This is the year of the “smart tag” or “QR” (quick response) code. Have you noticed the intrigu-ing little boxes with geometric designs on everything from ketchup bottles to magazine advertisements?When scanned by a smart phone or other mobile device, these tags direct the user to a website or web page for more information. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is now using QR codes to connect gardeners to UGA publications. Through the GardenPro program, QR codes displayed in area garden centers lead gardeners to information on a variety of gardening topics formatted especially for mobile devices. To view the information, you must first download one of the free QR reader apps like Google Goggles or Barcode Scanner for Android phones and RedLaser or ShopSavvy for iPhones. To scan the QR tag, launch the app and line up your phone’s camera with the barcode-like box until the app has recognized the tag. Your phone’s web browser will be led to a UGA website with more information about the item you’ve scanned – for example, a plant, gardening tool or fertilizer product.With GardenPro, you also can choose to receive periodic alerts with timely information from your local UGA Extension office. To sign up, click on the green “Get GardenPro Tips” button and provide your email address.The UGA Center for Urban Agriculture piloted GardenPro in the fall of 2011. The current GardenPro posters lead users to information on winter gardening topics like fire ant control, attracting birds and butterflies and protecting plants. The spring topics will include turf management and deer-resistant plants.Watch for the UGA GardenPro smart tags at your area garden centers this spring and learn while you shop.
The latest research on irrigation technology will be presented Aug. 1 at the University of Georgia’s Stripling Irrigation Research Park in Camilla, Ga. Researchers from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, who are pioneering new technologies for more efficient, large-scale irrigation, conduct an irrigation field day each year. This year, in addition to new irrigation technologies, they will discuss how to use advanced cultivation methods to cope with problems caused by this year’s heavy rains. “I believe that anybody that attends will learn a good bit,” said Calvin Perry, superintendent of Stripling Irrigation Research Park. “(Visitors will) come away with an understanding of how important irrigation scheduling can be for enhancing yield and quality, while at the same time, being conservation minded.”Perry said field day participants will also learn how newer varieties are performing under full irrigation versus less or no irrigation and how some fungicides interact with irrigated crops.The park’s researchers will also showcase ongoing UGA research projects on row crops like cotton, corn, peanuts and sweet corn. Advanced irrigation topics will include: “Can sub-surface drip be used with cotton, corn or peanuts?” “What new ways can farmers grow sweet corn on drip irrigation?” and “What new varieties are being researched that can be efficient users of water?” “I think a grower or consultant or anyone else interested in these topics will come away with new knowledge and if not all their questions are answered, at least it will steer them in the right direction and perhaps show them which scientists they need to talk to one-on-one,” Perry said.Like most farms in the southeast, Stripling Irrigation Research Park has received its share of rain this summer. This provides challenges for researchers who are studying irrigation’s impact on certain crops. “It is posing some interesting issues this year,” Perry said. “Before the rains came in late June (and) early July, we had really established a pattern in our tests where we were irrigating different amounts for different times. Looking at the crops today, I think those treatment effects are still evident, maybe not as pronounced before the rains came. It’s interesting that even today, we’re irrigating certain plots because those plots are calling for irrigation already.”Perry added that the sandy soils in the Georgia’s Coastal Plain region don’t hold much water and need water on a regular basis.Registration for the field day, which is free, will start at 8:30 a.m. with the first tour scheduled for 9 a.m. CAES administrators and Jud Turner, director of the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, will conduct a program at 10 a.m. A second tour will be led at 11 a.m., followed by lunch at 12:15 p.m.To pre-register for the field day, contact Candy Gray at 229-522-3623 or by email at email@example.com.
A new year brings new opportunities. If one of your resolutions was to improve your lawn and garden, you may need to know where to start and what you can do in the winter.At the top of the list is a soil test to determine your soil’s pH and fertility. This is a great winter chore to complete to make sure you provide a good soil base for everything you grow. You can follow the recommendations provided after a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension soil test to help your plants look better while preventing excessive nutrients from entering groundwater and streams.Look around your garden and determine what projects you would like to tackle for the year. Are you interested in creating a pollinator garden? Is it time to add an additional raised bed vegetable garden? Do you want an outdoor entertaining space? Now is a good time to begin garden construction projects so they will be ready to put to use in the spring. If your plants outgrew their space last year, now is the time to prune them back to the correct size. Shrubs that should be pruned at this time of year include: crape myrtle, beautyberry, Japanese barberry, boxwood, rose of Sharon, nandina, grandiflora roses and fragrant tea olive. Exceptions to the late winter/early spring pruning rule are spring flowering shrubs whose flowers are set the summer before, such as azaleas, hydrangeas and forsythia. These should not be pruned until after they have flowered. So hold off on pruning the azaleas, unless you want to lose the spring flower buds. Winter is also the perfect time to order seeds for your spring garden. Seed catalogs are available this time of year and you will find the best selection early. Choose seeds for plants you know will add color, texture and interest to your garden. You can even start many perennial plants from seed beginning in January in preparation for the warmer spring months. Composting is also a great winter gardening activity. Many of the items you throw in the trash can be sorted out and composted. The benefits of composting go beyond just reducing waste. Compost can be used to improve garden soil and make the landscape and vegetable garden more productive. With a little organization and a designated space, you can make your own soil amendment through composting.Finally, feed the birds. Winter is long and it’s not easy for feathered friends to find food in the cold. Consider hanging a suet feeder or seed feeder in your landscape. Don’t forget to provide birds with a nice clean supply of fresh water, too. Birds in winter are one of the most fantastic garden ornaments, and now is a great time to invite them to your garden.
Weather conditions were warmer and drier than normal across most of the state during November, causing drought and extremely dry conditions to again expand across Georgia.While most of Georgia will experience rain in early to mid-December, drier conditions are projected to return by the end of the month.Only Georgia’s coast and the Savannah River basin remained free from drought conditions by the end of November. But even those areas, affected by hurricanes Matthew and Hermine earlier in the fall, were abnormally dry by the end of the month.The dry weather allowed farmers to plant onions and harvest cotton and peanuts. However, dry conditions made it impossible for farmers to successfully plant winter grains or forage crops. Those who did saw their plants germinate and then shrivel from the lack of rainfall.Forest fires in north Georgia and beyond caused respiratory distress in livestock in mid-November, and outpatient visits by people with respiratory issues increased due to the heavy smoke in the area. Some farmers reported being reluctant to run their farm equipment for fear of sparking more fires in the dry fields.Irrigation from ponds and streams was curtailed due to the low water levels, and several communities requested variances on water restrictions from the state Environmental Protection Division due to problems getting enough water for their communities.The highest monthly total precipitation reported by a National Weather Service reporting station was 2.98 inches in Atlanta, 1.12 inches below normal.Athens, Georgia, received 2.24 inches, 1.58 inches below normal.Columbus, Georgia, received 2.18 inches, 1.92 inches below normal.Macon, Georgia, received 1.15 inches, 2.17 inches below normal.Savannah, Georgia, received 0.20 inches, 2.17 inches below normal.Augusta, Georgia, received 0.62 inches, 2.20 inches below normal.Alma, Georgia, received 0.28 inches, 2.20 inches below normal.Brunswick, Georgia, received 0.04 inches, 1.99 inches below normal.Rome, Georgia, received 1.77 inches, 3.08 inches below normal.Albany, Georgia, received 1.02 inches, 2.17 inches below normal.The National Weather Service reporting station at the Brunswick airport recorded its lowest November precipitation total in 69 years, with only 0.04 inches of rain. Savannah saw the seventh-driest November in 147 years of record, with 0.2 inches of rain.In contrast to previous months, the driest part of the state was the southeast, which experienced less than 25 percent of normal rainfall.The highest daily rainfall total recorded by Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS) Network volunteers was 3.55 inches near Ringgold, Georgia, in Catoosa County on Nov. 30. Two observers near Trenton, Georgia, in Dade County reported 3.27 and 3.10 inches that morning, and an observer in Fayetteville, Georgia, in Fayette County reported 3.02 inches on Nov. 29.These CoCoRaHS volunteers also reported the network’s highest monthly totals, with the Ringgold observer recording 5.12 inches for the month, followed by the two Trenton observers with 4.37 and 3.23 inches, and the Fayetteville observer recording 3.16 inches for the month.Above-normal temperatures were once again the story in most of Georgia in November.Athens’ monthly average temperature was 56.8 degrees Fahrenheit, 3 degrees above normal.Columbus’ monthly average temperature was 59.9 F, 2.6 degrees above normal.Macon’s monthly average temperature was 58.4 F, 2.5 degrees above normal.Savannah’s monthly average temperature was 61.1 F, 1.8 degrees above normal.Brunswick’s monthly average temperature was 63.5 F, 1.3 degrees above normal.Alma’s monthly average temperature was 60.3 F, 0.4 degrees above normal.Augusta’s monthly average temperature was 57.3 F, 2.1 degrees above normal.Albany’s monthly average temperature was 62.2 F, 3.5 degrees above normal.Rome’s monthly average temperature was 54.9 F, 4 degrees above normal.Valdosta, Georgia’s monthly average temperature was 61.2 F, 1.3 degrees above normal.It was the fourth-warmest November on record in 139 years for Atlanta, after 1985, 2001 and 1931.A number of record highs were tied or set in November. Athens broke its record high on Nov. 3, observing 85 F to pass the old record of 84 F set in 2000. Augusta also broke its record high that day, observing 87 F, which surpassed the 86 F record set in 1974. Alma broke its record high on Nov. 29, observing 82 F.Severe weather reported this month included a single high-wind report on Nov. 29 as the cold front began to enter the state, as well as multiple high-wind reports and at least four tornadoes, which were observed near Atlanta on Nov. 30.For more information, please see the Climate and Agriculture in the South East blog at blog.extension.uga.edu/climate or visit www.gaclimate.org. Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with reports of weather and climate’s impact on Georgia agriculture.
Steve Pouliot, Executive Director for the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (VABVI), is pleased to announce that Abbe Sweeney recently joined the staff as the development assistant. This position is based in the Burlington office.A native Vermonter and Colchester High School graduate, Abbe currently resides in Burlington. She has an Associates Degree in PC Networking fromChamplain College and is working towards a Bachelors Degree in business. Her responsibilities in her new position include recording daily gifts, mailing donor acknowledgments, assisting with direct mail campaigns and other development projects. In her free time, Abbe enjoys travel, reading, yoga and cooking.VABVI was founded in 1926 with the assistance of Helen Keller and the American Foundation for the Blind. The organization is the only private,non-profit organization in the state providing comprehensive training and support services for visually impaired Vermonters of all ages. They also provide information about adaptive equipment that can help after vision loss. VABVI offices are located in Brattleboro, Burlington, Montpelier, and Rutland. Call 1-800-639-5861 or write VABVI@aol.com(link sends e-mail) for more information. Our website is located at www.vabvi.org(link is external)\main.
More information about the services offered through thispartnership isavailable at www.hrresolution.com(link is external). “This is an important partnership for companies intoday’s businessenvironment,” said Paul Toth, president of HRResolution. “Our clients canexpect a more comprehensive package of services designed tohelp themattract high quality employees and inspire exceptionalperformance.”Services such as HRR’s Virtual HR Office, providing ongoing,knowledgeablehuman resources support to organizations that do not have afull timeprofessional, compliment the extensive employee benefit planscreated byNBL. Small to medium sized organizations will now haveaccess toprofessional level support aimed specifically at theirpersonnelchallenges, from creating affordable and effective employeebenefitspackages to complying with today’s complex employment laws. This unique partnership will provide businesses throughoutVermont and NewEngland a comprehensive range of human resources solutionsto ensure theyremain competitive in today’s economy. Jon Guyette,spokesperson fromNorthern explains, “Northern Benefits is responding tothe increased needof organizations to function with less staff and morecompliance issues.Our client obligation demands that we include this valuableservice.” Northern Benefits, Ltd John Boutin John Boutin 1 0 2002-09-26T15:45:00Z 2002-09-26T15:45:00Z 1 288 1647 13 3 2022 9.3821 0 0Northern Benefits, Ltd. announces a professional partnershipwith HRResolution, LLC. Northern Benefits offers a unique service:analyzing &creating benefit plans for small to mid-size companies inNew England.Their services often reduce the overall cost of providingbenefits whilemaintaining employee satisfaction. HR Resolution is a leaderin providingorganizations with professional human resources andmanagement support.Organizations of all sizes have found HRR to be an importantresource foreffectively managing their most valuable asset; their staff.
Come join the first Business Leadership Network event to learn how local and national businesses use successful strategies to employ people with disabilities. Events will include a networking breakfast, keynote speaker, Q&A session and group discussions.Cost: $15.00
Imminent Choices in Health Care Explored atBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont Issues ConferenceCreative innovation as an opportunity to change and improve established health care systems, how the next 25 years will redefine the health care landscape, and what individuals can do to improve their health and well being were among a variety of topics addressed recently by a panel of national experts who met in Burlington.The experts highlighted a half-day conference held as part of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont’s annual health issues symposium series. Nearly 300 Vermonters attended, including employers, health care providers, legislators and consumers.Andrew Zolli, a Futurist-in-residence at Popular Science magazine, American Demographics magazine, National Geographic, and National Public Radios Marketplace, explored the trends and dynamics that will shape health care’s future over the next several decades. He offered options to help respond intelligently to emerging complex changes that matter most.Other panelists included John W. Kenagy, MD, of Kenagy and Associates, and Jane Brody, well-known author and widely-read columnist, and media personality.Dr. Kenagy focused on the role of creative innovation and changing systems from the bottom up.Jane Brody outlined the role that individuals play in maintaining their personal health through nutrition, exercise, and moderation.The half-day conference concluded with a documentary of the Voices project, an initiative sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont to draw attention to the issues and challenges facing Vermont teenagers, with the goal of helping to foster their physical and emotional wellbeing.The program was moderated by WCAX-TV Channel 3 news co-anchor and health care reporter, Kristin Kelly. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont President and CEO William R. Milnes, Jr. welcomed the conference participants and introduced the program.Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is the state’s oldest and largest private health insurer, providing coverage for about 180,000 Vermonters. It employs over 350 Vermonters at its headquarters in Berlin and branch office in Williston, and offers group and individual health plans to Vermonters. More information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is available on the Internet at www.bcbsvt.com(link is external). Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is an independent corporation operating under a license with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.(End)
Green Mountain Power Corp,Camels Hump Middle School is well on its way to hosting a $500,000 solar installation that could serve as a statewide model for power generation and renewable energy education. Thanks in large part to federal funding secured by Senator Sanders and grants from the state’s Clean Energy Development Fund and Green Mountain Power, the Chittenden East school district will convert the roof of the 37 year-old school into a 72kW solar array.”In 1992, we were one of the first schools in Vermont to convert to biomass heating,” said Chittenden East superintendent Jim Massingham. “We are looking forward to taking this next step in showing the way to greater efficiency and hope that our project will help make it easier for other schools to make the best use of their resources. Having a system like this operational on our campus will also provide an invaluable educational resource for our students.”Like many of the schools built in the 1960’s and 70’s, Camels Hump features a large, flat roof, and was originally heated using electricity, which required a particularly good connection to the power grid. This combination provides the perfect environment for a large-scale solar installation. The school’s location in full view of Interstate 89 makes it an excellent demonstration site as well.”Their proposal fit perfectly with our Solar On Schools plan and Green Mountain Power’s ongoing effort to help build out solar capacity in Vermont,” said Mary Powell, Green Mountain Power president and chief executive officer. “By working with schools, we can help to provide a direct community benefit through cost savings while also cutting carbon output and bringing us closer to our goal of installing 10,000 panels in 1,000 days.”David O’Brien, Commissioner of the Department of Public Service, said this project fits in with Vermont values: “We know from our public engagement process that Vermonters want to see more in-state renewable energy projects. We’re pleased to see the state and federal government, private industry and public schools all come together to build renewable energy in our communities.”The project received $260,442 in federal funds secured by Senator Sanders, $250,000 from Vermont’s Clean Energy Development Fund and $25,000 in funding and technical support from Green Mountain Power, making the project cost effective for the local community. “This project will not only help the Camels Hump Middle School reduce its electric bill and carbon footprint, but will be a major step forward in moving our state toward a greener economy which relies more and more on sustainable energy,” Senator Sanders said. “There is little doubt in my mind that in the years to come the energy mix in this state will be very different than it is today — with a far greater reliance on sustainable energy. I hope that this project becomes a model for what can be done and a catalyst for further action.”The 345 panels will generate about 82,551 kWh each year or 12% of the schools’ annual electric usage. Over the 25-year life of the system, almost two million pounds of carbon dioxide will be offset. The school is also investigating simultaneous replacement of the building’s original power transformers that are nearing the end of their operational life.”We hope that the success of this project will lead to similar improvements at the other schools in our service territory and throughout the state,” said Ms. Powell.About Green Mountain PowerGreen Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com(link is external)) transmits, distributes and sells electricity and utility construction services in the State of Vermont in a service territory with approximately one quarter of Vermont’s population. It serves more than 200,000 people and businesses. Source: GMP. COLCHESTER, VT–(Marketwire – April 16, 2009) –
Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc,Ben & Jerry s announces its commitment to go fully Fair Trade across its entire global flavor portfolio. From Americone Dream to Chocolate Fudge Brownie, all of the flavors in all of the countries where Ben & Jerry s is sold will be converted to Fair Trade Certified ingredients by the end of 2013.Ben & Jerry s was the first ice cream company in the world to use Fair Trade Certified ¢ ingredients starting in 2005, and today it s racing ahead as the first ice cream company to make such a significant commitment to Fair Trade across its global portfolio.Company co-founder Jerry Greenfield said, Fair Trade is about making sure people get their fair share of the pie. The whole concept of Fair Trade goes to the heart of our values and sense of right and wrong. Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting somebody else.Ben & Jerry s Fair Trade commitment means that every ingredient that can be sourced Fair Trade Certified, now or in the future, is Fair Trade Certified. Globally, this involves converting up to 121 different chunks and swirls, working across eleven different ingredients such as cocoa, banana, vanilla and other flavorings, fruits, and nuts. It also means working with Fair Trade cooperatives that total a combined membership of over 27,000 farmers.Rob Cameron, Chief Executive of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) said, Congratulations to Ben & Jerry s on the scale and the depth of this commitment to take their whole range Fair Trade. Tackling poverty and sustainable agriculture through trade may not be easy but it is always worth it, and Ben & Jerry s has demonstrated real leadership in laying out this long-term ambition to engage with smallholders, who grow nuts, bananas, vanilla, cocoa and other Fair Trade-certified ingredients. Ben & Jerry s, like all of us in the Fair Trade movement, believe that people can have fun standing up to injustice and campaigning against poverty while enjoying some of Ben & Jerry s best-selling favorites like Phish Food and Chocolate Fudge Brownie, how cool is that.Paul Rice, President and CEO of TransFair USA, says, Ben & Jerry s has been a model for socially responsible business for 32 years, proving that being responsible and sustainable are good for business. Their entry into Fair Trade in 2005 builds on that history and has had a real impact on the lives of family farmers around the world. By converting their ingredients to Fair Trade, Ben & Jerry s will help galvanize its suppliers to join the Fair Trade movement. That represents a huge leap forward for Fair Trade in the United States, and it s once again the kind of bold, pioneering move for which the company is known and admired.Farmers selling Fair Trade products earn a better income, which allows them to stay on their land. Fair Trade premiums also allow for reinvestment in their farms, their families, their communities and their future. Fair Trade means that certified farmers are using environmentally sound practices to grow and harvest their crops in a sustainable way.About Ben & Jerry sBen & Jerry s produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream and ice cream novelties, using high-quality ingredients including milk and cream from family farmers who do not treat their cows with the synthetic hormone rBGH. The company states its position on rBGH on its labels. Ben and Jerry s products are distributed nationwide and in selected foreign countries in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, franchise Ben & Jerry s Scoop Shops, restaurants and other venues. Ben & Jerry s, a Vermont corporation and wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, operates its business on a three-part Mission Statement emphasizing product quality, economic reward and a commitment to the community. The goal of the social mission is to integrate a concern for the community into as many day to day business operations as possible while maintaining the product and economic missions. The move to Fair Trade ingredients is driven by that commitment. For more visit www.benjerry.com(link is external).Source: BURLINGTON, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ben & Jerry s. 2.18.2010.