Spring Semester 2019 |Volume 2
Our Dean's Update
I hope everyone had a great holiday season and a wonderful start to the New Year! The Spring Semester is in full swing with the start of classes on January 8. Our Spring 2019 enrollment is 1,083 (1,231 if the Education two-year transfer students are included). This is a 2.7% increase from Spring 2018 enrollment. We are extremely fortunate to continue to see growth in all our degree programs. ABAC’s total enrollment is 3,892 (for all instructional sites), which again broke a record!
 
Our Forestry track in the BS in Natural Resource Management went through an accreditation site review by the Society of American Foresters this past November. We just received the review team’s report, which overall, was very complementary. The only unfortunate part of this process is we will not know the accreditation committee’s final decision until after their national convention in late October. However, we all feel confident it will happen. Kudos to the faculty, staff and students of the Forest Resources Department along with the campus community for all of their hard work and hospitality during the accreditation team’s site review. In addition, the Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society is hosting this year’s Southeastern Student Conclave over Spring Break (March 21-23). We are right in the middle of planning and fundraising for this campus-wide event. We are looking forward to showcasing ABAC by hosting 24 collegiate chapters with almost 500 students and faculty advisers in attendance! 
 
Our first cohort of 24 agricultural education students have been placed across the state for their student teaching experience under the mentorship of a master agricultural education teacher. These 24 students will also be the first graduates of our BS in Agricultural Education. May 9 will be a very special graduation ceremony! I am very proud of all of the hard work by these students and the faculty of our Education Department to make this happen. 
 
Construction has begun on a new greenhouse out at the farm. We were fortunate to have received a grant from the GA Department of Education to help with construction. The old greenhouse is still being used (circa 1984) and will provide a good comparison between old and new technology for our students in agricultural education and environmental horticulture. We hope to have it completed in the next couple of months.
 
We have begun a fundraising campaign for a new stock trailer for the Beef Unit. The current stock trailer is over 30 years old and has served us well; however, it is time to put it out to pasture! If you are interested in helping with this effort, please contact Dr. Deidre Martin, Director of College Advancement, at 229-391-4907 or dmartin@abac.edu. All levels of giving are appreciated.
 
This is just a few highlights of the many things happening in the School! I am sure each of the Department Heads will expand on their areas in their Department Update. We look forward to a great semester! Please stop by and see us when you are in the area! 
 
Sincerely,
Dr. Mark Kistler
Dean
Department of Agriculture
The adage in real estate is location, location, location and in today’s job market it’s networking, networking, networking! As a department, we work diligently to make sure our students have the chance to network within the Agriculture industry and to grow professionally. During the spring semester we will provide a myriad of such opportunities.

In January, students were given the opportunity to attend the Southeast Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference, the Georgia Peanut Farm Show, the Georgia Plant Food Educational Society meeting, the Georgia Cotton Commission Annual Meeting, and the UGA Corn Short Course.

Dr. Mary Ellen and Doug Hicks escorted six students to the National Cattleman’s Beef Association Convention and Trade Show held in New Orleans, January 29 through February 2. The students attended educational sessions and networked with vendors and NCBA officers.

Dr. Michael Maw took two students to the Southern Branch of the American Society of Agronomy meeting in Birmingham, AL, from February 2-4. They competed in an undergraduate poster competition against students from across the southeastern U.S. Their poster title was ‘Supplemental Nitrogen Use in Soybeans’.

Mr. John Layton and Mr. Justin Exum accompanied 12 students to the 2019 Golf Industry Show in San Diego, CA, February 5-8. The turf students participated in the trade show, networked with green industry professionals, and visited with numerous ABAC alumni at the conference. Several students gained internship opportunities from the trip, and the graduating seniors even participated in informal job interviews. Each year, ABAC has a booth at the Golf Industry Show, and this gives alumni and other industry professionals a chance to engage with current students and hear about the hands-on learning opportunities that ABAC continues to provide. 
 
Allison Miller and Suzanne Bentley guided 15 students as they attended and participated in the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, February 12-14. During the IPPE, the U.S. Poultry Foundation hosts a College Student Career Program. Historically, each of the students will go through at least two interviews (some have up to 10 interviews) while attending and come home with numerous internship and full-time job opportunities. Funding received from the U.S. Poultry Grant covers most of the expenses.

Dr. John Lai will be leading four students to attend the National Grocer’s Association show on February 24-27 in San Diego, California. Students will be part of a mentorship program where they will be paired with experienced industry professionals. Students will establish a connection and engage with industry influencers as well as develop their professional network at the show. While in attendance, students will study retail, supply chain, and food marketing, and discuss industry trends, issues affecting food businesses, and learn about potential career paths. Students will be exposed to the latest developments in the grocery industry focused on meat, produce, specialty foods, coffee, technology, seasonal merchandise, and Latino cuisine. While students navigate through the 400 companies showcasing the most innovative and exciting new products in the market among 3,500 industry professionals, students will also come across specialty pavilions where they will meet industry leaders from the North American Meat Institute, Produce Marketing Association, and Specialty Food Association.

Dr. Lucia Ona will be taking nine students to Argentina on the Department's first study abroad trip. The students will get to learn about the Argentinian agricultural sector as well as the Argentinian culture. The trip will be from March 15-24. The group will be visiting Buenos Aires, Venado Tuerto, and Rosario. Some of the places that the students will visit include: Mercado Liniers -a livestock market to understand how the beef spot market in Argentina works, AACREA -a large agricultural producer association, Rizobacter -a seed care company, Crucianelly -the largest seed planting machinery manufacturer, Conecar Ganadera -a feedlot, CIAVT -cattle artificial insemination company and the Rosario Board of Trade -the site where cash and futures markets take place. Additionally, the students will tour the Casa Rosada or the Seat of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, the National Congress or the Seat of the Legislative Branch of the Federal Government, and the Plaza de Mayo or main site of Argentinian Independence. The trip also includes a visit to two crop and cattle farms which will be a great opportunity for the students to interact with the Argentinian farmers. Some fun activities will include a tango show and a horse ride activity in the Pampas. 

Dr. Mary Ellen and Doug Hicks will escort five students on a Cattle Industry Tour to Tennessee, Iowa and Nebraska March 16-23. They will visit multiple farmer-feeder feedlots in southwestern Iowa, Greater Omaha Processing facility in Omaha, Vermeer Production facility/plant in Pella, Iowa, as well as a premier seedstock Angus producer (Deer Valley Farms in Fayetteville, TN). 
 
Drs. Smith and Ng will accompany students on a farm/industry tour March 14-16. The students will visit a Vidalia onion farm, a port in Savannah, as well as potato and cabbage farms in Florida.
 
Dr. Katheryn Cerny will be taking students to the American Collegiate Horsemen's Association National Convention. This year, the convention is hosted by Clemson University and will be taking place in Charleston, SC from March 27-30. Seven Horsemen's club members will be participating. Students attending this trip will be networking with equine industry professionals, listening to speakers from different segments of the equine industry, and touring the equine facilities/businesses in South Carolina. 

Drs. Luke-Morgan and Lai will be taking a team of eight students to the National Agri-Marketing Association Student Marketing Competition in Kansas City, Missouri from April 10-11.  Students decide on a project and develop a plan to successfully bring the product or service to the marketplace. In developing their marketing plan, students follow the same practices and principles used by today’s marketing professionals. Teams submit a written plan summary prior to the competition and then make a formal presentation of their marketing plan to a panel of judges at the competition. The judges’ panel consists of marketing and agribusiness professionals. ABAC’s product this year is “Breezy Bovine”.

It’s an exciting time to be a part of our department and the momentum within our school is undeniable. As we maximize our varied backgrounds and broad scope of talent, we are creating an atmosphere that provides our students with a life-changing educational experiences. 
 
Dr. Ray Smith, Department Head
Department of Education
The word that comes to mind when talking about our Education program is phenomenal! We have welcomed Dr. Farish Mulkey as an Assistant Professor on our faculty. We placed our 1st cohort of student teachers (24) with cooperating Agricultural Education teachers. Our faculty has been busy teaching and helping our students network at many workshops and trainings. Plus our students are being recognized for achievements by receiving awards and scholarships! Just to give your a snapshot of all the activities:
 
  • GA Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association (GVATA) Mid-Winter Conference
  • Cooperating teachers meeting
  • Novelty floral design training
  • Advisory committee meeting
  • Student teacher scholarships
  • Special scholarship recipients
  • Donaldson Award- Ashley Jensen
  • National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) Scholarship Recipients- 4 students 
  • GA Agribusiness County (GAC) Scholarship Recipient- Ashley Jensen
  • Fort Valley State University Career Development Event (CDE) Assistance
  • GA Green Industry Association (GGIA) Scholarship Recipients
  • 21 ABAC AgEd and Hort Club members Judge State Floriculture Event
  • 16 Ssudent teachers receive scholarships at GA Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association (GVATA)
  • Program expands - AgEd Cohort 2020 Initial Meetings (35+ possible student teachers in Spring 2020)
  • New Greenhouse takes shape
  • AgEd Classes and Hort Club prepare for Homecoming plant sale
  • AgEd and Hort Club members attend GA Green Industry Association (GGIA)
  • Dr. Ray Herren, nationally known author and teacher educator speaks to AgEd classes
  • Collegiate FFA Conducts most successful ABAC hog show ever
  • Graduate Schools - UF, UGA visits campus
  • Collegiate FFA Celebrates National FFA Week

We are PROUD of all our Education students, but especially proud of the following ones:

Chelsea Beard - named the Georgia Cooperative Council scholarship winner. Chelsea is currently student teaching at Berrien Co. High School. She is a member of the 2019 AgEd Cohort.
Dahlia Sutliff - awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the GA FFA Foundation. Dahlia is a rising senior and a member of the 2020 AgEd Cohort. She will be recognized on stage and receive her scholarship at the State FFA Convention in April. 
Jessica Casaday - awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the Ga FFA Foundation. Jessica is a rising senior and a member of the 2020 AgEd Cohort. Jessica is President of the ABAC Collegiate FFA. She will be recognized at the State FFA Convention in April. 
Ali Ikner - was ABAC's representative at the USG Board of Regents Academic Recognition Day meeting. Ali was recognized as one of the top students in our college as an "Academic Recognition Day Honoree." Only one student from each college/university was so honored. Ali is currently student teaching at Lumpkin Co. High School and is a member of the 2019 AgEd Cohort. She also coached her high school Veterinary Science team to 3rd place in the state last Saturday with 28 teams competing -- super success for a student teacher.

Dr. Marcus Johnson, Department Head
Department of Forest Resources
 For the Forest Resources Department, spring semester is in high gear! Students in Senior Project are collecting data for their mentored projects, and the seniors just completed their Exit Exams. The Natural Resource Management program had another great graduating class in fall of 2018, including the first graduates of the Conservation Law Enforcement track. This track is specifically designed for students that wish to be game wardens, and those graduates are now employed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and are currently in their training academy. In January, students and advisors from the ABAC Forestry Club (Student Chapter of The Society of American Foresters) attended the annual conference of the Southeastern Society of American Foresters in Mobile, Alabama. Forestry Club members are currently preparing and practicing for the Southeastern Forestry Conclave, which will be hosted by Louisiana State University in March. The 2019 The Wildlife Society Southeastern Student Conclave will be hosted on the ABAC campus on March 21-23, 2019. Everyone is working hard to prepare for the annual wildlife competition, which will bring over 425 students from 24 colleges and universities and 13 states to Tifton to comp ete in 20 academic and physical competitions.

Dr. William Moore, Department Head
Student Spotlights

William S. Lunsford, Crop Production major (left) and
John T. Elliott , Agribusiness major (right) presented their undergraduate research poster titled ‘Supplemental Nitrogen Use in Soybeans’ at the 2019 Southern Branch of the American Society of Agronomy meeting held Feb. 2-4 in Birmingham, AL. Their faculty co-mentors are Drs . Alex McLemore and Michael Maw
Wellsley Martin, a junior agribusiness major from Hawkinsville, was selected as Ms. ABAC 2019 at the 50 th annual event on Thursday, February 21 at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. She was sponsored by the ABAC Agronomy Club. “I love the people at ABAC,” Martin, daughter of Ginger and Christopher Martin, said. “They are all so kind and generous, and ABAC feels like a second home to me. Every year is an honor but being able to serve as the 50 th Ms. ABAC is so special to me”.
Aspen Barker is an Agricultureal Technology & Systems Management (ATSM) student who participates in AET Club and is on the ABAC Softball Team.
Cooper Thornton is the President of the ABAC Turf Club. He completed an internship last year with the Boston Red Sox. He is heading to Kiawah Island in Charleston, SC for an internship this summer
Club Spotlights
Student clubs and organizations are vital part of our students' experiences. They help students develop leadership and communication skills. In addition, they provide professional networking opportunities that often lead to internship and employment opportunities. Our spotlight is on the following:
ABAC Ag Business Club
The ABAC Ag Business Club is affiliated with the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA). The club seeks to promote interest in the field of agricultural and applied business while providing a liaison between agribusiness students and industry professionals to facilitate idea exchange. The club also provides an opportunity for leadership development through involvement with various events on campus and in the community. The Ag Business Club also has a NAMA student marketing team that represents ABAC at the National Agri-Marketing Student Marketing Competition each April. Recent campus events have included the 6 th Annual Sweetie Pie Baking Contest and the 50 th Annual Ms. ABAC Pageant. The Sweetie Pie Baking contest brings together students, faculty, and staff to showcase their culinary skills for a night of sweet fun and cash prizes. The annual Ms. ABAC Pageant showcases ladies from across campus to compete in a written essay, personal interview, casual and evening wear, and an onstage question. The proceeds from the event are used to support local Relay for Life efforts, a scholarship for Ms. ABAC, and traveling expenses of the NAMA Team. The 2019 ABAC NAMA student marketing team is looking forward to traveling to the Kansas City area in April to present Breezy Bovine.

ABAC Wildlife Society

The ABAC Wildlife Society is a chartered Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society. The club encourages and provides opportunities relating to wildlife and natural resource conservation as well as a variety of activities involving community service.

One community event was ABAC's first R3 Initiative (Recruit, Retain, Reactivate Hunters) to promote hunting in Georgia. The Georgia Wildlife Federation is funding and organizing the statewide program. During Feburary, Parker Gerdes and other mentors taught budding hunters about squirrel biology and how to process squirrels for food. Later, he and others took the new hunters out for their first-ever hunt for squirrels!
The faculty and students did their annual cleaning, inspecting, and updating President Jimmy Carter's and Ms. Betty Pope's wood duck boxes. The students greatly appreciated President Carter for braving a cool and damp Saturday morning to socialize with them as they fixed and cleaned the wood duck box at his house pond.
ABAC SANR Career Connections
ABAC Connect
We have recently begun using ABAC Connect as our outlet to share job and internship opportunities with our students and alumni. The new platform also allows our industry partners and employers to access student and graduate resumes and request interviews, making their recruitment process more efficient here at ABAC. It has been a busy start to the semester between informational class visits introducing the new platform to students as well as meeting with employers.
 
SANR Leaders
We are excited to announce the launch of our School of Agriculture & Natural Resources’ Leaders program! The SANR Leaders are a select group of exceptional student leaders who proudly represent the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources. These students demonstrate outstanding achievement in academics and student leadership and are the faces of the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The SANR Leaders are model examples to potential, future, and current students. They share their personal experiences and passion for ABAC and the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources as they assist with recruitment, retention, and promotional efforts. We are now accepting applications for the program, which are due April 1. Information sessions are scheduled for students who are interested on March 5 at 12 and 6 in the Ag Science Building room 139. Candidates will undergo an interview process and selected students will undergo training prior to the 2019-2020 academic year.
 
Senior Exclusive Series
Our new Senior Exclusive Series was developed to prepare students for life after ABAC. The series includes monthly speakers covering topics designed to make the transition after graduation easier. Series topics include Business Dinner Etiquette, Preparing for Interviews, and Job Offers & Budgeting.
 
 
Alumni & Friend Spotlight - Jonny Harris
J onny, his wife Toni, and son Paul manage a very diverse agricultural business, Greenview Farms, on 3500 acres.  Jonny has always been an innovative farmer and cattleman who has utilized all available technology in every aspect of farming. Today this includes registered seedstock Hereford and Braford cattle, timber, annual forages, hay, haylage, cotton, corn, soybeans, peanuts and pecans. Precision technology has been utilized for planting, fertilization, pest management, irrigation and harvesting. As a multigenerational farmer, Jonny has focused on profitability and sustainability with all management practices.
 
The original 765 acres has grown to approximately 1900 acres of timber, 1000 acres of row crops and 600 acres of permanent pasture. Utilizing Environmental Quality Incentives Programs, fences, heavy use areas and watering facilities have been installed to help with cattle and water quality on the farm. Jonny has worked closely with the USDA-NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) to adopt many “best management practices” such as strip tillage, cross fencing and cattle rotational grazing.
 
A comprehensive cattle management program is implemented on the farm which includes herd health, ultrasound, DNA testing, pregnancy detection and rotational grazing following Beef Quality Assurance guidelines. Cattle are primarily grown on grass.  Johny also has a bull and heifer development program which is forage based with a high roughage grain supplement. 
Upcoming Events
March 5 Area 5 FFA CDEs at ABAC
March 21-23 The Wildlife Society Southeastern Student Conclave at ABAC
March 27-30 Horsemen's club students attending the American Collegiate Horsemen's Association National Convention in Charleston, SC .
April 4-5 Horticulture Homecoming Plant Sale
April 11 & 12 Georgia Sectional Meeting of ASABE (American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers) at ABAC
April 11, 12, and 13 AET Truck and Tractor Pull
April 13 Student members from the ABAC Horsemen's Association attending an Equine Industry Tour 
April 25-27 State FFA Convention
April 25 Teach Ag Signing Day
April 26 Teach Ag Workshop
May 13 Area 5 FFA Awards Banquet at ABAC
Phone: 229-391-4790 | Fax : 229-391-4791