By Clint Thompson
The new University of Georgia (UGA) Cooperative Extension vegetable specialist in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is no stranger to the vegetable and specialty crop industry and the challenges it currently faces. That’s why Ted McAvoy should be a wealth of knowledge and experience for South Georgia producers.
McAvoy joined UGA after working at Syngenta with a personal mission to help producers, especially in an era of uncertainty.
“There’s a lot of challenges, but there’s a lot of opportunities. I’d like to find how to find alternative crops that are more profitable; find ways to increase yields and increase profitability; find ways to reduce inputs and reduce costs,” McAvoy said. “Labor is a very big issue, identifying crops and production systems where we can reduce labor. One thing we’re looking at now is onions. They transplant by hand, but could we direct seed or could we seed bulbs with a machine instead of transplanting plants?”
McAvoy is located on the UGA Tifton Campus in Tifton, Georgia. His appointment is divided between 80% Extension and 20% research. His research will comprise all aspects of Georgia vegetable production. This includes variety production, disease resistance, fertilizer management, irrigation and alternative crops.
His Extension appointment includes serving the vegetable industry by providing relevant information and data-driven recommendations that increases the growers’ productivity, sustainability and profitability.
McAvoy joins UGA in a time when growers face multiple challenges; from high input costs to supply shortages to unfair trade to labor challenges. That makes McAvoy’s work even more essential to the long-term sustainability of the industry.
“That’s my mission is to help growers. That’s what it is, to benefit the vegetable industry,” McAvoy said.
McAvoy is the son of Gene McAvoy, University of Florida Regional Vegetable Extension Agent IV Emeritus.