Favorable prices and high yields were the highlights of this year’s pecan season for Georgia growers, according to University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells.Wells said that prices tend to drop later in the season, but this year, prices increased. Despite the negative impacts of hurricanes Hermine and Matthew as well as a prolonged drought late in the summer and through most of fall, Wells predicts a good year for Georgia’s pecan crop.“The yield was better than last year’s,” Wells said. “There is always a lot of variability in the size and quality of the crop from one location to the next and from one orchard to the next, but overall I would guess (that the yield is) probably 10 to 20 million pounds better than last year, at least, for the state. And prices were as high as we’ve ever seen them. I think we’re starting to see some of the young trees from the planting boom kick in and contribute to the state’s overall yield.”Hurricane Hermine moved through Georgia during Labor Day weekend last year and damaged many pecan trees throughout south and southeast Georgia. In early October, Hurricane Matthew moved up the East Coast and damaged or destroyed trees from Appling County through Tattnall County, Georgia. The two storms blew down trees, snapped limbs and blew immature nuts from the branches.Wells also said that the drought that occurred in the fall prevented or delayed some of the shucks from opening. As long as growers continued to irrigate their crops, the shucks should have opened, even if a little late, Wells said. Dryland orchards had a much more difficult time, however.“Dryland orchards had pecans that were small or of low quality. Some shucks never fully opened up,” Wells said.Mother Nature also wreaked havoc on pecan production in January. The tornadoes and strong winds that impacted south Georgia from Jan. 20 to Jan. 22 destroyed many acres of pecan trees, especially in Dougherty County, which suffered storm damage just after New Year’s Day. Dougherty County was the top producer of pecans in Georgia in 2015, according to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.“It’s hard to get a handle on exactly how extensive the damage from the tornadoes was for our pecan growers. I know of numerous orchards with many trees down. I’ve talked with one grower in the Albany, (Georgia,) area with 500 trees down, another 50-acre orchard in which every tree was laying on the ground and, of course, lots of isolated trees and many limbs down all along the storm’s path,” Wells said.Additionally, the recent severe weather has stressed some orchards, making them even more susceptible to insect pressure, specifically ambrosia beetles. In a recent post on the UGA Pecan Team’s blog at blog.extension.uga.edu/pecan, Wells wrote that trees that stand in water for long periods, especially when they are breaking buds and trying to leaf out, are very attractive to beetles. While cold weather will slow the beetle’s flight, Wells expects it to pick back up when warmer temperatures return.“Anyone planning to plant trees this year should try to get the trees in the ground no later than mid-February to aid in recovery from transplant shock before budbreak and warm weather arrive,” Wells wrote in his blog. “Trees planted late become more stressed and have a harder time recovering from transplant shock.”Pecans are a huge industry in Georgia. The crop’s 2015 farm gate value was $361.3 million and the crop occupied more than 165,000 Georgia acres.
Governor Announces Nearly $4 Million for Community Enhancement ProjectsMontpelier, Vt. – Nearly $4 million dollars will be distributed among 40towns and sponsoring organizations for projects that improve localtransportation, expanded recreational opportunities and encourage andsupport economic development of Vermont’s historic downtowns and villagecenters, Governor Jim Douglas and Transportation Secretary Dawn Terrill hasannounced.Governor Douglas said these resources, from the 2005 transportationenhancement projects fund, help to preserve historic transportationbuildings and create visitor centers; construct sidewalks, bicyclepathways and bridges; and purchase scenic easements that enhance thestate’s travel and tourism industry. “These funds are a significantcontribution to our intermodal transportation system and help us tocontinue to strengthen our economy,” Governor Douglas added.”Since 1995, these grants have been a base for funding local and regionaltransportation development projects,” noted Secretary Terrill. “It is abroadly based grants program representing the best of Vermont forVermonters.”The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), passed byCongress in 1991, created the Transportation Enhancement Program offeringcommunities new funding opportunities to help expand local transportationchoices including safe bicycle and pedestrian facilities, scenic routes,beautification, and other investments that increase recreation opportunityand access.In 1998, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21)reaffirmed the federal commitment to communities by increasing fundingsupport for enhancements. Applications for enhancement funding arereviewed by the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) to affirmproject eligibility criteria, then are individually considered and awardedby a grant committee.VTrans staff also provides technical and limited project assistance togrant recipients. Most community projects are completed within two yearsof the grant award. Since 1995, 239 grant awards have been made toVermont communities totaling $30.5 million.The next round of grants will be available in April, 2005 when the Agencyprovides application booklets to municipalities, regional planningcommissions, and non-profit organizations.2005 grant awards are listed below.2005 ENHANCEMENTS APPLICATIONS FUNDEDTownSponsorActivity FundedGRANT SHARETOTAL PROJECT COSTSt. Albans CityCity of St. AlbansEngineering and Construction of Lower Welden Street Sidewalk & PedestrianBridge$103,000$131,970BartonBarton VillageSidewalk Feasibility Study for Barton Village$13,000$16,440BenningtonTown of BenningtonEngineering and Construction of West Main Street Sidewalks and HistoricLighting.$168,000$212,025BenningtonVillage of North BenningtonEngineering and Construction of Pedestrian Improvements and Landscaping atthe Main Street/Bank Street Intersection$121,000$151,893ColchesterColchester Historical SocietyEngineering and Construction of the Colchester Log Schoolhouse Bike PathVisitors Center$147,000$183,500Hyde Park V.Village of Hyde ParkEngineering and Construction of Sidewalks in the Village of Hyde Park$87,000$210,000WallingfordWallingford Fire DistrictConstruction of Wallingford Village Sidewalks$128,000$160,000Middlebury & WeybridgeMiddlebury Area Land TrustEngineering and Construction of Sidewalks and Erosion ControlDemonstration Project at the Otter Creek Access Site$290,000$595,237ChelseaTown of ChelseaEngineering and Construction of Chelsea Connector Pedestrian Path$75,000$96,000BrightonTown of BrightonEngineering for Island Pond Sidewalks$90,000$123,000WillistonTown of WillistonEngineering for Route 2A Multi-Use Path (River Cove Road to EssexJunction)$130,000$162,000FairleeTown of FairleeEngineering and Construction of the Historic Fairlee Railroad StationVisitors’ Center$170,000$388,150Multi-TownConnecticut River Transit, Inc.Installation of Bike Racks on Public Transit Buses$10,000$15,123BrandonTown of BrandonEngineering and Construction of Maple and Union Street Sidewalks$155,000$193,210MiddleburyTown of MiddleburyEngineering and Construction of Court Square Historic Lighting$130,000$282,620RutlandTown of RutlandEngineering and Rehabilitation of the Twin Covered Bridge$30,000$77,000MorristownTown of MorristownEngineering and Construction of Wilkins Ravine Stormwater Mitigation$75,000$104,149NorthfieldVillage of NorthfieldPlanning for Depot Square Improvements$20,000$25,000LondonderryFriends of the West River Trail, Inc.Engineering and Construction of the Historic South Londonderry DepotVisitors’ Center$298,000$376,561ShelburneTown of ShelburnePlanning for the Harbor Road Shared-Use Path$20,000$25,000TroyTown of TroyPlanning for Troy Village Common Improvements$16,000$20,000South BurlingtonCity of South BurlingtonEngineering and Construction of San Remo Drive Sidewalks and Landscaping$265,000$438,930RockinghamTown of RockinghamDocumenting and Stabilizing the Historic Bellows Falls Canal$21,000$27,250WinhallTown of WinhallPlanning for Bondville Village Sidewalks Design$15,000$20,000VergennesCity of VergennesEngineering for Vergennes Upper Basin Pedestrian Improvements$12,000$15,000BristolBristol Friends of the ArtsEngineering and Construction of Howden Hall Visitor Center$80,000$251,305MiddlesexMiddlesex Conservation Comm.Planning for Middlesex Village Bike/Ped Improvements$16,000$20,000HartfordTown of HartfordEngineering and Construction of Railroad Row Improvements, Phase III$50,000$200,900WoodstockTown of WoodstockConstruction of Pedestrian Improvements and Landscaping at the TaftsvilleGreen$50,000$62,752JohnsonVillage of JohnsonEngineering and Construction of Phase 1 of the Johnson Village Main StreetProject$294,000$367,254ThetfordTown of ThetfordPlanning for Thetford Village Bike/Ped Improvements$25,000$33,000HartlandTown of HartlandEngineering for Hartland Village Bike/Ped Improvements$45,000$75,018HinesburgTown of HinesburgEngineering and Construction of Hinesburg Village Pedestrian Improvements- Phase III (near Town Hall)$79,000$98,450AlburgTown of AlburgPlanning for Alburg Village Streetscape Improvements$16,000$20,000Barre CityCity of BarreConstruction of a New Sidewalk and Restored Historic Gazebo in City HallPark$100,000$343,400BurlingtonCity of BurlingtonEngineering and Construction of the Battery Street Shared-Use Path$200,000$250,000LyndonTown of LyndonEngineering and Construction of the Passumpsic River Pedestrian Bridge$114,000$145,740BrightonBrighton Community Forum, Inc.Engineering and Construction of an Island Pond Welcome Center$150,000$385,810BenningtonVT Housing and Conservation BoardRestoration of Historic Farmhouse and Provide Visitor Information$100,000$338,448StatewideVermont Bicycle & Pedestrian CoalitionBike/Ped Safety Education Programs$60,000$140,677TOTALS:$3,968,000$6,782,812###