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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for October 2010

Photo: Beverly SparksBeverly Sparks, Associate Dean for Extension, 706/542-3824, caesext@uga.edu

Extension Colleagues:

Let's start this issue of Extension E-News with some great news. Fall has finally arrived and we are beginning to experience much appreciated cooler temperatures and great fall color in the dogwood and maple trees. Our bulldogs looked great in the Tennessee game and the SEC teams are making this an exciting football season. And, most importantly, the state revenue figures for the month of September are up again (5.7%) and we are now into a four-month positive trend!

The focus of our work on the Review of County Operations - Refining the County Delivery Model has now shifted to formulating the strategic details of the plan. Very soon we will be ready to move to the implementation phase. Please recall, a report was presented to Dean Angle and the CAES administrative team on Sept. 9. This report recommended Extension move to a tiered system of delivery in county operations. (Please check the Review of County Operations website and go to the Dean Angle Report section to view the complete report.) Throughout late September and October our district teams have been hard at work shaping how to distribute our limited resources in the proposed tiered system. We will soon be ready to make the details of this plan public and then aggressively move to the implementation phase of the plan. Again, let me emphasize we expect the implementation phase to take up to 18 months.

The next steps will be as follows:

  • District directors will submit final recommendations for staffing for tiered counties in mid October;
  • District directors will contact effected counties/employees to discuss pending changes;
  • A list of high priority positions will be internally advertised in late October and we will begin filling these positions prior to the end of 2010;
  • We will continue working with agents from the Atlanta metro counties and the Urban Ag Center to develop a more cohesive delivery system for urban programs; and
  • By the end of October, I will make recommendations to Dean Angle on potential consolidation of key administrative/management positions and recommendations on filling our most critical administrative positions.

As always, if you have questions or concerns about the process or recommendations, please contact any member of the Extension administrative team. Please join me for a Q&A session on the Review of County Operations on Friday, Oct. 15 at 3 p.m. The session will be presented through Horizon Wimba. I look forward to being at each upcoming District POW meeting where we will review and update the status of our work on reorganization of county operations.

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Tony Tyson has officially retired and is enjoying the month of October traveling to visit family and catching up on chores around the house. We look forward to his return as a rehire in November.
  • Arch Smith reviews activities of National 4-H Week, highlights Mr. Harold Darden (our latest inductee into the National 4-H Hall of Fame) and 4-H activities at the Georgia National Fair;
  • Elizabeth Andress praises FACS agents for the huge impact they make on Georgia families and encourages them to look to the future; and
  • Steve Brown discusses how the new tiered system in Extension will affect agents and their clientele.

See you soon at your local POW meeting!

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Agriculture and Natural Resources

Photo: Steve Brown Steve Brown, ANR State Program Leader, 706/542-1060, astdext@uga.edu

Listen, Make a Decision, Then Make it Work

In ANR, we cover everything from alpacas and arsenic to zucchini and zoning ordinances. Georgia is blessed with incredible natural resources and an abundance of opportunities for agriculture. But, when it comes down to extension programming, I sometimes wish we were like some of the Midwestern states where ANR is basically corn, wheat and hogs. Geneticists know that diversity is a good thing. Georgia's incredible ANR diversity coupled with our lowest number of employees in decades has resulted in an inevitable conclusion.

Budget realities have forced us to make some hard decisions regarding county operations. I hope you will agree that the process used to make these decisions was extremely transparent and that all comments were taken into account. We will be talking about those decisions at several opportunities during the next few weeks. Although county operations will have a new look, we made a conscious decision NOT to abandon our county level delivery system in favor of regional models that have been tried in other states. Cooperative Extension will continue to maintain our presence in 158 of 159 Georgia counties.

In my opinion, an ANR agent can be justified in every county in Georgia, but since we can't afford that luxury, we have identified ANR priority counties. These decisions were based on farm gate values, the level of county support provided, and many other complicating factors. Although it hurts me to see any county be denied the services of an ANR agent, I believe the decisions we made are sound. Our new system of tiered levels of support is not what anyone would choose in a perfect world, but at least it maintains some level of presence (ANR, 4-H or FACS) in each county and provides us a foundation on which we can rebuild when times are better. The total number of agents that we have to work with is a moving target. Hopefully, we will be able to replace ANR agents in non-supported counties very soon. Exactly how soon is up to the economy and the level of support we receive from federal, state and county government.

Even though we are committed to a county presence, one part of the restructuring plan does call for regional meeting centers. The concept here is that we will slowly be moving away from county-level production meetings and asking our clientele to become more comfortable with using these regional facilities. This does NOT mean that an agent can't have his or her own county grower meeting. For those meetings where multiple specialists will be asked to make presentations, we will be moving to a more coordinated slate of regional offerings for our clientele. The specific location of these centers is still being determined, but our hope is that clientele won't have to travel more than roughly 50 miles to attend production meetings. I don't think that is asking too much for information that positively impacts someone's livelihood. We hope to put some money into these centers to make sure they are of adequate capacity, and have comfortable accommodations, good sound systems and distance learning capabilities.

More information will be available via Dr. Sparks' Wimba session and there will be opportunities for discussions at upcoming district POW meetings. Dr. Sparks and I will be conducting meetings with specialists on the Athens, Griffin and Tifton campuses. Those meetings are scheduled as follows:

  • Oct. 18, 2:00 pm  – Tifton – Horticulture Building Conference Room
  • Oct. 25, 3:00 pm – Athens – Poultry Research Science Lab
  • Nov. 4, 2:00 pm – Griffin – 219 Flynt Building

So, there will be many opportunities to talk about this system and ask questions. The tough decisions have been made. Now it's up to us to make this plan work. The future of Cooperative Extension depends on it. Again, thanks for your patience and your continued dedication to Extension.

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Family and Consumer Sciences

Photo: Elizabeth AndressElizabeth Andress, Interim FACS State Program Leader, 706/542-4860, eandress@uga.edu

Making an Impact

Extension FACS recently celebrated past successes and achievements with a round of state and national association meetings and award ceremonies. As exciting as it was to see Georgia agents so well represented in the pool of regional and national professional awards, we have to continue to look forward and plan for future impact and successes.

In less than a month, we will be gathering on the UGA Griffin campus for a program development conference and looking forward to plan our programs for the citizens of Georgia (and sometimes beyond) in the next few years. FACS agents, please carefully read your email about the event and be prepared to bring your ideas for marketing and implementing programs from your current work so that others might learn from your successes. We have a share-fair scheduled at the same time. Our administrators and department heads have been invited to network with you.

At NEAFCS in Portland, ME last month, our USDA NIFA partner shared exciting news that family and consumer sciences has gone through some "branding" within USDA after stakeholder meetings and strategic planning. There now is an official definition of FCS within NIFA-USDA; the tagline will be "advancing the human dimensions of food and agriculture." The definition within USDA is "Family and Consumer Sciences (founded as Home Economics) is the integrative, multidisciplinary field of science that studies relationships among humans and their environments to foster quality of life, strengthen communities, and achieve a healthy and sustainable world."

Under the NIFA Institute of Youth, Family and Community will be a Division of Family and Consumer Sciences. Some of our leadership for Extension FCS programs at USDA will be in another Institute, Food Safety and Nutrition, but the interrelatedness with FCS is clearly understood by our current leadership. National program priority areas for family and consumer sciences within NIFA are stated as child and family development, family and consumer economics, nutrition, food safety and food preservation education, health and wellness, housing and community living, and, rural and economic development.

These endeavors clearly match our Georgia FACS Extension program issue areas and newly formed focus teams within these issues. It is now upon us to demonstrate how we are contributing to the goal of strengthening families and individuals. Responsible, productive and caring youth and adults are the cornerstone of a healthy society that benefits all sectors, including producers of food and goods. A sustainable world needs healthy families and communities.

Where are you on meeting your goals from your current plan of work? Are you helping us meet our statewide goal of showing impact on objectives of our focus teams? And are you submitting your evaluations and stories so your efforts are known outside your own community? This helps us tell the whole FACS Extension story.

In case you have forgotten how I closed this article last month, I think the idea bears repeating. Let's keep doing what matters the most to help improve family, individual and community life in Georgia.

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4-H and Youth Development

Photo: Arch SmithArch Smith, Interim 4-H & Youth Development State Program Leader, 706/542-4H4H, asmith@uga.edu

Last week we celebrated National 4-H Week in Georgia and across the United States. Many 4-H'ers and 4-H leaders across the state held numerous activities to recognize the accomplishments of 4-H members. On several occasions I heard friends of 4-H and donors express their appreciation for the value of 4-H work and several told me of thank you notes and letters they received from 4-H'ers during National 4-H Week.

On Friday, Oct. 8, Mr. Harold Darden, retired associate state 4-H leader emeritus from Georgia, was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame. Each year through a nationwide nomination process, 16 individuals are selected as laureates and inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame. Since inception of the hall of fame, Georgia has been fortunate to have 10 former 4-H'ers or 4-H leaders receive this prestigious honor. Our congratulations go to Mr. Darden and his family for his tremendous contributions to Georgia 4-H.

The Georgia National Fair opened on Thursday, Oct. 7. Georgia 4-H is an integral part of the annual fair. 4-H'ers exhibited livestock, entered fair booths, competed in the 4-H Scarecrow Contest, 4-H Variety Show and 4-H Chicken BBQ Contest. Clovers and Company will perform on Sunday, Oct. 17, and 4-H members will compete in many other events at the fair including an invitational youth livestock show. 4-H members and leaders are also working in the Clover Café selling chicken products. Their efforts support the 4-H Poultry Project and the 4-H Poultry Judging Contest each year. We congratulate all our 4-H members and 4-H leaders on the excellent work that is taking place at the Georgia National Fair.

We also want to congratulate Juawn Jackson, a Bibb County 4-H'er, who has been selected as a member of the 2010-2011 Youth Service America Youth Council. Youth council members serve as youth leaders of the Global Youth Service movement that is sponsored by Youth Service America.

As you recall, last spring we asked all 4-H programs in the state to help us improve our reporting and collection of 4-H enrollment data summarizing the impact of the 4-H program across Georgia. Within a few days we will have the final results of the work that each county has submitted to their district office. The preliminary information in the compilation of county reports indicates that our 4-H membership will be up slightly for the 2009-2010 program year. More important than the increase in enrollment, we now know from the information submitted by county Extension agents that almost 55,000 4-H members are involved in the project achievement program at the local level. In the past we have only been able to capture the numbers that participated at cloverleaf, junior and senior district project achievements, but we now have a better idea of the number participating at the local level.

More than 45,000 young people participated in some form of science, engineering and technology programs; nearly 47,000 were reached through healthy living programs supported by 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences; and more than 43,000 young people were reached through agriscience-related 4-H programs.

Georgia 4-H involves 6,358 young people who are part of military families, and 1,241 4-H members who are homeschooled. This information will be very important as we move forward in evaluating our program and helping us show the significant impact of the work our 4-H county Extension agents and 4-H program assistants are doing across the state of Georgia.

Thanks to all who have helped us compile this data. It certainly reemphasizes the quantitative impact that Georgia 4-H is having upon young people in our state. Once we have a complete report, we will make this information available to Extension agents.

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Personnel actions since September 1, 2010

New Hires

  • Chattooga County—Kelly Brasher, Secretary, 9/16/10

Part-time Positions:

  • Colquitt County—Kim Dove, CEPA 4-H (Grant funded), 9/27/10
  • Colquitt County—Caroline Heath Hoard, CEPA/VISTA, 10/11/10
  • Decatur County—Teresa Adkins, CEPA 4-H (County funded), 9/1/10
  • Lowndes County—Teresa Taylor, CEPA 4-H, 10/6/10
  • Randolph County—Kim Clark, CEPA 4-H, 10/7/10
  • Schley County—Maggie Shoemaker, CEPA 4-H, 10/7/10

Transfers/Position Changes

  • Bleckley County—Kathy Baldwin, CEA 4-H to CEC 4-H, 10/1/10
  • Chatham County—Patricia "Trish" West, CEPA to CEA 4-H, 10/1/10
  • Vidalia Onion & Vegetable Research Center—W. Taylor Morris, Tifton to VOVRC CEPA, 9/20/10
  • Washington County—Joann Milam, CEA FCS to CEC FCS, 10/1/10

Retirements

  • Associate Dean for Extension—Tony Tyson, Director of County Operations, 9/30/10
  • Bacon County—John Ed Smith, CEC ANR, 9/30/10
  • Berrien County—Tim Flanders, CEC/CEA ANR, 10/1/10
  • Bleckley County—Gordon Lee, CEC ANR, 9/30/10
  • Charlton County—Terry Thigpen, CEC ANR, 9/30/10
  • Crop & Soil Science Department—Dewey Lee, Professor, 9/30/10
  • Horticulture Department—Gary Wade, Professor, 9/30/10
  • Lowndes County—Susan Giddens, Secretary, 10/1/10
  • Seminole County—Polly Morgan, EFNEP PSII, 10/1/10
  • Soil Test Lab—Vickie Bates, Associate Accountant, 9/30/10
  • Stewart County—Sandra Gay, CEC/CEA FACS, 10/1/10
  • Washington County—Sidney Law, CEC ANR, 9/30/10

Departures

  • Chatham County—Jenell Griffith, CEPA, County funded, 9/3/10
  • Henry County—Heather Dunning, CEA 4-H, 9/30/10
  • Mitchell County—Edd Harrison, CEA ANR, 9/30/10
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