April 5, 2017
Vol. 35 No. 7
GFB FORMS NEW PUBLIC POLICY DEPARTMENT Georgia Farm Bureau has formed a Public Policy Department, merging its Legislative and Commodities/Marketing Departments. “Our legislative and commodities/marketing departments have worked closely together through the years to make sure we address farmers’ concerns,” said GFB President Gerald Long. “Our commodities staff has worked with our advisory committees to identify policy issues, which often become the legislative priorities our legislative staff The next issue of focuses on. For years, GFB leaders and staff have considered consolidating the GFB News Alert comes out two departments.” April 19. Jeffrey Harvey, who has served as legislative director the past two years, will head the new department. The new Public Policy Department will be responsible for interacting with elected officials, regulatory agencies and commodity organizations and other non-government agricultural stakeholders, with the purpose of advancing GFB’s position on issues affecting agriculture. It will also manage GFB’s Commodity Advisory Committees. Tas Smith, former assistant legislative director, transitions to the role of assistant director of governmental affairs. Joe McManus, former assistant commodities/marketing director, moves into the role of assistant director of agricultural programs. Brandon Ashley, former commodities/marketing specialist and coordinator of GFB’s Certified Farm Markets program, will serve as advocacy & policy development coordinator. Alex Bradford, former legislative specialist, moves into the role of state affairs coordinator. Blake Raulerson will serve as a governmental affairs specialist working on both state and national issues. Nathan Dupree, former commodities/marketing specialist and grain desk coordinator, takes over management of the Certified Farm Markets program, which becomes part of the GFB Field Services Department, which will also handle distribution of GFB peanut packets. The grain desk is being phased out. Commodities/Marketing Senior Administrative Assistant Cindy Arnold will also be moving into the Public Policy Department.
GFB News Alert page 2 of 14 GFB ANNOUNCES PROMOTIONS IN FIELD SERVICES DEPARTMENT Dennis Black has been promoted to director of Georgia Farm Bureau Field Services and Clay Talton has been promoted to associate field services Director. Black, who has been associate director since 2014, succeeds Mike Copeland, who retired March 30. Talton has worked as GFB 2nd District Field Representative since 2014 and succeeds Black as associate director. “Our Field Services Department has long been our direct link to our county Farm Bureaus. We like to think of them as our ‘boots on the ground,’” GFB President Gerald Long said. “Dennis and Clay have been outstanding in their previous roles with our organization, and we know the Field Services Dennis Black Department will remain in capable hands under their leadership.” A graduate of the University of Georgia, Black has worked for GFB since 1996, when he joined the company as its 2nd District field representative, serving 14 counties in northeast Georgia. He and his family raise breeder hens for Fieldale Farms along with keeping a herd of registered Angus cattle and growing hay. Black and his wife Teresa have three adult children – son Chris and his wife Coda, Ellen and Clay, and two grandchildren. Talton, a native of Houston County, worked for the UGA Cooperative Extension Service before taking the 2nd District field rep position. Prior to working for GFB, he served on the GFB Young Farmer Committee and won Clay Talton the GFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award in 2013. Talton holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science from UGA. He and his wife Brittany have three children – daughters Lola and Nora and son Cohen. USDA OFFERS RENEWAL OPTIONS FOR EXPIRING CSP CONTRACTS The USDA announced on March 30 that a contract renewal sign-up is underway for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), USDA’s largest working lands conservation program with more than 80 million acres enrolled. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) made several updates to the program in 2016. Participants with existing CSP contracts that will expire on Dec. 31 can access the benefits of the recent program changes through an option to renew their contracts for an additional five years if they agree to adopt additional activities to achieve higher levels of conservation on their lands. Applications to renew expiring contracts are due by May 5. Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, buffer strips, pollinator and beneficial insect habitat, and soil health building activities – all while maintaining active agricultural production on their land. Benefits to producers can include: improved cattle gains per acre; increased crop yields; decreased inputs; wildlife population improvements; and better resilience to weather extremes. Producers interested in contract renewals or applying for CSP for the first time should visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/csp or contact their local USDA service center to learn more.
GFB News Alert page 3 of 14 GFB MEMBERS TESTIFY BEFORE HOUSE AG SUBCOMMITTEE Terrell County Farm Bureau member Ronnie Lee and Berrien County Farm Bureau Vice President Tim McMillan testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management during the body’s hearing “The Next Farm Bill: Commodity Policy Part II,” held April 4 in Washington. Lee, who is chairman of the National Cotton Council, testified on behalf of the nation’s cotton farmers, urging that cotton be brought back into the farm bill commodity title. Lee said market volatility and mounting economic pressures have left cotton farmers in desperate need of an improved safety net, with commodity prices remaining below levels that cover production costs. Lee noted USDA statistics indicating that 19 percent of cotton farms are considered either highly or extremely highly leveraged. Lee asked that cottonseed be designated Tim McMillan as an other oilseed, making it eligible for farm bill commodity programs and providing temporary relief for cotton farmers while the new farm bill is being crafted. Lee pointed out that approximately 75 percent of U.S. raw cotton production is exported, which makes cotton farmers particularly susceptible to conditions in international markets. “For the past three years, U.S. cotton producers have struggled with low cotton prices, high production costs and the resulting financial hardships,” Lee said. “It is imperative that the next farm bill bring back cotton to Title I so that producers are able to access the same complete set of risk management tools available to other crops.” Ronnie Lee McMillan, testifying on behalf of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, spoke in support of maintaining the peanut provisions in the 2014 farm bill and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program in the next farm bill. “If the PLC program had not been in place, I am afraid many farms in the Southeast would no longer exist because of the downturn in the farm economy which has plagued us the past three years,” McMillan said. McMillan contrasted current peanut commodity prices with those at the time the 2014 farm bill was drafted and pointed out USDA projection that net farm income in 2017 will be about half what it was in 2013. “When we compare average prices in 2011-12 to 2016 prices, we see a 30 percent decline in peanut prices,” McMillan said. “I see the real impact of these numbers in the faces of my neighbors and hear it in discussions with lenders and our suppliers.”
GFB News Alert page 4 of 14 RESEARCH, CALVING GUIDANCE HIGHLIGHTED AT GCA CONVENTION Cattlemen and cattlewomen from across the state got a look at the latest equipment, heard important research information, danced a little, ate and bought livestock during the 56th Annual Georgia Cattlemen’s Association (GCA) Convention and Trade Show, held March 29 – April 1 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry. The event drew an estimated 1,500 visitors and featured 95 vendors, ranging from food products to livestock feed to heavy equipment. Five different livestock auctions were held during the event, as well as the annual Cattlemen’s Ball and GCA Awards Banquet GCA welcomed a new president, Lee Brown, a first-generation cattleman from Madison County, who succeeds 2016 President Kyle Gillooly. Brown is encouraging younger cattlemen to join the GCA and expressed optimism that after multiple years of sagging commodity prices for beef the economics of the industry would turn around. “I think there are people who benefit from being a member of our association no matter what the market does,” said Brown, who said individuals considering getting into the cattle business should seek counsel of experienced cattle producers. “I would try to pair them up with a mentor. An older gentleman or lady in the industry in their area. Kind of have them shadow the mentor and learn from them.” The convention included the 6th Annual Forage Conference on March 29, during which Georgia Beef Commission-funded research findings were presented on topics related to livestock forage. The commission provided funding to 17 studies in 2016, including five related to forage. One of those was on methods to manage the Bermudagrass stem maggot, which has invested and damaged forage grass throughout the southeast. According to the research, led by UGA Forage Specialist Dennis Hancock, mechanical and chemical controls may be used to keep the invasive insect larvae from causing economic damage. UGA Assistant Professor of Beef Production Medicine Dr. Lee Jones talked about recognizing calving cows that are experiencing difficulty. “It’s just learning to recognize the signs, when it’s a good idea to intervene and provide some assistance,” Jones said. “The big thing there is farmers that maybe don’t have a lot of experience with cattle may not recognize when an animal is actually needing help, when she’s in trouble.” Jones said some key warning signs are cows nearing delivery that are restless or not eating, that isolate themselves from the rest of the herd or hold their tails out for extended periods as if to urinate but without doing so. “What we try to teach is a set of simple corrections the farmer can make, and how to recognize when is it beyond their ability,” Jones said. “With every farmer it’s going to depend on their experience.” The GCA presented these awards at its awards banquet: County Agent of the Year - Lucy Ray; Vocational Ag Teacher of the Year - Cindy Jones; Junior of the Year - Tiffany Mullins; Producer of the Year - Marcus and Anthony South; Friend of the Cattlewomen - Sherri Morrow; Cattlewoman of the Year - Carolyn Gazda; Cattlewoman Hall of Fame - Linda Crumley; YCC David Gazda Visionary Award - Henry Jones; Beef Month Chapter Winner - Floyd Co Cattlemen's Association; Hall of Fame - Bobby Brantley. For photos from the GCA Convention visit http://bit.ly/17GCAconf.
GFB News Alert page 5 of 14 LOW PATHOGENIC AVIAN FLU FOUND IN CHATTOOGA CO. POULTRY FLOCK A flock of chickens at a commercial poultry breeding farm in Chattooga County tested positive for presumptive low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) of the H7 strain, the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) announced March 27. The case is considered a presumptive low pathogenic case because the flock showed no signs of illness. The virus was identified during routine pre-sale screening of the commercial flock and was confirmed as H7 avian influenza by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. The flock of 18,000 was depopulated as a precaution, the GDA reported. Officials are testing and monitoring other commercial flocks in a 6.2-mile surveillance area of the farm and backyard flocks within 2 miles of the farm, as established by USDA protocol, according to the GDA. At press time no other flocks in Georgia had tested positive. The presence of avian flu in Georgia comes after two cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) were confirmed in Lincoln County, Tennessee, March 5 and 14 and a case of LPAI in Giles County, Tennessee, on March 8. All of the Tennessee cases of avian flu were detected in commercial poultry flocks. Cases of LPAI were confirmed in a commercial poultry flock in Christian County, Kentucky, on March 20 and in Pickens County, Alabama, on March 21. Alabama also confirmed a case of LPAI in guinea fowl at a flea market in Jackson County, Alabama, on March 16 and in a backyard poultry flock in Madison County, Alabama on March 21. Wild birds are carriers of avian influenza, Georgia’s State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb said. He explained that the difference between highly pathogenic and low pathogenic avian flu strain is that highly pathogenic strains spread rapidly. Due to the cases of avian flu that had been detected in other Southeastern states, Cobb issued an official order on March 16 prohibiting poultry exhibitions, swaps and meets, shows and sales at festivals, flea markets or auctions in Georgia until further notice. “It is crucial that we all take extra precautions during this high alert situation to protect the State of Georgia from this devastating virus,” Cobb said. “The best way to do that is to stay vigilant maintaining our biosecurity measures and to avoid the unnecessary transport and comingling of birds.” The GDA has stressed the importance of both commercial and backyard poultry producers following biosecurity measure recommended by the USDA. “Poultry is the top sector of agriculture and we are committed to protecting the livelihoods of the many farm families that are dependent on it,” Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black said. “In order to successfully do that it is imperative that we continue our efforts of extensive biosecurity.” Visit www.ga-ai.org for the most recent updates on avian flu in Georgia. Biosecurity recommendations for commercial and backyard flocks are also available there and at www.gfb.org/avianflu.
GFB News Alert page 6 of 14 PECAN CONFERENCE SPOTLIGHTS NEW VARIETY, TREE INSURANCE & APC Hot topics at the 52nd Annual Georgia Pecan Growers Association (GPGA) Conference & Trade Show included the introduction of a new pecan variety, an overview of crop insurance the USDA Risk Management Agency is offering to insure pecan trees and a status update of the new American Pecan Council. About 850 people attended the event held March 29 in Tifton. GPGA President Jeb Barrow announced that the organization is teaming up with the Georgia Pecan Commission to create an e-commerce platform to market Georgia pecans to Chinese consumers who buy large portions of their food on the internet. “It’s not about shipping more pecans into China, but to market Georgia pecan products to our Chinese customers,” Barrow said. “This is a pilot program and is a true partnership between the Georgia Pecan Commission and Georgia Pecan Growers Association and the Georgia Department of Agriculture as well.” Barrow encouraged Georgia pecan growers to support the pecan commission during its April referendum and to return their ballots by the April 30 deadline. Dr. Patrick Conner, research leader of the University of Georgia’s pecan breeding program, introduced a new variety of pecan tree – Avalon – that he has spent the last 17 years developing. “I look at this cultivar as a good Southeastern cultivar that will give growers a chance to plant a cultivar with scab resistance that will give shellers the size and quality nut they want,” Conner said. Avalon, which is a cross between the Gloria Grande and Barton varieties, has been tested for resistance to pecan scab in sprayed orchards in Ray City and Tifton, and unsprayed orchards in Albany, Attapulgus, Tifton and Ray City. “No one can predict how long a variety will be scab resistant. What I can say is this variety has done 99 percent better at having scab resistance in a variety of environments,” Conner said. Conner said he is also monitoring the variety for susceptibility to black aphids and has found it to rate in the middle when compared to other varieties. The yield of Avalon increases consistently as the tree matures, Conner said. Eleven-year-old trees had a yield of 92 pounds per tree, Conner said. “In general the productivity looks good. It seems to be better than Desirable but not as good as Byrd,” Conner said. The kernel rating scale for pecans ranges from 1 to 5 with 1 being the lowest score and 5 being the highest. Conner said Avalon gets a 4.8 because it shells easily and has a standard kernel color that’s not too dark or light. The bud burst date is around April 6, which should make the variety suitable to grow in most regions in Georgia to avoid freeze damage, Conner said. Dr. Jeanne Lindsey with the USDA Risk Management Agency in Valdosta gave an overview of the new insurance program for pecan trees that is being offered beginning July 1. Pecan growers have until May 15 to purchase the insurance, but orchards must be inspected as part of the application process. Lindsey advised interested growers to contact their crop insurance agents -Continued
GFB News Alert page 7 of 14 Continued from previous page now. To be insured, trees must be two years old or older. Causes of covered tree loss include wind, ice, flood, fire and freeze damage. Complete details can be found at www.rma.usda.gov. “This has been a long time coming and a lot of people have wanted this. This is a pilot policy subject to change, so there may be changes next year,” Lindsey said. “This tree policy is more complicated than the revenue policy that insures the nut crop.” American Pecan Council (APC) members Trent Mason, of Fort Valley, Larry Willson, of Albany, and Mike Adams, of Texas, gave an update of the federal marketing order for pecans that growers in the 15-state pecan growing region passed last year. The APC has three growing regions – eastern, central and western. Georgia is in the eastern region with Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. Adams, chairman of the council, said the bulk of the funds collected by the council will be used to increase domestic pecan consumption because that is what growers said they wanted the APC to focus on. “We want pecans to be seen as America’s nut that will be recognized as a premium product that commands a premium price based on health, taste, quality and overall experience,” Adams said. Adams said the APC is looking to establish a permanent office in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The APC Governance Committee is interviewing administrative consultants and public relations firms this week to staff the APC office and execute the APC’s marketing plan. The APC began collecting an assessment on the 2016 pecan crop at a rate of 3 cents per inshell pound on improved varieties of pecans, two cents per inshell pound on native, seedling and substandard pecans. “Without this marketing order we’re going to be in a world of hurt if we don’t have a home for all the pecans that are going to be produced on the new trees being planted,” Mason said. Georgia is well-represented on the APC. In addition to Mason, who serves on the APC as a grower representative and Willson, who represents shellers, other APC members from Georgia include: Buck Paulk of Ray City and Molly Willis of Albany who also represent growers; and Jeff Worn, of Valdosta, who represents shellers. Mason was elected to serve as APC secretary by the other APC representatives. APC grower alternates are Angie Ellis of Vienna, Randy Hudson of Ocilla and Claire Powell of Bainbridge. Sheller alternates are Brandon Harrell of Camilla and Kenny Tarver of Glennville. Dr. Lenny Wells, an associate professor and UGA Extension horticulture specialist for pecans, shared his top 10 priorities for pecan production which are in order of importance: 1) water; 2) well-drained soil; 3) sunlight/air flow; 4) nutrition; 5) choosing pecan varieties to grow based on willingness to manage the production issues the variety has; 6) disease/insect management; 7) crop load management; 8) weed management; 9) not overmanaging; and 10) spending time in the orchard. “Water is the number one priority for growing pecans,” Wells said. “Irrigation will do more for your productivity. It provides a 70 percent increase in yield on mature trees and helps immature trees grow. If you have to choose between fertilizer and irrigation, choose water.”
GFB News Alert page 8 of 14 SENATE AG COMMITTEE APPROVES PERDUE; FLOOR VOTE WAITS The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry approved former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as nominee for Secretary of Agriculture in a voice vote held March 30. Sen. Kirsten Hillebrand (D-NY) was the lone dissenting vote. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) declined to participate in the vote, citing his family relationship to Gov. Perdue. Gov. Perdue’s confirmation rests with the full Senate, but at press time no debate or vote had been scheduled on the Senate floor. The committee held its confirmation hearing on March 23, and Gov. Perdue received a warm welcome during that hearing, at which Perdue was accompanied by dozens of family, friends, former colleagues and bipartisan supporters. American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black attended. Perdue received recommendations from former Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss and current House Agriculture Committee Member David Scott, a Democrat representing Georgia’s 13th District. In his testimony, Gov. Perdue pledged to support the agribusiness sector in creating jobs, producing commodities and to help them “reap the earned reward of their labor. He said he would prioritize customer service within the USDA, protecting food safety and conserving the land. “Farming and farmers have been my life,” Perdue said. “I have lived and breathed the exhilaration of a great crop and the despair and devastation of a drought. I learned by experience what my father told me as a child – ‘If you take care of the land, it will take care of you.’” Georgia Farm Bureau was one of more than 650 agricultural groups to sign a letter to Senate Ag Committee leadership in early February urging them to support Gov. Perdue’s nomination. AFBF and the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) issued a joint statement on April 3 urging the Senate to vote on Perdue before Congress adjourns on April 7 for Easter recess. The body returns to Washington on April 24. “U.S. farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses – and the consumers we serve – need the strong, capable leadership at USDA that Gov. Perdue will provide,” the AFBF and NGFA said. “He is a dedicated, accomplished, innovative, problem-solving and proven public servant, and we need him at the USDA to begin addressing a backlog of policy issues that are awaiting his attention and to begin the process of filling key positions within the department. It also is vital to have Gov. Perdue engaged fully within the administration and with Congress on international trade, farm bill and regulatory issues affecting U.S. farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses.” GEORGIA PEANUT COMMISSION INCREASES FUNDING FOR RESEARCH IN 2017 The Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) Board of Directors approved $523,496 in research project funding for the 2017-18 research budget year during the commission's March board meeting. The research projects approved include 32 project proposals submitted from the University of Georgia and USDA Agricultural Research Service. Georgia's peanut growers invest $2 per ton annually toward GPC programs which include research, promotion and education. The research programs primarily focus on peanut breeding for higher yield and improved quality; economics; conservation methods; irrigation and water management; pests, weed and disease management. Additionally, GPC manages funding for the Southeastern Peanut Research Initiative which includes research funding of $1,215,517 for projects in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. These projects are funded through the National Peanut Board checkoff dollars from farmers. For additional information and a complete list of the research projects funded by the GPC visit www.gapeanuts.com.
GFB News Alert page 9 of 14 GEORGIA PECAN AND BEEF COMMISSIONS HOLDING REFERENDUMS Georgia pecan growers and beef producers will vote in separate referendums this spring to decide if their respective grower assessments, which fund the Georgia Pecan Commission and the Georgia Beef Commission, will continue. Georgia pecan growers pay one cent per pound of inshell nuts to fund the research, promotion and education programs of the Georgia Pecan Commission. The pecan commission has funded research on pecan scab and control of numerous pecan insects. The pecan referendum is being held through April 30. Producers growing 30 or more acres of pecans are eligible to vote in the statewide referendum. Growers should receive a ballot in the mail from the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Eligible producers who have not received a ballot should contact the GDA at 404-586-1405. Ballots must be signed and postmarked by April 30 to be counted. Georgia beef producers pay $1 per head sold to fund the research, promotion and education programs of the Georgia Beef Commission. Projects the commission has funded include controlling the Bermudagrass stem maggot, studying how to manage summer annual grazing systems, growing alfalfa in Bermudagrass, baleage production systems, and fall brassica production. The beef referendum will be held May 1-30. Growers should receive a ballot in the mail from the Georgia Department of Agriculture by May 10. Eligible producers who don’t receive a ballot should contact the GDA at 404-586-1405. Ballots must be signed and postmarked by May 30 to be counted. EPA ADMINISTRATOR DENIES PETITION TO BAN CHLORPYRIFOS U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed an order on March 29 denying a petition that sought to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide crucial to U.S. agriculture, according to an EPA press release. Georgia Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) support continued use of chlorpyrifos, maintaining that it is safe when used as directed and has been beneficial to farmers in controlling insects that damage alfalfa, pecans, soybeans and nursery products, among others. AFBF applauded the move in a March 30 statement. “Farmers nationwide depend on chlorpyrifos in managing their crops,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “It is widely and safely used for a wide range of crops, including alfalfa, citrus, vegetables, soybeans, almonds and others. It also protects hundreds of thousands of acres of grass seed production, where it controls aphids, cutworms and other pests. As USDA has noted, chlorpyrifos has been used as a part of environmentally friendly IPM (integrated pest management) programs for nearly 50 years.” In October 2015 EPA under then-President Barack Obama, proposed to revoke all food residue tolerances for chlorpyrifos, an active ingredient in insecticides. This proposal was issued in response to a petition from activist groups. The October 2015 proposal largely relied on novel and uncertain application of epidemiological study outcomes, the EPA said in its March 29 release.
GFB News Alert page 10 of 14 TRUMP PROPOSAL WOULD CUT USDA BUDGET BY 21 PERCENT The Trump Administration released the president’s federal budget blueprint for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 March 16. The blueprint only impacts discretionary funding and does not include mandatory funding or tax proposals, which are typically included in the president’s budget. The complete budget is expected to be released in May. A copy of the blueprint can be found at http://bit.ly/17budgetblueprint. The president’s budget blueprint is the first step in the annual federal budget process. The president’s budget establishes a marker but it’s Congress that writes the budget. Federal agencies for FY17 are still operating under a continuing resolution, which expires on April 28. Congress needs to pass the remaining 11 appropriation bills, an omnibus bill or extend the continuing resolution to keep the federal government operating beyond April 28. The president’s budget proposes $17.9 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) in FY18. This is a decrease of 21 percent or $4.7 billion below the FY17 continuing resolution. The blueprint continues funding for farmer-focused research, extension partnerships at landgrant universities and provides around $350 million for USDA’s competitive research program. Farm Bureau supports this critical funding that allows farmers to utilize technological advancement to feed a world’s growing population. Farm Bureau also supports fully funding the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which the proposed budget does. Under the president’s proposal, the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program would be eliminated. Farm Bureau opposes the elimination of this program, which purchases U.S. commodities to provide food security to food deficit countries around the world. The president’s proposed budget reduces funding for USDA’s statistical capabilities. Farm Bureau opposes this reduction, which would limit the essential business information farmers and ranchers use to guide their business decisions.
GFB News Alert page 11 of 14 2017 FORAGE FIELD DAY April 17 Camp Twin Lakes 4 p.m. Rutledge This field day, hosted by the Morgan County Cattlemen’s Association, will cover weed identification, fencing systems and pasture management, grazing management and more. One hour of pesticide credit will be available. Registration is $5 at the door and includes dinner. RSVP by noon on April 7 by calling the Morgan County Extension office at 706-342-2214. ‘GEE HAW WHOA BACK’ RODEO April 7-8 Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Arena Tifton Spectators will be entertained with riveting competition during this Professional Cowboy Association-sanctioned rodeo, which begins at 7:30 p.m. each evening. Gates open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for children 6 – 12 years old and free to ABAC students and children five years old and under. Rodeo tickets will be sold in advance and at the gate on the two days of the event. The rodeo is a part of a week-long series of events on April 3 - 9 designed for students, alumni and the general public. For more information on rodeo tickets or the Homecoming Week, interested persons can contact the ABAC Office of College Advancement at 229-391-4900 or go to www.abac.edu/homecoming. USDA VALUE ADDED GRANT WORKSHOP April 10 Georgia Farm Bureau 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Macon This free workshop is presented by USDA Rural Development, The University of Georgia’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, and The Center of Innovation for Agribusiness with support from Georgia Farm Bureau. The VAPG program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of biobased, value-added products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the goals of this program. Independent producers, farmer or rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups, and producer-owned business ventures, including non-profit organizations are eligible to apply. The workshop will cover tips from successful grant writers, feasibility studies and services provided by the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness. While there is no cost to attend, pre-registration by April 5 is required to guarantee lunch. To register visit http://tinyurl.com/2017VAPG. FORT VALLEY STATE HAM & EGG BREAKFAST & GA AG SHOWCASE April 12 Fort Valley State University Pettigrew Center 8 a.m. Fort Valley The public is invited to attend this annual event, during which legislators will interact with guests, describe their initiatives and explain their positions on current issues. Elected officials at the local, state and national levels have been invited to attend. Cost is $10. For more information, contact Joy-Moten-Thomas at 478-825-6954 or email@example.com. 56th ANNUAL PEANUT SEED SHORT COURSE April 20 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Tifton The Georgia Crop Improvement Association (GCIA) is hosting this event. Attendees may receive 3 hours of pesticide credit in Category 21/plant agriculture or 1 hour of pesticide credit in Category 10/private applicator from the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Speakers will discuss the following topics: peanut market forecast, the GCIA field inspection process, peanut sustainability initiatives, peanut production update, the Georgia Federal State Inspection Service, the state seed lab and peanut disease management. Those planning to attend should RSVP by Friday, April 14 via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 706-542-2351.
GFB News Alert page 12 of 14 BEEF CATTLE FIELD DAY April 18 Vaughn Farm 1:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Forsyth This field day will feature soil health in pastures, pasture fertility and management, forage varieties for the Piedmont, herd health and heifer management. Cost is $5 and registration is required. For more information or to register, call 770-358-0787, ext. 3 or send an email to Carolyn.email@example.com. FENCING FOR FORAGERS WORKSHOP April 20 Partisover Ranch 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Colbert This workshop will teach participants how to make fences good for grazing. Topics covered include perimeter fencing and bracing, working with temporary fencing and other topics. A hamburger dinner will be provided. RSVP by April 18 by calling 706-795-2281. GEORGIA FARM AND EROSION CONTROL EXPO April 21-22 Jim Miller Park Marietta This expo, sponsored in part by Cobb County Farm Bureau, provides a hands-on look at the latest in erosion and sedimentation control products. Ranger Nick will speak on April 21 and Walter Reeves will speak on April 22. Visitors can explore the latest in agricultural equipment technology, learn to garden and how to prepare fresh foods, get tips on raised-bed gardening, take home locally grown plants and foods and have questions answered on-site by master gardeners. For more information visit http://www.gaurbanexpo.com/. EXPORTING 101 SEMINAR April 27 Savannah Trade and Convention Center 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Savannah Join the Southern United States Trade Association, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and the World Trade Center Savannah for a free seminar on the steps and challenges in becoming a successful exporter of food and agriculture-based products. A panel discussion will give attendees valuable insight into what it takes to start exporting their products to international markets. Topics to be covered include: How to start exporting your product, the Georgia Grown program, and SUSTA's 50 percent cost share program. Hear from international bankers, freight forwarders, and other industry professionals who've experienced success in exporting. SUSTA representatives will be available before and after the seminar to meet one-on-one with companies interested in learning more about SUSTA's programming. To schedule a meeting following the speakers, please email Mike Swanson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit http://bit.ly/SUSTAExport101 to register. MONROE COUNTY HERD SALE May 6 Sleepy Creek Farm 12:30 p.m. Forsyth Approximately 65 bred heifers will be available at this sale. Data on the heifers includes AI breeding and Sire EPDs, pelvic area, frame scores, disposition scores, weight per day of age and average daily gain. For more information or to receive a catalog, contact the Monroe County Extension office at 478-994-7014 or email@example.com (type HERD in the subject line). Information is also available online at www.ugaextension.org/monroe/.
GFB News Alert page 13 of 14 YOUNG HARRIS/UGA BEEKEEPING INSTITUTE May 10-13 Young Harris College 8 a.m. each day Young Harris This event, one of the most comprehensive beekeeping educational events in the Southeast, offers classes for beekeepers at all levels of experience and the annual honey show. Sessions provide training and certification, including individual and colony biology, hive equipment, off-season management and much more. Advanced beekeeper and honey judge program lectures & testing (open to registered participants only) to be held on May 10. Registration fees for ages 18 and older are $130 for May 11, $130 for May 12, $100 for May 13 and $300 for all three days. For ages 17 and under, fees are $100 for May 11, $65 for May 12, $50 for May 13 and $150 for all three days. Space is limited and classes generally fill up quickly. For more information, visit http://caes2.caes.uga.edu/bees/young-harris/index.html. 2017 PICTURE AGRICULTURE IN GEORGIA PHOTO CONTEST May 12 deadline for entries The Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee is asking GFB members to share their photos of farm life and rural Georgia in its 8th Annual Picture Agriculture in Georgia Contest. This contest is open to all GFB members, including county and state staff, who receive no income from photography. The winner will be featured on the front of the 2018 GFB Young Farmer Calendar and the 11 honorable mentions will grace the inside. Even if your photo doesnâ€™t make the calendar, it might be featured on a cover of a GFB magazine or brochure. The first-place prize is $150 and the 11 honorable mentions receive $75 each. Visit your county Farm Bureau office for contest rules, entry instructions and the Model Release Form or visit the GFB website at www.gfb.org/photo. RMA PECAN TREE INSURANCE PROGRAM May 15 sales closing date A Pecan Tree Insurance Program has been officially approved and implemented by the USDA Risk Management Agency and will be available to growers starting with the 2018 crop year, which begins on July 1. Growers have been able to insure their pecan crop for several years and now they can also insure their trees to protect them from losses due to storms. To learn more about the program visit http://bit.ly/pecantreeins to learn more about the program. Interested growers will need to visit with their crop insurance agents before the May 15 sales closing date if they wish to participate in the program for the upcoming crop year. Orchards must be inspected before they can be insured. GEORGIA COTTON WOMEN SCHOLARSHIPS May 15 deadline to apply College students who will be entering freshmen or rising sophomores at a Georgia college for the 2017-2018 academic year and are the child or grandchild of a Georgia cotton producer or a cotton industry employee have until May 15 to apply for two scholarships coordinated by the Georgia Cotton Women Inc. (GCW). The John M. and Connie H. Mobley Memorial Scholarship is presented to the child or grandchild of an active Georgia cotton producer. The GCW Scholarship is presented annually to the child or grandchild of a Georgia cotton producer or a cotton industry employee who is also the child or grandchild of a GCW member. Each $1,500 scholarship is also payable one-third each quarter or one-half each semester. Applications are available at www.georgiacottonwomen.org. For more information, email Nancy Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 229-941-2930.
GFB News Alert page 14 of 14 2017 LONGLEAF PINE FIELD DAY May 16 West Lower Meigs Rd. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Meigs This free field day, coordinated by the Colquitt County Extension office, will cover planting, spacing, thinning of longleaf stands, ordering seedlings and other topics. Participation is limited to the first 45 who register. Lunch will be provided. For more information or to register, contact the Colquitt County Extension Office at 478-982-4408. GFB TAKING YF CONTEST ENTRIES, CONFERENCE REGISTRATION May 26 registration/entry deadline The GFB Young Farmer Committee is accepting applications for the Young Farmer Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture Award and Discussion Meet. Registration is also open for the GFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference, which will be held July 19-22 on Jekyll Island. GFB members between the ages of 18-35 may apply for these awards or attend the conference. Applications for the contests and conference will be accepted through May 26 at 4:30 p.m. and are available at county Farm Bureau offices. The state winners of each of the competitive events will be named at the GFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference in July. All rounds of the discussion meet and Excellence in Ag interviews for the top three applicants will be held at the leadership conference. The top three applicants for the achievement award will have on-farm interviews in late June. For more information on any of these awards or the conference, please visit www.gfb.org/yf or stop by your county Farm Bureau. GEORGIA CENTENNIAL FARM PROGRAM June 1 Deadline to apply The Georgia Centennial Farm Program honors farms in three categories. 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. The Centennial Farm Award doesn’t require continuous family ownership, but farms must be at least 100 years old and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Centennial Family Farm Award honors farms owned by members of the same family for 100 years or more that aren’t listed in the National Register of Historic Places. More than 500 farms have been recognized through the Centennial Farm Program since it began in 1993. Farm owners interested in applying for the award in 2017 should visit www.georgiacentennialfarms.org to download an application or contact Allison Asbrock at 770389-7868 or email@example.com. Applications must be postmarked by June 1. 2017 AGAWARE WORKSHOP Aug. 25 Burke County Office Park Waynesboro AgSouth Farm Credit and AgGeorgia Farm Credit are hosting this informative workshop to give farmers a better understanding of how to approach their finances. Topics covered in the program include: balance sheets; income statements; family finance & family budgeting; risk management; accrual income; applying for financing and preparing a business plan. Bonus videos on recordkeeping, marketing and technology will be available for continued education. To register visit http://bit.ly/agawaresignup.