Insect Scout School set for June 13 and 21

2015_midvillefd_13sGeorgia farmers and agriculture consultants hoping to refine their scouting skills are invited to this year’s Insect Scout Schools, hosted by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

The schools will be held in Tifton, Georgia, at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center on Monday, June 13, and in Midville, Georgia, at the Southeast Georgia Research and Education Center on Tuesday, June 21. The trainings in both locations will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m.

Program topics will cover scouting for bug and larval insect pests, identifying beneficial insects, and conducting in-field reviews. Participants will also learn about safety precautions and procedures. Crops that will be covered include cotton, peanuts and soybeans.

According to Phillip Roberts, Extension cotton and soybeans entomologist on the UGA Tifton Campus, the scout schools are beneficial to new insect scouts being introduced to insect monitoring. They’re also helpful for veteran insect scouts because the sessions serve as a review.

“These scout schools are very beneficial to farmers who want to learn more about insect pests and the problems they can pose to their respective crops,” said Roberts. “Not all insects are bad, and just because you see a pest doesn’t necessarily mean you have a problem that warrants chemical treatments. That’s why these schools are so important – they cover a wide range of information that’s beneficial to growers’ crops.”

For additional information about the programs, contact Debbie Rutland about the event in Tifton at 229-386-3424 or Peyton Sapp about the event in Midville at 706-554-2119.

(Kenzie Kesselring is an intern on the UGA Tifton Campus.)

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UGA CAES Dean Sam Pardue visits with agriculture industry personnel during tour of south Georgia

2016_premiumpnut&uga_02s 2016_premiumpnut&uga_33s 2016_premiumpnut&uga_44sWeeks of visits and tours across Georgia has University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean and Director Sam Pardue excited about the college improving upon the state’s No. 1 industry — agriculture.

Most recently, Pardue trekked across the state on Wednesday, April 20, with UGA Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten. The daylong tour stopped in the Georgia cities of Jesup, Screven, Douglas, Doerun and Albany, providing Pardue with an opportunity to meet leaders in the agricultural industry.

“I’m fortunate enough to serve on the CAES Dean’s Advisory Council, so I’ve had the opportunity to interact, from time to time, with Dean Pardue already. I think it’s great that he’s participating in a tour like this, meeting producers in these communities face to face at the onset of his career at the University of Georgia,” said Steven Meeks, who farms tobacco, cotton and peanuts in Wayne County, and helped greet Pardue and Whitten in Jesup on Wednesday morning.

Pardue visited with scientists on the UGA Tifton Campus a week ago and learned about various agricultural topics dealing with animal and dairy science, irrigation and vegetable commodities. Wednesday’s tour allowed Pardue a chance to meet farmers, visit with industry personnel and discuss ways in which CAES can continue to meet the needs of the state’s constituents.

“Tours like today’s give me an opportunity to meet the people who are on the ground, who are the beneficiaries of the research and UGA Cooperative Extension programs that we provide,” Pardue said. “I always say that some of our best products are the young men and women who come through our academic programs, who go out to work for companies and individual enterprises. These visits help me to connect with those folks. It helps to build relationships so that people have the freedom to pick up the phone and say, ‘Hey, here’s a need that’s not being addressed.’’’

Wednesday’s tour culminated in visits to the Premium Peanut plant in Douglas and the Mobley Gin Co. in Doerun. The stops highlighted two commodities that dominate Georgia’s agricultural landscape. Doerun is located in Colquitt County, the state’s fourth-leading cotton-producing county in 2014, according to the 2014 Georgia Farm Gate Value Report, published by the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development (CAED). Colquitt County netted more than $41.6 million in farm gate value for cotton.

Douglas is located in Coffee County, one of the state’s top peanut-producing counties. Coffee County recorded more than $15.2 million in farm gate value in 2014 for peanuts, according to the CAED.

However, Georgia producers who farm these crops have endured difficult economic times in recent years due to low market prices, especially in cotton. Prices for cotton dropped as low as 57 cents per pound this year, compared to four years ago when it was selling for more than $1 per pound, according to the Georgia Cotton Commission. Pardue heeded the concerns and understands the role that CAES plays in overcoming these challenges.

“We’ll never be able to precisely predict or control the markets, but having expertise in agricultural economics allows us to be better positioned to forecast where the markets are headed and to assist our producers. Hopefully, these forecasts can give the producer an opportunity to adjust their product selection going forward, based upon where we think the market is moving,” Pardue said.

Not only do cotton and peanuts play a leading role in the state’s economy, but so, too, do poultry, peaches, pines and pecans. Georgia has also emerged as the country’s leading producer of blueberries.

Whitten, who also visited with UGA Extension personnel in March in Tifton, Georgia, emphasized that the university has a $4.4 billion annual economic impact on the state and is working to make that figure even higher.

“UGA has a long and proud history of advancing agriculture in Georgia, and Dean Pardue and I have crisscrossed the state to help make sure that our teaching, research and outreach support the needs of Georgia’s largest industry for years to come,” Whitten said.

(By Clint Thompson, news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences based in Tifton.)

View photos from tour of Premium Peanut in Douglas, Georgia.

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April 2016 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The April 2016 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

april2016sepf_coverThis issue features the:

  • 2016 Disease Guidebook
  • 2016 Insect Guidebook
  • Peanut Leadership Academy travels to Washington, D.C.
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Legislative Update
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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USDA Seeks Nominees for Peanut Standards Board

USDAThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking nominations for peanut producers and industry representatives to serve on the Peanut Standards Board.

The board consists of 18 members with representation equally divided between peanut producers and industry representatives.  Representation is divided among three regions:  the Southeast (Alabama, Georgia, and Florida), the Southwest (Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico), and Virginia/North Carolina.  Each region has three producer seats and three industry representative seats with staggered 3-year terms.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will appoint one producer and one industry representative from each region to succeed members whose terms expire on June 30, 2016.  The six new members will serve terms ending on June 30, 2019.

The 2002 Farm Bill established the Peanut Standards Board to consult with USDA regarding quality and handling standards for domestically produced and imported peanuts.  The board plays a key role in representing the U.S. peanut industry on issues affecting quality and marketability.

USDA encourages board membership that reflects the diversity of the industry it represents.  All eligible women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are invited to seek nomination for a seat on the Peanut Standards Board by the May 2, 2016, deadline.

For nominating forms and additional board information, visit:, or contact Steven W. Kauffman, Marketing Specialist, or Christian D. Nissen, Regional Director, Southeast Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (863) 837-1551, Fax: (863) 291-8614, or E-mail: or

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March 2016 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The March 2016 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

march2016coverThis issue features the:

  • 2016 Weed Guidebook
  • 2016 Inoculant Guidebook
  • Time to get irrigation systems checked
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Legislative Update
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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Screven County’s John McCormick wins Georgia Farmer of the Year


Georgia Farmer of the Year for 2016, John McCormick and his wife Paula McCormick, accept his award from Gov. Nathan Deal. Screven County Extension Coordinator Ray Hicks and Georgia House Majority Leader, Rep. Jon Burns, are on hand to congratulate them. Image credit: Merritt Melancon.

For John McCormick, farming is a tradition. His ability to help his farm evolve over the years earned him the title of “Georgia Farmer of the Year.”

The Sylvania, Georgia, corn, peanut and soybean farmer was in Atlanta, Georgia, this week to be honored by Gov. Nathan Deal as part of Deal’s Ag Awareness Day at the Georgia Capitol. McCormick’s wife, Paula, and their four sons and daughters-in-law were on hand as well.

McCormick will represent Georgia at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia, in October, when the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award is presented.

Ray Hicks, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension coordinator for Screven County, nominated McCormick, who pioneered the use of new technologies, like GPS-guided machinery and variable-rate irrigation, in southeast Georgia.

“He is a very diversified farmer who has used modern technology to help improve the profitability and sustainability of this farm. (He’s used) variable-rate irrigation and GPS on his tractor and has adopted conservation tillage on his land,” Hicks said.

McCormick started farming with his father as a child, but he didn’t decide it was how he wanted to spend his life until high school, when he undertook a series of projects through Georgia 4-H.

His father allowed him to use part of his land for the 4-H projects, and he learned to love the experimental nature of farming — trying new things and seeing if they would improve his crop.

Over his 42-year career, McCormick has never stopped experimenting and trying to make his operation better. Starting in 1974 as a Bulloch County, Georgia, tobacco farmer, he has diversified his crops and embraced new technologies that have allowed him to improve his yields with fewer resources and to care for the land.

Over the years he also raised swine and cattle, but he was able to change directions when those parts of the farming business no longer made sense, said Mark McCann, UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences assistant dean for Extension.

“Helping your farm evolve doesn’t just mean taking on the newest technology and techniques; it’s also the ability to let things go,” said McCann, who worked with McCormick during the late 1980s. “People sometimes have a harder time with that than with adopting the new stuff. The thing about John is that he hasn’t allowed himself to be tied down. It’s not always been about the adoption of new technology, but it’s about the strategy of how he defines his farm.”

Over the years, McCormick’s focus has been on improving the efficiency and sustainability of his farm and leaving his land in better shape than it was when he bought it.

“(Our goal is) to reduce erosion, improve soil health and use the latest, best management practices that are available and applicable,” McCormick wrote. “Due to ongoing research, the goals have evolved through the years and will continue to change as research unveils new ways to improve soil health and produce more crops with higher yields on less acreage.”

Through research partnerships with UGA Extension and several agricultural supply companies, McCormick works to provide better farming methods not only for himself, but for other southeast Georgia farmers as well.

“I guess you could say that I could write a book on the reasons why I farm,” McCormick wrote. “The love the land, nature and all of the challenges that farming brings each and every day — (these) are just a few reasons that I chose farming for me and my family.”

By Merritt Melancon, University of Georgia

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Patterson New Dean/Director of Auburn College of Agriculture/AAES

Paul Patterson, Dean of the College of AgricultureAuburn University alumnus Paul Patterson has been named dean of the College of Agriculture and director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, effective immediately. Patterson has served as associate dean for instruction in Auburn’s College of Agriculture for almost seven years.

Auburn Provost Timothy Boosinger announced Patterson’s selection Feb. 19 following a national search.

“Dr. Patterson has an excellent connection with students, both in the classroom and in the field,” Boosinger said. “His background in agricultural economics, especially in international research and marketing, will help Auburn continue its role as a leader in food production for the world. We look forward to his leadership.”

In his role as dean, Patterson will report to Boosinger; as director of the AAES, he will report to Auburn President Jay Gogue. He succeeds Arthur Appel, who had served as interim dean and director since June 2015. Appel, a professor of entomology, will return to his research and teaching role in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology.

Patterson, an Auburn native who graduated from the College of Agriculture in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and economics, returned to his alma mater in June 2009 to serve as associate dean of the college. In that position, he was responsible for all instructional programs in the college’s eight academic units, nine undergraduate programs and 19 graduate programs.

In that position, Patterson oversaw the development of five new undergraduate and graduate degree programs, increased alumni engagement with the college, improved academic advising services, expanded professional development opportunities for students, worked to enhance the college’s relationship with community colleges and led efforts to develop departmental promotion and tenure guidelines for faculty.

“All these accomplishments were realized through working with great faculty and staff,” he said.

Patterson said he is grateful for the opportunity to move Auburn agriculture forward.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected as dean and director,” he said. “The College of Agriculture and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station have very important legacies at Auburn University and across the state and nation. We are at a pivotal point in history, where we must build for the future.

“I look forward to working with the faculty and staff, our university partners and our stakeholders to strengthen the college and experiment station,” he said. “It is my goal to make sure that Auburn is among the premier colleges of agriculture.”

After graduating from Auburn in 1985, Patterson enrolled at Purdue University and was awarded a master’s degree in agricultural economics in 1987. He spent the next two years working as a cotton analyst for the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service and then returned to Purdue as a USDA National Needs Fellow in International Marketing and began pursuing his doctorate in agricultural economics. He completed his Ph.D. in 1994.

That same year, he joined the faculty at Arizona State University’s Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness, where he taught courses in agricultural marketing, management science and food and agricultural policy and conducted researching on issues ranging from food marketing and industrial organization to international trade and food and agricultural policy. He was named interim dean of the school in 2006 and dean in 2007, serving in that role until returning to Auburn.

Patterson and wife Louisa have four grown daughters—Roxanna, Virginia, Amanda and Christine; one son, Clayton, a student at Auburn Junior High School; and one granddaughter, Ellen Olivia.

Patterson’s father, the late R.M. Patterson, was a longtime College of Agriculture faculty member who served as head of Research Data Analysis until his retirement in 1985. His mother, the late Jean Patterson, worked for many years as Auburn High School librarian.

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Survey aims to collect farmer feedback on USDA programs

A new online survey launched by the American Farm Bureau Federation will collect feedback from farmers and ranchers about their experiences with 10 Agriculture Department programs housed in three agencies. Results will be used by AFBF to develop recommendations on how USDA can enhance its programs and make them more useful to farmers and ranchers.

All farmers and ranchers, not just Farm Bureau members, are encouraged to take the survey, which takes about 10 minutes to complete.

The survey focuses on the following USDA programs from the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rural Development:

•           Environmental Quality Incentives Program;
•           Conservation Stewardship Program;
•           Conservation Reserve Program;
•           Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program;
•           Value-Added Agricultural Producer Grants;
•           Rural Energy for America Program;
•           Farmers’ Marketing and Local Food Promotion Program;
•           Direct Farm Ownership Loans;
•           Direct Farm Operating Loans; and
•           Guaranteed Farm Loans (farm operating and farm ownership).

AFBF will share feedback from the survey about what is working well with the programs and how they can be improved with USDA.

Take the survey online through March 15 at

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Samuel Pardue named Dean of UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean and Director Sam Pardue - January 2016Samuel Pardue, a noted poultry science researcher and administrator at North Carolina State University, has been named dean and director of the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Pardue is currently associate dean and director of academic programs at NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and his appointment at UGA is effective March 14.

“I am pleased that Dr. Pardue is joining the university as the next dean and director of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “His academic background and professional experience are ideal for leading the College at a very exciting time in its history and working with key stakeholders and alumni who are critical to our future success.”

Since 2012, Pardue has overseen the academic programming in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ 16 departments. Prior to being named associate dean, he served for seven years as the head of the department of poultry science, which in 2012 was named the Prestage Department of Poultry Science in honor of a $10 million gift he helped secure.

Pardue helped double the number of poultry science majors, expanded distance education offerings and acquired external funding to modernize teaching laboratories. In addition, he served as the co-principal investigator on a USDA grant to increase the multicultural diversity of agriculture students and was a founding member of the college’s Diversity Council.

He has conducted his research with $2.5 million in external funding, holds three patents and has published nearly 100 journal articles, book chapters and abstracts. Pardue has given invited presentations across the United States and in Australia, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Mexico.

His additional honors include being named to the NC State Academy of Outstanding Teachers, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor and receiving the Purina Mills Award for Teaching.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to work with UGA’s outstanding administration, faculty, staff, students, alumni, friends, and Georgia’s dynamic agricultural community,” Pardue said. “The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has played a significant role in growing Georgia’s #1 economic sector. It is a college with a long and honored history. I look forward to an even brighter future for CAES.”

Pardue earned his bachelor’s degree in poultry science and his master’s and doctoral degrees, both in physiology, from NC State. He completed his postdoctoral training in genetics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and began his academic career at Texas A&M University.

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Peanut Production Meetings Scheduled for February

Alabama peanut farmers can learn more about their industry at any of seven peanut production meetings held across the state next month. Topics will include market outlook, peanut varieties, crop management and insect control.

The meetings will be coordinated by the Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA), Alabama Cooperative Extension System and Auburn University. Dates, times and locations are below. For more information, call APPA at (334) 792-6482 or email

  • Feb. 18
    • 11 a.m. at Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, 1445 Federal Dr., Montgomery
  • Feb. 19
    • 11 a.m. at North Alabama Agriplex Center, 1714 Tally Ho St. SW, Cullman
  • Feb. 22
    • 5:30 p.m. at Wiregrass Research & Extension Center, 167 State Highway 134 E, Headland
  • Feb. 23
    • 11 a.m. at 5 County Complex, 1055 East McKinnon St., New Brockton
  • Feb. 25
    • 11 a.m. at Lighthouse Restaurant, 12495 Co. Rd. 23, Irvington
    • 5:30 p.m. at Baldwin County Farmers Federation, 21332 AL-59, Robertsdale
  • Feb. 26
  •  11 a.m. at Grace Fellowship Church, 1412 E. Nashville Ave., Atmore
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