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FVSU professor honored at largest agricultural exposition in US

Published: 11/03/2015 9:25AM
By: booner


Fort Valley State University officials pose with Chip Blalock, executive director of the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition (3rd from left), Elizabeth Getz, wife of Dr. Will Getz and son Michael at the unveiling of the Will Getz Sheep and Goat Section in Moultrie Oct. 20.

Officials of the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition honored Dr. Will Getz, a retired Fort Valley State University professor and Extension animal science specialist, by naming the sheep and goat display in his honor Oct. 20. 

Sunbelt, often called North America’s Premiere Farm Exposition, is the largest farm show in the U.S. featuring field demonstrations. The 38th edition of the event, held in Moultrie from Oct. 20-22, attracted more than 77,000 visitors consisting of farmers, gardeners, students and the general public from the Southeast and across the U.S. The exposition is a showcase for more than 1,200 exhibitors and 300 seminars covering subjects ranging from farm equipment to animal care.

Getz specialized in the area of sheep and goats during his tenure at FVSU, and manned the sheep and goat section at the Sunbelt Ag Expo. He educated the general public and farmers through seminars on how to efficiently maintain the animals.

“It was just fitting, that in his untimely passing after his valiant battle with cancer this summer, we honor his memory by naming this area the Will R. Getz Sheep and Goat Section,” said Chip Blalock, executive director of Sunbelt Ag Expo.

Blalock added that Getz was a champion for small ruminants, and worked with numerous producers in Georgia and across the country. Blalock said Sunbelt officials enjoyed a cordial working relationship with Getz, and he did an outstanding job for more than 10 years organizing the sheep and goat seminars. “You always knew when Will took on the task of putting the demonstrations together each year, they would go off without a hitch come Tuesday morning of expo,” Blalock said.

Elizabeth Getz, wife of the retired professor, said she is appreciative of the tribute to her husband. “I feel that it is a real honor. He would have thought it was not necessary because he was very humble man. We’re very pleased with Chip Blalock doing this,” she said.

Dr. Mark Latimore, Extension administrator at FVSU, expressed his gratitude for Sunbelt officials honoring his former co-worker. “We really appreciate them for taking the time and recognizing the work Dr. Getz did for Sunbelt over the years. By naming this section after Will, it places his name in a position which people will remember him and the contributions he made, and touch the number of people he interacted with in the small ruminant area throughout his career at Fort Valley State and beyond,” Latimore said.

Latimore also said that the newly named section at Sunbelt presents an opportunity for FVSU to emphasize its outreach for helping people. “That’s what Will was all about,” Latimore said.