Fort Valley State conference prepares residents for disasters

Published By: Russell Boone March 26, 2019

Ben Jones, chief meteorologist for 13WMAZ in Macon, conducted a question and answer session about natural disasters during Fort Valley State University’s 42nd Farm, Home and Ministers’ Conference on March 14.

More than 170 farmers, homeowners and gardeners attended the 42nd annual Farm, Home and Ministers Conference on March 14. The event took place at the C.W. Pettigrew Farm and Community Life Center on FVSU’s campus.

The 2019 conference themed, “Disasters: Are we Prepared?” featured breakout sessions on an array of topics including Emergency Preparedness Packets along with Youth and Families Disaster Preparation. Featured demonstrations included Aeroponics and Garden Towers, and Beekeeping.

Sam Allen, director of Dougherty County’s Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and Ben Jones, chief meteorologist for 13WMAZ in Macon made presentations. Allen discussed how Dougherty County officials managed Hurricane Michael’s onslaught and Jones conducted a question and answer session on natural disasters.

In addition, participants visited more than 25 demonstration and information booths set up by farmers, businesses and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), FVSU Cooperative Extension program and the Peach State Health Plan.

“This is a very important conference due to the fact that we’ve had so many natural disasters that we’ve never expected to happen in our area,” said Terralon Chaney, FVSU Extension agent for Twiggs County and chair of the 2019 conference. She also said it is important for people to know the roles of first responders, such as firefighters, law enforcement officers and EMS in the event a tornado or hurricane hits their area. The FVSU Extension agent said people should learn what to do to survive the aftermath.

Chaney also said the information discussed on disaster preparedness during the breakout sessions will lead to networking opportunities for people to implement emergency plans in their counties.

Additionally, FVSU’s Cooperative Extension employees presented awards for the Agricultural and Natural Resources (ANR) Farm Family of the Year, 4-H Family of the Year and the Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) Individual of the Year.

Earl Rawls, owner of Rawls Family Farms in Houston County, received the ANR Farm Family of the Year Award. Rawls owns a 70-acre farm that grows longleaf pine trees, produce and produces beef cattle. “Really, it’s a pleasure to win this award,” Rawls said. “Fort Valley State University helps you with all kinds of operations you might have from growing vegetables to livestock,” Rawls said.

Leon Porter, FVSU Extension program assistant for Houston County, nominated Rawls for the honor. Some of the criteria for selection for the honor include being a local farmer using the family farm as a main source of income, reside in a county serviced by FVSU’s Cooperative Extension program, use Extension information materials, advisory services and participate in Extension’s educational programs.

Earl Rawls (holding award) receives the 2019 ANR Farm Family of the Year Award from FVSU Extension personnel (from left) Leon Porter, program assistant for Houston County; Charlie Grace, FVSU Extension agent for Dougherty, Lee and Worthy Counties (far rig

Earnestine Jordan, a Head Start teacher in Roberta, earned the 2019 FACS Individual of the Year Award. Millicent Price, FVSU Extension agent for Crawford County, nominated Jordan.

Millicent Price (second from left), FVSU Extension agent for Crawford County and Dr. Mark Latimore Jr. (far right) present Earnestine Jordan (holding trophy) with the 2019 FACS Individual of the Year Award.

Terrica Bond, a student at Twiggs County High School, received the 4-H Individual of the Year Award. Phillip Petway, FVSU’s Twiggs County 4-H agent, nominated her for the award.

Phillip Petway (fourth from left) and Dr. Mark Latimore Jr. (far right), FVSU Extension administrator, presents Terrica Bond (second from right) and her family with the 4-H Family of the Year Award.

For more information about the conference, contact Terralon Chaney at (478) 945-3391 or