University of Georgia Provost Dr. Pamela Whitten held a Town Hall Meeting at UGA Griffin on September 9. Following the meeting, in which Dr. Whitten answered questions from staff and faculty concerning academic programs, research budgets, and other areas of interest for the campus, she lunched with area community leaders. Dr. Whitten then toured the campus with Dr. Gerald Arkin (CAES) and Dr. Doris Christopher (Academic Affairs)and met with faculty to discuss their research in plant genetic resources conservation, entomology, food science and food safety.
Backyard squash growers may not agree on which variety is best, but they do agree on one thing – squash vine borers are the enemy.
The small larvae burrow through squash plant stems, wilting and eventually killing what appear to be lush, healthy plants. Since they are hidden inside the plant, most home gardeners have no idea the pests are there until the plants wither and die.
Squash vine borers overwinter in the soil, usually where squash or zucchini plants were planted the previous season. When the adults emerge from the soil, they lay eggs on the base of the stems of susceptible plants.
They love squash, too
The tiny destructive pests love to lay their eggs on summer squash, zucchini, winter squash and pumpkin plants but seldom attack cucumber and melons. After about a week, a pale larvae hatches and eats its way into the plant stems near soil-level. As water flow is cut off, the plant wilts and literally collapses.
There is no tried and true successful method to control the pest, but University of Georgia experts do offer tips for gardeners who choose to put up a fight.
To stay ahead of the pests, plant squash as early as possible so the plants are producing before the 6 to 8 summer weeks vine borers are active.
Bob Westerfield spends his days growing vegetables and watching for problems. As University of Georgia Extension’s consumer vegetable horticulturist, he answers questions from backyard gardeners and Extension agents across the state. In the summer months, most of the questions are about tomatoes.
“I’d say 90 out of 100 vegetable calls I get in the summer are about tomatoes,” said Westerfield. “I’m not a huge fan of eating fresh tomatoes, but those who do say the fresh-grown taste is incredible. I want to love to eat them, but I just don’t like them. But I will eat them cooked, and I love ketchup.”
Plant second crop, or first, now
With Georgia’s long summer growing season, Westerfield says it’s not too late to “grab some transplants and put them in the ground” and enjoy your own homegrown tomato harvest.
“Some folks planted tomatoes early and are pulling tomatoes now. On my farm, we stagger our plantings, so that we have some tomatoes that are almost red and some just in the blooming stage,” he said.
When planting tomatoes, Westerfield says you have to keep your personal preference in mind when selecting a variety. What do you plan to do with the tomatoes? Do you want something easy tomatoes to eat fresh or ones to use for canning?
The University of Georgia Griffin Campus, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, recently held their 3rd annual NASA Science Writing Challenge banquet where area high school students were recognized for outstanding achievement in science writing. Three finalists received an all-expense paid trip to a NASA space camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL where they will participate in a six-day Advanced Space Academy. While at camp, they will be immersed in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) focusing on college and career preparations.
The winning finalists heading to space camp in July are Joshua Barkley, Spalding High School, first place; Peace Olaniran, Jonesboro High School, second place; and Cierrah Guerrero, Pike County High School, third place. The students were mentored by Dr. Ian Flitcroft and Dr. Tim Williams.
Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson and Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black came to Griffin on June 19 for a tour of the campus. The tour included updates on existing projects between Georgia Tech researchers and UGA Center for Food Safety scientists and research on parasites, pathogens on cantaloupes and an antimicrobial food rinse developed by CFS Director Michael Doyle and research scientist Tong Zhao. The guests also sampled Georgia blueberries in the sensory lab and heard updates on blueberry and poultry projects conducted in the Food Innovation and Commercialization Center. University System of Georgia Regent and local orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tommy Hopkins organized and attended the tour. State Representative David Knight was also on hand participating in campus tour.
Justin and Kristen Merrick, twin daughters of Mike and Karen Merrick of Concord, graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in May, each with a doctorate in veterinary medicine. They earned their bachelor of science degrees in biological science from UGA-Griffin in 2009 after graduating in 2005 from Fayette County High School. Justin graduated cum laude and will be practicing in Fayetteville at Fayetteville Animal Hospital and Southern Crescent Animal Emergency Clinic. Kristen graduated magna cum laude and will be practicing in Sharpsburg at East Coweta Veterinary Hospital. Both women are members of Phi Zeta, the honor society of veterinary medicine. (Photo and article credit: Griffin Daily News, Sunday, June 22, 2014, p. A14)
Dr. Walid Alali, a food scientist in the Center for Food Safety, has received the University of Georgia’s Creative Research Medal. He was honored for his research on the epidemiology and control of salmonella in the poultry industry. Dr. Alali’s research is extremely significant in GA, the US and globally. His poultry research supports one of GA’s most important commodities that, along with eggs, had a farm gate value of $5.7 Billion in 2012.
Alali is an assistant professor of epidemiology at the UGA Center for Food Safety in Griffin. His research focuses on the epidemiology and control of salmonella in the poultry industry. A significant number of foodborne illnesses caused by salmonella are tracked back to the consumption of poultry.
With funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Alali led an international food safety data collection program centered around salmonella on raw poultry sold in retail markets in emerging market countries like China, Russia and Colombia. He also investigated the presence of antibiotic-resistant strains of salmonella in these countries and found high levels of multi-drug resistance. Alali worked with the World Health Organization and local officials to plan and execute a response to this problem.
On May 20th, an articulation agreement with Gordon State College was signed. Several community members were on hand to witness the signing with Gordon’s president, Max Burns and UGA VP for Instruction, Laura Jolly. Discussions are currently underway to bring on new programs as a result of this partnership.
Dr. Gary Pederson was recently honored by the American Forage and Grassland Council (AFGC) conference when he received the AFGC Medallion Dr. Gary PedersonAward. This prestigious award is the highest honor presented by AFGC for outstanding contributions in forages and grasslands. Dr. Pederson is the Research Leader and Coordinator of the USDA, ARS, Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit located at University of Georgia Griffin. He is the first Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist to receive this award in the past 25 years and only the fifth ARS scientist to be honored with the award.
The National Academy of Inventors named Michael Doyle, University of Georgia Regent’s Professor of Food Microbiology and director of UGA’s Center for Food Safety in Griffin, Ga., to the 2013 class of NAI Fellows.
Doyle joins 143 innovators to receive NAI Fellow status, representing 94 prestigious research universities, governmental and non-profit research institutions. Collectively, the new fellows hold more than 5,600 U.S. patents. Included in the 2013 class are 26 presidents and senior leadership members of research universities and non-profit research institutes, five inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, two recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Science, and nine Nobel Laureates, among other awards and distinctions.
Election to NAI Fellow status is a professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.
Doyle is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Association for Food Protection and the Institute of Food Technologists, and is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.