The partnership between University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and the Georgia Pecan Commission yielded a new area pecan agent position for the Southeast District this year.The two entities co-funded the position that will be filled by Andrew Sawyer beginning May 1. Sawyer will work with growers and county agents in southeast Georgia, while UGA Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells continues to serve producers in southwest Georgia and statewide.“I am so excited about this partnership between the pecan industry and UGA Extension. This is a great example of how everyone in the agricultural industry in Georgia works together to identify needs and solve problems,” said Laura Perry Johnson, associate dean for UGA Extension. “Andrew is the perfect person to be UGA Extension’s pecan expert in southeast Georgia. I look forward to seeing the great things that come from this partnership.”Sawyer has served as the Wilcox County Extension coordinator and Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent since October 2017. Prior to that, he was the ANR agent in Thomas County for six years.“I think it’s going to be a great experience. It’s going to be awesome working with the pecan team,” Sawyer said. “It’s going to be awesome working with the agents. I feel like I know a lot of them. I’ve met so many growers already at the last two pecan meetings in Tifton.”Sawyer’s addition to the pecan team is timely since there has been an increase in the number of trees being planted in the southeastern part of the state over the past decade. Although the majority of Georgia’s crop lies in southwest Georgia in Mitchell, Dougherty and Lee counties, Tattnall County in southeast Georgia was ranked No. 6 in farm gate value for pecans in 2017 with $16.1 million, according to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.“The pecan acreage in that part of the state has grown a lot in the last five to 10 years. Some of those areas, it’s a three and a half hour drive one way to get to them and that limits the amount of time you’re able to spend with them on the ground,” Wells said. “It’s going to be very helpful for them and all of us to have Andrew over there and accessible to those growers.”It’s a critical year for Georgia pecan farmers. Hurricane Michael hit southwest Georgia last October, decimating the pecan industry by causing more than $560 million in direct losses. Producers are currently making decisions about whether they should replant, what varieties to plant and how to overcome low market prices.“There probably will be more questions that come up this year, more problems that need to be looked at in the field,” said Lanair Worsham, vice chairman of the Georgia Pecan Commission. “It’s going to work well (having Sawyer join the pecan team).”For more information about Georgia pecans, see https://site.extension.uga.edu/pecan/.
(REUTERS) – Soccer’s world governing body FIFA has banned Markus Kattner, a former leading official in the Zurich organisation, for 10 years and has fined him one million Swiss francs ($1.06M) after a probe into bonus payments.“The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Markus Kattner, former FIFA Deputy Secretary General and Acting Secretary General, guilty of conflicts of interest and having abused his position, in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics,” FIFA said in a statement yesterday.“The investigation into Mr Kattner covered various charges concerning bonus payments in relation to FIFA competitions that were paid to top FIFA management officials (including Mr Kattner), various amendments to and extensions of employment contracts, reimbursement of private legal costs, and Mr Kattner’s duties as an official.”FIFA said in June, 2016, that an internal investigation revealed that Kattner, FIFA’s former Secretary General Jerome Valcke and the organisation’s ex-President Sepp Blatter had received 79 million Swiss francs ($81M) in compensation over five years, calling them “massive payouts”.Blatter, who led FIFA from 1998 until 2015, was banned from football for six years in February 2016, while Valcke is banned until 2028.The 45-year-old Kattner, who holds German and Swiss citizenship, joined FIFA as Director of Finance in 2003 and four years later became Deputy Secretary General.He became Acting Secretary General in September 2015, after the departure of Valcke, but was then fired in May 2016.According to the Ethics Committee’s final judgement, Kattner argued that the ethics process against him had not been fair and that he did not grant any bonus payments either to himself or to anyone else in the top management.The official can appeal the FIFA ban to the Court of Arbitration of Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.