April 20, 2011
Vol. 29 No. 16
IMMIGRATION BILL PASSES GEORGIA LEGISLATURE Both houses of the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 87 on the final day of the 2011 Legislative session. The bill includes provisions requiring Georgia employers with 11 or more employees to use the E-Verify program to check work eligibility of employees. Gov. Nathan Deal has indicated he would sign the bill. It sets Jan. 1 as the date of determination on E-Verify requirements. If the employer has 11 or more full-time employees hired as of Jan. 1 each year, in order to obtain a business license that employer will be required to sign a sworn affidavit that E-Verify was used. The bill defines a full-time employee as a person working more than 35 hours per week. For employers with 11 to 99 employees, the effective date of the E-Verify provision is July 1, 2013. For employers with 100-499 employees, the effective date is July 1, 2012. For employers with 500 or more employees, the effective date is Jan. 1, 2012. Unlike earlier versions, the final bill included no provisions for IRS Form 1099 contract labor. Earlier bills would have tied business expense deductibility of 1099 contract labor to the use of E-Verify. The final bill also charged the Georgia Department of Agriculture with developing a report on federal guest worker programs and making recommendations related to those programs. The department is to submit the report on Jan. 1, 2012. During his first monthly press conference on April 18, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black welcomed the chance to conduct a study on use of migrant labor in the state. He said ideally immigration would be tackled at the federal level. “Labor is a huge challenge in agriculture,” Black said. “A documented, legal workforce has always been the goal.” Meanwhile, a U.S. House Judiciary Committee panel held a hearing on the H-2A program on April 13. The Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement received written testimony from American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman, who urged the committee to review and reform the H-2A program, noting that it would give many farmers greater assurance than they currently have that their workers are legally authorized to work in the United States. “There are simply not enough Americans willing to take the jobs of migrant farm workers. In fact, our government’s policy for generations has been to remove Americans from such labor,” said Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), the chairman of the subcommittee.
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BUDGET RESOLUTION FOR FY 2011 PASSES SENATE On April 14, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 1473, the continuing resolution to fund the federal government through Sept. 30, by an 81-19 vote. President Obama signed it on April 15 and averted a government shutdown. The bill reduces the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) budget by $3 billion from FY 2010. Numerous USDA programs had their funding cut, the largest of which was the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which was reduced by $504 million. The Farm Service Agency’s Agriculture Credit Insurance Fund was cut by $433 million. These cuts are in addition to an across-theboard 0.2 percent reduction for all non-defense programs. Other notable USDA programs facing cuts are the Natural Resources Conservation Service ($118 million), the Biomass Crop Assistance Program ($134 million), the Agricultural Research Service ($44 million in salaries and expenses) and the Wetlands Reserve program ($119 million). The House also began deliberations on a FY 2012 budget resolution, H. Con. Res. 34, which would cut $6.2 trillion in government spending and reduce taxes by $4 trillion over the next 10 years. The resolution includes language assuming the 2012 farm bill will save $30 billion over the next 10 years. It also assumes that the estate tax rate will continue with a $5 million per person exemption and a top tax rate of 35 percent. Farm Bureau has not taken a position on H. Con. Res. 34. President Obama has released his own budget proposal for FY 2012. It includes proposals to eliminate payments to cotton and peanut producers that compensate them for their cost of storing their commodities that are put under loan with the USDA. It proposes to eliminate the Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) program. The administration also proposes to limit farm subsidies by reducing the cap on direct payments by 25 percent and reducing each of the adjusted gross income commodity payment eligibility limits for farm and non-farm income by $250,000 over three years. HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE LOOKS AT POULTRY INDUSTRY ISSUES A subcommittee of the House Committee on Agriculture held a public hearing to review issues facing the U.S. poultry industry on April 13. Among those who testified in the hearing before the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry was Michael Welch, president of Harrison Poultry in Bethlehem, Ga., who spoke on behalf of the National Chicken Council. Welch outlined the issues poultry producers face with high feed prices, which he said are driven on both the supply and demand sides. Welch expressed concern over what he called the “growing diversion of corn into government-subsidized ethanol programs,” noting that the farm gate price of corn has tripled since 2006. Welch also discussed issues with the USDA’s proposed Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration rule and shared with the subcommittee a belief that pending free-trade agreements with Columbia, Panama and South Korea would help create U.S. jobs.
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REP. SCOTT DISCUSSES BUDGET, DEFICIT AT TOWN HALL MEETING U.S. Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) talked about the financial challenges facing the country during a town hall meeting on April 19 at the GFB home office in Macon, one of six meetings he held throughout Georgia’s 8th Congressional District. The federal deficit was Scott’s primary topic and he pointed out that government programs are growing faster than the economy. “We all know that we’ve got an unsustainable path,” he said of the growing national debt. Rep. Scott also fielded audience questions about veterans’ benefits, compensation for public employees, social security and other topics. During an interview afterward, Scott said Congress needs to take control over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), suggesting that the agency be required to do cost-benefit analysis for new proposed rules. “The bottom line is they can’t tell you the cost of many of the rules they’re passing to farmers,” he said. “And quite honestly, the administrator they have right now doesn’t care.” Scott said maintaining a safety net for agricultural producers would be a key part of the debate over the 2012 farm bill. “One of the things that I want to make sure we do is have a good strong safety net system so when commodity prices fall, we’ve protected the farmer through those bad times,” he said. PURVIS NAMED GFB 10th DISTRICT FIELD REPRESENTATIVE Michael Purvis of Ocilla has been named the new field representative for Georgia Farm Bureau’s 10th District. His first day is April 25. “We are excited to have Michael join our Field Services Department as he provides support for all counties in the district,” said GFB President Zippy Duvall. Purvis graduated from Valdosta State University in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and has a strong agricultural background. Since 2005, he has worked with the Coffee County Gin and the Irwinville Peanut & Grain Companies as a field representative, working with producers in many of the counties in District 10. MONSANTO SPONSORING CONTESTS FOR FFA CHAPTERS, FARM MOMS The 2011 Future Farmers of America Chapter Challenge encourages members of FFA chapters in seven states, including Georgia, to reach out to their community’s farmers and learn about their operations. The challenge, sponsored by Monsanto, awards $1,500 each to the 125 chapters that make the most connections in the form of a certificate of credit from the National FFA Organization, which can be used for a variety of member costs. For information, visit http://www.ffachapterchallenge.com. The deadline for farmer connection confirmations is May 1. Monsanto is also sponsoring the 2011 America’s Farmers Mom of the Year program, which honors mothers’ contributions to family, farm, community and industry. Applications will be accepted through May 8 (Mother’s Day) at http://www.americasfarmers.com. Each of five regional winners will receive $5,000, and the farm mom receiving the most online votes by May 26 will receive an additional $2,500 and the title of America’s Farmers Mom of the Year 2011.
Leadership Alert page 4 of 6 SUBSCRIBE TO THE MARKET BULLETIN! The Georgia Department of Agriculture is urging readers of its Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin to pay their $10 subscription fee by April 20 to avoid being dropped from the publication’s mailing list. Subscription forms are available at every county Farm Bureau office. You may pay with cash, checks or money orders made payable to: Market Bulletin. You may also subscribe online by visiting http://www.thegamarketbulletin.com. Subscriptions will be taken after April 20 but must be received by then to avoid the disruption of an unpaid subscription. TRACTOR SUPPLY COMPANY RAISING FUNDS FOR 4-H Until April 25 Any TSC store nationwide Support your local 4-H program by buying a paper 4-H clover for $1 when you check out at any Tractor Supply store. All funds raised during the TSC Paper Clover Campaign will be donated to 4-H to support camps, after-school programs and other 4-H activities in the communities where each store is located. GEORGIA AGRITOURISM ASSOCIATION WORKSHOP April 26 The Rock Ranch 8:45 a.m.-3 p.m. The Rock Program is designed for teachers, parents and farmers or anyone interested in agritourism. Workshop participants will experience a field trip in action at The Rock Ranch so wear comfortable shoes. Registration is $50 per person and includes lunch. To register or for more information contact Jeff Manley at 706-647-6374 or firstname.lastname@example.org. FORESTRY WORKSHOP April 28 Randolph County Ag Ed Building Noon-2:30 p.m. Cuthbert Sponsored by the Randolph County Extension office and Arborgen Supertree Nursery, this free event includes lunch and is for all landowners, forestry industry members and any interested persons in southwest Georgia. The meeting will address various silviculture topics. Participants can earn 1.5 Hours CFE forestry, master timber harvester and pesticide credits. Attendees must RSVP by April 26 by calling the Randolph County Extension Office at 229-732-2311 or by emailing email@example.com. 29th ANNUAL FORT VALLEY STATE HAM AND EGG BREAKFAST April 28 C.W. Pettigrew Farm and Community Life Center Fort Valley The public is invited to attend Fort Valley State University’s annual Ham and Egg Breakfast and meet with elected officials who have been invited to this historical event to discuss current topics. Begins at 8 a.m. Cost is $6. Contact Jean Willis at 478-825-6268 or firstname.lastname@example.org, to pre-register. 20th ANNUAL BEE KEEPING INSTITUTE Pre-registration deadline is APRIL 29. May 12-14 Young Harris College Young Harris Workshops led by beekeeping experts will be offered for beekeepers at all levels of experience. The event will also include a honey show. The event’s first day is set aside for training and certification examinations for the journeyman, master beekeeper and master craftsman levels and Welsh Honey Judge qualifications. The cost for ages 18 and older is $88 for one day and $138 for both days. For ages 11 to 18, the cost is $44 for one day and $70 for both days. There is no charge for participants under the age of 10. Event is limited to 150 persons so pre-registration is recommended. If you cannot pre-register, call first to make sure there’s space before attending. For more information visit http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees or contact Detsy Bridges at 706- 542-9035 or at email@example.com. 12TH ANNUAL PANHANDLE MULE FARM MULE DAY April 30 Panhandle Mule Farm Starts at 9 a.m. Reynolds This free event includes mule and tractor plowing, displays of antique farm implements and a milking demonstration by the Georgia Milk Producers Mobile Dairy Classroom. Festival attendees will be able to mine for rubies, emeralds, sapphires and amethysts at the new gem mining exhibit. Farm is located at 358 Milton Lowe Road, Reynolds, Ga. 31076 (off of Hwy. 137 southwest of Roberta or northeast of Butler). For more information, please contact Steve Montgomery at 478-837-1044.
Leadership Alert page 5 of 6 NATIONAL BEEF COOK-OFF ENTRY DEADLINE April 30 is the deadline for entering the 29th National Beef Cook-Off. Submit your best beef recipes for a chance to win up to $25,000 in cash and a trip to the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show in Washington D.C., in November. The contest is open to legal United States residents who are 18 years of age or older as of February 1. Entries must be the original recipe of the entrant. The contest is a national search for extraordinary recipes that demonstrate the benefits and versatility of cooking with beef via four contest categories: the 5:30 p.m. dinner crunch, retro recipes, fuel up with beef and stir-crazy solutions. Visit http://www.beefcookoff.org/aboutcontest.aspx to enter or for more information. GEORGIA CENTENNIAL FARM APPLICATION DEADLINE May 1 The Georgia Centennial Farm Program was created to draw attention to historic farms and to encourage their preservation. Nominees must be a working farm with a minimum of 10 acres actively involved in agricultural production or generate at least $1,000 in annual income. In addition, farms must be continuously farmed for at least 100 years and owned by members of the same family for at least 100 years or be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Qualifying Centennial Farms are honored each October at a special award ceremony at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Georgia. Since 1993, the program has recognized 379 farms around the state. The Centennial Farm Program is administered by the Historic Preservation Division; Georgia Farm Bureau Federation; Georgia Department of Agriculture; Georgia Forestry Commission; and the Georgia National Fair and Agricenter. Applications are available on HPD's Web site at http://hpd.dnr.state.ga.us/content/displaycontent.asp?txtDocument=119.For more information, contact Centennial Farm Awards Committee Chair, Steven Moffson at 404-651-5906 or firstname.lastname@example.org 3rd ANNUAL ST. JUDE BENEFIT TRACTOR RIDE May 7 Charles Hughes farm 10:30 a.m. Macon County This 20-mile ride is a fundraiser for the St. Jude Childrenâ€™s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Riders will pay a $25 entry fee per tractor. For more information contact Neil Skipper at 478-286-1940 or James Emory Tate at 912-375-8367. GEORGIA CORN CHECKOFF UNDERWAY The Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Corn is holding a reaffirmation vote on its corn checkoff until May 10. The funds collected from this checkoff are strictly for research, education and promotion of corn. Producers growing corn for grain commercially sold within the state pay a one cent per bushel assessment collected when the corn is sold. First handlers are responsible for deducting the checkoff and remitting it to the commission on behalf of the producers. Producers growing sweet or fresh corn, silage corn or corn for on-farm use are exempt from the checkoff. Only producers who grew corn in 2010 are eligible to vote. Producers who receive a ballot but did not grow corn last year should indicate this on the ballot and return it. Eligible producers who did not receive a ballot may contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture at 404-656-3678. MONROE COUNTY H.E.R.D SALE May 12 Sleepy Creek Farm 12:30 p.m. Monroe County More than 60 bred heifers will be for sale during the event. Data available on the heifers includes A.I. Breeding and Sire EPDs, pelvic area, frame score, disposition score, weight per day of age and average daily gain. For more information call Monroe Countyâ€™s Extension office at 478- 994-7014 or e-mail email@example.com or visit http://www.ugaextension.com/monroe.
Leadership Alert page 6 of 6 NRCS ORGANIC CONSERVATION PROGRAM SIGNUP DEADLINE MAY 20 The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for Organic Initiative contracts under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to help organic producers and those transitioning to organic production implement natural resource conservation practices on their farms. Organic producers may use the funding to plant cover crops, establish integrated pest management plans or implement nutrient management systems consistent with organic certification standards. Eligible producers include those certified through USDA’s National Organic Program, those transitioning to certified organic production and those who meet organic standards but are exempt from certification because their gross annual organic sales are less than $5,000. Under Organic Initiative contracts, producers are paid 75 percent of the cost for the organic conservation measures they implement. Producers qualifying as beginning, limited resource and socially disadvantaged producers are paid 90 percent. Producers interested in applying for Organic Initiative funding must submit applications through their local NRCS Service Center. NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION WORKSHOP APPLICATION DEADLINE May 20 is the deadline to apply for this weeklong camp that provides rising 10th, 11th and 12th grade students a chance to learn about Georgia’s natural resources from university, state and federal natural resource experts. The camp, which gives students a taste of college life and insight into career opportunities related to natural resources, will be held June 5-9 at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton. Tuition is $150. More than $17,000 in scholarships will be awarded from this workshop. This is the 50th anniversary of the NRCW. To celebrate, the NRCW Executive Board will award a special $5,000 scholarship. The committee is also asking former NRCW participants, both students, volunteers and staff, to share their story of how the NRCW has influenced their life or career path. Contact the NRCW by phone at 229-391-5072, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or post your story on the NRCW Facebook page. Interested persons can download an application and get more information about NRCW at http://www.abac.edu/psbo/nrcw or through your local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office. DEADLINE TO ENTER GFB PHOTO CONTEST MAY 31 The Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee is accepting entries for its 2011 Picture Agriculture in Georgia Contest. The contest is open to any Georgia Farm Bureau member who receives no income from photography. There are three categories: GFB members, GFB Young Farmers (farmers between the age of 18-35) and GFB staff/family (state or county). All photos must highlight Georgia agriculture and must have been taken in 2010 or 2011. Each entrant may enter only two photos. All photos must be high-resolution images of a minimum of 1 megabyte (MB) in size. Horizontal photos are preferred. All digital photos must be sent as an attachment in a JPEG format by e-mail to email@example.com. In the subject line of the e-mail type “Photo Contest” and the category in which you are competing. Type the following information in the body of the e-mail: entrant’s name, address, phone number, Farm Bureau membership number, county in which you have the membership, title of photo, group in which you are competing (GFB members, GFB Young Farmers or GFB staff/family) and where and when the photo was taken. Photos entered in the GFB photo contest may not have been entered in any other contest. Photos will be judged on the use of angle, lighting, balance, color, contrast, viewpoint and technical ability. Altered photos will not be accepted. GFB reserves the right to disqualify photos for any reason. All photos become the property of GFB, which may use them for any purpose. Georgia Farm Bureau has the final decision on any and all questions or concerns regarding rules, judging, eligibility, prizes awarded or anything else that may arise pertaining to the photo contest. If you use children or people in your photo, you must complete a Model Release Entry Form complete with signatures. Please visit http://www.gfb.org to download a copy. This form must be completed and received by fax at 478-4053422 or by U.S. mail by June 10. Prizes will be awarded as follows: a 1st place prize of $150 in both the GFB members and Young Farmer categories. Honorable mentions in each of these categories will receive $75. The 1st place winner in the GFB staff category will receive $100, 2nd place $75 and 3rd place $25.