Vol. 80 No. 1
GFB sows seeds for Harvest 20
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contents Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
view from the field PAGE 4
public policy governmental affairs update PAGE 5
GFB farm insurance update PAGE12
YF&R update PAGE 27
women’s leadership update PAGE 30
GFB Foundation update PAGE 31
GFB News staff Andy Lucas Director Jennifer Whittaker Editor Jay Stone Print/Web Specialist Lillian Davis Publications/Advertising Manager Michael Edmondson Web/Video Manager For information concerning advertising, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or firstname.lastname@example.org For questions about your membership or member benefits, call 1-800-633-5432. For questions regarding editorial content call 478-474-0679, ext. 5334 or e-mail email@example.com Visit the GFB Web site today! www.gfb.org Georgia Farm Bureau TV: www.youtube.com/georgiafarmmonitor “Like” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GeorgiaFarmBureau Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gafarmbureau Check us out on Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/gafarmbureau Follow us on Instragram: www.instagram.com/gafarmbureau
Georgia Farm Bureau News
AFBF Convention in Music City helps members perfect pitch Attendees learned to transform the way consumers look at farmers & heard speeches by President Trump, Ag Secretary Perdue & Reba McEntire. PAGE 6
Taking the pulse of rural health care
We explore the crisis of rural health care in the first of a five-part series highlighting issues facing rural Georgia. PAGE 8
GFB 80th Annual Convention: President Long launches Harvest 20
Inspire. Educate. Preserve. Learn about the vision GFB is implementing.
AI virus detected in wild ducks on Ga. coast
Poultry producers are reminded to follow biosecurity measures the USDA recommends to limit the exposure of their flocks to avian influenza. PAGE 13
Farm bill, crop review & awards highlight Ga. Peanut Show
Workshops go whole hog on feral swine issue Learn about the biosecurity threat wild hogs pose & control tactics.
Produce growers get guidance on FSMA requirements
The Food Safety Modernization Act went into effect Jan. 26. Learn who it applies to & who gets exemptions or delayed implementation. PAGE 18
GFB convention speakers discuss politics, economics, ag education & regs
UGA CAES welcomes new leaders
Federal budget debate could delay farm bill
Farm Bureau cattle shows prep youth for state event
about the cover-------------------------------------------------
(Photo by Hollyn Batchelor) Telfair County Farm Bureau member Hollyn Batchelor entered this photo in the 2017 GFB Photo Contest. Entry details for this year’s contest will be available in March. Visit the GFB wesite or your county office. February-March 2018 / 3
view from the field Gerald Long, GFB President
Catch the Harvest 20 Vision
For Georgia Farm Bureau to succeed, we’ve got to have a vision. Something we as members can aspire to. That’s why I sat down with GFB staff last fall to identify areas our organization could address by the end of year 2020 to make our organization more effective and positively impact Georgia agriculture. I shared this Harvest 20 Vision during my annual address at GFB’s convention in December. INSPIRE. EDUCATE. PRESERVE. These are the three components of the vision. We will achieve our vision to INSPIRE by increasing GFB’s educational outreach through funding grants for agricultural research. The success of Georgia agriculture depends on research that addresses production issues farmers face, such as whitefly control in crops, water use efficiency or animal nutrition. GFB will also increase our efforts to promote ag literacy in schools and our communities across Georgia. We will educate consumers and our employees about the importance of agriculture. We won’t stop until everyone understands why agriculture is vital to their survival and are INSPIRED to support Farm Bureau and our farmers who provide us with the essentials we need to live – food, clothing and housing. We will achieve our vision to EDUCATE by engaging, developing and retaining local volunteer leaders. GFB’s Women’s Leadership and Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Programs have a long history of developing local leaders in our counties, but our organization loses many potential leaders when they age out of the YF&R program at age 36. GFB won’t reduce our commitment to the YF&R program, but we are going 4 / February-March 2018
to place additional emphasis on members in the 36 to 50-year-old range. We want to maintain the leaders we work so hard to develop. We also plan to build on our youth development efforts with 4-H and FFA to strengthen our local leadership base. The end goal of our education efforts is to have more people, both employees and volunteers, who are excited about Farm Bureau, our message and our purpose. We will achieve our vision to PRESERVE by connecting and collaborating with our partners in Georgia’s agricultural community who share our vision. GFB will explore cobranding opportunities and cost-sharing options. We are also going to work to identify additional revenue sources to accomplish our mission. When the 50 farmers who founded Georgia Farm Bureau met in 1937, they had nothing of material value. They had no members, no services, no benefits and no money. But they did have a vision – to be the Voice of Georgia farmers – and that vision made all the difference. Georgia Farm Bureau’s official policy states that our purpose is to be a “vehicle to assist in providing farm families a fair and equitable standard of living to ensure the existence of agriculture as a vital and thriving industry in the future.” Our organization does a terrific job of advocating for Georgia’s farmers and serving as their voice, but it’s time we take our organization to the next level of success. As we approach the year 2020, I ask you to join Georgia Farm Bureau in implementing our Harvest 20 Vision. As Farm Bureau members, let us make it our mission to INSPIRE and EDUCATE today’s farmers, youth and consumers to PRESERVE Georgia agriculture.
FARM BUREAU GEORGIA
Farm Bureau Members: Included in dues — $1 per year Non-Members — $15 per year To subscribe call 1-800-898-1911, ext. 5334.
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: Dustin Covington, Americus WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Carol McQueen, Locust Grove.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Georgia Farm Bureau News was established in 1937. Copyright 2018 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.
Georgia Farm Bureau News
public policy update By Jeffrey Harvey, Public Policy Director
GFB sets legislative priorities for 2018 In December, the Georgia Farm Bureau day fund. This year’s budget has been built As a carryover from last year, efforts Board of Directors identified the organiza- on an anticipated 3.7 percent growth rate and continue to pass Senate Bill 257 by Sen. tion’s priority issues for 2018. This action contains numerous benefits for agriculture Bill Heath (R-Bremen). This bill requires marks the final phase of the GFB’s policy including money of whitefly research. law enforcement officers to consult with development process. Our legislative ad- Natural resources & environment will the state veterinarian or another veterinarvocacy efforts will be guided by the priority be debated at the state capitol as well as the ian approved by the Georgia Department of issues, which fall into four categories: taxes U. S. Supreme Court in 2018. Water, an es- Agriculture before filing charges of livestock & budget, natural resources & environment, sential tool for every farm, and the use of animal cruelty. defense of animal agriculture and general ag- other natural resources are often at risk from In recent years, some farmers have rericultural issues. regulators, environmental groups and even ceived citations from local animal control of While these topics serve as priorities, neighboring states. GFB will continue to ficials for claims of cruelty. In many of these GFB’s Public Policy Department is not lim- work to ensure water legislation and regu- incidents, these claims were deemed unwarited by them. Any issue related to agriculture lations do not adversely affect agriculture’s ranted by a trained livestock veterinarian. or found in the organization’s policy book water supply so our farmers can remain These situations could have been avoided will be addressed. competitive. if experienced experts were consulted prior Taxes & budget are always high priorities GFB expects changes to the state agri- to charges being filed. Senate Bill 257 would during the legislative session. Arguably, two of cultural water metering program. The origi- correct this inequity. the most important agricultural programs the nal intent of this program was to serve as a General agriculture issues include sevstate government offers are the Georgia Ag- management tool and document farmers’ eral topics currently being discussed at the ricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) and Con- water use. It will be a priority to maintain state capitol. One issue heavily discussed servation Use Value Assessment (CUVA) this purpose and to continue showcasing the over the summer and during the current programs. GATE exlegislative session is ruempts farmers from state ral development. Many and local sales taxes on state leaders acknowlagricultural input costs. edge rural Georgia has CUVA allows farm and not enjoyed the same forestland to be taxed acdegree of economic succording to its use instead cess as other parts of the of its fair market value. state. Lawmakers from Both programs diboth chambers met over rectly impact the farmer’s the summer to discuss pocketbook. In this time key issues plaguing ruTAXES & BUDGET • NATURAL RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENT of lower commodity ral communities. Issues ANIMAL AGRICULTURE • GENERAL AGRICULTURE ISSUES prices, these programs such as job creation, inare critical to farmers’ bottom line. Farm vast conservation efforts already being per- frastructure, economic development, educaBureau’s goal is to make sure these programs formed throughout the state. tion and access to healthcare topped the list. are preserved and their integrity is not un- Ridding our lands of nuisance wildlife, Georgia agriculture contributed $73.3 dermined. such as excessive deer and feral hogs, is an- billion and 383,600 jobs to the state econo In January, Gov. Deal unveiled his $26 other way to preserve our natural resources. my in 2016 according to the UGA Center for billion FY19 state budget, which is the larg- Each year, these destructive pests cause Agribusiness & Economic Development. In est in Georgia’s history. The size of this bud- millions of dollars in crop damages. GFB nearly two thirds of Georgia’s rural counties, get does not mean state government has will continue working to control nuisance food and fiber production and directly relatrun amuck or overallocated its resources; it wildlife that destroys crops and pillages our ed businesses represent the largest or second simply means the state is continuing to grow property. largest segment of all goods and services proand generate additional revenue that must Animal agriculture is constantly under duced. As solutions are developed to address be appropriated. attack from radical animal rights groups the needs of our rural communities, GFB’s By order of the state constitution, Geor- and the misinformed public. GFB will work priority is to advocate for the tools farmers gia is required to pass a balanced budget, so to limit regulation of animal agriculture on need for a successful future. oftentimes the extra revenue is earmarked for farms and support common sense policies Jeffrey Harvey is director of the GFB Pubimportant projects or diverted to our rainy- that protect modern livestock practices. lic Policy Department.
2018 Priority Issues
Georgia Farm Bureau News
February-March 2018 / 5
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
Photo courtesy of AFBF
Country superstar Reba McEntire greets GFB President & First Lady Gerald & Janice Long at the AFBF convention. Visit www.gfb.ag/18AFBFphotos to see more photos.
Josh & Skye Pennino deliver their Excellence in Agriculture presentation.
By Jennifer Whittaker ______________________________________________________________________________
issues including farm bill programs, international trade and ag labor. To read more about this visit www.gfb.ag/18AFBFpolicy . AFBF President Zippy Duvall was reelected for a second term.
AFBF Convention in Music City helps members tune their pitch Transform was the key word of the 99th Annual American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Convention held Jan. 5-10 in Nashville, Tennessee. Specifically, transforming how consumers view farmers. More than 200 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) members traveled to the Opryland Hotel for the event. In addition to taking in the sights and sounds of country music’s mecca, convention attendees picked up skills for promoting ag in their communities. They also heard a rousing speech by President Donald Trump – the first U.S. president to speak at the AFBF convention since George H. Bush in 1992 –encouraging words from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and a motivational talk by Reba McEntire. “I’ve been attending AFBF conventions for many years and I think it was one of the best yet. Our members had the historic chance to hear from a sitting president who supports farmers and has pledged to support rural America,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “The workshops offered were top-notch and will help our members as they advocate for agriculture back home in their communities and handle the day-to-day running of their farms.” During the opening general session, GFB was recognized as an Awards of Excellence state for demonstrating outstanding achieve6 / February-March 2018
ments in all four member program areas – advocacy, engagement/outreach, leadership/ business development and membership value. Country music superstar, actress and designer Reba McEntire discussed the work ethic she learned growing up on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma and her faith while having a “living room” style conversation with AFBF President Zippy Duvall and his wife, Bonnie, during the closing general session. “You need three things in life – a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone,” McEntire said. “You always have to have something to look forward to – that’s the wishbone. Being a woman in a man’s world you’ve got to have a backbone. I grew up in a man’s world [on the family ranch]. I knew I had to work harder to get ahead. I just worked harder and didn’t complain. I understood the rules. I did have plenty of men to mentor me. If you don’t have a sense of humor I feel for you. You can’t take things seriously. You have to be able to laugh at yourself. When I realized my son, Shelby, could laugh at himself was one of my proudest days.” Speaking of her faith, McEntire said, “My heart goes out to anybody that doesn’t know the Lord because with the Lord you’re never alone.” AFBF voting delegates approved 11 policies GFB submitted that addressed numerous
Hall GROWS wins AFBF award
Georgia had a strong presence in the IDEAg Trade Show at the AFBF convention where Hall County Farm Bureau (HCFB) was among 24 county Farm Bureaus nationwide selected to display exhibits about their innovative county programs. HCFB was a recipient of AFBF’s County Activities of Excellence (CAE) Awards program. HCFB showcased its Hall Grows Real Opportunities With Students (GROWS) program, which successfully installed Ag in the Classroom curriculum in six schools during the 2016-2017 school year to reach more than 700 students. The Hall GROWS program included 21 county volunteers who visited the classrooms of 27 teachers. “GFB was proud to have Hall County Farm Bureau showcasing their Hall GROWS program in the trade show as a recipient of the County of Excellence Award,” Long said. HCFB President Jerry Truelove credits Justine Palmer, the county office manager, and Young Farmer Chairman Caroline Lewallen for developing the program. While Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo courtesy of AFBF
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
Thomas & Alicia Harrell represented GFB in the AFBF YF&R Achievement competition.
GFB Young Farmer Guill Kellogg won first place in the Farm to 5K held at the convention.
HCFB had previously concentrated on its legislative programs, Truelove said the county recognized the need to get Agriculture in the Classroom curriculum in the local schools. “Although Hall County has a lot of agriculture, we’ve got a lot more people in our county who know nothing about agriculture,” Truelove said. “Our board said it’s time to do something and here we are.” Truelove and his sister, Dixie, have taken Holstein cows to local schools for years. “It’s amazing how kids connect to a cow and can remember from one year to the next. What we’re doing now is taking it to a whole new level,” Truelove said. HCFB received $2,250 in prize money to further its program. HCFB was one of four
counties to be selected in the 3,001 to 5,000 county membership group. Awards were also presented in the following membership groups: membership of less than 1,000 members; 1,001-3,000 members; more than 5,001 members; and for collaborative multi-county activities regardless of membership size. HCFB Director Brandon Reece is one of the volunteers who visited the schools. Reece admits he was nervous at first, but said he felt comfortable reading books about chickens, since he’s very familiar with the subject as a poultry grower. “I like being a part of the program because it’s letting the younger generation know what farming is about and letting them know farming isn’t dead,” Reece said.
GFB YF&R members represent Ga. well
Photo courtesy of AFBF
Will Godowns competes in the AFBF Discussion Meet.
AFBF President Zippy Duvall, second from left, congratulates Hall County Farm Bureau President Jerry Truelove, HCFB Office Manager Justine Palmer & HCFB Director Brandon Reece on winning an AFBF County of Excellence Award for their Hall GROWS program. HCFB Young Farmer Chairman Caroline Lewallen, not pictured, also represented HCFB at AFBF. Georgia Farm Bureau News
GFB Young Farmer & Rancher (YF&R) members who competed in events at the AFBF convention had a strong showing. Guill Kellogg, GFB’s 3rd District YF&R Chairman from Cobb County, began the first day of convention with a bang by running faster than 76 other runners to win the Farm to 5K. Kellogg braved early morning temperatures in the teens to run the 3.1 mile race through Nashville’s Two Rivers Park in 20 minutes, 16 seconds. “If you want to know why I ran so fast I wanted to get out of the cold,” Kellogg was overheard joking with someone. Kellogg ran cross country and track at Chicago State University. He regularly competes in 5ks and trains about three days a week by running 3.1 miles. As contestants in the Excellence in Agriculture event, Hancock County Farm Bureau members Josh and Skye Pennino delivered a presentation describing their cattle and hay farm, their off-farm jobs and their ag advocacy efforts as Farm Bureau members. The first-generation farmers have off-farm jobs as a livestock auctioneer/relocation specialist (Josh) and assistant district attorney (Skye). Pike County Farm Bureau member Will Godowns talked his way into the third of four rounds of competition in the AFBF YF&R Discussion Meet. Will had this advice for anyone thinking about entering the 2018 contest: “Don’t worry about how you think you talk or about the audience or what others might say. Just look at it as being in a small group of friends talking about agriculture. See CONVENTION page 22 February-March 2018 / 7
The Georgia Legislature set up the House Rural Development Council (HRDC) in 2017 to study rural issues. The HRDC, which held 18 hearings around the state last year, focused its final report on five key areas: healthcare, education, economic development, general workforce and broadband connectivity. You can view the report at http://bit.ly/HRDCreport. The GFB News plans to explore these topics in each issue this year. In this issue, we tackle rural health care. According to the State Board for Physician Workforce, 1 in 15 Georgia counties has no doctor. Specialty physicians like pediatricians or OB/GYNs are more scarce.
Taking the pulse of rural health care By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________
Two tales of rural health In 1963, when Bill Minick was 19 years old, he suffered a broken collar bone and shoulder blade when a horse threw him. Minick was taken to Stewart Webster Hospital for emergency treatment while his neighbors rounded up his horses. Since then, Minick, now 73, has been kicked several times by cows and has been burned in a mishap involving a torch. When the injury warranted, Stewart Webster Hospital was there to treat him. The hospital, located in Richland on the county line, had 25 beds and an emergency room, providing an invaluable health resource to the two counties. The hospital closed in 2013, adding a distance factor to health care needs for residents of both counties. The building is still there, its condition deteriorating along with the economic health of the communities it served. “When it closed, it very definitely changed the quality of life,” said Minick, who served as a Webster County Farm Bureau director for 38 years. “Now you haven’t got any care at all.” Minick grows row crops and raises cattle with his son Billy on their farms in Webster and Stewart counties. Webster County is one of nine counties in the state – the others are Echols, Glascock, Long, Quitman, Schley, Taliaferro, Treutlen and Wheeler – that have no primary care physician. 8 / February-March 2018
It’s also one of three, along with Long and Taliaferro, that have no physicians, physicians assistants or nurse practitioners, according to a 2015 report from the Georgia State Board for Physician Workforce. “We have an ambulance service,” Minick said. “They do a pretty good job, but they haul you to a medical center 50 miles away.” The closest hospital to much of Webster County is in Americus, a half-hour’s drive east of Preston, Webster County’s seat. An hour’s drive round-trip plus whatever time the doctor visit takes creates a real problem for farmers, who frequently work alone or with minimal staff. “It’s a lot harder to get care,” Minick said noting that it’s rare when a farmer can take a day off for any reason. “You’ve got to see about livestock seven days a week.” Having a hospital nearby can be a blessing. Ware County Farm Bureau Director Garrett Ganas lost his left thumb in a farm accident in 2014. When it happened, two of his workers drove him to Ganas the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Waycross 15 miles away. From there, he was flown by helicopter to Doctor’s Hospital in Augusta to meet with a prominent hand surgeon, who determined the thumb could not be saved but was able to close the
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wound so that it healed properly. Ganas questions whether this would have been the case had he been forced to travel a greater distance, go to a smaller hospital or a rural doctor’s office for initial care. “It would have made the transition later a lot more difficult,” Ganas said. His wife, Nydia, said, “If this had happened in another county, I don’t think that he would have had as good of a result as he had. I think they would have just closed it up and he would have more problems now than he does. But he was able to see that hand surgeon, and he hasn’t had any problems.” Since 2013, six rural hospitals in Georgia have closed, according to Georgia Health News, and more of the state’s rural counties face the possibility of hospital closure. The report in Georgia Health News, which can be viewed at http://bit.ly/GHNhospitalscrisis, indicates half the state’s rural hospitals are vulnerable - putting more rural residents in situations like what Minick faces in Webster County than what the Ganases have access to in Ware.
What’s being done to address the situation?
A variety of financial pressures have contributed to the closing of hospitals and limited access to health care professionals, including massive administrative costs, patients using emergency rooms for what should be routine medical visits, and doctors’ need to pay down their student loans. “It’s frightening,” said Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla), who co-chaired the Georgia House Rural Development Council (HRDC). “The thing is, a lot of times in the legislature we’re presented with a problem and we’re also presented with a solution. There is no single solution to this problem. It’s a lot of little things that can improve the bottom line and the delivery of health care, but the big things are going to have to be taken care of on the federal level.” Continued on next page Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo by Jay Stone
Continued from previous page For now, at least, that leaves residents of counties like Webster with no choice but to go out of town. These conditions aren’t lost on the Georgia legislature. Rural health care was a key component of the HRDC report filed in December. The council’s report noted: “Rural populations on the whole are sicker, have less or no access to prevention and services, are more likely to suffer from mental illness and chronic diseases, have higher rates of teen pregnancy and higher mortality rates.” Testimony in the HRDC hearings indicated emerging practices that could ease the healthcare burden on rural communities, including care delivery through telehealth, where computer networking is used to support long-distance health care, as well as innovative organizational structure to expand rural access to health care. The HRDC’s other co-chair, Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn), summed up a key financial component for hospital finances – managing payments the hospital receives from Medicaid. “If they’re taking Medicaid, there’s
Long-time Webster County Farm Bureau Director Bill Minick made numerous visits to Stewart Webster Hospital before it closed in 2013. His treatment options are now more limited.
billing platform for Medicaid would lessen the burden on that local hospital so they don’t have as many back-office folks doing paperwork or going to different computer programs to file billing. If they can narrow down the number of people back there, that means they can put that many more folks out front helping take care of people.” The HRDC report made several recommendations to stabilize rural healthcare, adSee HRDC page 30
now four care management organizations (CMOs) in the state in the Medicaid business,” England said, noting that the state just went from three to four. “With three, there were 42 separate billing platforms that a hospital has to use for every Medicaid patient. If a patient walks in and they meet certain criteria, then they’ve got to use one particular platform to bill Medicaid. If the next patient is a little bit different, then they’ve got to use a different platform. A unified
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February-March 2018 / 9
President Long launches Harvest 20 Vision at By Jay Stone & Jennifer Whittaker ______________________________________________________________________________
eorgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long shared his vision for the organization through the year 2020 while delivering his annual address at the organization’s 80th annual convention held Dec. 3-5 on Jekyll Island. Long said GFB will work to inspire and educate today’s farmers, youth and consumers to preserve and promote tomorrow’s agriculture. “We will achieve our vision to inspire by increasing our educational outreach through invest- GFB Pres. Long ment in grants for agricultural research, which is one of the keys to Georgia’s agricultural success and educating students and consumers about agriculture,” Long said. “We will achieve our vision to educate by engaging and developing local volunteer leaders. We will achieve our vision to preserve by connecting and collaborating with our ag partners who share our vision.” GFB plans to increase its efforts to promote ag literacy in schools and educate consumers about the importance of agriculture, as part of its vision to inspire, Long said. As part of the organization’s effort to engage and develop local leaders, Long announced GFB plans to add additional programs for its farmer members in the 36 to 50-year age range to keep members engaged in the organization as they age out of the Young Farmer program for members 18 to 35-years-old. “We will not reduce our commitment to our Young Farmer program, but we want to maintain those leaders we work so hard to develop,” Long said. Long said three of the organization’s top legislative priorities are obtaining a viable farm bill that strengthens the food security of the U.S., defending farm water rights and protecting the rights of farmers and landowners from excessive government regulations. “For more than 80 years, Georgia Farm Bureau has been the voice of Georgia farmers. Addressing farm issues is basic to Farm Bureau’s purpose,” Long said. “A new farm bill is being developed for 2018, and farmers must speak with a united voice to have influence. Farmers’ rights to use water will con10 / February-March 2018
tinue to be an issue in Georgia as the United States Supreme Court hears the case Florida filed against our state that could have longterm impacts. Georgia Farm Bureau supports private property rights, and we will work to reign in government agencies that overreach into the rights of farmers and landowners.”
Gov. Deal discusses efforts to strengthen rural Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal showed his appreciation for Georgia farmers by speaking at GFB’s annual convention for the eighth consecutive year. “As a Farm Bureau member, I appreciate the good work that this organization does,” Deal said. “Whenever possible you give young people the opportunity to explore the rural lifestyle and this is important.” Gov. Deal outlined Gov. Deal the many projects the state of Georgia has funded during his administration to strengthen rural Georgia and agriculture. Deal said the state has allocated an additional $9 million above what the state usually allocates for the UGA Cooperative Extension Service, UGA Agricultural Experiment Stations & Veterinary Medicine Experiment Stations for fiscal year 2018. “We understand that these are the kinds of investments that allow people to have access to the most current information possible,” Deal said. Since Deal took office as governor in 2011, Georgia has invested more than $100 million to ensure students in rural Georgia have access to high speed internet. The One Georgia Authority, which provides grants to rural communities, has awarded about $100 million to fund rural economic projects that have helped retain or create 25,575 jobs in rural Georgia. “Eighty percent of the international economic development projects that have come to Georgia were outside Metro Atlanta,” Deal said. “They may not be directly related to agriculture, but they do provide jobs for rural Georgia and allow people to stay in rural Georgia.” Deal pointed out that since 2013 Site Selection Magazine has named Georgia the best
state in the nation in which to do business. “Agribusiness is doing your part in keeping us in that number one designation,” Deal said. “Agribusiness contributes over $74.9 billion to Georgia’s economy.”
Rep. Carter discusses SHEP U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Dist.1), whose district includes the Georgia coast, provided updates on key ag issues in the district, including the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) and tax legislation. Carter said SHEP is about 33 percent complete. He anticipates the federal government will continue to fund the project, which will make the Port of Savannah capable of handling larger cargo ships, making ag exports more cost effective. The port, Carter said, is the U.S. Rep. Carter third-fastest growing port in the world. “We need about $100 million every year for the next five years to get that project finished, and we have a commitment from the president and from the Office of Management and Budget that they will do that,” Carter said.
Commissioner Black says agriculture makes life bettter Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black discussed the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) and a list of things the Georgia Department of Agriculture should pursue in coming years. The GATE program exempts farmers Georgia Farm Bureau News
GFB 80th Annual Convention from sales taxes on things like farm implements, seed and fertilizer that they need to produce their crops. Black said there is a possibility the GATE program could transition from the current annual renewal to a three-year renewal with an increase in fees as a de- Commissioner Black terrent for individuals who abuse the program. “I’m very satisfied we have a sound program. I’m satisfied that our administration of it is sound,” Black said. “We may have some
extra improvements we can make.” Black outlined what he called the “agriculture makes life better” agenda, which includes making careers in the Department of Agriculture more attractive to employees, making Georgia a place where local food systems flourish, helping Georgia citizens start in business and stay in business, being prepared for natural disasters, ensuring the health of and care of animals in the state, enhancing domestic and international marketing of farm products and attracting Georgia’s youth to careers in agriculture, forestry, food processing and related fields.
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
Fuschetti wins GFB teaching award
County Farm Bureaus, volunteers earn GFB awards Georgia Farm Bureau recognized county chapters for promoting agriculture and individual members for personal achievement during the organization’s 80th annual convention. GFB President Gerald Long (back row, far left) congratulates the 2017 GFB award recipients: (front row, from left) GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award winners Thomas and Alicia Harrell of Madison County with their children Annabelle, Luke, Abigail and Augusta; GFB Outstanding Office Manager Debbie Payne of Cobb County; Caroline Lewallen accepting the GFB Outstanding Young Farmer Committee Award for Hall County; Mary Jones accepting the GFB Outstanding Women’s Leadership Committee Award for Hall County; (back row, second from left) GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet Award winner Will GoGeorgia Farm Bureau News
downs of Pike County; Andy Garland accepting the GFB Outstanding Legislative Committee Award for Henry County; Randy Usher accepting the GFB Outstanding Promotion & Education Committee Award for Toombs County; Chris Hopkins accepting the GFB McKemie Award for Toombs County in the medium membership category; Marcus South accepting the GFB McKemie Award for Upson County in the small membership category; Jerry Truelove accepting the GFB McKemie Award for Hall County in the large membership category; and GFB Hay Contest Winner Eddy Turner of Washington County. Not pictured are Excellence in Agriculture Award Winners Josh and Skye Pennino of Hancock County. Visit gfb.ag/17GFBawardwinners to read more about the GFB state award winners.
Georgia Farm Bureau presented Banks County elementary teacher Dr. Wendy Fuschetti its 2017 Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award during the organization’s 80th annual convention. Fuschetti was recognized for incorporating information about agriculture into her math, science and social studies classes to teach her students how agriculture impacts their daily lives. As the award winner, Fuschetti received a $500 award and will receive an expense-paid trip to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Portland, Maine, in June. She will present a workshop on her teaching methods at the GFB Educational Leadership Conference in March. As a teacher, Fuschetti has made it her mission to introduce her students to agriculture, which she discovered as a child when she moved from the city to the country. She teaches her students the value of growing a garden, the process of planting seeds and growing them to harvest along with the joy of preparing meals from food they grow. Realizing that many of her students don’t have space at home for large gardens, Fuschetti has taught her students about vertical and container gardening. February-March 2018 / 11
GFB poultry house guidelines based on UGA recommendations
eorgia poultry farmers raised a variety of products – broilers, table eggs, breeder chickens and eggs – valued at about $5.34 billion in 2016, according to the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES). Poultry has become Georgia’s top ag commodity thanks to production innovations researchers have developed that help farmers raise quality chickens and eggs. Georgia Farm Bureau’s Mutual Insurance Company (GFB MIC) is a longtime supporter of Georgia’s poultry farmers and was one of the first Georgia insurance companies to offer coverage for poultry operations. GFB MIC is committed to providing our members high-quality insurance coverage for their poultry houses. To do this, we use recommendations professors in the Biological & Agricultural Engineering Department at the UGA CAES make regarding poultry house construction and maintenance. Just as UGA poultry scientists research ways to help growers produce healthier chickens using improved management practices, UGA ag engineers study how to best build poultry houses to help growers with production. GFB MIC has adopted UGA engineering recommendations in our insurance guidelines for poultry houses that balance growers’ need to keep construction costs low while strengthening the integrity of the poultry house against moderate to strong storms. Our guidelines also emphasize the importance of proper poultry house maintenance, 12 / February-March 2018
Photo by Dean Wood
By Doug Oliver
which UGA recommendations show is critical to maximizing the lifespan and usefulness of the houses. GFB members, poultry farmers and the poultry industry have benefited from the increased emphasis poultry house policies place on improved construction and maintenance. These benefits include protecting farmers’ assets, reducing the loss of birds, and a reduction in storm damage costs when a weather event occurs. Georgia Farm Bureau strives to offer the best insurance protection at a competitive price, with the guarantee of being there when farmers need us most. Being a leader for poultry house insurance has
The Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company is committed to providing high-quality insurance coverage for poultry houses. To do this, the company uses recommendations regarding poultry house construction and maintenance made by the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences.
been, and will continue to be, our goal. Contact your local Farm Bureau office today for a quote. Doug Oliver is a member of the GFB Mutual Insurance Company’s Underwriting Department. He is the farm risk manager for GFB Districts 1-5 and has been employed with the company for 35 years.
Ga. vegetable & blueberry growers voting on commissions
Georgia vegetable farmers have until March 2 to postmark their ballots in the referendum underway to determine if they will continue to fund the Georgia Vegetable Commission. Vegetable producers who grow 50 or more acres of beans, bell pepper, specialty pepper, broccoli, beets, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, greens, squash, sweet potato or tomatoes are eligible to vote. Vegetable growers pay one cent per marketing unit of the vegetables they sell to fund the commission’s research, promotion and education activities that benefit growers. Most of the funds collected by the vegetable commission are used to fund research projects addressing production issues such as whitefly control, variety evaluations, fumigant studies and nematode control. Eligible growers who have not received a ballot via mail should contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) at 404-586-1405. Georgia blueberry farmers who grow and commercially market 2,000 pounds or more in a single season are eligible to vote in a referendum to be held March 1-30. Blueberry growers pay $5 per ton of marketed blueberries to fund research, education and promotion programs that advance the blueberry sector. Eligible growers who have not received a ballot via mail by March 7 should call the GDA at the aforementioned number. Georgia Farm Bureau News
By Jennifer Whittaker ____________________________________ Backyard and commercial poultry producers are reminded to follow biosecurity measures the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Georgia Department of Agriculture recommend as a way to limit the exposure of their flocks to avian influenza. The reminder comes after the USDA Animal and Plant Health Protection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Services detected small amounts of avian influenza nucleic acid in swab samples collected from two wild American Green-Winged Teal ducks hunters shot in McIntosh County on the Georgia coast. The USDA Wildlife Services sampled the ducks in mid and late December as part of a wild bird surveillance program according to Georgia’s State Vet-
erinarian Dr. Robert Cobb. “The USDA Wildlife Services tests wild birds to monitor for the presence of diseases. The results of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) run on the wild ducks detected a low level of RNA for the H7 strain of avian influenza,” Cobb explained. “Whether a virus is alive or dead, its RNA can still be detected.” The detection of H7 and H5 subtypes of avian influenza are closely watched due to the impact these virus strains can have on poultry. “We have a finding of H7 avian influenza virus in wild ducks. This is not a case of avian flu,” Cobb said. “We know this virus is out there in the wild year-round and the detection of the virus in these wild ducks serves as a reminder for poultry producers to continue to be vigilant about following recommended biosecurity measures.” Wild waterfowl are known carriers of avian flu. Backyard and pastured poultry are especially vulnerable to being exposed to avian flu viruses from wild birds unless precautions are taken. “What backyard and commercial poul-
Photo courtesy of Ducks Unlimited
AI virus detected in wild ducks on Ga. coast
Small amounts of avian influenza nucleic acid were collected from two wild American Green-Winged Teal ducks hunters shot in McIntosh County in December.
try producers have to do in terms of biosecurity measures is what you should be doing every day of the year,” said Dr. David Stallknecht, professor in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Department of Population Health. “We have wild water fowl here in Georgia 365 days a year.” In 2016, Georgia farmers raised a variety of poultry products including meat chickens, table eggs, breeder chickens and eggs valued at about $5.34 billion, accordSee VIRUS page 17
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Farm bill, crop review & awards highlight Ga. Peanut Show By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________ A farm bill update, 2017 crop review, peanut community awards and new equipment displays highlighted the 42nd Annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show & Conference. More than 1,300 attendees turned out for the Jan. 18 event hosted by the Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.
Farm bill update
GPC political consultant Bob Redding provided a Washington update at the event. Redding said he expects the U.S. House & Senate Ag Committees to mark up the next farm bill some time before the end of March. “Both Agriculture Committee Chairmen Rep. Mike Conway and Sen. Pat Roberts want to pass the farm bill on time,” Redding said. Redding reported that Berrien County peanut grower Tim McMillan testified before the House Agriculture Committee last April and Mitchell County grower Meredith McNair Rogers testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee last July. Both supported maintaining the peanut provisions of the 2014 farm bill and the price loss coverage (PLC) program in the next farm bill. McMillan and Rogers testified on behalf of the GPC and the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation.
Crop review & seed tips
During seminars presented by members of the UGA Extension Peanut Team, peanut growers received insight on factors that cost them crop yield last year. “Fifty percent of Georgia’s peanut acreage is irrigated and in a large portion of our irrigated acres we lost an average of 650 pounds per acre in yield,” UGA Peanut Agronomist Dr. Scott Montfort said when summarizing the yield problems Georgia growers experienced last year. Fluctuating temperatures during the 14 / February-March 2018
Pictured from left, Georgia Peanut Commission Chairman Armond Morris congratulates recipients of GPC awards presented to individuals and businesses for their service to the peanut industry. Recipients were, from left: Media Award – Craig Harney with WTOC in Savannah; Research & Education Award – Albert Culbreath, UGA plant pathologist; Special Award – Matt Baldwin, professional bullfighter who has worn the GPC logo on his costume; and Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award – Elton Baldy. Jeff Johnson with Birdsong Peanuts, not pictured, received the Distinguished Service Award. Visit http://bit.ly/18GPCShow to see more photos.
early part of the growing season could have contributed to herbicide injury to the crop, while disease pathogens in the last part of the crop season contributed to yield loss in irrigated peanut acreage, Montfort said. “This past year was a little tough on us, but we did make a record crop in Georgia overall because we had such a great crop on dryland peanuts, which made between 4,500 to 5,500 pounds per acre in some places,” Montfort said. “Georgia got good rain in June and July through the peak bloom period and again in late August that helped finish off the dryland crop. But water could have enhanced pegging problems in the crop.” Despite yield losses in the 2017 peanut crop used for edible consumer products, Montfort said peanuts grown last year to produce seed peanuts for this year were excellent. “We had a great quality crop around the taproot so we’re starting the 2018 crop year off with better quality seed than we’ve had in ten years,” Montfort said. “The biggest thing I want to stress is take care of your seed. Storage does count. If you pick up your seed early and you can’t plant them right away, keep them in a cool, shaded environment. If temperatures get into the 80s or 90s and you have seed in a van body, trailer or shed, seed quality can be lost. Plant your oldest seed first.” Montfort also recommends that growers inspect their seed before planting to look for seed contamination, injury or pre-
mature germination. He suggested growers keep samples of each bag of seed that can be submitted for testing should a problem arise with the crop later on.
Peanut players honored
The GPC presented awards to individuals and businesses for their service to the peanut industry. Recipients were: Media Award – Craig Harney with WTOC in Savannah; Research & Education Award – Albert Culbreath, UGA plant pathologist; Special Award – Matt Baldwin, a professional bullfighter who has worn the GPC logo on his rodeo costume; Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award – Elton Baldy; and Jeff Johnson, retired president of Birdsong Peanuts, who received the Distinguished Service Award for his efforts to get ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to malnourished children in third-world countries. RUTF is an energydense, peanut butter-like paste that consists of roasted ground peanuts, powdered milk, vegetable oil, sugar, and vitamins/minerals. The GPC and Agri Supply also honored a peanut grower from each of GPC’s five districts with the Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmer Award in recognition of the growers’ passion for peanuts and leadership to the peanut community. Winners were: Ike Newberry of Early County; Chip Dorminy of Ben Hill County; Charles Smith Jr. of Jefferson County; Roy Malone of Laurens County; and Dania & Marvin DeVane of Randolph County. Georgia Farm Bureau News
Burch, Boddiford renominated as Ga. Peanut Commission directors
Tim Burch of Baker County and Joe Boddiford of Screven County were renominated without opposition to the Georgia Peanut Commission Board of Directors at meetings held Dec. 14, 2017. Georgia Farm Bureau conducted the nomination meetings for the commission’s districts one and three. Burch, GPC Dist. 1, and Boddiford, GPC Dist. 3, previously held the seats for their districts, which expired Dec. 31, 2017. They will serve Georgia peanut farmers on the board for the next three years. The Georgia peanut production area is divided into five districts based on acreage distribution and geographical location with one board member representing each district. Additional board members include: Armond Morris of Tift County, chairman, representing district two; Rodney Dawson of Pulaski County, representing district four; and Donald Chase of Macon County, representing district five. Georgia Farm Bureau News
farm advocacy efforts and coordinate in-state events hosting congressmen and their staff. While serving as a staff member for Rep. Woodall, Cofield analyzed bills and proposed federal regulations and recommended policy positions or strategic action. He also met with industry associations and advocacy groups to discuss legislative priorities, as Tripp Cofield well as interacting with constituents and stakeholders. Cofield, who grew up in Valdosta, holds a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Valdosta state. He and his wife, Jenny, live in Madison with their children Pinckney and Rex. Cofield succeeds Tas Smith, who left GFB in November to accept the position of Farm Service Agency state director.
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to begin offering activities for farmers between 36-50 years old. A native of Florida, Nessmith is a former FFA member and Florida FFA state officer. She earned degrees in agricultural communications, education and leadership from the University of Florida and taught middle school ag education. She later taught and advised students at the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences in Plant City. Nessmith succeeds Taylor Sills, who left last fall to accept a position with the Georgia Cotton Commission. She started with GFB on Dec. 27. Nessmith and her husband, Tyler, have two children, Brantley and Aubrey, and live in Madison. As GFB national affairs coordinator, Cofield will serve as a liaison for GFB and Georgia farmers with members of Congress, helping to communicate GFB’s positions on legislation relevant to agriculture. He’ll also organize trips for GFB members to assist with their
18922X © 2018
Erin Nessmith, who most recently worked as state leadership program specialist with the Georgia FFA Association, is now leading Georgia Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer & Rancher (YF&R) Program while Tripp Cofield, who comes to GFB from the staff of U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, is GFB’s new national affairs coordinator. As GFB YF&R Coordinator, NesErin Nessmith smith will manage and promote the GFB YF&R Program, which provides leadership development, public speaking and networking opportunities for Georgia farmers between the ages of 18 and 35. Activities include the annual GFB YF&R Leadership Conference, the Harvest for All charity program that supports the hungry, the GFB photo contest and the GFB YF&R competitive events. GFB plans
Photo by Lili Davis
Meet GFB’s new Young Farmer & National Affairs Coordinators
Photo by Jay Stone
USDA Feral Swine Coordinator Matt Ondovchik, far right, demonstrates a remote-controlled corral traps by Jager Pro designed to catch feral swine. The center gate closes in about
two seconds trapping the hogs inside the corral. Visit www. gfb.ag/feralswineworkshop to see more photos.
Workshops go whole hog on feral swine issue By Jay Stone ___________________________________ Farmers and landowners got a blunt assessment of the feral hog issue and tips on how to combat the invasive pests during a series of feral hog workshops hosted by the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts and sponsored by Georgia Farm Bureau. The workshops, held statewide in late fall, included demonstration of prominent swine trapping tools.
Crux of the matter
Crop damage done by feral hogs is nothing new to farmers, who plant crops only to have the pigs come right behind them and gobble up the seeds, forcing them to replant. “We’ve got farmers in the South that have to replant time and time again,” said Georgia State Veterinarian Robert Cobb, who noted the pigs are not simply a problem for rural areas. “Urban and suburban environments are increasingly being invaded.” According to Dr. Mike Mengak of UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry, pigs have been domesticated for approximately 8,000 years. In that time man has continually bred them with the purpose of shortening their reproductive cycle. Pigs that escape into the wild are able to bear young at the age of six months. They can produce two litters averaging six pigs each per year. “If you have 80 percent mortality, their population still increases,” Mengak said. In addition to crop and property damage, feral hogs carry approximately 40 diseases and parasites, many of which are transmissible to other animals and humans, and some of which can be fatal. “Just assume that all feral swine are infected with one or more, or all, of these diseases,” Cobb said. 16 / February-March 2018
Two diseases in particular, pseudorabies and brucellosis, pose a significant economic threat. “Georgia is free of pseudorabies and brucellosis in our domestic swine,” Cobb said. He noted this is not the case in feral swine, and if these diseases spread to domestic hogs, market prices likely would diminish, and the market for Georgia-grown swine could go away entirely. Cobb said biosecurity is the best way to keep the diseases away from domestic swine. He recommended that pigs kept outside be confined by high-quality fences, preferably two of them placed five feet apart with an electric wire at the bottom of one of the fences. Individuals handling feral swine should protect themselves by wearing gloves, protective overalls, masks and by frequently washing their hands.
Matt Ondovchik of USDA Wildlife Services reviewed techniques to control feral swine. The most effective, he said, is trapping. Shooting feral hogs can be effective when an immediate, temporary solution is needed, such as when pigs dig up planted seed or emerging crops. Trapping is a process that can take several days, and by then an entire crop can be decimated. “You’ve got to get after them right then and there to relieve that problem,” Ondovchik said. “Keep in mind, all you’re doing is providing yourself a band-aid. You might give yourself a few weeks. You might allow your corn to get to the six-inch state, which is generally all you need until it silks out.” Ondovchik also discussed aerial hunts – shooting pigs from a helicopter – and poisoning. Poisoning is in the developmental
stages. Chemicals do exist that are lethal to pigs, but they also pose threats to native animals like deer, raccoons and bears. Ondovchik said the National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins, Colorado, is working on feeders that will only allow pigs to get to the poison, but that tool is several years away from being available. Georgia State Wildlife Specialist Charlie Killmaster discussed legal requirements for hunting and trapping pigs. On public lands, hunters can kill pigs as “incidental takes” with whatever weapon is legal for the current season. On private land, there is no closed season and no bag limits on feral pigs, which Georgia does not regulate because they are a nuisance invasive species. Nighttime hunting is allowed with non-tethered lights. Killmaster noted, for example, a spotlight running off electricity from the 12V outlet in a vehicle, would not be legal. “Anything that’s attached to your gun, or held in your hand or part of a belt system, that’s OK,” Killmaster said. Shooting pigs from vehicles under power is not legal. Baiting for hogs is legal statewide, Killmaster said, but he cautioned hunters in North Georgia, who are still prohibited from hunting deer over bait. Trapping can be done year-round without a license if one is hunting on one’s own property. Trapping pigs on leased hunting club property requires a hunting license, though not a commercial trapping license. Mengak and the Warnell School have established a website, www.georgiawildpigs.com, that provides information about feral pigs and a landowner’s guide to controlling them. Georgia Farm Bureau News
VIRUS from page 13 ing to the UGA Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development. Georgia’s poultry production is the largest contributor to Georgia’s agricultural economy. Cases of avian flu in backyard and commercial poultry flocks in several Southeastern states last year did require the depopulation of some flocks. Cobb noted that avian influenza does not pose a food safety concern for consumers because commercially grown poultry is tested prior to going to market, preventing any affected commercial poultry from entering the food chain. While backyard poultry may not be tested prior to processing, proper handling and cooking of any type of poultry will destroy the viruses associated with avian flu. Visit www.gfb.ag/18AIwildducks to read about the biosecurity measures poultry producers should follow for their commercial poultry, backyard birds or pastured flocks. Visit www.ga-ai.org for the most recent updates on avian flu in Georgia. You can also find avian flu resource material at www.gfb.org/avianflu.cms.
GFB members serving on Ga., AFBF Advisory Committees Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) has appointed the members of its commodity advisory committees for 2018. The committees provide guidance to GFB on topics relating to their commodity, including crop-specific government regulation, production practices and promotional approaches. GFB has 20 commodity advisory committees. The committee chairmen for 2018 are: Aquaculture – Terry Bramlett, Fannin County; Beef Cattle – Jerry McKinnon, Coffee County; Cotton – Eddie Green, Dooly County; Dairy – Kenneth Murphy, Meriwether County; Direct Marketing/ Agritourism – Jim Steed, Columbia 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 and Sheep – Will Cabe, Franklin County; Hay – Wymann Hartley, Houston County; Hon-
eybees – 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; Vegetables – Mitchell Pittman, Toombs County; Water – Bubba Johnson, Mitchell County. Eight GFB members are serving on American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Issue Advisory Committees (IACs), which provide guidance to AFBF on topics in broad segments of agriculture. The Georgia appointees are: Animal Care – Paul Johnson, Decatur County; Budget & Economy – Terry Bramlett, Fannin County; Food Safety – Bob McLeod, Wilcox County; Technology – Chris Hopkins, Toombs County; Water – Mark Masters, Dougherty County; Energy – Leighton Cooley, Crawford County; Federal Lands – John Mixon, Pike County; Pests & Invasive Species – Eddie Green, Dooly County.
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From left, Jason Lee and Laney Lee of Alma Nursery give blueberry plugs to June Edney of Hendersonville, North Carolina, at the Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference on Jan. 12.
Roadside stand owners get guidance on FSMA requirements By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________ Making sure your farm’s produce business is compliant with rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) can be a maze of confusion, and on some points, implementation of the 2011 law is still a work in progress. The Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference, held Jan. 11-14 in Savannah, featured food safety curriculum with the goal of clarifying which farms are subject to the FSMA Produce Safety Rule (PSR) and Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule, (PCFHR) two of more than a dozen rules under FSMA’s umbrella. A key session addressed how FSMA rules apply to roadside stands. In the Roadside Markets session, UGA Professor and Extension Foods Specialist Judy Harrison discussed PSR’s impact on roadside stands, noting conditions under which roadside markets might be exempt from the rule. Harrison emphasized that if a farm or roadside stand’s food makes someone sick or causes an outbreak of a foodborne ill18 / February-March 2018
ness, exemptions can be withdrawn. “Even if you are exempt from the produce safety rule and the preventive controls rule for human food, you still have a responsibility to sell safe food,” Harrison said. Harrison outlined exemptions to PSR, which applies to raw agricultural products sold in their whole or natural
state. Harrison noted the exemptions: produce grown for one’s own personal consumption; produce that is fresh cut or is not a raw agricultural commodity; or food grains. Also exempt are: foods that the FDA considers to be seldom eaten raw, like various beans, chickpeas or potatoes (The complete list can be found at http://bit. ly/FSMAucm576496); produce sold to a processor who will give it a “kill step” to eliminate microorganisms; and produce sold directly to the end user. There are also some potential incomebased qualified exemptions: a three-year sales average of $25,000 or less; average produce sales of more than $25,000 but less than $500,000 in total food sales; or if sales to qualified end users exceed sales to all other customers combined. “What does FSMA mean for your market? Well, maybe nothing,” Harrison said. “If you sell food products directly to consumers and the annual monetary value of your sales to those consumers exceeds your sales to all other buyers, then you are likely not going to be affected by FSMA.” According to the Produce Safety Alliance, the FSMA went into effect for food businesses with more than $500,000 in sales on Jan. 26. Businesses with sales between $250,000 and $500,000, which the FDA refers to as small businesses, have until Jan. 28, 2019 to be PSR compliant and PCFHR complaint. Businesses with sales between $25,000 and $250,000 have until Jan. 27, 2020, to be compliant in the absence of any exemption.
Proposed rule would delay FSMA water requirement compliance dates By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________ Farmers subject to the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR) have expressed significant concerns over the rule’s agricultural water requirements. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Consumer Safety Officer Diane Ducharme discussed how the agency is addressing these concerns while speaking at the Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference in Savan-
nah on Jan. 12. Last year, the FDA proposed a rule to extend dates of required compliance with the rule’s Subpart E, which covers agricultural water. Ducharme said that as the agency works with stakeholders to address their concerns, the agency does not intend to enforce the Subpart E provisions. “We all understand that ag water Continued on next page Georgia Farm Bureau News
A key issue is how those levels are measured. Currently under the PSR, there are nine allowed testing methods. One of these, EPA Method 1603, drew complaints from growers that there was limited availability of labs that conduct the test and the ability of growers to get the samples to labs within the six-hour time frame outlined in the method. Ducharme emphasized that farmers have the option of using EPA Method 1603 or any one of eight other equivalent testing methods: EPA Method 1103.1; EPA Method 1604; National Environmental Methods Index (NEMI) No. 9213 D; NEMI No. 9222 B; ASTM D 5392-93; Hach Method 10029 for coliforms; IDEXX Colilert Test Kit and IDEXX Colilert-18 test kit. The FDA’s proposed extension of the mandatory compliance dates for Subpart E are as follows: businesses with three-year average produce sales between $25,000 and $250,000, which the FDA refers to as very small businesses, would have until Jan. 26, 2024, to achieve compliance with the ag water quality standards. Small businesses,
Photo by Jay Stone
Continued from previous page is still considered a major conduit of pathogens that can contaminate produce,” Ducharme said. “We want to make sure that it is cost effective, that it is something that can be done on the farm with your existing practices, or maybe with tweaks to your practices.” Agricultural water is defined by the FDA as water that is likely to come in contact with produce or food contact surfaces either before or after harvest. The FSMA water requirements cap the presence of generic e. coli at a geometric mean of 126 colony forming units (CFU) per 100 milliliters of water with a statistical threshold value (STV) of 410 CFU/100 ml. According to FDA Health Communications Specialist Taryn Sjursen, GM is essentially an average amount of generic e. coli in a water source, while STV refers to variation in e.coli levels, which can be caused by events like heavy rainfall. Sjursen indicated that these two pieces of information provide a more complete description of water quality than either of them alone.
The FDA’s Diane Ducharme gave an update on ag water requirements under the produce safety rule.
those with produce sales between $250,000 and $500,000, would have until Jan. 26, 2023. Businesses with sales greater than $500,000 would have until Jan. 26, 2022. The FDA is going through the process to finalize its proposal to extend the compliance dates.
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February-March 2018 / 19
GFB speakers discuss public policy issues EDITOR’S NOTE: Georgia Farm Bureau members attending public policy sessions at the organization’s 2017 convention in December heard economic and political outlooks for the ag community, an outline of initiatives the UGA Colleges of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine are tackling an update on Georgia’s ag water metering program and remarks from the U.S. EPA ag advisor. Highlights from each session follow.
NAFTA good for Ga. ag; farmers should watch debt By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________ The biggest wild card for the economic outlook of Georgia agriculture is trade, University of Georgia Ag Economist Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman said during the economic outlook session. “A trade war would be very bad for Georgia. If we get rid of NAFTA, Georgia could gain in blueberries and vegetables, but Georgia would lose in poultry, corn, Dorfman peanuts and pecans,” Dorfman said. “If we can’t sell to Mexico and Canada, someone else will sell to them. These are the two countries we can sell to with the lowest transportation cost. We could sell our products to other countries, but we’ll make less money because we’ll be paying higher shipping costs. This is why we’ll lose if NAFTA goes away.” Dorfman said it will be important for farmers to watch their debt in 2018, especially if it’s secured by the high land prices of recent years, and encouraged people to pay off their debt. “I think land prices are likely to come down in the next one to five years,” Dorfman said. “No one sees commodity prices going back up as they were, so I think land prices have to come back down, but I don’t see it being catastrophic for Georgia.” On the plus side, Dorfman said he expects a long era of low interest rates because the U.S. is the biggest debtor in the world and we want low rates. “I can’t tell you your commodity prices are going up, but I can at least tell you your interest rates aren’t going up drastically,” Dorfman said. Jared Powell, the new chairman of the Federal Reserve, has said he would continue the Fed’s current practice of gradually 20 / February-March 2018
raising interest rates. Dorfman said cattle and timber should see good prices in coming years. “Cattle might be the most favorable [commodity] over the next 20 years because the rest of the world is getting richer and they will eat more meat. This will be good for Georgia poultry and cattle producers.” Timber should fare well in the coming years, Dorfman said, as millennials look to move out of cities and buy or build houses in the suburbs.
Political Analyst Charlie Harper: You have to tell your story By Jay Stone ____________________________________ Public policy analyst Charlie Harper hit on a variety of topics during his presentation, but his overarching message was this: tell your story. Harper, publisher of GeorgiaPol.com and executive director of PolicyBEST, grew up in metro Atlanta and still lives there. He quickly admitted he knows very little about farming, which makes him and those like him an important audience for agriculture. “About half of Georgians are a lot like me,” Harper said during the political outlook public policy session. “They don’t know what you do. They don’t know how farms work. You’ve really got to work to make sure you’re reaching the people who had experiences growing up like I did. We kind of know y’all are there, but we really don’t know what you’re doing, and we need to understand and appreciate how important [farming] is.” Harper said on the national level, everything is flowing from presidential politics, and in terms of large-scale messaging, reporting on agriculture often is limited to local papers in rural areas. At the state level, Harper said the “two Georgias” (Metro Atlanta and everyone else) have evolved into five – urban Atlanta, suburban Atlanta, rural North Georgia,
rural South Georgia and coastal Georgia. In those regional divisions people need coalitions to get things done in the state legislature, he said. For instance, farming interests in rural Georgia are seeking investment in the state’s rail system to facilitate moving ag products to the ports of Savannah and Brunswick, and they may have a common interest with metro Atlanta groups pursuing a commuter rail system in and out of Atlanta. Harper “When you’re looking at when bills go through concerning whether they’re going to fund transit in Atlanta with state money, South Georgia is going to want something, and that might be your bargaining chip.” He said politics at the state level no longer back agribusiness, in part because people in metro areas are so far-removed from the farm. “The opportunity for you is to make sure you start telling your story in ways that relate to a metro Atlantan so they can understand what you contribute to the state,” Harper said.
UGA Colleges of Ag & Vet Medicine addressing Ga. issues By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________ While delivering the education update, the deans of the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) and UGA College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) discussed steps their respective colleges are taking to support Georgia farmers. CAES Dean Dr. Sam Pardue said the college has the opportunity to address the high mortality rate many rural Georgia counties have. “This is important because as the population of rural America shrinks, so does its political clout,” Pardue said. “Rural America represents 14 percent of the U.S. population but 72 percent of the land in the U.S.” Pardue said research by the UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government shows 82 Continued on next page Georgia Farm Bureau News
Georgia counties lost population between 2010 and 2013 while six Georgia counties account for two-thirds of the state’s population growth since 2010. Pardue outlined five emerging initiatives the CAES has. The first is raising private funds to build a new poultry science facility to house the college’s teaching, research and Extension programs for poultry. In an interview with GFB media, Pardue said the college is in Pardue the early stages of developing the fundraising plan and determining where the new facility will be built. CAES researchers are taking the microbiome - all microorganisms in an environment – into account as they conduct their research, Pardue said. “In ag we are interested in learning how the microbiome influences the growth, metabolism and immune responses of plants and animals,” Pardue said. “Specifically, how do gut microflora influence the growth and development of food animals or how do the microbiota in the soil alter a plant’s resistance to drought or disease?” The third initiative the CAES plans to address is the data farmers generate about their farms using GPS and automated irrigation programs. “There is as much data generated by agriculture as the medical field,” Pardue said. “We need to study how we can use the data agriculture is generating to make better decisions.” The CAES is also working to secure approval from the Georgia Board of Regents to add a hospitality/food industry management major to the college. The fifth initiative is CAES staff discussing the development of a Center for Global Food and Agricultural policy. Dr. Lisa Nolan, dean of the UGA CVM, said the college has taken several steps to graduate more veterinarians who will focus on treating food animals. These steps include the Food Animal Veterinary Incentive Program (FAVIP), which identifies stuNolan dents in the CAES who want to become food animal vets and guarantees them a spot in the UGA vet school Georgia Farm Bureau News
provided they meet certain academic requirements. Nolan said the Georgia Veterinary Loan Repayment Program, which covers up to $80,000 of a UGA College of Veterinary Medicine graduate’s student loans in exchange for them agreeing to practice large animal medicine in defined rural areas for a certain period of time, is another way the college and the state of Georgia are trying to meet the demand for large animal vets across the state. “I have heard repeatedly that parts of rural Georgia don’t have access to veterinary care,” Nolan said. “That bothers me a lot and I can tell you that we will continue to work on this. The loan repayment program will help, and we’re working to recruit students who want to become food animal vets.” Last year the vet school had about 1,200 applicants apply for 114 slots in this year’s class, Nolan said. The four-year cost of attending the UGA CVM is $180,978, Nolan said. The average student graduates with a debt of $108,000.
State conducting water use data collection & meter installation By Jay Stone ____________________________________ The state of Georgia is providing water meters for ag irrigation systems to collect data on how farmers use water. Key staff involved with the program provided an outline of what the state is doing and why when speaking during the environmental issues session. Before the meters can be installed, a variety Masters of details about each irrigation withdrawal point need to be collected. Georgia Water Planning & Policy Center Director Mark Masters said it’s important to know the water source for irrigation water, where it is being used and characteristics of the irrigation system. “At the end of this assessment process we’re going to have a comprehensive picture of the water use on that farm,” Masters said, pointing out that all this information in combination with the volume of water recorded by the meter creates meaningful data on water use. The data will help the state develop more-informed water policy, he said.
Georgia Environmental Protection Division Agriculture Water Project Manager Marjie Dickey said the metering project is being implemented in waves, the first of which focused on 16 counties in the lower Flint River Basin in Southwest Georgia. Statewide, Dickey said, approximately 12,000 irrigation withdrawal points are due statefunded meters. These Dickey are for individuals who applied for withdrawal permits before Dec. 31, 2002. The project is expected to take four to five years. “We want to continue to prove that our farmers are being very efficient with their water use, that Georgia does not have unrestrained water use,” Dickey said, “Part of that is this ag metering program and ensuring that we can get as much of the state metered as possible.” Masters gave a brief synopsis of Florida’s lawsuit against Georgia being considered by the Supreme Court. The court heard oral arguments on Jan. 8 and is considering those and the recommendation Special Master Ralph Lancaster made last year regarding the case. Lancaster said the increased stream flows Florida seeks in its suit could not be achieved without the involvement of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which controls water flows through dams on the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers before they feed into Lake Seminole and ultimately the Apalachicola River in Florida. The court’s decision is expected later this year. Masters encouraged farmers to get involved in their regional water councils so they’ll have a voice in the state’s water planning. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Agricultural Advisor Jeff Sands also spoke in the environmental session saying the agency is working to make sure farmers’ concerns are taken into consideration during rulemaking. Sands discussed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and LiSands ability Act (CERCLA) commonly called Superfund, the use of dicamba and concerns about spray drift and the Waters of the U.S. rule. To read more on Sands’ presentation visit www.gfb.ag/EPASands. February-March 2018 / 21
Trump pledges to expand broadband in rural areas
Photo courtesy of AFBF
While speaking at American Farm Bureau’s 2018 convention on Jan. 8, President Donald Trump outlined his
Pres. Trump received four standing ovations during his AFBF speech. 22 / February-March 2018
administration’s plans to strengthen the economy of rural America and received at least four standing ovations. Trump highlighted the historic role farmers have played in founding our country, protecting its freedoms and ensuring our country’s economic success. “Since inauguration day we have been working as hard for farmers as you work. This nation was made by farmers, won by farmers,” Trump said. “You embody the values of hard work, grit, self-reliance and sheer determination that we need to make America great again.” Trump reminded his audience that he established a task force to address issues facing rural America last April that has been led by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. The task force delivered its report to Trump prior to the convention prompting the president to sign two executive orders that fund and streamline the expansion of broadband access across the rural U.S. while on stage at the convention. “We’re streamlining and expediting requests to locate broadband facilities in rural America. Supporting broadband tower facilities in rural America and federal properties managed by the Department of the Interior. Those towers are going to go up, and you’re going to have great, great broadband,” Trump said. Trump said his administration is proposing infrastructure reforms to make sure rural communities have access to the best highways and roads that will be built under budget and ahead of schedule. The president also discussed labor, trade and his commitment to reigning in federal regulations. “My administration is in the process of rolling back a rule that hit our farmers terribly hard – the Waters of the United States Rule. It sounds so nice. It sounds so innocent, and it was a disaster. People came to me about it and they were crying - men who were tough and strong; women who were tough and strong – because I gave them back their property. I gave them back their farms. We ditched the rule.” Trump said the pending farm bill would continue to provide a safety net for farmers who are going into their fifth year of low commodity prices. To read more about Trump’s speech visit www.gfb.ag/AFBFTrump .
Photo courtesy of AFBF
CONVENTION from page 7 Don’t let it be something you’re afraid of.” Having competed in the GFB discussion meet for several years, Godowns says his favorite thing about the event is being able to sit down with other people and discuss how issues affect others on their farms. “I’m a product of the GFB Young Farmer Program,” Godowns said. “Competing in this event through the years has developed my speaking and analytical skills. All of the Farm Bureau Young Farmer programs I’ve participated in, such as the trip to Washington and Futures & Commodities Trip to Chicago, have helped me in my career as a manager of a cow-calf operation.” Thomas and Alicia Harrell of Madison County Farm Bureau represented Georgia in the YF&R Achievement contest. The Harrells raise broilers, beef cattle and hay. The first-generation farmers also have a business making and installing livestock handling equipment for cattle producers and county/school livestock arenas. Greg and Rose Hartschuh of Ohio won the Excellence in Agriculture Award. Martha Smith of Colorado won the Discussion Meet. Russell and Amelia Kent of Louisiana won the Achievement Award.
Ag. Sec. Sonny Perdue
Ag Sec. Perdue talks trade & first-year accomplishments
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue discussed the importance of trade to U.S. farmers and the need for successful North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations when addressing Farm Bureau members during the closing session of their annual convention on Jan. 8. He also shared what the USDA has done during his first months in office. “We know trade is a key to a successful agriculture sector,” Perdue said. “We have put a number of proposals on the table to modernize NAFTA, and critically for agriculture, to address key sectors left out of the original agreement – dairy and poultry tariffs in Canada. Now, we want to see our negotiating partners step up and engage so we can get the deal done. I have great faith in President Trump’s skills as a negotiator and that we will get a fair deal.” Visit gfb.ag/NAFTAdiscussion to read what USDA Undersecretary for Trade & Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney and Canadian Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay had to say about NAFTA at the convention. Accomplishments the USDA achieved during Perdue’s first eight months as secretary include: reopening the Chinese market to American beef, signing a protocol to allow exports of U.S. rice to China for the first time and easing European Union regulations on citrus exports. South Korea lifted its ban on imports of U.S. poultry, while Argentina has allowed American pork back into the country for See CONVENTION page 30 Georgia Farm Bureau News
UGA CAES names new leaders New faces will soon be leading two prestigious departments at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). Leslie Edgar begins guiding the CAES Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Edgar Communication on March 1. In May, Francis Fluharty will join CAES as the new director of the animal and dairy science department. Edgar comes to UGA from the University of Arkansas where she was a professor and assistant dean for student programs in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. At Arkansas, she served as a member of the dean’s leadership team and steered the Bumpers College Honors Program and the International Programs Office. She earned a B.S. degree in animal science and an M.S. in agricultural systems,
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technology and education from Utah State University and a doctorate in agricultural leadership, education and communications from Texas A&M University. Fluharty is currently a research professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at Fluharty Ohio State University. His career has been devoted to research and educational programs aimed at improving animal health and growth and the profitability of livestock farms. He is a co-inventor of two patents for genetic marker processes and DNA sequences to detect an animal’s potential for both marbling and tenderness. He also helped develop an all-natural branded beef program, Ohio Signature Beef, designed to improve profits for family farm owners who produce cattle without the use of hormone implants or antibiotics. He has worked as a scientific advisor for
the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in Chile and the Chilean Institute for Agriculture Development (INDAP), as well as the Japanese Wagyu F1 Council and Japan Cattlemen’s Association. Doug Bailey, former department head of the CAES Horticulture Department, is now the CAES asBailey sistant dean for academic affairs. He joins Dr. Joe Broder in overseeing the college’s academic program development, student recruitment and retention. Bailey has headed the CAES horticulture department since 1999, when he came to UGA from North Carolina State University. Bailey earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in horticulture at Purdue University and his bachelor’s degree in horticulture from UGA in 1980. Bailey has conducted research focused on greenhouse production of ornamental plants and floriculture.
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Congress makes seed cotton eligible for Title 1 farm bill programs Beginning with the 2018 crop, seed cotton – unginned upland cotton that includes both lint and seed – is now eligible for the price loss coverage (PLC) program under the 2014 farm bill. Effective with the 2018 crop, there will no longer be generic base acres on farms as outlined in the 2014 farm bill. The change was included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which the U.S. Congress passed in the early hours of Feb. 9 and President Trump signed into law that day. The bill sets out broad budget numbers for the next two fiscal years and keeps the federal government operational until March 23, by which time Congress must pass a detailed bill. Landowners should note they have 90 days to make the decision on generic base conversion. Based on media reports, the 90-day countdown began Feb. 9. The following key points were provided by Don Shurley, UGA Professor Emeritus of Cotton Economics, & Adam Rabinowitz, UGA Asst. Professor & Extension Economist. More information, including a decision aid for reallocating generic base acres, will be available at http://agecon. uga.edu/extension. • Effective with the 2018 crop, there will no longer be generic base on a farm. Generic base is former cotton base on a farm under the 2008 farm bill. 24 / February-March 2018
• There will no longer be temporary base earned and eligible for ARC/PLC for acres planted to covered commodities (peanuts, corn, soybeans, wheat, etc). • Landowners will have options on how to convert generic base to seed cotton base or to base of seed cotton and other covered commodities (peanuts, corn, soybeans, wheat, etc) based on planting history of 2009-2012. • Generic base on a farm may be converted to option (a) or (b): (a) a seed cotton base equal to the greater of (i)80% of the generic base with the remaining 20% unassigned base that is not eligible for ARC/PLC or (ii) the average number of cotton acres planted during 2009-2012, not to exceed the amount of generic base; or (b) 100% of the generic base converted proportionately to seed cotton base and bases of other covered commodities based on 2009-2012 planting history. • Landowners will have 90 days to make the decision on generic base conversion. Failure to allocate will default into option (a) above. • If a farm has generic base but no cotton or covered commodity has been planted for 2009-2016, the generic base will become unassigned and ineligible for ARC/PLC. • The seed cotton PLC payment yield
Photo by Jay Stone
Photo by Jay Stone
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 makes seed cotton – cotton which has not gone through the ginning process – a covered commodity under the 2014 farm bill.
will be 2.4 times the CCP (Countercyclical payment) yield for upland cotton established in the 2008 farm bill. Landowners will have the option to keep this yield or update the yield to 90% of the average yield for 2008-2012. • The PLC Reference Price is 36.7 cents per lb. This is a weighted average price for lint and seed. Payment is received if the weighted average marketing year average (MYA) price for seed cotton is less than 36.7 cents. • Seed cotton (SC) PLC payment would be (Reference Price – higher of MYA or 25.0 cents) x SC PLC Payment Yield x SC Base x 85%. • Beginning with the 2019 crop year, a farm enrolled in coverage for seed cotton is not eligible for STAX. • Payment limits are staying the same as defined under the 2014 farm bill. The budget act also included provisions to lift the underwriting limit on insurance products for livestock, reduce the cost of the Margin Protection Program for dairy farmers and provide agricultural disaster assistance to aid farmers affected by the 2017 hurricanes.
Robert Rawlins of Turner County received the 2017 Best Cotton Award, the top award of the Georgia Quality Cotton Awards sponsored by the Georgia Cotton Commission and Bayer CropScience. To read a complete list of the winning producers, their gins and Extension agents visit www. gfb.ag/17GaQCwinners. To read coverage of the 11th Annual Georgia Cotton Commission Meeting & UGA Cotton Workshop visit www.gfb.ag/18GCCmeeting. Georgia Farm Bureau News
GFB mourns loss of former state director Phil Redding
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Phil Redding, who served on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors from 1985 to 2011, died Jan. 20 at age 87. Redding was born Aug. 22, 1933, in Ft. Gaines to the late Buster Brown Redding and Edna Hayes Redding. He was a retired farmer and a member of Vincent United Methodist Church. He served on the Clay County Board of Education and was president of Clay County Farm Bureau from 1980 to 2014. Redding was preceded in death by his wife, Deloris, who died in April 2017. Survivors include two daughters: Jo Del Perryman and her husband, Bill; and Debbie Ingram all of Coleman; a sister, Faye Holliday of Alexander City, Alabama; brother, John Redding and sister-in-law, Levon, of Monroe. Redding had three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
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Farm Bureau Member Rewards MasterCard® 1 Based on purchases made in the calendar year that ends 60 days prior to membership renewal month. Balance transfers and cash advances are not included. Please see terms and conditions on farmbureaubank.com for additional details about the Farm Bureau Member Rewards MasterCard. Banking services provided by Farm Bureau Bank, FSB. Farm Bureau, FB, and the FB National Logo are registered service marks owned by and use by the Farm Bureau Bank FSB under licenese from the American Farm Bureau Federation. FBMRMC_GA_216 2Eligible purchases mean any signature or pin-based, online, phone or mail-order purchases made with the Farm Bureau Member Rewards MasterCard. Offer excludes Cash Advances, Balance Transfers, credits and returns. Points expire after four full years. Program may change or be cancelled at anytime.
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February-March 2018 / 25
ABAC & GFB cattle shows prep youth for state event
26 / February-March 2018
& Heifer Show Committee. Two $200 academic scholarships were given to William Barrett, Habersham County, and Zack Murray, Stephens County. Jackson County’s Taylor Davis won the 12th Grade Showmanship $250 prize. 2nd District county Farm Bureaus, county presidents, insurance agents and Lew’s Personalized Cutting Board’s donated the show prizes.
Photo by Justine Palmer
Georgia 4-H and FFA members are gearing up for the annual Georgia Junior National Livestock Show Feb. 21-25. The Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) 2nd District and the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) Young Farmer Chapter held shows in January to help students hone their showing skills for the state show. Close to 100 4-H and FFA members from five Southeastern states competed in the 4th Annual ABAC Young Farmers Steer & Heifer Show. A total of 91 exhibitors traveled to the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry with 123 cows to compete in the Jan. 6 event. GFB donated $2,000 to sponsor the grand champion steer and heifer awards for the ABAC show. Coffee County Farm Bureau provided the $500 third place heifer prize. Crisp County 4-Her Maelee Dean captured the grand champion steer prize of $1,000 at the ABAC show. 4-Her Samantha Roberts from McMinn County, Tennessee, won the $1,000 grand champion heifer award. The ABAC Young Farmers is a chapter affiliate of GFB intended to recruit students into GFB’s Young Farmer & Rancher program. Michael Herrin, vice president of the chapter said the club began holding its show as a fundraiser, but now the event is more about giving students another venue to pursue their passion for showing cattle while introducing them to ABAC and student clubs. On Jan. 20, GFB’s 2nd District 9th Annual Young Farmer Steer & Heifer Show drew 83 students from Northeast Georgia with 125 head of cattle to the White County Agriculture Center. The 2nd District uses its show to introduce students to Farm Bureau’s YF&R program and to recruit them to join their county Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committees when they’re 18. Brandon Boling, Banks County, and Madyson McDaniel, Jackson County, won the show’s top prizes. Boling won the $300 prize for Grand Champion Steer with his Shorthorn steer. McDaniel won the $300 prize for Supreme Champion Heifer with
her percentage Simmental heifer. Jolie Nicholson of Stephens County received the $200 prize for Reserve Champion Steer with her Limousin. Jesse Cronic of Jackson County won the $200 prize for Supreme Reserve Champion Heifer with his Angus. Logan Stovall of Stephens County won the $250 Academic Scholarship given by the GFB 2nd District Young Farmer Steer
Taylor Davis of Jefferson City FFA won the $250 12th Grade Showmanship Award at the 9th Annual GFB 2nd District Young Farmer Steer & Heifer Show. Visit http://bit. ly/18GFBDist2cattleshow to see photos of the top prize winners. Houston County FFA member James McNeal showed everyone at the 4th Annual ABAC Young Farmers Steer & Heifer Show what the spirit of a true champion looks like. The ABAC show was McNeal’s second time showing his miniature Hereford, Georgia. To read more of McNeal’s story visit www.gfb. ag/18ABACshow.
Photo by Michael Herrin
By Jennifer Whittaker ____________________________________
Georgia Farm Bureau News
young farmer/rancher update By Erin Nessmith, Young Farmer & Rancher Coordinator
Photo by Jay Stone
2018 GFB YF&R Committee named
The 2018 Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Committee: from left, Brandon Wade and Jamie Hendren, Bacon County, 10th District; Ben and Vicki Cagle, Cherokee County, 1st District; Guill and Chy Kellogg, Cobb County, 3rd District; Dustin and Lauren Covington, Sumter County, 8th District; Jonathan and Bridget Hitch-
In aligning with GFB President Long’s Harvest 20 Vision, the GFB Young Farmers and Ranchers are looking forward to a year that inspires, educates and preserves the mission of our young agriculturalists throughout Georgia. The 2018 GFB Young Farmer and Rancher Committee has been appointed and has some great things in store for our members! The 2017 committee elected Dustin and Lauren Covington to chair the 2018 committee and Jonathan and Bridget Hitchcock to serve as vice chairmen. Dustin is serving a one-year term on the GFB Board of Directors as the committee chairman. As the newly appointed chairman, Dustin wants the committee to use GFB’s multiple news and social media outlets to highlight GFB YF&R members throughout Georgia who are advancing the Harvest 20 Vision in their counties. Additionally, the YF&R Committee is gearing up to offer our statewide competitive awards. Competitive events are one of the highlights of the GFB YF&R program. Three young farmer competitive events will be offered in 2018: Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture Award and Discussion Meet. Applications for each of these events will be available on Georgia Farm Bureau News
March 1. Check with your county Farm Bureau to learn more about these contests. The YF&R Committee encourages young farmers to save the dates of July 1921 for the annual GFB YF&R Leadership Conference on Jekyll Island. This familyfriendly event includes the preliminary rounds of the discussion meet and will offer several social and educational opportunities for members between the ages of 1835. Stop by your county Farm Bureau after March 1 to reserve your spot! The deadline to register is June 1. One of the highlights for our volunteers is the annual GFB YF&R Photo Con-
test. The committee will release details of this event on March 1 and accept photos through May 18. We encourage any amateur photographer to share their photos. The top 12 pictures will be featured in the 2019 YF&R Calendar. Visit the GFB website www.gfb.org or contact your county office in March for complete details. Check with your county Farm Bureau for more information about any of our YF&R programs or visit www.gfb.ag/YFR to make sure you don’t miss any of the exciting events taking place in 2018! Erin Nessmith is the GFB Young Farmer & Rancher Coordinator.
GFB donation helps hungry Georgians GFB’s $20,000 donation to the Georgia Food Bank Association (GFBA) will benefit needy families statewide. The GFBA will use the donation to help food banks in Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Macon, Savannah and Valdosta, affiliated with the association. 2017 GFB Young Farmer & Rancher Committee Chairman Mitchell Pittman, left, and GFB President Gerald Long, right, present a check for the proceeds of the 2017 Harvest for All campaign to Georgia Food Bank Association Regional Produce Sourcer Dustin Lard at the 2017 GFB Convention. February-March 2018 / 27
Photo by Jay Stone
By Erin Nessmith ____________________________________
cock, Washington County, 6th District; Jesse and Brighton Patrick, Putnam County, 4th District; John Douglas Newton, Bulloch County, 7th District. Not pictured: Caroline and Kyle Lewallen, Hall County, 2nd District; Joseph Keith, Troup County, 5th District; Preston and Kendall Jimmerson, Colquitt County, 9th District.
AROUND GEORGIA News from County Farm Bureaus Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker. See more county news on the Friends of Georgia Farm Bureau Facebook group page. BERRIEN COUNTY Berrien County Farm Bureau Office Manager Ruth Childre, center, introduces Department of Natural Resources Sgt. Morty Wood, center right, to children attending the ATV safety program BCFB held at Berrien County Middle School. Also helping with the program were Berrien Co. Resource Officer Tommy Sellars, far left, and BCFB Young Farmer Chairman Austin Nash, Berrien Co. Sheriff Ray Paulk and BCFB Vice-President Tim McMillan. About 55 kids attended the afterschool program. COOK COUNTY To celebrate November being National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month, Cook County Farm Bureau teamed up with the Georgia Peanut Commission to celebrate National Sandwich Day on Nov. 3 at Cook County Primary School by serving grilled peanut butter & jelly sandwiches to all of the Pre-K students at snack time. Helping with the event were, pictured from left, CCFB Young Farmer Chairman Justin Shealey, Jill Joiner, CCFB Office Manager Michele Waters, Ga. Peanut Commission Project Coordinator Hannah Jones, Teresa Parrish and Pate Betts. Shealey told the students how he grows peanuts.
GREENE COUNTY To celebrate Johnny Appleseed’s birthday on Sept. 26, Greene County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee member Martha Copelan, pictured, & GCFB Office Manager Shirley Duvall visited 28 / February-March 2018
three kindergarten classes at two local schools to read “The Apple Orchard Riddle” and talk about Johnny Appleseed. PIKE/UPSON COUNTIES Pike and Upson County Farm Bureaus cohosted a Farm Safety Day last summer for kids ages 8-15 years. The almost 50 kids who attended the event learned electrical, fire, tractor, animal, wildlife and first aid tips to help them avoid or handle common accidents that might occur on a farm or while enjoying the great outdoors. RABUN COUNTY Rabun County kindergartners have a better understanding of what farmers do thanks to Rabun County Farm Bureau (RCFB) members who visited them last fall to talk about how they raise livestock and pumpkins. RCFB member Stephen Wilson, standing, told the students what it took to grow his crop of pumpkins from seeds to selling them. RCFB member Emma Chastain, not pictured, told the students how she and her husband, Tommy, raise beef cattle and grow corn and hay.
RICHMOND COUNTY Richmond County Farm Bureau donated $1,500 to the Augusta-Richmond County Cooperative Extension Service for the purchase of belt buckles awarded to the first-place winners of the Georgia Carolina State Fair Livestock Show. RCFB organized a joint Georgia Farm Bureau News
exhibit with the Richmond County Extension Service to educate fair attendees about Farm Bureau and 4-H. SUMTER COUNTY Sumter County Farm Bureau sponsored the annual Ag Day the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce held Oct. 26. More than 730 elementary students attended the event held at the Southwest Georgia Experiment Station. The students rotated through stations to learn about a variety of crops, livestock, farm equipment, timber and wildlife. SCFB Secretary Taylor Horne, far right, & SCFB Office Manager Jena Tyler, not pictured, talked to the students attending the event about dairy calves and cows.
TATTNALL COUNTY Tattnall County Farm Bureau (TCFB) donated $1,000 to help fund prizes awarded at the Annual Tattnall County Young Farmer Association Livestock Show. TCFB Vice President Dan Crispell, fourth from left, presents the donation to Tattnall County Young Farmer Advisor Don Crumpler. Also on hand for the donation presentation were 4-Hers who participated in the show and show organizers. Pictured from left are: Ansley Crosby & Morgan Blalock, Cliff Rhiner, Tattnall County Young Farmers Association President Joel Thompson, 4-Hers Ava & Avery Crosby and Gannon Williford & back row - 4-H Agent Aubert Shirley, Tattnall Co. High School FFA Advisor Adam Carpenter & Ken Oliver. THOMAS COUNTY Thomas County Farm Bureau (TCFB) participated in Pioneer Day at Garrison Pilcher Elementary School on Nov. 17. TCFB members provided a modern tractor and an antique tractor to let students see the technology farmers use on their farms today to grow our food versus the older equipment farmers once used. TCFB President Lou Ellen Peek, far left, and TCFB member Georgia Farm Bureau News
Susan Thompson talked to students about the antique Farmall Super A tractor that TCFB member John Bulloch brought to the event. TCFB members Josh & Kim Connell brought their modern John Deere 8370R visible in the background. WALKER COUNTY Walker County Farm Bureau Young Farm Committee CoChairman James Burton is pictured talking about ATV and bicycle safety at a Farm Safety Day held at the Walker County Ag Center for students at three middle schools. WCFB YF Committee Chairman Justin Smith, WCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Sonia Butler and WCFB Office Manager Kyla Compton also helped with the 20-minute safety demonstration the county delivered to about 400 students. WILCOX COUNTY To celebrate Farm-City Week, Nov. 17-23, 2017, Wilcox County Farm Bureau President Bob McLeod, center, met with Wilcox County Commission Chairman Lanier Keene, left, and Rochelle Mayor James Rhodes. Keene and Rhodes signed a proclamation recognizing the annual event, which highlights the relationship between farmers and their partners in urban areas who prepare, transport, market and retail the food and fiber farmers grow for consumers. WCFB also asked students at Wilcox County Elementary School to draw farm pictures and write letters to local farmers thanking them for growing our food. WCFB displayed the letters at its office.
March 24 • Downtown • Blakely This annual festival features free concerts, a parade, arts & crafts, a 5K/fun run, kids peanut obstacle course, the Peanut Proud Store and much more. Activities begin at 7 a.m. with registration for the 5K/ fun run. For more information visit www.peanutproudfestival.com. February-March 2018 / 29
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
Women’s Committee working to promote ag!
The Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee has welcomed four new members who began three-year terms at the 2017 GFB convention. Heather Cabe, Franklin County, joined the committee as the GFB 2nd District Chairman. Kim Edge, Treutlen County, is representing GFB’s 6th District. Greta Collins, Colquitt County is the new 9th District Chairman, and Peggy Lee, Bacon County, is serving as the GFB 10th District Chairman. Carol McQueen, Henry County, GFB 3rd District, is chairing the committee this year as she serves her final year. The committee works to promote and support ag literacy from the county to state levels. It annually hosts the GFB Educational Leadership Conference and workshops in the GFB districts to prepare county volunteers and staff to conduct ag literacy activities in their communities. The committee met with GFB President Gerald Long, back row, left, and GFB Ag in the Classroom/Women’s Committee Coordinator Donna Rocker, back row, right, at the 2017 GFB convention. Committee members are: front row, from left, Linda Leslie, Chattooga County, GFB 1st District; Heather Cabe; Committee Chairman Carol McQueen; Nancy Kennedy, Hancock County, GFB 4th District; Melissa Bottoms, Pike County, GFB 5th District; back row, from left, Kim Edge; Angela Todd, Evans County, GFB 7th District; Carol Baker-Dunn, Houston County, GFB 8th District; Greta Collins and Peggy Lee.
Leadership Conference scheduled for April
Make plans to attend the annual Georgia Farm Bureau Educational Leadership Conference set for April 13-14 at the Augusta Marriott. Jane Jenkins Herlong will be the keynote speaker. You don’t want to miss her humorous and inspiring message as she shares how she’s traveled from the tomato fields of the South Carolina farm where she grew up to the runway of the Miss America Pageant. Herlong will discuss how to become comfortable with being uncomfortable as you take risks to succeed. The conference will also include numerHerlong ous workshops designed to help county staff and volunteer leaders plan and implement a variety of programs to educate students and consumers about agriculture. This conference is one of the many projects the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee does throughout the year to promote and support ag literacy activities from the county to state levels. Contact your county Farm Bureau office beginning in March for more details or to register. 30 / February-March 2018
CONVENTION from page 22 the first time since 1992. Perdue said the USDA has been rolling back excessive regulations following a directive from President Trump. He cited the Waters of the U.S. rule as an example of regulatory overreach negatively affecting farmers. “You know, sometimes a mud puddle is just a mud puddle,” Perdue said. “We don’t need the federal government coming in and regulating it.” Perdue said the USDA has targeted 27 final rules for elimination that will save $56.15 million annually. Perdue asked farmers and ranchers to bring any onerous regulations to USDA’s attention by visiting www.usda.gov/ruralprosperity. To read more about Perdue’s speech visit www.gfb.ag/AFBFPerdue. HRDC from page 9 dressing challenges related to pharmaceuticals, billing, the healthcare workforce, best practices and doctors’ finances. On Jan. 29, Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) introduced House Bill 769, which covers each of these issues. Among the recommendations was to allow the Department of Community Health to apply for a Medicaid Waiver for a pilot project utilizing a managed-care approach using existing resources. “The waiver we have in mind is not expanding the Medicaid system. What we’re talking about doing is redirecting resources that we already have available, but doing it to improve the outcome rather than just throw money at a problem after there’s a crisis,” Powell said. H.B. 769 would also provide for the establishment of a series of “micro” hospitals or stand-alone emergency rooms in areas where their need can be documented. Such facilities would function as a triage tool, according to England, who said the micro hospitals would get patients stabilized and then transport them to facilities where more comprehensive treatment options are available. For Minick, restoring the presence of a hospital, however small, would be a welcome development. “I would like to see a hospital back here, or at least some kind of unit with beds in it so they can look after local people,” Minick said.
USDA announces FSA state committee
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Georgia Farm Service Agency (FSA) Committee appointees Jan. 4. State committees are selected by the secretary, serve at his pleasure and are responsible for carrying out FSA’s farm programs within delegated authorities. “The state committees serve as a liaison between USDA and the producers in each state by keeping them informed and hearing their appeals and complaints,” Perdue said in a released statement. The Georgia appointees are: Committee Chairman Allen Poole, Haralson County; Bo Herndon, Toombs County; Meredith McNair Rogers, Mitchell County; and Donnie Smith, Coffee County. Committees are made up mostly of active farmers and ranchers, representing their peers and ensuring USDA’s programs support America’s farmers. Georgia Farm Bureau News
GFB Foundation for Ag awards $6,500 in grants Congratulations to Cherokee, Clayton, Colquitt, Habersham, Harris, Jones, McDuffie, Schley, Tattnall and Treutlen County Farm Bureaus. Each Farm Bureau received a $500 grant from the Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture to fund projects in their communities to educate consumers and students about agriculture. The foundation awarded the grants in January in its winter/spring grant cycle. The foundation also awarded $500 grants to the Evans County 4-H, Newton College & Career Academy FFA and the Wilcox County High School FFA to fund leadership development and ag literacy projects the student organizations will conduct.
The GFB Foundation for Agriculture is a non-profit charitable foundation that funds projects to increase the public’s understanding of agriculture, offers scholarships to students pursuing careers in agri-
Apply for a GFB Scholarship today! The GFB Foundation for Agriculture is offering $58,000 in scholarships to students pursuing a career in agriculture or closely related field. • 12 scholarships for graduating high school seniors • 5 scholarships for technical college students • 10 scholarships for rising Jr./Sr. college students • 3 scholarships for UGA College of Veterinary Medicine students March 2 is application deadline. Visit www.gfb.ag/18scholarships for complete details & to apply!
M A K E P L A N S T O AT T E N D T H E
Foundation 2018 GFB for Agriculture
Saturday, March 17 • Southern Bridle Farms Fort Valley, Ga. Reception begins @ 5:30 p.m. Gala starts @ 6:30 p.m. Individual tickets $100 • Tables of 8 $750 Georgia Farm Bureau News
culture or closely related fields and funds leadership development programs. You can make tax-deductible donations and learn more about the foundation’s mission at www.gfbfoundation.org.
oin us for a night at the farm as we celebrate the support of our donors and highlight the work the foundation has done in the past year to increase ag literacy across Georgia through the four pillars of the foundation: Ag in the Classroom, scholarships, educational outreach & leadership development. We’ll have an evening of laughter as country comedian Jerry Carroll entertains with his highenergy show about farm life. Jerry found comedy growing up on his family’s farm and farmed for 20 years before pursuing his dream of entertaining people and making them laugh. Jerry has performed across the U.S. and Canada opening concerts for Michael Bolton, Patty Loveless, Lyle Lovett and Larry Gatlin. He’s also appeared on the Sportsman Channel, Amazing America with Sarah Palin, The John Boy & Billy Big Show and The Bob & Tom Show. Visit www. gfb.ag/18gala to buy tickets. You may also contact Katie Duvall, executive director, at 478-474-0679,ext. 5230 or email email@example.com Dress code is “Country Chic,” which means nothing dressier for ladies than what you’d wear to church and nice jeans or khakis for men. Boots for all is perfectly fine!
February-March 2018 / 31
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The Georgia Farm Bureau News has been the official publication of Georgia Farm Bureau since 1937. With the motto, “The Voice of Georgia Far...
Published on Feb 13, 2018
The Georgia Farm Bureau News has been the official publication of Georgia Farm Bureau since 1937. With the motto, “The Voice of Georgia Far...