* A greatly expanded conference center, anchored by a ballroom with capacity for 1,000-person seated dinner. (The current center can feed only 70 people in one room.) This can also be divided into four smaller conference spaces.* A catering kitchen and other associated conference support spaces.The cost of the new expansion will be divided between the University System of Georgia and Tift County. A Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum passed in the mid-1990s provided $4.9 million for the project.“This was done in the spirit of partnership and cooperation,” said Michael F. Adams, UGA president, who praised the efforts of the local delegation to the General Assembly. “This facility will help us raise to the next level the economic prosperity of this state,” Adams said.The current UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center contributes about $4 million annually to the local economy, said Fred Terasa, TCCC coordinator. It is estimated that just six 350-person conferences at the new center would contribute an additional $4 million to the local economy.“We must market and sell conferences well in advance of the early-2004 opening to achieve our fiscal goals,” Terasa said.“This gives us a great opportunity to partner with the local community for economic development and have a huge impact on the community with conferencing,” said David Bridges, assistant dean for the Tifton campus of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “We hope Tifton becomes the conference center for south Georgia.”This expansion fulfills the original plan set forth for the RDC 23 years ago.“From a university perspective, this gives us a world-class facility to do our outreach, instruction and research for the future,” Bridges said.One of the strongest economic engines for Georgia is research, especially when that research can be applied to develop new opportunities and nurture new companies and jobs for the state, Adams said.And the location of this expansion is certainly a step in the right direction to keep and produce new economic opportunity for south Georgia, said John Hunt, University System of Georgia regent and Tift-area businessman.“We need help in the economic development in Georgia,” Hunt said. “And we want to see economic growth.” Tifton, Ga. — The groundbreaking for a planned 83,000-square-foot expansion to the University of Georgia’s Rural Development Center took place here July 24. The expansion promises to bring better educational opportunities and economic stimulus to the Tifton area and south Georgia.The $9.8-million expansion will be an addition to the current UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center here. The expansion is slated to open for business in January 2004. Construction will start in 30 days.The expansion will include:* A 3,000-seat auditorium with multi-purpose space for exhibits. One of the most important missions of the UGA CAES is “to extend our university to the people of this state. This facility will certainly help us discharge that information,” said Gale Buchanan, CAES dean and director.
By Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaA new grant will help University of Georgia and Clemson University scientists show farmers a new technology that will help them conserve water and improve the yields of their crops.The scientists will use a three-year, $500,000 Natural Resource Conservation Service grant to install on farms and conduct field days for variable-rate irrigation systems.Five center-pivot irrigation systems in Georgia and one in South Carolina will be retrofitted with VRI technology each year for the next three years, said Calvin Perry, a researcher with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.”The goal of this project is to take an innovative product like VRI to farmers,” said Perry, who is also an engineer with the UGA department of biological and agricultural engineering, “and let them test it and see it working and get them interested in using it.”Crops have to have water from rain or irrigation to grow properly. The center pivot is commonly used for irrigation in Georgia.A center pivot is a pipe that can be as long as several football fields. It’s attached to a water pump in the center or at the edge of a field. Small nozzle sprayers dangle from the pipe, which can stand 15 feet above the ground. It’s supported by triangular steel ribs on wheels. The entire system pivots in a full or half circle in the field.Farmers don’t have much control over how much water the nozzles spray as they pass over crops like peanuts, cotton or corn.Fields, even small ones, can vary widely in topography and soil types. Some places can be wetter or drier than other places in the same field.The concept behind VRI technology is simple: Apply water when and where crops need it. Don’t apply it where they don’t. VRI technology uses computer maps, sensors and software to control where and how much water the nozzles on a center pivot spray on crops.The VRI technology for this project was developed at UGA’s National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory in Tifton, Ga. UGA is in the process of getting a patent for the technology, Perry said.UGA scientists have tested the water efficiency of VRI systems on one farmer-owned field in east Georgia and two in south Georgia. The VRI systems allowed the farmers to place the right amount of water on their crops for optimal yields and reduce the water used by 8 percent to 20 percent in each year.”In most cases,” Perry said, “VRI conserves water.”There are about 10,000 center pivots in Georgia, said Kerry Harrison, an irrigation specialist with the UGA Extension Service. They’re used to water about 75 percent of Georgia’s 1.5 million acres of irrigated cropland.The grant funds will be used to identify VRI-suitable pivots in Georgia and South Carolina, Perry said. Web sites and other educational materials will be created to inform and educate stakeholders and policymakers in both states on VRI systems’ benefits for communities.To find out more about VRI, call (229) 386-3377. Or go to the Web site (www.nespal.org/vri).
Volume XXXIINumber 1Page 1 By Kristen PlankUniversity of GeorgiaUpgrading your garden to organic is not only healthy but easy to do, says Bob Westerfield, a Cooperative Extension horticulturist on the University of Georgia Griffin campus. “When I teach my organic gardening class, I use a balanced and modified approach,” said Westerfield, a consumer horticulture specialist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.To start, Westerfield recommends raised beds to set the garden apart and to allow for good drainage.The next main step is “building” the organic soil. “This is key,” he said. “Fill the beds with a combination of compost, horse or animal manure and bags of pine bark.”When you’re building the soil, it often takes a lot of animal manure to get the correct nitrate amount. Westerfield suggests supplementing the soil with a bagged fertilizer as well as organic. This will keep the plants healthy.”Some people think nitrogen from horse manure is better then Wal-Mart fertilizer,” he said. “In fact, the plant can’t tell where the nitrogen came from.”Reduce, don’t eliminateReduce the number of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers you use, he said. But you don’t have to eliminate them. “There are tons of ways to keep your plants as healthy as possible without using harsh pesticides,” he said.Organic pesticides, such as Neem and Safer Soap, are on the market to help prevent bug intrusions. Westerfield recommends nonspraying tactics such as “scouting” (counting numbers of insect pests and beneficial insects to determine control needs) and handpicking insects off plants before they become infested.Buy resistant plant varieties, too. And rotate your crops, never planting the same family of vegetables in the same place two years in a row.Best plantsWhen choosing which plants to begin a garden, Westerfield suggests picking up hybrid varieties from the store or transplants from a nursery. These are more disease-resistant and will be easier to grow.His suggestions for easy “beginner” plants: “It’s hard to fail on snap or green beans. Also, radishes, peppers and squash are good to start off.”Knowing exactly what was applied to the garden is one of the many benefits. “Growing your own crops and knowing you used nature to help it along is very satisfying,” he said.Still, pesticides aren’t bad, he insists, if you correctly follow the directions.Some commercially grown vegetables, though, enter the country without any information on the types or amounts of chemicals used, he said. This could lead to harmful effects, so be sure to wash grocery vegetables carefully.(Kristen Plank is a student writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
Severe winter weather struck Georgia last week. The dangerous mix of snow and ice that locked down much of the middle and northern parts of the state brought unusual winter worries to farmers in those regions.GreenhousesIn the nursery industry, “we’ve had several greenhouse structural failures in north Georgia,” said Matthew Chappell, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension nursery production specialist.The damage happened to greenhouse growers who didn’t “incorporate sufficient cross bracing and/or put shade cloth on the outside of a layer of plastic instead of the other way around,” he said. “If you put plastic on the outside of the shade cloth, the snow will usually slide off the structure.”Plant deliveries were delayed due to hazardous road conditions, particularly balled-and-burlapped tree deliveries where the trees are dug out of the ground, wrapped in burlap and shipped. Some growers ran low on fuel that is used to heat greenhouses. But, for the most part, Chappell said he’s received fewer calls about long-term power outages, which surprised him.As long as greenhouse plants are kept above freezing (optimally above 50 degrees Fahrenheit), damage and mortality are less likely. But the prolonged cold weather slowed plant growth, meaning it will take longer to mature them to sellable sizes. Overall, the storm last week wasn’t as bad to nursery growers as the snowfall in March 2009, he said.CattleFor cattlemen, the biggest issue was market interruption. “The snow put a lid on cattle sales,” said Josh White, the executive vice president of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association. Many cattlemen had to work to keep cattle watered, said Dennis Hancock, a UGA Cooperative Extension forage specialist. Troughs and ponds quickly froze and would refreeze throughout the week. Without proper water intake, the dry hay the animals eat can become impacted in their intestines.“We’re often breaking the ice at a time of day that’s convenient for us,” he said, “before work or after work, which is also when it’s most likely to refreeze quickest. We need to keep fresh water accessible to the animals at all times.” White said that most of the damage seems to be in the western side of the state. “I think the northern part got more snow than ice, so it comes off the trees easier.”Poultry industryFor the poultry industry, “as far as we know at present, it appears we faired pretty well,” said UGA Extension engineer Mike Czarick, who works closely with poultry producers. “It will take a little more time to see what’s happened.”He’s heard that three poultry houses collapsed in Georgia due to the storm. Eleven were destroyed in Alabama, and several in South Carolina.The biggest issue from the storm was getting feed trucks out to farms due to difficult road conditions, he said.OnionsThe cold is keeping Vidalia onion growers in southeast Georgia hoping for warmer weather.“We’ve had some frost injury,” said Reid Torrance, UGA Extension agent in Tattnall County and onion expert. “And the onions aren’t growing very well because of the weather. If the cold continues, the crop will be later.”A later crop would mean that growers lose an extra week or two of selling time, which starts later in spring.
A tree may grow in Brooklyn, but fresh vegetables will soon grow in the heart of Atlanta on a plot of land the city’s mayor has designated as an urban farming educational site.The .8-acre plot is located at 104 Trinity Avenue across from city hall. It was most recently the site of the city’s traffic court. A competition to select a design for the Trinity Avenue Farm closed Nov 1. Judges are currently reviewing designs submitted by Georgia designers. Work on the farm design will begin soon after the winner is selected.The winning design team will be given $25,000 from Wal-Mart, the major sponsor of the project. Other partners include the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Sustainable Atlanta, the Atlanta City Council, the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Georgia Organics and Truly Living Well.UGA Cooperative Extension agents in Fulton County assisted by testing the soil on the site and recommending steps to prepare the soil for plants by spring 2012. The agents will provide support for the garden by educating the farm’s managers on community gardening, locally-grown foods and fighting food desserts.The demonstration project will support the City of Atlanta’s “Power to Change” sustainability plan and its commitment to bring local food within 10 minutes of 75 percent of all residents by 2020. “Local, sustainable and organic food practices have numerous health and environmental benefits,” said Susan Varlamoff, UGA’s director of environmental sciences. “Local food is often fresher, eliminates negative externalities, such as carbon emissions, and supports our local economy. We applaud Mayor Reed and the city for joining the local food movement by showcasing urban agriculture right in the heart of downtown.”
They have a thousand legs and are often considered to be among the most disliked insects. But millipedes and centipedes aren’t even insects. In fact, millipedes are more closely related to lobsters, crayfish and shrimp.I have recently received calls concerning “a small, worm-like insect.” These worm-like pests can be seen crawling around on carports, the sides of homes and around the edges of structures by the hundreds. You may also occasionally find them dead inside your home. These callers are actually referring to millipedes or centipedes. Millipedes are often called “thousand-legged worms.” Their counterpart, the centipede, is often known as the “hundred-legged worm.” Neither the millipede nor the centipede carries diseases that affect people, animals or plants. They are most active at night, when the house centipede searches for cockroaches and other insects.Millipedes aren’t poisonous, but some species are capable of secreting chemicals that can irritate the skin and eyes and cause allergic reactions. It is not advisable to handle these pests with your bare hands. Some millipedes have a defensive spray that contains hydrochloric acid, which can burn the skin. Centipedes seldom bite, and their jaws contain poison glands.Millipede species vary in length from less than 1 inch to 2 or more inches and range in color from light brown to black. Depending on the species, centipedes vary in length from 1 to 12 or more inches, but the most common species found in Georgia is less than 5 inches long. Centipedes vary in color from light yellow to dark and reddish brown.Both the millipede and the centipede like similar cool, dark, moist environments, like under stones and logs, in the soil, wood piles, leaf litter and debris, and rotting materials.University of Georgia Cooperative Extension recommends control of these pests through habitat removal (wood piles, leaf litter and piles of trash). Moving mulch at least 3 feet away from the sides of buildings will reduce millipede breeding. Next, physically prevent them from entering your home. Make sure that doors and windows fit tightly and ensure there are no cracks or crevices available as entry points. Pesticides can also be applied. If you spray insecticides on wood piles, do not burn the wood for at least two weeks following application.For more information about millipedes or centipedes, see the UGA Extension publication “Millipedes and Centipedes” at www.extension.uga.edu/publications.
Georgia homeowners and farmers with hopes of producing pecan trees can learn the basics from University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialists during the UGA Pecan Beginners Course on Tuesday, April 16.The course will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, Georgia.Participants will learn the fundamentals of pecan production, and UGA Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells plans for the daylong workshop to be more in-depth than regular county meetings. He will show the inner workings of the pecan industry and hopes every attendee will come with an open mind.“A lot of people come into it a little naïve, not really realizing everything involved in it, but there’s nothing easy about growing pecans,” Wells said. “There’s always going to be inputs to do, scouting and other issues you have to deal with in any crop that you’re growing. There are many expenses in growing pecans and people need to realize this before getting invested in the idea.”Normally the top pecan-producing state in the U.S., Georgia had a difficult season in 2018 due to Hurricane Michael. The storm hammered southwest Georgia, a region where most of the state’s pecans are produced. The crop suffered an estimated $560 million in losses as a result of the hurricane.Wells will also discuss the importance of irrigation, fertilization, tree planting and establishment, and equipment needs.The workshop will include presentations from UGA pecan breeder Patrick Conner, who will discuss pecan varieties.UGA Extension entomologists Angel Acebes-Doria and Will Hudson will discuss insect management with a focus on ambrosia beetles. These beetles attack young, stressed trees, especially those in flooded conditions.Jason Brock, a UGA Extension plant pathologist, will talk about disease management, specifically scab disease. Pecan scab is a fungal disease that infects the leaves or nuts of pecan trees and is a perennial problem, especially if there has been a lot of rainfall. UGA Extension weed specialist Tim Grey will highlight weed control options in pecan orchards.“We should really call it the ‘UGA Pecan School’ because we try to cover everything pecan-related from every angle,” Wells said. “I’m sure it’ll be good for everyone.”For more information on the UGA Pecan Beginners Course, visit https://site.extension.uga.edu/pecan/2019/02/pecan-beginners-course/.
A recent University of Georgia Cooperative Extension survey of 431 Georgia vegetable fields found that more than 60% contained root-knot nematodes, tiny parasitic worms that feed on roots and destroy plants.The survey was conducted May through December of 2018 by UGA Extension nematologist Abolfazl Hajihassani. His research group surveyed fields in 30 Georgia counties for plant-parasitic nematodes and found 10 genera of nematodes. Root-knot nematodes are the most important nematodes that vegetables producers should be concerned with, he said.Hajihassani conducted the survey to better understand the incidence, abundance and spread of plant-parasitic nematodes within vegetable fields in southern Georgia. The counties surveyed represent about 85-90% of the state’s vegetable production.During the survey, soil samples were collected from vegetable fields and nematodes were extracted and identified to the genus level.“Right now, the root-knot nematode is the main problem in most vegetable crops grown here, based on distribution, soil population density and incidence,” he said. “Therefore, root-knot nematodes will be the target of our future research, which will include the evaluation of old and newly introduced fumigant and nonfumigant nematicides.”Root-knot nematodes can enter the plant’s roots and move through the cells where they grow, produce more eggs in only three to four weeks and cause the roots to swell. This reduces the plant’s growth and yield potential.South Georgia’s sandy soils allow nematodes to reproduce frequently because they can move easily through the soil’s loose texture.UGA Extension’s observations in the field indicated that fumigating the soil before applying plastic will stop the nematodes for the season, but only for that season.Hajihassani said that there are a few nematode-resistant vegetable varieties available, but Georgia producers don’t want to use them because of quality issues. Growers prefer to plant high-yielding varieties and use chemical nematicides, although they’re not always 100% effective.Currently, Hajihassani is researching the nine other types of nematodes the survey identified in case they could become threats to vegetable production in Georgia. This includes stubby root, ring, spiral, root lesion, reniform, lance, cyst, stunt, and dagger nematodes.“Hopefully, in one to two years, we’ll have a good source of information as to what species of nematode we have,” he said. “Through Extension agents, we have already communicated the survey data with those growers who participated in our survey. Our aim is to continue sharing the data with growers, find out what problems they have and design the appropriate management techniques.”Nematodes need three components to thrive: water, high temperatures and a suitable host. Georgia has water, hot summers and a variety of host plants, which has Georgia farmers concerned. Along with vegetables, nematodes can cause problems in cotton, peanut and tobacco plants.For more information on Hajihassani’s work and plant-parasitic nematodes, visit https://t.uga.edu/4YK.
The Vermont Interpreter Referral Service (VIRS) iscelebrating ten years of providing interpreting services for Vermonters.The Vermont Interpreter Referral Service was founded October 1,1992. Ithas grown steadily as awareness of the Service, its effectiveness, and theimplications of the landmark federal legislation, Americans withDisabilities Act (ADA), also enacted in 1992, have grown.VIRS provides state-wide interpreter and CART referral services forAmerican Sign Language (ASL)/English interpreting assignments in settingssuch as governmental, mental health, medical, legal, employment,educational, civil and recreational. VIRS serves all Vermonters, bothhearing and deaf, in need of securing a sign language interpreter.VIRS also provides advocacy for deaf clients, training opportunities forinterpreters and serves as an informational resource throughout the state.Initially established with funding from the Vermont Division of VocationalRehabilitation as a pilot project, the Service is currently funded with agrant from the Department of Aging and Disabilities and with fundsgenerated from finder¹s fees.Rene¹ Pellerin, Coordinator of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing,says, “Without question, VIRS enables a far more efficient and effectivesystem of locating interpreters for assignments throughout the state ofVermont. Without them, it would be a time consuming task for individualagencies and businesses to obtain interpreting services.”In honor of the tenth anniversary, and marking yet another leap forward inthe evolution of communications access within the state, VIRS is pleased to announce the official launch of a new comprehensive website,at: www.virs.org(link is external), providing information online for businesses,organizations, interpreters, deaf and hard of hearing people as well asinteractive options for requesting interpreters.A special anniversary event, open to the public, is scheduled for May 3,2003 at the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, 60 AustineDrive, Brattleboro. Additional details will be announced closer to thedate.
Vermont Federal Credit Union adds senior managerBURLINGTON, VT-Joseph M. Finnigan, president and CEO of Vermont Federal Credit Union (VTFCU), is pleased to announce that Janet S. Astore, CPA, has joined the Vermont Federal Credit Union senior management team as Controller.Janet brings to the Credit Union over 20 years of professional experience in accounting, finance, taxation, public accounting and administration. Prior to moving to Vermont, she worked in New York City where she held various management positions at Citibank including; Tax Department Vice President, as well as Tax Department Manager. She was employed at other large multi-national banks including; Sakura Bank, as Tax Compliance Manager, Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank as Tax Compliance Manager, and Arthur Anderson & Co. as a Public Accountant.Janet is a Certified Public Accountant. She has an M.S. in Accounting from the State University of New York in Albany, as well as a B.S. in Adult & Community Education from Cornell University. She spent several years living in Japan and is fluent in Japanese. She lives in Essex with her two sons where she enjoys being a soccer coach and a Sunday school teacher.