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FARM BUREAU

Vol. 79 No. 4

GEORGIA

NEWS

Oct. 31 deadline to enter annual GFB Hay Contest

August-September 2017


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contents

table of august/september 2017

National farm policy, avian flu key topics at GFB Commodity Conference

departments

Young farmers encouraged to ENGAGE during YF Leadership Conference

view from the field PAGE 4

public policy governmental affairs update PAGE 14

public policy ag programs update PAGE 16

around georgia

PAGES 26-29

GFB News staff

Andy Lucas Director

Jennifer Whittaker Editor

Jay Stone Print/Web Specialist

Lillian Davis Publications/Advertising Manager Michael Edmondson Web/Video Manager

Lauren Lin PR Communications Specialist For information concerning advertising, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or mcfarlandadvantage@gmail.com For questions about your membership or member benefits, call 1-800-633-5432. For questions regarding editorial content call 478-474-0679, ext. 5334 or e-mail jawhittaker@gfb.org Visit the GFB Web site today! www.gfb.org Georgia Farm Bureau TV: www.youtube.com/georgiafarmmonitor “Like” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GeorgiaFarmBureau Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gafarmbureau Check us out on Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/gafarmbureau

Members of Georgia Farm Bureau’s 20 commodity committees got updates on the status of the pending farm bill and an overview of Georgia’s avian flu preparedness plan before sitting down to begin GFB’s annual policy development process. PAGE 6

Speakers at the annual GFB Young Farmer Conference encouraged attendees to engage with consumers, elected officials, researchers and their bankers to advocate for agriculture and have successful farms. The YF Achievement, Discussion Meet and Excellence in Agriculture contest winners were also announced. PAGE 8

GFB Achievement Award finalists forge their own way

The three finalists for the GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award are determined to farm. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the farms of finalists Elton Baldy, Ben and Vicki Cagle and winners Thomas & Alicia Harrell. PAGE 10

Long testifies at farm bill listening session

GFB President Gerald Long and other Georgia farmers and agribusiness owners testified during the U.S. House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Listening Session held June 24 in Gainesville, Florida. PAGE 12

FFA/FCCLA Camp honors Rep. England with building dedication

Georgia FFA and the Georgia Family, Career & Community Leaders of America honored Ga. Rep. Terry England for his ongoing support of their programs by naming the new leadership center at their state camp for England. PAGE 18

Turner says water conflict likely to continue

Although the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling next year on the water case Florida filed against Georgia, the fight over access to water is likely to continue, Jud Turner, who formerly led the Georgia EPD, said at the annual Ag Issues Summit. PAGE 20

Sunbelt Expo turning 40!

For 40 years Sunbelt Expo has showcased the latest in ag equipment and technology. GFB is proud to be a 40-year participant! PAGE 21

Moore leading UGA CAES research programs

Dr. Allen Moore has been leading the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) research efforts as the associate dean for research and associate director of the college’s ag experiment stations since July 1. Meet Moore and three other new UGA hires. PAGE 22

GFB Essay Contest spotlights specialty crops

Bulloch County student Samuel Hennessee won the 2017 GFB Middle School Essay Contest for his look at Georgia’s specialty crops. PAGE 25

GFB hosts welcome home event for Ag Secretary Perdue GFB rolled out the red carpet for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue during a lunch held in Tifton to celebrate the first agriculture secretary from Georgia. PAGE 30

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

(Photo by Daniel Walton) Newton County Farm Bureau member Daniel Walton shot this photo and entered it in the 2016 GFB Photo Contest. Look for the winners of the 2017 photo contest in the fall Georgia Neighbors.

Georgia Farm Bureau News August-September 2017/ 3


view from the field Gerald Long, GFB President Four months to the day after Sonny Perdue was sworn in as the first U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from our state, Georgia Farm Bureau held an event in Tifton celebrating his accomplishment and welcoming him home. The Aug. 25 lunch gave farmers, members of Georgia’s ag community and elected officials a chance to hear Secretary Perdue talk about his plans for the USDA and the issues his staff are tackling. It was my privilege to present Secretary Perdue with an honorary lifetime Georgia Farm Bureau membership in recognition of the support he has given agriculture – first as Georgia’s governor and now as agriculture secretary. This event marked the last in a series of opportunities your GFB Public Policy staff and I had this summer to discuss ag policy with federal administrators and elected officials who determine the laws and regulations we must operate by. In June, I testified on behalf of GFB at a listening session the U.S. House Agriculture Committee held in Florida. The testimony was based on GFB policy approved by our voting members and emphasized the need for a strong crop insurance program and the importance of passing a farm bill that works for all segments of agriculture in a timely manner. In July while attending the American Farm Bureau Council of Presidents meeting, I had the chance to speak with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and express GFB’s appreciation for the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers working to rescind the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. GFB and American Farm Bureau have opposed the WOTUS rule since it was first proposed in 2014. If WOTUS had been implemented, it would have given federal government regulatory control over virtually any water and many land areas that only temporarily 4 / August-September 2017

hold water, assuming a scope of authority Congress never authorized. A federal court agreed with Farm Bureau’s assessment and blocked WOTUS from being implemented. Now the EPA & U.S. Army Corp of Engineers are going through the process of rescinding the rule and accepting comments one more time from those who oppose or support WOTUS. We’ve come too far on this issue to let our guard down now. You can submit comments at http://bit. ly/2x7aG5G until Sept. 27. I also had the chance to visit with members of Georgia’s congressional delegation including Rep. Karen Handel, who was elected in June to represent Georgia’s 6th District in metroAtlanta. We discussed the importance of having a viable farm bill that helps farmers remain profitable, which helps the national defense of our country by ensuring the majority of our food supply continues to be grown in the U.S. We also discussed the need farmers have for a reliable workforce. As summer ends, it’s time for our GFB district meetings and county annual meetings. Our district meetings give us a chance to see friends we haven’t seen in a while and give the home office a chance to recognize the county Farm Bureau programs that have gone above and beyond to advocate for and promote Georgia agriculture. I look forward to seeing many of you at these meetings throughout the month of September. If I don’t see you at a district meeting, maybe we’ll cross paths at the Georgia National Fair in Perry, Oct. 5-15 or at Sunbelt Expo Oct. 17-19. GFB is serving as the premier livestock sponsor for the 2017-2018 show season at the Georgia National Fairgrounds that begins with the fair. You can drop by the Georgia agriculture building at Expo inside the main gate to learn more about Farm Bureau programs.

FARM BUREAU GEORGIA

NEWS

SUBSCRIPTION RATES

Farm Bureau Members: Included in dues — $1 per year Non-Members — $15 per year To subscribe call 1-800-898-1911, ext. 5237.

OFFICERS

President GERALD LONG, Bainbridge 1st Vice President and Middle Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN JR., Adrian North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS, Ringgold South Georgia Vice President DANIEL JOHNSON, Alma General Counsel DUKE GROOVER Chief Financial Officer & Corp. Treasurer DAVID JOLLEY Chief Administrative Officer & Corp. Secretary JON HUFFMASTER

DIRECTORS FIRST DISTRICT: Bill Bryan, Summerville; Wesley Hall, Cumming SECOND DISTRICT: Bobby Gunter, Dahlonega; Randy Ruff, Elberton THIRD DISTRICT: George Chambers, Carrollton; Nora Goodman, Temple FOURTH DISTRICT: Skeetter McCorkle, Dearing; Marvin Ruark, Bishop FIFTH DISTRICT: Ralph Adamson Jr., Barnesville; Matt Bottoms, Molena SIXTH DISTRICT: James Malone, Dexter; James Emory Tate, Denton SEVENTH DISTRICT: Gary Bell, Bellville; Ben Boyd, Sylvania EIGHTH DISTRICT: Scotty Raines, Sycamore; Don Wood, Rochelle NINTH DISTRICT: Lucius Adkins, Newton; Paul Shirah, Camilla TENTH DISTRICT: Lamar Vickers, Nashville; David Lee, Alma YOUNG FARMER CHAIRMAN: Mitchell Pittman, Lyons WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Rhonda Williams, Clayton

ADVERTISING POLICY

All advertising accepted subject to publisher’s approval. Advertisers must assume liability for content of their advertising. Publisher maintains right to cancel advertising for non-payment or reader complaint about advertiser service or products. Publisher does not accept per-order, political or alcoholic beverage ads, nor does publisher prescreen or guarantee advertiser service or products. Publisher assumes no liability for products or services advertised in the Georgia Farm Bureau News. For advertising rates and information, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or mcfarlandadvantage@gmail.com. Georgia Farm Bureau News was established in 1937. Copyright 2017 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.

Georgia Farm Bureau News


National farm policy, avian flu key topics at By Jay Stone & Jennifer Whittaker ______________________________________________________________________________

G

eorgia Farm Bureau began reviewing organizational policy for 2018 at its annual commodity conference held Aug. 3 at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center. Members of GFB’s Commodity Advisory Committees heard updates on national farm policy, avian flu preparedness and UGA ag research before getting down to business in committee meetings to consider changes to GFB policy. “The diversity of our organization is reflected here today. We have members of all 20 of our commodity committees here today,” Long said. “This meeting is one of our most important all year because it is where we begin our policy development process.” Speakers addressed the 2018 farm bill, national cotton policy, avian influenza and USDA priorities under new Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

Congress could move quickly on 2018 farm bill This fall presents a window of opportunity for Congress to pass the 2018 farm bill, according to legislative consultant Rob Redding. Redding, who runs the Washington-based Redding Firm, shared his observations on the next farm bill, noting that ag committee leadership in both the House and Senate has voiced a desire to move quickly to get the farm bill done, and that it could happen by the end of the year. The 2014 farm bill expires Redding in September 2018. “If the House and Senate ag committees get bills ready quickly this fall, there may be a window before they go home for Christmas to move something on the floor of the House and/or the Senate,” Redding said, pointing out that with 2018 being a midterm election year, it will be much more difficult to complete the farm bill if it’s not done this year. Redding anticipates immigration reform bills will have difficulty getting passed in both chambers of Congress. He pointed out that GFB and several commodity groups wrote the Georgia delegation asking for support on im6 / August-September 2017

migration legislation. The groups also asked members of Congress to contact the U.S. Department of Labor with requests to review regulatory burdens placed on ag employers and consider changes to relieve those burdens. The letter included a list of changes the organizations would like to see made. The H-2A program will become increasingly important to farmers if efforts to restrict immigration move forward, Redding said. Georgia farmers are already benefitting from diminishing regulatory barriers under the Trump administration and they’re represented in Washington, D.C., to an extent they never have been, Redding said. “There has been big positive change for our industry, particularly in the regulatory area,” said Redding, “Some [regulations] have been reversed or are in the process of being reversed. That’s a big win for us.” Redding cautioned that anti-ag groups are continuing to work to throw up barriers to U.S. farmers. “We’ve got more negatives than we’ve ever had before,” Redding said. “On the left, on the right, special interest groups are targeting ag that might not be identified as conservative or liberal.”

Cotton needs farm program National Cotton Council (NCC) President and CEO Gary Adams outlined short-term, intermediate and long-term initiatives the organization is pursuing to secure help for cotton farmers. These farmers have been plagued with low commodity prices for years and were left out of the commodity title of the 2014 farm bill. “A big part of our message is there’s still quite a bit of a gap between where we sit right now and where we would like to be in the 2018 farm bill, which will eventually cover 2019,” Adams said. Adams outlined the industry’s returns compared to cost of production. With cotton prices lingering around 60 cents per pound, USDA data indicates a shortfall of $100 per acre. “Unless there is some increase in prices or above-average yields, our concern is that these types of economic pressures are going to continue on the cotton balance sheet,” Adams said.

The industry got a measure of relief when then-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack authorized cotton ginning cost-share assistance, for which some growers received payments in 2016. Adams said the NCC would like to see ginning cost-share assistance continued. More help could be on the way under the Senate Ag Appropriations bill, which included a provision Adams to establish cottonseed as a covered commodity, making it eligible for Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) under the 2014 farm bill. The bill has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and awaits consideration by the full Senate. Adams classified the appropriations bill language as intermediate-term relief. He discussed possible payments under the cottonseed program, which would vary according to reference prices, with a top payment of $83 per acre if market prices are $160 per ton and less as market prices increase. Long-term, Adams said the NCC’s priority is to get cotton back under the commodity title of the farm bill. Adams said the organization would resist further tightening of payment limits or eligibility restrictions, but favors export promotion programs, noting that 95 percent of U.S. cotton winds up being exported either as raw fiber or as processed yarn or fabric. Adams also discussed industry issues, including sustainability initiatives, maintaining a reliable flow of cotton from the field to market and preventing foreign material contamination in cotton. “Contamination prevention is a very serious challenge to the U.S. cotton industry. We’ve built up a great reputation over a number of years and decades of being a supplier of high quality cotton. That reputation will go away and can go away very quickly when these types of incidents occur,” Adams said.

Low path avian flu must be treated like high path Georgia Poultry Lab Executive Director Dr. Louise Zavala reviewed the outbreak of low pathogenic avian influenza that occurred Georgia Farm Bureau News


GFB Commodity Conference

chicken houses, which is the preferred method. After the birds are disposed of, producers must disinfect their chicken houses and the houses must test negative for the avian flu virus before new flocks can be placed on the farm. Zavala said the Georgia Poultry Lab (GPL) will begin conducting biosecurity audits of poultry farms next spring that will be tied to eligibility for indemnity payments. The GPL is currently helping poultry companies and growers prepare for the audits. In the event of another outbreak, visit the GDA website at www.ga-ai.org for the latest HPAI updates. Commercial poultry producers are encouraged to visit www.ALLinALLgone.com for biosecurity information from the Georgia Poultry Federation. Information is also available at www.gfb.org/avianflu.

Do right & feed everyone USDA Chief of Staff Heidi Green shared Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s priorities for the USDA. Green said the ag agency is working to tackle issues President Trump charged an Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to address. The April 25 Executive Order Presi-

McGough receives GFB Commodity Award

Former Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Commodities Director Don McGough received the 2017 GFB Commodity Award at the GFB Commodity Conference Aug. 3. The award is presented to individuals who have supported and promoted Georgia agriculture. “Don’s dedication to our farmer members through the years was evident by the relationships he has made with all the groups he has worked with,” said GFB President Gerald Long. “Don was an integral part of our organization’s success for nearly 40 years.” McGough grew up in Lee County on his family’s farm, where they grew peanuts and corn and raised cattle and hogs. After graduating from UGA in 1977, McGough began working at GFB in the Field Services Department. He left GFB briefly to work for DeKalb Seed but returned to GFB as a commodity specialist in the GFB Commodities/Marketing Department in 1980. In 1986 McGough was named assistant di- Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald rector of the department and was promoted to Long, right, presents the 2017 GFB Commodity Award to retired GFB Commodidepartment director in 1997. He retired March ties/Marketing Director Don McGough, 30 after 37 years with GFB. He and his wife, Pat- who completed his 37-year career with ti, have three grown sons: Jon, Alan and Patrick. the organization in March.

Georgia Farm Bureau News August-September 2017 / 7

Photo by Jay Stone

in Chattooga County this spring and urged poultry growers to follow biosecurity measures to prevent spreading the avian influenza virus if another outbreak occurs. “We have to treat the low pathogenic avian influenza (AI) viruses like the high path viruses because of their potential to mutate,” Zavala said. “We export about twenty percent of the poultry we produce in Georgia. Even if we have one case of high pathogenic AI all exports from our state will be blocked. The recommendations we make on AI are all about controlling the spread of the virus so our trade starts again as soon as possible.” Zavala said the quick and efficient response of the Georgia team charged with handling positive AI cases resulted in the 6-mile quarantine zone around the Zavala infected farm being released in just 55 days after confirmation of the disease. While there were only three other poultry farms in the 6-mile quarantine zone in Chattooga County that had to be monitored this spring, Zavala pointed out there are some Georgia counties with lots of poultry production might have as many as 90 poultry houses in a 6-mile zone. “The most effective way to control the virus is to stamp it out by depopulating and decontaminating houses where birds have tested positive,” Zavala said. Zavala urged poultry growers to report any decrease in production or flock health issues to their poultry company to be investigated, so a potential case of AI may be detected as soon as possible to prevent further spread of the virus. Backyard flock owners should call 855-491-1432. Growers and poultry companies receive indemnity payments to cover the live birds in the house at the time the virus is confirmed that have to be depopulated to prevent the spread of the virus. Growers are also compensated for the depopulation cost. Only birds on infected farms are depopulated, but all farms in the 6-mile quarantine zone are tested for 30 days. Zavala said depopulation will be done using foam. Producers will have the option of disposing of dead birds by burying them on approved sites or composting them inside

dent Trump signed creating the task force instructs it “to promote economic development and revitalization, job growth, infrastructure, innovation, and quality of life issues for rural America.” Green said the USDA and other agencies are reviewing federal regulations to determine which ones may be rolled back or reGreen pealed to relieve regulatory burdens that may be stifling businesses. She said the USDA has identified 250 regulations that could be rolled back. Criteria the USDA is using to evaluate the effectiveness of a regulation are: 1) Does the regulation protect the public at a reasonable cost? 2) Does the regulation help manage risk? 3) Is there a hidden agenda behind the regulation? 4) How does the regulation impact the ability of the U.S. to take the product around the world?   “We have a new motto at the USDA – ‘Do right and feed everyone.’,” Green said. “I’m encouraged that the White House has said we need USDA at the table to discuss how labor programs impact the users.” Regarding work the USDA is doing to See CONFERENCE page 30


Young farmers encouraged to ENGAGE during YF Leadership Conference Article & photos by Jay Stone ______________________________________________________________________________

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he Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Young Farmer Leadership Conference held July 19-22 on Jekyll Island delivered a simple message: Engage. Engage with consumers, elected officials, researchers and each other. Even, in the case of Pike County’s Will Godowns and Charlsy Garrett, get engaged. He proposed and she accepted during the conference. Conference highlights for the 325 attendees included educational workshops, time on the beach and golf course, a chance to learn about the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and plenty of seafood. The conference also featured GFB’s Young Farmer competitive events – Achievement Award, Discussion Meet and Excellence in Agriculture (see story on next page), as well as the 2017 GFB Young Farmers Golf Tournament, which raised $3,500 for the GFB Foundation for Agriculture. American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer & Rancher Coordinator Marty Tatman spoke at the opening session, providing information about Farm Bureau structure and programs. Participants heard messages prompting them to engage with consumers, lawmakers and lenders, three groups of people on whom farmers’ livelihoods depend. GFB Public Policy staff provided information about their new department, which consolidated the previous commodities and legislative departments. They also discussed key bills considered during the Georgia Legislature’s 2017 session.

Facebook ads, and you’re tweeting to the wrong people and you’re putting the wrong kinds of posts out there, it’s not going to have much effect. Really, you should be more balanced in your strategic and tactical planning.” Marketing, Tippett said, has evolved from the outbound marketing model – the traditional advertising vehicles like billboards, print publications and broadcasts – to an inbound model. Inbound marketing, which Tippett recommends, involves two-way communication between the business and its target audience, often through social media. Inbound marketing includes web-based search engine optimization, social media messaging, using retargeting and repeated exposure to market messages to draw customers in so they choose to engage with the business.

Financing your farm

The financial panel discussion, moderated by GFB Young Farmer Coordinator Taylor Sills, featured AgSouth Farm Credit’s Mitchell Dickey, Bulloch County Farm Bu-

Marketing your farm

Jordan Tippett from UGA’s Small Business Development Center presented information on marketing strategy. While building a strategy typically takes 10 percent of businesses’ marketing efforts, with the rest devoted to actions, or tactics, to implement strategy, Tippett said the planning/tactics ratio should be closer to half. “It’s easier to just jump into these tactical things,” Tippett said. “If you’re doing that and you’re spending your money on the wrong 8 / August-September 2017

Dr. Dennis Hancock, UGA Extension forage specialist, demonstrates how different types of soil hold water during a demonstration at the GFB Young Farmer Conference. For photos from the conference, visit http://bit. ly/17YFConfThurs.

reau Young Farmer Chairman Ryne Brannen and AgGeorgia Farm Credit’s Jed Evans. The panelists advised young farmers to cultivate relationships with their lenders, closely track farm expenses and loan balances and be transparent with their lenders when problems arise. “As a farmer you need to develop a deep relationship with your lender,” Evans said. “Find someone you want to do business with.” The panel emphasized maintaining a constant awareness of crop expenses and conditions that might affect their ability to pay off annual operating loans. When they recognize they have a problem, sooner is better than later when contacting their lender. Brannen emphasized a conservative approach to spending and heeding the lender’s advice. “You don’t have to sell them on ag,” Brannen said. “They’re there to support agriculture. If they have reservations about your business plan, you need to listen to them.”

Improve soil health

Dr. Dennis Hancock, UGA Extension forage specialist, presented information on how farmers can enhance soil health and “turn grass into cash.” He addressed grazing practices and recommended a rotational grazing system that allows the grass and the soil to rest while avoiding having the grass grazed all the way to the ground. “Good grazing contributes to root development,” Hancock said. “It builds great roots and builds better soil.” In outside simulations, Hancock showed how varying soil types hold water by placing clumps from three different types of soil into water-filled tubes. One disintegrated when submerged, indicating it did not hold water well and would end up as runoff, while the two others remained intact. Hancock also showed conference participants a rainfall simulator which showed how varying levels of vegetation impact the soil’s ability to hold water.

Read between label lines

During the closing session July 22, keySee CONFERENCE next page Georgia Farm Bureau News


the majority of their income from farming. The Harrells raise poultry and cattle, grow hay and operate a farm equipment metal shop on their farm. The couple received a crossover utility vehicle (XUV) sponsored by Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance and $500 cash from AgSouth Farm Credit. Ben and Vicki Cagle of Cherokee County and Elton Baldy of Colquitt County were the other finalists for the Achievement Award. Each finalist family received $500 cash from AgSouth Farm Credit. The Penninos, from Hancock County, won the Young Farmer Excellence in Agricul-

ture Award, given to recognize young farmers who derive the majority of their income from something other than production agriculture. Josh works as a livestock auctioneer and livestock relocation specialist. Skye is an assistant district attorney in the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit. The couple received an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) sponsored by Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance. Other finalists were Justin Shealey of Cook County and Melissa Copelan Mathis of Monroe County. Shealey and Mathis received $500 cash sponsored by Georgia Farm Bureau. Godowns, from Pike County, emerged from a field of 29 competitors to win the GFB Young Farmer Discussion meet. Godowns received an ATV sponsored by Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance and $500 cash from Georgia Farm Bureau. Other finalists were Heather Cabe of Franklin County, Newt Gilman of Jackson County and Kaitlyn Butler of Morgan County. Each received $350 in cash sponsored by SunTrust Bank. In the final round, the discussion centered on how Farm Bureau can help members with increasing legal and regulatory obstacles so they can continue to farm. Madison Lynn of Toombs County, a student at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, was the top collegiate finisher in the discussion meet and earned a spot in the AFBF Collegiate Discussion Meet, to be held at the 2018 AFBF Young Farmer & Rancher Conference in Reno, Nevada, in February.

The GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet final four, from left: Newt Gilman of Jackson County; Heather Cabe of Franklin County; Kaitlyn Butler of Morgan County and winner Will Godowns of Pike County. Visit http://bit.ly/17GFBDMearlyrounds to see photos of all contestants.

CONFERENCE from previous page note speaker Paige Pratt, a cattle producer from Kansas, discussed food labels and how they impact farmers, sometimes without the backing of sound science. For instance, labels can include the word “natural,” although there is no scientific consensus on what it means. Pratt discussed the misconceptions about genetiPratt cally modified organisms (GMOs) and the entrenched perception that they are dangerous. “We have a population of consumers who are concerned about GMOs and the science says they shouldn’t be,” said Pratt, who discussed ways farmers can talk to consumers about farm practices in a way that builds trust.

From left are the finalists in the Young Farmer Excellence In Agriculture competition: Justin Shealey of Cook County, Melissa Mathis of Monroe County and winners Skye and Josh Pennino of Hancock County. Visit http://bit.ly/17YFwinners to see more award photos.

Harrells, Godowns, Penninos claim top prizes in YF competitive events

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homas and Alicia Harrell, Will Godowns and Skye and Josh Pennino walked away with top prizes from the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer competitive events at the 2017 GFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference on Jekyll Island. The state winners of the three contests will receive expense-paid trips to the 2018 American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, in January to compete for national honors. The Harrells, from Madison County, won the GFB Young Farmer Achievement award, given to recognize young farmers who derive

Georgia Farm Bureau News August-September 2017 / 9


GFB Achievement Award fin T

he three finalist families for the 2017 Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Achievement Award are all making their own paths. Colquitt County’s Elton Baldy worked in ag education and sales before returning home to farm. For Ben and Vicki Cagle, encroaching suburban development prompted them to make huge changes. Madison County’s Thomas and Alicia Harrell started their farm from scratch. Baldy grows row crops and veg-

etables while operating a retail store at the Moultrie State Farmers Market. The Cagles raise livestock and host agritourism activities/special events. The Harrells, who won the GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award, raise chickens and have a business making livestock equipment. The finalists had on-farm visits with contest judges in late June, and the Harrells were announced as the winners during the 2017 GFB Young

Farmer Leadership Conference on Jekyll Island in July. The Harrells received a crossover utility vehicle courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance, $500 cash from AgSouth Farm Credit and an expensepaid trip to Nashville, Tennessee, in January to compete for national honors during the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention. Baldy and the Cagles each received $500 cash sponsored by AgSouth Farm Credit.

one portion of his farm was an hour away from Norman Park. Baldy opted not to renew the lease on that land, and shrinking his operation COLQUITT COUNTY Farmers generally keep a mindset of growth, made it easier for him to manage his time and focus on the newer whether it’s the progress of their crops or the size of their operation. things, like the retail store. Elton Baldy is no different, but sometimes pulling back is the right He is also adding two greenhouses and a hoop house, allowing call. Baldy, who was also a GFB Young him to extend his growing season for his Farmer Achievement Award finalist in 2015, vegetable crops. He’ll use the covered opted to trim his acreage and add to other space to produce transplants. aspects of his farm. Baldy is producing multiple crops of Baldy, who lives in Norman Park with some field vegetables in a single year, to his wife Tabitha and son Henry, grows peabetter leverage the land he has. nuts and cotton, peas, leafy greens, corn, He’s continuing to work as a contract green beans, squash and okra. In the past auctioneer, a service he used to help pay two years, he’s reduced his overall acreage his way through college. from more than 1,250 to around 700 and “We’re kind of finding our niche,” placed more emphasis on his vegetable Baldy said. “The peas have allowed for a crops. He’s also opened a retail store at the good margin, especially with where comMoultrie State Farmers Market, where he modity prices are right now.” sells his vegetables and a variety of products Baldy previously worked as an ag from other small farmers. education teacher in Brooks County, “The intent of what we do there is not and he worked with Bayer CropScience, only do we sell what we grow on the proeventually working as U.S. food chain duce side through the store, but we buy and sustainability manager. The pull of produce locally for the community,” Baldy Elton Baldy with his wife Tabitha and son Henry. spending more of his time on the farm said. “We provide a market for smaller farmers to sell produce. It’s drew him back to Colquitt County. open year-round.” “With Henry, I wanted him to grow up in the lifestyle and grow up The change, Baldy said, was in response to ongoing low com- on the farm and see production agriculture firsthand,” Baldy said. “I modity prices, particularly for cotton and grain crops. In addition, hope to instill that appreciation in him.” Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone _________________________________________________________

By Jay Stone _________________________________________________________ CHEROKEE COUNTY Ben and Vicki Cagle are both multi-generational family farmers, and they love what they do – raise cattle and welcome the public to their farm for tours and educational activities. In the past year, that meant pulling up roots and moving from south Cherokee County, which is undergoing massive development as a growing part of the Metro Atlanta region, to the north part of the 10 / August-September 2017

county, where they found rural space more conducive to farming. “We were given a choice. The 200 acres we were farming were all contiguous. But there were already neighborhoods on all four sides,” said Ben, whose family operated a dairy and agritourism venue in Hickory Flat. “We were landlocked. What we would have been left with, had we not made the decision to move and relocate and work out a deal with the city, it would have been another development and See CAGLE next page Georgia Farm Bureau News


we would have been on 58 acres with multiple developments all the way around us.” Ben, a Cherokee County Farm Bureau director, estimated there were 14,000 homes within a two-mile radius of the farm in Hickory Flat, but there was no opportunity to grow and there were conflicts with the farm’s growing set of new neighbors. The move was a business decision, but it was also a family decision. With young sons Clay and Mica to consider, the move to Ball Ground was the right thing to do. “Our boys really didn’t have a future in agriculture in Hickory Flat,” Vicki said. “Here they have places to spread out, and there’s a future for them if they want to pursue farming. We felt like it was a better choice for them and their future.” With the change in location came the opportunity to tweak the farm. The Cagle family had run a corn maze for years that was a popular fall destination, but Ben and Vicki decided to forego the maze and focus instead on ag educational activities and offering their farm as a special events venue. The new location is now open for business, booking school field trips and scheduling events like weddings. The Cagles have more than 100 head of cattle, about 55 sheep, and they’ve built the agritourism facilities from the ground up. Their farm tour will include an animal barn where visitors will get an up-close look at calves, goats, sheep and chickens, and they’ll ride to a pasture for a herding demonstration.

Photo by Isaac Carson

alists forge their own way

Ben and Vicki Cagle with sons Mica, left, and Clay.

While Thomas was working at Partisover Ranch, Alicia worked as a secretary for the UGA Extension Animal Science Department where MADISON COUNTY Thomas and Alicia Harrell came to farming she says she “learned a wealth of knowledge.” by choice, and they’re giving their children something they wish they’d Once they had their own farm, Alicia came home from work to walk their chicken houses, checking to be sure the feeders and waterers were had – the chance to grow up farm kids. Thomas got bit by the farming bug at 14 when he attended a fam- working and removing any dead birds. To supplement the cattle, hay and ily reunion and saw cattle being worked on chickens they raise, Thomas started a busihis great uncle’s farm near Cochran. After ness in 2009 making and installing livethat, he started raising calves on his grandstock handling equipment for farmers and parents’ land in Walton County. county/school livestock arenas. He graduated from the UGA College As the business grew, Alicia became of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences a full-time mom and helps with the marwith an animal science degree. During colketing side of the equipment business and lege he worked at the UGA beef farm on pitches in at the chicken houses when South Milledge Avenue. needed. “I did everything from bush hogging, Thomas started serving as the Madimending fences to working cattle. I really had son County Farm Bureau Young Farmer no experience until then. Wes Pope, the farm Chairman in 2008 and went on the GFB manager, mentored me,” Thomas recalled. YF Trip to Washington in 2009. They He also helped Dan Dawson in Oconee served on the GFB YF Committee from County with his chicken houses. 2011-2012. The Harrells married while Thomas The Harrells credit the GFB Young was in college, and Alicia, joined Thomas Farmer Program for getting them where on his quest to start a farm. After graduating from UGA, Thomas worked for the Augusta, Alicia, Annabelle, Abigail, Thomas & Luke. they are by helping them network for their equipment business and learn to advocate for ag. Daniels family at Partisover Ranch in Madison County. In 2007 the Harrells formed a partnership with his grandparents, “It’s helped me become a better public speaker. I always had an Thomas and Judy Dellinger, to start their own farm building eight opinion, but now I’m better about speaking up and voicing it,” Thomchicken houses on 216 acres in Madison County. The Harrells raise as said. “In the last couple of years we’ve had to stand up and defend agriculture in our county.” broilers for Springer Mountain Farms, a division of Fieldale. “Thomas drew me into farming. I was not convinced about his idea Thomas has served as his county Farm Bureau vice president the past two years will begin serving as his county president this fall. to farm the first few years, but the lifestyle won me over,” Alicia said. Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

By Jennifer Whittaker _________________________________________________________

Georgia Farm Bureau News August-September 2017 / 11


Long testifies at farm bill listening session

crop insurance programs. “Crop insurance will allow these growers to remain in business for at least another year,” Long said. “We urge you to maintain a sound crop insurance program and oppose any effort to undermine its effectiveness.” GFB opposes additional tightening of payment limits and eligibility requirements, Long said, noting the importance of continu-

By Jay Stone _______________________________________________________

Photo by Andy Lucas

G

eorgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long testified during the U.S. House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Listening Session held June 24 in Gainesville, Florida. The hearing allowed southern farm stakeholders to provide input on the effectiveness of the current farm bill, which expires in September 2018, and share what they’d like to see in the next farm bill. Long gave a brief overview of Georgia agriculture, noting its $74 billion economic impact in the state provides one of every seven jobs in Georgia while Georgia ranks nationally in the production of several commodities. “It is critical that the next farm bill continues to work for all segments of agriculture from all regions of the country,” Long told the committee. Long reviewed crop losses over the past year due to adverse weather conditions and emphasized the importance of continuing

Photo by Jay Stone

Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long, right, and Florida Farm Bureau President John Hoblick, center, gave featured testimony at the U.S. House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Listening Session held June 24 in Gainesville, Florida. Visit http://bit. ly/17SEFBhearing to see more photos from the hearing.

Event to feature fire safty tips for farm and home

Make plans to attend FIREWISE ON THE FARM Sept. 26 to learn how to prevent fires or extinguish them on your farm or in your home. Event will include demos, lectures & exhibits highlighting fire safety tips, ways to reduce the spread of fire, how to extinguish fires & much more! Dan Bennett, left, immediate past president of the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts, & Sonny Turner, right, GACD Group III alternate vice president, are among the organizers of this event spearheaded by the Walton County Soil & Water Conservation Commission with the support of many sponsors, including Walton County & Georgia Farm Bureau. 12 / August-September 2017

ing the farm bill’s conservation programs and the Livestock Forage Program (LFP). Seven other members of Georgia’s ag community spoke at the hearing, speaking specifically about cotton, peanuts and specialty crops. Screven County Farm Bureau President Joe Boddiford, who serves on the Georgia Peanut Commission, urged the committee to preserve the current farm bill’s protections for peanuts. Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association President Mike Bruorton emphasized the importance of funding for specialty crop research. Dooly County Farm Bureau member Matt Coley, who is a Georgia Cotton Commission director, asked that the committee preserve the farm bill’s conservation programs. Ben Evans, manager of the Coffee County Gin Company, reviewed the economics of the cotton industry, which has been beset by continued low commodity prices while facing restrictions in government support programs as a result of the Brazil WTO case. Kent Fountain of Southeastern Gin and Peanut Company in Appling County urged the committee to find a way to get cotton back under the commodity title of the farm bill. Georgia Peanut Commission Executive Director Don Koehler told the committee that the crop insurance programs available to peanut growers have worked well and asked that they be continued. Carl Zimmer of Premium Peanuts in Coffee County, owned by a group of South Georgia farmers, said the business was made possible because of the stability farm bill programs provide. Georgia Farm Bureau News


Ga. Vet Education Board announces Ag Labor loan repayment recipients Relations Forum The State Veterinary Education Board (SVEB) of Georgia has selected five veterinarians to participate in the inaugural year of the Georgia Veterinary Education Loan Repayment Program. The Georgia General Assembly appropriated $100,000 to the Georgia Student Finance Authority for the 2017 Fiscal Year to grant financial assistance to veterinarians willing to provide food animal services in underserved areas across the state. Recipients for the 2017 award year are: Dr. Jana Powell of Eatonton; Dr. LeAnna Wilder of Montezuma; Dr. Madison Fyke of Forsyth; Dr. Edmond Strickland of Winterville and Dr. Charlie Clark of Twin City. The SVEB received 11 applications for the program’s first year of funding. Prior to receiving their award, participants must devote at least 20 hours per

week to providing food animal veterinary services in rural counties with populations of 35,000 or less for a period of 12 months. Each participant has signed a service commitment with the SVEB that will require them to dedicate their time to providing these services in the rural counties identified in their applications. In total, the participants will serve more than 30 counties in their immediate and surrounding areas. Georgia Farm Bureau supported funding for this program as a way to alleviate the shortage of large animal vets Georgia farmers are experiencing. Funding for the 2018 Program Year will be available next year for any qualified veterinarians who wish to apply. For updates on when the application period will open, please visit http://bit.ly/GAvetloan.

Nov. 7 & 8 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center

• Georgia Farm Bureau and other ag organizations are collaborating with the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) to host this forum, designed to help farmers and ag business owners comply with labor laws and policies. The forum will be relevant to all commodities that rely on labor. • The target audience is farmers, farm office managers and personnel responsible for monitoring rules and regulations for their organizations. Leading labor attorneys and human resource specialists will teach the sessions. • Visit www.georgiaaglaborforum. com or call the GFVGA at 706-8458200 for more information or to register.

Georgia Farm Bureau News August-September 2017/ 13


public policy update By Brandon Ashley, Advocacy and Policy Development Coordinator

Member participation key for GFB's successful advocacy

How you can be involved It starts with being involved in policy development at the county level. Policy development is the cornerstone of GFB’s grassroots vision that began 80 years ago. GFB’s official policy gives our leadership and staff clear direction on what to support or oppose. In October, the GFB Policy Development Committee will begin reviewing and discussing the resolutions submitted by county Farm Bureaus and GFB Commodity Advisory Committees. This process concludes when policy resolutions are approved by the voting delegates at the GFB Annual Meeting on Jekyll Island in December. An example of the successfulness of our process occurred this past legislative session. House Bill 50, or “Livestock Liability,” was signed into law this year. This issue was a GFB Priority Issue for many legislative sessions. The idea for this issue was born in a county policy development meeting, and it went through the whole process to be approved by the voting delegates. GFB volunteers worked with staff to advocate the need 14 / August-September 2017

for this legislation. Another way you can advocate for agriculture is by being engaged in the legislative process. While the Georgia General Assembly is in session, GFB sends out weekly legislative reports summarizing the status of various bills of interest, and the actions you can take to help ensure success. Through our Voter Voice system, we also periodically send “Action Alerts” asking you to communicate a position to your elected official. GFB staff will provide the big picture message, but your addition of personal anecdotes will make the message more effective. This is a simple process that takes a few minutes to complete, and can even be done from your smart phone. If you are not receiving GFB’s Legislative Reports or Voter Voice messages, please let the GFB Public Policy Department know; we’ll get you signed up and go over how the system works.

Cultivate relationships

Lawmakers want to hear from their constituents regarding how the application of laws will affect them. Tell lawmakers who you are, what the issue is, why the issue is important, how it impacts you, and what you want them to do. Maintaining positive relationships with legislators when they’re back home in their districts is just as important as advocacy during the session. You don’t have to travel to Atlanta or Washington to meet your lawmakers; meeting with lawmakers and their staff out of their offices or showing them your farms is just as effective. Firsthand, personal communication year-round will establish a relationship rooted in trust. Legislators are often flooded with requests or criticisms. A simple “thank you” will go a long way in helping you be remembered positively when you eventually make an ask of your own. Some county Farm Bureaus have used their county office signs to publically thank legislators who are supporting agriculture. This has no cost,

takes a few minutes, and can go a long way in building a relationship. If your county does anything with legislators, let the Public Policy Department know so we can help you craft the message and showcase it on social media. We have started a Facebook page for the GFB Public Policy Department facebook.com/ SupportGaFarmers. Putting our story on social media is a way to reach Farm Bureau members, the general public, and elected officials. We encourage you to “Like” and “Share” our page so it can grow. Thomas Jefferson best summed up the need for citizen participation: “We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” Brandon Ashley is the advocacy and policy development coordinator in the GFB Public Policy Department and can be reached at btashley@gfb.org or at 478-4740679, ext. 5212

Photo by Staci Hubbard

There was once a little boy who didn’t speak, going his entire life without saying a word. One morning at breakfast, this little boy looked up at his parents and gruffly said, “The toast is burnt.” Excited beyond words, his parents were happy to hear their child speak for the first time. After their excitement subsided, the mother asked her son, “Why have you waited until now to say anything?” The boy looked up at his mother and said, “You’ve never burned my toast before.” With our advocacy programs, Georgia Farm Bureau can help you communicate with elected officials before your toast is burnt. The GFB Public Policy Department is here to fulfill the organization’s mission of being the voice for agriculture in the legislative arena. It’s important that our members are engaged year-round throughout the entire policy process.

Barrow County Farm Bureau recently used its county sign to honor its local representative, Georgia Rep. Terry England (R-Ashburn), who serves on the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee, and chairs the House Appropriations Committee. Rep. England is a former chairman of the Georgia FB Young Farmer Committee and has a long history of supporting agriculture and GFB. Georgia Farm Bureau News


The Georgia National Fair, which runs Oct. 5-15, features numerous livestock competitions, and Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) is now the premier livestock sponsor for the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter (GNFA) for the 2017-2018 season. “We are extremely excited and grateful for the partnership between ourselves and Georgia Farm Bureau. Agriculture is such an important commodity to our state and when you combine today’s youth with the opportunity of showing livestock we can’t think of a better event to support and promote,” said GNFA Marketing and Sponsorship Director Keaton Walker.   GFB and the GFB Foundation for Agriculture have sponsored grand championship prizes in cattle, goats, sheep and swine competitions for years. Under the new agreement, GFB will also sponsor many other prizes given to participants in the livestock shows. “Showing livestock has been a part

of my life for as long as I can remember. It’s something I strongly believe in,” said GFB President Gerald Long. “Participating instills a sense of pride in you, realizing your own potential so early in life.” The Georgia National Fair continues as one of the state’s marquee events. The 2016 fair drew more than 536,000 patrons, and this year’s fair promises be a hit, with nearly three dozen live shows that are free with fair admission, the always-popular midway rides, fair food and much more. The 2017 concert lineup at Reaves Arena features Brothers Osborne and Granger Smith on Oct. 7 and Trace Adkins and Chris Janson on Oct. 14. Tickets for headline concerts at Reaves Arena are $40 and include fair admission. Advance tickets for the fair are $9 per person per day. Two-day passes are $16 and season passes are $65. Children under 10 will be admitted free with a paid adult admission. For more information visit http:// georgianationalfair.com/.

Photo by Jay Stone

GFB sponsors livestock events at Georgia National Fairgrounds

Exhibitors compete in the 2016 Ga. 4-H & FFA Market Lamb Show at the Georgia National Fair. GFB will again sponsor the grand champion prize for this show and other show prizes as the premier livestock sponsor for the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter.

Get your Farm Bureau Membership paid by Farm Bureau Bank! • With $5,000 in annual spending1, Farm Bureau Bank will pay your GFB membership renewal dues! • Spend $500 in the first 4 months after opening card and you’ll receive a $100 statement credit! • 2X points on each dollar spent on eligible purchases with select Farm Bureau Member Benefit partners.2

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Farm Bureau Member Rewards MasterCard® 1 Based on purchases made in the calendar year that ends 60 days prior to membership renewal month. Balance transfers and cash advances are not included. Please see terms and conditions on farmbureaubank.com for additional details about the Farm Bureau Member Rewards MasterCard. Banking services provided by Farm Bureau Bank, FSB. Farm Bureau, FB, and the FB National Logo are registered service marks owned by and use by the Farm Bureau Bank FSB under licenese from the American Farm Bureau Federation. FBMRMC_GA_216 2Eligible purchases mean any signature or pin-based, online, phone or mail-order purchases made with the Farm Bureau Member Rewards MasterCard. Offer excludes Cash Advances, Balance Transfers, credits and returns. Points expire after four full years. Program may change or be cancelled at anytime.

Georgia Farm Bureau News August-September 2017/ 15


Photo by Jay Stone

Laurens County Farm Bureau member Jeff Bacon won the 2016 GFB Quality Hay Contest and received his prize – use of a Vermeer TM850 trailed mower on May 8. Pictured from left, GFB Public Policy Assistant Director for Ag Programs Joe McManus congratulates Brenda and Jeff Bacon as they accept their prize from Vermeer Regional Sales Manager Bryan Setzer and Matt Perfect of Perfect Equipment in Elko.

Oct. 31 Deadline To Enter

GFB Hay Contest winner gets use of a Vermeer baler for a year By Joe McManus ___________________________________ Georgia hay producers face many challenges. Last year, severe drought impacted production in most of the state. Except for some areas along the coast where storms helped producers finish the year up with higher quality, 2016 proved difficult for hay quantity and quality. It’s amazing what a difference a year makes. This year, weather patterns have given most producers an ample amount of rainfall – at times too much. In many situations, the rain events caused cuttings to be delayed. The Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Hay Advisory Committee annually sponsors the Quality Bermudagrass Hay Contest. The contest is open to all GFB members who produce hay in the state. Aside from prizes and recognition, the contest is designed to aid producers in growing quality hay.

ity and likelihood of animal intake. By entering the GFB Hay Contest, you receive the RFQ values of your hay, and you will also be able to compare it to what other farmers are producing. Farmers who have their hay tested every year can see the improvements they make in managing their hay fields by looking at multiyear analysis.

How to enter

Entry forms outlining the contest rules

may be picked up at your county Farm Bureau office or downloaded from the GFB website www.gfb.org/haycontest. There is a $20 fee for each entry to cover the cost of the lab test. Producers may enter more than one sample. Checks should be made payable to Georgia Farm Bureau. Contest participants will receive a detailed copy of their hay analysis and can choose to have a free listing in the 2017/18 GFB Hay Directory. Continued on next page

Hay samples will be lab analyzed

Keeping quality in mind, it is a good management practice to test your hay after baling. Analytical data provided by a certified lab can help you manage potential problems with moisture, nitrates or poor digestibility, especially in years with adverse weather. A benefit of entering your hay in the GFB contest is that it will be tested by the University of Georgia’s Testing Lab. The lab utilizes the Relative Forage Quality (RFQ) Test, which predicts fiber digestibil16 / August-September 2017

The first-place winner of the 2017 GFB Quality Hay Contest will receive the free use of a Vermeer 504R Signature Baler for one year with the option to purchase at a reduced price. The first-place prize is compliments of the Vermeer Manufacturing Company, which has supported this contest for the past 17 years. Georgia Farm Bureau News


Continued from previous page The deadline to enter is Oct. 31. Contest winners will be announced Dec. 4 during the awards program at the annual GFB Convention on Jekyll Island with prizes presented to the top five winners.

Contest rules

3 1) Must be a Georgia Farm Bureau member to enter. 3 2) Only dry Bermudagrass hay produced in Georgia may be entered. 3 3) Hay samples must be taken from fields with a minimum maturity or re-growth of at least 25 days to ensure fair competition. 3 4) Hay samples must have been naturally dried in the field. 3 5) Fill a one-gallon Ziploc bag with naturally field-dried core samples taken from at least 5 different bales from the same farm, same field and cut under uniform conditions. 3 6) Forage samples submitted for the contest must be a core sample taken with a hay probe. Contact your county Extension agent for

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help if needed. 3 7)  Any samples with nitrates above 4,500 parts per million will be disqualified. 3 8) Any sample with moisture above 18% will be disqualified. 3 9) Previous contest winners are not eligible to win any prize category for three years, but may enter samples

for testing purposes. 3 10) Any producer submitting multiple samples can only place in the top five with one sample but will receive analysis for all submitted samples. Joe McManus is GFB Public Policy Assistant Director for Ag Programs. He may be reached at jcmcmanus@gfb.org or 478-4740679, ext. 5259.

GFB accepting listings for hay, harvesting & custom sprigging services

Farm Bureau members with hay for sale or offering custom harvesting or custom sprigging services are invited to list in the 2017/18 GFB Quality Hay Directory published on the GFB website. Because this directory is now offered exclusively online, hay can be listed or removed from the site as your inventory dictates. To participate, please complete a submission form available at your county Farm Bureau office or online at www.gfb.org/hay. Please include a $10 check made payable to Georgia Farm Bureau for each listing of hay, custom harvesting or custom sprigging. Multiple listings are allowed.

ALWAYS CONTACT

811

BEFORE DIGGING

Since 1934

Ison’s Nursery

P.O. Box 190 • Brooks, GA 30205

1-800-733-0324 www.isons.com

Online

Phone

Log on to Georgia811.com to use our eRequest application or simply dial 811 at least 2 business days before you begin ANY digging project to have utility lines marked AND help protect yourself from injury and expense.

Georgia Farm Bureau News August-September 2017/ 17


Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone ______________________________________ U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt visited Middle Georgia July 7, touring Gully Branch, the 1,500-acre tree farm operated by Earl and Wanda Barrs in Bleckley County, before meeting with approximately 100 landowners and agricultural stakeholders. Perdue and Pruitt carried a message that their agencies will work with farmers and landowners to ensure their needs are considered while implementing environmental regulations. The visit came 10 days after the EPA announced it plans to rescind the controversial Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. “The EPA has been an impediment, not just in your industry but in other industries,” Pruitt said. “There’s been a distrust that’s been engendered in Washington D.C., that we can’t trust people. We can’t trust folks who own private property to do what’s necessary to protect the water and the air. That’s just simply not the case.” After Pruitt and Perdue spoke, they opened the floor, and the crowd responded with questions about the Trump administration’s stance on conservation, environmental education and forest fire prevention. See TREE FARM page 28

During a July visit to Georgia, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt acknowledged the agency had been an impediment to American farms in the past and pledged to work with farmers to make sure their concerns about environmental regulations are considered. More photos from the meeting are available at http://bit. ly/PerduePruittvisit. 18 / August-September 2017

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Perdue, Pruitt visit tree farm

Cindy and Rep. Terry England, center, cut the ribbon for the leadership center at the Ga. FFA/FCCLA Center with the help of Gov. Nathan Deal, FFA members from across the state, FCCLA leaders and Chip Bridges, program manager of ag education. Visit http://bit.ly/Englanddedicationpics to see more photos.

FFA/FCCLA Camp honors Rep. England with building dedication By Jennifer Whittaker ____________________________________________________________________

G

a. Rep. Terry England (R-Dist. 116) was honored for his support of ag education, Georgia FFA and the Georgia Family, Career & Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) programs during a dedication ceremony for the new Terry England Leadership Center July 18 at the Georgia FFA/FCCLA Camp. England, who has served in the Ga. House since 2005, was instrumental in developing an oversight committee for ag education more than 12 years ago. As chairman of the Georgia House Appropriations Committee since 2011, England has been instrumental in spearheading the appropriation of about $20 million for improvement projects at Camp John Hope in Fort Valley and at the Georgia FFA/ FCCLA Center in Covington. Funds have been used to build new cabins, dining halls and activity centers, renovate existing cabins and improve water and sewage infrastructure at the two camps to sustain the ag education and FFA/FCCLA leadership programs. “Terry has been the leader of the appropriations committee in the House and he’s been a supporter and encourager of ag education. There was a time when vocational ag education was in jeopardy even though agriculture is the number one economic driver,” Gov. Nathan Deal said. England, who was an active FFA member in the early 1980s, and his wife, Cindy, served on both the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee & the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee in the early 1990s. England chaired the GFB committee in 1993. “I want to thank everyone who felt this was appropriate. I’m humbled to the point of not knowing what to say,” England said. “My hope is that for decades to come this building will create the memories that some of the buildings down the hill {at the camp} helped make for me.” To read the complete story, visit http://bit.ly/EnglandLeadershipCenter. Georgia Farm Bureau News


GFB mourns loss of former county leaders Georgia Farm Bureau recently lost three former county Farm Bureau presidents: Larry Eley of Greene County, Paul Moncrief of Jones County and Al Theus of Long County. “Georgia Farm Bureau has become the successful organization that it is because of the dedicated service of members like Larry, Paul and Al through the years,” said Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long. “They will be greatly missed and our thoughts and prayers go out to their families.”

LARRY ELEY SR., 71, who served five, nonconsecutive two-year terms as Greene County Farm Bureau president between 1978 and 2016, died July 17. Eley attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, earning an associate degree in dairy science. At the time of his death he was running Larry Eley Farm Supply in White Plains. Farming was Eley’s life, and he was a member of Georgia Farm Bureau since 1969. He was chairman of the GFB Young

Farmer Committee in 1978 and served on the GFB Water Committee from 2005 to 2015. In February, Eley was inducted into the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts Hall of Fame. He was an active member of White Plains Baptist Church. He is survived by his wife of almost 49 years, Nancy Rowe Eley, daughters, Amy Simpson (Charles) and Beth Clifton (Chad); sons, Jeff Eley and Mark Eley (Tawny); seven grandchildren; brothers, Jamie, Phil and Keith Eley. Condolences may be sent to the family at 2331 Eley Road, White Plains, Ga. 30678.

PAUL MONCRIEF, 85, president of Jones County Farm Bureau from 1997 to 2000, died June 30. Born in Cordele, Moncrief lived in Jones County for the past 62 years. He was a livestock farmer and retired from Keebler-Kellogg Company. He started Apple Valley Feed Company in 1993, closing the company in 2012. He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Lois, and his son, Hugh Skinner.

Eley

Moncrief

Theus

Moncrief is survived by two grandsons. Condolences may be sent to the family at 215 Old Highway 18, Gray, Ga. 31032. AL THEUS, 88, president of Long County Farm Bureau from 1996 to 2011, died July 11. Theus was born and raised in Ludowici, where he returned after retiring from the U.S. Air force following 20 years of service. Theus began his 25-year career with the Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company in Long County in 1969 and retired as agency manager in 1994. He was an LCFB director at his death. An avid hunter and fisherman, Theus grew blueberries. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Sybil Clayton Theus; son, Alfred “Fred” S. Theus Jr.; daughter Yvonne Griffin (Mike); three grandsons and two great-grandchildren. Condolences may be sent to the family at P.O. Box 9, Ludowici, Ga. 31316.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News August-September 2017/ 19


Turner says water conflict likely to continue

Although the resolution of the lawsuit filed in the U.S. Supreme Court by Florida in 2013 is perhaps only months away, the fight to protect access to water is likely to continue after the decision is handed down, according to Jud Turner, one of the attorneys who has worked on Georgia’s case. Turner, the former Georgia Environmental Protection Division director, gave an update on the progress of the case during remarks at the Joint Agriculture Chairmen’s Ag Issues Summit, held Aug. 23 at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture in Tifton. Special Master Ralph Lancaster made his recommendation in March. The Supreme Court will hear arguments this fall and is expected to issue a ruling in the first half of 2018. “We’ve had wins and losses,” Turner said “The water wars will continue unless

Alert: • Free bimonthly newsletter emailed to subscribers • Updates on GFB volunteers, programs, member benefits and events • Timely news on Georgia commodities, legislative news important to agriculture and agribusiness news • Comprehensive calendar of upcoming ag events from around the state

www.gfb.org/alert

Brought to you by Georgia Farm Bureau

20 / August-September 2017

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone _____________________________________

Attorney Jud Turner

there’s a big settlement between governors or something on some other front. It would be short-sighted to view any of these legal decisions as the end of it. In agriculture, we ought to be active, continuing to manage, continuing to seek ways to improve.” The annual summit, hosted by Georgia House Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom McCall and Georgia Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman John Wilkinson, drew about 200 ag stakeholders. They also heard presentations on the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE), rural development and rural healthcare, updates on ag water use, and the Destination Ag program at the museum. GATE Compliance Officer Reggie Stowers reviewed the training he and other compliance officers provide retailers and results of a survey that measured GATE card abuse. Stowers and four other compliance officers visited approximately 1,500 stores that sell equipment and supplies to

farmers, offering guidance on which items are exempt from sales taxes under GATE. Stoward said 63 percent of the retailers surveyed reported fewer than 50 GATE customers per day and 91 percent of them reported fewer than 25 GATE transactions per day. Eighty-five percent of the retailers surveyed said they had little or no abuse; less than two percent reported significant abuse. Mark Masters of the Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center presented data on Georgia’s agricultural water use, noting that since the state employed its water metering program, the ability to quantify water use has improved significantly. Of the 23,000 irrigation pivots in the state, 80 percent have meters to measure how much water they’re using. Masters said the metered pivots have provided a significant collection of data. Masters said withdrawals of surface water have declined in 10 of the state’s 11 regional watersheds, while withdrawals of ground water have increased in some areas. Georgia Rep. Sam Watson, vice chair of the House Rural Development Council, reviewed the council’s efforts to determine how the state can help rural communities improve their economies and quality of life. These included meetings with broadband providers and economic developers and studies on improving workforce development and meeting infrastructure needs. Sen. Dean Burke, a physician from Seminole County, discussed challenges facing rural healthcare, calling for state and federal support to make it viable.

Williams to lead Georgia Forestry Commission Oconee County Farm Bureau member Chuck Williams began serving as director of the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) Sept. 1. Williams replaces Robert Farris, who retired in May. Williams has served in leadership roles for both the GFC & the Georgia Forestry Association and was the 2005 Georgia Tree Farmer of the Year. Since 2011, he represented Georgia’s 119th District (part of Clarke & Oconee counties) in the Georgia House of Representatives. A special election will be held to fill the seat. “As a forest landowner, Chuck has a keen understanding of the forestry community in our state and country. His years of service on Williams the GFC Board of Directors, coupled with his extensive background in economics, make him uniquely qualified to lead GFC as it provides leadership, service and education in the protection and conservation of Georgia’s forest resources,” Gov. Nathan Deal said in a released statement announcing Williams’ hire. Williams and his wife, Beth, live in Oconee County.

Georgia Farm Bureau News


Sunbelt Expo turning 40! GFB a 40-year exhibitor

By Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________ Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

T

he Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition is celebrating a milestone this year, marking its 40th annual show, Oct. 17-19, and Georgia Farm Bureau is proud to have been an exhibitor at each of them! “As we prepare to celebrate our 40th anniversary show we can’t help but think the founders of the show would be amazed and astounded at the size and scope of Expo today,” Chip Blalock, Sunbelt executive director said. “To put the growth into perspective, the 1978 show hosted 410 exhibitors on an estimated 25 acres. To those 23 exhibitors who were among our original exhibitors and have participated in all 40 shows, we sincerely say thank you for believing in and supporting the Sunbelt Ag Expo.” This year, more than 1,200 exhibitors will participate in the event that has grown to include a 100-acre show site and a 600-acre research farm. More than 300 educational

The American Grand Finals Stock Dog Trials, held annually at Expo, always draw a big crowd. You can catch them on the way to the Expo field demonstrations.

and get info on GFB programs and member benefits. Tennessee is the Expo Spotlight State and will host an exhibit titled, “The Soundtrack of America – Made in Tennessee,” showcasing the state’s cultural diversity and ag history along with the many places and experiences the state offers.

Other daily events include the antique tractor parade, American Grand Finals Stock Dog Trials and equine demonstrations. For a complete schedule of Expo events or to buy advance discount tickets, visit www.sunbeltexpo.com. Admission at the gate is $10 per person/day. Gates open at 8:30 a.m. daily.

Dairy producer Everett Williams of Morgan County is honored as the Ga. Expo Farmer. Read about it on page 29 seminars and demonstrations will be offered during the three-day event covering beef, dairy, equine, poultry and pond management along with cooking and gardening demos. An exhibit highlighting Expo’s 40 years will be displayed in the new R.W. Griffin building opening at this show on Block D-7. Griffin is recognized as Expo’s official fertilizer company along with Southern States Cooperative. The Georgia Equine Commission will also unveil its new license plate in a ceremony at the Griffin building. Sales of the vehicle tag help fund the commission. Be sure to drop by the Georgia Agriculture Building at the main gate to visit with GFB representatives to learn how Farm Bureau is representing farmers on ag issues Georgia Farm Bureau News August-September 2017/ 21


Moore leading UGA CAES research programs Effective July 1, Dr. Allen Moore is leading the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) research efforts as the associate dean for research and associate director of the college’s ag experiment stations statewide. CAES Dean Dr. Sam Pardue announced Moore’s hire in early May following a months-long national search to replace Dr. Robert Shulstad, who held the position for 11 years before retiring in June. “Dr. Moore brings a diverse background in genetics, ecology and entomology to our college research program,” Pardue said. Moore was serving as department head of the UGA Franklin College of Arts & Sciences Department of Genetics when he was tapped for the position. A UGA Distinguished Research Professor, Moore is an expert in evolutionary biology and behavior genetics; molecular and quantitative genetic studies of complex traits, especially social traits; and the development of behavior. Prior to coming to UGA, he previously held various research and administrative

Oliver new UGA fruit pathologist

Jonathan Oliver is the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences new fruit pathologist specializing in blueberries, blackberries, citrus, pomegranates, olives and mayhaws. Stationed on the UGA Tifton campus, Oliver hopes to continue work he did at Auburn University on Xylella fastidiosa, the cause of bacterial leaf scorch in blueOliver berries. He coordinated some of his research with UGA Cooperative Extension county agents in Georgia. Oliver is also tasked with helping Georgia’s burgeoning citrus industry grow. Oliver is researching citrus greening, a bacterial disease that wiped out a substantial number of citrus trees in Florida. Oliver earned undergraduate degrees in plant pathology and microbiology and cell science from the University of Florida and a doctoral degree in plant pathology from Cornell University. 22 / August-September 2017

positions in biological sciences at the University of Manchester and the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom and in entomology at the University of Kentucky. Moore Moore earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Arizona State University and a doctorate in environmental, population and organismic biology from the University of Colorado. He was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow in environmental biology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a postdoctoral research associate in the Northwestern University School of Medicine Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy. “This college has a rich history in cutting-edge agricultural research and is poised to continue that tradition of making a real difference in the years ahead,” Moore said. “I am excited to be a part of these outstanding programs and look forward to working with this respected research faculty.”

Pilon joins UGA peanut team

Since March 1, Dr. Cristiane Pilon has been studying the physiological and metabolic processes of peanut plants to identify how the plants respond to stress conditions such as drought, high temperatures, inPilon sect and disease pressures, especially from the tomato spotted wilt virus. Based on the UGA Tifton campus, Pilon is working with the agronomists, plant breeders and entomologists on the UGA peanut team to solve production issues Georgia peanut producers have. Pilon views drought as one of the main problems Georgia peanut farmers face since half of the peanuts grown in Georgia are produced in nonirrigated fields. A native of Brazil, Pilon earned her doctorate in cotton physiology at the University of Arkansas.

Noland named UGA Extension agronomist for corn, soybeans & small grains

As of Aug. 1, Georgia once again has an Extension Agronomist for corn, soybeans and small grains such as wheat, oats, barley and rye. Reagan Noland will spend 80 percent of his time meeting and talking with county Extension agents about concerns for the a forementioned crops. The remaining 20 percent of Noland’s time will be Noland spent on research projects for the same crops. The Texas native earned a bachelor’s degree in natural resource management from Angelo State University, a master’s degree in agronomy form Texas A&M and his doctorate in agronomy and agroecology at the University of Minnesota.

Appointees named to Ga. Commodity Commissions During an Aug. 1 meeting, the Georgia Agriculture Commodity Commissions (GACC) Ex Officio Committee made the following appointments to serve on the Georgia commissions: Apples – David Lillard, Fannin County; Blueberry – Steve Mullis, Bacon County, Russ Goodman, Clinch County, Shane Wade, Bacon County; Corn – Robby Brett, Jefferson County, Randy Dowdy, Brooks County, Rodney Harrell, Lee County; Cotton – Lee Cromley, Bulloch County, John Ruark, Morgan County, Chris Hopkins, Toombs County; Equine – Ron Smith, Camden County; Milk – Tim Camp, Putnam County, Judd Chambers, Jones County, Pete Gelber, Macon County; Peach – Jeff Wainwright, Taylor County, Duke Lane III, Peach County, Lee Dickey, Crawford County; Pecan – Lanair Worsham Jr., Mitchell County, R.G. Lamar, Pulaski County; Soybean – Greg Mims, Seminole County, Tony Smith, Baker County, Mark Arial, Franklin County, Joe Moore, Gordon County (term to expire 2019), Brian Ogletree, Lamar County (term to expire 2019); Tobacco – Carlos Vickers, Berrien County, Brant Clifton, Bulloch County; and Vegetable – Dick Minor, Sumter County. Georgia Farm Bureau News


GCC sets budget, elects Davis chairman At its June 28 meeting, the Georgia Cotton Commission (GCC) approved its budget for fiscal year 2018 (FY18) that began July 1. The new budget includes $645,000 for cotton research projects that cover all aspects of cotton production including cotton breeding, variety testing, weed science, entomology, pathology and engineering. The GCC research budget includes a grant for continued support of the UGA Cotton Team’s extension activities. A list of current and past research projects can be found on the commission website at www.GeorgiaCottonCommission.org. The GCC budget also supports cotton industry organizations, such as the National Cotton Council and Southern Cotton Growers, that do market and promotional work to benefit cotton growers. Also at its June 28 meeting, the GCC elected Bart Davis of Colquitt County as chairman and Matt Coley of Dooly County as vice-chairman. Davis, who was first appointed to the board in 2012, succeeds Mike Lucas of Bleckley County. Lucas, who began serving as GCC chairman in 2013, just end-

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ed 14 years of service on the GCC board. Coley, appointed to the GCC board in 2012, succeeds Lee Cromley of Bulloch County. Davis Cromley, who continues to serve on the GCC, has served as a GCC director since 2011 and began serving as GCC vice chairman in 2014. Davis operates Davis Farms, a cotton, peanut, corn, hay, and cattle operation, with his wife, daughter and two sons. Davis also serves as a delegate to the National Cotton Council, is a director for Southern Cotton Growers, and is an alternate director for Cotton Incorporated. Coley is the fourth generation to operate Coley Farms, a cotton and peanut farm, and Coley Gin & Fertilizer, a cotton gin and peanut buying point in Vienna. After college, Coley served on the staff of Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Coley serves as a board member for the National Peanut Buying Points Association and as director for the American Cotton Producers of the National Cotton Council.

Cox to lead GACD

The Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD) recently named Mitchell County native Casey Cox its executive director. GACD is a grassroots non-profit organization that advocates for the conservation of Georgia’s natural resources by providCox ing organization, leadership and unified strategic direction to Georgia’s 40 Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Cox, from Camilla, joins GACD from the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District, where she also serves as executive director. She will lead GACD’s projects, develop strategic partnerships, and support natural resource conservation efforts while serving as director for both organizations.   Cox serves on the Georgia Farm Bureau Forestry Committee and chairs the Mitchell County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee.

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Destination Ag partners with GFB

Photo by Jay Stone

Awards presented at NAITC Conference Carol Baker-Dunn received the 2017 Agriculture Advocate Award, and Marla Garnto was one of eight recipients of the National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award presented at the 2017 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference, June 20-23, in Kansas City, Missouri. Garnto’s award was sponsored by the

AFBF offers $1,000 grants

In honor of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture's (AFBFA) 50th anniversary, the foundation is increasing the White-Reinhardt Mini-Grants it offers to $1,000. Grants are offered to county Farm Bureaus for classroom programs for grades K-12 to initiate new activities or expand existing ones. Funds may not be used for consumable items like food or paper, transportation, wages or safety programs. Payments will only be made to a state or county Farm Bureau. Applications are due to AFBFA by Oct. 15 and must be made online. Visit bit.ly/ AFBFgrants for all information. County Farm Bureaus who would like to have their application reviewed should send a draft of their application to Donna Rocker no later than Sept. 29. For help in completing the application, contact Rocker at dhrocker@gfb.org. Once she has provided you with feedback, you will then need to submit the application online. Congratulations to the Butts, Chatham, Cherokee and McDuffie County Farm Bureaus for receiving $500 grants from the AFBFA earlier this year! 24 / August-September 2017

Farm Bureau county volunteers and staff who wish to use their district’s trunk should contact their GFB district field representative. To learn more about the overall Destination Ag program, contact Garrett Boone at gboone@abac.edu or 229-391-5203. Read more about the impact Destination Ag is having on students served by the program at http://bit.ly/DestAg. The program served more than 5,000 students in its first year.

teers and staff members visiting schools to teach students about Georgia agriculture,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “We are proud to partner with the Harley Langdale Jr. Foundation and Destination Ag program to use the Traveling Trunks to educate primary students across the state about Georgia’s timber producers and the products, such as houses and paper products, made from the trees they grow.”

Photo by Donna Rocker

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) and the Georgia Museum of Agriculture & Historic Village are partnering with Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) to expand the Destination Ag program. The Destination Ag program, funded by the Harley Langdale Jr. Foundation, kicked off last fall by providing elementary students in Tift, Colquitt and Cook counties the chance to visit the museum located on the ABAC campus to learn about agriculture and careers associated with ag and natural resources. Field trips will also be offered to Berrien County elementary students this school year. Destination Ag is providing a traveling trunk highlighting forestry for each of GFB’s 10 districts. Each trunk has pine cones, cross-sections of tree trunks, a copy of “The Tree Farmer,” and lesson plans to equip GFB county volunteers and staff to visit preK-2nd grade classrooms to teach students about Georgia forestry. The trunks will be particularly helpful for counties too far to take a field trip to ABAC’s Tifton campus. “Georgia Farm Bureau has coordinated Georgia’s Ag in the Classroom initiative for more than 30 years with our county volun-

Georgia Museum of Agriculture & Historic Village Assistant Director Sara Hand, left, and Outreach Coordinator Kelly Scott, right, presented a Destination Ag “Traveling Trunk” to GFB Foundation for Agriculture Executive Director Katie Gazda on Aug. 11.

Carol Baker-Dunn, left, and Marla Garnto

USDA National Institute of Food & Agriculture and the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization. Garnto is the music educator and STEM coordinator for kindergarten through 5th grade at Northside Elementary in Houston County. She received the award in recognition of the STEM project her students did with Perdue Farms to increase production efficiency at the chicken processing plant. Continued on next page Georgia Farm Bureau News


Hennessee’s essay on Georgia specialty crops wins GFB contest

GFB Foundation for Ag awards $7,000 in grants

The latest recipients of grants from the Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture have been announced. The foundation has awarded $500 grants to the Decatur County 4-H, Effingham Middle FFA, Lee Middle West FFA and Atkinson FFA to support leadership development and ag literacy projects conducted by the student organizations. The following county Farm Bureaus received $500 grants for classroom education, consumer awareness or leadership development projects: Baldwin, Bibb, Brooks, Cobb, Emanuel, Gordon, Irwin, McDuffie, Walker and Wilkinson. Applications for the next cycle of grants for county Farm Bureaus and 4-H Clubs or FFA Chapters are due Dec. 15. Visit www.gfbfoundation.org for more information or to apply. The GFB Foundation for Agriculture is a non-profit charitable foundation that funds projects to increase the public’s understanding of agriculture, offers scholarships to students pursuing careers in agriculture or closely related fields, and funds leadership development programs. Visit www.gfbfoundation.org to make a tax-deductible donation or for more information about its programs. Continued from previous page The project included a presentation by the students to key managers at the plant. Baker-Dunn is the Houston County Farm Bureau Women’s Chairman and represents the GFB 8th District on the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee. She was recognized for the work she has done in her county to support ag literacy efforts in local schools through a reading program, school gardens and securing grants for classes. Garnto and Baker-Dunn were among the 20-person Georgia delegation attending the event. Visit www.agclassroom.org to view more highlights of the 2017 conference. You may access lesson plans on the Curriculum Matrix on this website. Lessons are matched to national education standards. The 2018 conference, “Agriculture for ME on Land and Sea” will be held in Portland, Maine, June 26-29. For more information about Ag in the Classroom contact Donna Rocker at dhrocker@gfb. org or call 478-474-0679,ext. 5365.

Bulloch County student Samuel Hennessee is the state winner of the 2017 Georgia Farm Bureau Middle School Essay Contest, open to students in sixth through eighth grades during the past school year. The son of Christie and Nolan Hennessee, Samuel was an eighth-grader at South East Bulloch Middle School when he wrote his winning essay earlier this year. He received a $150 cash prize for being the state winner and $100 cash for being the top winner from GFB’s 7th District. The 50 students who participated in the contest were asked to discuss the importance of Georgia’s specialty crops. A winner was selected from each of GFB’s 10 districts, and the state winner was chosen from the district winners. Other district winners were: Ashrutha Shanmugan, Forsyth County, District 1; Chloe Pulliam, Franklin County, District 2; Christina Jackson, Clayton County, District 3; Kathleen Sneed, Columbia County, District 4; Patrick Clark Jr., Harris County, District 5; Zach Floyd, Twiggs County, District 6; District 8 had no entries; Peyton Gwines, Tift County, District 9; Jessa Tanner, Coffee County; District 10. To read the district winning essays visit www.gfb. org/essays. “Finding innovative ways to reach students is a continued goal for Ag in the Classroom. The GFB Art and Essay Contests are a unique opportunity to effectively connect with students and teachers to increase agricultural awareness,” said GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Rhonda Williams. “I appreciate all the counties that connected with teachers and students, encouraging them to participate in the essay contest.”  If you teach 6th-8th grades or are a 6th-8th grade student interested in participating in the 2018 GFB Essay Contest, visit bit.ly/18GFBEssayContestinfo . If you are a high school art teacher or high school student interested in the 2018 GFB Art Contest, visit  bit.ly/18GFBArtContestinfo . Below is an excerpt of Hennessee’s essay. Visit bit.ly/HennesseeGFBessay to read the entire essay.

“The Importance of Georgia’s Specialty Crops” By Samuel Hennessee

If you know what it feels like to devour slices of sweet Vidalia onion or bite into the juicy flesh of a fresh-picked peach, you might just live in Georgia. Even though many farmers in Georgia prefer to harvest cash crops like peanuts and cotton, the specialty crops are just as important to the economy because of the statistics and history of them. According to the USDA, a specialty cop must be cultivated or managed and used by people for food or medicinal purposes. Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and more, meaning cotton, peanuts and canola are excluded. Georgia’s main specialty crops are blueberries, pecans, peaches, onions, watermelons, bell peppers, cabbage, cucumbers, and sweet corn. In total, Georgia produces $9.5 billion on agricultural products per year, with a significant $1.5 billion of that being specialty crops. From the sweetest of peaches to the juiciest of watermelons, it seems Georgia wouldn’t be the same without these products. Georgia’s specialty crops are just as crucial as the cash crops. Georgia is a beautiful place with amazing people, food, and agriculture.

Georgia Farm Bureau News August-September 2017/ 25


AROUND GEORGIA News from County Farm Bureaus Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker BANKS COUNTY Pictured from left, Banks County Women’s Committee members Ann Gordon, Margie Ward and Kellie Ward read the book “Who Grew My Soup” to preK/Headstart students for Ag Literacy Day, March 23, during Georgia Ag Awareness Week. To celebrate Georgia Grown Day, March 24, the Women’s Committee read “First Peas to the Table” to the elementary class of Dr. Fuschetti and taught the students how to plant a pea seed. The committee teamed up with the Banks County Extension office to promote the specialty crops grown in Georgia by offering samples of vegetables and fruit Georgia farmers grow to elementary students. CHEROKEE COUNTY Cherokee County Farm Bureau held a Farm Day Picnic at Cagle’s Family Farm for the 50 first and second place winners of its First-Grade Coloring Contest. The students who attended had the chance to plant tomato plants, learn about bees and see a milking demonstration courtesy the Georgia Mobile Dairy Classroom. CCFB Agent Dan Schilling, center, helped the students plant tomatoes during the event. CCFB member Vicky Grizzle and CCFB Agent Stacie Eubanks, not pictured, also helped with the planting.

CLAY COUNTY Clay County Farm Bureau sponsored an essay and poster contest for 4-H’ers to encourage them to explore “What agriculture 26 / August-September 2017

means to Clay County.” Participating 4-H’ers wrote an essay and drew a poster about the commodities grown in Clay County. CCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Betty Britt presented prizes to pictured from left, 1st place winner Chynna Edwards, 2nd place winner Everlyn Smith and 3rd place winner Gabriel Edwards. After the award ceremony, Britt and the CCFB served the students refreshments.

CLAYTON COUNTY Clayton County Farm Bureau held a First Responders Day May 18 at its office to recognize the men and women who daily put their life on the line for the county. More than 70 Clayton County firefighters, police officers and EMTs enjoyed grilled hot dogs, courtesy of Paces Restoration. The firefighters and police department also played a competitive game of corn hole.  CCFB recently donated $12,021 to the Clayton County Police Department for the purchase of three pole cameras to conduct surveillance in areas based on complaints, criminal activity and quality of life issues. “Clayton County Farm Bureau wanted to give back to our community by making this donation to help deter crime in our county,” CCFB President Paul Jones said. “We believe any assistance a community business can give for the protection of our citizens is always the best thing to do. My hope is that Farm Bureau’s donation will inspire others to make donations to our local law enforcement to help purchase the tools needed to make Clayton County a better and safer place to live.” COLQUITT COUNTY Colquitt County Farm Bureau is increasing the ag literacy of elementary students in its county by rotating two ag bookcases filled with books that accurately portray agriculture to two of the 10 elemenGeorgia Farm Bureau News


tary schools in the county each month. CCFB Office Manager Charlotte Wingate, left, is pictured delivering the bookcase to Okapilco Elementary School (OES) Media Specialist Val Bell.  While at the school, Wingate read one of the ag books to a kindergarten class at OES. DECATUR COUNTY Decatur County Farm Bureau (DCFB) teamed up with Jones – Wheat Elementary School to celebrate Ag Awareness Week, March 20-24, with its four, first-grade classes. DCFB Director Kevin Rentz visited the students on Ag Hero Day, March 22. DCFB Office Manager Lisa Green and FFA students in Martin Bius’ classes at Bainbridge High School visited the four classes on Ag Literacy Day, March 23, to read ag books. On March 24, Make My Plate Georgia Grown Day, all the first graders enjoyed fresh strawberries grown at Rentz Family Farms compliments of the Rentz family. Kevin Rentz, right, and his wife, teacher Amanda, left, show students a strawberry plant and sweet potatoes Kevin brought from Rentz Family Farms.

ELBERT COUNTY Elbert County Farm Bureau (ECFB) partnered with Elbert County Cooperative Extension to host a farm tour May 30 for representatives of the Elbert County Board of Education and Ga. Sen. Lee Anderson. The tour visited Pearl Mill Hydroponic Farm, the cotton farm of ECFB Director Rick Wansley, Lake Russell Vineyards, ECFB Director Bobby Eavenson’s row crop farm and ECFB Director Ron Ward’s cattle farm. Participating in the tour were, pictured from left, GFB 2nd Dist. Field Rep. Brittany Ivey, Elbert County 4-H Agent Lauren Dye, ECFB Office Manager Haley Black, Ga. Sen. Lee Anderson, Elbert County School Superintendent Chuck Bell, Shane Duncan, owner of Pearl Mill Hydroponic Farm and Elbert County Extension Director Patrick Marcellino. FAYETTE COUNTY Fayette County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee hosted its 10th Annual Farmer Appreciation Day May 18 at Minters Farm. The committee honored Mickey, pictured, & Tammie Harp of Fayetteville. The Harps have built their wholesale plant nursery into

Fayette County’s largest agribusiness during the past 30 years. The Harps use a unique water recycling system, which uses a series of retaining ponds to capture run-off irrigation water for reuse. The Harps’ farm represents the latest in a long line of Harp family farms dating back to the formation of Fayette County in 1821. GLYNN COUNTY Glynn County Farm Bureau (GCFB) Beekeepers’ Committee member Susan Shipman and GCFB Office Manager Debra Orr visited Frederica Academy on St. Simons Island in May to present GCFB’s annual Honey Bee Day for the school’s secondgraders. While speaking to the students, Shipman, center, delivered a PowerPoint presentation about honey bees and the role they play in pollinating one-third of the food we eat. Shipman also discussed the role the queen bee plays in the hive and the various jobs the worker bees have. Students got to taste local honey and see equipment beekeepers use to care for their hives. HOUSTON COUNTY Houston County Farm Bureau celebrated Georgia Agriculture Awareness Week by partnering with the Houston County Extension Service to host an Ag Awareness Cookout on the Perry Downtown Square March 23. Various aspects of agriculture were highlighted including beef, goat and honeybee production. HCFB volunteer Gordon Grizzle, HCFB Directors Cason Anderson and Edmond Stickland grilled hotdogs served to attendees. On March 24, Anderson visited Perdue Primary School where he spoke to all the first-grade students about his career of being a farmer. MADISON COUNTY Madison County Farm Bureau and FFA students hosted a farm tour for about 65 Ila Elementary kindergarteners in May.  The (Continued on next page)

Georgia Farm Bureau News August-September 2017/ 27


(Continued from previous page) students visited the high school ag department where they planted plants in the greenhouse and saw wildlife exhibits. They then visited a local farm where they got to see horse, dairy, beef cattle, swine, sheep, goat, poultry and pecan tree exhibits. MONROE COUNTY Thanks to Monroe County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee members Melissa Mathis and Dianne Peters, students at the First Baptist Church Preschool in Forsyth have a better understanding of where eggs come from! The MCFB volunteers read the Dr. Seuss book “Green Eggs and Ham” to the students and took baby chicks for the students to see. MORGAN COUNTY Thanks to Morgan County Farm Bureau, another class of fifthgraders gained safety tips while attending the annual Farm Safety Camp MCFB held in April at Hard Labor Creek State Park. MCFB directors assisted with the event along with Extension Agent Lucy Ray, ag teachers Rachel Patrick Kinsaul and Kaitlyn Butler and many other representatives from ag organizations and businesses. Ricky Boles with the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources, center, talked about ATV safety. Morgan County 4-H volunteer Jay Moon discussed dairy production and safety precautions to take around cattle. 4-H volunteer Angie Pickle discussed how to handle horses to prevent an accident. AgPro representatives Steve Carlson, Robert Cobb & Adam Branchetti explained how a hay bailer works and safety precautions to follow to prevent accidents. Georgia Power employee Mike McBay gave an electrical demonstration and discussed electrical safety. PAULDING COUNTY Paulding County Farm Bureau (PCFB) supported Science, Technology, Engineering & Technology (STEM) Week at Hiram Elementary School in May by holding a radish growing contest and 28 / August-September 2017

providing the supplies. Pictured from left, PCFB Director Jim Talley and PCFB Office Manager Tracy Grice delivered materials to HES Principal Paul Wilder for the contest, which let the students plant seeds and watch them grow. Grice later visited with students to teach them how to plant the seeds and care for them so they would grow. PIKE & SPALDING COUNTIES Pike and Spalding County Farm Bureaus recently cohosted a legislative lunch at the SCFB office for U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, front row, right, who represents Georgia’ 3rd Congressional District. SCFB and PCFB members attended the event. Topics discussed included tax reform, healthcare reform and the budget.

RICHMOND COUNTY Cross Creek High School FFA recognized Richmond County Farm Bureau (RCFB) during its annual awards program May 4 for the ongoing support RCFB has given the FFA program. RCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Marsha Rider, center, accepted the appreciation award from Cross Creek FFA members Hannah Cheek and Caleb Beck. RCFB has regularly donated $1,200 a year to the Cross Creek FFA to help fund chapter activities and an additional $300 to help send FFA members to the Georgia FFA Convention. (Continued on next oage) TREE FARM from page 18 Pruitt was asked about rapid changes in water quality standards and the effects they have on small communities. Georgia Farm Bureau Forestry Committee Chairman John Mixon asked Perdue about the USDA’s budget for the U.S. Forest Service, particularly for fire prevention practices. Perdue said the issue has drawn the attention of Congress and a budgetary fix is possible. To read the complete story visit http://bit.ly/PerduePruittvisitGA. Georgia Farm Bureau News


TAYLOR COUNTY Taylor County Farm Bureau Promotion & Education /Women’s Committees Chairman Jana Montgomery read the book “First Peas to the Table,” to second-grade students at Taylor County Primary School in May. Montgomery brought soil, seeds, cups and all supplies needed for the children to plant their seeds. Four weeks later, on May 22, Montgomery visited the class and shot this picture of the children with their growing plants. WALKER COUNTY Walker County Farm Bureau (WCFB) worked with five schools in the county this past school year to teach more than 500 pre-K through eighth-grade students about soil. Teacher Nick Cantrell is pictured leading second-graders in an activity where they learn the five layers of soil by making an edible “soil” dessert. As part of WCFB’s soil lesson, each student had a plastic cup to fill with a different food that represents a layer of soil. The layers consist of: Bedrock- crushed chocolate chip cookie; Parent Material-crushed Whoppers; Sub Soil  – pudding; Top Soil –pudding; Organic Matter/Hummus-crushed Oreo & gummy worms. WARE COUNTY More than 500 Ware County kindergarteners from seven schools were introduced to agriculture & forestry during the Farm Fun Day Ware County Farm Bureau (WCFB) held in May at the Waycross Exchange Club Fairgrounds! The WCFB Women’s Committee spearheaded the project with cooperation from the

Ware County

WCFB Board of Directors & office staff, the Ware County High School and Middle School FFA, Ware County Cooperative Extension & 4-H, and numerous community agribusinesses and organizations. The event served as the grand finale for a series of Ag in the Classroom events the WCFB Women’s Committee conducted for elementary students throughout the 2016-17 school year. WCFB Vice President Victor Aldridge, right, talked to students about the equipment he uses as a farmer to spray row crops to protect them from insects and fungal diseases to grow healthy crops.

Williams honored as Ga. Expo Farmer Dairy producer Everett Williams of Morgan County is among a group of 10 farmers from the Southeast named state winners in the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year contest. Williams, who was announced Georgia’s winner in March, operates his family’s WDairy that’s home to a milking herd of about 2,000 cows that produced almost 52 million pounds of milk last year. Since the late 1970s, Everett and his wife, Williams Carol, have managed the family dairy started by his father, John, in 1958. In 2012, the Williams family installed a rotating milking parlor that can milk 72 cows as it makes a complete rotation in 10 minutes. The herd is milked three times daily. Electronic collars track the movement and health of the cows, telling Williams if a cow needs to be bred or if she is sick. The Williams family raises about 2,000 acres of silage throughout the year to feed their cows – a combination of irrigated and non-irrigated corn, sorghum and ryegrass acreage. The family recycles manure from their barns to fertilize their fields and improve soil productivity and uses recycled manure water to flush the freestall barns where the cows are housed between milkings and irrigate crops. Williams works with Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to protect his farm’s natural resources and follows an approved nutrient management plan for applying the recycled manure and water to his fields. The Williams have four adult children – Justin, Daniel, Katie and Michelle – and three grandchildren. Their sons help manage the farm, and Katie helps with farm promotion and tours. As the state winner, Williams will receive a $2,500 cash award from Swisher International, a $500 gift certificate from Southern States Cooperative and a Columbia vest from Ivey’s Outdoor Farm Supply. The winner will be announced at a luncheon on Oct. 17 at Sunbelt Expo.

Photo courtesy of Ga. Milk Producers Inc.

TATTNALL COUNTY Tattnall County Farm Bureau President David Jarriel, standing, greets American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall & Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black who rode in the Glennville Sweet Onion Festival Parade May 13. Jarriel is one of Tattnall County’s many Vidalia onion growers. Tattnall County is the top Vidalia onion producer and grows about half of Georgia’s Vidalia onion crop.

Georgia Farm Bureau News August-September 2017/ 29


GFB hosts welcome home event for Ag Secretary Perdue By Jay Stone ____________________________________

G

eorgia Farm Bureau hosted a luncheon Aug. 25 to welcome U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue back to his home state. Perdue met with rural stakeholders for a listening session on rural development concerns, had a brief meeting with Georgia commodity group leaders, then had lunch with approximately 240 GFB members and guests. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black spoke briefly about the need to focus on rural issues, and Secretary Perdue picked up the rural development theme, discussing plans to improve rural prosperity. Perdue expressed faith and confidence in American farmers. “You all face challenges every day and keep coming back for more,” said Perdue. “You face difficulties, but you’re never defeated.” Perdue talked about his tour of Midwest farms, part of an effort to develop policies to enhance quality of life for rural America, as directed in an executive order from President Trump. The executive order established an interagency task force involving 22 federal agencies charged with improving rural prosperity by removing impediments and getting regula-

Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long, right, presents U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue with an honorary lifetime GFB membership during the Welcome Home Sonny event Aug. 25 in Tifton. Visit http://bit.ly/GFBPerduelunch to see more photos.

tory and policy enhancements to help the agricultural sector be more productive. The president ordered the task force to present a report in late October. “We’re out there to hear how agriculture and rural prosperity work together,” Perdue said. “How can we provide for our small communities who depend on a thriving agricultural economy?” He noted that 85 percent of the na-

Nov. 1 deadline to enter Monsanto charity program 34 Ga. counties qualify for $85,000 in donations

Farmers in the counties below have until 6 p.m. EST Nov. 1 to register a charity of their choice in their county to win $2,500 in the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program. Eligible counties are: Appling, Baker, Berrien, Bleckley, Brooks, Bulloch, Burke, Calhoun, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Early, Grady, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Lee, Macon, Miller, Mitchell, Randolph, Screven, Seminole, Sumter, Tattnall, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Turner, Wilcox and Worth. There were at least 30,000 acres of corn, soybeans, cotton and/or vegetables planted in these counties in 2016. Suggested charities include local 4-H or FFA programs, fire departments, hospitals, libraries or schools. Charities must have IRS 501(c) (3) tax-exempt status or be a unit of government under Section 170 (c) (1). The program is open to farmers, age 21 and older in eligible counties, actively farming a minimum of 250 acres. No purchase needed to win. Additionally, farmers 21 years & older who grow at least 250 acres of cropland but don’t live in one of the eligible counties may enter the contest. Five entries from this pool of entrants will be selected to register their charity of choice. Visit http://www.growcommunities.com or call 1-877-267-3332 to apply. 30 / August-September 2017

tion’s persistently impoverished counties are in rural areas, and one in four rural children live in poverty. “The economic recovery experienced by much of the suburban parts of the country have yet to be fully recognized and realized by the 46 million of us who call rural America our home,” Perdue said. He spoke of the administration’s push to reduce the regulatory burdens American farmers face, approaching proposed regulations with the mindset that regulations should protect the public at a reasonable cost while providing producers a return on the cost to comply with the regulations; the regulations should help manage risk; do those affected have suggestions that will make the regulations better for everyone; and, the regulations should not be derived from a hidden ideological agenda. GFB President Gerald Long presented Secretary Perdue with an honorary lifetime membership to GFB. “Secretary Perdue has a long history of supporting agriculture in our state,” Long said. “And I’m confident that he will continue representing us in agriculture across our rural communities in our country.” After lunch, Perdue posed for pictures with GFB members. The photos are available at www.gfb.photos/sonny.

CONFERENCE from page 7 protect agriculture in trade deals, Green said, “I think we’re making great progress on making ag a priority for those making trade deals.” Perdue & the USDA are also working to ensure rural areas receive adequate funding for infrastructure that helps get ag products from point A to B, Green said. The USDA is also looking to rebuild the ag work force and looking at labor programs such as H-2A with the U.S. Department of Labor and Homeland Security. “The secretary is committed to finding a plan that works for you, the farmer,” Green said. Making the 78 million acres of U.S. forestland that fall under the USDA’s oversight productive and protecting trade opportunities round out Perdue’s priorities for the agency, Green said. Georgia Farm Bureau News


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Georgia Farm Bureau News - August / September 2017  

This issue of the GFB News includes features on the upcoming Farm Bill and other ag-related policy topics, a look at some outstanding Georgi...