Earlier this year I had the honor of participating in the University of Georgia’s Agricultural Economic Forecast Seminar Series (Georgia Ag Forecast). During the tour, which included stops in Gainesville, Cartersville, Lyons, Bainbridge, Tifton, and Macon, I was reminded of what a great community of people we have working in agriculture in this state. While each part of the state may produce a variety of different products from poultry to peanuts and cotton to corn, the people who produce them are largely the same — down-to-earth, hard-working, warm, and welcoming folks who are passionate about agriculture and its contributions to Georgia. It was also abundantly clear that they appreciate and have a deep respect for UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and the great research and outreach services that its faculty provides.
At each seminar, I had the opportunity to highlight the long-standing relationship between ATRP and UGA, particularly with the Poultry Science Department. A great example of this collaboration is the growout audio research project where ATRP and UGA researchers are looking at using audio captured in the growout environment to detect the health and well-being of a poultry flock (see “In the News” for links to recent interviews in The Wall Street Journal and NPR’s “All Things Considered”). This project leverages the interdisciplinary expertise of ATRP engineers and technologists and UGA animal scientists to investigate a research question that neither would adequately be able to tackle individually. This ability to drive innovation at the intersection of traditional disciplines provides a unique opportunity for Georgia Tech and UGA to work more closely together.
More broadly, Dr. Scott Angle, CAES dean, and I have been talking with the leadership at both of our institutions and the Georgia Department of Agriculture to develop an initiative that more formally targets these collaborative opportunities. The goal of such a program would be to leverage the expertise and resources at all three institutions to foster interdisciplinary interactions and drive transformational innovation. This, in turn, would position Georgia as a thought leader in the development of technologies specifically focused on agricultural endeavors. This idea has been well-received by the general agricultural community across the state, and we continue to move forward with developing the initiative.
One thing that became clear to me the more I talked with our agricultural community is that, while loyalties run deep when it comes to football, everyone can get excited about working together to improve agriculture in the state of Georgia.