Jan. 26, 2016
       Tifton, Georgia

   (478) 227-7126

ABAC President David Bridges visits the  college's oldest  alumnus Ethel Talley on her 106th birthday last Friday, Jan. 22.

Tifton's Ethel Arnold Talley celebrated her 106th birthday last weekend with two birthday parties

On Friday, Jan. 22, she was honored at Southern Care Assisted Living; and on Saturday was another
birthday party at the Family Life Center Atrium at Tifton's First Baptist Church

The 2015-2016 Student Alumni Council at  Abraham  Baldwin Agricultural College visited Mrs. Talley, sang her a special birthday song and shared birthday cupcakes.

Born Jan. 22, 1910, in Irwin County, Mrs. Talley has lived in Tift County all her life, including residing in the same house in Chula for about 75 years. Since 2009, she has lived at Southern Care in Tifton.

The oldest American currently is said to be 
Susannah Mushatt Jones , age 116 years, an Alabama native who lives in New York.


The Tift County High  School  boys and girls swim teams both won the Region 1-AAAAAA championship on Friday, Jan. 22, at Darton State College for the second consecutive year. For the girls team, it was actually the third consecutive region title.

The boys team had a total score Friday of 205 points; Valdosta High was second with 90. The girls team garnered 211 points; Valdosta was second with 97.

The "Last Chance Meet" is scheduled today, Jan. 26, at the Tiftarea YMCA for swimmers to make the final cut for the Georgia High School Association state swimming and diving championships Feb. 4-6 in Atlanta.

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Catherine Brenneman, a senior at Tift County High School, is  the  focus of a "Student Spotlight" on the Georgia Department of Education's "Educating Georgia's Future" web site.

Brenneman, 18, competes in the Special Olympics, volunteers at children's homes in Brunswick and Jacksonville, Fla., and teaches in the Backyard Bible Club along with a Special Friends class at Northside Baptist Church's Vacation Bible School. Her teachers describe her as a student who has overcome obstacles while staying positive.
Her birth mother was a drug abuser, and Catherine was born weighing just 3 1/2 pounds. She has cerebral palsy, a condition that did not deter Tim and Joy Brenneman from  adopting   her. Tim is a plant pathologist at the UGA Tifton campus .

"We thought about it a lot and prayed about it a lot, and we felt like that was the child we were supposed to have," Tim Brenneman told The Albany
Herald in 2013.

Catherine has thrived. She is computer savvy and has made the honor roll. She is well-loved by her classmates and was crowned Tift 
County  High homecoming queen last September.

On the state web site, Catherine said she is "applying to Warm Springs Rehabilitation Center to learn skills to prepare me to go to college independently. Then I would like to go to Valdosta State University to further my education in counseling."
Her advice to other students?  
"Don't ever give up. Trust God each day to help you. Study hard. Do all your homework and turn it in on time. Have a positive attitude. Be a good friend to others."

You can read her full story on the state web site by Clicking Here.

A team of researchers led by faculty at the University of Georgia have received a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to find new ways of combating Johnsongrass, one of the most widespread and troublesome agricultural weeds in the world.

Native to the Mediterranean region, Johnsongrass has spread across every continent except Antarctica. It was introduced to the U.S. in the 1800s as a forage crop, but it quickly spread into surrounding farmland and natural environments, where it continues to cause millions of dollars in lost agricultural revenue each year, according to the USDA.

"Weeds like Johnsongrass are a major challenge for agricultural producers around the world," said Andrew Paterson, regents professor, director of UGA's Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory and principal investigator for the project. "To make matters worse, widespread adoption of herbicide-resistant crops has been associated with a dramatic increase in herbicide-resistant weeds. With 21 genetically similar but different types of Johnsongrass known to be resistant to herbicides, it will only become more problematic in the future."

Apart from its resistance to herbicides, the naturalization of Johnsongrass across much of the U.S. has also allowed the plant to develop attributes-such as cold and drought tolerance, resistance to pathogens and the ability to flourish in low-fertility soils-that make it particularly difficult to control.

Over the course of their five-year project, the researchers will work to develop a better understanding of the weed's capabilities and the underlying genes that make Johnsongrass so resilient.  This information may lead to new management strategies that target and curb its growth, providing farmers with a more robust toolkit to combat the invasive plant.

But the researchers also hope that learning more about the fundamental structures that give Johnsongrass its unusual resilience will pave the way for new genetic tools to improve useful plants, such as sorghum, a close relative of Johnsongrass that is grown widely for food, animal fodder and as a source of biofuel.

 Don Branch                          Columbus Ledger-Enquirer photo

Don Branch, who  grew up just outside Tifton, i s profiled in a recent article in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, calling him "the top of Georgia's crop of golf course superintendents." 

The newspaper says the retired superintendent's tenure at Columbus' Green Island Country Club has made him a "legend among his peers."

Branch says he grew up on a farm, and 
his family had plenty to eat:  "We didn't know we were poor."  His first paying job was on a nearby golf course where he caddied for an avid golfer.

He graduated from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, where he studied agronomy and briefly worked at the nearby Coastal Plains Experiment Station under one of the pioneers of turfgrass science. Later, in the Army, a colonel learned that Branch had studied and worked with turfgrass, and he was then assigned to work on golf courses.

Read the article by clicking here.


The ABAC Wildlife Society will hold its fourth annual Beast Feast on Feb. 27 at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. with dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $13 at the door.

The wildlife supper will allow patrons to sample a variety of dishes prepared from venison, wild hog, alligator, bobcat, various fish species and more. A number of raffles will also be held during the event for items including a shotgun, a chartered fishing trip for four in Florida, artwork from wildlife artist and former Atlanta Falcon Jose Portilla and limited-edition framed prints.

For information, call  Dr. William Moore, associate professor and department head of forest resources, at 229-391-4805 or Dr. Jason Scott, assistant professor of forest resources, at 229-391-4806.


"Choc-It-Up for Literacy," the Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County's premier chocolate tasting event, is back for its fourth annual February observance at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, at the Hilton Garden Inn. 

Not only will participants sample fabulous chocolate desserts and vote for their favorites, but also they may bid for a trip to Historic Charleston and a relaxing mountain vacation to Dahlonega, among other exciting treasures. 

The event will showcase up to 10 local vendors and their chocolate creations. Each vendor will creatively display their chocolate dessert with samples for party-goers to taste. Merrymakers may sip milk, coffee, wine or champagne while voting on Best Taste, Best Presentation, and Best in Show.

"It's a great way to kick off the month of love with an elegant date night with your special love, your best friend, or your family," said board member Liz Carson Keith

Tickets are $10 each and entitle the bearer to tastes of all the chocolate samples plus beverage. Children are free.  

"If you have always yearned for the incredible chocolate dessert from your favorite restaurant, now you have no excuses," Keith said. "You can feel good about indulging, because it is helping people better their lives."
"Choc-It-Up 2016 will benefit programs that Literacy Volunteers sponsors," explained Sharonda Murphy-Henton, LV president. LVTTC helps adults improve their reading and math skills and prepare for the GED test. It also has scholarships to help eligible students pay for GED test fees. In addition, LV offers twice-weekly English language classes at Our Divine Savior Catholic Church twice each week. 

"Whenever we are able to help a student increase his or her educational level, we benefit our community," Keith said. "Each person who gets a GED credential can continue with job training at Southern Regional Tech or ABAC. This enriches us all."

For information on Choc-It-Up for Literacy, contact Literacy Volunteers at  229-391-2527 or email  [email protected]


The Georgia Cotton Commission's 9th Annual Meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. The annual meeting is held in conjunction with the UGA Cotton Production Workshop conducted by the Research & Extension Cotton Team. 

The meeting speakers will be Reece Langley, vice president of Washington operations for the National Cotton Council; Berrye Worsham, president and CEO of Cotton Incorporated; and Mike Quinn, president and CEO of Cotton Growers Cooperative.

More information and a detailed agenda is available on the commission's website,

For information, contact Becky Arnold, 229-391-5024, [email protected]
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