Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day One Recap – Agribusiness and Agritourism and Spotlight on the Arts

Here’s a quick recap of day one activities on the University of Georgia’s New Faculty Tour. After hearing from UGA president Jere Morehead and vice president for Public Service and Outreach Jennifer Frum, the group assembled for a picture and then it was off to visit North Georgia. Highlights include:
  • Having lunch at Jaemor Farms, a family-owned farm that has been in business for over 100 years. Owner Jimmy Echols and operations manager Drew Echols represent the third and fifth generation of family leadership. They have expanded Jaemor Farms from simple agriculture production to being a tourist destination in its own right complete with great food, annual activities such as the corn maze, and facilities for group meetings.
  • While at Jaemor University System of Georgia Board of Regents chairman Philip Wilheit discussed the importance of the agriculture economy in Georgia and how businesses such as Jaemor are deeply integrated into their local communities by producing products the community needs while also consuming necessary products like packaging from other businesses. Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black also spoke and challenged the faculty to be public servants in all that they do and to give back to the State of Georgia as all UGA faculty have done previously.
  • After lunch the group traveled to Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery to tour another family owned business that has become a tourist destination in its own right. Owner and family patriarch Karl Boegner discussed the process of creating the vineyard’s award winning wines and the tour participants enjoyed a wine tasting event.
  • The final destination for the day included a stop at the Amicalola Falls State Park where Georgia State Parks Region I manager Joe Yeager discussed the state’s extensive system of parks and recreational areas. After dinner the group enjoyed presentations by UGA deputy librarian (and soon to be university librarian) Toby Graham who discussed the University’s resources for supporting teaching and research. Karen Paty, director of the Georgia Council for the Arts, discussed the history of the arts in the state and how the arts are a critical part of the state’s growing economy. The evening concluded with Georgia poet laureate Judson Mitcham recalling his fond memories of growing up in Georgia as he performed several readings of his poetry.
After a long and fruitful day the tour participants enjoyed a good nights rest at the Amicalola Falls lodge. Stops for Tuesday include the Shaw Industries plant in Cartersville, tours of the State Capital and the Martin Luther King center in Atlanta, a visit to the UGA Alumni Center in Buckhead, and dinner with the Consular Corps of Atlanta. The tour has a full day ahead of it on Tuesday. More to come.

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