The Stripling Family Foundation of Camilla, Georgia, has been recognized with the Epsilon Sigma Phi National Friend of Extension award for their many years of philanthropic and personal support of agriculture programs in Georgia.
Charles and Patsy Stripling, who received the award, credited Charles's parents, the late C.M. Stripling and Bernice Campbell Stripling, for their many decades of support for agricultural research, education and outreach in the state.
C.M. Stripling donated 130 acres in Mitchell County that now house University of Georgia’s Stripling Irrigation Research Park (SIRP), a state-of-the-art irrigation research and education center providing an easily accessible facility to assist farmers in managing irrigation and the general public in understanding the role of water in the economy of the region.
“Mr. Stripling was a pioneer in the start of modern irrigation farming in Georgia and national Forester of the Year. His passion and desire to protect our land, water and plant resources motivated him to develop the most advanced irrigation feasible for the Dougherty Plain conditions in Georgia,” said Jennifer Grogan, a former Mitchell County agent with University of Georgia Cooperative Extension who helped present the award to the the Stripling family.
UGA scientists, engineers, Extension specialists and staff collaborate at SIRP to define crop water needs; improve food, feed and fiber production under irrigation; investigate the effectiveness of chemigation and fertigation; and find more efficient ways to apply irrigation water. Industry partners are able to test equipment and water conservation strategies for Georgia under the objective eye of UGA researchers.
The Striplings also helped to establish the 4-H2O Day Camp, a three-day summer program for Georgia 4-H students held at the Stripling Research Park to teach children about water conservation and stewardship. The Stripling Family Foundation also funds a yearly scholarship for Georgia 4-H students to support youth participation in agriculture.
“Their support of Extension programs in all areas has never wavered. The Stripling Family Foundation always looked at Extension as a team and included all program areas — 4-H, Agriculture and Natural Resources and Family and Consumer Sciences,” Grogan said.
Laura Perry Johnson, associate dean for Extension at the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, lauded the Stripling family for devoting “time, knowledge, and financial contributions to the youth and citizens of the state of Georgia.”
“The Stripling Irrigation Research Park is arguably the premier irrigation research and education facility in the Eastern United States. There is much anecdotal evidence that educational and research activities at SIRP are making an impact on the area's farmers as they are becoming more receptive to opportunities to improve their irrigation systems and methods,” Johnson said. “The Stripling family makes it possible for county programs to continue to educate youth on the importance of water efficiency, proper irrigation methods and conserving water throughout the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin.”
To learn more information about UGA Extension, visit extension.uga.edu.
Epsilon Sigma Phi is a national honor society that recognizes excellence in the Extension community, provides networking and leadership opportunities, and facilitates professional development.