FFA advisor Jimmy Mock (BSA – Agriculture, ‘65).
Girl Plower W
hen you look at today’s FFA leadership, both in the state and national organizations, young women are strongly represented at the student and executive levels. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the vote by delegates at the 42nd Annual National FFA Convention on Oct. 15, 1969, that welcomed all vocational agriculture students to become FFA members regardless of gender. Before that vote, young women couldn’t don FFA’s iconic blue corduroy jacket. The vote came 41 years after National FFA’s founding and 39 years after national members voted that membership was only for male students. State and local chapters allowed female participation at varying levels before membership was officially opened by a two-vote margin in 1969. National FFA elected its first female officer in 1976 and Georgia FFA elected its first female state officer in 1978. Since then, more than 80 women have served as national officers and 156 women have held Georgia FFA state offices. Among those groundbreaking women have been several alumnae of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Hillary Smith Stringfellow (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’00) became the first woman from Georgia and the first CAES alumna to serve as a national officer when elected National FFA president in 1998. A member of the Perry High School FFA chapter, Stringfellow served as a state officer from 1995 to 1996. She was drawn to FFA because her grandparents farmed and her dad and cousins had been members. Now a lawyer in Brunswick, Georgia, Stringfellow credits FFA for giving her the public speaking skills that help her in her career today. “Every FFA member today has the opportunity to become anything they want to be,” Stringfellow said.
Fifty years ago, FFA extended membership to women
Adabeth Pirkle Spruill, left, and Barbara Nuss Artett (BSA – Animal Science, ‘83), right, are welcomed into Jefferson City High School FFA by chapter president Danny Yates in 1970.
Carol Spruill Lawrence (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’03) made Georgia FFA history in 1997 when she became the first and only female to win the Georgia EMCFFA Electrical State Wiring Contest. She said entering seemed normal because her dad, Jack Spruill (BSA — Animal Science, ’74), won the state event in 1968, and her brother, Robert Spruill, won in 1996. Lawrence became the second female Georgia FFA president in 1997 and the second female national FFA officer from Georgia in 1999. Today, Lawrence runs Steadfast Farm, the horse stable she started as her FFA proficiency project. Her husband, Shannon Lawrence (BSA — Agricultural Education, ’03; MAL — Agricultural Leadership, ’04), is an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Jackson County High School, and they are raising four children to continue the family’s FFA legacy. “The time I spent on stage as an officer was fabulous,” Lawrence said. “The time I’ve spent as an FFA mother has been my favorite. It’s neat seeing FFA through my children’s eyes.” Involvement in FFA led Rachael McCall Becker (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’08), both directly and indirectly, to her election in January 2019 as O’Brien County attorney in Sheldon, Iowa. “FFA is pretty much the reason why I live in the Midwest,” said Becker, who met her husband, Ryan Becker, at an FFA leadership conference in Washington, D.C., when she was a visiting national officer and he was a presenter from Nebraska. After graduating from CAES, Becker enrolled in law school at the University of Nebraska, where her future husband was in medical school.
“FFA really offered me a great opportunity as a national officer, getting to travel to different parts of the country and the world , as well as equipping me with the communications skills, confidence and other realworld skills that would be hard to develop in any other organization,” Becker said. Living in a small, largely agrarian country of about 14,000 and serving as county attorney — which in Iowa is the chief law enforcement agent in the county — Becker said it is valuable to have an agricultural background to understand the complexities of the law and how it effects the county’s citizens. “My agricultural roots allow me to better understand certain situations that arise and better connect with people in my agrarian community,” she said. “I have had several cases where my agricultural knowledge has helped me to understand whether a ‘crime’ has truly been committed.” Shy and studious as a high school freshman, Regina Holliday Fitzpatrick (BSA – Animal Science, ’11) insists she would not have pursued any extracurricular activities if it hadn’t been for her agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, Al Garner (BSA — Agricultural Education, ’93) and, later, agriculture teacher Kasey Mixon Jackson (BSA — Animal Science, ’02; MAL — Agricultural Leadership, ’04). Fitzpatrick eventually began entering public speaking competitions and taking leadership roles in her local FFA chapter. During her senior year of high school, she served as Georgia FFA vice president. After graduating from CAES, Fitzpatrick spent six years leading the FFA Leadership Program at Clemson University before returning to UGA as events
coordinator for CAES and to pursue a doctorate in animal science. Fitzpatrick hopes to use her degree to teach and perform scientific research on feed efficiency in cattle based on taste preference through studying bovine taste buds. Kalie Hall Blevins (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’15) comes from a strong FFA family and began showing livestock in middle school. That experience led to deeper involvement in FFA and a desire to take on state and national leadership roles. “I found that, during my time traveling the state and country as an FFA officer, I most enjoyed visiting local schools and interacting with students there,” said Blevins, who is now an agriculture teacher at Madison County High School. “I saw that the real impact came from the constant influence of
“Every FFA member today has the opportunity to become anything they want to be.” – HILLARY SMITH STRINGFELLOW a teacher who invested in students each day. I love the opportunity to get to know students and facilitate growth over some pivotal years.” Blevins works with fellow UGA graduates Cindy Jones (BSA — Animal Science,
’79), Josh Daniel (BSA — Agricultural Education, ’14) and Kathrine Bell, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Warnell School of Forestry, as advisors for the high school’s FFA chapter. “It is important to remember the impact others made in our lives by investing time, knowledge and resources into us and pass those along to the next generation,” Blevins said. Recent CAES graduate Abbey Gretsch (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’19 ) said her participation in FFA in high school helped her discover a pathway to a career in agriculture when she learned about UGA and CAES while attending the National FFA Convention. “Through FFA I gained everything from soft skills to sound agricultural business practices that I use in my daily life. UGA allowed me to take foundational skills I learned in FFA and develop them,” said Gretsch, who served as National FFA Southern Region vice president in 2015-2016. She is grateful for the “agricultural educators, life coaches and sincere friends” she gained from FFA and for the encouragement they offered. “Those women in agriculture who paved the way without drawing much attention to themselves are the giants whose shoulders we stand upon,” Gretsch said. • Jennifer Whittaker (BSA — Agricultural Communications, ’94) and Maria M. Lameiras FALL 2019
Georgia’s pecan producers were dealt a crippling loss in October 2018 when Hurricane Michael’s path through southwest Georgia decimated the year’s crop, splintered limbs and uprooted trees. While University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents and agricultural economists estimate that Georgia’s pecan industry suffered $560 million in losses from Hurricane Michael, Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells (PhD — Entomology, ’99) implores farmers to find a silver lining in this industry-changing natural disaster. “We want growers to go back and replace those trees that were lost with trees that have better disease resistance, better quality, to be able to produce a good crop without so much added cost,” Wells said. Wells believes the impact of Hurricane Michael and tariffs that were imposed this year by President Donald Trump exposed a weakness in Georgia’s pecan industry that needs to be addressed — the varieties that Georgia growers plant and how they grow them. “As long as we had China as a market, the prices the growers were getting were high enough that they could continue to grow those high-input varieties and still come out okay. With the market dropping off as much as it did as a result of the tariffs and an influx of nuts from Mexico, the dropping price was going
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Finding a Silver Lining to make it difficult to come out opportunity to replace lost trees OK last year even if growers had with disease-resistant varieties. harvested the nuts they had,” Wells recommends varieties Wells said. “They had so much including ‘Zinner,’ ‘Ellis,’ money invested in growing that ‘Oconee,’ ‘Creek’ and ‘Avalon,’ crop, they probably would not which was released by UGA pecan have recovered a lot of it for the breeder Patrick Conner in 2016. price they would have received.” ‘Avalon’ is comparable to the The majority of the state’s pecan popular ‘Desirable’ variety due acreage lies in the to its large nut Devastation caused southwest Georgia size, but it is not by Hurricane Michael as susceptible to area, specifically Albany, Camilla and opens door to a new scab disease. Leesburg. Many of “The hurricane, beginning for Georgia the trees located if you had to pecan producers in that region were look for a silver of the ‘Stuart’ or lining, provided ‘Desirable’ varieties, older varieties an opportunity for growers to that were vulnerable to scab address the situation now that disease, which can cause leaf loss would have been tough for and produce black lesions on the them to address later,” Wells pecan shucks any time during the said. • Clint Thompson season and is difficult to manage with chemical treatments. Hurricane Michael inadvertently offered many growers the
Clockwise, from top: Lisa Baxter covers everything from grazing trials, the agony of long to-do lists, pasture weeds and harvesting Bermuda grass in her Lego Lisa posts. To see where Lego Lisa has been lately, check her out at instagram.com/legoforagespecialist, twitter.com/LegoForages, or facebook.com/LegoForageSpecialist.
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension forage agronomist Lisa Baxter (MSA — Crop and Soil Sciences, ’14) is using her love for Legos and social media savvy to convey information to Georgia farmers. When Baxter joined the UGA Tifton campus in March, she wanted to find a way to reach as many people as possible with the information and expertise she was bringing to her new role. Inspired by a Facebook advertisement for custom Legos, Baxter customized her own Lego mini-figure to create “Lego Forage Specialist” or “Lego Lisa.” Several times a week, she photographs her “mini-me” at work in the field or in the office, captioning the photos with useful tidbits of information for her audiences on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. So far Baxter has more than 280 followers for Lego Lisa on various social media accounts, where she tells forage jokes, advises Georgia producers about upcoming state meetings and cautions growers about problems that could affect their crops. “It’s a different way of getting a message across than just listening to a 30-minute PowerPoint presentation or reading another email,” Baxter said. “If we see armyworms that have been reported, then we’ll do a picture with a sweep net saying, ‘You need Lego Lisa to scout for armyworms.’ We had some herbicide damage in some Bermuda grass plots, so we took a enlivens picture of that saying, ‘If you’re pursuing summer forage news weed control options, scout for this damage.’” on social When she’s working outside, the weather conditions will generally determine how Lego Lisa media is pictured. In most photos, Baxter will hold on to the figure’s feet and keep her own hand out of the picture to keep the little Lego from blowing away in strong winds. For National Forage Week in June, Baxter ordered several costume changes, including a lab coat, for her Lego sidekick. Her clients have joined in on the fun, with one county agent bringing in her child’s Lego accessories because the child was worried that Lego Lisa didn’t have any toys to play with. Baxter can also change Lego Lisa’s facial expressions depending on the message she is sending. Baxter feels that having Lego Lisa appear on her social media pages rather than her own image is a novel way to bring attention to the information she shares. “We have a lot of Extension agents. When I was at Winter Conference, they asked how many agents have five years or fewer experience and about half the room shot their hands up. The creation of Lego Lisa is trying to reach that clientele. They’ll see things scrolling through their phone and it does provide a chuckle,” Baxter said. David Allen, communications coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Office of Communications and Creative Services, believes Baxter’s creativity serves her and Extension well. “We love to see faculty embracing social media and finding creative ways to connect with constituents through the web. It will be fun to see the Lego Forage Specialist build its following and see the engagement generated across multiple platforms,” Allen said. • Clint Thompson
PHOTOS BY LISA BAXTER
Building a Following
IN THIS SECTION
exploring the CAES effect on Economics, p. 20 Poultry Industry, p. 22 Students, p. 24 Research, p. 26 Youth, p. 28 Environment, p. 30 World, p. 32
from SOLVING PROBLEMS GEORGIANS FACE to TACKLING GLOBAL ISSUES,
the world TURNS to CAES FOR SOLUTIONS
E XTENSIVE INFLUENCE
PHOTOS FROM UGA AND CAES ARCHIVES
A LIT TLE BIT OF HISTORY It’s easy to see the footprint of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences on the University of Georgia’s campuses, but it’s not as easy to encapsulate the broad role the college plays both within the state of Georgia and far beyond. CAES was established as its own unit of the university in 1859 — nearly 75 years after UGA was chartered by the state of Georgia in 1785. In 1872, UGA became a land-grant institution under the Morrill Act, national legislation that formalized the university’s mandate to use its personnel and resources to benefit the state’s citizens. The Morrill Act and subsequent legislation led directly to outreach programs like the statewide UGA Cooperative Extension Service, which was established in 1914. During Extension’s first century, UGA faculty and staff established outreach programs in most of Georgia’s 159 counties. This service mission expanded over the years from agriculture to outreach programs benefiting youth and families and now includes 312 Extension agents in 163 offices around the state. Perhaps more than any other college at UGA, CAES faculty, researchers and Extension personnel work throughout the state every day in ways that benefit industry, youth and communities. Research, outreach and extension at CAES are major drivers of agriculture, Georgia’s No. 1 industry, and our instructional programs prepare agricultural and environmental leaders for the workforce.
CALCULATING the value OF WHAT CAES provides to THE STATE
rom developing disease-resistant crop varieties to addressing day-to-day questions and crises for agricultural producers, faculty, researchers and extension experts with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences provide both real-time support and long-term strategies that contribute to the success of Georgia’s No. 1 industry. Andy Harrison (BSA – Animal Science, ’75), commodities commission manager with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, said Georgia’s agriculture industry has wide-ranging needs, and access to the latest knowledge and expertise from the university is of incalculable value. “Agriculture in Georgia is very diverse, from poultry to row crops to vegetables and produce to timber and fruit and tree nuts. We also have a diverse climate and challenges in different regions and having a resource like the University of Georgia is really important because of that,” Harrison said. When unexpected problems arise — whether it is herbicide-resistant pigweed threatening cotton crops or spotted wing drosophila attacking the state’s burgeoning blueberry industry — having CAES researchers available in all corners of the state can mean the difference between losing a crop or saving it. “If there is a pest or a disease showing up on the radar that producers don’t know a lot about, we can depend on UGA researchers to get on top of it and to find out what the threat is and how to combat it,” Harrison said. From UGA Cooperative Extension specialists to specialty research and management teams for all of the state’s $ 6 2 8 MILLIO N major commodities, CAES CAES’ estimated annual provides tangible value to impact on Georgia’s producers. economy “They’re not sitting in offices — their shoes have dirt on them,” Harrison said. “These researchers have great working relationships with the farms and our producers want to know what the latest news is coming from UGA.” The true value the college’s applied research is proven by the willingness of producers to fund research projects at UGA. “(CAES) and Extension offer a lot of services in Georgia that a lot of other states don’t have and those producers have to rely on industry to provide support. There are certain things a university can and will do that industry will not do if it does not meet their financial objectives,” Harrison said. “It is a strong statement that the farmers in our state are willing to invest their own
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money in this research through our commodity commissions.” In addition to the applied research being done at CAES, Harrison said the basic science being done in the labs is just as important to the future of agriculture in the state. “There are a number of projects going on with nutrition and developing new plant varieties that are really fascinating and, hopefully, will put more money into the pockets of farmers and help them become better producers,” Harrison said. While producers and industry professionals understand the value to the agriculture industry, quantifying the impact of work done at CAES on the state is a mammoth undertaking. Formerly led by agriculture and applied economics Professor Jeffrey Dorfman, a team within CAES gathers information from throughout the college’s many endeavors to calculate the economic impact of the college to the state. “We collect a lot of data from the university, looking at things that bring extra money into the state and that increase human capital in the state by creating new jobs or improving efficiency or productivity. We crunch those numbers to show the impact of our teaching programs and the value of our degrees, our research functions and our public service and outreach programs based on the value they create for Georgia’s citizens,” said Dorfman, who also serves as Georgia’s state fiscal economist. “This shows the state legislature and the taxpayers that the university does a lot of good for the economy of the state beyond educating students.” In 2018, Dorfman’s report estimated that, overall, UGA has an economic impact of $6.3 billion annually on the
INFLUENCE on the ECONOMY
CAES plant pathologist Albert Culbreath examines a freshly dug peanut plant at a research farm. Culbreath specializes in tomato spotted wilt virus of peanut.
FACT: With 792 buildings and facilities in 22 Georgia counties, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences encompasses 17,158 acres of land and includes more than 2.9 million square feet of research, Extension, rural development, farming and agricultural experiment space throughout the state.
Georgia economy through a combination of its teaching, research and public service and outreach programs. Of that total, CAES was responsible for $628 million in impact to the state including $236 million in teaching, $143 million in research, and $249 million in public service and outreach. “This economic impact is a reflection only of truly new impacts, jobs and spending that would not exist in Georgia without the presence of UGA,” Dorfman wrote in the 2018 report. “While this report has documented the large economic impact that the University of Georgia has on the state economy, it is also important to remember that many university programs — such as Georgia 4-H — likely create economic impacts that we have not been able to estimate. Leadership formation and the increase of civic capital, both things that UGA helps produce, have
large social impacts that complement economic impact, as well as likely creating economic impact in ways that are too complex to document.” Adam Rabinowitz, assistant professor of agricultural and applied economics at the UGA Tifton campus, has helped spearhead a pilot program over the past year to calculate the economic impact specifically for Extension programs. “We have started a pilot program to measure some common questions we can use to get information from stakeholders on the adoption of information being provided to them from our programs and self-reported information on what financial benefit they may be getting in addition to that knowledge gain,” Rabinowitz said. Data was gathered from commodityspecific agriculture meetings held throughout the year, as well as from
Extension, 4-H and environmental education programs held in every county. “We hope this information will show that what we do has an impact on our producers in Georgia but will allow us to talk about the impact beyond agriculture as well,” he said. “Our 4-H programs benefit young children who go off to college and who are potentially getting higher paying jobs. On the family and consumer sciences side, we are supporting working families who need help with nutrition and budgeting. This complements the information we are gathering on the impact of research and teaching to dig deeper into the impact of Extension on our population.” • Maria M. Lameiras
q CAES poultry science students gain valuable hands-on research experience.
PHOTOS BY COREY NOLEN
INFLUENCE on an INDUSTRY
F E AT H E R OUR CAP
CAES PROVIDES critical resources for GEORGIA’S POULTRY INDUSTRY
nce upon a time, cotton was king in Georgia, which is also known as “the Peach State,” but a combination of innovation, collaboration and determination has established Georgia as the top poultryproducing state in the nation. In 1995, then-Gov. Zell Miller even made it official, signing an act of the General Assembly declaring Georgia the “Poultry Capital of the World.” Abit Massey, president emeritus of the Georgia Poultry Federation (GPF), a nonprofit trade association that represents the state’s poultry industry, has been a decades-long advocate for the poultry industry and a strong proponent of education and research in the field. Through his work, Massey formed a close relationship between the GPF and the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ Department of Poultry Science. “It cannot be overstated that the poultry science department in the
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College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UGA is one factor in making and keeping Georgia as the poultry capital of the world,” Massey said. “The industry certainly has grown a lot since the early days of the 1940s and 1950s, and the poultry science department grew up with the industry, serving the industry. Each has been influenced by the other.” The close working relationship between faculty in the department and scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Poultry Research Center in Athens, Georgia, creates a “synergy and momentum for the Athens area and Georgia,” said GPF President Mike Giles. “Georgia is probably where most of the poultry research is being done in the world. Having all of the entities involved and working together in the area provides an advantage to the industry,” said Giles. “Georgia producers are fortunate to have a land-grant university that still has a poultry science department. I think it has become second nature for us in the poultry industry to call on UGA when we have an opportunity or a challenge, and the response we always get is, ‘Yes, we will work on that.’ ” Giles points to the work done by the department in the late 1980s and early 1990s on the evolution of tunnel ventilation as a dramatic example of the impact of UGA’s poultry research. “That is something that really revolutionized the production efficiency of growing chickens at the farm level, and which has been adopted throughout the U.S. and the world, based on work that came out of the UGA Department of Poultry Science,” he said. “That has been a big factor in the growth of the industry in south Georgia due to the climate. Any serious heat wave would cause a tremendous loss of birds, mortality would increase and efficiency would go down. The ability to control temperature and ventilation in poultry housing has made an enormous difference.” All aspects of the poultry industry are strongly represented in Georgia, including producers, processors, hatcheries and myriad companies to support those enterprises, including feed mills, equipment suppliers and related industries, including utilization of chicken waste as fertilizer for use by Georgia farmers. UGA Extension poultry experts have played a vital role in those businesses as well. “The department has really developed a worldwide reputation in Extension, research and knowledge and delivering that to the poultry industry, not just in Georgia, but throughout the world,” Giles said. “Extension has really been an important part of the impact the department has had by taking knowledge and research out into the world.” The poultry science students who graduate and become an integral part of the industry’s future are perhaps the college’s most important contribution, Giles said. “We get to know the poultry science students while they are at UGA. We see them get their first jobs in the industry and then we see them progressing into upper management in the state’s industry. It makes you feel good seeing students who have gotten an opportunity for a fantastic career in the poultry industry because of those connections.”
Research programs include poultry health, nutrition, physiology, genetics and molecular biology, environmental management, microbiology and food safety, processing technology, reproduction, and bird well-being.
Poultry Science Department Head Todd Applegate said that educating the next generation of poultry industry leaders is an influential part of the department’s mission. “We are fundamentally preparing the next generation to be the leaders and to answer the questions in this industry. Leadership, communication and a good science base are all important, but they must be aware of how to effectively engage and communicate with the industry and other researchers to address the underlying issues of the poultry sector,” said Applegate. “While we have amazing alumni in leadership roles throughout the poultry sector, we want to continue that influence through the next generation,” Applegate said. LOOKING FORWARD
Another important piece of the work done by the department involves basic and applied research that can have immediate and longterm benefits for the industry. Over the past three and a half years, the poultry industry has embraced a consumerand customer-driven trend by transitioning to raise birds without the use of antibiotics. More than 50% of broilers are now raised without antibiotics, while stricter food safety regulations in poultry processing are adding to the challenge of raising antibiotic-free poultry. Applegate’s personal research, and research performed by a number of other faculty in the department, involves examining the interface of the gut as a barrier to pathogens in poultry. “This is a big area of interest for the department. We have 10 faculty in the department who are engaged in facets of intestinal health and antibiotic replacement strategies,” Applegate said. The department “The challenge has really developed a is to understand WORLDWIDE how birds R EPUTATION respond IN EXTENSION, to these RESEARCH AND gastrointestinal KNOWLEDGE pathogens and and delivering to understand that to the poultry industry. the nuances of the pathogens themselves
to develop strategies to deal with these pathogens and to better understand the consequences of taking these antibiotics away in the food safety space.” Research in the department ranges from bird health to production and management of farms, including how chickens are housed and fed. “Understanding all of the factors, from physiology and nutrition to microbiology and immunology — that’s what makes research into antibiotic replacement very difficult, because it has ramifications on different systems of the animal. Our researchers are seeing how and where those work to have a much more targeted application of interventions,” Applegate said. Poultry immunologist Ramesh Selvaraj is developing novel approaches to reduce salmonella infection in broiler flocks, including formulating a killed salmonella vaccine for the broiler chicken industry that would be administered using nanoparticle technology. Selvaraj developed a biodegradable nanoparticle feed coating that resists gastric digestion. This method of oral vaccination can be administered up to two days before harvest, reducing tenfold the chance of the salmonella pathogen being spread during processing. Selvaraj, whose doctorate is in nutritional immunology, is studying the same approach to combat Clostridium perfringens, another of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States. In other research, poultry scientist Woo Kim is drawing on his previous medical studies to develop a bioactive molecule to stimulate bone formulation to prevent osteoporosis in humans. The work he does now in poultry follows a similar protocol. Bone weakness is a problem in broilers due to stress placed on the birds’ skeletal systems because they are bred for rapid muscle growth and weight gain. Egg-laying birds have similar issues because they are selected for high egg production and a long egg production cycle and about half of the calcium drawn they use to produce eggs is drawn from bones, causing osteoporosis in older laying hens, Kim explained. Kim’s research is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture for developing
innovative ideas to reach long-term goals, and privately funded through industry-related projects, which are generally shorter-term projects to find an applicable solution to a more immediate problem. “Those projects start with industry people who know the issues in the industry. We discuss those issues with them and come up with projects to address those issues,” said Kim. “Both types of research projects have the potential to help industry, but we need to understand the mechanism of the bioactive molecule from the beginning and later on that will have industry applications. We have the best poultry research center in the nation.” The breadth of research at CAES is key to the continuing success of the poultry industry, Giles said. “UGA’s ongoing work in nutrition, genetics, food safety, water conservation — all of these things the department is working on that are opportunities and challenges for the future — are important to every poultry producing region in the U.S. and in the world,” Giles said. “We don’t know what the future challenges will be, but the department has expertise in very diverse areas and we are confident that, whatever the challenge is in the future, they will be in a position to help us out.” • Maria M. Lameiras
The CAES Undergraduate Research Initiative allows students the opportunity to conduct research under the direction of a CAES faculty member, giving them hands-on research experience at an undergraduate level.
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING enriches student understanding and achievement
PHOTOS FROM UGA ARCHIVE / CAES ARCHIVE
nowing she will apply to medical schools, junior biological science major Amelia Payne hopes her undergraduate experience at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will distinguish her from the pack. In addition to the traditional biology, chemistry and physics classes common to pre-med majors, Payne will have classes like herbs, spices and medicinal plants; food science and technology; and reproductive endocrinology on her transcript. Her college activities will include study abroad trips to Costa Rica and Scotland to study coffee production and youth in agriculture and a medicinal herbs internship at UGArden, the college’s student-run community farm. “I’ve expanded my degree beyond the traditional biology major. I hope they will see I have been able to balance my course load with study abroad opportunities, my job working with freshmen as a resident assistant, being a student ambassador, and working as a medicinal herbs intern at the farm. That will show that I will be able to handle the stress and workload of being a medical school student and that CAES provided those opportunities for me,” said Payne, whose goal is to become a pediatric oncologist and cancer researcher. The breadth of majors available at CAES often comes as a surprise to students who hear about the college through their peers, a recruiter, or while exploring options when deciding on or changing a major. “The biggest challenge we have is the name of the college and overcoming the misperceptions people have of agriculture or horticulture or agronomy. We are so much more than ‘just agriculture.’ We have changed, but the perceptions have not changed,” said Doug Bailey, assistant dean for academic affairs and former head of the Department of Horticulture at CAES. “We’re not necessarily changing what these students want to do, but letting them know that they can accomplish their goals here.” Renay Gregoire-Berger (BSA — Avian Biology, ’15) is an academic advisor in the CAES Office of Academic Affairs. While many of her advisees are biological science majors, she also advises students with unspecified majors.
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FACT: The CAES Deans’ Promise initiative ensures that every CAES student will have the opportunity to enrich their college experience beyond the classroom through internships, research, service-learning and study abroad programs.
“We have a lot of students from cities Service-learning allowed him to better who don’t relate to agriculture at all, connect with the local community and but you don’t have to be raised on a with the diverse workforce in the local farm to study agricultural economics green industry. In a class coordinated by or leadership. Most of our students in faculty in the Department of Horticulture biological science are preprofessional and the Latin American and Caribbean students and, whether they are interested Studies Institute, students learned in medical school, veterinary school key, content-specific Spanish phrases or dental school, they have to take the commonly used by green industry same exact science courses as other employees and gained perspective on science majors in other colleges. The only diversity and cross-cultural values. difference in requirements is in elective While working at a plant nursery after courses,” Gregoire-Berger said. graduation, Byrd embraced his affinity for Opportunities for undergraduate teaching people about plants, so he set his research and study abroad courses abound, sights on graduate school. He is currently and some classes are uniquely available to pursuing a master’s degree in agricultural biological science students, she added. and environmental education at CAES. “Our students are able to build a As a teaching assistant for Project degree that is more hands-on or more FOCUS (Fostering Our Community’s focused toward their particular goals. Our Understanding of Science) — a servicestudents have access to courses — such as learning course organized by agricultural surgical techniques in our poultry science education professor Jason Peake — Byrd department — that aren’t available is helping current CAES undergraduate anywhere else on campus,” Gregoirestudents develop educational content. Berger said. The class has connected UGA A strong student focus and student-scientists to local the availability of academic schools for nearly two decades advisors who can help students to promote STEM education and There’s understand the breadth of give UGA students hands-on REALLY NO majors available in CAES is experience so they can decide if WRONG WAY one benefit the college offers teaching might be a good fit as a YOU COULD over other academic units that career. “You may have students GO IN CAES. It just comes may have a substantially larger in the hard sciences who are up to you student population, Bailey said. future educators, but they don’t picking your For Ben Byrd (BSA — know it yet,” Byrd said. route. Horticulture ’17), the diversity of Opportunities to learn aren’t majors and program offerings in limited to CAES students. the college sold him on choosing Kari Turner, an associate to pursue an agriculture degree. professor of equine science, “I felt like no matter where has to stay up-to-date with I turned there was something I the latest information through could do as a career,” he said. her research and industry “There’s really no wrong way you could go connections, which are integral to the in CAES. It just comes up to you picking land-grant mission. your route.” “Talking to people in the industry helps While studying horticulture, Byrd spent to identify current issues affecting them, time as a farm intern at UGArden, leading so I know where to direct my teaching and Clarke County students on tours and research to address those issues,” Turner working in the fields. said. “I think it helps provide real-life “It improved my overall understanding application and strengthen my teaching of horticulture exponentially,” he said. because I have experiences to back up
INFLUENCE on our STUDENTS
what I am saying.” The connections she makes, in turn, help with teaching opportunities. Each September, she takes a class to Kentucky to visit farms, veterinary clinics, feed mills, race tracks and sales facilities that are a part of the equine industry. Caroline Hinton (BSA – Animal Science, ’19; BSA – Agricultural Communications, ‘19) valued the research opportunities she had as an undergraduate studying horse production and management with Turner. “UGA does a good job of providing a great classroom education, but also experiences to connect you to the outside,” Hinton said. Outside the classroom for Hinton meant a study abroad program in Uruguay on beef production; getting involved with clubs and events like the Great Southland Stampede Rodeo committee; and a culture-centered communication-service class at the Jackson County Food Bank. “Instead of just working with people similar to me, it made me understand different people’s viewpoints,” Hinton said. “It was much more applicable, and I could see what I was learning. I could really see a change in myself from the beginning of the class to the end.” Byrd and Hinton agree that close connections with CAES faculty have been integral to their success. “When you’re doing extracurriculars and going to faculty with questions, you get to know their life and they get to know yours — you get to build a connection with them,” said Hinton. “Your true knowledge and education doesn’t come from a textbook. It comes from your experiences and opportunities to meet people who make lasting impressions on your education.” • Josh Paine and Maria M. Lameiras
PHOTOS BY KATIE WALKER
UGA RESEARCH FARM examines beefy questions for CATTLE FARMERS
unlike most laboratories, running the University of Georgia Eatonton Beef Research Unit (EBRU) in Eatonton, Georgia, is a 365-day-a-year, 24-hour-a-day operation. Fortunately for Charles Trumbo (BSA — Agricultural Education, ’11), agricultural specialist and assistant foreman at the EBRU, the commute can’t be beat. Trumbo lives in a neat, white farmhouse a literal stone’s throw from the EBRU headquarters, a small, square brick building that serves as the public face of the sprawling, 2,000-acre spread, which is difficult to distinguish from neighboring family farms and pastures. The largest and oldest UGA-owned farm in the state, the sizeable acreage is needed to house the farm’s 450 head of beef cattle, which are used to run research studies for faculty in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Animal and Dairy Science (ADS). Unit farm manager Kip McMillan (BSA — Animal Science, ’90) and the rest of the staff live nearby as well, and McMillan is charged with keeping watch over the day-to-day operations of the farm and the important research being performed there. A large open-air barn at the farm recently housed a heat-stress research study being conducted by ADS associate professor Alexander Stelzleni. On one side of the 10,000 square-foot structure, Hereford-Angus cross
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cattle were housed in several pens cooled by large, industrial fans that whir overhead. On the other side, an equal number of bulls recline or peer curiously out of identical pens, minus the fans. Other animals in the study are out in the pastures with no cooling methods. “Dr. Stelzleni’s study is looking at how heat stress affects feedlot cattle for the industry out West,” says McMillan. “We carefully monitor the animals in the study, controlling their feed to ensure they are all raised with the same nutrition.” Magnetic pendants hanging from collars around their necks ensure that each animal eats only from its own designated trough, allowing researchers to calculate exactly how much feed each animal eats each day, eliminating the need for estimation. Trumbo assists with Stelzleni’s study on heat stress and with other research projects. Similar to UGA dairy research on the effects of heat stress on milk content, this research examines how different levels of heat stress affects the meat of beef cattle. “The purpose of this experiment is to show the difference of the marbling of the steer in those three different types of living conditions,” Trumbo said. While such stringent data collection and monitoring is out of the ordinary for most commercial farms, McMillan said it serves a vital purpose for those producers. “You can put a dollar value on those traits and show the value of different methods. That’s the purpose of a trial. Not everyone is set up for research like we are. We can feed each animal and control their environment, it is a lot more precise,” said McMillan, who grew up on his family’s farm in Enigma, Georgia, and gravitated back to agriculture while a student at UGA.
INFLUENCE on RESEARCH
The majority of the farm comprises pastureland where cows and the calves born on the farm range and graze. It takes almost an hour to see the entire farm, either in one of the farm’s maintenance vehicles or on one of the resident horses, which belong to the university or farm staff. Faculty from the CAES Department of Crop and Soil Sciences can frequently be found in the fields of fescue and Bermudagrass, performing soil testing or studying forage patterns and soil health. A recent study, the “Better Grazing Project,” involved ADS faculty Lawton Stewart (BSA — Animal Science, ’01) and Dennis Hancock along with Dory Franklin, a scientist in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. The research was designed to compare soil health in fields used in rotational grazing versus free range grazing. Trumbo said modular fencing was used to contain one group of cattle in certain areas of pasture that were rotated every three days. The other group of cattle were allowed to range freely in a different pasture. After the study period, Franklin tested soil samples from various areas in both pastures, with results showing that soil from the rotational pastures was more highly enriched with nutrients than samples from the free-range pastures. “Producers can use this information to make decisions on grazing and to improve forage growth on their land,” Trumbo said. The farm can be dated back to 1938 when the University System of Georgia Board of Regents began leasing 14,315 acres of land, mostly in Putnam County, for what was initially called the Eatonton Project of the Georgia Experiment Station. In 1954, the land was deeded to the Board of Regents to be used as an agricultural experiment station. The research program has grown over time and management of the unit, then known as the Central Georgia Research and Education Center, was transferred to ADS in 2012. “The research performed here translates to dollars for producers so they are able to fine-tune their operations,” McMillan said. “We raise cattle here, but our primary focus is research and education. We are not here to compete with the man down the road raising cows. That’s not our purpose. We are a resource for teaching and research.” • Clint Thompson and Maria M. Lameiras
Trumbo (left) and McMillan are two of the many support staff who help keep things running at CAES research facilities around the state. An overview of these centers and other CAES research and education facilities can be found online at southscapes.caes.uga.edu.
INFLUENCE on YOUTH
4-H PROGRAM opens up possibilities for GEORGIA STUDENTS
eorgia 4-H is not just about agriculture or raising farm animals. Across the state, students who participate in the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension 4-H program explore everything from science and technology to entrepreneurship and possible career opportunities. In classrooms and after-school programs, 4-H introduces students in rural and urban areas to opportunities they may not have been aware of before and involves them in projects that have real-world applications in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). A core component of 4-H is District Project Achievement (DPA), a program in which youths choose a research topic and spend a school year organizing and preparing a presentation or portfolio. The experience is comparable to preparing a resume, according to Melinda Miller, 4-H program development coordinator for Georgia’s Southwest District. “Every 4-H competition, conference and camp has an educational component that will prepare students for their futures,” Miller said. Whether in a town of less than 1,000 or a densely populated urban area, 4-H gives students a glimpse of the world beyond their homes and classrooms. Partnerships with other organizations — such as the Setting Your Sights on Medical School program with Mercer University School of Medicine — bring students to college campuses and other organizations, showing them that the idea of attending medical school is a real option for them. Through 4-H Career Exploration Day, middle and high school students get the chance to tour the UGA-Tifton Veterinary Diagnostic and Investigational Laboratory and learn about topics related to veterinary medicine. Georgia high school senior and Emanuel County 4-H’er Madison Moore has combined her passion for engineering with her love for 4-H by creating a monthly STEAM club through 4-H to share her knowledge and love of science, technology,
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engineering, arts and mathematics subjects with students in local elementary and middle schools. Moore taught lessons about the engineering design process, aerodynamics, inertia, and kinetic and potential energy. She also led hands-on activities like building rockets, making a volcano and launching a catapult. “I really enjoy presenting these kids with the opportunity to learn the kinds of things that I wished I could have learned when I was their age,” said Moore, who hopes to pursue a career as a drafter or civil engineer. “I hope to fill their minds with knowledge, which will hopefully fuel their passion for STEAM as well.” In Sumter County, UGA Extension 4-H agent Crystal Perry created the ROCKETS (Reaching Our Community through Kindness, Education, Togetherness and STEM) project to help disabled students learn STEM-related lessons in a safe setting where they feel included. The program helps students to build positive relationships, increase their knowledge in science disciplines and enrich their educational learning experience. With the help of Sumter County Extension, students at two local schools designed, cultivated, watered, weeded and harvested vegetables like broccoli, carrots, collards, greens and onions. The students also tended the school garden throughout the year. “If you look at research, it is shown that students with disabilities
and their families may be reluctant to participate in after-school activities because of what they think their abilities or limitations may be. It was more intentional to reach this audience by going directly to them,” Perry said. In four north Georgia counties — Catoosa, Gordon, Murray and Whitfield — a grant from Microsoft and the National 4-H Council helped local 4-H’ers create the Tech Changemakers program. In these four counties, 4-H’ers are using their knowledge of technology to teach digital literacy skills to adults. Stephanie Skojac, the UGA Extension 4-H agent in Murray County, partnered with the local senior center last fall to hold monthly technology classes taught by 4-H'ers. The students taught 15 adult students how to grocery shop online, use Facebook, and use video-calling services like Skype and FaceTime. About 25 4-H students participated each month, and the senior center has requested the program be offered again this year. “We are realizing that it is important for our whole population to have STEAM skills, so we’re flipping the model. Instead of having adults teach youth, we’re having the youth teach older adults,” said Allie Griner, UGA Extension 4-H agent in Gordon County. “How to get an email address is a very simple concept for some of us, but for adults not used to technology, it’s a huge thing to be able to do that.” • Clint Thompson
Top to bottom: Georgia 4-H offers students programs and activities in both nutrition and agriculture. Following Hurricane Michael last October, students in Screven County’s 4-H program, along with 4-H’ers from 10 surrounding counties, collected truckloads of supplies to send to affected counties in south Georgia. 4-H STEM projects help reinforce what students learn at school.
A M A ZIN G
AG E NT S
Whether they're in a south Georgia peanut field, a community garden in downtown Atlanta or working with teenagers on a community project in the north Georgia mountains, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents play a central role in their communities. There are 312 UGA Extension agents spread across the state covering the program areas of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Family and Consumer Sciences, and 4-H Youth Development. They serve as educators, advisors, friends, neighbors and community leaders. In fiscal year 2019, agents led 24,277 educational outreach programs and made nearly 2 million contacts with Georgians across the state. No matter what program area they cover, an agent's core responsibility is providing connections — connections between the university and communities, between stakeholders within their communities, and between communities in Georgia. Those connections help build the capacity of their friends and neighbors to improve their communities. Those connections help us build a better Georgia from the ground up. • Profiles by Merritt Melancon
L AURIE MURR AH - HANSON
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT AGENT, FULTON COUNTY
For the past three years, has allowed us to expand our Georgia Laurie Murrah-Hanson 4-H program north. It’s helped us has connected University engage new schools. It’s helped us of Georgia Cooperative engage new families. It’s helped us Extension’s rural roots to engage new community partners that metro Atlanta’s population we hadn’t worked with before.” by building a little UGA Through a partnership with the history Extension outpost in the center, UGA Extension and Georgia 4-H middle of Buckhead at the have a presence in north Atlanta, and Atlanta History Center. north Atlanta residents have access Murrah-Hanson, who to the types of Extension services that serves as a 4-H Youth families in rural areas have relied on for Development agent in years — canning classes, soil testing Fulton County, has worked and Georgia 4-H youth programming. to grow the Georgia 4-H “For me, this is about bringing Club at the Atlanta people together from History Center to all over the state to include hundreds of experience things students. These are together, it’s about students who weren’t people and helping being served by Georgia 4-H in people meet each other metro Atlanta because it had been and understand each impossible for agents to make it up other,” said Sheffield to schools in northern Fulton County Hale, president of the from the county office in East Point. MURRAH-HANSON Atlanta History Center. Kids couldn’t make it to the south “Our communities end of the county either. are fragmented, and “Fulton County is 70 miles long with our state can feel fragmented. Anything a million people, and when we had we can do to help to stitch our state just one 4-H agent in College Park, together and help us all realize that we they weren’t able to serve a very large are one state is something we want to geographic area,” Murrah-Hanson be a part of. We have to work together to said. “Having me at the history center build a better Georgia.”
INFLUENCE on the
N AT U R E
or many Georgia students — and their teachers and parents — an environmental education field trip to one of University of Georgia Cooperative Extension’s five 4-H centers around the state is the highlight of the school year. Students from Montessori Academy at Sharon Springs in Cumming, Georgia, and Atlanta For students from Montessori Academy at Montessori International School in Atlanta, Georgia, participate in an ecology hike as part of a Sharon Springs (MASS) in Cumming, Georgia, and three-day environmental education experience at Wahsega 4-H Center in Dahlonega, Georgia. Atlanta Montessori International School in Atlanta, Georgia, a recent trip to the Wahsega 4-H Center outside of Dahlonega, Georgia, was a chance for middle through high school students to form bonds between the sister schools and to challenge themselves in activities — whether building survival shelters from found materials in the forest that are outside the norm for urban and suburban dwellers. or overcoming a fear of heights by zip lining — gives the students a Over three days in August, these students navigated the trails, fields feeling of accomplishment and camaraderie. and streams practicing archery, zip lining, learning “Collaboration, problem-solving, overcoming about night wildlife, navigating by GPS and more on challenges, all of these things help connect them to THOUSANDS OF an annual trip to the rustic camp tucked away in the the concepts they are taught in class by bringing STUDENTS learn southern portion of the Chattahoochee National them out into the environment. Those are very about ecology Forest at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. important at this age,” Pierre said. through CAES “Being away from their usual setting and in nature Adam Rolwes is the environmental education is an unwinding experience for these kids,” said PROGRAMS program coordinator for UGA Extension at the Bhairavi Chandramouli, a science and mathematics Wahsega 4-H Center. He lives at the facility teacher at MASS who has brought students to year-round, as does Center Director David Weber, Wahsega for several years. “In the city and in the suburbs, they are so booking and coordinating trips for groups from public and private disconnected from nature. Doing things hands-on in relation to nature schools around the state. He also coordinates the seasonal — getting out into the forest, picking up frogs and millipedes — it environmental educators at Wahsega, education professionals hired helps them to have no inhibitions about nature. We have to get them from around the country for the state’s 4-H centers from September close to nature so they will enjoy it throughout their lives.” through May. Paul Pierre, a junior high teacher at Atlanta Montessori With a degree in biology from Missouri State University, Rolwes has International, feels that the challenges the students participate in worked in environmental education since graduating in 2012.
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MARIA M. LAMEIRAS
A M A ZIN G “I started out in environmental education at Fortson 4-H Center as a seasonal environmental educator and have not looked back since. It is an amazing feeling to take a group of students on their first hike in the Chattahoochee National Forest or going from being timid around the snakes in herpetology to being willing to touch the program animals. Our natural world is an amazing, beautiful thing and I love helping students and adults gain that experience for the first time,” Rolwes said. Katie Phillips (BSES — Entomology, ’18) was an environmental educator at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Georgia, for the 2018-19 academic year, an experience that helped confirm her desire to pursue an extension career. “I grew up as a 4-H’er, so I knew plenty about what Extension does, but this gave me a chance to figure out what I wanted to do,” she said. Over the year she led more than 20 different classes for students from elementary through high school from lake ecology, herpetology and ornithology to canoeing, pioneer classes and Native American studies. “It was definitely unlike anything I’ve ever done before because I was taking different groups of kids out every day and letting them do things many of them had never done. It was really exciting to see them experiencing new things, and when they’d get excited about something, I’d get excited with them,” said Phillips, who is now pursuing graduate studies in entomology on the UGA Tifton campus and working on pecan tree pest management with entomology Assistant Professor Angelita Acebes. “I definitely plan to go into extension one day. I really enjoyed working with students and extension is where I want to go,” she said. • Maria M. Lameiras
AG E NT S
STEPHEN PATRICK COUNTY EXTENSION COORDINATOR, HABERSHAM COUNTY
While many University of Georgia the removal of the county’s waterways Cooperative Extension agents spend from the U.S. Environmental Protection their site visits collecting insects or soil Agency’s list of impaired waters. samples, County Extension Coordinator “(Our data) has helped us attract Steven Patrick’s site visits include pulling more than $190,000 in grant money fish from the Upper Chattahoochee and to help the county with watershed Soque rivers in Habersham County. restoration,” Patrick said. “For me, it’s A fisheries biologist by important as an ag agent training, Patrick has built because it keeps the door partnerships with Habersham open to getting watershed County’s angler community, grants so we can do farm farmers and conservation projects and stormwater researchers from nearby projects. We’re bringing that universities to help document money into our county to do and celebrate the diversity watershed work based on that of fish in Habersham’s data. The data is important PATRICK rivers. His work has been to fisheries science and for key to investigate the our local community.” genetics and distribution of This summer, Patrick two endemic species: Chattahoochee helped catch, tag and release more bass and shoal bass. than 900 bass as part of a genetics The result has been a renewed civic research project focused on native bass. pride in the natural environment that He has anglers of all ages and from all has helped build Habersham County’s over the community come out to help reputation as a premier destination during his weekly research “floats.” for sport fishing. It has also garnered “It's cool for educating the kids,” grant money for county watershed he said. “It helps them realize restoration projects that have led to that science is important.”
TAMMY CHEELY AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES AGENT, WARREN COUNTY
The truth is that when good things the state — acts as a bridge between happen in a community, it’s almost stakeholders to help her community to always because a group of individuals achieve more. and organizations came together to “Our Extension office really thinks make it happen. All they need is someone outside of the box to get things done. to unite them. They are good at working with That’s where University the whole community, not just of Georgia Cooperative the farming community,” said Extension agents like Tammy John R. Graham, chairman Cheely (BSA – Animal of the Warren County Science, ‘90; MAEX – Commission. Agricultural Extension, ‘94) From fostering come in. Cheely has served as partnerships between the the Agricultural and Natural county’s school system Resources agent in Warren and business and farming CHEELY County since the early 1990s. communities to building one During that time, she’s been of the state’s most recognized an adviser, a confidant and a community farm-to-school programs to working with organizer. She’s worked with the school the U.S. Army Reserves and county and district, the business community, and school officials to bring two weeks of free county government leadership. medical care to rural Georgia, big things Long story short, Cheely — like can happen when Cheely helps connect many UGA Extension agents across the caring people in her community. FALL 2019
With researchers working on projects in 33 countries, global partnerships with institutions in 29 countries, and students participating in exchange and study abroad programs in Europe, Central and South America, Africa, and Asia, CAES is building its reputation around world.
F G LOBAL
ALUMNI AND FACULTY use CAES as a launchpad to impactful work WORLDWIDE
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rom Kigali, Rwanda, to Padova, Italy, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences launches its alumni into global careers. Alumni are using the skills and knowledge gained at the University of Georgia to help farmers grow food in areas of drought and to broker trade agreements with developing nations, and students at CAES are eager to discover their own international paths. The daughter of a pecan farmer from Albany, Georgia, Leslie Marbury (BSA – Environmental Economics and Management, ‘98; MS – Agriculture and Natural Resource Economics and Policy, ‘04) now lives and works 7,000 miles away, serving as the mission director in Rwanda for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She oversees 80 employees and more than $140 million in support, including one project that is helping hundreds of Rwandan families learn to raise fast-growing broiler chickens in an effort to improve both the economic outlook and nutrition for rural farmers in the east African nation. In the more than two decades since Marbury studied agriculture at UGA, her work has taken her across the globe — to Morocco and Ghana during her UGA years and then on to South Africa, Honduras, Bolivia and Burma as a career member of the Foreign Service with USAID.
INFLUENCE on the WORLD
“In every country I have lived in, there were challenges around increasing agricultural productivity and connecting farmers to markets, which is something U.S. universities and private sector experience can help with,” she said. Marbury is one of many CAES alumni working around the globe, and current CAES students are following their examples, studying and interning abroad, and learning firsthand about agriculture’s role in housing, clothing and feeding people in every country. Marbury’s international experiences began during her senior year at CAES, when she spent a couple of months in Meknes, Morocco, studying the biodiversity of grains while earning a certificate in international agriculture. “The beauty of it was that, while faculty wanted help in the lab, they also got you out to the field,” leading Marbury to travel to farms across Morocco. It was her first travel beyond North America and Europe. “This was a big eye-opening experience. They were the most welcoming people I’d ever met,” she said. Marbury was struck by “the kindness and the sophistication and the cultural richness of Morocco and the way they were looking after their agricultural resources. You kind of realized there are a lot more complexities to economics. It was very different from people who grew up in places like Albany, Georgia.” Upon her return, conversations with Edward
Kanemasu, then director of the CAES Office of Global Programs, led to Marbury piloting a master’s program that combined coursework at UGA with a two-year stint with the Peace Corps in Ghana. Upon graduating, Marbury applied to become a Foreign Service officer with USAID. “They did a great job of preparing people to think about what the needs are in countries and how you can have an impact,” Marbury said of faculty and staff in global programs at CAES. For senior food science major Virginia Childs, a peanut allergy prompted a career path. Growing up, Childs typically couldn’t eat baked goods at parties and potlucks because of her allergy, so she and her mom would bake treats themselves in the family’s Dunwoody, Georgia, kitchen. All that time mixing and stirring and baking gave Childs a passion for food science. “I just fell in love with it,” said Childs, whose experiences at CAES have opened her eyes to the possibility of an international career. She spent the spring semester of her junior year at the National University of Singapore, traveled to Hong Kong, Macau and Japan after that, and then worked in a food science lab at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, a major research university in Shanghai. Previously Childs had only been out of North America once, for a high school orchestra trip to Salzburg, Austria. She chose to study in Asia because she wanted to explore another corner of
the planet. “I wanted more differences,” Childs said. “I like the newness of it.” Experiencing a culture so different from her own sparked Childs’ desire to work internationally. “I believe really strongly that everyone should have access to good food and safe food. And that’s not true for millions, if not billions, of people,” she said. “It’s a situation that is only going to get worse with population growth and climate change. I really hope that at the end of my life we will see lower rates of malnutrition globally and that more people have access to food they need. I hope I am lucky enough to get in the right position to contribute to that.” For four summers after graduating from CAES, Lee
AGRICULTURE is really such a GLOBAL THING. EVERY PEOPLE GROUP DEPENDS ON IT because everyone has to eat, wear clothing and live in a home.
Gross (BSA – Environmental Economics and Management, ‘04) lived and worked for the U.S. Forest Service in the Bob Marshall Wilderness in northwest Montana. His job was to clear trails of debris and to build new trails using no mechanized tools, just crosscut saws and axes, so that hikers, hunters and fishers could enjoy
the backcountry. He worked and lived off the grid without electricity, and his food was hauled in by horse and mule. Now Gross spends most of his time in the U.S. Department of Agriculture offices on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., but he still travels to other countries on behalf of the agency, working with foreign governments on agricultural trade issues. In the first eight months of 2019, he’d already been to Ethiopia, Niger, Switzerland and Guatemala as an international program specialist and team lead for the Food Safety Network, a U.S. government interagency partnership between the USDA, USAID and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to build food safety capacity worldwide. “My interest in agriculture is really based on the interconnection between environmental conservation and agriculture as the principal land use on the planet. My heart is as a conservationist,” said Gross, who grew up in Kennesaw, Georgia, and worked for a number of conservation and biodiversity nonprofits before landing the job with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. A defining experience for Gross was a senior-year trip to coffee and potato farms in Ecuador with the CAES Office of Global Programs. Vicki Collins McMaken, then program coordinator and now associate director of the Office of Global Programs, and former director Edward Kanemasu, encouraged Gross to travel there as part of the
FA C U LT Y RE S E A RC H A ROUN D
ELLEN MCCULLOUGH, DEPARTMENT OF CROP AND SOIL SCIENCES
Faculty, researchers and students at CAES conduct research in dozens of locations globally, collaborating with experts at academic and research institutions worldwide. To see where our researchers are working and how their work is shaping the world, visit caes.uga.edu/global-map.
International Agriculture Certificate program. “It really switched my view to an international perspective,” said Gross, who is proficient in Spanish. “I came to understand that poor farmers essentially are having to make daily tradeoffs between protecting the environment and making a living in agriculture.” Since that semester, Gross has traveled extensively in his career, working in approximately 30 different countries on market-oriented technical assistance projects. “It changed the trajectory of my life,” he said. A self-described “Georgia boy through and through,” Brendan Fatzinger (BSA – Horticulture, ’17) has been fascinated by the idea of agriculture in space since childhood. And he’s still interested in how crops grow under harsh conditions, such as extreme temperatures or in
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With a doctorate in applied economics and management from Cornell University and experience working on agricultural development with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, Ellen McCullough’s
places plagued by pollution. Homeschooled until college, Fatzinger grew up in Jackson County, Georgia, just north of Athens. Now he is at the University of Padova in Italy, earning a dual graduate degree in crop and soil sciences from CAES and sustainable agriculture from the University of Padova, one of the world’s oldest universities and a UGA partner institution. Prior to his time in Padova, Fatzinger had only ventured out of the U.S. twice, once for a family vacation in Canada and again for a church mission trip in Mexico City. Now he’s working on his master’s thesis, “Leveraging Native Soil Microorganisms to Sustainably Boost Soil Health and Nutrient Levels in Row Crop Tissue.” “One of my favorite parts about coming here is that the University of Padova is actually a destination for students from all over the world,” with classmates from
work on economic transition in developing countries is informed by a wealth of practical knowledge. An assistant professor of agricultural and applied economics at CAES, McCullough is studying how changes in agricultural operations in developing countries — both through operational consolidation of larger farms and the utilization of mechanization, better tools and improved agricultural inputs on smallholder farms — can disrupt the employment and labor markets in both rural and urban areas. In another research project with Chen Zhen, an associate professor of applied economics at CAES, McCullough is modeling changing consumer diets and consumption patterns in six African countries — Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia, Uganda and Niger — with the goal of incorporating those preferences into policy management decisions that set priorities and recommendations for agriculture. “If we want to make people’s diets a better quality, we have to help policymakers understand consumer demand and how to use that information in prioritizing agricultural decisions,” McCullough said.
China, Iraq and Europe, he said. “Agriculture is really such a global thing. Every people group depends on it because everyone has to eat, wear clothing and live in a home.” Researching how best to feed, house and clothe people, Fatzinger said, is “one of the most basic ways to help humanity. I don’t have aspirations to benefit all of humankind, but when you dedicate your life to something, you want to be able to leave some sort of benefit.” As a student teacher in a high school agriscience program, Emily Urban (MAEE – Agricultural and Environmental Education, ’16) attended the 2014 National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, where she connected with a retired UGA professor at a publishing booth and mentioned she wanted to earn a master’s degree in international agriculture. That connection led to others
and, eventually, to meeting CAES Professor Maria Navarro, then with the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication (ALEC). Urban came to UGA the following year and counts Navarro among her mentors. “I’ve been passionate about figuring out what my role might be in helping address the world’s food security challenges, particularly in light of sustainability,” said Urban, who grew up on a small row crop and hay farm outside Reading, Pennsylvania, where her father also raised goats and sold hay. “Particularly at UGA, I had a lot of international experiences — both on campus and off campus — that opened my eyes to global agriculture.” While at CAES, Urban worked with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut with director David Hoisington, spent three months in Mozambique interviewing smallholder
DAVID BERTIOLI AND SORAYA LEAL-BERTIOLI, CENTER FOR APPLIED GENETIC TECHNOLOGIES
INDIA, SOUTHE AST ASIA,
CAES Professor David Bertioli is working with Senegalese researchers to introduce the genetic traits of wild peanut into cultivated peanut in west Africa, a strategy that previously produced six new varieties in Senegal with higher yield, more plant mass and larger seeds. At the same time, CAES Senior Research Scientist Soraya Leal-Bertioli is focused on incorporating genetic strengths of ancestor plants to fight groundnut rosette disease (GRD), a peanut nemesis across Africa. The lines developed in the U.S. and Senegal will be tested in Uganda — a hot spot for GRD — and crossed with local lines to produce cultivars with higher resistance to GRD and late leaf spot.
MANPREET SINGH, DEPARTMENT OF POULTRY SCIENCE
INFLUENCE on the WORLD
THE MIDDLE E AST AND SOUTH AMERICA
A professor in the Department of Poultry Science, Manpreet Singh travels across the globe providing food safety-related training both to government food safety agents and to poultry producers and processors in other countries so they can meet the U.S. government’s more stringent regulations for food being imported to the U.S. Singh trains producers and processors on U.S. Department of Agriculture standards and policies and the intricacies of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act. By providing training to government agency professionals in other countries — such as the Export Council of India — Singh educates manufacturers, producers and consultants in each country who can then offer the training to other stakeholders, rather than depending on U.S. representatives of the FDA and USDA.
farmers on topics related to the peanut value chain, and led a student tour to Romania. Urban spent the past three years as program administrator with the Smith Center for International Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, a job that took her to Rwanda nine times in two and a half years to coordinate the efforts of the African Sustainable Agriculture Project, a USAID- and private foundation-funded broiler chicken project for smallholder farmers. This summer, Urban began a doctoral program in Soil and Crop Sciences at Cornell University with a focus in international cropping systems. One day, she’d like to be a professor, splitting her days between teaching, research and extension services. “It’s not necessarily about where you travel that matters,” Urban said. “The best thing about this work is the relationships and the people.” • Allison Salerno
CHINA TODD APPLEGATE, DEPARTMENT OF POULTRY SCIENCE
Responding to consumer and industry trends demanding methods for raising chickens without using antibiotics, Todd Applegate, head of the CAES Department of Poultry Science, travels the world working with researchers to develop new methods for controlling common pathogens in live chickens. In September, Applegate met with researchers at China Agricultural University in Beijing and Sichuan Agricultural University in Chengdu to collaborate on antibiotic-replacement research being conducted in that country to compare challenges, methods, tools and results that have the potential to improve the poultry industry. “The issues we are dealing with are global issues,” Applegate said. “By sharing our research and project design, we can examine the questions we are all asking to come up with better approaches to shared challenges.” • Compiled by Maria M. Lameiras
SALUDOS A ESPAÑA The daughter of a grain merchandiser, Ella Bickley grew up in Macon, Georgia. This past summer, the agricultural communications major spent two months in northern Spain, taking classes and interning for a governmental marketing firm promoting Spanish wine. Bickley chose the Aragon region of Spain specifically because it attracts so few American tourists. “I wanted to be challenged to speak the language and I didn’t want to be surrounded by Americans all the time,” said Bickley, who lived with a host family who spoke only Spanish. “This internship opened my eyes to the possibilities of careers outside of the United States. I think that it would be hard to move that far from my friends and family, but at the same time, this summer was such an incredible experience. I learned so much in such a short amount of time.” • Allison Salerno
Driven by Curiosity Growing up on a farm in Dawson, Georgia, Robert Jones (MS – Agronomy, ’75) built a strong work ethic helping his father in the fields where they worrked long hours growing corn, cotton and peanuts and raising hogs. Being what he calls a “very, very curious child,” Jones knew he wanted to be a scientist from the time he was 9 years old, but he had no idea his love of science and agricultural background would lead him to his role as the first African-American chancellor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “I would stand and hold a handful of cotton, looking at it and trying to figure out how a green plant produced this white material. I was very curious about nature,” Jones said. “We couldn’t afford one of those little science kits, but I made do. I remember getting in trouble for mixing things together without any knowledge.” and he cajoled me to write up my data so other As a member of the Negro Farmers of Georgia Native scientists could use it,” Jones said. “I ended up America (NFA), he learned about soil judging Robert Jones with more than you’d ever want to know about from his high school vocational agriculture peanuts.” becomes successful teacher who prophetically called Jones While a student at UGA, Jones took the most “professor.” scientist and challenging course of his academic career — He worked part-time during his junior and accomplished biochemistry. senior years of high school and during the “I was with the pre-med students. I learned a administrator summers to earn the money he needed to go to lot. It was a competitive environment and it set Fort Valley State University, where he majored a good foundation for me to be successful in my in agriculture. PhD program,” Jones said of the class taught by Norman Jones planned to become a soil scientist, but his first plant Sansing, who was an associate professor in the UGA Department physiology course led him to switch fields. After earning his of Biochemistry and served as associate dean of UGA’s Franklin bachelor’s degree, Jones and two of his closest friends — College of Arts and Sciences. “He had great passion and great William Buchanan (MS – Agronomy, ’79) and Mark Latimore (MS clarity and he genuinely cared about all of his students. He did – Agronomy, ’75) — enrolled in the University of Georgia College an amazing job teaching to a class cohort that were all at of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to earn graduate different places in their lives.” degrees in agriculture. By this time, Jones was 48, married and the father of a toddler. “We were the second wave of African-American students to A $3,000 assistantship helped pay for college, but he juggled study in the college of ag in the agronomy department at UGA,” classes and myriad jobs, including running two newspaper remembers Jones. routes, to make ends meet. While working with UGA Professor Doyle Ashley, Jones After graduating from CAES with a master’s degree in crop travelled back and forth from Athens to the experiment station physiology, Jones earned a doctorate from the University of in Tifton to collect samples from peanut research plots. He Missouri, and joined the faculty after graduation. He remained tracked calcium movement in the pegging zone and looked at there for more than 34 years, establishing a research program in the impact of irrigation and rainfall on the top 2 inches of soils. molecular biology and working part-time in administration for “This was where I learned to do research and collect and the university while maintaining his lab. analyze data. Dr. Ashley taught me how to write scientifically
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alumni news In 2004, he was appointed vice president for academic administration at the University of Minnesota, where he led the university’s public engagement initiatives, including the Minnesota Extension Service and the Minnesota agricultural experiment stations. “Being an administrator was not on my bucket list, but I was asked to start a mentor program for high-ability students of color and then one thing led to another,” Jones said. “Before I knew it, I was managing the university’s tenure process.” Jones also helped establish a new fouryear campus in Rochester, Minnesota, and University of Minnesota’s first urban research and outreach and engagement center in 2009, focused on helping the economically depressed urban community. In his honor, the university named the center the Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center. In 2010, he made the difficult decision to close his lab as he transitioned to a role as a full-time administrator. In 2013, he became president of the University at Albany, State University of New York. Under his leadership, the university flourished, and he helped create the university’s first College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Just three years later, in 2016, Jones was named to his current position as chancellor of the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign. Jones now gets the same sense of enjoyment from advancing the university as he did from writing grants and research publications. “As a researcher you work in the isolation of your lab. If a big idea doesn’t work, you throw it in the trash and start again the next day,” he said. “As an administrator, you have to make things work. It’s a completely different dynamic.” Jones says he misses Georgia’s cottonwoods and azaleas and calls the UGA campus one of the most beautiful campuses he’s seen. And he misses the peanuts he used to help tend on his family’s farm. “Hardly a day goes by that I don’t eat some form of peanut butter,” he said. “It’s a great source of protein and roasted peanuts are my favorite.” • Sharon Dowdy Cruse
limousine cattle and paint and quarter horses. Hogan and his wife, Lesia Hogan, have four adult children and seven grandchildren.
class notes 1950s Tommy L. Cullens (BSA – Agricultural Economics ‘52) turned 89 on August 9 and is in very good health. Cullens, who lives in Winter Park, Florida, attributes his good condition to dancing two times a week, playing bridge two or three times a week, and working in his rose garden. George N. Turk (BSA – Poultry Science, ’54) received the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Alumni Association. A 1952 graduate of ABAC, Turk spent more than 40 years working in the poultry industry, serving in various roles such as director of hatchery-breeder operations and division manager for poultry and pork operations with the Gold Kist Poultry company. He retired in 1996 as Gold Kist Poultry’s Northeast Georgia division manager. Turk is a lifetime member of the Georgia Poultry Association and has served as president of the Georgia Hatchery Association. He also is a general partner in the Turk Family Farm and serves his community through his involvement with the Athens Rotary Club, the Jackson County Boys and Girls Club, the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and more. 1960s Jim Gibbs (BSA – Horticulture, ’66) was honored with a national Award of Excellence from the National Garden Clubs (NGC) at their annual awards banquet in Biloxi, Mississippi, in June. The Award of Excellence is NGC’s highest honor for nonmembers. Gibbs spent 30
years transforming pastures, hillsides and woodlands in Ball Ground, Georgia, into his world-class Gibbs Gardens. The 326-acre property includes four feature gardens: the Japanese Gardens, Water Lily Gardens, Manor House Gardens and Daffodil Gardens and 12 seasonal gardens. The Garden Club of Georgia presented Gibbs with its 2019 Award of Merit on April 17 and nominated him for the NCG Award of Excellence. A founding member of the Atlanta Botanical Garden and lifetime trustee, Gibbs served as president and founder of the award-winning Gibbs Landscaping Co. for more than 40 years. Gibbs received two national landscape awards presented at the White House in Washington, D.C., in addition to the more than 300 landscape awards earned by him and his company. He also is the author of “Gibbs Gardens: Reflections on a Gardening Life.” Danny Hogan (BSA – Animal Science, ‘66), board member of the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD) and Central Georgia Conservation District supervisor, has been inducted into the National Association of Conservation Districts Southeast Region Hall of Fame. Hogan is a third-generation farmer from Laurens County, Georgia. At Hogan’s Farm, Hogan and his son utilize numerous conservation practices to grow wheat, oats, peanuts, cotton and soybeans and to manage 140 acres of pastureland and 700 acres of timberland, as well as raising black angus and
Terry Turner (BSA – Animal Science, 67; MSA – Animal Science, ’72; PhD – Animal Science, ’75) was recently selected as the 2019 Distinguished Andrologist by the American Society of Andrology, the national professional society for the basic science and medicine of male fertility and infertility. The award is the society’s highest and reflects on careers distinguished by their contributions at the national and international level. C. Allen Powell (BSA – Animal Science, ’68) will retire this year as executive director of the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS), a nonprofit organization he cofounded whose mission is to honor student achievement and leadership in career and technical education, promote educational excellence, award scholarships, and enhance career opportunities for the NTHS membership. Powell also is author of “Hog Farm Chronicles,” “the unthinkable, but true, chronicles of a rookie teacher and his impulsive, unpredictable herd of ninth grade boys — affectionately known as the ‘hogs.’” All proceeds from the book benefit the NTHS scholarship foundation.
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UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Alumni
class notes FROM FOUR TOWERS
he College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has an extensive influence on our communities, state, nation and world. Take a moment to reflect on your CAES journey. The extensive influence CAES has on my education, career and family is astonishing. CAES has been a part of my life’s milestones. From my early memories of Extension working with my grandfather’s farm, to my mother’s career with the college, to completing my undergraduate degree under the mentorship of Michael Dirr, CAES laid a strong foundation. MARABLE The college continues to be an integral part of my family. My wife, Mandy, is an Extension 4-H specialist and our boys are heavily involved with Georgia 4-H. As assistant director of UGA Innovation Gateway, I have the privilege to work with our talented CAES plant breeders to commercialize their new plant varieties. The CAES journey is lifelong and I am grateful for the opportunities to volunteer with the CAES Alumni Association and give back to the Ag Dawg family that has given so much to me. I am “Ag Dawg Proud” to represent the 20,000+ living CAES alumni in the role of CAES alumni board president. I invite you to continue your CAES journey and connect, engage and celebrate with us! Visit us online at caes.uga.edu/alumni, on Facebook at UGA CAES Alumni Association and on Instagram at @agdawg_alumni to discover opportunities to get involved. I am Brent Marable, and I am Ag Dawg Proud!
Brent Marable (BSA – Landscape Grounds Management, ’96; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’13) President, CAES Alumni Association
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1970s Hiram Larew (BSA – Horticulture, ’71) is founder of Poetry X Hunger, an informal initiative that seeks to bring poetry to bear in the struggle to prevent and eliminate hunger locally, around the U.S. and globally. Frank Flanders (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’74; MED – Agricultural Education, ’75; EDS – Agricultural Education, ’83) received the Teacher Mentor Award from the Georgia Vocational Agricultural Teachers Association. He is an associate professor of agricultural education at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. William Garner (BSA – Animal Science, ’74) is retired and lives in Warthen, Georgia, with his wife, Janice Garner. James Reece (BSA – Animal Science, ‘74) has retired from First National Bank of Decatur County as senior vice president and senior lending officer. Jim Garner (BSA – Environmental Health, ’77) has retired as key account sale manager for CP Kelco. He and his wife, Carol Lee Gardner, live in Athens, Georgia. Chuck Williams (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’77) is Georgia’s state forester and director of the Georgia Forestry Commission. He lives in Oconee County, Georgia, on a certified tree farm.
Richard Byne (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’78) is the founder and owner of Byne Organic Blueberry Farms in Waynesboro, Georgia. He and his wife, Linda Byne, founded the farm in 1980 on Byne family land and chose to raise his crops without pesticides and herbicides long before the organic farming movement began, establishing one of the country’s oldest organic blueberry farms. Steve Morse (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’78) is dean of the School of Business at Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Georgia. Morse previously served as dean of the McCamish School of Business at Reinhardt University in Waleska, Georgia. 1980s Gary Black (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’80) received the H.G. “Pat” Patillo Honorary Membership Award from Leadership Georgia. Black is Georgia’s commissioner of agriculture. Kenneth Bridges (BSA – Agriculture, ’80; MED – Agricultural Education, ’73) is author of “Life of a Man Named Kenneth,” chronicling his journey from the son of sharecroppers to a leading educator in north Georgia. Bridges writes of his early years of financial struggle tempered by the love of his family who taught him the importance of hard work and education. He weaves advice and values throughout his colorful narrative. But the real story
is even broader and richer. In the memoir, Bridges paints a detailed word picture of rural Georgia in the 1940s. Roger “Bo” Ryles (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’80; MAEX – Agricultural Extension, ’88) is senior director of the National 4-H Council, co-director of Clovers and Co., race director for the Clover Glove Race Series, and owner of Clover Coffee Co. in Watkinsville, Georgia. Ryles, who retired as Georgia state 4-H leader and director in 2009, also instructs part-time in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication. William Amos “Andy” Bell (BSA – Agriculture, ’82) received the 2019 Master Farmer Award by the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) Alumni Association. A 1980 ABAC graduate, Bell was raised on a farm and started his own operation on 50 acres of land. In 1986, he purchased his first tractor, which he still has. Currently, he farms a diversified operation of cattle and row crops including cotton, peanuts, corn, timber, pecans, hay and pastureland. Bell is a founding director of the grower-owned peanut shelling plant American Peanut Growers Group in Donalsonville, Georgia, and a shareholder in Decatur Gin. He serves on the Bainbridge Decatur County Development Authority and the Agricultural Advisory Board at the former Bainbridge State College.
Scott Thomaston (MSA – Agriculture, ’84) is director of environmental compliance at Emory University in Atlanta. Sarah Vander Hyden (BSA – Horticulture, ’84) works in sales and purchasing with B.L. Mullinax Landscape and Shrubbery in Cumming, Georgia. Frank Ginn (BSA – Agricultural Engineering, ’85) was recognized with a 2019 Legislative Award by the by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG). Ginn is the Georgia state senator for district 47 in northeast Georgia. The ACCG Legislative Service Awards program honors state House and Senate members for their legislative work. Ginn, a former county manager and longtime partner of Georgia’s local governments, was instrumental in helping address several of ACCG’s concerns with Senate Bill 177, which mandates an additional 5% pay raise for local constitutional officers. Ginn helped install safeguards to make the bill more manageable for county budgets. Ginn also sought input from the ACCG regarding gambling proposals,
ON BUTTERFLY WINGS
local control on alcohol sales, various home rule usurpations, and regulations governing the placement of small cells in local government rights-of-way. Owen Thomason (BSA – Agricultural Education; ‘85, MEd – Agricultural Education, ’89) retired from teaching agricultural education in 2016 after 31 years with Franklin County Schools. Upon retirement, Thomason was named the agriculture department chair and assistant professor for the new Diversified Agriculture Program at Emmanuel College, a private, Christian, liberal arts college in Franklin Springs, Georgia. The degree has concentrations in business, communications, missions and science. The agricultural missions concentration has allowed Thomason and his wife, Gina Thomason, to share agriculture techniques with farmers in Kenya and the Dominican Republic. The couple has three children; Malone Thomason (BSA – Horticulture, ’16), Addie Thomason Tucker (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’17) and Chloe Thomason, who recently graduated from the University of North Georgia.
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Kristin McWhorter (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’84), executive director emeritus of the National Poultry and Food Distributors Association (NPFDA), was honored for her 27 years of dedication to the organization at its annual convention in February. McWhorter began working as executive director for the NPFDA in 1992. Her innovations in the organization include the Poultry Suppliers Showcase and the Distributor Exchange. Earlier in her career, she served as general manager at Poultry and Egg News and in sales with Gold Kist and ConAgra.
p Bethany Harris (BSES – Environmental Resource Science, ’13; MS – Entomology, ’15, PhD – Horticulture, ’18) has found the perfect job using both her entomology and horticulture education from CAES. As assistant director of education at Callaway Gardens, Harris works out in the field, overseeing the butterfly center and educational gardens, managing more than 200 volunteers and teaching workshops for the public. “My degrees exposed me to working with pollinators and butterflies, so this job is a perfect fit for me,” said Harris. “In addition to the butterfly center, we have an outdoor butterfly garden and my research at UGA centered around native pollinators and butterflies.” Harris said her doctoral work with CAES horticulture Professor Bodie Pennisi on the UGA Griffin campus exposed her to many horticultural concepts that she brings to her new role. She hopes to reestablish an insect zoo at Callaway Gardens and she’s working with her UGA colleagues in the Department of Entomology to make that a reality. She also plans to establish a honey bee colony at Callaway with the help of a volunteer beekeeper.
Roy F. Morris II, (BSA – Entomology, ‘86) recently completed 33 years with Bayer CropScience as a senior technical sales specialist, with most of his career located in central Florida working with citrus and vegetable growers. Morris has continued his interest in entomology, with numerous field trips to South and Central America to study beetles and other insects. These efforts have led to the discovery of many species new to science, and several have even been named after Morris. Morris has donated entomological specimens to the University of Georgia Collection of Arthropods in Athens.
Polly Ligon Sullivan (BSA – Agricultural Communications, ’87), owns Ready Inc., a consulting firm that provides crisis-planning and response-training services for agricultural and food companies. She’s also a partner in Dogwood Hill Farm in Pendleton, SC.
Farish A. Mulkey Jr. (BSA – Agricultural Education, ‘88; MED – Agricultural Education, ‘92) joined Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College as an assistant professor of agricultural education in August. Mulkey has a doctoral degree from Texas A&M University.
1990s Scott Addy (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’88, MS – Agricultural Economics, ’90) is vice president of branded technologies and biological solutions with Wilbur Ellis. He lives in Parker, Colorado.
Ross Henry “Hank” Pittman III (BSA —Horticulture, ’89) is an attorney with the Tifton, Georgia, law offices of Hall Booth Smith.
class notes 1990s continued Jason “Jay” Fulmer (BSA – Animal Science, ‘91) is the owner of Hamilton Mill Animal Hospital in Buford, Georgia. Since purchasing the hospital in 2013, the business expanded and moved to a state-of-the-art, free-standing clinic in 2016 employing more than 35 people. Fulmer is also a 1994 graduate of the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. He and his wife, Beth McClelland Fulmer, live in Buford, Georgia. Tonya Hodgkins (BSA – Agronomy, ’92) was recently promoted to the position of head of row crop production for Bayer’s Asia Pacific region. Hodgkins is based in Singapore. Peyman Fatemi (MS – Food Science, ’94) is vice president of technical and regulatory services at IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group in Conley, Georgia.
Lynn Barber (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’96) is assistant superintendent for the Ware County School System, where he also serves as director of career, technical and adult education. Yvette Shaw Crick (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’97; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’11) is the lead learning specialist with Georgia Southern University’s Department of Student-Athlete Services, providing academic support for student-athletes with a focus on mentorship and building learning habits to enhance student success. She also serves as the president of the Statesboro Main Street Farmers Market Board of Directors and is a member of the 2020 Leadership Bulloch class.
Stan Mitchell (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’94; MED – Agricultural Education, ’98) was named the Outstanding State Staff from the Georgia Vocational Agricultural Teachers Association at their Summer Leadership Conference. He is the North Region agricultural education director. Shannon Johnson (BSA – Horticulture, ’95) of Savannah, Georgia, is working as a financial advisor.
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2000s Sheena Johnson (BSA – Poultry Science, ’01) of Acworth, Georgia, earned a master’s of business administration from Reinhardt College’s McCamish School of Business in May. Johnson is director of business development with R&D Mechanical Services. Charles “Tamlin” Hall III (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’02) accepted a part-time screenwriting faculty position in the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Hall is founder of The House, “a social impact production studio that focuses on authenticity and collaboration to create powerful and relatable content to all audiences.”
AGHON TURNS 100 AGHON, the second oldest honorary organization at the University of Georgia, will kick off its Centennial Year Celebration with a commemorative dinner and other campus activities April 17-18. AGHON is the highest leadership honor students in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and College of Engineering can achieve while at UGA. All members and friends are encouraged to come back to Ag Hill to celebrate 100 years of AGHON history with fellow AGHON alumni and meet the students planning the next 100 years on April 17, 2020.
Lauren Jarrett (BSA – Agricultural Communications, ’02) has been named the Chattooga County Young Farmer adviser. The Georgia Young Farmer program is the adult education component of Georgia’s Agricultural Education program. County Young Farmer Programs conduct educational seminars on everything from agricultural technology to legislative issues affecting agriculture.
Linda Purvis (BSA – Poultry Science, ’02) graduated with a doctoral degree in science education from the University of Georgia College of Education and moved into an assistant professor position in biology and poultry science at the University of North Georgia Gainesville campus. Purvis also earned a master’s degree in infectious diseases from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine in 2007.
C. Elliott Marsh (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’02; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’11) started a new job as regional channel manager for the Southeast with Indigo Ag. The Boston-based company is dedicated to helping farmers sustainably feed the planet. With a vision of creating a world where farming is an economically desirable and accessible profession, Indigo works with its growers to apply natural approaches, conserve resources and grow healthy food for all.
Jennifer Lance Yauck (BSA – Horticulture, ’02) is a science teacher and instructional coach at Oglethorpe County High School in Lexington, Georgia. During her 16 years working in education, she has taught at WashingtonWilkes Comprehensive High School, Oconee County High School and served as director of 6-12 science at Northeast Georgia Regional Educational Service Agency, as well as teaching environmental education at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center and internationally in Kolkata, India.
Beth Bland Oleson (BSA – Agricultural Communications, ’02; MS – Food Science, ’05), director of education and food safety for the Georgia Vegetable Growers Association, was named to Produce Business magazine’s 2019 class of 40 Under 40 and to the Georgia Vegetable Association’s 2018 class of 40 Under 40. She is a 2007 graduate of Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture and Forestry (AGL), as well as the 2011-2012 United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program Fellow. She was recognized with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Association’s 2009 Young Alumni Achievement Award.
Chandler Conner (BSA – Biological Science, ’03) is the owner of C2 Medical Solutions, a compounding pharmacy in Athens, Georgia. He is a 2008 graduate of the UGA College of Pharmacy. Traves Hyman (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’04) moved from Creekside High School in Fairburn, Georgia, to Cogburn Woods Elementary School in Milton, Georgia, where he is teaching agricultural education and working in school administration. Shanna Boyett Reynolds (BSA – Animal Science, ’04) is the new UGA Cooperative Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Oglethorpe County.
alumni alumninews news
Emily Kubala Thomas (BSA – Environmental Economics and Management, ’05) is manager of corporate sustainability programs with JM Huber Corporation in Atlanta. Tiffany McCoy Walraven (BSA – Biological Sciences, ’05) and Joseph Walraven (BSA –Landscape Grounds Management, ’05) are the owners of Owens Supply Company, a building materials and hardware store in Pembroke, Georgia. April Tankersley Davis (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’06; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’15) received the Ideas Unlimited Award from the Georgia Vocational Agricultural Teachers Association at their Summer Leadership Conference. She is an agricultural education teacher at Commerce Middle School. W. Matthew Wilson (BSA – Agricultural Communications, ’06) recently opened Wilson Law Firm, a personal injury practice in Brookhaven, Georgia. In 2018, he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives for District 80, where he serves on the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, Judiciary, and Education committees. He is a 2014 graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law.
Collier W. McKenzie (BSA – Agribusiness, ’07) was named to the 2019 list of Georgia Rising Stars by Super Lawyers magazine. The list honors exceptional attorneys across the state under the age of 40. The selections for this list are made by the research team at Super Lawyers, which is a service of Thomson Reuters, Legal Division. Each year, the research team undertakes a multi-phase selection process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent evaluation of candidates by the attorney-led research staff, a peer review of candidates by practice area, and a good-standing and disciplinary check. First published in 1991, Super Lawyers magazines reach more than 21 million readers across the country.
ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER
Myria DeHaven Shipman (BSA – Animal Science, ’04; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’06) is now a middle school science teacher at Lanier Middle School in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Sonya Jones (MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’07) is the county coordinator and 4-H agent for UGA Cooperative Extension in Pulaski County. She lives in Hawkinsville, Georgia.
ALUMNI AWARD WINNERS p The CAES Alumni Association presented the 2018 Alumni Awards of Excellence to Donya Lester (BSA – Animal Science, ’81), executive director of the Purdue Agricultural Alumni Association; Krishna Paudel (PhD – Agricultural Economics, ’99), endowed professor at Louisiana State University; Calvin Perry (BSAE – Agricultural Engineering, ’86; MSAE – Agricultural Engineering, ’88), superintendent of the University of Georgia’s C.M. Stripling Irrigation Research Park; and Jody Strickland (BSA – Agricultural Engineering, ’86), executive vice president of forest operations and real estate services for F&W Forest Services. Also honored with CAES Young Alumni Achievement Awards were Linda Brothers Purvis (BSA – Poultry Science, ’02); Nick Chammoun (BSA – Crop Science, ’07; MSAE – Agricultural Engineering, ’09), technical agronomist for Monsanto; and Sara Webb Hughes (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’02; MSE – Agricultural Education, ’03), agricultural education teacher at Oglethorpe County Middle School. Above, award winners (left to right) pose with Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame 2018 inductee, President Jimmy Carter.
Rachael McCall Becker (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’08) was named to the N’West Iowa Business 20 under 40 listing in March. Becker is one of two assistant county attorneys with the O’Brien County Attorney’s Office in Sheldon, Iowa. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law in Lincoln. Shepherd Cronemeyer (BSA – Animal Science, ’08; MADS – Animal and Dairy Science, ’10) is assistant director of leadership gifts with the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Jay Murray (BSA – Agricultural Education, ‘05) has a new job teaching agricultural education at Harlem High School in Harlem, Georgia.
p UGA CAES Dean Sam Pardue, center, congratulates 2019 CAES Alumni Awards of Excellence winners Ken Foster (MSA – Agriculture, ’86), Charlie Broussard (BSA – Poultry Science, ’78; MSA – Poultry Science, ’80), Jaime Hinsdale Foster (BSA – Animal Science, ’99), Andrea B. Simao (BSA – Horticulture, ’90), Franklin West (PhD – Animal and Dairy Science, ’08), Sara Dunn (BSA – Agribusiness, ’05) and Tamlin Hall (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’02) during the 65th CAES Alumni Association Awards Banquet on Oct. 4.
Like father, like daughter
For teachers, a new school year means time being what Thomason refers to as meeting parents, decorating the “the young Franklin County FFA classroom, writing lesson plans and members,” Thomason saw a spark in his planning field trips. When Addie middle child that was undeniable. He Thomason Tucker (BSA – Agricultural knew she would be an agricultural Education, ’17) stepped into her role as the education teacher one day. new agricultural “As they grew up, education teacher in Addie began to show Addie Thomason Wilcox County, she interest in being an Tucker follows in knew the drill. She was agricultural instructor. trained by the best — She began working in her father Owen her father, Owen the ag department and Thomason’s footsteps was selected as a Thomason (BSA – Agricultural national finalist in the to teach agriculture Education, ’85; MEd FFA agricultural – Agricultural Education, ’89). education proficiency award,” Thomason From the time he graduated from UGA, said. “I knew then that she would become Thomason was the one up in front of the an outstanding teacher.” classroom, teaching agricultural education For Tucker, she was fortunate to have in Treutlen County and then Franklin her father as her teacher and coach as County, where he met his wife and built a well. That multifaceted relationship led family. He taught in Franklin County for her to a greater interest in agricultural 31 years. education. The life of an agricultural education “When I joined FFA in middle school, I teacher proved hectic, so Thomason’s was able to see him as a coach,” Tucker three children would often join him and said. “I’d seen the impact he had on other his students on field trips or to FFA students and, as my agriculture teacher, events. While all three girls enjoyed their he made an impact on me as well. That
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inspired me to be an ag teacher.” Now in her third year of teaching, Tucker often calls on her father for advice. In her role, Tucker teaches sixth through 12th grade students and advises a collaborative FFA chapter in Wilcox County. Her father’s extensive career and advice often comes in handy. “I call my dad all the time,” Tucker said. “I ask him about how to help students memorize a speech or even how to fix the thermostat in my greenhouse. Having him helps a lot, especially in my first year.” Although he retired from teaching agricultural education in Franklin County in 2016, Thomason finds himself learning new tricks of the trade from his daughter. Shortly after retiring, Thomason was recruited by a colleague to start an agriculture program at Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia. He now works there as an assistant professor. “I am glad that she can come to me and talk about her job, challenges and new ideas,” Thomason said. “Addie is very innovative, so most of the time I am asking her for advice.” The father-daughter pair takes great pride in being alumni of UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. When Tucker chose to attend UGA, her father knew she was in good hands. “The experiences we both gained while at UGA, along with the network of people we met, continue to support our daily work,” Thomason said. “That was one of the reasons we encouraged her to attend the University of Georgia.” For Tucker, UGA holds a special place in her heart as her alma mater and as another experience she can share with her father — and with her brother, Malone Thomason (BSA – Horticulture, ’16); and her husband, Bryan Tucker (BSA – Agribusiness, ’18). “It’s special to me that we both took classes in Four Towers and both have UGA degrees,” said Tucker of her father. “It’s special that I could follow in his footsteps.” • Sadie Lackey
alumni news class notes 2000s continued Phil Jennings (BSA – Agribusiness, ’08) has started a new position as chief executive officer at Village Fields, a joint venture between Nature Crisp and Village Farms International for the outdoor cultivation of high-cannabidiol (CBD) hemp and CBD extraction in multiple states throughout the U.S.
Andrew “Drew” Ross (BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’10; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’12) has been promoted to deputy district director for the office of U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul from Texas District 10.
Ward Black (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’09; MS – Agriculture and Applied Economics, ’11) has a new job with Performance Food Group in Oakwood, Georgia, as a “center of the plate buyer,” specializing in beef and pork.
Susan Hawkins (BSA – Horticulture, ’11; MS – Horticulture, ’14; PhD – Horticulture, ’18) is the Cooperative Extension agent in Agriculture and Horticulture in Davie County, North Carolina, where she has responsibility for consumer and commercial horticulture and is the Master Gardener coordinator for the county.
Meghan Cline (BSA – Agricultural Communications, ’09) was promoted to communications director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in Washington, D.C., in May.
Sydney Hayter (BSA – Animal Science, ’11) graduated from Mississippi State University in May with a doctorate of veterinary medicine. Hayter is currently serving an internship with Brandon Equine Medical Center in Brandon, Florida.
Carla Dean Sanford (BSA – Animal Science, ’09) recently graduated from the University of Florida with a doctoral degree and is employed at Montana State University in Bozeman as an assistant professor and extension beef cattle specialist.
Caroline Black Lewallen (BSA – Agricultural Education, ‘11) and her husband, Kyle Lewallen, started teXga Farms in spring 2019 selling beef boxes to consumers in northeast Georgia.
2010s William “Chris” Hopper (BSA – Biological Science, ‘10) is a compliance specialist and lobbyist in the government strategies practice with Taylor English Decisions, an affiliate of the law firm Taylor English Duma. James Magazine ranked Hopper the 2019 Top Rising Star.
Brad Schambach (BSA – Food Science, ’11; MSA – Food Science, ’13) has been promoted to research and development scientist IV for product development in enhanced hydration at The Coca-Cola Company. Schambach is a member of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Board.
Brim, Rhodes inducted into Ag Hall of Fame The 2019 inductees to the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame have impacted Georgians from the dinner table to the fairgrounds. Bill Brim, a Tift County farmer and strong advocate for Georgia agriculture, and Foster Rhodes, who was instrumental in establishing the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Georgia, were inducted into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame on Oct. 4. Brim established himself as an industry leader when he, along with Ed Walker, purchased Lewis Taylor Farms in 1985. Over the next five years, Brim helped transform Lewis Taylor Farms into a diversified transplant and vegetable production farm operation that has grown from 87,000 square feet of greenhouse production space to 81 greenhouses with more than 649,000 square feet of production space. Brim also served on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency State Committee, where he and fellow committee members reviewed and interpreted USDA policy and guidelines relating to farm bill programs and the implementation of on-the-farm applications for farmers and agricultural businesses across Georgia. BRIM Rhodes helped establish the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Georgia, working from the conceptual state in the mid-1980s to the first Georgia National Fair in 1990. He served an important role in the fairgrounds’ early years as the point person with city council members, county commissioners and state leaders in securing the land needed for the agricenter. Because of Rhodes’ leadership and dedication, Georgia’s youth have a facility to showcase their projects and the state’s agriculture industry can be promoted. Since the Agricenter opened in 1990, it has attracted approximately 22 million people RHODES and made a $1.5 billion economic impact. Approximately 850,000 people visit the fairgrounds and agricenter annually. Rhodes’ efforts were previously recognized in 2016 when the fairgrounds’ Beef and Dairy Arena at the Georgia was named the “Foster Rhodes Beef and Dairy Arena.” For a full list of inductees, see t.uga.edu/5dV. • Clint Thompson
Carlton Self (MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’11) is manager for the Lasseter Tractor Company in Tifton, Georgia. Charles Trumbo (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’11) is an agricultural specialist and assistant farm manager with the University of Georgia Eatonton Beef Research Unit in Eatonton, Georgia.
Justin Brown (BSA – Animal Science, ’12) has been promoted to assistant teaching professor for vet diagnostic and production animal medicine at Iowa State University.
Laura Ney (BSA – Horticulture, ’12; MS – Horticulture, ’14; PhD – Crop and Soil Sciences, ’19) is an agent with Clarke County Cooperative Extension where she will work with a wide variety of programs and manage the Master Gardener program. Ney recently finished her graduate research at the University of Georgia Costa Rica campus.
Growing a sustainable dream In 2012, Mandy Rovolis O’Shea (BSA – Horticulture ‘03) and her husband, Steve O’Shea, were living and working in California, trying to make their dream of an organic produce farm a reality. They’d been searching for land for more than four years when they found the perfect place — more than 3,000 miles away — in Comer, Georgia. They put in an offer sight unseen, moved back to Rovolis O’Shea’s home state and established 3 Porch Farm. They’ve been building on their dream ever since. Mandy O’Shea’s background working on farms while a student at the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and afterward in California combined with Steve O’Shea’s business and building skills to create the Certified Naturally Grown flower and fruit farm on 9 acres in Madison County, just northeast of Athens, Georgia. They specialize in growing local, seasonal flowers — ranunculus, anemones, tulips, daffodils and peonies in the spring; zinnias, cosmos, rudbeckia, celosia and lisianthus in the summer; and dahlias, chrysanthemums and amaranth in the fall, among many others. They sell their flowers at farmers markets, market them
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Mandy Rovolis O’Shea builds her business on flower power
wholesale to designers, and use them for weddings and events through Moonflower, a floral design studio they established at the farm that incorporates seasonal flowers to create unique, sustainable floral designs for weddings and events. “We did a few flowers [in the beginning], and they didn’t really sell that well,” Mandy O’Shea said, “but we still knew there was a market there, people just weren’t exposed to it. We decided to go all in. Instead of flowers being kind of an afterthought, we wanted to put it in the front of people’s minds like
‘this could be every day, it doesn’t have to be for a special occasion.’ ” After a few years of selling at the Athens Farmers Market and gaining an enthusiastic following on Instagram, customers became enamored with 3 Porch Farm’s beautiful bouquets and Honeypops, frozen fruit treats they make from the fruit they grow and the honey from the bees they tend. The farm has nearly 60,000 followers on Instagram @3porchfarm, something they credit for doubling their business and bringing in buyers from out of state, according to Steve O’Shea. But
for Mandy O’Shea, who does the behind-the-scenes posts and updates, it’s more than just promoting their products, it’s a way of telling their story and connecting to followers. “A lot of our followers are in Athens and Atlanta,” she said. “They love getting a glimpse of who’s working for us. Our farm is our community. It helps [customers] to see who they’re supporting. That’s important to us.” As the word spread other selling opportunities quickly opened up. “We knew it was difficult to get into an Atlanta market,” Mandy O’Shea said. “We weren’t necessarily ready for it, but we knew we needed to say yes because we might not get that kind of opportunity again. So that really helped push us even further in diversifying our offerings of flowers even more.” “So many farms, especially our size, they don’t even break even,” Steve O’Shea said. “That’s why we’re constantly thinking outside the box,” Mandy O’Shea added. She even incorporates foraged foliage and dried flowers into her floral designs. “A lot of people might see it as ‘that’s a dead plant,’ but we see it as a beautiful texture for holiday wreaths,” she said. “For our lilies, we sell the cut lily, seeds and seed pod. We try to make sure every flower has multiple uses. If it doesn’t sell at market, it’s hung to dry and turned into flower confetti.” Above all, the O’Sheas strive to put “principles before profit,” as they say in their
alumni news motto, referring to their dedication to taking care of their land and people by being carbon neutral and ensuring their five full-time and other parttime employees are paid a fair wage and have good working conditions. The couple didn’t pay themselves for more than six years, rolling their profits right back into the farm — installing solar panels to provide all of the farm’s electricity and converting their farm vehicles to run on recycled vegetable oil. Currently, the O’Sheas are incorporating more shade-grown varieties and plan on adding more perennials to help better balance out production. “We keep thinking we’re done, and then we realize there are more ways to be more efficient,” Steve O’Shea said. “We keep trying to grow in efficiency. And every year we keep finding ways to do that.” The end goal? To maximize their land use while keeping to their core values. And to slow down a bit and spend a little more time together not solely talking about the farm. “We have a few thousand hellebores planted out there. It’s going to be a constant evolution of the woods and trying to offer more unique things,” Mandy O’Shea said. “So many people think that growing in the sun is what cut flowers are all about, but we can go even further with a niche and push into the woods and get some unique things.” • Josh Paine
class notes 2010s continued Perry Walden (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’12) was recently appointed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to serve on the Georgia Auctioneer Commission. Perri Campis (BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ‘13) is the new project director for the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District, where she provides direct support to the district’s executive director in project development, implementation and management. Jeffrey McConnaughey (MSA – Horticulture, ’13) is manager of Chimney Rock Farms, an industrial hemp research and development, seed, and breeding company in Colorado specializing in high CBD hemp varieties. Kristyn Stogner (BSA – Horticulture, ’13) is curator of the new Children’s Garden at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and directs both the horticulture and educational programming aspects of the garden. Lisa Baxter (MSA – Crop and Soil Sciences, ’14) joined the University of Georgia Tifton campus as an assistant professor and Extension forage agronomist. She helps forage-based livestock producers find profitable and sustainable solutions to production challenges.
Andrew Vasina (BSAB – Applied Biotechnology, ’14) accepted a position as a food scientist managing the Culinary Applications Lab for Biospringer (Lesaffre) in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. He will serve for three years based in Paris. Rachel Dunaway (BSA – Animal Science, ’15; MSA – Animal Science, ’17) is the agricultural education teacher at Rome High School in Rome, Georgia, where she will be starting new FFA and pre-veterinary programs. Wes Hutto (BSA – Avian Biology, ’15) is a resident physician with the U.S. Army at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. Katlyn LaVelle (BSA – Agricultural Communications, ’15; MAEE – Agricultural and Environmental Education, ’19) is an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Jefferson Middle School in Jefferson, Georgia. Lauren Muller (BSA – Horticulture, ’15; MS – Horticulture, ’18) is conservation outreach coordinator with the science and conservation program at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. She manages the garden’s Connect to Protect program, which fosters the development of native plant gardens to promote biodiversity in private, commercial and municipal settings.
Eric Stallknecht (BSA – Horticulture, ’15; MS – Horticulture, ’18) has been accepted into the horticulture doctoral program at Michigan State University. Chelsea Begnaud (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’16), a master’s degree student in agricultural and environmental education at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, received the Outstanding Young Member Award from the Georgia Vocational Agricultural Teachers Association at their Summer Leadership Conference. She is an agricultural education teacher at Oconee County High School. Grace Mceachern Fant (BSA – Animal Science, ‘16) is a senior supervisor for hazard analysis and critical control points with Tyson Foods. Allison Fortner (BSA – Agricultural Communications, ’16) is an administrative associate in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication helping with recruiting, serving students and faculty, and helping tell the story of the department as a whole. Nicole Holden (BSA – Agribusiness ’16) is the international cost proposal coordinator at the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University.
Matthew A. Pace (BSA – Agriculture and Applied Economics, ’16) joined the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) in May 2018 as an associate bank examiner in the office of examination. In this role, Pace works directly with Farm Credit System institutions across the country to evaluate areas ranging from loan underwriting standards and risk identification practices to compliance with federal lending regulations. Prior to joining FCA, he worked as a graduate research assistant at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government while obtaining a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Georgia. Pace also served as an agriculture fellow for U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson in Washington, D.C. Shu Yang (MSA – Horticulture, ‘16) is a graduate research assistant with Virginia Tech where he is conducting research to detect boxwood blight using molecular tools and on ice nucleation activity of fungi and bacteria. Kayla Alward (BSA – Dairy Science, ’17; MS – Animal and Dairy Science, ’19) is a dairy science graduate teaching assistant at Virginia Tech. Jaky Cervantes (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’17) is the agricultural education teacher at East Jackson Middle School in Commerce, Georgia. She was previously a teacher at Indian Creek Middle School in Covington, Georgia.
A Medal for ‘Mr. Peanut’
From working on methods that tripled crop yields for Georgia peanut farmers to harnessing the protein power of the peanut to help undernourished children in other countries, Frank McGill (BS – Agronomy, ’51; MS – Agronomy, ’62) has earned the affection and respect of the Georgia agricultural community. For these contributions and numerous others, McGill, 92 — affectionally known throughout the Georgia agricultural community as “Mr. Peanut” — was awarded the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ Medallion of Honor in May. The Medallion of Honor is presented to an outstanding individual or couple in recognition of dedication to the college’s mission and to express gratitude for the time, advice, support and influence they have provided.
southscapes // FALL 2019
“Once in a generation, Fame in 1982 and received the someone comes along who Lifetime Achievement Award forever changes a segment of from the American Peanut agriculture. When it comes Council in 1999, the same year to peanuts, Frank McGill the council officially dubbed is that person. Scientists, McGill “Mr. Peanut.” In 1996, farmers and even former U.S. he was inducted into the President Jimmy Carter will tell Georgia Agricultural Hall of you, without hesitation, that Fame and, in 2000, received the Frank McGill was extremely American/World Agriculture instrumental in developing Award from the National the peanut industry in County Agents Association. Georgia,” said CAES Dean In 2018, he received the Valor Sam Pardue, who presented Award from the Southern McGill with the award. Peanut Farmers Federation. A native of Chula, Georgia, Of his numerous accolades, McGill began his career with a humble McGill said, “I just UGA as a county agent in did what I was hired to do.” southwest At his Georgia retirement in Frank McGill and later 1982, McGill became the used donations honored for life’s state’s UGA honoring work on the world’s him to create Cooperative Extension the J. Frank favorite legume peanut McGill “Up specialist at with Peanuts” the Coastal Plain Experiment Scholarship, which awards Station in Tifton, Georgia. a scholarship each year to a He was a member of the rising junior or senior CAES UGA Extension peanut team crop and soil sciences major. that developed a “package McGill remained an active approach” for peanut voice in the peanut industry production in Georgia. after his retirement, serving From 1954 to 1982, McGill’s as president of the American expertise helped Georgia’s Peanut Research and Education peanut yields increase from Society and chairman of the U.S. 955 pounds per acre in 1955 Task Force on Peanut Policy and to 3,220 pounds in 1974. the U.S. Peanut Improvement Over his career, McGill Working Group. He also worked visited 21 countries as a as a peanut consultant with peanut consultant. He M&M Mars for 16 years and four traveled to Australia and years as a consultant with the India to review research and National Peanut Laboratory. extension programs and to “Frank is a phenomenal Honduras, Suriname and individual. I believe he is part Barbados to “jump start” of the reason the industry is as local peanut production and strong as it is, and production is to help eliminate pellagra, a as great as it is,” said Joe West, protein deficiency that was assistant dean of the UGA Tifton affecting children there. campus. “He is an excellent McGill served as a technical example of what a faculty advisor to the Georgia Peanut member at the University of Commission, U.S. Senate Georgia College of Agricultural Agriculture Committee, and Environmental Sciences can National Peanut Council and aspire to for a career of service.” National Peanut Growers Group. • Clint Thompson McGill was inducted into the Georgia Peanut Hall of
alumni news Kimberly Lauryn Gilmer (MAEE – Agricultural and Environmental Education, ‘17) is the UGA Cooperative Extension agent for 4-H Youth Development In Wayne County, Georgia. Jeana Hansel (BSA – Horticulture, ’17) recently completed her master of science in plant pathology at North Carolina State University and accepted a position with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Virginia. Kendall McWilliams (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’17) is a sales support specialist at AGCO corporation. Ivan Pocrnic (PhD – Animal Science, ’17) is a core scientist and research fellow with The Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland. Elizabeth Pusch (PhD – Poultry Science, ’17) is a laboratory specialist and advisor for Chickasaw Nation Industries in Atlanta. Jake Tench (BSA – Agribusiness, ’17; BSA – Agriculture and Applied Economics, ’17) joined the Georgia Agribusiness Council as manager of public affairs. Tench manages the council’s legislative activities, provides member services, directs education and scholarship activities, and supports the council’s programs. Sarah Jane Thomsen (BSA – Animal Science, ’17; BSA – Dairy Science, ‘17) is the new director of member services and events for the Virginia Agribusiness Council.
Lissi Carr (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’18) is working toward her Double Dawg in the Master of Agricultural and Environmental Education program at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Carr teaches high school agriculture to students in grades 9-12 at Berrien High School in Nashville, Georgia, and recently completed the Georgia Certified Plant Professional Course. Kelly Paulk Cone (BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’18) began working as operations manager at the Farmers Cooperative in Madison, Florida in January. In this position, Cone assists in feed, farm equipment, seed and fertilizer sales, as well as community and customer service. She looks forward to working with the local 4-H and FFA associations. Previously, Cone was with Southeastern Agricultural Laboratories. Malik Grace (BSA – Agricultural and Applied Economics, ’18; BSA – Agribusiness, ’18) is an environmental consultant for RPS GaisTech in Atlanta. Madison Hickey Hopkins (BSA – Agricultural Communications, ’18) began the master of agricultural and environmental education program at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in August. She is also participating in the yearlong Leadership Hall County program, which focuses on educating emerging and existing leaders to become integral players in the community.
Joseph Seta (BSA – Animal Science, ’18; BSA – Dairy Science, ’18) is a second-year student at the University of Georgia School of Veterinary Medicine. His focus is mixed animal, and his goal is to graduate and work in an underserved area of Georgia where there is a need for veterinarians serving the dairy industry.
Hannah Henry (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’19) is the agricultural education teacher at Wheeler County Elementary School in Alamo, Georgia. Dejanaé Hooks (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’19) is the agricultural education teacher at McDonough High School in Henry County, Georgia.
Luke Thornton (BSA – Agricultural Communications, ’18) is a commodity marketing specialist with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. In his role, he serves as executive director of the South Carolina Cotton Board, the South Carolina Pork Board and the South Carolina Tobacco Board.
Lucas Brock (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’19) is the agricultural education teacher at Central Middle School in Carrolton, Georgia.
Brittney Westmoreland (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’19) is a first-year agricultural education teacher at Stephens County Middle School in Toccoa, Georgia.
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Kalina Vatave (BSA – Water and Soil Resources, ’18) is a soil conservationist with U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. She lives in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Caroline McCown Williams (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’18; MAEE – Agricultural and Environmental Education, ’19) is a first-year agricultural education teacher at Thomson-McDuffie Middle School in Thompson, Georgia.
Waynesboro, Georgia. Emily Whiddon Murphy (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’19) is the agricultural education teacher at Apalachee High School in Barrow County, Georgia.
Joseph Jones (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’19) is a first-year agricultural education teacher at Burke County High School in
Skyler Keeney (BSA – Horticulture, ’18) is a horticulturist with Barnsley Gardens in Adairsville, Georgia. She is tasked with flower bed design and installation, grounds maintenance and providing group tours of the estate, among other responsibilities.
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CAES alumni named to UGA 40 Under 40 Two alumni from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences were among the honorees in the University of Georgia Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2019. This program celebrates the personal, professional and philanthropic achievements of successful UGA graduates under the age of 40. • Compiled by Sharon Dowdy Cruse
Schnetzer received his medical Ryan Schnetzer (BSA – Biological degree from the Medical College Science, ’05) is an orthopedic of Georgia, and then matriculated surgeon with OrthoGeorgia in to the University of Florida for his Macon. A native of Newnan, orthopedic surgery residency, where Schnetzer graduated cum laude he received the Resident Educator from CAES while playing center for of the Year award. the Georgia Bulldogs during two Following his residency, SEC Championship seasons. He Schnetzer accepted a spine played in 38 games and started fellowship appointment in five. He was awarded from the University the SEC Male Scholar of Wisconsin where Athlete Award, Coaches he received advanced Senior Leadership Award training in minimally and achieved the SEC invasive and traditional Academic Honor Roll for surgery of the spine. three years. He is a member of the Accepted to the U.S. American Academy of Naval Academy, Schnetzer Orthopedic Surgeons, the instead decided to SCHNETZER Florida Orthopedic Society attend UGA and follow and the North American in the footsteps of his Spine Society. He has presented grandfather, who graduated from on state and national levels and has UGA in 1952 with a chemistry authored several orthopedic and degree. He selected the number 52 spinal medicine articles. for his Bulldog jersey to honor his grandfather’s legacy.
southscapes // FALL 2019
Jamie Brown (BSA – Biological Science, ’02) of San Antonio, Texas, currently serves as chief of surgery at the Department of Defense LTC Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dog Hospital where he oversees surgical care of over 800 dogs in training and a worldwide referral network for military and governmental agency working dogs. Brown earned his bachelor’s degree from the UGA College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences in 2002, followed by his doctorate in veterinary medicine from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine in 2007. He returned to the College of Veterinary Medicine in 2013 for a small animal surgical residency and became boardcertified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in March 2017. Brown entered the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps as a captain and, in 2012, he was promoted to major — the only member of his cohort to be promoted early. He has deployed to Mali, Africa and Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, where he provided BROWN humanitarian support, coordinated evacuation plans for working dogs, and trained human emergency personnel for veterinary emergencies. He served five years supporting special operations forces including the 75th Ranger Regiment. As regimental veterinarian he designed and implemented canine trauma training for handlers and medics and ensured deployment readiness for working dogs. His professional military education includes the Army Command and General Staff College. Brown has garnered numerous awards and decorations. In 2009, he became the first veterinarian to complete the Army’s most demanding and prestigious leadership course — Ranger School — earning his Ranger Tab. Other awards include the Meritorious Service Medal; two Army Commendation Medals; a National Defense Service Medal; two Afghanistan Campaign Medals; a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; the Army Service Ribbon; the NATO Medal, and the Parachutist Badge (or “jump wings”). Brown was honored by the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017 with a Young Achiever award. More than 400 alumni were nominated for the UGA Alumni Association 40 Under 40 honor this year and the 2019 class was recognized during the ninth annual 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon in September on the UGA Athens campus. Other members of the 2019 class include a gold medal-winning Olympic swimmer; a Super Bowl champion and children’s author; and alumni from a variety of industries including law, nonprofit, government, media, medicine, and food and beverage. “The achievements of our nominated alumni make it hard to narrow down the list to just 40 honorees, and this year was no exception,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of the UGA Alumni Association. “We are proud of all of these outstanding young graduates. Their drive and focus inspires the UGA community.”
COMPOSITE BY KATIE WALKER. LATHROP AND FAIRCHILD PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CGBG.
n 1919, philanthropist Barbour addition of the Andrews Visitors Lathrop bought a bamboo Center, which was funded by grove and 46-acre farm and a generous donation from Jim leased the property to the U.S. Andrews (MS – Poultry Science, ’65, Department of Agriculture for $1 to PhD – Animal Nutrition, ’68) and establish what is now the Coastal Barbara Andrews. More recently, Georgia Botanical Gardens (CGBG) the Alan and Sandi Beals Bamboo at the Historic Bamboo Farm. Maze was added to the gardens. For the next 60 years, the “We are also home to one of the property became an largest collections agricultural research of camellias in the UGA’s coastal station where, in the botanical gardens Western Hemisphere 1940s, industrialists — more than 800 celebrate 100 Henry Ford and Harvey years of service to varieties,” Davis said. Firestone explored The camellia collection Georgians goldenrod as a potential was made possible by source for latex. Chatham County Commissioner Over time, the garden’s focus and Judge Arthur Solomon, a garden has shifted from research on patron who brought camellias plants for manufacturing and back to Savannah from France commercial agriculture to and donated some to the CGBG. ornamental plants for use in home Davis’s vision is to return to the gardening and landscaping. garden’s research-based roots, in “A large portion of the plant keeping with UGA’s land-grant collection added in that time period mission, while the facility remains is still growing at the garden,” open to the public. New gardens said Tim Davis, coordinator of the have been added, including a Chatham County University pollinator garden and a home A century ago, of Georgia Cooperative fruit demonstration area. Barbour Lathrop Extension office and director “UGA Cooperative Extension’s (left) purchased 46 of the gardens. “We grow goal is to deliver research-based acres in Savannah and maintain more than 100 information to the public and we to form a USDA species here; a tremendous use these gardens as a tool to do plant introduction amount of those plants came that,” Davis said. “This is what station, led by from Asia because we have we ought to be doing. We study botanist David Fairchild (right.) similar (climate) zones.” and understand a plant, then we In April, the CGBG work with the industry to make it commemorated its centennial economically beneficial and easy with a celebration that for consumers to grow at home.” remembered To learn more about the Coastal the past and Georgia Botanical Gardens, anticipated the go to coastalbg.uga.edu. garden’s future. • Sharon Dowdy Cruse Over the past five years, the gardens COMPOSITE ILLUSTRATION BY KATIE WALKER. LATHRYOP/FAIRCHILD PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CGBG. BOTANICAL ILLUSTRATIONS BY ISTOCKPHOTO.COM ARTISTS have expanded VALERIYA PICHUGINA (BEES), ILBUSCA (CAMELLIA), BAUHOUSE1000 (IRIS), MASHUK (GOLDENROD). PHOTOS BY ISTOCKPHOTO.COM PHOTOGRAPHERS PIXHOOK (BAMBOO), with the GAFFERA (PINK CAMELLIA), SCISETTIALFIO (WHITE CAMELLIA)
Development and Alumni Relations 117 Four Towers University of Georgia Athens, GA 30602-4352
HUG A BUG
During her undergraduate years, Linden Pederson (BSES – Entomology, ’19) was dedicated to helping others appreciate the beauty of insects. She spent hours drawing insects or introducing the public to live insects as part of the University of Georgia Bug Dawgs Insect Zoo, but her senior project dwarfs those efforts. In fact, it’s huge. As her final project Pederson, who graduated from UGA in May with degrees in both entomology and scientific illustration, built a 25x scale model of a female Megalodacne heros beetle. She spent more than 300 hours digitally sculpting each detail of Megalodacne heros in ZBrush 3D modeling software using specimens from the Georgia Museum of Natural History and printing pieces of her beetle on a 3D printer. It then took Pederson an additional 40 hours to assemble, paint and add the finishing touches to the model, which Pederson named “Athena.” “Linden was so observant in her studies of actual specimens that her beetle model includes minute details like individual secretory pores and patches of tiny setae (hairs) on particular segments of the mouthparts,” said Joe McHugh, curator of arthropods at the Georgia Museum of Natural History. “Linden’s beetle is so good, it could be correctly identified to species and sex from halfway down the hallway.” For those who want to test their insect ID skills, the model is now on display in a case outside of the entomology department’s administrative offices in the Biological Sciences Building on UGA’s Athens campus. Pederson spent her post-graduation summer in an internship at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., and is now pursuing her master’s degree in medical illustration at Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia. • Merritt Melancon
Entomology grad puts the ‘art’ in arthropod
The fall 2019 issue of Southscapes magazine, a publication for alumni and friends of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Env...
Published on Nov 7, 2019
The fall 2019 issue of Southscapes magazine, a publication for alumni and friends of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Env...