The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded nearly $1.6 million in research funding to University of Georgia’s Jack Huang to research cost-effective treatments to remove per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from water, wastewater and biosolids to ensure safe water for drinking and agricultural application in rural areas. Huang, a professor in the department of Crop and Soil Sciences on the UGA Griffin campus, is one of only three research teams to receive funding from the EPA.
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
A literature review by University of Georgia researchers has helped identify the most effective antimicrobial agents for preventing the spread of COVID-19 within the food supply chain.
As COVID-19 began to spread throughout the U.S. earlier this year, Govind Kumar, an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology and a faculty member in the UGA Center for Food Safety, Laurel Dunn and Abhinav Mishra, assistant professors in the Department of Food Science and Technology, and Center for Food Safety Director Francisco Diez collaborated to determine ways they could contribute to the knowledge base for members of the food industry regarding the novel coronavirus.
“Meat manufacturing plants began to shut down because so many people in these industries were getting sick. We are not virologists, but this is a medical problem that definitely affected the food chain,” Kumar said.
With information and scientific studies about the virus being released at a rapid rate, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences researchers decided to examine relevant studies to identify and share practicable information for use in the food industry. The research team looked at studies on a range of biocides effective in eliminating or reducing the presence of coronaviruses from surfaces that are likely to carry infection, such as clothes, utensils and furniture, as well as skin, mucous membranes, air and food contact materials.
University of Georgia researcher Dario Chavez has been named to the Fruit and Vegetable 40 Under 40 Class of 2020 by Fruit Growers News. The prestigious honor places Chavez within a small group of young professionals who are making remarkable contributions within the industry.
A native of Riobamba, Ecuador, and part of an accomplished farm with a lineage spanning four generations, Chavez began his stint at UGA in 2014 as a researcher and UGA Cooperative Extension specialist. He has since implemented groundbreaking research focusing on plant production and environmental sustainability with a focus on one of Georgia’s key crops — peaches.
“The UGA peach research and extension program in the Department of Horticulture had been vacant for almost eight years before my hire,” said Chavez. “One of my major accomplishments is the setup and establishment of a functional research and extension program from scratch.”
At age 36, his achievements in the peach industry have been remarkable and deserving of the important award, which he describes as “an honor and a great recognition.” His peers at UGA have since echoed the praise.
Students and families are encouraged to participate in the second annual Great Georgia Pollinator Census on August 21-22 coordinated by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.
About 4,500 participants documented more than 131,000 insect sightings as part of the inaugural census in 2019, and more than 100 events related to the project took place around the state.
This year's count may look a bit different with social distancing recommendations in place, but organizers are encouraging participants to plan on counting pollinators at home, whether solo or with their families.
Census takers are asked to count pollinators on a favorite pollinator plant with abundant insect activity for 15 minutes each day using the provided observation sheet.
“The goals of the project are to gather data on pollinator insect populations, foster pollinator habitats and increase entomological literacy about these insects,” said Becky Griffin, UGA Extension school garden and pollinator census coordinator. She modeled the program on the Great Backyard Bird Count, a citizen science program run by Cornell University that asks people to count the birds they see in their backyard.
If you’ve ever wondered how to protect your home from termites, tune in to your local Georgia Public Broadcasting station this weekend when two University of Georgia professors will join forces to show viewers the proper steps to help keep their homes pest-free.
University of Georgia entomologist Dan Suiter, a professor on the UGA Griffin campus, and Nick Fuhrman, a professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) on the Athens campus — better known as “Ranger Nick” to viewers of the monthly Georgia Farm Monitor television show — will appear together on the July episode of the show with tips to stop termites.
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension will be offering a free, online school garden symposium for educators starting at 10 a.m. June 16.
Four one-hour presentations will be presented on the following topics:
- Fruit in the school garden — Ashley Hoppers, Gilmer and Fannin County Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension agent
- Seed saving — Rosann Kent, lecturer, Department of Education, University of North Georgia
- Vermiculture — Josh Fuder, Cherokee County Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension agent
- Using the Great Georgia Pollinator Census with school gardens — Becky Griffin, Extension school and community garden coordinator
Participating teachers will learn four presentation-related activities that they can take back to the classroom with them, according to Griffin, who is organizing the workshop. There will be time during the webinar for questions and networking.
As the spring harvest approached, members of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association knew they would need assistance to provide important information about COVID-19 safety measures and food handling protocols to workers who make up the majority of the seasonal agricultural workforce, many of whom are native Spanish speakers.
University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Cooperative Extension faculty responded quickly by producing a COVID-19 safety video in Spanish that could be incorporated into farm employee trainings.
UGA Extension Southwest District Director Andrea Scarrow, Tift County Extension Agent Justin Hand, and Assistant Professor Laurel Dunn in the UGA Department of Food Science and Technology were a part of the group that spearheaded the effort to quickly produce and distribute the video resources to producers throughout the state.
Bill Brim, CEO of Lewis Taylor Farms in Tift County, previously worked with UGA Extension to develop financial education materials in Spanish for temporary workers at the farm, so he knew who to ask when the need for COVID-19 educational materials arose, Scarrow said.
University of Georgia food science graduate student Ikechukwu “Ike” Oguadinma, 27, has been awarded the Food Safety Auditing Scholarship from the Food Marketing Institute Foundation in partnership with the Safe Quality Food Institute.
Oguadinma is one of 15 students who received the award at the SQF International Conference held last October in San Antonio, Texas. Each student received a $3,000 scholarship and an all-expense-paid trip to attend the conference with more than 850 food safety professionals.
A native of Nigeria, Oguadinma came to the U.S. to study food science after earning an undergraduate degree in biochemistry. He selected UGA after researching leading food science teaching and research programs in the U.S.
“I discovered that UGA has one of the best programs in food science in the country, boasting of esteemed food-safety researchers such as (Distinguished Research Professor) Dr. (Larry) Beuchat and (Regents Professor) Dr. (Michael) Doyle. These are very remarkable people and I knew to work with them and current outstanding faculty in the UGA food science department would teach me a lot and enable me to grow in my career,” he said.
We are pleased to announce that Dr. G. David Buntin, a dedicated member of the UGA faculty, has been named Interim Assistant Provost and Campus Director at the UGA Griffin campus, effective Nov. 1. He succeeds Dr. Lew Hunnicutt, who has been named the president of Nash Community College in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Dr. Hunnicutt has made several contributions to the UGA Griffin campus, including increasing graduate enrollment, elevating private support, and strengthening partnerships with the local community. I hope that you will join us in thanking him for his leadership at UGA-Griffin and congratulating him on his new leadership role. Dr. Buntin is a professor of entomology in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and his research and extension activities focus on integrated pest management. He has been an active member of several committees at both the college and university level, and we appreciate his willingness to lead UGA-Griffin during this transition period.
University of Georgia Department of Entomology Professor Dan Suiter has been named the chair of the UGA Center for Urban Agriculture Faculty Advisory Committee.
Suiter’s appointment will enhance the programming aspect of the center, according to Laura Perry Johnson, associate dean for UGA Cooperative Extension in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). Suiter will work closely with center Director Sheldon Hammond, who will continue to oversee the business and personnel administration functions of the center.
Based on the UGA Griffin campus, the Center for Urban Agriculture supports UGA Extension’s urban programs by providing county agent training programs, tools and resources; communicating the latest research-based urban agriculture advice through newsletters, articles, alerts, publications, videos and social media; organizing new initiatives; collaborating on interdisciplinary projects and research; advancing and updating current program training materials; and administering multiyear programs and projects.
“Our state continues to have population growth and most of that is in the nine largest counties in Georgia. Issues and problems associated with this urban growth come in many forms and cross many disciplines and departments,” Perry Johnson said. “Dan will work to build diverse teams around urban issues and coordinate programming efforts related to urban programs and projects.”