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UGA Leaders Tour GA Nurseries

Wednesday, June 15, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jennifer Addington
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UGA Dean Visits Georgia Nurseries


UGA 's Dean Sam Pardue at Southeastern Growers


GGIA was pleased to host Dean Sam Pardue from the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences on a tour of nurseries in North Georgia yesterday. Since arriving on campus, Dean Pardue has spent time visiting with different commodity groups and meeting with leaders from the agriculture community.


The goal of the green industry tour was to illustrate the diversity of the green industry while also looking at the overall impact that it has on Georgia economically and environmentally. We appreciate Dean Pardue, Associate Dean Laura Perry Johnson and Assistant Dean for Extension Mark McCann taking time from their busy schedules to participate on the tour. Also joining us was longtime Ag supporter, Representative Chuck Williams from Oconee County.

Dean Pardue and Johnson examine tissue culture cuttings at James Greenhouses


The group was treated to a tour of four very successful but very different nurseries: Evergreen Nursery, Southeastern Growers, James Greenhouses and R A Dudley. Each operation specializes in different segments of the industry but all have the common need for real time information on pests and diseases, new varieties and how to stay current amid ever changing regulations.

Technology in Action. Robots spreading plants at R A Dudley Nursery


At the first stop, Will Ross from Evergreen Nursery talked about the important role UGA plays in helping diagnose and treat different pest problems. Having that knowledge allows Will to stay out in front of any potential issues and helps to insure that he is delivering high quality, healthy plants to his customers. Next up was Southeastern Growers. Watching a large Crape Myrtle being dug showed the difference in product size as well as the different amount of time it takes some growers to produce a usable product. At Evergreen, crops could be produced in weeks. While at Southeastern, production cycles were multiple years.

Will Ross talks about smart water sensors at Evergreen Nursery


The group then visited James Greenhouses where owner Ken James toured the group through his cutting edge greenhouse range. With product coming in from around the world and millions of plants being produced in small spaces, James talked about the importance of having highly trained and knowledgably staff to produce liners and plugs of the highest quality. At the final stop, Mike and Tommy Dudley showed the group their large operation and future expansion areas while discussing the importance of new plants and branding programs.


At the end of the day, the group remarked at the wide range of operations, the differences in production and the highly technical systems required for bringing crops to the market.  We also discussed the continuing need for a strong extension program to assist the industry at the producer and the consumer level. Dean Pardue and his team have a new appreciation for the industry and what it takes to produce quality annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees. GGIA looks forward to continuing our relationship to make the Green Industry better for all Georgians.

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