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Vol. 76 No.3



The Voice of Georgia Farmers

June-July 2014

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table of

contents june/july 2014


we, the farmers PAGE 4

legislative update PAGE 5

commodities update PAGE 12

young farmer update PAGE 18

around georgia


public relations staff Andy Lucas Director Jennifer Whittaker Editor Jay Stone Print/Web Specialist Lillian Davis Publications/Advertising Manager Ray D’Alessio Senior Producer/TV Host Michael Edmondson Web/Video Manager Mark Wildman Senior Radio-TV Specialist Kenny Burgamy Co-Anchor/Reporter Dean Wood Radio-TV Specialist Damon Jones Radio-TV Specialist Vickie Amos Office Coordinator For questions about your membership or member benefits, call 1-800-633-5432. For questions regarding editorial content call 478-474-0679, ext. 5334 or e-mail For questions regarding advertising contact Hurst and Associates, Inc., 1-800-397-8908 Visit the GFB Web site today! Georgia Farm Bureau TV: “Like” us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Check us out on Pinterest:

Georgia Farm Bureau News

2014 farm bill in a nutshell

The new farm bill is complex, but we’ve summarized its provisions for the following categories: livestock producers, crop insurance for row PAGE 6 crops and conservation programs.

Georgia commodity commission news

Several of Georgia’s commodity commissions held referendums this spring that will have major impacts on the promotion, education and research programs affecting Georgia’s beef, corn, pecan, tobacco PAGE 8 and vegetable growers.

UGA Extension celebrates 100 years

UGA Extension has been vital to the success of Georgia farmers. The national Extension program marks its 100th anniversary this year. PAGE 10

GFB county leaders carry messages to Washington

County Farm Bureau members visited Washington, D.C., in April to discuss issues impacting their farms with Georgia’s congressional delegation. PAGE 14

USDA publishes 2012 Census of Agriculture results The USDA released the results of its 2012 Census of Agriculture in May. We look at some vital stats for Georgia agriculture. PAGE 16

Students draw farm scenes for GFB Art Contest

State and district winners of GFB’s annual art contest have been PAGE 20 named. Enjoy the top three winners’ artwork.

Temple Grandin highlight of GCA convention

Renowned animal scientist Dr. Temple Grandin spoke at the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association Convention in April. She gave recommendations for handling cattle and stressed the need for producers to educate consumers on their production practices. PAGE 23

Grimes named 2014 Ga. Sunbelt Farmer

Tift County Farm Bureau member Philip Grimes is the 2014 Georgia Sunbelt Farmer of the Year. Grimes farms a variety of crops, including cotton, peanuts, snap beans, broccoli and cantaloupes. PAGE 25

Automated weather network provides farmers key information

The Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network collects local weather data farmers can use to make crop production PAGE 31 decisions.

on the cover

(Photo by Anna Raley) Glascock County Farm Bureau member Anna Raley won the 2013 GFB Photo Contest with this picture of rye being harvested on her family’s farm. The golden hue of the crop and the upcoming Fourth of July holiday bring to mind the patriotic lyrics “For amber waves of grain,” from “America, the Beautiful.” June-July 2014 / 3

we, the


Photo by Andy Lucas


The Voice of Georgia Farmers

Zippy Duvall, GFB President

Let’s get fired up!

I hope everyone’s crops are off to a good start, and you’re getting the right amount of rain when you need it. Since the last issue of the “Georgia Farm Bureau News” went to press, we tabulated the results of GFB’s winter Farmer Membership Campaign, which ended March 31. We gained almost 500 new farmer members thanks to county staff and county leaders inviting farmers in their communities who weren’t Farm Bureau members to join. While attending the National Cattleman’s Association meeting in Nashville, I met a cattle producer from Jenkins County one morning at breakfast. I asked him if he was a Farm Bureau member. When he told me he wasn’t, I started sharing all the benefits farmers get from being a member. I got his address and mailed him copies of the “GFB News.“ I’m proud to say that he saw enough value in what Farm Bureau does to advocate for agriculture and he joined. I share this story because I think it proves the importance of our existing farmer members asking their neighbors who aren’t members to join us in our work. Georgia Farm Bureau is making a difference in the quality of life in rural Georgia by promoting and protecting Georgia’s largest industry. As we enter the last three months of our membership year, we’re kicking off a new membership campaign. The President’s Membership Challenge is designed to coordinate the efforts of our county agency force and employees to grow membership. The Top 10 counties with the largest new member growth between

June 1 and August 31 will be recognized. GFB’s $25 membership is a great value; we simply need to ask folks to join. GFB worked hard to get the GATE and CUVA tax programs passed by the Georgia General Assembly. These programs provide farmers savings through sales tax exemptions and reduced property taxes. Make sure that all of the farmers in your county know Farm Bureau helped secure these savings for them. If that isn’t enough to motivate them to join us, tell them about the many member benefits we offer, like discounts on farm supplies from Grainger, Ford and the EZ Ranch Cattle Management program. Speaking of cattle, Georgia cattle producers approved a $1 per head assessment to fund the Georgia Beef Commission and will begin paying this assessment July 1 on cattle that sell for $100 or more. Complete details about the referendum are reported on page 8. GFB never told producers how to vote, we just supported and encouraged their right to hold the vote and their effort to take action to form a commission to promote the industry. GFB looks forward to working with the new commission as we do all of Georgia’s commodity commissions. I know summer is a busy time for farmers, but I would like to ask you to take the time to read the Legislative Update on page 5. After you read about the Environmental Protection Agency’s and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposal to expand their regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act from just regulating See WE, THE FARMERS page 11

Pictured above: GFB President Zippy Duvall walks beside a “wet-weather” stream that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency & the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers seek to regulate under a proposed rule.  Currently these agencies only have regulatory authority over navigable waters. Go to page five to see how you can prevent this infringement of private property rights.  4 / June-July 2014

SUBSCRIPTION RATES Farm Bureau Members: Included in dues — $1 per year Non-Members — $15 per year To subscribe call 1-800-898-1911, ext. 5238. OFFICERS President ZIPPY DUVALL 1st Vice President/South Georgia Vice President GERALD LONG North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS Middle Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN JR. Treasurer/Corporate Secretary WAYNE DANIEL General Counsel DUKE GROOVER

DIRECTORS FIRST DISTRICT: Bill Bryan, Summerville; Henry J. West, Rydal SECOND DISTRICT: Bobby Gunter, Dahlonega; Randy Ruff, Elberton THIRD DISTRICT: George Chambers, Carrollton; Nora Goodman, Temple FOURTH DISTRICT: Skeetter McCorkle, Dearing; Marvin Ruark, Bishop FIFTH DISTRICT: Ralph Adamson Jr., Barnesville; Jim Ham, Smarr SIXTH DISTRICT: James Malone, Dexter; James Emory Tate, Denton SEVENTH DISTRICT: Gary Bell, Bellville; Ben Boyd, Sylvania EIGHTH DISTRICT: Scotty Raines, Sycamore; Don Wood, Rochelle NINTH DISTRICT: Lucius Adkins, Elmodel; Paul Shirah, Camilla TENTH DISTRICT: Daniel Johnson, Alma; David Lee, Alma YOUNG FARMER CHAIRMAN: Matthew London, Cleveland WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Elaine Avery, Dexter ADVERTISING POLICY All advertising accepted subject to publisher’s approval. Advertisers must assume liability for content of their advertising. Publisher maintains right to cancel advertising for non-payment or reader complaint about advertiser service or products. Publisher does not accept per-order, political or alcoholic beverage ads, nor does publisher prescreen or guarantee advertiser service or products. Publisher assumes no liability for products or services advertised in the Georgia Farm Bureau News. For advertising rates and information, contact Hurst and Associates, Inc., P.O. Box 6011, Vernon Hills, IL 60061, 1-800-397-8908. Georgia Farm Bureau News was established in 1937. Copyright 2014 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.


Georgia Farm Bureau News

legislative update

Jon Huffmaster, Legislative Director

Tell EPA to “Ditch the Rule!” agencies with no accountability to the citizens they seek to regulate. The purpose of this rule is to make the job easier for the two federal agencies without regard to how it infringes on the private property rights of landowners. Why Farm Bureau opposes this rule The rule expands federal regulatory authority to include small and remote waters, including waters that are dry for most of the year. According to the preamble to the proposed rule, “The agencies propose that all waters that meet the proposed definition of tributary are ‘waters of the United States’… that all tributaries have a significant nexus with traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, and/or the territorial seas.” The agencies conclude that since a trickle of water in the smallest branch will eventually end up in the ocean, the federal government should regulate that trickle. If this rule is finalized, a small, seasonal spring that’s insufficient to float a child’s toy will be considered a navigable water. EPA contends the rule will not expand federal authority, only clarify it. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service

Photo courtesy of Keith Mitcham

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have proposed a rule to help them determine exactly which waters they have the authority to regulate. Unfortunately for landowners, the agencies have decided to make their job easier by declaring they have regulatory authority over ALL waters, no matter how insignificant. The result will be loss of private property rights. Farm Bureau opposes the proposed rule, but our members MUST weigh in during the comment period if this federal land grab is to be thwarted. Visiting is the easiest way to submit your comments. Members may obtain additional information at this Web page about the rule and link to other resources to explain more about it. There is even a link to read the entire rule. Most important, however, is a link to a pre-written comment that will go directly to EPA. This section also allows members to add their own specific comments to explain how this rule will affect them. This rule was proposed by two federal

This is a typical “tributary” that EPA seeks to regulate under a proposed rule. Georgia Farm Bureau News

disputes that claim saying, “Proposed changes would increase the asserted scope of CWA jurisdiction, in part as a result of expressly declaring some types of waters categorically jurisdictional (such as all waters adjacent to a jurisdictional water), and also by application of new definitions, which gives larger regulatory context to some types of waters, such as tributaries.” Rule ignores will of Congress & Supreme Court When the Clean Water Act (CWA) was passed in 1972, Congress clearly stated the law pertained to navigable waters. Since that time, there have been numerous legislative attempts to strike the word “navigable” from the CWA. None of these efforts succeeded in even getting a bill to the floor for a vote. It was a waste of time because very few members of Congress believed it was the right thing to do. This rule also ignores U.S. Supreme Court decisions. In numerous decisions, the Court has held there are limits to federal regulatory authority under the CWA. Rule infringes on private property rights This rule will empower the EPA and the Corps to regulate water and activities around water on private property. At some point, landowners will be required to get federal permits to change the use of their property or to improve their property. EPA is quick to point out that under Section 404 of the CWA, farmers have exemptions regarding dredge and fill operations. This rule, however, actually narrows those exemptions. For the first time, the exemptions are subject to USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) technical standards. In other words, landowners may be allowed to build a fence through a wet area, but landowners will be required to follow NRCS prescriptive standards or risk criminal or civil penalties. See EPA page 11 June-July 2014 / 5

2014 farm bill in a nutshell Compiled by Jay Stone _________________________________________________________

Photo by Jay Stone

It took Congress more than three years to hammer out the 2014 farm bill. What emerged was a complex law that is in many ways new in how it works. President Obama signed the bill into law on Feb. 7 after the House passed it Jan. 29 and the Senate passed it Feb. 4. Deputy Agriculture Secretary Krysta Harden, a Georgia native, is overseeing the implementation of the bill, which will stand as the nation’s farm policy through 2018. It has 12 different titles, three of which deal specifically with production agriculture. Nearly 80 percent of the bill’s funding goes into nutrition programs like the National School Lunch Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps).

Dairy And Livestock Provisions

The farm bill’s dairy provisions renewed the Dairy Promotion & Research Program, the Dairy Indemnity Program and the Dairy Forward Pricing Program while adding Dairy Producer Margin Protection and the Dairy Product Donation Program. The bill eliminated the Dairy Price Support Program, the Dairy Export Incentive Program, Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) Review Commission and the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC). MILC, which protects enrolled dairies against income loss, has been extended through Sept. 1 or until the new Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP), established by the 2014 farm bill for dairy producers, is operational. Contracts for eligible producers enrolled in MILC on or before Sept. 30, 2013, are automatically extended until the termination date of the MILC program. Dairy operations 6 / June-July 2014

Here we look at the portions of the farm bill pertaining to farming and conservation. As with previous farm bills, there’s a learning curve involved in using its programs. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension has already conducted numerous educational seminars and has received farm bill funding to do more. Fort Valley State University also received public education funding under the farm bill. Researchers at the University of Illinois, the University of Missouri and Texas A&M received funding to develop online decision tools customized for 2014 farm bill programs. GFB hosted a seminar on farm bill programs on March 24 featuring UGA Extension agronomists. Video of the GFB presentations may be seen at For more information on the farm bill, including progress of its implementation, visit

with approved contracts will continue to receive monthly payments if a payment rate is in effect. MPP is a revenue insurance-style instrument based on the margin between the all milk price (the national average price per hundredweight received for all milk sold in the U.S.) and average feed costs. Payments will be triggered when that margin falls below $4 for two consecutive months. There is no premium for producers who enroll at the $4 margin level, and producers have the option of paying progressively higher premiums for higher margins up to $8. Premiums increase after the first 4 million pounds of milk produced in a calendar year. All U.S. dairy operations are eligible. There is an annual administrative fee of $100 and DMPP cannot be used in conjunction with the Livestock Gross Margin Program. The Dairy Product Donation program will be triggered when the margin between the all milk price and feed costs falls below $4 for two consecutive months. The USDA will purchase manufactured dairy products for three months or until margins exceed $4, and the purchased product will be donated to food banks or feeding programs. The program will be suspended if U.S. prices exceed international prices by more than five percent. Funding for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish

(ELAP) were restored and funded retroactively to Oct. 1, 2011. The programs are administered through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the total of payments under the disaster programs cannot exceed $125,000 per person or entity. Under LFP, payments are available for eligible livestock producers who suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire. Determinations are made using county data from the U.S. Drought Monitor. Producers making claims under LFP will need documentation on the number of livestock affected and verification of control over affected grazing acreage. Under LIP, producers can receive payments for livestock lost to predatory animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law, or those lost to adverse weather events like hurricanes, floods, blizzards, wildfires or extreme heat or cold. The FSA is now accepting applications for disaster assistance programs. For more information on farm bill dairy programs, contact a local FSA county office or visit the FSA website at

Crop Insurance Provisions

The 2014 farm bill places increased emphasis on crop insurance. Direct payments, counter-cyclical payments and the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program were all scrapped, and some of the money previously budgeted for those programs was rolled into crop insurance. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Cotton Provisions

The cotton program was separated from other row-crop provisions in the farm bill to make it compliant with World Trade Organization (WTO) requirements in the United States’ trade dispute with Brazil. The National Cotton Council (NCC) hosted a series of five meetings in Georgia to inform growers about the cotton provi-

Photo by Ashley Wood

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Georgia row crop farmers have a choice between three crop insurance coverage options, which were reviewed in a webinar session presented by the Georgia Peanut Commission on Feb. 24 and the GFB seminar on March 24. Growers of row crops, with the exception of cotton, which is covered under the Stacked Income Protection Program (STAX), have a choice between Price Loss Coverage (PLC), Agricultural Risk Coverage-County (ARCC) and Agricultural Risk Coverage-Individual (ARC-I). PLC and ARC-C decisions may be made on a crop-by-crop, farm-by-farm basis. ARC-I decisions would apply to all crops on a given farm. PLC and ARC will provide payments using historic base acres without regard to production. Growers who choose PLC may also choose a Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO), which covers a portion of the deductible, though this option will not be available until the 2015 crop. PLC provides payments when the price of a crop drops below a reference price. PLC sets the following reference prices for Georgia’s major field crops: peanuts $535 per ton; wheat $5.50 per bushel; corn $3.70 per bushel; grain sorghum $3.95 per bushel and soybeans $8.40 per bushel. The farm bill commodity title provides landowners with two options for setting base acreage. They may choose to keep their base acreage as it was on Sept. 30, 2013, or take a one-time reallocation to the average planted acreage in the crop years 2009-2012. Farmers who do not make a base acreage election will be categorized as retaining their 2013 base acres. The total base acreage cannot be more than the farm’s base acreage on Sept. 30, 2013. Acreage listed as cotton base acres under the 2008 farm bill is listed as generic base in the

sions between March 19 and 21. NCC Senior Vice President of Washington Operations John Maguire led the meetings, reviewing key points of the plan for 2014 and the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) that becomes effective for most producers in 2015. Like other crop insurance programs, STAX is a federally supported insurance program that will cover the portion of cotton acreage not covered by standard catastrophic coverage, allowing growers to insure up to 90 percent of their crop. Under STAX, which will be administered by the USDA’s Risk Management Agency, the federal government will pay 80 percent of the STAX premiums purchased above the 70 percent standard catastrophic coverage. Indemnity payments will be made if the actual county cotton revenue falls below 90 percent of the expected county cotton revenue. STAX will be available as a stand-alone policy without the underlying standard catastrophic coverage. Maguire said the RMA’s county data will be published this summer. Because the time involved in implementing STAX makes it unavailable for the 2014 crop year, cotton growers will be under a transitional payment program in 2014. The transition payments, Maguire said, will equate to 5.4 cents per pound on 2013 base cotton acres and direct payment yields. The transition payments will extend to 2015 at 3.3 cents per pound in counties where STAX is not available. The transition payments are subject to a limit of $40,000 per legal entity, and eligibility is not affected by other program choices or planting decisions. Payments for the 2014 crop will occur on or after Oct. 1. The NCC presentation and a summary of farm bill provisions are available for NCC members at (login required). See FARM BILL page 20

2014 farm bill and may be reallocated for planting in other crops. PLC payments will trigger if the reference price is higher than the average market price or the loan rate in a given year. The PLC payment will be determined by subtracting the average market price or loan rate, whichever is higher, from the reference price, multiplying that by yield times 85 percent of base acres. UGA Extension Economist Nathan Smith said payments would not be made for the 2014 crop until after Oct. 1, 2015. Growers must make the decision between PLC and ARC. Smith said all growers on a particular farm will have to agree and sign off on the program decision. Landowners will make the decision on allocation of base acres. Producers who intend to participate in the ARC or PLC programs are subject to an acre-for-acre payment reduction when fruits and nuts and/or vegetables are planted on the payment acres of a farm. Farms that are eligible to participate in ARC/PLC but are not enrolled for a particular year may plant unlimited fruits and/or vegetables for that year but will not receive ARC/PLC payments for that year. Eligibility for succeeding years is not affected. Planting and harvesting fruits and/or vegetables on ARC/PLC acreage is subject to the acre-for-acre payment reduction when those crops are planted on either more than 15 percent of the base acres of a farm enrolled in ARC using the county coverage or PLC, or more than 35 percent of the base acres of a farm enrolled in ARC using the individual coverage. Fruits and vegetables that are planted in a double-cropping practice will not cause a payment reduction if the farm is in a doublecropping region as designated by the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation. For a summary of base acreage guidelines from the National Center for Peanut Competitiveness, visit baseacres.

June-July 2014 / 7

Commodity Commission Referendum results Ga. beef producers pass assessment

During a referendum held March 15 - April 15, Georgia cattle producers approved a $1 per head assessment to support education, research and promotion efforts for beef and beef products. The assessment, for which collection begins July 1, will be in addition to the National Beef Board checkoff. A total of 1,386 ballots were mailed in March to cattle producers who registered to vote in the referendum with the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) last fall. Some 935 cattlemen submitted their votes, a return rate of 67.46 percent. Of those, 714 (76.4 percent) voted in favor and 221 voted against. Under state law, 66.7 percent of the voting producers must vote in favor for a referendum to pass. The assessment will be collected at the time of the first sale. Cattle that sell for less than $100 per head are exempt and order buyers are exempt from paying the assessment on cattle owned for 10 days or less. The process of creating the assessment originated with the Georgia Farm Bureau Beef Cattle Committee along with the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, Georgia Milk Producers and Georgia Livestock Marketing Association. Representatives of the four organizations began meeting in 2012 to explore ways to fund research and promotion activities. With declining herds and growing costs, funding for Georgia activities under the National Beef Checkoff had become increasingly limited. The National Beef Checkoff could only be used for promotion of beef meat and post-slaughter research. The Georgia beef assessment will allow pre-slaughter research. For instance, if cattlemen experience fly control issues in their herds, assessment funds could be used for research to seek solutions. The beef stakeholder groups went to the Georgia General Assembly and requested legislation authorizing a referendum. State lawmakers passed Senate Bill (SB) 97 during the 2013 legislative session, creating the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Beef (ACCB) and authorizing a referendum to be held. SB 97 specifies that the beef commission consist of three beef farmers, one dairy farmer and one individual involved in the marketing of cattle. SB 97 also directed the four ex officio members of Georgia’s Commodity Commissions - Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, GFB President Zippy Duvall, Russ Moon and Buddy Leger – to appoint members to the commission from names nominated by producers. The initial beef commission directors are: Chairman John Callaway of Troup County; Vice Chairman Ernie Ford of Calhoun County, Jeff Duncan of Madison County, Kenneth Murphy of Meriwether County and Allen Wiggins of Turner County. Beef producers will have the opportunity to nominate potential future directors to be appointed by the ex officio members. The commission held a public hearing on Feb. 28 as required under the Georgia Commodities Promotion Act. The GDA also accepted written comments. Following the hearing, the commission chose to move forward with the referendum. As with all state commodity commissions, per state law, Georgia beef producers will have the chance to vote whether to continue the assessment every three years. 8 / June-July 2014

Georgia Farm Bureau News

For additional information about assessment collections contact GDA Commodity Promotions Manager Nathan Wilson at 404-656-3678.

Pecan & tobacco growers pass assessment increases

Georgia pecan and tobacco producers recently approved assessment increases for their respective commissions to fund their promotion, education and research programs. Nearly 81 percent of ballots returned in the Georgia Pecan Commission’s assessment referendum favored increasing the pecan assessment to 1 cent per pound for in-shell pecans effective Aug. 1. Currently, pecan growers pay 1/2 cent per pound at the time of sale. The Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Pecans received 225 ballots out of 659 mailed, and 182 voted to raise the assessment. The pecan referendum was conducted by mail from March 1 to March 30 following a public hearing held Feb. 11 in Tifton. Nearly 91 percent of the ballots returned in the Georgia Tobacco Commission’s assessment referendum favored increasing the tobacco assessment from the current 30 cents per hundred pounds to 50 cents per hundred pounds with a provision that the assessment could be increased to 75 cents at a future date after notifying producers and holding a grower meeting. Of the 155 ballots mailed to growers, 66 valid ballots were received, and 60 of those favored raising the assessment. The tobacco referendum 500 Stores Nationwide

was held Feb. 19-March 20 following a grower meeting in December and a public hearing Feb. 10 in Douglas.

Corn Commission continues

During a mail referendum held March 1 - March 30, Georgia corn growers voted to continue the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Corn. The Georgia Dept. of Agriculture mailed 1,487 ballots to growers, according to GDA Commodity Promotions Manager Nathan Wilson. The referendum had a grower participation rate of 21.86 percent with 87.27 percent of the growers voting in favor of continuing the commission. Corn growers pay an assessment rate of 1 cent per bushel on corn sold for grain to fund the commission’s research, education and promotion programs.

Vegetable Commission ends

The Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Vegetables reaffirmation vote held in February did not pass. Because the reaffirmation referendum failed, the ACC for Vegetables expired March 31 according to a memo Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black sent Georgia vegetable growers. The assessment of 1 cent per marketing unit on affected vegetables was to be paid through March 31 with all assessment payments due by April 30. Vegetables sold after March 31 are not subject to the assessment. Commodity commission news compiled by Jay Stone & Jennifer Whittaker




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Georgia Farm Bureau News hft_georgiafarmbureau_0614_M-REG37425.indd


June5/22/14 -July 2014 /9 12:33 PM

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

The UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences held a reception May 15 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act, which established Cooperative Extension.

Guests mingle during the UGA Extension Centennial Celebration held at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries on the UGA Athens Campus May 15.

By Jennifer Whittaker _______________________________________________________

gia to the people of Georgia,” Morehead said. “What I appreciate most about Extension is not what it has done in the past but what it’s doing now and will do in the future.” Morehead said many people have told him during his first year as president that when they think of the University of Georgia they don’t think of the teaching in Athens but the work being done in communities across the state on behalf of UGA by Extension. During the centennial reception, Ga. Sen. Bill Cowsert (RDist. 46) and Ga. Rep. Chuck Williams (R-Dist. 119) presented resolutions their respective chambers passed earlier this year recognizing Extension’s 100th anniversary to University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby and to UGA CAES Dean & Director Dr. Scott Angle. Kevin Little, president of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, presented a resolution to Morehead recognizing the contributions Extension makes to Georgia communities. Visit http://100years.extension. to view the UGA Extension Centennial exhibit “100 Years of Extension: The Legacy of the Smith-Lever Act in Georgia,” online. Visit http://dlg.galileo.usg. edu/CollectionsA-Z/caes_search.html to view historic farm photos shot by Extension staff across Georgia. Most of the 1,292 photos of the collection were shot from the 1930s to the 1960s. Photos have been archived by subject and county. Visit to read a different article about Extension’s anniversary in the last issue of Georgia Farm Bureau’s “Georgia Neighbors” magazine with interviews from agents, 4-Hers and former staff.

UGA Extension celebrates 100 years University of Georgia officials and members of Georgia’s agriculture community gathered May 15 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the federal Smith-Lever Act, which established America’s system of state Cooperative Extension programs. Guests attending the UGA Extension Centennial Celebration at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries on the UGA Athens Campus had the chance to enjoy the exhibit, “100 Years of Extension: The Legacy of the Smith-Lever Act in Georgia,” on display through June 30. “Georgia along with South Carolina led the movement to establish Extension, and Georgia remained one of the most vibrant states with Extension,” Dr. Beverly Sparks, UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences associate dean for Extension, said in her welcoming remarks. President Woodrow Wilson signed the Smith-Lever Act, co-authored by Sen. Hoke Smith of Georgia and U.S. Rep. Ashbury Lever of South Carolina, on May 8, 1914. The act created a national system to deliver research information conducted by land-grant universities to farmers and rural residents. UGA Extension is a county, state and federally funded organization staffed by specialists with the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) and UGA College of Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS). UGA President Jere Morehead said he understands how important UGA Extension is to the people of Georgia. “Extension connects the resources of the University of Geor10 / June-July 2014

Georgia Farm Bureau News

WE, THE FARMERS from page 4 navigable waters to regulating lakes, ponds and ditches, I imagine you’ll be pretty fired up. If you’re an advocate of private property rights, please follow the steps we outline on page 5 to submit comments voicing your opposition, but don’t stop there. Call your friends and neighbors and get them fired up. This is your opportunity to get involved and make a difference. As Christians, we go about our lives wondering why others around us do not know and believe in Jesus. Life is full of

struggles and challenges whether you believe or don’t believe. The difference is Christians are blessed to have a Heavenly Father to turn to for help and comfort. He is always there ready to lift you up through prayer and the love from our friends and neighbors that God uses to comfort us in difficult times. What about the nonbeliever? Where does he or she turn to for help and comfort during times of need? God’s great commission to the believer is to go and tell the good news of Jesus. We

have a responsibility to ask our co-workers, friends and family if they would like to know more about Jesus. He desires for everyone to come and follow him. Just like that farmer I told you about in the beginning of this article, sometimes all you have to do is ask. The Bible tells us in Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Let’s make sure we spread the good news of Jesus and Farm Bureau.

EPA from page 5 Additionally, the farm exemptions pertain only to Section 404. Section 402 deals with pollutants, and there are no exemptions for farmers to spread fertilizers or use pesticides to control weeds or insects. This proposed rule is an attempt by federal agencies to go around the will of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court to assert jurisdiction over waters that were never intended to be subject to federal regulation. Landowners must demand

the rule be withdrawn. Contact Congress The EPA and the Corps proposed this rule, so elected officials had little direct input into it. However, Congress created these agencies, and Congress controls their budgets. If these agencies are to be brought back within reasonable limits, it is up to Congress to rein them in. Comment Deadline: Oct. 20 Visit and submit your comments before Oct.

20. It will only take a few minutes of your time. Your comments do matter. The original comment deadline of July 21 was extended after the agencies received numerous requests for an extension. If you need assistance, contact your county Farm Bureau office or call the GFB Legislative Department at 478-474-8411. If we all work together, we can make EPA and the Corps “Ditch the Rule.” Jon Huffmaster is director of the GFB Legislative Department.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News

June-July 2014 / 11

commodities/marketing update Joe McManus, Marketing Specialist

PEDv threatens America’s hog industry

Controlling spread of PEDv

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has issued a federal order that establishes a mandatory reporting requirement and a 12 / June-July 2014

herd monitoring and management requirement for PEDv and novel swine enteric coronavirus diseases. An occurrence may be the initial detection of disease or a reoccurrence of a previously detected disease. According to the federal order, any positive laboratory test samples or other knowledge of herd infection must be reported to the state veterinarian or the APHIS assistant district director. An infected herd must have, follow and provide the APHIS assistant director a copy of their herd management plan that has been developed with a herd veterinarian. For guidance on herd management plan components visit http:// . Infected herds that do not follow a herd

ment, water and even pets. In Georgia, hog shows play a big part in educating our youth about responsibility, animal care and social values. Exhibitions, sales and shows pose a risk of spreading disease since animals are commingled, then go back to a farm, then on to another show. Many show pigs come into Georgia from other states that have the virus. If you buy a show pig, be sure it is from a PEDv negative herd. Pigs new to your farm should be placed in isolation and observed for PEDv before being introduced to your other hogs. The isolation area should have separate feeding equipment and be placed well away from the other animals. Use separate boots and coveralls when you go into the isolation area.

PEDv symptoms

The pork industry in the U.S has been decimated by the introduction of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) a year ago. Although no cases have been reported in Georgia, 6,421 PEDv cases have been confirmed in 30 states since May 2013. Some pork industry leaders estimate the U.S. could lose seven to ten percent of its pork production this year to PEDv. The disease is common in Asia and Europe and is now also in Mexico and Canada. PEDv only affects pigs and does not pose any risk to people, pets or other types of livestock. Most importantly, PEDv is NOT a food safety concern, and pork remains completely safe to eat! PED is a virus that causes significant sickness in swine, affecting their growth and health, and causes high mortality in piglets. Until a newly-affected herd builds immunity to the virus, the herd may experience a 100 percent death loss of young pigs, and older pigs will have slower growth rates and lower feed efficiencies. Pregnant sows may miscarry due to fever. On June 16 the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a conditional license to Harrisvaccines, Inc. for a vaccine that may aid in the control of PEDv. This is the first PEDv vaccine licensed by the USDA. It will be used to vaccinate sows with the intent that they build antibodies and transmit them through their milk to newborn piglets to protect the piglets against PEDv. Older animals can be treated for the symptoms but may still spread the virus for up to a month after recovery. Infected herds may develop antibodies in a few weeks and return to productivity, but 30 percent of infected farms are seeing secondary outbreaks. Pigs born to sows in herds with a recurring outbreak are having about 30 percent death rate compared to near 100 percent on the initial infection.

management plan may be subject to civil penalties and may have additional requirements placed on their premises by state or federal animal health officials. Research has identified transportation and points of swine concentration, such as markets and buying stations, as key areas of virus contamination. The PED virus can survive long periods of time on trailers, boots, manure, buckets, clothing, feed and most anything that comes into contact with the virus. There is also concern about porcine blood plasma products used in feed products. To prevent the spread of PEDv, the National Pork Board recommends swine producers follow management practices designed to prevent the introduction of diseases into a herd. One way to promote biosecurity is to manage access to and movement from a farm of anything capable of carrying disease, including people, pigs, birds, wild animals, rodents, equip-

The symptoms of a pig infected with PEDv will include diarrhea and vomiting accompanied by a fever. Symptoms will spread rapidly to other animals. PEDv symptoms in older animals will generally be milder than those exhibited by baby pigs. The normal rectal temperature of a pig is 101.5 – 102.5. Any animal with a fever, diarrhea or vomiting should not go to a show or sale nor should any person in contact with the animal. A veterinarian should be consulted for treatment of sick animals and biosecurity measures should be in place at all times. Everyone with show pigs should have a biosecurity plan and follow recommended swine health practices and guidelines along with having a current health certificate. Contact your county Extension Agent for more information or visit the National Pork Producers website at to access their publications on health guidelines and PEDv. Discuss your plan with your Extension agent and your veterinarian. Georgia’s pork industry has a $171.6 million farm gate value and the economic impact on Georgia’s economy is even larger. Strict bio-security measures must be maintained to prevent the disease from spreading. Joe McManus is assistant director of the GFB Commodities/Marketing Dept. Georgia Farm Bureau News

By Brandon Ashley ___________________________________ A new Georgia law will reduce the risks farmers face in doing business with brokers. Georgia’s fruit, pecan and vegetable crops had a farm gate value of almost $1.5 billion in 2012 according to the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Unlike row crops that can be stored, there is a small window of opportunity for most of these specialty crops to be harvested, packed, shipped and bought by a consumer. This is why most fruit and vegetable producers use a broker to market their crops. Brokers play a vital role in getting crops to the consumer from finding markets for crops, to arranging delivery and even supplying some of the input materials needed for production, but some brokers take advantage of the fact that they take possession of produce without paying for it up front. “Last year in the 2013 crop year, over $4 million was reported in crops not paid for,” said Jack Spruill, Georgia Department of Agriculture marketing division director. “Farmers shouldn’t have that kind of exposure.” On Jan. 1, Georgia House Bill 268 took effect. HB 268 was authored by Rep. Buddy Harden (R-District 148) and was supported by Georgia Farm Bureau during the 2013 legislative session. HB 268 strengthens the existing “Dealer in Agricultural Products” law to provide an additional layer of protection for Georgia farmers. This law updates and clarifies existing laws. Any broker doing business in Georgia, must comply with the law. This applies to fruits, vegetables, cotton and pecans. Dairy products, tobacco, grains and eggs are excluded. There are two main functions of HB 268. The first is a requirement that anyone who buys a product, and does not pay in full with cash, must register annually with the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) and pay a small licensing fee each year. The fees for this annual license start as low as $50. Under the previous law, a broker could get a lifetime license once with no further review. This gave the GDA no recourse as they work to protect the farmer. Georgia Farm Bureau News

The law also provides clear amounts for how much a broker has to be bonded. The minimum bonded amount is $10,000 and the maximum is $230,000, except in the case of pecans, which has a maximum of $500,000. The “Dealer in Agricultural Products” law does not cover disputes regarding discrepancies in altered prices due to a change in grade. Spruill suggested that farmers should have the Georgia Federal State Inspection Service provide quality assurance before the commodity is shipped. Farmers who do business with brokers See BROKERS page 16

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Ga. law protects farmers dealing with brokers



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* Rates disclosed as Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and are based on acquiring one of the following collateral protection products: Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) or Major Mechanical Protection (MMP). Additional discounts do apply for purchasing more than one collateral protection product. The advertised APR of 2.99% is effective as of September 13, 2013. Final APR may differ from the loan interest rate due to additional fees (such as a loan documentation fee, which may be applicable). For a $25,050 vehicle loan with a term of 36 months, a 45 day first payment date and a 2.99% APR, the monthly payment will be $727.72. To qualify for the disclosed rate, customer must be a Farm Bureau member. Rates may vary based on the amount financed, term and first payment date. Non-member rates may vary. Finance charges accrue from origination date of the loan. Some restrictions apply based on the make and model of vehicle offered as collateral. All loans are subject to credit approval, verification, and collateral evaluation. Other rates and financing options are available. Non-member rates may be 1-3% higher than posted rates. Loans for RVs, motorcycles, trailers, ATVs, watercraft and commercial vehicles may be 1.00% higher. This offer is not available in all states and rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Rates and financing are limited to vehicle models 2004 and newer and subject to change. Farm Bureau Bank does not finance totaled, rebuilt or salvaged vehicles. Banking services provided by Farm Bureau Bank, FSB. Farm Bureau, FB, and the FB National Logo are registered service marks owned by, and used by Farm Bureau Bank FSB under license from, the American Farm Bureau Federation.

June-July 2014 / 13

Photo courtesy Rep. Graves’ office

GFB county leaders carry messages to Washington group of 110 county Farm Bureau members visited Georgia’s congressional delegation during a trip to Washington, D.C., April 1-4, carrying messages concerning EPA regulations, livestock research, immigration reform and the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). The GFB group visited the offices of all 14 of Georgia’s representatives on April 2. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss spoke to the group during a breakfast meeting on April 3, which also included remarks from Deputy Agriculture Secretary Krysta Harden. “They may get to see some sights, but they come to work and they come as volunteers to talk for our agricultural community,” said GFB President Zippy Duvall. “When you understand the power that is here and the history that is here, you realize your trip has really become valuable. You’re a part of the process, having your voice heard in the democratic process and it becomes very real.” Harden, a Georgia native, is coordinat-

ing implementation of the 2014 farm bill. She told the GFB group when certain portions of it would be in place while asking for patience as the USDA works through the process. She also encouraged farmers to take advantage of programs in the farm bill conservation title and talked about the importance of developing the next generation of farmers. “You’re really going to have to think about what you’re producing. You’ve got to think about your future and how you want to spend the next five years of the farm program,” Harden said. “It’s going to take us a while to make sure you have that information to make those decisions.” Harden said that while there are significant changes to the commodity portion of the farm bill, the bill provides numerous opportunities in its conservation title. “One thing I want to do as deputy is continue to make sure that you have the tools that you need. If you look at this conservation title in the farm bill, there’s more spending in the baseline in conservation than there is in the com-

Photo by Jay Stone


Deputy Agriculture Secretary Krysta Harden speaks during a breakfast meeting of the GFB contingent. Harden is overseeing the implementation of the 2014 farm bill and encouraged farmers to seek opportunities within the bill’s conservation title. She also urged GFB members to mentor new and beginning farmers. 14 / June-July 2014

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone ___________________________________

Rep. Tom Graves, third from left, visits with GFB members pictured from left, Janet Sims, GFB North Georgia Vice President Bernard Sims, Haralson County Farm Bureau Vice President Joe Griffith and his son, Bain, and Chattooga County Farm Bureau President Wayne Hurley.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss spoke to GFB members regarding the farm bill and immigration and thanked them for their support during his political career. He is leaving the Senate when his term expires at the end of the year.

modity title,” Harden said. Emphasizing that nurturing the next generation of farmers is a personal priority for her, Harden said the USDA and the farming community must find ways to support those who are either coming back to the farm or getting into agriculture for the first time. “Someone who is making that decision to plunge into a farm or a ranch needs different things from USDA, and we are going to do our darnedest to make sure that USDA is ready for those young people coming back,” Harden said. “They’re asking a very different question. They want different things. They need different things. It’s a different world. You don’t farm like your fathers and grandfathers, and they’re not going to farm and ranch like you.” The GFB members asked their congressmen for help in reforming the naGeorgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Jay Stone

tion’s immigration system, noting that many farmers rely on foreign workers who are admitted into the U.S. under the H-2A program, but have encountered difficulty in accessing laborers through H-2A. “There’s a million and one ways in which you can stub your toe, and the penalties are unreasonable,” said Rep. John Barrow (D-12th District). “Obviously we have to fix that process. I don’t buy the idea that comprehensive immigration reform means we’ve got to find a pathway to citizenship. I think a comprehensive approach to this would be one that provides agriculture with a reasonable, safe and reliable source of seasonal labor.” In his remarks to GFB on April 3, Sen. Saxby Chambliss said he didn’t foresee an immigration bill getting done before the November elections. “I think there may be a chance to have some immigration reform in the lame duck session,” Chambliss said. “There are going to be a number of members of the House and Senate that will be leaving. The politics of their particular situation may allow us to get some meaningful immigra-

Rep. David Scott (D-13th District, right corner) visits with GFB members.

tion reform put into place.” The trip came shortly after the EPA made public its proposed rule defining “waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act, and the GFB group voiced concerns over the rule. More information about the waters of the U.S. proposed rule is covered on page 5. One of the goals of the trip was to encourage congressmen to support funding for livestock research. The USDA has

requested $155 million for renovation and upgrades of the Southeastern Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens. During breakfast on April 2, AFBF Director of Public Policy Dale Moore talked about a variety of issues including advocacy for livestock research. “Research is critically important,” Moore said. “If we have a sniffly chicken in California, [Athens] is where we call to get answers about it.”


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June-July 2014 / 15

In May the USDA released the results of its 2012 Census of Agriculture, which shows Georgia lost 11.6 percent of its farms from 2007 to 2012 and the state’s total farm acreage dropped by five percent. Georgia had 47,846 farms in 2007 and 42,257 in 2012. Georgia farm acreage totaled 10.15 million acres in 2007 then decreased to 9.62 million acres by 2012. But the news for Georgia agriculture wasn’t all bad. Georgia farmers sold $9.3 billion in agricultural products in 2012, up 30 percent from the $7.1 billion sold in 2007. Per farm average sales increased from $148,662 in 2007 to $219,020 in 2012. Average net farm income in Georgia rose from $32,747 in 2007 to $50,739 in 2012, an increase of 54.9 percent. Average production expenses increased by nearly 41 percent, from $125,031 in 2007 to $177,213 in 2012. The Census of Agriculture is conducted every five years by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The Census of Agriculture directly surveys farmers, and the collection method may result in numbers differing from those generated by other ag economics surveys. “The 2012 Census of Agriculture provides a wide range of demographic, economic, land, crop, and livestock production information as well as first-time or expanded data,” said NASS Southern Region Director Jim Ewing. “Many of these data about Georgia and our counties are only collected and reported as part of the every five-year census.” Other highlights for Georgia from the 2012 census showed harvested blueberry acres more than doubled from 4,802 acres in 2007 to 11,565 acres in 2012, making Georgia the second cultivated blueberry producing state in the U.S. behind Michi-

gan. According to the census, Georgia pecan acres increased 8 percent from 114,226 in 2007 to 123,415 acres in 2012. Georgia ranked ninth in the nation in 2012 for its livestock sales of $5.6 billion, which exceeded crop sales of $3.7 billion. Poultry and eggs contributed 51.6 percent of the total agricultural products sold in the state. Georgia’s value of sales ranks in the top five in four crop categories. The state was second in poultry and eggs ($4.77 billion), second in cotton and cotton seed sales ($1.04 billion) and second in other crops and hay ($1.03 billion). The state ranks fifth in sales of fruits, tree nuts and berries ($308 million) The state ranks first in inventory of poultry broilers (243 million) and quail (1.29 million), second in rooster inventory (1.17 million) and third in pullets for laying hen replacement (7.7 million). The census shows that 19,858 of Georgia’s 42,257 farmers indicated their primary occupation is farming while 22,399 said their primary occupation is something other than farming. The average age of Georgia’s principal farm operators in 2012 was 59.9 years, two years older than 2007 and continuing a 30-year trend of age increase. Georgia had 12,207 farmers in 2012 between the ages of 60 to 69 years. There were 10,860 Georgia farmers between the ages of 50 to 59 years and 10,164 of Georgia’s farmers were 70 years or older in 2012. Georgia had 9,026 farmers age 49 and under in 2012. Women accounted for 6,404 of Georgia’s farmers in 2012. The number of Caucasian farmers in Georgia declined from 45,014 in 2007 to 39,736 in 2012 while the number of African American farmers dropped from 2,072 in 2007 to 1,986 in 2012. Georgia’s Hispanic farmers increased from 365 in 2007 to 443 in 2012. Asian farmers in Georgia increased from 235 in 2007 to 239 in 2012.

BROKERS from page 13 should ask if they are licensed with the GDA prior to entering a contract. “If you are dealing with someone who isn’t licensed, the Georgia Department of Agriculture can legally offer no assistance,” Spruill said. Contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture Bonding Division and man-

ager Johnny Hurst with any questions regarding how to become licensed or to determine if a particular broker is licensed. The website is bonding.aspx and the phone number is 404-656-3725. Brandon Ashley is a marketing specialist in the GFB Commodities/Marketing Dept.

By Jay Stone & Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________

16 / June-July 2014

Photo by Ryan Hall

USDA publishes 2012 Census of Agriculture results

The census results indicated 14,830 farms in Georgia with sales of less than $1,000 and 5,163 farms with sales of $500,000 or more. Georgia had 36,863 farms classified as family or individual farms, representing 87 percent of all farms in Georgia. Georgia’s farms included 2,535 that were classified as partnerships, representing 6 percent of all farms. The census shows 2,410 of Georgia’s farms were classified as corporations but 2,152 of these were family-held indicating 89 percent of the corporations were family farms. According to the 2012 census, Georgia had 90 organic farms, which averaged $63,609 in sales. The top 18 organic farms accounted for 92 percent of all sales in the organic category. Nationwide, the United States had 2.1 million farms in 2012, down 4.3 percent from 2007. The amount of farmland nationwide decreased less than one percent between 2007 and 2012, the third smallest decline since 1950. The value of ag products sold for the entire U.S. totaled $394.6 billion, up 33 percent from 2007. For only the second time in census history, crop sales ($212.4 billion) exceeded livestock sales ($182.2 billion). The 2012 Census of Agriculture was the 28th federal census of ag. The first Census of Agriculture took place in 1840 as a part of the general population census and continued under that model until the 1920s, when the Census of Agriculture interval was changed to every five years. In 1976, the ag census was moved to years ending in 2 and 7 to coincide with other economic censuses. To view the Georgia state-level data visit Georgia state-level data: gastatedata. To view the Georgia county-level data visit Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB loses leaders Robert L. Nash, who served as Georgia Farm Bureau president from 1978 to 1988, died on April 25. He was 90. Nash and his late wife Betty, who died in 2011, received the GFB Distinguished Service Award in 2010, the highest honBob Nash or the organization gives to its volunteer leaders. Nash served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War II. The Nashes moved to Georgia in 1957 from Oklahoma and served Farm Bureau at the county, district, state and national levels. Nash served as county Farm Bureau president in multiple counties and was a GFB director from 1974 to 1978. “Mr. Nash’s contributions to Georgia Farm Bureau and Georgia agriculture are worthy of celebration. Much of what our organization is today is the result of his leadership,” said GFB President Zippy Duvall. Nash was instrumental in the development and construction of GFB’s current state office in Macon and worked to expand the organization’s commodity department. He served on the American Farm Bureau Board of Directors for 10 years. In addition to his work with Farm Bureau, Nash worked to establish the Georgia Cattlemen’s and Cattlewomen’s Associations and is a member of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Hall of Fame. The Nashes held various leadership positions in both organizations and other livestock organizations. They served as 4-H volunteer leaders for more than 50 years and opened their farm to numerous 4-H and FFA events. Nash is survived by three children: daughter, Cynthia and son-in-law, Steve Douglas of The Rock, son Clifford and daughter-in-law Laverne Nash of Moultrie and son Charles and daughter-in-law Alexis Nash of Chicago, nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Nash owned Nash Cattle Farm located at The Rock, Ga. Memorial donations may be made to the Barnesville First United Methodist Church Building Fund, 375 Thomaston Street, Georgia Farm Bureau News

Barnesville, Ga. 30204; the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association Building Fund, P.O. Box 27990, Macon, Ga. 31221; the Georgia 4-H Foundation (Livestock Program) 306 Hoke Smith Annex, Athens, GA 30602 or your local 4-H. Condolences may be sent to the family at 5500 Barnesville Hwy., The Rock, Ga. 30285.

NCBA committees. Payne was a member of the Georgia Beef Board and the National Beef Checkoff Board. He was a founding member of the Gordon County Young Farmers Association and Georgia Young Sam Payne Farmers Association Gordon County Farm Bureau Director past state chaplain. Sam Payne died April 15 following an ex- A native of CalSam Payne tended illness. Payne, a cattle and produce houn, Payne was owner and operator of farmer, served on the Georgia Farm Bureau Payne Farm & Produce. He served in the Vegetable Committee from 1996 until his U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1966 through death. He chaired the committee in 2005 1968 and was a member of Farmville United and 2006 and served as vice chairman of the Methodist Church. committee for seven of the years he was on Payne is survived by his wife of 48 years, the committee. Ann; son Millard; daughters, Mary Man In addition to his Farm Bureau member- ning (Bruce) and Carla (Scott) all of Calship, Payne was a past president of the Geor- houn and three grandchildren. gia Cattlemen’s Association and the Red Memorial donations may be made to the Carpet Cattlemen’s Association, vice-presi- Sam Payne Memorial Scholarship Fund, P.O. dent of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Asso- Box 246, Calhoun, Ga. 30703. Condolences GAFB_Morton_Jun.July14_GAFB_Morton_Feb/Mar14 10:43 AM at Page 1 ciation’s Region 2 and served on numerous may be5/29/14 sent to the family the same address.


Bob Nash

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June-July 2014 / 17

Photo by Marilynn Hopkins

young farmer update Jed Evans, Young Farmer Coordinator

The annual FFA Discussion Meet, sponsored by the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee, was held May 2 in Macon during the 86th Georgia FFA Convention. Twelve area winners from high schools across Georgia competed in the event: Dakota Martin, North Forsyth; Sara Prokosch, Lafayette; Dani Lukas, Madison County; Avery Duncan, Franklin County; Ginger Orton, Schley County; Haley Vickery, Pike County; Jordan Harrison, Montgomery County; Samantha Goodman, Southeast Bulloch; Landon Rowe, Irwin County; David Carver, Thomas County Central; Ian Bennett, Lowndes County; and Ben Murray, Berrien County. After two preliminary rounds, Dakota Martin, Dani Lukas, Haley Vickery and Ian Bennett advanced to the final four competition, where Ian Bennett was named the winner of the 2014 FFA Discussion Meet. Bennett lives on his family farm outside of Valdosta where the family raises Charolais cattle and Dorset sheep. Bennett, a junior, received a $300 cash award.

Photo by Jed Evans

GFB Young Farmer Committee sponsors FFA Discussion Meet

Pictured from left, Georgia FFA 2014 Discussion Meet winner Ian Bennett and the three runners-up Dakota Martin, Dani Lukas and Haley Vickery accept congratulations from Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee Chairman Matthew London.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Sunbelt Expo Field Day

FFA officers visit Georgia Farm Bureau

The 2014-2015 Georgia FFA officers visited Georgia Farm Bureau June 10. GFB President Zippy Duvall, seated, poses with the officers during their tour of the GFB “Georgia Farm Monitor” TV studio. Pictured from left, are: Georgia FFA President Callie Warren, Georgia FFA Secretary Mollie Cromley, and Georgia FFA Vice Presidents Elizabeth Horne, Jarrett Williams, Luke Nelson, Julia Gonzalez, Kandice Hooper and Emily Trammell. During their tour of the GFB home office, the FFA officers learned about GFB’s legislative, commodity, public relations and Ag in the Classroom programs. The officers also gave interviews that will air on the “Georgia Farm Monitor” and may be viewed on the Monitor’s YouTube channel at 18 / June-July 2014

JULY 10 • Sunbelt Expo Farm Spence Field • Moultrie This free event gives farmers a chance to see the crops and research projects being conducted at the Expo farm on seed varieties, irrigation, crop protection, precision ag technology, soil fertility and organic farming. University researchers and ag company representatives conducting the trials will give presentations on their research. Registration for door prizes begins at 7:15 a.m. followed by a free biscuit breakfast and welcome from Georgia Farm Bureau and Georgia Dept. of Agriculture representatives. Trams will depart for field tours at 8 a.m. sharp. Tours will end by noon. Attendees will receive a grab & go barbecue lunch courtesy of Ameris Bank. Due to a renewed interest in crop dusting, an aerial application demonstration will be held after the field tours sponsored by Thrush Aircraft, Eagle Vistas and WinField Solutions. Georgia Farm Bureau News

For the past 19 years anyone calling the office of the Georgia Farm Bureau president was most likely greeted by executive assistant Ginger Huff, but after working for the GFB Federation and the GFB Mutual Insurance Companies for 33 years, Huff retired May 23 to become her own boss. Huff began her career at GFB in 1977 when she was hired as a policy typist in the GFB Commercial Underwriting Department. In 1980 after the birth of her oldest child, Eric, she left GFB for two years to care for her son. When Huff returned she held the positions of secretary to the director of GFB Policyholder Services, commercial underwriter and group coordinator of the GFB Sales Department and became mom to a second son, Kyle, along the way. In 1993, Huff left GFB to work for another company but returned in the spring of 1995 when former GFB President Wayne Dollar hired her to be his secretary. “I worked for the insurance company for about 14 years, but when I came to work for the president, I had so much to learn regarding the relationship of Georgia Farm Bureau with the farmers and other agricultural groups throughout the state,” Huff said. “I didn’t realize the wide scope Georgia Farm Bureau has across Georgia.” She said the biggest part of her day-today responsibilities as executive assistant to GFB President Zippy Duvall were making sure his calendar works and that he is where he is supposed to be when he is supposed to be there. Huff worked on many other GFB projects, such as the annual GFB convention and making the travel arrangements for the delegation GFB sends to the annual American Farm Bureau Convention each year. “I’ve enjoyed working with the counties, and I’ve made friends all over the state and all over the country,” Huff said. Huff made the move with other GFB employees from the organization’s former office on Riverside Drive and says the number of technology changes she’s seen GFB adopt through the years are too numerous to mention. Huff’s immediate retirement plans include a few trips this summer and working with her husband, Rob, on numerous projGeorgia Farm Bureau News

ects around their house. Her biggest motivation for retirement is spending more time with her grandson Phillips, who turns one in August. Huff is leaving her post in the capable hands of Debbie O’Neal, who has worked as executive assistant to GFB Treasurer/ Corporate Secretary Wayne Daniel since July 2006. Prior to coming to GFB in 2006, O’Neal worked as a legal assistant to GFB’s General Counsel Duke Groover. O’Neal previously worked at GFB in the claims department for 3.5 years in the early 1990s. “I enjoy working for a company that has the same values that I hold dear,” O’Neal said. “There is a lot to be said to being part of the Georgia Farm Bureau family.” O’Neal has two adult children, Brooks and Alicia, and three grandchildren – Carter, Braelyn and Abby. She and her husband, Steve, attend Northway Church in Macon, and she enjoys gardening in her spare time. “Ginger has been a vital part of our team while I’ve served as Georgia Farm Bureau president. I hate to see her go but wish her

GFB President Zippy Duvall congratulates Ginger Huff, right, on her retirement after working at GFB for 33 years and welcomes Debbie O’Neal, left, as his new assistant.

the best in her well-earned retirement,” Duvall said. “I’m looking forward to working with Debbie in her new role as my assistant and think everyone will enjoy getting to know her as she makes this transition.” Congratulations may be sent to Huff via email at or to O’Neal at

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Huff retires, O’Neal named successor

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Students draw farm scenes for GFB Art Contest

Camden County student Chad Husted won the 20th Annual Georgia Farm Bureau Art Contest with his sketch of pecans, peaches and Vidalia Onions displayed in front of a barn with timber in the background. Husted, the son of Charles and Brenda Husted, was a senior at Camden County High School when he entered the contest earlier this year. Husted received $100 for being the GFB 10th District winner and an additional $250 award as the state winner. Samantha Teems of Polk County, GFB 3rd District, and Wesley Helms of Wilcox County, GFB 8th District, were the state runners-up in the art contest. Each received $150 cash. The contest, open to any high school student, drew 59 entries statewide. Drawings were judged on artistic merit and how well the artwork represented Georgia agriculture. Other district winners in the art contest were: Zeke Waters, Gordon County, 1st District; Megan Weaver, Stephens County, 2nd District; Kristina Karamihalis, Wilkes County, 4th District; Ciara Bostick, Monroe County, 5th Distict; Emily Walk, Jones County, 6th District; Philicia Batton, Bulloch County, 7th District and Dee Kringle, Brooks County,

Visit to see all winners’ artwork.

State Winner, Chad Husted, Camden Co.

Runner-up, Samantha Teems, Polk Co.

Runner-up, Wesley Helms, Wilcox Co.

9th District. Each received $100 as district winners. The GFB Women’s Leadership Committee coordinated the contest on the

state level while county Women’s Committees promoted the contests locally. SunTrust Bank of Middle Georgia sponsored the state contest prizes.

Conservation Provisions

The conservation title of the new farm bill consolidates the 23 programs of the 2008 farm bill into 13. Under the new bill, conservation programs have more funding than the commodity title. The Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) was rolled into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), according to the USDA. EQIP, which provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns, now allows advance payment opportunities for ag producers who are veterans of the U.S. military. Advance payments 20 / June-July 2014

for socially disadvantaged, beginning and limited resource farmers, Indian tribes and veterans were increased from 30 percent to 50 percent. EQIP payments are capped at $450,000. The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) helps agricultural producers maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and adopt additional conservation activities to address priority resource concerns.  Participants earn CSP payments for conservation performance the higher the performance, the higher the payment.  For more information about the conservation provisions of the farm bill, visit

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

FARM BILL from page 7

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Georgia tobacco growers can show pride in their crop by applying Georgia Grown labels to their tobacco bales. The free labels are available courtesy of the Georgia Tobacco Commission (GTC). The 4” by 4” labels feature the Georgia Grown logo and a golden tobacco leaf. They are free to growers, who can get the labels from the GTC or their county Extension agent. The labels were first offered last sum-

mer. University of Georgia Tobacco Agronomist Dr. J. Michael Moore said the commission came up with the idea for the stickers last year after hearing about the Georgia Grown program from Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, who encouraged the commission to get involved with the program. “The hope is that not only is the grower showing some pride in the product that he is producing and presenting for sale, but that the buyers also begin to associate Georgia Grown with quality tobacco,” Moore said. “When it goes to the processing plants in North Carolina and Virginia, perhaps there will be customers from other countries coming through that will also see those bales and bale stickers in the racks waiting to be processed and they’ll say, ‘That’s greatlooking tobacco. That has the quality we’re looking for. Make sure our tobacco is coming from Georgia.’ ” To see the stickers and photos of bales with the stickers on them, visit http://www.

Photo courtesy of J. Michael Moore, UGA

Ga. Grown tobacco bale labels available

Fred Wetherington, Georgia Tobacco Commission chairman, is pictured last year putting a Georgia Grown sticker on a bale of his tobacco headed to market. and scroll down to the posts from August and September 2013. Growers interested in obtaining stickers for this year’s crop may contact their county Extension agent and request the stickers they need.

GFB taking nominations Harrison new Ga. FSA Director Secretary Tom Vilsack recently appointed Dr. for commodity committees FredAgriculture Harrison Jr. as the new state executive director for the

5M @ $423.70/lot 4x4 Die Cut Georgia Farm Bureau is now accepting nominations for farmThermal Transfer/Hammerlock ers to serve on its 20 commodity advisory committees for 2015. Process (Digital) To be eligible to serve on a GFB commodity advisory commit1M 3”tee, a person must be a member of the county Farm Bureau from 3 which he/she is nominated, be an active producer of the commod-

ity and have knowledge of all aspects of the commodity. Nominations must be submitted and received at the GFB state office no later than Aug. 18. Committee members are appointed by the GFB president with the approval of the state board of directors and serve in an advisory capacity to the GFB president, board and staff. Committees also make recommendations to the GFB Policy Development Committee relative to their commodity All county Farm Bureaus may nominate members to serve on a committee for a one-year term. A person may only be nominated to serve on one commodity committee. GFB is adding a new committee for 2015 on direct marketing/ agritourism. Direct marketing of farm products and inviting the public to visit working farms is a growing area of agriculture. It is imperative that consumers understand how food, fiber and fuels are produced, and these farm operations assist with this. The GFB Feed Grain and Soybean Committees are being combined. For more information contact your county Farm Bureau office or the GFB Commodities Marketing Department at 1-800-342-1196. Georgia Farm Bureau News

USDA Georgia Farm Service Agency (FSA). Harrison, a native of Winterville in Clarke County, joined the Georgia FSA team on June 2. Harrison has served on the Georgia FSA State Committee since 2010 and is the owner and operator of Harrison Farms. He is a former dean of the Fort Valley State University (FVSU) College of Agriculture, Home Economics and Allied Programs. He also served as administrator/director of FVSU’s Cooperative Extension Program. Harrison Harrison is a recipient of the Award of Excellence from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Association. He holds a Ph.D. from Ohio State University in Extension Program Development, Administration and Community Resource Development. He recently served as a member of the Georgia Rural Development Council. As FSA state executive director, Harrison will oversee FSA programs that protect agricultural practices to ensure a safe, affordable, abundant and nutritious food supply for consumers. Harrison takes over for David Laster, who served as acting director following the retirement of Hobby Stripling in early 2013. June-July 2014 / 21

By Kenny Burgamy ___________________________________ Matt Bottoms, Pike County Farm Bureau Young Farmer chairman, takes the threat of skin cancer seriously. “The history behind my concern is that while growing up and even into my teen years, up until the time my grandfather passed away, almost every year, he had to have little skin cancer cells taken off,” Bottoms said. It’s no secret that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has declared ultraviolent (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, like tanning beds and sun lamps, as a known cancer-causing substance. Excerpts from a recent Penn State University Agricultural Safety and Health News report points out that the Melanoma International Foundation urges everyone to examine their skin regularly. The foundation says you should look over your entire body including your back, neck, scalp, the palms of your hands, the soles of your feet, even between your toes. The foundation strongly recommends that you contact your primary care physician or a dermatologist as soon as possible if there are changes in size, color, shape or texture of a mole, a new mole appears or any changes in the skin. Macon dermatologist Dr. David J. Cohen says that farmers, ranchers and their crews are at high risk for skin cancers because they spend most of their working years outside. Cohen, a partner at Dermatologic Surgery Specialists in Macon, specializes in various problematic skin conditions including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. These skin cancers, Cohen said, are all too common with outdoor workers or frequent sunbathers. Cohen said it is obvious that anyone exposed to the invisible UV rays on an ongoing basis should take the risks of skin cancer very seriously. “We see a lot of skin cancers in farmers, but skin cancers are curable, if you catch 22 / June-July 2014

them early,” Cohen said. Men are more at risk and more likely to die from melanoma, Cohen said. “The patients that I have that are in denial are men, generally,” Cohen said. “Women, they see a little spot and since they’re used to going to the doctor, usually get to the doctor quickly.” Any new moles or bumps that appear should be an alert to anyone, but particularly those who work outdoors. Dermatologists recommend anyone noticing changes to their skin to share their concerns with a primary physician or a dermatologist. The appearance of small pink bumps, crusty moles or dark black moles that look irregular would be a tip-off that you need to be examined, Cohen said. Most importantly, Cohen insisted early detection is key in preventing a small cell from becoming a major issue. To prevent skin cancer, Cohen recommends wearing light-colored clothing, long sleeves and a brim hat while working in the fields. Always choose waterproof sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 and apply it to all visible

Photo by Kenny Burgamy

An ounce of prevention can protect farmers from skin cancer

A family history of skin cancer motivates Pike County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Chairman Matt Bottoms to take precautions to protect his skin from the sun’s ultraviolent rays.

skin, even on cloudy days. Bottoms, 34, said his grandfather’s skin cancer has caused him to take precautions to protect his skin while working outside. “I started being more aware of it and started trying to protect a little bit so that when I’m older, maybe I won’t have some of the health issues to deal with.” For the past 10 years, Bottoms says he has tried to make it a point to wear longsleeve shirts when working outside at his family’s plant nursery and wears a cap or wide brim hat. When Bottoms does wear short-sleeve shirts, he wears a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and puts the sunscreen on his ears and neck if he isn’t wearing a hat.

Peanut genome sequencing completed

The International Peanut Genome Initiative — a multinational group of crop geneticists who have been working cooperatively for the last several years — has successfully sequenced the peanut’s genome according to information released by the University of Georgia. The new peanut genome sequence will be available to researchers and plant breeders across the world to aid in the breeding of more productive and more resilient peanut varieties. The effort to sequence the peanut genome has been underway for several years. While peanuts were successfully bred for intensive cultivation for thousands of years, relatively little was known about the legume’s genetic structure because of its complexity. To map the peanut’s structure, researchers sequenced the genomes of the two ancestral parents because together they represent cultivated peanuts. The sequences provide researchers access to 96 percent of all peanut genes in their genomic context, providing the molecular map needed to more quickly breed drought- and disease-resistant, lowerinput and higher-yielding varieties of peanuts. Georgia Farm Bureau News

By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________ Animal scientist Dr. Temple Grandin is probably the most well-known spokesperson the cattle industry has had with mainstream America in years thanks to a 2010 HBO movie about her life starring Claire Danes. The movie ”Temple Grandin” depicts how she coped growing up with autism and her early work in the cattle industry to improve the way cattle are handled at slaughter plants. Diagnosed with autism as a child in 1949, Grandin was introduced to ranching while visiting an aunt’s Arizona ranch. She observed that cattle being worked seemed to calm down once in the chute and designed a “hugging machine” to calm her own anxieties. Now an animal science professor at Colorado State University, Grandin’s autistic temperment and ability to see in pictures helped her relate to cattle and develop handling facilities that reduced animal stress and improved productivity in feed yards and packing plants. Cattle producers attending the annual Georgia Cattlemen’s Association Conven-

tion in Perry this April had multiple opportunities to meet and hear from Grandin. “I’ve been around a real long time when plants were horrible. They’ve improved so much, but the problem is the public doesn’t know about it,” Grandin said. Cattle producers need to reach out to consumers to educate them how cattle are raised, Grandin said while delivering the keynote speech at the GCA convention April 3. “The public is so far removed from agriculture. A study at Purdue showed 31 percent of young people have never been on a farm. We’ve got young people that don’t know beef comes from cattle and think beef cows are born in a feed yard,” Grandin said. “What I think every rancher needs to do is talk to their Facebook friends. What’s work to you, like a loader scooping up grain, is interesting to people in the city.” Grandin cautioned cattle producers to post photos and videos on social media that show cattle production in a good light and to be sure to explain the production practices they post.

Watson receives Ga. Chamber Award

Ga. Rep. Sam Watson (R-Dist. 172), who serves on the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee, recently received the 2014 Top Freshman Legislator of the Year Award from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Watson Watson just completed his first term as a state representative. “As a farmer and agri-businessman, I understand firsthand the challenges that businesses in rural Georgia can face,” Watson said. The Georgia Chamber presented Georgia Farm Bureau News

Watson the award based on his support of policies that promote job growth and economic development in Georgia. During the 2014 legislative session, Watson authored House Bill 774 and co-authored House Bills 825, 866 and 1042, all of which have been signed into law by Gov. Deal. Watson’s district includes portions of Colquitt, Thomas and Tift counties. He was first elected to the seat in 2012 and is running unopposed this year. He is a Colquitt County Farm Bureau director and past member of the GFB Young Farmer Committee. Watson is a partner in Chill-C Farms and Moultrie Melon Company growing vegetables, hay and cattle. He and his wife, Emily, have two daughters.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Temple Grandin highlight of GCA convention

While speaking at the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association Convention in April, Dr. Temple Grandin stressed the importance of schools providing hands-on classes like ag education, home economics and shop classes that teach students basic life lessons they are no longer learning at home.

“Explain why you use a squeeze chute so the cattle will stand still while you doctor them,” Grandin said. Even if producers aren’t posting their management practices to social media, Grandin warned them they should treat their cattle as if they are being filmed. “We’re in the era of the cell phone camera. Now everyone has something that could be a feed to the newsroom,” Grandin said. “We have to look at everything we do and think ‘How will this play on YouTube?’ ” She also urged the different sectors of agriculture to unite. “I’m sick and tired of big ag fighting little ag and vice versa. We need to have big ag and large scale affordable food, but on the other hand there are a whole lot of highend niche markets with organics and locally grown. They are both legitimate parts of the industry,” Grandin said. Grandin encourages parents of children with developmental or social issues to develop the child’s area of strength. “If the kid is good at art, develop art. Good at math, develop math. Good at writing develop writing,” Grandin said. Outgoing GCA President David Gazda passed the president’s gavel to Melvin Porter, a producer from Jackson County. Porter said he wants to continue the organization’s membership growth by challenging members to buy a GCA membership for someone in their area who needs to be a member. “We’ve grown for the past four years, and I certainly want that number to increase under my watch.” June-July 2014 / 23

By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________

Debbie Lyons-Blythe, the 2012 America’s Farmers Farm Mom of the Year, delivered the keynote speech at the GFB Educational Leadership Conference. Debbie uses her blog “Life on a Kansas Cattle Ranch” to teach consumers about farm life. Visit to see an album of photos from the conference.

Week program that promoted the affordability of America’s food. GFB Women’s Leadership Committee members Angie Durham and Nichelle Stewart shared games that can be used to teach kids about nutrition or ag facts.

Photos courtesy of the VOC

More than 250 Georgia Farm Bureau members and staff learned how to advocate for agriculture while attending the organization’s annual Educational Leadership Conference in Augusta March 21 and 22. Debbie Lyons-Blythe, the 2012 America’s Farmers Farm Mom of the Year, delivered the keynote speech at the conference. Blythe, whose family raises Angus cattle, shared how she uses her blog “Life on a Kansas Cattle Ranch” to inform consumers about farm life and how beef is raised. “We’ve got to be able to tell consumers why we do things before the media or activists give consumers their take on it,” Blythe said. While Blythe stressed the importance of farmers using social media to reach consumers, she encouraged members of the ag community who don’t feel comfortable using it to talk to consumers face-to-face by asking their local grocery store to hand out samples of their commodity when it’s on sale or by wearing a t-shirt promoting their commodity to community events. Johnna Miller, director of media and

advocacy training for American Farm Bureau, echoed Blythe’s message in her workshop on social media, saying, “We can’t afford to ignore social media any more because this is where people are getting their information and where the conversations are happening.” Dennis Peavy, the 2013 recipient of GFB’s Georgia Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Educator Award, shared activities and resources he uses in his Houston County elementary class to teach his students about agriculture while meeting state standards GFB Women’s Leadership Committee members Angel Page and Brenda Cooley led a class on ag careers during which they shared Ag in the Classroom materials volunteers can use such as the My American Farm games and Ag Mags to teach students about the many careers agriculture offers in addition to farming. GFB Field Services Department Director Mike Copeland told attendees about the Linking Families & Food program through which GFB can promote all aspects of agriculture’s story year-round. This program replaces Farm Bureau’s Food Check-Out

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

GFB prepares members to be ag advocates

(L-R): Wallace Jarriel, David Jarriel and VOC Chairman Kevin Hendrix

VOC Chairman Kevin Hendrix and Barbara Braddy

Jarriels, Braddy receive Vidalia Onion awards

The Vidalia Onion Committee (VOC) presented its Grower of the Year Award to Dry Branch Farms in Tattnall County during the organization’s annual banquet in February. Dry Branch Farms is a fourth-generation farm owned and operated by Wallace and David Jarriel. Wallace and David Jarriel accepted their award from VOC Chairman Kevin Hendrix. The Jarriels started growing, packing and shipping Vidalias in 1990. Today they grow between 350 to 400 acres of Vidalias. David is president of the Tattnall County Farm Bureau, and his 24 / June-July 2014

wife, Shirley, has previously served on the Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Committee. Vidalia Onion Committee Chairman Kevin Hendrix presented Barbara Braddy the inaugural Vidalia Ambassador Award in recognition of her dedication and diligence to the Vidalia Onion industry. A retired teacher, Braddy is now office manager at Braddy Farms in Mount Vernon where she oversees all of the farm’s Vidalia Onion sales. She has been an active VOC board member for many years and is a Montgomery County Farm Bureau member. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Tift County Farm Bureau member Philip Grimes has been named the 2014 Georgia Sunbelt Farmer of the Year. Grimes, who runs Docia Farms in Tift County, will compete for the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award along with the winners from nine other Southern states. The winner will be announced during the Sunbelt Expo in October. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service helped organize the search for the state’s top farmer. Gov. Nathan Deal recognized Grimes March 18 during the Georgia Agriculture Awareness Day in Atlanta. Grimes farms a variety of crops including cotton, peanuts, snap beans, broccoli and cantaloupes. “The agricultural community has always been a top driver of economic growth here in Georgia, bringing innovation and job opportunities,” said Deal, who presented the award with Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black. “Philip Grimes epitomizes the strong spirit of Georgia’s farmers by feeding the nation as well as conserving our land for generations to come. I congratulate Philip and thank him for his dedication to his profession and his contribution to Georgia’s economic future.” Dedication aptly describes Grimes’ work ethic. Whether it’s by detailed record keeping or sound conservation practices, Grimes possesses leadership skills admired by Steve Brown, UGA’s associate dean for Extension and organizer of the search for Georgia’s farmer of the year. UGA Extension agent Brian Tankersley, who has worked closely with Grimes over the years, nominated him for the award.    Grimes’ UGA Extension programs have been an important part of the farm’s success, Grimes said.    “I listen to the experts and go to the meetings. They can tell you if a new product is coming out and what’s working and what’s not,” Grimes said. “They’re just an important part of farming now.” As the Georgia winner of the Swisher Georgia Farm Bureau News

Sweets/Sunbelt Expo award, Grimes will receive a $2,500 cash award and a trip to the Sunbelt Expo Ag Expo in Moultrie from Swisher International; a $500 gift certificate from the Southern States Cooperative; the choice of either $1,000 in PhytoGen cottonseed or a $500 donation to a designated charity from Dow AgroSciences and a Columbia vest from Ivey’s Outdoor and Farm Supply. He is now eligible for the $15,000 cash award that will go to the overall winner. Clint Thompson is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences based in Tifton.

Gov. Nathan Deal, right, and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, left, present the 2014 Georgia Sunbelt Farmer of the Year Award to Tift County Farmer Philip Grimes. Grimes will represent Georgia at the Sunbelt Expo in October, where the 2014 Swisher Sweets Sunbelt Agricultural Expo Southeast Farmer of the Year will be chosen from 10 state winners.

Flavor of Georgia winners

Photo by Jay Stone

By Clint Thompson ___________________________________

Photo by Jay Stone

Grimes named Georgia’s 2014 Farmer of the Year

Gov. Nathan Deal, left, and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, right, present Tim Young of Nature’s Harmony the grand prize in the Flavor of Georgia Contest. Nature’s Harmony won with its Georgia Gold Clothbound Cheddar Cheese, which also won the Dairy Products category. The other Flavor of Georgia category winners were: Adult Beverages - Richland Rum (Erik Vonk, Stewart County); Barbecue Sauces - Causey’s Sweet’N Smoky BBQ Sauce (Wynn Causey Bakke, Cobb County); Beverages - Byne Blueberry Farms Organic Blueberry Juice (Richard Byne, Burke County); Confections - Peachy Keen Pecan Praline (Lindsey Beckworth, Washington County); Jams and Jellies - Weeks Cinnamon Honey Spread (Ray Crosby, Tift County); Marinades and Sauces - Q Sauce GA Mustard Marinade (Jennifer Adams, Gwinnett County); Meats and Seafoods - Ogeechee Meat Market Vidalia Onion Sausage (Matthew McClune, Chatham County); Miscellaneous Products - Hardy Farms Peanuts Southern Sriracha Boiled Peanut Rub (Brad Hardy and Robert Fisher, Pulaski County); Salsas, Chutneys and Condiments - Preserving Place Sweet Onion Confit (Martha McMillin, Fulton County); Snack Foods - M Chocolat Georgia Blues Blueberry and Pecan Bar (Maritza Pichon, Fulton County); People’s Choice - Leoci’s Raspberry Jalapeno Jam (Roberto Leoci, Chatham County). June-July 2014 / 25

AROUND GEORGIA News from County Farm Bureaus Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker

ATKINSON COUNTY The Atkinson County Farm Bureau (ACFB) recently made an investment in the county’s future ag leaders by donating $500 to both the Atkinson County FFA and the Atkinson County 4-H Program. Pictured from right, Atkinson County Farm Bureau Agency Manager Larry Morris presents the donations to Atkinson County Extension Agent Mark Von Waldner and Atkinson County FFA Advisor Jordan Rowland as ACFB Women’s Committee Chairman Jenelle Taft thanks the program leaders for training future ag leaders. William White, not pictured, is ACFB president.

BANKS & STEPHENS COUNTY The Banks and Stephens County Farm Bureaus co-hosted a legislative tailgate earlier this spring to give individuals, organizations and agencies in the two counties a chance to discuss legislative issues with Georgia Sen. John Wilkinson and Ga. Rep. Dan Gasaway. Wilkinson, who chairs the Georgia Senate Agriculture Committee, discussed the 2015 state budget for the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture, which includes a $100,000 budget to market the Georgia Grown program. Gasaway, who serves on the House Natural Resources Committee, said new legislation puts timber theft reports under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Forestry Commission. Local officials and Farm Bureau members attending the event included: (front row, L-R) Banks County Farm Bureau (BCFB) Directors Jerry Gordon and Henry Banks, Sen. Wilkinson and BCFB Vice President Jimmy Morrison; (back row, L-R) Stephens County Farm Bureau (SCFB) Director Mark Wilkinson, BCFB Director & Banks County Commissioner Sammy Reece, Rep. Gasaway, BCFB President Albert Ward and BCFB Directors Greg Boling and Freddie Dalton. 26 / June-July 2014

CAMDEN COUNTY Camden County Farm Bureau (CCFB) participated in the St. Mary’s Mardi Gras parade in March. CCFB President Jim Godley and directors James Roberson and  Bob Merck and CCFB Office Manager Kimi Johnson and nine other volunteers drove or rode on the float and threw packs of peanuts, candy and beads along with brochures about agriculture to increase ag awareness. CCFB Women’s Committee Chair Kathy Merck rode the tractor displayed on the county’s float.

CHATHAM COUNTY Chatham County Farm Bureau (CCFB) participated in Ottawa Farms’ Annual Strawberry Festival in April attended by more than 10,000 people. CCFB distributed bags filled with agriculture and Farm Bureau membership information and gifts. CCFB held a drawing for a free, one-year Farm Bureau membership. Pictured manning the booth are: from left, CCFB members Mr. & Mrs. Richard Blanton and CCFB Directors Mr. & Mrs. Dexter Shearouse. CCFB Vice President Peter Waller and CCFB Director Rita Douglas worked hard preparing for this annual event. Also helping with the event, but not pictured, were: CCFB Director Dexter Shearouse & his wife, Dottie, CCFB Director Walt Cox & his wife Ann and CCFB staff members. CHEROKEE COUNTY Cherokee County Farm Bureau (CCFB) is the first county Farm Bureau to join the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown program. Georgia Center of Innovation Agribusiness Director Bo Warren, right, presented CCFB President William Grizzle with a Georgia Grown sign during the Ag Expo CCFB co-hosted with other county entities on March Georgia Farm Bureau News

28. The expo drew 175 visitors and 37 exhibitors who displayed locally grown food, plants, animals and handcrafted products. Georgia Farm Bureau Marketing Specialist Brandon Ashley spoke about the GFB Certified Farm Market Program and several local government officials presented proclamations in honor of Ag Week. CLAYTON COUNTY The Clayton County Farm Bureau (CCFB) educated area residents about Farm Bureau and the top 10 commodities in Georgia through a booth it hosted at the local Wild Azalea Festival this spring.  CCFB Secretary Tarsha Balara is helping children win a tshirt by answering questions regarding agriculture. Gift bags containing “My Plate is Georgia Grown” bookmarks, pencils and candy were distributed along with peanuts. CCFB Agency Manager A.J. Flagg answered questions regarding insurance, and CCFB Office Manager Teresa Myers answered questions regarding membership.

COLUMBIA COUNTY Pictured from center front to far right, Columbia County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee Chairman Donna Anderson, Mitch Waters and CCFB Director Lee Anderson presented the Ag in the Classroom lesson - “Garden In A Glove” – to 100 first grade students at a local elementary school in May. After Donna read the book “Who Grew My Soup?”, the CCFB volunteers told the students how farmers grow crops from seeds and helped the students plant cucumber, bean, carrot, lettuce and corn seeds in a damp cotton ball in the tip of each finger of clear, plastic gloves. The gloves were then hung from a class window, and the students watched the seeds sprout. Georgia Farm Bureau News

GWINNETT COUNTY This spring, Gwinnett County Farm Bureau donated vegetable plants and seeds to Winn Holt Elementary to plant the school’s vegetable garden. GCFB Office Manager Julie Woods is pictured helping students plant the garden as she talked to them about how farmers grow their food.

HANCOCK COUNTY Hancock County Farm Bureau (HCFB) sponsored a field trip for John Hancock Academy fifth-graders to attend the Georgia Ag Day event at the Georgia Freight Depot in Atlanta March 18. Georgia Farm Bureau legislative staff gave the group a tour of the Georgia Capitol and explained how GFB represents farmers at the capitol. Pictured from left, HCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Nancy Kennedy, HCFB Office Manager Kellie Webster and Women’s Committee member Debbie Meads accompanied teacher Brenda James, left of Gov. Nathan Deal, center, as the class met Deal in his office. Joining the class for the visit were HCFB President Jimmy Kennedy, back row, right side, and Ga. Rep. Mack Jackson, far right. MITCHELL COUNTY The Mitchell County Farm Bureau (MCFB) Women’s Committee celebrated National Ag Day March 25 by presenting a program highlighting Georgia agriculture and the farmers who grow their food to fifthgrade students at Westwood School. MCFB gave each of the students a Georgia AGtivity book. Pictured from left, MCFB Office Manager Wanda Faircloth presents teacher Andrea Stargel with copies of the Georgia AGtivity book while MCFB Women’s Committee (Continued on next page) June-July 2014 / 27

(Continued from previous page) Chairman Barbara Johnson presents teacher Jill Pollock with a copy of “Who Grew My Soup?” for the classes to share.

NEWTON COUNTY The Newton County School System and the Newton County Chamber of Commerce recently named Newton County Farm Bureau (NCFB) as the 2014 NCSS Partner of the Year in recognition of its seven-year partnership with Middle Ridge Elementary School (MRES) and the organization’s support of the entire school system. NCFB Office Manager Crystal Hyatt and NCFB President Keith Mitcham, second and third from left, accept the award from school and Chamber of Commerce representatives. NCFB supports a book club at MRES by providing ag literacy books, provides MRES teachers with hands-on Ag in the Classroom lesson activities/supplies and sends a NCFB representative to assist with the lesson. NCFB also holds an annual Farm Day on the school campus to teach students about agriculture. Last fall NCFB held an Educator Workshop so teachers could learn how to use AITC lessons to meet curriculum standards. This year NCFB helped fund and build a hoop greenhouse for the school.

PEACH COUNTY The Peach County Farm Bureau (PCFB) dedicated its office building to long-time PCFB leader George Hancock, center, during a ceremony at the building March 19. Pictured from left, PCFB Vice President Greg Gatliff, PCFB Secretary/Treasurer Steve Hancock and PCFB Directors Bucky Green and Ed Vinson presented Hancock and his wife, Mary, a plaque commemorating the building dedication, as Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall offers congratulations. PCFB leaders thanked George Hancock for serving as president of the organization for the past nine years and for being an active, dedicated member for more than 27 years. In addition to dedicating the building to Hancock, PCFB also celebrated the full payment of the building’s mortgage with a note burning ceremony. PCFB broke ground on its current office in 2004 and the building was completed in 2005. 28 / June-July 2014

PIKE COUNTY Pike County Farm Bureau recently dedicated rocking chairs to be placed on its front porch in memory of Dorothy Yerkes, who served on the PCFB Women’s Committee and as a past chairman. PCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Peggy Harned and PCFB Office Manager Rebecca Rolling are pictured with Rex Yerkes, Dorothy’s husband, after the presentation made during an Eggs & Issues Breakfast in April. Georgia Rep. Johnnie Caldwell and Georgia Sen. Ronnie Chance gave updates on legislation the Georgia General Assembly passed this year regarding the budget, guns and the Flint River Drought Protection Act. GFB Legislative Director Jon Huffmaster praised state legislators for funding a state metal theft database. SCREVEN COUNTY Buck Creek Farm Bureau (BCFB), a chapter of Screven County Farm Bureau, won the Grand Champion Float Award in the 63rd Annual Screven County Livestock Festival Parade held April 5 in Sylvania. BCFB Chapter President Todd Wells, left, displays the award as he and his father, Edsel Wells, also a member of the BCFB Chapter, ride the float in the parade. The theme for the festival and parade was Homegrown since 1951.  SUMTER COUNTY Congratulations to Sumter County Farm Bureau for receiving the 2013 Agribusiness of the Year Award from the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce for its efforts in promoting agriculture in the community.  Pictured from left are SCFB Secretary Amanda Brown, Office Manager Sue Bradley and Secretary Bentley Dupree. The award was presented in February at the Chamber’s annual meeting. (Continued on next page) Georgia Farm Bureau News

Ga. Soybean Commission approves research funding The Georgia Soybean Commission (GSC) Board of Directors approved $213,910 in funding for a wide range of research projects and promotional activities during its March board meeting. Research projects funded include soybean production research, soybean stem canker research, the continuation of soybean integrated pest management sentinel plots, development of herbicide-tolerant soybean varieties, soybean variety evaluation and continued research on kudzu bug resistance. In addition, the commission approved funding for the Georgia Weather Network, the Georgia/Florida Soybean Association and a new Extension soybean yield contest. Georgia’s soybean farmers fund the state Soybean Commission and help fund the United Soybean Board (USB) by paying half a percent of the market price per bushel sold. The USB is also funded by growers from other states thru a nationwide check-off to collectively pay for research and promotion efforts. The checkoff money Georgia growers pay helps facilitate market growth and

creation by funding research at land-grant universities as well as promotional efforts. In Georgia, more than 75 percent of the check-off funds collected go to fund research – which is crucial in the development of new varieties, improvements in production efficiency, and advancements in insect and disease management. The GSC Board of Directors consists of Chairman Greg Mims of Seminole County, Glenn Waller of Washington County, W. Irwin Bagwell of Floyd County, Joe S. Moore of Gordon County and Brian Ogletree of Lamar County. For more information about the GSC, contact GCS Executive Secretary Billy Scaggs at 706-542-2351 or

(Continued from previous page) WALKER COUNTY Pre-K students at a Walker County elementary school saw firsthand how baby chicks hatch from eggs thanks to Walker County Farm Bureau. Fertilized eggs were placed in an incubator and the students monitored the progress of the eggs until they hatched. After the chicks hatched, LaFayette High School Agriculture Teacher Michael Gardner and some of his students visited the pre-K class and taught the students how to tell the gender of the chicks. WCFB Office Manager Kyla Compton is pictured with teacher Jeremy Bowman and his class.

Ga. Peanut Commission increases research funding

WORTH COUNTY Worth County Farm Bureau participated in the Pre-K Farm Day held at a local primary school April 4. WCFB Office Manager Connie Melton told the students how farmers grow their food and used the GFB Ag Commodities Map to discuss the types of food grown in Georgia. WCFB provided the 154 pre-K students gift bags with ag bookmarks, Georgia Agtivity books and commodity maps. Georgia Farm Bureau News

The Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) Board of Directors approved $293,780 in new research funding for the 2014-2015 research budget year during the commission’s March meeting. Research projects approved include 28 proposals submitted by the University of Georgia and the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Georgia peanut growers invest $2 per ton toward GPC programs, which include research, promotion and education activities. Research accounts for 22 percent of available funds in the GPC budget. Georgia’s average peanut yield per acre of 4,430 lbs. in 2013 was the second highest in history behind 4,580 lbs. in 2012. USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service reports show overall peanut yields increased 23 percent from 2008 to 2012 while yields of other major row crops increased 2 to 4 percent. GPC-funded research programs primarily focus on peanut breeding for higher yield and improved quality, economics, conservation methods, irrigation and water management, pests, weed and disease management and peanut allergy research. GPC is stepping up its efforts to fund research on the development and evaluation of new cultivars with an emphasis on disease resistance genetic markers and using long-range Internet connectivity to improve farm management. The GPC Board of Directors consists of Chairman Armond Morris of Irwin County, Vice Chairman Joe Boddiford of Screven County, Treasurer Rodney Dawson of Pulaski County and members Donald Chase of Macon County and Tim Burch of Baker County. For more information and a complete list of research projects funded by the GPC, visit June-July 2014 / 29

Georgia farmers attending irrigation field days this summer will likely meet Dr. Wesley Porter, a new addition to the irrigation team at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). Based at the UGA Tifton campus, Porter will actually serve Georgia and Alabama farmers with 60 percent of his position funded by UGA and 40 percent funded by Auburn University. Since beginning his new job in January, Porter has been evaluating how Georgia and Alabama farmers use irrigation on their farms. He describes Georgia as being “extremely progressive” with its irrigation work and Alabama as being “brand new.” “We’ve [Georgia] had a lot of work done throughout the years by other irrigation specialists. There’s a lot of work con-

tinuing to be done by people like George Vellidis, Calvin Perry and other faculty focusing on irrigation principles,” Porter said. “We’re ahead of Alabama and a lot of the rest of the nation when it comes to irrigation implementations, scheduling, irrigation work in general.” Porter will primarily work with row crops to identify timely irrigation scheduling methods but also has responsibilities in horticulture, turf, trees and orchards in both states. The majority of his research will be conducted at UGA’s Stripling Irrigation Park in Camilla. A native of South Carolina, Porter earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Clemson University and a Ph.D in Agricultural Engineering from Oklahoma State University while working as an Extension

Photo courtesy of CAES Clint Thompson

Porter joins UGA as irrigation specialist

Associate Engineer at OSU. Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker from information released by the UGA CAES & Stripling Irrigation Park.

By Chris Beckham ___________________________________

A new smartphone app developed by University of Georgia and University of Florida researchers will help cotton farmers in these states conserve water, the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) announced this spring. George Vellidis, a CAES scientist and an expert in precision agriculture and water resources management, developed the app

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to help growers irrigate their crops based on local conditions. The app uses data from UGA’s Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network (GAEMN) and the Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN) to assess weather conditions that factor into irrigation needs. So currently it works best in Georgia and Florida, Vellidis said. Released on April 16, the app is free and may be downloaded at http://smartirrigaALBANY (HD) WALB - NBC 10.2 Saturday / 7:30 am WALB - ABC 10.1 Sunday / 6:00 am

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COLUMBUS WTVM - CH. 9 Saturday / 6:00 am CORDELE WSST - CH. 55 Sat & Sun* / Noon MACON (HD) WMAZ - CH. 13 Saturday / 6:00 am

VALDOSTA WSWG - CH. 44.1 Sunday / 5:00 am WSWG CH. 44.3 Sunday / 10:00 am – NATIONAL – RFD-TV Channel 231 on the Dish® Network (HD) and Channel 345 on DirecTV Sunday at 11 pm Thursday at 8:30 pm FamilyNet Friday at 10:30 a.m. *Indicates replay of previous week’s show Growers register a field in which they want to use the app by using their smartphone’s built-in GPS. The app then automatically locates the closest weather station. “It’s best to begin using the app after the cotton has been planted. The app keeps a balance of how much water is in the soil by estimating how much water the crop uses daily and by adding rain and irrigation to that balance,” he said. The app doesn’t tell farmers how much water to apply. It only recommends when the grower should irrigate. The app also notifies farmers when to take action so they do not have to check the app every day. In its first year, the app may currently be used with center pivot irrigation systems. Later, the app will be updated to allow users to select between center pivots and drip systems. “Early testing showed that this new app outperformed most other irrigation scheduling tools,” Vellidis said. “It was tested in many fields during 2013 and it tested well under a variety of conditions.” Chris Beckham is a news writer working with the UGA Tifton campus and the Tifton Chamber of Commerce. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo courtesy of UGA CAES

Cotton irrigation smartphone app available

Photo by Jay Stone

UGA’s Ian Flitcroft takes a look at the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network at the USDA’s Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Lab in Byron.

Automated weather network provides key information for farmers By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________


ike the consumer desire for locally grown food, farmers crave local weather information to help them make crop production decisions. That’s where the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network (AEMN) comes in. Since 1991, anyone interested in Georgia weather has been able to access information from the AEMN, a collection of stations around the state that provide extensive current data on what’s happening outside. “When you’re planting and spraying, you need to know what the wind’s going to be doing on a particular day or what kind of rain is coming at you,” said Billy Griggs, whose farm in Dooly County is the site of one of the stations. “All of this stuff is important when you’re making your plans for a day or a week. When you’re trying to see what the weather’s doing, everything is a guess. The good Lord himself is the only one that knows for sure, but the weather station gives us the best information we can get.”

Georgia Farm Bureau News

The AEMN started with 17 stations and has grown to 80. Each station is a collection of sensors measuring temperature, wind speed, humidity, dew point temperature, wet bulb temperature, soil temperature and moisture, solar radiation and several other characteristics. “The National Weather Service will certainly tell you what the temperatures are, tell you what the humidity and the pressure and the wind speed are,” said Dr. Ian Flitcroft, a public service assistant with the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “We go a little bit further than that. We also have solar radiation, we have some soil moisture and soil temperature measurements, which is very useful for people who are in the agricultural community. We have some other sensors as well. We can do some extra calculations and get some information you can’t find going to a National Weather Service or Weather Bug weather station.” The network is headquartered at UGA’s Griffin campus, where Flitcroft

leads a team of six UGA employees in managing and maintaining the network. Each station is rigged with telecommunications equipment that allows automatic uploads to the network’s website ( This information is updated every 15 minutes, providing a real-time picture of conditions outside. Fannin County apple grower Tim Mercier uses the AEMN data in his integrated pest control practices and in deciding when to activate frost damage prevention measures among other things. “If we didn’t have it, we’d have to go figure out how to get it from somebody or we couldn’t farm using the techniques we use today,” Mercier said. “It takes a tremendous amount of guesswork and risk out of farming. We use it for all kinds of data.” While the information is detailed and advanced, much of the monitoring equipment has been around for 20 years. Flitcroft said the most significant changes have been in the development of communications during that time. Initial access to the information took place via landline phones and fax machines. Now it’s all done using cellular technology. The development of data storage technology has greatly enhanced both capacity and ways the information can be used. The website receives between 300,000 and 500,000 hits per month from farmers, foresters, school systems and many others. Flitcroft said the way the information is presented is designed for usefulness to farmers, including 14 custom calculators to gauge things like current chill hours and risk for tomato spotted wilt virus. Even though the functionality is designed for farmers, anyone with an interest in weather information can access the data. Utility companies can use the information to plan personnel movement in anticipation of storms. Or attorneys seeking weather-related case details might request reports from AEMN archives. The AEMN is funded from a variety of sources, including UGA, grants, corporate and individual sponsorships. Those interested in making a donation or sponsoring a station may contact Flitcroft at  or at 770228-7322.  June-July 2014 / 31

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