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CAES Shows Off New Technologies at Sunbelt Expo

By for CAES News

Visitors to the largest farm show in the Southeast can learn a lot about what the University of Georgia is doing for them at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences tent.

"Many of the things we do are quite apparent. But most of what we do is very subtle," said CAES Dean and Director Gale Buchanan. "But it's very important. We support farmers and agriculture in Georgia, which has everything to do with the food you eat and many of the clothes you wear."

The CAES tent at the Sunbelt Expo Oct. 20-22 near Moultrie, Ga., will show off some new farm technologies. And it's not just for farmers. "A lot of the work we do benefits homeowners, too," Buchanan said.

CAES scientists can answer your questions about water quality, insects, pollution prevention and student programs at the UGA agricultural college.

The Farm/Home*A*Syst program on display at Sunbelt helps Georgians protect themselves against improper chemical use.

"We have a survey that asks about everything from yard fertilizer to wellhead protection," said Lisa Ann Kelley, a CAES pollution prevention specialist. "From that survey, we can help you make your home safer."

Kelley said the first 50 visitors who take home a survey from the pollution prevention exhibit will get a coupon for free water testing when they return the survey and a water sample.

A CAES program that can help farmers and homeowners is Distance Diagnostics through Digital Imaging. Throughout Georgia, 31 counties already have digital cameras, microscopes and computers with Internet connections. These stations make it possible to get quick answers to plant problems.

Project manager Julian Beckwith said this system lets scientists diagnose disease and insect problems and get back to the farmer or homeowner almost immediately.

"It's making a dramatic difference in how quickly a plant disease or insect problem can be treated," he said. "In many cases, it has saved the crop. The specialist could positively identify the problem and recommend a treatment in just a few hours."

A working station of this system will be at the CAES tent. Beckwith said a few samples will be sent to scientists via the World Wide Web for diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

The tent will have exhibits, too, on weather and agriculture, precision farming, ag alumni and student recruitment. It will also house "The World of Insects: fire ants, honey bees, termites, roaches and a butterfly garden."

Buchanan said he's excited about being part of the Sunbelt Expo.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for Georgians to see what's happening in agriculture," he said. "There are so many new ways to approach everyday problems. And we're researching them and getting that information to the people who can use it."