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Vol. 77 No. 4



The Voice of Georgia Farmers

August 2015

$500 Bonus For Georgia Farm Bureau Members

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*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. MUST BE LEGAL RESIDENT OF AZ, IA, IL, MI, MO, MS, TN, KS, and GA; a current Farm Bureau member, 21 YEARS OR OLDER WITH VALID DRIVER’S LICENSE TO ENTER. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes ends 10/30/15. For entry and official rules with complete eligibility, prize description and other details, visit farmbureau/sweeps. Sponsored by Ford Motor Company, One American Road, Dearborn, MI 48126. **Program #32010: $500 Bonus Cash offer exclusively for active Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee Farm Bureau members who are residents of the United States. Offer is valid from 1/6/2015 through 1/4/2016 for the purchase or lease of an eligible new 2014/2015/2016 model year Ford vehicle including Hybrids and Final Pay Units. Incentive not available on Mustang Shelby GT/GT500, Mustang Boss 302, Mustang Special 50th Anniversary Edition, F-150 Raptor. Offer is subject to change based on vehicle eligibility. This offer may not be used in conjunction with other Ford Motor Company private incentives or AXZD-Plans. Some customer and purchase eligibility restrictions apply. You must be an eligible Association member for at least 30 consecutive days and must show proof of membership. Limit one $500 Bonus Cash offer per vehicle purchase or lease. Limit of five new eligible vehicle purchases or leases per Farm Bureau member during program period. See your Ford Dealer for complete details and qualifications. ***When properly equipped. Class is Full-Size Pickups under 8,500 lbs. GVWR.

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table of


For the fourth straight year GFB Young Farmers met on Jekyll Island for their annual conference in July. Read more about the event and learn who won the YF Achievement, Discussion Meet and Excellence in Agriculture competitions. The Young Farmer Committee held an auction, led by committee member Josh Pennino, far right, that raised more than $3,000 for the GFB Foundation for Agriculture. PAGE 6

Photo by Jay Stone

august 2015

Young Farmers learn issues, contest winners named during annual conference


we, the farmers PAGE 4

legislative update PAGE 5

ag in the classroom update PAGE 19

around georgia


public relations staff Andy Lucas Director Jennifer Whittaker Editor Jay Stone Print/Web Specialist Lillian Davis Publications/Advertising Manager Michael Edmondson Web/Video Manager Ray D’Alessio Senior Producer/TV Host Kenny Burgamy Co-Anchor/Reporter Mark Wildman Senior Radio-TV Specialist Dean Wood Radio-TV Specialist Damon Jones Radio-TV Specialist Vickie Amos Office Coordinator For questions regarding advertising, contact Lillian Davis at 478-474-0679, ext. 5126 or email 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 Visit the GFB Web site today! Georgia Farm Bureau TV: “Like” us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Check us out on Pinterest:

GFB Young Farmer Achievement finalists continue farming tradition

The three finalists for Georgia Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Achievement Award were recognized during the GFB Young Farmer Conference on Jekyll Island in July. Meet the finalists Elton Baldy, Colquitt County and Jonathan and Bridget Hitchcock, Washington County, and state winners Matt and Melissa Bottoms, Pike County. PAGE 8

Duvall running for AFBF president; Angle leaving UGA CAES

Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall kicked off his campaign for president of the American Farm Bureau Federation July 17 while speaking at the GFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference. On the same day, UGA announced that Dr. Scott Angle, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, will step down Sept. 18 to lead the International Fertilizer Development Center based in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. PAGE 10

GDA & state agencies finalize bird flu preparation plans

The Georgia Department of Agriculture and other state agencies have had a contingency plan in place for years to handle the possibility of an avian flu outbreak, but the latest strain of bird flu that devastated laying egg and turkey farms in Minnesota and Iowa this spring, makes the need for a plan more crucial. Learn how the state intends to handle a possible outbreak. PAGE 12

Sunbelt Expo “airs out” research at field day

The annual Sunbelt Expo Field Day appealed to a wide variety of farm operations highlighting scientific research and ag products useful to numerous commodities. PAGE 14

FSA rescinds Historic Irrigation Policy Sept. 30 deadline to enroll in farm bill programs

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has rescinded a policy in the new farm bill that prevented many farm owners from combining farms in farm bill programs. Farmers have until Sept. 30 to formally enroll in the 2014/2015 Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage safety-net programs, the 2015 Cotton Transition Assistance Program, and the Dairy Margin Protection Program. PAGE 15

Ga. Peach Council gets $10,000 donation

MillerCoors presented a $10,000 donation to the Georgia Peach Council in July for the branding partnership the company had with the council to promote MillerCoors’ Blue Moon First Peach Ale sold from Jan. 1-March 31. PAGE 17

GFB awards prizes in annual essay contest

Harley Beggs of Taliaferro County is the state winner of the 2015 Georgia Farm Bureau Middle School Essay Contest. Beggs and the 52 other students who entered the contest explored career opportunities agriculture offers with their essays. PAGE 18

on the cover

(Photo by Dwight Wallace Sr.) Peach County Farm Bureau member Dwight Wallace shot this photo outside Marshallville, Ga., and entered it in the 2014 GFB Photo Contest. Winners of the 2015 GFB Photo Contest were named at the GFB Young Farmer Conference in July. Bridget Hitchcock won the member category. Visit to view the winning photos.

Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2015 / 3

we, the


Photo by Andy Lucas


The Voice of Georgia Farmers

Zippy Duvall, GFB President

Leadership is a process

By now I’m sure most of you have heard the news that I am running for president of American Farm Bureau. This decision follows Bob Stallman’s announcement that he will not seek re-election for another term at the AFBF convention in January. Bob has been a great leader for American Farm Bureau since being elected in 2000, and he has set a wonderful example for the organization. Several state Farm Bureau presidents asked me to consider running for AFBF president, members of the GFB Board of Directors have encouraged me to seek the position and many county Farm Bureau leaders have mentioned it as a possibility over the years. After much prayer and deliberation, Bonnie and our family urged me to move forward and seek the AFBF presidency. My decision to run doesn’t mean that I’m tired of serving as your Georgia Farm Bureau president. I love this job and the thought of leaving it was the toughest part of this decision because it’s so rewarding to work with all of our county volunteers and to represent the farmers across this state. Bonnie and I began our Farm Bureau journey in 1977 when, after hearing me complain about the price of milk my late father, Bill, told me, “If you think the price of milk is not enough, or if you think the regulations are too tough, you’re not going to help solve those problems inside your fence rows. You’ve got to get outside your fence rows.” He encouraged me to attend the Greene County Farm Bureau meetings and to get involved with this great organization that works to represent farmers’ legislative needs at the county, state and national level. I was 23 and Bonnie was 21 when

we attended our first GFB Young Farmer meeting 36 years ago. Since then Farm Bureau has helped grow my leadership skills and has given me numerous opportunities to develop my skills to advocate for agriculture. I deeply appreciate all of the current and former Farm Bureau staff and fellow volunteers I’ve served along side of as I’ve risen through the Farm Bureau ranks from serving on the GFB Young Farmer Committee to serving on the state board to serving as your president since 2006. I don’t take any credit for any of the successes we have had. My Lord made everything possible. Any talent for leadership I may have that has gotten us this far came from God, and Farm Bureau provided a vehicle to develop those talents that God gave me that I didn’t know I had. This is why I’m so passionate about Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer program because it is essential for developing our future leaders and for fostering strong farm families. If I am successful in winning the AFBF presidency I will assume that office in 2016 at the AFBF convention and would step down as GFB president at that time. GFB’s 1st vice president would then complete the last year of my term and GFB’s voting delegates would elect a president at the 2016 GFB convention. This fall will be unusually busy, but GFB is blessed to have a committed state board, professional staff who work tirelessly for you and dedicated county volunteers. We will all work together to make sure Georgia Farm Bureau doesn’t miss a beat. Together, we can rise to meet this opportunity. While I have served as your GFB presiSee WE, THE FARMERS page 11

GFB President Zippy Duvall, second from left, visited with state legislators at Rock Eagle on June 30 during a tour GFB hosted to celebrate the 4-H camp’s 60th anniversary and highlight the leadership development 4-H instills in Georgia youth. Pictured with Duvall from left are: House Agriculture Committee members Reps. Bubber Epps, (R- Dist. 144), and Patty Bentley (D-Dist. 139) and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman John Wilkinson (R- Dist. 50). 4 / August 2015

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 Asst. Corporate Secretary JON HUFFMASTER Asst. Treasurer DAVID JOLLEY

DIRECTORS FIRST DISTRICT: Bill Bryan, Summerville; Wesley Hall, Cumming 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: David Cromley, Brooklet WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Janet Greuel, Fayetteville 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 Lili Davis, 478-474-0679, ext. 5126, or email: Georgia Farm Bureau News was established in 1937. Copyright 2015 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.


Georgia Farm Bureau News

legislative update

Jon Huffmaster, Legislative Director

GFB supports HR 1599, biotech labeling bill in Congress Despite the overwhelming evidence that biotech food products are safe, some consumer advocates and environmental groups want mandatory labels on every product containing biotech products, often called genetically modified organisms or GMOs. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has opposed such labeling because there is no evidence that biotech foods are any different than other foods. Farm Bureau agrees with the FDA point of view. The presence of a mandatory label suggests to consumers that something is different about the product. If no discernable difference exists, an additional mandated label is an added cost of production with no corresponding benefit. The label may even mislead consumers into thinking there is a problem with the product. Georgia Farm Bureau supports legislation in Congress, H.R. 1599, the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015.” The bill was introduced to address concerns related to labeling of biotech food products and strikes a reasonable balance on the issue. The House passed the bill on July 23 by a vote of 275-150. Georgia cosponsors of the bill include Reps. Buddy Carter (RDist.1), Rob Woodall (R-Dist.7), Austin Scott (R-Dist.8), Doug Collins (R-Dist.9), Rick Allen (R-Dist.12) and David Scott (DDist.13). In addition to these cosponsors from Georgia, other members of Georgia’s U.S. Congressional delegation voting for the bill were: Reps. Sanford Bishop (DDist.2), Tom Graves (R-Dist. 14), Jody Hice (R-Dist.10), Barry Loudermilk (R-Dist.11), Tom Price (R-Dist.6) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Dist.3). H.R. 1599 is a compromise that would create a voluntary certification program for producers of food products. If the bill becomes law, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will develop a certification program whereby a particular farm or food company can label their products as “GMO Free” or some other similar designation. This arrangement allows the market-

place to decide the issue. If a company deems the issue of sufficient importance to become certified, that company can comply with the certification standards. Since USDA will write and enforce the standards, interested consumers can be more confident of compliance. Also, food companies will be better situated to pass along the additional compliance costs to their consumers. People who insist on believing that biotech food products are harmful can choose to pay for the

additional regulation they insist upon. The legislation also prevents individual states from passing mandatory biotech labeling laws. Several states have already passed such laws, which poses a regulatory nightmare for major food companies that purchase farm products. Imagine trying to do business in 50 different states with unique regulations and labeling requirements in each state. Farm Bureau is working to pass this legislation as soon as possible. With the presidential election coming in 2016, there will be increased efforts in public initiative states to get more biotech labeling laws on the ballot. Many people vote in presidential elections who rarely vote in other elections, and many of these additional voters are not educated on some of the “down ballot” questions. These voters are more likely to support an issue without a clear understanding of its implications. The implications to agriculture are

huge. The use of biotechnology has allowed farmers to use less fuel, make fewer trips across the field, conserve soil moisture, improve yields, use fewer and less toxic chemicals, and generally reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint. Biotechnology has made farmers more efficient and has reduced the environmental impact of farming. Most farmers were early adopters of biotech crops. As a result, virtually all the corn, soybeans and cotton produced in the United States are grown using biotechnology. Any processed food product containing derivatives from these products contain part of that technology. Most livestock feeds contain biotech corn, soybeans or other ingredients. There are many positive aspects to the use of biotechnology, but are they safe? At least three U.S. regulatory agencies have determined they are. The USDA, the FDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have subjected GMO crops to intense scrutiny. It takes years to test a GMO crop for consumer and environmental safety. Those on the market have passed the test. Some consumers still oppose the use of biotechnology and that is to be expected. But nobody can deny that biotech crops have been exhaustively tested and analyzed for consumer and environmental safety. They have passed the test and are helping American farmers feed the world. H.R. 1599 is good legislation. It sets up a mechanism for USDA certification for food companies that choose to market their products to specific consumers who oppose the use of biotechnology. At the same time, it continues to allow farmers to utilize the technology to produce more food at less cost for other consumers. The legislation allows the free market to dictate those decisions, and that is a good thing. It is anticipated the Senate will consider similar legislation. Jon Huffmaster is director of the GFB Legislative Dept. and GFB Asst. Corporate Secretary.

Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2015 / 5

Young Farmers learn issues, soak up sun on Jekyll Island at Leadership Conference Article & Photos by Jay Stone _____________________________________


eorgia Farm Bureau’s young farmers competed, networked, got big news, heard the latest on key farm topics and played at the beach during the 2015 GFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference, held July 15-18. The annual event, held for the fourth straight year at the Jekyll Island Convention Center, included workshops on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), member involvement in GFB’s legislative efforts, opportunities with the Georgia Development Authority and estate planning. District caucuses for each of GFB’s 10 districts gave the young farmers a chance to meet other farmers and the GFB field representative from their districts. Lawson Mozley, a sixth-generation family farmer from Florida who works with GMO Answers, gave tips on how to engage with the public on the issue of GMO food crops. He gave a history of crop variety modification, noting that it goes back as long as man has been cultivating crops for food. When talking to skeptics, he advised attendees to stay positive, use scientific facts and let the skeptics guide the conversation. “People have no concept of what farming practices are like because we’ve become so removed from the farm,” Mozley said. “Give them the facts without telling them that what they’re saying isn’t actually facts. Use these

As part of the children’s activities, UGA Assistant Professor Dr. Nick Furhman, widely known as “Ranger Nick,” gave the children an interactive seminar on reptiles, including Shelly the box turtle.

facts, some of the practices you use, some of the ways some of these chemicals we use work, and use those from a personal experience. We as farmers are the people who are buying the GMO seeds. We’re producing them as a crop, we’re selling them as a product. We’re the people who are in them every day. We are the people who honestly have the closest ties.” Georgia Development Authority (GDA) Executive Director Thomas Carter gave information about the quasi-government agency, which provides an alternative source of credit to help Georgia farmers finance a variety of

The crowd at one of the conference meals. The conference drew more than 400 young farmers from around the state. To view more photos from the conference visit http://tinyurl. com/GFBphotoalbums. 6 / August 2015

farm needs using their land as collateral. “The number one resource in agriculture is the farmers,” Carter said. “These farmers have to be replaced.” The GDA, which is self-supporting and uses no taxpayer funding, makes loans available in every Georgia county with the cooperation of more than 100 lenders. The organization also offers the START program (Securing Tomorrow’s Agricultural Resources Today) intended for beginning farmers, ranchers and agribusiness operators. During the July 16 general session, Jason Smith of Farm Bureau Bank gave a presentation on the importance of credit and how young farmers can protect their credit so it can be used to support their farm operations. GFB Legislative Department staff presented information about the involvement of GFB members in the organization’s legislative efforts. They included information about GFB’s Voter Voice program, through which members receive action alerts about legislative topics. Voter Voice provides a vehicle for members to voice their concerns about pending legislation and government regulations. Attorney Will Thompson of Macon firm James Bates Brannan Groover led a workshop on legacy and estate planning. See CONFERENCE page 9 Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB names winners of Young Farmer competitive events

Article & Photos by Jay Stone _____________________________________ Matt and Melissa Bottoms, Kyle Dekle, Stephanie Butcher and Madison Hickey emerged as winners in the 2015 Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer competitive events, held July 15-18 at the GFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference on Jekyll Island. The Bottomses, who run Bottoms Nursery in Pike County, won the Young Farmer Achievement Award. Matt grows muscadines, blueberries, blackberry, blueberry, fig and raspberry plants along with pomegranate, Japanese persimmon, apple, peach and plum trees. He also produces wheat, soybeans and canola. As the Achievement Award winner, the Bottoms family received a Polaris RTV 570 Crew Cab Ranger sponsored by Southern Farm Bureau Life and a $500 cash prize from GFB. The Young Farmer Achievement award recognizes young farmers who earn the majority of their income from production agriculture. Achievement Award Finalists Jonathan and Bridget Hitchcock of Washington County and Elton and Tabitha Baldy of Colquitt County received a $500 cash prize from Georgia Farm Bureau. Dekle won the 2015 GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet. Dekle, who teaches agriculture at Habersham Central High School, received a Polaris 4x4 ATV sponsored by Southern Farm Bureau Life and a $500 cash prize from Georgia Farm Bureau. Finalists Heather Brannen of Bulloch County, Garrett Ganas of Ware County and Caroline Lewallen of Hall County each received a $350 cash prize sponsored by SunTrust Bank. The discussion meet drew 34 contestants. The first two rounds were held July 16. In Round One they discussed ways to get public support for right-to-farm laws and whether such laws should be determined on the state or federal level. In Round Two they discussed how Farm Bureau should protect and encourage farmers’ ability to use new technology. In the Sweet 16 Round held July 17 they talked about whether Farm Bureau should draft policy to protect livestock producers from false accusations regarding animal welfare. During the Final Four competition, contestants discussed how to balance agricultural water needs

From left, incoming GFB Young Farmer Coordinator Taylor Sills and GFB Young Farmer Committee Chairman David Cromley with Excellence in Agriculture Award finalists Justin Shealey of Cook County, winner Stephanie Butcher of Coweta County and finalists Matt and Kimberly London of White County with their daughters.

GFB Young Farmer Committee Chairman David Cromley, left, and Young Farmer Coordinator Taylor Sills, right, congratulate the final four contestants in the Young Farmer Discussion Meet: Garrett Ganas of Ware County (second from left), winner Kyle Dekle of Habersham County, Heather Brannen of Bulloch County and Caroline Lewallen of Hall County.

with maintaining vibrant communities. The discussion meet included a number of college students. Hickey, who is from Stephens County and attends the University of Georgia, was the top collegiate finisher in the discussion meet. She receives a trip to Kansas City, Mo., to attend the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference next winter, where she will compete for national collegiate discussion meet honors. Butcher, who serves as Coweta County Extension Coordinator, won the GFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award, given to young farmers who earn the majority of their income from something other than production agriculture. Butcher received a Polaris 4x4 ATV from Southern Farm Bureau Life. Finalists Matthew and Kimberly London of White County and Justin Shealey of Cook County each received $500 cash sponsored by AgSouth Farm Credit. Each of the state winners also receive an expense-paid trip to Orlando, Fla., in January 2016 for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Convention, where they will compete for national honors. The AFBF winners in the Achievement Award, Discussion Meet and Excellence in Agriculture contests each receive their choice between a 2016 Chevrolet

GFB Young Farmer Committee Chairman David Cromley congratulates the 2015 Young Farmer Discussion Meet Collegiate winner Madison Hickey of Stephens County.

Silverado or 2016 GMC Sierra pickup, as well as paid registration to the 2016 Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Conference, to be held Feb. 12-16 in Kansas City, Mo. Runners-up in the three contests each receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor sponsored by Case IH, as well as $2,500 in cash and $500 worth of STIHL merchandise sponsored by STIHL.

Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2015 / 7

GFB Young Farmer Achievement finalists continue farming tradition


he three finalists for Georgia Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Achievement Award all grew up on farms and are continuing their families’ farming tradition. The finalists - Matt and Melissa Bottoms, Pike County, GFB 5th District; Jonathan and Bridget Hitchcock, Washington County, GFB 6th District; and Elton Baldy, Colquitt County, GFB 9th District – were named June 22. After on-farm visits with judges June 29 and 30, the Bottomses were selected the winners. The Young Farmer Achievement award recognizes young farmers, 18 to 35, who earn the majority of their income from production agriculture. Other district winners for the award were: Ben Cagle, Cherokee County, GFB 1st District; Thomas & Alicia Harrell, Madison County, GFB 2nd District; Joshua Spears, Newton County, GFB 3rd District; Caitlin Rogers, McDuffie County, GFB 4th District; Mitchell Pittman, Toombs County, GFB 7th District; and Tal Talton, Houston County, GFB 8th District. As the Achievement Award winner, the Bottoms

family received a Polaris RTV 570 Crew Cab Ranger sponsored by Southern Farm Bureau Life and a $500 cash prize from GFB. Baldy and the Hitchcocks each received $500 as finalists. The Bottomses will also receive an expense-paid trip to Orlando, Fla., in January 2016 to attend the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention, where they will compete for national honors. The winner of the AFBF contest will receive a choice between a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado or 2016 GMC Sierra pickup, as well as paid registration to the 2016 Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Conference, to be held Feb. 1216 in Kansas City, Mo. Finalists in the national event will each receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor sponsored by Case IH, as well as $2,500 in cash and $500 worth of STIHL merchandise sponsored by STIHL. Below you’ll find highlights of the interviews GFB media staff did with the finalists in June. Look for feature profiles in the fall issue of the Georgia Neighbors magazine.

Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________ • COUNTY – Pike • NAME OF FARM – Bottoms Nursery • YEAR HE STARTED FARMING – 2000 • COMMODITIES PRODUCED – The Bottomses grow muscadine, blueberry, blackberry, blueberry, fig and raspberry plants along with pomegranate, Japanese persimmon, apple, peach and plum trees. They also produce wheat, soybeans and canola. • FARM BUREAU INVOLVEMENT – Matt currently serves as the GFB Environmental Horticulture Committee Chairman and Pike County Farm Bureau Vice President. Melissa is a member of the PCFB Women’s Committee and is a past committee chairman. The Bottomses represented the GFB 5th District on the GFB Young Farmer Committee from 2008-2010 and chaired the committee from 2009-2010. Matt won the GFB YF Discussion Meet in 2012 and advanced to the Sweet 16 Round of the AFBF competition in 2013. 8 / August 2015

Matt represented GFB during an Immigration Fly-In event in Washington, D.C., in 2013 regarding labor issues. •  WHY HE BECAME INVOLVED IN FARM BUREAU – “Farm Bureau works hard to represent farmers’ legislative interests in Atlanta and Washington. This organization gives farmers a chance to address the issues impacting us on our farms. On a personal side, some of the closest friends I have I’ve met through Farm Bureau and the Young Farmer program,” Matt said. •  WHY HE WENT INTO FARMING – “I grew up here and grew up around the industry. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s in my blood,” Matt said. • WHAT HE ENJOYS MOST ABOUT FARMING – “I like growing a plant from a seedling to the size where it’s ready to be sold to the consumer and knowing it’s going to bring them enjoyment in their yard. I like being my own boss and working outside,” Matt said.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Matt & Melissa Bottoms

Matt and Melissa Bottoms with daughters Anna, left, and Madelyn, right. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Compiled by Jay Stone _____________________________________ • COUNTY - Colquitt • NAME OF FARM – Baldy Farms • YEAR HE STARTED FARMING – 2000 • COMMODITIES PRODUCED – Cotton, corn, peanuts, peas (pinkeyes, sadandies), butterbeans, soybeans, milo, sesame, winter wheat, rye and leafy vegetables (collards, mustard, turnips and kale) • FARM BUREAU INVOLVEMENT – Colquitt County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee, 2005-2007; finalist in 2005 GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet; won 2006 GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet; finished in the top 16 of the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet in 2007; won 2014 North Carolina

Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture Award; finished in top 10 for American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture Award in 2015. • WHY HE BECAME INVOLVED IN FARM BUREAU – “I believe in what Farm Bureau represents as far as providing a voice for agriculture, and I wanted to be a part of that. That’s one of the things that drew me to Farm Bureau, is to be a part of the organization.” • WHY HE WENT INTO FARMING – “It’s something that I had an interest in early on in life. There’s something to be said about planting a seed and harvesting that seed, that seed producing a crop. In agriculture the pace of life, the community, raising a family in agriculture really drew me to practicing agriculture.”

Photo by Jay Stone

Elton & Tabitha Baldy

Elton, Tabitha and Henry Baldy

• WHAT HE ENJOYS MOST ABOUT FARMING – “The one area that I enjoy most about what I do is that we have the opportunity to produce fresh vegetables, and I can’t get tired of putting smiles on people’s faces when they get products that they want and enjoy.”

Jonathan & Bridget Hitchcock Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________

Jonathan & Bridget Hitchcock with daughter, Andie.

CONFERENCE from page 6 The Young Farmer Committee conducted a charity auction, led by committee member Josh Pennino, a certified auctioneer who sold 10 items contributed from each of GFB’s 10 districts, raising more than $3,000 for the GFB Foundation for Agriculture. During the conference GFB President Zippy Duvall announced he is running for president of the American Farm Bureau. (See story on page 10). While the young farmers were tackling grown-up issues, their children were treated

to a variety of activities, including presentations by UGA Associate Professor Dr. Nick Fuhrman, widely called “Ranger Nick,” who gave the kids the chance to interact with a box turtle, a tiger salamander and a corn snake. The children made the always-popular visit to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and engaged in arts and crafts. Conference attendees chose the winners in the 2015 Picture Agriculture Photo Contest. For the second consecutive year, Bridget Hitchcock of Washington County was the

overall winner with her photo titled “Young Love,” featuring her daughter Andie and a calf. Hitchcock’s photo will be featured as the cover of the 2016 GFB Young Farmer Calendar and she received a $150 cash prize. Individuals who submitted the 11 honorable mention photos received a $75 cash prize, and their photos will be used in the calendar. The closing session featured presentation of awards in the GFB Young Farmer competitive events, as well as a tribute to outgoing Young Farmer Coordinator Jed Evans.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

• COUNTY – Washington • NAME OF FARM – Jonathan Hitchcock Farms LLC • YEAR HE STARTED FARMING - 2007 • COMMODITIES PRODUCED – Steer calves, commercial beef cows, fresh produce, cotton, peanuts, corn, wheat, canola, soybeans & operate an agritourism/wedding venue • FARM BUREAU INVOLVEMENT – Jonathan & Bridget have chaired the WCFB Young Farmer Committee since 2013 and serve as WCFB directors. Jonathan has served as a voting delegate at the GFB convention since 2013. Bridget is president of the Tennille Farm Bureau Chapter and is a member

of the WCFB Women’s Committee. Bridget also serves on the GFB Direct Marketing/Agritourism Committee. Bridget is the 2014 & 2015 winner of the GFB Photo Contest. •  WHY THEY BECAME INVOLVED IN FARM BUREAU – “Farm Bureau is working for farmers, representing us while we’re busy working on the farm,” Bridget said. • WHY THEY WENT INTO FARMING – “It’s in my blood. It’s all I ever wanted to do,” Jonathan said. “We enjoy it and we have to do it,” Bridget said. • WHAT HE ENJOYS MOST ABOUT FARMING – “I’m outside working and I’m working with my family. It’s been an honor and a privilege to work with my brother and dad to build our family farm back from scratch,” Jonathan said.

Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2015 / 9

Duvall to run for AFBF presidency By Jay Stone ___________________________________ eorgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall kicked off his campaign for president of the American Farm Bureau Federation on July 17 while speaking at the 2015 GFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference on Jekyll Island. “I’m so passionate about agriculture, and I’m so proud of you and Farm Bureau that I thought this was the place, in front of the young people, the young farmers of our state, to announce my candidacy,” Duvall said. “By no means does this mean that I am tired of being Georgia’s president. I love my job and that was the toughest part of this decision, to say that I’m going to offer in an area that might take me away from the best job I have ever had in my life, because it’s so rewarding to work with you and all the farmers across this state.” In making the announcement, Duvall

Photo by Jay Stone


GFB President Zippy Duvall, with his wife, Bonnie, announced his candidacy for American Farm Bureau Federation president at the GFB Young Farmer Conference in July.

surrounded himself with his wife, Bonnie, the current GFB Young Farmer Committee, past AFBF Young Farmer & Rancher Committee Chairman Jake Carter and committee member Leighton Cooley and their families, former GFB Young Farmer Coordinator Jed Evans and incoming Young Farmer Coordinator Taylor Sills. Duvall, who has served as GFB president since being elected in 2006, is looking to succeed Bob Stallman, who announced July 14 that he will not seek re-election.

Stallman has served as AFBF president for 16 years. The election will be held in January during the 2016 AFBF Convention in Orlando, Fla. Duvall will continue to serve as GFB president and would resign from the position if elected AFBF president. Duvall chose to make the announcement on Jekyll Island where his work began in Farm Bureau leadership, and it was part of his remarks on the process of developing leadership. “You’ve got to plan well and set those priorities,” Duvall said, “and you need to be patient, because all of you are leaders. Whether you think you are, or you’re not sure you want to be, you’re a leader right now.”  Duvall is a past winner of the GFB and AFBF Young Farmer Achievement Awards. He has served as chairman of the GFB Young Farmer Committee and as chairman of the AFBF Young Farmer & Rancher Committee. During his time as GFB president he has also served on the AFBF Board of Directors. Three other state Farm Bureau presidents – Don Villwock of Indiana, Barry Bushue of Oregon and Kevin Rogers of Arizona – have announced their candidacy for AFBF president.

J. Scott Angle, who has served as dean and director of the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences for the past decade, has announced he is stepping down from his position Sept. 18 to lead a global organization that works to alleviate hunger. As president and CEO of the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), Angle will oversee an organization active in nearly 100 countries that is focused on increasing food security and agricultural productivity through the development and transfer of effective and environmentally sound crop nutrient technology and agribusiness expertise. UGA President Jere W. Morehead and Provost Pamela Whitten will announce the appointment of an interim dean in the coming weeks as well as a national search for the college’s next leader, 10 / August 2015

according to a UGA press release. “Over the past decade, Dean Angle has provided outstanding leadership to the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences,” Morehead said. “He has been one of the strongest champions of UGA’s land-grant mission, working tirelessly to connect the vast resources of the college to the challenges and opportunities faced by the agriculture industry across the state. We are grateful for his years of dedicated service and wish him well in this new endeavor.” During Angle’s tenure, student enrollment in the college grew by nearly 30 percent and 175,000 Georgia youths participate in 4-H programs. To increase access to ag education in Georgia, CAES began offering degree programs at the UGAGriffin campus and expanded its programs on the Tifton campus. Angle recruited sev-

eral nationally and internationally recognized researchers to broaden the scope and impact of the college’s research. “While I am sad to leave my friends and colleagues at UGA, I am called for one more grand adventure in my life,” Angle said. “Assuming the role of CEO and President of the International Fertilizer Development Center will allow me to combine my disciplinary training in soil science with my passion for Africa to help farmers around the world improve soil fertility and sustainability. I am very proud of all that the university and college have achieved over the past 10 years.”

Photo by Jay Stone

Angle leaving UGA CAES for position with IFDC

Georgia Farm Bureau News

WE, THE FARMERS from page 4 dent, GFB has made it a priority to reach out to our state leaders and the leaders of other ag organizations to build relationships, which are so important to working together and getting things done to benefit farmers. On June 28, Bonnie and I were invited to attend the State 4-H Council meeting at Rock Eagle to hear Gov. Deal speak to 4-Hers from across Georgia. Then, on June 30, GFB hosted a tour of Rock Eagle for state legislators to see firsthand the important work that 4-H is doing to develop leadership in Georgia’s youth. Members of Georgia’s House and Senate Agriculture Committees attending included Senate Ag committee Chairman John Wilkinson and Sen. Bill Heath and House Ag committee members Reps. Bubber Epps, Chuck Williams and Rep. Patty Bentley. Rep. Trey Rhodes, whose district includes Putnam County, home to Rock Eagle, also attended. The tour highlighted the annual 4-H camp that will serve about 1,000 campers this summer, and we got to see the 22 new cabins that just opened for use this year. Georgia 4-H leader Arch Smith thanked Georgia Farm Bureau for our continued efforts to support 4-H.

Former Houston County Farm Bureau President dies

Richard “Dick” Weir, 79, died July 13 after an extended illness. Weir served as Houston County Farm Bureau president from 1999 to 2011. He served on the Georgia Farm Bureau Hay Committee in 2004, 2006 and 2007. Weir was the owner and operator of D & D Bull Motel. Weir was born in Canandaigua, N.Y., to the late Daniel and Lillian Bryant Weir. He married Joy Danzig in 1955, and they moved to the Americus/Sumter County area in 1957. They moved to Houston County in 1974. Survivors include his wife, Joy, of Elko; his children, Donald Weir of Elko, Kathy Weir of Byron, and Donna Boatright (Steve) of Blackshear; four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Condolences for the family may be sent to 455 Ga. Hwy. 26 E, Elko, Ga. 31025 or by signing the Watson Hunt Funeral Home guestbook at

In the coming months, I’d like to ask all of you to join me and Bonnie in praying God’s will be done regarding my campaign and for the future of our great organization. I pray that God will continue to bless the work that our county volunteers do to reach out to their legislators and local communities to advocate for agriculture. I pray that God will continue to give our organization a spirit of unity as we work together for the good of agriculture and seeking what is best for the future of GFB and continuing our mission to serve as the voice of Georgia farmers. In closing, I’d like to share the devotion I gave at the GFB Young Farmers Conference when I announced my AFBF candidacy. It’s about waiting patiently on God and the fruit

he wants our lives to yield. The NKJV says in James 5:7-8: Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8  You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Developing leaders is one of the most important things we do for our families, our farms and our communities. I always say that becoming a leader is not an event but it is a lifelong process. I am truly an example of that process, and Farm Bureau has been a great training ground. If we remain patient, committed and passionate about what we believe in, God will surely show us his will.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2015 / 11

GDA & state agencies finalize bird flu preparation plans By Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________________________________________________

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker


12 / August 2015

tate officials, representatives of Georgia government agencies and ag organizations, including Georgia Farm Bureau, attended a meeting at the Georgia Department of Agriculture July 9 to discuss how the state will respond if highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is diagnosed in Georgia. In welcoming the group, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black stressed that numerous government agencies in Georgia, along with the Georgia Poultry Lab Network (GPLN), have been working for years to prepare for a possible avian disease outbreak in the state by meeting regularly to run tabletop exercises to coordinate their responses. “Georgia has a long-standing history of working to be prepared. There’s a very strong responsibility for all of us to work together so we can have the best response possible if we have to meet this challenge,” Black said. “With Georgia being the leading producer of poultry products in America, we feel it’s important to be the most prepared state in America.” Meeting attendees heard from an expert panel consisting of GDA State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb, GPLN Executive Director Dr. Louise Zavala, Georgia Poultry Federation President Mike Giles, Dr. Martin Smeltzer, veterinary medical officer with the USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, Georgia Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams, Georgia Emergency Management Agency Chief of Staff Lauren Curry, and Jerry Campbell, Georgia Environmental Protection Division emergency response manager. Cobb said the GDA is working with state and federal partners to be prepared to handle an outbreak. “We’re speaking every week with other state vets and USDA to share information and lessons learned. For years Georgia has had a low pathogenic avian influenza plan and this plan is reviewed annually and is exercised with our state and county partners through tabletop exercises and infield train-

ing,” Cobb said. “We’ve got multiple state agencies cooperating with us.” In April, five Georgia employees from the GDA and GPLN along with a USDA employee went to Minnesota for 21 days to assist with the HPAI outbreak in commercial turkey flocks. The GDA is using the lessons these employees learned to better prepare to handle a potential outbreak in Georgia.

Spread of HPAI

Since December 2014, the USDA has confirmed more than 220 cases of HPAI in wild birds, backyard and commercial poultry flocks in the Pacific, Central and Mississippi flyway zones (migratory bird paths) in more than 20 states. Commercial turkey and layer egg producers were hit hard this spring as wild fowl carried the virus to Minnesota and Iowa. “Avian influenza viruses, like all viruses, change. They like to mutate continually. In wild waterfowl, avian influenza has been passed around and it mutated to be highly pathogenic, which means it spreads rapidly,” Cobb explained. “The movement of the virus has to do with the migratory pathways of wild waterfowl.” Cobb said HPAI has yet to affect broiler production very much because most broilers are grown in the Atlantic Flyway Zone in the Southeast, and the virus hasn’t been brought into the area to-date. However, there have been three confirmed cases of HPAI in Ontario, which is in the Atlantic Flyway Zone, Zavala said. “We are preparing in the East for the fall migration of infected wild waterfowl that could bring HPAI into the Atlantic Flyway after September first,” said Smeltzer.

HPAI testing

Zavala said every commercial flock of chickens that goes to market in the state of Georgia is tested for avian influenza and long-life birds, such as layer hens, are tested several times throughout their lifetimes to prevent birds with Georgia Farm Bureau News

Signs of Illness Poultry infected with HPAI may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms: • Sudden increase in bird deaths in flock • Sneezing, gasping for air, coughing & nasal discharge • Diarrhea • Lack of energy & appetite • Drop in egg production or soft- or thin-shelled, misshapen eggs • Swelling around the eyes, neck & head • Purple discoloration of the wattle, comb & legs • Ruffled feathers, listlessness, lethargy Source: USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service an AI virus from entering the food supply. Georgia tests about 300,000 samples of poultry every year for AI, Zavala said. “This is a foreign animal disease, which is why the USDA is involved,” Zavala said, noting that the virus “doesn’t get into the food supply, but we would lose trade if it’s detected in Georgia.” Backyard poultry flocks are more likely to be exposed to migratory wild waterfowl carrying the HPAI virus but are not tested like commercial poultry prior to processing, Cobb said. “They [backyard poultry] don’t have routine testing unless they are being moved across state lines or if the producers are members of the National Poultry Improvement Plan,” Cobb said. The GDA and USDA are working to notify backyard poultry growers about the threat of HPAI and ways to prevent it via their websites and seminars.

GDA HPAI emergency rule

On July 14 the GDA issued an emergency rule requiring all live birds that will be transported into Georgia to be tested for HPAI in the 21 days prior to the birds entering the state. According to the GDA, the rule will remain in effect no longer than 120 days. The state issued a similar notice in March. In issuing the rule, the GDA noted the poultry industry’s $28 billion impact on the state’s economy. Statewide, the poultry industry supports about 138,000 jobs, according to the Georgia Poultry Federation. While the HPAI virus can affect humans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to humans low. According to the CDC, human infection with avian influenza viruses has not occurred from eating properly cooked poultry or poultry products.

Farm Biosecurity essential

“The key thing to this all is biosecurity,” Cobb said. “We can’t stop wild birds from bringing avian influenza into Georgia, but we’re blessed with hot weather. As long as it stays hot, the heat will help keep it from spreading. Biosecurity means you draw a line in the sand and say the world is on one side and the producer protects what’s on his side.” Cobb said poultry companies are reaching out to poultry growers to encourage increased biosecurity measures, such as restricting offfarm visitors, having dedicated footwear worn only on the farm and refraining from entering their poultry houses for five days after returning from hunting wild waterfowl.

USDA recommended biosecurity

• Allow only essential personnel access to your farm & birds. Disinfect any vehicles that enter your farm. • Don’t lend or borrow equipment from other farms. Bring only cleaned & disinfected items into your bird area. • Avoid contact with other poultry. If that’s not possible, change clothes and shoes before working with your birds. • Wash your hands thoroughly before entering your bird area. • Use footbaths when entering/leaving your chicken houses (change disinfectant frequently) – or wear disposable boot covers. • Keep poultry separate from wild birds. Don’t let them share water sources or have access to common areas frequented by wild birds. • Eliminate standing water on your farm and clean up feed spills to avoid attracting wild birds. Source: USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service

HPAI control protocol

Zavala said the best way to control the virus from spreading is to depopulate infected birds. “The reason we’re not vaccinating is because vaccines on the market don’t match the virus, so they will not work vey well, and if we start vaccinating it will paralyze our trade market and it interferes with detecting birds with the virus,” Zavala said. “If we get a vaccine that matches the virus it may be used as a tool towards eradication, but that will be the USDA’s decision to use it.” When a farm tests positive for having HPAI, two and six–mile control zones will be established around the farm by GDA in cooperation with the GA Poultry Lab Network and USDA as part of the state’s response plan, Cobb said. Other poultry farms within these zones will be subject to limited movement of all livestock off of the farm and intensified surveillance. All the farms within the control zones will be tested regularly for at least a month to see if the virus has moved to other farms, Zavala said. Farms located in the control zones that test negative for HPAI will be required to have multiple tests indicating the farm is negative for HPAI before consideration for moving poultry off the farm is given, Cobb said.

Indemnity for flock loss

Congress has authorized about $450 million in federal funds to the USDA to finance a nationwide eradication response to HPAI. The funds are being used to pay producers for the cost of depopulating and disposing of their infected flocks, cleaning and disinfecting poultry houses with infected birds, Smeltzer said. “Indemnity for the birds depopulated is based upon the number of birds, age of birds See BIRD FLU page 16

Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2015 / 13

Photo by Jay Stone

The Sunbelt Expo Field Day included a crop-dusting demonstration using Thrush Aircraft’s 510G, which can carry 5,500 pounds of liquid and has custom nozzles designed to reduce drift. Visit to see more photos from the event.

Sunbelt Expo “airs out” research at field day By Jay Stone _________________________________________________________________________


rom simple solutions to detailed scientific research and development, the 2015 Sunbelt Expo Field Day appealed to a wide variety of farm operations. The field day, held July 9 on the Expo grounds in Moultrie, allowed UGA Extension researchers and representatives of ag technology companies to present farmers with information on crop variety tests, fertilizer enhancements, developments in irrigation systems and much more. “We sell this event as one-stop shopping,” said Sunbelt Farm Manager Michael Chafin. “We can bring in the cattle guy, we can bring in the cotton guy, we can bring in the corn guy, we can bring in the diversified guys and have something for everyone.” University of Georgia Extension Agronomist Dr. Glen Harris reviewed research into ways to prevent nitrogen loss 14 / August 2015

from applied fertilizer and for increasing nitrogen to increase yields. “We have rates for different yield levels on cotton up to three bales (per acre). For the first time this winter I started getting questions about how much nitrogen do I need for four-bale. Maybe that’s wishful thinking, but it’s a good question,” Harris said, noting that the UGA cotton team has produced four-bale cotton both at Sunbelt and on research farms in Tifton. “We’re still in the nitrogen trials and bumping up the nitrogen rates to see how high we can go.” UGA Extension Entomologist Dr. Philip Roberts said his research has focused on fighting thrips in cotton and stressed the importance of scouting fields. “In terms of insects, cotton is basically susceptible to some insect pests from the time it emerges until we defoliate in the

fall,” Roberts said. “Thrips have been a very consistent pest for us. We have had some increased occurrences of plant bugs. But as a whole, it’s just a good normal year. It’s definitely a year where farmers need to be scouting each and every field; 100 percent of the fields need scouting and to be treated accordingly. This is a year when we need yield. Spraying for insects doesn’t increase yield, but spraying for insects will protect what yield we can get by doing all the other things right.” Vendors Nachurs and Pathways demonstrated a joint study in which Pathways’ plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria was added to Nachurs’ fertilizers. According to Pathways’ Reese Harvin, the bacteria help plants develop denser and stronger root systems. “The plant is going to manage stress situations better,” Harvin said. “It’s going to better utilize your fertilizer.” Reinke Southeast Territory Manager Mike Mills showed field day visitors a span cable clamp the irrigation company has developed to curtail theft of copper wire from irrigation spans. The stainless steel clamps are placed at 57-inch intervals on the cable, and once installed they prevent the entire cable from being pulled off the span at once. A cable thief might be able to cut the cable at the clamp, but this would have to be done at every clamp along the span, resulting in a much longer process to take the entire cable. This discourages would-be thieves, who are looking for a quick way to remove the cable and leave, Mills said. The cable can be repaired for a few hundred dollars, compared with replacement costs of up to $10,000 or more, plus reduced yield resulting from the inability to irrigate. “You might have a little bit of damage should somebody try to take it. However, you’re not going to lose your cable,” Mills said. “You’ll have a short and inexpensive repair, as opposed to a long-term and expensive full-wire replacement.” Visitors were treated to aerial application demonstrations by Thrush Aircraft and Eagle Vistas at the Spence Field airstrip. The new Thrush 510G can fly as low as 10 feet above the crop canopy and has custom-designed nozzles on its sprayer to prevent pesticide drift. Eagle Vistas’ PA25-260 P3 is a smaller plane that can apply crop inputs in tight spaces and hilly terrain. Georgia Farm Bureau News

FSA rescinds Historic Irrigation Percentage Policy The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has rescinded a policy in the new farm bill that prevented many farm owners from combining farms, a practice referred to as reconstituting. The historical irrigation percentage (HIP) policy, which FSA implemented in May, required farms being reconstituted to have the same HIP in order to be eligible to participate in the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) crop insurance program. This policy was not made public until after farmers had chosen which crop insurance program they would use through the life of the 2014 farm bill, which is in place until 2018. Part of the problem was that FSA software was not configured to accommodate reconstitutions where the farms being combined had differing HIPs. Farmers often elect to reconstitute farms to reduce paperwork and enhance farm efficiency Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall wrote to the USDA June 17 asking that the HIP policy be adjusted to allow for traditional reconstitution of farms. Duvall noted that farmers might have chosen a different

crop insurance program had they known the barrier to reconstitution was in place. On July 6, FSA Deputy Administrator for Programs Mike Schmidt sent a notice to

state and county FSA offices notifying them that the HIP policy is rescinded. To view the notice visit FSA_Notice/cm_770.pdf.

Farmers have until Sept. 30 to formally enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety-net programs for 2014 and 2015 according to a USDA press release. Farmers and producers had until April 7 to make a one-time choice of the program in which they would participate. For more information, visit Sept. 30 is also the deadline for cotton growers to enroll in the 2015 Cotton Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) and for dairy farmers to sign up for the Dairy Margin Protection Program (DMPP). CTAP provides interim payments to cotton producers in counties where the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX), a new insurance product administered by the Risk Management Agency, is not yet available. Most cotton-producing counties and cotton pro-

ducers have STAX available and are not eligible for CTAP. Georgia counties eligible for the 2015 CTAP are: Baldwin, Barrow, Butts, Carroll, Cherokee, Jackson, Jasper, Madison, Newton, Talbot, Walker and Wilkes. DMPP provides financial assistance to participating dairy operations when the difference between the price of milk and feed costs falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer. Participating dairy farmers will remain in the program through 2018 and pay a $100 administrative fee each year. Producers also have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrollment each year. USDA has an online resource available at to help dairy producers decide which level of coverage will provide them with the strongest safety net under different conditions.

Sept. 30 deadline to enroll in farm bill programs


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Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2015 / 15

Ga. Dept. of Ag euthanizes poultry from Iowa By Jay Stone ___________________________________ Prompted by concerns over the possible spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) destroyed three non-commercial flocks of poultry on small farms in Meriwether and Ben Hill counties on June 16. Georgia State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb said he was notified by the USDA late in the week ending June 13 that chicks and eggs on three Georgia farms were shipped from a facility in Iowa that tested positive for the H5N2 strain of HPAI. The shipments arrived in Georgia around June 2. The Iowa facility tested positive after the birds and eggs were shipped. Cobb said he worked with the Georgia farms to help them receive some indemnity for their lost birds or eggs. Those farms, which Cobb described as small hobby farms, were quarantined until they can go through a cleaning and disinfecting process. “There were no signs of any illness on any of the three premises,” Cobb told GFB media. “What we’re going to do is keep BIRD FLU from page 13 and type of birds depopulated,” Smeltzer said. “Indemnity doesn’t cover down time when producers can’t raise birds until they and the area their poultry houses are in are cleared as being free of the virus.”

Disposal of dead birds

Smeltzer encouraged growers to make plans for how they would dispose of their flocks should they test positive for the virus. He said if one house on a farm with multiple houses tests positive for the virus all of the birds on the farm would be required to be eradicated. According to the expert panel, flocks that test positive for HPAI may be depopulated using a foam product or carbon dioxide. Both methods have been approved by the USDA and American Veterinary Medical Association, Cobb said. After the birds have been euthanized, producers may choose from several options to dispose of the birds. If on-farm burial is chosen as an option, a GDA inspector must approve of the burial site. Birds may also be composted in the houses using a carbon source that disintegrates the birds 16 / August 2015

them under quarantine until such time as a flock plan can be established, which will include such things as cleaning and disinfecting and making sure that anything associated with these shipments, such as crates, are destroyed and disposed of properly, that all the incubators are cleaned and disinfected properly. Then at that time we can lift the quarantine.” Cobb said that the spread of HPAI is not a food safety issue. “Any avian influenzainfected poultry is destroyed and does not enter the market as part of the food supply as far as commercial growers are concerned,” Cobb said. Poultry shipped from the Iowa facility were ordered over the Internet or through mail order. Such birds are required to have been tested for avian influenza prior to being brought to Georgia, and their owners must have a certificate of veterinary inspection, Cobb said.

On June 10 Cobb sent a letter to Georgia poultry producers raising birds with outside access urging them to move their birds into housing to reduce the potential for contact with migratory waterfowl. He recommended that they implement strict biosecurity measures, monitor the flocks for increased mortality or signs that the birds may be infected and report any concerns to state or federal animal health officials. In the interview with GFB, Cobb noted that the H5N2 virus spread to poultry from contact with wild birds and their waste during wild bird northerly migration in the Mississippi, Central and Pacific flyways. Although Georgia is in the Atlantic flyway, the commingling of birds in the Arctic Tundra presents a significant potential that HPAI will show up when they migrate south. Visit the GDA’s website at http://agr. for more information on HPAI.

and destroys the virus, Cobb said. “It’s very, very environmentally friendly. Iowa used inhouse composting a great deal because they couldn’t bury all of their birds.” Using rendering plants and public landfills are other options for disposing of dead birds. “Although landfills are permitted to accept carcasses, they are under no obligation to do so,” said Jerry Campbell, Georgia Environmental Protection Division emergency response manager. “We’re going to make sure all landfill operators are aware of the need for them to accept carcasses and encourage them to be a partner in this.” Campbell said the EPD is aware the disposal of dead birds will vary according to the situation but the agency plans to use existing laws and regulations for compliance. “We know what works in one county might not work in another, but we plan on using laws and regulations in place and don’t plan on reinventing the wheel,” Campbell said. Because large volumes of water are needed to depopulate flocks, Campbell en-

couraged producers to have hay bales on hand to serve as berms to block the flow of water from leaving the farm. “The EPD’s goals are to respond timely to any requests we receive, to minimize the impact of the depopulation process on the farm and surrounding area and at the end of the day we’re going to focus on finding solutions,” Campbell said. Any evidence of HPAI should be immediately reported to the Georgia Department of Agriculture by calling Animal Health at 404-656-3667 or 404-656-3671. Visit the USDA website at http://tinyurl. com/USDAHPAIinformation for more information about HPAI. Visit for producer-specific information from the USDA regarding protocol for responding to confirmed HPAI cases, indemnity payments and restocking farms. Visit http://healthybirds.aphis.usda. gov to learn more about biosecurity measures for backyard flocks. Visit for updated information about HPAI in Georgia. Georgia Farm Bureau News

By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________ MillerCoors presented a $10,000 donation to the Georgia Peach Council during a ceremony held at Dickey Farms July 8. The donation represented a portion of the sales of MillerCoors’ Blue Moon First Peach Ale sold from Jan. 1-March 31. The Belgianinspired brown ale was made using peaches and coriander. “We really appreciate this donation and want to thank At the Table (a public relations firm) for pulling this off,” said Georgia Peach Council President Duke Lane III. “When MillerCoors decided to launch their Blue Moon First Peach Ale, they recognized the brand value of Georgia peaches and approached us about using our brand and promoting the Georgia Peach Council.” Lane said the Georgia Peach Council will use the donation to fund marketing and PR efforts for Georgia’s peach crop. MillerCoors Southeast Regional Director of State Government Affairs Rochelle Marte presented the donation. “We believe a partnership like this makes sense because the employees of MillerCoors don’t just work in Georgia, we live and play in Georgia,” said Marte. “We hope this is a long, sustaining partnership for us.” Marte said MillerCoors formed similar partnerships with peach groups in South Carolina and Florida to cross promote the ale and peach crops of those states. Other peach growers and state leaders participating in the event included Rep. Robert Dickey; Georgia Peach Commission Chairman Lawton Pearson; Georgia Peach Council Marketing Director Will McGehee; Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black and Georgia Peach grower Al Pearson. “This is a great testimony of what we can do with all our Georgia products,” Commissioner Black said. “It’s about having a viable tie to ag production and adding value to our products. We’re not going to

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Ga. Peach Council gets $10,000 donation for branding partnership MillerCoors Southeast Regional Director of State Government Affairs Rochelle Marte, center, presented a check for $10,000 to the Georgia Peach Council during an event held July 8 at Dickey Farms. The donation represented a portion of the sales of MillerCoors’ Blue Moon First Peach sold from Jan. 1-March 31. The Belgian-inspired brown ale was crafted using peaches and coriander. Participating in the presentation were, pictured from left, Georgia Peach grower Rep. Robert Dickey; Andrew Ross, field representative for Sen. Johnny Isakson; Georgia Peach Council President Duke Lane III; Georgia Peach Commission Chairman Lawton Pearson; Marte; Georgia Peach Council Marketing Director Will McGehee; Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black; Georgia Peach grower Al Pearson and Evan Karanovich, state field director for Sen. David Perdue. Visit to view more photos from the event.

stop short of our Georgia Grown brand being the most recognized brand in America.” The quality of this summer’s peach crop is good and has a great flavor, Lane said, although the volume is down from years past due to the freeze on Palm Sunday. “The crop is good. It’s not a huge crop but it’s adequate,” Lane said. “We’re a little

past halfway through harvesting. The quality is good and the flavor has been great.” Following the presentation, event attendees enjoyed a delicious southern spread of light summer dishes featuring a variety of Georgia Grown commodities including peaches, tomatoes, Vidalia onions and chicken.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2015 / 17

Beggs wins GFB Essay Contest discussing ag careers By Jennifer Whittaker _______________________________________________________


arley Beggs of Taliaferro County is the state winner of the 2015 Georgia Farm Bureau Middle School Essay Contest, open to students in sixth through eighth grades during the past school year. Beggs, the daughter of Kirby and Lori Beggs, was a homeschooled sixth-grader when she penned her essay earlier this year. She received a $100 cash prize for being the GFB 4th District winner and a $150 cash prize for being the state winner. The 53 students who participated in the contest were asked to discuss the topic: “Make My Career Agriculture.” Essays were judged on clarity of thought and writing skill. A winner was selected from each of the organization’s 10 districts, and the state winner was chosen from the district winners. Other district winners were: Taylor Sellers, Gilmer County, GFB 1st District; Chase West, Madison County, GFB 2nd District; Piper Ramirez, Polk County, GFB 3rd District; Morgan Mathews, Pike County, GFB 5th District; Kensley Little, Dodge County, GFB 6th District; James Poppell, Toombs County, GFB 7th District; Jalynn Keene, Wilcox County, GFB 8th District; Kaitlyn Mitchell, Colquitt County, GFB 9th District and Parker Guy, Irwin County, GFB 10th District. The GFB Women’s Leadership Committee coordinated the contest on the state level and county Women’s Committees promoted the contests locally. “GFB uses its Ag in the Classroom program to educate students about how farmers grow our food and fiber and the commodities grown in Georgia. The essay contest is one of many AITC programs that GFB uses to encourage students to explore a specific aspect of agriculture,” said GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Janet Greuel. “Harley is to be commended on her essay that so articulately discussed the many career options Georgia agriculture offers and how agriculture contributes to our economy.”

Former AFBF President Kleckner dies

Former American Farm Bureau Federation President Dean Kleckner, 81, died June 15. Dean lived and farmed in northern Iowa raising corn, soybeans and hogs. He was AFBF president from 1986 until 2000. Under Dean’s leadership, AFBF was a particularly important, visible influence on global trade issues. He was the only agricultural representative on a U.S. advisory team for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade negotiations when they began in September 1986. Kleckner was appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton to numerous other national advisory committees and commissions.  Prior to becoming AFBF president, Kleckner served as Iowa Farm Bureau Federation president for 10 years. He is survived by his wife, Natalie, their five children and their spouses, 11 grandchildren and their spouses. Condolences may be sent to 100 Promenade Ave., #534, Wayzata, MN 55391. 18 / August 2015

Make My Career Agriculture By Harley Beggs

Do you ever think about how important agriculture is to our lives? What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word agriculture? Most people think of farming. Farming is very important, but there are many other careers in agriculture. Agriculture includes forestry, dairy, poultry, fruit production, beekeeping, and other fields. Developing and selling products also play major parts in agriculture. Careers in agriculture are very important. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy. The main function of agriculture is to provide food and raw materials to our nation and the world. We could not survive without food and the materials needed for clothing and shelter. Our life as we know it depends on agriculture. There are so many agricultural careers available in Georgia. lists 102 careers in agriculture. These go from an agricultural chemical dealer all the way to a zoologist. There are careers in between to interest everyone. My county is very rural and most of the agriculture done here is farming. We have poultry and dairy farmers, beef cattle producers, and timber producers. My family has a small greenhouse operation where we grow flowers and vegetable plants. We also raise vegetables to sell. The farm provides food for my family to eat. I would like to pursue a career in agriculture, but at this time I am not sure which field I would like to enter. My father is in the timber business, and I really enjoy going to work with him. I think that I would love that career. I also enjoy working with my mother planting and selling flowers and vegetables. I am thankful that the future in agriculture is so bright and that I have so many opportunities and choices for a career here in Georgia. I think it would be very wise for students to try to find a career in agriculture. According to, in the recent 2012 agriculture census, producers sold more than $9.2 billion worth of agricultural products. There are so many consumers ready and waiting to purchase the products in agriculture. says that graduates with degrees in agriculture are needed. The average starting salary for a graduate in the agriculture industry is $49,000. With the gloomy outlook in other areas of the job market, students would do well to look for careers in the field of agriculture. It would be an awesome feeling to be able to do something that you love and at the same time help to take care of the world’s population. The future in Georgia agriculture looks amazing. I and other Georgia students have an awesome opportunity to have a great career. I am excited about what is ahead for me and can’t wait to find my place in Georgia’s agricultural field. Georgia Farm Bureau News

ag in the classroom update Donna Rocker, Ag in the Classroom Coordinator

National AITC Conference unbridles possibilities of teaching students about ag

Photo by Donna Rocker

Pictured from left, Stephens County teacher Karrie Perrin, GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Janet Greuel and Greene County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee member Bonnie Duvall attend a workshop at the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference.

Georgia had a delegation of more than 41 people, not all pictured, attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference held June 16-19 in Louisville, Ky. 

Oglethorpe, Polk, Stephens and Upson. The conference included workshops on a wide variety of teaching methods that can be used to deliver agriculture-based lessons in schools. Andrea Seagraves, who teaches at Stratford Academy in Macon, Ga., received a White-Reinhardt Scholarship to attend the conference and presented a workshop at the event titled “Cultivating the Seeds of Agriculture.” Karrie Perrin, a teacher from Stephens County, also presented a workshop at the Andrea Seagraves conference that discussed incorporating lessons about agriculture into the classroom. Both Seagraves and Perrin are past recipients of the Georgia Farm Bureau Georgia Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Educator Award. Five Georgia teachers received scholarships that paid for their conference registration fee from CHS, Inc., an agricultural cooperative headquartered in Minnesota. Teachers receiving a CHS scholarship were: Gwen Benson (Carroll County), Lauren Goble (Jones County), Karen Hatch (Polk County), Mandy Moon (Madison County), Ashley Thompson (Oglethorpe County) and Ashley Rivers (Cherokee County). These teachers’ county Farm Bureaus paid the remainder of their conference costs. Each year CHS offers 52 scholarships for teachers to attend the National AITC Conference. The 2016 conference, “Agriculture Blooming in the Desert,” will be held in Litchfield Park, Ariz., June 20-24. Visit to view more highlights of the 2015 conference. You may also access lesson plans on the Curriculum Matrix on this website. Lessons are matched to national education standards.

Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2015 / 19

Photo courtesy of NAITC

Several county Farm Bureaus sponsored teachers or volunteer leaders to attend the conference.  Counties represented at the conference included: Bacon, Bartow, Bryan, Carroll, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cook, Crawford, Elbert, Evans, Greene, Jones, Madison, Mitchell, Newton,

Photo by Donna Rocker

A delegation of 41 Farm Bureau members, teachers and agriculture organization representatives from Georgia attended the National Ag In The Classroom Conference held June 17-19, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. Eighteen of the attendees were teachers. 

AROUND GEORGIA News from County Farm Bureaus Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker such as Polaris and Ford discounts and Farm Bureau Bank. Many GFB employees took the opportunity to renew their memberships. GFB home office employees enjoyed a picnic lunch from Fresh Air BBQ compliments of BCFB.

BARROW COUNTY Barrow County Farm Bureau (BCFB) participated in Career Day at a local elementary school in May. BCFB educated 400 first through fourth-grade students on the different commodities farmers grow in Georgia, the life cycle of a tomato plant and the many foods that are made from tomatoes.  BCFB also helped each student plant a tomato to take home to grow. Helping with the event were, from left, BCFB Office Manager Staci Hubbard, BCFB member Judy Fowler, BCFB President Ray Fowler, BCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Linda Crumley and BCFB Secretary Janis Gardner. BERRIEN COUNTY Berrien County Farm Bureau (BCFB) celebrated June National Dairy Month by visiting a local summer school program. BCFB Secretary Marly Garner took ice cream and a coloring sheet for the children to enjoy. Garner talked to the class about June being National Dairy Month and asked the students to name different types of dairy products. Pictured from left are Marly Garner, student Brock Garner and teachers Maebry Garner, Elaine Garner, and Tammy Stoneroad. BIBB COUNTY Bibb County Farm Bureau (BCFB) held a Membership Appreciation Lunch for the Georgia Farm Bureau Home Office May 7. BCFB staff and GFB Member Services representatives promoted GFB member benefits 20 / August 2015

BULLOCH COUNTY Bulloch County Farm Bureau (BCFB) celebrated May being Beef Month and kicked off Memorial Day Weekend by grilling more than 80 hamburgers served to BCFB members and community members who dropped by the BCFB office on May 22. Chips, cookies and drinks were served along with the burgers. BCFB volunteers helping with the Beef Month/Memorial Day Cookout were, pictured from left, Jamie Cromley, who serves as the GFB 7th District Young Farmer Chairman with her husband, David; GFB 7th Dist. Field Rep. Todd Faircloth, BCFB President Lannie Lee & BCFB Vice President Bill T. Akers, Jr., who grilled the hamburgers. BCFB Young Farmer Chairman David Cromley, not pictured, initiated the cookout. Ellis Meat Market provided a discount on the homegrown beef. CHATHAM COUNTY Chatham County Farm Bureau hosted a booth at the annual strawberry festival held at Ottawa Farms this spring. Volunteers talked to the more than 10,000 festival attendees about Farm Bureau member benefits and distributed Farm Bureau fly swatters, cups, koozies and peanuts. Manning the booth were, pictured from left, back row: CCFB President Ed Zipperer, CCFB Secretary Silvia Garcia-Ross, CCFB Agent Dianne Randall, CCFB Agency Manager Ricky Blanton and seated, CCFB Secretary Irma Ortiz, left, and CCFB Office Manager Debbie Gibson. Volunteers not pictured were CCFB Secretary Jennifer Mills and CCFB Agent Adam Martin. CCFB Vice President Pete Waller, who owns Ottawa Farms, and CCFB Director Rita Douglas hosted the strawberry festival. Georgia Farm Bureau News

DECATUR COUNTY Decatur County Farm Bureau (DCFB) and the Decatur County Extension cohosted an Ag Science Field Day for a local middle school in May. Students rotated through seven stations that emphasized the importance, diversity and scientific nature of Georgia agriculture. DCFB Women’s Committee Chairman and Decatur County 4-H Agent Lindsey B. Hayes, standing, talked to the students about taking care of different animals including pigs, rabbits and goats. ELBERT COUNTY The Elbert County Farm Bureau (ECFB) Women’s Committee hosted a farm tour for UGA International students and their families this spring. Elberton Mayor Larry Guest welcomed the group of 60 to Elberton during the stop at the ECFB office. The tour visited five farms in the county: RC Farms owned by ECFB members Ron and Charlotte Ward; Dales Vineyard owned by ECFB member Dale Lyman, who grows wine grapes; Davis Floral owned by ECFB members Michael & Lisa Davis; Double R Dairy owned by ECFB President Randy Ruff and his son, Randall, and Butler Farms, owned by ECFB members Silvia & Byron Butler. The tour ended with a reception at Butler Farms where the Butlers raise peaches, vegetables, nectarines, apples and pears.

FAYETTE COUNTY Fayette County Farm Bureau (FCFB) held its annual Farmer Appreciation Dinner on May 12, during which Mark and Robin Porter were recognized as the FCFB Farmers of the Year. Pictured from left, Mark and Robin Porter accept the Fayette County Farm Bureau Farmer of the Year Award from FCFB President Rick Minter and FCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Debi Creel. The Porters grow plants, flowers and trees that they sell at their stores in Fayetteville and Griffin. Mark is a FCFB Director and Robin serves on the FCFB Women’s Committee. Georgia Agricultural Commissioner Gary Black spoke at the event.

HABERSHAM COUNTY The Habersham County Farm Bureau (HCFB) Women’s Committee made 10 visits to local elementary schools during the 2014-2015 school year teaching 470 students about agriculture. To show the committee’s appreciation to the teachers who welcomed Farm Bureau into their classrooms, each participating teacher was entered into a drawing for school and art supplies. Pictured from left, HCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Ann Elrod congratulates teachers Jane Kitchens, Jeannie Collins and Stacey McLaurin for winning prizes in the drawing. HCFB Women’s Committee member Sue Brooks, far right, helped present the prizes.

HALL COUNTY Hall County Farm Bureau participated in the 2nd Annual Jaemor Farms Strawberry Festival May 9 by manning a booth promoting Farm Bureau membership and member benefits. Children attending the festival had a chance to see a cow being milked in the Georgia Mobile Dairy Classroom, pick strawberries, enjoy hayride tours of the farm, water duck racing, a custom-made farm slide and a petting zoo. JEFF DAVIS COUNTY Jeff Davis County Farm Bureau held a farm day this spring attended by all 750 students at the Jeff Davis Primary School. The students rotated through booths that covered the topics of forestry, dairy, horses, beef, bees, ducks, goats, pigs, alligators, tractors, fire safety, electricity, importance of dental health, seatbelt and highway safety. Georgia Mobile Dairy Classroom Coordinator Nicole Karstedt, center, taught the students how dairy farmers care for their cows and demonstrated how to milk a cow. Continued on next page

Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2015 / 21

Continued from previous page MACON COUNTY Macon County Farm Bureau members Mike and Marilyn McLendon visited a local second-grade class. Marilyn, who serves on the MCFB Women’s Committee, read the book “How a Seed Grows” to the children. Mike, who is the MCFB president, talked to the students about crops farmers grow in Macon County, such as peanuts, cotton, soybeans, snap beans and corn. Then the McLendons let the students plant corn, cotton, soybean and snap bean seeds to grow in their class. MONROE COUNTY The Monroe County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee visited a local preschool to teach the students about chickens. Committee Chairman Melissa Mathis is pictured reading the book “Chicken Big.” Mathis took five different breeds of chicks to show the children that chickens come in different colors. The preschoolers enjoyed getting to hold the chicks. 

MORGAN COUNTY Morgan County Farm Bureau (MCFB) held its annual farm safety camp at Hard Labor Creek State Park May 5. About 270 sixth-grade students rotated between stations where speakers addressed electrical safety, precautions to follow when baling hay, safety considerations for handling horses and cows, boat and ATV safety precautions and snake safety. Representatives from Walton EMC, AgPro, Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Morgan County Extension helped with the safety presentations along with the Morgan County FFA Chapter, MCFB directors and members and local Farm Service Agency staff. Chickfil-A donated chicken sandwiches to feed everyone attending and helping with the camp. Each student received a camp t-shirt to remind them of the safety lessons they learned. 22 / August 2015

SOUTH FULTON COUNTY South Fulton County Farm Bureau (SFCFB) hosted a tour of SFCFB Vice President Jerry Watson’s farm on May 7 for ag students and teachers from Creekside High School. Students learned about beef cattle production, growing and harvesting hay and planting corn. The tour began with hayrides to feed Watson’s cattle. Watson and SFCFB Director Sarah Kinser, who also raises beef cattle, told the students how farmers feed and care for their cattle. During a stop at Watson’s neighbors’ farm, brothers Meryl, seated on tractor, and Larry Parrott, were in the process of planting Silver Queen corn and gave a planting demonstration. Pictured from left in center of photo, Jerry Watson, Creekside Ag Teacher Traves Hyman and SFCFB member Gary Childress helped with the demonstration. After a lunch of grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, cooked by SFCFB members, the students toured a hay field where they watched Tim King bale hay.

SPALDING COUNTY Spalding County Farm Bureau worked with the Spalding County Extension Office and the Kiwanis Club of Griffin to host the county’s annual farm day April 30 at the Kiwanis Fairgrounds in Griffin. About 900 first-grade students learned about Georgia agriculture as they rotated through stations showcasing cows, horses and chickens. The students also learned about bees, wheat, clover and dairy products. TALIAFERRO COUNTY Taliaferro County Farm Bureau (TCFB) held a dairy day for first through third-grade students at Taliaferro County School in April. TCFB members Wayne and Pet Williams, pictured, who own a dairy, told the students how they care Georgia Farm Bureau News

for their Holstein cows and how the cows produce milk. The students watched the video “Milk on the Mooove,” produced by the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association (SUDIA). Each student received a gift bag with SUDIA coloring books, crayons and brochures about dairies. TCFB President Bobby Moore and TCFB Promotion & Education Chairman Linda Franklin also helped with the presentation.

TOOMBS COUNTY Toombs County Farm Bureau hosted a Farmers Feed Veterans lunch on May 25 in celebration of Memorial Day. TCFB President Chris Hopkins, second from left, welcomed Toombs County veterans to the lunch. Veterans attending the event were, pictured from left, Anson Calloway, Jesse Pittman, TCFB Director Johnny Jones, TCFB Director P.A. Grace, Joel Peacock, Mel Taylor, George King, Robert Jacoby, Burton Berridge and Jerome Powell. Hopkins thanked the veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice so that he and other farmers can farm and raise their families in this great country. TURNER COUNTY Turner County Farm Bureau held a Meet & Greet Breakfast

June 25 for the local community to meet candidates running for Georgia House District 155. A special election was held July 14 to fill the seat of former Rep. Jay Roberts, who was appointed planning director of the Georgia Department of Transportation earlier this year. Candidates Scott Downing, Horace Hudgins, Sherry Miley, and Clay Pirkle spoke at the event. Hudgins and Pirkle will vie for the seat in a runoff on Aug. 11. UPSON COUNTY On May 5, Upson County Farm Bureau (UCFB) joined forces with Ag South, UpsonLee FFA and Upson County 4-H to hold the county’s annual farm day. The event included 13 exhibits that introduced students to ag jobs, farm animals, forestry fire safety, farm tools and products. More than 1,500 elementary students, teachers, and parents from Upson-Lee North and South attended the event.

Evans, Sills assume new roles with GFB Jed Evans, who has been the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Coordinator since 2010, is stepping into a new role as executive director of the GFB Foundation for Agriculture and will serve as programs manager for all programs in the GFB Field Services Department. Taylor Sills has been named the new young farmer coordinator. Evans began his GFB career in September 2007 as a commodity specialist. He has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Georgia Southwestern. He and his wife, Shanna, live in Cochran with their son, Oliver, where they operate an agritourism and pickyour-own operation, Daisy Adams Farm. Sills, a graduate of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and the University of Georgia, has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from UGA. He has managed the grain desk of the GFB Commodities/Marketing Department for the past 2 1/2 years. Prior to joining GFB, Sills worked at the Georgia Federal-State Inspection Service in Albany. “Jed has been working to establish Georgia Farm Bureau’s Foundation for Agriculture since its inception and is doing a great job generating county support for it,” GFB President Zippy Duvall said. “We believe Taylor will bring strong leadership to our growing Young Farmer Program.”



UGA Agroforestry & Wildlife Field Day Sept. 17 • 8 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. Westbrook Farm, UGA Griffin Campus This event, hosted by the UGA Griffin Campus every three years, will provide attendees with information on ways to increase the value of their land. Federal and state government agency officials and representatives of private business will provide management recommendations and demonstrate real-life techniques at this educational event, which features more than 30 topics, including wildlife openings, pond management, feral hog issues and more. Continuing Education Credits (CEU) are available for several fields, including pesticide, forestry, loggers, arborist and wildlife. Registration is $25 prior to Sept. 3 and $30 after, which includes lunch. Preregistrants will receive an Agroforestry and Wildlife Field Day ball cap. A field trip opportunity with special pricing is available for high school students. For information or for registration information, visit www.

Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2015 / 23

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Georgia Farm Bureau News - August 2015