JOE WEST: UGA Tifton has wide-ranging impact

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Ag research conducted on the UGA Tifton campus affects the nation and world

UGA Tifton has huge impact

The University of Georgia Tifton Campus may be the best-kept secret in Tifton. But, agriculture industry leaders, researchers and innovators know well the world-class programs we’ve developed over the past 95 years.

Agriculture is the No. 1 industry in Georgia, and the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is one of the top agricultural institutions in the country. At the land-grant university campus in Tifton, UGA Tifton scientists deliver cutting-edge research, extension and academics to support agriculture. With $12 billion farm gate value and greater than $71 billion economic impact in Georgia, agriculture employs 359,000 people and is a bright spot in Georgia’s economy.

UGA Tifton is located next door to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. We are neighbors, but we are separate institutions with different missions. At UGA Tifton, we blend research, extension and academics into one comprehensive mission. Our scientists may use their research and expertise to write the textbook that they and others use in classrooms.

UGA Tifton, with our partner, the USDA-ARS, has 82 Ph.D. scientists and almost 500 employees dedicated to agriculture. Our scientists have a global impact. Soccer’s World Cup was played in South Africa recently on turf developed at UGA Tifton. Our scientists are battling the kudzu stink bug, unknown in Georgia until five years ago. It has since reduced soybean yields by up to 60 percent. Water is a national issue and precision irrigation, which can reduce irrigation water use by 17 percent, was developed by UGA Tifton scientists and marketed in the private sector for farmers.

Our campus is global. A recent survey showed that 19 countries were represented here.

Did you know that students come to UGA Tifton and earn UGA degrees? Students transfer to UGA Tifton as juniors from two-year institutions and earn one of four undergraduate degrees. Many stay to pursue a Master of Science degree, studying with world-class scientists.

UGA’s 85 percent graduation rate is the best graduation rate of all Georgia state institutions, and one of the highest among all public universities nationwide. Employment for UGA Tifton graduates was 100 percent for this spring’s graduates.

UGA is one of the Top 20 public institutions in the U.S. and the UGA College of Ag has one of the most prestigious and productive agriculture research programs nationwide.

A UGA degree is among the top four universities nationwide for value; a ratio of cost to earn the degree versus earning power after graduation, so you really do get what you pay for. UGA Tifton graduates have excellent employment opportunities, great earning potential and are perfect examples of our motto, to “Stay Close and Go Farther.”

The next time you drive down Moore Highway and see the UGA Tifton Campus, think about the local and global advancements our scientists are making for agriculture here in our local community. UGA Tifton is proud to be a member of the Tifton community, and happy to play our pivotal leadership role for Georgia’s No. 1 industry — agriculture.

Joe W. West is assistant dean of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Tifton Campus.

Heroes come to women’s aid

Once again, God has allowed me to meet a couple of real “south Georgia heroes!”

This morning, I left our New Elm farm to make an early morning trip to Camilla with some pecan samples. Since my mother and I had appointments in Moultrie at 9 a.m., I asked her to ride with me in hopes that we could make our appointments on time. We left Camilla a little after 8 a.m. and headed toward Moultrie.

Right after we passed Pebble City, we had a blowout! There was not much shoulder on the road, but I got off the pavement as much as I could and tried to call my son. I knew that I would not be able to change the tire and was about to call gay’s Tire Co. in Moultrie to come and help me when a couple of heroes, Andrew Pierce and Richard Taylor, arrived on the scene.

They were in a Georgia Department of Transportation truck from Albany DOT, but as far as I’m concerned, they were wearing wings! The younger man, Andrew Pierce, quickly got out my spare and the dinky little jack that came with the car. He got right down on the edge of the pavement and, using those crude tools, got the spare on and everything back in the car.

I praise God that mama and I were uninjured in the blowout, and cannot say enough about Andrew and Richard — two wonderful men who went completely out of their way to help two old women in need. I hope my “heroes” are reading this … and I hope their employers are, too, because they have some real winners working for them! I hope they’ll search Andrew and Richard out and give them a hearty raise and a much deserved pat on the back! Thank you for your wisdom in hiring such fine men!

— Robbie Green