Georgia Farm Bureau News / Winter 2021

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Winter 2021


Sunbelt Expo & Ga. National Fair return strong


Asian Longhorned Tick arrives in Ga.

Growing Christmas cheer

Vol. 83 No. 4

Coping mechanisms for dealing with grief


Farm Bur eau members r ec eive



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pages 6 & 7

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Growing Christmas cheer

Cattle traits that bring higher prices

GFB’s Jon Huffmaster prepares to retire with 40 years of service.

Poinsettias & Christmas cactuses grown at Windham Greenhouses spread Christmas spirit statewide.

pages 8 & 9

Sunbelt Ag Expo back in business

pages 12 & 13

Georgia National Fair comes back full tilt page 15

Hennebelle, Georgia’s new state veterinarian pages 16 & 17

page 10

GFB holds Advocacy in Action contest at Expo UGA & Fla. teams win top prizes in contest for high school and college ag students designed to help them improve their communication skills.

Asian Longhorned Tick arrives in Georgia An invasive species with the potential to cause severe anemia & tick fever in livestock has been positively identified in Georgia.

pages 22 & 23

Dealing with grief: coping mechanisms page 29

Georgia Christmas trees adorn Vice President’s house pages 30 & 31

Centennial Farm Program recognizes Georgia’s ag heritage

page 19

Ruark reflects on Farm Bureau journey GFB 4th Dist. Director Marvin Ruark has a wealth of Farm Bureau knowledge after serving 48 years.

Departments page 4

View from the Field page 5

Public Policy pages 24-26

GFB News Staff Kenny Burgamy


Jennifer Whittaker Jay Stone


News Reporter

Nicollette Boydstun Art Director Logan Thomas Photographer


On The Cover: Poinsettias & Christmas cactuses grown at Windham Greenhouses spread Christmas spirit statewide. Photo by Logan Thomas

Ga. Foundation for Agriculture page 27

Ag in the Classroom Georgia Farm Bureau News

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Winter 2021 3

View from the Field Tom McCall, GFB President Harvest time and Christmas are special to me. December seems to bring people closer, and this year’s Georgia Farm Bureau convention will focus on our re-engagement with one another and the activities that support our organization’s mission. Aren’t you ready to head down to Jekyll Island for our 84th annual convention? Jane and I cannot wait to see all our friends and members gathered again. GFB’s theme for the next 12 months is Reconnect and that is just what we are doing. Despite this year’s challenges, I’m proud to say GFB’s policy development process was not disrupted and is another example of us reconnecting with one another. It began at our commodity conference in August and will end at convention. The GFB Policy Development Committee met Oct. 4 and Nov. 1 in Macon. This group of farmers reviewed over 200 policies submitted by our county Farm Bureaus and commodity advisory committees. Recommendations ranged from preparing for the upcoming farm bill,

to stepped-up basis and estate tax issues, to state water policy. The next step for these important policy suggestions is the GFB convention floor Dec. 7. Delegates from each of our counties will discuss these and other issues to determine GFB’s 2022 policy. This helps us carry out the purpose of GFB in representing farmers in the legislative arena. As we finish up 2021, let’s all send best wishes to GFB 4th District Director Marvin Ruark and Chief Administrative Officer & GFB Corporate Secretary Jon Huffmaster. After serving on our state board for 48 years, Marvin is not seeking another term. Jon, who has been with GFB for more than 40 years will retire Jan. 28 next year. We appreciate the contributions both have made to GFB and will miss them both. I hope you all enjoy Christmas and the New Year on your farms and will make it to Atlanta for the American Farm Bureau Convention in January. Thank you for allowing me to work with you for the past year. Jane and I look forward to the future together with all our members.

GFB President Tom McCall with his wife, Jane, and grandsons | Photo by Mandy Williams

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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.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Public Policy Update

Tripp & Taylor leading Georgia FSA & Rural Development By Tripp Cofield

Tripp Photo courtesy of Arthur Tripp On Oct. 12, the USDA announced Arthur Tripp Jr.’s appointment as the state executive director for the Farm Service Agency in Georgia and Reggie Taylor’s appointment as the state director for USDA Rural Development. Tripp joins FSA from the office of Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA 7th District), where he served as district director. Tripp will work with the D.C.-based FSA administrator, the state FSA Committee, and others to coordinate and implement commodity support, loan, and conservation programs, while also managing the day-to-day operations of the state office in Athens. Tripp began working in the ag community as senior policy advisor for Rep. David Scott (D-GA 13th District), who currently serves as chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture. The relationships Tripp formed with the ag community during that time earned him the backing from 13 Georgia agriculture groups including Georgia Farm Bureau, which sent a letter to President Joe Biden recommending Tripp's nomination in April. “Agriculture is Georgia, and Georgia is agriculture,” Tripp said when asked why he wanted to lead the Georgia FSA. He also noted a long-standing desire to work for Georgians, which is what led him to Washington, D.C., years ago. Tripp is a Warner Robins native and a graduate of the University of Georgia. After leaving Rep. Scott’s office, he returned to UGA,

Taylor Photo courtesy of USDA where he served as senior administrator in the Office of the UGA president and on the Alumni Board of Directors for UGA's School of Public and International Affairs. Tripp was also recognized as a member of UGA’s 40Under40. He and his wife, Jessica, are graduates of Leadership Georgia. Taylor has served as the acting state director for Georgia for USDA’s Rural Development agency. He joined the agency in 2015 as a community economic development specialist. Prior to joining USDA, Taylor served as city manager for East Point and was executive director of the Marietta Redevelopment Corporation. Taylor holds a master’s degree in business management and organizational leadership from Cardinal Stritch University and a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning from East Carolina University. USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care, and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and highpoverty areas.

Tripp Cofield is national policy counsel in the GFB Public Policy Department. He may be reached at 478.474.0679, ext. 5404 or .

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Winter 2021 5

Growing Christmas cheer By Jennifer Whittaker

Troy Windham and his wife, Rebecca, of Glenwood, Ga., start planning for Christmas as early as March or April every year. That’s when they order the cuttings for the poinsettias and Christmas cactuses they produce. They grow lots of other plants in their 48,000 square feet of greenhouses, but they’re best known for their holiday plants. For years, ferns and poinsettias from Windham Greenhouses have made Georgia Farm Bureau’s annual convention merry and bright. If you’ve ordered poinsettias or Christmas cactuses from FFA Chapters in Albany, Columbus, LaGrange, Macon, Tifton or Savannah, chances are good the plants came from the Windhams in Laurens County. The Windhams are the third generation to run the family business begun in 1979 by his parents, Larry and Janie, and his grandparents, Helen and Allen Windham. The poinsettia cuttings ordered in the spring usually arrive from Costa Rica or Mexico by the second or third week of July.

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While many families are at the beach, the Windhams and their employees are planting the poinsettia cuttings in 6, 8 and 10-inch pots. “It’s literally Christmas in July around here,” Rebecca says laughing. “I’ve tried playing Christmas music, but they’ve all told me to stop.”

Growing the plants Each year, the Windhams usually grow about 6,000 pots of 6-inch poinsettias; 1,650 pots of 8-inch poinsettias, 1,000 pots of 4-inch poinsettias and about 800 pots of 10inch poinsettias. They also grow poinsettia bowls and baskets. A lot of work goes into growing the tiny cuttings to full, colorful plants that bring joy to so many. “After we’ve placed the cuttings in the pots, we drench them with fungicide to protect the roots and start them on a fertilizer regimen,” Troy says. “After a few weeks, when the roots reach the bottom of

their pot, we pinch the top of the plants’ center stem so the plants will branch out.” Then, the Windhams go into pest management mode. Whiteflies are enemy No. 1 for the poinsettias. They keep them under control by spraying or drenching the plants with a pesticide. “Whiteflies are a pretty big problem,” Troy laments. “We pull air in [to the greenhouses] with fans, so in late August to early September, there are whiteflies everywhere. They get sucked in.” Larry started growing Christmas cactuses about 30 years ago. “You don’t have to worry about the cactuses like you do the poinsettias,” Larry said. “You can pretty much just plant them and watch them grow.” They plant their cactus cuttings the week after Mother’s Day because it takes them two months longer than poinsettias to reach their selling size.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Troy &Rebecca Windham are the third generation of their family to run Windham Greenhouses in Laurens County. Photos by Logan Thomas

Bursts of color

Some churches also buy the holiday plants to decorate their sanctuaries.

Prompted by the shorter days and longer nights that come as summer fades into fall, the poinsettia blooms gradually transition into a stunning array of colors, “We don’t have to do any light interruption,” Troy says. “They bloom on a natural cycle.” As the poinsettias bloom, the Windhams’ greenhouses burst into varying shades of red, white and blended colors. The family grows four different varieties of red poinsettias that peak at staggered times from Thanksgiving into December. These include Euro Glory, Grand Italic and Christmas Beauty. Sitting beside the reds in the greenhouses are the white poinsettia varieties with names such as White Star, Alaska and Infinity White that conjure up visions of snow. Then there are the varieties, like Marble Star, Christmas Princess and Red Glitter, with varying combinations of red, white and pink that resemble candy canes. The Windhams grow Christmas cactus varieties with red, white, salmon, purple, yellow and orange blooms sold in 4 and 7-inch pots and 10-inch hanging baskets.

Greenhouses are always producing

Selling Christmas “We start shipping out our poinsettias and Christmas cactuses the second and third week of November and by Thanksgiving, we’re really on a roll,” Troy said. The Windhams wholesale their holiday plants to florists, garden centers and to organizations for fundraisers. “Our biggest sales of poinsettias and cactuses are FFA Chapters that sell them as fundraisers,” Rebecca said.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Year round, Windham Greenhouses serve as a foliage broker, buying peace lilies, pothos, ivy and numerous other plants from Florida growers and then selling them to independent florists and garden centers. The COVID-19 pandemic increased demand for this side of their business. “People sitting at home looking at Pinterest was great for our green foliage business,” Troy said. “The real hot thing during this time has been novelty plants that people are seeing online.” The Windhams also grow an assortment of seasonal annuals such as geraniums, petunias and pansies for landscapers.

A family tradition Troy grew up hanging out in the greenhouses that his and Rebecca’s children, Dottie and Stokes, now roam. “I was an only child, so I knew inevitably this [taking over the greenhouses] is what was going to happen,” Troy said. Rebecca, who grew up in Dublin, is thrilled to have joined the family business. “I love being here. There’s nothing like being out here working with plants,” Rebecca said. “The good thing is I can bring the kids to work with me. They love it out here. It’s just a really good environment to raise a family.”

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Kelly Manufacturing Company demoed its 7406 peanut picker to harvest the Expo farm’s peanuts. | Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

VIRGINIA SHINES AS SPOTLIGHT STATE Virginia shined as the 2021 Sunbelt Expo Spotlight State of the Year. Visitors learned about Virginia’s agricultural history and ag advancements during the past 400 years that led to the commonwealth's ag and forestry sectors having a combined total economic impact of $70 billion on Virginia’s economy.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

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Georgia Farm Bureau News

JOHN DEERE DEMOS NEW COTTON PICKER John Deere’s new CP770 round bale cotton picker runs on a 13.6 Liter engine compared to the 13.5 L engine in its CP690 picker. This makes the six-row 770 model about 20% more fuel efficient than the CP 690 model. The CP770 picker can produce a bale with a diameter between 94 & 96 inches.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

KUBOTA REWARDS A VETERAN Master Gunnery Sergeant Tracy Robinson (USMC-Ret.), right, accepts the one-year use of a Kubota M8 tractor from Kubota Division Manager John Sargent. Southern Tractor & Outdoors owner Mike Horne provided the tractor on behalf of the Farmer Veteran Coalition’s Geared to Give program. Robinson, an Early County Farm Bureau member, grows row crops on about 700 acres. He has farmed since leaving the Marine Corps in 2011 by exchanging his labor for the use of other farmers’ equipment.

Photo by Jay Stone

NUNN, GA EXPO FARMER HONORED Sunbelt Ag Expo Executive Director Chip Blalock, left, congratulates Morgan County farmer Lee Nunn for being Georgia’s representative in the ‘20/’21 Swisher/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Contest. Nunn is a diversified row crop farmer and owns a custom farm service business, an ag construction company, and a trucking company.

Visit for more Expo coverage.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Winter 2021 9

UGA, Florida teams win Advocacy in Action top prizes Story & photos by Jay Stone

ADVOCACY WINNING TEAMS: The winning teams for the first Advocacy in Action competition held at Sunbelt Ag Expo were, from left, the University of Georgia team of Taylor Davis, Mary Beth Mallard, Bella Kerbers & Claire Coleman; and Josh Scurlock, Rayleigh Carter & Robby Griffin of Cottondale (Fla.) High School.

The University of Georgia team won the collegiate division of the first Advocacy in Action contest, for which the final round was held at Sunbelt Ag Expo on Oct. 20. Cottondale High School from Florida’s Panhandle won the high school division. A total of 28 teams entered the competition. The first round consisted of video submissions. UGA and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College were chosen as the collegiate finalists based on their videos. Cottondale was joined in the high school finals by teams from Colquitt County High School and Tift County 4-H. Advocacy in Action is designed to put students in simulated situations where they promote their policy stance with elected officials. The idea behind the competition is to help students develop their “elevator pitch” communication skills. “We’re just trying to draw more attention to the importance of being able to tell your story, communicate with your legislators, convince them of your position, why agriculture is important,” said Georgia Farm Bureau Public Policy Director Jeffrey Harvey. “This contest basically is geared around real-life scenarios of what it’s like to work inside the capitol trying to communicate your message as a lobbyist for an ag organization on a daily basis.” Harvey, Georgia Peanut Commission Executive Director Don Koehler and state Sen. Tyler Harper served as judges for the final round, where the teams discussed how current federal policy incentivizes or discourages the next generation of farmers and what policy changes could be implemented to ensure future generations of Americans have the opportunity to farm.

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COLQUITT MAKING THEIR PITCH: Georgia Sen. Tyler Harper, right, listens to the the Colquitt County High School team make their policy pitch.

At the finals, teams were paired with coaches, who are agriculture policy professionals, for advice on how the lobbying process works. Each team prepared a three-minute speech and presented it to the judges. Each judging session included up to five minutes for questions and answers. “Elected officials are very busy,” Harvey said. “They’re hearing from all types of groups on all types of issues. You need to be respectful of their time. Get right to it. It’s also important to close. What do you want them to do? Why are you asking them to do this? Close the message out, because if you give them the opportunity to get out, they’re going to get out, because they’ve probably got other folks asking them to take the opposite position.” The UGA team, coached by GFB National Policy Counsel Tripp Cofield, consisted of College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences students Claire Coleman, Taylor Davis, Mary Beth Mallard and Bella Kerbers. The Cottondale team, coached by Florida Farm Bureau Director of Government & Community Affairs Charles Shinn, included students Rayleigh Carter, Robby Griffin and Josh Scurlock. The UGA and Cottondale teams each received $1,000 and a plaque. The ABAC and Colquitt County High School teams each received $800 as second-place winners. Tift County 4-H received $600 for finishing third in the high school division.

Georgia Farm Bureau News


Have you ever taken a load of weaned calves to the sale barn expecting a certain price and been disappointed when you got the check and saw what your cattle brought? While speaking at a beef production seminar held at Sunbelt Expo in October, Randy Hand, a cattle buyer for Midwestern feedlots, shared what he’s looking for when he bids on calves at Georgia livestock barns. “As I talk about the traits I see in cattle that result in discounted prices, I’m not dissing any breeds. I’m telling you what we [cattle buyers] look for,” Hand said. Because of the speed at which cattle are moved through the auction ring, Hand said, “We have about three seconds to make up our minds.”

From the moment calves enter the auction ring and begin moving around, the four main traits buyers look for are as follows, Hand says.

QUALITY. “A No. 1 calf is a big-boned, squarebodied calf. He’s going to grow better because he’ll feed better.”


STRAIGHT BACKS & LEGS. “You have to look for straight backs, good legs and good bones.”


CASTRATED BULL CALVES. “I’d rather give $10 more for a steer any day of the week than an uncastrated bull. When you’re working your calves - tagging them, giving them their vaccines & wormer - castrate your bulls. They grow better in the feedlot.”

Randy Hand, a cattle buyer for Midwestern feedlots, says cattle can be quality without having a black hide. Photo by Jennifer Whittaker “Randy told you the truth about these calves he just evaluated,” Dr. Francis Fluharty, head of the UGA College of Animal & Dairy Science told the audience when he spoke after Hand. “You just heard one of the best talks by an order buyer explaining what sale barn prices are based on.” Hand advises producers to take a critical look at their calves out in the pasture before selling them. “Look at each calf. If you see a hump or a dip in their back, make a notation in your records. If you see something wrong, you’ll probably see it reflected in the price,” Hand said. If a calf has good traits for these four categories (see sidebar), hide color isn’t a major price consideration, Hand said. “Cattle don’t all have to be black to be quality. Pick out the breed you want and call your Extension agent, veterinarian or talk to your Priefert rep to get their advice on raising good cattle.”

Georgia Farm Bureau News


ABSENCE OF LONG, FUZZY HAIR. “Cows with a lot of hair will not grow well in a feedlot. You don’t want to sell cattle that have long fuzzy hair like a lion’s mane. The cow can have the bone & other quality traits we’re looking for, but we’ll discount for too much hair.”

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Whirling carnival rides. Colorful craft and art displays. Bleating farm animals. Tantalizing fair food. These were just a few of the sights, sounds and smells that beckoned the 485,758 visitors who attended the 32nd Annual Georgia National Fair in Perry. After a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the fair roared back to life at full throttle from Oct. 7-17. “Welcome back. You don’t know how happy I am to be standing here because we have had some unprecedented times around here,” Georgia National Fair & Agricenter Executive Director Stephen Shimp said during the opening day ceremony. “This fair celebrates everything that’s good about Georgia. The theme for our fair this year for me and our staff is ‘Grateful.’ We’re grateful that we get to be here.” Gov. Brian Kemp thanked the Georgia General Assembly and local Houston County and Perry leaders for their ongoing support of the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter. “This fair is built on the foundation started by a lot of great Georgians,” Kemp said, recognizing former Georgia Rep. Larry Walker and former Gov. Sonny Perdue, who attended the ceremony. “I want to thank our Agricultural Exposition Authority (AEA) and the fair staff for persevering. That’s what our whole state has been doing,” Kemp said. “We faced a worst-case scenario with not having the fair last year and [what] the loss of revenue that meant for this facility, but Stephen and his staff found new ways to use this facility. We will be better for that even though it’s been a brutal year.”

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4-H & FFA livestock shows are an integral part of the Georgia National Fair. Georgia Farm Bureau was a premier sponsor of the fair and provided prize money for the fair’s livestock shows. | Photo by Logan Thomas

Jack Spruill, who recently retired as marketing director for the Georgia Department of Agriculture, was recognized by the Georgia AEA for the contributions he made in designing the Georgia Grown Baby Barn, which debuted at the 2018 fair. This year, fairgoers again had the chance to see cows giving birth and the multiple baby calves born in the Baby Barn. Piglets nursing their mother sows lay nearby. Other aspects of Georgia agriculture were showcased in the Georgia Grown Building. A pollinator greenhouse housed about 300 painted lady butterflies. The Georgia Grown program and Georgia Green Industry Association partnered with Everyday Farm & Garden in Lizella to highlight plants and trees that provide habitat to pollinators. Georgia Farm Bureau showcased its advocacy and ag literacy programs and offered guests the opportunity to take their picture against its photo wall and receive a keepsake photo.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

A greenhouse in the Georgia Grown Building housed 300 painted lady butterflies highlighting plants and trees that provide habitat for pollinators crucial to Georgia crops. | Photo by Jay Stone

Reithoffer Shows has been providing the midway rides for the Georgia National Fair since it opened in 1990. The family business is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

A painted lady in the pollinator greenhouse. Photo by Happy Wyatt

Gov. Brian Kemp & First Lady Marty Kemp had the honor of cutting the ribbon to start the 32nd Annual Georgia National Fair, Oct. 7-17. Photo by Logan Thomas

REITHOFFER SHARES 32 OF ITS 125 YEARS WITH GA Reithoffer Shows, which has provided the midway carnival rides for the Georgia National Fair since the fair began in 1990, is celebrating its 125th year of thrilling fairgoers across the U.S. with its rides and carnival attractions. “As proud as the authority members are of the Georgia National Fair, Reithoffer Shows feels the same way,” said Rick Reithoffer, whose great-grandfather, Julius, started the family’s carnival business in 1896. He and his brother, Pat, and their children, are carrying on the family tradition. “We are the oldest family-owned carnival in the U.S. still owned by the same family. We’ve grown with the fair. When we first came here, the fairground was only about half the size as it is today. We’ve

Georgia Farm Bureau News

expanded the midway size three times since 1990. We’re now covering a mile of midway.” The Reithoffers have even bought rides with Georgia’s fair in mind. “When we bought the great big ferris wheel with the LED lights that sits near the west gate, I was thinking about putting it here in Perry so it could be seen on I-75,” Reithoffer recalled. In 2020, Reithoffer Shows only attended the Pensacola International Fair, Reithoffer said, but the company employed its whole crew all of last year in hopes that they would have some shows. “We did a lot of maintenance work and refurbishment of rides so we would be ready when shows started again. It was a very difficult year for the amusement industry,” Reithoffer said. “We’re glad to be back in Perry.”

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Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo of Janemarie Hennebelle courtesy of GDA

Hennebelle, Georgia’s new state veterinarian

Dr. Janemarie Hennebelle is Georgia’s new state veterinarian following her appointment by Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black in July. Hennebelle succeeds Dr. Robert Cobb, who retired in June. Hennebelle previously served as assistant state veterinarian since September 2016. As Georgia’s top veterinarian, Hennebelle will oversee the Animal Health Division of the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) while managing GDA staff veterinarians, the state's Animal Disease Traceability program and animal disease investigations as they occur.

Hennebelle received her bachelor’s degree in animal science from Berry College and her doctoral degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia. She pursued a master's in preventative veterinary medicine at the University of California Davis. Hennebelle has a diverse background in practice ranging from a mixed-animal practice in the Northeast, serving the dairy industry, as well as shelter and companion animal medicine here in Georgia. In December 2013, she joined the GDA Meat Inspection Section as a public health veterinary supervisor.


Call one of our locations! Smithville, GA: (229) 924-3671 Tifton, GA: (229) 472-5732 Pinehurst, GA: (229) 645-3331 Camilla, GA: (229) 336-8780 Brooklet, GA: (912) 839-2532 Byron, GA: (478) 654-5320


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ASIAN LONGHORNED TICK ARRIVES IN GEORGIA By Jennifer Whittaker The Asian Longhorned Tick - an invasive species with the potential to cause severe anemia and tick fever in livestock - has been positively identified on a cow in Pickens County, the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) announced Sept. 21. The USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories made the positive identification, UGA Entomologist Dr. Nancy Hinkle said. “The Asian Longhorned Tick looks very similar to other ticks in Georgia, so we don't expect people to be able to distinguish them. One distinctive aspect of Asian Longhorned Ticks is they tend to occur in large numbers. If an animal has one tick it's probably our common Lone Star Tick,” Hinkle said. “If a cow [or other animal] shows up with hundreds of ticks on it, we're going to be very suspicious that we're looking at an Asian Longhorned Tick infestation.”

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? Asian Longhorned Ticks (Haemaphysalis longicornis) are light brown and can be smaller than a sesame seed before expanding to the size of a pea when full of blood, according to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Most Asian Longhorned Ticks (ALT) are female and can reproduce without a male. One female ALT can produce 1,000 to 2,000 eggs at one time without mating, APHIS reports. This is how a single animal could find itself hosting hundreds of ticks.


The Asian Longhorned Tick, left, is similar in size to Georgia's most common tick, the Lone Star Tick, right. Photo Courtesy of UGA

APHIS explains that an individual animal with such a heavy infestation of ticks will be stressed and experience reduced growth and production. A severe infestation could potentially kill the animal from excessive blood loss. In other countries with established ALT populations, the species can transmit bovine theileriosis (infectious anemia) to cattle and babesiosis (tick fever) to several domestic animal species, according to APHIS.

WHERE DID IT COME FROM? This tick species is native to eastern Asia and had spread to Australia, New Zealand and western Pacific islands (New Caledonia, Fiji) by the early 1900s. In these countries, the species is called bush tick, cattle tick or scrub tick. According to APHIS, the ALT probably arrived in the U.S. in or before 2010 via domestic pets, horses, livestock or people. In late 2017, the USDA confirmed the ALT was present in the United States when the species was identified on a sheep in New Jersey, according to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. In less than four years, the species has been identified in 17 states, ranging from lower New England to Arkansas. Georgia is the latest state added to the list. Other states where the ALT has been identified are: (listed geographically from north to south to west): Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Missouri and Arkansas, where it has been detected along the state’s border with eastern Oklahoma.

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If an animal has lots of ticks, chances are they are Asian Longhorned Ticks. Photo by Joe Deal, North Carolina State University

Georgia Farm Bureau News

WHAT SHOULD PRODUCERS DO IF THEY DISCOVER A SUSPECTED ALT INFESTATION? Georgia livestock producers are encouraged to help UGA and the GDA determine the extent of the ALT’s presence in the state by monitoring their cattle, goats, horses and sheep for large infestations of ticks. “I want folks to take a step back and not just think about Pickens County. Any warm-blooded animal is a potential host,” Georgia State Veterinarian Janemarie Hennebelle said. “In other states, the No. 1 species this tick is being found on is dogs.” Anyone who finds large infestations of ticks on any one animal - cattlemen, horse people, backyard poultry producers, pet owners, hunters - should call their veterinarian and report it to the Georgia Department of Agriculture Animal Health Division at 404-656-3667. “Ticks hibernate when it cools off. I won’t be surprised if we see more reports in the spring,” Hennebelle said. “We want folks to be on the lookout.”

CAN LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS CONTROL ALT POPULATION? The GDA recommends that livestock producers or backyard poultry growers work with their veterinarian and/or UGA Cooperative Extension agent to develop an appropriate strategy to fight tick infestations of any type. “Right now, all of your normal tick control products are going to work on controlling the Asian Longhorned Tick, so you don’t have to deal with an infestation and the consequences if you are already treating your animals with preventative tick medicine,” Hennebelle said. “Work with your veterinarian and your Extension agent to develop a control program.’ Visit and scroll down to the section on ticks for a list of pesticides UGA Cooperative Extension recommends for treating cattle and other livestock for ticks. All treatment should be done in consultation with a veterinarian to ensure proper withdrawal times are observed and that a product is not overused to allow resistance to a product to build. “The good news is that products registered for use on cattle that are recommended for other tick species will be effective against ALT,” Hinkle said.

“Dr. Hinkle told the Georgia Beef Commission in 2018 that this tick had shown up in New Jersey. She told us ‘It’s not a matter of if, but when it shows up in Georgia,’ and here we are,” Georgia Beef Commission Chairman John Callaway recalled. “I think this has been money well spent to get a baseline to know where Georgia was on tick populations before the Asian Longhorned Tick arrived.” Hinkle’s baseline data shows that prior to the arrival of the ALT in Georgia, there were 22 species of ticks in the state. Some of these species were only found on the gopher tortoise or squirrels. “In our study, we found only two tick species on cattle - the Lone Star Tick and the American Dog Tick, both of which have very broad host ranges,” Hinkle said. “In our survey, 82 percent of the ticks on cattle are Lone Star Ticks. We never found more than a half dozen ticks on a cow at one time. Best of all, only 3 percent of sampled cattle had any ticks. So, Georgia cattlemen are doing something right.” Hinkle says the Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma Americanum) is the most common tick in the Southeast and can be found on a wide range of animals. “If you have a tick on you, the vast majority of times it will be a Lone Star, same with your dog, or other animals,” Hinkle said. About 500,000 head of cattle are sold annually in Georgia, Callaway said. Cattle producers pay a $1 per head assessment for each cow sold to fund research projects, such as Hinkle’s, that address beef production and marketing issues along with educating consumers about the nutritional value of beef. “It’s [arrival of ALT] just one more thing that [beef] producers will have to contend with,” Callaway, who raises beef cattle in Troup County, said of the arrival of the new tick species in Georgia.

Longhorned Ticks

Deer Ticks

Lonestar Ticks

American DogTicks

HINKLE WORKING TO PROTECT GEORGIA CATTLE Since the summer of 2019, Hinkle has been conducting a study to watch for the expected arrival of the ALT in Georgia and collect baseline information on existing tick populations related to Georgia cattle prior to the ALT’s arrival. The Georgia Beef Commission partially funded Hinkle’s study, which helped lead to finding the presence of ALT in Georgia.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Types of ticks common to Georgia. Deer ticks are also called blacklegged ticks. Photo courtesy of USDA

Winter 2021 17

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18 Winter 2021

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

Ruark reflects on Farm Bureau journey By Jennifer Whittaker

Earlier this year, Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) 4th District Director Marvin Ruark announced he was not seeking re-election. When his term ends in December, he’ll have served 48 years. “I had no idea I’d be here this long,” Ruark said. “I’ll miss it, but it’s time for someone else to serve.” Ruark and his wife, Bebe, easily remember the year they joined Farm Bureau. It was 1960; the year they married.

How it began With encouragement from his fellow Morgan County Farm Bureau members, Ruark was elected to the GFB Board of Directors in 1973 to represent the organization’s old 10th District, which at the time included Morgan County and stretched to Elbert County. After GFB redrew its districts to align with Georgia’s U.S. congressional districts, Ruark ran to represent GFB’s current 4th District. “Marvin was a good advocate for all of the counties and county leaders in his district,” said Rick Hubert, retired GFB District 4 field representative.

The value of Farm Bureau Ruark credits GFB's work through the years on tax issues for allowing Georgia farmers to stay in business. Securing the conservation use value assessment for farmland and tax exemptions for farm inputs were crucial. “The most important thing we passed for agriculture through the years is conservation use taxes and fuel tax exemption,” Ruark said. “I don’t see why anyone who is in agriculture isn’t a Farm Bureau member.” Since he began serving as a GFB director, Ruark has served with seven GFB presidents: Emmett Reynolds, Bob Nash, Mort Ewing,

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Wayne Dollar, Zippy Duvall, Gerald Long and Tom McCall. “They all had a particular goal that has fit into the Farm Bureau plan,” Ruark said. “It’s important to me, and I hope it will continue to be important [to others] to have leadership that understands what goes on daily with farming.” Ruark recalls serving on the GFB committee that studied GFB’s options for buying land on which its current Macon office is located. Once that was complete, he supported GFB’s efforts to help county Farm Bureaus upgrade their offices. Skeeter McCorkle, GFB’s other 4th District director, values the wealth of history and context Ruark brought to the board. “I’m grateful I was able to draw from his vast experience,” McCorkle said. “He is well-liked and respected by all.”

Ruark’s farm heritage Ruark, the youngest of four boys, grew up on his family’s cotton farm in Bostwick. His parents, George Lee and Agnes, were among the first farmers in the county to raise broilers when they built their poultry houses in the mid-1950s, Ruark said. He and his brother, Gene, took over the family farm from their parents and farmed together until Gene died in 2016. Through the years, Ruark’s son, John, and Gene’s son, Mark, joined the farm along with John’s son, Andrew. Today, the Ruarks produce cotton, turfgrass, broilers and cattle. The family also owns the Bostwick Cotton Gin. In retirement, Marvin and Bebe are looking forward to spending time with their family: their four children - John (Tamie); Deanne; Agnes (Bobby) Jones and Andrea (Rhett) Burruss; their 10 grandchildren and five great-grandkids. To read a longer version of this article visit

Winter 2021 19

Huffmaster to retire, capping a 40-year GFB career By Jay Stone

Jon Huffmaster, who retires at the end of January 2022, has had numerous roles in his 40-year career with Georgia Farm Bureau: field representative, lobbyist and corporate secretary/chief administrative officer. At times he’s performed other duties, like proofreader, ag teacher and protocol arbiter, to name a few. Whatever the task, he did it in the name of serving the state’s farmers. “Farm Bureau was a good fit for me from the beginning. I have been involved in agriculture all my life. Growing up, the vast majority of all my work experience was farm work,” Huffmaster said. “I knew for a fact – I never doubted it – that Farm Bureau was accomplishing great things for farmers, and to be a part of that is what kept me at Farm Bureau.” He grew up on his family’s farm in south Fulton County where the Huffmasters raised hogs, cattle, corn, soybeans and hay. A prominent memory from his youth is of his father, Hall, expertly plowing the family garden with a mule, which he kept until Jon left for college. Huffmaster started at GFB in 1982 as the field representative in the organization's current 10th District and switched to GFB's 5th District in 1986. In 2001, he became GFB’s Legislative Department director, a position he held until October 2015 when he was promoted to corporate secretary and chief administrative officer. “Jon not only has years of outstanding service to the Georgia Farm Bureau community but has provided strategic leadership through the important role of building relationships in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., and has continued to provide valuable counsel to the GFB Board and staff through complex times,” said GFB President Tom McCall. During his time as legislative director, GFB led the charge to defend farmers’ sales tax exemptions on farm inputs. In 2012 the state legislature maintained those exemptions and expanded them under the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) program, leading to enormous savings for the state’s farmers. “The state tax reform overhaul that resulted in the GATE program was a great achievement for us,” Huffmaster said. “At that time, there was a very real possibility that agriculture sales tax exemptions were going to be lost because of dropping state revenue. We worked very hard to explain why the exemption was needed, and we had some great volunteers who spoke at the various meetings in favor of retaining the exemptions for agriculture inputs.” Huffmaster thinks the need for this sort of advocacy, the reason GFB was started in 1937, will continue. Jon and Beverly, his wife of 39 years, live in Taylor County close to their children: Jon Davis, his wife, Kayla, and their three children; and daughter Rebekah Huffmaster Gay, her husband, Kevin, and their son. Huffmaster said he plans to remain in Taylor County, help on the farm and spend time with his grandchildren.

20 Winter 2021

Georgia Farm Bureau News


Talton, Murphree leading GFB Field Services Department


Clay Talton is the new director of Georgia Farm Bureau’s Field Services Department. Ken Murphree will serve as associate field services director. They will oversee most of GFB’s ag promotion programs and serve as liaisons between GFB’s home and county offices. “Please join me in welcoming Clay and Ken to their new roles as Farm Bureau continues to provide the best service possible to our members,” GFB President Tom McCall said. A Houston County native, Talton graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in animal & dairy science and a master’s degree in animal science. Talton worked as a UGA Cooperative Extension Agent prior to coming to GFB in 2014 as GFB’s District 2 federation manager. He became assistant director of Field Services in 2017. Talton succeeds Dennis Black, who retired Sept. 3.

Clay and his wife, Brittany, have three children, Lola, Cohen and Nora. Murphree grew up on his family’s diversified row-crop farm in Turner County. He earned an associate degree in agribusiness from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness from UGA. Murphree served an internship with Delta & Pine Land Company before GFB hired him in 2001 as a commodities specialist in its former commodities & marketing department. In that role, Murphree managed the GFB Certified Farm Market program, worked with GFB’s commodity committees and assisted with GFB’s grain marketing service. Murphree became GFB’s 8th District Federation Manager in 2005. Murphree and his wife, Lisa, have two children, Payne and Addie.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News

Winter 2021 21

By Jay Stone

DEALING WITH GRIEF: COPING MECHANISMS As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, since March 2020, people have lost family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, jobs, careers, homes and virtually anything else that can be lost. The scores of deaths we've seen in the past two years come with spiritual challenges many Americans haven’t had to live through. “Probably the Vietnam War, the loss of life there, is the greatest number of losses we’ve dealt with cumulatively in our lives,” said Dr. Bill Carpenter, a retired United Methodist minister. “But this past year, if we just consider loss as the loss of life, millions of people, which runs into the tens of millions of people who are grieving and experiencing loss. Unquestionably, everyone on the planet has been affected with different types of loss. Loss has been universal.” Carpenter has provided pastoral counseling for thousands of people through service at the University of West Georgia Wesley Foundation, as vice president at Murphy-Harpst-Vashti United Methodist Children’s Centers and at multiple United Methodist churches.

Support network is crucial The pandemic has been particularly cruel because one of the key ways to battle it – social distancing – involves limiting in-person interactions with other people. “Primarily, what I’m concerned about is people not being isolated,” Carpenter said. “A lot of times people want to withdraw because of their overwhelming feelings of grief.” Being a part of a religious community can facilitate the [recovery or healing] process, and for those who are not part of one, Carpenter recommends finding one. Additionally, many churches offer, often

22 Winter 2021

free of charge, grief support groups or Stephen Ministry programs that offer well-trained caregivers. “People have family members, friends, neighbors, associates, that they will share their feelings with casually, but most of them are not equipped and it isn’t [always] their nature to listen,” Carpenter said. “A lot of people get uncomfortable with someone baring their soul outside the church. And yet a church community, a religious community, that’s one of its primary roles, to be there for people, to support people, to remind people that they are not alone, [and that] other people have made this journey. They can identify someone who is, for the first time or for an additional time, especially traumatic, see what they’re going through, and support that person.”

Sweet Hour of Prayer Secular counselors frequently advise sufferers to find an outlet to express their feelings as a coping mechanism. Carpenter, as ministers do, recommended prayer as an antidote for the isolation the pandemic has imposed on most people. “I’m very, very confident that nothing can be expressed that the Creator of the universe has not heard,” he said. “I encourage people to be as honest as they can possibly be in just crying out. Whatever feelings of frustration or anger they have, include that. I think that’s a very healthy way to be able to express the angst that’s going on with a significant loss.” As a resource, Carpenter noted that the book of Psalms offers examples of people going through profound loss, offering hope for present-day grievers.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

“Some of them are really angry expressions, and it helps someone identify ‘Well, if David or Solomon can offer feelings this intense, I feel like I can quote them and do it also,’ ” Carpenter said.

Grieving is personal


The first year after a significant loss can be the most challenging. The cycle of important dates – birthdays, anniversaries, memories of other special times shared, can be joy-filled, and they can be very sad. The holidays can be particularly difficult to navigate that first year after a loss, especially from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, with a variety of special religious observances and holiday celebrations that traditionally bring loved ones together. “I think it is healthy to acknowledge the loss and to be intentional in seeking comfort in a variety of ways," Carpenter said. “Grief is a universal human experience, but it is also deeply personal. We are unique souls and differ in the amount of time and the type of process we engage to journey through an important loss. Some people may seek to revisit rituals and settings from the past that were shared with the loved one and benefit from those memories and feelings. Others may find those experiences too painful. Watching other

Georgia Farm Bureau News

people celebrating a religious holiday may intensify the feelings of grief, and some would find comfort in exploring new settings and rituals.”

Be comforted & comfort others Carpenter said intentionally seeking comfort can benefit most people who have lost a loved one. “Above all, don’t hesitate to seek the help you need,” he said. “Don’t drop out. Take care of yourself and be kind to yourself. There are people who can support you because they have made (or, are making) the journey through grief. And you may help others by sharing your experiences and feelings too.” Carpenter also offered this:

May all be blessed with an unexpected beauty of presence and comfort this holiday season.

WWW.SFBLI.COM Winter 2021 23

Georgia Foundation for Ag Update

Ga. Foundation for Ag offers $65,000 in scholarships for ag students By Lily Baucom

March 1 application deadline

Rising College Jr./Sr. Scholarship for Agriculture

The Georgia Foundation for Agriculture continues to invest in students pursuing careers in agriculture or a related field. For 2022, the foundation is offering a total of $65,000 in scholarships for graduating high school seniors, rising college juniors and seniors, technical college students and UGA College of Veterinary Medicine students specializing in large/food animals. Visit for a list of eligible majors and schools for each scholarship category and to apply. Applications must be submitted online only by March 1, 2022. Transcripts and letters of recommendation must be uploaded with the application. The four scholarship categories the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture offers are:

Scholarship for Agriculture Ten scholarships of $3,000 are available for graduating high school seniors. The top three ranking applicants will be eligible for an additional $1,000 bonus. Applicants must: • Be a Georgia resident • During the 2022-23 academic year, be enrolled in a unit of The University System of Georgia, Berry College, Emmanuel College or any Georgia accredited college/university with an ag program • Pursue an undergraduate degree in agricultural & environmental sciences, family & consumer sciences or a related ag field • Have a minimum 3.0 GPA their first semester of college • Be engaged in high school leadership activities

Eight scholarships of $2,000 are available. Applicants must: • Be a Georgia resident majoring in agricultural & environmental sciences, family & consumer sciences or a related ag field • Be a sophomore or junior with at least two semesters remaining to receive undergraduate degree at a unit of The University System of Georgia, Berry College, Emmanuel College or any Georgia accredited college/university with an ag program • Be engaged in college leadership activities • Have a minimum 3.0 GPA

UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Scholarship Two scholarships of $5,000 are available. Applicants must: • Be a Georgia resident • Be a current University of Georgia veterinary medicine student specializing in large animal/food animal practice • Have a minimum 3.0 GPA

Technical College Scholarship for Agriculture Four scholarships of $1,500 are available. Applicants must: • Be a Georgia resident • Be enrolled in a Georgia accredited technical college during the 2022-23 academic year • Major in an area of study related to agriculture • Have a minimum 2.8 GPA

Questions about the scholarships should be directed to Georgia Foundation for Agriculture Executive Director Lily Baucom at or 478-405-3461.

24 Winter 2021

Georgia Farm Bureau News

The Georgia Foundation for Agriculture (GFA) thanks all who have contributed during the third quarter of 2021 to help the GFA prepare the next generation of Georgia leaders for success in agriculture. As always, we are grateful to Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Farm Bureau Insurance Company for their ongoing support.

Effingham Co. Farm Bureau Emanuel Co. Farm Bureau Farm Bureau Bank Georgia Peanut Commission Jeff Davis Co. Farm Bureau Kelly Products Skeetter McCorkle Pittulloch Foundation Inc. Pulaski Co. Farm Bureau Bernard & Janet Sims The Dairy Alliance The Georgia Club Foundation Walmart Giving

Rabun Co. Farm Bureau Stephens Co. Farm Bureau

Johnny & Cindy Cochran Jon D. & Beverly Huffmaster Christa & Ted Steinkamp

Chuck Berry IV Dennis & Teresa Black John R. Branch Mark R. Brose Gary & Emily Byrd Ellen H. Chase Gayland G. Collins Heather Davis Dr. Zeb & Kathleen Duvall General Mills for Bradford Marks Jr. David & Vicki Jolley Don Keeter Jeff Lashley William Moses Jeremy R. Taylor Norma Thompson

Nancy M. Altherr Vickie Bagby Tracy Champagne Jason S. Elkins Lauren & Corey Goble Richard L. Hart Hannah Johnston Nancy & Jimmy Kennedy Lockheed Martin for Vickie Bagby Rachel B. Mosely Marty Pritchard John C. Ryals Nancy Rogers Wagner Sara Walker

Deborah M. Carter Kenneth A. Clarke Melanie N. Curenton Deborah Ellis Jeanna G. Fennell Jeffrey A. Harvey Pamela K. Hegwood John F. Hilton Karren E. Hoskins Amy J. Jeffries Ronald G. Johnson Melissa G. Loyd Network for Good Lisa C. Newberry Stephanie Queen Bob Ragsdale Vicki Shepard Megan W. Thompson Kimberly A. Whitley Mark Willis

Effingham Co. Farm Bureau Jeff Davis Co. Farm Bureau Pulaski Co. Farm Bureau The Dairy Alliance: 2 days The Georgia Club Foundation Walmart Giving

Wayne Dollar by Nancy & Jimmy Kennedy & Bob Ragsdale

Fall Online Auction The GFA thanks everyone who participated in and all who donated prizes for its fall online auction. Visit www.gfb. ag.21gfaauctiondonors for a list of these generous donors. Additional thanks to AmazonSmile contributors, Facebook fundraisers and supporters of special events and product sales. For more information on giving to the GFA, please visit http:// html.

To become a Georgia Ag Experience mobile classroom sponsor, email

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Come see us for all your Holiday Gift Giving! 866 W Parker St Baxley, Ga 31513 • Phone • 912-705-9900 Make sure to follow us on Georgia Farm Bureau News

Winter 2021 25



Bennett & Fulwood join GFA staff Natalie Bennett and Virginia Fulwood have joined the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture (GFA) as program assistants for the GFA Georgia Ag Experience mobile ag classroom. Bennett and Fulwood will set the Georgia Ag Experience’s schedule as it travels to schools and events statewide. They will also serve as the mobile classroom instructors and work closely with county Farm Bureau staff and volunteers. Bennett, a native of Gwinnett County, is a 2017 animal science graduate of the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES). She received her Master of Agricultural & Environmental Education from the CAES this summer. For the past two years Bennett has worked with the Tift County Cooperative

Extension (TCCE) as a 4-H educator; she worked with the TCCE as an AmeriCorps Service Member the previous year. Bennett may be reached at . Fulwood, a resident and native of Bibb County, has degrees in computer science and clinical psychology and a master’s in library information science. She was previously employed eight years as a children’s librarian and regional coordinator at Middle Georgia Regional Library. Before working at the library, Fulwood taught kindergarten and Pre-K in Bibb County for nine years. She and her husband, Travis, have two adult children. She is an active member of United Community Church in Macon. Fulwood may be reached at

Growing On

• 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

Visit to subscribe.

26 Winter 2021

Ray D’Alessio

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GFB'S NEW PODCAST with John Holcomb, Jay Stone, and Katie Duvall

Listen online at or on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or Google Play

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Ag in the Classroom Update

Murray wins GFB teaching award

Congratulations to Natalie Murray, a teacher at Mirror Lake Elementary in Douglas County, for being named the 2021 Georgia Farm Bureau Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year. Photo by Julia Sweeney By Lauren Goble Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) has awarded Douglas County teacher Natalie Murray its 2021 Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award. Murray, who teaches kindergarten through fifth-grade music at Mirror Lake Elementary, was recognized for incorporating information about agriculture into her classes, while meeting curriculum requirements. As the award winner, Murray will receive a $500 cash prize and an expense-paid trip to the 2022 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference currently set for Saratoga Springs, New York. Murray credits the Douglas County Farm Bureau (DCFB) and GFB’s Agriculture in the Classroom program and other community partners with providing her with an exciting way to reach students that makes teaching fun.

As a music teacher, Murray wasn’t familiar with agriculture. Her community partners helped her fall in love with agriculture and made sure her students had an opportunity to have quality time in the school garden each week. Murray created a curriculum, based on grade level standards, that allows students to visit the garden each week. In her application, Murry wrote that her students’ “faces light up when they are in the garden.” DCFB, which nominated Murray for the award, has worked with her on numerous projects. DCFB members volunteer in Murray’s classes as readers and help with Ag in the Classroom activities.

GFB Middle School Bookmark Contest

GFB High School Art Contest

Important info for both contests

• Open to students in 6th, 7th & 8th grades • Contestants will be given a blank bookmark & asked to create a design illustrating Georgia agriculture • 10 District winners each receive $100 • State winner receives an additional $150

• Open to students in 9th-12th grades • Previous state winners not eligible to reenter • Artwork must be on 8.5x11-inch white paper • Artwork must be created in the colors black, white & gray • 10 District winners will receive $100 each • 2 state runners-up receive bonus $150 prize; state winner an extra $250

• Contact your county Farm Bureau to enter • Feb. 25, 2022, deadline to submit entries for both contests to local Farm Bureaus • Visit for contest details • Both contests are open to homeschool, private or public school students

Georgia Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom Coordinator Lauren Goble may be reached at or 478-474-0679, ext. 5135. Contact your county Farm Bureau if you’d like to volunteer with its Ag in the Classroom program.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Winter 2021 27

Ga. goat & lamb winners showed up & showed out Georgia Farm Bureau supported Georgia’s 4-H and FFA livestock programs by sponsoring the species grand champion prizes for the Georgia Jr. Market Wether, Market Doe and Market Lamb Shows held Oct. 8-10 at the Georgia National Fair. These three shows are part of the Georgia Junior National Livestock Program. GFB also sponsored prize premiums for all of the livestock shows at the fair.


MARKET DOE Mallory Lee

MARKET LAMB Tanner Norton

Congratulations to Grady County 4-Her Cheyne Norton for exhibiting the 2021 Georgia Jr. Grand Champion Market Wether! Georgia Farm Bureau Field Services Director Clay Talton presents the $1,500 prize check to Cheyne on behalf of GFB as show judge Bryan Kennedy presents the show banner. Cheyne, the son of Chad and Brandi Norton, has been showing livestock for nine years. He also shows lambs and hogs. “It feels great to win this championship,” Cheyne said. “I started showing because I had friends and family showing. I’d encourage other kids to get into showing to meet friends and learn how to take care of animals.” Cheyne’s win carries on a family winning streak. His older sister, Lily won the award last year, and his first cousin Tanner won it in 2019.

Kudos to Mallory Lee, a seventh-grade member of the Madison County Middle School FFA, for exhibiting the 2021 Georgia Jr. Grand Champion Market Doe. Georgia Farm Bureau Field Services staff member Haley Darby presents the $1,500 prize check to Mallory on behalf of GFB. Mallory, the daughter of Byron and Beth Lee, has been showing goats for six years. “Sometimes she can be a little stubborn, but most of the time she works well and is really sweet,” Mallory said of her winning goat that she calls K.P. Mallory said her family chose K.P. for the doe’s muscling, length of body,width and overall balance. “I wasn’t expecting to win, but I knew I had a chance,” Mallory said.

Congratulations to Grady County 4-Her Tanner Norton for showing the 2021 Georgia Jr. Grand Champion Market Lamb! Georgia Farm Bureau Field Services Director Clay Talton presents the $1,500 prize to Tanner as show judge Corey Taylor of Texas presents the grand champion banner. Tanner won the Market Lamb Grand Champion prize with his Hamp-Suffolk cross, “Walker.” It is his third win in the category since 2018. His secret? “Work hard,” said Tanner, who followed in the footsteps of his father, Clay, when he started showing livestock. Tanner credited Grady County 4-H Agent Deron Rehberg for teaching him showmanship. Tanner, a junior at Cairo High School, has been showing livestock, including steers, hogs and goats for 11 years.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

28 Winter 2021

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Photo by Jay Stone

Georgia Farm Bureau News


Newton County Farm Bureau Sec./Treasurer Chuck Berry won reserve champion in the 2021 National Christmas Tree Contest with this Leyland Cypress. Photo courtesy of Chuck Berry

By Jennifer Whittaker For Chuck Berry, Christmas came on Aug. 6 when he won reserve champion in the 2021 National Christmas Tree Association’s Christmas Tree Contest. This earned his family the honor of providing a Christmas tree for Vice President Kamala Harris’ official residence. Berry won with a seven-foot Leyland Cypress planted at his tree farm in 2015. Berry’s Christmas Tree Farm is a long-time member of Georgia Farm Bureau’s Certified Farm Market program. “It was truly an honor and somewhat of a surprise,” Berry said. “I was surprised I won with a Leyland Cypress because this type of tree is more popular in the South than other parts of the country.” Although Berry won the contest with a Leyland Cypress, he is providing an 11-foot Murray Cypress to accommodate the size tree the VP’s staff requested. At press time, Berry and his wife, Lori, were

scheduled to deliver this tree and six others, of varying sizes that the VP’s staff ordered, on Nov. 24. “We are scheduled to meet with Vice President Harris and the Second Gentleman when we deliver the trees,” Berry said. “We’ve been asked to actually take the trees inside the residence.” In past years, trees from the Berry farm have decorated the Georgia Capitol, Governor’s mansion and Stone Mountain Park. Berry’s dad, Charles, planted the farm’s first Christmas trees in 1977. The first trees were sold in 1983. “We have been selling Christmas trees for almost 40 years and it’s a very fun job,” Chuck said. “We all really love to see everyone at Christmas as they come with their families to pick out their perfect tree.”


Georgia Farm Bureau News

Winter 2021 29

Centennial Farm Program recognizes Georgia’s ag heritage By Jennifer Whittaker

Georgia has a rich agricultural heritage dating back to its founding as a British colony in 1732 when settlers experimented with growing a variety of crops. Thanks to the Georgia Centennial Farm Program, about 595 farms that have been in continuous operation for 100 years or more have been recognized since the program began in 1993. On Oct. 13, 29 Georgia farm families were honored during a ceremony held at the Georgia National Fair in Perry for operating their farms for at least a century. Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, Georgia Commissioner of Community Affairs Christopher Nunn and Georgia Farm Bureau President Tom McCall were among the event speakers. “As we celebrate one hundred years of Georgia family farms, we can celebrate how far Georgia agriculture has come,” Nunn said. “Each and every family being recognized today have held on to your family farms that have contributed to your communities through the years.” This program is administered by the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs with support from Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia EMC, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Forestry Commission and Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter. GFB was one of the original program partners that started the awards program.

“Farm Bureau is so proud to be a part of this awards program. None of us farm for our ancestors. We borrow our land from our grandkids and are working to leave our farms better than we got them for our grandkids,” McCall said. “Thank each of you for promoting and enhancing the largest industry in this state.” Farms may be recognized with one of three awards. The Centennial Heritage Farm Award honors farms owned by members of the same family for 100 years or more that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The Centennial Family Farm Award recognizes farms owned by members of the same family for 100 years or more that are not listed in the NRHP. The Centennial Farm Award does not require continual family ownership, but farms must be at least 100 years old and listed in the NRHP. “Congratulations and thanks to your families for what you do,” Black said before discussing how farmers properly maintain their equipment so it’s ready to be used when needed and repair their fences quickly. “People are looking to agriculture and rural America to repair some of the things that are broken in this country.” An awards ceremony was not held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s ceremony honored qualifying farms from 2020 and 2021.

"Farm Bureau is so proud to be a part of this awards program. None of us farm for our ancestors. We borrow our land from our grandkids and are working to leave our farms better than we got them for our grandkids" - Tom McCall 30 Winter 2021

Georgia Farm Bureau News

2020 Centennial Heritage Farm Awards A.J. Casey Farm, Floyd County Cedar Rock Farm, McDuffie County

2020 Centennial Family Farm Awards

Two Branch Farm, Bulloch County A.H. Rocker, Sr. Family Farm, Candler County Samuel Watson Farm, Candler County Pineywoods Farms, Colquitt County J.M. Cook Homeplace, Dodge County Mud Creek Farm, Dougherty County Griffin Farms, Hall County Arthur Lane Perrin Farm, Irwin County Dan T. Paulk-Missouri Merritt Paulk Family Farm, Irwin County Walker Farm, Irwin County Terry D. Harrell Farm, Mitchell County Smith Family Farm, Pierce County Massey Family Farm, Taylor County Lee Family Farm & Orchards, Ware County Greenview Farms, Inc., Wayne County Gordon-Phinney Farms, Wilcox County

The 2020 recipients of the Georgia Centennial Farm Awards. Photo courtesy of Ga. Dept. of Ag/Amy Carter

2021 Centennial Family Farm Awards

Ford Farms, Calhoun County Fairview Market at Holloman Farms, Carroll County Charlie & Betty Harris Farm, Crawford County Burns Homeplace, Effingham County Hillsboro Farms, McDuffie County JCT Farms, Randolph County Lance Family-Grassy Knoll Farm, Union County Everett-Chandler Farm, Walker County M.A. Hicks Farms, Walker County Robert Calhoun Farm, Whitfield County N.H. Bacon Farms, LLC, Wilkinson County

The 2021 recipients of the Georgia Centennial Farm Awards. Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Want to nominate a farm? Farm owners interested in nominating a farm for recognition should visit to download an application or contact Allison Asbrock at 770-389-7868 or The postmark deadline for applications is May 1 each year.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Winter 2021 31

WE ARE ALL FARM BUREAU Georgia Farm Bureau is committed to serving families like yours. With offices in nearly every county in the state, no one knows Georgia like we do. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Okefenokee Swamp, from the Chattahoochee River to the Port of Savannah, from historic small-town squares to Georgia’s largest cities — we’re woven into the fabric of this state.

Home • Auto • Life • Bank

We know your farm. Since 1958, our mission has been to protect Georgia farmers. Talk to your local agent to learn more! 32 Winter 2021

Georgia Farm Bureau News

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