Published on 10/22/15

UGA CAES highlights outreach, importance of Georgia agriculture at Sunbelt Ag Expo

By Clint Thompson

The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ outreach at the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo and the presence of university, college and UGA Cooperative Extension leaders at the event highlighted Georgia's importance, and UGA's role, in regional and national agriculture.

Academic leaders were on hand at this week's 38th annual Sunbelt Agricultural Expo to discuss potential agricultural careers with students. UGA Extension agents and specialists shared programming information. Overall, UGA’s contributions to agriculture were on display during the three-day event.

“UGA has a profound impact on (the) Sunbelt (Agricultural Expo). It’s just another way for us to extend our educational reach. We do take it very seriously and implement it as part of our educational efforts,” said Joe West, assistant dean of the UGA Tifton Campus.

UGA’s presence was bolstered on Tuesday, expo’s opening day, by a visit from UGA President Jere Morehead. “This visit has been outstanding. I have seen a lot, learned a lot and really enjoyed being around the people involved in the most important and largest industry in the state,” Morehead said. “I learn a little more about the important and strong relationship between UGA and the agriculture industry each year that I participate in this great event.” Part of a contingent that also included Jennifer Frum, UGA vice president for public service and outreach, Morehead visited with agricultural leaders from within CAES and across Georgia to learn more about agriculture, the state’s No. 1 industry.

“I think that having the president here is important because it sends the signal to the industry that UGA is really interested, and recognizes how important agriculture is,” West said. “President Morehead has been here every year that he’s been president, and I think that’s significant in itself. On the flip side, it’s important for the president to be here to see what’s going on in Georgia agriculture because I think it cements in his mind just how significant an industry it is.”

UGA CAES is one of the top land-grant colleges in the country. During the three-day expo this week, academic recruiters from the college’s three Georgia campuses—in Athens, Griffin and Tifton—interacted with high school and college students, informing them of the various careers that can come from a CAES degree.

Breanna Coursey, admissions counselor for the UGA Tifton Campus, used the week to educate potential students about the campus’ availability.

“Being part of the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo, we have the potential to talk about the many advantages and career opportunities that someone with a degree from UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has,” said Coursey. “With this great event attracting students from all over the Southeast, the opportunities to educate students and their parents about our great college are endless.”

Along with academic personnel, UGA Extension agents, specialists and researchers presented information to expo attendees on a host of agricultural topics. Poultry science experts gave presentations on layer flock production and backyard flock nutrition. Each day, the UGA Forage Group shared the latest research on the use of legumes in adding quality to forage. UGA animal scientists provided information on beef cattle production. UGA Extension dairy scientists answered questions and gave research presentations at the expo dairy exhibit.

Walking is a big part of the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo, and UGA Extension representatives encouraged visitors to participate in UGA Extension’s Walk Georgia program, a free, online, fitness program that encourages Georgians to become physically active and live healthy lifestyles. For more on Walk Georgia, visit

“UGA Cooperative Extension is the best in the country. What makes us great is the ability we have to form relationships with the public, educate them about the latest news in the agriculture industry and be a resource that people can count on. That’s what this week is all about,” said Laura Perry Johnson, associate dean for UGA Extension. “It’s great to showcase what UGA Extension is all about.”

For more about UGA Extension, visit

Clint Thompson is an agriculture writer based in Tifton, Georgia.

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