Fall Semester 2018 |Volume 1
Our Dean's Update
It is my pleasure to introduce you to our new digital newsletter! Our plan is to publish it quarterly to give our alumni, sponsors, and friends a quick update on what is happening within the School and across the ABAC campus. As most of you know, I came onboard this past March as the new Dean for the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources. For the last 12 years, I was on the faculty of North Carolina State University with previous faculty positions at the University of Florida and Texas Tech University. Prior to my career in higher education, I worked for over 10 years as a County Extension Director and County Extension Agent in Florida where I served in three different counties and had programmatic responsibilities ranging from 4-H, farm management, and livestock. Overall, I have 30 years of experience with Cooperative Extension at the county and state-level (in three states). It is my pleasure to serve as the Dean! My wife, Danielle, and I are very happy to be at ABAC and living in Tifton.
Several exciting things are happening in the School! Our Fall 2018 enrollment is 1,215 students (almost a 2% increase) which make us the largest School at ABAC. ABAC’s total enrollment is 4,289 students (for all campuses), which is an all-time high. This past summer our BS in Agricultural Education program was reviewed and certified as an educator preparation provider and program by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. We are extremely excited and proud of this program! We look forward to our first group of students (25-27) completing their student teaching during the upcoming Spring semester. In a little over one year, enrollment in this degree program has exploded to 185 students! To help with this increase, Dr. Farish Mulkey has been hired as an Assistant Professor of Agricultural Education and will begin in January. This Fall semester, there are two new degree tracks being offered: Agricultural Technology & Systems Management under the BS in Agriculture and Turf and Ornamental under the BS in Environmental Horticulture. We are excited about each of these new degree programs and the need they fill in the agricultural industry. Three new faculty have been hired in the Agriculture Department and began in August - Dr. John Lai, Assistant Professor of Agribusiness; Dr. Sergio Pichardo, Assistant Professor of Agronomy; and Ms. Allison Miller, Lecturer of Animal Science. Two new technicians have been hired in the Forest Resources Department - Mr. Daniel Alauzen, Wildlife Technician, and R. Harrison Booker, Natural Resources Technician. Mr. Booker replaced Mr. Grant Rentz who took a Forester position with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
As you can see, many things are 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 academic year! Please stop by and see us when you are in the area! 
 
Sincerely,
Dr. Mark Kistler
Dean
Department of Agriculture
New faculty, new academic programs, new student engagement opportunities outside of the classroom, and new acres for hands-on learning combined with our previously established programs of excellence equals continued excitement in the Department of Agriculture.
The Ag Department now has 18 outstanding faculty members. Our most recent additions are Dr. John Lai, Assistant Professor of Ag Economic/Agribusiness, Dr. Sergio Pichardo, Assistant Professor of Agronomy and Ms. Allison Miller, Animal Science Lecturer. All three have hit the ground running.
Our academic programs continue to expand. With the start of the 2018/2019 school year we added a Turf and Ornamental track to our BS in Environmental Horticulture degree program and an Ag Technology and Systems Management (ATSM) track to our BS in Agriculture degree program. We have also started offering courses in equine. Dr. Katheryn Cerny is teaching our first ever upper level Equine Course this fall and another course is scheduled for the spring semester.
Student engagement opportunities outside of the classroom have always been phenomenal within the Department of Agriculture and this fall we have added several more opportunities. Dr. Lai spearheaded two new efforts to expand student’s knowledge of the business side of and job opportunities within the fruit and vegetable industry. He took seven students to the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Fresh Summit in Orlando, FL and eight students to the PMA’s Immersion Academy in Dallas, TX. In December we will host what we hope to be the first of many food safety trainings at ABAC. Representatives of Merieux NutriSciences will be on campus December 18-20 and conduct the course FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCQI) ( https://education.mxns.com/events/ ). It is open to the public and current students can take the course at half the regular price. Dr. Lucia Ona will lead the department’s first ever study abroad course in the spring of 2019. She will be taking students on a trip to Argentina over spring break. Dr. Michael Maw and Dr. Alex McLemore received grant money from the GA Soybean Commodity Commission to conduct field research. This is the first time anyone at ABAC has received grant money from the Soybean Commission. The grant included funding to hire two student workers.
The ABAC Foundation purchased over 200 additional acres of land to enhance our teaching program and allow for increased field research. The acquisitions essentially doubled the size of the farm.
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 experience. 

Dr. Ray Smith, Department Head
Department of Education
As you probably know, the ABAC Agricultural Education program is up and running. We are scheduled to graduate ABAC’s historic first cohort of teachers this May. With an anticipated 24 graduates, our program has, in its first year of existence, become the largest producer of Agricultural Education teachers in Georgia. Projections for next Spring indicate we will graduate 40 or more AgEd teachers. To meet the needs of our students, we have hired three well-respected former AgEd teachers: Dr. Frank Flanders, Dr. Sallie McHugh, and Dr. Farish Mulkey. We are also happy to have Ms. Judy Perry, whom many of you know and love, return to help us manage the 206 students currently in the major.
In addition to the AgEd program, the Education Department continues to prepare students for Elementary Education and other teaching pathways. We currently have 210 students in these Associate Degree pathways. Dr. Mark Johnson, the Education Department Head, works with students who wish to teach in the Middle and High School, and Ms. Amy Warren does the bulk of the advising for elementary education students. Many of these students choose to remain at ABAC all four years to complete their bachelor’s degree through a partnership with Georgia Southwestern.
To see what others are saying about the program, you may read the following:

Dr. Marcus Johnson, Department Head
Department of Forest Resources
"The Department of Forest Resources educates and trains the next generation of forest resource managers, wildlife conservationists, and game wardens. The Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management is comprised of three degree tracks: Forestry, Wildlife Management, and Conservation Law Enforcement. Through the extensive use of engaged learning, students are provided the essential skills and knowledge that prepare them to be productive employees immediately upon graduation. "
2018 has been an exciting year for the Department of Forest Resources. The ABAC Foundation graciously purchased approximately 1,000 acres in Tift County to create the ABAC Teaching Forest. This forest will be used to increase the experiential learning opportunities of the students in the forestry and wildlife management programs. In October, 3 faculty members travelled with 5 students to the annual conference of The Wildlife Society in Cleveland, Ohio. Later that month, 3 other faculty and staff members travelled with 12 students to the annual conference of the Southeastern Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Mobile, Alabama. At both of these meetings, students were able to network with wildlife professionals from al over the country and hear presentations on the various research and management efforts currently occurring within the profession. The December 2018 graduation will include see the first graduates of the Conservation Law Enforcement track of the BS in Natural Resource Management degree. Students and faculty will be travelling to the annual meeting of the Southeastern Society of American Foresters on January 27029, 2019. The Forestry and Wildlife Career Connections will take place on February 6, 2019. On March 21-23, 2019, ABAC will be hosting the 2019 The Wildlife Society Southeastern Student Conclave, a competition that will bring over 400 wildlife students from all over the Southeast to the ABAC campus.

Dr. William Moore, Department Head
Dr. Mark Kistler presenting
Harrison his plaque during Spring 2018 Student Activities Banquet.
Student Spotlight - Harrison Booker
Harrison Booker is just one of our many outstanding students. Harrison Booker, a natural resource management–forestry major from Varnell, received the Larry Allen Leadership awards for the 2017-18 academic year at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Booker served as president of the Forestry Club and helped successfully host the 61 st Annual Southern Forestry conclave.
“Harrison has effectively balanced his academic studies, his volunteer club activities, and a part-time job,” Kip Hall, assistant professor of forestry, said. “These time management skills will serve him well in his future career and community endeavors.”
Harrison is currently transitioning from the roll of student to the Forest Resources Technician in our Department of Forest Resources.
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 Cattlemen's Association

From playing "Beef Jeopardy" to sponsoring the 6th Annual All American Beef Chilli Cookoff , this group of students is always busy. Industry professionals are often the focus of meetings. Students are also offered the opportunity to go on industry tours.
The Cattlemen's Association recently toured the Georgia Correctional Industry- Farm and Food services which consists of a dairy unit, several hundred head of beef cattle, a swine unit, and a canning facility along with a grits mill.
ABAC Forestry Club &
SAF Student Chapter

The ABAC Forestry Club is an official Society of American Foresters Student Chapter. The purpose of the club is to foster fellowship and personal and professional development. Major activities include management of the Nature Study Area (along with the Wildlife Society), attending Society of American Foresters meetings and quizbowl, and participation in Association of Southern Forestry Clubs Forestry Conclave.
The 61st Annual Conclave was held on our campus during Spring of 2018!
ABAC Collegiate FFA

Our FFA students is very active group. Collegiate FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by helping them develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agriculture education.
While the students attend the State and National Conventions, they also participate in Adopt-A-Mile Cleanup projects, assist with State and South Region FFA events, host the Annual Winter Pig Classic, promote National Teach AG Day, and much, much more.
SANR Alumni Council
The SANR Alumni Council provides very valuable support and leadership to the School. Most recently the Council held its 18th Annual SANR Classic Golf Tournament to to support the school's scholarship and enrichment programs. The tournament has raised over $320,000 over the last 18 years.
Past Chair Marcus Pollard ('04) & Chair Chad Hancock ('95) are key members of the Council. If you are interested in becoming a member of the council, please let us know!

Alumni & Friend Spotlight - Mr. George Turk
Mr. George Turk (’52) has served on the School's Alumni Council for many years and was instrumental in founding the annual SANR Classic golf tournament which generates funds to provide scholarships for students in the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources. George and Betty Turk are also Lifetime Members of the ABAC Alumni Association and have created the George and Betty Turk Endowment to provide support for enrichment activities for students enrolled in the School of Agriculture & Natural Resources. By giving back to ABAC, Turk said that he knows that he will be helping young people receive a good education, just as he was able to do.
 "Students at ABAC are able to obtain individual help, and one-on-one interaction with their professors that may not be as readily available in larger colleges and universities," said Turk. "I feel a special kinship with ABAC and am proud to support my alma mater."
Upcoming Events
November 26-December 1 NAAE Convention in San Antonio
November 27 Area V CDEs at ABAC
December 6 Ag Ed Cohort visits with Gary Black
December 7-8 State CDEs at ABAC
January 2019 ABAC Ag Education’s First Inaugural Class begins Student Teaching
January 10-12, 2019 Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference
January 15-16, 2019 Georgia Plant Food Educational Society Winter Business Meeting
January 17, 2019 ABAC Horsemen's Association meeting, Ag Science 147
January 17, 2019 43 rd Annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show
January 22-23 GVATA Mid-Winter Conference and ABAC Ag Education Advisory Committee Meeting
January 30 12 th Annual Georgia Cotton Commission Meeting and UGA Cotton Production Workshop, UGA Tifton Conference Center
January 31, 2019 ABAC Horsemen's Association Meeting, Ag Science 147
February 1, 2019 Certified Crop Advisor Exam
February 2, 2019 ABAC FFA Classic Hog Show in Fitzgerald
February 17-23, 2019 National FFA Week
Phone: 229-391-4790 | Fax : 229-391-4791