Macie to take on larger role in Extension Service

CONYERS — Rockdale County Extension Service Director Jule-Lynn Macie will soon be broadening her horizons.

Macie, who has worked for the University of Georgia Extension Service in Rockdale County for more than 26 years, has been promoted to program development coordinator for agriculture for the Northwest District of Georgia. The 40-county district covers the northwestern quadrant of the state and includes both Rockdale and Newton counties.

Though Macie won’t be leaving Rockdale County, her responsibilities will expand from running the local Extension office to include helping direct the district — which extends from Columbus to Dade County — and mentoring new agents. Her home office will be in Griffin, although she said she’ll spend most of her time out in the district rather than at the office.

In more than 20 years in Rockdale County, Macie has become an integral part of the community. She’s been the go-to person for any gardening or ag-related questions as evidenced by her popular Q&A column published in the Citizen. On any given day she might be seen teaching second-graders to make insects edible through 4-H programs, helping farmers set up a roadside market, taking part in activities with the Rotary Club of Conyers, selling cherry trees at the Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival, hosting a Master Gardeners plant sale or being a willing victim in a pie-throwing contest to raise money for United Way.

“I’ve enjoyed my 26 years here working with the people in Rockdale,” she said. “I have kids of my original 4-H’ers now in 4-H, and it makes me feel really old, but it makes me feel really good at the same time.”

Macie said she felt her experiences in Rockdale County, as the county grew from mostly rural to more urban, made her uniquely qualified for her new challenges in a district that covers both metropolitan and rural territory.

“We still have agriculture here,” she said, “I’m still the agriculture agent, but the focus has changed. When I first started 26 years ago there was more farming in the county. Now organic farming is growing in the county. In Rockdale we have a lot of ‘one of this’ and ‘one of that’ kind of agriculture.”

Horse farms are now the most prominent type of agriculture in Rockdale, along with some pasture and hay operations. The changes over the years have helped to keep the job fresh, she said.

Her new job will give her a chance to have an impact on the Extension Service in a broader way, Macie said. The most exciting part of her new role will be “working with new agents and teaching them the ins and outs of Extension and working with new people, getting research-based information from the University (of Georgia) out to the people in the counties.”

Macie will assume her new job responsibilities on Feb. 1. She said a new agent will be hired by the Extension Service as soon as possible.