University of Georgia
Four innovative University of Georgia faculty members were honored in the name of an entrepreneur Oct. 2 in Athens, Ga., when the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences had its annual D.W. Brooks Lecture and Faculty Awards for Excellence.
Brooks founded Gold Kist Inc., which merged with Pilgrim's Pride in 2007, and Cotton States Mutual Insurance Companies. He advised seven U.S. presidents on agriculture and trade issues. Although he died in 1999, his promotion of agriculture lives on through those honored each year.
The 2007 winners are Adam J. Davis in teaching, Terence "Terry" Centner in research, Dan L. Horton in extension and Peggy P. Bledsoe in public service extension.
Before Davis arrived at CAES, students in the biological sciences and animal health majors had little access to internships. Davis, an associate professor of poultry science, directed the program, coordinating student internships, helping students with placement and developing business relationships to enhance internships.
In the lab, Davis and his staff focus mostly on how nutrition affects reproduction in poultry. His other areas of research include amino acid interactions, alternative grains and repeated fat synthesis.
Centner, a professor of agricultural and applied economics, teaches three dual-level law courses. He is also an undergraduate coordinator and prelaw advisor at CAES. His research focuses on agricultural and environmental policy issues and on problems that affect farmers' and firms' profits.
Centner's research has led to many changes in laws and regulations. One of the biggest helped protect Vidalia onions against counterfeiters. He helped secure a federal trademark for the onions through a certification mark denoting regional origin.
Horton, a fruit and ornamental entomologist, focused his career on anticipating trends to enhance services to Georgia growers.
In 1994, he and colleagues from Clemson University and the University of Tennessee put together a meeting of fruit growers, extension agents, scientists and administrators from seven Southeastern states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. From this meeting came multistate programs in weed science, pomology and entomology. These programs' regional successes led to the birth of the Southern Small Fruit Consortium, which now enjoys similar successes.
Since 1975, Bledsoe has seen Houston County transformed from a rural county to a fast-growing urban area. She focuses on improving the quality of life in her community, using university research to address issues.
Bledsoe is the UGA Cooperative Extension coordinator in Houston County. She responded to the family stresses of military deployment by developing Camp Robins, a five-day camp for 11- to 14-year olds with deployed family members. After two seasons at Robins Air Force Base, the camp was folded into the 4-H youth development program. It is now offered statewide.
In the annual Brooks lecture, Eric Larson of the Princeton Environmental Institute spoke on "Making Better Use of Biomass for Energy." He detailed systematic ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and store carbon dioxide.
(Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University of Georgia Public Affairs Office.)