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Extension E-Newsletter

Extension E-News

Greetings for February, 2012

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

Extension Colleagues:

2012 is off to a roaring start and the first six weeks have been extremely busy and productive. First, CAES hosted the 2012 Georgia Ag Forecast sessions in Gainesville, Tifton, Statesboro, Carrollton and Macon. The five sessions had great participation with record attendance at many locations. The program materials and speakers highlighted the importance of agriculture to the economy of Georgia. Congratulations to the Ag Forecast planning committee on a great job!

Also, for the first time in four years, in mid-January the Extension faculty came together at Rock Eagle for Winter Conference 2012. The two and a half day conference was the first time many of our new employees had experienced a “face-to-face” Winter School. Evaluations have been received and will be used to help make decisions on the format of future Winter Schools/Winter Conferences. Thanks for your participation in Winter Conference and for providing input into the evaluation process.

January was also the month Georgia legislators convened in Atlanta to begin their work. In this extremely tight fiscal environment it is important that we continue to work closely with our legislators, keep them informed about our current budget challenges and communicate the impact of any additional budget reductions of our college. CAES administration, state and county faculty, students, 4-Hers and supporters have been making contact with many legislators since early January at events such as the ACCG Annual Training Conference, the Georgia Agribusiness Breakfast, the CAES Legislative Reception and 4-H Day at the Capitol. Thanks for your assistance at the local level and keep up the good work!

Highlights of great things happening since the last issue of Extension E-News:

  • We learned earlier this month that UGA administration has approved a salary increase for two steps in the promotion process (in both the tenure track faculty promotion process and public service promotion process). The salary increases will be awarded beginning this year and those just completing the promotion process will receive the increase. Congratulations! Candidates going from assistant professor/public service assistant to associate professor/public service associate will receive a $5,000 increase in salary (up from $4,000). Those going from associate professor/public service associate to professor/senior public service associate will receive a $5,500 increase in salary (up from $4,500).

  • A screening committee for the Southwest District director position has been charged and a job announcement for the position has been posted. Joe West is serving as chair of the screening committee. Please help us get broad distribution of the job announcement and encourage qualified candidates to apply.

  • Three candidates will soon be interviewed for the position of associate dean for Extension and outreach for the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences. These interviews are scheduled for Feb. 20 (Karen Gehrt), Feb. 21 (Karen Shirer) and Feb. 27 (Deborah Murray). I encourage you to watch your email for additional information, participate in the interviews and seminars and provide feedback to Dean Fox on each of the candidates.

In this issue of Extension E-News:

  • Tony Tyson provides information on county support for funding agent positions across the state;
  • Arch Smith provides February highlights from our 4-H program;
  • Laurie Cantrell reflects on the impact of FACS programs across the state;
  • Steve Brown encourages active participation in programs that bring recognition to our best Georgia farmers; and
  • Laura Perry Johnson provides an update on the CAES Strategic Planning Process.
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County Operations

Tony TysonTony Tyson, Director of Extension County Operations, 706/542-1060, coopext@uga.edu

County Funding for Agent Positions

The legislature is in full swing and, as usual, we have been spending a fair amount of time responding to requests from various House and Senate Committees. From these requests, we can often get an idea of what various members of the General Assembly may be working on regarding our budget. One request that we take as a positive sign came from the Senate Agriculture Committee. The chairman of the committee, Senator John Bulloch of Ochlocknee, Ga., asked Dean Angle how many counties have county funds budgeted to fill a county agent position but need additional state funds to be able to fill it. We provided that information to Senator Bulloch, and I thought I would share the information here.

According to the district directors, we currently have 67 county agent positions with county funds budgeted that need state funds in order to move ahead with filling. There are an additional 14 positions where the funds are not currently in the county budget, but the DEDs are confident that if state funds were made available, the county would allocate the necessary county funds. That is a total of 81 positions that counties are ready to fill.

The minimum county contribution to fill an agent position is $12,000 for the county's portion of the salary. The counties also pay a portion of the benefits and provide travel and operating funds to support the positions. Many counties provide more than the minimum of $12,000 budgeted for salary. If we assume the average county salary is $15,000, then we have more than $1.2 million in county funds available for county agent salaries. If we add the county funds available for benefits, travel and operating, there is another $400,000 sitting on the sidelines. This makes for a combined total of $1.6 million.

To fill all of these vacancies would require about $4 million in state funds (salary, benefits and operating). It would be wonderful if we could get these funds restored to our budget, but it's not likely in the current budget situation that we would get it all this year. However, we are hopeful that we can make some progress toward this goal. Even if we were able to fill all 81 positions, we would still be short of the numbers we had at the beginning of fiscal year 2009.

Of course, filling county agent positions is only one piece of the entire picture for the college. We also need to fill a number of critical departmental faculty positions (Extension specialists, researchers and teaching faculty) and we have critical staff vacancies as well. And, on top of our staffing needs, we have a tremendous need for maintenance and operating (M&O) funds for all of our buildings. Because of the shortfall in state funding for this item, we currently must redirect several million dollars in funds that would otherwise support programs.

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Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

Honoring our Best Farmers

Next week I will help judge the Environmental Stewardship Award. This award is sponsored by the Governor's office and recognizes landowners that have demonstrated a dedication to stewardship of Georgia's abundant natural resources. Extension agents and specialists have always been asked to help identify and nominate worthy candidates for this award.

On a related matter, in the next few days I will receive nomination forms for the Swisher Sweet Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award. I coordinate the nomination and selection process for the Georgia Farmer of the Year who will in turn represent us in the regional competition. Agents have typically been the primary nominators in this process, and the nominator receives recognition as well.

Although the number of nominations for both of these awards has been down for the last several years, we have been fortunate to have some exceptional state and regional winners. While taking time to nominate someone for this award may sometimes seem like just another thing to do, this can be a great opportunity for Extension.

In the past, we have been guilty of not taking advantage of this opportunity. By giving a much more public recognition of these winners, we can do a better job of showing the public what we do to help agriculture and the environment. Starting this year, I will be looking for ways to better promote these awards. We will be generating more press releases and recognizing the winners at appropriate events. I've even gotten permission to recognize the Farmer of the Year at a home football game! The winner and the nominator will be seated in the CAES skybox. That alone should be motivation to get some worthy candidates nominated.

I realize that previously some farmers have expressed a reluctance to be nominated for Farmer of the Year due to the requirement for disclosure of financial information. We have no control over the requirements of the regional competition. However, from now on, we will eliminate any financial criteria, as a requirement to be Georgia Farmer of the Year, with the understanding the winner must provide the required data to be included in the S.E. Farmer of the Year. If the winner declines that opportunity, the runner up will be allowed to move on to the regional competition, where the financial incentives are much greater. Hopefully, this will increase our pool of nominees and our increased publicity will give Extension the opportunity to highlight what we do so well. Please think about farmers in your county or your area of expertise that would represent us well as winners of the Georgia/S.E. Farmer of the Year Award or the Georgia Environmental Stewardship Award. I'll get nomination forms for the Georgia Farmer of the Year out to you very soon.

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Family and Consumer Sciences

Laurie CantrellLaurie Cantrell, Interim FACS State Program Leader, 912/681-0179, lcantrel@uga.edu

Telling Our Story Matters

During Winter Conference, UGA Family and Consumer Sciences faculty reflected on the progress of the Focus on Outcomes Initiative that set priorities for focusing FACS Extension work to generate and document impacts and public value of our programs. A quick look at Georgia Counts tells us in 2011, 64,677 face-to-face contacts were made through 3,375 educational programs, presentations and events in the 10 Focus Outcomes. This is approximately one-half of all FACS face-to-face contacts for the year. Theses are impressive numbers from 34 state and county-funded FACS agents. But these are only numbers. The important question to ask and answer is, "What difference did we make?"

Documenting the results of our efforts is increasingly expected by funders and stakeholders. Our sustainability relies on translating the value of what we do to a wider audience than we have in the past. Cooperative Extension must identify and explain how our work makes a difference in our clients' economic, environmental, and social well being through impact statements and how our work benefits everyone through public value statements.

FACS agents have been doing just that. You have only to peruse the impact statement database to see how our agents are changing Georgians' lives for the better. Impacting Georgians is a quarterly legislative newsletter, written by agents, that keeps Georgia's legislators aware of the important work taking place in Family and Consumer Sciences program areas. Agents have also been visiting key people in the House and Senate to tell our story through reports, brochures and fact sheets. Renee Dotson initiated a meeting with David Ralston, Speaker of the House. Janet Hollingsworth was one of four agents who visited with Governor Deal and Representative Ellis Black last week at the request of Representative Tommy Smith. Senator Goggans invited Heidi Flowers and other FACS agents to the Capital to meet with Senator Bulloch and himself. They also met with Representatives John Yates, Susan Holmes, Jan Tankersley, Mickey Stephens and Gloria Frazier and Senator Miriam Paris, leaving public value statements with each.

These are just the most recent legislative visits FACS agents have made. Many other agents across the state tell our story to their state legislators in similar ways. If you haven't met with your state senators and representatives recently, make an appointment now, and don't let it end there. It takes multiple contacts to build relationships and the understanding of the value of our work.

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4-H and Youth Development

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

Raising Funds

In November, Cloverleaf Project Achievement competition began in Georgia 4-H. During the months of February and March, we will conduct our four district Project Achievement events. Project Achievement is one of our 4-H core programs and allows young people to develop public speaking skills and develop a portfolio of their project work. These become valuable skills that individuals can use throughout their lives. The number of portfolios that were submitted for Junior/Senior Project Achievement increased a little from 2011. We are extremely appreciative to all those who serve as judges and help us evaluate the Project Achievement contests. We are particularly grateful to our College of Family and Consumer Sciences and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences specialists who judge at the Project Achievement contests. In the 2011 4-H Census, we learned that nearly 37,000 4-H members participated in Project Achievement at the local level. Many of those go on to participate at area and district Cloverleaf and Junior/Senior Project Achievement.

In late January, the Georgia 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees held their winter meeting and spent much of the time discussing future fund-raising opportunities including the 2013 Georgia 4-H Gala. While a definite location has not been confirmed for the gala, the potential date will be Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013. In addition, the 4-H Foundation is planning Twilight on the Lake at the Georgia EMC Building and Senior Pavilion at Rock Eagle. This event is set for Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012.

The Georgia 4-H Advisory Committee held its winter meeting last week in Conyers. We appreciate the Rockdale County Cooperative Extension staff providing the meeting location and lunch for the committee. The advisory committee focused much of its time in helping develop public value statements for in-school club meetings, Project Achievement, summer camp, shooting sports, environmental education, livestock programs, and judging and evaluation contests.

Judy Ashley and Kathy Baldwin represent county Extension agents on the Georgia 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees and Grace Garnier, Janet Woodard, Lee Anna Deal, and Melinda Miller represent county Extension agents on the Georgia 4-H Advisory Committee.

Georgia 4-H and Georgia FFA will hold the Georgia Junior National Livestock Show Feb. 22 through 25 at the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority in Perry. There are more than 4,000 entries that include market hogs, market steers, commercial dairy heifers, beef heifers, and breeding ewes. In 2011, Georgia 4-H had more than 600 individuals show livestock at one of the state shows. The 4-H Census indicates more than 1,600 young people exhibited livestock through 4-H at local shows across our state. We appreciate the financial support of the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority for premium dollars, trophies and ribbons and the use of the facilities in Perry. We also appreciate the support of the newly formed Georgia Junior Livestock Foundation for their support of premiums for the reserve champion, third, fourth and fifth place exhibitor in each of the species. Georgia Farm Bureau will sponsor the Grand Champion in all species, and on Friday evening, April 13, 2012, GFB President Zippy Duvall will sponsor "An Evening of Grand Champions." This event will recognize the winning exhibitors of all nine species including the Market Lamb and Market Goat winners. We are grateful to all of our sponsors for their support of the 4-H and FFA Junior Livestock Program.

The Oconee County Cooperative Extension staff held a fund-raiser on Feb. 7. I was unable to attend the event, but all reports are very positive. The Extension staff worked with their ELS team to put together what they called "Oconee 4-H Endless Pasta-bilities." More than 200 guests attended the event and donations totaled more than $10,000. A silent auction produced nearly $2,000. They exceeded their fund-raising goal of $8,000 for the evening. This is a great example of how to involve local volunteers in the fund development aspect of your local 4-H program. I'm sure than Monte Stephens, Lauren Healey, Joey Bristol, and other members of the Oconee County Extension staff will be sharing their successes with other Extension 4-H professionals in the near future. Congratulations to the Oconee County staff on a creative approach to local fund-raising.

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CAES Strategic Planning

Laura Perry JohnsonLaura Perry Johnson, Co-Chair of CAES Strategic Planning Committee, 229/386-3414, lpj4h@uga.edu

Closer to Our Goal

Data collection is going fast and furious for the CAES Strategic Plan. We have reams and reams of data and will continue to collect through the end of February. If you have not been a part of the process to date, you still have several opportunities to participate. We have regional meetings in Gainesville on Feb. 15, in Acworth on Feb. 21 and in Lyons on Feb. 29. Register on-line to attend one of these meetings. If you cannot make one of these, please see our website (http://caesplan.caes.uga.edu/) to answer the same questions via an online survey. There are surveys posted for employees, stakeholders, employers, alumni, students and key decision makers.

When we began the strategic planning process, Dean Angle said one of the reasons we were undergoing this process was because the university had developed a strategic plan and President Adams wanted all of the schools and colleges to follow suit. The university's plan targets 2020 and is called "Building on Excellence." A 31-person committee led the process to develop this plan. Our college was represented by William Vencill (CAES Crop and Soil Sciences Department) who chaired the committee. Ron Walcott, our assistant dean for diversity, also served on the committee. The full report can be found at the following website: http://www.oap.uga.edu/sp/UGA2020-final.pdf

The seven strategic directions identified in the university plan are as follows:

  1. Undergraduate Education
  2. Professional Programs
  3. Investing in Proven and Emerging Areas of Research Excellence
  4. Serving the Citizens of the State of Georgia and Beyond
  5. Improving Faculty Recognition, Retention and Development
  6. Improving and Maintaining Facilities and Infrastructure
  7. Improving Stewardship of Natural Resources and Advancing Campus Sustainability

Under each "strategic direction," there are "strategic priorities" that further define the direction and then there are "illustrative benchmarks" that are like specific goals or actions. One example of an illustrative benchmark under the Excellence in Undergraduate Education direction is to lower the student:faculty ratio from 18:1 to 15:1. The strategic directions are very broad, but the benchmarks are much more defined.

At this point we have not decided how our CAES Strategic Planning Report will be organized, but we will have a similar approach with macro- and micro- goals and probably some indicators to help us know when we achieve the goals. In March, the CAES Strategic Planning Committee will meet for two days to begin to assimilate our data, pull out the common themes, decide how we are going to organize it and begin to develop the plan. We will work on this into April and begin to develop our report in May. We will have a draft of the report to share with the dean and then the entire college in June. Finally, we will begin to implement the plan in July. A lot of work has to happen between now and then!

The input gathering phase of this process will be over by the end of February. Therefore, time is of the essence for you to have input into the process. If you have not already given us the benefit of your wisdom and thoughts, please do so soon. Also, please stay tuned to the website for developments in the process and feedback from the data collection phase of the process. As soon as we have it in a manageable format, we will post all of the raw data for your reading pleasure.

Thank you so much to all of you who have participated and brought stakeholders to the table. We have been extremely pleased with the turnout at our meetings as well as with the great input and usable data we have collected. I will tell you even after 3 or 4 hard years, there is a lot positive coming out of these meetings. It is really encouraging to be a part of the process. Thank you for making that happen and for all the great work you do every day even under challenging circumstances. Brighter days are ahead and we trust the sound strategic plan we are developing will help guide our college in the right direction.

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Personnel actions since January 1, 2012

New Hires

  • Carroll County – Paula Burke, ANR Agent and CEC, 1/1/12
  • Cobb County – Neal Tarver, ANR Agent, 2/1/12
  • Effingham County – Tina "Faith" Jaudon, Part-time PA, 1/03/12
  • Fayette County – April Nasworthy, 4-H Agent, 2/1/12

Part-time Positions:

  • Columbia County – Erin Campbell, CEPA, Starts in Feb.
  • Crawford County – Britney White, Program Assistant, 1/12/12
  • Glascock County – Candice Hadden, CEPA, Started in Feb.

Retiree/Rehires

  • Towns County – Robert Brewer, Part Time Sr. Public Service Associate, 2/1/12

Transfers/Position Changes

  • Brent Allen – transferred from Johnson County to Washington County, CEA-ANR, 1/01/12
  • Von Baker – transferred from Gwinnett County to Dekalb County, EFNEP Agent, 2/1/12
  • Lisa Carlino – position changed from Accounting Assistant to Program Specialist II, NW District 2/1/12
  • Sondra Fortner – position changed from CE Agent-4-H/FACs to CE Coordinator-4-H/FACS effective 1/01/12
  • Terri Kimble – position changed from Program Specialist to 4-H Agent, Newton County 2/1/12
  • Bryan McElvany – Bleckley County CEC-ANR, transferred from Treutlen County, 1/01/12
  • Wanda McLocklin - transferred from Jackson County to Barrow County, Public Service Associate, 1/1/12

Departures

  • Green County – Jonale Bosques Mendez, Public Service Coordinator, 1/31/2012
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