Vol. 78 No. 3
The Voice of Georgia Farmers
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*Program 33413: $750 Bonus Cash offer exclusively for active Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee Farm Bureau members who are residents of the United States. Offer is valid from 1/5/2016 through 1/3/2017 for the purchase or lease of an eligible new 2015/2016/2017 model year Lincoln vehicle. This offer may not be used in conjunction with most other Ford Motor Company private incentives or AXZD-Plans. Some customer and purchase eligibility restrictions apply. You must be an eligible Association member for at least 30 consecutive days and must show proof of membership. Limit one $750 Bonus Cash offer per vehicle purchase or lease. Limit of five new eligible vehicle purchases or leases per Farm Bureau member during program period. See your Lincoln Dealer for complete details and qualifications. **Tested with 93-octane fuel.
1/13/16 4:50 PM
contents june/july 2016
departments view from the field PAGE 4
legislative update PAGE 5
commodities update PAGE 12
public relations staff Andy Lucas Director Jennifer Whittaker Editor Jay Stone Print/Web Specialist Lillian Davis Publications/Advertising Manager Michael Edmondson Web/Video Manager Ray D’Alessio Senior Producer/TV Host Kenny Burgamy Co-Anchor/Reporter Mark Wildman Senior Radio-TV Specialist Dean Wood Radio-TV Specialist Damon Jones Radio-TV Specialist Vickie Amos Office Coordinator For information concerning advertising, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or firstname.lastname@example.org For questions about your membership or member benefits, call 1-800-633-5432. For questions regarding editorial content call 478-474-0679, ext. 5334 or e-mail email@example.com Visit the GFB Web site today! www.gfb.org Georgia Farm Bureau TV: www.youtube.com/georgiafarmmonitor “Like” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GeorgiaFarmBureau Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gafarmbureau Check us out on Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/gafarmbureau
Georgia Farm Bureau News
GFB county leaders take issues to D.C.
County Farm Bureau leaders traveled to Washington, D.C., in April to meet with Georgia’s U.S. Congressional delegation. The group discussed low cotton prices, international trade, EPA regulations and food labeling laws. PAGE 6
Georgia Cattlemen address veterinary feed directive, falling prices
The 2016 Georgia Cattlemen’s Association Annual Convention & Beef Expo gave beef producers the chance to hear the latest industry updates, buy and sell cattle, and see innovative products for their farms. PAGE 8
U.S. pecan growers approve marketing order to promote crop
The USDA announced May 6 that 77 percent of pecan growers who voted in the federal referendum held in March supported the order, which will promote pecans to consumers, collect and publish industry data, fund pecan research, and establish uniform grade/packaging standards.
Giles retires after 37 years as GFB 6th District Field Rep
Before retiring on May 20, Don Giles shared his memories and thoughts about the organization with GFB media. PAGE 14
CAES Dean Sam Pardue speaks to GFB Directors
Dr. Sam Pardue, the new dean and director of UGA’s College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, has been traveling the state since beginning his new job March 14. Read about his visit with GFB leaders. PAGE 16
Erosion Control Expo provides information on conservation techniques
Conservation practices, ag drones and speeches from GFB President Gerald Long, AFBF President Zippy Duvall and former Gov. Roy Barnes were highlights of the Georgia Farm and Erosion Control. PAGE 18
GFB Art Contest draws students to agriculture GFB has named the state and district winners of its annual art contest.
Annual Ag Day features Flavor of Georgia winners
Georgia’s Annual Ag Day served as the forum for announcing the 2016 Flavor of Georgia Contest winners and the 2016 Georgia Sunbelt Farmer. PAGE 22
GFB Educational Leadership Conference equips attendees to promote ag
Farm Bureau volunteers and staff attending the annual GFB Educational Leadership Conference gained skills and information to educate students and consumers about agriculture. PAGE 24
GFB Speakers Bureau members ready to advocate for agriculture
Georgia Farm Bureau has established a speakers bureau with members in each of the organization’s 10 districts who can advocate for agriculture by speaking to the media and local civic clubs.
about the cover-------------------------------------(Photo by Kasi Gibbs ) Wilcox County Farm Bureau member Kasi Gibbs, who is the WCFB agency manager, entered this photo in the 2015 GFB Photo Contest. She shot this photo of her son, Bo, walking through a cotton field that her husband, Jimmy, farms. June-July 2016/ 3
Photo by Ken Murphree
view from the field Gerald Long, GFB President
Let’s work together
In May I kicked off a series of meetings with county Farm Bureau leaders to hear their concerns about issues they’re dealing with on their farms and to discuss challenges Farm Bureau is facing as an organization. Since I began these tours May 9, I’ve visited GFB’s 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th and 9th Districts. I’ll be in the GFB 1st District in mid-August and dates are being set for our 5th, 6th and 10th Districts. Some of the meetings have been oneon-one with county leaders on their farms where I’ve enjoyed having them show me their crops as we discussed agriculture and Farm Bureau. Other meetings have been held for multiple counties where we shared a meal and then talked Farm Bureau business. Labor and environmental regulations were two of the big ag issues on county leaders’ minds. I understand lack of reliable labor is affecting small farmers who can’t find employees to drive a tractor or fix a fence along with produce growers who can’t find people to harvest their crops. Farm Bureau continues to voice your concerns about both of these issues as we meet with elected officials and their staff. I’ve been amazed at the participation and encouraged by the dedication the county leaders I’ve met with have for Farm Bureau. This gives me hope for the future of our organization. Because we’re a grassroots organization, the success of Farm Bureau relies on the enthusiasm of and involvement of our members and county leaders. Your state federation staff can develop programs to educate consumers about agriculture, lobby for legislation that benefits our farms, and publicize the latest ag
news, but we need you, our county members to be involved for our organization to really have an impact. We need our county members to take the Ag in the Classroom message into your local classrooms or bring kids out to your farms; we need you to contact your elected officials when a vote is pending on an important bill, and we need farmers to talk to the media because they want to hear about farming straight from the farmer. Most importantly, we need you, our county members to help determine the issues we focus our legislative and publicity efforts on. You determine this by participating in our annual policy development process. Our legislative department will send letters to our County Farm Bureaus in July asking county Farm Bureau boards to submit policy suggestions by early September to be considered by the GFB Policy Development Committee during their October and November meetings. You and Farm Bureau can make a difference when we work together. Consider that last year in policy development cotton growers said they wanted the USDA to designate cottonseed as an other oilseed to get assistance to help them as they face record low prices. GFB joined forces with other organizations to press hard for this. While the USDA didn’t grant that request, on June 6 it did announce the Cotton Ginning Cost-Share Program, which will give growers a one-time payment based on 2015 cotton acres. For Georgia growers, this means $47.44 per acre. Yes, addressing the ag and organizational issues we face is going to be a challenge, but I’m up for tackling them. Will you join me?
Above: GFB President Gerald Long, right, visited the row crop farm of Clay County Farm Bureau President Joe King on June 8 as one of a series of meetings he is having with county Farm Bureau leaders across the state to get grassroot input for leading the organization. 4 / June-July 2016
FARM BUREAU GEORGIA
The Voice of Georgia Farmers
SUBSCRIPTION RATES Farm Bureau Members: Included in dues — $1 per year Non-Members — $15 per year To subscribe call 1-800-898-1911, ext. 5238. OFFICERS President GERALD LONG, Bainbridge 1st Vice President and Middle Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN JR., ADRIAN North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS, Ringgold Chief Operating Officer WAYNE DANIEL General Counsel DUKE GROOVER Chief Financial Officer & Corp. Treasurer DAVID JOLLEY Chief Administrative Officer & Corp. Secretary JON HUFFMASTER
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; Matt Bottoms, Molena 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, Newton; Paul Shirah, Camilla TENTH DISTRICT: Daniel Johnson, Alma; David Lee, Alma YOUNG FARMER CHAIRMAN: Will Cabe, Carnesville WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Melanie Sanders, Stephens ADVERTISING POLICY All advertising accepted subject to publisher’s approval. Advertisers must assume liability for content of their advertising. Publisher maintains right to cancel advertising for non-payment or reader complaint about advertiser service or products. Publisher does not accept per-order, political or alcoholic beverage ads, nor does publisher prescreen or guarantee advertiser service or products. Publisher assumes no liability for products or services advertised in the Georgia Farm Bureau News. For advertising rates and information, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or mcfarlandadvantage@ gmail.com. Georgia Farm Bureau News was established in 1937. Copyright 2016 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.
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Georgia Farm Bureau News
legislative update By Alex Bradford, Legislative Specialist
2016 Georgia Legislative Session a good one for ag Georgia’s political scene has had no lack of excitement as we entered the 2016 election year, seeing the rise of nationwide movements bucking the establishment and increasing criticism of incumbents. The state legislature is not immune to this scrutiny. While, historically, election year sessions lean toward the mundane, it is evident our state legislators did not shy away from addressing tough votes. March 24 marked the end of Georgia’s two-year legislative session as the General Assembly moved at a record pace to adjourn and hit the campaign trail for the SEC Primary elections. Georgia’s agriculture producers have many victories to enjoy now that the May 3 deadline for Gov. Nathan Deal to veto bills has passed and the new state budget takes effect July 1. There are also items to ask candidates to support in the future. Agriculture remains Georgia’s largest industry, contributing about $74 billion annually to the state economy according to the UGA Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development. A business sector of this size and breadth brings a multitude of policy interests. Although not as controversial as last year’s transportation tax, an uphill fight to increase the truck weight limit allowed on roadways failed to receive enough support. However, HB 579 passed, allowing the use of farm vehicles (including 4-wheelers) on public roadways for agricultural purposes. A few more nuanced bills were passed, including an increase in the scope of eligibility to serve on the Georgia Seed Development Commission and an updated definition of feral hog. The General Assembly, with the leadership of those representing Georgia’s rural areas, lead the charge on a number of significant bills affecting farmers’ bottom line and productivity in more common key areas.
Farmers face many unknown factors impacting the success of their yearly production. Unfortunately, weather has become more of a certainty than the level of regulation and taxation that will be imGeorgia Farm Bureau News
posed on producers each year. In order to effectively invest and grow their farming operations, producers must have some level of consistency. Last year federal legislators finally answered the call of farmers to make the Section 179 tax provision permanent, as opposed to the typical one-year extension. Georgia legislators followed suit this year and passed a provision that mirrors the federal law and allows taxpayers to deduct the cost of new or used business property (up to $500,000) rather than depreciating the cost over a longer period of time, thereby easing the tax burden of maintaining and upgrading costly equipment and storage facilities. Georgians also saw a spotlight shine on the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) program in response to allegations of abuse. Representatives of the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA), Department of Revenue, state legislature, and agriculture stakeholders analyzed the program and worked throughout the session to draft appropriate adjustments. While a bill was not ultimately passed and the program remains unchanged, it is important to ensure both GATE cardholders and retailers are operating within the program guidelines to secure the program’s integrity and future. GATE cardholders should note that the Georgia legislature appropriated $200,000 for auditors to ensure cardholders properly adhere to program guidelines.
By passing HB 815 this session, Georgia legislators took steps to make the new federal rules that go into effect Jan. 1, 2017, under the federal Veterinary Feed Directive more manageable for livestock producers. HB 815 refines the definition of Veterinary Client Patient Relationship, allowing sensible premise visits by veterinarians to satisfy operation standards. This bill provides much needed protection for livestock producers while meeting elevated quality control standards. Unfortunately, the fate of the Livestock Producer Protection bill (HB 876) wasn’t
as good. Despite the continued support GFB members gave the bill, it failed to receive a final vote in the Senate before the legislature adjourned. This legislation would have provided liability protection to farmers who allow FFA, 4-H and other nonprofit groups onto their farms for educational purposes. It would have also required livestock dealers to maintain licensure and surety bonds.
Although facing pressure of fiscal conservatism that comes with an election year, Georgia’s Appropriations Committee Chairmen Rep. Terry England and Sen. Jack Hill recognized and addressed the budget needs of Georgia agriculture, which received its most favorable budget in recent history. A top GFB Priority Issue was increasing the availability of food animal veterinarians through funding of the Veterinary Loan Reimbursement Program, which received $100,000 for five food animal veterinarians. Other significant budget items the state allocated for agriculture included $720,000 for 12 extension agents; $504,000 for a viticulturist, grain crop agronomist and a vegetable pathologist; and $336,000 for a ruminant nutritionist and row crop physiologist at the Ag Experiment Station. The state budget also includes the final $650,000 bond package installment to the Athens and Tifton Diagnostic Labs and $200,000 operating funds for the Vet Labs in Athens and Tifton. These victories are a direct reflection of our members and their participation in the legislative process. Especially in an election year, the responsibility lies with constituents to voice the needs of agriculture and secure its future in the face of growing competition. For more information, updates on pertinent legislation and help communicating with your elected officials, please visit the GFB Legislative website and register with our VoterVoice system at www.gfb. org/legislative. Alex Bradford is a legislative specialist in the GFB Legislative Department. June-July 2016/ 5
Photo by Jay Stone
Photo by Jay Stone
GFB President Gerald Long, right, greets Sen. Johnny Isakson during breakfast on April 21. Isakson gave an update on the poultry trade dispute with South Africa.
Georgia Farm Bureau members visit with Rep. John Lewis (D–Ga. 5th District), standing center.
Labeling, trade, regulatory issues addressed by GFB county presidents in D.C. By Jay Stone _____________________________________
Photo by Jay Stone
A group of 97 Georgia Farm Bureau county and state leaders from 50 counties visited Washington, D.C., April 19-21, presenting information on key agricultural issues to Georgia members of Congress and hearing remarks from both Georgia senators. “We had 12 of the 14 congressmen to visit with us and staffers in the other two. That’s probably as good a record as we’ve ever had up here,” said GFB President Gerald Long. “We certainly appreciate what
Sen. David Perdue discussed the importance of international trade to the state’s farmers when meeting with GFB members. 6 / June-July 2016
they have done to represent Georgia Farm Bureau and agriculture. It speaks very well of our organization.” The GFB group delivered information about the organization’s stance on GMO labeling, assistance for cotton growers struggling with low commodity prices, international trade and EPA regulations. GFB supports voluntary national labeling for GMOs to preempt state labeling laws. GFB supports passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and GFB continues to ask Congress to prevent the Waters of the U.S. [WOTUS] rule from being implemented and seeks continued access to neonicotinoid pesticides. The trip included visits with Georgia’s members of the U.S. House of Representatives on April 20 and breakfast with Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue on April 21. The group also heard updates from American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) staffers on current legislative issues. AFBF President Zippy Duvall thanked the Georgia group for its efforts in Washington. Isakson spoke about the Waters of the U.S. rule, GMOs and international trade. He walked the GFB group through the progression of the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA), which he used to persuade South Africa to lift its tariffs on imports of U.S. chicken. “That’s my favorite victory in my time as
an elected official,” said Isakson, who along with Sen. Chris Koons of Delaware pushed through a provision in the AGOA renewal that allows the president to review the activities of countries the U.S. trades with under AGOA, and if necessary ban trade with them. South Africa lifted its tariffs on U.S. chicken and shipments began going there in February. Sen. David Perdue emphasized the importance of international trade. “As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, I’ve visited several other countries, and the people around the world need what we have to offer,” Perdue said. AFBF Director of Environment and Energy Policy Paul Schlegel gave updates on the WOTUS rule and activitst groups’ efforts to eliminate all pesticide use in the name of protecting pollinators, as well as the EPA’s worker protection standard for farm employees who handle pesticides. He encouraged GFB members to keep sharing the message that the WOTUS rule needs to be repealed. “The WOTUS rule is in the courts now, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to talk to your legislators about it,” Schlegel said. AFBF Senior Director of Congressional Relations David Salmonsen discussed international trade, including the TPP, the U.S.’ progressing trade relationship with Cuba and trade topics with the European Union. Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo by Jay Stone
Supreme Court ruling gives landowners litigation option over water rules GFB members visit with Rep. Rick Allen (R- Ga. 12th District), standing right.
may be sold in Vermont has to follow the state’s law. “As far as voluntary labeling, we have no problem with that, as long as they’re truthful, but this is a forced government label on a product that’s perfectly safe. Traditionally we reserve labels on products for health, aging and nutrition or materialistic difference. That is not the case with this issue. It clearly needs to be resolved in D.C. because it involves interstate commerce.” AFBF Senior Director of International & Agriculture Policy Mary Kay Thatcher gave a brief update on the process to develop the next farm bill. Thatcher said discussions could begin this fall but are more likely to start next spring.
Photo by Jay Stone
AFBF Chief Economist Bob Young talked in depth about the TPP, which is projected to have a $4.4 billion per year impact on U.S. farmers. AFBF Director of Congressional Relations for Environment and Energy Policy Andrew Walmsley discussed the conflict brewing over GMOs. Vermont’s mandatory labeling law goes into effect July 1, and it carries hefty fines for food companies conducting business in that state. Farm Bureau supports a voluntary nationwide labeling policy. In the absence of standards set by the federal government or other states, the Vermont law effectively sets the national standard because any food company whose products
Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga. 1st District), right, meets with Georgia Farm Bureau members. Georgia Farm Bureau News
On May 31 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that landowners may challenge the federal government whenever the Army Corps of Engineers tries improperly to control land with regulations designed to protect water. Landowners have attempted many times to challenge Corps rulings known as jurisdictional determinations, but the government successfully argued that those determinations were not “final agency actions” and the lawsuits were dismissed. Now, when the Corps asserts jurisdiction over low spots that look more like land than water, it will have to do so with the knowledge that its jurisdictional determination can be tested in court. “Today’s decision removes a huge roadblock that has prevented landowners from obtaining relief from the courts when the Corps illegally claims their land is federally regulated water,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “Now, farmers and ranchers can have their day in court when the government tells them they cannot plow a field or improve a ditch without a federal permit.” AFBF filed friend of the court briefs in the lower court and the Supreme Court in support of the plaintiffs, who were represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation. The case was titled United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc. The ruling builds on another unanimous ruling, Sackett v. EPA. The Court recognized that once the Corps finds that a landscape feature is a “water of the United States,” there are immediate and often dire legal consequences to the landowner. A farmer can continue a farming activity that results in an unlawful discharge and face an enforcement action with civil fines up to $37,500 a day per discharge, or even criminal penalties. Or, the farmer can spend tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars seeking federal Clean Water Act permits over several years only to have the permit ultimately denied. June-July 2016 / 7
Georgia Cattlemen address veterinary feed directive, falling prices
By Jay Stone __________________________________
Photo by Jay Stone
eorgia cattle producers attending the 2016 Georgia Cattlemen’s Association (GCA) Annual Convention and Beef Expo learned about the coming implementation of a key portion of the Food and Drug Administration’s Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), strategies to mitigate falling cattle prices and how money from the Georgia beef assessment is allocated. GCA officials estimate 1,500 people attended at least one day of the event, held March 31-April 2 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry that featured a record 107 Beef Expo vendors. “We came off an unusual high in the cattle business in the last two years with the tremendous markets and just record-setting numbers, and the last several months we’ve seen the change in the markets so to see the excitement level and the interest from these members and prospective cattlemen and producers, it’s a good thing,” said new GCA President Kyle Gillooly. The VFD goes into effect Jan. 1, 2017, placing restrictions on the use of drugs in livestock feed that are medically important
Spotter Shirley Myers of Macon eyes the crowd during the Southeast Elite Female Cattle Sale, held during the Georgia Cattlemen’s Convention on April 1.
to humans. According to an FDA fact sheet, using these drugs for production purposes will be illegal and authorization from a licensed veterinarian will be needed in order to use them for prevention, control or treatment of specific diseases. “It’s something they’ve got time to work on,” said outgoing GCA President Randy
Kids can read their way to Ga. National Fair Kids across Georgia, ages 5-12, can win tickets to the 2016 Georgia National Fair by participating in the summer reading program (SRP) at their local library. The Georgia Agriculture Exposition Authority (GAEA), which oversees the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter (GNFA), is teaming up with the Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS) to reward the winners of each the SRP contests at Georgia’s 405 local library’s with four tickets to the fair, which will be held Oct. 6-16 in Perry, Ga. GAEA and GPLS representatives announced details of the program during a May 11 press conference held at the GNFA. “We hope this will help encourage every child to read the most books he or she can read during the program this summer,” said
8 / June-July 2016
GNFA Executive Director Stephen Shimp. Corporate sponsors–Kroger, Sutherland’s Foodservice, Georgia Agribusiness Council, Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Georgia FFA Foundation–are funding the tickets. More than half a million children and teens participate in summer reading at Georgia’s public libraries, Jessica Everingham, assistant state librarian, said. Kids can read any book they check out from the library to qualify for the contest, Everingham said. Visit your local library or www.georgialibraries.org for details about the SRP contest. Visit http://tinyurl.com/read2go2fair to see photos from the press conference.
Fordham. “It didn’t just happen yesterday. It’s something that’s been in the works for three years.” Gillooly said a significant challenge presented by the VFD is ensuring enough large animal veterinarians are available to allow producers to comply with the new rule. See GEORGIA CATTLEMEN page 30
Sunbelt Expo Field Day
July 14 Sunbelt Expo Spence Field, Moultrie This annual preview of projects at the Darrell Williams Research Farm begins with a complimentary biscuit breakfast at 7:15 a.m. Georgia Farm Bureau Chief Administrative Officer & Corporate Secretary Jon Huffmaster will give remarks. Tram tours begin at 8 a.m. A complimentary grab-and-go barbecue lunch is scheduled for noon. For more information visit www.sunbeltexpo. com/field-day/. Georgia Farm Bureau News
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Pecan conference provides export, marketing updates
By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________
ecan producers attending the 51st Annual Georgia Pecan Growers Association Conference March 30 had the chance to hear pecan marketing, production and policy experts speak and examine displays of equipment and products used to produce their crop.
Creating new markets
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
U.S. Pecan Growers Council (USPGC) President Randy Hudson gave conference attendees an overview of the export promotion work the council is doing to sell pecans worldwide. “We go around the world and introduce the world to pecans. It’s astounding how many people in the world don’t know what a pecan is,” Hudson said. “If you want to know why pecan prices are what they are today it’s because of exports.” Hudson said Georgia, which grows about one-third of the total U.S. pecan production, annually exports 60 to 90 percent of its harvest. “If you’re a Georgia producer you’ve seen about a dollar a pound price increase due to exports,” Hudson said. “Georgia producers contribute less than one-tenth of a penny per pound [for the council’s promo-
U.S. Rep. Austin Scott gave an update from Washington during the Georgia Pecan Growers Association Conference March 30. Visit http://tinyurl.com/GPGA16 for more photos. 10 / June-July 2016
tion programs]. That’s a great investment.” In addition to the booming export market in China, the USPGC is also making inroads in India, Turkey, Dubai and North Africa. “One of these days India will be as big a customer for pecans as China after we address tariff issues,” Hudson said. Since 2011, U.S. exports of in-shell pecans has increased 45 percent while exports of shelled pecans has increased 38 percent, USPGC data shows. Mike Adams, chairman of the American Pecan Board (APB), gave a status update on the federal marketing order for pecans. Adams spoke to conference attendees on the last day producers could postmark their ballots in the referendum. An article on page 11 outlines details of the order, which USDA announced on May 6 was passed by growers who voted in the March referendum. Georgia Pecan Commission Chairman Thomas Mason said the commission has recently put an emphasis on getting candy bar companies to use Georgia pecans in their products. He stressed the importance of growers continuing to support the state pecan commission after the federal marketing order passes. “When the federal marketing order gets passed, some of the promotion burden will be picked up by every grower in the U.S., but we need the Georgia assessment for our state commission more than we’ve ever needed it. Your Georgia assessment will allow us to continue branding the Georgia pecan and to fund research that addresses production problems unique to Georgia,” Mason said.
Noble Foundation collaborates with UGA on research
Dr. Charles Rohla, a researcher at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore, Okla., gave an overview of research the foundation is doing. Rohla said the Noble Foundation is working with University of Georgia re-
searchers Dr. Patrick Conner, Dr. Katherine Stevenson and Dr. Lenny Wells on several pecan research projects, including research studying the life cycle of pecan scab. “As you know, pecan research has been dwindling,” Rohla said. “We want to fill that gap and assist the industry and move it forward. We want to be the hub to pull in collaborators.” In addition to collaborating with UGA pecan researchers, the Noble Foundation is also working with researchers from Louisiana State University, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State University, Kansas State University, New Mexico State and USDA. The Noble Foundation is an independent, nonprofit institute founded in 1945 that conducts research programs benefiting farms in Oklahoma, the U.S. and worldwide.
U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, who serves on the House Agriculture Committee, was recognized for getting 26 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to support the pecan industry’s federal marketing order. “I’m happy to have helped you with your marketing order,” Scott said. “We’ve got some radical people in Washington that say if you support a marketing order you support taxes. I asked one of these people ‘If I sell a cow and pay one dollar to the beef industry and it is used to promote our business how is it a tax?’ ” Scott said he is also working to have India remove the tariffs it places on U.S. pecan imports. Political consultant Bob Redding with the Redding Firm in Washington, D.C., outlined priority issues pecan producers must focus on, which include: 1) getting India to reduce its tariffs on pecans imported from the U.S.; 2) getting Congress to pass language that requires the USDA to issue a crop report for pecans in January; 3) protect existing crop insurance provisions for pecans in the 2014 farm bill and the USDA Market Access Program funding for pecan exports. Redding said he doesn’t expect Congress to address immigration reform this year nor in 2017. He told producers to look for Congress to start holding hearings for the 2018 farm bill this fall beginning with specialty crop hearings. Continued on next page Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
U.S. pecan growers approve marketing order to promote crop
By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________ U. S. pecan growers are confident the fed- produce a minimum of 50,000 pounds of eral marketing order (FMO) they passed in a in-shell pecans or own a minimum of 30 March referendum will increase consumer pecan acres, will fund the order. demand for their crop. The pecan industry is The APB has worked closely with growspecifically gunning for a share of the snack ers in the 15 states where pecans are commarket that pistachio and almond growers mercially grown and the USDA for the past have built using funds they’ve collected for two and a half years to create a marketing years under similar orders for their crops. order that will benefit and represent pecan The USDA announced May 6 that 77 growers, buyers, processors and consumpercent of pecan growers who voted in the ers, the APB stated in a released statement. federal referendum held March 9 through “This historic step will usher in a new March 30 supported implementing the dawn for pecans as members of the pecan order. In addition to promoting pecans to industry across 15 states pool some of the consumers, the order will collect and pub- proceeds from the sale of pecans to adlish industry data, fund and coordinate vertise this healthy American tree nut in pecan research, establish uniform quality, the U.S., as well as publish industry data, grade and size standards, and create pack- regulate packaging and support pecan reaging guidelines and standards. Growers search,” Adams told Georgia Farm Bureau voting in the referendum accounted for 88 media. “Many consumers outside the propercent of the pecan production volume ducing states know little about the goodrepresented in the vote. ness of pecans. We aim to change that.” “The purpose of the federal marketing or- The marketing order the growers passed der is to increase the demand for pecans that stipulates that a 17-member American Pewill result in higher prices,” American Pecan can Council (APC) will administer the orBoard (APB) President Mike Adams said. der. Pecan growers and shellers (handlers) “I’m a grower from Texas and I got involved will nominate potential council members because I thought we had a quality food commodity that was being underpromoted Continued from previous page Reaching consumers resulting in lower prices. Hopefully we’ll be able to quadruple our price like the almond Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black told conference attendees that growers have as a result of their order.” Pecan growers in Georgia, Alabama, Georgia pecans would be highlighted in a Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, pecan brown butter cake when the Georgia Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Grown program participated in the prestiNorth Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, gious James Beard Foundation dinner held South Carolina and Texas, who annually June 18 in New York. Georgia Farm Bureau News
to represent them. The USDA will take nominations after the order goes into effect, which will occur when the USDA publishes the final rule in the federal register. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will select the members from the nominations. According to the USDA, the APC will consist of six sheller members, nine growers, an accumulator (person who collects in-shell pecans from others to resale or transfer) and a public member. Two growers and two shellers representing both large and small pecan production will represent each of the council’s three growing regions. Each member will have one alternate. Members and alternates will be nominated to four-year, staggered terms of office, with one-half of the committee members selected at alternate intervals. The APC will set the assessment rate after it is seated. Proposed assessment rates that were discussed leading up to the referendum were: 1 to 2 cents/in-shell pound for native and seedling varieties; 1 to 2 cents/ in-shell pound for sub-standard pecans and 2 to 3 cents/in-shell pound for improved varieties. Either the first or second pecan handler to whom growers sell their pecans to may collect the assessment. The council will also hire a fulltime professional staff to conduct the daily business of the APC. “The passing of the federal marketing order for pecans is good news for the pecan industry. It shows great foresight and the unity of all members in a quickly and ever changing marketplace,” said Georgia Farm Bureau Pecan Committee Chairman Garrett Ganas. “For Georgia growers this hopefully means continued strong prices and increased demand for our pecans both domestically and internationally.” Adams said he is optimistic that the APC members will be seated by mid-to-late summer so the assessment may be collected on the 2016 crop and nationwide promotion of pecans begin. Chef Bronwyn Hinton and Monica Miller conducted cooking demonstrations using recipes featuring Georgia pecans. Hinton teaches culinary arts at Albany Technical College and has developed recipes for the Georgia Pecan Growers Association. Visit www.georgiapecan.org to access recipes that use Georgia pecans. June-July 2016/ 11
commodities/marketing update By Nathan Dupree, Commodities/Marketing Specialist
Corn coming out of our ears Considering the additional acres of corn planted this year, don’t be surprised if you hear folks saying “We’ve got corn coming out of our ears,” a few times within the next 12 months. Nationwide, prospective corn plantings are 93.6 million acres for the 2016/17 year, while U.S. corn yield is projected to be down 0.4 bushels from 2015 giving an estimated yield of 168 bushels per acre. These figures help explain our corn supplies (production plus beginning stocks) for 2016/17 projected at a record 16.3 billion bushels, up 886 million from 2015/16, which more than offsets projected declines for sorghum, barley, and oats according to the June World Agriculture Supply and Demand report. The final acreage number will provide a clearer picture of the volume to be expected. Georgia farmers have increased the acreage of corn planted for the 2016 crop year. Georgia corn acreage is up 18 percent from last year for a total of 390,000 corn acres statewide. Last year 315,000 corn acres were planted in Georgia with only 265,000 harvested for grain. Numbers such
as these mean only a few things could help out Georgia corn prices. Weather-related issues sometimes generate a stronger demand for our corn-deficit state, but be sure not to count chickens before the eggs hatch. United States ending stocks are projected to rise to 2.153 billion bushels even with an expected record use of 14.12 billion bushels. Getting to such a high level of use may not be an easy task. The USDA shows a large increase in feed use at 300 million bushels and exports of 175 million bushels. The world market for corn looks pretty tough for next year due to huge supplies of competing grains like wheat. Additionally, the dollar value plays a significant role in marketing grain in foreign markets, with a stronger dollar making U.S. products more expensive in terms of local currency of importing countries. The dollar has shown consistent appreciation signs since September 2014, at which point the dollar index level reached 104.6. To date, January 2016 was the peak at 125.15 and since then the dollar has been slow to rise and has actually begun to inch down. This decrease
GFB accepting commodity committee nominations Georgia Farm Bureau is taking nominations until Aug. 19 for members to serve on its commodity advisory committees. Nomination forms are available at county Farm Bureau offices. These committees serve in an advisory capacity to the GFB president, board and staff to implement Farm Bureau Policy. They also make recommendations to the GFB Policy Development Committee pertaining to their commodity. “Commodity advisory committees are a great way to involve members in your county,” said GFB President Gerald Long. “If a member wants to make a difference and is looking for a way to get more involved, this process is a way for them to participate in our organization with a small time commitment.” All county Farm Bureaus may nomi12 / June-July 2016
nate members to serve on a commodity advisory committee for a one-year term. Every county is encouraged to review their candidates and make nominations to each committee for commodities grown in the county. A person can only be nominated to serve on one committee. The chairperson will be appointed for a one-year term, and will serve on the GFB Policy Development Committee. GFB has 20 committees covering the following commodities: aquaculture, beef cattle, cotton, dairy, direct marketing/ agritourism, environmental horticulture, equine, feedgrain/soybean, forestry, fruit, goats/sheep, hay, honeybees, peanuts, pecans, poultry, swine, tobacco, vegetables and water. Committees meet once in the spring and again at the annual GFB Commodity Conference in mid-summer.
may help some with prices and marketing opportunities, but these exchange rate levels are much higher than the 2014 levels, which encouraged record U.S. agriculture exports. Timing is one of, if not the most crucial factor in marketing grain. Last year, prices took a leap of about $0.66 a bushel from May until June when a downturn began resulting in only a 10 cent net gain on the board. Harvest time is not the best time to lock in a good selling price for your grain because the market is usually flooded with the new crop, but be ready if the market presents an opportunity to make money. The basis from last year has also been hanging around the same levels offered for the 2016/17 marketing year. At this writing, proposed average corn basis from several buyers statewide for July delivery is $0.65 over the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and for September delivery producers should expect to receive less for the basis. The Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Commodity/Marketing Department is dedicated to working for our farmer members. With the increase in corn acres do not hesitate to contract your corn with us to help move it off your farm and through the pipeline at competitive prices. The best avenues for grain marketing may not be the most obvious. It is generally best to look at all of your alternatives and understand the advantages of each to gain the most benefit. We keep a close eye on market conditions and can show you opportunities to market your grain. This can be done with a cash contract, forward contract, or basis contract. Transportation can be arranged to get your grain to market in a timely manner and Georgia Farm Bureau guarantees your payment. Your GFB Commodity/ Marketing Department has the knowledge, experience and points of contact to aid you, the producer, with your grain marketing and feed ingredient needs. For more information call us toll free at (800) 342-1196. Nathan Dupree is a commodity specialist in the GFB Commodities/Marketing Department who assists GFB members in selling their grain or buying feed commodities. Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo by Jay Stone
The GFB Water Committee held its meeting at the Stripling Irrigation Research Park (SIRP) in Camilla on March 3, getting briefings on research being done at the park. From left are GFB President Gerald Long, GFB Legislative Director Jeffrey Harvey, GFB 9th District Director Lucius Adkins, Charlie Frank Harris, Crawford County; Rocky Nobles, Twiggs County; GFB 9th District Field Representative Jeff Nunnery, Water Committee Chairman Bubba Johnson, Mitchell County; Lee Webster, Burke County; Tim Thoms, Fayette County; William Grizzle, Cherokee County, SIRP Agricultural Specialist B.J. Washington, Jerry Boling, Banks County; Casey Cox, executive director of the Flint River Soil & Water Conservation District; Billy Sanders, Dooly County; Daulton Boling, Banks County; and Steve Dixon, Berrien County.
Georgia Farm Bureau’s 20 commodity committees met this spring to consider issues for their respective commodities and offer guidance to GFB as its leaders consider the organization’s stance on a variety of issues that affect agriculture. They’ll have a second round of face-to-face discussions during the GFB Commodity Conference on Aug. 4 in Tifton.
Photo by Brandon Ashley
GFB commodity committees meet
The GFB Honeybee Committee met at the UGA Honeybee Lab in Watkinsville, where lab manager Jennifer Berry, left, presented information about the lab’s research and outreach programs.
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Don Giles, who served as GFB 6th Dist. Field Rep., retired May 31.
Giles retires after 37 years as GFB 6th District Field Rep
By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________ Former Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) 6th District Field Representative Don Giles closed the gate on his almost 37-year career with the organization on May 31, and drove into retirement. Giles, whose district included 16 counties in Middle Georgia, sat down with GFB media May 20 to reflect on his career. “A field rep is the liaison between the county Farm Bureau and the home office. We wear a lot of different hats. Part of our job is working with the county office staff. A large part of it is working with the volunteer leaders,” Giles said. Working with Farm Bureau folks was the most rewarding part of his job, Giles said. “I love the people I work with. I think ag people are just like family,” Giles said. “I won’t miss the deadlines, but I’ll miss the people.” When asked what he would tell Farm Bureau volunteers and staff if they were all in a room together, Giles said, “I’d tell them that I love everyone of them. That they’re 14 / June-July 2016
part of my family and a big part of my life and to keep working and promoting Farm Bureau because it’s the right thing to do.” His district leaders, county staff and volunteers return the affection. “Don’s legacy will be that he’s a friend of Farm Bureau and a friend of the people he came in contact with,” said Laurens County Farm Bureau President James Malone, who also serves as a GFB 6th District Director. “He’s a good Christian man, and he’s just a joy to work with. That’s the legacy he leaves with me.” Giles said it’s important Farm Bureau members remember the leaders who came before them who laid the groundwork for the organization that exists today. “It’s important to keep telling the farm story. There are a tremendous number of consumers and young people out there who don’t know the importance of agriculture. They don’t understand why it’s so important.” Giles’ parents, Frank and Susie, owned an agribusiness center in Unadilla where he
grew up. When Don was a teenager his father encouraged him and his three brothers to pursue careers outside of agriculture because of how tough farming and agribusiness was. But Giles said agriculture was in his blood and he and two of his brothers chose ag careers. “When I’ve been asked what I do, I would always say I have a job that allows me to work with the best folks in the world – farm families – and be as close to farming as I can without actually putting the seed in soil or caring for the livestock,” Giles said. Giles credits fellow GFB employees like the late Bob Marlowe, a former GFB Commodities Department director, and numerous volunteers for teaching him how Farm Bureau works as an organization and about farming. Before coming to GFB, Giles sold ag chemicals for Triangle Chemical. When he started at Farm Bureau June 18, 1979, GFB conducted business very differently than today. There were no cell phones or computers, and once a week he was expected to work at one of the hog sale barns GFB operated then. “I learned really quick with this job that it gave me the opportunity to serve a group of agricultural people and rural people – great people,” said Giles. “That’s one of the reasons I’ve stayed for 37 years.” Sometimes serving others resulted in hilarious stories. In the mid 1980s when a severe drought left Georgia with a devastating hay shortage and Farm Bureau helped orchestrate a hay lift to bring hay to Georgia from other states. Giles was in Eastman helping GFB Commodities staff member Doug Chastain and Mac Harrington, Dodge County Farm Bureau president at the time, unload hay for local farmers. “We were left to finish unloading a train boxcar of hay. It was great alfalfa hay from Arizona, but it was heavy square bales. Doug came up with the idea to release the brakes of the car so it would move a little closer to where we wanted it unloaded,” Giles said. “The car got to moving faster than we thought. Mac’s pickup was sitting by the track with the driver’s door open, and the boxcar was moving faster than Mac could run. Needless to say, the boxcar took off Mac’s door, but he did have good insurSee GILES page 17 Georgia Farm Bureau News
GFB to award college scholarships
Contact your county Farm Bureau office for for more more information or or an an appliappli- Executive Director Shimp new Ga. National Fairgrounds office information
Peanut sweepstakes offers vacation, assorted prizes
P Gentry new GNFA
Photo courtesy of GNFA
Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2013 Georgia Farm Bureau News
cation. The application deadline FebCounty The Sheriff’s Department forisisseven cation. application deadline February 21, 2014. Applications must be apyears before taking the public must safetybe jobapat ruary 21, 2014. Applications proved and signed by the Farm Bureau the GNFA. proved and signed by the Farm Bureau president of the the county countygrow in which which the ap While of Shimp didn’t up onthe a farm, president in applicant resides or attends high school. he says he has come to respect and appreciplicant resides or attends high school. You may may also also download copy of of ate You agriculture during his years working at download aa copy the application by visiting http://www. the GNFA. application by visiting http://www. gfb.org, selecting Programs and then Ag “Fourteen years ago when I got here, gfb.org, selecting Programs and then Ag in the Classroom. Classroom. I became a student of agriculture and the in the The Georgia Georgia Farm Bureau Mufairgrounds,” ShimpFarm said. Bureau “I wanted to The Mutual Insurance Company and the GFB learn everything about agriculture and the tual Insurance Company and the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee sponsponfairgrounds that I could.” Women’s Leadership Committee sor the scholarship program. One of the things he and his staff are sor the scholarship program. looking to do is build partnerships with Winners will be announced in May Winners will be announced in May other organizations or government agen2014. 2014. cies to promote the fair and agricenter. In
May the GNFA announced it is partnering with the Georgia Public Library Service to give four tickets to the winners of Summer Reading contests at the 405 local libraries statewide. See page 8 for details. “My main goal is to stick to our mission – to promote agribusiness and showcase young people’s accomplishments in agriculture,” Shimp said. “The Georgia National Fair is a place for people to come and see what products are grown in Georgia, it promotes Georgia agriculture. It also allows youth to see how their food is grown and what the industry is all about.” He and his wife, Tonisha, have four children.
Contact your county Farm Bureau
Photo courtesy of GNFA
Georgia Farm Bureau Bureau will will award award aa Georgia Farm total of $14,250 in scholarships to 10 10 total of $14,250 in scholarships to high school seniors who plan to pursue Stephen execuhigh school Shimp seniorsbegan whoserving plan toaspursue an degree inNational agricultural tiveundergraduate director of the degree Georgiain Fairan undergraduate agricultural and environmental sciences, family family and and grounds & Agri- sciences, and environmental consumer sciences or a related agriculcenter Maysciences 1. consumer or a related agricultural field. has tural “Stephen field. The top Agrithree students students will will each each served The the top three receive a scholarship of $3,000. The center fora fourteen receive scholarship of $3,000. The remaining seven students will will each each rereyears in hisseven previ-students remaining ceive $750 scholarship. ous aaposition as ceive $750 scholarship. Students submitting an an applicaapplicapublic safety direcStudents submitting tion must currently be a Georgia high tor and has done tion must currently be a Georgia high Shimp school senior and plan to enroll in aa an outstanding school senior and plan to enroll in unit of the University System of Georjob. Stephen’s knowledge of the programs unit of the University System of Georis exceptional, and he has demonstrated gia or College during the 20142014-a gia or Berry Berry College during the sincere desire to take the Agricenter to the 2015 academic year. 2015 academic year. next level,” said Foster Rhodes, vice chairman of the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority, which governs the GNFA and Georgia National Fair . Shimp succeeds Randy Moore, who retired Dec. 31. A native of Assonet, Mass., south of Boston, Shimp came to Georgia in 1993 to eanutonfans fans have aascholdaily attend Georgia College a baseball eanut have daily arship. He worked chance as a deputy for the Bibb to win a vacation and hundreds of other prizes until Nov. 30. Vacation destination choices include California, Colorado, New York or Florida. Visit Philip Gentry Jr., a member of the http://www.EnergytoBurn.org first generation kids that grew up to registeroffor a chance to win. competing After in registering, particilivestockpants shows play a game called “Crack at the theGeorPeanut” for a chance to win gia National instant prizes like peanut and F a i r g r o u npacks, d s iPods and gift cards. peanut butter & Agricenter If you crack three peanuts that match, (GNFA), is instant set then you’re an winner! to“When take the lead it comes to getting through an from James early morning or long day, everyone wins Gentry Floyd as GNFA with peanuts. At seven grams per servAgriculture/Youth Director when Floyd ing, peanuts have more energy-boosting retires July 1. Gentry will be responsible protein than any nut,” said Bob Parker, for coordinating youth livestock shows, president and CEO of the National Peashows and renting livestock facilinuthorse Board. “Through the Energy to Burn ties at the Georgia National Fairgrounds sweepstakes we’re able to celebrate the and Agricenter. power of peanuts and help re-energize Gentry grew up showing lambs, Americans with a fun vacation.” dairy heifers, hogs and beef cattle The “Energy to Burn” sweepstakes, is through 4-H and FFA, and said his first sponsored by the National Peanut Board livestock project was a lamb bought and co-presented by Hampton Farms, See GENTRY next page Planters and Skippy.
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June-July 2016/ 15
CAES Dean Sam Pardue speaks to GFB Directors
etting students who want to study agriculture at the University of Georgia admitted to the university and teaching consumers that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are safe are two of the main challenges Sam Pardue, the new dean and director of UGA’s College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, is gearing up to tackle. Pardue, who started his job March 14, visited with the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors May 26 during their monthly meeting. Pardue acknowledged that it has become more difficult for students to get into UGA as test scores and grade point averages for entering freshmen have risen in recent years. “I am a big believer in the land grant mission. I’m a product of it. They were created with a specific mission in mind, and we will provide ways for students who want to study agriculture to have an opportunity to come to UGA whether it is at the Tifton, Griffin or Athens campus,” Pardue said. “The flip side is you have to help me get the students there. Start working with students in middle school [to meet the entrance requirements]. Our good friends in athletics start recruiting in middle school. There’s no reason we can’t.” Pardue shared that during a recent visit to Washington, D.C., members of Georgia’s U.S. Congressional delegation asked the CAES to help educate consumers about the science behind GMOs and that they’re safe. “I’m amazed at highly educated people
who don’t understand the basic principles of production agriculture,” Pardue said. “It’s a dangerous thing when 99 percent of the people who vote don’t understand how we grow their food. The college needs to do a better job of educating consumers that we produce safe and abundant food, especially on the GMO issue. I hope we’ll be a data driven college and tell the truth whatever it is, and the truth today is that GMOs are safe and don’t negatively impact humans.” The CAES can help farmers meet the challenge of lower commodity prices by continuing research that helps farmers produce their crops and raise livestock as efficiently and cost effectively as possible, Pardue said. “We can’t change low commodity prices, but we can focus on how to produce quality crops as cheaply as possible,” Pardue said. He said the same goes for addressing climate variability issues farmers face with erratic weather patterns. One of the reasons Pardue wanted to come to UGA to serve as CAES dean was because of the passion Georgia’s ag community has for its livelihood and the diversity of Georgia agriculture. “My hope is that all nine departments in the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences will make you proud in research and produce bright young students ready to enter the work force,” Pardue said. Pardue expressed appreciation for the working relationship GFB and the CAES have had, saying, “I am grateful we have a wonderful partnership with Georgia Farm
GENTRY from previous page from a sale at the GNFA. The lessons he learned from showing and teaching ag at Perry High School the past 10 years have prepared him for his new role. “While I never earned state champion honors as an exhibitor, I believe that I learned more from coming up short. You can’t always choose your circumstances, but you can choose how you handle yourself. Showing livestock taught me how to work hard, how to persevere, and how to work as a team,” Gentry said.
While Gentry was teaching at PHS, the school had three students win grand champion awards at the Georgia Jr. National Livestock Show held annually in February at the GNFA. Gentry graduated from the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences with a BSA in Agriculture Education in 2006. He and his wife, Lindsay, have two daughters. He owns and operates Rising G Cattle and also serves as a judge for livestock competitions.
16 / June-July 2016
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________
GFB President Gerald Long, left, introduced Sam Pardue, the new dean and director of the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, who spoke to the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors on May 26. Visit http://tinyurl.com/ parduevisitsGFB to see more photos.
Bureau that has spanned many years. We have a common purpose in many ways. I know the history of what Georgia Farm Bureau has done for the college and university, and I’m excited about what we’ll do together in the future.” Pardue comes to UGA after spending 27 years at North Carolina State’s (NCS) College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He most recently served as associate dean and director of academic programs since 2012 and chaired the NCS poultry science department for seven years prior. He earned his bachelor’s degree in poultry science and his master’s and doctoral degrees, both in physiology at NCS. During his time as a poultry researcher, he conducted research with $2.5 million in external funding and received three patents for his work. He and his wife, Stacy, have two adult children, a daughter Caitlin and son, Taylor. During the past three months Pardue has traveled the state meeting members of Georgia’s ag community. The CAES held a series of welcome receptions for the new dean at the CAES’ Athens, Griffin and Tifton campuses. The Athens reception was held on G-Day and the CAES Alumni Association hosted a pre-game tailgate, which included teaching Pardue to call the Dawgs. visit http://tinyurl.com/pardueathenswelcome to see photos of this event. Georgia Farm Bureau News
GILES from page 14 ance [Farm Bureau].” Of all the legislative initiatives GFB promoted during his career, Giles said he thinks the work GFB did in 2010 and 2011 to get the Georgia General Assembly to pass the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) program has been the most beneficial to farmers. GATE gives qualified farmers a sales tax exemption on some items used to produce their commodities. “I know the Conservation Use Valuation Assessment (CUVA) program has a big impact statewide, but for the sixth district I think it is GATE, especially with the downturn in commodity prices. Any money saved might help some keep farming, “ Giles said. “The GATE program also has allowed our county offices and office managers to be the focal point of the farming community to come in and signup for or renew their GATE cards.” Giles said any one who wants a long career at GFB needs to be willing to serve others, do what’s right and build relationships with county staff and volunteers. This was the game plan he followed and it resulted in
county staff thinking highly of him. “I’ve known Don for 33 years and I had a great working relationship with Don,” said Laurens County Farm Bureau Office Manager Mary Morris. “It didn’t matter what I asked him to do, he was always there ready to help me, no matter how large or how small the job was. We worked through a lot of changes since I’ve been here.” Giles begins his retirement with plans to volunteer and spend more time with his wife, Ramona. “We will continue to be active in the church. I do have a son [Jeremy] and daughter-in-law and a wonderful granddaughter who live in Columbia, Tennessee, and she wants to see her Pops more,” Giles said. “I wouldn’t rule out anything. I’m young enough and feel well enough to do something. I will not go home and sit down.” If you’d like to send Don & Ramona a note of congratulations it may be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or 149 Duskin Dr. Cochran, Ga. 31014. Andy Lucas contributed information for this article.
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Georgia Farm Bureau News
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June-July 2016/ 17
Erosion Control Expo provides info on conservation techniques
By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________
ore than 300 visitors from Cobb County and surrounding counties had access to the latest information on soil conservation and farm technology, and heard speeches from GFB President Gerald Long, AFBF President Zippy Duvall and former Gov. Roy Barnes during the Georgia Farm and Erosion Control Expo, held April 29 at Jim Miller Park in Marietta. The event, sponsored in part by Cobb
County Farm Bureau (CCFB), featured more than 40 exhibitors and presentations on erosion control techniques, produce safety, growing crops in high tunnel greenhouses and erosion compliance. Visitors also had a chance to see the latest in silt fences and drainage technology, as well as demonstrations of drones used for aerial photography and displays from GFB member benefit partners like Grasshopper lawn mowers and Ford vehicles.
“We had a lot more people here than we thought we would. We had a big turnout and we’re hoping that in future years it’ll be even more,” said CCFB President Stan Kirk. “The goal was mainly to promote agriculture, promote soil and erosion control. Just to make sure people know they have resources here so that we can help them with that.” Long spoke following lunch, emphasizing the importance of water to Georgia’s farmers. A vegetable grower from Decatur County in Southwest Georgia, Long noted that the choice to irrigate is the choice to spend money, so farmers are judicious about when they irrigate and how much. “In the vegetable industry, any time you’re dealing with specialty crops the seed is very expensive,” Long said. “We can’t afford not to have the plants get established, so irrigation is critical.” Long also talked about GFB and its role as an advocate for agriculture. “Some of y’all know us just as an inSee EROSION next page
Deal names Dunn new EPD director Richard Dunn, former deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (OPB), transitioned to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as director of the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) effective June 15. Dunn succeeds Jud Turner, who stepped down June 1. Turner will continue to serve as a member of the state’s water litigation team as a special assistant attorney general, according to Gov. Nathan Deal’s office. Deal announced the transition on May 23. Lauren Curry, chief of staff for the Georgia Emergency Management/Homeland Security Agency (GEMHSA), will become the deputy director of EPD. Before serving as deputy director of OPB, Dunn served as director of the Health and Human Services division where he worked closely on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the behavioral health settlement agreement with the U.S. 18 / June-July 2016
Department of Justice, state health care programs and child welfare. Curry has served as chief of staff for GEMHSA since May of 2014. Prior to working under GEMHSA, she served as DNR Director of Public and Governmental Affairs for Richard Dunn five years. In this role, she was responsible for the department’s communications and marketing strategy, legislative affairs, policy development and public events. DNR Deputy Commissioner Walter Rabon served as the interim director of EPD from June 1-15. Mary Walker will become the director of the Water Resources Division for the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority and will head up the Governor’s Water Supply Program for the state.
Courtesy Ga. EPD
Photo by Jay Stone
Angie Allen of Douglas County, left, visits the Southern Roots Farm market trailer, one of more than 40 exhibitors at the Georgia Farm & Erosion Control Expo. Southern Roots, in Powder Springs, is operated by Cobb County Farm Bureau Director Bobby Eidson (not pictured) and his wife Lynn (center). Lynn Morgan, right, helps out in the booth. The Eidsons take the trailer to farmers markets to sell their produce and honey. To see more photos visit http://tinyurl.com/CobbExpo16
Georgia Farm Bureau News
USDA providing ginning assistance to cotton producers The USDA announced on June 6 that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) will provide an estimated $300 million in cost-share assistance payments to cotton producers through the new Cotton Ginning Cost-Share program, in order to expand and maintain the domestic marketing of cotton, according to a USDA press release. Through the program, eligible producers can receive a one-time, cost-share payment, which will be based on a producer’s 2015 cotton acres reported to FSA, multiplied by 40 percent of the average ginning cost for each production region. Realizing the need to provide assistance ahead of the 2016 ginning season this fall, the USDA indicated in its announcement that it will ensure the application process is straight-forward and efficient. The program will estimate producers’ ginning costs based on cotton planted in 2015. Local FSA offices already have this information for the vast majority of eligible producers and the applications will be able to use existing data. Sign-up for the program began June 20 and runs through Aug. 5 at local FSA offices. Payments will be processed as applications are received, and are expected to begin in July.
Since 2011, cotton fiber markets have experienced dramatic changes. As a result of low cotton prices and global oversupply, cotton producers are facing economic uncertainty, which has led to many producers losing equity and being forced to liquidate equipment and land to satisfy loans. The ginning of cotton is necessary prior to marketing the lint for fiber or the seed for oil or feed. While the Cotton Ginning Cost-Share Program makes payments to cotton producers for cotton ginning costs, the benefits of the program will be felt by the broader marketing chain associated with cotton and cottonseed, including cotton gins, cooperatives, marketers and cottonseed crushers and the rural communities that depend on them. The program has the same eligibility requirements as were used for the 2014 Cotton Transition Assistance Program, including a $40,000 per producer payment limit, requirement to be actively engaged in farming, conservation compliance and a $900,000 adjusted gross income limit. To learn more about the Cotton Ginning Cost-Share program, visit www. fsa.usda.gov/cgcs or contact a local FSA county office.
EROSION from previous page surance company,” Long said. “We were founded in 1937 to represent the agriculture industry in the legislature.” AFBF President Zippy Duvall talked about key issues on which the organization is working at the national level, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, regulatory reform and immigration reform. Duvall also discussed why farmers use biotechnology and modern farming practices. “When the crop gets ripe it is not going to wait on the Department of Labor,” Duvall said. “We need a reliable source of legal workers to ensure that crops are harvested.” Georgia Farm Bureau Legislative Director Jeffrey Harvey gave an update on the organization’s work on key ag issues at the state level, including funding for the
Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission and keeping the state’s agricultural water metering program under the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Barnes provided the keynote address at lunch, sharing his farming experiences while growing up and talking about soil conservation issues and techniques. “Those of us that raise cattle, we grow grass,” Barnes said, directing his comments to the largely suburban crowd. “Even though many of you may not farm or raise livestock, we all grow grass. Developers of subdivisions grow grass. Homeowners grow grass. Everybody grows grass in one way or the other, and you cannot grow grass without good soil and effective erosion control of your land.”
Georgia Farm Bureau News
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June-July 2016/ 19
FVSU Ham & Egg Breakfast highlights new president, ag issues
Photo by Jenniffer Whittaker
Fort Valley State University (FVSU) employees and alumni heard legislative updates from federal and state officials and learned about FVSU research and Extension programs during the 34th Annual Ham & Egg Legislative Breakfast & Agricultural Showcase held April 5. U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D–Dist. 2) emceed the event. Bishop, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, also gave a status report on the current appropriations process. “We’re in the appropriations cycle right now. We’ve completed all of our hearings [for agriculture appropriations] and we’re on track to have our appropriations bill out of the House by the time we convene for our conventions in July,” Bishop said. “With agriculture being as important as it is to our state, it goes without saying that the farm bill is the largest area of concern today.” University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby introduced Dr. Paul Jones, the new FVSU president, praising him for his ability to make wise decisions. “He’s going to be outstanding and remarkable and under his leadership we’ll take Fort Valley State University to the place where it needs to be.” Jones, who is FVSU’s 10th president,
USDA Rural Development Deputy Undersecretary Lillian Salerno praised FVSU for the quality of students it graduates. 20 / June-July 2016
was serving as interim president at Darton State College in Albany when he was tapped to lead FVSU last November. Jones holds a doctorate from Colorado State University and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Utah State University. “I thank you for the opportunity to serve at this great university. I’m looking forward to what we can do together to move this university to the level it deserves,” said Jones. “Today is a wonderful opportunity for us to engage the community and legislators and showcase the work we do in the area of agriculture.” Jones called FVSU one of the best-kept secrets in Georgia, stressing the need for FVSU supporters to spread the word about the university. “This university is ranked number one in the nation for educating African American students in mathematics and science and number six in the nation for educating African American students in agriculture,” Jones said. Dr. Govind Kannan, dean of the FVSU College of Agriculture, Family Sciences & Technology, shared the history of the FVSU Ham & Egg Show, which was last held in 1966 and transitioned into the current breakfast in 1983. This year is the 100th anniversary of the first show. Kannan recalled how Otis Samuel O’Neal, known as the “Father of the Ham & Egg Show,” began the show to teach African American farmers how to properly cure pigs and get more and better eggs from their hens. Margaret Jordan Toomer, known as the “Mother” of the show, taught families how to can their food and added 4-H competitions to the annual show. “Let’s pause for a second and think that 100 years ago we had a trailblazer right here at Fort Valley State University in the area of food safety,” Kannan said. USDA Rural Development Deputy Undersecretary Lillian Salerno praised FVSU for the quality of students it graduates. “At USDA, our staff takes notice when people have Fort Valley State University on
Photo by Jenniffer Whittaker
By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________
FVSU President Dr. Paul Jones said the university ranks first in the U.S. for educating African American students in mathematics and science and sixth in the nation for educating African American students in agriculture.
their resume,” Salerno said. “When you’re graduating people from here you’re changing Georgia and the country. Keep sending us great folks up to USDA.” Salerno said the USDA Rural Development has allocated $8.6 billion to Georgia during President Obama’s Administration to help strengthen the economies of rural communities. Georgia Farm Bureau Legislative Director Jeffrey Harvey highlighted federal and state bills the organization has been tracking in recent months. “Our mission at Georgia Farm Bureau is to represent the farmers around this state at the capitol in Atlanta and in Washington, D.C., monitoring legislation that impacts farmers’ lives,” Harvey said. Harvey said GFB worked to protect the Conservation Use Assessment Tax and Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) program during the 2016 Georgia General Assembly. The organization also worked to get state legislators to pass House Bill 742, which makes Georgia tax code compatible with federal tax code giving farmers a permanent $500,000 exemption for depreciating major purchases, such as farm equipment. Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black commended FVSU for being an early adopter of the Georgia Grown brand and for the university’s support of the Georgia Grown Building at the Georgia National Fair. He alluded to future plans to showcase live animal births at the fair and the role FVSU’s veterinary program could play. Visit http://tinyurl.com/FVSUbreakfast16 to see more photos. Georgia Farm Bureau News
GFB Art Contest draws students to agriculture Rachel Boyette of Candler County won the 22nd Annual GFB High School Art Contest. The daughter of Kellie Lank, Boyette was a senior at Metter High School when she entered her drawing in the contest earlier this year. She won $250 as the state winner of the art contest and $100 as the GFB 7th District winner. Open to any high school student, the contest had 54 entries. The drawings were judged on artistic merit and how well the artwork represented Georgia agriculture.
Art by GFB Art Contest Runner-up Charles Gunter, Dawson County, GFB 1st District
Art by GFB Art Contest Runner-up Daniel Hughes, Coffee County, GFB 10th District Georgia Farm Bureau News
Art by GFB Art Contest State winner Rachel Boyette, Candler County, GFB 7th District
Charles Gunter of Dawson County, GFB 1st District, and Daniel Hughes of Coffee County, GFB 10th District, were the state runners-up in the contest. Gunter and Hughes each won $150 as the state runnersup and $100 for being district winners. Other district winners in the art contest were: Jessie Yeargin, Elbert County, GFB 2nd District; Vicente Cruz, Henry County, GFB 3rd District; Morgan Hillman, McDuffie County, GFB 4th District; Rebecca Makston, Harris County, GFB 5th District; Zach Johnson, Washington County, GFB 6th District; Alicia Helms, Wilcox County, GFB 8th District; and Reece Hill, Colquitt County, GFB 9th District. Each district winner received $100. The winning artwork from each district will be featured in GFB’s 2017 Ag in the Classroom calendar along with two other contest entries selected by the judges. The GFB Women’s Leadership Committee coordinated both contests on the state level and county Women’s Committees promoted the contests locally. “Our art contest provides county Farm Bureaus an opportunity to reach out to high school art teachers and get the subject of agriculture on the minds of students who might not otherwise think about farming,” said GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Melanie Sanders. “We appreciate all of the counties who made contact with their local teachers or directly asked students to par-
ticipate in the contests. Thanks to you, 54 high school students investigated Georgia commodities as they created artwork depicting Georgia agriculture.” Visit http://tinyurl.com/gfbartcontest16 to see all district winners’ artwork.
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June-July 2016/ 21
By Jay Stone ___________________________________ UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) Dean Sam Pardue was introduced, the 2016 Sunbelt Expo Georgia Farmer of the Year was named and the annual Flavor of Georgia winners were announced during Georgia’s National Agriculture Week celebration, held March 15 at the Georgia Freight Depot in Atlanta. Pardue, who follows Scott Angle at the helm of CAES, started work in Athens on March 14. He acknowledged the strength and importance of Georgia agriculture. “We are excited. I am mindful of the fact that Georgia is in good hands, because we have a spirit of people who know how to get things done. They have an idea and they work hard to bring it to fruition. I hope that is what the college helps to provide, resources to help those dreams come true,” said Pardue, who comes to UGA from North Carolina State University. “At the end of the day, I would rather have a four ounce potato than four ounces of gold if I’m hungry. And we’re all about food and fiber and reaching out to youth. We have faith in the future that things are going to continue to get better.” Ag Day, which drew hundreds of visitors, including numerous members of the Georgia General Assembly, featured exhibits for dozens of agricultural stakeholder groups in the Depot exhibit area, providing information and in many cases samples of food. The fare included something for virtually every taste. For example, the Georgia Milk Producers gave out cheese cubes and the Georgia Cotton Commission gave out brownies made with cottonseed oil. Fort Valley State University handed out samples of goat jerky. Visitors had the chance to sample a wide variety of food items produced in Georgia. “This is a continuation and expression 22 / June-July 2016
Amanda Wilbanks of Southern Baked Pie Company accepts the grand prize in the 2016 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest from Gov. Nathan Deal, left, UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Dean Sam Pardue and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, right. To view more photos from Ag Day visit http://tinyurl.com/16agday.
of what we have done to promote agriculture in our state and to make it real to our citizens as they shop at the grocery store and as they buy products for their home,” Gov. Nathan Deal said. Screven County diversified farmer John D. McCormick was announced as the Sunbelt Georgia Farmer of the Year. McCormick will compete with winners from nine other Southeastern states at the Sunbelt Expo in October. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black discussed the impact of the event and the Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest in particular. “This celebration today is a celebration of dreams. This is a launchpad for a lot of folks with business dreams,” Black said, noting the successes of previous winners in the contest. The Flavor of Georgia Contest, conducted by the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, announced its 2016 winners. Southern Baked Pie Company, owned by Amanda Wilbanks of Gainesville, won
the grand prize with its caramel pecan pie, which also won the top prize for the Confections category with the caramel pecan pie. Other winners, by category: Barbecue Sauces – Joe Kems BBQ Sauce of Moultrie; Beverages – Paulk’s Pride White Muscadine Juice, Wray; Dairy Products – Nekkid Espresso Dairy-Free Gelato, Revolution Gelato, Atlanta; Honey – Papa’s Private Selection Honey, Bruce’s Nut N Honey Farm/The Honey Shack, Homerville; Jams & Jellies – Wild Mahaw Pepper Jelly, Wisham Jellies, Tifton; Meat & Seafood – Hot Georgia Night Sausage, Hunter Cattle Company, Brooklet; Marinades, Sauces & Rubs – Leek, Chive & Onion Seasoning & Dip, The Salt Table, Pooler; Miscellaneous – Pocketful of Starlight Vanilla sugar, Beautiful Briny Sea, Atlanta; Salsas, Chutneys and Condiments – Blackhawk Field to Fork Sweet Fire Pickles, Abby J’s Gourmet, Statesboro; Snack Foods – Kim’s Cheese Straws, Pecan Cheddar, Marsh Cabin Bakery, Statesboro; People’s Choice – Medium Smoked Link Sausage, Carroll’s Sausage & Meats, Ashburn.
Photo by Jay Stone
CAES Dean Sam Pardue introduced & Sunbelt farmer named
Photo courtesy of the University of Georgia
Annual Ag Day features Flavor of Georgia winners
Georgia Watermelon Queen Andi Dickerson greets visitors with samples during the 13th Annual Georgia Ag Day held March 15 in Atlanta. Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photos by Jay Stone
Lowndes County farmers Walt and Shannon Carter, left, enjoy sandwiches with Subway Regional Development Agent Joe Hart, back right, and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black during an event to launch the promotional campaign Subway is running in four Georgia markets to publicize the fact that the chain buys more than eight million pounds of Georgia produce annually. For more photos visit http:// tinyurl.com/GAGrownSubwaypromo.
Georgia Grown, Subway partner to promote local produce By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________ Subway restaurants across the U.S. buy more than eight million pounds of Georgia grown tomatoes, cucumbers and green peppers a year, according to Subway representatives. To show the restaurant’s commitment to sourcing local produce, Subway Regional Development Agent Joe Hart and dozens of Subway franchisees in Georgia are partnering with the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s (GDA) Georgia Grown program to spotlight Subway’s use of vegetables grown in Georgia during Georgia’s produce growing seasons. “At Subway, we always strive to serve the freshest ingredients we can,” said Hart, who is also a longstanding franchisee for the restaurant chain in metro Atlanta. “We’re proud to be serving locally grown cucumbers, green peppers and tomatoes during the local growing seasons, and to be supporting Georgia farmers and the local economy.” At a kickoff event at a Subway location on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road in Atlanta on May 12, representatives from GDA and Subway joined Lowndes County farmer Walt Carter to celebrate the partnership, ordering their sandwiches with Georgia Grown produce. Carter, whose business Carter & Sons Produce provides some of the vegetables to be served at Subway, is appearing in television ads promoting the program. “It’s good. Where I live we have wholesale and retail stores, and you wouldn’t believe the number of young people that don’t know where bell peppers and cucumbers Georgia Farm Bureau News
and tomatoes and squash come from. We try to teach as many people as we can,” Carter said. “By Subway doing this it shows a lot of people where their food comes from.” The promotional campaign will be featured on billboards, TV and radio ads, and in-store displays in four Georgia markets:
Albany, Atlanta, Columbus and Northeast Georgia. “We are very excited to have this opportunity to partner with Georgia’s largest restaurant chain,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. “This campaign exemplifies what the Georgia Grown program is and can be. The brand has the power to bridge the gap of what the consumers want and what the farmer is already offering – wholesome, local products produced right here in Georgia.” Although the advertising campaign is being targeted for four markets, Subway customers across the state enjoy Georgiasourced produce as supply and crop quality allow.
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One of the conference workshops showed attendees how to teach middle school students about genetic traits passed when crossing plants. The workshop included an activity that extracts DNA from strawberries. Pictured from left, Jackson County Farm Bureau (JCFB) Office Manager Denise Temple and JCFB members Shane Cronic and LaShea Branton filter fluid from crushed strawberries mixed with detergent, salt and distilled water - one of the steps in the DNA extraction process. Visit http://tinyurl.com/gfbeducconf16 to see more photos from the event.
GFB Educational Leadership Conference equips attendees to promote agriculture By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________ Georgia Farm Bureau county volunteers and staff attending the organization’s annual Educational Leadership Conference held March 18 & 19 in Augusta, got a “Masters” course in ag literacy that sharpened their ag advocacy skills. Workshops featured hands-on activities they can use when visiting classrooms to teach students about agriculture. They also learned about grants available from the GFB Foundation for Agriculture to fund county ag literacy projects and GFB’s expanded scholarship program for students pursuing careers in agriculture. “This conference will help our volunteers learn skills and acquire the tools they need to tee up to promote agricultural literacy in their hometowns,” said GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Melanie Sanders. Dr. Wayne Parrott, UGA Crop & Soil Sciences professor, delivered the keynote speech in the opening session, which provided an overview of what genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are, how they came about and how their use is helping feed hungry people and benefits the environment. “We have been modifying crops for years through plant breeding and crossing genes. In doing this we normally move hundreds and thousands of genes at once,” Parrott said. “GMO is a legal definition of moving just one gene at a time. GMOs are perceived as being something that’s new and different rather than a more precise way 24 / June-July 2016
of doing something we’ve always done.” Read the accompanying story, “OMG – GMOs!” below for a detailed account of Parrott’s speech. GFB Women’s Leadership Committee members Sue Powers and Ray Bloser led the workshop, “A Garden of Ideas from the National AITC Conference.” Powers told attendees how to make a gardening ruler to teach students how plants grow from seeds. Bloser told attendees about the book, “Three Sisters Garden,” by Sandy Baker and shared activities that help students further explore the book’s story of how Native Americans planted beans, corn and squash together. Dr. Ed McAssey, a UGA post doctoral research associate who works in Dr. Parrott’s lab, taught a workshop geared for middle school students that explored genetic traits passed when clover with different colored leaf variations are crossed. He discussed the important role bees play in pollinating plants and crossing genes.
McAssey also led workshop attendees in an activity that teaches students how to extract DNA from strawberries. Lauren Goble, who won the 2015 GFB Georgia Ag in the Classroom Educator of the Year Award, shared how she educates her students about local agriculture with “Thank a Farmer Friday,” when students eat commodities from a nearby farm they learned about in class that week. Each week her class visits one of 32 farms across the state with which she is partnering via computer. The students learn about a crop or livestock the farm produces, prepare a recipe featuring the commodity and discuss how the farmer grows the crop or livestock. She explained how she gears her lessons to the four seasons by highlighting crops being grown in the current season and having the students make simple recipes that use the crop as an ingredient. Katie Gazda, executive director of the GFB Foundation for Agriculture, tells conference attendees about the numerous scholarships GFB is awarding to students pursuing ag careers. Dennis Black, GFB Field Services associate director, encouraged county Farm Bureaus to apply for grants the GFB Foundation for Agriculture offers to fund ag literacy programs. The foundation awarded $4,500 in grants to 13 counties this winter. Counties were encouraged to apply for the second round of grants that closed June 30. The deadline to apply for the third round of grants is Dec. 15. For more information about the scholarships and grant programs visit www.gfbfoundation.org. “The workshops and speakers at this conference were designed to help our county volunteers advocate for agriculture in their local communities,” GFB President Gerald Long said when speaking to conference attendees at lunch.
UGA professor discusses science behind GMOS
By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________ Dr. Wayne Parrott, UGA Crop & Soil Sciences professor, addressed the hot button topic of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) while delivering the keynote speech at the GFB Educational Leadership Conference in March. Parrott explained
what GMOs are, how they came about, and how their use is helping feed hungry people while protecting the environment. Parrott said vegetables we enjoy today, such as carrots, lettuce and corn, were developed by scientists crossing plants to achieve improved varieties. Parrott said Continued on next page Georgia Farm Bureau News
Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
Continued from previous page scientists have been breeding plants to improve crop yield, taste and plant performance since agriculture started. By the early 1990s, biologists had developed a technique that allows them to isolate one gene they want to select to improve a plant and transfer it from one plant to another. Before, scientists moved a section of chromosomes with unknown genes through traditional plant breeding. The ability to isolate one gene led to what we now call GMOs. “We have been modifying crops for years through plant breeding and crossing genes. In doing this we normally move hundreds and thousands of genes at once,” Parrott said. “GMO is a legal definition of moving just one gene at a time. GMOs are perceived as being something that’s new and different rather than a more precise way of doing something we’ve always done.” Since the first GMO crops were planted in 1994, 18 million farmers in 28 countries worldwide have planted enough GMO crops to cover a land area more than twice the size of the continental United States, Parrott said. The amount of GMO crops planted since 1994 has provided a lot of data about GMO crops that refute many of the misconceptions about GMOs, Parrott said. “Unfortunately there are consumers now who would rather avoid GMOs. Food produced from genetically engineered organisms must be as safe as those produced by their conventional counterparts,” Parrott said. “This approval process takes 13 years and costs about $35 million on average.” Before a GMO can be introduced on the market it must be approved by agencies that are the equivalent of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in all 24 of the major import markets around the world, Parrott explained. GMO crops have many environmental benefits Parrott said. Planting GMO seeds allows farmers to grow crops without having to plow their fields as often as when they plant non-GMO seeds. Plowing less reduces carbon emissions equal to parking 11 million family cars for a year. Parrott said statistics show yield loss caused by weeds growing in crops is enough to feed about 1 billion people a year. Herbicides are used on both GMO and nonGMO crops to fight weeds and this some-
Dr. Wayne Parrott, UGA Crop & Soil Sciences professor, provided an overview of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) during a speech at the GFB Educational Leadership Conference. More photos at http://tinyurl.com/GMOworkshop.
times causes problems with resistant weeds. “The rest of the story that never gets told is the vast majority of herbicide resistant weeds are from conventional agriculture,” Parrott said. Growing conventional crop plants for companies that want non-GMO products sometimes leads to the use of herbicides that cause more problems with resistance than herbicides used with GMO crops. Since 1982, the percentage of farm-
land in the U.S. has decreased three percent and labor requirements to grow food had dropped 30 percent, but the amount of food farmers produced in the U.S. has increased 50 percent thanks to numerous advances in agriculture, such as improved crop and livestock genetics, Parrott said. Visit http://parrottlab.uga.edu/parrottlab/ to learn more about Dr. Parrott’s GMO research.
June-July 2016/ 25
AROUND GEORGIA Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker
News from County Farm Bureaus
BACON COUNTY This spring, Bacon County Farm Bureau (BCFB) coordinated gardening projects at the Bacon County Primary and Elementary Schools certain to yield a future crop of gardeners in addition to lots of vegetables! Pictured from left, BCFB member Ray Walker and BCFB Secretary Sara Walker, BCFB Director Corey Johnson, BCFB Office Manager Jeanne Taylor, BCFB Vice President Cory Tyre and members Barbara and Billy Storrs installed nine garden boxes at the primary school. Others contributing to the project not pictured are Blaine Wilson and Jean Lott with Mid-South Feeds Inc., which provided seeds and tomato plants for the gardens, and Marty Medders, who donated soil for the garden boxes. At the primary school, BCFB provided a raised garden box for each of the nine second-grade classes. Each class chose three types of seeds to plant in their garden. Local farmers judged the raised beds at the end of the school year to see which class grew the best garden and the winning class received a prize. To kick off the garden project at the primary school, BCFB volunteers read the book, “Tops & Bottoms,” by Janet Stevens to each of the second-grade classes. BCFB donated a copy of the book, which teaches students which vegetables grow above ground and which ones grow below ground, to each of the classes. BCFB assisted the elementary school in competing in the First Peas to the Table Contest held by the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. All of the classes at the school – third through fifth grade – participated in the contest, which ended May 16. BCFB Director Darrell Douglas and BCFB Office Manager Jeanne Taylor visited the elementary school where Douglas read the book “First Peas to the Table,” by Susan Grigsby to all of the students.
BERRIEN COUNTY Berrien County Farm Bureau (BCFB) participated in the 26 / June-July 2016
Plow Day Festival held in Ray City, Ga., March 19 by hosting a booth at the event and participating in the parade. BCFB Director Ricky Boyd drove a tractor in the parade with BCFB Customer Service Representative Ashley Osborne and BCFB Secretary Marly Garner. BCFB President Vinson Griffin and his wife, Inell, Deborah and Ricky Boyd, Garner and Osborne worked the BCFB festival booth where they promoted Farm Bureau membership, handing out membership booklets, snacks and drinks. CHATHAM COUNTY Chatham County Farm Bureau hosted a group of Auburn University ag students visiting Savannah earlier this year. CCFB Office Manager Debbie Gibson, front row second from right, and GFB Ag in the Classroom coordinator Donna Rocker, far right, are pictured with the group. While in Savannah, the students visited Lebanon Plantation, owned by CCFB member Howard Morrison where he and his business partner, Ross Harding, grow organic ginger and turmeric to make a line of gourmet food and wellness products. The students also toured Ottawa Farms, owned by CCFB Vice President Pete Waller, where they learned about Waller’s agritourism operation. CHEROKEE COUNTY Thanks to Cherokee County Farm Bureau (CCFB), the 320 students at Free Home Elementary School have a better understanding of how dairy cows produce milk and how dairy farmers care for their herds. CCFB arranged for Nicole Karstedt to bring the Georgia Milk Commission’s Mobile Dairy Classroom to the school on March 31. Karstedt, accompanied by a Holstein cow, showed the students how to milk a cow by hand and how modern dairy farmers milk a cow using electronic milking machines. Karstedt also talked to the stuGeorgia Farm Bureau News
dents about the importance of drinking milk and eating dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese, for a healthy diet. Georgia dairy farm families fund the mobile dairy classroom through the Georgia Milk Commission.
COFFEE COUNTY Coffee County Farm Bureau visited four 2nd-grade classes at Westside Elementary this spring. County volunteers read the book “Seed, Soil, Sun: Earth’s Recipe for Food.” Students enjoyed learning what the earth provides for our food to grow, along with the plant life cycle, parts of a plant and the parts of the plant we eat. Students created a flower craft and performed experiments with seeds they planted. Each student also planted a flower seed they tended and took home for Mother’s Day. CCFB Office Manager Carla Palmer, far right, is pictured with one of the classes and the flowers they planted for Mother’s Day. FRANKIN & HART COUNTIES Franklin & Hart County Farm Bureaus participated in the Ag Day held March 17 at the Georgia Welcome Center on I-85 at the Ga./S.C. line during National Ag Week, March 13-19. The counties co-hosted an exhibit highlighting numerous Georgia commodities including poultry, cotton, blueberries, peanuts and beef. Welcome Center visitors Franklin County were encouraged to pick up the GFB Ag Commodity Maps and packs of GFB peanuts. The two county Farm Bureaus gave away apple juice, apples, toy chickens and cows, ag coloring books and crayons. Several other ag companies and agribusinesses also par- Hart County ticipated in the event, including Jaemor Farms. Pictured from left, top photo, Franklin County Farm Bureau (FCFB) Office Manager Rebecca Whitfield, FCFB President Michael Thomason & FCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Heather Cabe talked up Georgia agriculture to travelers who dropped by Georgia Farm Bureau News
the Georgia Welcome Center on March 17. Hart County Farm Bureau Director Benson Saylors and HCFB Office Manager Angela Wood talked about Georgia agriculture at the Georgia Welcome Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 17. GILMER COUNTY Gilmer County Farm Bureau (GCFB) helped sponsor the Gilmer High FFA Ag Awareness Day on May 4. The event was held for Gilmer Middle School’s 6th-grade class. Around 360 students rotated through stations that highlighted Georgia fruits and vegetables, dairy and poultry. GCFB Director Andy Futch of R&A Orchards, right, talked to the students about growing apples and other fruit. Other station hosts included the Georgia Department of Agriculture Georgia Grown program, Frank & Suzy Wright of Mountain Valley Farm and Pilgrim’s Pride. GCFB gave each teacher attending the event a bag filled with Ag in the Classroom materials. The Gilmer High FFA members led groups of students to each station and hosted stations themselves including a FFA and commodity station. The Gilmer High FFA Livestock Show exhibited their livestock and talked to the participants about raising livestock.
GREENE COUNTY Greene County Farm Bureau joined forces with the Greene County Extension and Greene County High School FFA to sponsor an Ag Day for all fourth graders in the county on May 6. The students rotated between 12 stations to learn about horses, cotton, poultry, dairy, forestry, dog safety, electrical safety, soil conservation, gardening, ambulance protocols and healthy eating habits. The students also enjoyed a petting zoo. Thanks to Beth Williams, pictured, the students were able to pet a live horse. Members of the Greene County Master Gardener program taught the students about growing plants. Dennis Dover, and FFA member J.D. Higdon manned the bird booth in the petting zoo where students saw different breeds of chickens and pigeons and the different size eggs the breeds lay. HARALSON COUNTY Haralson County Farm Bureau Director David Robertson, Continued on next page June-July 2016/ 27
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left, spoke to about 150 second-graders at Tallapoosa Primary School March 23 giving them an overview of his farm. Robertson presented a PowerPoint presentation with pictures of his poultry houses, hay field and honeybees. He provided a hive replica with pictures to show the different stages of bees making honey. Robertson and his employee Cody Sanders, right, showed the students how they check the beehives and discussed the role honeybees play in pollinating flowers and plants to produce fruits and vegetables. HOUSTON COUNTY Houston County Farm Bureau (HCFB) participated in the Morningside Elementary School Farm Day held May 13. Students rotated between 15 stations featuring different aspects of farming such as making ice cream and butter, honeybees, live farm animals, cotton, electrical safety and virtual visits to farms across the United States via Skype. HCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Carol Baker, standing, connected the students with farmers in Tennessee, Indiana and Kansas via Skype and Facetime. During these virtual visits the students saw dairy cows being milked, farm equipment used to plant soybeans and corn, and had a farmer explain how he uses charts and graphs to calculate his crop yields and how much money each field should make. In addition to hosting the station about cotton, HCFB members were involved in three other stations. HCFB member Cason Anderson told the students how he grows and harvests pecans; he also brought a tractor and let the students climb into the cab. HCFB Director Jesse McCurdy loaned his observation beehive so they could see bees making honey and learn the importance of bees. HCFB Office Manager Lisa Hall and GFB 8th District Field Rep. Ken Murphree taught the students about cotton. NEWTON COUNTY The Newton County Young Farmer Committee sponsored a trip for high school senior FFA members to the Georgia Capitol March 10. FFA Chapters participating in this event were from the Alcovy and Eastside High Schools and the Newton College & Career Academy. While visiting the capitol, the students met with Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Georgia Reps. Dave Belton and Sam Watson. 28 / June-July 2016
NCFB YF Committee Chairman B.J. Marks, back row, far right, and committee member Earnest Nichols, front row, far left, chaperoned the group along with NCFB Office manager Anna Glover, not pictured. The trip also included a visit to the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) to speak with Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black and GDA Director of Marketing Jack Spruill. PIKE COUNTY Pike County Farm Bureau (PCFB) held it’s annual Eggs and Issues Breakfast April 8 at its county office. Guest speakers included Georgia Sen. Marty Harbin and Rep. Johnnie Caldwell. PCFB Vice President Matt Bottoms, at podium, and PCFB President Tom Lacey, right, welcomed everyone to the event. Also attending the event were Colin Martin from U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland’s office, Laura Gower from U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s office and Jay Smith from U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s office. POLK COUNTY Polk County Farm Bureau (PCFB) held its 30th annual Farm Day on May 3 attended by more than 700 first-graders. FFA and 4-H students from Cedartown and Rockmart High Schools helped with the event along with PCFB directors and Polk County Extension staff. The students learned about many aspects of agriculture, forestry and 911 safety protocol. Dalton Ely, standing right, a Rockmart High School 4-Her, talked to the students about cotton. PCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Joan Mitchell, not pictured, told students how farmers care for dairy cows like the Jersey cow on display. STEPHENS COUNTY Stephens County Farm Bureau (SCFB) held its annual farm tour May 4 at Mountain View Farm owned by SCFB President George Dean and SCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Linda Georgia Farm Bureau News
Dean. The SCFB Women’s and Young Farmer Committees organized the event with the local 4-H and FFA. Third-grade students rotated through 10 stations that highlighted different aspects of agriculture including goats, bees, soil erosion, pigs, horses, cows, horticulture, chickens and electrical safety. SCFB Director Len Stovall, standing left, talked to the students about growing chickens and brought baby chicks for the students to hold. The SCFB Women’s Committee served ice cream donated from Mayfield Dairy, cookies and bottled water donated from local sponsors. TROUP COUNTY Thanks to Baylor Keith, left, her first-grade classmates had the most interactive career day visit of the school year! Baylor invited her dad, Troup County Farm Bureau (TCFB) Young Farmer Committee Chairman Joseph Keith, right, to visit her class in May and tell her classmates what it’s like to be a dairy farmer. Joseph took four calves to the school for the students to see. He told the students how his family raises the female calves to grow up and enter the milking herd after they have their first calf and begin producing milk. Baylor told her classmates how she helps bottle feed the calves twice a day. TCFB representatives joined the visit and gave each student a pencil, a farm fact sheet and ice cream. TURNER COUNTY Turner County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee members Meagan Seabolt, left, and Leann Lumpkin, right, and TCFB Office Manager Karen McCurdy (not pictured) delivered fruit baskets for the teachers’ lounges and front office at the Turner County Elementary School (TCES) May 3 for Teacher Appreciation Week to thank the teachers for all they do as they invest in their students’ lives. Pictured accepting the baskets are TCES staff members Penny Bateman, second from left & Tessa Wilson, second from right. Georgia Farm Bureau News
UPSON COUNTY Upson County Farm Bureau (UCFB) celebrated National Agriculture Week in March by visiting local preschool, kindergarten, first and second-grade classes to conduct a variety of Ag in the Classroom activities. UCFB Office Manager Alison Stephens, back to camera, taught the preschool through first-graders about dairy cows telling the students how milk gets from the cow to the carton in the grocery store. Students learned about the different breeds of cows and did a craft. Stephens also taught classes to the other grades about bugs that are beneficial and harmful to crops and how farmers protect their crops from bugs. A third lesson highlighted the different varieties of apples. WALKER COUNTY Walker County Farm Bureau (WCFB) participated in the annual Walker County Agriculture Day on April 12 attended by about 800 third-grade students. WCFB President Mike Bunn talked to the students about soybeans. WCFB Director James Burton talked to the students about tractor safety. Pictured from left, WCFB Office Manager Kyla Compton, WCFB Young Farmer Chairman Justin Smith and WCFB Women’s Chairman Sonia Butler and Shelby Chastain make soybean necklaces during the Ag Day. They used the necklaces to teach the students about germinating seeds. WORTH COUNTY The Worth County Farm Bureau made a $500 donation to help support the Downtown Sylvester Farmers Market. WCFB Office Manager/Women’s Committee Chairman Connie Melton, right, presents the donation to Jana Dyke, director of Sylvester Main Street. The market is being held every Saturday through October after opening May 7. Vendors will sell fresh homegrown vegetables and fruits. See AROUND GEORGIA page 31 June-July 2016/ 29
Photo by Taylor Sills
GFB Young Farmer Committee Co-Chairman Heather Cabe, far right, congratulates Sadie Hobbs, center, winner of the Georgia FFA Discussion Meet Career Development Event and the finalists, pictured from left, Morgan Hart, Nick Nelson and Tanner Peebles. The event was held April 29 during the 88th Georgia FFA Convention in Macon. GFB awarded Hobbs $250 and each of the finalists $100.
GFB YF Committee sponsors state FFA Discussion Meet The Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee sponsored the annual FFA Discussion Meet Career Development Event held April 29 during the 88th Georgia FFA Convention in Macon. Twelve area winners from across the state competed in the event patterned after Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Discussion Meet. The discussion meet is designed to teach students the three fundamental basics of discussion: constructive criticism, cooperation and communication. Contestants are instructed to exchange ideas and information to solve a problem. The area winners competing in the event were: Brianna Guerrero, NW Whitfield
FFA (Whitfield County); Kam Childers, Sonoraville FFA (Gordon County); Ashley Burton, Winder-Barrow FFA; Sadie Hobbs, White County FFA; Nick Nelson, Jones County FFA; Joseph Armenta, Ola FFA (Henry County); Tanner Peebles, Johnson County FFA; Cejay Heath, Treutlen County FFA; Morgan Hart, Colquitt County FFA; Courtney Conine, Pelham FFA (Mitchell County); Hinkley Hood, Ware County FFA; Frankie Balmer, Lowndes County FFA. GFB awarded the area winners $50 each. GFB Young Farmer Committee CoChairman Heather Cabe and GFB YF Committee Vice Chairman Wayne McInvale moderated the discussions in the
GEORGIA CATTLEMEN from page 8 “The producers know they have to have a relationship with their veterinarian before this takes place,” Gillooly said. “The concern is there’s going to be a lot of large animal veterinarians bombarded here in the next several months.” The convention featured presentations from Zoetis Livestock Production Specialist Jennie Schutte, Kevin Good from Cattle Fax and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President for Government Affairs Colin Woodall, as well as a roundtable discussion on Georgia’s beef checkoff. Schutte emphasized that while the Jan. 1 deadline is approaching, there is no reason for producers to panic.
“At the end of the day this is a form,” Schutte said. “It’s a one-page form. It’s nothing to freak out about.” Ultimately, she said, compliance with VFD is the veterinarian’s responsibility, though producers would be wise to stay informed on its requirements. Schutte advised producers to review products they already use and see if they contain medications that are on the VFD control list. She also cautioned that drugs added to feed are not allowed to be used in a manner inconsistent with labels. As an example, she mentioned the use of chlortetracycline to treat pinkeye, a use that is not approved by the FDA for that drug.
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first round of competition, during which the contestants discussed whether policy should be drafted to protect livestock producers from false accusations regarding animal welfare and if so, what the policy should look like. GFB YF Committee 10th District member Justin Shealey and GFB YF Coordinator Taylor Sills moderated the discussions in the second round of competition during which the contestants discussed how Farm Bureau should protect and encourage producers’ ability to use new technology and how Farm Bureau can work with the government and public to ensure public acceptance of agriculture adopting new technology. Hart, Hobbs, Nelson and Peebles advanced to the final round of competition during which the contestants discussed how state and local policy can be influenced so that it more effectively balances the social and economic interests of farmers versus burdensome federal regulations. Cabe moderated the final round. Hobbs won the competition and the $250 prize sponsored by GFB. The three finalists each received $100 from GFB. This competition was one of many held during the annual Georgia FFA convention attended by more than 6,500 Georgia FFA members, advisors and FFA alumni from April 28-30. Highlights of the convention included speeches by singer, comedian and author Jane Herlong, National FFA Vice President Abbey Gretsch, a former Georgia state officer, Georgia Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association President Stacey Beach and Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods. The convention included the presentation of awards for all of the state competitions, a career show and community service of house renovations done through the Rebuilding Macon organization. FFA members also elected their 20162017 State FFA Officer team: President Willie Sizemore, Lee County FFA; Secretary Lizzi Neal, Perry FFA; and Vice Presidents - North Region Vice Presidents Sadie Lackey, Gilmer County FFA and Kylie Bruce, Franklin County; Central Region Vice Presidents Madison Parker, Johnson County FFA and Nicole Bridges, Thomson FFA; South Region Vice Presidents Morgan Hart, Colquitt County FFA and Courtney Barber, Ware County FFA. Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
GFB Speakers Bureau participants are, pictured from left, Cory Tyre, Bacon County; Casey Cox, Mitchell County; Sandy Mercer, Washington County; Mandy Williams, Elbert County; Wesley Hall, Forsyth County; Kimberly Taylor, Cobb County; Jerry Mull, Floyd County; Christy Bryan, Chattooga County; Lee Webster, Burke County; Jan Jones, Decatur County, Rebecca Jacobs, Polk
County, Aubrey Boss, Walton County, Carol Baker-Dunn, Houston County, Chris Hopkins, Toombs County, Chanda Thompson, Lamar County, Dustin Covington, Sumter County, Wayne McInvale, Crawford County and Garrett Ganas, Ware County. Other speakers bureau members not pictured are Caroline Lewallen, Hall County and Russ Moon, Madison County.
GFB Speakers Bureau members ready to advocate for ag By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________ Need a speaker for your county annual meeting or someone to represent agriculture at a local civic club? Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) has established a speakers bureau with trained members in each of the organization’s 10 districts who can advocate for agriculture by speaking to the media and local Rotary, Kiwanis or Lions Clubs in communities across the state. To get the speakers bureau off the ground quickly, GFB identified Farm Bureau members from each GFB district who are knowledgeable about ag issues subject to public scrutiny, such as GMOs, water or livestock care. County Farm Bureaus will be able to ask the speakers to come and talk at their county annual meetings or to local civic clubs for a fee and travel expenses. Members of the GFB Speakers Bureau attended a two-day training session at GFB’s Macon office May 5-6 that covered how to
interact with consumers who have misconceptions about agriculture, the science behind genetically modified organisms, delivering speeches and talking to the media. Dr. Robert Beckstead, UGA Associate Professor of Poultry Science, gave tips on effectively correcting misconceptions consumers may have about agriculture. Beckstead has been teaching a class for UGA students titled “Effects of Agriculture on World Culture,” which addresses misconceptions consumers have about how farmers grow food. UGA Professor of Crop & Soil Sciences Dr. Wayne Parrott discussed the science behind genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and gave scientific information members of the speakers bureau can share in speeches regarding GMOs. Parrott’s talking points included the fact that the use of GMOs benefits the environment by allowing farmers to use fewer pesticides and herbicides to grow a crop, and GMOs help
AROUND GEORGIA from page 29 3RD DIST. SPRING FLING Henry, Newton, and Clayton County Farm Bureaus hosted a Spring Fling BBQ Bluegrass Bash on March 24 for 12 of the neighboring Farm Bureaus. The event, held at the Mid–Georgia Livestock Market in Jackson, drew more than 150 attendees. County Farm Bureau presidents, directors, volunteers and federation staff were invited to attend. In addition to the host counties, Farm Bureaus represented at the event were: Rockdale, Pike, Fayette, Butts, Lamar, Monroe, South Fulton, Jasper and Spalding. Newton County donated five gourmet cakes that were auctioned off by one of the sale barn auctioneers. The auction raised more than $800 for the Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. Georgia Farm Bureau News
prevent soil erosion by requiring farmers to plow their fields less to grow a crop. Georgia Farm Monitor Co-Anchor Kenny Burgamy shared recommendations for delivering speeches including a story that will connect you to your audience. GFB News Editor Jennifer Whittaker gave tips for being interviewed by reporters, such as avoiding the use of ag lingo that consumers and reporters do not understand. Each of the participants had to write and deliver a three to five minute speech addressing some aspect of agriculture. Speakers bureau members are available to talk at county annual meetings and to local clubs. To book one of the speakers please contact your county Farm Bureau office. County Farm Bureau offices may request a speaker by completing a request form available at http://tinyurl.com/GFBSpeakersBureau. County Farm Bureaus requesting speakers will be invoiced for speaker expenses including a $100 per diem and mileage.
GFB President Gerald Long thanked the Farm Bureau members attending the event for supporting Farm Bureau and the organization’s Foundation for Agriculture. The Flint River Band, whose members include Henry County Farm Bureau President Ross McQueen, played while attendees enjoyed a catered meal from Fresh Air Barbeque in Jackson. June-July 2016/ 31
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