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FARM BUREAU’S

Georgia A

PUBLICATION

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THE

GEORGIA

Fall 2015 Vol. 20, No. 2

FARM

BUREAU


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Contents Fall 2015 • Vol. 20, No. 2

Highway 301 GA Grown Trail spotlights Southeast Georgia

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Georgians can easily discover the tastes, sights and sounds unique to Southeast Georgia by traveling Highway 301, the newest Georgia Grown Trail.

PCFB President James Casey marks half century of ag advocacy

Children’s book promotes blueberries

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Photo by Jay Stone

In December, Polk County Farm Bureau President James Casey will mark his 50th anniversary as president. During this time he’s worked to help his local Farm Bureau thrive while representing the farmers in his county and teaching consumers about agriculture.

Farmers markets connect consumers with farmers

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Bacon County is considered the blueberry capitol of the world. When the local Farm Bureau couldn’t find a children’s book that accurately depicted the crop to read in local schools they decided to write their own.

Backyard poultry owners encouraged to protect their birds from avian flu

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Georgia is preparing for the possibility that the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus could be brought to Georgia this fall by birds flying south for the winter. Backyard poultry flocks are more likely than birds in poultry houses to be exposed to migratory birds carrying the virus. Learn how you can protect your flock.

Several county Farm Bureaus are either coordinating or sponsoring markets in their communities to connect consumers with the farmers growing their food. This summer, GFB reporters visited markets organized by the Jackson, Paulding and Rockdale/Dekalb Farm Bureaus.

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Monitoring Georgia Agriculture

Winners of GFB YF contests announced

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The Georgia Farm Monitor, produced by Georgia Farm Bureau, will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.

Photo Contest winners capture rural life

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Check out the winners of our annual photo contest. Judging by the 258 photos we received, we know lots of our GFB members have front row seats to the beauty of God’s creation as they go about their daily lives. We encourage you to keep your cameras handy in the coming months and be prepared to submit your photos in the 2016 GFB Photo Contest. Look for contest details on the GFB website next spring. Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015

GFB Ag Foundation offering scholarships

Georgia students have until Feb. 5, 2016, to apply for one of the many scholarships the Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture will award.

35-37

Meet the state winners of Georgia Farm Bureau’s three Young Farmer contests named in July. The state winners will compete for national honors at the American Farm Bureau convention in January and have a chance to win fabulous prizes.

departments We, the Farmers .......................................... 2 Insurance Update ....................................... 10 Legislative Update....................................... 12 Kids Corner................................................. 18 Member Services Update .......................... 20 The Georgia Gardener................................ 22 Something’s Cooking.................................. 28 You may read the Georgia Neighbors in its entirety online. If you would like to opt out of receiving a printed copy of the Neighbors please send an email to georgianeighbors@ gfb.org. Please provide your name as it appears on your Farm Bureau membership card along with your membership number. When we publish the 2016 spring issue we’ll email you a link to our website.

WANT TO SUBSCRIBE? All Georgia Farm Bureau members will receive the Georgia Neighbors. If you are not a farmer member and you’d also like to receive the Georgia Farm Bureau News, fill in this coupon and send it to: Georgia Farm Bureau News, P.O. Box 7068, Macon, GA 31209. Non-members can subscribe to both publications for $15/year. Send a check made payable to GFB and mail to above address.

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about the cover

(Photo by Chad Sumner) Cook County Farm Bureau member Chad Sumner entered this photo titled “Farm Sunrise” in the GFB Photo Contest. He captured this peaceful shot while goose hunting on his farm. Sumner raises cattle and grows corn, cotton, hay, peanuts, timber, tobacco and watermelons. “I don’t consider myself a photographer,” Sumner humbly said of his beautiful photo. “I just take advantage of where I am, what I see, and the fact I have a camera on my phone.”

GFB Membership # ���������������������������

Questions about Member Services? Call 1-800-633-5432. Regarding editorial content, call 478-474-0679, ext. 5334

Questions about Advertising? For advertising rates and information, contact Linda Fuda at 513-307-7949 or lfudamedia@gmail.com

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FARM BUREAU’S

Zippy Duvall, President

Making the right decisions For the past nine years that I’ve served as your Georgia Farm Bureau president, my wife, Bonnie, and I have traveled all across our great state each fall attending Farm Bureau district and county annual meetings. In addition to giving us a chance to visit with Farm Bureau members across Georgia, attending these meetings has allowed us to travel the back roads of Georgia where we’ve seen farmers harvesting their apple, corn, cotton, soybean, pecan and peanut crops. From the colorful mountains of North Georgia to the snowy white fields of cotton in South Georgia, our state is a beautiful place to travel in the fall. This summer I decided to run for president of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) after AFBF President Bob Stallman announced he will not seek another term after leading the organization for 16 years. I made my decision after several state Farm Bureau presidents asked me to run and after much prayer with my family. I love my job as Georgia Farm Bureau president 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 rural Georgia and Georgia’s farmers, but I believe the diversity of Georgia’s agriculture has prepared me to represent all of America’s farmers. AFBF is a critical grassroots organization that provides an avenue for farmers and ranchers to engage in the important national conversations that affect our agricultural communities, just as Georgia Farm Bureau serves as the voice of Georgia’s farmers and rural communities. During my time as GFB president, I have led Farm Bureau by building relationships with state and national legislators and building bridges with other state and national ag leaders to solve problems facing agriculture and consumers. With my 2

friend Bob stepping down, I have felt a calling to step forward and offer myself for the national position because I have seen firsthand what farmers are up against in Washington as GFB has worked to represent the concerns of Georgia’s farmers in D.C. on national issues. Two of the national issues facing agriculture that must be addressed are legislation proposed in Congress that would mandate our food be labeled if it contains genetically modified organisms that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ruled scientifically sound and the attempt by the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration to extend its authority over private land through its Waters of the U.S. Rule. The AFBF presidential election, which is for a two-year term, will be held Jan.12, 2016, at the annual AFBF convention in Orlando, Florida. Each state is allotted voting delegates based on its number of Farm Bureau members. Additional delegates come from the AFBF Women’s Leadership and Young Farmers & Ranchers Committees and the sitting AFBF president for a total of 355 voting delegates. The next AFBF president will need the support of 178 voting delegates at the convention. 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. Many of you reading this article aren’t farmers. You joined Farm Bureau to gain access to one of our member benefits such as insurance or our discount programs, or you may have joined because you see the efforts GFB makes to help rural communities thrive by supporting local sports teams, 4-H and FFA programs. You may be wondering what my decision means for your membership. Thanks to the dedicated leaders our members have elected to serve on our state board and our professional staff at our home See WE, THE FARMERS page 25

A

PUBLICATION

OF

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GEORGIA

FARM

BUREAU

Issued twice a year by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation, located at 1620 Bass Road, Macon, GA 31210.

SUBSCRIPTION RATES Farm Bureau Members: Included in dues — $1 per year OFFICERS VINCENT “Zippy” DUVALL, President GERALD LONG, 1st Vice President and South Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS, North Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN JR. Middle Georgia Vice President WAYNE DANIEL, Chief Operating Officer DUKE GROOVER, General Counsel JON HUFFMASTER Chief Administrative Officer & Corp. Secretary DAVID JOLLEY Chief Financial Officer & Corp. Treasurer 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 INFORMATION STAFF Andy Lucas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director Jennifer Whittaker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Editor Jay Stone . . . . . . . . Publication/Web Specialist Lillian Davis . . . . . . . . . Publications Manager Ray D’Alessio . . . . . . Senior Producer/TV Host Michael Edmondson . . . Web/Video Manager Mark Wildman . . . . . . . . . Radio-TV Specialist Dean Wood . . . . . . . . . . . Radio-TV Specialist Damon Jones . . . . . . . . . . Radio-TV Specialist Kenny Burgamy . . . . . . . . Radio-TV Specialist Vickie Amos . . . . . . . . . . . Office Coordinator ADVERTISING POLICY Georgia Farm Bureau Federation reserves the right to accept or reject all advertising requests. 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 Farm Bureau’s Georgia Neighbors. For advertising rates and information, contact Linda Fuda at 513-307-7949 or lfudamedia@ gmail.com. Farm Bureau’s Georgia Neighbors was established in 1995. Copyright 2015 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, GA. www.gfb.org

Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


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Highway 301 GA Grown Trail spotlights Southeast Georgia treasures By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________

The 55 businesses that signed up to be trail stops will receive two years of promotion on more than 10 websites, a double-sided reflective road sign and other marketing tools for a $150 fee. Participating businesses include well-known names such as The Claxton Bakery, Georgia Fruitcake Company, Wade Plantation Pecans, The Macot Pecan Company and smaller family businesses like Old Freeman Family Farm, Hunter Cattle Company, D.C. Durrence Farm, Poppell Farm and too many more great destinations to list them all. “Congratulations to the communities and to the leaders who caught the vision for this trail and came to the meetings and made the phone calls to make this happen,” Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black said. “Almost seven hundred businesses, farms and processors across the state are participating in the Georgia Grown program. Advancing our local communities and economies is what this program is all about.” Ann Purcell, who serves on the Georgia Department of TransSee HIGHWAY 301 page 16

Watermelon Creek Vineyard, outside Glennville, is one of the stops along the Georgia Grown Highway 301 Trail.

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Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

“Rediscover America on the backroads,” is the theme of Georgia’s newest Georgia Grown Trail – Highway 301. Georgians who travel the scenic route will have the chance to discover the rich tastes, sights and sounds unique to Southeast Georgia. The trail, which runs from Charlton County on the Florida line north through Brantley, Wayne, Long, Tattnall, Evans, Bulloch and Screven counties on the South Carolina border, will feature agritourism venues, local restaurants, art galleries and unique shops. At press time, 55 businesses had enrolled in the program and will be promoted as trail stops along the 8-county route. “It’s unbelievable what this will do for agritourism and our local economies by bringing people into our counties. We’re excited about what this is going to do,” said Georgia Rep. Bill Werkheiser (R-Dist. 157), who sponsored the legislation that designated U.S. Highway 301 as a Georgia Grown Trail. “This wouldn’t have happened without the local Chamber of Commerces in the trail counties.”

_______________________________________________

Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


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Dr. Cherukuri knew that untreated hearing loss could lead to depression, social isolation, anxiety, and symptoms consistent with Alzheimer’s disease. He could not understand why the cost of hearing aids was so high when the prices on so many consumer electronics like TVs, DVD players, cell phones, and digital cameras had fallen. Since Medicare and most private insurance plans do not cover the costs of hearing aids, which traditionally run between $2,000-$6,000 for a pair, many of the doctor’s patients could not afford the expense. Dr. Cherukuri’s goal was to find a reasonable solution that would help with the most common types of hearing loss at an affordable price, not unlike the “one-size-�its-most” reading glasses available at drug stores.

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Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015

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Polk County Farm Bureau President

James Casey

A half-century of agricultural advocacy

Photo by Sue Cuzzort

Photo by Jay Stone

The second-floor landing By Jay Stone was moved to the lot, and _________________________________________________________ in the old Polk County brick siding was added. There administrative building is was room for people to walk about 5 feet by 12 feet, a around inside. Insurance could humble space for a humble be sold. beginning. “For a while there the Until the mid-1960s, that’s membership dues were where Polk County Farm $10 and we had about 300 Bureau called home, with members. About 100 of those room for a desk, two chairs and members would not renew a filing cabinet. PCFB was able unless I came after it. They to use the phone that belonged paid faithfully if I would come, to the local UGA Cooperative but they would not send it in. Extension agent. Part of the reason was that they It’s also where Polk County wanted to tell me what was Farm Bureau President James wrong with Farm Bureau, so Casey, then 29 years old, took Polk County Farm Bureau President James Casey has held his I gave them the opportunity,” position for 50 years, guiding the county Farm Bureau chapter Casey said office in December 1965. “I didn’t decide I wanted to through two moves, including the construction of the current office By the early 1980s, Polk in 1984. be president, the county did,” County Farm Bureau had Casey says as he reminisces on the past 50 years, all of which he has outgrown the office on East Avenue and broke ground on the spent as the PCFB president. “I don’t remember how I got elected, current office on East Ware Street, moving there in 1984. Today, who nominated me or anything about that meeting. I just know I PCFB has more than 1,800 members, and the office has grown was elected and started serving that night.” from one secretary and one insurance agent to an office manager, a If 50 years seems like a long time, consider that Casey still lives secretary and three agents. on the farm where he grew up. The house he and his wife, Jean, share Now 79, Casey has presided over the PCFB’s growth, and while at is just a few hundred yards from the house where he grew up and the times he would have been happy if someone else had assumed Farm barn where he began milking cows after school in the first grade. Bureau leadership in the county, his attitude has always been that “I didn’t have to get up and milk in the morning until I was in someone had to be an advocate for agriculture. Might as well be him. the second grade,” Casey said. To explain why, he referenced a quote often attributed to By 1965, Casey remembers, PCFB was already moving toward Edmund Burke: “All that’s required for evil to prevail is for good leaving the administration building, which is now occupied by men to do nothing.” Grace Baptist Church. Georgia Farm Bureau had formed its Casey has continued to push forward to help advance agriculture, lending a local insurance company in 1959, voice when Farm Bureau took and the county government steps to ease difficult times for couldn’t allow PCFB to sell farmers. insurance out of the county “He just wanted to be sure building. that farmers had a voice in So Casey’s first order of government and everywhere business, inherited from his else,” said Jean, to whom predecessor, Chris Sewell, James has been married for was to get the organization its 56 years. “He wanted to make own place. Sewell had started people realize that if it weren’t the process of raising money for agriculture you wouldn’t for land and a building, and have the financial basis for by 1967, PCFB managed to anything else.” acquire a lot on East Avenue in When farmers had trouble Cedartown and an out-of-use finding quality fertilizer, the Sunday School building from Pine Bower Church in west James Casey on the landing that was the Polk County Farm Bureau organization arranged to See CASEY page 16 Polk County. The building office when he took office as PCFB president in December 1965. 6

Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


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Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015

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Bacon County Farm Bureau publishes children’s book to promote blueberries By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________

T

he old English proverb “Necessity is the mother of invention,” sums up how the Bacon County Farm Bureau (BCFB) came to write a children’s book about blueberries. “We send our Farm Bureau volunteers into our local primary schools to read books about agriculture. Since Alma is the blueberry capitol of the world, we wanted a book about blueberries to read,” Sara Walker, BCFB secretary explained. “I looked for a book that accurately tells how blueberries are grown and couldn’t find one. I thought about it and decided ‘Who better to write a blueberry book than Farm Bureau?’” So, the BCFB Young Farmer and Women’s Committees joined forces to write and publish its just-off-the press book, “Hi, I’m Billy Blueberry, This is My Story.”

that part. “The team at Bacon County Farm Bureau was tremendous in making this project happen,” Wade said. “We had to list an individual as the author for copyright issues. If we could have put Farm Bureau as the author we would have.” Wade, who graduated from the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences with an ag economics degree in 2012, gained his knowledge of blueberries as he grew up working at the blueberry nursery his grandfather, Donald, started and his dad, Lane, has continued. In addition to growing blueberry bushes that they sell to other growers, the Wades also grow blueberries as a crop and have about 400 acres of blueberries.

Blueberries are the only crop the Wades grow, but they also grow grape, fig, raspberry, pomegranate and blackberry plants to sell through their nursery. Brandon has two older brothers – Bryan, the oldest who helps run the nursery, and Bradley, who does a little bit of everything on the farm. His sisters, Briana and Brooklyn, also grew up helping out on the farm. Brandon’s main focus is running the packing shed during harvest season and maintaining field health in the off-season.

A picture is worth 1,000 words

After writing the book, the next hurdle was finding the right artist to illustrate it. Walker See BOOK page 30

8

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Write what you know

Brandon Wade, a third-generation blueberry farmer and BCFB Young Farmer chairman, volunteered to write the book. As a blueberry farmer, Wade had two goals in writing the book: he wanted to educate children as to how blueberries are grown, and he wanted to teach children and their parents about the nutritional benefits of blueberries – that they’re high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. “McDonald’s has been successful because they put their message directly to children,” Wade said. “Why not put a book in children’s hands that makes them think, ‘Where does my food come from?’ and puts into their minds, ‘This is something I may want to eat!’” Writer’s block wasn’t a problem for Wade, who said, “I knew everything that I wanted to include in the book. I had enough information in my mind to write a 132-page book. The problem was narrowing the information down and writing it on a basic level for children.” He credits Walker for helping him with

Bacon County Farm Bureau Secretary Sara Walker worked with BCFB Young Farmer Chairman Brandon Wade and BCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Peggy Lee to publish “Hi, I’m Billy Blueberry, This is My Story.” Walker said the book was designed to teach children how blueberries are grown and to promote the blueberry industry, the main money-maker in Bacon County. Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


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Insurance UPDATE

By Gary Willis

Let’s hope that you are one of the few who has never had the need to speak with a claims representative other than to just say hello in the grocery store. Odds are, however, that is not the case. You have probably had a claim before, and you may have another one in the future. So what should you expect from your claims representative, regardless of the insurance company they work for or the type of claim you in which you are involved? First and foremost, you should be treated with the attention you deserve. This includes your claims representative contacting you promptly and “setting expectations.” Success can be defined as getting you back to your pre-loss condition as quickly as possible on a covered loss. This is the goal Georgia Farm Bureau has and this should be your expectation.

“Setting expectations” for settling a claim

Georgia Farm Bureau Casualty Claims Associate Emanuel Monroe is one of the claims representatives at our state office with whom you may work if you file a claim with GFB.

ask them. Our claims representatives are trained to set the expectations of how your claim will progress, so you can focus on overcoming the disruption to your life your claims event has caused.

How a claims rep. should communicate during your claims process

If given a choice, it is always best to overcommunicate rather than under communicate. Georgia Farm Bureau claims

Photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club

To Georgia Farm Bureau, it means giving you an overall idea of how your claim will proceed. You should not have too many claims experiences over the course of your lifetime, but when you do, we realize you have questions. A proactive claims representative should be able to anticipate your questions and answer them for you before you even

Photo by Lili Davis

Great Expectations: What should you expect from your claims representative?

Call 1-855-432-2567 to report a claim. Should you suffer damage to your car, an appraiser will assess the damage to facilitate your claims process.

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representatives are expected to keep you informed throughout your process and in some instances, follow up with you after your claim is concluded, just to make sure you don’t have any further questions about your claim. If you ever feel you do not have the whole picture on your claim, we would encourage you to call your claims representative and ask those questions so you can have the best claims experience possible. When a loss occurs, please notify Georgia Farm Bureau as soon as possible by calling 1-855-432-2567 seven days a week/24 hours a day. For glass claims only, call 1-866-842-3276. Experiencing a traumatic event that results in a claim is hard enough by itself, and hopefully most of you will not have to experience it too often. But when you do, we want to be there for you. You should see your claims representative as a tool to guide you through the claims process. Georgia Farm Bureau is committed to returning you back to your normal life as quickly as possible. This is a commitment to you that we take seriously. We appreciate the opportunity you have given us to serve your insurance needs, because we know you have choices and you chose us for a reason. Gary Willis is the associate director of the GFB Claims Department. Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


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Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015

11


Legislative UPDATE

By

Jon Huffmaster

12

bee decline is not a problem. Georgia Farm Bureau is working with farmers, beekeepers, scientists and other stakeholders to develop a plan to reduce the loss of honey bee colonies. However, in order to find a solution, it is important to understand what the real problem is. Honeybees are not native to the Americas; they were brought in by European settlers. There have been various periods in history when honeybees went into decline. Scientific literature mentions several periods of honeybee disappearance in the 1880s, the 1920s and the 1960s. Then, as now, the cause was a mystery. Today, the loss of honeybees is often attributed to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). This disorder was first discussed in 2006, and scientists have been trying to find answers ever since. The main symp-

Photo by Scott Bauer, courtesy of USDA, ARS

Rahm Emanuel, Chicago mayor and former advisor to President Obama, once said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” More and more, it seems the federal government is governing by this philosophy. History has shown people are more apt to give away their liberties if they are convinced the government is protecting them from eminent danger. This is the case with the rhetoric swirling around the disappearance of honeybees. Albert Einstein has been attributed with saying, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years left to live.” There is no good evidence to demonstrate Einstein made this comment. More important, Einstein was no authority on insects. He was a brilliant physicist, but he was not an entomologist. “Honeybees are responsible for every third bite of food we eat,” is another popular phrase that shows up on various websites and articles about honeybee decline. If that statement is to be believed, the entire world will experience food shortages unless we get a handle on this crisis. Desperate times call for desperate measures! Dr. Keith Delaplane, an entomology professor and noted bee expert at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (UGA CAES), wrote an article earlier this year in which he referred to some of these “pseudo quotes.” According to Delaplane, “About 75 percent of the world’s crops benefit to some degree from animal pollination; only 10 percent of that 75 percent depend fully on animal pollination.” Delaplane also referred to a recent analysis of yearly crop data maintained by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization from 1961 to 2006 on the question of the importance of animal-vectored pollination. The study concluded that the proportion of global food production attributable to animal pollination ranges from five to eight percent. These numbers contrast sharply with the oft-quoted phrases. None of this data suggests that honey

Photo by Sandi Williams

Bee decline requires perspective to find real solution

An adult female Varroa mite, visible as a brown, oval shape, feeds on the midsection of a developing worker bee.

toms include a hive with a queen, a nest of bee eggs, adequate food stores, a few dead bees, but very few worker bees. Due to the lack of worker bees, the hive cannot support itself and dies. The USDA published a “Report on the National Stakeholders Conference on Honeybee Health,” in 2012. According to the report, there is consensus that CCD is caused by a complex set of stressors and pathogens. However, one thing was very clear: “The parasitic mite Varroa destructor remains the single most detrimental pest of honeybees, and is closely associated with overwintering colony declines.” A Varroa destructor is a surprisingly large tick-like mite that is an external parasite of honeybees. In addition to sucking the juices from adult bees, the female mites lay eggs inside the brood cells of bee larva just prior to capping. According to the UGA CAES, “Most infested colonies die within 1 to 2 years if the beekeeper does not take action against Varroa mites.” On May 29, EPA issued a proposed rule to “Mitigate the Exposure to Bees from Acutely Toxic Pesticide Products.” In the rule, EPA states, “The Presidential Memorandum specifically tasked EPA to assess the effect of pesticides, including neonicotinoid pesticides, on the health of bees and to take the appropriate actions to protect pollinators.” The USDA Agricultural Research Service states, “The pesticide class neonicotinoids has been accused of the cause of CCD. The neonicotinoids were developed in the mid-1990s in large part because they showed reduced toxicity to honeybees compared with previously used organophosphate and carbamate insecticides.” This proposed rule will prohibit use of pesticides during flowering periods of plants. Anyone who grows tomatoes, melons, squash, peppers, and many other fruits and vegetables will know that flowering overlaps with harvest. UGA CAES vegetable entomologist Dr. Alton Sparks noted, “To attempt to produce many of these crops without insecticide inputs from blooming See CCD page 31 Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


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•  Clean and disinfect equipment that comes in contact with your birds or their droppings, including cages and tools. • Remove manure before disinfecting cages. • Properly dispose of dead birds. •  Use municipal water as a drinking source instead of giving chickens access to ponds or streams. The avian influenza virus can live for long periods on surface waters.

Backyard poultry owners encouraged to protect their birds from avian flu By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________ The number of Georgians keeping To protect backyard chickens, University backyard chickens has skyrocketed in of Georgia Cooperative Extension offers recent years as more people are raising their small flock owners these recommendations. own food. Following the outbreak of avian influenza that hit turkey and egg producers KEEP YOUR DISTANCE in the Midwest earlier this year, Georgia is •  Restrict access to your property and preparing for the possibility that the disease your birds. could be brought to Georgia this fall by •  Consider placing the birds inside a migratory birds flying south for the winter. fence, and only allow those who care for Backyard poultry flocks are more likely the birds to come in contact with them. than birds in poultry houses to be exposed •  If visitors have backyard chickens of to migratory wild waterfowl carrying the their own, do not let them come in highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) contact with your birds. virus, Georgia Department of Agriculture • Game birds and migratory waterfowl State Veterinarian Robert Cobb said. should not have contact with your flock. To prepare for the possibility of HPAI • Keep chickens inside a pen or coop, and being diagnosed in Georgia, the Georgia do not let them run free. Department of Agriculture (GDA) is encouraging Georgians with backyard KEEP CLEAN poultry to identify their premise with the •  Wear clean clothes when coming in GDA. Backyard poultry owners who do contact with your birds; scrub your so will receive regular e-newsletters from shoes with disinfectant. the GDA with tips to protect their birds, •  Wash your hands thoroughly before notifications of breaking news and updates, entering the chickens’ pen. and will receive a quicker response time if • Clean cages and change food daily. their poultry is in danger. Visit http://agr. • Keep stored feed in enclosed containers georgia.gov/backyard-poultry-owners.aspx and protected from wild birds and to register or learn more about HPAI. vermin. 14

DON’T BORROW THE VIRUS

•  Do not share tools, equipment or supplies with other bird owners. • If you do bring borrowed items home, clean and disinfect them before you bring them home.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

DON’T BRING DISEASE HOME

• If you have been near other birds or bird owners, at a feed store or bird hunting, for instance, clean and disinfect your vehicle’s tires and your equipment before going home. Shower and put on clean clothing before approaching your flock. • Keep any new birds or birds that have been off-site separate from your flock for at least 30 days.

TO REPORT SUSPECTED CASES OF AVIAN FLU

Early detection is critical to prevent the spread of avian influenza. If you suspect your flock is infected, call the GDA Animal Health Office & State Veterinarians’ Office at 855-491-1GDA or the Georgia Poultry Laboratory Network at (770) 766-6810. To learn more about how to care for backyard flocks, see the UGA Extension publications on the topic at extension.uga. edu/publications or visit http://agr.georgia. gov/backyard-poultry-owners.aspx Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


Know the signs of a sick bird Poultry infected with HPAI may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms: • A sudden increase in deaths, a clear-sign of the N5NW strain of the virus • A drop in egg production, or eggs that are soft, thin-shelled or misshapened • A lack of energy or poor appetite • Watery and green diarrhea

• Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs and legs • Swelling eyes

around

the

• Nasal discharge Source: USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service

Frequently Asked Questions Courtesy of the Ga. Dept. of Agriculture What is HPAI? Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is a strain of avian influenza characterized by high morbidity and mortality in poultry, as high as 100 percent. Can HPAI infect humans? No human cases of AI have been confirmed in the U.S. This particular strain of the virus is not zoonotic, meaning it cannot pass between humans and animals. Public Health is closely monitoring the virus because AI viruses can mutate easily. Therefore, precautions should be taken. At this time,

AI is an animal health issue, not a food safety or public health issue. Is it safe to consume chicken and eggs? All commercially produced poultry is tested for avian influenza prior to being allowed to be processed for human consumption. Poultry products and eggs are still safe to eat. Backyard flocks are not routinely tested as commercial flocks are. Poultry industry recommendations for handling and cooking of poultry should be followed to minimize risks. How does the virus spread in poultry? Avian Influenza is highly

contagious and easily spreads in birds. Wild waterfowl are a reservoir for the virus. The virus can be spread bird-to-bird, by human movement such as trucks, trailers, clothing, equipment, and airborne transmission. Where did the virus originate? How did it get to the United States? It is believed the virus migrated through wild waterfowl flocks from Asia to Canada. From there, wild birds travel in four different flyways heading south for the winter. During the migration in 2014, the virus circulated among wild birds and backyard and domestic poultry (both chickens and turkeys).

#1 Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is real. And while there are currently no known cases in Georgia, it is critical that everyone working on poultry farms should follow strict biosecurity measures to prevent HPAI from making its way onto Georgia farms. The economic impact across the state could be devastating. ALL IN means ALL OF US practicing biosecurity measures ALL THE TIME. Catching avian influenza on your farm means your chickens are ALL GONE. The flock will be depopulated, and your farm will be quarantined. Help us help you by educating ALL of your farm workers and ensuring they follow simple, preventative biosecurity procedures ALL the time, every time. We are all in this together. Protect your farm. Protect your livelihood. Be on the lookout for biosecurity tips and other information about avian influenza in the coming weeks and months.

A message from the Georgia Poultry Federation.

www.allinallgone.com

Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015

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HIGHWAY 301 from page 16 portation Board and emceed a kickoff event for the trail in August, shared childhood memories of her parents running a restaurant on the highway when it was a major route from North to South. “My parents believed in homegrown food and it was certainly served by my parents at their Glenn Haven Restaurant when Highway 301 was the North-South Highway for snowbirds,” Purcell recalled. Georgia Sen. Jack Hill (R-Dist. 4) said a recent trip he took to Maine reminded him of how important a highway can be to local communities. “If I-95 and I-75 had never been built that’s what 301 and U.S. 1 would look like,” Hill said. “This movement to coordinate agriculture activities and business is so vital to the future of our state.” The trail is the third highway in the state to receive the Georgia Grown Trail designation from the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Department of Transportation and Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Tourism Division. The other two Georgia Grown Trails are Highway 37, which runs through nine Georgia counties from Clay County on the 16

Photo by Jay Stone

Polk County Farm Bureau President James Casey and his wife Jean in the PCFB office.

communications between its national headquarters and the state and county Farm Bureaus by installing a series of satellite communications facilities. Casey lobbied to get one of the satellite dishes in Polk County and GFB’s then-president Mort Ewing agreed. Polk County was the first county Farm Bureau in the state to have one of the dishes, and Casey made the first phone

call using it, connecting with then-Senator Wyche Fowler in Washington. “I’m proud of the fact that I have lasted this long, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished here,” he said. “But, I’m not an advocate of trying to see how long you can be president. It’s very possible that Farm Bureau might be better off without the same person being president all the time.”

Alabama line to Clinch County in Southeast Georgia and Highway 41, which runs from just south of Barnesville to the Georgia-Florida line below Valdosta. Farmto -table restaurants, wineries, you-pick

farms, and other agritourism attractions are featured on these trails. Visit www.georgiagrowntrail301.com for a complete list of trail stops and more information about the trail.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

CASEY from page 6 have supplies of it brought in and sold it to farmers. When prices for baling twine soared, Farm Bureau bought it in bulk and sold it. In both cases, Casey said, farm suppliers lowered their prices to Farm Bureau’s. “This happened with a lot of commodities we were selling,” Casey said. “Other people would meet what we were doing, so as far as I’m concerned we did our job. It’d be nice if we could make money with it, but our job is to help agriculture. Getting into it and having somebody else come in and match that, sometimes that’s the best way we can help.” During his presidency, PCFB has developed local political forums to engage candidates on agricultural topics and farm days for school children. The county chapter’s young farmer program has enjoyed successes too. Current PCFB Vice President Chad Carlton won the GFB Discussion Meet in 2007. Carlton and his wife, Julie, won the GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award in 2011. In the late 1980s the American Farm Bureau Federation decided to upgrade

Becky Anderson, left, and her husband, Danny, owners of Old Freeman Family Farm in Screven County, a Georgia Grown HWY 301 trail stop, tell Wayne County Tourism Executive Director Heather Altman about the special events, such as weddings, reunions and birthdays, they host at their farm. Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


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Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015

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By Donna Rocker, Ag in the Classroom Coordinator 478-474-0679, ext. 5365 or dhrocker@gfb.org

Feeding a growing world “Civilization as it is known today could not have evolved, nor can it survive, without an adequate food supply.” Norman Borlaug It is predicted that our world population will reach 10 billion in 2050. As our world population continues to grow, the challenge for ensuring an adequate food supply while preserving our resources increases. Agriculture strives to meet this challenge through modern practices. You can learn more by matching the vocabulary words to the definitions. See if you can find the words on the Word Search. A. The transmission of genetic charac- F. A Hungarian engineer who first used the term “biotechnology” in a teristics from parents to offspring. B. The total amount of genetic infor- paper published in 1919; considered mation in the chromosomes of an or- the “father of biotechnology.” ganism, including its genes and DNA G. The process of manually removing, modifying or adding new DNA to an sequences. C. A branch of biology that deals with organism. The goal is to add one or the heredity and variation of organ- more new traits that are not already found in that organism. The new orisms. D. The study of living things, including ganism developed is called a GMO. structure, function, growth and origin. H. A living thing that has the ability to E. Deoxyribonucleic acid: an extreme- act or function independently. ly long macromolecule that is the main I. The basic structural and functional component of chromosomes and is unit of all organisms. the material that transfers genetic J. Branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technicharacteristics in all life forms. R K T S L Y C H R O M O S O M E S X I N J R I

M A E I N B M C P E A F C L S V P R O T E I N

A R C R I O Z T I E O M L V I M A Q R R T O O

N E H Y B R I D I Z A T I O N C U A Q E R R R

B B E I N O A M K A J S Q S T N C A H Y D F O L N H B E A G U T I L S B G S N E U S F G M A

I A L K O L O G N C I O Y T R F M K B M T T N

O K O D O C E E B L I G B I O O L E U F O I B

T U G U D E P G J A K F P C T A B O A G C L O

E C Y A H M A E H B X J I S D D Y T D Q E A R

C M I F Y O O N E T I C S D X E H O P E N I L

H R B A B N N E T E N E P L O Y B K F H C J A

N C V I I E S T M A E P B I O M O G Q J M T U

O O K T Z G N I R E E N I G N E C I T E N E G

Answer key on page 31 18

L C I H M V R C C T I C O L A S L I R I R G Q

O L M O S O M S U K A R L E R E K Y T U B K E

G O S C Y I T S B N I O O V D Z B V G E D M N

Y T I D E R E H A A C J G E N E P M O F N U E

O L O G Y L E H Y B Z V Y X E U Y F A I A E J

D Q D H M H L N O L Y G D Y E T I C S Q L G G

cal means to solve scientific problems. K. Threadlike bodies found in the nucleus, or center part, of a cell that carry the information of heredity. L. A heredity unit consisting of a sequence of DNA that occupies a specific location on a chromosome and determines a particular characteristic in an organism, such as hair color. M. A set of tools that uses living organisms (or parts of organisms) to make or modify a product, improve plants, trees, or animals, or develop microorganisms for specific uses. N. A molecule composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific order. They are required for the structure, function and regulation of an organism’s cells and tissues. O. Crossing of individuals from genetically different strains, populations or species. P. A specific characteristic of an organism which can be determined by genes or the environment, or more commonly by interactions between them. Q. An American agronomist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his lifetime work to feed a hungry world through his efforts to combine agricultural research into technologies and work with political leaders to feed billions of people around the world. 11. Hybridization 1. Biology 12. Cell 2. Technology 3. Biotechnology 13. Chromosomes 14. Genetics 4. Gene 15. Karl Ereky 5. Trait 16. Genetic 6. Heredity Modification 7. DNA 17. Norman 8. Protein Borlaug 9. Genome 10. Organism Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


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Member Services UPDATE

ByJay

Murdock

GFB committed to offering valuable member benefits

G

eorgia Farm Bureau uses the size and strength of its membership numbers to negotiate partnerships with reputable companies who offer exclusive discounts to our members. Our goal is that every one of our valued members will be able to review the portfolio of member services and benefits

and select one or more that will save them much more than their $25 membership dues. Our leadership and staff are committed to researching, selecting and offering the best-quality and best-valued services available. GFB members saved more than $3 million through our member benefit programs in 2014.

INSURANCE SERVICES

The Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company is the largest personal lines property casualty insurance company based in the state of Georgia. Since 1959, we have provided trusted and secure insurance services to our membership. Our focus is serving the interests and insurance needs of Georgia residents and only Georgia residents. We’re owned by our members, which means we are 100 percent owned by Georgia policyholders. We’re also a local company with 158 county offices statewide. Our agents are your neighbors, and they know and serve the residents of the counties in which they live. Our local focus combined with our personal service is why so many Georgia Farm Bureau members stay with us throughout their lives. GFB strives to be Georgia’s insurance company of choice for farm, automobile, life and home insurance. We offer coverage for almost every line of insurance, and in addition to our own products, your local Georgia Farm Bureau agent has strategic partnerships with the finest insurance providers in the industry. In other words, we’ve got you covered!

FINANCIAL SERVICES

We are proud to offer financial services through Farm Bureau Bank. Farm Bureau Bank was created by state Farm Bureaus to serve Farm Bureau members. Farm Bureau Bank supports the financial needs of members in 44 states. It is one of the strongest and most secure banks in the nation today with an unprecedented commitment to help Farm Bureau members achieve personal and professional goals. Offering deposit services, business services, vehicle loans, equipment loans, credit cards and more, Farm Bureau Bank is the bank of choice for Farm Bureau members. See your local Farm Bureau agent for more information.

FORD BONUS CASH PROGRAM

Georgia Farm Bureau members can get $500 bonus cash savings toward the purchase or lease of any eligible Ford 20

Below is a listing of some of our most popular member benefit programs. I encourage you to learn about and take advantage of all of the benefits and services available to you as a member. Thank you for your support of Georgia agriculture and thank you for allowing us to serve you.

vehicle or $750 on any eligible Lincoln vehicle. Members who have been active and in good-standing for at least 30 days are eligible to participate in this valuable offer. Visit www.fordspecialoffer.com/farmbureau/ga to take advantage of this exclusive member benefit.

HOTEL SAVINGS PROGRAMS

Farm Bureau members can save 20 percent off regular room rates at any of the Choice Hotels shown above. Reservations must be made in advance by either booking online at www.choicehotels.com or calling 1-800-258-2847. When booking online, click on the “Select Rate” drop-down menu and choose “Special Rate/Corp ID.” Enter the new Farm Bureau identification number of 00216530 and make your reservation. If you choose to make your reservation over the phone, please be sure to give the agent the ID number to ensure your reservation is booked at the correct rate. As a member of Georgia Farm Bureau, you will receive up to 20 percent off the “Best Available Rate” at nearly 7,000 participating Wyndham Hotels locations. Reservations must be made in advance by booking online at www.wyndham.com or calling 1-877-670-7088. When booking online, click on the “Enter promo/corporate #” link. Enter GFB code 1000000498 in the “Corporate ID #” box and make your reservation.

IDENTITY THEFT CONSULTATION & RESTORATION SERVICE*

Identity Theft is the fastest growing crime in America and in 2014 was the number one complaint to the Federal Trade Commission for the 15th consecutive year. Fortunately, you can rest easy knowing that your Farm Bureau membership includes access to Identity Theft Consultation and Restoration Services for all eligible** family Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


members in your household. Carry on with life knowing that a dedicated recovery advocate is working on your behalf to restore your identity and won’t stop until your identity is returned to pre-theft status. *Program is not identity theft protection, an insurance product or credit monitoring. **GFB member, spouse and children under the age of 19 (or 24, if a full-time student)

GRASSHOPPER

Receive 15 percent off MSRP as a Georgia Farm Bureau member on any make or model of Grasshopper True ZeroTurn™ mower and any parts or accessories purchased at the same time with the mower. Find your local grasshopper dealer today by visiting www.gfb.org/benefits/grasshopper.html. Proof of GFB membership is required.

CAR RENTAL DISCOUNT PROGRAM THEME PARK DISCOUNTS

Your Farm Bureau leaders believe that family is a precious gift and realize the importance of spending time with our families and making memories. Take advantage of every moment and enjoy exclusive discounted tickets at each of the parks shown above as an added value of your Farm Bureau membership! Visit www.gfb.org/benefits for details and to purchase discounted tickets.

AirMedCare NETWORK

AirMedCare Network is an alliance among Air Evac Lifeteam, Med-Trans Air Medical Transport, EagleMed, and REACH Air Medical Services, creating America’s largest air ambulance membership program. Your membership with Air Evac Lifeteam enrolls you in all four – giving you coverage in over 220 locations across 27 states. Georgia Farm Bureau members are eligible for a special “members-only” rate. To enroll by phone call 800-7930010 or contact your coun­ty Farm Bureau for an application. Be sure to provide the Georgia Farm Bureau member code to receive the members-only rate: GFB member code 7809. You may also enroll via our website at www.gfb.org/benefits using the online GFB member code:7809-GA-BUS.

CASE IH

Georgia Farm Bureau members will receive a manufacturer’s incentive discount of up to $500 on many Case IH tractors and implements. Negotiate your best deal with your preferred Case IH dealer and then present your certificate for further savings. To learn more about this program, find a dealer or obtain your discount certificate visit http://www.gfb.org/benefits. Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015

We’ll put you on the road to savings… As a Farm Bureau member, you can save up to 20 percent on car rentals through Enterprise, National, Alamo and Hertz Rent-A-Car (discount varies by brand). Visit www.gfb. org/benefits, click on “Car Rental Discount Program,” then click on the car rental company of your choice to book online, or use the listed discount phone number and discount code if reserving by phone.

MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLANS Georgia Farm Bureau has partnered

with our friends at Tennessee Farm Bureau to offer a GFB-branded Medicare Supplement Program. Through their Health Insurance Company, Tennessee Rural Health (TRH) and its subsidiary, Member’s Health Insurance Co. (MHI), we are able to offer our senior members very competitively-priced Medicare Supplements. Visit www.gfb.org/benefits or call (888) 708-0123.

POLARIS

Georgia Farm Bureau members will receive an exclusive manufacturer’s incentive discount of up to $300 on Polaris All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV), Utility Vehicles (UTV) and GEM® Electric Utility Vehicles. Polaris is headquartered in the United States and is a global leader in the manufacture of ATVs and neighborhood electrical vehicles. Negotiate your best deal with your preferred Polaris dealer and then present your discount certificate for further savings. To learn more about this program, find a dealer or obtain your discount certificate visit http://www.gfb.org/benefits/. Must be a member for at least 30 days.

T

he Member Services Department is continuously assessing Farm Bureau membership benefits in an effort to bring you valuable offers in the future. If you have any questions about your membership or member benefits, please contact your county office or call the Member Services Department at 1-800-633-5432, select Option 1.

21


two sizes too small and a towel wrapped over your mouth and nose. How vigorously would you be able to move each day? Clay soil is the plant equivalent of a human straitjacket. Clay resists root penetration, excludes oxygen and holds too much water. The cause of most perennial plant problems is a poor soil environment. Sandy soil, on the other hand, gives plants too much of a good thing. Imagine going through life having to grab food from passing traffic. Imagine being tossed into a pool to get drinking water and then drying out quickly thereafter. Soils full of sand do not hold nutrients or moisture very long. Added soil conditioner absorbs fertilizer and water, slowly giving plants what they need. In almost all Georgia soils, adding organic matter is a great idea before planting.

Add Lots of Organic Matter

There are good economic reasons for fall planting, too. Nurseries have plants that have been growing in the same containers all season. Woody plants will be bigger, and they will make a more immediate visual impact. Prices may actually be lower as nurseries make room for Christmas trees or as they reduce inventory for the slower winter months. At a nursery, daylilies won’t be blooming and the hostas may look tired, but rest assured that their half-price tag makes up for their temporary lack of blooms.

I’ve been landscaping around a new water feature in my backyard. The soil around it is pure clay, yet I want ferns, hardy begonia, and seasonal annuals to thrive there. I dug up a section, chopping and loosening the clumps of clay, and added a two-inch thick layer of soil conditioner on top of the mound. I have a little 2-cycle tiller that makes short work of mixing the clay and the conditioner eight inches deep, but you can accomplish the same with just a shovel. The newly enriched soil assures me that the plants will prosper for years to come.

Soil Conditioner is Important

Fertilize When Plants Need It

Save Money

I often stress that research does not support adding soil conditioner (also known as organic matter or compost) to the area around a single tree or shrub. They might enjoy the rich soil so much that their roots never explore the harder soil outside the initial planting area. A drought can quickly harm these plants with small root systems. Research is unequivocal about adding soil conditioner to annual and perennial beds. It is absolutely imperative! Imagine going through life wearing a thick belt around your ankles, underwear

When feeding plants, whether a tree, shrub, lawn, perennial or annual, there is a good time and a not-so-good time. Generally speaking, plants need nutrients when they are making vigorous growth. For a fescue lawn, vigorous growth begins in fall so fertilizing in fall, winter and spring makes sense. But Bermudagrass, St. Augustine grass, and Zoysia grass are dormant in the cool season, so feeding them then just wastes money and time. Shrubs and trees generally benefit when fertilized in spring, at the beginning of their

Properly preparing your flowerbed and adding the nutrients your soil needs will keep your pansies blooming throughout the winter.

growing season. Contact your local University of Georgia Extension office (800-ASKUGA1) for directions on how to test your soil to determine the nutrients it needs and when to add them. Like most efforts in life, the quality of your preparation and execution determines your outcome. Whether you are considering landscape renovation, transplanting a few shrubs, or installing a bed of pansies, prepare now to give your plants the soil environment and nutrients they deserve.

Photo by Andy Lucas

Good gardeners know that most trees, shrubs, vines and perennial flowers grow best when planted in fall. There are several reasons why it is better to plant in the cooler months. The most important is soil temperature. Roots grow best when the soil is warm, between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. A fall-installed tree, shrub or perennial uses several weeks of vigorous root growth to ready itself for winter and for years of healthy growth. September and October provide ideal temperatures to get perennial plants off to a good start. Spring planting is usually a bit less successful because root growth is limited by cold soil. In years with a long, cool spring, soil might not warm to 55 degrees until May! If a dry summer follows spring planting, the inadequate root system of springplanted shrubs and trees could lead to their death in mid-summer.

Walter Reeves, known as “The Georgia Gardener,” is a retired UGA Extension Agent who offers down-home gardening advice on his weekly radio show every Saturday from 6:30 to 9 a.m. on Atlanta’s WSB 750 AM & 95.5 FM. Visit www. walterreeves.com for more gardening tips from Reeves.

“There are good economic reasons for fall planting.” 22

Photo courtesy of Walter Reeves

By Walter Reeves __________________________________________________________________________

Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


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Paulding County Farm Bureau Farmers Market Thursdays until Nov. 19 3 P.m.-7 p.m. Paulding County High School For more information contact Tracy Grice at the Paulding County Farm Bureau at 770-445-6681 or email her at tcgrice@gfb.org. Vendors sell locally grown produce or other ag commodities or homemade crafts. Rockdale County Farmers Market Tuesdays & Saturdays thru Nov. 21 8 a.m.-noon. Thursdays thru Nov. 19, 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Rockdale Co. Extension Office, 1400 Parker Rd. • Conyers Rockdale/DeKalb County Farm Bureau manages this market with support from the Rockdale County Extension. Local farmers sell their products directly to the public. For more information contact RDCFB Office at 770-922-3566. Union County Farmers Market Tuesdays thru Oct. 27 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays thru Oct. 31 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. 148 Old Smokey Road • Blairsville This market, supported by the Union County Farm Bureau, offers locally grown produce, eggs, meats, artisan cheeses, breads, jams, honey and crafts. For more information contact Mickey Cummings or Kristy Peney at farmersmarket@uniongov. com or 706-439-6043. 24

County Farm Bureaus sponsor Farmers Markets to connect consumers with farms

Farmers markets have grown in popularity in recent years as the demand for locally grown food has risen and consumers have become increasingly interested in knowing the farmers who grow their food. Several county Farm Bureaus across Georgia are either coordinating markets in their communities or sponsoring existing ones. This summer, GFB reporters visited markets organized by the Jackson, Paulding and Rockdale/Dekalb Farm Bureaus. You’ll find a list of other Farm Bureau supported markets that run into November on page 40. By Jay Stone & Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________

Jackson County By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________ The idea for the Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm Cultivators Market was born last December in a Kroger parking lot. Jackson County Farm Bureau (JCFB) Office Manager Denise Temple and Susan Chaisson, a descendant of the Shields-Ethridge Family, struck up a conversation about their desire to start a market and their idea blossomed. The Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm is an outdoor ag museum that is unique for its collection of historic buildings that exist in their original location and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Temple had been looking for an opportunity for the JCFB to get involved with a market, and Chaisson had been talking

about holding a market at the farm during the summer. Both ladies have a passion for educating young people about farm life and how food is grown. “It upsets me that kids have no idea where their food comes from,” said Temple, who grew up on a poultry and dairy farm and then farmed with her husband for years. The market was held the third Saturday of each month from April through October with a different theme highlighting an aspect of agriculture production or ag history. The market featured commodities grown by local farmers along with food and crafts made by local entrepreneurs. Vendors sold a variety of products including bakery products, honey, dog treats, fresh cut flowers, soaps, handmade baskets, stationery and wooden pens. Musicians provided live See MARKETS page 34

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Hinesville Farmers Market Thursdays until Nov. 19 4 p.m.-7p.m. Downtown Hinesville This market, sponsored by Liberty County Farm Bureau, offers customers fresh local produce, cut flowers, plants, baked goods, specialty foods, and crafts. Market is held in Bradwell Park on Commerce St. across from the Hinesville City Hall. For more information call the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority at 912-8774332.

Tiffany and Jason White pose with the jams and jellies they were selling along with fresh produce on the porch of the Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm’s commissary building.

Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


WE, THE FARMERS from page 2 office, I am confident GFB will continue to Farm will award be aGeorgia strong voice Georgia agriculture, Georgia FarmforBureau Bureau will award aa total of $14,250 in scholarships support rural communities and continue total of $14,250 in scholarships to to 10 10 high school seniors who plan to pursue to offer its members the outstanding memhigh school seniors who plan to pursue an degree in berundergraduate benefits we have become known for an undergraduate degree in agricultural agricultural and environmental sciences, family through the years. and environmental sciences, family and and consumer sciences or agricul Speaking of working together, a big consumer sciences or aa related related agricultural issue field. Georgia tural field. agriculture is facing this fall The top will each is the possibility that students wild waterfowl The top three three students will could each receive a scholarship of $3,000. The bring avian influenza to Georgia as receive a scholarship of $3,000. they The remaining seven students will each remigrate south for the winter. Turkey remaining seven students will each and reegg producers in the Midwest suffered devceive a $750 scholarship. ceive a $750 scholarship. astating losses this spring andan as consumers Students submitting applicaStudents submitting an applicayou’ve probably experienced sticker shock tion must currently be a Georgia tion must currently be a Georgia high high at the grocery store when you’ve bought school school senior senior and and plan plan to to enroll enroll in in aa eggs or turkey due to the System decreaseof in Georsupply unit of the University unit of the University System of Georthe virus has caused. during the 2014gia gia or or Berry Berry College College during the 2014 Georgia’s poultry sector has a $38 bil2015 2015 academic academic year. year. lion impact on the state economy and the jobs of about 138,000 Georgians depend on poultry directly or indirectly. More than two-thirds of Georgia’s 159 counties have poultry production. On an average day, Georgia poultry farmers produce 29.3 million pounds of chicken, 6.9 million table eggs and 5.5 million hatching eggs. eanut fans If avian influenza comes to ouraa daily state, eanut fans have have daily to win a vacaall Georgians will chance be impacted one way chance to win a vacation and hundreds or another. More Georgians have flocks of tion and hundreds of of other prizes until Nov. 30. backyard chickens both in rural and urban other prizes until Nov. 30. Vacation choices cities as more peopledestination have taken an interVacation destination choices include California, Colorado, est in raising their food in recent years. include California, Colorado,I applaud folks wanting to grow Visit their New York or New for York or Florida. Florida. Visit own food,http://www.EnergytoBurn.org but I encourage anyone with a http://www.EnergytoBurn.org backyard to flock of chickens to check out the to register register for for aa chance chance to to win. win. After After registering, registering, participarticipants play a pants play a game game called called “Crack “Crack the Peanut” for chance theof Peanut” for aaArtisans chance to to win win Best Tift Area instant prizes like peanut instant prizes like3peanut and and Through Nov. peanut butter iPods cards. peanut butter packs, packs, iPods and and gift giftTifton cards. GA. Museum of Agriculture, IfIf you crack three peanuts that match, crack peanuts you More thanthree 50 pieces of artthat are match, showthen you’re an instant winner! then you’re instant winner! cased in thisanjuried exhibit displayed at the “When itit comes to getting an “When comes getting through through an Georgia Museum of to Agriculture. Call 229early morning or long day, everyone wins early morning or long day, everyone wins 391-5205 or visit www.abac.edu/museum with peanuts. At grams with peanuts. At seven seven Admission grams per per isservservfor more information. $7 ing, peanuts have more energy-boosting ing, peanuts more energy-boosting Tues.-Fri andhave $10 on Saturdays. protein protein than than any any nut, nut,”” said said Bob Bob Parker, Parker, Christmas at Traveler’s Rest president and CEO of the National president and CEO of the National PeaPeaDec. 12 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Burn nut nut Board. Board. “Through “Through the the Energy Energy to to Burn 4339 Riverdale Rd. celebrate Toccoa sweepstakes sweepstakes we’re we’re able able to to celebrate the the Experience Christmas inre-energize a historic power of peanuts and help power of peanuts and help re-energize stagecoach inn abuilt in the early 1800s. Americans Americans with with a fun fun vacation. vacation.”” Enjoy hot cider, to teacakes and classic holi-is The “Energy Burn” sweepstakes, The “Energy to Burn” sweepstakes, is day music. Call 706-886-2256 orBoard visit sponsored sponsored by by the the National National Peanut Peanut Board gastateparks.org/TravelersRest forFarms, more and co-presented by Hampton and co-presented by Hampton Farms, information.Skippy. Admission is $5. Planters Planters and and Skippy.

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Georgia Happenings

Georgia Neighbors••Fall Fall2015 2013 Georgia Neighbors Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2013

article on page 14 that offers precautions your county Farm Bureau youContact should take to protect flock from Contact your countyyour Farm Bureau office for more information or an applithe possibility of catching avian influenza office for more information or an application. The deadline is and spreading this virus across our state. cation. The application application deadline is FebFebruary 21, 2014. Applications must Agriculture offers a lot of exciting ruary 21, 2014. Applications must be be apapproved and career for our Farm youngBureau people provedopportunities and signed signed by by the the Farm Bureau president of in the apand I’m excited announce that the president of the thetocounty county in which which theGFB applicant resides or attends high school. Foundation for Agriculture is offering up plicant resides or attends high school. to You may also aa copy of $65,000 scholarships next year. In addiYou in may also download download copy of tion to offering scholarships to graduating the application by visiting http://www. the application by visiting http://www. high school seniors who planand to pursueAg ag gfb.org, gfb.org, selecting selecting Programs Programs and then then Ag degrees, GFB will now offer scholarships in the Classroom. in the Classroom.   to students pursuing ag-related degrees at The The Georgia Georgia Farm Farm Bureau Bureau MuMutechnical colleges, to college juniors and tual Insurance Company and tual Insurance Company and the the GFB GFB seniors and to veterinary college students. Women’s Women’s Leadership Leadership Committee Committee sponsponYou’ll find all the details on page 26. sor the scholarship program. sor the scholarship program. Winners Life is fullwill of decisions and no oneMay can Winners will be be announced announced in in May make them for you. Sometimes our liveli2014. 2014. hood depends on us changing lifelong hab-

its. Biosecurity is not hard, just a matter of us changing our habits and being aware of what’s important no matter whether you are a backyard poultry producer or a contract grower for a poultry company. Then there are decisions in our life that deal with how and where we give back and serve others. Sometimes these decisions require a lot of prayer and soul searching. Deciding to run for the presidency of American Farm Bureau was one of those decisions. Bonnie, the family and I truly are seeking God’s will in our lives and Farm Bureau. Isaiah 6:8 spoke to my heart one day and the decision was settled. In this verse the prophet Isaiah writes, “I heard the voice of the Lord, saying; “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

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For For more more information, information, or or to to apply, apply, contact contact your your local local Farm Farm Bureau Bureau agent agent today today Existing Farm Bureau Bank vehicle loans are excluded from this offer. Farm Bureau Bank vehicle loans excluded this *Existing Rates disclosed as Annual Percentage Rate are (APR) and arefrom based onoffer. automated payments (ACH) and acquiring one of the following collateral protection products: Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) or Major * Rates disclosed as Annual Percentage Ratediscounts (APR) and based automated payments (ACH) and acquiring of the The following collateral Guaranteed Protection (GAP) Major Mechanical Protection (MMP). Additional doare apply for on purchasing more than one collateral protectionone product. advertised APR protection of 2.99% isproducts: effective as of January Asset 31, 2013. Final APR mayordiffer from the Mechanical Protection (MMP). Additional do apply for purchasing one collateral product. Thewith advertised APR of 2.99%ais45effective of January 2013. FinalAPR, APR the maymonthly differ from the loan interest rate due to additional fees (such discounts as a loan documentation fee, whichmore maythan be applicable). For aprotection $25,050 vehicle loan a term of 36 months, day firstaspayment date31,and a 2.99% payment loanbeinterest rateTodue to additional fees (suchrate, as acustomer loan documentation fee, Bureau which may be applicable). a $25,050 loan with a termterm of 36and months, a 45 daydate. first payment date and 2.99% APR, the monthly will $727.76. qualify for the disclosed must be a Farm member. Rates mayFor vary based onvehicle the amount financed, first payment Non-member ratesa may vary. Finance charges payment accrue will be $727.76. To theThe disclosed rate,increase customer mustthe be term a Farm Ratespayments may varyare based on the amount financed, first payment ratesmodel may vary. Finance charges from origination datequalify of the for loan. APR may during of Bureau the loanmember. if automatic discontinued for any reason. term Someand restrictions applydate. basedNon-member on the make and of vehicle offered as accrue from origination the loan. The APR may increase during term of evaluation. the loan if automatic payments are discontinued any reason. Some restrictions based on the make and model of vehicle offered as collateral. All loansdate are of subject to credit approval, verification, andthe collateral Other rates and financing options arefor available. Non-member rates mayapply be 1-3% higher than posted rates. Loans for RVs, motorcycles, collateral. All loans are subject to credit approval, collateral Other rates andstates financing options available. Non-member maynotice. be 1-3% higher postedare rates. Loans for RVs, motorcycles, trailers, ATVs, watercraft and commercial vehicles verification, may be 0.50%and higher. This evaluation. offer is not available in all and rates and are terms are subject to change rates without Rates andthan financing limited commercial vehicles may be 0.50% higher. Thisdoes offer not available in all statesorand rates and termsBanking are subject to change without notice. RatesBank, and financing totrailers, vehicleATVs, modelswatercraft 2004 andand newer and subject to change. Farm Bureau Bank notis finance totaled, rebuilt salvaged vehicles. services provided by Farm Bureau FSB. 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.

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GFB Ag Foundation offering $65,000 in scholarships Application deadline is Feb. 5, 2016 The Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Foundation for Agriculture is offering up to $65,000 in scholarships to Georgia students pursuing a degree related to agriculture, veterinary medicine, family and consumer sciences or a related field. GFB is expanding its scholarship program after establishing the foundation earlier this year, GFB President Zippy Duvall recently announced. For more than 40 years the organization has annually awarded scholarships to high school seniors entering college with plans to pursue a degree in agriculture or family and consumer sciences. In 2016 the GFB foundation will award scholarships in the following four categories. Scholarship for Agriculture – This scholarship is for high school students who plan to enter a college that is part of the University System of Georgia or Berry College during the 2016-2017 academic year to pursue an undergraduate degree in

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agricultural and environmental sciences, family and consumer sciences or a related agricultural field. The GFB Foundation will award five scholarships of $3,000 each and seven scholarships of $1,500 each. Technical College Scholarship for Agriculture – This scholarship is for high school students who plan to enroll in a Georgia accredited technical college who will be majoring in an area of agriculture or agriculturally related field of study. The GFB Foundation will award 10 scholarships of $1,000 each. Rising College Junior/Senior Scholarship for Agriculture – This scholarship is for college students who have at least two semesters of college work remaining to receive an undergraduate degree from a unit of The University System of Georgia or Berry College and are majoring in agriculture and environmental sciences, family and consumer sciences or a related agriculture field. The GFB Foundation will award 10 scholarships of $2,000 each. UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Scholarship – This scholarship is for students currently enrolled in the UGA Veterinary Medicine program specializing in large animal/food animal practice. The GFB Foundation will award two scholarships of $2,500 each.

“Agriculture has a great need for welltrained individuals equipped with the skills that a higher level of formal education provides to meet agriculture’s growing technology and research needs,” said Duvall, who chairs the GFB Foundation for Agriculture’s Board of Directors. “Georgia Farm Bureau wants to financially assist students who are pursuing a career in agriculture and will be the future leaders of our industry.” The deadline to apply for all of the scholarships is Feb. 5, 2016. Applications and scholarship eligibility requirements may be obtained from county Farm Bureau offices across Georgia or downloaded at the GFB Foundation for Agriculture website at www.gfbfoundation.org. The scholarship recipients will be announced in spring 2016, and the scholarships will be distributed in the summer of 2016.

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Photo courtesy of Jackson County Farm Bureau

The GFB Foundation for Agriculture will award up to 20 grants of $350 each to county Farm Bureaus for programs that increase ag literacy in their communities.

GFB Foundation for Ag to award $7,000 in grants to county Farm Bureaus Deadline for applications is Dec.15 By Jay Stone ___________________________________ The Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is taking applications for its initial round of grants to Georgia county Farm Bureaus for programs that help advance agricultural literacy, consumer education or leadership development. “Expanding our agricultural literacy programs was a key reason we started the GFB Foundation for Agriculture,” said GFB President Zippy Duvall. “We’re very proud to offer this first round of grants to help our county Farm Bureaus have the resources they need to continue working to connect their communities with the farm.” Grants of up to $350 are available in two yearly cycles – a winter/spring cycle with an application deadline of Dec. 15 and a summer/fall cycle with an application deadline of June 30. A maximum of 20 grants will be awarded in each cycle. Each county Farm Bureau is eligible to apply once per calendar year. Funding is not available for mileage, field trips, landscaping projects, butterfly gardens, wages and benefits, safety programs or one-time consumable products like copy services, paper or meals. For the winter/spring cycle, grant recipients will be notified by Jan. 15, 2016, and the funds will be issued by Jan. Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015

31, 2016. Payments will only be made to a county Farm Bureau. Selected projects are required to submit a follow-up report, including at least two photos, within 30 days of the

event supported by the grant. The grants will be offered on a competitive basis with priority given to those programs demonstrating a need for financial support. Applications and grant guidelines can be accessed by county office staff on the GFB Sharepoint site. Completed applications should be mailed to Jed Evans, at P.O. Box 7068, Macon, GA 31209 or sent via email to jcevans@gfb.org. The GFB Foundation for Agriculture is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation. Donations are tax-exempt. GFB is using the foundation to finance activities and educational materials designed to increase the agricultural literacy of Georgia residents.  The foundation focuses on four pillars to promote the mission of enhancing agricultural literacy across Georgia. These pillars are: Ag in the Classroom, educational outreach, scholarships, and leadership development. For more information about the GFB Foundation for Agriculture or to make a donation, visit http://www. gfbfoundation.org.

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Something’s Cooking Cindy’s Georgia Apple Pie Courtesy of Cindy Arnold, GFB Commodity Dept. Sr. Administrative Asst.

Toasted Georgia Pecans

From GFB & GDA Meals from the Field 1 tbsp. olive oil 2 tsps. garlic salt 1 tsp. salt or to taste 1 lb. Georgia pecans

Combine oil and salt in the bottom of a baking sheet, toss in pecans coating well. Bake at 350o F for 20 minutes turning several times. Makes 2 cups. 28

Directions Place one refrigerated pie crust in bottom of pie pan. Peel and core apples in large bowl and cut into thin pieces. Add sugar, apple pie spice and flour to the apples. Mix well and pour mixture into the bottom pie crust. Cut your butter into small pieces and place on top of the apple mixture. Cut vent holes in the center of the other crust and place on top of apple mixture. Crimp both crusts together around edges. Bake at 375o F for about an hour. Editor’s note: Any variety of apple may be used, but if using a tart apple Cindy says to increase the amount of sugar by 1/4 cup. Be sure to cut apples into thin slices rather than chunks! If you cut apples into chunks, precook apples until they are soft before baking pie.

her to share the recipe. This will become your “go to” apple pie recipe. It’s that good! Cindy, thanks for sharing your recipe! Our classic toasted pecan recipe comes from Georgia Farm Bureau’s “Meals from the Field” partnership with the Georgia Department of Agriculture. You can view the monthly cooking segments on the Farm Monitor YouTube Channel at http:// www.youtubecom/Georgiafarmmonitor.

Spicy Roasted Peanuts with Green Onions

Ingredients 2 cups roasted peanuts 1/2 cup sugar 11/2 Tbsp. peanut oil 11/2 Tbsps. kosher salt or to taste 1 Tbsp. five-spice powder* 1 Tbsp. red chili powder or to taste 1/2 cup chopped green onions

Directions Place the peanuts and sugar in a nonstick pan over moderate heat. Stir until the sugar starts to melt, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drizzle the oil on the peanuts then add the salt, five-spice powder and chili powder. Stir another 3 to 5 minutes. The sugar on the peanuts will start to harden and become crunchy. Remove the peanuts from the heat and immediately add the green onions. Toss several times and transfer to a cookie sheet to cool. Serves 5.

Courtesy of National Peanut Board

I

t’s fall and that means Georgia apples, pecans and peanuts are in season. We’re featuring three recipes that use these fall commodities and are sure to earn you rave reviews when you serve them at your tailgates, fall parties or holiday gatherings. After hearing about the delicious apple pie Georgia Farm Bureau employee Cindy Arnold makes for her coworkers, we asked

Stock photo

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Ingredients 8 or 9 Georgia apples (any variety) 11/2 cups of sugar 1/2 tsp. apple pie spice 2 Tbsps. flour (self-rising or plain) 1 stick salted butter Two refrigerated pie crusts

Editor’s note: Five-spice powder usually consists of cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, black pepper and cloves. It may be found in the Asian food section of most grocery stores or Google it to find a recipe and make your own. Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


Consumer Reports study could mislead consumers about beef safety By Beef Checkoff ___________________________________ A Consumer Reports article, “How Safe is Your Beef?” released Aug. 24 includes misleading information that could increase consumer confusion about food safety, beef safety experts contend. “I have relied on Consumer Reports when purchasing cars and electronics but unfortunately this report will not help consumers when purchasing safe ground beef. The good news is the bacteria found in the Consumer Reports tests are not the type of bacteria commonly associated with foodborne illness in ground beef,” says Mandy Carr-Johnson, Ph.D., senior executive director, Science and Product Solutions, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. “As an industry, our number one priority is producing the safest beef possible. Ground beef is the safest it has ever been with greater than 90 percent reductions in bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7 and significant reductions in salmonella in recent years.” Carr-Johnson says the only helpful takeaway from the report for consumers is that all ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160o F and confirmed with an instant-read meat thermometer, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Other food safety experts are concerned the Consumer Reports article misleads consumers into thinking that organic and/ or grass-fed beef is safer. According to the USDA, “organic” and “grass-fed” labels do not imply any additional safety factor. “Our concern is that leading consumers to believe organic and grass-fed beef are safer could make them think they do not need to cook those products to 160o F, creating a food safety concern,” says Dr. Mindy Brashears, a professor of food microbiology at Texas Tech University. “It is important to note that bacteria was also found in the organic and grass-fed samples. The bottomline is that no matter what the label says ground beef should be cooked to 160 ºF as a final step to ensure safety.” The good news is the Consumer Reports Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015

study did not find pathogenic bacteria like shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STECs) in any of the samples, including conventional beef. Controlling pathogenic bacteria is the key in terms of ensuring safety. Unfortunately, the Consumer Reports study confuses that issue with the finding of generic E. coli and other bacteria that are not commonly associated with illnesses from consuming undercooked ground beef. “Both S. aureus and C. perfringens found in the Consumer Reports study are toxin-producing bacteria that are typically associated with picnictype food poisoning cases where food has been left out for long periods of time at the incorrect temperature, not undercooked ground beef,” says Brashears. Also, use of the term “sustainable” in the article is incorrect and misleading. “Organic” and “grass-fed” are marketing terms that are not an accurate indicator of sustainability nor safety. Research has found that the efficiencies created by conventional methods of raising beef have led to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, water use and resource consumption and energy use. “All beef production models can be sustainable,” says Dr. Kim Stackhouse, executive director of sustainability for NCBA. “Beef sustainability is defined as producing more product with fewer inputs, which is the goal of every beef producer in this country. To cattle farmers, sustainability means balancing environmental responsibility, economic opportunity, and social diligence while meeting the growing global demand for beef.” From an environmental impact perspective there are trade-offs between grain and grass-finished animals – it is important to recognize that the sustainability of beef is extremely complex – some of these tradeoffs include: grass-finished beef have a significantly higher carbon footprint (ranging from 15-30 percent higher) because of the increased methane cattle produce on a grass diet and because they take a much longer time to reach slaughter weight. “We believe that all beef can be

sustainable and that all farmers and ranchers can improve their sustainability, which will be critical if we are to be successful in feeding the growing global population, which will require 70 percent more food by 2050,” says Stackhouse. The NCBA recently directed the most comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) ever conducted on the beef value chain. The LCA shows how management changes over time have improved the sustainability of beef and will help cattle producers raise more sustainable beef in the future. The LCA measured 14 different sustainability indicators between 2006 and 2011, and demonstrated that in just six years the beef supply chain improved its overall sustainability by 5 percent and its environmental and social sustainability by 7 percent. The Consumer Reports article highlighted some of the indicators. Specifically, the beef industry LCA demonstrated an increase in water quality of 10 percent, greenhouse gas emissions were decreased by 2 percent and water use declined by 3 percent. The majority of these improvements were due to more efficient utilization of resources and specific to See BEEF page 31

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like a farmer, if I can’t do it with these two hands I don’t want to do it.” During the 20 years he’s worked as a freelance artist, Bedgood has done a variety of projects including custom designs for motorcycles and cars, painted signs, murals and fine art.

Going to press

After writing and illustrating the book, the next step was finding a publisher. Wade and Walker said they opted to use a publisher rather than self-publishing to get help navigating copyright issues and obtaining a Library of Congress number. “I just feel like this book was a God thing all the way through,” said Walker, a Bacon County native who moved home about 15 years ago when she and her husband, Ray, retired from Atlanta. “We were just fortunate to be at the right place at the right time and have the right people working on this project.” Walker said the group had selected a publisher, but then, at the last moment, learned the company had bad reviews and began its search again. That’s when the committee found Westbow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers, which handles

smaller books. “We almost got scammed but found one with a good reputation who we are really happy with,” Wade said. Walker said it cost almost $8,000 to publish and print the book. “The blueberry farmers have been so good. They gave us enough money so we could publish and print the books,” Walker said. “Hi, I’m Billy Blueberry, This is My Story,” is available on Amazon, eBay and at Barnes & Noble. You may also order it directly from Bacon County Farm Bureau by calling 912-632-4716 between 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. or emailing sjwalker@gfb.org. Books ordered from BCFB cost $17 plus shipping. County Farm Bureaus ordering multiple books will be given a discount. “All the money from book sales is going to be used by the Bacon County Farm Bureau for ag literacy programs in schools,” Wade said.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

BOOK fron page 8 and Wade said the book committee interviewed seven artists before striking gold with Edward “Eddie” Bedgood. “None of the artwork the other artists submitted had the right feel that we wanted,” Walker recalled. “Then I remembered Eddie Bedgood and asked him to submit a picture. He came right over the next day with a couple of pictures, and we realized we had our illustrator!” Walker asked Bedgood to sketch out the whole book. Bedgood said he was too busy, but it rained that weekend, and so he ended up sketching the book in one weekend. Bedgood’s secret to illustrating the book was simple. Design it for the intended audience and do it from the heart. “What they wanted that they couldn’t describe were illustrations that came from a person’s hand,” Bedgood explained. “They wanted this book to appeal to children. The only way to get it to appeal to children is to make it look like something a child did.” Bedgood achieved this by creating illustrations that look like a child’s coloring book that has been colored by a child. In places he purposefully colored outside the lines and used graduated shading to get a childlike effect. A native of Bacon County, Bedgood grew up with the blueberry industry as it developed in Southeast Georgia. He spent summers working for blueberry farmers doing everything from planting bushes to working in the packing sheds. “I’ve done every single bit of it from picking in the early days when there were no machines. I’ve run harvesters, I’ve run [labor] crews, cleaned up packing plants, cleaned up machinery,” Bedgood said. “This is where the knowledge came to do this book and my passion for the blueberry industry.” Bedgood got his first commissions as an artist in second grade when he would draw cartoon characters on his classmates’ notebooks for 50 cents. He moved away in the 1980s to attend the Art Institute of Atlanta. After graduating from art school, he worked for leading ad agencies including Ogilvy & Mather and Communicorp where he worked on major accounts such as CocaCola. He walked away from corporate life when the ad business started relying on computers to create graphic designs. “I got tired of the rat race and moved back to Bacon County,” Bedgood said. “I’m

Artist Eddie Bedgood, left, and blueberry farmer Brandon Wade, pose with their recently published children’s book, “Hi, I’m Billy Blueberry, This is My Story.” Illustrating and writing the book was a labor of love for the two who both grew up around blueberries in Bacon County. Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


BEEF fron page 29 water quality are also a result of better land application of manure to fertilize croplands instead of synthetic fertilizers. Regarding the link between production method and antibiotic resistant bacteria mentioned in the article, there is no indication Consumer Reports verified whether any of the beef samples actually came from animals that received antibiotics. This calls into question the validity of the results. Just because the samples were labeled grass-fed or natural does not necessarily mean they were not given an antibiotic. “Antibiotic resistance is a very complex issue being addressed both in human and animal medicine. The FDA has released guidance, which is eliminating the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in animals, but the ability to use antibiotics in animals is important. Just like humans, animals get sick from time to time and to not treat them with antibiotics would be inhumane,” says Carr. The National Beef Checkoff program provided this response to a Consumer Reports article released Aug. 24. To learn more about beef production and nutrition visit www.facts aboutbeef.com. CCD fron page 12 to harvest is impractical, if not impossible.” Arbitrarily assigning blame to pesticides, specifically neonicotinoids, lacks scientific justification and will not reverse the decline of bee populations. It doesn’t appear that EPA’s proposal takes into account ongoing efforts farmers are making to minimize pesticide exposure to honeybees. In its proposal, the EPA is adopting a view that undermines its scientific program of analyzing chemicals and their benefits when used in carefully prescribed conditions. To

– Kid’s Corner Answer Key – 1. D 2. J 3. M 4. L 5. P 6. A 7. E 8. N 9. B 10. H 11. O 12. I 13. K 14. C 15. F 16. G 17. Q

T E N C H R O M O S O M S E S P R O T E I N

C O I

R

O

N T

B I O T I O L O G M A S E S G A C I F

H Y B R I D I Z A T I O N A G R O T I L A E U F O I R M A N B

E C H N O L O G Y C M O N E G N E N E T I C S R E K E A N R I B I O L O D G E O N R M E E C K I I Y T T E E N D E O R L A U G

issue a blanket prohibition on a lengthy list of active ingredients, irrespective of the actual exposure risk is inconsistent with the agency’s authority under FIFRA. CCD is a real problem, and Farm Bureau is working with a broad range of stakeholders to get a handle on it. Unfortunately, EPA seems to be ignoring the science and simply going down a path of least resistance. That won’t do anything for the bees. Jon Huffmaster is GFB Chief Administrative Officer and Corporate Secretary.

Y T I D E R L E L H

G Y E N E

N A E G

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Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015

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Monitoring Georgia agriculture

W

ant to know more about where your food comes from? Well, of course… We all do! The “Georgia Farm Monitor” is where you can turn each week to learn about the food you eat and the farmers who grow it. It’s the only news and information television program dedicated to Georgia’s largest and number one industry - agriculture. The Farm Monitor has been on the air for nearly a half-century, telling the story of Georgia agriculture. Our state is blessed with a climate that allows tremendous opportunities for farmers. Virtually any crop or animal can be grown successfully somewhere in our state. We’re known for our sweet Georgia peaches, our peanuts and those delicious Vidalia Onions. And don’t forget pecans, poultry, cattle and blueberries.

50 years & still going

The “Georgia Farm Monitor” – produced by the state’s largest general farm organization – Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) – will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. Initially, the Farm Monitor began as a joint production between GFB and WMAZTV in Macon. Its purpose was to provide farmers in central and south Georgia with the news and information they needed for their operations. The show was originally called the “Georgia TV Monitor” and was hosted by John Johnson. At the time, Johnson also hosted a radio show about Georgia agriculture called the “Georgia Radio Monitor.” Jimmy Lee took over as host of the show in May 1967, and two years later the name

Georgia Farm Monitor turns 50

Photo by Lili Davis

By Michael Edmondson _____________________________________

The Georgia Farm Monitor’s current staff includes hosts Ray D’Alessio, seated left, and Kenny Burgamy, seated right, and standing left, Vickie Amos, office coordinator, and reporters Mark Wildman and Damon Jones and standing right, graphic artist Dean Wood, web/ video manager Michael Edmondson and Andy Lucas, executive producer.

was changed to “Georgia Farm Monitor.” In 1978, the show began airing on a network of stations across the state. The original Farm Monitor network included stations in Macon, Albany, Atlanta, Columbus and Savannah. “It had been a joint effort between WMAZ and Georgia Farm Bureau,” said Lee. “I thought it might be something other stations might want, and they really did!” With the show and staff growing, production moved to facilities in the GFB state headquarters building in Macon in 1978.

Georgia Farm Monitor Timeline

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FARM M A I

ITOR ON

GEORG

n 1966: “Georgia TV Monitor” begins airing on WMAZ-TV in Macon n 1969: Name is changed to “Georgia Farm Monitor” n 1978: Begins airing on network of five TV stations across state n 1983: Spin-off show, “The Georgia Farmer,” begins airing on GPTV n 1998: Network reaches 15 stations Telling the farmer’s story n 2000: Show goes nationwide on for 50 years RFD-TV Network n  2016: “Georgia Farm Monitor” 50th anniversary

A spin-off show, “The Georgia Farmer,” began airing in 1983. That program aired for three years on Georgia Public Television. In 1985 Steve Malone took over producing and hosting duties, a position he held until he retired in December 2002. When the Monitor first started, news and information wasn’t always readily available for farmers and agribusiness professionals. So the Monitor was a valuable source of news for the ag community. “When it started, it was maybe the only show like it about agriculture,” said Malone. “So it was something new for the farmers. As it went along, it became more important for them.” The Farm Monitor network continued to grow during the 1990s, adding more stations and cable systems across the state. In 2000, the Farm Monitor became a national show when it joined the lineup of the new RFDTV Network.

Telling the farmer’s story

The Farm Monitor is proud of the agricultural diversity in our state, and the show’s reporters believe in farming and the rural Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


Photo by Lili Davis

Photo by Lili Davis

GFB archives

Steve Malone hosted the “Georgia Farm Monitor” from 1985-2002.

lifestyle. They take you behind the scenes, and introduce you to the men and women who work tirelessly to feed us all. “There’s plenty of variety for us to cover, and we think that adds to the show’s appeal,” says Farm Monitor Executive Producer Andy Lucas. “We want to tell the farmers’ story each week. We want to show viewers how agriculture has become more efficient despite burdensome regulations and unpredictable weather. That using the latest technology, the American farmer grows safer, healthier, better-tasting food on less land with fewer inputs and fewer people.” Based in Macon, the Farm Monitor staff travels across Georgia, the Southeast and to other parts of the country to cover stories of interest to farmers and consumers. While the primary focus of the weekly program is agriculture in Georgia and the Southeast, national ag issues, consumer information and interesting feature stories about rural life are also part of the show.

Rick Treptow logged thousands of miles while reporting for the “Georgia Farm Monitor” & the Georgia Farm Radio Network from 1985-2013.

Paul Believeu, left, served as executive producer of the show from 1985- 2014 and cohosted the “Georgia Farm Monitor” 20032014. Denny Moore co-hosted the show from 2003-2012.

Into the future

Keep up with the latest news and events

Today, the show can be seen on 13 television stations around Georgia, as well as nationally on RFD-TV. Farm Monitor staff includes hosts Ray D’Alessio and Kenny Burgamy, reporters Mark Wildman and Damon Jones, and Dean Wood, Michael Edmondson and Vickie Amos, who provide graphic arts, social media and post production services. Visit the Farm Monitor website - www. farm-monitor.com - to learn more about the show and to find a station near you.

concerning Georgia agriculture by following the Farm Monitor on social media.

Twitter: @FarmMonitor

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ FarmMonitor YouTube: www.youtube.com/ GeorgiaFarmMonitor

Discover the backroads we travel. Farming, food & more! www.facebook.com/FarmMonitor

Mark Wildman

www.youtube.com/georgiafarmmonitor

Ray D’Alessio

GFB archives

@FarmMonitor

Jimmy Lee, the first host of the “Georgia Farm Monitor,” reports on crop prices during one of the first shows taped at the studios of WMAZ – TV in Macon. Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015

Kenny Burgamy

Damon Jones Brought to you by Georgia Farm Bureau

33


Paulding County

By Jay Stone ___________________________________ For the vendors of the Paulding County Farm Bureau (PCFB) Farmers Market, customer relationships make for repeat business. Jason Cook of Shady Oaks Farm brings his fresh produce to the new location at Paulding County High School (PCHS) in Dallas, and his regular customers come looking for him. “We’ve been affiliated with the Farm Bureau market since it opened four years ago,” Cook said. “It gives us an opportunity to market our produce to our community. We’re a Paulding County grower and this al34

Photo by Jay Stone

MARKETS from page 24 music, and there were games and hands-on activities to educate children about agriculture conducted by FFA students. The historic farm buildings provided the perfect setting for heritage craft vendors to demonstrate their skills. At the June market, fabric artist Linda White set up her spinning wheel on the front porch of the teacher’s house and showed visitors how she spins her own alpaca yarn that is dyed with food-grade dyes. Throughout the house White displayed rugs, hats, scarves, mittens, shawls and potholders she made. On the side porch, Susan Rice gave a quilting demonstration and displayed her quilts in the bedroom. Rice was accompanied by her husband, Jack, who gives living history demonstrations for homeschoolers highlighting the homestead experience of Scottish settlers who lived in North Georgia. Tiffany and Jason White, who grow a variety of produce on their farm in Jefferson, set up shop on the porch of the farm’s commissary to sell their vegetables, herbs and homemade jams and jellies. Blacksmith Cory Hendricks fired up the forge in the farm’s blacksmithing shop to show visitors how he shapes metal into hooks, tools and jewelry using fire and a hammer. “With our market you get to come to a farm and see all of these historic farm buildings and where farming takes place,” said Chaisson, who raises broilers and beef cows with her husband. “For me this brings the farm back to life and showcases the farm as well as the local farmers who are selling their eggs and fresh produce.” Visit http://tinyurl.com/JCFBmarket to see photos of the market.

Jason Cook of Spreading Oaks Farm shows his produce to customer Kathleen Diggs at the Paulding County Farm Bureau Farmers Market. Diggs, who lives in Cobb County, said she has purchased Cook’s produce for years and frequently visits markets where Spreading Oaks sets up.

lows us to sell to Paulding County residents. It allows them to get nice fresh produce at a reasonable price and it keeps it localized, to support the community.” PCFB President Nora Goodman hatched the idea at a board meeting as a way to help local producers. Before then, she said, there was another market in the county, but the vendors would go other places and buy products to bring in. “When we set ours up it had to be locally grown,” Goodman said. “We’ll accept adjoining counties, but four counties over, no. To start with we charged them a fee to have their produce here, and we went out and looked at the farms and the gardens to make sure they were raising what they said they were.” PCHS is the third location for the market, which was forced to move when its previous location was sold. Early this year PCFB Office Manager Tracy Grice was delivering t-shirts to the school’s FFA when she mentioned to ag teacher Matt Townson that they were looking for a place to have the market. Townson took the idea and ran with it, seeing it as an opportunity for his students to get involved in the commerce side of agriculture. “The first time we talked about this I said if we can make this happen I want it at the school,” Townson said. PCHS FFA students work the market, selling the produce they grow in the school’s garden alongside local farmers selling fresh fruits and vegetables, home-baked treats, arts and crafts. When the market was in its previous

locations, Goodman said, the vendors were charged a fee to offset leasing costs. With no such expense involved at the school, the vendors are instead required to sign up for a Georgia Farm Bureau membership. The $25 dues are much less than what they were paying before. “I’m real proud of what’s happening here, and our board was wise in moving forward,” Goodman said. Visit http://tinyurl.com/PCFBmarket to see photos of the market.

Rockdale County

By Jay Stone ___________________________________ During its peak in the summer months, the Rockdale/Dekalb County Farm Bureau (RDCFB) Farmers Market offers a little something for everyone. Of course, there are the fresh, local vegetables for which such markets are known, but there are also home-baked cupcakes, locally sourced jams and jellies, pet treats, hand-knitted items, small shrubs, even jewelry. “Everybody loves it,” said RDCFB President Ed Young. “We try to produce the homegrown, locally grown stuff. We don’t allow anyone to purchase it at a market and bring it to resell. A lot of the vendors have their own people that come straight to them and buy what they’ve got. They have a relationship with them.” For instance, regular patrons know they can get fresh eggs from Bob Reese of Bob’s Chicken Ranch. Reese sells chicken, quail, guinea and turkey eggs as well as live birds, See MARKETS page 40 Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


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Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015

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

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone ___________________________________ att 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. 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 contestants discussed how to balance agricultural water needs 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., for the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference, 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 for young farmers who earn the majority of their income from something other than production agriculture.

Photo by Jay Stone

GFB announces winners of Young Farmer competitive events

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, (starting second from left ) Garrett Ganas of Ware County, Kyle Dekle of Habersham County, who won the contest, Heather Brannen of Bulloch County and Caroline Lewallen of Hall County.

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. The Bottomses, who run Bottoms Nursery in Pike County, won the Young Farmer Achievement Award. Matt grows muscadine, blueberry, blackberry, 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.

Each of the state winners also receive an expense-paid trip to Orlando, Florida, to attend the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Convention Jan.10-13, 2016, where they will compete for national honors. The AFBF winners of the Achievement Award, Discussion Meet and Excellence in Agriculture contests each receive their choice between a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado or 2016 GMC Sierra pickup valued at $35,000, as well as paid registration to the 2016 Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Conference, to be held Feb. 12-15 in Kansas City, Mo. Runners-up in the three contests each receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor valued at $24,300 sponsored by Case IH, along with a $2,500 cash prize and $500 in merchandise from STIHL.

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GFB Young Farmer Achievement finalists chasing their dreams

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

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he three Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Achievement Award finalist families produce different commodities, but they have one key thing in common: Farming appealed to them from an early age. Pike County’s Matt and Melissa Bottoms, Colquitt County’s Elton Baldy and his wife Tabitha, and Washington County’s Jonathan and Bridget Hitchcock each reference family ties to the farm when asked why they chose to farm in a time when so many people look for other ways to make their living. The Bottomses were announced as the award winners during the GFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference in July, and they’re preparing to compete for national honors at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Convention in January. The Young Farmer Achievement award recognizes young farmers, 18 to 35, who earn the majority of their income from production agriculture. 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 AFBF Convention. 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. 12-15 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. Here’s a look a the three finalist families:

Matt and Melissa Bottoms with daughters Anna, left, and Madelyn, right, pictured with blueberry plants – the biggest seller for their nursery. A third daughter, Abigail, joined the family Sept. 18.

Matt & Melissa Bottoms Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________________________________________________ • COUNTY – Pike • NAME OF FARM – Bottoms Nursery • YEAR HE STARTED FARMING – 2000 • COMMODITIES PRODUCED – The Bottomses grow muscadine, blueberry, blackberry, 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 current 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 20082010 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. 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 MATT 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. Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


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, leafy vegetables (collards, mustard, turnips and kale) • FARM BUREAU INVOLVEMENT – Colquitt County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee, 2005-2007; finalist in GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet, 2005; won GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet, 2006; finished in the top 16 of the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet in 2007; Won North Carolina Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture Award, 2014; 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.” • 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.”

Photo by Jay Stone

Elton & Tabitha Baldy

Elton, Tabitha and Henry Baldy

Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker _______________________________________________________ • COUNTY – Washington • NAME OF FARM – Jonathan Hitchcock Farm LLC • YEAR HE STARTED FARMING – 2007 • COMMODITIES PRODUCED – Steer calves, commercial beef cattle, 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 & 15 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 Neighbors • Fall 2015

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Jonathan & Bridget Hitchcock

Jonathan & Bridget Hitchcock with daughter, Andie and one of the many steers Bridget raises.

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GFB Photo Contest winners capture beauty of rural life By Jennifer Whittaker 1

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Rural Georgia is a beautiful place to live judging by the 258 scenic photos Georgia Farm Bureau members and employees entered in the organization’s 6th Annual Picture Agriculture in Georgia Contest. For the second consecutive year, Washington County Farm Bureau member Bridget Hitchcock won the grand prize for the member category. As the first place winner, Hitchcock won $150 and will have her photo, “Baby Love” featured on the cover of the 2016 GFB Young Farmer Calendar. The calendar also features the photos of the 11 honorable mention winners from the member category. Honorable mention prizes of $75 were awarded to the following in the member category: Cretia Ariail, Sharon Fausett, Jesse Fleming, Caroline Black Lewallen, Suzie Miller, Robin Porter, William Rodgers, Jonathan Smith, Kim Thompson, Dwight Wallace and Cindy Wells. A panel of photographers selected 12 photos from the member category entries, and GFB members attending the GFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference in July voted to select the grand prize winner. Schley County Office Manager Katina Fields received the grand pize of $100 in the GFB Employee Category for her photo titled “Cow Scratchin’.” GFB 5th District Field Representative Cliff Bowden won second place and $75 with his photo titled, “1,2,3.. Ready or Not, Here I Come!” Tift County Farm Bureau Secretary Kayla House captured third place and $50 with her photo, “Like Father, Like Son…Generations of Farming.” GFB plans to hold the contest again next year. Contest details will be available next spring on GFB’s website and at county Farm Bureau offices. 1. Baby Love $150 Grand Prize Member Category Bridget Hitchcock, Washington County On March 1, while bottle feeding the calves she raises, Hitchcock looked up to see her daughter, Andie, loving her favorite calf, Little Red, and was able to grab her phone in time to snap this sweet moment.

“He was a calf that a neighboring farmer gave us to raise, because his mama wouldn’t take him. He was so gentle and sweet,” Hitchcock said. “She could love on him all day, and he would just stand there like he loved it just as much.” Hitchcock says Andie wants to “help” with every step,   from mixing milk to filling the bottles to loading milk crates and putting out bottles, feed and water. `“She’s not much of a poser, so most shots I get are when I catch her reacting to her surroundings. She has a love and passion for livestock and agriculture. People are amazed when they are around her on the farm, at just how much she knows, understands and loves the farm.”   To learn more about the Hitchcock farm read their family profile on page 37.

Cow Scratchin’ $100 Grand Prize Employee Category Katina Fields, Schley County Fields shot this funny shot of cows pasturing across the road from her house near Ideal, Ga., in March. She was trying to capture photos of farm life that she sees every day when she walks the dirt road in front of her house to decorate her home and the Schley County Farm Bureau office. “I do not farm for a living, but I work for the next best thing – Georgia Farm Bureau, which supports farmers every day,” Fields said. Fields and her husband are growing eight acres of pine trees that they planted and raise chickens, rabbits and other house pets. 2. Unloading on the Go Cretia Ariail, Franklin County Ariail captured this action shot of her husband, Mark, who is operating the GleanGeorgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


3. Adventure in the Sunflowers Sharon Fausett, Dawson County Sharon was quick to tell us that her daughter-in-law, Deanna, shot this photo that the local Farm Bureau submitted in her name. Deanna, and her husband, Brett, are Farm Bureau members and help out on the family farm, where Sharon and her husband, Danny raise beef cows, grow timber and offer the use of their horseback riding trails to the public for a fee. Sharon said the family planted sunflowers for the first time last year at the request of their neighbors Johnny and Kathy Burt of Burt’s Pumpkin Farm. Deanna shot her son, Blake, walking through the field last September. “We got into the agritourism business by accident. It all just kind of happened,” Sharon said. “People started coming to pick them, and so we started charging a fee.” The Fausetts planted sunflowers again this year and opened their field to the public on Sept. 26. Sharon estimated the sunflowers will be gone by Oct. 18 depending on the weather. Fausett Farms is located on Hwy. 183, also known as the Elliott Family Parkway in Dawson County near Amicalola Falls. Call 706265-8432 to see if the Fausetts are still selling sunflowers. 4. Farmer’s Gold Jesse Fleming, Houston County Fleming was delivering a crop production product to the farm of Chuck and Clay Strange in Sumter County when he captured this photo in mid-May 2014. “I just happened to look out towards their wheat field and thought ‘Wow that might turn out good,’ ” Fleming recalled. “I love taking pictures, and I’m always looking for that perfect picture. I have a camera that never gets used only because I never take it with me. So the next best thing is the iPhone. Thanks for Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015

giving me the opportunity to participate in the contest. I never thought my picture would get picked. There is a lot of talent out there.” 5. Pollinator Incoming Caroline Black Lewallen, Hall County Lewallen, who is the agritourism and marketing coordinator at Jaemor Farms, shot this photo mid-afternoon in one of the Jaemor peach orchards on March 22 or 23. “This photo is one of my favorite scenes I’ve captured at Jaemor. I love that one can see the pollen sacks on the worker bee’s back legs. Plus, these blossoms were valuable as we ended up losing a significant portion of our peaches the week after I snapped this photo due to a late frost that hit the peach crop on March 29,” Lewallen said. The Echols family grows 30 peach varieties on 120 acres at their Hall County farm and 85 percent of the peaches are retailed at Jaemor’s two farm markets in Alto and Commerce. 6. Sun Sets on Cotton Caterpillar Suzie Miller, Dodge County Miller shot this photo on F. M. Mathis Road in Dodge County  in November 2014  right at sunset.  “The colors were so vibrant with the sun’s last rays shining on that new,  bright yellow wrapping the farmers have started using for their cotton rolls,” Miller recalled.  “It was so beautiful that I just had to stop and take some photos of it.  I live where three farmers are always working the land, and I love watching as they cultivate, plant, water, and harvest their crops as I come and go from my home. I love taking pictures and catching the sun’s rays dancing on my subject and illuminating its colors.”  7. Red is for Poinsettia Robin Porter, Fayette County Porter shot this photo at the growing division of her family’s nursery, Porter Family Nurseries in Fayette County. The Porters began growing the poinsettia plants around the first week in July from plugs and cuttings. She says it takes the plants approximately five months to grow to the size in the photo shot last December. The Porters grow six varieties of red poinsettias along with other varieties including white, pink, marbled and novelty varieties, such as Jingle Bells. The Porters operate two nature and garden centers – the Plant Emporium in Spalding County and Mill Pond Gardens in FaySee WINNERS next page

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er combine, and her son, Haden, driving the John Deere tractor and grain cart, in August 2014 while they were harvesting the family’s corn crop. “I’m always taking pictures of the day-today activities on the farm. Haden loves helping his dad on the farm and plans to farm for a living when he graduates,” Ariail said. “When he gets to be our age it will be neat for him to look back and remember what faming and the equipment was like when he was 16.” In addition to corn, the Ariails grow canola, millet, oats, soybeans and wheat and raise beef cattle.

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WINNERS from previous page ette County. In addition to poinsettias, the Porters grow perennials, ferns, hostas, ivy, camellias, roses, magnolias, Japanese maples and crape myrtles Learn more at www.porterfamilynurseries.com.

8. A Symbol of Promise William “Ken” Rodgers, Bleckley County Although the photo was submitted in his name, Rodgers gives his wife, Kristen credit for taking this photo. The Rodgers were visiting his dad, Kenny, in Macon County in August 2014 and went with him to check on his crops. “My dad was irrigating his cotton and we noticed that a rainbow formed as the irrigation water shot in a certain direction,” Rodgers recalled. “Kristen was taking pictures of our son, Will, that day and was able to capture the rainbow.” In addition to cotton, Rodgers’ dad, Kenny, also grows corn and soybeans. This photo was taken on cropland Kenny rents from Macon County Farm Bureau President Mike McLendon. 40

Photo by Jay Stone

MARKETS from page 34 and his regulars come from their cars hauling empty egg cartons for their egg purchases. New vendor Mary McCane of Contrary Mary’s Greenhouse tried the market to prevent wasting plants. “I grow plants for landscapers, and this is the leftover stuff,” McCane said. “I thought I’d try the farmers market because I hate throwing stuff away.” The farmers market was started by the late Roger Hatch, who was then the RDCFB president, and RDCFB member Leroy Bigham, who set up on a Saturday morning at the RDCFB office on Green Street in Conyers in the mid-2000s. “I was the only farmer selling the first two or three weeks and then we started getting others,” Bigham said. “The goal was really to give the local growers a market for their produce. We didn’t know how many growers there were. Roger went to the Atlanta farmers market and got a few things and brought them back just to see if it would work, and he asked me to bring in some corn and tomatoes. We probably made $100 the first week. The second week we did a little better and it grew from there.”

At the Rockdale/Dekalb County Farm Bureau Farmers Market, vendor Ruby Ammons, left, chats with customers while making a sale. Ammons and her husband Walter have been selling their produce at the market for several years.

The next year, RDCFB arranged for the market to use space in the parking lot of the Rockdale County Government Annex, home of the Rockdale County Extension office, where local farmers had attended Extension workshops on a variety of topics. The market now requires that items for sale must be locally produced, though exceptions are made for watermelons, peaches and other foods that are not produced lo-

cally. In those cases, the items still have to be produced in Georgia. “A lot of our vendors plant a big garden like I do. I can’t use it all so I go over there and sell the excess,” Young said, pointing out that while some vendors make money, the market carries a social aspect. “I do it for the fun of it.” Visit http://tinyurl.com/RDCFBmarket to see photos of the market.

9. Turning Plow Sunset Jonathan Smith, Telfair County Smith shot this photo on a farm he and his wife, Jennifer, rent in Irwin County. “It was taken around the end of February as we were preparing the fields for the coming planting season. I was “breaking” the land with the turning plow getting the field ready to plant in peanuts and snapped this shot at the end of the day,” Jonathan said. The Smiths farm around 1,000 acres of cotton, 1,000 acres of peanuts, 150 acres of watermelons and 100 acres of corn. 

able forestry management tool,” Thompson explained. “We try to burn some of our timber acreage every year on a two to three-year rotation.” Although you can’t see them, Thompson said her husband and his dad were behind the smoke keeping a close watch on the fire. 

10. Friendly Fire Kim Thompson, Treutlen County Thompson captured this action shot on her family’s farm in Treutlen County on Feb. 7 when her husband, Andy, and fatherin-law, Garland, did a controlled burn as part of their timber management practices. “The reason I titled the photo “Friendly Fire” is because fire has such a negative connation to the public.  I thought this would showcase fire in a positive way and show that prescribed burning is a valu-

11. Shed & Garden Dwight Wallace, Peach County Wallace, who has entered some terrific shots in GFB’s contest through the years, says he shot this scenic picture early one morning in late spring or early summer on McCaskill Street in Marshallville. “The sun was just coming over the trees behind me lighting the shed perfectly,” Wallace said.  12. Harvest Time Cindy Wells, Screven County Wells, who is the Screven County 4-H program assistant, shot this photo in October 2014 while accompanying some of her 4-Hers on a field trip to see peanuts harvested at Wade Plantation. Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2015


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Farm Bureau’s Georgia Neighbors - Fall 2015  

Georgia Neighbors features people and places of interest in Georgia and educational information about agriculture.

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