Georgia Farm Bureau News Spring 2021

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Spring 2021


Life prepared Scott to chair U.S. House Ag Committee


COVID-19 makes agritourism more popular

- GFB President Tom McCall

Vol. 83 No. 1

Economists deliver 2021 Georgia crop outlook

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Contents pages 6 & 7

McCalls’ ag journey brings them home to GFB Travel with us to Fortsonia to visit GFB President Tom McCall & his family on their farm.

page 8

Vilsack, Stabenow resume D.C. ag leadership

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pages 10 & 11

pages 18 & 19

COVID-19 creates demand for agritourism

UGA economists deliver 2021 Georgia crop outlook page 21

page 12

Property tax programs give forestland owners options

AFBF hosts historic virtual convention

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pages 14 & 15

Nolans win second place in AFBF YF&R contest

Georgia Farm Bureau honors Isakson with Commodity Award

Mathis, Yopp fare well in national contests.

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Rep. David Scott chairing U.S. House Ag Committee

National FFA President Harper: Different methods, same goals


GFB News Staff

page 4

Kenny Burgamy

View from the Field page 5

Public Policy pages 26 & 27

YF&R and Women’s Committees page 28

Around Georgia page 29

Ag in the Classroom pages 30 & 31

Ga Foundation for Agriculture


Jennifer Whittaker Jay Stone


News Reporter

Payton Butler Graphic Designer

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COVID-19 vaccine tips & resources


On The Cover: Family means everything to GFB President Tom McCall & his wife, Jane. | Photo by Logan Thomas

Logan Thomas Photographer For information concerning advertising, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-6529080 or For questions about your membership or member benefits, call 1-800-633-5432. For questions regarding editorial content call 478-474-0679, ext. 5334 or e-mail Clarification: In our last issue, an article about Steven & Tara Green should have identified a USDA grant they acquired to install solar panels on their farm as a Rural Energy for America Program grant funded by USDA’s Rural Development instead of a Natural Resources Conservation grant.

View from the Field Tom McCall, GFB President As I begin this next chapter of my life serving as Georgia Farm Bureau President, I am grateful for your vote of confidence to assume this role. While this may seem like a new beginning, it is really a continuation for my family as I return to where we got our start. I met my wife, Jane, at a Farm Bureau meeting and we have been married for 38 years. After graduating from ABAC and UGA with a degree in agronomy and animal science, we moved back to the farm where I grew up in Elbert County. Jane taught school in Elberton and we are still farming the land, producing livestock, small grain, straw and hay. We are blessed with three children and two grandchildren, all of which live on our family farm. Bud, our eldest, passed away in 2000. Our son Al, who works at Athens Technical College as VP of Economic Development, and his wife Rachel, who is employed at the Elbert Memorial Hospital, have two boys: Winn (4) and Wilkes (2). Our daughter, Katie teaches with Athens Technical College at both the Athens and Elberton campuses, and is married to Bristol, who works in the granite business and serves as a United States Marine.

Aside from Farm Bureau introducing me to my wife and leading to my most proud achievement, my family also played an integral part of my career. Early on, I joined the Young Farmers Committee where, as chairman, I learned invaluable leadership skills and the importance of promoting agriculture through involvement. Later I was elected as Elbert County President, which led to a thirteen-year stint on the Georgia Farm Bureau State Board. These experiences encouraged me to act on GFB’s mission of advocating for agriculture, and in 1994, I ran for state office. I am fortunate to have served in the Georgia House of Representatives for 26 years, 16 of those as Ag Chairman. As your president, I want to ensure Georgia families can still have agricultural roots. Family is the most important thing in my life, and I can say Farm Bureau has been a key part of mine. I want to thank you for welcoming us back into the Farm Bureau family. I look forward to serving you in this role as we continue advocating for agriculture and growing the next generation of farm leaders.


OFFICERS President TOM McCALL, Elbert Co. 1st Vice President and South Georgia Vice President DANIEL JOHNSON, Pierce Co. Middle Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN JR., Emanuel Co. North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS, Catoosa Co. General Counsel DUKE GROOVER Chief Financial Officer, Corp. Treasurer & GFBMIC Exec. VP DAVID JOLLEY Chief Administrative Officer & Corp. Secretary JON HUFFMASTER Asst. Corp. Secretary & Senior Counsel JEANNA FENNELL Asst. Corp. Treasurer & Sr. Director of Accounting RACHEL MOSELY DIRECTORS FIRST DISTRICT: Bill Bryan, Chattooga Co.; Wesley Hall, Forsyth Co.; SECOND DISTRICT: Bobby Gunter, Lumpkin Co.; Russ Moon, Madison Co.;THIRD DISTRICT: George Chambers, Carroll Co.; Nora Goodman, Paulding Co.; FOURTH DISTRICT: Skeetter McCorkle, McDuffie Co.; Marvin Ruark, Morgan Co.; FIFTH DISTRICT: Matt Bottoms, Pike Co.; Leighton Cooley, Crawford Co.; SIXTH DISTRICT: James Malone, Laurens Co.; James Emory Tate, Jeff Davis Co.; SEVENTH DISTRICT: Gary Bell, Evans Co.; Ben Boyd, Screven Co.; EIGHTH DISTRICT: Scotty Raines, Turner Co.; Don Wood, Wilcox Co.; NINTH DISTRICT: Lucius Adkins, Baker Co.; Paul Shirah, Mitchell Co.; TENTH DISTRICT: David Lee, Bacon Co.; Lamar Vickers, Berrien Co.; YOUNG FARMER CHAIRMAN: Will Godowns, Pike Co.; WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Heather Cabe, Franklin Co. ADVERTISING POLICY All advertising accepted subject to publisher’s approval. Advertisers must assume liability for content of their advertising. Publisher maintains right to cancel advertising for non-payment or reader complaint about advertiser service or products. Publisher does not accept per-order, political or alcoholic beverage ads, nor does publisher prescreen or guarantee advertiser service or products. Publisher assumes no liability for products or services advertised in the Georgia Farm Bureau News. For advertising rates and information, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or Georgia Farm Bureau News was established in 1937. Copyright 2021 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.

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Public Policy Update

Dickey, Walker chairing GA Ag Committees GFB looks forward to working with new leaders By Jeffrey Harvey The Georgia General Assembly convened for the first year of the 2021-2022 Legislative Session on Jan. 11. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there were lots of questions on everyone’s mind concerning this year’s session. Would lawmakers be able to tackle the big policy issues in a socially distanced state Capitol? As we go to press in early March, the Legislature has successfully passed an amended budget for FY 2021 and is moving forward with the session.


LARRY WALKER Senate Ag Chairman

Leading into the 2021 legislative session, the top question on the minds of Georgia’s agriculture community centered around the chairmanship of the Georgia House and Senate Agriculture Committees. In the first weeks of the session, that question was answered when Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Senate leaders announced the new Senate Ag Chairman Sen. Larry Walker (R-Perry) on Jan. 14. On Jan. 20, Speaker of the House David Ralston and House leaders named Rep. Robert Dickey (R-Musella) as House Ag Chairman. Sen. Walker, a native of Perry and friend of Farm Bureau, replaces former Chairman John Wilkinson, who is now serving as North Georgia Technical College president. Walker earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Georgia and operates Walker Insurance Agency in Perry. His dedication and experience serving rural Georgia families will be an immense asset in his new role.

“Georgia’s agribusiness cements much of the foundation of our state’s economy, with a roughly $76 billion contribution annually, employment totaling nearly 400,000 jobs, and leading production in goods like cotton, poultry, dairy and much more,” said Chairman Walker. The House Ag Committee, previously chaired by Georgia Farm Bureau President Tom McCall, will now be led by Rep. Robert Dickey – a seasoned ag committee veteran, Crawford County Farm Bureau member, and 2019 Georgia Sunbelt Expo Farmer of the Year. First elected in 2011, Dickey is no stranger to agriculture issues as owner of Dickey Farms, a peach and timber farm in Musella. “I am humbled and honored by this appointment to chair the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee,” said Chairman Dickey. “Speaker Ralston and the Committee on Assignments have given me big shoes to fill following the 16-year chairmanship of Georgia Farm Bureau President Tom McCall. As a fourthgeneration farmer, I look forward to working with Chairman Walker to shape and guide agricultural policy in our state as we continue to keep Georgia’s ag economy strong and vibrant not only for producers but agribusiness and our consumers.”


ROBERT DICKEY House Ag Chairman

Under the leadership of Sen. Walker and Rep. Dickey, agriculture is well prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. Georgia Farm Bureau welcomes the opportunity to work alongside of our new state leaders. Georgia agriculture and our state remain in safe hands.

Jeffrey Harvey is the Georgia Farm Bureau Public Policy Department director. He may be reached at 478-474-0679 ext.5282 or

Georgia Farm Bureau News

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McCalls’ ag journey brings them home to Georgia Farm Bureau By Jennifer Whittaker Tom and Jane McCall’s Farm Bureau roots run deep. “I grew up through Farm Bureau. My Daddy sold memberships to start Elbert County Farm Bureau,” Tom recalls. “My Mama, Katherine, was our local Women’s Committee chair and the District Two chair on the state Women’s Committee for many years.” Jane’s parents, Winford and Tommie Lee Gaines, were Elbert County natives. Her dad’s job with the soil conservation service took them to Murray, Walker and Madison counties before they moved back to their family farm in Elbert County. Mr. Winford was an active Farm Bureau member. Jane’s cousin, Clyde Adams, was the first insurance agent Georgia Farm Bureau hired.

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Having watched his dad, J.D. McCall, volunteer as a county Farm Bureau director and serve as president, it was only natural Tom would start attending Young Farmer meetings. At one of those meetings, he met Jane. They dated while getting their college degrees, then married in 1982, the year Tom was chairing the GFB Young Farmers Committee.

A life of public service Tom’s time in the GFB Young Farmer program led to him being elected Elbert County Farm Bureau president, which led to him being elected a GFB 2nd District director

in 1984. He decided to run for a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1994. When he retired, his district included Elbert and Lincoln and portions of Madison, Wilkes and Columbia counties. Oglethorpe and part of Jackson counties were in his district at other times during his tenure. “The leadership experiences I had with Farm Bureau encouraged me to run for state office and I was lucky enough for folks in this district to elect me to the Legislature,” Tom said. He continued to serve on the GFB Board until 1996 when he opted to focus on representing agriculture under the Gold

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Dome. He served on the House Agriculture Committee and accepted the reins of the committee chairmanship in 2004.

"I don’t inherit this place from my grandparents. I’m borrowing it from my grandkids, and we’ve got to take care of it." - GFB President Tom McCall “I’m lucky to have served in the House for 26 years with 16 of those as ag chairman,” Tom said. Tom decided to retire from the Legislature thinking it was time to let “somebody else bring in some new ideas.” But retirement wasn’t in the cards for the McCalls just yet. “When Mr. Gerald [Long] decided he was going to retire, and when folks found out I was going to quit the Legislature, they started calling me from all over the state to do this,” Tom explains. “Come back home is what we did.” Tom brings experience as a veteran legislator to GFB to advocate for rural Georgia, and he brings the business experience he learned from farming. “When you have to depend on somebody in Chicago, who has never seen a boll of cotton or a soybean, set the prices for what you grow, it makes you learn how to be a manager of your inputs and how you run your operation,” McCall said. “It is business experience. Farming helps you understand the importance of not spending a bunch of money when you don’t need to.”

Family first Spend some time with Tom and Jane and you’ll soon realize their family is very important to them. They light up at the mention of grandsons Winn, 4, and Wilkes, 2.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

They’re just as proud of their son, Al and his wife, Rachel, Winn and Wilkes’ parents; and of their daughter, Katie, and her husband, Bristol Archer. Their oldest son, Bud, died in 2000. His name comes up often with smiles, especially when the McCalls talk with Farm Bureau friends. Tom and Jane live in a house, built in 1890, where his mother was raised while Katie and Bristol live across the pasture in the house where Tom grew up. The McCalls attend Eliam Methodist Church in the Fortsonia community where they farm. He has fond memories of riding his bike to the country store near the church where old guys sat around a pot-bellied stove, and he could buy a 16 oz. Pepsi for 10 cents. Tom’s family has farmed the same land for years. “I don’t inherit this place from my grandparents. I’m borrowing it from my grandkids, and we’ve got to take care of it,” Tom says. Tom and Jane have spent their life preserving the soil and water on the farm while raising various grain crops, beef cows, hogs and hay. Al brought a heritage breed of sheep Gulf Coast - to the farm.

Preserving rural roots Located about 35 miles northeast of Athens, Elbert County is like many rural Georgia counties. The population has declined and farms have been sold or planted in trees. Fortunately, the county has a thriving granite industry that drives the economy, providing many part-time farmers with full-time jobs. “Elbert County is the Granite Capital of the World. If Elberton didn’t have the granite business, our economy would be in the tank,” Tom said. Many rural counties depend solely on agriculture and public service jobs to drive their economy. That’s why Farm Bureau’s mission to advocate for agriculture and rural communities is vital. “Farm Bureau is the most important thing as far as protecting what farmers do and what farmers have in Georgia,” Tom said. “I want to ensure Georgia families can still have agricultural roots.”

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Vilsack begins second tour as U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is leading the USDA as Secretary of Agriculture for the second time after the U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination Feb. 23 by a 92-7 vote. President Joe Biden went for experience in picking Vilsack to serve as his ag secretary. Vilsack was the longest-serving member of former President Barack Obama’s cabinet, serving as agriculture secretary from 2009-2017. Under Vilsack’s leadership, USDA set records for U.S. agricultural exports. Between 2009-2016, USDA enrolled a record number of acres in conservation programs through a new stewardship model that brought together local, national, public and private partners. Vilsack also introduced new crop insurance and risk management tools for farms of all sizes. From 2017 until his recent confirmation, Vilsack served as president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC). He oversaw USDEC’s global promotion, research activities, regulatory affairs and trade policy initiatives. Vilsack served two terms as governor of Iowa, served in the Iowa Senate and as mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. He is a native of Pittsburgh, Penn.


Stabenow, Boozman Senate Ag Committee leaders In the 117th Congress, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) is chairing the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, a position she previously held from 2011-2015. In her previous tenure as committee chairman, Stabenow authored the 2014 farm bill, which prioritized land and water conservation, clean energy, local food systems, specialty crops, cutting-edge research and biobased manufacturing. As ranking member, she coauthored the 2018 farm bill which includes climate-smart agriculture provisions and improves the dairy safety net, strengthens support for

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fruit and vegetable growers, and invests in rural communities. Sen. John Boozman (R-AK) is the top ranked Republican on the committee after long time Republican Senate Ag leader Pat Roberts of Kansas retired at the end of last Congress. As ranking member, Boozman will work with Stabenow to shape the committee’s agenda.


Boozman has represented Arkansas in the Senate and served on the ag committee since 2011. For the 117th Congress, committees will have an equal number of Republicans and Democrats on each committee due to the 50-50 Senate composition. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) is serving on the Senate Ag Committee.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

By Jennifer Whittaker

Rep. David Scott chairing U.S. House Agriculture Committee

REP. DAVID SCOTT Rep. David Scott is the first African American to chair the House Agriculture Committee. | Photo courtesy of Rep. Scott U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Georgia 13th District) believes God has used every phase of his life to prepare him to chair the U.S. House Agriculture Committee. Scott was born on his grandparents’ farm in Aynor, S.C. and grew up working on their farm when his parents moved north to find work. “Being born on a little country farm in South Carolina and coming up doing

the hard work, it made me what I am,” Scott said. Scott credits the years he served in the Georgia General Assembly as a state representative from 1975 to 1982 and as a state senator from 1983 to 2002 for teaching him about politics and public service. He counts former Speaker of the House Tom Murphy, state Sen. Culver Kidd and former Gov. Zell Miller among his mentors. “Georgia has been blessed with some great elected officials, and I’ve had the opportunity of learning from them,” Scott said. Scott has served as a member of Congress and the House Agriculture Committee since 2003. Scott has previously chaired the subcommittees on Commodity Exchanges, Energy & Credit as well as Livestock and Foreign Agriculture. “Agriculture is our single most important industry. We can do without a lot of things but we cannot do without food, water, clothing and shelter,” Scott said. “Agriculture is the leading part of the economies of 44 states out of 50. It’s important now more than ever that we let the nation know how important agriculture is.” Scott shared his five priorities for the committee and a thought on each.

Serving with Scott, from Georgia, on the U.S. House Ag Committee are Reps. Rick Allen (R-12th Dist.) Sanford Bishop (D-2nd Dist.) and Austin Scott (R-8th Dist.). Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Penn.) is the ranking member of the agriculture committee.

This article is based on an interview Farm Monitor Reporter John Holcomb did with Chairman Scott. Visit to view the Q&A.

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Scott's Commitee Priorities 1) Climate Change “It is agriculture that is in the position of doing the best with carbon sequestration, no-till farming and regeneration.”

2) Broadband in rural communities “Young people are leaving the rural areas because we’re not connected out there. I love Atlanta, but agriculture is in the rural areas, and we’ve got to make sure that our rural communities are vibrant.”

3) Racial equality in agriculture “We all know there is discrimination in various places, but we have to look at it together and make sure the beautiful, bountiful world of agriculture is open to all of us.”

4) Hunger “Seventeen million U.S. children are malnourished. I want the Ag Committee to hear from food banks, food processors and all segments of the food supply chain regarding what is needed to plug the holes and address hunger in the U.S.”

5) Expediating Disaster Relief Aid “I’m going to propose legislation to set up an emergency funding foundation away from the politically laden appropriations system so we can get [disaster] aid to our farmers immediately [after natural disasters occur].”

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AGRITOURISM By Jay Stone Like most other economic sectors, Georgia tourism took a big hit in 2020 as the coronavirus spread and people opted for less travel.


Still, Dr. John Salazar thinks better days are coming, particularly for those who own and operate agritourism venues. Salazar, the coordinator of UGA’s Hospitality and Food Industry Program, said there is significant opportunity on the horizon for rural tourism, much of which exists as agritourism, to capitalize on travel tendencies prompted by COVID-19. “Now is the time for rural communities to really embrace agritourism. That’s because people are shying away from major urban markets and they’re looking for ac-

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tivities and experiences that are more conducive to social distancing,” Salazar said in his presentation during the 2021 Virtual Ag Forecast. A set of surveys that began in 2020 are measuring Americans’ attitudes about travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. The surveys are being conducted in four waves by UGA, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia River Network, Hart County, Jekyll Island Authority, Lake Lanier, Tifton Tourism, Visit Augusta and Visit Savannah. The first two waves were done in spring 2020 and fall 2020. A third wave was sent out the week beginning Feb. 15 and a fourth is planned for early summer. The surveys are designed to get a measure of evolving traveler attitudes. By Jan. 20, more than 6,900 people had responded. In 2019, before the pandemic, tourism spending overall was $32 billion statewide, providing 287,000 jobs, many of which were in lodging and food service. Rural Georgia, which Salazar defined as the 87

counties not listed as parts of metropolitan statistical areas, accounted for $3 billion of that spending, an average of $34 million per rural county. Two key statistics from the survey indicate more travelers are headed to the country. First, 62% of respondents seek rural or small towns when selecting trip destinations. Second, 48% said farmers’ markets or agritourism opportunities were important to them. “There is market demand for Georgia agritourism,” Salazar said. Salazar noted that people have grown weary of quarantine measures and are feeling cooped up. Simultaneously, there is a growing desire to visit places that make social distancing easier to manage because they are less crowded than attractions in metro areas. While the coronavirus spared no area of the state, Salazar said rural hospitality

Georgia Farm Bureau News

businesses – primarily lodging and food establishments – took a smaller hit percentage-wise than their urban counterparts. Plus, the survey results showed that travelers think they’ll be safer as more time passes. He said this could be an indication that business could rebound more quickly once COVID-19 vaccinations make it safer for people to move about. Money may be available for agritourism operators to market their venues and services. Portions of tourism-related taxes like the $5 per night state hotel fee and other hotel/motel taxes are designated to be funneled back into rural communities for economic development. This revenue from the 87 rural Georgia counties increased from $260.5 million in 2015 to $314.9 million in 2019. Part of that money is directed to local tourism development through direct marketing organizations (DMOs) like chambers of commerce, Mainstreet organizations and local tourism organizations. Salazar encouraged agritourism businesses to develop relationships with DMOs to promote their venues, goods and services, and to partner with complementary local businesses to leverage their promotional power. “Those dollars are coming in from the visitors and not the local residents,” Salazar said. “In the end, it’s a really good benefit for that community because you’re utilizing the visitor taxpayer dollars for these promotional tactics.” Specifically, he said agritourism businesses should become familiar with DMOs’ advertising calendars and develop plans to align their events with promotions the DMOs are already doing. To watch Salazar’s presentation, visit and click on the keynote session video. Salazar’s portion begins at the 12- minute mark.

Photo top left page: Mercier Orchards is one of many GFB Certified Farm Markets that offer visitors farm tours. Photo by Sidney Middlebrooks

Georgia Farm Bureau News



62% of Georgia travelers seek rural or small towns when selecting a destination


VISITORS SPENT $3 BILLION in rural counties in 2019



48% of Georgia travelers think farmers markets or agritourism opportunities are important


30% of Georgia travelers think farms, barns, orchards, etc., are important when traveling for recreation or leisure purposes





EXPLORE GEORGIA, SUPPORT LOCAL AND EAT FRESH TOGETHER. The GFB Certified Farm Markets Passport is your guide & invitation to visit over 80 Georgia farms. Some destinations welcome you to pick your own produce, pet farm animals or take a tour. Pick up your free Farm Passport today at participating farms or your local Farm Bureau office. Visit or email for more information.

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By Jay Stone & Jennifer Whittaker Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) was prominently featured throughout the 2021 American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Virtual Convention in January. The event, originally scheduled for San Diego, California, went online in response to COVID-19. Stronger Together was the common theme of the event from Jan. 10-13. GFB received state awards of excellence in: advocacy; engagement & outreach; leadership & business development; and membership value. GFB received the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Scholar Award, given to state Farm Bureaus which made the largest total donations in each of six membership groups. Karen Garland, GFB’s 2020 Ag In the Classroom Teacher of the Year, was featured during the Foundation Night In session. Garland, who received one of the AFB

Henry County Farm Bureau Director Jake Carter spoke during an AFBF convention video detailing how farmers are still farming through the pandemic. He was also a panelist in the workshop “Communicating to Consumers During Extraordinary Times.” Foundation’s White-Reinhardt Ag Literacy grants, shared how she and Clark Creek Elementary in Cherokee County used the grant to develop an ag literacy curriculum for the school’s science lab. The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Book of the Year was Tales of the Dairy Godmother: Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish illustrated by Ward Jenkins of Atlanta. In an interview that aired during the Foundation Night In, Jenkins thanked GFB Ag in the Classroom for arranging tours of Georgia dairy farms that inspired his illustrations for the book. In his annual address, AFBF President Zippy Duvall noted that while the past year had enormous challenges, America's farmers continue to meet high standards, and AFBF has continually pushed Congress to help farmers keep going. Former Agriculture

Secretary Sonny Perdue thanked Farm Bureau for its support of federal farm policy implemented by the USDA during the Trump Administration. Former GFB President Gerald Long, who served on the AFBF board from 2016 through 2020, was among the retiring AFBF Board members honored in the closing session. Navy SEAL Commander Rorke Denver and TV personality Mike Rowe addressed Farm Bureau members. Denver emphasized seeking self-improvement, staying calm and taking care of each other. Rowe commended farmers for being successful masters of many different skills and stressed the importance of encouraging young people to pursue skill-based careers such as plumbers, welders and electricians.

If you registered for the convention by Jan. 13, you may access ALL convention content until April 12. Visit & enter the username/password you were provided from AFBF after you registered. For those who didn't register, a great selection of workshop content can be found at afbfconventionyoutubevideos . Email with any questions.

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AFBF YF&R Committee Chairman Jon Iverson announces that Jacob & Emily Nolan, first column, bottom panel, won second place in the AFBF Achievement Award contest.

Nolans take second place honors in AFBF YF&R contest By Jennifer Whittaker Jacob and Emily Nolan were recognized for the sweat equity and ingenuity they’ve poured into their farm when they were named the second place winners of the 2021 American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Achievement Award. The honor was announced Jan. 13 during a live presentation as part of the AFBF virtual convention. As second-place winners, the Nolans receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor, courtesy of Case IH. Caleb and Leanne Ragland of Kentucky won the contest and a new Ford vehicle. “We were so humbled to even be considered a Top Ten finalist. When they announced us as the runner-up, we were in disbelief. I think we still are,” Jacob said. “We appreciate AFBF for making our experience a great one even though we were unable to be in San Diego.” The achievement award recognizes outstanding young farmers and ranchers

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who excel in their farm operations and exhibit superior leadership abilities. The Nolans own and operate Spring Fever Farms in Wayne County. They grow corn, cotton, peanuts, pecans, satsuma oranges, strawberries and wheat, while raising Brahman and Hereford cattle. The couple served on the GFB YF&R Committee in 2012-2013. Jacob is a WCFB director. Emily is chairwoman of the WCFB Promotion & Education Committee. The Nolans live in Screven with their children, Reed, Kenley and Tanner. To learn more about their farm, visit https:// Jacob and Emily join an elite group of GFB members who were either named a runner-up for the award or won the national competition. Previous GFB Achievement Award contestants who finished in the top four in the AFBF competition include David & Shirley Jarriel (2002) and Chad & Julie Carlton (2012). GFB members who won

Jacob & Emily Nolan with children Tanner, Kenley & Reed | Photo by Logan Thomas the AFBF Achievement Award include: William H. & Annett Smith (1972); Larry & Phyllis Tucker (1973); Wesley & Angie Kaylor (1974); David & Patricia Graham (1976); Ken & Mona Howard (1979); Anthony & Linda Everett (1980); Zippy & Bonnie Duvall (1982) and Jim & Patti Reid (1985).

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Mathis, Yopp fare well in AFBF YF&R contests By Jay Stone Monroe County Farm Bureau Vice President Melissa Mathis was named to the Top 10 in the AFBF Excellence in Agriculture Award competition. Tift County Farm Bureau member Ashley Yopp advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the AFBF Discussion Meet. The excellence in agriculture and discussion meet competitions were held virtually as part of the AFBF convention in January. Mathis was one of 26 state winners to give presentations during the convention, while Yopp was one of 28 competitors in the discussion meet. Mathis, who won the 2020 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Excellence in Agriculture Award, runs farm and pet supply stores in Bolingbroke, Barnesville and Monticello. She and her husband, Bobby, also have a small cattle farm. They live in Forsyth with their children, Jane and Copelan. The excellence in agriculture award is given to recognize outstanding young farmers and ranchers who earn the majority of their income from vocations other than production agriculture, but

who actively contribute and grow through their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations. To learn more about Mathis, visit https:// In her presentation, Mathis focused on how urban sprawl is affecting the growth of existing farms and the creation of new ones, increasing farm safety awareness and agricultural education. Yopp is an assistant professor of agricultural leadership, education and communications at UGA’s Tifton Campus. She won the GFB 2020 YF&R Discussion Meet held virtually last fall. To learn more about Yopp, visit YFRDMYopp. The discussion meet is designed to simulate a committee meeting, where groups of individuals talk about a selected agricultural topic and seek ideas to resolve issues within that topic. In three rounds of competition, Yopp and her competitors discussed international trade, natural disasters and big data.

If you’re interested in learning more about GFB’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Program or entering the program’s 2021 contests, visit The deadline for entering the ’21 GFB YF&R Achievement Award, Excellence in Ag, & Discussion Meet contests is June 1.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

AFBF YF&R Committee Chairman Jon Iverson, left, recognizes Melissa Mathis, far right column, bottom panel, as a Top 10 finalist in the AFBF Excellence in Ag contest. Top Right: Ashley Yopp, bottom left corner, competes in the third round of the AFBF Discussion Meet.

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16 Spring 2021

Georgia Farm Bureau News

National FFA President Harper:



ational FFA President Doster Harper isn’t daunted by the changes COVID-19 has created for his organization.

Doster Harper is serving as National FFA president during a historic time. | Photo courtesy of FFA “What we do and how we do it may have changed, but there are still 760,113 students [nationwide] out there in agriculture education and FFA who have earned the right to be served,” Harper said after being elected. “I think I speak for all my teammates and myself when we say we’re here to serve these students and we’re here to do it in whatever way we get to do that.” Through Feb. 25, Harper had connected with 31 local chapters in 14 states, all via

Georgia Farm Bureau News

videoconferencing. In years past, the national FFA officer team spent most of its term traveling. In 2021, they’re in apartments in Indianapolis doing all the organization’s business online. Harper sees it as an opportunity to do something new. “There’s a tried-and-true method of how to interact with students, how to get them engaged, how to keep them involved in FFA,” Harper said. “The biggest difference for our team this year is finding new ways to keep them involved in a virtual world.” Harper and his fellow officers hosted the first Horizon Conference, aimed at current FFA students and young alumni interested in pursuing careers in production agriculture. The Horizon Conference was originally intended to be conducted virtually, Harper said, and included opportunities for participants to interact with ag professionals. “That conference was a huge success,” Harper said. “We thought this year would be the perfect year to try that conference out. It was a whole lot of fun.” Harper appreciated the response he’s received from FFA chapters and members so far. “The main thing students across the nation are craving right now is connection because we’ve been isolated for so long. Students are doing things they have never had to do before, like learning a math lesson from inside

“I think I speak for all my teammates and myself when we say we’re here to serve these students and we’re here to do it in whatever way we get to do that.” - Doster Harper their bedroom by computer,” he said. “They miss their friends. They miss hanging out. It’s so positive and so energizing for us to see students’ faces light up and be able to just have conversations with other students.” Harper was elected as National FFA president during the 93rd National FFA Convention, held virtually last October. He was elected from a field of 38 candidates to serve as one of six National FFA Officers for 2020-21. He is taking a one-year leave of absence from his studies at UGA, where he’s a junior agriscience and environmental systems major. Harper is a member of the Newton College & Career Academy FFA chapter. Harper is the son of Lance and Debbie Harper of Covington. His ag ed teachers/ FFA advisors are Dr. Marcus Pollard, Cecily Gunter and Andrew Pollard.

Spring 2021 17


UGA economists deliver 2021 outlook for Georgia crops By Jennifer Whittaker

Georgia row crop farmers can expect increases in the cost of land rent, machinery/equipment and labor this year. The good news is: interest rates are expected to decrease or remain low and fertilizers and fuel prices are expected to decrease. The cost of seed and chemicals is expected to be mixed. This was the main message UGA Public Service Associate Amanda R. Smith had about peanut, corn and soybean crops during the annual UGA Georgia Ag Forecast. Smith encouraged Georgia farmers to use the UGA Row Crop Comparison Tool to crunch their individual

farm numbers to determine which crops will profit their farms. “I really want to stress farmers use the UGA Row Crop Comparison Tool because we’re in a plateau phase in ag which means prices tend to cycle around the cost of production” Smith said. “Make sure you have a marketing plan and know your cost of production.” The online tool is available at extension/budgets.html . Smith encouraged farmers to control production costs by efficiently using crop rotation, tillage, precision application of chemicals, fertilizer and irrigation.

KEY TAKE-AWAYS FOR PEANUTS 1) The 2020 U.S. peanut crop is projected to have the third largest production at an estimated 3.07 million tons from 1.62 million harvested acres nationwide, up 16% over 2019. 2) The COVID-19 pandemic changed consumer food purchases to favor peanut products as more consumers stayed home and bought more peanut butter. CROPS

3) Early 2021 contracts are projected at $475/ton, partial production.

Photo by Logan Thomas


1) The 2020 U.S. soybean crop production is estimated to be 4.14 billion bushels, up 16.4 % from 2019. 2) The COVID-19 pandemic caused a decrease in demand & prices but at the end of 2020, the sector saw a big increase in exports & prices as China increased its soybean imports to rebuild its swine herd.

FORESTRY ETC. Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

18 Spring 2021

3) The global supply of soybeans is the lowest since 2013/14. Season average prices for Georgia soybeans in 2021 could average $10.85/bushel.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

KEY TAKE-AWAYS FOR CORN 1) 2020 U.S. corn production, projected at 14.2 billion bushels, is an estimated 4.1% increase over 2019. 2) The COVID-19 pandemic decreased demand & prices. This was primarily due to less corn being used for ethanol, but like soybeans, the end of 2020 saw an increase in corn exports, which, combined with a lower global supply sent prices up. Season average prices for Georgia soybeans could average $4.85/bushel in 2021. Photo by Payton Butler

KEY TAKE-AWAYS FOR COTTON Dr. Yangxuan “Serinna” Liu presented the outlook for the 2021 cotton crop during the Georgia Ag Forecast. 1) Cotton prices could range from 70-85 cents/ lb. throughout the year but expect 75 cents for planning purposes. 2) Global economic recovery indicates recovery for cotton demand.

Photo by Logan Thomas

3) High uncertainty is expected for cotton acreage in the U.S. & Georgia this year.

FACTORS CAUSING THE SURGE IN ROW CROP PRICES 1) Projected economic growth in the U.S. & globally 2) Depreciation of the U.S. dollar, which makes U.S. crops more affordable to other countries 3) COVID-19 stimulus relief packages Congress has passed 4) China’s increased ag purchases to fulfill its side of the Phase 1 trade agreement


Reduced exports and consumer reactions to COVID-19 were blamed for 2020’s decreased consumer price index for fresh fruits. Blueberry imports have increased eightfold from 2005 to 2018, causing serious economic injury to domestic growers in recent years. An opportunity for blueberry exporters lies in new trade with China, which was allowed last year.

Vegetable prices are expected to be strong in 2021. Total harvested acres were down 7.7% in 2019 compared to the year before and are expected to be lower in 2021. Pecan production is expected to be higher this year after two decreased years from the impact of Hurricane Michael.

Like most commodity and agricultural meetings this year, the annual Georgia Ag Forecast went virtual. While the event had a different feel as attendees logged onto their computers to listen to the speakers rather than gathering over a meal, the forecast provided the same great information it always does in terms of crop market reviews and outlooks. Georgia Farm Bureau was a sponsor of the event. Visit to download the Georgia Ag Forecast Publication and to watch recordings of the live presentations.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Spring 2021 19


China, Covid-19 continue as major factors for livestock By Jennifer Whittaker

There’s no question that 2020 knocked U.S. livestock markets for a loop, predominantly because of disrupted supply chains caused by a sudden, drastic change in consumer eating patterns. What could this year bring?

American Farm Bureau Federation Public Affairs Economist Michael Nepveux provided the following outlook regarding how U.S. livestock markets will fare this year.


Photo by Sidney Middlebrooks

1) CHINA’S DEMAND FOR PROTEIN U.S. pork exports to China increased 45% from 575,000 metric tons (MT) in 2019 to 836,000 mts by Oct. 2020, mostly due to China’s pork herd being decimated by African Swine Fever in 2018. U.S. beef exports increased 132% from 11,000 mts in 2019 to 25,000 mts by Oct. 2020. China’s demand for quality beef is growing as its middle class expand. Australia, which has supplied a lot of China’s beef, struggled in 2020 with drought and wildfires. 2) WILL COVID-19 CAUSE FUTURE SLAUGHTER PLANT DISRUPTIONS? CROPS



Nepveux thinks most meat plants have figured out the best way to deal with COVID. “Even though we might still see some disruptions, I don’t believe we’ll see it to the same magnitude we saw in last spring and early summer of 2020,” he said.

Pre-COVID, U.S. food supply chains were established to channel the food supply to restaurants since prior to COVID, the majority of money spent on food in the U.S. was spent away from home. When COVID hit the U.S. last year, it took time to move the food supply back to grocery stores. 4) DROUGHT & COST OF FEED At the start of 2021, 50% of the U.S. – mostly from Texas to California – was in severe to exceptional drought conditions, Nepveux said. If the drought continues, it could increase feeding costs for livestock producers in portions of Mid-Western and Western states where a large percentage of beef production occurs. 5) FIGHT OVER PRICE DISCOVERY IN LIVESTOCK MARKETS The Holcomb plant fire in Kansas in late 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic caused meat prices to skyrocket while the price paid to farmers dropped, Nepveux said. Many producers began to demand price discovery and requiring a certain percentage of livestock to be sold through cash trade with delivery in 14 days. AFBF voting delegates adopted policy to support increased transparency in livestock pricing and an increase in negotiated sales in fed cattle markets.

GEORGIA LIVESTOCK NEWS Despite production disruptions, 2020 broiler production is estimated to have been 2% greater than 2019 and aggregate prices rose about 10%, said Georgia Ag Forecast speaker Todd E. Southerland, Truist Bank senior vice president for food and agribusiness. Prices could remain higher in 2021. Beef cattle prices are expected to rise as production trends down and liquidation continues. Beef demand is expected to increase as the economy recovers. Milk production is expected to expand, but low milk prices and higher feed costs will hamper profit margins. Nepveux spoke at the AFBF convention. Southerland spoke at the Georgia Ag Forecast.

20 Spring 2021

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Property tax programs give forestland owners options

By Jay Stone

With 24.6 million acres of forestland, 90% of which is privately owned, Georgia leads the U.S. in timber harvest. But taxes are a thorn to Georgia’s forestry sector. “Property taxes remain the top concern for private forest landowners in Georgia, because there are so many of us and we own so much of the land base,” said Bob Izlar, recently retired director of UGA’s Harvey Langdale Jr. Center for Forest Business. Izlar outlined how property taxes are assessed on Georgia forestland and summarized four Georgia tax programs during the 2021 Ag Forecast. Georgia forestland owners have access to four property tax incentive programs – Conservation Use Value Assessment (CUVA), Forest Land Protection Act (FLPA), Qualified Timber Property (QTP) and Agricultural Preference, all of which could reduce the


amount participating landowners pay in property taxes. Even if they participate in one of the tax programs, Georgia forestland owners are taxed at higher rates than their peers in neighboring states, Izlar said. He and colleague Yanshu Li published a study on Georgia property taxation rates in 2018 that shows on average, exemption participants pay $5.51 per acre, exceeding tax rates other Southeastern states by more than $1.50 per acre. On average, Georgia forestland is taxed at $15.41 per acre if landowners do not participate in any of the tax incentive programs and pay taxes based on fair market value. CUVA, FLPA, QTP and Agricultural Preference are well worth exploring, Izlar said.

THE FOUR EXEMPTION PROGRAMS: 1) AGRICULTURAL PREFERENCE Land may be used for agriculture or forestry. 2,000acre maximum, assessment at 75% of fair market value (FMV). 10-year covenant required, with penalties for withdrawing land prematurely.



Land may be used for forestry. Minimum of 200 contiguous acres required, no maximum. Assessment at current use value. Georgia Department of Revenue (GDR) can make annual change of property value not to exceed 3% in a year. 10-year covenant is required, with penalties for withdrawing land from covenant.

Land may be used for agriculture or forestry. 2,000acre maximum. Property tax rate determined using current use value. Georgia Department of Revenue (GDR) can make an annual change of property value not to exceed 3% in a year. 10-year covenant required, with penalties for withdrawing land prematurely.

4) QUALIFIED TIMBER PROPERTY Land may be used for forestry. Minimum 50 acres is required; no maximum. Assessment is 175% of the CUVA. Agreement subject to annual certification. No penalty for withdrawing land from covenant.

To watch Izlar’s presentation, visit . For a copy of Izlar & Yanshu’s report, “Property Tax Incentives for the Georgia Landowner,” visit .

Georgia timber producers could reduce their property taxes by enrolling in one of four tax programs available to them. | Photo by Jay Stone

Georgia Farm Bureau News




Spring 2021 21

KNOWLES WINS 2020 GFB QUALITY HAY CONTEST By Jay Stone Kerry Knowles of Telfair County won the 2020 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Quality Bermudagrass Hay Contest with his Tift 85 Bermudagrass. He receives the use of a Vermeer 604R Baler for one year, with the option to buy it at a reduced price at the end of a year. In addition to growing hay, Knowles raises beef cattle. GFB holds its annual Quality Bermudagrass Hay Contest to encourage producers to improve the quality of their hay via forage analysis from the University of Georgia Feed and Forage Lab. GFB members producing Bermudagrass hay compete to see whose hay has the highest relative forage quality (RFQ) - a measure of the hay’s nutrient content and palatability

for livestock. The contest drew 33 entries statewide; entrants’ average RFQ score was 122. Knowles’ sample achieved an RFQ of 177.6. Jeff Bacon of Laurens County came in second with his sample of Coastal Bermudagrass, RFQ of 147. Bacon received a $200 gift card provided by GFB & a hay bale sample probe. Jimbo Crumley of Morgan County placed third with his Tift 85, RFQ 140.8. Crumley received a $100 gift card from GFB. James Hawkins of Glascock County (Coastal Bermudagrass, RFQ 138) finished fourth and received a $100 gift card from GFB.

Jamie Tate of Jeff Davis County (Russell Bermudagrass, RFQ 133) placed fifth and received a $100 gift card from GFB. The second through fifth place winners also each received a gift bag courtesy of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association (GCA) and GFB. Look for information about the 2021 GFB Quality Hay Contest to be released in midsummer.

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22 Spring 2021

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Georgia Farm Bureau honors Isakson with Commodity Award By Jennifer Whittaker In December, Georgia Farm Bureau presented former U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson with its 2020 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Commodity Award in a private presentation at his Atlanta office. The award is one of the organization’s highest honors given to individuals who have supported and promoted Georgia agriculture. Isakson served in the Georgia House, Georgia Senate, U.S. House and U.S. Senate during a political career that dated from 1976 to December 2019, when he retired from the U.S. Senate. Isakson was elected to three consecutive terms in the U.S. Senate. “Georgia’s farmers received strong support from Senator Johnny Isakson throughout his time in public service,” said Georgia Farm Bureau President Tom McCall. “No person is more deserving of

this award. It’s truly our pleasure to honor Senator Isakson with the Georgia Farm Bureau Commodity Award.” During his time in the Senate, Isakson co-chaired the Senate Chicken Caucus with Sen. Chris Coons, due to the importance of poultry to Georgia’s economy. Isakson also served on the Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness. His work in the caucus and on the trade subcommittee opened up exports for Georgia Poultry products around the world, particularly China and Africa. Isakson chaired both the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Select Committee on Ethics. Isakson gained knowledge and an appreciation for agriculture as a youth, when he

Former Sen. Johnny Isakson accepts the GFB Commodity Award | Photo by Jody Redding worked summers on his grandparents’ farm in Ben Hill County. Isakson is a nine-time recipient of the Friend of Farm Bureau Award, given to members of Congress whose voting records align with American Farm Bureau Federation policy.



WOODBURY, GA 678-982-9937 | Georgia Farm Bureau News


Spring 2021 23

Introducing a Medicare Supplement with an exclusive feature: THE FARM BUREAU NAME. There are a lot of Medicare Supplement plans out there — but only one that’s offered exclusively by Farm Bureau. Our new plan helps with health care costs that Medicare alone doesn’t cover. And just like you’d expect, it comes with competitive rates, no waiting period for pre-existing conditions, and plan options that fit your needs and lifestyle.

Look into the Medicare Supplement plans from a name you trust. CONTACT YOUR LOCAL FARM BUREAU AGENT TODAY or visit to learn more.


24 Spring 2021

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Georgia Farm Bureau News 8/3/20 1:44 PM


Compiled by Jay Stone & Jennifer Whittaker

PROTECT YOUR PEACH: COVID-19 VACCINE TIPS & RESOURCES The Georgia Department of Agriculture, UGA Extension and Georgia Farm Bureau are partnering with local health departments and other organizations asking the Georgia ag community to “Protect Your Peach.” The public education campaign is using the social media hashtag #ProtectYourPeach to feature information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) to promote the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. The goal is to provide Georgians with the facts about the vaccine. Extension, CDC and DPH have compiled resources at and encourage all members of Georgia’s agriculture community to share them. UGA Extension encourages anyone working closely with the agriculture sector to utilize the materials, which were jointly developed with CDC and DPH to educate Georgia farmers and ag workers. ‘Healthy Georgia’ flyers, which outline pertinent facts about the vaccine are available to download at the aforementioned website or may be requested at local Extension offices.

From the CDC


• The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have been through the same rigorous safety testing that all vaccines go through before being approved for use. • The public may have only recently become aware of mRNA technology, but it has been studied for more than a decade. • The vaccines do not contain live virus; they do not carry a risk of causing disease in the vaccinated person. • The vaccines do not alter or interfere with DNA. • The vaccines will not give recipients COVID-19 or cause them to test positive on COVID tests.

What to expect BEFORE • Take time to learn about the different types of COVID-19 vaccines & how they work. Check with state or local health departments to see if they are recommended for vaccination. DURING • Vaccine recipients should receive a fact sheet on the specific vaccine they received, including information about risks, benefits & potential side effects. AFTER • Recipients should receive a vaccine record card that indicates which vaccine they received, the date they received it and where they received it. This information is important for scheduling the second dose. • There have been side effects, but most are mild & generally go away within one or two days. Side effects occur more frequently following the second dose.

GUIDEBOOK FOR FRUIT & VEGETABLE GROWERS The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), Georgia Department of Agriculture and UGA Extension, has developed a practical and comprehensive COVID-19 handbook for growers and farm labor contractors in the specialty crop sector. Written specifically for Georgia growers, “Protecting Yourself Against the Coronavirus” focuses on maintaining a safe and healthy workspace on the farm. This resource, available in both English and Spanish, contains science-based information. All information in the handbook is based on CDC and Georgia DPH guidance. To download this free resource, visit

CDC vaccine information and resources may be accessed online at

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Spring 2021 25

YF&R and Women’s Committees Update

GFB YF&R & Women’s Leadership Committees continue serving Members of the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) and Women’s Leadership Committees (WLC) are serving another year in their respective roles. GFB leadership asked the committees to extend their terms due to the COVID-19 pandemic eliminating most of the leadership and fellowship opportunities they usually would experience. One change is Kelli Long of Decatur County has replaced Greta Collins as GFB 9th District Women’s chair due to Collins becoming the Colquitt County Farm Bureau office manager. Both GFB programs promoted Farm Bureau and agriculture last year despite the restriction on in-person gatherings.

26 Spring 2021

The YF&R program, for GFB members between 18 and 35 years of age, successfully conducted its annual competitions virtually, held its annual photo contest and produced the YF&R calendar. Members of the WLC continued promoting ag literacy by recording reading videos and placing them online for classes to enjoy virtually. The WLC is ready to promote Ag Week, March 22-26. WLC members have prepared online content for educators and students to use. Five committee members recorded themselves reading accurate ag books that highlight Georgia commodities. The other five members recorded virtual tours of their farms. Visit to access.

GFB is accepting applications for its YF&R Achievement and Excellence in Agriculture Awards until June 1. The registration deadline to compete in the discussion meet is also June 1. The achievement award recognizes individuals or couples who farm and earn the majority of their income from farming. The excellence in agriculture award honors YF&R members who earn the majority of their income off the farm for their ag advocacy work. The discussion meet simulates a meeting where participants talk about current ag issues and explore possible solutions.

Georgia Farm Bureau News


ADD 1 IN '21 GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Heather Cabe, Franklin Co.

Encourage one friend to join GFB in 2021!

GFB YF&R Committee Chairman Will Godowns, Pike Co.

Visit or contact your county Farm Bureau office for complete details on applying for the YF&R awards and program. Visit to learn more about Women’s Leadership Committee programs.

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• Free, bimonthly newsletter emailed to subscribers • Available to anyone • Current news about Georgia commodities & legislative issues • Updates on GFB programs & member benefits • Calendar of Georgia ag events

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Spring 2021 27

Around Georgia News from County Farm Bureaus Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker. More county Farm Bureau activities are featured on the Friends of Georgia Farm Bureau Facebook group page at

CRAWFORD COUNTY Crawford County Farm Bureau (CCFB) held its 70th Annual Crawford County Livestock Show Feb. 13. This show, started by CCFB in 1951, is believed to be Georgia’s longest consecutive running county livestock show. The event drew 36 exhibitors showing 51 total head of heifers, breeding ewes and hogs. Youths ranging in age from Pee Wee Division through high school competed to win prizes for showmanship - how well they exhibited their livestock - and the quality of the species themselves by weight class. Madison Still, pictured, captured first place for showmanship in the heifer competition while her heifer won the grand champion heifer prize. With Madison, from left, are her parents Brian and Kelli Still and show judge Eric Hickox. Photo by Stephanie Floyd

GREENE COUNTY Like many counties, Greene County Farm Bureau, has gone virtual with its Ag in the Classroom activities to put agriculture in the minds of students at schools limiting outside visitors due to COVID-19. In February, Greene County Women’s Committee Chairman Della Fowler read “Maple Syrup from The Sugarhouse” to Stacey Boswell’s Greene County Primary School kindergarten class. With the help of Mrs. Boswell, the class sampled maple syrup. GCFB provided activity sheets that complemented the book.

Photos by Shirley Duvall

LONG COUNTY To celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday & National Read Across America Day, March 2, Long County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee Chairman Katelyn Poppell read “The Hundred Year Barn” to her PreK students while Long County PreK Teacher Tamelia Williams read “Right This Very Minute” to her class. Poppell has been reading accurate ag books and doing activities related to the book with her class this school year. Photos courtesy of Katelyn Poppell

28 Spring 2021

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Ag in the Classroom Update

GFB looking for Georgia Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year

“It’s so important for students to understand how agriculture impacts their daily life. Fortunately, many teachers in our state are integrating agriculture into their daily lessons,” said GFB Educational Program Coordinator Lauren Goble. “This Georgia Farm Bureau award allows county Farm Bureaus to nominate a teacher who goes above and beyond to teach his/ her students about Georgia agriculture.

We look forward to recognizing one of these teachers as the 2021 Georgia Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year.” • This award recognizes a Georgia educator for his/her excellence in incorporating agriculture into their Georgia standards curriculum. Agricultural concepts can support the teaching of many academic programs such as STEM, STEAM & STREAM. • July 16 is deadline for submitting applications. Winner receives a $500 cash award & a trip to the 2022 National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Saratoga Springs, New York, June 28-July 1. • High school/middle school/elementary school ag teachers are not eligible for this award. • Teacher should have a close partnership with their local Farm Bureau. • If interested in applying please contact your local Farm Bureau office. Visit to reach your county Farm Bureau.

• Applications must be submitted online. Visit for more information & to apply.

Cherokee County teacher Karen Garland was the 2020 GFB AITC Teacher of the Year. Visit www.gfb. ag/garland20aitcteacher to learn how the Clarke Creek Elementary teacher instructs her students about agriculture while meeting STEM standards.

National AITC Conference • June 28 -July 1/ Des Moines, Iowa • Conference will be held as a hybrid event with in-person events for attendees who can travel & live streaming/virtual access for those who can’t. • Early registration rate of $435 for in-person ends June 1. Virtual registration is $50. • Visit for more information or to register.

Georgia Farm Bureau Educational Program Coordinator Lauren Goble may be reached at or 478-474-0679, ext. 5135. Visit for the latest AITC news & for resources to teach children how their food is grown.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Spring 2021 29

Georgia Foundation for Ag Update

Goodman donation to Ga. Ag Foundation will fund scholarships Growing up during the Great Depression taught the late Dr. Jim Goodman the value of hard work and the importance of education. That’s why Nora Goodman, of Paulding County, is honoring her husband’s memory with a noteworthy gift to the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture (GFA) scholarship fund. As a child, Jim’s family could not afford routine dental checkups.

“An education in agriculture fosters an appreciation for the land and for the life it provides. Being a good steward of the gifts we are given is the greatest lesson to learn.” -Nora Goodman “Jim’s father sold some hogs and farm equipment so Jim could go for a checkup. While sitting in the office, Jim knew then and there he wanted to be a dentist someday,” Nora recalled. “He also knew becoming a dentist would require a good education.” Dr. Goodman worked hard to achieve his dream of becoming a dentist, holding down a full-time job at a nuclear plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, while he pursued a degree at the University of Tennessee. After graduating from UT, Jim entered the UT College of Dentistry in Memphis, where he lived and worked part-time at a mortuary in addition to working another parttime job. After serving a three-year stint as an Army dentist in West Germany during the Korean Conflict, Goodman practiced dentistry in Chattanooga until friends and family urged him to relocate to Paulding County. Once he moved, Goodman bought a farm to raise cattle and grow hay in addition to practicing dentistry. Dr. Goodman served on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board (GFB) of Directors from 1982 until his death in May 2003 and as president of Paulding County Farm Bureau from 1986-2003. “We both felt for a person to move forward in their life they need to be armed with the best equipment and the most

knowledge,” Nora said. “An education in agriculture fosters an appreciation for the land and for the life it provides. Being a good steward of the gifts we are given is the greatest lesson to learn.” Nora has been an active Farm Bureau member since 1971. She is the PCFB president and represents GFB’s District 3 on the state board. Nora commends the GFA for the work it is doing to improve ag literacy. “The Georgia Foundation for Agriculture is doing a great job of improving ag literacy in our state through the Ag in the Classroom program that focuses on teaching elementary students about agriculture and the Georgia Ag Experience mobile classroom that is taking the farm experience to students across the state,” Nora said. “The foundation is doing a great job of investing in future Georgia ag leaders by offering scholarships for students pursuing ag-related degrees at college, technical

GFB 3rd District Director Nora Goodman supports the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture Scholarship Program. She recently made a donation to the foundation in memory of her late husband, Dr. Jim Goodman. Photo by Tracy Grice

college and vet school.” The GFA offers scholarships for graduating high school seniors, rising college juniors/seniors, technical college students and UGA College of Veterinary Medicine students specializing in large/food animals. Visit scholarships.html for more information. To learn more about the foundation visit Visit to read more about the Goodmans.

Georgia Foundation of Agriculture Executive Director Lily Baucom may be reached at or 478-405-3461.

30 Spring 2021

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Gov. Kemp honors Long for service to Georgia ag

Gov. Brian Kemp, right, honored Gerald Long Feb. 4 with a commendation for his years of service to Georgia agriculture. Long is a life-long farmer in Decatur County, where his family raises cattle and grows peanuts, vegetables, corn, cotton, hay, small grains and timber on their farm near Bainbridge. Long has served actively in numerous Georgia ag organizations including Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB), Georgia Cattlemen’s Association and Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association. Long has been an active Farm Bureau member since 1977, during which time he has served on the Decatur County Farm Bureau Board in numerous roles, as a GFB 9th District director, GFB South Georgia and GFB 1st vice president and as GFB president from January 2016-2020. Photo Courtesy of the Gov. Kemp’s Office

3rd - 5th grade classes must enter challenge by May 14 Top three grade winners will receive $350 in prizes for exploring soil health Participating classes will answer “How can we improve soil biodiversity & overall soil health?” by: 1) Conducting soil tests on a plot of land 2) Working with community soil experts: Farm Bureau, NRCS or UGA Extension 3) Creating a presentation outlining how to improve their soil Georgia Farm Bureau News

Spring 2021 31

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