Campus News

CAES dean visits with agriculture industry leaders in south Georgia

Dean Sam Pardue talks with Andrea Taylor at Premium Peanut in Douglas. Pardue visited spots across south Georgia April 20 to meet leaders in agriculture.

Weeks of visits and tours across Georgia has UGA 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 April 20 with UGA Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten. The daylong tour stopped in Screven County and the cities of Jesup, 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,” said Steven Meeks, who farms tobacco, cotton and peanuts in Wayne County and helped greet Pardue and Whitten in Jesup. “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 here at the University of Georgia.”

Pardue visited with scientists on the UGA Tifton campus recently and learned about various agricultural topics. The April 20 tour gave Pardue a chance to meet farmers, visit with industry personnel and discuss ways in which the college can continue to meet the needs of the state’s constituents.

“Tours like (these) 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.’ ”

The 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. 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 center.

Whitten, who also visited with UGA Extension personnel in March in Tifton, 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.