By Sharon DowdyUniversity of GeorgiaFarm business isn’t just about raising cows, chickens and corn. From family-friendly corn mazes to on-farm demonstrations, Georgia farmers are finding new and unique ways to market their farms to tourists and keep their businesses from going into the red.This new and ever-growing enterprise has been coined as agritourism and in 2006 it brought some $27.1 million into the state’s economy. Nature-based tourism brought in an additional $50.8 million, according to the University of Georgia’s Georgia Farm Gate Value Report.To encourage and educate those interested in joining this field, UGA’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development has organized an agritourism conference. Set for Nov. 5 – 6 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Ga., the conference will include sessions on starting a business, insurance and risk management, taxes and zoning, Web site development and evaluation, signage and marketing. The conference will also include tours of agritourism operations. “Participants will meet successful owners/operators of agritourism venues, tour their facilities, listen as they share lessons learned, and network with other agritourism advocates,” said Kent Wolfe, a marketing analyst with the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. “This will provide potential operators a time to ‘pick the brains’ of those who operate best in class agritourism destinations.”Judy Randall of Randall Travel Marketing Inc. will serve as guest speaker for the conference. She will discuss national and international agritourism trends and benchmarks. The conference is designed for both novice and advanced agritourism operators. While new business owners learn about the nuts and bolts of agritourism, current operators can attend brainstorming sessions on the pros and cons of the industry and learn how to identify programs that promote Georgia’s rich variety of agritourism operations, Wolfe said. There will also be a session geared specifically to agritourism professionals that work in agriculture, tourism, or community and economic development at the local, state or federal levels.The conference will also include an exhibitor expo, social networking sessions and a regional resource round table. A round table including representatives from agencies, authorities and various governmental entities will talk about programs and funding available to agritourism owners and operators.For entertainment, Karen Kimbrel and Joy Jinks of Colquitt, Ga., will share their community’s story of building clusters of businesses around a theatrical production, “Swamp Gravy.” For more information or to register for the conference, contact Wolfe at 706-542-0752 or Carla Woods at 706-583-0347.
Pecans are known to be the healthiest of all tree nuts, packing more antioxidants than any other. What isn’t so certain is how the heck do you correctly pronounce it? Is it “pee-can” or “pu-cahn”?“I run into both” ways of saying it, said Lenny Wells, pecan specialist with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, who is writing a book on the history of North America’s only commercially grown native nut.In this episode of “In the Field,” Wells and Brad Haire, news director with UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, try to figure it out … kinda, sorta.Watch What is the right way to say ‘pecan’?.
The mission of the Georgia National Guard Agribusiness Development Teams has always been to help Afghans build a more secure society by improving food security. However over the teams’ past two deployments the methods for completing that mission have changed. While the first two Georgia Agribusiness Development Teams focused on working directly with Afghan farmers, ADT III —which will deploy in January — will focus more on training extension specialists with the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock. “Right now, we’re hearing that a lot of things have changed,” said Sgt. First Class Allen Cooper, from Resaca, Ga., who deployed with ADT I in 2011. “We’re actually not going to be so much hands on this time. We’re going to be mentoring and turning everything over to the Afghans. So I’m hoping to see that they’re taking charge and holding their own classes.” Cooper’s team, which was training in Tifton last week, is the third group of Georgia National Guardsmen who has trained with University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences faculty for an Agribusiness Development Team mission. “Small changes that you can make have a profound impact in what they do in that part of the world,” Dean J. Scott Angle of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences told the ADT training class last week. “It doesn’t take a lot of resources, it just takes a little bit of good information, and you are armed with that.” ADT III is made up of 48 citizen soldiers from across the state, but they are deploying as part of the Augusta-based 201st Regional Support Group.ADT II, which trained last fall, is currently deployed to Afghanistan. ADT I returned home from their tour in Afghanistan this spring. “There will have been four years of ADT teams (two from Nevada and two from Georgia) there by the time we show up, and I’m hoping to see that a lot of progress has been made,” Cooper said. During the weeklong agricultural crash course, university faculty hit the high points of small-scale wheat, poultry, fruit, dairy and ruminant livestock production, but they also focused a lot on market building — an area where Afghan farmers need the most help. The first Georgia ADT team that deployed to Afghanistan found that farmers there knew how to make their arid land produce. Afghanis were raising livestock, like goats and cows, but also wheat fields and some of the sweetest grapes and watermelons some of the guardsmen had ever tasted. That being said, their farming practices could be more productive, said Col. Barry Beach, commander of ADT III. “It’s more of the marketing part, building the (marketing associations among farmers) and expanding on the subsistence farming they are doing now,” Beach said. “If they can market their crops, they can make more money, and if they can do that, they can take care of their families.” Making sure Afghan’s have what they need to better care for their families is a humanitarian mission, but it’s also a key part to the United State’s counter insurgency effort in the country, Beach said.
For the past 100 years, Georgia gardeners have relied on their local University of Georgia Extension agents for advice on everything from how to treat for Japanese beetles to which tomato variety makes for the best ‘mater sandwich. But answering all of those gardening questions could be a little overwhelming if it weren’t for a group of dedicated trained volunteers.Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteers have helped UGA Extension agents answer calls and deliver educational programs for the past 35 years. 2,321 gardening experts volunteer their timeLast year 435 new Master Gardener Extension Volunteers joined Georgia’s 2,321 veteran volunteers. In 2013, this dedicated group donated 196,663 hours in Extension offices across the state. They answered 457,190 phone calls, gave 9,055 gardening presentations to civic clubs, made 2,538 home garden visits, wrote 741 newspaper articles and presented 4,959 plant clinics.“The Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteers have been especially vital over the past few years of drastic budget cuts in Georgia Extension,” said UGA Extension Associate Dean Beverly Sparks. “Last year alone, they worked the equivalent of 100 full-time employees.”It started at Washington StateThe idea of training gardening experts to volunteer in Extension offices was the brainchild of Extension agents from Washington State University. In exchange for specialized training in horticulture, the gardeners promised to do volunteer outreach work. That was more than 40 years ago, and the program has since spread across the U.S. and into Canada and South Korea. In Georgia, the program began in Atlanta in 1979. Becky Blades of Cobb County was in that first class of volunteers, and she’s still an active Master Gardener. She found out about the Master Gardener program by reading the “Market Bulletin,” a state-wide agriculture publication produced by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.“Obviously things were different way back then: we didn’t have a textbook; or name tags, or mentors, or ongoing county projects to plug into. I have been volunteering (and learning) ever since,” said Blades, who along with her husband, Jerry, has led a Junior Master Gardener class at Midway School since 2006.Teaching children to appreciate horticultureCollectively, Georgia’s volunteers presented 5,724 children’s programs, like the Junior Master Gardener program, last year. Gardening with youth is one of five initiatives the program has identified as focus areas. The other four are environmental stewardship, home food production, the value of landscapes and the health benefits of gardening. Before becoming a volunteer, Blades relied on her UGA Extension agent for gardening advice. “I loved being able to call and have gardening questions answered and receive publications in the mail on the subject,” she said.Blades enjoys expanding her gardening knowledge so she can help Cobb County residents who call on the Extension office. “In fact, what I enjoy most about gardening is that there is always more to learn. If you get tired of growing annuals and perennials, you can move on to flowering trees and shrubs or herbs and vegetables. You can never know it all. I love being able to help others get started,” she said.To find out more about the Georgia Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program, go to www.gamastergardener.org or call your Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.
Potential new food product developers from across the state learned the process of creating, packaging and launching a new food product at the University of Georgia’s New Food Business Workshop, held Oct. 6-7 on the university’s Griffin Campus. UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences faculty, Georgia Department of Agriculture experts and food industry leaders taught the workshop. A former leader of PepsiCo Inc. and current new director of the Food Product and Innovation Commercialization Center (FoodPIC) at UGA Griffin, Kirk Kealey told participants that their food products should leave consumers wanting more. “You want people to taste your product and say, ‘This is the best-tasting version I’ve ever had,’” he said. UGA food scientist Anand Mohan encouraged workshop participants to consider all that is involved in launching a new food product before taking on the venture. A UGA Cooperative Extension food processing and safety specialist, Mohan specializes in enhancing the value and ensuring the safety of meat and poultry products. “Are you really up to what you think you want to do?” he said. “People say they want a natural product, but sometimes preservatives will help you go a long way. Sometimes you have to add things to keep your product safe and keep molds, yeasts and bacteria away.”Workshop participants also heard from Deana Bibb, owner of Proper Pepper Small Batch Pimento Cheese and a 2015 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest winner. Bibb attended the workshop in March 2014 and claims it was the catalyst for her product launch.“I learned from this workshop that the container you store your product in can also contribute to the shelf life,” said Bibb. “Surprisingly, you may find your product lasts longer in a cheaper container.” Bibb encouraged the group to include shelf-life testing for their products. “It took a month-and-a-half, but I didn’t feel like I could go into the market until I knew for sure,” she said. “I needed my dairy product’s shelf life to be at least 22 days.”The class was also provided with an overview of regulations and current food safety issues from Natalie Adan of the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Division.The class included some food product veteran entrepreneurs, with products already on the market. Attorney Ken Teal of LaGrange, Georgia, runs Swamp Dust spice company. Jennifer Hovis, of Barnesville, Georgia’s Honeywood Farms, currently sells organic vegetables, beef, pork, poultry and eggs and now wants to build a commercial kitchen.Others were contemplating a wide variety of food ventures: a juice from organic produce, organic soups and smoothies, a botanical soda, a dried seaweed product imported from the Philippines, a carbonated beverage for the West African market, a barbecue sauce from a family recipe, products for those with food allergies and a soy-free soy sauce.Ken Vickers, a mechanic for Delta Air Lines, hopes to market a hot sauce made from peppers he grows on his farm in Woolsey, near Fayetteville, Georgia.“I grow the peppers, smoke them and age the sauce for a year. I’ve got 25 gallons brewing in my basement right now,” he said. “I was really clueless when I started. I set my goals low because I didn’t know how to go about mass-producing (my hot sauce) to put on grocery store shelves. After this workshop, I can attempt putting it in grocery stores.” Hahira, Georgia farmer Steve Taylor wants to bring some of his family’s recipes to market. “Some are super-healthy and some will kill you because they taste so good,” said Taylor, who, with his wife, Gayle, makes kettle corn for festivals and hopes to take that to the retail market.Stephanie Helmig of Statham, Georgia, attended the workshop to gather information for her father and a group of investors from China who want to make a Chinese food product in the U.S., then sell it here and export it to China. “The workshop was very informative. I will suggest they come to the next class in March in Athens, (Georgia,)” she said. “My dad and his business partner want to talk to Dr. Kealey. He seems very interested in developing businesses. We have the money, but we don’t have a home for our business. I’m encouraging them to come to Georgia.”Each participant leaves the workshop with a training manual compiled by experts in the UGA Extension food science program. As the leader of the workshop series, Mohan said the speakers’ shared expertise and the educational resources in the manual are “invaluable resources” for new food business operators.“Small businesses are the key foundation of our nation’s economic development,” he said. “New food entrepreneurs who are trying to get into the food market are an essential part of Georgia’s economic growth.”For more information on future New Food Business workshops at UGA, go to EFSonline.uga.edu. To learn more about the FoodPIC at UGA, go to caes.uga.edu/center/foodpic.
Researchers working as part of the University of Georgia’s Regenerative Bioscience Center have developed a new way to identify and sort stem cells that may one day allow clinicians to restore vision to people with damaged corneas using the patient’s own eye tissue. The UGA researchers published their findings in Biophysical Journal.The cornea is a transparent layer of tissue covering the front of the eye, and its health is maintained by a group of cells called limbal stem cells. When these cells are damaged by trauma or disease, the cornea loses its ability to self-repair.“Damage to the limbus, which is where the clear part of the eye meets the white part of the eye, can cause the cornea to break down very rapidly,” said James Lauderdale, the paper co-author and associate professor of cellular biology in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “The only way to repair the cornea right now is to do a limbal cell transplant from donated tissue.”In their study, researchers used a new type of highly sensitive atomic force microscopy, or AFM, to analyze eye cell cultures. Created by Todd Sulchek, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech, the technique allowed researchers to probe and exert force on individual cells to learn more about the cell’s overall health and its ability to turn into different types of mature cells.They found that limbal stem cells were softer and more pliable than other cells, meaning they could use this simple measure as a rapid and cost-effective way to identify cells from a patient’s own tissue that are suitable for transplantation.“Todd’s technology is unique in the tiniest and most sensitive detection to change,” said Lauderdale. “Just think about trying to gently dimple or prod the top of an individual cell without killing it; with conventional AFM it’s close to impossible.”Building on their findings related to cell softness, the research team also developed a microfluidic cell sorting device capable of filtering out specific cells from a tissue sample. With this device, the team can collect the patient’s own tissue, sort and culture the cells, and place them back into the patient – all in one day, said Lauderdale. It can take weeks to perform this task using conventional methods.The researchers are quick to caution that more tests must be done before this technique is used in human patients, but it may one day serve as a viable treatment for the more than 1 million Americans who lose their vision to damaged corneas every year. The group first started this research with the hope of helping children with aniridia, an inherited malformation of the eye that leads to breakdown of the cornea at an early age. Because aniridia affects only one in 60,000 children, few organizations are willing to commit the resources necessary to combat the disease, Lauderdale said.“Our first goal in working with such a rare disease was to help this small population of children, because we feel a close connection to all of them,” said Lauderdale, who has worked with aniridia patients for many years. “However, at the end of the day this technology could help hundreds of thousands of people, like the military, who are also interested in corneal damage, common in desert conditions.”Steven Stice, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, who plays an important role in fostering cross-interdisciplinary collaboration as director of the RBC, initially brought the researchers together and encouraged a seed grant application through the center for Regenerative Engineering and Medicine, or REM, a joint collaboration between Emory University, Georgia Tech and UGA.“A culture is developing around seed funding that is all about interdisciplinary collaboration, sharing of resources, and coming together to make things happen,” said Stice. “Government funding agencies place a high premium on combining skills and disciplines. We can no longer afford to work in an isolated laboratory using a singular approach.”The REM seed funding program is intended to stimulate new, unconventional collaborative research and requires equal partnership of faculty from two of the participating institutions.“We tend to get siloed experimentally,” says Lauderdale. “To a biologist like me, all cells are very different and all atomic force microscopes are the same. To an engineer like Todd it’s just the opposite.”The study, “Cellular Stiffness as a Novel Stemness Marker in the Corneal Limbus,” is available at www.cell.com/biophysj/fulltext/S0006-3495(16)30771-8. Funding was provided by an NIH NIGMS Biotechnology Training Grant on Cell and Tissue Engineering, the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, the Center for Regenerative Engineering and Medicine, the Sharon Stewart Aniridia Research Trust and the NSF CMMI division.
Dogwoods are one of the most popular landscape trees in the American South, but little is known about the genetics of these spring-blooming beauties.Researchers at the University of Georgia are hoping to recruit an army of citizen scientists this spring to help collect data that will help them better understand genetic variation among dogwood trees.Residents from across the Southeast are asked to help with the Dogwood Genome Project now that the trees are starting to bloom in Athens, Georgia, and across the state. Anyone with a smartphone is encouraged to download a specialized app and start recording the characteristics of their neighborhood trees.To help, register as a volunteer observer with the USA National Phenology Network’s Nature’s Notebook and then collect data on the appearance of flowers, leaves and fruits on dogwood trees. After registering as an observer, dogwood lovers and science enthusiasts can collect data through an app that is available in both the Apple and Android stores. The National Phenology Network is a partner with the UGA Dogwood Genome Project. More information can be found at www.usanpn.org/nn/dogwood_genome.”This information is especially important for developing projections for how dogwood populations will respond to a changing environment,” said UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources Professor C.J. Tsai.The Dogwood Genome Project started more than a year ago with a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation to researchers at UGA, North Carolina State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service. This team is sequencing the genome of a popular dogwood variety commonly known as ‘Appalachian Spring’ and is also comparing sequences among other dogwood varieties, as well as trees sampled from natural populations.”By helping us document the timing of flowering and bud break for flowering dogwoods on campus, citizen scientists can have a real impact on our understanding of the genetic architecture of these traits,” said Jim Leebens-Mack, a UGA professor of plant biology and the project lead.Horticulturists will also use the phenology and genomic data to guide their breeding programs and produce more beautiful and robust dogwoods. One of the most important aims of the project is to identify genes that provide some dogwoods with natural resistance to fungal diseases like powdery mildew, which twists and deforms the leaves of the tree. Powdery mildew not only makes the trees less attractive, but it can also significantly weaken the tree’s ability to collect the sunlight needed for photosynthesis.Dogwoods account for nearly 10 percent of the retail market for flowering trees in the U.S., which tops $343 million annually, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Georgia experienced many different weather and climate patterns in 2018. Five stand out for their impacts on the state.Snowy JanuaryTwo snowstorms affected parts of Georgia in January 2018. Early in the month, snow fell in a swath across south Georgia, bringing 3.0 inches to Alma (the first snow ever on that date, and the second-highest daily snowfall on any date) and 1.2 inches to Savannah on Jan. 3. This was Savannah’s highest snow since 3.2 inches fell on Dec. 23, 1989. On Jan. 17, another storm brought snow to northern parts of the state, with Athens receiving 1.1 inches, Atlanta receiving 2.4 inches, Columbus receiving 2.0 inches and Macon receiving 1.0 inches, all record snowfalls in those areas for that date.Record-setting warmth in February setting up for March frostThe month of February set new records for heat around the state with every National Weather Service station reporting a temperature at least nine degrees warmer than normal. Numerous daily high-temperature records were set during the month. The warm temperatures caused an early break in dormancy in flowering trees and shrubs, including some fruit trees and early blueberries. When colder temperatures returned in March, frost-nipped blooming plants, resulting in reduced yields in some blueberry plants and peach trees for a second straight year.Near-record wet yearAbove-normal precipitation fell in most months of the year, resulting in annual totals which are expected to be in the top-five wettest years on record for most weather stations in Georgia. The associated wet soils, cloudy conditions and high humidity caused nighttime temperatures to be much warmer than normal and contributed to record-setting strings of days with high dew-point temperatures. Athens set a record for 19 consecutive days of measurable precipitation from May 15 to June 2. The wet conditions delayed spring planting and also delayed fall harvest in many locations across the state.Hot early fallA strong high-pressure system centered over the Southeast from late August to mid-October caused record-setting high temperatures, as well as a string of dry days across the region. The dryness and heat led to moderate drought conditions across eastern parts of Georgia by mid-September. The dry conditions, which were experienced over about 9 percent of the state, lasted until early December and interfered with the establishment of winter grains and pastures, but provided some temporary relief from the wet soil caused by excessive rain earlier in the year.Hurricane Michael and the tropical seasonGeorgia was slightly impacted by the indirect effects of Subtropical Storm Alberto in June, Tropical Storm Gordon in early September and Hurricane Florence in mid-September, as each of these storms grazed the state, bringing moderate rainfall to some area of the state. By far the biggest impact during the tropical season came from Hurricane Michael, which traversed from the southwest corner of the state northeast to Augusta on Oct. 10-11. A wind gust of 115 mph was recorded at Donalsonville by a University of Georgia weather station and the storm was still at hurricane force south of Macon. While several inches of rain fell in some locations, extreme winds caused a 25-mile-wide swath of tornado-force damage from Georgia’s southwest corner all the way to Albany. The impact on agriculture was severe since the storm hit just as cotton and pecan harvests were underway. Estimated losses to agricultural crops and timber topped $3.4 billion.
BURLINGTON, Vt.–Champlain College announced it has hired two new deans as part of a restructuring of the Colleges academic divisions. Dr. Jeffrey Rutenbeck of the University of Denver was named dean of the Communication and Creative Media Division and Dr. Wayne H. J. Cunningham of Iona College was appointed dean of the Business Division. The new deans join the College in July, bringing with them a wealth of experience in their fields.Rutenbeck takes the helm of Champlains newly formed Communication and Creative Media Division, having most recently served as the director of Digital Media Studies at the University of Denver. Rutenbeck founded that innovative program, which integrates design, technical and critical approaches to digital media; it is one of the Universitys fastest growing programs.Rutenbecks professional background includes working for and consulting for Microsoft, as well as consulting for Time Warner, US Air Force Space Command and the Guangzhou Daily Press Group in China. He was the founding president of the International Digital Media and Arts Association and is now the chairman of the board.Jeff is a national leader in digital media and he has a long history of innovative program development, said Dr. Russell Willis, Champlains provost and chief academic officer. Hes an award-winning teacher who was highly respected at the University of Denver.Rutenbeck received his doctorate in communication from the University of Washington. He earned a bachelors degree at Colorado College and a masters in journalism at University of Missouri-Columbia.Cunningham becomes the dean of the restructured Business Division. He most recently served as dean of the Hagan School of Business at Iona College in New York. Before Iona, he was director of the MBA Program and the interim dean of Dexter Hanley College for adult and non-traditional students at the University of Scranton.At the Hagan School, Cunningham developed a new vision for the school and moved forward the accreditation process. Throughout his career, he has been a leader in establishing business programs, speaker series, internships and advising programs. He has taught business, management, and operations management and statistics at Iona College, University of Scranton, Bucknell University, University of North Florida and The Pennsylvania State University. He also taught a special MBA course at Tongji University in Shanghai, China.Wayne brings both administrative experience at the dean level and an entrepreneurial spirit to the new business division, Willis said. His expertise in accreditation and assessment will serve the College and the division very well.Cunningham received his doctorate in business administration at The Pennsylvania State University, as well as his MBA and bachelors degree.In May, Champlain College restructured and renamed its four academic divisions to increase their academic and administrative effectiveness. Our restructuring allows us to link programs more easily for faculty collaboration, marketing and alliances with the business community, Willis said.The new divisions were three years in the making. They are:· the Communication & Creative Media Division· the Business Division· the Information Technology & Sciences Division· the Education & Human Studies DivisionThe new division deans will serve as strategic academic leaders with a special focus on faculty and program quality, tuition revenue and fundraising for their programs. They will oversee new program development, including additional graduate programs in their fields. The deans will establish strategic plans for their divisions that express the Colleges strategic plan, Willis said. They will be advocates for academic excellence.The new deans will also be faculty members who interact with students on a regular basis. Theyll be leaders with respect to our students, too, Willis said.The College will turn its attention to hiring two deans for the Information Technology & Sciences Division and the Education & Human Studies Division. They would start work in July 2007.Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a private, baccalaureate institution that offers professionally focused programs balanced by a liberal arts foundation.# # #
While Vermontanticipates $4 million in returns this year on its 121,000 Medicaidbeneficiaries, Iowa expects $11 million and Maine nearly $5 millionon their collective lives. Governor Douglas noted, “This represents andextraordinary accomplishment for our states of which we can be veryproud.” Jason GibbsGovernor’sCommunications Director109 State Street ¨ The Pavilion ¨ Montpelier,VT 05609-0101 ¨ www.vermont.gov/governor(link is external)Telephone: 802.828.3333 ¨ Fax: 802.828.3339 ¨ TDD: 802.828.3345 ### Governor Douglas stated, “Medicaid drug costshave grown dramatically in recent years. States have control over what we coverunder Medicaid and how much we pay for it. Medicaid programs have beeninnovative in creating cost-saving strategies like Preferred Drug Lists andappropriate drug utilization programs. The preservation of the benefit weprovide our citizens is a top priority; however, we must work to controlspending in order to ensure coverage. In the absence of federal initiatives, ithas been necessary for states to be creative in finding ways to contain costs. Thecreation of the SSDC is the next step in the ongoing effort to control theincreases in drug costs while maintaining a comprehensive drug benefit.” Two other Medicaid pools have been approved by CMS. These pools aremanaged by pharmacy benefit management companies contracted to select states. Oneof the unique components of the SSDC as a state administered pool is that anystate can participate regardless of how they administer their Medicaid pharmacybenefit, through state or contractual resources, and the SSDC will beencouraging other states to look at this model in the future. Anotherdistinction is that the SSDC process is completely transparent to its members. All participating states have access to the full terms and conditions of allbids by pharmaceutical manufacturers. States then collectively review the bidswhile independently deciding which are appropriate for each of our states. Atthe same, this arrangement can assure that 100 percent of negotiated rebatesare returned to the Medicaid program – a no contractor can profit bysharing in the rebates. Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Jim Douglas announced today thatVermont, Iowa and Maine have formed a first in the nation, state administeredprescription drug purchasing pool, that is expected to save Vermont approximately$4 million this year. On July 20, 2006 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approvedthe operation of the Sovereign States Drug Consortium (SSDC), collaborationbetween Vermont, Maineand Iowa. Program Expected to Save Vermont $4 Million This Year In a Medicaid drug rebate pool, states leverage their collectivecovered lives to negotiate for discounts in drug costs. Statesuse Preferred Drug Lists to promote clinically appropriate alternatives thatare the most cost effective in the individual states. Preferred products maybe generics, low cost brands, or higher cost brands where the drugmanufacturers provide a financial incentive to have their products preferred. The incentive is provided through a negotiated rebate from the drugmanufacturers based on actual utilization. The more states in a pool, the higherthe utilization, and, thus, the greater the rebate negotiated. GOVERNORDOUGLAS ANNOUNCES VERMONT TO FORM FIRST-EVER STATE ADMINISTEREDPRESCRIPTION DRUGPURCHASINGPOOL WITH MAINE AND IOWA