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Vol. 79 No. 1



The Voice of Georgia Farmers

February/March 2017

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table of

contents february/march 2017


view from the field PAGE 4

legislative update PAGE 5

commodities update PAGE 14

GFB Foundation update PAGE 18

young farmer update PAGE 24

around georgia

PAGES 26-27

public relations staff Andy Lucas Director Jennifer Whittaker Editor Jay Stone Print/Web Specialist Lillian Davis Publications/Advertising Manager Michael Edmondson Web/Video Manager Ray D’Alessio Senior Producer/TV Host Kenny Burgamy Co-Anchor/Reporter Mark Wildman Senior Radio-TV Specialist Dean Wood Radio-TV Specialist Damon Jones Radio-TV Specialist Vickie Amos Office Coordinator For information concerning advertising, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or 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 Visit the GFB Web site today! Georgia Farm Bureau TV: “Like” us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Check us out on Pinterest:

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Awards, guest speeches & policy highlight GFB Convention

GFB presented its annual awards; Gov. Nathan Deal, Sen. David Perdue, Ag Commissioner Gary Black and UGA College of Agriculture Dean Sam Pardue addressed convention attendees; and GFB voting delegates approved GFB’s 2017 policy. PAGE 6

Irrigation permitting program & GATE compliance discussed at GFB conferences

Learn steps the Georgia Environmental Protection Division is taking to protect farmers’ water usage. Georgia Department of Agriculture employees are working to educate retailers how to comply with the GATE program. PAGE 8

Grand Canyon State hosts AFBF Convention

Georgia Farm Bureau took a delegation of about 200 to the 98th Annual American Farm Bureau Convention in Phoenix, Ariz., where young farmer contestants placed in the top levels of their respective contests, members attended educational workshops and GFB earned six Awards of Excellence for its 2016 programs. PAGE 10

Long re-elected president; Johnson elected South Ga. VP

During the 2016 GFB convention, GFB voting delegates re-elected Gerald Long of Decatur County as the organization’s president and Daniel Johnson of Pierce County as the organization’s South Georgia vice president along with directors from each of the organization’s 10 districts. PAGE 12

Bayer opens cotton research center in Dawson

Bayer has invested $4.4 million in its new Southeast Cotton Breeding Station where researchers will grow numerous Bayer cotton varieties, evaluate their performance, gin the cotton and study the fiber quality with the goal of improving varieties for Southeast growers. PAGE 16

Veterinarian discusses livestock antibiotic use

Livestock owners are now raising their animals under the Food and Drug Administration’s Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). A veterinarian who spoke at the AFBF convention discussed how producers can comply with the new regulation and why it came about. PAGE 19

Are U.S. & Cuban trade relations ready to move forward?

As President Trump begins his administration, many are wondering what position he will take on U.S. relations with Cuba. This second installment of our look at U.S. and Cuban trade relations discusses why the U.S. ag community is interested in Cuba, why Georgia farmers should care, and where relations currently stand. PAGE 20

Ga. 4-H Program gets new camp center on Jekyll

Get a glimpse of the new 4-H facility on Jekyll Island that will host 4-Hers and students attending sports and environmental education camps. PAGE 22

Thank a Farmer

More than 3,000 Georgia elementary students have a better understanding of how farmers grow their crops and livestock thanks to the 26 county Farm Bureaus that participated in the Thank A Farmer project in November coordinated by GFB. PAGE 28

Commodity prices, farm bill focus of Georgia Ag Forecast

Economists delivered outlooks for Georgia’s major commodities for the coming year and Washington lobbyist Bob Redding discussed changes in the national political landscape that could impact farm bill negotiations, which are expected to get underway this year. PAGE 30

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

(Photo by Beth Clifton ) Beth Clifton entered this photo in the 2016 GFB Photo Contest. She shot it on the farm of her parents, Larry and Nancy Eley, who are longtime Greene County Farm Bureau members. February-March 2017/ 3

view from the field Gerald Long, GFB President Georgia Farm Bureau is a nonpartisan organization. If we look at some of President Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees through the lens of Farm Bureau policy, we find them to be very promising for agriculture. Sonny Perdue is an excellent choice for Secretary of Agriculture. As governor, he understood agriculture is Georgia’s largest industry and proudly recognized it as such. With the next farm bill coming up, it will be helpful to have someone leading the USDA who understands southern agriculture. If confirmed, Perdue will be the first Southerner to hold this position since Mike Espy of Mississippi was appointed by President Clinton in 1993. Your GFB Board of Directors unanimously voted to endorse Perdue’s nomination and joined more than 600 other ag organizations in signing a letter urging the Senate Agriculture Committee to confirm Perdue. Scott Pruitt is a promising nominee to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The American Farm Bureau Board of Directors, on which I serve, has endorsed Pruitt’s nomination. Pruitt serves as the Oklahoma attorney general, and in this role, he filed a lawsuit in 2015 against the EPA on grounds that the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule enacted by the Obama Administration is executive overreach, contrary to the will of Congress and its intended definition of navigable waters of the United States. Farm Bureau has strongly opposed WOTUS since the EPA proposed it in 2014 because the rule gives the federal government regulatory authority over any land that has a temporary water flow across it after rain or snow. It would be good to have an EPA administrator who respects the limits of federal government. Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court, has shown a willingness in many of his lower court decisions to question if federal regulations are legal. Farm Bureau opposes the 4 / February-March 2017

erosion of private property rights and regulations written by federal agencies that place unnecessary burdens on farmers. Gorsuch has written opinions that show concern with using the courts to govern our country. On the state level, GFB is monitoring the status of Florida’s water lawsuit against Georgia and working to protect farmers’ access to water. I and nine others involved with ag water use, including GFB 9th District Director Lucius Adkins, are serving on the  Agriculture Permitting Compliance Task Force Gov. Nathan Deal formed in October. We’re examining the extent to which farmers are complying with water permit requirements so the state of Georgia can defend against Florida’s claims farmers are using too much water. We were instructed to determine if there is any noncompliance in the ag metering program, examine issues involved with any noncompliance and make recommendations regarding changes that would ensure better compliance. At our annual convention, Gov. Deal explained steps he has taken to protect agriculture’s continued access to water, and I appreciate him giving farmers a seat at the table in this recent one. My prayers are with the storm victims who suffered loss from the tornadoes and storms that hit Georgia in January. I know they are still recovering. Since 1959 GFB has offered insurance as a member benefit. We remain committed to providing quality products that financially protect our members against life’s uncertainties. The insurance business has had a difficult time in recent years. Lower investment rates, auto losses and historic storms in recent years have caused all insurance companies, including GFB, to tighten their belts. GFB is working to lower expenses and increase revenues, which is difficult. With the help of our employees, members and policyholders, we will be in a stronger position to continue serving Georgia’s farmers and our insurance members.



The Voice of Georgia Farmers

SUBSCRIPTION RATES Farm Bureau Members: Included in dues — $1 per year Non-Members — $15 per year To subscribe call 1-800-898-1911, ext. 5238. OFFICERS President GERALD LONG, Bainbridge 1st Vice President and Middle Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN JR., Adrian North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS, Ringgold 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@ Georgia Farm Bureau News was established in 1937. Copyright 2017 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.


Georgia Farm Bureau News

legislative update By Tas Smith, Assistant Legislative Director

Georgia clout in Washington on the rise President Donald Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States has created the opportunity for two Georgians to lead federal departments in the Trump Administration. On Jan. 18, President Trump nominated former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as the secretary of agriculture. During his tenure, Gov. Perdue worked very closely with Farm Bureau, particularly on water issues. While governor, the Perdue Administration created regional water councils that put farmers, businessmen, and locally elected officials in charge of water resource decisions in their respective river basins. Perdue worked to protect the rights of farmers to irrigate by signing the Water Stewardship Act in 2010. He also signed significant private property rights legislation that protects landowners from abuses of eminent domain. Later in his tenure, Gov. Perdue understood Georgia needed to reform its tax code to make us more competitive with our neighboring states. Perdue’s efforts led the way for the broadening of farm sales tax exemptions, which created the Georgia Agriculture Tax Exemption (GATE) program. GATE is one of the most beneficial pieces of legislation ever passed for Georgia agriculture. As secretary of agriculture, Perdue will be responsible for implementing the next farm bill. He will oversee regulatory approvals for new seed technologies and be tasked with providing leadership in areas of agriculture research, productivity, nutrition and rural development. Perdue would be the first agricultural secretary from the Southeast since Mike Espy, from Mississippi, led USDA early in the Clinton Administration. Perdue is also the first Republican from the Southeast to be nomiated for the position. Another Georgian, U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Dist. 6) was nominated by President Trump to lead Health and Human Services (HHS). While Price’s first priGeorgia Farm Bureau News

ority will be the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), HHS also oversees the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is responsible for implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act. As a member of Congress, Rep. Price was chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. During his tenure, Price played a key role in preventing additional cuts to the 2014 farm bill after it became law. He also was a strong advocate for Section 179 business deductions and repeal of the estate tax. Georgia’s influence on Capitol Hill continues to increase in other areas. U.S. Rep. Austin Scott (R-8th Dist.) is the fourth Republican in seniority on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, and he chairs the Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity

Perdue would be the first Republican from the Southeast to hold the position of agricultural secretary. Exchanges, Energy and Credit. His leadership and experience on this committee will be crucial for Georgia as the next farm bill is written. Rep. David Scott (D-13th Dist.) is the second Democrat in seniority on the House Agriculture Committee behind Colin Peterson from Minnesota. Rep. David Scott is next in line to be the Democratic leader on the House Agriculture Committee. Rep. Rick Allen (R-12th Dist.) is also a key member of the ag committee. GFB was pleased to see Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-2nd Dist.), who has served on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee for many years, recently named the senior Democratic member of the Agriculture Appropriation Subcommittee. Throughout his tenure, Rep. Bishop has been a strong advocate for funding programs that benefit farmers and critical ag research needs. Rep. Tom Graves (R-14th Dist.) is

also a member of the House Appropriations Committee. Graves is chairman of the Subcommittee on General Government and Financial Services. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-1st Dist.) was recently named a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which arguably has the broadest jurisdiction of any committee in the House. It plays a crucial role in legislation related to the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. Any legislation repealing the “Waters of the U.S.” rule would likely come through this committee. Before the end of 2016, Rep. Doug Collins (R-9th Dist.) was elected by his House colleagues as vice chair of the House Republican Conference. This election makes Collins the fifth highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives. Collins and Rep. Rob Woodall (R- 7th Dist.) are members of the House Rules Committee. On the Senate side, Sen. David Perdue serves on the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee providing a strong voice for Georgia agriculture. He was recently named to the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is important to many of Georgia’s military installations. Sen. Johnny Isakson chairs the Senate Ethics Committee and the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee. Additionally, his work as a member of the Senate Finance Committee will be of utmost importance to Georgia farmers. Tax reform is high on the priority list for the Trump Administration as well as the Republican leadership in Congress. Maintaining the current estate tax and Section 179 business exemptions will be a Farm Bureau priority. Farm Bureau is proud of the Georgia leaders who will influence national policy in the Trump Administration and on Capitol Hill. We encourage Farm Bureau members to make their voice heard with both the administration and members of Georgia’s U.S. Congressional delegation. Tas Smith is assistant director of the GFB Legislative Department. February-March 2017/ 5

Water hot topic of 79th Annual GFB

By Jay Stone & Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________________________________________________ About 1,500 Georgia farmers and agri- Deal discussed his decision to move rebusiness leaders gathered on Jekyll Island Dec. sponsibilities of the Georgia Soil & Water Con4-6 for the 79th Annual Georgia Farm Bureau servation Commission to the Environmental Convention. The three-day event included a Protection Division (EPD). He explained that trade show and commodity conferences pro- the EPD is the only state agency with enforceviding farmers updates on policy and produc- ment authority that would be recognized in tion issues impacting Georgia’s major com- the courts. He said the move was made to promodities. During the general session on Dec. 5 tect farmers’ interests, in hopes that the special GFB President Gerald Long reviewed his first master will take the state’s proactive steps to 11 months in office and convention attend- conserve water into consideration. ees heard from Gov. Nathan Deal, U.S. Sen. “I believe it is better for the state to regDavid Perdue, Georgia Agriculture Commis- ulate its own issues than to wait for the Susioner Gary Black and UGA College of Agri- preme Court to tell us what to do,” Deal said. cultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) “That’s why I refuse to sacrifice agricultural Dean Sam Pardue. interests in this war. I will not turn my back on you, nor will I ignore our state’s economic Gov. Deal discusses interests in this fight.”

Supreme Court water case

Deal told GFB members about the state’s efforts to mitigate ongoing drought, how ag fits into the state’s water management plans, and how decisions on water conservation in recent years have been driven by the Supreme Court case. Florida has long contended that too much water is taken from the ChattaGov. Deal hoochee to meet the demands of the Atlanta area and has pushed the argument that farmers in Southwest Georgia have been withdrawing too much water for irrigation. “I assure you that Georgia has worked on your behalf and on behalf of all Georgians to take proactive steps to protect your interests and those of your fellow citizens,” Deal said. “You have a right to know the things that impact your work and your livelihood. I assure you I will not and I have not turned my back on the largest industry in the state of Georgia.” Deal said numerous attempts have been made to reach a water-sharing agreement with the state of Florida, without success. Despite growing by more than 1 million people over the past decade, metro Atlanta is withdrawing less water, Deal said, noting that per capita consumption has decreased by about 30 percent over the same period of time. 6 / February-March 2017

Sen. Perdue gives outlook for 115th Congress

Sen. Perdue reaffirmed his commitment to Georgia agriculture and expressed optimism about Congress’ ability to work with the incoming Trump Administration to repeal regulations like Waters of the U.S., the Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as Obamacare) and pass authorization of the Sen. Perdue Keystone Pipeline to help meet U.S. energy needs. “This regulatory environment is sucking the very life out of our free enterprise society,” Perdue said, noting that the U.S. economy has grown at a rate of six tenths of one percent over the past eight years despite low interest rates and inexpensive fuel costs. “You on the farm feel it more readily and more directly than most people.”

Long reviews first 11 months as GFB president

Long reviewed his first 11 months in office, during which he visited with Farm Bureau leaders around the state. “I have learned a lot, and I want to thank all of you for that. You have welcomed me to your farms and into your homes. You have

invited me to meetings in your counties and districts, and it has been more help to me than you can imagine,” Long said. “Georgia is a very diverse state, and visiting with you has given me valuable insight as we work together to promote agriculture.” As always, weather events have created serious issues for the GFB Pres. Long state’s farmers, Long said, from the ongoing drought to the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew. Persistent low commodity prices have also presented challenges, as have federal regulations. Long told attendees about GFB’s friend of the court brief filed in the Supreme Court case Florida has brought against Georgia. “No matter what decision the court finally hands down, the verdict will directly impact farmers’ ability to use water in this state. This court decision is not just some legal exercise or concept. This decision will affect you and me - our farms, our land, our crops, our livelihoods,” Long said. The struggles with commodity prices carry particular significance as Congress begins deliberations on the next farm bill. Long said it is important for farmers to present a united front while voicing support for federal farm programs. “Some of the voices in this debate are seeking to completely change American agriculture policy. They interpret the productivity gains in American agriculture as being counterproductive or even destructive,” Long said. “We must be ready to defend American farmers in the farm bill debate not only because it is our mission, but also because our nation depends on sound farm policy. Georgia Farm Bureau believes American food security is a national security issue, and we will engage on this debate with that as our vision. We will continue to work with American Farm Bureau and other organizations to move forward with a farm bill that strengthens the food security of the United States.” “I joined Decatur County Farm Bureau because I wanted to have a voice in agriculture, and Farm Bureau is the best place to do it,” Long said. “That is why all of you are Georgia Farm Bureau News


Pardue previews new initiatives at UGA College of Ag

UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) Dean Sam Pardue talked about living in an age of uncertainty, pointing out that there is uncertainty in agribusiness due to a number of factors, including population growth and fluctuating retail food prices, as well as uncertainty at Dean Pardue CAES. Pardue introduced himself and discussed whether students interested in agriculture would be admitted to UGA. “Our college is committed to providing multiple pathways for those students,” Pardue said. While the college adjusts to his leadership, he’ll be tasked with finding a replacement for Associate Dean for Research Robert Shulstad, who Pardue said is stepping down. Pardue also discussed the issue of agricultural access to water, noting that agriculture’s need for water makes it important for agriculture to find ways to expand the water supply, increase current water use efficiency and improve water quality and treatment facilities.

GFB honors state winners

The Georgia Farm Bureau Federation honored county Farm Bureaus for promoting agriculture and individual members for personal achievement during the organization’s 79th annual convention. Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long (standing, far left) congratulates the 2016 GFB award recipients (front row seated, L-R): GFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award winners Rebecca and Bennett Jacobs of Polk County; Sidney Law accepting the GFB McKemie Award in the 1,280-2,219 membership division for Washington County Farm Bureau; Rabun Waller accepting the GFB Outstanding Promotion & Education Committee Award for Washington County and GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award winners Bridget and Jonathan Hitchcock of Washington County and (back row, from left) William Grizzle accepting the GFB McKemie Award in the 2,220-plus member division for Cherokee County; David Lee accepting the GFB McKemie Award in the 0 to 1,279 membership division for Bacon County Farm Bureau; Brandon Wade accepting the GFB Outstanding Young Farmer Committee Award for Bacon County Farm Bureau; GFB Hay Contest Winner A.J. Bacon of Laurens County; Andy Garland accepting the Outstanding Legislative Committee Award for Henry County Farm Bureau and Denise Temple accepting the GFB Outstanding Women’s Leadership Committee Award for Jackson County Farm Bureau. Not pictured is GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet Award winner Skye Gess of Hancock County.

Taylor named Outstanding Office Manager

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Andy Lucas

Black encourages county Farm Bureaus

Black focused his remarks on things county Farm Bureaus can do to achieve excellence. They included finding something to stop doing, protecting the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE), adopt the GDA’s 20/20 Vision program, taking conversations about food and agriculture from “sustainable” to Commissioner Black “stewardship-able,” See CONVENTION page 18

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

here. The reason we give our time and talents is because Farm Bureau is the vehicle for us to amplify our collective voice – to be the voice of Georgia Farmers.”

Bacon County Farm Bureau Office Manager Jeanne Taylor accepts the GFB Outstanding Office Manager Award from GFB President Gerald Long.

Jeanne Taylor, who has been employed with Bacon County Farm Bureau (BCFB) since 1962, was recognized for her 54-year career of working to promote agriculture and Farm Bureau in her local community. Taylor was first introduced to farm life when she married her late husband, Jerry, in 1958. They worked on his family’s dairy farm for several years. Jerry was hired by BCFB as an insurance agent in 1961, and Jeanne joined him as secretary the following year. “After 54 years of service, you would expect her to slow down, but instead she seems to have more energy now and initiates many new projects in our community and in our school system,” BCFB President David Lee said of Taylor. “She is always promoting agriculture and has a passion for getting our story told to the children in our county.” February-March 2017 / 7

EPD outlines requirements in irrigation permitting program By Jay Stone ___________________________________


n October, Gov. Nathan Deal issued an executive order for the establishment of the Agriculture Permitting Compliance Task Force to examine the extent to which farmers are complying with water permitting requirements. Deal appointed 10 individuals to the task force, including Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) President Gerald Long, GFB 9th District Director Lucius Adkins, Flint Dunn River Soil & Water Conservation District Executive Director Casey Cox, UGA Stripling Irrigation Research Park Superintendent Calvin Perry and Dr. Gary Hawkins, UGA Water Resource Management & Policy Specialist. The executive order was in response to assertions by the state of Florida that more than 100,000 acres in Southwest Georgia are being illegally irrigated, or irrigated without a permit. “We think that 100,000-acre number Lewis is wrong,” Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) Director Richard Dunn said while speaking at the Water/ Dairy/Swine Commodity Conference at the Georgia Farm Bureau Convention in December. “It’s considerably lower. The reason for the governor’s executive order was, we believe we’re being great stewards and if there’s any illegally irrigated acreage in that basin we want to do something about it.” As of Dec. 1, 2016, Georgia’s agricultural water metering program has moved from the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD). While speaking at the GFB convention, Dunn and Cliff Lewis from the EPD’s Agricultural Permitting Unit gave an overview of the metering program, including its permitting requirements and what happens when an ag water user is found in vio8 / February-March 2017

lation of the limits on his irrigation permit. Lewis reviewed the permitting requirements and information needed for the ag watering permit form. Any irrigation source that pumps more than 100,000 gallons per day (70 gallons per minute) is required to have an EPD permit. Lewis said farmers and golf courses are the two main users that fall under this requirement. “Compliance issues are not a new thing but the technology has improved dramatically the last 10 years,” Lewis said. He noted that inspectors would be coming to farms and checking meters against irrigation permits. The permit form requires

information about the type of withdrawal, location of the withdrawal, purpose (for example, crop irrigation, livestock watering or aquaculture), the water pump size in gallons per minute and how many acres the withdrawal point is intended to irrigate. Lewis said common compliance issues include unpermitted water sources, pumping more surface water than the permit allows and pumping more ground water to irrigate acreage than the permit allows. If an inspector finds a violation, the EPD will send a notice of violation to the landowner, who will then have 30 days to submit a compliance plan.

GATE compliance officers working to educate retailers & farmers about program

By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________ Last year the Georgia General Assembly allocated money to fund five employees in the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) who are charged with educating retail stores about the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) program that entitles eligible farmers to receive sales tax exemptions on qualifying Harden products used to produce a commodity. Bo Warren, director of policy for the GDA, and Susan Harden, a GATE compliance officer with the GDA, spoke to Georgia Farm Bureau members during a conference for the GFB Environmental Horticulture, Fruit and Vegetable Committees at the organization’s annual convention. Warren and Harden stressed the importance of GATE cardholders using their cards correctly. Warren explained that the GATE compliance officers are not regulatory but are serving to educate retail stores where GATE cards are used about which items qualify for sales tax exemptions and under what conditions. The Georgia Department of Revenue has two GATE auditors who have been

auditing farmers since fall 2015. Harden said the GDA has divided the state into five districts for the purpose of GATE card compliance and each of the five compliance officers are assigned to a district. Harden encouraged farmers who have a GATE card issue or would like to have an officer speak at a Farm Bureau meeting to call 1-855-FARM TAX to be connected Warren with the compliance officer for their district. “Come to us first if you have questions or issues. Let us help you with any type of GATE card issues to keep you compliant with the Department of Revenue,” Harden said. Warren reminded GATE cardholders they are only eligible to get sales tax exemption for inputs used to produce the commodities for which they qualified for their GATE card. “For example, if you produce beef and hay, but you go in and buy horse feed, which is exempt for horse breeders, but if you didn’t get your GATE card for horse production, you shouldn’t take a sales exemption on horse feed even if the store clerk gives it to you,” Warren said. Georgia Farm Bureau News

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Grand Canyon State hosts By Jay Stone & Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________

Photo by Jay Stone


GFB President Gerald Long carries the Georgia flag into the opening session of the AFBF convention.

Education & Outreach, Leadership Development, Member Benefits, Membership Initiatives, Policy Development & Implementation and Public Relations & Communications. GFB also submitted 10 policy recommendations for consideration by AFBF voting delegates. Of those 10 recommendations addressed by the voting delegates, Georgia secured AFBF’s support for its policy pertaining to commodity programs, ginning assistance, and establish-

ing cotton as a program crop in the next farm bill. Georgia also successfully added changes to AFBF policy on the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to better serve poultry producers and succeeded in getting AFBF to support smaller rainfall index quadrants for the Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage Insurance Program. These policies will guide AFBF’s lobbying efforts for the upcoming year. During the Leadership Luncheon held Jan. 8 for county and state volunteers, Bulloch County Farm Bureau President Lannie Lee was recognized for his many years of service as a county Farm Bureau leader. Lee, 96, joined Farm Bureau in 1947 after returning home from serving in World War II. He served as president of the Brooklet Farm Bureau Chapter in his community in the 1950s and served as a director of the Bulloch County Farm Bureau for a number of years. Lee served as BCFB vice president from 1973 until 2007 when he became president and continues to serve in that position. During his first annual address on Jan. 8, AFBF President Zippy Duvall urged farmers to continue telling their story while highlighting farmers’ concerns over regulatory reform, agricultural labor and immigration, and expanding agricultural trade. On labor and immigration, Duvall em-

Photo by Jay Stone

Photo by Donna Rocker

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

delegation of about 200 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) members and staff traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, for the 98th Annual American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Convention, held Jan. 8-10. The event featured AFBF Young Farmer & Rancher competitive events, motivational speeches, a trade show and educational workshops - all designed to give attendees a renewed enthusiasm for farming and their involvement with Farm Bureau. “I just hope they realize the important roles the county Farm Bureau, state Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau play,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “For us it all goes back to our everyday lives on the farm.” Long encouraged Georgia’s farmers to join with Farm Bureau in its advocacy for agriculture. “They’ve got to participate,” Long said. “If they participate in one of these conventions, go to the breakout sessions, go to the events they’re having, I think they’ll see the importance of being involved [with Farm Bureau] and how it relates back to your farm and your county and your state.” The GFB contingent had their choice of 64 workshops to attend that covered a variety of topics from labor to GMO crops to tips for communicating with consumers. GFB won AFBF Awards of Excellence in

AFBF President Zippy Duvall delivers his annual address. 10 / February-March 2017

Pictured from left, GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Rhonda Williams, committee members Carol McQueen, Nancy Kennedy, Carol Baker and Turner County Farm Bureau member Melanie Raines represented Georgia in the Southern Regional Women’s Leadership Caucus. Williams was selected by her peers to represent AFBF’s Southern Region at the AFBF Delegate meeting on Jan. 10.

Bulloch County Farm Bureau President Lannie Lee was recognized for his many years of service as a county Farm Bureau leader during the AFBF convention. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB Young Farmers shine in Phoenix Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) members advanced to the final round of competition in all three of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Young Farmer & Rancher competitive events, held Jan. 7-10 during the AFBF Annual Convention. All three were 2016 Georgia state winners in their respective events. Hancock County Farm Bureau Vice President Skye Gess earned a spot in the final four of the AFBF Discussion Meet. Washington County Farm Bureau members Jonathan and Bridget Hitchcock advanced to the top 10 in competition for the AFBF Achievement Award. Polk County Farm Bureau members Bennett and Rebecca Jacobs advanced to the top 10 in competition for the AFBF Excellence in Agriculture Award. “They’ve done a super job representing Georgia and addressing the issues that were put before them,” said GFB President Gerald Long. “I’m really proud of them.” Gess finished as one of three runners-up to event winner Matt Niswander of Tennessee. During the final round of competition, which also included Jessica Jones of Virginia and Amanda Sollman from Michigan, the panelists discussed how they would craft

Skye Gess, left, makes a point during the final round of the AFBF Discussion Meet as Virginia contestant Jessica Jones listens.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

By Jay Stone ___________________________________

Photo by Jay Stone

phasized that farmers need a sustainable supply of farm workers, noting that during spring 2016 farmers in more than 20 states saw delays in getting their applications for H-2A workers approved. Some federal workers who would normally handle those applications were pulled away to assist with reducing a backlog of H-2B applications from hotels and other business sectors. This was compounded by the fact the applications were being handled by regular mail. Duvall noted that farmers across the country have expressed frustration over difficulties accessing laborers. “Many of the farmers I’ve talked with say that if we don’t fix our ag labor issues, none of the other issues will matter,” Duvall said. “Without a legal supply of labor, too many farmers face lost crops and they can’t compete on the world market.” Long said a workable migrant labor program is crucial to agriculture’s ongoing success. “We’ve got to have a guest worker program that will work for each entity,” Long said. “That’s going to be the challenge for Congress, to figure out how we’re going to be able to do that.” During his speech, Duvall had attendees take out their phones and send emails to their congressmen requesting help to rein in federal government regulatory overreach. The exercise generated more than 1,500 comments sent to Congressional offices in Washington. On Jan. 9 during the closing session, members were treated to a panel discussion featuring Peyton and Archie Manning, who shared their experiences playing professional football and from their lives outside football. The AFBF convention included the IdeAg trade show, featuring hundreds of exhibitors from across the country, such as farm equipment manufacturers, commodity groups and a variety of agribusinesses. The Georgia Peanut Commission handed out packs of peanuts and peanut butter snack bars to trade show patrons. Most of the GFB group participated in a See CONVENTION page 27

Photo by Jay Stone

AFBF Convention

Most of the GFB group who attended the AFBF convention participated in a twoday trip to Sedona, Ariz., and the Grand Canyon prior to the convention, during which they learned about Arizona’s history, culture and economy.

Pictured from left, Washington County Farm Bureau members Jonathan and Bridget Hitchcock were named one of the Top 10 finalists for the AFBF Achievement Award, and Polk County Farm Bureau members Rebecca and Bennett Jacobs advanced to the top 10 in competition for the AFBF Excellence in Agriculture Award.

national immigration programs that would provide farmers access to labor while at the same time securing U.S. borders. As a finalist, Gess receives a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor courtesy of Case IH, a $2,500 cash prize and $500 worth of Stihl merchandise. “We have a great state-level competition where you can get started,” Gess said. “There are lots of people who want to give advice and want to help. I wouldn’t be where I am without all those people who have cheered me on and coached me throughout this process. So, certainly give it a shot. I’m willing to help anybody who wants to do it. It’s a great experience and you learn so much.” Gess, an assistant district attorney in the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit, raises cattle and hay with her husband, Josh Pennino. After two round-robin discussion sessions, she won her spot in the final four after her third round in the Sweet 16. Gess was Georgia’s first final four contestant in the Discussion See YOUNG FARMERS page 23 February-March 2017 / 11

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Photo by Andy Lucas

2017 GFB Board of Directors

GFB members elect 2017 board of directors Georgia Farm Bureau voting delegates elected the organization’s 2017 board of directors Dec. 6 during the 79th Annual GFB Convention. GFB voting delegates elected Gerald Long to a two-year term as president of the organization. He began serving as GFB president on Jan. 12, 2016, when former GFB President Zippy Duvall resigned after being elected president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. Long, of Decatur County, is a diversified farmer who raises cattle and grows peanuts, vegetables, corn, cotton, hay, small grains and timber with his family on their farm near Bainbridge. He was first elected to the GFB Board of Directors in December 1999 as a GFB 9th District director representing 14 counties in Southwest Georgia. In 2006, GFB voting delegates in GFB’s Southern Region elected Long as GFB South Georgia vice president, a position he held until Jan. 12. Additionally, GFB voting delegates statewide designated Long to serve as GFB 1st vice president each year from 2008–2015. Long and his wife, Janice, have three adult children: Justin and daughter-in-law, Kelli; Jared and daughter-in-law, Lori; and Jeanie and son-in-law, Diego Izurieta; and two grandchildren. GFB members in the organization’s South Georgia Region elected Daniel Johnson of Pierce County to represent their region on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors for a three-year term. The GFB South Georgia Region Daniel Johnson is comprised of 53 counties in the lower third of the state 12 / February-March 2017

running from the Alabama state line to the Georgia coast. Johnson, who grows tobacco, cotton and peanuts, previously represented the organization’s 10th District on the GFB Board of Directors since 2006 and has served as president of the Pierce County Farm Bureau for the past 24 years. A Farm Bureau member since 1982, Johnson served on the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee from 19881989 and served as committee vice chairman in 1989. He has also served on the GFB Cotton and Tobacco Advisory Committees. In addition to his Farm Bureau leadership, Johnson serves as chairman of the Georgia Tobacco Commission and is a director of the Georgia Tobacco Growers Association. Johnson and his wife, Patricia, have four children, Lindsey, LeeAnn, Dan and Dawson. GFB voting delegates designated Robert Fountain Jr. of Emanuel County as the organization’s 1st vice president as he begins serving the second year of his third consecutive three-year term as Middle Georgia vice president. The GFB Middle Georgia Region is comprised of 56 counties in the middle third of Georgia. Bernard Sims, of Catoosa County, is beginning the third year of his third, threeyear term as North Georgia vice president. Sims, who was first elected in 2008, represents 49 counties in north Georgia. Lamar Vickers of Berrien County was elected to the GFB Board of Directors representing the organization’s 10th District for a two-year term. Vickers is actively involved in a diversified farming operation in Berrien, Lanier and Cook counties with his son, Bradley, and his brother, Carlos. The Vickerses grow corn, blueberries, cotton, watermelons, peanuts and raise beef cows. See DIRECTORS page 14

Marla Garnto accepts the 2016 Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award from GFB President Gerald Long.

Garnto wins GFB teaching award

Houston County elementary teacher Marla Garnto accepted Georgia Farm Bureau’s 2016 Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award during the organization’s annual convention in December. Garnto, who teaches at Northside Elementary School (NES) in Warner Robins, was recognized for incorporating information about agriculture into her Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum to teach her students how agriculture impacts their daily lives. Garnto also teaches music. “I am so thankful and truly excited to represent the group of amazing teachers at Northside Elementary School and the partnership we have with Georgia Farm Bureau, Houston County Farm Bureau and Perdue Farms,” Garnto said during her acceptance speech. “Our students are the beneficiaries of this partnership. They have learned more than they ever thought they did because they thought they were just having fun. Our kids grew up on cement. They’re apartment kids. They don’t have backyards to dig in, so they fight over who gets to go outside and work in our school garden.” As the award winner, Garnto received a $500 award and an expense-paid trip to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, in June 2017. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Jay Stone

Farmers who rely on immigrant workers to harvest their crops learned how to comply with the H-2A program during a labor forum Georgia Farm Bureau sponsored in November.

Ag Labor Forum provides key training for Ga. growers

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________ Farmers who need access to labor for Relations Forum held Nov. 1 and 2 at the producing and harvesting their commodi- UGA Tifton Campus. The event, hosted by ties were treated to a series of expert pre- Georgia Farm Bureau, the Georgia Fruit & sentations during an Agricultural Labor Vegetable Growers Association and sev-

2017 Women’s Committee named

The 2017 GFB Women’s Leadership Committee was named during the GFB Convention. The committee works to promote and support ag literacy activities on the county and state levels. The committee annually offers the Educational Leadership Conference, which will be held March 3-4 in Columbus, to equip county Farm Bureau volunteers and staff with ideas and skills to promote agriculture in their local schools and communities. Committee members also work in their respective districts to increase ag awareness. Members of the committee are: front row, from left, Linda Leslie, Chattooga County, GFB 1st District; Committee Chairman Rhonda Williams, Rabun County, GFB 2nd District; Carol McQueen, Henry County, GFB 3rd District; Nancy Kennedy, Hancock County, GFB 4th District; Melissa Bottoms, Pike County, GFB 5th District; back row, from left, GFB Ag in the Classroom & Women’s Leadership Committee Coordinator Donna Rocker, Kim Thompson, Treutlen County, GFB 6th District; Angela Todd, Evans County, GFB 7th District; Carol Baker-Dunn, Houston County, GFB 8th District; and Ray Bloser, Cook County, GFB 10th District. Not pictured is Wendy Hembree, Colquitt County, GFB 9th District. Georgia Farm Bureau News

eral other statewide agricultural stakeholder groups, addressed wage and hour investigations, worker protection standards, the I-9 process and the H-2A program. The conference was similar to informational events held in Florida over the past several years. “We needed this conference to come together and understand all the issues we have on immigration,” said GFB President Gerald Long, who spoke during the Nov. 2 session. “There’s a lot of regulations. Immigration reform is a priority issue for Georgia Farm Bureau. At some point in time Congress is going to have to address this. Until that time, we’ve got to follow the requirements. It’s so easy to get out of compliance by not checking one box and doing one little thing that we’re supposed to do.” National Council of Agricultural Employers Executive Vice President Frank Gasperini discussed the H-2A process. Gasperini gave a quick overview of labor supply challenges, noting that utilization of the H–2A program has nearly doubled since 2011, from 77,000 to an estimated 150,000 in 2016. Gasperini also gave a list of basic things new H-2A employers should understand before they enter the program. First are the basic timelines for required aspects of the H-2A program. For instance, plans to provide housing for H-2A workers have to be in place, the housing must be inspected and the farmer needs to plan how to manage payroll early in the process. Other items on Gasperini’s list: get expert advice from an agent, association or attorney; understand the contractual agreements and requirements; understand barriers from government or other organizations that could cause delays; understand all the record-keeping hurdles; understand domestic worker and advertising obligations; learn the cost concept of “for the primary benefit of the employer,” referring to money spent to enable the workers to do the work, money that may not be recoverable; understand Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR), experience, productivity, bonus and other pay issues; know how to handle and comply with U.S. Department of Labor Wage & Hour audits. To view the presentation slides from all of the event’s presenters visit http:// February-March 2017/ 13

commodities/marketing update By Don McGough, Commodities/Marketing Director

GFB Commodity Committees more important than ever The Georgia Farm Bureau Commodity Advisory Committees have been selected for 2017. These committees provide a very important function as we work on the many issues confronting Georgia farmers. With debate on the next farm bill beginning and other issues on the horizon, these committees provide committee members the opportunity to give input on Farm Bureau’s position on ag issues and help ensure farmers have a voice. GFB has named the chairmen of its 2017 commodity advisory committees. Each committee meets several times during the year to discuss issues related to its commodity and assist GFB’s policy development process. Chairmen of the 2017 GFB Commodity Committees are as follows: Aquaculture, Terry Bramlett, Fannin County; Beef Cattle, Jerry McKinnon, Coffee County; Cotton, Darren Hembree, Colquitt County; Dairy, Mark Rodgers, McDuffie County; Direct Marketing/Agritourism, Jake Carter, Henry County; Environmental Horticulture, Mark Porter, Fayette County; Equine, Gary Walker, Tift County; Feedgrain/Soybean, Jesse Patrick, Putnam County; Forestry, John Mixon, Pike County; Fruit, Tim McMillan, Berrien County; Goats & Sheep, Will Cabe, Franklin County; Hay, Gilbert Andrews, Harris County; Honeybees, B.J. Weeks, Cherokee County; Peanuts, John Harrell, Grady County; Pecans, Garrett Ganas, Ware County; Poultry, Russ Moon, Madison County; Swine, Terry Danforth, Berrien County; Tobacco, Jerry Wooten, Jeff Davis County; Vegetables, Brad Calhoun, Turner County; Water, Bubba Johnson, Mitchell County. During the upcoming spring committee meetings, the committees will discuss issues affecting their farms. The committees will meet again on Aug. 3 at the GFB commodity Conference in Tifton. I encourage others to get involved in representing the interests of Georgia agriculture. We need you, your ideas and your 14 / February-March 2017

participation! If you are interested in serving on one of the GFB committees, please let your county Farm Bureau president or office manager know so you may be considered for 2018.

AFBF names issue advisory committees

GFB members serving on the AFBF IACs are:

Member County Dr. Paul Johnson Decatur Terry Bramlett Fannin Tim McMillan Berrien John Mixon Pike Bob McLeod Wilcox Andy Bell (Chair) Decatur Randy Branch Appling Chris Hopkins Toombs John Harrell Grady Mark Masters Dougherty

AFBF IAC Animal Care Budget & Economy Farm Policy Federal Lands Food Safety Market Structures Public Infrastructure Technology Trade Water Supply & Quality

American Farm Bureau has named its Issue Advisory Committees (IAC). The IACs are in their third year and focus on basic issues important to all of agriculture. These committees are comprised of Farm Bureau members directly involved with issues important to U.S. farmers and ranchers. The IACs will Andy Bell help develop policy and make recommendations to the AFBF president and directors.

Georgia Farm Bureau has 10 members serving on the AFBF IACs. Andy Bell, of Decatur County, will chair the market Structures Committee. These committees will meet Feb. 27 during the AFBF Advocacy Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. Don McGough is director of the GFB Commodities/Marketing Department.

DIRECTORS from page 12 He has served on the Berrien County Farm Bureau (BCFB) Board for more than 34 years during which time he served as BCFB president for 15 years. Randy Ruff of Elbert County was reelected to a two-year term on the GFB Board of Directors as a 2nd District director. Ruff, who is president of the Elbert County Farm Bureau, has served as a GFB Director since 2002. The following were re-elected unopposed to serve two-year terms on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors: Wesley Hall of Forsyth County, 1st District; Nora Goodman of Paulding County, 3rd District; Skeetter McCorkle of McDuffie County, 4th District; Matt Bottoms of Pike County, 5th District; James Emory Tate of Jeff Davis County, 6th District; Ben Boyd of Screven County, 7th District; Don Wood of Wilcox County, 8th District; and Lucius Adkins of Baker County, 9th District.

GFB board members beginning the second year of the two-year term they were elected to in 2015 are: Bill Bryan of Chattooga County, 1st District; Bobby Gunter of Lumpkin County, 2nd District; George Chambers of Carroll County, 3rd District; Marvin Ruark of Morgan County, 4th District; Ralph Adamson of Lamar County, 5th District; James Malone Jr. of Laurens County, 6th District; Gary Bell of Evans County, 7th District; Scotty Raines of Turner County, 8th District; Paul Shirah of Mitchell County, 9th District; and David Lee of Bacon County, 10th District. Mitchell Pittman of Toombs County was named chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee. Rhonda Williams of Rabun County was named chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Committee. Both will serve a one-year term as committee chairmen and will sit on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors. Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB to award college scholarships Contact your your county county Farm Farm Bureau Bureau Contact GFB mourns loss of former leaders office for more information or an applioffice for more information or an appli-

was a past president of the Georgia Association of Conservation District Supervisors and was a member of the Georgia Resource Conservation & Development Council Executive Board. He served as a Monroe County Commissioner from 1987 until his death and was a past president of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia. eanut fans Lydia; have aafather, daily He is survived by his wife, eanut fans have daily Benson and stepmother, Ruth; Holchance toson winJohn a vacaland and his wife, Anna; threehundreds granddaughtion and of ters; sisters other Carol prizes Jenkins,until Wendie Nov.Britt, 30. Hollie Wangerin and destination brother, Phil. choices He was Vacation preceded in death by his mother, Elsie Ham, include California, Colorado, and daughter Kimberly Holland. CondolencNew York or Florida. Visit es may be sent to the family at P.O. Box 255, Smarr, GA 31086.

Peanut sweepstakes offers vacation, assorted prizes


to register for a chance to win. After registering, particiBertie Mae McDonald pants play a game called “Crack Bertie Mae Sargent McDonald, who the Peanut” for a chance to win served on the Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) prizes and Board ofinstant Directors andlikethepeanut American peanut butter packs, iPods and gift cards. Farm Bureau Federation Women’s ComIfmittee, you crack three that84,match, died Dec. 8. peanuts McDonald, was a then you’re an instant winner! lifelong resident of Washington County. it comes through an “When McDonald servedtoasgetting the GFB Women’s early morning Committee StateorChairman 1981-1986 long day, from everyone wins and on the American Farmgrams Bureauper Women’s with peanuts. At seven servCommittee southern region ing, peanutsrepresenting have morethe energy-boosting from 1984-1989. Shenut, served on the GFB Board protein than any ” said Bob Parker, of Directors from 1988-1990. She was an acpresident and CEO of the National Peative member of the Bethlehem Baptist Church. nut Board. “Through the Energy to Burn She is survived her husband of 66 years, sweepstakes we’rebyable to celebrate the Lonnie S. McDonald of Warthen; children, power of peanuts and help re-energize Lonna M. Deraney and husband, Danny; Americans with a fun vacation.” Ken P. McDonald and wife, Lynn; Keith S. The “Energy to Burn” sweepstakes, is McDonald and wife, Robin; and Leigh M. by the National Peanut sponsored Fitzgerald and husband, Bobby; sister,Board Stella and co-presented by Hampton Sue Jackson; 13 grandchildren and 23Farms, greatand Skippy. Planters grandchildren. She was preceded in death by Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2013 Georgia Farm Bureau News

cation. TheAlbert application deadline isis FebFebher parents, Vir- deadline cation. The application gie Mae Sargent and her ruary 21, 2014. Applications must be apruary 21, 2014. Applications must be apson, Barry A. McDonald. proved and signed by the Farm Bureau proved and signed by the Farm Bureau president Condolences may in which the apof the the county county president of in which the apbe sent to the family at plicant resides or attends high school. school. plicant resides or attends high 10072 Highway 15 North, You may also download a copy of of You may also download a copy Warthen, GA visiting http://www. the application the application by visiting http://www. Jim Ham, selecting selecting Programs Programs and andthen thenAg Ag, Odessa Dollar in the the Classroom. Classroom. in   Odessa Dollar, wife of former Georgia The Georgia Georgia Farm Farm Bureau Bureau MuThe Farm Bureau President Wayne Dollar, Mudied tual Insurance Insurance Company Company and and the GFB GFB tual Nov. 18. Dollar, 90, was a nativethe of OchWomen’s Leadership Leadership Committee sponWomen’s Committee sponlocknee, Ga. She was a former secretary for sor the scholarship program. sor the scholarship Thomas County Farmprogram. Bureau and retired 10 Winners will be announced in May May Winners announced in years ago fromwill thebe Georgia Department of 2014. 2014. Labor in Thomasville. She was a member of Big Ochlocknee Baptist Church.

Bertie Mae McDonald

Odessa Dollar

Survivors include her husband, Wayne; daughter, Patsy Wester; daughter Mary Smith and husband, Ed; son Mike and wife Jan Dollar; five grandchildren, two great grandchildren and sister, Margaret Anderson. Dollar was preceded in death by her parents, John and Nettie Griffin, and sister, Estelle Baker. Condolences may be sent to the family at 2245 Griffin Rd., Ochlocknee, GA 31773.

Thinkstock Thinkstock

Georgia Farm Bureau Bureau will will award award aa Georgia Farm total of $14,250 in scholarships to 10 10 total of $14,250 in scholarships to high school seniors who plan to pursue Jim school Ham seniors who plan to pursue high an degree in agricultural undergraduate Jim Ham, who served as in a Georgia Farm an undergraduate degree agricultural and environmental sciences, family and Bureau 5th District director from 2006 to 2015, and environmental sciences, family and consumer sciences or a related agriculdied Dec. 2 in a wreck. Ham, 55, who was born consumer sciences or a related agriculand raised tural field. tural field.on a family farm in Monroe County, attended and the The topGordon threeCollege students willUnivereach The top three students will each sity of Georgia before returning home to farm. receive a scholarship of $3,000. The receive a scholarship of $3,000. The “We were extremely saddened at Jim’s remaining seven students students will will each each rereremaining seven death,”a said GFB President Gerald Long. “He ceive $750 scholarship. ceive a $750 scholarship. wasStudents a valuable member of our board of direcsubmitting an applicaapplicaan torsStudents and a friendsubmitting to both agriculture and the tion must currently currently be be aa Georgia Georgia high tion largermust community in Monroe County.” high school senior and plan to enroll in aa school and to County enroll Farm in Hamsenior served on theplan Monroe unit of the University System of Georunit of (MCFB) the University of GeorBureau Board ofSystem Directors for 24 gia Berry College during the 2014gia orand Berry during 2014yearsor was a College past president of thethe MCFB. In 2015 academic year. 2015 academic year. addition to his Farm Bureau leadership, Ham



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21 21

February-March 2017/ 15

By Jennifer Whittaker _______________________________


ayer has invested $4.4 million in its new Southeast Cotton Breeding Station located in Dawson, Ga., with the goal of improving the performance of its cotton varieties for Southeastern farmers. Bayer officials, cotton growers, crop consultants and other members of the Southeast cotton community attended the grand opening Bayer held for the station last October. The 150-acre station has enough field space to evaluate 12,000 nursery rows of cotton. The station also includes two buildings with more than 13,440 square feet of research space to evaluate the cotton. The research fields surrounding the buildings were bursting with picture-perfect cotton waiting to be harvested the day of the grand opening. According to Bayer, each nursery row is a potential variety line that will be evaluated for yield and agronomic traits. Cotton lines that show promise will be studied further in a multi-location, multi-year yield trial program. “We think this is going to be real influential to Southeast cotton breeding,” Dr. Margaret Shields, manager of the Bayer U.S. Cotton Breeding team, said. Bayer began its Southeast research program in 2008 after buying the Stoneville cottonseed brand, Shields said. The program was previously located just south of Albany.

Why Georgia?

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Any question as to why Bayer located its new research station in Georgia was made clear when Monty Christian, vice president of Bayer Cotton Business, took the stage and placed two miniature cotton bales wrapped in UGA fabric on the podium. “Georgia is known for producing two and a half million bales of cotton annually that generate over 50,000 jobs in Georgia,” Christian said. The station, which will employ 10 to 15 people when fully staffed, is led by cotton breeder Dario Mesquita. Nino Brown, a graduate of the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) doctorate program, serves as assistant cotton breeder for the station. Jody Butler is the station testing manager. “I expect big things from this group. We’re going to be focused on bringing you new trait varieties developed specifically for 16 / February-March 2017

Photo courtesy of Tom Stone/Bayer

Bayer opens cotton research center in Dawson

The Bayer Southeast Cotton Breeding Station located in Dawson, Ga., is focused on improving the performance of its cotton varieties for Southeastern farmers. Visit to view more photos of the research center.

this region,” Christian said. “This facility is going to strengthen the job economy here, but in the long-term it’s going to advance the Southeastern cotton industry. Bayer is the type of company that believes in research. Nearly ten percent of every dollar we earn goes back into research.” Attendees toured the facility where they saw the equipment researchers will use to plant the research plots, gin the research cotton, evaluate the fiber, process and store seeds.

What do growers think?

“The Southeast has evolved into one of the main cotton producing areas, but the South has always struggled to make the yields that the Midwest, Arizona and Texas have due to their arid environment,” said crop consultant Bubba Lamberth of Camilla. “We have growers here that could do it, but our humid environment and rain from the Gulf of Mexico, and the hurricanes we deal with make it difficult. We’ve got to have varieties that are humidity and storm resistant.” Lamberth, who advises cotton growers on the production of more than 30,000 acres in Southwest Georgia, estimates 60 percent of his growers plant Bayer cotton varieties, but he said his growers currently only plant Bayer varieties on about 10 percent of their acreage because other varieties have better yields. “There were some [Bayer] varieties beSee BAYER next page Georgia Farm Bureau News

Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long, right, presented Wayne Daniel, with a resolution on behalf of the GFB Board of Directors at the 2016 GFB convention. The resolution honored Daniel for his 40-year career with the organization that ended with his retirement Jan. 31. Daniel, who began his career as director of accounting in 1977, oversaw the organization’s financial and administrative matters while serving six GFB presidents – Emmett Reynolds, Robert Nash, Mort Ewing, Wayne Dollar, Zippy Duvall and Gerald Long. In 1978 the GFB Board appointed Daniel corporate treasurer. In 1989 he was named administrative assistant to the GFB president and later corporate secretary. He was named GFB chief operating officer in 2015 as part of a GFB succession plan begun in 2013. BAYER from previous page ing bred for the Southeast but not in terms of acreage. This will be a game changer for Georgia, Alabama, North and South Carolina. There is huge potential for Bayer to garner a piece of the pie,” Lamberth said. Ronnie Lee, a cotton grower from Terrell County who grows about 5,000 acres, echoed Lamberth’s excitement about the new breeding station. “This facility can only help me and the Southeast United States because they’ve got the best of both worlds,” Lee said referencing the proposal Bayer made to buy Monsanto earlier this fall. “If they design for us I think it’s going to result in better varieties.” Lee, who has planted Bayer’s Stoneville and FiberMax varieties, said the FiberMax varieties typically produce a good quality fiber. “If we could combine the quality traits of the Bayer varieties with the high yield traits of the Monsanto varieties, that would be ideal,” Lee said. In her welcoming remarks, Shields acknowledged Bayer’s proposal to purchase Monsanto but made it clear the event was for celebrating the Bayer’s current cotton success, not the proposed merger. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Jay Stone

Daniel retires after 40-year career at GFB

“This organization is a great organization, and it’s because of you,” Daniel told GFB members after accepting Project2_Layout 1 1/23/17 2:53 the PM resoluPage 1 tion at the GFB convention.

Daniel and his wife, Barbara Ann, have an adult daughter, Ashley Ann Kelsay, sonin-law, William Kelsay, and one granddaughter, Piper Ann.

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1430 Veterans Drive • Conyers, GA February-March 2017/ 17

GFB Foundation for Ag awards new round of grants

By Katie Gazda __________________________________________________________________________ In January the Georgia Farm Bureau Tattnall and Toombs; 10th Dist. – Bacon Foundation for Agriculture awarded 16 and Ware. grants totaling $5,600 to county Farm Recipient counties are required to subBureaus to support projects that aim to mit a follow-up report, including at least spread ag literacy throughout Georgia’s two photos within 30 days of finalization communities. of the project supported by the grant. The following county Farm Bureaus The GFB Foundation for Agriculture received a grant for the winter/spring ap- is a non-profit charitable foundation that plication cycle: 1st Dist. – Bartow, Cher- funds projects and scholarships to increase okee and Fannin; 2nd Dist. – Banks and the public’s understanding of agriculture. Rabun; 3rd Dist. – Paulding; 5th Dist. – For more information about the foundaHarris and Muscogee; 6th Dist. – Jeff Da- tion or to make a tax-deductible donation, vis, Jones and Laurens; 7th Dist. –Burke, visit

3rd Annual


Post Monroe Featuring:

3rd Annual GFB Foundation for Agriculture Gala Saturday, March 11, 2017 Southern Bridle Farms Fort Valley, Ga. Make plans to join us “down on the farm” as we go back to our roots to celebrate the support of our donors and highlight the achievements the foundation made this year to increase ag literacy through the four pillars of the foundation: Ag in the Classroom, scholarships, educational outreach & leadership development.

Entertainment will be provided by

Post Monroe

Follow GFB Foundation for Agriculture on Facebook for the foundation’s latest news! For more information, contact

KATIE GAZDA Executive Director

Phone: 478-474-0679 ext. 5230 E-mail:

Dress Code: Ladies, throw on your favorite sundress and men, leave those tuxedos at home! Nice jeans and boots will fit the bill this year as we go back to our roots and celebrate the GFB Foundation for Agriculture down on the farm! 18 / February-March 2017

Monsanto fund offers grants to public school districts Farmers in 34 Georgia counties have until April 1 to nominate a public school district for grants of $10,000 or $25,000 to be awarded by Monsanto’s America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program. School districts nominated by eligible farmers have until April 15 to submit applications. The grants are intended to help school districts fund math and science projects to enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum and prepare students for technology-driven careers. 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. Visit www.growruraleducation. com and click the “Nominate Now” link or call 1-877-267-3332 to submit a nomination.

CONVENTION from page 6 embracing technology and social media to connect with consumers, investing time, efforts and resources into improving communities, and praying for the U.S. “I believe if we were to embrace these seven principles we all can bat .400. To do that would be special for our industry,” Black said. Finding something to stop doing, Black said, refers to eliminating ineffective activities or programs. Protecting GATE means ensuring that the exemption from sales taxes on ag production-related goods and fuel is not abused. The 20/20 vision is the GDA’s goal to have 20 percent of all school cafeteria meals in Georgia consist of Georgia-grown foods. While the conversation about agriculture very often focuses on sustainability, Black said farmers go beyond sustainability in being good stewards of the land. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Veterinarian discusses livestock antibiotic use By Jay Stone ___________________________________

Livestock owners are now raising their animals under the Food and Drug Administration’s Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). During the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention, Dr. Jennifer Wishnie reviewed reasons the VFD was adjusted, science related to antibiotic use in livestock and how antibiotic use in food animals will be monitored. Wishnie, a veterinarian who worked as the National Pork Board’s Director of Producer and Public Health, said food animal livestock farmers have come under increased scrutiny the past 5-10 years as a new generation of conDr. Wishnie sumers has become more interested in the origins of their food and its effect on human health. She noted regulatory activity over the

past two years at the federal and state levels focused on antibiotic use on the farm. Specifically, she addressed the issue of antibiotic resistance, where a microbe can grow in the presence of an antibiotic that would normally kill it or limit its growth. “It is a global issue. When we use antibiotics, be it in animal agriculture, in animal health, in human health, every time we use an antibiotic it has the potential to develop resistance,” Wishnie said. “So it’s important that we all use them appropriately and responsibly, and that there is a collaborative effort toward combating antibiotic resistance.” Wishnie pointed out that antibiotic residues - traces of antibiotic drugs that remain in the meat from animals treated with antibiotics - are not the same as antibiotic resistance. Over time, she said, residues dissipate. Residues are only a problem if their quantity exceeds levels the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers unsafe. To avoid residue issues, Wishnie advised livestock farmers to follow medi-

cation product labels, which include established withdrawal periods to allow residues to dissipate. The animal must not be used for consumption until after that withdrawal period has passed. Each antibiotic made available for onfarm use goes through a rigorous approval process with the FDA to establish that it is safe for humans, the environment and the animal before approval. State pharmacy boards have authority over veterinary prescriptions. Medically important animal antibiotics are those that are in the classes as drugs that are used to treat humans. “The issue is they are concerned that any resistance developing from use in the animal will therefore make it ineffective because it is used as a human antibiotic,” Wishnie said. “Many of the antibiotics that are approved for use in animal feed are in medically important antibiotic classes.” The VFD regulations that went into efSee ANTIBIOTIC page 23


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February-March 2017/ 19

Are U.S. & Cuban trade relations EDITOR’S NOTE: GFB News Editor Jennifer Whittaker traveled to Cuba Sept. 19-23 with the American Agricultural Editors Association. The purpose of the trip was for U.S. ag journalists to get a first-hand look at Cuban culture and agriculture and to meet with Cuban trade and agricultural officials to learn about trade opportunities that might come from normalized relations with Cuba. This is the second part of the article that began in the Nov./Dec. GFB News.

Article & photos by Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________________________________________________ Why is the U.S. ag community and crop seasonality. Cuba is importing its basic food supply. interested in Cuba? It’s all about the potential market for U.S. Cooke’s report estimates Cuba only ag products. Cuba annually imports about $2 bought a total of $365.26 million of ag prodbillion worth of food and ag products, accord- ucts from the U.S. from 2012-2014, however, ing to a report prepared by Dr. Luis Ribera, Cooke cites a United States International Associate Professor & Director of the Center Trade Commission study from 2007 that sugfor North American Studies at Texas A&M gests if normal trade relations were restored University. Dr. William A. Messina Jr. with between the two countries, U.S. ag exports to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food Cuba could potentially increase around $230 & Agricultural Sciences, says his colleagues at million a year in the short-run. the University of Havana estimate Cuba im- Cooke suggests the U.S. would likely export a broader range of ag products to Cuba ports about 60 percent of its food supply. In comparison, the U.S. imported 19 per- including rice, wheat, nonfat dried milk cent (123 billion pounds) of its food supply in and dried beans. He says the U.S. share of 2013, according to the USDA Economic Re- Cuba’s ag imports would likely rise above its search Service. The USDA says most of these current level of 20 percent and ponders if it imports are food items that cannot be pro- could rise as high as 45 percent, the amount duced in the U.S. due to climate conditions of ag imports the Dominican Republic obtains from the U.S. When asked what ag commodities Cuba would like to import from the U.S. that it currently isn’t, Enrique Valdes Cardenas, deputy director of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign

Restored buildings in the oldest section of Havana locally called La Havana Vieja (Old Havana) established in 1519. 20 / February-March 2017

Trade & Investment’s North America Trade Policy Division said, “Mainly rice and grains that are imported from Asia. Currently we buy most of our foodstuffs {rice and grains} from Asia but it’s 90 days away. We could buy them so much easier from the U.S.” With a total land area of 42,803 square miles, according to, Cuba is a little larger than Tennessee, which the website says is 41,217 square miles. Georgia has a land area of 57,906 square miles. Cuba’s population is about 11 million, but its growing tourist industry is increasing its demand for food. As relations thaw between the U.S. and Cuba, more Americans are expected to travel to the Western Caribbean island joining tourists from Canada and Europe. “The increase of tourism has been happening. Last year we had an increase of U.S. citizens by 38 percent,” Cardenas said through a translator. “We have foreseen this {tourism} will increase by up to five to eight million people a year. This is a challenge to meet the need of our own people.”

Why should Georgia farmers care?

According to Global Trade Information Services (GTIS), an independent supplier of international trade data, poultry is the largest

View of rooftops in Centro Habana, the poorest neighborhood in Havana. Havanians have access to water on certain days of the week according to their address. The blue barrels are used to store water for the days they don’t have water access. Georgia Farm Bureau News

ready to move forward? U.S. export to Cuba. It’s also one of the three U.S. ag commodities Cuba is currently importing; soybeans and corn are the other two. The Illinois Soybean Association Checkoff Program and the Iowa Soybean Association funded a trade mission to Cuba Sept. 27-30 to assess the potential for greater U.S. agricultural trade as relations between the U.S. and Cuba develop. The 23-member delegation included representatives of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC), National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and American Egg Board along with representatives of U.S. poultry and egg companies, cold storage and logistics providers, transport and export companies. According to a press release the USAPEEC issued announcing the trip, Cuba has become the fourth-leading export destination for U.S. poultry by volume and the U.S. poultry and egg industry consumes more than half of the soybean meal produced in the U.S. The multi-commodity trade mission was the first trip funded entirely by the soybean checkoff program since the USDA announced in March 2016 that the 22 industry-funded agricultural research and promotion programs the department oversees could use checkoff funds to conduct authorized research and information-exchange activities in Cuba. “Cuba is buying frozen chicken leg quar-

ters from the U.S. because they feel it’s such a tremendous value they can’t afford to pass up. They’re buying whole chickens and other chicken products from BraziI and Canada,” said USAPEEC President Jim Sumner. “They were bringing in one break bulk vessel a month last year, and this year they’ve stepped up to two break bulk vessels a month. There was about a three-month period last year when they banned all imports from the U.S. due to avian influenza.” Sumner explained that a break bulk vessel has all of its containers loaded in the ship hold instead of on the ship deck. Sumner said U.S. chicken sold to Cuba is shipped from Jacksonville, Fla. or ports in the Gulf Coast. According to GTIS, Georgia exported the following commodities to Cuba in 2013: $13.7 million worth of meat and edible meat offal, $12.2 million of food industry residues and waste for animal feed and $1.5 million of edible preparations of meat, fish and crustaceans. The Port of Brunswick is well positioned to ship U.S. exports to Cuba, according to the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics (GCIL). The report by Ribera at Texas A&M ranks Georgia as the third leading port state for exports to Cuba with $56.1 million behind Louisiana with $81.8 million and Florida with $77.2 million.

A fresh market in Havana where vendors sell fresh fruit, vegetables and meat to the public bought from farmers out in the countryside. Georgia Farm Bureau News

A customer in a modern grocery store in Havana buys a bag of frozen leg quarters. According to the label on the bag, it weighed about 11.381bs and cost about $11.44 in September 2016.

The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) sent nearly 38,000 short tons of soybeans, flour and meal of oilseed to Cuba, which represents 80 percent of the volume of these products Cuba receives, the GCIL reported. The GPA also sent 35 shipments of other products to Cuba including cordage, twine, logs, lumber and petroleum products.

What’s the future for U.S./Cuban trade?

This is the million-dollar question everyone wants answered. “U.S. sales will continue to be constrained by cash sale requirements,” Messina said in his report on Cuban agriculture and trade presented to the USDA in March 2016. “The Cuban government is likely to be very slow and deliberate in the speed with which they allow changes to take place, and the degree to which they allow U.S. firms to get involved.” The unified message every trade and agriculture official had for the AAEA delegation during its September visit was end the embargo, or blockade as Cuba calls it, and sell commodities to Cuba with credit terms. During the meeting with GECOMEX, a consortium of Cuban import/export companies, GECOMEX General Manager Aurelio Mollineda Martinez was asked what he would say to the U.S. Congress to persuade them to vote to lift the embargo and that See CUBA page 25 February-March 2017 / 21

Ga. 4-H Program gets new camp center on Jekyll By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________

passed legislation in 2007 to protect the south end of Jekyll Island’s beach from development.” Hooks said Camp Jekyll – a $17 million project - consists of 12 buildings and is not just a renovation of the former camp previously located on the site. The only refurbished building at the camp is the historic pavilion that was part of Jekyll Island’s St. Andrews Beach, the first public beach in Georgia that welcomed African Americans in 1955. The pavilion houses the Camp Jekyll gift shop and canteen and includes a covered space for dances or gatherings. Georgia 4-H Leader/Director Arch Smith said it was appropriate that the dedication ceremony was held on Dec. 5 because this was the date in 2014 that the last school group visited the former facility. “For 32 years Georgia 4-H has had great success operating a camp here on Jekyll and our environmental education program since 1987,” Smith said. “We currently have six thousand students booked to visit Camp Jekyll from February through May after the facility opens again in February.” In addition to being home to the Jekyll Island 4-H Camp and 4-H environmental

Photo by Jernnifer Whittaker

Photo by Jernnifer Whittaker

The new Camp Jekyll facility on the southern end of Jekyll Island is ready to host Georgia 4-Hers and students who come to the facility to participate in Georgia 4-H Environmental Education programs, 4-H and sports camps. Camp Jekyll replaces the former Jekyll Island 4-H Youth & Learning Center. The new facility sits on 15.98 acres and includes two 64-bed cabins, four 32-bed cabins, a 14-bed staff cabin with two private apartments, a 300-seat dining hall, a 300seat auditorium, two outdoor pavilions, a historical pavilion that marks Georgia’s first African American beach, volleyball and basketball courts. Gov. Nathan Deal, Jekyll Island Authority Board members and state 4-H officials dedicated the new Camp Jekyll facility during a ceremony on Dec. 5. “Georgia companies were used to build this facility and landscape it. I’m proud to report that this project is both on budget and on schedule,” Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) Executive Director Jones Hooks told dedication ceremony attendees. “Camp Jekyll hasn’t lost any of its spirit, which is a compliment to the Georgia legislators who

education program, Smith said Camp Jekyll will host scout groups and sport camps for football and soccer teams. Gov. Deal shared how an impromptu tour of the former Jekyll Island 4-H camp led him to ask the Georgia General Assembly to fund the new Camp Jekyll. “In February 2013 I came to Jekyll to see the new retail center and convention center. I really wasn’t supposed to see the old 4-H center, but I did, and I was very disappointed. It was a beautiful piece of property, but the facility didn’t measure up to the assets that were there,” Deal recalled. “I don’t think Jekyll has ever enjoyed such magnificence as it is today. This facility wouldn’t have been possible without your state legislators passing votes for bond packages. When you see them, please say thanks to them.” The camp’s learning center is named for First Lady Sandra Deal, who worked as a public school teacher for years and has championed the importance of childhood reading during her time as first lady with her Read Across Georgia program. “Education is the key for all of our lives and our children especially. At camp they learn to be independent, to follow rules, to take responsibility, but in the process they are also having fun and here they will be learning about the sea animals,” First Lady Deal said. “You can look at a picture in a book, but it doesn’t tell the story that walking on the beach and getting your feet wet or catching a fish does.”

4-Hers from Coastal Georgia attended the Dec. 5 dedication of the new Camp Jekyll facility and escorted Gov. Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal on a tour of the camp which covers 15.98 acres. 22 / February-March 2017

Located on the southern end of Jekyll Island, Camp Jekyll replaces the former Jekyll Island 4-H Youth & Learning Center. Starting in February the facility will host Georgia 4-H Environmental Education programs, 4-H camp and sports camps for Georgia youth. The camp learning center, pictured here, has been named for First Lady Sandra Deal. To see photos from the Camp Jekyll dedication ceremony visit For more photos of the camp visit Georgia Farm Bureau News

Sonny Perdue nominated to lead USDA By Jay Stone ___________________________________ Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is set to become the next secretary of agriculture after being nominated by President Donald Trump Jan. 18. Perdue will be subject to a confirmation hearing in the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. Perdue, who served as Georgia’s governor from 2003 to 2011, is the second cabinet nominee from Georgia. Rep. Tom Price was nominated for Secretary of Health and Human Services in November. In a telephone interview with the Georgia Farm Monitor, Perdue called the nomination “a huge and humbling opportunity that I’m looking forward to.” In a released statement Trump touted Perdue’s experience in facing agricultural issues. “From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face, and he is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land,” Trump said. Perdue’s nomination drew widespread praise from the Georgia Congressional delegation. Reactions from Georgia agriculture leaders were positive as well. “Gov. Perdue was certainly good to Georgia when he was governor,” said Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long.

ANTIBIOTIC from page 19 fect Jan. 1 address on-farm antibiotic use in food-producing animals, specifically the removal of growth promotion or nutritional efficiency uses of medically important antibiotics. The remaining uses – treatment, control and prevention of disease – require veterinary oversight. The regulations also require a documented veterinarian-client patient relationship (VCPR). If the antibiotics are used in feed, both the farmer and the veterinarian have to follow allowable uses listed on the product label to be compliant with VFD rules. Vishnie said this resulted in farmers losing access to some antibiotics. “The new rule will certainly require more time and more cost, because now a veterinarian has to write the veterinary feed directive or they need to write a prescription Georgia Farm Bureau News

“Georgia Farm Bureau has a relationship with him, and our American Farm Bureau president has a relationship with him. So I think we’ve got a great opportunity for Georgia in agriculture. I think the most important thing is the commodity program of the farm bill, that sometimes the Midwest does not understand how we operate and the importance to Georgia and the economic impact it has in Georgia.” Long noted that Perdue’s background as governor, veterinarian and agricultural business owner have prepared him for the

demands the cabinet position will present. “Commodity programs, Sonny certainly understands them,” Long said. “With this Perdue new farm bill coming up it’s going to be one of the most important farm bills that we’ve ever had to protect the commodity programs for the southern part of the United States.” For more responses from Georgia’s community visit

YOUNG FARMERS from page 11 Meet since Polk County’s Chad Carlton made the final four in 2008. In preliminary rounds, contestants from 38 states discussed how Farm Bureau can ensure that farmers and ranchers, not government agencies, are driving the management of natural resources and how farmers and ranchers can maintain ownership of their intellectual and proprietary information generated through big data, unmanned aerial vehicles or unauthorized videos. The Hitchcocks made the top 10 in the Achievement Award Competition, which was won by Grant and Kristen Strom of Illinois. The Hitchcocks farm with Jonathan’s brother James, sister Jennifer and father Waylon, growing corn, cotton, peanuts, soybeans, wheat and canola on 2,400 acres, as well as raising a small herd of beef cattle.

They also have an on-farm special events venue and sell vegetables from the farm. The Achievement Award recognizes farmers between the ages of 18 and 35 who earn the majority of their income from farming. The Jacobses made the top 10 for the Excellence in Agriculture Award, which was won by Sarah Scyphers of Virginia. Bennett teaches agriculture at the Carroll County College & Career Academy. He and Rebecca farm 350 acres of family land in Rockmart, raising beef cattle and pastured pigs, as well as harvesting timber. Bennett chairs the Polk County Farm Bureau (PCFB) Young Farmer Committee and Rebecca chairs the PCFB Promotion & Education Committee. The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes young farmers who earn the majority of their income from something other than farming.

which will result in more cost and a lot of recordkeeping by the feed mill, by the producer and by the veterinarian,” Vishnie said, noting that it is very important to document the treatments being given to the animals. These records are subject to inspection by the FDA. When talking with consumers, Vishnie suggested placing emphasis on antibiotics being one of multiple animal health tools farmers use, along with housing, veterinary care and nutrition. In addition to the onfarm practices, Vishnie noted other safeguards throughout the food supply chain. For instance, while the FDA regulates human and animal antibiotics, the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) monitors and tests meat at the processing stage to ensure there are no harmful residues in

the food supply. Antibiotic use in livestock and other production practices is monitored by the USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS), which conducts national studies about the health and management of livestock, poultry and farmed aquatic animals produced in the U.S. NAHMS provides information to producers and the public about disease occurrence, exposure to disease agents and management practices (including antibiotics), productivity and knowledge gaps. To view the reports generated under NAHMS, visit NAHMSinfo. “Using antibiotics responsibly and in a way that minimizes the development of resistance is very important, no matter what sector they’re being used in,” Wishnie said. February-March 2017/ 23

Photo by Jay Stone

The 2017 Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee, pictured from left are: Jonathan & Bridget Hitchcock, Washington County, 6th Dist.; Lauren & Dustin Covington, Sumter County, 8th Dist.; Mandi & Justin Shealey, Cook County, 10th Dist.; Molly Childs, Cherokee County, 1st Dist.; Chairmen Becky & Mitchell

Pittman, Toombs County, 7th Dist.; Vice Chairmen Russ & Laura Wilburn, Barrow County, 4th Dist.; Jan Jones, Decatur County, 9th Dist.; Rebecca & Bennett Jacobs, Polk County, 3rd Dist.; and Caroline & Kyle Lewallen, Hall County, 2nd Dist. Not Pictured, Joseph Keith, Troup County, 5th Dist.

2017 GFB Young Farmer Committee named, sets calendar The 2017 GFB Young Farmer Committee has been appointed and is looking forward to a great year! The 2016 committee elected Mitchell and Becky Pittman to chair the 2017 committee and Russ and Laura Wilburn to serve as vice chairmen. Mitchell is serving a one-year term on the GFB Board of Directors as the committee chairman. Competitive events are one of the highlights of the GFB Young Farmer program. Three young farmer competitive events will be offered in 2017: Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture Award and Discussion Meet. Applications for each of these events will be available in March. Check with your county Farm Bureau to learn more about these contests. The Young Farmer Committee encourages all young farmers to save the dates of July 19-22 for the annual GFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference to be held on Jekyll Island. This event includes the preliminary rounds of the Discussion Meet and will offer a number of social and educational opportunities for farmers between the ages of 18-35. Stop by your county Farm Bureau to reserve your spot! The deadline to register is May 26. One of the highlights for our volunteers is the annual GFB Young Farmer Photo Contest. The committee will release details of this event in mid-March and will accept photos through May 12. We encourage any amateur photographer to share their photos. 24 / February-March 2017

The top 12 pictures will be featured in the 2018 Young Farmer Calendar. Visit the GFB website or contact your county office in late March for complete details. Check with your county Farm Bureau for more information about any of our

Young Farmer programs or visit www.gfb. org/yf or our Facebook page, GFB Young Farmers, to make sure you don’t miss any of the exciting events taking place in 2017! Taylor Sills is the GFB Young Farmer Coordinator.

Photo by Jay Stone

By Taylor Sills ___________________________________

2016 Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee Chairman Will Cabe, left, and GFB President Gerald Long, right, presented a check for the proceeds of the 2016 Harvest For All campaign to Georgia Food Bank Association Regional Produce Sourcer Dustin Lard during the 2016 GFB Annual Convention.

GFB donates $20,000 to Ga. Food Bank Assoc.

GFB’s Harvest For All donation will have a statewide impact as the Georgia Food Bank Association distributes the funds to America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia in Savannah, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, the Food Bank of Northwest Georgia, Feeding the Valley in Columbus, the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia in Athens, Golden Harvest in Augusta, the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank in Macon and Second Harvest of South Georgia in Valdosta. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Londons serving on AFBF Young Farmer & Rancher Committee

The American Farm Bureau Federation has appointed Matthew and Kimberly London of White County to serve on its Young Farmer & Rancher Committee for 2017-2019. The Londons chaired the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee in 2014. They have been finalists for the GFB Excellence in Agriculture Award the past two years. Matthew is the White County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Chairman. Matthew has a master’s degree in dairy science from the University of Georgia and raises replacement dairy heifers, corn and hay on the family’s farm with his father, Stanley. Kimberly has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of North Georgia and is a nurse at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. The couple has two daughters. The AFBF YF&R Committee is comprised of 16 seats representing all regions of the U.S. Committee members are responsible for program planning, which includes the coordination of YF&R competitive events during AFBF’s annual convention and the Harvest for All program. Committee members are nominated by their respective state Farm Bureaus.

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CUBA from page 21 Cuba is creditworthy. Martinez replied through a translator, “I think it will be the same as when President Obama was here when I said we are not blocking anyone. We have almost nothing to change in the way we conduct business. Businessmen in Cuba, we are all open and willing to do our job and the Congress and decisions made in and outside are limiting the population of the United States from being freely linked to our businessmen and our people. As I said, we are open to trade and to do business with U.S. companies. It cannot be with absolution. Business is where two parts agree on a common goal. The last thing I would say is, It’s time or we’ll have to keep thinking. ” Martinez did not address his country’s creditworthiness. To view more photos of Havana & Cuban agriculture visit:






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AROUND GEORGIA Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker

News from County Farm Bureaus For the latest County news, visit

BACON COUNTY Bacon County Farm Bureau (BCFB) visited a local primary school where members of the BCFB Reading Brigade read the book, “Three Sisters Garden,” to 148 students in eight secondgrade classes. After reading the book, which details how Native American Indians planted the three sisters crops of corn, beans and squash together, the BCFB volunteers presented a copy of the book to each of the teachers for their classrooms. After Bacon County Farm Bureau (BCFB) volunteers read the book, the teachers then took the students outside and supervised the students in planting corn, bean and squash seeds in the raised beds BCFB installed at the school last spring for school gardens.

BROOKS COUNTY Brooks County Farm Bureau sponsored a poster contest for Brooks County Middle School students who studied agriculture and the importance of agriculture in their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) enrichment class as part of a Farm City Week project. The students made posters to depict what they learned and how agriculture affects them and the role it plays in their lives. The students with the top three winning posters received cash prizes. Pictured from left are 2nd place winner Colby Pierce, 1st place winner Indiana Renfroe, and 3rd place winner Ja’Maurion Fountain. Christine Hiers, a BCMS ECHOES, STEM and TORCH teacher, coordinated the contest. COLQUITT COUNTY The Colquitt County Farm Bureau (CCFB) Young Farmer Committee provided lunch for the ag teachers at the Colquitt County High School to show its appreciation of everything the teachers do for agriculture in the county. Pictured from left are teachers Gene 26 / February-March 2017

Hart, Jesse Boland, CCFB Young Farmer Committee member Kendall Jimmerson and teachers Stacey Beacham and Adrienne Smith.

CRAWFORD COUNTY The Crawford County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee has taken the lead to install a wash rack at the local C.F. Harris Livestock Barn so FFA and 4-H members who show livestock in the annual Crawford County Livestock Show will have better facilities to groom their animals. The committee worked to secure a donation from Reames Concrete Company in Byron, Ga. CCFB Young Farmer Chairman Edward Harris, pictured, CCFB Vice-President Wayne McInvale and CCFB Director Dee Martin and other volunteers have been working to install the wash rack before the 66th Annual Crawford County Livestock Show on Feb. 11. DECATUR COUNTY Decatur County Farm Bureau Director Dr. Paul Johnson visited with 60 pre-K students at Jones Wheat Elementary Dec. 13.  Johnson, who is a veterinarian, talked to the students about his family’s dairy farm – Providence Farm - and took a Holstein calf raised on his dairy for the students to see. Johnson told the students what he does to keep his cows healthy and how the cows produce milk, which is used to make dairy products such as butter, cheese and ice cream. The students got a chance to ask different questions and pet the calf. Georgia Farm Bureau News

GILMER COUNTY Gilmer County Farm Bureau (GCFB) held its annual FarmCity Week Breakfast for local community leaders and members of the agriculture community Nov. 14 at its county office. During the event community officials and GCFB leaders signed the Farm-City Week proclamation declaring Nov. 18-24 to be Farm-City Week. GCFB President Darrell Jones, center, and GCFB Director Wayne Holt, right, welcome Gilmer County Commissioner Chairman Charlie Paris to the breakfast for local community leaders. MONROE COUNTY The Monroe County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee visited the Forsyth United Methodist Preschool to teach the 50 students about Georgia’s forestry industry. MCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Melissa Mathis read the book “The Tree Farmer” by Chuck Leavell. Mathis & MCFB Office Manager Sandi Williams, not pictured, talked to the students about the many products that come from trees, such as paper, wood and maple syrup. Each of the four classes planted a seedling pine in a pot that the class will be responsible for watering until it is big enough to plant outside. PEACH COUNTY Peach County Farm Bureau (PCFB) celebrated Farm City Week, Nov. 18-24, by holding a Farm Day for the elementary students at Windsor Academy on Nov. 18. PCFB Vice President Greg Gatliff, right, and Farm Bureau member Neil Skipper, left, both farmers, talked to the students about row crops and livestock grown in Georgia. The students learned about corn, cotton, peanuts and soybeans and got to see live chickens. PIKE COUNTY Pike County Farm Bureau (PCFB) held its annual Farm Georgia Farm Bureau News

City Breakfast at the PCFB office on Nov. 18. PCFB President Tom Lacey, left, introduced Georgia FFA Association Executive Secretary Ben Lastly to the breakfast. Lastly discussed the success and importance of the Georgia FFA program while delivering the keynote speech.

TATTNALL COUNTY Tattnall County Farm Bureau hosted its yearly Agriculture Day Nov. 18 at the Tattnall County High School Livestock Pavilion. All second-graders in the county, including homeschool students, were invited to attend. The students rotated through 28 exhibits that covered numerous aspects of agriculture and rural life including the Georgia Forestry Commission with Smokey Bear and the Vidalia Onion Committee with their mascot, Yumion. Livestock was also exhibited for the children to interact with, and students got to dig for potatoes and plant seeds. Tattnall County Farm Bureau members Janice Jarriel and Shirley Jarriel are pictured talking to the students about churning butter. Tattnall County Farm Bureau Vice President Dan Crispell took the students on a hayride during the event. CONVENTION from page 11 two-day trip to Sedona, Ariz., and the Grand Canyon prior to the convention, during which they learned about Arizona’s history, climate, culture and economy. The trip showcased the variety of weather Arizona experiences in the winter due to its range of topography. The group left mild temperatures in Phoenix and gradually experienced colder and rainier weather the further north they traveled. The trip took the group through a part of the Sonoran Desert where they saw the tall saguaro cactus and spotted cattle and a cowboy on horseback roaming the range. In Sedona, members saw the red rock formations that made the town famous. The drive from Sedona to Tusayan, just south of the Grand Canyon, took the group past a windmill farm in an open range area and then through woods forested with Ponderosa pines. The group woke to sunshine the second day but found snow and ice covering the ground. The route the group was scheduled to travel was closed, so it went to the Grand Canyon Village, which is part of the national park, where members had the chance to walk along the southern rim of the canyon or hang out at the Bright Angel Lodge. By the time the buses returned to the warmer, sunny temperatures of Phoenix that afternoon it was clear why the area is called Sun Valley. February-March 2017/ 27

County offices participate in Thank A Farmer project Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker _______________________________________________________ Thanks to the 26 county Farm Bureaus that participated in the Thank A Farmer project in November, more than 3,000 Georgia elementary students have a better understanding of how farmers grow their crops and livestock. The project was designed to increase ag awareness among students during Farm City Week. Participating county Farm Bureaus arranged for a farmer to visit a classroom and talk about their farm or for a county Farm Bureau representative to read an accurate ag book. Students were then asked to draw a picture illustrating what they learned about agriculture and to write a thank you note to the farmer or farmers in their local community. Participating county Farm Bureaus were encouraged to display the drawings in their offices and to share the notes with local farmers. Each participating county received a $25 credit on Ag in the Classroom materials available from the GFB Field Services Department. CATOOSA COUNTY To celebrate Farm-City Week, Catoosa County Farm Bureau Director Bill O’Donald talked to over 200 students in the first, third, and fifth grades at Woodstation Elementary School about beef cattle and the importance of farmers who grow our food. The first and third grade students received “Learn about Beef” coloring pages and fifth grade students received a “Beefin’ it up in Georgia!” word search.  The students also received a “If You Ate Today, Thank A Farmer” sticker. FRANKLIN COUNTY Franklin County Women’s Committee Chairman Heather Cabe contacted the principals and teachers of two local elementary schools and encouraged them to participate in the Thank A Farmer project. Seven teachers with 125 students participated. 28 / February-March 2017

MACON COUNTY Macon County Farm Bureau volunteer Kim Brown, daughter of Debra and the late William H. Brown, visited the first-grade class of Tammy Miller at Macon County Elementary School. Brown, not pictured, brought Cinderella and Knucklehead pumpkins from the family’s William L. Brown Farm Market and read the students a book about growing pumpkins. She also gave each student a baby pumpkin to take home.

SPALDING COUNTY Spalding County Farm Bureau worked with two classes at Futral Road Elementary School on the Thank A Farmer project. SCFB representatives read the book “Who Grew My Soup?” by Tom Darbyshire to a fourth-grade class and talked to the class, pictured, about the farmers who grow vegetables and taught them the section in the grocery store where consumers find fruits and vegetables is the produce section. SCFB Secretary Kelly Garrett is pictured far right. SCFB representatives read the book “Hi, I am Billy Blueberry, This is My Story,” to a kindergarten class. SCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Kelly Strickland, not pictured, judged the artwork both classes drew. SCFB returned to both classes to present the winning students with a gift and served cupcakes to all of the students who participated. WAYNE COUNTY Wayne County Farm Bureau Promotion/Education Committee Chairman Emily Nolan, black shirt, back row, visited fifth-grade classes at Screven Elementary School and delivered a presentation titled “A Day in the Life of a Farmer,” during which she had an interactive discussion with the students about farmers’ daily farming activities. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Survey shows how farmers can effectively talk to consumers By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________ Have you ever wondered why consumers are more interested in how their food is produced than ever before and why agriculture production practices are under increased scrutiny? Charlie Arnot, chief executive officer of The Center for Food Integrity (CFI), answered these questions and gave tips on how farmers can Charlie Arnot engage with consumers during a presentation he delivered at the 2017 American Farm Bureau Convention. Arnot shared insights from the 2015 report the CFI issued based on a threeyear survey of 6,000 consumers regarding their attitudes towards meat, milk and eggs. Arnot said the survey showed consumers once made their food purchases based on cost, convenience and taste, but today they are more likely to base their food purchases on the following four factors: 1) how the food will impact their health/wellness; 2) the safety of the food; 3) the impact the production of the food had on the environ-

ment; and 4) the experience they had buying, preparing or eating the food. The agriculture community has assumed consumers don’t agree with it on how farmers raise animals because they don’t understand or have enough information, Arnot said. The CFI survey, however, showed consumers place three to five times the importance on knowing farmers share their values over knowing the facts and science behind why farmers produce their commodities the way they do, Arnot said. “Our new reality is consumers make decisions based on feelings, not just the facts,” Arnot said. “Consumers want to talk to a farmer, not an expert. Consumers don’t want to hear that we raise animals inside barns because science says its okay and good for production. They are asking ‘Just because you can do it, should you? What we need to explain to them is that raising animals inside barns protects them from predators.” The consolidation, integration and industrialization of agriculture has caused consumers to think of agriculture as an institution and have less trust in farmers, Arnot said. There has also been a social shift during the last 40 years regarding authority, how information is communicated to the public, social consensus and society’s attitude about progress.

Ogletree named a director on ASA board

Spalding County Farm Bureau Vice President Brian Ogletree has been appointed to a seat on the board of directors for the American Soybean Association (ASA), the organization announced Dec. 8. Ogletree, a former member of the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee, was one of 11 new board members announced during the ASA annual winter meeting in St. Louis. Ogletree, a two-time finalist for the GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award, grows a variety of grain and forage crops and operates a seed-cleaning plant. He farms with his father, Bobby, growing wheat, soybeans, browntop millet, clover, sericia lespedeza and winter peas along with mainOgletree taining a small herd of SimmAngus cattle on a total of 2,000 acres. Ogletree and his wife, Melissa, live in Milner with their three children. Ron Moore of Roseville, Illinois, assumed the role of president of the ASA for 2017. Moore served as ASA’s vice president throughout 2016, and per the structure of the organization, the vice president moves into the president’s role for the following year. John Heisdorffer of Keota, Iowa, was elected vice president. Georgia Farm Bureau News

“Society once viewed progress as inevitable, but today consumers question what constitutes progress,” Arnot said. Authority was once granted by the office or position you held, but today the public grants authority to people based on their relationships, Arnot said. Social consensus was once driven by white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant men, but today, a single social consensus has been replaced with diversity and many voices. While the public once received its news formally via three major TV networks, today communication is informal and direct thanks to the internet and social media. “We’re all looking for information that’s specific and relevant to each of us,” Arnot said. “This makes it difficult to have a shared conversation about a topic.” Arnot stressed the importance of farmers being engaged with consumers. “Social media has allowed people who don’t know anything about agriculture to talk about it,” Arnot said. “Agriculture needs to use digital and social media to share what we do with consumers and assure them that although how we farm has changed, our values haven’t.” Arnot said you must start with active listening when talking with anyone to whom you are trying to sell your point of view. “Communicating the shared values you as a farmer have with the consumer makes the technical information you try to share more relevant and accessible to a consumer,” Arnot said. “Tell them you, too, are concerned about the safety and quality of the food your family eats and that you care about the welfare of your livestock.” Arnot encouraged farmers to embrace the skepticism consumers have. “It’s not personal. It’s a social condition,” Arnot said. When talking to consumers use language they can understand instead of academic or ag jargon. “The public wants information from academics but not in the language of academics,” Arnot said. Arnot stressed transparency is no longer optional in the digital age in which we live, saying, “Open the digital door to today’s agriculture. Find ways on social media to make what you do transparent and to illustrate your commitment to do what’s right.” February-March 2017/ 29

By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________ Washington lobbyist Bob Redding more talk of extending the farm bill,” reviewed changes in Congress that could Redding said. influence deliberations on the next farm Redding presented farm bill informabill and agricultural economists from the tion at five of the eight stops. UGA AsUniversity of Georgia offered insights on sistant Professor of Beef Production Dr. trends likely to affect commodity prices in Brent Credille from the UGA College of the coming year during the 2017 Georgia Veterinary Medicine presented informaAg Forecast series, which made eight stops tion on the Veterinary Feed Directive at around the state from Jan. 18-27. The se- the other three. ries, which kicked off at Georgia Farm Bu- UGA College of Agricultural & Enreau in Macon, is funded through an en- vironmental Sciences Dean Sam Pardue dowment from Georgia Farm Bureau with welcomed the crowd and lauded farmers’ support from other agricultural groups. efforts to continue feeding and clothing Redding, of the Redding Firm in the world. Washington, D.C., gave an overview of “We’re excited about the future,” Parchanges in the national political land- due said. “The things that we do in agriscape, including a preview of farm bill ne- culture are important, not only for the gotiations, which are expected to get un- state of Georgia but for this nation and the derway this year. One key point was that world. I’m grateful that men and women legislative action in the Senate would like- invest their lives, their energy and their

“If things get ugly in the House and Senate, there’s going to be more and more talk of extending the farm bill,” Redding said. ly be slow because of the new presidential administration, which must make around 4,000 appointments, including approximately 1,200 that have to go through Senate confirmation. “The Senate will be bogged down with hearings, background checks and other things the first part of the year,” Redding said. Key issues on the agenda of the 115th Congress are repeal of the Affordable Care Act, immigration reform, tax reform, infrastructure and federal regulations. Redding said the farm bill discussions will include negotiations over the generic acres in the crop insurance program, as well as an adjusted gross income test to limit payment amounts. “Interest groups from the right and the left will come in and try to cap what producers can get based on adjusted gross income,” Redding said. He predicted that the farm bill conservation title will be one program that could face reductions or eliminations. “If things get ugly in the House and Senate, there’s going to be more and 30 / February-March 2017

resources into an enterprise that does so much good in so many places.” Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long welcomed the group to the GFB home office on Jan. 18 and encouraged them to join the organization as members in support of farm advocacy. UGA Assistant Professor Dr. Levi Russell presented information about the livestock markets. Russell anticipates a return of beef cattle to normal supply, demand and trade factors. “As we start to go back towards more normal supply and demand fundamentals – in other words, normal slaughter and normal beef production – we’re going to start to see some normalization in beef prices, as well,” Russell said. Russell said the recovery of pasture conditions around the state will dictate the extent to which Georgia cattle producers’ businesses are profitable. Russell said poultry production is expected to continue to grow in 2017 and that continued low feed prices will determine profit-

Photo by Jay Stone

Commodity prices, farm bill focus of 2017 Georgia Ag Forecast

Bob Redding discussed the upcoming farm bill at five of the Ag Forecast meetings.

ability in 2017. Georgia hog producers, he said, are likely to see a recovery in profits early in the year. UGA Extension Economist Dr. Don Shurley provided the outlook for the state’s row crops. Regarding input costs, Shurley said seed prices appear headed for a 1 percent increase, fertilizers are down from a year ago and diesel fuel prices are expected to increase. Some chemical prices have gone up while others have fallen, machinery costs are expected to rise and labor rates should stay about the same as in 2016.  Shurley said commodity prices for corn should range from $4.07 to $4.22 per bushel. Acres are forecast to decrease but demand for ethanol will likely increase.  National cotton acreage is expected to increase, which combined with foreign production could affect cotton commodity prices, which Shurley estimated would end up between 65 and 75 cents per pound. “Georgia’s ag economy is very fortunate in that we have two crops, cotton and peanuts, that on production side and yield side are doing very well,” Shurley said. Low prices in other commodities combined with Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payments have kept peanut acreage high. Shurley expects Georgia peanut farmers to plant more than 700,000 acres in 2017. He said early peanut contract prices are around $475 per ton. Because of better commodity prices when compared with corn, soybean acres are projected to increase. Shurley said Georgia’s price will likely be between $9.40 and $9.62 per bushel. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Jay Stone

Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) Chairman Armond Morris, far left, presented awards at the 41st Annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show. Accepting awards, second from left to right, were: Georgia Farm Bureau Commodities/Marketing Director Don McGough, who received the GPC Special Award; UGA CAES Dean Sam Pardue, who accepted the GPC Research & Education Award on behalf of UGA President Jere Morehead; John Harrell, who received the GPC Special Award; Kroger Atlanta Produce Merchandiser George Harter, who accepted the Peanut Promotion Award on behalf of the company; GPC Outstanding Young Peanut Farmer winner Brandon Branch, accepting the award from BASF Representative David Hinson and RFD-TV Chief Revenue Officer Brian Hughes, accepting the GPC Media Award. Visit to see more photos from the event.

Georgia peanut farm show features awards, seminars

By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________ The Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) announced its annual awards while offering education seminars on peanut production and the latest seed research during the 41st Annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show in Tifton on Jan. 19. More than 1,400 attended the show, which featured 110 exhibitors, ranging from heavy farm equipment manufacturers to irrigation technology and numerous other products designed to enhance peanut farmers’ yields and production efficiency. The University of Georgia Peanut Team presented an educational peanut production seminar focusing on advanced irrigation management. The peanut seed seminar highlighted peanut varieties available for 2017. Bob Redding of The Redding Firm discussed factors likely to affect the development of the next farm bill, among them the new presidential administration, a handful

of new members of Congress and pressure from non-farm groups. Redding predicted that hearings, town hall meetings and listening sessions on the next farm bill would begin happening in the second quarter of 2017. National Peanut Board (NPB) Chairman Ed White gave an update on the NPB’s activities, noting that growers have contributed $29 million to peanut research through the board. “As you contribute, know that you’re contributing to your own welfare,” White said, “because the universities are doing an outstanding job.” Included in the research was a study under the Learning Early About Peanut (LEAP) project, which revealed that introducing peanuts into babies’ diets as early as four months of age can reduce the chances of them developing peanut allergies, a point White said needs to be promoted with consumers. White said the NPB needs to focus edu-

2017 Peanut Proud Festival

March 25 • Downtown • Blakely This annual event features free concerts all day, the Peanut Proud Parade, arts & crafts, a 5K road race, kids’ peanut obstacle course, a street dance and much more. For more information visit Festivities begin at 9 a.m. Georgia Farm Bureau News

cation efforts on the millennial generation to develop the next generation of consumers, as well as working to counteract competition from almonds. “We need to sell our product as being the very best,” White said. “We don’t want to demean any other product. We just want to tell people that peanuts are what they need to eat.” In addition to the award recipients (pictured at left) for their contributions to the industry, the GPC and Agri Supply presented the Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmers of the Year Award to a grower from each of the commission’s five districts during its annual meeting. This award honors farmers for their passion, diligence, leadership and desire to see Georgia’s peanut industry continue to be the highest quality. The GPC District 1 winner was John Bridges Sr. of Brinson, Ga.; Ken Hall Sr. of Ty Ty, Ga. was the GPC District 2 recipient; the GPC District 3 winner was Jon Burns of Newington, Ga.; Richard Nutt of Pitts, Ga., was the GPC District 4 winner and the GPC District 5 winner was Glen Lee Chase of Oglethorpe, Ga. These farmers received a sign to display at their farm and a $100 gift card from Agri Supply.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News - February / March 2017  

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

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