The GACAA delegation has just returned from a week of fun and learning at the 104th NACAA Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  We had 33 in attendance including: 20 agents, 4 spouses, 1 GOTCAA, 2 specialists, and 6 administrators. Two of our agents were first time attendees.

If you have never attended the NACAA AM/PIC it is a great experience.  There are vast opportunities to see the work that other extension professionals are doing through posters, oral presentations, super seminars, search for excellence awards, and networking with other attendees.  I know that I always return home with some new ideas for future projects and programs.

Tim Daly’s National Finalist poster

Below are some highlights for our visit:

Keith Fielder, GACAA President, Wade Parker, GACAA President- Elect, Gary Hawkins, GACAA Vice President, Steve Morgan, GACAA Past President and Carole Knight, GACAA Secretary, attended representing the GACAA Executive Board.

Our voting delegates representing GACAA were Doug Collins, Lee County (SW), Tim Davis – Chatham County (SE), Raymond Fitzpatrick – Franklin County (NE) Josh Fuder – Cherokee County (NW) and Gary Hawkins – State Staff.  Although none of the NACAA Board positions were contested this year, they did have a tough decision to make about where the 2023 NACAA AM/PIC would be held.  Both Iowa and Missouri put forth compelling presentations, but Iowa came out the winner.  The 2023 AM/PIC will be held in August in Des Moines, Iowa during the Iowa State Fair!

Tim Daly, Gwinnett County, presented  a poster – “A Walk in the Park: Extension Training Programs on Turfgrass Management for Gwinnett County Department of Parks and Recreation Employees”.  It was recognized as a National Finalist in the Extension Education Division.

Doug Collins presented a poster entitled “Small Growers Economic Analysis of Pecan Production in Georgia.” And Carole Knight also presented a poster entitled “UGA GrassMasters: An educational partnership to develop better grazing management in Georgia.”

Josh Fuder gave an oral presentation for Horticulture and Turfgrass – “50 People in a Room with Knives – Leading a Grafting Class for the Public”. Steve Morgan presented on oral presentation for Animal Science – “By Focusing on Sustainability, The UGA Forage Extension Team Increases Knowledge and Profits for Forage Producers Throughout the Southeast”. Tim Daly presented a Natural Resource/Aquaculture presentation – “Staying in the Know: UGA Extension Gwinnett Education Programs Addressing Issues of Concern of Green Industry Professionals”.

Georgia had several committee chairs and vice chairs serving during the event.  Paul Pugliese, Bartow County, served as National Chair of the Ag Issues and Public Relations Committee, which was responsible for 16 oral presentations and a super seminar.  Paula Burke, Carroll County, served as Southern Region Vice Chair for the Recognition and Awards Committee.  Keith Mickler, Floyd County, served as National Chair of the Program Recognition Council.  Jessica Warren, Camden County, served as National Chair of the Natural Resources/Aquaculture Committee. Amanda Smith, Ag Econ Specialist, served as Southern Region Vice Chair for the Ag Economics and Community Development Committee and will serve as National Chair next year.  Steve Morgan, Harris County, begins his tern as Southern Region Vice Chair for the Animal Science Committee.

Joel Burnsed and Jason Edenfield – GA’s AA winners

Jason Edenfield, Toombs County, and Joel Burnsed, Walton County, both received their Achievement Awards.  They were recognized at the AA breakfast and then again at the annual awards banquet.

Amanda Tedrow receiving her DSA.

Our Distinguished Service Award winners included Amanda Tedrow, Raymond Joyce, Monte Stephens, and Gary Hawkins.  They were honored and presented with their awards at the annual banquet.

Other award winners included Paula Burke, who was recognized with a Communication Award. She was a National Finalist in the Publication category.  Steve Morgan and the Forage Team were recognized as the National Winner for the Search for Excellence in Sustainable Ag.

We appreciate the administrators that were in attendance with us: Ronnie Barrentine, SW ANR PDC, Andrea Scarrow, SW DED, Wade Parker, SE ANR PDC, Jule-Lynne Macie, NW ANR PDC, Amanda Tedrow, NE ANR PDC, and Mark McCann, Assistant Dean of Extension.

We all had a great time! I hope that you will consider attending the 105th NACAA AM/PIC in Virginia Beach, Virginia July 19-24, 2020.