Published on 09/13/12

Advancing Georgia's Leaders in Agriculture names inaugural class

By Merritt Melancon

Organizers of the agricultural leadership program Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture have chosen 22 professionals from across the state to participate in the program’s inaugural class.

Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture is housed in and supported by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. AGLA is also supported by numerous agricultural and forestry organizations and associations throughout Georgia.

AGLA’s founders aim to educate and empower Georgia’s agricultural leaders to become effective advocates for the largest economic drivers in Georgia — the state’s agricultural and forestry industries, said Rochelle Strickland, the program’s founding director and a public service assistant in the college.

“We are excited about the group of individuals that have been selected to participate in class I of AGLA,” Strickland said. “They are a high quality, diverse and committed group of professionals who will play an integral role in not only establishing this program, but in the continued growth and development of our industry.”

AGLA is designed to bring together leaders from all segments of the state’s agriculture and forestry industries. Over a two-year period, they will help one another understand and analyze the issues facing their industries, as well as challenges that may emerge in the future.

AGLA’s inaugural class members are:

  • Brent Allen of the UGA Cooperative Extension Service, Johnson County •
  • Brandon Ashley of the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation, Bibb County •
  • Tim Bland of Newport Timber, Bulloch County •
  • Scott Cochran of House of Raeford Farms, Franklin County •
  • Sarah Cook of the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, Turner County •
  • Kevin Cronic of House of Raeford Farms, Anderson, S.C. •
  • Steven Gibson of the UGA CAES Business Office, Clarke County •
  • Jennifer Harris of White Oak Pastures, Early County •
  • Jon Harris of AgSouth Farm Credit, Pierce County •
  • Jutt Howard of North Georgia Turf, Heard County •
  • Craig Howell of Harris Moran Seed Company, Berrien County •
  • Jesse Johnson of the Southern Land Exchange, Oglethorpe County •
  • Trey Joyner of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Dekalb County •
  • Sherry Morris of the Georgia Green Industry Association, Fannin County •
  • Duane Myers of Kroger, Henry County •
  • Tate O’Rourke of U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson’s office, Hall County •
  • Maggie Potter of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Muscogee County •
  • Mark Risse of UGA CAES, Oconee County •
  • Amanda Tedrow of UGA Cooperative Extension, Clarke County •
  • Rebecca Thomas of UGA Cooperative Extension, Chattooga County •
  • Chris Wheeler of AGrowStar, Houston County •
  • Derick Wooten of Rocky Hammock Farms, Jeff Davis County

Those seeking more information about the Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture can visit .


Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.