By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaGreen and purple ketchup, mayonnaise from a squeezable bottle,soup you can eat while driving your car. New food products likethese aren’t just flights of fancy.”Food product development is critical to the survival and growth of the companies within our vast and vigorously competitive, $800billion American food industry,” said Aaron Brody. “Probably aquarter of a million different food products are available, with15,000 to 20,000 or so new items introduced annually into thecrowded mix to try to satisfy consumer desires.”Brody is an adjunct food science and technology professor withthe University of Georgia College of Agricultural andEnvironmental Sciences. He shared his knowledge of productdevelopment and packaging with food industry managers during aone-day short course June 24.The course was organized by the Food Product Innovation andCommercialization Program, formed by UGA researchers.New product development changing”In the past, and to a degree, even today, to develop new foodproducts, we went to the kitchen or laboratory or pilot plant andwhipped up a recipe, which was sent to marketing to sell,” Brodysaid. “Or we assembled a group of creative people to brainstormideas that were sent to the lab. Or we waited for farmers to growa new crop.”Today’s food industry leaders have to know the consumers’ wants,create the right packaging and generate a profit, he said.John Lord, a food product development and marketing researcherfrom St. Joseph’s University and member of the FOODPI&C program,said the high number of new products announced each year isactually much smaller than it seems.”There may be 20,000 new UPC codes … each year, but a very,very small number of these are really new to the world,” he said.”Many are just new adaptations of existing products or temporaryor seasonal products like Oreos with a different color icing.”Few new products really newOf each year’s new products, Lord said, only one-third will beconsidered successful in two years.”This is called ‘product churn,'” he said. “The industry puts alot of products out there and waits to see which ones stick.”Why do so many fail? What drives shoppers to buy new foods?”Consumers want products that taste good, are good for them andare convenient,” Lord said. “Thanks to the food industry, we nowhave cereal bars with milk in them so we can now eat theequivalent of a bowl of cereal while driving a car.”Successful new foods are being developed, too, to reduce the timewe spend cooking. “Look at bowl meals,” he said. “We can now heatit up, eat it and throw away the dishes. If you have a plasticspoon handy, there are no dishes to wash.”Indulgent products are another trend on the rise. “Ben andJerry’s ice cream and Hershey’s upscale chocolate products arebeing sold so we can reward ourselves for living stressfullives,” he said.Some products before their timeLord said some new products are introduced before their time.Cereal with freeze-dried fruit, for example.”In 1965, the technology wasn’t good enough,” he said. “By thetime the fruit was ready to eat, the cereal was too soggy.Thirty-seven years later these cereals taste great and the fruitattracts consumers because it adds a health notion.”Mark Thomas, a research chef with MDT, Ltd., and a FOODPI&Cmember, was a member of the team that made the hugely successfuldecision to add baby-back ribs to the Chili’s restaurant menu.”If you can’t get it to the consumer, it’s not a new product,”Thomas said. “To be successful, you have to be sure consumerneeds are met during the entire development process.”Thomas compared new foods to a human life.”You have to be willing to support the baby from birth toadolescence and on to maturity,” he said. “And if it dies, youperform an autopsy, evaluate what went right and what went wrongand what you could have done better. And you get ready for thenext baby.”More than 30 food industry representatives attended the UGA newfood products development seminar.
By Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaTake time now to check and fix any problems with your home irrigation. There’s no guarantee afternoon showers will bring water to your lawn when it needs it this summer.Make sure the sprinkler heads are properly adjusted and not spraying too far out or too close in. Look for signs of broken risers beneath the sprinklers. Sometimes this is obvious: You’ll have a traffic-stopping geyser. A cracked riser will allow water to boil up around the sprinkler.Inspect the sprinkler riser wiper seal for flow-by. A small amount of water emitting past the wiper seal is acceptable while the system is running. Excessive flow-by while a system is operating indicates a damaged seal.Many times people will replace a sprinkler because it leaks between the wiper seal and pop-up stem after the system has turned off. This leakage does not indicate a problem. If water drains out after the system has turned off and eventually stops, the valve is fine.For spray heads with filters under the nozzle, hold the pop-up stem and unscrew the nozzle carefully. A damaged nozzle may result in an uneven spray pattern. A damaged pop-up stem will result in a poorly performing wiper seal. Remove and clean the filter.To clean clogged nozzles, flush with water or lightly tap on a firm surface. While the filter is out, turn on the zone and flush out the sprinkler body. Reinstall the filter and nozzle, turn on the zone and recheck for effective coverage. Make all of the necessary adjustments to cover the area properly. While the water is on, inspect the other heads in the zone for proper operation.To clean filters installed under the pop-up stem, unscrew the cap from the body. Don’t allow dirt to fall into the sprinkler body while the riser assembly and cap are removed.The filter is at the bottom of the riser assembly. Remove it and flush it with water. Before reinstalling the assembly, run a small amount of water through the system to flush any debris caught in the sprinkler body.It’s very important that broken or poorly performing sprinkler heads be replaced. When a specific sprinkler isn’t operating as it’s designed or if water is flowing freely because of a worn wiper seal, the performance of all the other heads in the zone is affected. Water flowing unchecked past a wiper seal will cause a loss in pressure and affect the other sprinklers’ performances.Valve problems can be hard to fix. Check with a professional if you think you have valve troubles.
University of Georgia Extension will offer a Backyard Flock Poultry Workshop Jan. 16 in downtown Comer. The after-work workshop, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Comer Travel Museum, will cover backyard poultry basics like breed selection, housing and nutrition, but will also cover more advanced topics like disease and parasite prevention. “This will be a workshop where beginners are going to learn a lot,” said Madison County Extension Agent Adam Speir. “But if you have had chickens for a while, you will still be able to get something out of it.” Jim Adkins, of the Sustainable Poultry Network, will be presenting the workshop along with Casey Ritz, of the UGA Department of Poultry Science. UGA’s Madison and Elbert county Extension offices are hosting the workshop, but poultry fanciers from all over northeast Georgia are invited to attend. The workshop is $20 per person, but discounts are available for families, couples and anyone who registers with their own small flock of poultry enthusiasts. Visit http://whoozin.com/W3U-7XW-WFK9 to pre-register before the Jan. 13 registration deadline. For more information or for directions to the Comer Travel Museum, call the Madison County Extension office at 706-795-2281 or email email@example.com. For more information about the Sustainable Poultry Network visit www.sustainablepoutlrynetwork.com.
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is well represented in this year’s crop of graduate students on the UGA Tifton Campus.Twelve Extension agents are enrolled this semester at UGA Tifton as part of the Master of Plant Protection and Pest Management (MPPPM) program in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The agents work in counties in south Georgia.“UGA Extension has a history of working with and serving Georgia residents. With many of our agents enrolled in the MPPPM program, farmers and homeowners will benefit from the increased education our agents are receiving,” said Scott Utley, Southwest District agricultural and natural resources program development coordinator.Laura Perry Johnson, director of UGA Extension, believes the program is a win-win for all involved.“This increases our graduate student numbers at the UGA Tifton Campus and trains a much-needed workforce for the applied agricultural industry,” Johnson said. “Best of all, it allows our current employees an avenue to further their education in an area that will increase their expertise and make them more valuable in their jobs, allowing them to have more impact with their clientele. I am beyond excited about the growth in the MPPPM program.”The college’s departments of Entomology, Crop and Soil Sciences and Plant Pathology jointly coordinate the MPPPM program. It is designed to produce graduates with comprehensive, multidisciplinary training in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of weeds, plant diseases and insect pests of agricultural, commercial and home commodities.“The Master of Plant Protection and Pest Management has become one of the most sought-after degrees by entities that are looking to hire graduates who can apply the latest research to real world situations,” said Jason Peake, director of academic programs at UGA Tifton. “The MPPPM degree equips graduates with not only the technical knowledge to be successful in the field, but also a full understanding of the science and technology behind that knowledge that allows them to make the best decision, regardless of the situation.”There are 28 students enrolled in the MPPPM program at UGA Tifton. David Riley, graduate coordinator for the program at UGA Tifton, said many students who follow through with the MPPPM program pursue Extension careers upon graduation. Of the five students who graduated last spring, two became Extension agents. “The program has gained a lot in popularity over the past year,” Riley said.Along with being trained for a career in Cooperative Extension, MPPPM graduates are prepared for employment as IPM professionals in pesticide and fertilizer services, the pest control industry and regulatory agencies.The program is offered on all three CAES campuses in Tifton, Griffin and Athens, Georgia.New student orientation for the MPPPM program at UGA Tifton is set for Friday, Aug. 14.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected much of daily life for Americans, but a few minutes spent completing the 2020 U.S. Census now will make a big impact in the coming decade.Georgia’s self-response rate is currently 53.6%, well below the national rate of 57.3%, putting it in 34th place ranked by state. The state’s 2010 response rate was 62.5%.“Georgia has a significant rural and farm population, so it is critical that every person is counted,” said Mike Martin, director of county operations for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. “Extension is represented in every county of the state and is well positioned to help Georgians understand the importance of the U.S. Census to them and their community, and also make it easy for them to be counted.”Known as Census Day, April 1 was the census reference date used to determine who is counted and where they were located at that time. April Fool’s Day was not the deadline for self-response, which is now Oct. 31.There’s nothing eerie about the survey, though. The U.S. Census Bureau takes data protection and security very seriously, especially since this is the first widespread use of online responses, although paper and telephone responses are also still being taken. Personal information is not released for 72 years from the National Archives and Records Administration.All household members don’t need to respond to the census, but everyone who usually lives and sleeps in the home should be included. Responding with the census ID mailed to households helps ensure the best count of communities, according to the Bureau.If family members are temporarily displaced because of COVID-19 — due to closures at universities and colleges, for example — individuals should be counted where they normally would have resided on April 1. However, students living at on-campus facilities are already counted through large group responses.The census is used in an array of policy and legislative decisions including designating local school and congressional districts. More than $689 billion in federal funds are doled out to states based on the decennial data.Medicare and Medicaid account for more than half of this federal funding. About 15% of funds distributed are from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), school lunch and breakfast programs, the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, and the Emergency Food Assistance Program.Programs at land-grant universities receiving federal allocations from the USDA include the education program for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed), Cooperative Extension and Agricultural Experiment Stations.Two-thirds of federal funding for the Cooperative Extension System is formula-based: 20% is equally divided between states; 40% is based on rural population; and 40% is based on farm population.Late spring would normally be the peak operation time for Census Bureau field offices, which is now evaluating and beginning to reopen in some areas. Nonresponse follow-ups, which are conducted in person, will wrap up by Oct. 31.All interaction with the public will follow social distancing guidelines and field staff will use personal protective equipment as needed, according to a Census Bureau press release. In order to verify identity, all census workers have an ID badge with their photograph, expiration date and U.S. Department of Commerce watermark.For more information or to complete the census, visit 2020census.gov.Note: This story has been updated with the Oct. 31 self-response deadline to reflect the Census Bureau’s Oct. 2 press release.
StatewideTechnology Project Unveils New WebsiteConnectVermont Project Includes Fiber optic, Wireless,Online InformationMONTPELIER– The project responsible for bringing wireless Internet access tohighway welcome centers; putting tourism information online; and bringingmotorists road condition reports now has its website.Officials saidthe ConnectVermont program’s new website at www.connectvermont.com(link is external)would not only help visitors and Vermonters learn more about its many high-techservices but provide another way to access them.“Thiswebsite really shows how the ConnectVermont project is making a difference inpeople’s lives,” said Robert T. White, who is the project’sdirector within the Vermont Agency of Transportation. “From vacationerslooking for a cultural event using wireless internet at a welcome center to aVermont trucker trying to find out road and traffic conditions, technology isworking for all of us.”ConnectVermontis a program coordinated by the Vermont Agencies of Transportation and Commerce& Community Development, and composed of partnering organizations withdiverse missions including arts & humanities, tourism, public safety,natural resources, and economic development.In addition towebsites for these purposes, the initiative includes wireless internet serviceat all of the state’s welcome centers as part of its mission toestablish an Advanced Rural Traveler Information service.In addition toan integrated system of web sites, interactive kiosks, and a 511 informationline, the ConnectVermont Program will eventually include a fiber optic“backbone” running along Vermont’s highway system that willfurther support traveler information and transportation needs as well as helpexpand broadband access around the state.“I wouldencourage all Vermonters to visit the ConnectVermont website to learn about howthat State of Vermont is making traveling to, in and around Vermont safer andmore convenient,” said Senator Patrick Leahy, who helped secure much ofthe $15 million in federal funding that has fueled the project.“ConnectVermonthas transformed the way visitors search for information about Vermont and ithas begun to transform the way Vermonters know about road conditions, trafficreports and other critical travel information,” Leahy said.11 ofVermont’s 20 information and welcome centers are now offering freewireless internet access, Governor Douglas said, and the remainder are slatedto be completed in the next year or so.“Thiscomponent of my E-State Initiative will provide free Wi Fi access for businesspeople, tourists, and all those who use our highways,” Douglas said.“The ConnectVermont site is a great way to track the progress of this andother related projects.”The northboundand southbound sites in Sharon, Williston, and Randolph are on line, as areGuilford, Fairhaven, Alburgh, Derby and Highgate.For moreinformation, please visit:www.connectvermont.com(link is external)### 30 ###
Northstar Vermont Yankee,Entergy Corporation reported fourth quarter 2010 earnings of $1.26 per share on an as-reported basis, compared to the same period last year of $1.64. For year-end 2010, earnings were $6.66 versus $6.30 for 2009. Entergy is the parent company of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. SEE FULL REPORT HEREOperational Earnings Highlights for Fourth Quarter 2010â ¢ Utility results were lower due to an increase in non-fuel operation and maintenance expense.â ¢ Entergy Wholesale Commodities earnings decreased as a result of lower net revenue and a higher effective income tax rate, partially offset by a gain on sale of an investment.â ¢ Parent & Other results declined due to several individually insignificant items including higher interest expense.‘Once again our businesses delivered strong operational performance and for the sixth year in a row we achieved record operational earnings per share,’ said J. Wayne Leonard, Entergy’s chairman and chief executive officer. ‘Our efforts in 2010 have positioned us for future success. The Utility’s regulatory progress, including rate case settlements in Arkansas and Texas, and future opportunities for productive investments provide one of the best growth stories in the industry. The execution of the reorganization to establish Entergy Wholesale Commodities further enhances our focus on license renewal efforts. And as EWC faces challenging power markets, we are largely hedged in the upcoming years to provide certainty in a bearish environment.’Entergy’s business highlights include the following:â ¢ The Staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued its final supplemental environmental impact statement for Indian Point’s proposed 20-year license renewal, concluding that there are no environmental impacts that would preclude license renewal for an additional 20 years of operation.â ¢ The Public Utility Commission of Texas unanimously approved the Entergy Texas rate case settlement.â ¢ In January, Entergy Louisiana received the remaining regulatory approval from the Louisiana Public Service Commission for its proposed acquisition of the Acadia Unit 2 power plant paving the way for a first quarter 2011 closing.