UGA Extension Office

Agriculture & Natural Resources

Latest News Article from ANR Agent

Brian Maddy, County Extension Agent

Avian Flu Alert

At the end of December 2017, a strain of the H7 avian influenza was found in a green-winged teal, a widespread North American duck, collected in McIntosh County on the Georgia coast. 

Wild birds have known vectors of avian influenza. Backyard and pastured poultry flocks are especially vulnerable when exposed to their wild cousins, leaving them susceptible to avian influenza. 

What does this mean? Exposure to migrating wildfowl can infect backyard chickens. This doesn’t necessarily mean beak to beak contact. It can be beak to manure contact. If your flock is close to a water source such as a lake or pond that may be frequented by wild ducks or geese, it would be prudent to keep your birds isolated from that source.

How do you know if your flock is exposed to the avian flu? If your flock is healthy one day and the next day, most of your birds are dead, that is a good clue. It kills very rapidly. Call me immediately.

Migratory waterfowl have proved to be a natural reservoir for the HPAI, highly pathogenic avian influenza. The letters and numbers that follow like H5N8 are the strains. It was first detected in small flocks in South Africa in 1961. It has now infected flocks in Europe and Asia. It has been found in one of the four major flyways in the United States, the Mississippi flyway. The flyway that it has not been detected in is the Atlantic flyway which affects Georgia.

Georgia State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb said “In light of the first confirmed case of HPAI in commercial poultry this year, we challenge all of our poultry producers to redouble their biosecurity efforts.” Gary Black, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner said that “We cannot keep waterfowl from coming to Georgia, but we can keep them and their virus from getting into our domestic poultry by practicing strong biosecurity.”

The first line of defense is to prevent the entry of the virus into the poultry flocks to begin with. This is called “Biosecurity.” These type A influenzas are spread and maintained among wild birds by fecal-oral routes of transmission. The most common time that the virus is spread is when the birds begin to migrate during late summer and fall.

It is next to impossible to control the virus in the wild flocks.  How do we protect this 28-billion-dollar industry in Georgia? 

The first step is to move all poultry with outside access into housing immediately or into protected and covered runs. Keep you birds away from wild birds and from areas such as ponds and lakes where wild birds congregate. Restrict access to your property and create a barrier to your birds. Do not allow people who have chickens or other types of fowl near your flock.

Step two is to keep everything clean. Wear clean clothes, scrub and disinfect your shoes before entering your coop.  Have a shoe trough filled with a bleach solution as you walk in and out of the coop. Clean out the cages and change the food and water daily. Clean and disinfect your equipment and cages that come into contact with your birds or their droppings. Remove manure before disinfecting. 

The third step is not to bring disease home from the feed store, sale barn or fair. Clean and disinfect your vehicles including tires, cages and equipment. Quarantine any new birds at least 30 days before introducing them to your flock.

Step four is not to use or share any equipment from your neighbor. This includes lawn and garden equipment, tools and poultry supplies.  If you do, clean and disinfect them first.

Step five is to know the warning signs. The warning signs are:

·         Sudden increase in bird deaths

·         Sneezing, gasping for air, coughing and nasal discharge

·         Watery and green diarrhea

·         Lack of energy and poor appetite

·         Drop in egg production or soft or thin shelled misshapen eggs

·         Swelling around the eyes, neck and head

·         Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs and legs


The final step is to report sick birds. Don’t hesitate to call your vet or the extension office if your birds are sick or dying. The USDA operates a toll-free hotline (1-800-536-7593) at no charge with veterinarians to help you.

Remember, you are the best protection your birds have.

What’s going on in Extension?

·         January 30th: Egg Candling Class, no charge, Harris County Extension Office. Call Martha at 706.628.4824 register. Georgia Department of Ag is teaching the class. Bring valid identification.

·         February 8th: MGEV Meeting 7 PM at the Ag Center

·         February 19th: Beekeepers Meeting 7 PM at the Ag Center

·         February 20th: TCCA Meeting 7 PM Dinner $6.00; call for reservations 706.443.7697 Topic: 4-H and FFA Activities. Program starts at 7:30 PM

If you have any questions or concerns, stop by or call the office.

Brian Maddy is the ANR Agent for Troup County Extension. The Troup County Extension office is located at 144 Sam Walker Drive, LaGrange, GA. 30240 (706) 883-1675. Monday - Friday/8:00 AM – 12 noon and from 1:00 PM -


Troup County ANR Agent

• The Troup County Cattleman’s Association meets on the 3rd Tues of each month except for July at 7 PM at the Ag Center on 21 Vulcan Materials Road. Dinner is served at 7 PM.

• The Troup County Association of Beekeepers meets the 3rd Monday of each month at 7 PM at the Ag Center on 21 Vulcan Materials Road.

• The Troup County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers meet the 2nd Thursday of each month at the Ag Center on 21 Vulcan Materials Road.

Testing Services

  • Soil Samples- $9.00
  • Organic Matter Test - $13.00 
  • Boron Test - $15.00 
  • Soluble Salts Test - $15.00 
  • Nitrate Test - $15.00
  • Water Samples- $23.00 
  • Lead Test (Pb) (sensitive to 2 ppb) - $43.00
  • GA Extended Water Test (required for water treatment design)- $63 (W1-Basic, W-3 Anions, W11-Soluble Salts, & W18-Alkalinity) Need 1 pint 
  • Real Estate Test (required for new homes with existing well) - $88.00 (Lead, Nitrate ,Nitrite, Total Coliform /E.Coli) Need 1 quart
  • pH only Test - $7.00 
  • Cyanide Test - $53.00

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Market on Main, LaGrange - Market on Main is a joint venture with the Downtown Development Commission and the Troup County Extension Service. It’s comprised of two local markets that came together to form one larger market and is currently located in the Carmike Cinema Parking lot just south of the theater. The market opens at 8:00 PM and closes at 10:00 AM. Fresh vegetables, homemade items such as cakes, canned goods, jellies, bread, soap and plants can be purchased. We do not sell flea market items. Contact Barbie Watts of the Downtown Development Commission at or 706.881.2772 for further information.

Harvest Sale - The Annual Ruban Harvest Street Sale began in 1956 by local county organizers. The main purpose of the harvest sale is to attract customers to buy merchandise from local merchants. The items must be grown or processed or made by the sellers. Usually, merchandise is available on the date that it normally could not be found any other time of the year. Items such as fresh vegetables, fruits, pumpkins, jams and jellies, baked goods, apple cider, sorghum syrup, honey, canned products, live chickens and crafts of all kinds are on hand for sale. In the beginning several ladies frequently attended the sale dressed in quaint costumes in style from their parents and grandparents era. This was often interesting to younger children to see the fads and fashions of yesteryear. Since, the costumes have all vanished with the changing of time, but the harvest sale is continuing to remain a viable and most enjoyable event of the extension service. The Annual Ruban Harvest Street Sale is now called the October Harvest Fest held every year in October from 8:00am until 12:00 noon.

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Extension Publications
Your Household Water Quality: Odors in Your Water (C 1016) Homeowners sometimes experience unpleasant odors in their household water. In many cases, the exact cause of the odor is difficult to determine by water testing; however, this publication provides a few general recommendations for treating some common causes of household water odors.
Native Plants for Georgia Part I: Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines (B 987) This publication focuses on native trees, shrubs and woody vines for Georgia. It is not our intent to describe all native species — just those available in the nursery trade and those that the authors feel have potential for nursery production and landscape use. Rare or endangered species are not described. Information on each plant is provided according to the following categories: Common Name(s)/Botanical Name/Family, Characteristics, Landscape Uses, Size, Zones and Habitat.
Conversion Tables, Formulas and Suggested Guidelines for Horticultural Use (B 931) Pesticide and fertilizer recommendations are often made on a pounds per acre and tons per acre basis. While these may be applicable to field production of many crops, orchardists, nurserymen and greenhouse operators often must convert these recommendations to smaller areas, such as row feet, square feet, or even per tree or per pot. Thus pints, cups, ounces, tablespoons and teaspoons are the common units of measure. The conversion is frequently complicated by metric units of measure. This publication is designed to aid growers in making these calculations and conversions, and also provides other data useful in the management, planning and operation of horticultural enterprises.
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Below are some of UGA Extension's most broadly useful resources for those involved in agriculture on the farm, in schools, and around the home.

Production Agriculture:
Statewide Variety Testing Which varieties should you plant? The variety testing team does the work and research for farmers.
UGA Weather Network Reliable weather information for agricultural and environmental applications, including soil temperature, rainfall, wind speed, and more.
Pesticide Safety Education Everything you need to achieve certification and maintain the knowledge to safely and effectively make use of restricted-use and all other types of pesticides.
Sustainable Agriculture A collection of resources for those interested in production and marketing practices that are profitable, environmentally sound, and that improve the quality of life for farmers, farm workers, and the community.
Ag Budgets and Economics Resources for production economics, farm management, marketing, situation and outlook, risk management, financial management, farm policy, labor, and taxation.
Farmgate Value Report Annual county-level reports documenting the value of all food and fiber commodities grown in the state.
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Home & Garden:
Soil Testing Ensure that your soil is productive! Get your soil tested to determine the amount and kind of nutrients that should be added for the best growth.
Pest Management Recommendations for pest control around homes, on pets, in the home garden, and more.
Household Water Quality Water quality has an immediate and a prolonged effect on the health of your household. This publication series contains basic information about home water quality and treatment.
Home Garden Publication Series Topics include garden planning, soil preparation, weed control, pollination, disease and insect control, harvesting, and preserving.
Georgia Green Industry Professional Development The UGA Center for Urban Agriculture offers professional training and certifications for the Georgia Certified Landscape Professional, Georgia Certified Plant Professional exam and Super Crew employee training series.
Community and School Gardens This Community and School Gardens blog is designed to help community and school gardeners succeed by connecting them to UGA Extension and other research-based resources.
Lesson Plans and Teacher Resources Whether you'd like to help protect the environment, teach your students how to avoid chronic diseases with healthy food and physical activity, or train food handlers in your cafeteria, University of Georgia Extension can help.