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Vol. 78 No. 4



The Voice of Georgia Farmers

Oct. 31 deadline to enter GFB Hay Contest

August 2016

$500 Bonus Cash For Georgia Farm Bureau Members Georgia Farm Bureau members get $500 Bonus Cash* toward the purchase or lease of any eligible 2015/2016/2017 Ford vehicle. Enjoy valuable savings on your choice of vehicles from our comfortable and capable lineup – like the all-new 2016 F-150 with high-strength, military-grade, aluminumalloy body construction.




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*Program 35296: $500 Bonus Cash offer exclusively for active Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee Farm Bureau members who are residents of the United States. Offer is valid from 1/5/2016 through 1/3/2017 for the purchase or lease of an eligible new 2015/2016/2017 model year Ford vehicle not available on Mustang Shelby GT350/500, Mustang Boss 302, Mustang Special 50th Anniversary Edition, Focus RS and F-150 Raptor. This offer may not be used in conjunction with most other Ford Motor Company private incentives or AXZDPlans. Some customer and purchase eligibility restrictions apply. You must be an eligible Association member for at least 30 consecutive days and must show proof of membership. Limit one $500 Bonus Cash offer per vehicle purchase or lease. Limit of five new eligible vehicle purchases or leases per Farm Bureau member during program period. See your Ford Dealer for complete details and qualifications.

$750 SAVINGS, RESERVED JUST FOR GEORGIA FARM BUREAU MEMBERS Georgia Farm Bureau members get $750 Bonus Cash* toward the purchase or lease of any eligible intelligently designed 2015/2016/2017 Lincoln vehicle.




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*Program 33413: $750 Bonus Cash offer exclusively for active Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee Farm Bureau members who are residents of the United States. Offer is valid from 1/5/2016 through 1/3/2017 for the purchase or lease of an eligible new 2015/2016/2017 model year Lincoln vehicle. This offer may not be used in conjunction with most other Ford Motor Company private incentives or AXZD-Plans. Some customer and purchase eligibility restrictions apply. You must be an eligible Association member for at least 30 consecutive days and must show proof of membership. Limit one $750 Bonus Cash offer per vehicle purchase or lease. Limit of five new eligible vehicle purchases or leases per Farm Bureau member during program period. See your Lincoln Dealer for complete details and qualifications. **Tested with 93-octane fuel.

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table of

contents august 2016

departments view from the field PAGE 4

legislative update PAGE 5

commodities update PAGE 14

around georgia


public relations staff Andy Lucas Director Jennifer Whittaker Editor Jay Stone Print/Web Specialist Lillian Davis Publications/Advertising Manager Michael Edmondson Web/Video Manager Ray D’Alessio Senior Producer/TV Host Kenny Burgamy Co-Anchor/Reporter Mark Wildman Senior Radio-TV Specialist Dean Wood Radio-TV Specialist Damon Jones Radio-TV Specialist Vickie Amos Office Coordinator For information concerning advertising, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or For questions about your membership or member benefits, call 1-800-633-5432. For questions regarding editorial content call 478-474-0679, ext. 5334 or e-mail Visit the GFB Web site today! Georgia Farm Bureau TV: “Like” us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Check us out on Pinterest:

Young farmers urged to tell their story, winners named at GFB YF Conference

GFB’s Young Farmer Program held its annual conference on Jekyll Island in July. Speakers urged attendees to make agriculture more visible to consumers, discussed DOT rules for hauling farm products, USDA programs and the Georgia Ports Authority. Winners of the YF Achievement, Discussion Meet and Excellence in Agriculture contests were also announced. New Mexico rancher Matt Rush, right, gave the keynote speech. PAGE 6

Farming a chosen way of life for YF Achievement Award finalists

The three finalist families for GFB’s Young Farmer Achievement Award were recognized at the GFB Young Farmer Conference. Take a look at the amazing farms of runners-up Thomas and Alicia Harrell of Madison County, Brian and Melissa Ogletree of Spalding County, and winners Jonathan and Bridget Hitchcock of Washington County. PAGE 8

Lab of thousands of samples

Hay entered in GFB’s Quality Hay Contest is tested at UGA’s Feed and Environmental Water Laboratory in Athens to determine its nutritional quality. Learn about the testing process that determines the winner of GFB’s contest. PAGE 10

Congress passes GMO labeling bill

In July Congress passed a bill that sets a national mandatory labeling standard for products that contain genetically modified ingredients and prohibits states from enacting their own standards. The bill became necessary after a Vermont state law mandating GMO labeling went into effect July 1. PAGE 12

GFB Farm to Fork tour highlights beef production Georgia Farm Bureau members who went on the Farm to Fork: Beef Cattle Experience Tour visited stops highlighting how producers are using improved genetics, high quality feed and medical advances to produce the tastiest, safest beef possible. PAGE 16

Georgia shines at NAITC Conference

Georgia shined in the desert at the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference held in June in Litchfield Park, Arizona. Georgia brought home its third national teaching award, had three attendees give workshop presentations and had two teachers receive scholarships to attend the event. PAGE 18

GFB Essay Contest looks at ag’s use of technology

Reece Pasley of Upson County is the state winner of the 2016 Georgia Farm Bureau Middle School Essay Contest. Pasley and the other 46 students who entered the contest addressed the topic “Technology – The Farmer’s Friend.” PAGE 19

about the cover--------------------------------------

Henry County Farm Bureau member Alisha Allen shot this photo while she and her dad, Larry, were baling hay on their family farm in Locust Grove. She entered this photo in the 2015 GFB Photo Contest. Look for the winners of the 2016 photo contest in a future magazine.

Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2016/ 3

view from the field Gerald Long, GFB President

Taxing Issues This has turned out to be a typical Georgia summer - hot and dry. As of July 28, the U.S. Drought Monitor has classified 78 percent of the state as being in some stage of drought ranging from abnormally dry to extreme drought, and the USDA had issued disaster designations to 65 Georgia counties due to drought conditions. The worst conditions are in North Georgia where poor pasture conditions are forcing cattle producers to feed hay. Many row crop farmers in Middle and South Georgia are having to run their irrigation systems more than they would like in order to make their crops. The expense that dry weather costs farmers, such as having to feed hay early, buying hay from other farmers and high fuel bills from irrigating crops more, is yet another reason farmers need the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) Program. GATE, created by the Georgia General Assembly in 2012 and implemented Jan. 1, 2013, offers qualified ag producers a sales tax exemption on ag equipment and supplies directly used to produce commodities. Due to reports of some cardholders abusing the exemption, Georgia legislators put GATE in the hot seat during the General Session this year. Georgia Farm Bureau and other ag groups successfully argued against proposed changes, such as moving the program from the Georgia Department of Agriculture to the Department of Revenue (DOR) and increasing the revenue threshold cardholders must meet to qualify for a card. However, we know GATE will continue to be scrutinized. If Georgia farmers with GATE cards want to keep this program, we must only use our card for eligible purchases. Farm Bureau continues to educate our members about the importance of following 4 / August 2016

GATE guidelines and has posted a onepage reference guide on our website that you can print and carry in your wallet to see if your purchases qualify for GATE. The Georgia DOR is randomly auditing GATE cardholders. Misuse of the card may result in having to pay taxes, penalties and interest. Some of the early GATE audits have been conducted at direct farm markets and agritourism facilities. DOR auditors not only looked at GATE purchases, but they also examined sales tax collections for retail purchases and farm admissions. Knowing when local and state sales taxes are collected or exempted can be confusing, even for tax professionals. That’s why Farm Bureau, the Georgia Agritourism Association and Georgia Department of Agriculture consulted with the DOR to create a resource guide for farm market and agritourism owners to help them navigate sales tax issues. You can learn more about GATE and collecting sales tax in the Legislative Update on page five. Read the recommended guides the article mentions and share them with your tax lawyer or certified public accountant to be sure you’re in compliance. Since the end of June, I’ve had the chance to visit with county Farm Bureau leaders in GFB’s 4th, 5th and 10th Districts. I enjoyed getting feedback from these leaders and discussing Farm Bureau issues. Another highlight of my summer was attending the GFB Young Farmer Conference in July. I got to spend some time with folks who will be the future leaders of our organization. Their enthusiasm for farming and our organization make me confident the future of Georgia agriculture and Farm Bureau is bright.



The Voice of Georgia Farmers

SUBSCRIPTION RATES Farm Bureau Members: Included in dues — $1 per year Non-Members — $15 per year To subscribe call 1-800-898-1911, ext. 5238. OFFICERS President GERALD LONG, Bainbridge 1st Vice President and Middle Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN JR., Adrian North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS, Ringgold Chief Operating Officer WAYNE DANIEL General Counsel DUKE GROOVER Chief Financial Officer & Corp. Treasurer DAVID JOLLEY Chief Administrative Officer & Corp. Secretary JON HUFFMASTER

DIRECTORS FIRST DISTRICT: Bill Bryan, Summerville; Wesley Hall, Cumming SECOND DISTRICT: Bobby Gunter, Dahlonega; Randy Ruff, Elberton THIRD DISTRICT: George Chambers, Carrollton; Nora Goodman, Temple FOURTH DISTRICT: Skeetter McCorkle, Dearing; Marvin Ruark, Bishop FIFTH DISTRICT: Ralph Adamson Jr., Barnesville; Matt Bottoms, Molena SIXTH DISTRICT: James Malone, Dexter; James Emory Tate, Denton SEVENTH DISTRICT: Gary Bell, Bellville; Ben Boyd, Sylvania EIGHTH DISTRICT: Scotty Raines, Sycamore; Don Wood, Rochelle NINTH DISTRICT: Lucius Adkins, Newton; Paul Shirah, Camilla TENTH DISTRICT: Daniel Johnson, Alma; David Lee, Alma YOUNG FARMER CHAIRMAN: Will Cabe, Carnesville WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Melanie Sanders, Stephens 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 mcfarlandadvantage@ Georgia Farm Bureau News was established in 1937. Copyright 2016 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.


Georgia Farm Bureau News

legislative update By Jenna Saxon, Legislative Specialist

Would you pass a sales tax audit? The Georgia Agriculture Tax Exemption (GATE) is a program created by the Georgia Legislature which offers qualified ag producers a sales tax exemption on ag equipment and supplies directly used to produce their commodities. GATE was a popular topic among legislators during Georgia’s 2016 Legislative Session. Although legislation was introduced to alter the program, the bill did not pass and the program remains unchanged. Legislators did, however, appropriate funds for GATE Compliance Specialists housed in the Georgia Department of Agriculture. GATE cardholders are subject to audit by the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR). Misuse of the GATE card may result in an assessment of taxes, penalties, and interest. In May the DOR issued a new policy bulletin providing guidance on the GATE program’s use and enforcement. This document will serve as a guide for DOR auditors performing compliance checks on retailers and farms. It serves as an excellent reminder of what auditors are looking for within the program. All GATE cardholders are encouraged to view this document at DORGATEGuide to ensure they are complying with the program’s guidelines. Sometimes it can be challenging to determine if an item is an allowable GATE purchase. To help reduce confusion at the register, Georgia Farm Bureau’s “GATE Guide” categorizes the items that qualify as an acceptable GATE purchase. Cardholders can print a copy of the guide at http://tinyurl. com/GFBGATEGuide to keep on hand for reference when making a purchase. Below is a list of items that DO NOT qualify under GATE. • Clothes, boots & other apparel. • Food & drinks for human consumption. • Real property: concrete pads, barns, greenhouses, strand metal buildings & other buildings (other than grain bins). • Gasoline or on-road (clear, non-dyed) diesel, including aviation gasoline. • Plants, fertilizer, pine straw & other items used for aesthetic/landscaping purposes. • Pet food & supplies for domestic animals

including dogs, cattle/herding dogs, cats, birds, etc. • Energy, cell phones or supplies used for residential/administrative purposes. • Any motorized vehicles designed for onroad use. • Replacement parts for on-road use motor vehicles. • Property or fixtures attached to barns, greenhouses & other metal buildings such as electrical wiring, HVAC, windows & doors. These are considered real property. • Guns, ammunition, hunting supplies, etc. • ATVs & off-road vehicles not used for ag purposes. • Crushed rock/gravel for road or path construction. • Fish used for aesthetic or weed/algae control for pond irrigation (Koi, Grass Carp, etc.) • Shipping or freight on items that are not qualified as tax exempt ag inputs. For questions about the GATE card, contact: Georgia Department of Agriculture at 1-855-327-6829. For questions about item exemptions, contact Georgia Department of Revenue at 1-877-423-6711. SALES TAX COLLECTION The Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) is currently auditing GATE card purchases using the new DOR Policy Bulletin mentioned above. Many of the early GATE audits were conducted at direct farm markets/agritourism facilities. DOR auditors not only audited GATE purchases, but they also examined sales tax collections for retail purchases and farm admissions. Georgia tax code dictating when local LOCAL SALES TAX REQUIRED FOR THESE ITEMS: Food intended for off-premise human consumption Ex: Fresh produce. There are no exemptions for selling products grown by the farmer at farmers markets, roadside stands, etc. These items are exempt from the state tax because these items are considered grocery items. Products that have undergone pasteurization (milk, cider, etc.) are not considered prepared food and only receive the local tax.

and state sales taxes are collected or exempted can be cumbersome. Representatives from the Georgia Agritourism Association, Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Department of Agriculture met with officials from the DOR to gain clarity on sales tax laws. After much discussion, these stakeholder groups created the “Resource Guide for Direct-to-Consumer Sales and Agritourism Operations” to help educate growers and operators as they navigate the various tax related issues. Producers who market their products directly to consumers must collect and remit local sales taxes and in some instances state tax is also required. According to the resource guide, “prepared food” is subject to state and local sales tax collection and “food intended for off-premise human consumption” is exempt from the state sales tax, but still subject to all local sales tax. It is important to note that ALL food items are subject to local taxes. The only tax exclusions available are for state sales tax. The “Resource Guide for Direct-toConsumer Sales and Agritourism Operations” can be found at http://www.gfb. org/TaxGuide. For questions or concerns, please contact the GFB Legislative Department at 800-898-1911. This article provides general information about GATE and sales tax issues. This information does not constitute written tax guidance issued by Georgia Farm Bureau, the Georgia Dept. of Revenue or any other regulatory agency. Business owners should consult their attorney or CPA for expert tax advice. STATE & LOCAL SALES TAX ARE REQUIRED FOR THESE ITEMS: Prepared food A “prepared food” may have one or more of the following characteristics: contain more than one ingredient, edible on premises, heated/cooked, served with utensils, etc. Examples of prepared food include: ice cream, jams, jellies, fried pies, individual apples. A cup of cider would be considered prepared food versus a bottle of cider that you can take home.

Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2016/ 5

Young farmers urged to tell Articles & photos by Jay Stone _________________________________________________________


oung farmers were prompted to make agriculture more visible to consumers, learned about Department of Transportation rules for trucks hauling farm products and received information about USDA programs and the Georgia Ports Authority during the 2016 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Young Farmer Leadership Conference, held

Auctioneer Josh Pennino seeks bids for a gun safe during the charity auction at the Young Farmer Leadership Conference as GFB Young Farmer Committee members Russ Wilburn and Heather Cabe help. The auction raised more than $2,300 for the GFB Young Farmer program.

July 13-16 on Jekyll Island. Using the theme, “Tell your story or someone else will,” several speakers at the annual conference encouraged nearly 300 young farmers to share what they do and why with the general public. “I ask, hope and expect you to be involved,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “It’s so important. You are the future leaders of this organization.” Long stressed that farmers developing relationships in their communities with those not involved in farming is key for agriculture’s long-term survival. “You sell yourself,” Long said. “Do that, and your product will take care of itself.” Keynote speaker Matt Rush put it this way: Make sure your product is viable (willing and able to grow), valuable and visible. “Is our product viable? Absolutely. We’re the most viable industry on the planet,” Rush said. “Our products are amazingly valuable. But, does everyone know what value you bring?”

Millennials could have major impact on elections They’re the second-largest voting-age generation and they’re hard to pin down to a particular ideology, but millennials – those born after 1980 and the first generation to come of age in the new millennium – have the potential to have a profound impact on politics and policy moving forward, according to American Farm BuLyon reau Federation Director of Advocacy and Political Affairs Cody Lyon, who spoke about millennials and the political process July 15 during the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Leadership Conference. “You look at Generation X or Baby Boomers or traditionalists, and you could 6 /August 2016

determine their mold pretty easily,” Lyon said. “You could determine how they would typically vote pretty easily. With millennials it’s very different because they don’t want to be put in a box one way or the other.” Millennials are more tolerant of differing cultures and lifestyles than previous generations and their defining moments have largely been traumatic occurrrences, like Sept. 11, the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado and Occupy Wall Street. “They have a certain sense of fear in the world that they want to try to ease and make better,” Lyon said. Then there’s what Lyon referred to as the privacy paradox: Millennials are very focused on protection of privacy, but they share details of their lives freely on social media. Millennial philosophy, Lyon said, is very

Capt. James Steen of the Georgia Department of Public Safety’s Motor Carrier Compliance Division fields questions after his presentation on the state’s rules for farm vehicles. Visit to see more photos.

It’s not enough, Rush said, to simply churn out great products. “I’d truly just like to be left alone to do my job. I just want to farm. We’d be content to just do our job. But in the absence of our voices, those who don’t know us, don’t understand us or don’t like us are redefining who we are,” Rush said. GFB Legislative Director Jeffrey Harvey gave a summary of what the Legislative Deteam- and goal-oriented and seems more concerned with end results than with who gets the credit. “Large or small, they’re going to be very team-oriented to achieve whatever goal they’re setting out to do,” Lyon said. For the young farmers at the conference, many of whom could be classified as millennials, the characteristics of their generation present great opportunities to drive change, whether it’s in the political arena, within Farm Bureau or other organizations. “They want to be involved in structural decision-making with things that are happening with Farm Bureau at the county and state levels,” Lyon said. “They’re going to absolutely be involved and they’re going to have opportunities to do that, because they have the skill set, the ability and the desire. They just need to be able to focus on the things they want to accomplish.” Georgia Farm Bureau News

their story partment does and discussed key bills in Congress and the Georgia Legislature, where an attempt to change the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) program failed in the 2016 session. “We must protect this program,” Harvey said. “We need to be extra careful every time we put something on the cash register and be sure the items are allowable GATE purchases.” Harvey also noted that a new class of lawmakers will enter the legislature for the 2017 session, and GFB needs the support of farmers in the legislators’ districts to forge relationships with them. “You are the ones who vote for them,” Harvey said. “They will listen to you.” During the conference, attendees selected a photo by Cody and Grace Martin of Walton County as the overall winner of the 2016 Picture Georgia in Agriculture Contest from 12 finalist photos. The finalist photos will be featured in the 2017 GFB Young Farmer Calendar. Visit to view the winning photos. The conference also featured the alwayspopular low-country boil, a golf outing to raise money for the Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture and a charity auction to support the GFB Young Farmer program. Capt. James Steen of the Georgia Department of Public Safety’s Motor Carrier Compliance Division reviewed the state’s rules for trucks hauling farm products. According to Steen, vehicles must be registered as covered farm vehicles (CFVs) to haul agricultural products. CFVs weighing 26,000 pounds or less may operate anywhere in the United States. Vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds may operate anywhere within the state or within 150 miles of the farm if they cross state lines. Georgia also offers a restricted commercial drivers license (CDL) for farm and farmrelated businesses. Visit http://www.gamccd. net/FarmVehicle/FarmVehicleMain.aspx to register and find more information. Rodney Brooks of the USDA’s Farm Service Agency gave an overview of USDA programs available to young and beginning farmers. Andrew Brooks of the Georgia Ports Authority discussed the impact exports have on agricultural producers.

The final four contestants in the GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet, were, from left, Rachel Patrick of Walton County, Caroline Lewallen of Hall County, Newt Gilman of Jackson County (the top collegiate finisher in the competition) and winner Skye Gess of Hancock County. Visit to see photos from the meet.

Hitchcocks, Jacobses, Gess win YF competitive events

Jonathan and Bridget Hitchcock, Bennett and Rebecca Jacobs and Skye Gess left Jekyll Island as the big winners in the Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Young Farmer competitive events. The winners were announced during the closing session of the Young Farmer Leadership Conference on July 16. The Hitchcocks, from Washington County, won the GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award, which recognizes young farmers who derive the majority of their income from production agriculture. Jonathan and Bridget farm with Jonathan’s family, growing peanuts, corn, cotton, soybeans and produce, while also raising cattle and running an agritourism special events venue. The couple received a Polaris RTV 570 Crew Cab Ranger sponsored by Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance and $500 cash from AgSouth Farm Credit.

Thomas and Alicia Harrell of Madison County and Brian and Melissa Ogletree of Spalding County were the other finalists for the Young Farmer Achievement Award. Each couple received $500 cash courtesy of AgSouth Farm Credit. The Jacobses, from Polk County, were named winners of the GFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award, given to recognize young farmers who derive the majority of their income from something other than production agriculture. Bennett and Rebecca maintain a small herd of cows and calves and Bennett teaches agriculture at the Carroll County College & Career Academy. The couple received a Polaris 4x4 ATV sponsored by Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance and $500 cash from GFB. Matthew and Kimberly London of White County and Troy Windham of See EVENTS page 9

The finalists for the Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award, were, from left, Troy Windham of Laurens County, Matthew and Kimberly London of White County with daughter Madilynn and Bennett and Rebecca Jacobs of Polk County, with daughter Aubrey and son Nolan. To see all of the award presentations visit

Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2016 / 7

8 August 2016

Farming a chosen way of Compiled by Jay Stone ___________________________________________________________________________

Thomas & Alicia Harrell

Photo by Jay Stone

Thomas & Alicia Harrell with children (from left) Augusta, Annabelle, Abigail and Luke.

• COUNTY – Madison • NAME OF FARM – Over Jordan Farm, D&H Manufacturing • YEAR STARTED FARMING – 2008 • COMMODITIES PRODUCED Broilers, beef cattle, hay and timber, as well as operating D&H Manufacturing, a metal fabrication shop specializing in farm equipment • FARM BUREAU INVOLVEMENT Thomas is Madison County Farm Bureau vice president and past chairman of the MCFB Young Farmer Committee. Alicia is a member of the MCFB Women’s Committee. The couple served on the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee in 2011 and 2012 and help with numerous MCFB functions in the community. • WHY THEY BECAME INVOLVED IN FARM BUREAU – “We went on the Young Farmers trip to Washington, D.C.,

Jonathan & Bridget Hitchcock • COUNTY – Washington • NAME OF FARM – 3H Cattle Company, Jonathan Hitchcock Farms • YEAR STARTED FARMING – 2007 • COMMODITIES PRODUCED – Cotton, peanuts, cattle, corn and soybeans while operating an agritourism special events venue and selling produce at area farmers markets and through Facebook • FARM BUREAU INVOLVEMENT Bridget is a Washington County Farm Bureau director, president of the Tennille Farm Bureau Chapter and a member of the WCFB Women’s Committee. She is also a two-time winner of the GFB Picture Agriculture in Georgia Photo Contest. Jonathan is chairman of the WCFB Young Farmer Committee. The couple has served on the WCBF Fair Committee and Policy Development Committee. The Hitchcocks were finalists for the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Achievement Award in 2015. • WHY THEY BECAME INVOLVED IN FARM BUREAU – “Farm Bureau is the backbone of farming. They’re in Washington

Photo by Taylor Sills


hey could have gone into other vocations, but the three finalist families for the 2016 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Young Farmer Achievement Award opted to make their living off the land. The finalists – Thomas and Alicia Harrell of Madison County in GFB’s 2nd District, Jonathan and Bridget Hitchcock of Washington County in GFB’s 6th District and Brian and Melissa Ogletree of Spalding County in GFB’s 5th District– came from different situations, but they all knew that tilling the land or producing livestock was what they wanted to do. The finalists were named in midJune and on-farm judging took place June 23 and 24. The Hitchcocks were selected as the winners. The Young Farmer Achievement Award recognizes young farmers ages 18 to 35 who earn the majority of their income from production agriculture. As the winning family, the Hitchcocks received a Polaris RTV 570 Crew Cab Ranger sponsored by Southern Farm Bureau Life and a $500 cash prize from GFB. The Harrells and the Ogletrees each received $500 as finalists courtesy of AgSouth Farm Credit. The Hitchcocks will also receive an expense-paid trip to Phoenix, Arizona, in January 2017 to attend the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) convention, where they will compete for national honors. The winner of the AFBF Young Farmer & Rancher Achievement Award receives their choice between a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado or 2017 GMC Sierra pickup as well as paid registration to the AFBF FUSION Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in February 2017. Finalists in the national event receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor sponsored by Case IH, as well as $2,500 in cash and $500 worth of STIHL merchandise sponsored by STIHL. Here’s a look at the three finalist families.

Jonathan and Bridget Hitchcock with daughter Andie.

fighting for us all day every day. It’s just something that I was really proud of and started putting a lot of time into,” Jonathan said. Bridget said, “We grew up thinking it was just Georgia Farm Bureau News

life for YF Achievement Award finalists

kind of insurance and all that. Really just seeing what it took to get things done while we were out farming full time was a big deal for us.” • WHY THEY WENT INTO FARMING “All I’ve ever done is farm,” Jonathan said. Bridget said, “I just always had a hidden love for it. I went to college, ended up getting a degree in marketing. I came out of school and had an office job, and I just hated it. When Jonathan and I met and got married, farming was what was going on with him and I just fell right into it.” • WHAT THEY ENJOY MOST ABOUT FARMING –“It’s amazing to me to take a seed, put it in the ground and watch it grow. I get up every morning and walk fields, study the plants and study the crops. It’s something different every day. You don’t ever get up in the morning and do the same thing you did yesterday, or if you do, it’s in a different spot or a different field,” Jonathan said. Bridget said, “I’m one of those crazy people who likes hard work. I’ll get out there and work with the boys and do just about anything they can do except for turning a wrench. I’m not a wrench-turner, but as far as the hard work, I love it.”

Brian & Melissa Ogletree

• COUNTY – Spalding • NAME OF FARM – Ogletree Seed • YEAR STARTED FARMING – 2000 • COMMODITIES PRODUCED Wheat, soybeans, browntop millet, clover, sericea lespedeza, winter peas, Simm/Angus cattle. • FARM BUREAU INVOLVEMENT – Brian is vice president of Spalding County Farm Bureau, has served as chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Feedgrain Committee and as vice chairman of the GFB Young Farmer Committee. The Ogletrees were a finalist couple for the GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award in 2010. They have served as chairs of the SCFB Young Farmer Committee and as GFB voting delegates. • WHY THEY BECAME INVOLVED IN FARM BUREAU – “We’re in suburban Atlanta, and from my perspective there’s nobody that has the lifestyle that we have. So Farm Bureau is really an outlet to meet other people who are your age. You have common interests and common lives,” Melissa said. Brian said, “I know folks scattered across the entire country. You make relationships. Things are different in Georgia than, let’s say Nebraska, but it’s nice to be able to call and see what they’re doing.” • WHY HE WENT INTO FARMING “I’ve loved ag since I was a little boy. Growing up I just wanted to drive big trac-

tors and big trucks. That’s what I wanted to do. I loved watching stuff grow,” Brian said. • WHAT THEY ENJOY MOST ABOUT FARMING – “The harvest is what I enjoy most. Just being able to reap what you’ve worked for half the year and some crops all year,” Brian said. Melissa said, “It’s family. You come to work with family. It’s a simple life. Brian’s here all the time. The kids can go out and see him if he’s in the barn or go ride with him in the combine.”

EVENTS from page 7 Laurens County were the other finalists for the Excellence in Agriculture Award. The Londons and Windham each received $500 cash sponsored by SunTrust Bank. Gess, from Hancock County, emerged from a field of 26 competitors to win the GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet. Skye is an assistant district attorney in the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit. She and her husband Josh Pennino raise beef cattle. Skye received a Polaris 4x4 ATV sponsored by Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance. Other Discussion Meet finalists were Newt Gilman of Jackson County, Caroline Lewallen of Hall County and Rachel Pat-

rick of Walton County. Each received $350 in cash from SunTrust Bank. In the final round, the four finalists discussed how a national immigration policy should be drafted since American agriculture depends on a foreignborn labor force. State winners in all three contests also receive expense-paid trips to the 2017 American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Convention in January in Phoenix, Arizona, to compete for national honors. Gilman was the top collegiate finisher in the competition and earned a trip to the 2017 AFBF FUSION Conference in February to compete in the AFBF Collegiate Discussion Meet.

Photo by Jay Stone

and it’s pretty obvious when you go up there. It just grabbed me that Farm Bureau is doing more for agriculture than other organizations,” Thomas said. “We were looking for something to make an impact on our day-to-day lives. It’s good to see an organization out there lobbying for the causes and problems we were seeing firsthand every day,” Alicia said. • WHY HE WENT INTO FARMING “I’ve got an uncle in South Georgia. My dad and I went down there fishing and they were out there working cows. We went and helped them and it was really the first time I was around a bunch of cattle. I thought it was fun and it was what I wanted to do,” Thomas said. • WHAT THEY ENJOY MOST ABOUT FARMING – “I like being my own boss, not having to rely on other people. With D&H I really enjoy dealing with other farmers,” Thomas said. Alicia said, “Our success or failure depends on us and our hard work.”

Brian and Melissa Ogletree with children Logan (left), Olivia (top) and Mason (right).

Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2016 / 9

Lab of thousands of samples

By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________


he hay submitted in Georgia Farm Bureau’s annual Quality Hay Contest will take on many forms between the field and the results being announced. Once it leaves the farm, it comes under the watchful eye of Dr. Uttam Saha, program coordinator of the University of Georgia’s Feed and Environmental Water Laboratory (FEW), which focuses on nutrition for animals. The FEW lab is one of three labs in UGA’s Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Laboratories. The others are a soil, plant and water lab, and a crops and environmental quality lab. Saha and his team have analyzed tens of thousands of forage and animal feed samples including the GFB Hay Contest samples, samples for similar contests, for-

Details for entering the GFB Quality Hay Contest are on page 14. age samples producers send in themselves and pet food submitted by pet owners. “The model we are using now has been developed over many years,” Saha said. “Initially we had some issues to solve and we moved forward. It is now in a stage that we are very confident in what we’re getting.” Hay producers know they can submit a sample in a plastic bag, and they get back an 10 / August 2016

RFQ number for that sample. RFQ stands for “relative forage quality,” a one-number measure of whether livestock will eat a certain forage material and if they do, how well it will meet their nutritional needs. Saha puts that sample through a rigorous set of steps. It arrives at FEW in Athens as everything from straw to seeds. At the lab, it is ground into powder with particles no more than 1 millimeter in thickness, then packed into a cell with quartz-glass sides. The quartz ensures there is no light interference with the sample, which, once packed into the cell, is inserted into a nearinfrared spectrophotometer, an instrument that sends light to the cell and measures reflected light from the particles. The wavelengths of the reflected light return as different colors, and these colors correspond to specific chemical bonds. Each scan produces more than 100,000 data points, which is automatically fed into a computer compiled into a visual chart. The GFB Hay Contest always has great prizes, but the report detailing the nutritional quality of their hay is the product hay producers pay for with their $20 contest entry fee. From the report, they know how much dry matter (which indicates palatability for livestock), as well as food protein, acids, non-starch carbohydrates and nonfibrous carbohydrates (all measures of digestibility) were in their sample.

Photo by Jay Stone

Photo by Jay Stone

UGA Feed & Environmental Water Lab Program Coordinator Dr. Uttam Saha holds a raw hay sample and a cell containing hay that has been ground into 1 millimeter particles.

The dry matter is added to the digestibility number to reach the RFQ score. UGA Extension Forage Specialist Dr. Dennis Hancock said the average RFQ in Georgia is 95. By way of comparison, Hancock said the target RFQ is 140 or more for dairy cows, 120-125 for stocker cattle, 115 or more for cows producing milk and 100 or more for cows no longer producing milk. “We can take a lower number and feed it as long as we’re mixing it with something else to bring up that nutrition,” Hancock said. “As a rule of thumb we want it to be 100 or better so we minimize the amount we have to supplement.” Supplemental feed like corn or soybean meal means increased costs. Hancock said hay might cost as low as six cents per pound, while corn is about seven cents per pound and soybean meal around 20 cents per pound. A single cow needs more than 20 pounds of feed per day, and those costs escalate quickly when multiplied by dozens or hundreds of cows. The testing also measures elements that could be harmful to livestock if ingested in sufficient quantities. Of particular concern is nitrate levels, which can result in animal death. In the GFB contest, samples with nitrate levels more than 4,500 parts per million are disqualified. If that number surpasses 5,000, Saha contacts the producer who submitted it. “There is risk associated with that, and they need to know as soon as possible,” Saha said. If that step saves the producer several cows, the $20 lab fee pays for itself many times over.

The cell containing the ground sample goes into the near-infrared spectrophotometer for analysis. Georgia Farm Bureau News

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Congress passes GFB names Goble 6th District field rep GMO labeling bill The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to set labeling standards for products that contain genetically modified ingredients on July 14. The bill, S. 764, passed by a 306-117 vote. All 14 of Georgia’s congressmen voted for the legislation, which the Senate passed on July 7 by a 63-30 vote. Georgia’s two senators voted for it. The bill sets a national mandatory labeling standard and prohibits states from enacting their own standards. Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) supported voluntary labeling, but welcomed a national standard that avoids a patchwork of state labeling laws. A Vermont state law mandating GMO labeling went into effect July 1. “We are grateful to our members of Congress who supported this bill in the hopes of finding a solution to this issue,” said GFB President Gerald Long. “GFB continues to have concerns about the labeling mandate contained in the bill and would prefer a voluntary national labeling standard. However, the negative consequences of the Vermont law and the potential for more states to adopt similar laws made the passage of this bill critical.” President Obama signed the bill July 29. The national law will pre-empt the Vermont law. The federal bill allows food companies multiple options on how the labeling is executed, including the use of quickreference (QR) codes that can be scanned with smart phones and would take consumers to the label information on the food companies’ websites. GFB maintains markets for biotechnology must be protected. “Georgia’s farmers have made great strides to adopt technologies including genetically modified seeds that allow farmers to use fewer pesticides, sequester carbon in the soil and reduce soil erosion,” Long said. “Biotech traits in seeds also benefit consumers as increased crop yields help families save money by having an abundant food supply that is safe. 12 / August 2016

Lauren Goble of Gray is the new field representative for Georgia Farm Bureau’s 6th District effective July 11. Goble is responsible for coordinating member programs for the 16 county Farm Bureau offices in the district and will serve as a liaison between the county offices and the organization’s home office in Macon. “We are excited to have Lauren join our Field Services Department and the 6th District Leadership Team,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “We believe her experience with the Ag in the Classroom program will be an asset in helping counties in her district Goble reach consumers in their communities.” GFB’s 6th District includes Baldwin, Bibb, Bleckley, Dodge, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Laurens, Montgomery, Telfair, Treutlen, Twiggs, Washington, Wheeler and Wilkinson counties. A native of Jones County, Goble previously taught elementary school for eight years in Bibb and Jones counties. She has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Georgia College & State University and a master’s degree in early childhood education from Wesleyan College. Goble and her husband, Corey, enjoy traveling and camping.

Ga. Ag Commission appointees named On July 11 the Georgia Agriculture Commodity Commissions’ Ex Officio Committee made the following appointments to the following Georgia Agriculture Commodity Commissions for terms of three years.

Beef Commission

John Callaway, Coweta County; Jeff Duncan, Madison County; Ernie Ford, Calhoun County; Kenneth Murphy, Meriwether County and Alan Wiggins, Turner County.

Cotton Commission

Matt Coley, Dooly County and Steven Meeks, Wayne County.

Equine Commission

Barbara Kelly, Peach County; Beth Williams, Oconee County and Jordan Vaughn, Monroe County (advisory member).

Tobacco Commission

Jerry Wooten, Jeff Davis County. By state law, the ex officio committee consists of the Georgia Agriculture Commissioner, Georgia Farm Bureau President and a producer elected by the Senate Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee and a producer elected by the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee. The committee consists of Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, GFB President Gerald Long, Buddy Leger of Cordele and Russ Moon of Colbert. Boyd McLocklin of Statham and Harry Thompson of Moultrie are the producers on the Equine ex officio committee.

Appointees were selected from nominations received by the Georgia Department of Agriculture this spring. The commodity commissions, authorized under the Georgia Commodity Promotions Act, are farmer-funded and oversee research, promotion and education programs for the respective commodity.

Ag Labor Relations Forum Nov. 1-2 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center

Georgia Farm Bureau and other ag organizations are collaborating with the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) to host this forum, which will provide an in-depth overview and training on labor rules and regulations for growers and office personnel who handle the administrative and human resource duties for farms and businesses. This conference will provide attendees with resources to comply with existing labor rules and regulations such as preparing for a wage and hour audit; worker protection standards; how to decide whether to use the H-2A program; clarification of the I-9 process; transportation guidelines and employer health care compliance. Registration is $150. For more information visit georgia-ag-labor-relations-forum/ or call the GFVGA at 706-845-8200. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Strickland Scholarships awarded Jackileen Folsom of Lanier County and Morgan Hart of Colquitt County have each been awarded a B. Frank Strickland Memorial Scholarship of $500. Both students plan to attend Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) in the fall. Administered by the ABAC Foundation, the Strickland Scholarship is awarded to entering freshmen or rising sophomores who are from tobacco-producing counties. It is named for Frank Strickland, who served 27 years on the Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Board of Directors, including a stint as GFB 1st Vice President from 1984 to 1992. Strickland was a lifelong advocate for Georgia’s tobacco industry. GFB coordinates the scholarship selection process. Folsom, the daughter of Mary Folsom, plans to study agronomy and soil science at ABAC. She was an FFA member at Lanier County High School and has worked as a volunteer with Lanier County Farm Bureau (LCFB), helping with the LCFB annual supper and farm day for el-

ementary school students. She received an FFA Greenhand Degree, an FFA chapter degree and an FFA state degree. Folsom also participated in FFA competitions in forestry, parliamentary procedure and environmental natural resources. Hart, the son of David and Kelly Hart, plans to study diversified agriculture at ABAC. He is the FFA South Georgia Region Vice President for 2016-2017. He was a finalist in the 2015 FFA Discussion Meet sponsored by GFB. Hart received the FFA Chapter Leadership Award, and has competed with the Colquitt County FFA agriculture marketing team, meats evaluation team and forestry team. He was a member of the Colquitt County High School Key Club and has competed on the CCHS cross country team.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2016/ 13

commodities/marketing update By Joe McManus, Commodities/Marketing Asst. Director

Oct. 31 deadline to enter GFB Hay Contest

Hay producers in Georgia are again facing challenges. Farmers who grew cool season annuals had a good first cutting, but the spring turned hot and the lack of rain in many areas has slowed the growth of grasses. Hay supplies are currently in short supply. Some cattlemen, especially in the northern half of the state, were forced to start feeding hay in June due to dry pastures. According to the Georgia Crop Progress Report, as of July 24, 74 percent of farmers had harvested their second cutting of hay. Soil moisture for the week ending July 24 was 57 percent short to very short and 36 percent of pastures were in poor or very poor condition. Quality will be as much a concern as quantity with this summer’s hay crop. Visit if you are looking to buy hay. Despite these challenges, Georgia Farm Bureau members are encouraged to enter their Bermudagrass hay in the 2016 GFB Quality Hay Contest, which is designed to encourage the production of quality hay in Georgia. One way to evaluate the management of your hay fields, especially in dry years, is to have your hay analyzed. The University of Georgia Testing Lab evaluates

Photo by Jay Stone

1st place prize use of a Vermeer baler

Paul Kelly of Jasper County won the 2015 GFB Quality Hay Contest and received his prize - a Vermeer TM1200 trailed mower - on May 6. Pictured from left, Kelly, accepted the prize from Brian Setzer and Adam Elliot of Vermeer and Matt Perfect of Perfect Equipment, while receiving congratulations from Jasper County Farm Bureau Agency Manager Rodney Beasley and GFB Assistant Director of Commodities/Marketing Joe McManus. As the 2015 contest winner, Kelly received a year’s use of the mower with the option to purchase it at a discount.

hay entered in the contest using the Relative Forage Quality Test (RFQ). RFQ predicts the fiber digestibility and likely animal intake of the hay. By entering the GFB Hay Contest, you receive the RFQ values of your hay, and you will also be able to compare it to what other farmers are producing. Farmers who have their hay

GFB accepting hay directory listings

Farm Bureau members with hay for sale are invited to list their hay in the 2017 GFB Quality Hay Directory. The directory will be printed in late November. Hay producers should complete a form and send to the GFB office in Macon along with a check for $10 for each listing. Checks should be made payable to Georgia Farm Bureau. Those entering the hay contest can receive a free listing in the hay directory. Because this directory is used for the entire year, producers should include normal and projected production of round and square bales they anticipate selling. Directories are sent to all county Farm Bureau offices, county Extension offices, the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, cattle producers, dairy producers, horse owners, directory participants, the Sunbelt Expo and the annual GFB convention. The directory is also listed on the GFB website. Please visit your county GFB office or to download the directory form. 14 / August 2016

tested every year can see, through multiyear analysis, the improvements they make in managing their hay fields. Entry forms outlining the procedure for entering the contest and rules may be picked up at your county Farm Bureau office or downloaded from the GFB website There is a $20 fee for each entry to cover the cost of the lab test. Checks should be made payable to Georgia Farm Bureau. Producers may enter more than one sample. Contest participants will receive a detailed copy of their hay analysis and can also choose to have a free listing in the 2017 GFB Hay Directory. Because a previous first place winner has satisfied the intent and purpose of the contest, he is not eligible to win any prize category for three years. A previous winner, however, may enter his sample for the purpose of having it officially graded. Any producer submitting more than one Continued on next page Georgia Farm Bureau News

The first-place winner of the 2016 GFB Hay Contest will receive the free use of a Vermeer 504N Baler for one year, compliments of the Vermeer Manufacturing Company, with the option to purchase at a reduced price.

Continued from previous page sample can only place in the top five with one sample but will receive analysis for all submitted samples. The deadline to enter is Oct. 31. Contest winners will be announced Dec. 4 during the awards program at the annual GFB Convention on Jekyll Island. Prizes will be presented to the top five winners. The first place winner will receive the free use of a Vermeer 504N Baler for one year with the option to purchase at a reduced price. The first place prize is compliments of the Vermeer Manufacturing Company, which has supported this contest for the past 16 years. The Georgia Farm Bureau Hay Advisory Committee sponsors the GFB Quality Bermudagrass Hay Contest. The rules for entering the contest are as follows: 1) Must be a Georgia Farm Bureau member to enter. 2) Only dry Bermudagrass samples may be entered. 3) Entry forms indicating all rules were followed must be completed & signed by contestant.

4) Hay samples must be taken from fields with a minimum maturity or regrowth of at least 25 days to ensure fair competition. 5) Hay samples must have been dried in the field. Samples must not have been artificially dried in a barn, by forced air, fans, etc. 6) Fill a one-gallon Ziploc bag with naturally field-dried core samples taken from at least 5 different bales (rolls or squares) from the same farm, same field and cut under uniform conditions. 7) Forage samples submitted for the contest must be a core sample taken with a hay probe. Contact your county Extension agent for help if needed. 8)  Fill a second one-gallon bag with whole hay from the same cutting to be used as a display sample. 9) Any samples with nitrates above 4,500 parts per million will be disqualified. 10) Any sample with moisture above 18 percent will be disqualified. Joe McManus is assistant director of the GFB Commodities/Marketing Department.


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Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2016/ 15

By Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________

phens, one of the owners of the Northeast Georgia Livestock sale barn in Athens, discussed the downturn in cattle prices and suggested things cattle producers can do to get higher prices for their cows. “The more you can do on your farm as far as castration and vaccinations means more money in your pocket,” Stephens said. He also encouraged owners to wean their calves for 45-60 days prior to selling them so they are over the stress of being weaned when sold.


eorgia Farm Bureau members who took the organization’s “Farm to Fork: Beef Cattle Experience Tour,” can tell you where the beef is and how it’s produced. Held June 14-16, the tour rolled through Georgia’s Piedmont Region around Athens visiting beef farms, UGA research facilities, a feed mill and the UGA Veterinary College’s Teaching Hospital. Tour stops highlighted how producers are using improved genetics, high quality feed and medical advances to produce the tastiest, safest beef possible.

UGA forage research

Seedstock to sale barns

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

The first stop on the tour was CAM Ranches in Oglethorpe County owned by the McPeake Family. CAM Ranches raises Angus seedstock intended to progress the genetics of cow-calf herds to which the registered cattle are sold. Dr. Charles McPeake, who retired from the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences in 2005, gave an overview of the genetic work he and his, son, Andrew, do at their farm. CAM Ranches has three bulls in the Select Sire stable – GAR Profit, GAR Fruition, GAR Advanced and a fourth – GAR 100x coming on. During lunch at the Oglethorpe County Ag Center that was a delicious Sunday-style dinner with beef pot roast, GFB Women’s Committee Chairman Melanie Sanders welcomed the group to her county. Todd Ste-

Dodge County Farm Bureau member Joan Tripp & her grandson, Clint Lee, check out a donor cow from which CAM Ranches collects eggs to produce embryos. Visit http:// to see more photos from this stop.

16 / August 2016

At the University of Georgia J. Phil Campbell Research & Education Center in Watkinsville, GFB members learned about cattle and forage research UGA is conducting with its 200 plus-head Angus herd. The farm conducts grazing research, watershed research and organic crop production research. The center was formerly a USDA research facility until it was closed in 2012. The station was transferred to the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences in 2013. Eric Elsner, superintendent of the Campbell Center, and Dr. Dennis Hancock, UGA Associate Professor of Crop & Soil Science/ Forage Extension Specialist, told tour participants about alfalfa research being conducted on the Campbell Center. Tour attendees got to inspect a field of Bulldog 505 Alfalfa interseeded in a Bermudagrass field. Hancock outlined the benefits of growing alfalfa for building up soil quality. Alfalfa is a legume and adds nitrogen to the soil. Hancock said UGA has developed three varieties that can be grown in Georgia: Bulldog 505, which can be grown statewide; Bulldog 805, which is best for South Georgia, and Alfagraze 600 Roundup Ready. “Producers who have interseeded alfalfa in their Bermudagrass fields have seen their production costs drop from $110 an acre to less than $70 an acre due to decreased nitrogen requirements,” Hancock said.

Dinner with Commissioner Black

The first day of the tour ended with a dinner at Gary and Lydia Black’s farm outside Commerce. Since being elected Georgia’s 16th Commissioner of Agriculture in 2010, Black has led the Georgia Department of Agriculture in putting a renewed emphasis on the department’s Georgia Grown program.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

GFB Farm to Fork tour highlights beef production

Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black & his wife Lydia hosted supper on June 14 for GFB’s Farm to Fork Tour at their farm outside Commerce. Visit dinnerattheblacks to see more photos from the dinner.

Tour attendees sampled a taste of Georgia Grown enjoying a delicious prime rib meal with baked potatoes, mixed green salad, green beans, homemade vanilla ice cream with fresh blueberries, peaches & strawberries. While speaking to the GFB group, Commissioner Black thanked GFB and county Farm Bureaus for supporting the Georgia Grown program. He explained why the Georgia Department of Agriculture was participating in a James Beard Foundation dinner held June 18 in New York City during which five Georgia Grown chefs prepared a six-course meal featuring Georgia commodities. “We in agriculture speak a language called farm, but consumers speak a language called food,” Black said. “Chefs are the interpreters between farmers and consumers. At the end of the meal it will be my job to tell the dinner attendees that farmers produced the food they ate, that food doesn’t come from a box. We have to find a way to build relationships between consumers and the farmers growing their food. Then we can talk to them about issues facing farmers like animal rights, food safety and labor.”

UGA Vet school producing more food animal vets

The tour resumed on June 15 at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine’s Teaching Hospital in Athens. The new 300,000-squarefoot facility opened to the public in spring 2015. The new facility is where vet school juniors and seniors take their clinical classes and houses the half of the college’s faculty

Georgia Farm Bureau News

that treat small and large animals the public brings to the hospital. Dr. Sheila Allen, dean of the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, welcomed the GFB group to the hospital. Allen said the Vet College has graduated two classes (10 students) accepted to the college through the Food Animal Veterinary Incentive Program (FAVIP), which guarantees acceptance to students enrolled in the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) who declare they want to become food animal veterinarians. FAVIP students must maintain a 3.0 GPA while attending the CAES and meet other criteria to be accepted to the vet school. Allen praised the Georgia General Assembly for passing the Veterinary Loan Reimbursement Program, which received $100,000 to cover $20,000 of student loan repayment for five food animal veterinarians. Allen said vet students graduate with an average debt of $115,000-$120,000.

After leaving Rock Eagle, the tour stopped at UGA’s Central Georgia Research & Education Center in Putnam County where CAES scientists conduct forage and beef research on 1,900 acres. Tour participants saw research plots where Dr. Hancock and grad students are comparing how well pearl millet, sorghum-sudangrass and crabgrass grow in heat and drought conditions and the nutritional value of the crops for dairy and beef producers. They also learned about nutrition studies UGA is conducting to help cattle improve their weight gain efficiencies in feedlots. Visit for photos.

GFB President Gerald Long told the tour group securing passage of the Veterinary Loan Reimbursement Program was one of GFB’s priority issues during the 2016 General Session. “We realize the need for large animal veterinarians in rural areas across the state and are working with the Vet College and Georgia legislators to remedy this,” Long said.

UGA’s Rock Eagle & Central Ga. Research Center

From Athens, the group drove to Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Putnam County for a bus tour through the facility and ate lunch at the Sutton Dining Hall. Georgia State 4-H Leader Arch Smith provided a history of the Georgia 4-H Program & 4-H Centers across Georgia.

The tour then traveled to Godfrey’s Feed Mill in Madison, owned by the GodfreyHunt Family for six generations and the Hunt family’s beef farm, Innisfail Farm, in Morgan County. At the feed mill, Whitey Hunt, who owns Godfrey’s Feed with his brother, Candler, and son, Weyman, told GFB members about the family business that began in the late 1870s as a cotton warehouse. Today, Godfrey’s mixes and sells beef, dairy, poultry, horse, pig and specially formulated feed for show cattle. Their feed is sold statewide and in some locations in Alabama, North and South Carolina. Brian Lance, a commodity procurer for Godfrey’s said the company’s automated feed mixer makes it easy to mix special rations for different farms based on the herd’s nutrition needs. All of the show feed Godfrey’s sells is a uniform mixture. Lance said Godfrey’s buys as much of its feed ingredients such as cottonseed, wheat and corn from Georgia as possible. Godfrey’s steam rolls its corn, cracking the kernels to make them more easily digested by cattle. At Innisfail Farm, Weyman gave an overview of the 120-head registered Hereford herd the Hunt family raises. He said the herd is bred for maternal traits and carcass merit. The farm markets about 75 females and 35 bulls annually through private treaty and consignment sales. Tim and Henrietta Duvall hosted a dinner catered by their son Evan’s Q’N & Stew’n Catering Service at their Greene County farm. Participants devoured grilled ribeyes worthy of a five-star steakhouse. Visit for photos.

Jobs available in meat science

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Godfrey’s Feed & Innisfail Farm

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Dr. Brent Credille, right, assistant professor at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, tells the GFB tour about the equipment for treating cattle at the college’s Teaching Hospital. Visit to see more photos from this stop.

The UGA Meat Lab at the CAES was the last stop of the tour the morning of June 16. UGA CAES Associate Dean for Extension Dr. Laura Perry Johnson welcomed the group. Johnson explained that one-third of Extension’s funding comes from local county governments and thanked county Farm Bureau leaders for working to see that their county officials support Extension. “Farm Bureau is very important at the state and local level with your support of Extension and in return Georgia probably has the strongest network of local Extension agents in the country,” Johnson said. Although it has become harder to get accepted to UGA, Johnson said good students from rural areas shouldn’t hesitate to apply. “Please keep encouraging those good students to apply and come to the College of Ag. We have about 400 new students enroll in the college each year,” Johnson said. “Our students have the third highest job placement and starting salaries for graduates at the university.” Dr. Alex Stelzleni, associate professor in the UGA Animal & Dairy Science Department, said there is a nationwide shortage of jobs in meat science. He posted 84 available jobs during spring semester and only had four to five students qualified to apply. “Nationwide we can’t find enough students to fill the jobs as long as you’re willing to go out of state,” Stelzleni said. Ryan Crowe, manager of the UGA Meat Lab, walked the tour through the steps involved in slaughtering cows, hogs or sheep from the time the animals enter the lab until it is packaged.

These Hereford heifers are part of the 120head registered herd the Hunt family raises on their Innisfail Farm in Morgan County. Visit for more photos.

Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2016 / 17

Photo courtesy of NAITCO

The Georgia delegation attending the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Arizona picked up great ideas for taking agriculture into schools.

Georgia shines at NAITC Conference

Lauren Goble, center, was one of seven teachers nationwide to receive the 2016 Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award sponsored from the USDA National Institute of Food & Agriculture and the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization. Houston County teacher Dennis Peavy, left, received the award in 2014 and Bibb County teacher Andrea Seagraves, right, received the award in 2013. 18 / August 2016

facilities to see fruit, vegetable and horticulture production. Lauren Goble of Jones County, who received the 2015 Georgia Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award from Georgia Farm Bureau, was one of seven teachers nationwide to receive the 2016 Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award sponsored from the USDA National Institute of Food & Agriculture and the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization. Goble was recognized for the lesson plans she developed to teach first-grade students at Mattie Wells Elementary School about crops grown in Georgia while teaching them geography and introducing them to real Georgia farmers using video technology. Goble began working with GFB as its 6th District field representative in July. Two other Georgia teachers have won the National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award. Andrea Seagraves, who teaches at Stratford Academy in Bibb County won the award in 2013. Dennis Peavy, who teaches in Houston County, won the award in 2014. Both Seagraves and Peavy are Crawford County Farm Bureau members. Stephens County teacher Karrie Perrin presented a workshop titled “Planting the Seeds of Agriculture,” that highlighted activities, books and internet resources she uses in her 5th grade class to introduce her students to agriculture while teaching curriculum standards. Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) School Nutrition Coordinator Misty Friedman, who coordinates the GDA Farm to School program, and her husband,

Photo by Donna Rocker

Photo by Donna Rocker

Georgia was well-represented at the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference held June 21-24 in Litchfield Park, Arizona. The delegation of 31 included members of the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee, county Farm Bureau volunteers and teachers sponsored by their local Farm Bureau. Georgia tied with host-state Arizona for the second-largest delegation behind New Mexico, which had 37 attendees. In addition to attending workshops that showed kindergarten through 12th grade teachers how to use agriculture to teach core subject areas, conference attendees visited nearby farms and university research

Rich, a school nutrition manager with the Jackson County School System, delivered a workshop “Classroom to the Cafeteria,” that explored how teachers can use a field trip to the school cafeteria to study fractions to increase/decrease a recipe or learn about ag careers by meeting a farmer who grew the food served in the cafeteria. Two Georgia teachers - Sarah Nichols of Newton County and Andrea Seagraves of Crawford County - received scholarships from the CHS Foundation, Inc. that paid for their conference registration fee. Nichols’ and Seagraves’ county Farm Bureaus paid their remaining conference cost. Each year CHS Inc., an agricultural cooperative headquartered in Minnesota, offers See NAITC page 23

Pictured from left, Henry County Farm Bureau members Carole and Charles Elliott admire a Watusi steer exhibited at the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Pasley wins GFB Essay Contest discussing technology in ag “Technology – The Farmer’s Friend” By Reece Pasley

My great-grandfather planted corn by hand in the 1950s. He had no tractor, no GPS, no genetically enhanced seeds, no pesticides, and no herbicides. Rather than turning on an irrigation pivot, he would pray for rain. Technology and biotechnology have changed almost every part of farming. The most important thing that remains in farming, however, is the farmer. According to the International Food Information Council, in the past century, there have been tremendous changes in American agriculture. Farmers have become extremely efficient and have taken advantage of new technologies. As a result, they are producing a wider variety of crops and producing them more effectively. In 1935, there were 6.8 million farms in the U.S. and the average farmer produced enough food each year to feed 20 people. In 2002, the number of farms was estimated to be 2.6 million and the average U.S. farmer produced enough food to feed almost 130 people. None of these changes would have been possible without hardworking farmers who have implemented these new technologies into their farming operations. The use of GPS systems is key in modern agriculture. It allows the farmer to pinpoint his location using a system of satellites. This helps the farmer to know what to plant and where to apply pesticides and fertilizer. Computers also assist farmers in compiling data spreadsheets that show the most profitable crop per acre. This adaption of modern technology is called “precision farming.” According to, “precision farming

is a new technique that boosts crop yields and reduces waste by using satellite maps and computers to match seed, fertilizer and crop protection applications to local soil conditions.” Farmers are some of the smartest people in the world because they can take the land, use technology, and provide food for us to live. Farmers love the land and they care for it so that all people can benefit from it. Biotechnology is also a very important part of farming. Genetically enhanced seed, which is seed that has been developed to produce a higher yield, is one of the biggest factors in the farmer’s ability to produce more crops per acre. The world’s population is increasing, but the farmland is decreasing. Farmers have to produce more crops with less land. Farmers are able to plant a certain type of seed, and as the plant comes up, they can spray pesticides and herbicides on it without damaging the plant itself. The weeds that are killed by the herbicide allow the plants to have more room to grow so that they can produce a higher yield per acre. In closing, all of the modern technology has allowed famers to do more with less. Farming is an art form that remains due to the hard work of smart farmers. The most complicated computer software has been designed by farmers. The development of genetically enhanced seed allows farmers to produce crops with less land. Farming and technology go hand in hand, and the future of farming is bright due to the fact that farmers have developed and embraced these innovations.


eece Pasley of Upson County is the state winner of the 2016 Georgia Farm Bureau Middle School Essay Contest, open to students in sixth through eighth grades during the past school year. Pasley, the son of Alvah and Kristin Pasley, was a homeschooled sixth-grader when he wrote his winning essay earlier this year. He received a $100 cash prize for being the GFB 5th District winner and a $150 prize as the state winner. The 47 students who participated in the contest were asked to discuss how agriculture uses technology to protect natural resources while increasing food supplies to feed the world with the topic: “Technology – The Farmer’s Friend.” Essays were judged on clarity of thought and writing skill. A winner was selected from each of the organization’s 10 districts, and the state winner was chosen from the district winners. Other district winners were: Olivia Walls, Dawson County, GFB 1st District; Maggie Cheek, Habersham County, GFB 2nd District; Malorie Bradford, Polk County, GFB 3rd District; Ethan Lee, Oglethorpe County, GFB 4th District; Kendra van Loenen, Washington County, GFB 6th District; Aubree Swain, Appling County, GFB 7th District; Madison Terry, Wilcox County, GFB 8th District; Daniel Sellers, Decatur County, GFB 9th District and Jessa Tanner, Coffee County, GFB 10th District. The GFB Women’s Leadership Committee coordinated the contest on the state level and county Women’s Committees promoted the contest locally. “Our essay contest provides county Farm Bureaus an opportunity to reach out to middle school English teachers and get the subject of agriculture into classes while the teachers meet their curriculum goals,” said GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Melanie Sanders. “We appreciate all of the counties who made contact with their local teachers or directly asked students to participate in the contests. Thanks to you, many middle school students learned how agriculture uses technology to protect natural resources and produce enough food to feed the world’s growing population.”

Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2016/ 19

AROUND GEORGIA Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker

News from County Farm Bureaus

ATKINSON COUNTY Atkinson County Farm Bureau (ACFB) participated in the local FFA Ag Awareness Day to teach local students about different aspects of agriculture. ACFB shared the importance of honeybees as honey producers and pollinators to more than 900  pre-K through pre-5 students in the county.  ACFB thanks local beekeeper Huey Nicholls, standing right, and Weeks Honey Farm for participating in the event and teaching the students about honeybees. BARROW COUNTY Barrow County Farm Bureau (BCFB) participated in a career day held at a local elementary school in May.  Breanna Cash, a student at ABAC, left, BCFB Secretary Christina Hammond, right, and BCFB Office Manager Staci Hubbard, not pictured, educated more than 600 children from kindergarten-fifth grade on careers agriculture offers. Cash spoke to the children about her work experience on dairy farms. Each child took home agriculture facts and played the barnyard toss game. BARTOW COUNTY Bartow County Farm Bureau (BCFB) and Bartow County Extension cohosted the annual Farm Family Banquet June 5 with sponsorship from AgGeorgia Farm Credit and Carroll Fertilizer. During the banquet the Robby Simmons Family of Rydal was recognized as the 2015 Farm Family of the Year. Pictured from left, BCFB President Dean Bagwell congratulates Robby and 20 / August 2016

his children Wiley and Will and wife Leslie. The Simmonses raise beef cattle and have a cow-calf operation of about 200 head. Jane Richards, secretary of the BCFB Board of Directors, not pictured, was named the Friend of Agriculture. BULLOCH COUNTY Bulloch County Farm Bureau (BCFB) celebrated June being National Dairy Month by teaming up with the local Dairy Queen to hold a Dairy Day at the BCFB office on June 17. BCFB Secretary Angel Cribbs, center, gives BCFB members Karen Mills, left, and Mary Keene, right, Dilly Bars and Georgia dairy fact sheets. CATOOSA COUNTY Catoosa County Farm Bureau (CCFB) volunteer Andrea Sims visited Boynton Elementary School in May and talked to more than 250 students in kindergarten through second grade about agriculture and the commodities Georgia farmers grow. Sims read the books “Who Grew My Soup?,” “Hi, I’m Billy Blueberry,” and “Awesome Agriculture Soybeans an A-to-Z Book” and showed the students items made with soybeans. CCFB gave the students activity pages to reinforce what they learned.

CHARLTON COUNTY Charlton County Farm Bureau (CCFB) sponsored two awards the Charlton County FFA presented at its annual banquet on May 17. Pictured from left, CCFB Director Ray Edwards presents Kyle Giddens with the 2015-2016 Charlton County FFA Chapter Georgia Farm Bureau News

Farmer Award while Trey Synder accepts the 2015-2016 Charlton County FFA Chapter Star Green Hand Award from CCFB Vice President Bill Giddens. Giddens received a plaque and $100 prize from CCFB. Synder received a plaque and $50 prize from CCFB. CLINCH COUNTY On May 2 Clinch County Farm Bureau sponsored a political forum for candidates running to serve as Clinch County sheriff, board of education members, county commissioners and probate judge. About 100 people attended the forum. CCFB Women’s Committee member Alice Babbit, left, and CCFB Office Manager Jessica Smith promoted Farm Bureau membership during the event.

COOK COUNTY Cook County Farm Bureau (CCFB) teamed up with the Cook County High School and Middle School FFA Chapters and numerous area sponsors to offer an FFA Mini Camp for about 80 students in Pre-K through fifth grade June 6-8. CCFB Promotion & Education Committee members and CCFB Office Manager Michele Waters, pictured reading to campers, assisted with camp activities each day. Camp classes covered horses, sheep, gardening, insects, reptiles, archery and included arts and crafts. CCFB provided t-shirts and gift bags for the campers filled with ag coloring books, activity booklets, pencils and bookmarks. HALL COUNTY Hall County Farm Bureau participated in the 2nd Annual Alfalfa in the South Workshop & Field Day held June 2 in the county. HCFB Director Ronnie Green hosted the event. The workshop highlighted the process of establishing alfalfa fields, pest management, weed control, proper fertilization, and benefits of growing alfalfa with Bermudagrass. HCFB Agent Chad Reed, right, and HCFB Secretary Justine

Palmer, not pictured, talked to farmers about Farm Bureau member benefits and handed out Farm Bureau promotional items during the event. Hall County Extension Coordinator Michael Wheeler, left, and HCFB President Jerry Truelove visit with Reed.

HARRIS COUNTY Harris County Farm Bureau (HCFB) hosted a Legislative Farm Tour May 19 at Turntime Farms where HCFB Young Farmer Chairman Justin Jordan served as the host. Participating in the tour were, pictured from left, Chad Klar, HCFB Vice President Freddie Cone, Kathy Burns, regional representative for U.S. Sen. David Perdue, HCFB President Gilbert Andrews, HCFB Young Farmer Chair Justin Jordan, Harris County Cattlemen’s President Alan Feagan, HCFB Directors James Rodgers and David Chambers, Colin Martin, regional representative for U.S. Lynn Westmoreland and GFB 5th Dist. Field Representative Cliff Bowden. JEFF DAVIS COUNTY Jeff Davis County Farm Bureau held its 5th Annual Farm Day this spring for the Jeff Davis Primary School at the local fairgrounds. Students rotated between almost 20 different stations that highlighted numerous aspects of agriculture, fire and police safety, electrical power, dental hygiene and medical care. JDCFB gave each student a gift bag filled with pencils, ag coloring sheets and snacks. GFB Aquaculture Committee member Kim Edge, standing, talked to the students about raising fish and caring for farm ponds. LEE COUNTY Lee County Farm Bureau celebrated June being Dairy Month by offering dairy products, such as ice cream, to members who came to the office. LCFB member Ann Holland, pictured, was one of the members who celebrated June Dairy Month at the LCFB office. A flyer was displayed in Continued on next page

Georgia Farm Bureau News August 2016/ 21

Continued from previous page the office educating visitors about the nutritional value and health benefits of eating dairy products.

MADISON COUNTY Madison County Farm Bureau helped sponsor a county-wide Ag Day Celebration in the spring. The event included live animals, a saw mill demonstration, agribusiness and Extension exhibits, pony rides and a tractor parade. SPALDING COUNTY Spalding County Farm Bureau, the Spalding County Cooperative Extension and the Griffin Kiwanis Club held the county’s annual farm day May 3. About 900 first-grade students learned about Georgia agriculture as they rotated through stations showcasing cows, horses and chickens. The students also learned about bees, wheat, clover and dairy products.

21st Annual Lumber City Farm Day Festival

Sept. 9-11 Downtown Lumber City Events include live musical entertainment Friday and Saturday evening, arts & crafts, a parade and a 5K run/walk on Sept. 10. For more info visit or email or call 229-868-6365. 22 / August 2016

TATTNALL COUNTY Tattnall County Farm Bureau won second place for its float in the Glennville Sweet Onion Festival Parade held May 14. Riding the float were Jacob Pearce, a member of the TCFB Junior Board, Laura Bland, Megan Oliver, Jones Ringer and Barrett Ringer. GFB President Gerald Long spoke at the festival. WALTON COUNTY Walton County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee members manned a booth at the Monroe Farmers Market this summer to show children how to plant seed. Rachel Patrick, left, talks to students about planting seeds while Grace Martin, right, prepares the cups that the students planted their seeds in. Aubrey Boss, not pictured, also helped.

FFA officers visit Georgia Farm Bureau

The 2016-2017 Georgia FFA officers visited Georgia Farm Bureau June 14. GFB President Gerald Long, seated, poses with the officers during their visit. Pictured from left, are: Georgia FFA Vice Presidents Madison Parker, Johnson County; Sadie Lackey, Gilmer County; Courtney Barber, Ware County; Georgia FFA President Willie Sizemore, Lee County; Secretary Lizzi Neal, Houston County; Vice Presidents Morgan Hart, Colquitt County; Nicole Bridges, McDuffie County; and Kylie Bruce, Franklin County. During their tour of the GFB home office, the FFA officers learned about GFB’s legislative, commodity, public relations, member services and Ag in the Classroom programs. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Ray D’Alessio

MACON COUNTY Macon County Farm Bureau (MCFB) was recognized for raising the most money, $500, by a business team for the local Relay for Life. Members of the MCFB Relay for Life team included, pictured from left, MCFB Office Manager Amy R. Parker, MCFB Agency Manager Skeeter Daniel, MCFB Women’s Committee Member Marilyn McLendon, MCFB President Mike McLendon and MCFB member Ginny Martin. President McLendon fried peanuts to raise money for the team.

Houston, Walker & White Counties hold Ag Educator Workshops

Walker County teachers visited a beef farm and a Christmas tree farm. The White County teachers visited London Farms where they learned how dairy replacement heifers are raised.

NAITC from page 18 52 scholarships to teachers to attend the National AITC Conference. The 2017 conference, “Show Me Agriculture,” will be held in Kansas City, Missouri, June 20-23. Visit to view more highlights of the 2016 conference.

You may access lesson plans on the Curriculum Matrix on this website. Lessons are matched to national education standards. For more information about Ag in the Classroom contact Donna Rocker at or call 478-4740679,ext. 5365.

Watch the Georgia Farm Monitor!

Photo by Donna Rocker

This past spring the Houston, Walker and White County Farm Bureaus held Ag Educator Workshops for teachers in their counties. The county Farm Bureaus organized and hosted the workshops. Teachers attending the White County workshop, pictured right, learned how to plant a “Glove Garden” using moistened cotton balls instead of soil to teach students about seed germination. The Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture supported the workshops, and GFB Field Services provided the program which told the teachers how they can use agriculture to teach math, language arts and social sciences while meeting core curriculum standards. Teachers attending the workshop received $100 worth of resource material for their classrooms. After the classroom portion of the workshops the teachers toured farms or agribusinesses in their county. The Houston County teachers toured Perdue Farms poultry processing facility in Perry. The

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Georgia Farm Bureau News - August 2016  
Georgia Farm Bureau News - August 2016  

The Georgia Farm Bureau News has been the official publication of Georgia Farm Bureau since 1937. With the motto, “The Voice of Georgia Far...