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Vol. 79 No. 2



The Voice of Georgia Farmers

April/May 2017

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table of

contents april/may 2017


view from the field PAGE 4

legislative update PAGE 5

young farmer update PAGE 26

around georgia

PAGES 28-29

women's leadership update PAGE 31

public relations staff Andy Lucas Director Jennifer Whittaker Editor Jay Stone Print/Web Specialist Lillian Davis Publications/Advertising Manager Kenny Burgamy Brand Marketing Manager Nicollette Boydstun Multimedia Graphic Designer Michael Edmondson Web/Video Manager Ray D’Alessio Senior Producer/TV Host Mark Wildman Senior Radio-TV Specialist Dean Wood Radio-TV Specialist Damon Jones Radio-TV Specialist Vickie Amos Office Coordinator For information concerning advertising, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or mcfarlandadvantage@gmail.com

Special Master makes recommendation in water case Special Master Ralph Lancaster recommended the U.S. Supreme Court deny Florida’s petition to cap Georgia’s water use when he issued his report on the case Florida filed against Georgia, but his report included criticism of ag water use. PAGE 6

Avian flu found in Georgia A case of low pathogenic avian influenza in Chattooga County was announced by the Georgia Department of Agriculture on March 27. Commercial and backyard poultry producers are reminded to be vigilant about following USDA recommended biosecurity measures. PAGE 8

GFB bids farewell to retiring federation employees Georgia Farm Bureau Commodities/Marketing Director Don McGough and Field Services Director Mike Copeland retired March 30. Field Services Office Coordinator Marilyn Akers retires the end of May. All are taking decades of GFB memories with them. PAGES 10-11

GFB members take ag message to state capitol Georgia Farm Bureau Day at the Capitol Feb. 15 gave GFB members the opportunity to share farmers’ stance on a variety of issues. The event featured visits to the Georgia House and Georgia Senate and a lunch at the Georgia Depot. PAGE 12

GFB forms Public Policy Department, Field Services staff promoted Georgia Farm Bureau’s newly formed Public Policy Department involves a merger between the former legislative and commodities/marketing departments. The GFB Board approved these changes and filled the positions of director and associate director of Field Services. PAGE 14

Satsumas could be Georgia’s next big fruit crop The Georgia Citrus Association recently held its annual meeting offering satsuma growers production and marketing information for the new crop taking off in South Georgia. PAGE 18

Farm bill, irrigation & marketing topics at Soybean/Grain Expo Speakers at the Soybean/Small Grain Expo discussed the upcoming farm bill, a smartphone irrigation app for soybeans, the importance of using licensed grain dealers and preventing wheat from having contact with peanuts. PAGE 22

For questions about your membership or member benefits, call 1-800-633-5432.

GFB awards grand champion prizes at Ga. Jr. National

For questions regarding editorial content call 478-474-0679, ext. 5334 or e-mail jawhittaker@gfb.org

For the sixth year GFB sponsored the cash prizes for the grand champions of the Georgia Junior National Livestock Show, awarding a total of $14,000 to the 4-H and FFA exhibitors of seven species. The GFB Foundation for Agriculture Gala on March 11 at Southern Bridle Farm in Fort Valley gave attendees a chance to meet the champions and see how money donated to the foundation supports ag literacy. PAGES 24-25

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

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

(Photo by Eli Smallwood) Jasper County’s Eli Smallwood shot this picture of his show heifer meeting a show hog for the first time. Smallwood shot the photo on his family’s farm near Monticello and entered the photo in the 2012 GFB Picture Agriculture in Georgia Contest. The deadline to enter the 2017 photo contest is May 12. Contest details are on page 26.

Georgia Farm Bureau News April-May 2017/ 3

view from the field Gerald Long, GFB President Now that the first case of avian influenza has been diagnosed in Georgia, the response plan Georgia agriculture officials planned with the USDA and other government agencies has gone into effect to keep our food supply safe and limit spread of the virus. Poultry companies, the USDA and the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) are monitoring commercial flocks closely to detect the presence of avian flu to ensure no birds with the virus go to market. I’d like to commend the USDA and GDA leaders and staff for the work they have been doing. Commercial poultry producers continue to follow biosecurity measures to protect their flocks. Because the virus is carried by wild birds, it’s important that people with backyard chickens protect their flocks, too, by housing their birds or keeping them in screened areas. It’s important that backyard bird owners know the symptoms of avian flu and report possible infections to the GDA. Our thoughts are with Georgia’s fruit and vegetable farmers who took a hit in mid-March from the freezing temperatures that damaged their crops. Early estimates predict blueberry producers lost as much as 80 percent of their crop. The peach crop could be down as much as twothirds. Strawberry, watermelon, pepper and other vegetable crops got hit, too. Let’s also remember the ranchers in Colorado, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma who lost family and cattle to wildfires that swept across more than 1 million acres in early March. GFB has sent donations to disaster relief funds set up by each state’s Farm Bureau, at the approval of the GFB Board and myself. Although Special Master Ralph Lancaster recommended the U.S. Supreme Court deny Florida’s petition to cap Georgia’s water use when he issued his report in February, the fight isn’t over. Florida is expected to file an objection with the special master’s report, and the Supreme Court will probably hear oral arguments before deciding whether to accept Lancaster’s rec4 / April-May 2017

ommendation. Because Lancaster’s report criticized agriculture’s water use, it is more important than ever that farmers continue to use water efficiently and install water meters on their irrigation systems. There are still challenges ahead to preserve the private property right of access to water. A true victory came on Feb. 28 when President Trump issued an executive order calling for the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule to be rescinded or revised. Farm Bureau has opposed WOTUS since it was first proposed in 2014, and we appreciate President Trump taking action to ensure that federal agencies don’t overstep their intended role. By the time you read this, hopefully, Sonny Perdue will have been confirmed as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. We need a leader at USDA who understands how the department’s programs impact farmers, and Sonny can provide that. The Trump Administration has proposed budget cuts to the USDA of 21 percent. While Congress will ultimately decide the USDA budget, it will be important to have someone leading the agency who can make necessary cuts as wisely as possible. Georgia Farm Bureau was founded 80 years ago to serve as the voice of Georgia farmers. We remain committed to this mission. Our legislative and commodities/marketing departments have worked closely together through the years to make sure we address farmers’ concerns. Our commodities staff has worked with our advisory committees to identify policy issues, which often become the GFB priority issues our legislative staff focus on. For years, GFB leaders and staff have considered consolidating the two departments. Your GFB Directors and I feel the time has come to do so. As of April 3, the two departments will merge to form the GFB Public Policy Department. The importance of having an organization like Georgia Farm Bureau working on behalf of Georgia’s farmers has never been greater. Please tell your farmer friends and neighbors what we’re doing for agriculture and ask them to join us.



The Voice of Georgia Farmers


Farm Bureau Members: Included in dues — $1 per year Non-Members — $15 per year To subscribe call 1-800-898-1911, ext. 5238.


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


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

legislative update By Jeffrey Harvey, Public Policy Director

Trump's move to revise WOTUS ushers in new era at EPA While speaking at the American Farm Bureau Advocacy Conference in February, Scott Pruitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), used baseball legend Yogi Berra’s famous quote, “The future ain’t what it used to be,” to describe the Trump Administration’s approach to running the EPA. Pruitt said the EPA will adhere to the rule of law, and operate as an agency enforcing laws passed by Congress rather than a legislative body under his leadership. This is welcome news to farmers across the country who will benefit from a reformed EPA. President Donald Trump proved his administration intends to scale back overreaching regulations when he issued an executive order Feb. 28 directing the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review and rescind or revise the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule the agencies finalized two years ago. Farmers around the country have vocally opposed this overreaching regulation since the EPA and Army Corps proposed it on April 21, 2014, because the WOTUS rule expanded federal authority to regulate all waters in the United States. Per the rule’s preamble, “the agencies propose that all waters that meet the proposed definition of tributary are waters of the United States.” The rule defined tributaries in very broad terms: “wetlands, lakes, and ponds are tributaries… The flow in the tributary may be ephemeral, intermittent, or perennial.” Merriam-Webster defines ephemeral as “lasting a very short time.” The EPA and Army Corps took the position that temporary water flow from a large rain event could be classified as a tributary subject to federal oversight. This

oversight was expected to require landowners to obtain permits before conducting many common agricultural practices, such as building a fence, barn or house, applying fertilizer or spraying for weeds or insects, that might alter their land, WOTUS, as it was implemented in 2015, would mean added time, burden and expense for landowners. One of the most troubling aspects of the WOTUS rule was the agencies’ blatant disregard for the will of Congress. This disregard is what sparked Administrator Pruitt’s comments about EPA adhering to the rule of law instead of acting as a legislative body. As we all learned in school, the U.S. legislative branch makes the laws of our country while the executive branch carries them out. The agencies clearly skipped this class because the Clean Water Act of 1972 clearly restricts their oversight to “navigable waters.” President Trump’s executive order

provides guidance for redrafting a new WOTUS rule. The order recommends that the agencies consider defining the term “navigable water” in a manner consistent with the opinion written by the late U.S. Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia in the 2006 case Rapanos v. United States. In that opinion, Scalia said the phrase “waters of the United States” includes only those relatively permanent, standing or continuously flowing bodies of water forming geographic features. There is still one last hurdle before the rule is totally eliminated. For EPA to officially withdraw the rule, it must be published in the Federal Register and go through a comment period just as when it was enacted. Farmers will need to once again submit comments in support of withdrawing this rule for good. Although the fight over WOTUS has been difficult and long, Farm Bureau members should be proud of our progress. By consistently voicing opposition to WOTUS and bringing it to the attention of the new administration, Farm Bureau has proved its effectiveness at serving as the voice of farmers! Jeffrey Harvey is director of the GFB Public Policy Department.

Raulerson joins GFB Public Policy Dept.

Blake Raulerson has joined Georgia Farm Bureau as the newest member of the public policy department, where he will serve as governmental affairs specialist. A native of Blackshear, Raulerson will serve as an advocate for GFB’s policy positions with state and federal elected officials and agencies. He will work to develop public policy favorable to agriculture, while facilitating contact between farmers, state and federal officials. Before joining GFB, Raulerson worked as a legislative aide Raulerson for Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and later as a regional representative for U.S. Senator David Perdue. “Blake’s background in public policy at the state and national levels will be critical as he serves as a spokesman for our farmers,” said GFB President Gerald Long. “We are very excited to welcome Blake to the Farm Bureau family.” Raulerson graduated from UGA in 2014 with a degree in political science.

Georgia Farm Bureau News April-May 2017/ 5

By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________


n Feb. 14, Special Master Ralph Lancaster recommended denial of Florida’s petition for capping Georgia water use in the case Florida filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. Florida filed the suit in 2013, asking that the court limit Georgia’s use of water from the Chattahoochee and Flint River basins to 1992 levels. Florida’s contention is that Georgia’s overuse of water from those two rivers has harmed the oyster industry in the Apalachicola Bay on Florida’s panhandle. Georgia countered with arguments that overharvesting has caused the problems encountered by Florida’s oyster industry. Lancaster found that such a cap on Georgia’s use without a corresponding ruling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ activities on those rivers would not provide sufficient water to benefit Florida. The Corps of Engineers was not a party in the case, which fell under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court because it was a dispute between states. The states now have the opportunity to 6 / April-May 2017

file written objections to the special master’s report. It is anticipated that the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments before deciding whether to accept Lancaster’s recommendation. Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) and other Georgia agricultural leaders viewed the recommendation as a positive step, but cautioned against celebrating it as a final resolution to the decades-long dispute. “We’ve won one skirmish,” GFB President Gerald Long told GFB members during GFB Day at the Capitol on Feb. 15. “There are many, many battles ahead of us. So, we’ve got to be vigilant. We’ve got to be responsible as farmers on metering so we can continue to prove not only to Florida but to the rest of the nation and federal agencies that we are trying to conserve water and we’re doing our part.” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black also cautioned farmers against celebrating the special master’s recommendation. While the 137-page report from Lan-

Photo by Jay Stone

Special Master recommends water ruling in Georgia’s favor

The initial ruling issued Feb. 14 in the U.S. Supreme Court case Florida filed seeking to limit Georgia’s use of water from the Chattahoochee, pictured, and Flint River basins was in Georgia’s favor. Florida is expected to appeal and it’s anticipated the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments before deciding whether to accept the recommended ruling.

caster landed in Georgia’s favor, the Maine attorney criticized Georgia’s water use, particularly agricultural water use in Southwest Georgia, which in one reference he called “largely unrestrained.” In October 2016, GFB filed a friend of the court brief in the case, pointing out dire economic consequences of drastic reduction or elimination of irrigation in Southwest Georgia, as well as highlighting GFB’s activities to promote water access and conservation. In its brief, GFB highlighted the $2.5 billion economic impact agriculture makes to the economy of Southwest Georgia and the negative ramifications a drastic reduction or elimination of irrigation in the Flint River Basin would have on the counties in the area that have been designated by the USDA as “persistently poor” and whose economies depend on farming. The brief also highlighted the irrigation technology farmers use to conserve water such as lowpressure irrigation systems and variable rate systems. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Metering & compliance key to protecting ag water use In what now seems an omen, the 80 Southwest Georgia farmers attending a water issues meeting held Feb. 10 in Bainbridge by Decatur County Farm Bureau, were told even if Special Master Ralph Lancaster issued a ruling favoring Georgia in the lawsuit Florida filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, it wouldn’t mean the end of the decades-old water fight. Lancaster’s Feb. 14 ruling, which included comments critical of ag water use in Georgia, confirmed the importance of that meeting’s takeaway message - having irrigation meters and complying with Georgia’s irrigation permit laws will be essential to protecting farmers’ continued ability to irrigate. “Even if the Florida lawsuit turns out good for us, we can’t spike the football and run around in the end zone,” Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re doing everything we can to conserve water. We’ve got to be diligent about our water use.” The essence of Lancaster’s problem with agriculture’s water use is found in this quote from his recommendation to the Supreme Court: “Georgia’s position - practically, politically, and legally - can be summarized as follows: Georgia’s agricultural water use should be subject to no limitations, regardless of the long-term consequences for the basin.” Visit http://bit.ly/Lancasterrecommendation to read Lancaster’s recommendation to the Supreme Court. Black encouraged farmers to make cer-

tain their irrigation equipment is operating correctly and all water used is applied to crops and none is sprayed where crops aren’t growing by irrigation end guns. Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) President Gerald Long told meeting attendees that he and GFB 9th Dist. Director Lucius Adkins are serving on a 10-member Agriculture Permitting Compliance Task Force, appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal in late October, charged with looking at the agricultural irrigation permitting process. Long said the task force was instructed to determine if there is any noncompliance in the irrigation metering program, examine issues involved with any noncompliance and make recommendations regarding changes that would ensure better compliance. Administration of the metering program, which was previously handled by the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission (GSWCC), was transferred to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) last year by executive order of Gov. Deal. While speaking at the 2016 GFB Convention, Gov. Deal said he moved the GSWCC to the EPD because the EPD is the only state agency with regulatory enforcement authority that would be recognized by the courts. Deal stressed the move was made to protect farmers’ interests in hopes Special Master Lancaster would take Georgia’s proactive steps to conserve water into consideration.

June 1 deadline to enter Ga. Centennial Farm Program

The Georgia Centennial Farm programs honors farms in three categories. 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. The Centennial Farm Award doesn’t require continuous family ownership, but farms must be at least 100 years old and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Centennial Family Farm Award honors farms owned by members of the same family for 100 years or more that aren’t listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Farm owners interested in applying for the award should visit www.georgiacentennialfarms.org or contact Allison Asbrock at 770-389-7868 or allison.asbrock@dnr.ga.gov. Applications must be postmarked by June 1.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________

Having irrigation meters that can prove how efficiently farmers use water and complying with Georgia’s irrigation permit laws will be essential to protecting farmers’ continued ability to irrigate.

“I think the governor and the legislature are interested in protecting agriculture, but we [farmers] have got to show we’re trying to comply,” Long told meeting attendees. “We know we’re going to have to have a metering program [that records water use].” Adkins stressed the importance of farmers agreeing to have their water use measured by meters, if they aren’t already, and complying with the irrigation rules the EPD already has in place for Southwest Georgia. “I resent people telling us how to use our water supply, but the day of regulation is here. If you take irrigation water away, you’ll harm the economies in the majority of the counties in Southwest Georgia. We’ve got to have our water, so we’re [farmers] going to have to work with whoever is in charge of the metering program,” Adkins said. Doug Wilson, director of the Georgia Water Planning Policy Center, stressed the importance of the metering program. “The metering program is important for the state, but it’s most important for the user in case you [a farmer] ever have to defend your use,” Wilson said. “You can point to the metering record and say this is how much water I’ve used and this is what I did with the water.” Depending on how the Florida lawsuit ultimately ends, Wilson said environmentalists could file lawsuits over ag water use and its impact on creeks where endangered mussels live.

Georgia Farm Bureau News April-May 2017/ 7

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Avian flu found in Georgia By Jennifer Whittaker _______________________________________________________________________ A flock of chickens at a commercial poultry breeding farm in Chattooga County tested positive for presumptive low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) of the H7 strain, the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) announced March 27. The case is considered a presumptive low pathogenic case because the flock showed no signs of illness. The virus was identified during routine pre-sale screening of the commercial flock and was confirmed as H7 avian influenza by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. The flock of 18,000 was depopulated as a precaution, the GDA reported. Officials are testing and monitoring other commercial flocks in a 6.2 -mile surveillance area of the farm and backyard flocks within 2 miles of the farm, as established by USDA protocol, according to the GDA. As of March 29, no other flocks in Georgia had tested positive. The presence of avian flu in Georgia comes after two cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) were confirmed in Lincoln County, Tennessee, March 5 and 14 and a case of LPAI in Giles County, Tennessee, on March 8. All of the Tennessee cases of avian flu were detected in commercial breeder poultry flocks. Cases of LPAI were confirmed in a commercial poultry flock in Christian County, Kentucky, on March 20 and in Pickens County, Alabama, on March 21. Alabama also confirmed a case of LPAI in guinea fowl at a flea market in Jackson County, Alabama, on March 16 and in a 8 / April-May 2017

backyard poultry flock in Madison County, Alabama on March 21. Wild birds are carriers of avian influenza, Georgia’s State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb said. He explained that the difference between highly pathogenic and low pathogenic avian flu strain is that highly pathogenic strains spread rapidly. Due to the cases of avian flu that had been detected in other Southeastern states,

Cobb issued an official order on March 16 prohibiting poultry exhibitions, swaps and meets, shows and sales at festivals, flea markets or auctions in Georgia until further notice. “It is crucial that we all take extra precautions during this high alert situation to protect the state of Georgia from this devastating virus,” Cobb said. “The best way to do that is to stay vigilant maintaining our biosecurity measures and to avoid the unnecessary transport and comingling of birds.” The GDA has stressed the importance of both commercial and backyard poultry producers following biosecurity measures recommended by the USDA. “Poultry is the top sector of agriculture and we are committed to protecting the livelihoods of the many farm families that are dependent on it,” Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black said. “In order to successfully do that it is imperative that we continue our efforts of extensive biosecurity.” Visit www.ga-ai.org for the most recent updates on avian flu in Georgia. Biosecurity recommendations for commercial and backyard flocks are available there and at www.gfb.org/avianflu.

USDA recommended biosecurity for commercial flocks

Allow only essential personnel access to your farm & birds. Disinfect any vehicles that enter your farm. • Don’t lend or borrow equipment from other farms. Bring only cleaned & disinfected items into your bird area. • Avoid contact with other poultry. If that’s not possible, change clothes and shoes before working with your birds. • Wash your hands thoroughly before entering your bird area. • Use footbaths when entering/leaving

your chicken houses (change disinfectant frequently)—or wear disposable boot covers. • Keep poultry separate from wild birds. Don’t let them share water sources or have access to common areas frequented by wild birds. • Eliminate standing water on your farm and clean up feed spills to avoid attracting wild birds. Source: USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service

USDA recommended biosecurity for backyard flocks

• If visitors have backyard chickens of their own, do not let them come in contact with your birds. • Game birds and migratory waterfowl should not have contact with your flock. • Keep chickens inside a screened pen or coop, and do not let them run free. • Use municipal water as a drinking source instead of giving chickens access to ponds or streams. The avian flu virus can live for long periods on

surface waters. • If you have been near other birds or bird owners, at a feed store or bird hunting, for instance, clean and disinfect your vehicle’s tires and your equipment before going home. Shower and put on clean clothing before approaching your flock. • Do not share tools, equipment or supplies with other bird owners. If you do, clean and disinfect them before you bring them home. Georgia Farm Bureau News

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On a credenza in his office, Georgia Farm Bureau Commodities/Marketing Director Don McGough displayed a number of keepsakes. Two things pertained to cotton: a tiny vial containing even tinier specimens of three cotton boll weevils and a book on the weevil’s control. As part of the GFB Commodities/Marketing Department, McGough played a role in eradicating the insects that wreaked havoc on Georgia cotton, and he helped compile the handbook that outlined cotton farmers’ efforts to eliminate them. McGough, who retired March 30 after more than 37 years with the organization, is hesitant to claim a crowning achievement in his time with GFB, but the boll weevil eradication effort was clearly a big one. “When I started with Farm Bureau we had a little over 100,000 acres planted in cotton, and now we have 1.2 million,” McGough said. “The program did a lot of things. When you had the boll weevil you didn’t grow much cotton in the top part of the stalk, because the boll weevil ate it all.” McGough has not forgotten his agricultural roots from rural Lee County. He has maintained his passion for working with farmers. McGough started with GFB in the Field Services Department

Mike Copeland retires as GFB Field Services Director By Jay Stone _______________________________________________________ Having grown up on a row-crop farm in Wayne County, Mike Copeland was sure he did not want to farm, but he wanted his career to support agriculture. Copeland spent all of his 31-year career with Georgia Farm Bureau, in the Field Services Department. Through the years he helped transition county office managers from traditional secretarial roles to facilitating county agricultural advocacy activities, trained them to use advanced technology and oversaw the formation of the GFB Foundation for Agriculture. Copeland joined GFB in 1986 when then-7th District Field Representative Robert Fountain Jr. was promoted to Field Services director and Fountain hired Copeland as his replacement. He’d been on the job about a month when Georgia livestock owners began receiving donated hay from around the country due to the severe drought Georgia was experiencing. GFB’s field staff coordinated distribution of the donated hay. “As a newbie, that was a nightmare for me,” said Copeland, who has worked under five GFB presidents. “I didn’t know anything about the organization or the people. Even for a seasoned field rep that was a lot to try to manage. The drought was what was on everybody’s mind. Every time we would have one of these 10 / April-May 2017

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone _______________________________________________________

in 1977, working as a field rep in GFB’s 10th District. After a couple of years, he left for another job before returning to GFB in the Commodities/Marketing Department under then-director Bob Marlowe. His time with GFB included a stint as assistant director for the department before becomDon McGough retired March 30 after ing the department more than 37 years with Georgia Farm director in 1998. Bureau. McGough secured the American “I’m going to Heart Association’s Heart Healthy seal for miss the farmers the GFB peanut packs in 2013 and oversaw and staff I’ve worked the redesign of the large packs in 2016. with,” McGough said. “Particularly the farmers I’ve worked with across Georgia over the years.” In all that time, farm practices have changed dramatically with advancing technology and many of the faces in and around GFB have changed, but McGough said the organization’s commitment to advancing agriculture has not. See McGOUGH next page distribution gatherings, TV crews would show up. It was kind of a big deal.” One of the things Copeland is proudest of is the GFB Foundation, which launched in 2015. “We had talked for a long time about getting a foundation started. I am proud that we at least have Mike Copeland retired March 30 after 31 been able to get it off years with Georgia Farm Bureau. the ground,” Copeland said. “We have the vehicle in place, and that took some time to get that done.” And he’s proud of the many relationships he’s formed. “I like thinking about the people that I now know in every county in the state. I can drive anywhere and know somebody in every county. That’s just kind of a neat thing to have that you are part of an organization that has that kind of fingerprint across the state.” Likewise, he views the Field Services staff as a tight-knit family. See COPELAND next page

Photo by Jay Stone

GFB Commodities Director Don McGough retires

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Akers prepares to retire, leaving Field Services job in hands of Darby


arilyn Akers has done everything from sell cattle to arrange farm tours during her almost 33year career at Georgia Farm Bureau. Akers began her GFB career in September 1984 working with the late Doug Chastain in the GFB Commodities/Marketing Department to help Farm Bureau members sell their hogs and cattle. “I worked mostly with the livestock barns and cow auctions,” Akers said. She recalled a cattle seller asking if she could come sort cattle. “My response was ‘only by color’ because I didn’t know one breed from another! He laughed and said, “There’s a little more to it!’ Marketing opened a whole new world for me!” Akers, who grew up in Indiana, worked at the University of Notre Dame for four years after graduating high school, then moved to Illinois and Nebraska as her husband, Ed, had different career opportunities as a chef. They came to Macon when Ed got a job at Idle Hour Country Club. In 1989 Akers moved to the GFB Field Services Department as Field Services office coordinator where she has helped her coworkers with the many programs and events the department handles, such as McGOUGH from previous page “The common thread would be representing farmers, representing agriculture,” he said. “That remains a priority. A lot of companies over time may get away from their focus, but we haven’t.” In retirement, McGough said he plans to spend time with his family and finish some projects at home, as well as chasing his favorite aquatic commodity. “I’m going to do my share of fishing,” he said. COPELAND from previous page “I’ve got a good group. Mr. Long likes to refer to them as boots on the ground, and that’s what they are. Whatever’s going on, if they don’t know the answer right off the top of their head, they can find out really quick.”

the GFB Presidents Conference, GFB Educational Leadership Conference, Young Farmer Leadership Conference, GFB District Meetings, GFB Convention, GFB program awards, GFB Essay & Art Contest, scholarships, GFB Photo Contest and young farmer contests. “Every project we do in Field Services requires a lot of moving parts, but for some reason everything seems to come together at the right time,” Akers said. “I guess the GFB Convention is one of my favorites because I get to see all the county people I talk with all year long.” After she retires May 31, Akers plans to travel with Ed, garden and spend more time reading. “The Field Services Department has always been like a second family to me,” Akers said. “The people I have worked for and with genuinely care about each other and Farm Bureau.” Akers is leaving her job in the hands of Haley Darby, who joined the Field Services Department Jan. 3. Darby grew up on a farm in Heard County. Her father, grandfather, uncle, cousin and she raise commercial beef cattle. She began showing livestock as a 4-Her in the second grade and showed market lambs and breeding ewes for 11 years and hogs for nine years. Darby’s showmanship skills earned her the grand champion showmanship award for market hogs at the Ga. Jr. National Livestock Show

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________

Haley Darby, left, and Marilyn Akers

twice and the grand champion showmanship award for market lamb once at the Ga. National Fair State Show. Darby graduated from the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences last year with a degree in agribusiness. She worked in the CAES Office of Academic Affairs with student recruitment and was selected as one of UGA’s top 100 student employees. Darby also served as a CAES student ambassador and was a member of the Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority. Darby met her husband, Matthew Darby, in the UGA Block & Bridle Club, which organizes an annual livestock show for CAES students and the Great Southland Stampede Rodeo. Matthew’s job as the ag teacher at Northside High School in Warner Robins brought the couple to Middle Georgia. “I’m passionate about agriculture, and I believe in the purpose of Georgia Farm Bureau,” Darby said. “I knew growing up that farming wouldn’t be what I would do full time, so I want to dedicate my career to supporting the farmers who work hard every day to ensure we have food and clothes.”


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Georgia Farm Bureau News April-May 2017/ 11

Photo by Jay Stone

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle welcomed the Georgia Farm Bureau delegation to the Georgia Senate on Feb. 15 for GFB Day at the Capitol. Senate Ag Committee Chairman John Wilkinson, far left, escorted GFB President Gerald Long, GFB 1st Vice President Robert Fountain, GFB South Ga. Vice President Daniel Johnson and GFB North Ga. Vice President Bernard Sims to the Senate. To see more photos visit bit. ly/17GFBATCAPITOL.

GFB members take organization’s priority issues to state capitol By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________ Hundreds of Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) members from across the state visited the Georgia capitol Feb. 15, sharing the organization’s concerns on key ag issues with state legislators during the 2017 GFB Day at the Capitol. “This is a great day for each and every one of you to contact our legislative leaders and let them know what our priority issues are,” Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long told the GFB group. “And let’s be sure and thank them for helping us with our priority issues.” Long addressed both the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate,

thanking the members of both chambers for the work they do on behalf of Georgia farmers and asking them to continue their support for Georgia agriculture. The special master’s recommendation in Georgia’s favor in the Supreme Court water case with Florida was a key topic of conversation. (See story on page 6.) Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman John Wilkinson, House Ag Committee Chairman Tom McCall and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black spoke at the lunch GFB held at the Georgia Freight Depot, attended by approximately 800 GFB members and state officials.

Women's Committee members visit elementary school

Photo by Donna Rocker

GFB Women’s Leadership Committee members visited Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy in Columbus on March 3 before the GFB Educational/Leadership Conference began. Committee members read the book “First Peas to the Table,” to 45 kindergarten students, planted pea seeds with the students and taught them how the seedlings grow. GFB Women’s Leadership Committee members Angela Todd, left, and Nancy Kennedy, right, helped students plant pea seeds. Other committee members participating in the ag literacy event were Committee Chairman Rhonda Williams, Kim Thompson, Carol Baker Dunn and Ray Bloser. 12 / April-May 2017

During morning meetings in the capitol building and later at the lunch, the group was encouraged to raise legislators’ awareness of GFB’s stance on animal agriculture, water, state tax and budget matters, issues emphasized by the GFB Board of Directors. Farm Bureau supports liability protections for livestock owners when they offer farm access to the general public, as well as increasing the number of food animal veterinarians around the state. GFB also supports rights of farmers to use water on a timely basis. The group told legislators of Farm Bureau’s desire to protect the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) and the Conservation Use Value Assessment, and they voiced a commitment to seek ways to control nuisance wildlife, as well as improving rural communities with infrastructure improvements and resources for industry. Wilkinson said the Senate Ag Committee is working on legislation to reduce paperwork for farmers. “We’re not for more regulation,” Wilkinson said. “We’re for less regulation. We’re going to be working to create an environment where you have less regulation and less paperwork, so you can spend more time doing what you love to do.” McCall reviewed key issues the House Ag Committee is considering, including the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption, the Conservation Use Value Assessment, fee changes for hunting and fishing licenses and others. Black talked about Ag Week in Georgia March 20-24 and encouraged GFB members to participate in planned activities including the Pennies for Produce project to raise funds for food banks around the state, the statewide Ag Literacy Day on March 23 and Make My Plate Georgia Grown Day in schools across the state on March 24. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Georgia Farm Bureau sent a delegation of nearly 40 members to the American Farm Bureau Advocacy Conference held in Washington, D.C., Feb. 27-March 1. The delegation consisted of GFB members serving on AFBF Issue Advisory Committees, members of the GFB Board of Directors and GFB policy and media staff. GFB members joined attendees from across the U.S. in workshops on how to ad-

vocate for agriculture with elected officials and heard updates on ag issues including immigration, taxes and the 2018 farm bill. The GFB group visited members of Georgia’s U.S. Congressional delegation on March 1. On Feb. 27, GFB members serving on AFBF Issue Advisory Committees met with their respective committee members to review AFBF’s stance on animal care, budget, farm policy, federal lands, food safety,

Photo by Andy Lucas

GFB represents Ga. ag at AFBF Advocacy Conference

market structures, public infrastructure, technology, trade and water. Members of the GFB delegation involved with these committee meetings were, pictured from left, Brandon Ashley, John Harrell, Mark Masters, Andy Bell, Dr. Paul Johnson, GFB President Gerald Long, Bob McLeod, Terry Bramlett, Chris Hopkins, John Mixon, Randy Branch, Joe McManus and Tim McMillan, not pictured.

Georgia Farm Bureau News April-May 2017/ 13

GFB announces Field Services promotions Dennis Black has been promoted to director of Georgia Farm Bureau Field Services and Clay Talton has been promoted to associate director of Field Services. Black, who has been associate director since 2014, succeeds Mike Copeland, who retired Black March 30. Talton has worked as GFB 2nd District Field Representative since 2014 and succeeds Black as associate director. “Our Field Services Department has

long been our direct link to our county Farm Bureaus. We like to think of them as our ‘boots on the ground,’” GFB President Gerald Long said. “Dennis and Clay have been outstanding in their previous roles with our organization, and we know the Field Services Talton Department will remain in capable hands under their leadership.” A graduate of the University of Georgia, Black has worked for GFB since 1996,

when he joined the company as its 2nd District field representative, serving 14 counties in northeast Georgia. Black and his wife, Teresa, have three adult children – son Chris and his wife, Coda, Ellen and Clay, and two grandchildren. Talton, a native of Houston County, worked for the UGA Cooperative Extension Service before taking the 2nd District field rep position. Prior to working for GFB, he served on the GFB Young Farmer Committee and won the GFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award in 2013. Talton holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science from UGA. He and his wife, Brittany, have three children – Lola, Cohen and Nora.

Georgia pecan growers and beef producers will vote in separate referendums this spring to decide if their respective grower assessments, which fund the Georgia Pecan Commission and the Georgia Beef Commission, will continue. Georgia pecan growers pay one cent per pound of in-shell nuts to fund the research, promotion and education programs of the Georgia Pecan Commission. The pecan commission has funded research on pecan scab and control of numerous pecan insects. The pecan referendum will be held April

1-30. Producers growing 30 or more acres of pecans are eligible to vote in the statewide referendum. Growers should receive a ballot in the mail from the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Eligible producers who don't receive a ballot should contact the GDA at 855-327-6829. Ballots must be signed and postmarked by April 30 to be counted. Georgia beef producers pay $1 per head sold to fund the research, promotion and education programs of the Georgia Beef Commission. Projects the commission has funded include con-

trolling the Bermudagrass stem maggot, studying how to manage summer annual grazing systems, growing alfalfa in Bermudagrass, baleage production systems, and fall brassica production. The beef referendum will be held May 1-30. Growers should receive a ballot in the mail from the Georgia Department of Agriculture by May 10. Eligible producers who don’t receive a ballot should contact the GDA at 855-327-6829. Ballots must be signed and postmarked by May 30 to be counted.

Pecan & Beef Commissions holding referendums

GFB forms Public Policy Dept. By Jay Stone _____________________________________________________ Georgia Farm Bureau has formed a Public Policy Department, merging its Legislative and Commodities/Marketing departments. “Our legislative and commodities/marketing departments have worked closely together through the years to make sure we address farmers’ concerns,” said GFB President Gerald Long. “Our commodities staff has worked with our advisory committees to identify policy issues, which often become the legislative priorities our legislative staff focuses on. For years, GFB leaders and staff have considered consolidating the two departments.” Jeffrey Harvey, who has served as legislative director since October 2015, will head the new department. The new Public Policy Department will be responsible for interacting with elected officials, regulatory agencies and commodity organizations and other non-government agricultural stakeholders, with the purpose of 14 / April-May 2017

advancing GFB’s position on issues affecting agriculture. Tas Smith, former assistant legislative director, transitions to the role of assistant director for governmental affairs. Joe McManus, former commodities/marketing assistant director, moves into the role of assistant director for agricultural programs. Brandon Ashley, former commodities/marketing specialist and coordinator of GFB’s Certified Farm Markets program, will serve as advocacy & policy development coordinator. Alex Bradford, former legislative specialist, is now state affairs coordinator. Blake Raulerson will serve as a governmental affairs specialist working on state and national issues. Commodities/Marketing Senior Administrative Assistant Cindy Arnold is also moving into the new department. Nathan Dupree, former commodities/marketing specialist and grain desk coordinator, takes over management of the Certified Farm Markets program, which becomes part of the GFB Field Services Department. The grain desk is being phased out. Georgia Farm Bureau News

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division has announced the Georgia Coyote Challenge to encourage the hunting of coyotes from March to August in an effort to control the population.  “Currently, scientific research suggests that removal of coyotes during the spring and summer is the most advantageous time to reduce the impact of predation on native wildlife,” says Georgia DNR Commissioner Mark Williams. “We want to encourage coyote removal efforts during this critical period.” Each coyote killed, up to five a month per hunter/trapper, will earn an entry into a monthly drawing for a lifetime license (or equal credit for purchase of hunting/ fishing licenses).  According to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), coyotes can cause damage to a variety of farm assets, particularly to livestock and poultry. Using estimates provided by the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, the statewide population could range between 20,000 and 25,000, with greater population density in Georgia's coastal plain region. The coyote is a non-native predator that can be found in every county in Georgia and has the ability to live in a variety of habitats. Trapping and/or hunting are legal and recommended methods for managing coyotes. Because they did not historically live in Georgia, there is no closed season for their harvest.  Participants may bring a coyote carcass to any of the following Wildlife Resources Division offices (addresses are available online at  http://bit.ly/coyotechallenge), Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays: Game Management Region offices; Riverbend WMA office; Waycross Fisheries Management office; Demeries Creek Fisheries Management office; Richmond Hill Hatchery office and the Ga. DNR Law Enforcement Division offices

iStock Photos

Georgia DNR holding Coyote Challenge

in Acworth, Macon and Metter. Participants can submit up to five coyotes for five entries in the contest in a single month and must be present when the coyote is submitted. Coyotes must have been

killed between the first and last days of the submission month. Road-kills, spoiled carcasses and live coyotes are not eligible. Coyote carcasses will be returned to participants who must ensure proper disposal.


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For more information, or to apply, contact your local Farm Bureau agent today. Existing Farm Bureau Bank loans are excluded from this offer. *Rate disclosed as Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and based on exceptional credit. Some restrictions may apply based upon the make and model of equipment offered as collateral. Up to 90% financing for new and 85% for used equipment. Loans subject to credit approval. Rates are accurate as of 01/01/2016. Rates and financing are limited to equipment model years 2006 or newer and are subject to change without notice. A down payment may be required for new or used equipment purchases. Financial information required for loan requests over $75,000. Commercial vehicles and trailers may be subject to an additional documentation fee. Farm Bureau Bank does not provide equity or cashout financing on commercial vehicles and equipment. Banking services provided by Farm Bureau Bank FSB. Farm Bureau, FB, and the FB National Logo are registered service marks owned by, and used by Farm Bureau Bank FSB under license from, the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Georgia Farm Bureau News April-May 2017/ 15

January tornadoes devastate South Georgia farms By Jay Stone _________________________________________

Photo by Jay Stone

The tornadoes that ravaged South Georgia on Jan. 22, killing 16 people and leaving many picking up the pieces of their homes, also did significant damage to farms in 16 South Georgia counties. According to representatives from major irrigation system manufacturers, more than 300 irrigation pivots were damaged or destroyed from Baker and Calhoun counties in the southwest corner of Georgia to Wilcox County just east of I-75. Representatives from Valley Irrigation, Reinke Ir-

Turner County farmer Ryan Ireland looks over his tornado-damaged farm.

An aerial photo shot by Berrien County Farm Bureau President Ricky Boyd at the farm of Wayne Barker. Almost all of the sheet metal was blown off the hay shed and its support beams were twisted. 16 / April-May 2017

rigation and Zimmatic Irrigation indicated repairs or replacements of the damaged pivots could be completed by early April. The National Weather Service confirmed 40 tornadoes in Georgia that weekend. The one that ripped through Turner and Wilcox counties was on the ground for 70 miles, beginning near the Dougherty/Baker county line and moving northeast. In Cook County, in addition to the multiple fatalities attributed to the storm, 21 greenhouses operated by Valdosta Plant Company were damaged or destroyed. Tens of thousands of acres of forestland were affected, resulting in damaged timber valued at more than $41 million. Gov. Nathan Deal issued an executive order to temporarily lift restrictions on logging trucks using state maintained roadways to facilitate removal of storm-damaged timber. Poultry houses were destroyed in multiple counties, including six at the Carpenter Farm in Worth County, housing an estimated 150,000 birds. Pecan orchards in at least eight counties sustained downed trees in the outbreak. In Turner County, Ryan Ireland’s farm just north of Ashburn took a direct hit. The storm destroyed a shed covering his large equipment, some of which was damaged, a barn built by his family in the 1930s and a 3,500-bushel grain bin. The twister also took down his two irrigation pivots, destroyed fences, blew out windows on tractors and destroyed his family’s home. “It’s heart-breaking,” said Ireland, 24. “I’m a beginning farmer trying to get started. I didn’t have much and now it feels like I’m having to start over.” Farther northeast in Turner County, beekeeper Alan Odom was in his shop at Odom Apiaries working just minutes before the tornado reached his farm. Odom said he left his shop and drove to his home a quarter-mile away. He saw the tornado on the ground approaching the house as he went inside, where he and his wife, Mary Jac, hid in a closet while the twister pelted the house with debris and pebbles from an adjacent field, blowing out windows, overturning a propane tank outside and damaging the roof. “There was a point in there where I thought I was going to die,” Odom said. “It’ll take us some time to recover from this. We’re just doing what See TORNADOES next page Georgia Farm Bureau News

Bulloch Co. President Lannie Lee dies

Lannie Lee, who served as Bulloch County Farm Bureau (BCFB) president since 2007, died March 1 at age 96. Lee served as a mechanic in the U.S. Army Air Force in Europe during World War II from 1943 to 1946. Lee joined Farm Bureau in 1947 and began farming with his brothers growing row crops and raising cattle. He served as president of the Brooklet Farm Bureau Chapter in the 1950s. He became a BCFB director in 1973 and served as vice president for 34 years until he became president in 2007. Lee was preceded in death by his wife, Marcia, to whom he was married for 42 years before her death in 1992. They had two daughters, Patricia Morton and Cathy Marchette, a son, Mark, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Condolences may be sent to the Lee Family at 1619 Stanford Dr., Statesboro, Ga., 30461. Bulloch County Farm Bureau is accepting donations to fund the Lannie Lee Agricultural Scholarship. Donations may be sent to BCFB P.O. Box 366, Statesboro, Ga. 30459, attention Amy Anderson. Visit http://bit.ly/LannieLee to read a feature about Lee that ran in the 2015 spring/summer Georgia Neighbors magazine.

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TORNADOES from previous page we can to keep operating.” The storm left extensive damage to his shop, ripping off portions of the roof and exposing his equipment to rain, and ravaging more than 300 honey boxes. His beehives, placed on surrounding farms, escaped damage from the storm. Dan King, who farms in multiple counties, had eight downed pivots, four tractors that sustained extensive damage and a block house at the edge of one of his fields completely destroyed. In Wilcox County, GFB 8th District Director Don Wood lost six pivots, while Wilcox County Farm Bureau member Ricky Whittle sustained severe damage, losing five grain bins, seven pivots, two houses and some of his livestock. In light of what occurred in other counties, Wilcox County Sheriff Robert Rodgers said the county was fortunate. “We had eight houses destroyed and 25 others damaged,” Rodgers said, “but we were really blessed we did not have the first reported injury. There is some serious destruction, but we were extremely fortunate to not have any deaths in the county.” To view photos of some of the storm damage to agricultural assets visit bit.ly/agtornadodamage.


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Georgia Farm Bureau News April-May 2017/ 17

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Satsumas could be Georgia’s next big fruit crop By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________


eorgia farmers are looking to add citrus, specifically satsumas, to the basket of fruit grown here. Satsumas (sat-SUE-muhs) - a small, seedless orange - are juicy, very sweet, low in acid and easy to peel. About 300 people attended the annual meeting of the Georgia Citrus Association (GCA), which formed in October. The Feb. 27 meeting, held at the UGA Tifton Campus, gave those considering the crop a chance to hear from veteran growers, fruit brokers and tour the College of Agricultural & Environmental Science’s orchard. The fruit, harvested for about a month in late fall, isn’t new to the Southeast. It’s been grown for years on a small scale along the north shore of the Gulf Coast. Backyard trees are common along the Georgia/Florida line and Georgia coast. In recent years, landowners across South Georgia have been planting small orchards to diversify their farms and meet the demand for locally grown fruit. “We’re going out on a limb to invest in something that’s uncharted territory, but we’re not alone,” said GCA President Lindy Savelle. “We have the support of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and UGA researchers are helping us by evaluating varieties.” Since 2006, about 50 growers have planted around 20,700 satsuma trees in 24 South Georgia counties, Savelle said. Trees have been planted as far north as Dooly County. Savelle said the average satsuma orchard has 145 trees per acre and most people are planting three to five acres. She said the average cost to plant one acre of satsumas is $6,500, which includes seedlings, preparing the land and installing irrigation. Lowndes County Extension Coordinator Jake Price, who has been working with 18 / April-May 2017

UGA Crop & Soil Sciences Professor Dr. Wayne Hanna, left, led a tour of the UGA CAES citrus orchard during the Georgia Citrus Association Meeting Feb. 27 on the UGA Tifton Campus. Visit http://bit.ly/17GACitrus to see more photos.

growers, sees potential for the crop in Georgia but warns about cold weather. “It only takes one cold night dropping down into the teens to kill your trees,” Price said. “I wouldn’t recommend growing unless you have an irrigation protection system.” Price said the unavailability of seedlings is limiting plantings. Travis Murphy, president of River Country Management, said it takes 18-24 months for a nursery to grow citrus seedlings. GCA Director Mack Glass, a satsuma grower in Marianna, Fla., and other speakers stressed the importance of growers developing a market strategy and planting other types of citrus along with satsumas. Diversifying allows growers to lengthen their season and attract more customers. Savelle said a satsuma tree can produce between 250 to 750 pounds of fruit a season depending on the age of the tree and how well it is maintained. “If all these people I see out here plant [satsuma] trees, there’s going to be a lot of fruit, and the harvest season is short, about a month,” Glass said. GCA Director Joe Franklin, who planted his first trees in 2010 on his Bulloch County farm, sold his first large-scale satsuma crop in 2015. He sells his fruit at local farmers markets and stores and to Facebook customers. Dr. Wayne Hanna, a UGA CAES crop and soil sciences professor, has developed cold-hardy varieties of tangerines, grapefruit and lemons that can tolerate South Georgia

winters. The varieties are patented under the names of Sweet Frost (tangerine), Pink Frost (grapefruit) and Grand Frost (lemons). Savelle and her brother, Clay Lamar, have a license to sell these UGA patented varieties starting in 2018 from their nursery, 1 Dog Ventures, LLC. The Mitchell County nursery is certified by the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) and the USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service to ensure their seedlings are disease and pest free. It also sells Frost Owari, a variety of satsuma. Savelle said the Sweet Frost tangerines and Grand Frost lemons have a harvest window between November and December while the Pink Frost grapefruit variety is harvested between November to March. “There is risk in everything you do and there’s risk in this, too. I mitigated my risk by finding some experts to come in and help me set up my groves half in satsumas and half in other citrus,” said GCA Vice President Andy Jackson. The GCA is working with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to establish regulations for Georgia’s citrus community to prevent the human-assisted spread of pests and diseases that could be detrimental to the crop in Georgia, specifically the Asian citrus psyllid that carries greening disease. GCA membership fees are $50. Anyone interested in joining may email GeorgiaCitrusAssociation@gmail.com or call 413642-1463. Visit http://bit.ly/GFBNewsCitrus to read the complete story. Georgia Farm Bureau News

County FB leaders get updates at Presidents Conference an overview of Farm Bureau programs and how the state office works with county Farm Bureaus. “I want to reiterate the importance of our county Farm Bureau presidents. We appreciate you stepping up to lead your

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Georgia Farm Bureau held an orientation for incoming county Farm Bureau presidents Jan. 31 at its Macon office. GFB President Gerald Long, standing, spoke to the new county presidents during their orientation. The county leaders received

county Farm Bureaus and everything you do,” Long said. On Feb. 1, GFB held its annual County Presidents’ Conference at the Marriott Macon City Center. County leaders attended a series of workshops covering leadership styles, Farm Bureau organizational Lee Ellis issues and legislative issues. Lee Ellis, founder of Leadership Freedom & FreedomStar Media, delivered the keynote speech, in which he shared leadership lessons he learned while spending five years as a prisoner of war in the Vietnam War. Visit bit.ly/17GFBPresConf to read more. View more photos at bit. ly/17GFBPresConfpics.

Georgia Farm Bureau News April-May 2017/ 19

Photo by Jay Stone

Cotton growers gather for annual meeting

Georgia Cotton Commission Chairman Mike Lucas welcomed growers to the annual cotton meeting.

By Jay Stone ___________________________________ During the 2017 Georgia Cotton Commission (GCC) Annual Meeting, state and national cotton industry officials discussed efforts to make the farm bill work better for cotton, both in the short term under the current farm bill and long-term under the next farm bill. Georgia cotton growers also received the latest research findings during the meeting, held Jan. 25 at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.

Lee chairing NCC

GCC Executive Director Richey Seaton reviewed the organization’s activities over the past year, noting that growers reaffirmed the commission in its 2016 referendum with an 87 percent approval. Seaton said the Georgia field print calculator, which measures the environmental impact of cotton production, revealed Georgia cotton growers performed better than the state and national averages for all farms in all measures except energy use. The GCC’s outreach programs reached more than 14,000 students in 2016 through events at schools and at cotton gins, and the organization continued to support Georgia Public Broadcasting’s high school sports programming. The GCC has also updated its educational kit, Cotton, The Story, which will be sent to agriculture and science teachers upon request. Reece Langley, vice president of Washington operations for the National Cotton Council, provided an overview of the changes in Congress since the November elections. Langley noted that in the Senate, there are no Democratic members from cotton-growing states, which he said could present challenges in the process of crafting a new farm bill. He said the NCC’s priorities

Terrell County Farm Bureau member Ronnie Lee is serving as the 2017 National Cotton Council (NCC) chairman following his election at the NCC annual meeting in Dallas, Texas, Feb. 10-12. As the managing partner of Lee Farms Lee raises cotton, corn, peanuts, small grains, hay, pecans and cattle in Terrell, Lee and Sumter counties. Lee He also owns and operates McCleskey Cotton Company, a ginning and warehousing operation with locations in Bronwood and Albany. Kent Fountain, a ginner from Appling County, was re-elected as a NCC vice president during the meeting and given the National Cotton Ginner of the Year Award. 20 / April-May 2017

for 2017 are securing economic assistance for cotton producers related to cottonseed, whether it’s through legislation or secretarial designation, as well as strengthening the cotton safety net in the next farm bill. Cotton Council International Executive Director Bruce Atherley discussed international trade and exporting cotton. The U.S., he said, is the top cotton exporter, accounting for 30 percent of all cotton exports worldwide. Atherley noted that the industry needs to find ways to reduce contamination in cotton bales. National Cotton Council Vice Chairman Ronnie Lee implored his fellow growers to continue working to eliminate foreign materials, particularly plastic, in cotton. During the luncheon, UGA Extension Cotton Agronomist Don Shurley announced the 2016 Quality Cotton Awards. Jacob Sandeford of Burke County won the Best Cotton Award, with a loan value of 57.52 cents per pound and a quality premium of 5.52 cents per pound. Sandeford also won the Quality Cotton Award for producers growing less than 500 acres in Region 2. To view the full list of Quality Cotton Award winners, visit bit.ly/cottonawards.

Perdue clears Senate Ag Committee

The U.S. Senate Ag Committee approved Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture on March 30 following his confirmation hearing March 23. Perdue’s confirmation now depends on a vote from the full Senate. At press time, the vote had not occurred. President Donald Trump nominated Perdue for the post on Jan. 18. Perdue Both Georgia Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau support Perdue’s nomination. Perdue, a native of Houston County, served as Georgia’s governor from 2003 to 2011. He holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia and has multiple agricultural businesses. Georgia Farm Bureau News

May 15 closing date for pecan tree insurance

Ivey visits White House, speaks with Trump Stephens County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Chairman Brittany Ivey, left, visited the White House March 13 as part of a group who met with President Donald Trump to discuss how the Affordable Care Act has affected their businesses. The roundtable session included doctors, small business owners and farmers.

It was the second of two trips to Washington, D.C., this year for Ivey, who sat in the House gallery as a guest of Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga. 9th District) for Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28. Ivey, who won the GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet in 2014, said her experience in that competition prepared her to be an ad-

The USDA Risk Management Agency has implemented an insurance program for pecan trees that will be available to growers starting with the 2018 crop year, which begins July 1. Growers have been able to insure their pecan crop for several years. Now they can also insure their trees to protect them from losses due to storms. Growers interested in buying insurance for their trees must do so by May 15. To learn more about the program visit bit.ly/pecantreeins.

If you can’t be there, we can.


Photo courtesy of the White House

vocate for farmers on these trips. “That really helped me tell my story because the discussion meet covers issues that relate to farms,” Ivey told the American Farm Bureau Federation. “It helped me realize that there’s a place and time when you need to stand up and you need to be an advocate for yourself and your community, and that’s what I did.”

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Georgia Farm Bureau News April-May 2017/ 21

Farm bill, grain dealers & keeping wheat peanut-free topics at Soybean/ Grain Expo


armers attending the annual Georgia/Florida Soybean/Small Grain Expo held Feb. 21 in Perry received a preview of the upcoming farm bill, learned about irrigation technology to help them conserve water while growing their crops and heard how the Georgia Soybean Commission, Georgia/Florida Soybean Association and American Soybean Association are working to promote soybeans. Tas Smith, assistant director of the Georgia Farm Bureau Legislative Department, gave an update on legislative issues in Washington, D.C., and their impact on agriculture. Smith outlined what farmers may expect as the 2018 farm bill is written in coming months. The House Agriculture Committee held its first full committee hearing for the farm bill on Feb. 15. The U.S. Senate Agriculture committee held its first farm bill hearing Feb. 23 at Kansas State University. “I expect we’ll be operating in a similar budget environment as the last farm bill, which means it will be very difficult to get new programs approved,” Smith said. “I think there’s a good chance we’ll see an extension of the current farm bill because midterm elections are two months after the farm bill expires in September 2018. Typically, politicians don’t like to spend money in an election year.” Jack Spruill, director of the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s marketing division, discussed the laws and regulations pertaining to the state warehouse program. Spruill urged grain growers to be certain they are selling their crop to grain dealers or warehouses that are licensed and bonded with the state of Georgia. Georgia law requires grain dealers to pay for crops purchased (or at least put the payment in the mail) within 48 hours of receiving the crop, unless there is a written agreement to store the grain for sale at a 22 / April-May 2017

later date, Spruill said. Grain warehouses storing commodities for farmers should issue a warehouse receipt for the crop they are holding. Spruill stressed that a producer only has six months (180 days) to file a complaint with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to seek payment for his crop if he isn’t paid on time. “Be careful and make sure you are dealing with someone who is reputable and not trying to take your money,” Spruill said. “It’s a requirement in state law that we must audit grain warehouses in the state warehouse program at least six times a year.” Ardent Mills employees Glen Weaver, Sam Doering and Jacinda Dunn stressed the importance of keeping any traces of peanuts out of the wheat supply used for food to protect consumers with peanut allergies. This issue surfaced last year after another company had to recall products made with wheat flour supplied by a Georgia mill that tested positive for traces of peanuts. Ardent Mills has a plant in Macon that uses Georgia-grown wheat for making flour. Weaver said 60 percent of the wheat milled at Ardent Mills’ Macon plant has come from Georgia in the past. “We want to increase awareness of the issue so we don’t have to eliminate buying Georgia wheat,” Doering said. “We want this mill to grind Georgia wheat, that’s what it is set up to do.” Ardent Mills is working with railroad lines to ensure there is no cross-contamination between wheat and peanuts and is looking to do the same with trucks that haul Georgia wheat to its mill. Doering said it only takes one or two peanuts in a truck of wheat for peanut particles to make their way into the wheat flour when the wheat grain is crushed to make the flour.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________

Jack Spruill, director of the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s marketing division, discussed the laws and regulations pertaining to the state warehouse program at the Georgia/Florida Soybean/ Small Grain Expo. Visit bit.ly/SGExpopics to see more photos from event.

The company representatives stressed the importance of making certain that trailers hauling wheat are cleaned thoroughly if they have ever been used to haul peanuts or peanut-derived products and is working to establish a protocol farmers and truck drivers can follow before this year’s wheat crop is harvested. Weaver suggested growers should ask crop transporters what assurances they can offer that peanut residue cannot be found in trucks used to haul wheat to a mill. Billy Skaggs, executive secretary of the Georgia Soybean Commodity Commission, provided an update on commission activities. Skaggs said 75 percent of the assessment Georgia growers pay to fund the commission goes into research to improve crop production. Research projects the commission supports include developing high yielding soybean varieties such as RR2Y/LL, irrigation research, and research addressing insect and disease issues in soybeans. The commission has also distributed educational materials about soybeans to more than 8,000 Georgia students since 2014. Visit http://bit.ly/soysmgrainexpo to read the entire article. Georgia Farm Bureau News

By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________ A photo op with Gov. Nathan Deal, a chance to tour the Georgia Capitol and lunch from The Varsity were highlights of the 8th Annual Equine Youth Champions Day held Feb. 9 in Atlanta. The event, hosted by the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Equine (ACCE), recognized Georgia youth 19 and under who won first place in a state show and/or won first place or placed in the Top 10 at a national or world show in 2016. Attendees registered at the ACCE website to attend. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman John Wilkinson recognized the equine champions for their accomplishments before the entire Senate. Gov. Deal and Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black addressed the youth during lunch at the Georgia Depot. Deal encouraged the students with an in-

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Equine Commission recognizes youth champions

Gov. Nathan Deal met with some of the 2016 Georgia youth equine champions at the Georgia Capitol on Feb. 9. More photos from this event are available at bit. ly/17EquineYouth.

terest in livestock to consider pursuing a career as a large animal veterinarian. “Doctoring small animals is more lucrative than large animals, but we have a need for large animal vets. We [state of Georgia] have special incentives for students who become large animal veterinarians,” Deal said. “It takes a lot of hard work to become a veterinarian. It takes the same kind of discipline you need to compete in your horse events.” The ACCE presented its Golden Saddle

Award to Christina Johnston, owner of the Iron Horse stable in Fulton County. In addition to training riders of Arabian horses for regional and national competitions, Johnston also offers accredited therapy riding for children and adults with physical, cognitive or emotional disabilities. Eight of the children attending the Equine Youth Day train at the Iron Horse Stable. Visit bit.ly/17Equinechamps for the full story.


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Georgia Farm Bureau News April-May 2017/ 23

GFB awards grand Article & photos by Jennifer Whittaker _________________________________________________________

A 1

fter months of training their cows, hogs, goats and sheep for the show ring, 1,644 4-H and FFA students from across the state traveled to the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry to compete in the 2017 Georgia Junior National Livestock Show Feb. 22-26. The exhibitors showed 2,521 head of livestock during the event. The Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture sponsored the seven grand champion prizes for all species shown. “Georgia Farm Bureau continues to sponsor this show because







24 / April-May 2017

Georgia Farm Bureau News

champion prizes at Ga. Jr. National the students who participate in this event are going to be Georgia’s future ag leaders,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “Showing livestock teaches young people to be responsible and how to get back up when things don’t go the way they wanted them to in the show ring.” Oglethorpe County FFA member Andrew Chastain captured the Grand Champion Breeding Heifer prize of $2,500 with his crossbred commercial heifer. Chastain, a senior at Oglethorpe County High School, is the son of Tennille Chastain and Allen Chastain. Taylor Barber, a 4-Her from Decatur County, won the Grand Champion Market Barrow award of $1,500 with her crossbred hog. Barber, a sophomore at Bainbridge High School, is the daughter of Jeff and Leslie Barber. Barber previously won the award in 2013. Coweta County 4-Her Elizabeth Mansour walked out of the ring with the Grand Champion Commercial Dairy Heifer prize of $1,500 with the red Holstein she showed from Windy Hill Farms. Mansour, the daughter of Jeff and Karen Mansour, is a junior at The Heritage School. Blaze Beasley, a Mitchell County FFA member, went home with

the Grand Champion Market Steer $5,000 prize for her crossbred steer. Beasley, the daughter of Richard and Laura Beasley is a junior at Pelham High School. Worth County FFA member Chase Roberts claimed the Grand Champion Commercial Doe award of $1,000 with his crossbred goat. Roberts, a senior at Worth County High School, is the son of Michael and Anita Roberts. Jackson County FFA member Savannah Page won the Grand Champion Market Gilt prize of $1,500 for her crossbred hog. Page, a seventh-grader at West Jackson Middle School, is the daughter of Phil and Christy Page. Banks County 4-Her Jordan Pritchett received the Grand Champion Breeding Ewe award of $1,000. Pritchett, the son of Lamar and Melanie Pritchett, is an eighth-grader at Commerce Middle School. All of the grand champions were recognized at the GFB Foundation for Agriculture Gala on March 11 where they received their silver and gold grand champion belt buckles.

Photos opposite page: 1 GFB President Gerald Long presents Oglethorpe County FFA member Andrew Chastain with the Ga. Jr. National Grand Champion Beef Heifer $2,500 prize.

5 GFB President Gerald Long presents Mitchell County FFA member Blaze Beasley with the Ga. Jr. National Grand Champion Market Steer $5,000 prize.

2 President Gerald Long, right, and show judge Brandon Ogle congratulate Decatur County 4-Her Taylor Barber for winning the Ga. Jr. National Grand Champion Market Barrow award of $1,500.

6 GFB Foundation for Agriculture Executive Director Katie Gazda presents Jackson County FFA member Savannah Page with the Ga. Jr. National Grand Champion Market Gilt $1,500 prize as show judge Brandon Ogle offers congratulations.

3 GFB President Gerald Long presents Coweta County 4-Her Elizabeth Mansour with the Ga. Jr. National Grand Champion Commercial Dairy Heifer $1,500 prize. 4 GFB President Gerald Long presents Worth County FFA member Chase Roberts with the Ga. Jr. National Grand Champion Commercial Doe prize of $1,000.

7 GFB Foundation for Agriculture Executive Director Katie Gazda presents Banks County 4-H member Jordan Pritchett with the Ga. Jr. National Grand Champion Breeding Ewe $1,000 prize as show judge Glen Martin offers congratulations.

GFB Foundation Gala celebrates “Down on the Farm” In celebration of agricultural literacy efforts by the Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, approximately 400 GFB members and guests were treated to a night “Down on the Farm,” featuring music from country act Post Monroe, a nice meal in a quaint setting and a silent auction during the 3rd Annual Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation Gala, held March 11 at Southern Bridle Farm in Fort Valley. Proceeds from the gala and the silent auction help fund the GFB Foundation’s programs, which include scholarships for university, technical college and veterinary school students, Georgia 4-H and FFA programs, Ag in the Classroom and consumer outreach activities. The silent auction raised nearly $4,900. “I want to encourage each of you to engage yourselves in our ag literacy efforts of our foundation. Each of us can play a tremendous role in the future of Georgia agriculture,” said GFB President Gerald Long, who recognized the top contributors in his gala address.

Long recognized gala sponsors, which included VIP Sponsors AVAMAR Farms, Douglas County Farm Bureau, Zippy and Bonnie Duvall, Houston County Farm Bureau, law firm James-BatesBrannan-Groover and Gerald and Janice Long. Perdue Foods was a Cultivating Sponsor and Farm Bureau Bank and the Harley Langdale Jr. Foundation were Stewarding Sponsors. For more photos visit bit.ly/GFBFGALA.

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone ________________________________________________________

From left, Post Monroe singers Shelby McLeod, Whitney Duncan and Ashlee Hewitt performed at the GFB Foundation Gala.

Georgia Farm Bureau News April-May 2017 / 25

Photo by Jay Stone

Newt Gilman of Jackson County draws a room assignment in preparation for the 2016 Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Discussion Meet. GFB is now accepting entries for this year’s contest, which will be held at the Young Farmer Leadership Conference July 19-22 on Jekyll Island.

May 26 deadline to enter YF Contests & register for Leadership Conference The GFB Young Farmer Committee is accepting applications for the Young Farmer Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture Award and Discussion Meet. Registration is also open for the GFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference, which will be held July 19-22 on Jekyll Island. GFB members between the ages of 18-35 may apply for these awards or attend the conference. Applications for the contests and con-

ference will be accepted through May 26 at 4:30 p.m. and are available at county Farm Bureau offices. The GFB Achievement Award recognizes outstanding young farmers whose primary income is derived from farming. The GFB Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes an outstanding individual or couple whose primary income is not derived from farming. Extension agents, FFA

advisors and ag lenders are examples of individuals who may apply for this award. The GFB Discussion Meet gives young farmers and ag professionals the chance to discuss ag issues and explore solutions in an event designed to simulate a committee meeting. The state winners of each of the competitive events will be named at the GFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference in July. All rounds of the discussion meet and Excellence in Ag interviews for the top three applicants will be held at the leadership conference. The top three applicants for the achievement award will have onfarm interviews in late June. For more information on any of these awards or the conference, please visit www. gfb.org/yf or stop by your county Farm Bureau. The achievement award and discussion meet winners will each receive a $500 cash prize and a utility vehicle. Runners-up for the achievement award will get $500. Discussion meet runners-up will receive $350. The Excellence in Ag winner will receive an ATV and runners-up will get $500 cash. The winners of each contest will receive an expense-paid trip to compete at the American Farm Bureau Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, Jan. 6-11, 2018.

GFB accepting photo contest entries until May 12


26 / April-May 2017


hat does agriculture look like in your part of Georgia? Once again, the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee is asking GFB members to share their photos of farm life and rural Georgia in its 8th Annual Picture Agriculture in Georgia Contest. We want to see your planting and harvest shots, farm kids, livestock, vegetable gardens, scenic barns and pastures. This contest is open to all GFB members, including county and state staff, who receive no income from photography. The winner will be featured on the front of the 2018 GFB Young Farmer Calendar and the 11 honorable mentions will grace the inside. Even if your photo doesn’t make the calendar, it might be featured on a cover of a GFB magazine or brochure! The first-place prize is $150 and the 11 honorable mentions receive $75 each. Only digital photos that are a minimum of 1 megabyte (MB) in file size may be submitted with a limit of four entries per person. All photos must have been shot in Georgia in 2016 or 2017. Photos that have been digitally enhanced will not be judged. All photos become the property of GFB. Digital photos must be sent as a JPEG file attachment via email to yf@gfb.org by 4:30 p.m. on May 12. If people are included in photos, you must complete a Model Release Entry Form and submit it with the photo. Visit your county Farm Bureau office for contest rules, entry instructions and the Model Release Form or visit the GFB website at www.gfb.org. The GFB Young Farmer Committee sponsors the contest.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Andy Lucas

For the 32nd year, Georgia Farm Bureau sent a group of young farmers to Washington, D.C., to discuss ag issues with Georgia’s Congressional delegation.

GFB Young Farmers meet legislators in D.C. The Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer program took a group of 33 young farmers from across Georgia to Washington, D.C., March 7-11 as part of its annual Young Farmers to Washington trip. The young farmers had a chance to tell Georgia’s congressional delegation how critical issues such as immigration and excessive regulation affect their farms. “This trip is a great way to show the original purpose of Georgia Farm Bureau, which is to be the voice of Georgia’s farmers in Washington and Atlanta, to Young Farmers first hand. Our leaders need to know that there are young people who are proud to carry on the tradition of farming that previous generations have set,” said GFB Young Farmer Committee Chairman Mitchell Pittman from Toombs County. Sen. David Perdue met with the group in the Russell Senate Office Building and discussed several issues facing U.S. agriculture. Later the group met with their members of Congress to discuss those issues and others that affect them on their farms. The group also met with AFBF President Zippy Duvall and were briefed about the programs AFBF offers. The group also travelled to the offices of the Heritage Foundation to talk about the role the think tank plays in Washington and to discuss policy issues on which it disagrees with Farm Bureau.

GFB President Gerald Long addressed the young farmers and shared the importance of working with their elected officials to tell the story of Georgia agriculture. The young farmers also toured Wash-

ington, D.C., and visited with AFBF lobbyists on a number of priority issues including international trade, government overregulation, the 2018 farm bill and ag labor/immigration reform.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

By Taylor Sills ___________________________________

GFB 101 introduces young farmers to Farm Bureau

Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) held an orientation event Feb. 15-16 for Farm Bureau Young Farmer members to acquaint them with GFB programs and the advocacy work it does on behalf of Georgia’s farmers. The GFB 101 event began with GFB Day at the Capitol Feb. 15. Afterward, the group visited the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture where they met with GFB legislative staff, Georgia legislators and ag officials GFB works with on state issues. On Feb. 16, the group met at GFB’s office in Macon. GFB President Gerald Long spoke to the young farmers, and GFB staff from the organization’s federation departments told the group about the various programs their departments handle. Participants in the GFB 101 event were, pictured from left, GFB Young Farmer Committee Chairman Mitchell Pittman of Toombs County; Will Godowns of Pike County, Casey Vickers of Grady County, Rob and Logan Cannon of Colquitt County, Zachary Wilson and Robert Prescott of Burke County.

Georgia Farm Bureau News April-May 2017/ 27

AROUND GEORGIA Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker

News from County Farm Bureaus ceremony for the new Fannin County Agriculture & Environmental Sciences Facility being built in Blue Ridge. FCFB has been an ongoing supporter of the Fannin County FFA, and FCFB representatives have attended planning meetings for the new facility.

CLARKE COUNTY Clarke County Farm Bureau arranged for representatives from five of the seven Clarke County FFA Chapters to meet with AthensClarke County Mayor Nancy Denson on Feb. 21 in celebration of National FFA week. Denson signed a proclamation recognizing Feb. 18-25 as National FFA week.

COFFEE COUNTY Coffee County Farm Bureau held a Master Chef Competition for middle school students at Citizens Christian Academy (CCA) in February to teach them about Georgia’s specialty crops – blueberries, cabbage, pecans, peaches, onions, watermelon, sweet corn and cucumbers. The event was designed to prepare the students to write essays about the crops for the GFB Middle School Essay Contest. Students were divided into groups and assigned one of the crops to prepare a recipe featuring the crop and a flyer with pertinent facts about the commodity. Each group made their recipe in a timed competition, presented their dish to the class and answered questions about the crop.

FANNIN COUNTY Pictured from left, Fannin County Farm Bureau (FCFB) Director Joel Jordan, FCFB Vice President Terry Bramlett and FCFB President Tommy Hamby were among the local agriculture and community leaders who participated in the Feb. 7 groundbreaking 28 / April-May 2017

GRADY COUNTY Grady County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee member Terri Perkins, standing, recently read the book “Sleep Tight Farm” by Eugenie Doyle to first graders at Whigham School. The students then visited the sixth-grade ag class where they planted pea seeds that will grow in the school’s greenhouse. Perkins donated the book, which she received while attending the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s Flapjack Breakfast at the AFBF Convention, to FFA Ag Teacher Tracey Champagne.   GWINNETT COUNTY Gwinnett County Farm Bureau (GCFB) participated in the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Feed My School Week at Greater Atlanta Christian School Jan. 30 – Feb. 3. Pictured from left, GCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Diane Hall, GCFB Vice President Phil Hall, GCFB President John Archer and GCFB Office Manager Julie Woods, not pictured, served peaches, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries to PreK through fifth-grade students during lunch on Jan. 30. GCFB donated 600 Georgia Farm Bureau ag commodity maps, USDA My Plate bookmarks and placemats and exhibited a display all week at the school highlighting commodities grown in Georgia and USDA’s nutrition recommendations. HALL COUNTY The Hall County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee hosted a seminar covering ag equipment transportation and safety issues on Feb. 23 at Jaemor Farms. More than 100 people Georgia Farm Bureau News

LAURENS COUNTY Laurens County Farm Bureau (LCFB) donated $1,302 to the West Laurens FFA Chapter. LCFB raised funds for the donation by selling 150 raffle tickets for a 45-quart Yeti cooler. LCFB President James Malone, center, presents the check to West Laurens FFA Advisor Kasey Jackson, far right, and West Laurens Ag Teacher Terry Brown, far left, and FFA students, pictured from left, Harden Knight and Jordan Upshaw, Gracie Wright and Abby Green.

Iowans learn about Ga. ag

MERIWETHER COUNTY Meriwether County Farm Bureau arranged for the Georgia Mobile Dairy Classroom to visit George E. Washington Elementary School Jan. 27. MCFB Office Manager Anna Mullennix, center left, and Nicole Karstedt, Moblie Dairy Classroom Coordinator, center right, are pictured with kindergarteners who saw one of the live milking demonstrations. Karstedt also taught the students how Georgia dairy farmers care for their cows and milk them daily. MCFB gave the students cow fans and dairy pencils as souvenirs to remember the dairy facts they learned.

Photo by Todd Faircloth

Hall County attended the event from seven counties in GFB’s District 2. Event attendees enjoyed a complimentary dinner and received a “Map 21” brochure outlining rules of the road, including weight limits and proper safety lighting and signs. Speakers included Roger Hayes, director of Law Enforcement Services in the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Captain Lee Robertson, Georgia Dept. of Public Safety Region 2 Commander of the Motor Carrier Compliance Division, and Sergeant Wesley Wills. Hall County UGA Extension Agent Michael Wheeler gave a presentation providing tips for handling and transporting ag chemicals. About 25 farmers attending the event obtained 1 hour of credit towards their pesticide license.

SOUTH FULTON COUNTY South Fulton County Farm Bureau (SFCFB) matched the $350 grant it received in January from the Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture to buy a pre-assembled chicken coop for Creekside High School (CHS). SFCFB President Dorsey Earnest, left, and CHS Ag Teacher Traves Hyman visit during the delivery of the chicken coop. SFCFB volunteers joined CHS students and ag teachers for a work day to turn a hoop greenhouse into a chicken run that will connect to the new chicken coop. The CHS FFA/Ag program will use the chicken coop/run to teach students how to raise and care for the chickens and their eggs, along with responsibility, maintenance, production and sales skills.

About 140 Iowa Farm Bureau (IFB) members visited the Toombs County farms of Chris Hopkins and Mitchell Pittman on Feb. 20 while visiting Savannah for the IFB County Presidents’ Incentive Trip. Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long spoke to the group about Georgia agriculture during breakfast before they left Savannah. Hopkins, Toombs County Farm Bureau president, gave the group a tour of one of his Vidalia onion fields. Pittman, pictured, who is chairman of the GFB Young Farmer Committee, told the group that his family began growing vegetables in the late 1990s to replace income from hogs and tobacco. Both Hopkins and Pittman discussed the importance of having a reliable labor source for harvesting their vegetable crops.

Georgia Farm Bureau News April-May 2017/ 29

Farm Bureau cattle shows prepare exhibitors for state show

By Jennifer Whittaker _______________________________________________________

30 / April-May 2017

Photo by Taylor Sills.


Photo by Kyle Lewallen

Members of the ABAC Farm Bureau Collegiate Young Farmers who organized and worked their annual steer & heifer show.

Wyatt Chandler of Jackson County won the $300 Grand Champion Steer prize with his Angus steer at the 8th Annual GFB 2nd District Young Farmer Steer & Heifer Show held Jan. 28.

Photo by Kyle Lewallen

howing cattle is a popular pastime for many Georgia Farm Bureau families, which is what inspired GFB young farmer leaders in the organization’s 2nd District to start its annual Young Farmer Steer & Heifer Show in 2010. The Farm Bureau chapter at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College started their show three years ago. Both shows were begun to help 4-H and FFA students sharpen their showing skills one more time before taking their animals to Perry to compete in the Georgia Junior National Livestock Show. GFB’s 2nd District held its 8th Annual Young Farmer Steer & Heifer Show Jan. 28 at the Habersham County Agriculture Center. About 300 people turned out to watch 69 students compete in the event. The district uses the show to introduce exhibitors to Farm Bureau membership and the GFB Young Farmer program in hopes of encouraging students to get involved with their county Young Farmer Committees when they turn 18. Wyatt Chandler of Jackson County and Keely Shultz of Jackson County won the top prizes at the GFB 2nd District show. Shultz won the $300 prize for Supreme Champion Heifer with her Limousin heifer. Chandler won the $300 prize for Grand Champion Steer with his crossbreed steer. Ethan Dalton of Banks County received the $200 prize for Reserve Champion Steer with his Limousin cross steer. Casadi Smith of Stephens County won the $200 prize for Supreme Reserve Champion Heifer with her Percentage Simmental heifer. Heidi Seagraves of Jackson County won the $250 Academic Scholarship given by the GFB 2nd District Young Farmer Steer and Heifer Show Committee. This was the first year the scholarship has been offered to 12th Grade show participants. Jackson County’s Madison Abbs won the 12th Grade Showmanship $250 prize. Each of the students who competed received a GFB membership brochure, a GFB Young Farmer calendar and a souvenir tshirt designed by Franklin County Young Farmer Heather Cabe. The prizes for the show awards were funded by donations from 2nd District county Farm Bureaus, county presidents and insurance agents. The ABAC Farm Bureau held its 3rd Annual Young Farmer Steer & Heifer Show Jan. 27-28 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry. The show was open to 4-H and FFA members from 4th-12th grade and had 75 exhibitors compete. Grand champion winners at the ABAC Farm Bureau show were: Alana Roberts, Perry High School FFA, Grand Champion Heifer Award prize of $500; Skyler Mizell, Perry High School FFA, Reserve Champion Heifer Award of $400; Trey Garbett, Perry High School FFA, Grand Champion Steer Award of $500; Blake Churchwell, Houston County 4-H, Reserve Champion Steer Award of $400.

Keely Shultz of Jackson County won the $300 Supreme Champion Heifer prize with her Limousin heifer at the 8th Annual GFB 2nd District Young Farmer Steer & Heifer Show. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Pictured from left, GFB members attending the conference included, Brent and Ray Bloser, John and Linda Leslie, Vanessa Williams, Donna Rocker and Rhonda Williams. GFB Women’s Leadership Committee members Ray Bloser, Linda Leslie and Rhonda Williams represented the committee at the conference.

Ga. delegation attends AFBF FUSION Conference

Georgia Farm Bureau members representing the organization’s Women’s Leadership and Young Farmer programs traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the American Farm Bureau FUSION Conference Feb. 10-13. AFBF holds this conference every two years to offer Farm Bureau members involved in Young Farmer, Women’s and Promotion & Education Committees professional development and leadership training. Breakout sessions covered ag advocacy, business, communications and technology.   The Georgia delegation participated in leadership development activities and heard several motivational speakers, including AFBF President Zippy Duvall and Super Bowl Champion Rocky Bleier who won four championships with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Young Farmer members attending the event were: GFB Young Farmer Committee members Kyle and Caroline Lewallen, Dustin Covington, Rebecca and Bennett Jacobs, Committee Chairmen Becky and Mitchell Pittman, and Bridget and Jonathan Hitchcock. Newt Gilman represented Georgia in the AFBF Collegiate Discussion Meet. Bacon County Young Farmer Committee Chairman Brandon Wade attended for his committee winning the 2016 GFB Young Farmer Committee Award. Matthew London attended as a member of the AFBF Young Farmer & Rancher Committee. Taylor Sills, GFB Young Farmer coordinator, accompanied the group.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News - April / May 2017  

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

Georgia Farm Bureau News - April / May 2017  

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

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