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FARM BUREAU

Vol. 79 No. 5

GEORGIA

NEWS

Merry Christmas!

from Georgia Farm Bureau

Keep up with GFB at GFB.ORG

November-December 2017


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contents

table of november/december 2017

departments view from the field PAGE 4

public policy governmental affairs update PAGE 5

GFB Foundation update PAGES 24-25

around georgia

PAGES 26-29

GFB taking new approach with 80th convention If you’re attending GFB’s annual convention, make a note that the vespers service will be held Sunday afternoon, and the awards program will be held Monday afternoon. A series of four public policy sessions pertinent to all farmers will be held Monday afternoon instead of numerous commodity conferences. PAGE 6

EPD installing water meters in Flint & Suwanee River Basins The Georgia EPD has begun the process of installing water meters on the 5,640 withdrawal points in the Flint and Suwanee River basins that EPD records show are due a state-funded meter under House Bill 579. PAGE 7

Sunbelt Expo celebrates 40th Anniversary Highlights of this year’s Expo included the unveiling of Georgia’s new equine tag, a farm bill hearing & displays of new equipment from KMC. PAGE 8

Tropical Storm Irma hits Georgia Ag

Irma uprooted pecan and peach trees, blew over cotton stalks, soybean and vegetable plants. Cotton losses are estimated between 10 and 20 percent and 30 percent of the pecan crop was lost to the storm. PAGE 10

Common Market Georgia helps small farmers access wholesale market This non-profit food distributor is working with farms of all sizes to get fresh, local food into school and corporate cafeterias, hospitals, daycare and elder care facilities, restaurants and retail stores. PAGE 13

GFB News staff

Andy Lucas Director

Jennifer Whittaker Editor

Jay Stone Print/Web Specialist

Lillian Davis Publications/Advertising Manager Michael Edmondson Web/Video Manager For information concerning advertising, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or mcfarlandadvantage@gmail.com 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 jawhittaker@gfb.org 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

Peanut grading requirements changing for 2018 crop Starting with the 2018 crop, peanuts will have to have 3.49 percent damaged kernels instead of 2.49 percent to receive a Segregation 2 grade. PAGE 14

Smith, Whitehead named Ga. FSA & Rural Development directors

PAGE 17

Field Day gives tips for fending off fire During the Firewise on the Farm Field Day, firefighters and conservation experts shared tips for preventing and fighting fires that can occur on the farm and in the home. PAGE 18

UGA Extension welcomes water educators Water educators stationed across Georgia are available to help farmers, green industry representatives and homeowners with water audits and other services to conserve water. PAGE 20

Georgia shines at National FFA Convention Georgia FFA brought home 18 national awards and a national officer from the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo held in October. PAGE 22

about the cover-------------------------------------------------

(Photo by Cheryl Kowalsky) Habersham County Farm Bureau member Cheryl Kowalsky shot this photo on the farm where she and her husband, Jimmy, raise cattle, horses and hay. November-December 2017/ 3


view from the field Gerald Long, GFB President

Grassroots set GFB’s agenda

We talk a lot about Farm Bureau being a grassroots organization, but what does that mean? In simple terms, it means our members at the local, county level set the course our organization takes at the state and national level on legislative issues. For 80 years Georgia Farm Bureau has served as the voice of Georgia farmers. The reason we’ve been able to do this so effectively is because of our policy development process. In August, our farmer members started shaping our 2018 organizational policy at our annual commodity conference when our 20 commodity advisory committees reviewed our current policy pertaining to their respective commodities. These committees were asked to make recommendations regarding the position GFB should take on issues affecting their farms. Each of our county Farm Bureaus were invited to submit policy recommendations to be reviewed by the GFB Policy Development Committee. Fifty-four counties responded by sending in about 200 resolutions that covered a wide range of topics including water, livestock, environmental regulations, taxes, wildlife control and national farm programs. In an effort to make the policy development committee as representative of our members statewide, this committee consists of 30 county presidents (three from each of GFB’s 10 districts), the chairmen of each of the 20 commodity advisory committees, the Georgia members of the American Farm Bureau Issue Advisory Committees and the GFB Board of Directors. The committee met on Oct. 9 and again on Nov. 6 to review GFB’s current position on ag issues and to consider the resolutions submitted by county Farm Bureaus in September. The committee will meet again on Dec. 3 during our annual convention. Then on Dec. 5, during the morning business session of our convention, GFB voting delegates will determine the final version of the policy that will 4 / November-December 2017

guide our public policy actions in 2018. Through the years, several monumental pieces of legislation that have benefited many of Georgia’s farmers originated in our policy development process. The Conservation Use Value Assessment program that taxes Georgia farmland based on its use instead of its market value was suggested in our policy development process, and GFB worked for several years to get it passed. If you or a family member have shown livestock at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter, you can thank GFB members for approving policy that recommended the state of Georgia build a firstclass agriculture facility for 4-H and FFA livestock events. With the help of other ag organizations, Farm Bureau gathered the support of state legislators to get the facility built that has benefited so many of Georgia’s youth since 1990. During the past year, we’ve seen two more GFB policy recommendations yield positive results. The Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 50, which gives livestock producers some liability protection from risks associated with allowing visitors on their farms. On the federal level, the USDA has revised the grading system used to classify peanuts. Starting with the 2018 crop, peanuts must have at least 3.49 percent damaged kernels to be classified as Segregation 2 peanuts instead of the previous 2.49 percent. Georgia Farm Bureau’s policy development process is democracy in action. Our farmer members voice their recommendations for Farm Bureau’s position on ag issues. If the majority of our voting members approve a recommendation, then we advocate for it, serving as the Voice of Georgia farmers. If you’d like to become involved with Farm Bureau’s efforts to advocate for agriculture and rural Georgia, we’d love to have you join us. It’s as simple as contacting your county Farm Bureau office.

FARM BUREAU GEORGIA

NEWS

SUBSCRIPTION RATES

Farm Bureau Members: Included in dues — $1 per year Non-Members — $15 per year To subscribe call 1-800-898-1911, ext. 5334.

OFFICERS

President GERALD LONG, Bainbridge 1st Vice President and Middle Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN JR., Adrian North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS, Ringgold South Georgia Vice President DANIEL JOHNSON, Alma 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: Lamar Vickers, Nashville; David Lee, Alma YOUNG FARMER CHAIRMAN: Mitchell Pittman, Lyons WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Rhonda Williams, Clayton

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 2017 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.

Georgia Farm Bureau News


public policy update By Blake Raulerson, Governmental Affairs Specialist

GFB working to improve farmers’ access to deer depradation permits Deer are causing severe damage to farms and crops across Georgia. In August, the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources released a report authored by Dr. Michael Mengak and Mark Crosby that looks at row crop damage caused by deer. This study, which surveyed farmers in a 20-county area in Southeast Georgia in 2016, found that 20.5 percent of 94,560 acres in the area reported damage. More than 20 different crops were identified as suffering deer damage. Corn, cotton, peanuts and soybeans accounted for 91.6 percent of the acreage participating farmers reported damaged by deer. According to the study, the average loss per farmer due to deer damage was $33,786. Yield loss and replanting cost farmers in the 20-county survey area an estimated $3 million in 2016. This is a statewide problem so we know the economic impact on all Georgia farmers is much higher. Let’s look specifically at the economic impact felt by cotton producers. A crop of cotton costs approximately $600 per acre to plant. If you have to replant the field due to deer damage, it costs an additional $100$120 per acre just to purchase the necessary seed. One farmer we spoke with near Douglas said he had to replant 40 acres of a 180-acre cotton field within two weeks. Just overnight, the damage can inflict significant financial loss to farms with already thin margins. In addition to the economic burden, replanting a field poses crop management challenges. When a farmer replants, he then has a crop on two different schedules. It is like having two different crops in the same field. This poses challenges with irrigation, insect management and harvest, which all contribute their own significant costs. Farmers do have the ability to apply for a deer depredation permit from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division to control these pests. These permits allow farmers to harvest Georgia Farm Bureau News

A cotton grower in Southeast Georgia shot this photo after deer damaged his crop in May. Notice the bare stalks in the foreground of the picture where deer ate the young cotton leaves. In the upper left corner of the photo you can see a full, green cotton crop emerging from the ground with no damage.

up to 10 deer out of season, and farmers have an option to apply for additional permits. According to Mengak and Crosby’s research, 442 deer were culled with permits in 2016. Lethal measures to control deer population, coupled with other non-lethal methods, such as fencing, can help control deer and limit deer damage. However, an issue with deer depredation permits is farmers can only receive a permit after they prove damage has occurred. Often this can be too late and the damage is done. In row crops, deer damage occurs not long after planting, usually within a week of the plants emerging from the ground. This usually occurs in late-April through

May. Ideally, farmers would have access to deer depredation permits before planting their crop. If farmers could scare the deer away, it would help prevent damage occurring in the first place. In 2016, the 442 deer removed via depredation permits represented only 1.5 percent of deer removed in the 20-county area covered by Mengak and Crosby’s survey. Georgia’s total deer harvest in 2016 was reported to be 182,784. If you also take into account the number of deer killed in auto collisions (52,819), deer removed with depredation permits in the study’s area accounted for less than two-tenths of one percent of the total deer mortality in Georgia during 2016. Adjusting the scope of deer depredation permits won’t impact a hunter’s ability to enjoy deer hunting season, but it would allow farmers to protect their investments and their livelihoods from nuisance animals. Georgia Farm Bureau recently met with farmers to identify problems deer are causing them and the impact deer are having on their crops. There has been a rise in the damage deer are causing and an increase in the spectrum of crops deer are affecting. After meeting with farmers, GFB Public Policy staff met with Mark Williams, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and John Bowers, chief of game management for DNR’s Wildlife  Resources Division, to address the issues with permit availability and possible solutions to balance the needs of hunters and farmers. These talks are ongoing, but we are hopeful farmers will gain access to the tools needed to protect their crops. GFB realizes deer hunting is big business in Georgia and that hunters look forward to deer season all year, but we believe a balance can be struck allowing farmers to protect their crops leaving plenty of deer for hunters to harvest. Blake Raulerson is a governmental affairs specialist in the GFB Public Policy Department. November-December 2017/ 5


GFB taking new approach with 80th annual convention The 2017 Georgia Farm Bureau Annual Convention will feature many of the activities GFB members have come to expect over the years. The event, to be held Dec. 3-5 on Jekyll Island for the 54th time, also comes with a twist. Members will have chances to visit with long-time friends, take in the GFB trade show and enjoy the beauty of Jekyll Island, as the organization meets to set its advocacy agenda for the coming year. Gov. Nathan Deal will speak and GFB President Gerald Long will deliver his annual address during the Dec. 4 general session. New in 2017 is a series of public policy breakout sessions designed to inform farmers on topics important to all commodities on the afternoon of Dec. 4. These four sessions replace the series of commodity conferences held in the past and will be held twice simultaneously. The sessions will feature a political outlook, an economic outlook, presentations on environmental issues and an educational update. GeorgiaPol.com publisher Charlie Harper will give the political outlook. UGA Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics Jeffrey Dorfman will provide the economic outlook. Speakers in the environmental issues session are Tate Bennett of the EPA, Mark Masters of the Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center and Georgia EPD Agriculture Water Project Manager Marjie Dickey. UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Dean Sam Pardue and UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Lisa Nolan will give the education update. The convention begins with the opening of the trade show exhibits at 11 a.m. on Dec. 3. The GFB Certified Farm Markets/ Georgia Grown Reception runs from noon to 4 p.m. and the Celebrating Ag Literacy Event, sponsored by the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee, takes place from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The GFB Policy Development Committee will meet at 3:15 p.m. and the memorial service/vespers begins at 4:30 p.m. On Dec. 4, the annual Foundation Breakfast begins at 6:45 a.m. The event sup6 / November-December 2017

ports the GFB Foundation for Agriculture, which provides college and technical school scholarships, supports Ag in the Classroom programs, consumer awareness and adult learning opportunities. The general session begins at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 4. At 10:30 a.m., outgoing members of the GFB Young Farmer Committee will be recognized, followed by the Young Farmer Raffle drawing at 11 a.m. and the County Presidents/Secretaries Luncheon at noon. After the public policy meetings, the day’s activities conclude with the annual awards program, which recognizes individuals and county Farm Bureaus for their work to promote agriculture. The awards program begins at 4:30 p.m. On Dec. 5, the annual membership breakfast begins at 6:45 a.m., followed at

8:15 a.m. by the annual business session, during which GFB voting delegates will finalize GFB policy for 2018. District caucuses for election of directors begins at 10 a.m. Incumbent directors running unopposed are Bill Bryan (1st District), Bobby Gunter (2nd District), George Chambers (3rd District), Marvin Ruark (4th District), Ralph Adamson (5th District), James Malone (6th District), Gary Bell (7th District), Scotty Raines (8th District), Paul Shirah (9th District) and David Lee (10th District). A caucus to elect the North Georgia Vice President begins at 11 a.m. Incumbent Bernard Sims is running unopposed. Designation of GFB 1st Vice President is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Incumbent Robert Fountain Jr. is running unopposed.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

By Jay stone ___________________________________

If you attend the GFB convention, buy a ticket for fabulous prizes to be awarded in the annual GFB Young Farmer Committee raffle. Funds raised support GFB YF activities. Bulloch County Farm Bureau members Charles & Sally Finch buy a raffle ticket from GFB Young Farmer Committee member Becky Pittman last year. Georgia Farm Bureau News


EPD installing water meters in Flint & Suwanee River Basins

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Farmers in the Flint and Suwanee River basins who have a permitted water withdrawal on their land issued before Dec. 31, 2002, should receive a state-funded water meter within the next three years. This comes as part of an expanded focus Georgia is putting on the state’s ag water metering program to strengthen data collection efforts related to ag water use. Under the ag water metering program, which was established by HB 579 in 2003, ag water withdrawal permits issued before Dec. 31, 2002, are eligible for state-funded meters. Farmers with water permits issued after 2002 are required to purchase and install a meter at their own expense. Earlier this year, the Agriculture Permitting Compliance Task Force, which Gov. Deal established in October 2016, recommended that the Georgia Environmental Protection Division develop a plan to install meters on permitted water withdrawal points eligible for a state meter in the Flint and Suwanee River basins to obtain accurate data about ag water use. Agriculture is represented on this council by Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) President Gerald Long, GFB 9th District Director Lucius Adkins, Casey Cox, executive director of the Flint River Soil & Water Conservation District and Georgia Association of Conservation Districts, UGA Stripling Irrigation Research Park Superintendent Calvin Perry, and Dr. Gary Hawkins, UGA Water

A McCrometer water meter Georgia Farm Bureau News

Resource Management & Policy Specialist. Deal gave the Georgia Environmental Protection Division responsibility for overseeing the ag metering program previously administered by the Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission on Dec. 1, 2016. In June, Deal announced a $10.5 million investment in the state water metering program from OneGeorgia funds. “The reason we’re doing this is so we can continue the state’s efforts of ag water data collection that has been ongoing since 2004,” explained EPD Agriculture Water Project Manager Marjie Dickey. “While Georgia is confident in its understanding of ag water use and the implementation of conservation efforts, the data collected from these meters will provide an additional layer of information useful for water planning in the future.” EPD records show there are 5,640 withdrawal points due a state-funded meter in the Flint and Suwanee basins. The Flint River Basin covers all or part of 42 counties while the Suwanee River Basin covers all or part of 20 counties. “Reliable access to water is vital to Georgia’s farmers as they strive to meet the food and fiber demands of a growing population. The ag water metering program is important to protecting our right to access,” Long said. “Farmers must work collaboratively to show an accurate representation of their need for water and the great strides in conservation they have achieved.” EPD has developed a three-wave approach over the next three years to install the meters in these two basins. The first wave, known as the pilot wave, is focusing on placing “easy install” meters in these 16 counties: Brooks, Calhoun, Colquitt, Crisp, Dooly, Irwin, Lee, Macon, Randolph, Sumter, Terrell, Tift, Turner, Webster, Wilcox and Worth. “An easy install means meter installers don’t have to dig up concrete or replumb irrigation water delivery infrastructure in any way. They can cut the pipe and drop the meter in and it’s installed,” Dickey said. “We’re focusing on easy installs first due to

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________

Georgia Environmental Protection Division Agriculture Water Project Manager Marjie Dickey is overseeing efforts to install water meters at 5,640 withdrawal points in the Flint & Suwanee River basins.

the time and money involved with more complicated installs that might require machinery to be taken out to the site location.” The EPD has contracted with the Georgia Rural Water Association (GRWA) to serve as the general contractor of the pilot wave from Oct. 1 until March 31, 2018. GRWA has subcontracted with Shoemaker Irrigation, LLC based in Athens to install the meters. Installation of the first meters began Oct. 30 in Turner County, Dickey said. McCrometer meters are being installed at all the sites for data uniformity. The GRWA has subcontracted the Georgia Water Planning & Policy Center (GWPPC) at Albany State University to conduct the site assessments being done to determine the water withdrawal points that need meters and the prep work that must be done at each site to install a meter. “We’ve been out in the field for six or seven weeks, and we’ve completed a lot of assessments,” said GWPPC Director Mark Masters on Oct. 18. “Farmers understand the importance of good data and we certainly appreciate the support we’ve received from landowners in the target counties in getting these assessments done efficiently.” Masters said the assessments involve locating the source of water for each permit, recording whether the water source is ground or surface water, and the type of pipe in which the meter will be installed See EPD page 20 November-December 2017/ 7


Sunbelt Expo celebrates S

unbelt Expo held its 40th show this year drawing farm families from across the Southeast to the three-day show in Moultrie that celebrates all things ag. “We recognize and reflect on the contributions of many folks,” said Sunbelt Executive Director Chip Blalock. “We thank them for their contributions and for getting us to where we are today.” Georgia Farm Bureau has been a Sunbelt Expo exhibitor each year of the show’s run. The organization exhibited information about its member programs and benefits in the Georgia Agriculture Building that it shares with the Georgia Department of Agriculture at the main gate. Sunbelt celebrated Tennessee as its 2017 Spotlight State. Tennessee’s exhibit followed its geography from the west, where the state’s cotton crop and Memphis music heritage were highlighted, eastward through the rolling hills of central Tennessee, where folks had the chance to sit on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, to the Great Smoky Mountains in the eastern part of the state. Visitors were presented with miniature Moon Pies, a Tennessee product celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and had the chance to sit in Cracker Barrel rocking chairs or interact with live owls and a Bald Eagle. Visit http://bit.ly/17GFBExpo2 to see photos. The Georgia Department of Agriculture announced its 100 percent Georgia cotton t-

shirt line. The shirts are made from cotton grown in South Georgia, ginned at Osceola Cotton Company in Irwin County, sewn at Platinum Sportswear in Wilkes County and screen printed by local printers, including the Georgia Industries for the Blind. The customizable shirts feature a Georgia Grown tag. Members of the Georgia Equine Commission unveiled the new equine license plate. A part of the proceeds from the sale

Georgia Equine Commission members unveiled Georgia’s new equine license plate at Sunbelt Expo. Equine tags are available for purchase at local tag offices. A part of the proceeds from the tag sales will be used to fund Equine Commission activities that promote Georgia’s equine sector. Visit http://bit.ly/17GFBExpo1 to see more photos of Expo events.

Motorists, farmers urged to drive carefully During a press conference at Sunbelt Ag Expo Oct. 18, Crisp County farmer John Bullington joined Harris Blackwood, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black in asking motorists to be mindful of farm equipment traveling the highways during harvest season. Bullington’s brother, Donald, was severely injured in an accident four years ago when a motorist, who was talking on a 8 / November-December 2017

of the tags will be used to fund the commission’s activities. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall spoke during the Willie B. Withers Sunbelt Ag Expo Luncheon. Duvall said farm labor is the top issue he hears about when visiting with farmers across the country, noting that American farmers and ranchers are facing numerous challenges. “We as farmers and ranchers can’t just rely on the people we send to Congress and

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone & Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________

phone while driving, hit the high-top sprayer Donald was driving. “We ask you during this harvest season to be aware that tractors and other farm equipment are on the road. They have the legal right to operate their equipment on our roads,” Blackwood said. Bullington asked motorists to be patient if they get behind a piece of farm equipment. “If you get behind us on the road, give

us a little time. We have to dodge mailboxes and obey double lines, Bullington said. “If you’ll just give us time, we’ll pull over to let traffic go by as quick as we get an opening.” Bullington also asked motorists to not talk on phones while driving and especially not to text. “These phones are a hazard from the word go,” Bullington said. Bullington stressed the importance of farmers wearing their seat belts when drivSee MOTORISTS page 23 Georgia Farm Bureau News


40th Anniversary

Sweets/Sunbelt Ag Expo Georgia Farmer of the Year. Virginia’s Robert Mills Jr. was named Southeastern Farmer of the Year. Mills, a first-generation farmer, grows tobacco and raises chickens and beef cattle. Mills was inspired to become a farmer after taking an agriculture class in the eighth grade. To view his heartwarming acceptance speech visit http://bit.ly/MillsExpospeech

Photo by Jay Stone

the people we send to the House,” Duvall said. “We’ve got to exercise our right as Americans and pick up the phone or the iPad and send an email or call them. The people that are against American agriculture are being heard. We’ve got to let America know that we are the people that sustain them each and every day. Without you, this country becomes hungry and weak.” Morgan County dairyman Everett Williams was recognized as the Swisher

KMC has 40-year history of unveiling new equipment at Expo “It was clear to me that it [the show] was a way to show our equipment to people in the ag industry and to farmers,” Carson said. “Expo is by far the best place to introduce new equipment and technology. I can’t say enough about the efforts Chip [Blalock] and Gina [McDonald] have put into building up this show, making it safe, and increasing the education and family entertainment options.” See KMC page 30

Farm bill discussed at Expo

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Kelley Manufacturing Co. (KMC), started by C.D. Kelley in 1966, is one of the 23 exhibitors that have participated in all 40 of the Sunbelt Expo shows. KMC CEO Lanier Carson was among the KMC employees meeting and greeting potential customers during Expo.  Carson, who joined the company in 1972, recalled participating in the forerunner of the Expo that was originally held in Tifton at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC).

Pictured from left, U.S. House Ag Committee members Reps. Al Lawson (D-Fla.), Austin Scott (R-Ga.) and Rick Allen (R-Ga.) took suggestions regarding the next farm bill during a listening session held Oct. 17 at Expo.

Pictured from left, Kelley Manufacturing Company Engineer Matt Rewis, President Benny Branch & CEO Lanier Carson pose with the KMC stalk puller available in four and six-row models. By pulling cotton stalk roots from the soil after harvest, farmers remove a food source for nematodes, which helps reduce the buildup of the parasite in their fields. Visit http://bit. ly/17GFBExpo4 to see photos of more Expo exhibitors. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA 8th District) hosted a farm bill listening session on the first day of Expo, which gave farmers and farm organizations the opportunity to voice their wishes for the pending legislation. The 2014 farm bill expires in September 2018 and members of the U.S. House and Senate Agriculture Committees are seeking public input on what works in the current farm bill, what doesn’t work and things they’d like to see added. Scott was joined by fellow U.S. House Ag Committee members Rick Allen (R-Georgia) and Al Lawson (DFlorida). The trio took suggestions from a series of speakers on topics relating to crop insurance, continued funding for the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), farm labor and support for 4-H and FFA. Allen said the committee is likely to move forward with work on the farm bill late this year or early in 2018. November-December 2017 / 9


Tropical

Photo by Jay Stone

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

By Jay Stone & Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________

F

rom downed fruit and nut trees, damage to farm buildings, to production lost because of power outages, few Georgia crops escaped the wrath of Tropical Storm Irma. The ag damage will total in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Here’s a look at some of those losses. COTTON: scalded leaves & bent stalks Irma whirled across the width of Georgia’s Coastal Plain, where the majority of the state’s cotton is grown, leaving lint laying on the ground or hanging in stretched, sodden clumps from its burrs. Georgia’s cotton growers lost at least 10 percent of their crop to Tropical Storm Irma but yield losses are likely to reach 20 percent and higher as the season unfolds, UGA Cotton Agronomist Jared Whitaker said. “From preliminary observations, it is safe to say that every cotton field in Georgia has been negatively impacted by Irma to varying degrees,” Whitaker wrote in a report presented to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue while Perdue was touring damaged cotton fields in Colquitt County Sept. 15. The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service estimated about 50 percent of Georgia’s cotton bolls were opening when Irma hit the state Sept. 11, but only a small percentage of Georgia’s cotton crop was defoliated, so the storm’s damage isn’t a

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1. GFB Cotton Committee Chairman Darren Hembree is pictured in one of his fields of cotton that suffered severe leaf scald from Tropical Storm Irma.

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Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Photo courtesy Lamar Vickers

2. Toppled pecan trees in one of Houston County farmer Cason Anderson’s orchards. 3. Blown over tobacco plants at the farm of Berrien County grower Lamar Vickers.

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4. Three days after Irma, Peach County soybean grower Greg Gatliff holds soybean plants blown over about two feet to the height they were standing before the storm.

Georgia Farm Bureau News


Storm Irma hits Georgia Ag simple matter of calculating lint laying on the ground and quality losses. Growers and Whitaker say the biggest yield loss will come from the cotton plants Irma blew over. With plants laying across the rows where growers usually drive the wheels of their spraying equipment when they’re defoliating their crop, many growers, like Colquitt County cotton grower Darren Hembree, had to rely on crop dusters. Hembree says his cotton was about three to four weeks away from being ready to defoliate when Irma hit. He estimates it cost him $4 an acre to defoliate his crop using his equipment versus $8 an acre to hire a crop duster. Leaf scald due to the storm is also expected to cost crop yield. Leaves provide nutrients to unopened cotton bolls. Scalded leaves usually die, so Whitaker anticipated cotton bolls less than 15 days old when crops were damaged would fall off due to lack of nutrients. Hembree’s crop and that of another Colquitt County farmer, Gettis Wingate, showed signs of leaf scald and had lots of stalks blown over. Stalks were rooted out of the ground due to winds from different directions blowing the plants about. By Nov. 10, Hembree said his stalks straightened up some but not all the way. “It’s just hard to pick because it’s hard to see the rows and see where you need to be,” Hembree said. “The picker is getting all of the cotton because the cotton stalks aren’t feeding into the picker head like they normally would.” Hembree was still picking at press time but thinks he lost about 20 percent of his cotton crop to Irma. PECANS: generational loss The storm blew pecans out of trees, which will affect this year’s crop, creating an immediate cash flow problem for farmers who were, in many cases, a couple of weeks away from beginning harvest. The immediate loss of nuts is difficult to ignore for small, beginning farmers. “I’m really concerned about losing that cash flow for this year,” said Houston Georgia Farm Bureau News

County grower Cason Anderson. “The nuts that were blown out of the trees are still in the husks, and they’ll just rot on the ground.” Anderson, who is a member of GFB’s Pecan Advisory Committee, has 300 acres of pecan trees and lost 126 trees to the storm. More concerning to most pecan producers is that Irma knocked down thousands of mature and fully bearing trees, creating what Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black called a generational loss. “It is a difficult thing,” Black said following a tour of Mason Farms in Peach County. “We lead the nation in pecan production. We’ve seen some generational damage today and we’re very concerned about that.” Generating revenue with the replacements of downed trees could take 7-10 years after the trees are purchased and planted, which won’t happen until 2019 in many cases. Reaching full production potential can take as long as 12 years. UGA Extension Pecan Specialist Lenny Wells estimated a 30 percent crop loss in Georgia pecans, which would mean the value of the loss is more than $100 million. That doesn’t include cost of storm cleanup which will have to be done before remaining pecans can be harvested. SOYBEANS: plants blown over Peach County Farm Bureau Vice President Greg Gatliff grows about 450 acres of soybeans. Before Irma blew through, his beans were about four feet tall. The storm blew them over about two feet. His crop loss came from the soybean plants that never straightened back up all the way. Right after the storm Gatliff thought his losses might run as high as 20 percent, but by Nov. 10 when he had harvested three-fourths of his crop, he said Irma cost him about 10 percent of his crop. “It’s been really, really difficult to harvest probably half of what we’ve cut,” Gatliff said. “We’ve had to run [the combine] real slow and cut at an angle across the field. Sometimes you go with the lean of the plant and sometimes you go against.” Gatliff explained that having to harvest

the plants at an angle instead of being able to run his combine down straight rows caused some of the soybeans to be knocked to the ground. PEACHES: uprooted trees Across the road from Gatliff’s farm, Sledge Farms, a Georgia Farm Bureau Certified Farm Market, was among the Middle Georgia peach growers with peach trees blown over or left leaning from Irma. Three days after the storm, Nathan Sledge, who farms with his father, W. H. Sledge, said they’d stand leaning or uprooted trees back up in the younger orchards that are about three and a half years old. He wasn’t inclined to stand the mature trees that had been uprooted back up based on past experience with doing this. Root systems in younger trees aren’t as established as older trees and can usually recover. When we talked to him in early November, however, Nathan said they opted to stand the younger and older trees back up. “We’ve stood all of the trees back up, but we won’t know if the trees will live until next spring when they come out of dormancy,” Nathan said. “They’ve shed their leaves for the winter so you can’t tell just by looking at them if they’re recovering or not.” They opted to try to salvage the older trees because replacing them with new ones doesn’t work well because younger trees have different management needs than older trees. TOBACCO: late crop quality likely poor UGA Extension Tobacco Specialist J. Michael Moore expects 15 to 20 percent of the 2017 crop will be lost due to Hurricane Irma, and that tobacco harvested late in the season would likely have low quality. “The bright spot for us is we did not lose the entire crop,” Moore said. “Many of our growers were already finished harvesting.” Berrien County grower Lamar Vickers still had 125 acres of tobacco left to harvest when Irma struck. “As wet as the fields were after the storm, that makes the leaves start falling off the stalk,” Vickers said. November-December 2017 / 11


12 / November-December 2017

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Shelby Stephenson won the Grand Champion Market Weather Award in the 2017 State 4-H & FFA Market Goat Show Oct. 6 at the Georgia National Fair. Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long, left, presents the $1,500 prize check to Stephenson as show judge Brandon Morgan presents the grand championship banner.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

By Jennifer Whittaker ____________________________________________________ The hard work Victoria Barber, Payton Jackson and Shelby Stephenson put into preparing their animals for the 2017 State 4-H & FFA Market Goat & Lamb Shows paid off as each walked out of the ring a grand champion winner. The shows, held Oct. 6-8 during the Georgia National Fair (GNF) in Perry, attracted 156 students who showed 341 lambs in the market lamb show and 517 students who showed 384 wethers (castrated male goat) and 582 does (female goat) in the market goat show. Barber won the grand champion market lamb award of $1,000. Jackson captured the grand champion market doe award of $1,500, and Stephenson took home the grand champion market wether award of $1,500. The Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture sponsored the grand champion prizes for these three shows that are part of the State 4-H & FFA Georgia Junior National Livestock Show program. Georgia Farm Bureau is serving as the premier livestock sponsor for the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter for the 2017-2018 season and as such sponsored many other prizes given to participants in the GNF livestock shows. Barber, a member of the Colquitt County FFA, is the daughter of Cecil and Celina Barber of Moultrie. A junior at Colquitt County High School, she has shown lambs for seven years. Barber originally wanted a horse, but, since she lives in town, she found showing sheep to be more practical and found a barn near her house to board her sheep. “I get up at 5 o’clock in the morning to work my animals – to practice showing them,” Barber said. “I live in South Georgia and it’s just so hot in the afternoon, so we know if we go in the morning it’ll be a lot better for us and the animals.” Jackson, a member of the Banks County Middle School FFA, is the daughter of Kipp and Lara Jackson of Commerce. A freshman, Jackson has been showing for 10 years and previously won this award in 2014. “I like the friendships you get to make around the state,” Jackson answered when asked what she likes most about showing. Her workout regimen for producing a grand champion goat includes practicing bracing her goat for 20 minutes combined with six minutes of walking the goat on a treadmill. Bracing is positioning an animal to showcase its overall form and muscles. Stephenson, the daughter of Shane and Christy Stephenson of Jasper, is a junior at Pickens County High School and a member of the Pickens FFA. This is her second year showing goats. ‘I worked him every single day since May walking him and bracing him,” Stephenson said. “The thing I like most about showing is being around my family and friends and being in an amazing industry that teaches you about life.”

Banks County FFA member Payton Jackson, right, won the Grand Champion Market Doe Award in the 2017 State 4-H & FFA Market Goat Show held Oct. 7 at the Georgia National Fair. Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Executive Director Katie Gazda, left, presents the $1,500 prize check to Jackson as show judge Brandon Morgan presents the grand championship banner.

Photo by Jay Stone

State goat & lamb show winners don’t kid around

Colquitt County FFA member Victoria Barber, right, won the Grand Champion Market Lamb Award in the 2017 State 4-H & FFA Market Lamb Show Oct. 8 at the Georgia National Fair. Pictured from left, GFB Foundation for Agriculture Executive Director Katie Gazda presented the prize check and show judge Dr. Billy Zanolini presented the grand championship banner. Georgia Farm Bureau News


By Jay Stone _______________________________________________________ ou’re a small farmer. You’ve fine-tuned your production and sold directly to the public through roadside stands or farmers markets. Now you want to expand. The next phase could be selling to wholesalers, which comes with a new set of challenges: Do you have packaging and labeling capability? How are you going to get your products from your farm to the distributor? And, perhaps most important, if these things require change on your farm, how are you going to pay for it? Enter Common Market Georgia (CMG), a non-profit food distributor designed to soften the financial blow small farmers face when getting into the business of selling to wholesalers while giving wholesale customers access to more locally grown food. “Part of what we’re trying to do in the food system promotion is work with our small family farmers to help them understand the kind of quality and food safety standards,” said Lily Rolader, who was named CMG director in July. CMG, which opened in 2016, currently contracts with about three dozen farmers, all of whom are within 250 miles of the organization’s headquarters in East Point, on the south side of Atlanta. About two dozen supply CMG with produce. The rest provide value-added products. The group has a produce cooler and distributes produce and eggs to institutional customers in metro Atlanta. CMG sells to colleges and universities, corporate cafeterias, childcare and elder care facilities, hospitals, schools, restaurants and retailers. “Being a non-profit, having a lower price point, a lower markup for us, helps farmers get a better price point and helps them enter into a wholesale market with an easy transition,” said CMG Procurement Manager Katie Chatham. “It allows them to have some of that infrastructure and logistics help they would need in order to reach a wholesale market that they haven’t had access to before.” The organization works with farms ranging in size from six acres to around 1,000 acres, with varying access to equipment and labor. Even farmers with established wholesale activity have benefited from CMG’s work. “They have been great to work with,” said Sheila Rice of Calhoun Produce in Turner County. “Getting the orders is simple. The truck driver comes through here and we load them up and they’re out of here in 10 minutes. It’s just a fabulous relationship with them.” Calhoun Produce, which operates a Georgia Farm Bureau Certified Farm Market, has been selling to wholesale customers for years and added CMG this summer when the organization needed butterbeans and peas, the farm’s primary crops.

Photo courtesy of Calhoun Produce

Common Market Georgia helps small farmers access wholesale market

Y

Georgia Farm Bureau News

From left, Brad Calhoun, Sheila Rice, Joyce Calhoun and Gerald Calhoun in the butterbean field at Calhoun Produce in Turner County, one of Common Market Georgia’s suppliers.

“Their orders increased,” Rice said. “They started out small, just picking up a few boxes. I see that they’re growing with us and getting more each time. It seemed like they bought more in the fall than they did in the summer.” Rice likes the idea of selling fresh produce to cafeterias. She noted that with the way Common Market schedules their orders, she is able to sell them produce picked straight from the fields. “You think, ‘Well, we’re going to a cafeteria. We’re going to eat something out of a can,’ ” Rice said, but thanks to this program cafeterias have the option of serving fresh produce. Rolader said the organization has approximately 90 wholesale customers, including Georgia Tech, Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and there is enough demand that more farmers are needed. The organization assesses interested farmers’ capabilities and conducts what Chatham calls “wholesale readiness training,” which informs the farmers of the distributor’s needs – ranging from food safety topics to packaging and logistics, as well as information a distributor would need about the farm’s products in order to get it to customers. Rolader said that in addition to the higher prices farmers receive for their products, they also have the benefit of consistent cash flow. CMG arranges for pickups once or twice a week depending on the product and customer demand. Chatham regularly communicates with farmers to maintain a knowledge of what they have available, which she matches with customer needs. Common Market started in 2008 in Philadelphia, where Common Market Mid-Atlantic serves metro areas between Philadelphia and New York. A Common Market location in Texas is scheduled to open in 2018. The group is pursuing a third-party Safe Quality Foods (SQF) Level 2 audit, which would allow it to distribute to grocery stores. CMG requires its farmers to have a $1 million liability insurance policy and to submit a W-9 form. They also need to acquire food safety certification if they don’t have it and an organic certificate if applicable. For more information on Common Market Georgia visit http://bit.ly/CMGeorgia or call 678-343-9525. November-December 2017/ 13


Peanut grading requirements changing for 2018 crop

Photo courtesy of GA Federal-State Inspection Service

By Jay Stone ________________________________________________________________________

Starting with the 2018 crop, peanuts will have to have 3.49 percent damaged kernels instead of 2.49 percent to receive a Segregation 2 grade.

Peanut growers will face a smaller financial risk beginning with the 2018 crop year under new grading requirements established by the USDA. The USDA accepted a recommendation from the Peanut Standards Board (PSB) to raise the grading score used to classify farmer stock peanuts as Segregation 2 from 2.49 percent damaged kernels to 3.49 percent damaged kernels. Georgia Farm Bureau, along with eight other peanut stakeholder organizations, asked the PSB to make the change in July 2016. Half the nation’s peanut crop is grown in Georgia. The PSB, which is made up of U.S. peanut producers and industry representatives, recommended the change in September 2016 to bring the grading scores that were left over from the old peanut quota program in line with changes made to the peanut program in the 2002 farm bill. “We’re pleased that the USDA accepted the board’s recommendation to adjust the percentage used to grade farmer stock peanuts as Segregation 2,” GFB President Gerald

GPC taking nominations for outstanding young peanut farmer Nominations are now open for the Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer. The state winner will be announced at the Georgia Peanut Farm Show on Jan. 18, 2018, in Tifton. The award is sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) and BASF. The Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award is based on the applicant’s overall farm operation, environmental and stewardship practices, and leadership, civic, church, and community service activities. “We have so many young peanut farmers making a difference in their communities. I consider this award program a great opportunity to recognize one young peanut farmer for their contributions to the agricultural industry,” GPC Chairman Armond Morris said. The award is open to any active Geor14 / November-December 2017

gia peanut farmer who is not over 45 years of age as of Jan. 18, 2018. There is no limit on the number of applicants from each county in Georgia. Previous winners may not reapply. Applications are due to the GPC office by Friday, Dec. 15. The award application is available online at www.gapeanuts.com or by contacting Joy Crosby at 229-3863690 or joycrosby@gapeanuts.com. Previous Georgia winners include Brandon Branch of Baxley, Trey Dunaway of Hawkinsville, Andrew Grimes of Tifton, Randy Branch of Baxley, James Hitchcock Jr. of Tennille, Brad Thompson of Donalsonville, Greg Mims of Donalsonville, Jim Waters of Blackshear and Jimmy Webb of Leary. The award winner receives registration and hotel accommodations to attend the Southern Peanut Growers Conference in July and a sign to display at his or her farm.

Long said. “Under these requirements, farmers will receive a more accurate value when their peanuts are graded Segregation 2.” Segregation 2 peanuts usually account for less than 1 percent of the U.S. peanut crop, but a grower who has his entire crop graded Segregation 2 could face financial ruin. The loan value for Segregation 2 peanuts is typically about $200 per ton less than for Segregation 1 peanuts. Using new technology, damaged peanuts can be conditioned and resold at market value without affecting quality of nuts delivered to customers. “A farmer having a majority of their crop graded as Segregation 2 is an economic devastation which could lead to bankruptcy, while the true value seems to be significantly higher,” Georgia Peanut Commission Chairman Armond Morris said. The notice announcing the changes was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 20. The rule will be effective Feb. 1, 2018, in order for the change to be implemented for the next crop year.

Ga Cotton Commission Annual Meeting & UGA Cotton Workshop

Jan. 31, 2018 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Tifton Event begins at 8 a.m. For more information call 478-988-4235 or visit www.georgiacottoncommission.org .

42nd Annual Ga. Peanut Farm Show

Jan. 18, 2018 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. The Peanut Farm Show features more than 100 exhibitors, production & seed seminars, pesticide applicator certification training and a free lunch. For more information visit www.gapeanuts.com or call 229-386-3470. Georgia Farm Bureau News


2018 Ag Forecast meetings set

The keynote topic for the Jan. 30, Feb. 1-5 meetings will be a farm bill update given by Bob Redding. The keynote topic for the Feb. 6 & 7 meetings will be demographic trends in rural Georgia and America given by Matthew Hauer of the UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Check-in for all of the meetings, except Tifton, begins at 9 a.m. with seminars starting at 10 a.m. followed by lunch at 11:30 a.m. Check-in for the Tifton event starts at 7 a.m., breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m. followed by the seminar from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Bob Redding Matt Hauer Cost is $35 per person or $240 for a table of eight. Advance registration is required. For more information or to register, visit http://www.georgiaagforecast.com or call 706-542-5046. This seminar series is presented by the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences in partnership with Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Jan. 30 • Lyons Toombs Co. Ag Center Feb. 1 • Bainbridge Decatur Co. Ag Center Feb. 2 • Tifton UGA Conference Center Feb. 5 • Macon Georgia Farm Bureau Feb. 6 • Cartersville Clarence Brown Conference Center Feb. 7 • Athens The Classic Center

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Georgia Farm Bureau News

November-December 2017/ 15


Photo by Donna Rocker

Recipients of the 2017 Georgia Centennial Farm Awards. GFB President Gerald Long, second from right, standing, attended the

ceremony held Oct. 6 at the Georgia National Fair to recognize this year’s inductees.

Ga. farms recognized for their longevity T

his year marks the 25th anniversary of the Georgia Centennial Farm Awards, and the program celebrated by recognizing another 14 family farms for their longevity. Georgia Farm Bureau is proud to partner with the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to recognize farms that are 100 years old or more. Farms may be recognized with one of three awards. The Centennial Heritage Farm Award honors farms owned by members of the same family for 100 years or more that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The

Centennial Farm Award doesn’t require continual family ownership, but farms must be at least 100 years old and listed in the NRHP. The Centennial Family Farm Award recognizes farms owned by members of the same family for 100 years or more that are not listed in the NRHP. More than 500 farms have received one of the three centennial farm designations since the program began in 1993. To apply for the 2018 award, visit http:// georgiashpo.org/centennialfarms or contact Allison Asbrock at 770-389-7868 or Allison.asbrock@dnr.ga.gov. Deadline is May 1.

2017 Georgia Centennial Family Farm Award recipients Lanier Farm Bulloch County Olde Homeplace Bulloch County Mary & Ben Newsome Family Farm Crisp County Sandy Acre Ranch Dade County Swicord Thomas Farm Decatur County

GFB offers livestock liability signs

16 / November-December 2017

Freeman Family Farm Jackson County Aldred-Stevens-Smith Farm Jefferson County Liberty Hill Ranch, LLC Lamar County Photo by Janet Hawkins

Pictured from left, Fannin County Farm Bureau President Tommy Hamby, FCFB Vice President Terry Bramlett & FCFB Director Andrea Verner welcomed Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long to their county office in August. Long and the FCFB leaders discussed the Livestock Liability Protection signs GFB is selling for $5 (cost of production). If you are interested in obtaining a sign contact your county Farm Bureau office. This year the Georgia General Assembly passed HB 50, which will help shield livestock producers from risks associated with allowing visitors on their farms. To be covered by the liability protection HB 50 offers, livestock producers must have a warning sign with proper wording posted on their farm clearly visible to visitors. Securing the liability protection for livestock producers has been a Farm Bureau priority for many years. GFB sought the protection offered by HB 50 in hopes it would encourage more livestock producers to partner with 4-H & FFA programs and allow visitors on their farms to see how livestock is raised.

Rey-Brin Farm Hall County

Bryans Family Farm Morgan County McLain/Hood Farms of Orndorff Place Terrell County Gibbs-Crumley Family Farm Tift County James Paul Smith Family Farm Turner County Alvin Pierce Henderson Farm Ware County Georgia Farm Bureau News


Smith named FSA state director

On Nov. 3, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Tas Smith has been appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as state director of the Georgia Farm Service Agency (FSA). Smith has led Georgia Farm Bureau’s advocacy efforts at the national level since 2012. “Georgia’s farmers and Georgia Farm Bureau have benefited greatly from Tas’ work on their behalf at the state and national levels,” said Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long. “We certainly hate to lose him, but we know he’ll do a fantastic job serving Georgia’s Smith farmers with the FSA. We wish him well.” In his new position, Smith will help implement USDA policies by planning, organizing and administering FSA programs in Georgia. As a part of GFB’s Public Policy team, Smith has worked to promote agricultural causes at the Georgia and U.S. capitols. A native of Taylor County, he came to Georgia Farm Bureau in 2005 as a legislative specialist. In 2012 he was named GFB National Affairs Specialist. Earlier this year he was promoted to assistant public policy director for legislative programs. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Valdosta State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Tiffin University. He and his wife, Stephanie, have two children.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News

White named Rural Development state director

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November-December 2017/ 17


Field Day gives tips for fending off fire By Jay Stone ___________________________________

Forms due by Feb. 5, 2018 18 / November-December 2017

Photo by Jay Stone

R

emove fuel and fire won’t happen. That was the overriding message of the Firewise on the Farm Field Day held Sept. 26 at the William Harris Homestead in Walton County. Executing that strategy is a matter of recognizing conditions that might contribute to the start or spread of a wildfire. “You’ve got all your hay in the barn and somebody drops a cigarette, or somebody throws a cigarette from the road,” said Frank Riley of the Chestatee/Chattahoochee Resources Conservation & Development District. “It burns through the dry grass and then you can’t put it out.” Firewise is a wildfire education program designed to make people aware of the dangers of fire Riley said. It involves creating what he calls defensible space around assets being protected from wildfire, such as homes, farm buildings, equipment or agricultural production areas like hay fields or timber.

During the Firewise on the Farm event, the City of Monroe Fire Department demonstrated what happens when you pour water on a grease fire – the fire erupts into a fireball! Instead of water, the firefighter said to extinguish the flame with a fire extinguisher, salt or baking soda.

The event, hosted in part by Walton County Farm Bureau, featured more than a dozen stations providing information on fire and outdoor safety topics, including interaction with wildlife, downed power lines and kitchen fires. The Georgia Forestry Commission’s Monroe/Walton Unit had heavy equipment on hand to underscore the necessity – from a fire-prevention perspective - of keeping them maintained. Unit Chief Rent Sanders pointed out the vented engine compartment on a bulldozer, where the ventilation holes were big enough to allow small debris into the engine compartment, providing fuel that could ignite from a spark. Sanders said farmers should take care to keep bearings on their equipment greased to prevent sparks. Before controlled burns, Sanders recommended plowing firebreaks around the fields to be burned. “Once you start controlled burning, you need to keep doing it periodically,” Sanders said, recommending burns be done every 2-3 years.

Holly Campbell of the Southern Regional Extension Forestry Unit detailed a zone approach for landscaping to protect homes, barns or other buildings. Zone 1, out to 30 feet from the building, should consist of plants that are low to the ground with a high water content. Campbell stressed that the lawn should be kept watered. Zone 2, from 30 feet to 100 feet away from the building, should feature clusters of shrubbery and/or widely spaced trees. Zone three is a reduced fuel zone, where flammable materials like fallen leaves are cleared away. The City of Monroe Fire Department demonstrated what happens when water is thrown onto a grease fire. The result is a violent combustion likely to spread fire rather than put it out. The event was the first of its kind in Georgia, Riley said, noting that he would like to have similar events in all of the state’s soil and water conservation districts. “We’re here to help. I’ll come to any farm to look for anything that can be seen as risk,” Riley said. Georgia Farm Bureau News


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November-December 2017/ 19


Photo courtesy of UGA CAES

UGA Extension welcomes water educators

UGA Extension water educators John Loughridge, left, and Luke Crosson, right, collect irrigation information from farmer David Burk.

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension recently welcomed eight water educators who were formerly part of the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal transferred the positions to UGA Extension. “The governor’s plan was to streamline program services so the Environmental Protection Division handles regulatory issues and the Soil and Water Conservation Commission handles sediment and soil erosion and dams,” said UGA Associate

Dean for Extension Laura Perry Johnson. “We now have more resources in Extension to address water issues, there will be fewer duplications of efforts, and services will be enhanced at the local level. The more I learn about the experience these gentlemen have, the more excited I am about the skills and talents they bring to us.” The water educators and their bases of operation include: David Hall, Bleckley County; Andy Dyar, J. Phil Campbell Sr. Research and Education Center, Watkins-

Raynor Churchwell has joined the Georgia Farm Bureau Public Policy Department as an agricultural programs specialist. Churchwell will work with the GFB Commodity Advisory Committees and as a liaison between GFB and the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commissions and

other ag commodity associations to promote GFB programs and the organization’s policy on ag issues. Prior to joining GFB, Churchwell was a UGA Cooperative Extension Ag & Natural Resources Agent in Bleckley County for four years. He previously was employed with

EPD from page 7 along with other data needed to order and install the meter. The GWPPC is also mapping the acreage served by the permit source. The EPD will notify landowners with water permits via mail if a meter(s) will be installed on their property. Shoemaker Irrigation is also notifying affected permit holders of their planned installation date prior to installing the meters. The Georgia Forestry Commission continued its contract to read water meters in the Flint and Suwanee River Basins beginning Nov. 1. EPD’s ag metering team will read meters in all other river basins

across the state, Dickey said. Georgia House Bill 579 protects the agricultural water use information of an individual permit holder from being released, Dickey said, however, the EPD can release basin-wide water use information. “Installing these meters is important because it will allow Georgia to continue to validate that Georgia’s farmers are efficient water users and are operating with conservation-based water use practices,” Dickey said. “We must continue to advance this initiative for data collection on water use to show the real use of agricultural irrigated farmland.”

ville; John Loughridge, Gordon County; Dustin Rushing, Southeast District, Statesboro; Tony Black and Luke Crosson, Hooks-Hanner Environmental Resource Center, Terrell County. Two additional positions have been advertised for educators who will be based on the UGA Griffin and UGA Tifton campuses. The UGA-Griffin educator will focus on urban water use, and the UGA-Tifton educator will focus on traditional row crop agriculture water use. The UGA-Tifton educator will also support the UGA Water Resource Team, a group of researchers, Extension specialists, social scientists, economists and program development specialists focused on improving water management in Georgia. The UGA Extension water educators will continue to support farmers, green industry representatives and homeowners by performing water audits, duties they bring with them from the commission. This includes testing center pivot irrigation systems to make sure they are performing correctly and performing irrigation audits required for farmers participating in USDA cost-share programs. There is no fee for irrigation audits.

Churchwell joins GFB Public Policy Dept.

20 / November-December 2017

the Pulaski County Board of Health as an environmental health specialist. “Raynor’s experience as an extension agent will prove valuChurchwell able as he works with the members of Georgia Farm Bureau’s Commodity Committees and represents our organization in projects with other ag organizations,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “We’re excited for Raynor to join the Farm Bureau family.” A native of Cochran, Churchwell graduated from UGA in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and earned a Master of Plant Protection and Pest Management from UGA in August. He and his wife, Katie, live in Cochran and attend Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Cary. Georgia Farm Bureau News


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Georgia Farm Bureau News

November-December 2017/ 21


Banks County High School FFA won the Georgia Farm Bureau/FFA membership drive truck drawing for the GFB North Georgia Region, which consists of 49 counties in the northern third of the state. GFB Chief Administrative Officer & Corp. Secretary Jon Huffmaster, center left, and Banks County Farm Bureau President Jimmy Morrison, center right, presented the truck to the Banks County FFA at the Banks County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting on Sept. 25. Banks County FFA Advisors Scott Wheatley and Kipp Jackson and the Banks County FFA officer team accepted the truck.

Photo by Jay Stone

This fall, Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) presented three Georgia FFA Chapters – Banks County High School FFA, Harris County High School FFA & Bainbridge High School FFA - with Chevy Silverado trucks earned as prizes for participating in the 2016-17 GFB membership drive. The FFA Chapters won the trucks in drawings held for GFB’s North, Middle & South Regions. FFA Chapters had to sell a minimum of 50 memberships to be entered in the drawing for their GFB region and earned one additional entry for every 50 memberships sold from Sept. 1 2016 until Aug. 23, 2017. “Having our county Farm Bureau offices partner with their local FFA chapters to promote Farm Bureau membership during the past year was a natural fit for us because Georgia FFA is training the future leaders of Georgia agriculture,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “The trucks will serve as advertisement for Farm Bureau in the local communities and across Georgia as the winning chapters use the trucks to drive members to competitive events and haul livestock to shows.” The trucks prominently display the GFB logo on the rear cab window and tailgate. Bainbridge High School FFA received their truck after the GFB News went to press.

Harris County High School FFA won the Georgia Farm Bureau/FFA membership drive truck drawing for the GFB Middle Georgia Region, which consists of 56 counties in the middle third of the state. Pictured from right, HCFB President Gilbert Andrews, HCFB Young Farmer Chairman Justin Jordan, HCFB Sec/Treasurer James Rogers and HCFB Director Freddie Cone presented the truck to Harris County FFA Advisor Jay Borden and chapter members on Oct. 16.

Georgia shines at National FFA Convention Georgia FFA had a stellar showing at the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo, held Oct. 25-28 in Indianapolis as it brought home 18 national awards and a national officer. Georgia’s national winners included two career development event (CDE) teams, six national proficiency award winners, eight national agriscience fair winners, the nation’s Outstanding Middle School Chapter and the National FFA Alumni Outstanding Affiliate. Ian Bennett of Lowndes County was named National FFA Southern Region Vice President. Bennett is a junior at UGA majoring in agriscience and environmental systems 22 / November-December 2017

Photo by Andy Lucas

GFB presents trucks to FFA chapters for membership drive efforts

– plant breeding and genetics. He will take a one year leave of absence from school for the next year as he serves as a national officer traveling across the U.S. and to Japan to represent ag education and FFA. In CDE team events, Bleckley County FFA beat 40 other teams to capture the national forestry title. Cambridge High School in Fulton County bested 31 teams to win the agricultural communications event. Bleckley Forestry Team members Blake Bohannon, Tucker Felkins, Jacob Smith and LeAnn Hearn earned the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 7th place high individual scores in the contest.

The Cambridge Ag Communications team included Aalia Garrett, Cailey Doyle, Brittany Breedlove and Hayley Desandre with Garrett earning Bennett the 1st place high individual score and Doyle 4th place. Georgia chapter teams claimed first place in eight agriscience events. Sonoraville FFA won in Animal Systems Division 4; Lowndes County FFA won in Environmental/Natural Resources Division 4, Food See FFA next page Georgia Farm Bureau News


tion data shows there were 494 crashes involving farm and construction vehicles in Georgia last year that killed 12 people and injured 185 others. “Farm accidents are one thing in life that are one hundred percent preventable,” Commissioner Black said. “From a producer standpoint please have slow moving vehicle signs and flashers on your equipment. To the traveling public, in harvest season when farm equipment is prevalent on highways all across Georgia, please drive slow and be alert.”

While speaking at a press conference on highway safety, Crisp County farmer John Bullington urged farmers to wear their seat belts when driving farm equipment on the highway and asked motorists not to text or talk on phones while driving.

FFA from previous page Products & Processing Division 4, Plant Systems Division 4 & 6; Lowndes Middle FFA won in Food Products & Processing Division 1 and Plant Systems Division 1; Gordon Central FFA won in Power, Structure & Technology Division 6. National proficiency award winners were: Garrett Harrell, Colquitt County, (agricultural processing); Courtney Cameron, Lowndes County (agriscience research – plant systems); Thomas Waldrop, Franklin County (beef production); Land-

on Herring, Lowndes County (diversified crop production); Cody Wofford, Madison County (equine science) and Ben Murray, Berrien County (home & community development). The West Jackson Middle School (WJMS) FFA was named the nation’s Outstanding Middle School Chapter. WJMS was one of five national finalists for the award including Franklin County Middle, Jefferson Middle and Northeast Tift of Georgia. The Miller County FFA Alumni affiliate

was named the nation’s most outstanding alumni affiliate for its support of the Miller County FFA Chapter. Additionally, seven Georgia FFA chapters received a national 3-star ranking; 132 Georgia FFA members received the American FFA Degree and seven Georgians were recognized for their support of FFA. Georgia chapters and students were national finalists in 18 other categories. For a complete list visit http://bit. ly/17GAFFAwinners.

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MOTORISTS from page 8 ing any equipment on public highways. Unfortunately, Bullington’s brother, Donald, wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of his accident and was thrown around in the sprayer cab when the impact of the crash sent it into a ditch. “When you have a crash with farm equipment it will impact that farm tremendously,” Bullington said. “My brother hasn’t been able to farm with me since his accident because of the severe nerve pain he lives with from his accident injuries.” Georgia Department of Transporta-

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Georgia Farm Bureau News

November-December 2017/ 23


4th Annual

GFB Foundation taking applications for grants until Dec. 15

County Farm Bureaus and local 4-H and FFA chapters have until Dec. 15 to apply for grants from the Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture to fund programs that expand agricultural literacy. Up to 10 grants will be awarded to county Farm Bureaus and four grants are available for 4-H and FFA chapters. Grants will be awarded in amounts up to $500. Each county Farm Bureau or 4-H/FFA chapter may receive one grant per calendar year. Recipients will be notified in January and funding issued by Jan. 31. Projects must be completed within 12 months of receiving a grant. Recipients must submit a follow-up report with at least two photos to the foundation within 30 days of the project completion. Grant guidelines, suggested projects and applications are available at www.gfb. foundation.org.

Gala

GFB Foundation for Agriculture www.gfb.ag/18gala

When: Saturday, March 17, 2018 Where: Southern Bridle Farms, Fort Valley, GA Entertainment by Jerry Carroll (Agricultural Comedian) Reception begins at 5:30 p.m. Gala begins at 6:30 p.m.

Photo by Katie Gazda

GFB Foundation donates book about farm life to libraries statewide

24 / November-December 2017

Kids across Georgia have the chance to read the book “Sleep Tight Farm” thanks to the Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture donating copies of the book to the 409 libraries in the Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS). The foundation gave each county Farm Bureau enough books to present to every public library in the county. “Sleep Tight Farm,” by Eugenie Doyle describes how a farm family prepares their farm for winter after the family planted seeds in spring, tended crops in the summer and harvested them in the fall. The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture selected the book as its 2017 Book of the Year for its accurate and positive portrayal of agriculture. Doyle and her husband previously had a dairy farm in Vermont but now grow berries and vegetables. Jackson County Farm Bureau Office Manager Denise Temple, left, presents a copy of “Sleep Tight Farm” to Jefferson Public Library Manager Laura Gentle.

Georgia Farm Bureau News


March 2, 2018, deadline to apply

GFB Foundation for Ag offers $58,000 in scholarships By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________ The Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is committed to investing in students pursuing careers in agriculture or a related field. For 2018, the foundation is offering scholarships for college freshmen, rising college juniors and seniors, technical college students and UGA College of Veterinary Medicine students specializing in large/food animals. Visit www.gfb.ag/18scholarships for a list of eligible majors/schools, application instructions and to apply. Applications must be submitted online only by March 2. Transcripts and letters of recommendation that are mailed must be postmarked by March 2. The four scholarship categories the GFB Foundation is offering are:

Scholarship for Agriculture

technical college during the 2018-19 academic year • Major in an area of study related to agriculture. Examples of eligible majors at www.gfb.ag/18techschoolmajors • Have a minimum 2.8 GPA

Rising College Jr./Sr. Scholarship for Agriculture 10 scholarships of $2,000 are available. Applicants must: • Be a Georgia resident majoring in agricultural & environmental sciences, family & consumer sciences or a related ag field • Be a sophomore or junior with at least two semesters remaining to receive an undergraduate degree at a unit of The University System of Georgia, Berry College, Emmanuel College or any

accredited college/university in Georgia with an ag program • Be engaged in leadership activities in college • Have a minimum 3.0 GPA

UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Scholarship Three $2,500 scholarships are available. Applicants must: • Be a Georgia resident • Be a current University of Georgia veterinary medicine student specializing in large animal/food animal practice • Have a minimum 3.0 GPA Questions about the scholarships should be directed to Katie Gazda at 478474-0679, ext. 5230.

Five scholarships of $3,000 & seven scholarships of $1,500 are available. Applicants must: • Be a Georgia resident • Be a graduating high school senior • During the 2018-2019 academic year, enroll in a unit of The University System of Georgia, Berry College, Emmanuel College or any accredited college/university in Georgia with an ag program. • Pursue an undergraduate degree in agricultural & environmental sciences, family & consumer sciences or a related ag field. • Have a minimum 3.0 GPA • Be engaged in high school leadership activities

Technical College Scholarship for Agriculture Five $1,000 scholarships are available. Applicants must: • Be a Georgia resident • Be enrolled in a Georgia accredited Georgia Farm Bureau News

November-December 2017/ 25


AROUND GEORGIA News from County Farm Bureaus Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker

BACON COUNTY Bacon County Farm Bureau (BCFB) Women’s Committee members visited Bacon Primary School and read the book “How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?” to nine second-grade classes. The BCFB volunteers helped the students make pumpkin paper lanterns and provided pumpkin seeds for the kids to eat. BCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Peggy Lee is pictured with Christy Taylor’s class and their paper lanterns. Each class received a pumpkin to decorate, and BCFB volunteers judged the pumpkins and gave the winning class a prize. The students also had the chance to write a short essay on what they learned about pumpkins with the winning student and teacher getting a prize from BCFB.

BARROW COUNTY Barrow County Farm Bureau honored the first responders in its community with an appreciation lunch Oct. 12 during Fire Safety Week Oct. 8-14. More than 75 first responders – police officers, fire fighters and EMTs – attended the event. BIBB COUNTY Kindergarten students at the Academy for Classical Education (ACE) in Macon learned they share a name with baby goats – kids – during an Ag in the Classroom lesson Bibb County Farm Bureau (BCFB) did at the school Oct. 6. The students also had the chance to sample 26 / November-December 2017

chocolate pudding made from goat milk. Participating in the lesson were: pictured front row from left, BCFB Young Farmer member Phillip Minchew, Brenda Minchew and BCFB Director Calvin Minchew, who took their goats to the school for the students to pet; and back row from left, BCFB Office Manager Pat Steed & Georgia Farm Bureau 6th Dist. Field Representative Lauren Goble who presented a book about goats to ACE staff member Michelle Gowan. COBB COUNTY Cobb County Farm Bureau (CCFB) Office Manager Debbie Payne, left, & CCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Chy Kellogg, right, presented the $500 grant it received from the Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture to Awtrey Middle School teacher Diane Andrew, who has spearheaded the creation of the school’s farm. Andrew and the school will use the grant to install another raised bed for vegetable production to help the students learn what it takes to grow a farm-based business.

COFFEE COUNTY The Coffee County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee partnered with a local educational organization to put ag materials in the hands of more than 100 educators. The Young Farmer Committee donated 80 copies of the book “Who Grew My Soup,” 10 copies of GFB’s GA Ag video, 200 ag career brochures, 750 Cotton Ag Mags, 800 commodity maps and 825 My Plate is Georgia Grown bookmarks that were placed in Back to School Boxes offered to kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers. Pictured from right, CCFB Young Farmer Committee CoChairman Walt Pridgen and CCFB Office Manager Carla Palmer present the materials to Tammy Bennett and Jamie Taylor with the Learning Coop. Georgia Farm Bureau News


DAWSON COUNTY Dawson County Farm Bureau (DCFB) teamed up with the Dawson County High School FFA to raise funds for FFA students to attend the 90th National FFA Convention Oct. 2528 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The two organizations held an antique tractor show Sept. 23 and raised $487 at the event by selling food and raffle tickets for a hand-carved walking stick during the show. DCFB President Wayne Bennett, center, his wife, Lois, left, & DCFB Office Manager Tammy Wood, right, registered tractors for the show, cooked and sold concessions. EARLY COUNTY Congratulations to Early County Farm Bureau (ECFB) for winning the Blakely-Early Chamber of Commerce Annual Fall Decorating Contest! ECFB Customer Service Representative Susan Buckhalter & ECFB Office Manager Ann Hardy designed the award-winning fallscape that earned their county office the 1st place award for the second consecutive year. ECFB Agency Manager Jamie Davis assisted Buckhalter & Hardy in setting up their design. FANNIN COUNTY Proving farmers are committed to feeding others, Fannin County Farm Bureau (FCFB) recently made a $300 donation to Snack in a Backpack, a local program that provides food to students on weekends and school breaks during the school year. FCFB President Tommy Hamby presents the check to Snack in a Backpack Executive Director Angela Huffstetler. GILMER COUNTY Thanks to Gilmer County Farm Bureau (GCFB), students at two local elementary schools have a better understanding of how apple producers in the county grow the apples their county is famous for! GCFB Volunteer Janice Burgess reads “The Apple Orchard Riddle” to second-graders at Ellijay Elementary.   Georgia Farm Bureau News

GCFB Agency Manager Tracy Abercrombie, Office Manager Candra Frady and Secretary Linda Evans also helped with the apple lessons taking apples and cider donated by R&A Orchards owners Andy and Jennifer Futch for the students to sample.

HALL COUNTY Hall County Farm Bureau held its second GFB Educator Workshop of the year in October at the Georgia Poultry Lab Network (GPLN) in Gainesville. Almost 30 teachers from 20 elementary schools across the county learned many agricultural concepts they can incorporate into their lessons. They also took an educational tour of the GPLN where they learned about the many testing procedures the lab conducts to ensure the poultry flocks in Georgia and surrounding states are healthy. Hall County now has more than 65 teachers incorporating agriculture into their lesson plans. HART Hart County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Chairman Brian Fleming, seated, visited with one of the local elementary schools where he gave a presentation on soil science to all third graders. Fleming’s talk coincided with the students building worm bins for composting. JEFF DAVIS Jeff Davis County Farm Bureau donated 450 packs of peanuts to the Hazelhurst-Jeff Davis Chamber of Commerce for the Peanuts for Okefenokee Occasion, a multi-county legislative reception (Continued) November-December 2017/ 27


(Continued from previous page) held annually in Atlanta. JDCFB Office Manager Regina Barton, left, presents the donation to Chamber of Commerce Executive Secretary Sonya Miller. LANIER COUNTY Students in Alisha Sirmans’ Pre-K Class at Lanier County Primary School are enjoying this ag-themed decoration at the entrance of their classroom. Alisha and her husband, Rodney, are active Lanier County Farm Bureau members and grow peanuts and cotton on their farm. Alisha reads ag-themed books to her class on a regular basis to teach her students how their food is grown.

MACON COUNTY Macon County Farm Bureau held a tour and lunch for Georgia Sen. Ed Harbison and Rep. Patty Bentley in August to see how irrigation water meters are being used on local farms. After the tour, they enjoyed lunch at a local restaurant and further discussed efforts farmers are making to conserve water. Pictured from left are MCFB Director Stewart Newberry, MCFB Sec/Treasurer David Levie, MCFB Vice President Danny Levie, Rep. Patty Bentley, Sen. Ed Harbison, Howard Brown, MCFB President Mike McLendon and MCFB Legislative Chairman Glen Lee Chase.

MERIWETHER COUNTY Meriwether County Farm Bureau President Kenneth Murphy and MCFB Office Manager Anna Rogers visited Unity Elementary School Sept. 27 to talk to the Pre–K students about milk. Murphy, who is a dairy farmer, told the students how he cares for and milks his cows and discussed the various products, such as ice cream, butter and yogurt, that are made from milk. Rogers dressed as a cow to the delight of the students. Each student received a cow fan provided by the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association. 28 / November-December 2017

PEACH/TAYLOR COUNTIES Peach & Taylor County Farm Bureaus held their annual legislative breakfast Sept. 14 at the Peach County office. The event gave Farm Bureau members a chance to visit with their Georgia Assembly delegation – Reps. Patty Bentley (D-Dist. 139) and Robert Dickey (R-Dist. 140) & Sen. John Kennedy (R-Dist. 18).

POLK COUNTY Members of the Polk County LEAD Class have a better understanding of agriculture after touring four farms in the county. Polk County Farm Bureau provided refreshments at the Lovell Farm tour stop where PCFB Director Ronald Lovell, second from right, discussed how he plants and harvests his row crops and the production costs for seeds, equipment and other supplies. PCFB President James Casey, left, and PCFB Agency Manager Jackie Casey, right, visited with the tour participants during the refreshment break.

ROCKDALE/DEKALB COUNTIES Rockdale/DeKalb Farm Bureau paid the tuition for five members of the Arabia Mountain Future Farmers of America Chapter to attend the Natural Resource Conservation Workshop held this summer at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton. RDFB President Ed Young, far right, & Office Manager Felica McDowell, far left, congratulate students, pictured from left: Imani McIntosh, Anthony Peebles, Danielle Henegan, Monica Dowd and Isaiah Teasley on the presentation about their camp experience that they gave at the RDFB annual meeting. SCHLEY COUNTY Schley County Farm Bureau Office Manager Katina Fields, right, & her daughter Lynsie Turville promoted Farm Bureau during the “Smoke Georgia Farm Bureau News


farms. Keith, who is a dairy farmer, brought baby calves for the 260 first and second-grade students to see and pet. He told them how he feeds the calves with bottles and how he milks the grown cows.

TALIAFERRO COUNTY Taliaferro County Farm Bureau (TCFB) recently promoted blueberries while participating in a summer reading program at its local library. TCFB Promotion & Education Committee Chairman Linda Franklin read the book “Hi, I’m Billy Blueberry This is My Story!” TCFB served the kids fresh muffins made with locally grown blueberries and gave away gift bags containing blueberry coloring sheets, crayons, and pencils for the kids and GFB brochures for parents. TOOMBS COUNTY Toombs County Farm Bureau President Chris Hopkins spoke to elementary students at J.D. Dickerson Primary School about how peanuts are grown and harvested. Hopkins, who grows peanuts and cotton, took a live peanut plant so the students could see how peanuts grow underground. He also took samples of peanut and peanut butter products. TROUP COUNTY Troup County Farm Bureau (TCFB) assisted Callaway High School’s FFA students in hosting a farm day at Callaway Elementary School.  TCFB Young Farmer Chairman Joseph Keith taught the station about dairy Georgia Farm Bureau News

WHITE COUNTY White County Farm Bureau (WCFB) participated in the 15th Annual Kids Fun & Farm Day at the local agriscience center. More than 300 fourth graders spent the morning learning about farming and ag careers. WCFB Vice President Paul Seabolt, right, talked to the students about raising sunflowers, potatoes & tomatoes. WCFB President Stanley London showed students how to milk a cow. WCFB Young Farmer Committee Chairman Matthew London told the students how he & his family care for the Holstein dairy cows they raise.

Georgia Ag Game celebrates agriculture

Photo by Michael Edmondson

on the Square” BBQ cookoff held in downtown Ellaville Oct. 14. The SCFB exhibit promoted Farm Bureau membership benefits and Georgia Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer & Ag in the Classroom programs and the GFB Foundation for Agriculture.

Georgia Farm Bureau teamed up with Georgia Southern University to celebrate agriculture at the 2nd Annual Georgia Ag Game held Nov. 4 as the Georgia Southern Eagles played the Georgia State University Panthers at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro. GFB 1st Vice President Robert Fountain Jr., left, represented GFB as a presenting sponsor of the event during the game. Ga. Rep. Jan Tankersley (R-Dist. 160) was recognized for serving on the Georgia House Agriculture Committee and Low Country Machinery President/CEO Chris Shea was recognized as an event sponsor. Special thanks to Bulloch and Effingham County Farm Bureaus for manning a booth to interact with fans and to local 4-H & FFA students for passing out GFB ag game rally rags. The Statesboro–Bulloch Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Committee entertained kids with a corn sheller. At halftime, fans enjoyed a video featuring local farmers Speer Brannen, Will Ball and Blake Edenfield and their poultry, cattle and row crop farms. All three are Farm Bureau members and Georgia Southern graduates. November-December 2017/ 29


Ga. ag community says farewell to former Ag Commissioner Irvin

GFB mourns loss of Stewart County Farm Bureau president

Tommy Irvin, who served as Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture from 1969 to 2011, died on Sept. 15 at age 88. “Georgia farmers and Georgia Farm Bureau lost a longtime advocate and friend with the passing of Tommy Irvin,” said Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long. “ComIrvin missioner Irvin was a fine gentleman and public servant, and he was steadfast in his support of Georgia farmers. We offer our sincere condolences to his family.” A member of Habersham County Farm Bureau for more than 50 years, Irvin received the American Farm Bureau Federation Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award in 2010. Irvin served in the Georgia House of Representatives for 10 years, including work on the House Agriculture, Education and Appropriations committees. His 41-year stint as agriculture commissioner was the longest term of consecutive service by any state agriculture commissioner in the U.S. Irvin was particularly active in developing international trade, meeting with representatives of the Soviet Union, China and Cuba to procure trade agreements. Under his leadership, Georgia developed programs to eradicate animal diseases, control plant pests and promote food safety. The USDA and leaders in other countries used many of the procedures developed during Irvin’s leadership as models for their own programs.

In addition to his work as commissioner, Irvin was a champion for agriculture education. He is known for his efforts to meet with youth involved in or interested in agriculture or related fields of study. “Commissioner Irvin loved serving Georgia’s farmers and consumers for over three generations. He touched us all with his unsurpassed spirit of stewardship, commitment and work ethic,” said Gary Black, Irvin’s successor as agriculture commissioner. During a tour of agricultural damage in South Georgia, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue remembered Irvin as a trendsetter for the advancement of agriculture. “Obviously, he was an icon among his colleagues and well-known and well-respected among the national association of ag officials,” said Perdue, who was Georgia’s governor during Irvin’s last term in office. In addition to his parents, Irvin was preceded in death by his wife, Bernice; brother, Curtis; sisters, Brenda Smith, Shirley Worley and Karen Gilstrap. Irvin was a member of Antioch Baptist Church and was a deacon emeritus. Survivors include his daughters and sons-in-law Londa (Buddy) Sprinkle, of Mount Airy; Lisa (Bill) Collier, of Mount Airy; sons and daughters-in-law, James (Susan) Irvin, of Toccoa; Johnny (Ann) Irvin, of Tallulah Falls and David (Elaine) Irvin, of Clarkesville, as well as eight siblings, 14 grandchildren and 11 greatgrandchildren. Memorials may be made to the charity of one’s choice or the Georgia Masonic Home for Children, 811 Mulberry Street, Macon, Ga. 31201-6779.

Stewart County Farm Bureau President Richard Morrison, 85, died Sept. 3. Morrison served as county president from 1981 until his death. After graduating from Stewart County High School, Morrison enlisted in the U.S. Army in the early 1950s and Morrison was stationed in Germany. He obtained agricultural degrees from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and the University of Georgia. He returned home to farm with his father, Leland, and later his son, Winston. The family grew row crops. Morrison enjoyed restoring antique tractors in his retirement and was a founding member of SOWEGA Big Wheelers, often driving one of his antique tractors in local parades. He was also an active member of County Line Baptist Church where he served as a deacon, Sunday School teacher and song leader. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Carol Ann McKinnon Morrison, son Winston (Julie), daughter Cathy Rudowske (Mark), granddaughter Carrie Rudowske, brother David (Vivian) and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Condolences may be sent to the family at 1715 Lynch Road, Lumpkin, Ga. 31815.

KMC from page 9 This year KMC showcased two new products at Expo – the KMC Stalk Puller that pulls cotton stalk roots from the ground and its 2100 Series Field Cultivator. After mowing down their cotton stalks, farmers can run the stalk puller over their fields to remove the roots in an effort to prevent nematodes – harmful worms that infect the roots of plants and suck nutrients and water out of them.

“Farmers need to remove cotton stalks to remove the food source for nematodes,” Lanier explained. “The longer you wait to remove stalks the more nematodes can build up.” Several companies sell stalk pullers, but KMC Engineer Matt Rewis says the KMC version has been designed with a spring to keep the discs in the puller properly tensioned so the cotton stalks are easily pulled.

The KMC stalk puller has also been designed so rocks and other debris in the field can run through the discs without damaging them. The discs are controlled with a gauge wheel that allows farmers to disturb less soil as they go over the field and allows farmers to pull stalks when the soil is wet. KMC is currently offering its stalk pullers in four and six row models but plans to offer an eight-row model in the future.

30 / November-December 2017

Georgia Farm Bureau News


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Georgia Farm Bureau News - November/December 2017  

The Georgia Farm Bureau News has been the official publication of Georgia Farm Bureau since 1937. With the motto, “The Voice of Georgia Far...