UGA Tifton researcher, Wayne Hanna estimates that the seedless Ichang lemon and Changsa tangerine will be available to the public in three to five years. 

Water Matters! Symposium Draws Crowd, Highlights Resource Issues.

Ms. Maria Seidl, a graduate student in Agricultural Economics at the Technical University of Munich (Germany), is spending 3 months on the UGA Tifton Campus working with Dr. George Vellidis and Ms. Susan Crow Lowrance.

Maria is working on a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) model which assesses farmer attitudes about conservation practice adoption.  The project is funded by a USDA-NIFA grant.

2010 SE Bioenergy Conference boasts over 500 participants! For a complete overview, click here.

The University of Georgia’s Agricultural Energy Innovation Center celebrated its groundbreaking this past Monday, May 3rd. The first stage of the Agricultural Energy Innovation Center will be a demonstration home, which showcases ideas for saving, as well as producing energy. The home will have a platinum LEED, Leadership of Energy and Environmental Design, certification and will use a hybrid system of solar thermal and solar voltaic systems. City, county, and state officials shared the groundbreaking experience. Congressman Jack Kingston spoke of the many research and educational initiatives that will take place in the Agricultural Energy Innovation Center

The Agricultural Energy Innovation Center, led by the University of Georgia, is a research, extension, and education initiative dedicated to enhancing agricultural efficiencies and on-farm energy production. Soon, with the help from Cadmus Design-Build, Moultrie Technical College, USDA, DOL, and DOE, we will begin to build the first of several facilities that will aid this effort.

Features of the Agricultural Energy Innovation Center home:

  • Net-Zero Energy: To help the family be time and resource efficient, and achieve net-zero energy primarily by design - using an integrated solar PV and thermal system to provide the small amount of energy needed.  We believe the home can be built at a cost comparable to a conventional build.

  • Environmentally Friendly: Construction materials properly chosen and efficiently used, coupled with water and other resource cycling systems and requiring less than 1/3 the energy of a normal home will all work together to help the home achieve our goal of a Platinum Level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

  • Working Partner: The home & farm will be a research platform for an efficient and easy to use farm information, monitoring and control system to enhance farmer efficiency for the future of food, energy, and the environment.

  • Edible Landscape: The Innovation Center landscape will include a variety of edible plants, trees, crops, and feature frost tolerant citrus developed by UGA plant breeder Dr. Wayne Hanna.

  • Graduate Students & Education: Several lucky graduate students involved in Agriculture Energy Innovation Center projects will be housed in the home and play a crucial role in the evaluation of the function, features and house design. It will be a research and education home, designed to test ideas, handle groups of school children and showcase innovative ways to improve energy efficiency, production and use in the home.

  • Design & Construction: The home is being designed by Simone du Boise, AIA and Denise Donahue of Cadmus Design-Build utilizing their signature EcoCraft Hybrid Home design and construction methodologies. Designed and Built to Nature’s Code because building codes just aren’t enough, the home will be a model of energy and water efficiency and environmental sustainability with integrated renewable energy solutions. Cadmus designed and built the first USGBC® LEED® for Homes Platinum Certified Home in Georgia with the best HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Index on record in the US.

The home will be constructed by Moultrie Technical College’s Green Technologies program. Tony Grahame, MTC’s new Green Technologies Department Head and construction instructor, together with MTC and UGA students will be building this energy efficient “lab” home adjacent to the UGA NESPAL facility. Tony, together with his students at his former position at Yavapai College in Prescott Arizona, received 11 national awards from the US Department of Energy for energy efficient residential construction. What a team!

For more information, please visit the Future Farmstead website.

Click here to view the May 6, 2010 Georgia FACES article on this event.

Germany contingent tours UGA Tifton farms, agricultural processing facilities, & national parks.

Dr. George Vellidis, Dr. Don Shurley, Dr. Craig Kvien & their partners at Auburn University, Greece, Germany & Italy have received a grant from the USDA-NIFA-International Science & Education Competitive Grants Program.

The University of Georgia is part of a national team that received a 5-year USDA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative Grant award of $5,161,495 to investigate precision irrigation and nutrient management for nursery, greenhouse and green roof systems, using wireless sensor networks.

Dr. John Lea-Cox from the University of Maryland is leading the project. The University of Georgia team members are Drs. Marc van Iersel, John Ruter, Matthew Chappell, and Paul Thomas. The University of Georgia will receive $520,000 to develop more efficient irrigation practices in greenhouses and nurseries.

Other universities and research centers cooperating in this project are Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, the University of Colorado, Cornell University, and the Center for Environmental Science at the University of Maryland.  The commercial partners are Decagon Devices, Inc. in Pullman, WA and Antir Software in Jarrettsville, MD. Evergreen Nursery in Statham, GA and McCorkle Nurseries in Dearing, GA will cooperate in this project and serve as test sites.

This grant, combined with an additional $5,205,172 in matching funding from various sources, will bring together a multidisciplinary group of engineers, plant scientists, economists and extension specialists, to develop the next generation of tools to precisely monitor plant water use, allow for better control of irrigation water applications and increase the efficiency of water and nutrient use by ornamental growers.  The research is tightly integrated with sensor networks within a number of commercial nurseries and greenhouse operations throughout the US.  Close cooperation among academics and commercial growers will take advantage of the growers’ expertise to ensure rapid progress towards implementation of the science into practice.  This project is expected to result in large reductions in water and fertilizer use and to decrease the environmental impact of ornamental production. More details of the project goals, the university teams and the commercial partners can be found at

Dr Peggy Ozias-Akins has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.” Ozias-Akins will be honored at the 2010 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Diego Feb. 20.

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and being named a Fellow is one of its most prestigious honors, a tradition that started in 1874.  Peggy is being recognized for her contributions to the field of agricultural biotechnology.

More information is available at The Tifton Gazette.