News

  • College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
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The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) has tapped Allen Moore, currently serving as the department head of the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Department of Genetics, to lead the college's research efforts as the CAES associate dean for research.

CAES Dean Sam Pardue announced the decision this week following a months-long national search.

“Dr. Moore brings a diverse background in genetics, ecology and entomology to our college research program,” Pardue said. “Adding his breadth of experience and perspective to our stellar faculty of researchers will help us continue on our trajectory of strong growth.”

Moore, a UGA Distinguished Research Professor, is an expert in evolutionary biology and behavior genetics; molecular and quantitative genetic studies of complex traits, especially social traits; and the development of behavior. He held various research and administrative positions in the biological sciences at the University of Manchester and the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, and in entomology at the University of Kentucky.

  • Center for Food Safety
  • College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • Food Science and Technology
  • Griffin Campus
  • Horticulture
  • STEM
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Last summer, seven seniors from Pike County High School (PCHS) in Zebulon, Georgia, with an aptitude for science made a commitment to work alongside University of Georgia Griffin campus scientists three days a week for the entire school year. This month, they will complete their yearlong partnership.

The students, Courtney Bagwell, Dylan Blohm, Abigail Chasteen, Nikki Dodson, Megan Pitts, Taylor Thomas and Talisa Watts, are the first group to take part in the off-campus internship. 

"The beauty and the flexibility of the (Pike County STEM) Academy is that we have a lot of standards, but we can pick and choose the ones that fit with science and math, and then add in the technology and the engineering through agriculture," said Greg Waits, the program's coordinator and the agriculture education teacher at the high school. 

Students are selected for the program based on their test scores in math and science. Then they take advanced classes in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas during their freshman, sophomore and junior years before participating in the off-campus experience at UGA-Griffin. 

Formally, the students earn Advanced Placement science credits for participating. They also gain a wealth of information and personal experience. 

  • College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • Griffin Campus
  • Tifton Campus
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Agriculture is Georgia’s top industry, and students from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences are learning about the diversity of agriculture during a weeklong tour across the state.

Thirty-three students are spending their spring break immersing themselves in learning more about poultry, Vidalia onions, peanuts, turfgrass and many other commodities that make agriculture an almost $14 billion industry in Georgia.

“This is an amazing tour that allows students to see Georgia agriculture up close and personal. Students learn about the complexity and sophistication of Georgia agriculture,” said Josef Broder, CAES associate dean for academic affairs. “They gain a perspective and appreciation for agriculture that better prepares them for careers in and outside of agriculture.”

The tour began on Monday in north Georgia with stops to learn about apples at Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge, Georgia; wine at Wolf Mountain Vineyards in Dahlonega, Georgia; poultry production at the Georgia Poultry Laboratory in Gainesville, Georgia; and nursery production at James Greenhouses, a family-owned and -operated perennial plug operation in Colbert, Georgia.

  • Research
  • Horticulture
  • USDA
  • College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
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Landscapers can soon add a bit of Georgia’s historical Piedmont and native prairies to their designs thanks to the creation of three new little bluestem perennial grasses, released through a University of Georgia and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) partnership.

Little bluestem grasses are native to North America and are a major component of the tallgrass prairie. They typically produce green to blue-green foliage. With names that conjure up thoughts of the ‘70s, the new little bluestem varieties are much more colorful than their traditional parents. ‘Cinnamon Girl’ has a red-burgundy glow, ‘Seasons in the Sun’ has a lavender glow and ‘Good Vibrations’ is a mix of colors: red-purple with green-yellow foliage.

The idea to breed the colorful grasses came from USDA scientist Melanie Harrison. Harrison curates more than 500 different species of grasses and safely cold stores them in the USDA Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit facility on the UGA campus in Griffin, Georgia. Most of these grasses will never be grown in home landscapes, but their genes may be used to breed specific characteristics into new grass varieties.

Looking at little bluestems day after day, Harrison began to notice ornamental characteristics.

“My job is to conserve close to 500 different species of grasses, so there’s a lot of variety,” she said. “I thought they were pretty, but I’m not a plant breeder, so I asked Carol (Robacker) what she thought.”

  • College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • FoodPIC
  • Griffin Campus
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University of Georgia scientists are now better equipped to help businesses launch new food products with the opening of the Food Technology Center, locally known as the FoodPIC building, on the UGA Griffin campus. The facility houses the university’s Food Product Innovation and Commercialization, or FoodPIC, Center.

The $7.4 million project was funded through $3.5 million from the state of Georgia and additional funds from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority and the University of Georgia.

The state-of-the-art 14,500-square-foot facility was dedicated on Jan. 30 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Speakers at the ceremony included Board of Regents Chairman Dr. C. Thomas Hopkins Jr., state Rep. David Knight (R-Griffin), Chairman of the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority Board Charles Copeland, Dean and Director of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Sam Pardue, and Pike County STEM Academy student Nikki Dodson, along with UGA President Jere W. Morehead.

“The Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center is an outstanding example of the University of Georgia using its resources to help strengthen our state’s economy,” Morehead said. “We are grateful for the support we have received for the new Food Technology Center, and we are excited to expand the reach of FoodPIC within the global food industry.”

  • Young Scholars Program
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The University of Georgia is looking for high school students, ages 16 and older, who are looking for hands-on research experience. The UGA Young Scholars Program (YSP) is a paid, six-week summer research internship in agricultural, food and environmental sciences.

Organized by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, selected students work 30 hours a week on the UGA Athens, Griffin or Tifton Campus and are actively engaged in research.

The online application for the program closes Tuesday, Jan. 31, and in-person interviews for finalists will follow. Selected interns will be notified by April 1, and the program will run from June 5 to July 14.

Alexandria Maddox, now a first-year student at UGA studying biological science, participated in the program and conducted research under Associate Professor Kerry Oliver in the UGA entomology department. She plans to attend medical school and become a gynecologist.

“This was the opportunity of a lifetime,” Maddox said. “I didn’t know that even the smallest things on earth can have such a large effect on our environment. Biology is an amazing subject.”

Young Scholars averages about 75 internship slots each summer.

The program began on the UGA Griffin Campus in 1989 and was originally intended to provide a collegiate experience to students who were not planning to attend college.

  • Retirees
  • Griffin Campus
  • Athens Campus
  • Cooperative Extension
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Seventeen UGA employees retired Dec. 1. Retirees, their job classification, department and years of service are: 

  • Alumni
  • Community
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The University of Georgia Alumni Association has released the 2017 Bulldog 100. This annual program recognizes the fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni. More than 500 nominations were submitted for the 2017 list.

The 2017 Bulldog 100 includes businesses of all sizes and from industries such as veterinary medicine, IT consulting and pest control. Several areas of the country are represented, including companies from as far north as New York and as far west as California. Of the 100 businesses, 79 are located within Georgia, and only one business has made the list all eight years: Vino Venue/Atlanta Wine School.

The Atlanta office of Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors verified the information submitted by each company and ranked the businesses based on a compounded annual growth rate during a three-year period.

  • Cooperative Extension
  • Turfgrass and Weed Science
  • Master Gardener
  • Community
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After months of abnormally dry and warm conditions, 52 north Georgia counties are now facing water use restrictions in accordance with Gov. Nathan Deal’s Level 2 drought response designation. Fifty-eight other counties are being required to implement Level 1 drought responses.

Homeowners and businesses in the affected counties must limit their landscape irrigation to two days a week. Even-numbered addresses and properties without numbered addresses may water on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. Odd-numbered addresses may water Thursdays and Sundays, also between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m.

The Level 2 drought response also calls for homeowners and business owners to refrain from washing hard surfaces, such as streets and sidewalks; washing cars at home or for fundraisers; noncommercial pressure washing; using fountains or water features; and using fire hydrants for any reason except for firefighting and public safety.

Irrigation of newly installed turf or landscape plants or vegetable gardens; irrigation at commercial nurseries, parks, sports fields and golf courses; hand-watering; and irrigation with drip or soaker hoses are exempt from these regulations, as these are considered agricultural water uses.

  • Cooperative Extension
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If you’ve walked outside during the last week, you’ve probably noticed the smell of smoke in the air. The current exceptional drought covering much of northern Georgia and surrounding states has created perfect conditions for the growth of wildfires, which can be caused by careless trash burning, sparks from chains dragging behind trailers, or in a few cases, arson. 

The smoke from the fires can be carried a long way downwind, and winds from the north this week have directed a lot of the smoke right at Athens and Atlanta. Because of high atmospheric pressure,which acts like a lid on the smoke plumes, the smoke is concentrated near the ground. As the wind shifts around with the weather patterns, areas may see exceptionally heavy smoke or may experience clearer conditions. 

Air quality conditions can be tracked at the Environmental Protection Agency’s AirNow website at airnow.gov. A web page devoted to the fires and plumes can be found at www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=topics.smoke_wildfires. Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division of Air Quality also provides a map of current conditions at amp.georgiaair.org.