Story by Kathryn McBroom
Photos by Angelina Bellebuono and contributed
A lot has changed in the past year at Brandon’s Quality Calves. There are new housing hutches, a new pasture, a weaning pen—oh, and a gaggle of little girls.
On a recent sunny Saturday in April, Girl Scout Troop 60541, of Monticello, toured Brandon Towe’s heifer replacement business. They were there to earn their animal merit badge, which they gain by leaning how to care and feed for animals.
Under Brandon’s watchful eye, the girls, between the ages of 7 and 9, bottle fed baby calves. The girls also watched Brandon administer medicine to some of the calves.
Troop leader Andrea Pascale said bottle feeding the cows was the highlight of the girls’ trip.
“They talked about it all the way home,” said Pascale.
Brandon, a junior at Morgan County High School, echoed Pascale’s statement.
“Some of them were a little nervous about it. I made sure, between me, my mom, and my dad, there was someone in there with each girl,” said Brandon.
But Brandon had to look out for his calves too. He made sure any germs or diseases the girls might be carrying from their household pets wouldn’t hurt his calves.
“I had a little bucket with disinfectant in it, and I had them step into it and clean their shoes before they came into the pasture,” said Brandon.
Pascale contacted Brandon after one of the Girl Scout’s mothers suggested it. The girl’s mother worked with Rhonda Towe, Brandon’s mother, who had told her about her son’s booming business.
By: Bobby Smith
The following is a news column first published by a fellow County Agent, Charles Phillips, who just retired from Cooperative Extension in Columbia County. I have been seeing these same problems in our area.
As I look out the window, I see rain beginning to fall, again.
We have been blessed with a surplus of rain, and we hope that it will continue during the summer months. Rain is beneficial to plants, but too much can cause problems.
Excessive rain can damage camellias, which are blooming now and will be putting on new growth when the weather warms up. There are three major diseases of camellias—camellia dieback and canker, flower blight and root rot. Also, there are secondary diseases such as edema and algal leaf spot.
Camellia dieback and canker will cause the leaves on affected branches to suddenly turn yellow and wilt. Then, the branch tips usually die and gray blotches appear on the bark and stem.
These blotches will turn into sunken areas, which are cankers, and these cankers will eventually girdle the stem. Parts of the plant above the stem canker lose vigor, wilt and die. This disease will show up more during hot, dry weather.
Camellias should be planted in well-drained soil. They need to be fertilized and pruned properly to reduce the amount of stress on the plant. If your plant is affected by dieback and canker, you need to remove the infected parts of the plant and treat with a fungicide to help protect the plant.
The second major disease is flower blight. This disease causes the flowers to turn brown and drop off. Flower blight likes cool, wet conditions. The first symptoms of the disease are small, irregular shaped spots on the flower petals. These spots enlarge to cover the entire flower within 24 to 48 hours.
Story by Kathryn Schiliro
Photos by Angelina Bellebuono
Oprah sold for $100 Saturday.
No, not the television host. Oprah, the 7-year-old gaited mare, formerly a state-impounded horse.
The sad truth? Aside from two Clydesdales, $100 was about the average bid at the Georgia Department of Agriculture's Equine Auction, held this weekend at the Morgan County Agricultural Center.
But more than money, the auction brought awareness.
Those in attendance—through the work of state employees and local 4-H'ers alike—were exposed to the direct effects of horse abuse and neglect. The horses themselves, the before-and-after pictures on their stalls, the presence of equine rescue organizations served as reminders of the suffering of these "gentle giants."
Loaded up and pulled away in horse trailers, bound for what should promise to be a better life, victory is realized.
• • •
The Department of Agriculture hasn't held an auction of its impounded horses in Morgan County prior to Saturday.
Why start now? That answer can be boiled down one local 12 year old's 4-H Demonstration Project Achievement entry.
Summer Stevens' winning DPA project called local attention to horse abuse and neglect and had an impact on fellow 4-H'ers, especially following a field trip to the state's equine impound facility in Mansfield, where Summer did the research for her project.
With that, 4-H members decided they wanted to help. Asking what they could do, the idea to host a state-sponsored auction of impounded horses—standard procedure when it comes to the equine impounds—came up. The 4-H mobilized, the idea was pitched and the decision to hold the auction in Morgan County was made.
Story and Photos by Ramsey Nix
By: Bobby Smith
Voice for the horses: Mother, daughter go from muck boots to dress shoes to end horse abuse, neglectSubmitted by editor on Thu, 02/18/2010 - 19:01.
Story by Kathryn Schiliro
Above Photos by Angelina Bellebuono • Below Photos by Sherry Stevens
Twelve-year-old Summer Stevens wasn't expecting the tragedy she witnessed at the state's Mansfield equine impound facility.
Neither she nor her mother, Sherry, who drove Summer to the barn as mothers so often do shuttle their children from one point to the next, expected to be affected in quite the way they were. Neither mother nor daughter expected that the 4-H DPA entry that had taken them to the barn would win the competition, or that the project would bring the Georgia Department of Agriculture Equine Auction to Morgan County. And they certainly didn't expect to find themselves advocating for horses at the state capitol.
Thanks to their efforts, the legal consequences for horse abuse and neglect in Georgia may change, and Summer may just get her wish:
"While he's standing in the cold he thinks to himself, 'Did I deserve this? Did I do something wrong?' Then after he can't take his pain anymore, he dies. I'm trying to save horses like these. I want to give them the voice they don't have."
Bridles to blue ribbons, and back again She doesn't quite remember when, but she remembers how her what-can-only-be-called a mission started. Late last year, following a Morgan County 4-H meeting where the event was addressed, Summer elected to take part in the organization's Demonstration Project Achievement (DPA) program, which requires participants to give a presentation to a large audience on a topic of their choice. The decision to participate was easy; Summer took some time to choose her topic.