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December 20, 2017

Vol. 35 No. 26

GEORGIA FARM BUREAU BOARD SETS 2018 PRIORITY ISSUES At its monthly board meeting on Dec. 15, the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors approved the organization’s priority issues for 2018. The priority issues fall under four headings: taxes and budget, natural resources and environment, defense of animal agriculture and general agricultural issues. The board agreed these issues are of particular interest to Georgia farmers, although it will address other concerns that may arise during the course of the coming year. GFB will continue to pursue tax and government budget measures that are favorable to agriculture. These include: preserving the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE); protecting the integrity of the Conservation Use Value Assessment (CUVA) from changes that would jeopardize the program’s future or undermine its The next issue of intent; advocating for funding of agricultural institutions, agencies, GFB News Alert youth development programs and their essential staff to meet the needs of the state’s farmers; and serving as an educational resource comes out for farm businesses navigating complex tax regulation and programs. January 11. The board agreed to support efforts to fulfill the agricultural water metering program’s original intent as a management tool for farmers on water use patterns and consumption rates without infringing on private property rights. GFB will work to ensure water legislation and regulations do not adversely affect agricultural water supply and enhance resources for implementing conservation efforts that increase efficiency and protect agricultural water access. The organization will work with regulatory agencies to develop strategies to protect land and crops from nuisance animals. GFB will support common-sense policy to protect modern animal husbandry practices, support and promote biosecurity practices to minimize prevalent disease threats, limit regulation of animal agriculture at the farm level and work to educate consumers about animal agriculture while protecting farmers from misguided sensitivities the public may have. The organization will seek development of adequate infrastructure and industry resources for economic growth in rural communities, and advocate for continuing access to new technologies and their responsible use.

GFB News Alert page 2 of 8 RURAL DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL PRESENTS REPORT The Georgia House Rural Development Council (RDC), which since May has studied a variety of issues in rural areas of the state, has submitted its recommendations. The council, established by House Resolution 389 during the 2017 Georgia legislative session, proposed steps to enhance the general workforce, improve access to broadband internet access, accelerate economic development, improve educational programs and tackle persistent health issues in rural Georgia. According to the report, which is available online at, rural areas are losing people to urban and suburban areas. For example, 36 Georgia counties have a higher death rate than birth rate; all of them are rural counties. Population in half the state’s counties has declined since 2000, and only 11 of Georgia’s rural counties have a larger population in 2017 than they had in 1860. House Speaker David Ralston charged the RDC with finding solutions to problems in these sectors, noting that the state’s economic success has been the result of highly coordinated, deliberate effort and that it “must now amplify its reach to all portions of this state regardless of ZIP code.” Among the recommendations, the RDC proposed a set of incentives to entice people to move into rural areas, including income tax and property tax breaks, with the goal of increasing population and by extension increasing availability of local workers in rural areas. Because people equate internet access with opportunities to earn a living and improve quality of life, and because internet access is a key component of all other issues challenging rural Georgia, the RCD proposed a plan to build out telecommunications infrastructure to accommodate broadband access in rural areas, in which the cost of installing transmission lines is a barrier to many telecom companies. The RCD, co-chaired by Reps. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) and Terry England (R-Auburn) proposed legislative action to enable a state relationship with Electric Membership Cooperatives while providing incentives to communications companies to expand into unserved or underserved areas. The RDC recommended pooling of resources on a regional basis to facilitate economic development through workforce expansion, training, marketing and health care. This included the establishment of a Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovations by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, providing a central information and research hub for rural leadership training. During its series of 18 hearings, the RDC repeatedly heard complaints that educational systems cannot respond quickly to needs for industry programming because of lack of flexibility or leadership. On top of that, students who leave rural communities for post-secondary education often do not return. The commission recommended providing opportunities that allow rural students to stay in place. The report indicates there are six Georgia counties with no physician, 63 without a pediatrician, 66 without a general surgeon and 79 without an OB-GYN. Several factors threaten the financial stability of rural hospitals, the report shows. The commission identified a series of best practices to improve healthcare through telehealth and mechanisms to ensure access to acute care. The legislature will have the option to consider these recommendations during its 2018 session, and the RDC will continue its work through the end of 2018.

GFB News Alert page 3 of 8 TRUMP TO SPEAK AT AFBF CONVENTION IN NASHVILLE Duvall named to White House advisory committee President Donald Trump will address farm and ranch families from across the nation at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 99th Annual Convention, Jan. 5-10 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. “The American Farm Bureau Federation is honored to host our nation’s president,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “President Trump has said all along that he would make sure agriculture has a seat at the table when it comes to the top issues facing America’s farmers and ranchers. Now, it is our privilege to reserve a spot for him at our podium.” Duvall considers Trump’s announced speech as a sign of the high regard in which the nation’s chief executive holds America’s farm and ranch families. “Farmers and ranchers and our rural communities are the bedrock of our nation. President Trump knows that, and his willingness to devote his time to talk directly with Farm Bureau members will be a memorable occasion,” Duvall said. Duvall has been appointed to the White House’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN). Members of the ACTPN advise the president on the potential effects of proposed and current trade agreements. The ACTPN, which is administered by the U.S. Trade Representative, is the main trade advisory committee that provides policy information and advice to the president. Duvall has been appointed by the president for a four-year term. Established by the 1974 Trade Act, the ACTPN brings together up to 45 individuals from the private sector who represent key economic sectors affected by trade. The committee evaluates trade policy issues by considering their effect on the overall national interest. HOUSE AG COMMITTEE LAUNCHES FARM BILL PAGE Ahead of the 2018 farm bill, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (RTX) announced the launch of a new online resource which can be accessed through the committee’s current website, This landing page is designed to provide updates and information related to the 2018 Farm Bill. “I’m committed to completing a farm bill on time. We’ve spent the past three years preparing— holding 113 hearings and six listening sessions around the country,” Conaway said. “We recognize what’s at stake. We’re working on getting the policy right and will use this site as a resource as we advance the next farm bill.” The site includes an online factbook that provides details on the farm bill hearings and listening sessions, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), conservation, rural economy and more. The committee has also begun releasing This is the Farm Bill, a series of videos about programs the bill supports, in conjunction with the #farmbillfriday blog. The 2014 farm bill expires at the end of 2018.

GFB News Alert page 4 of 8 GA COTTON COMMISSION PRESENTS 2017 KING COTTON AWARDS For the 17th straight year, the Georgia Cotton Commission sponsored the King Cotton Awards to recognize outstanding contributions of county agents to Georgia cotton producers. The Senior Award is for agents with 10 or more years of experience. The Junior Award, named the Allen B. Fulford Award, is for those with less than 10 years of service. The Fulford Award honors the accomplishments and memory of Allen B. Fulford as a county Extension agent and state cotton agronomist. The awards were presented at the 2017 Georgia Association of County Agricultural Agents Annual Meeting & Professional Improvement Conference held in Columbus in November. The 2017 Senior King Cotton Award winner was Andrew Sawyer of Wilcox County, where he serves as Agriculture & Natural Resources (ANR) Agent. He previously served as the ANR agent in Thomas County. Sawyer has conducted variety trials with producers, and has put an emphasis on educating growers about new technologies and techniques. He has worked tirelessly to educate the community on cotton through various means, including a weekly radio show that reached over 250,000 people. The 2017 Allen B. Fulford Award recipient was Jennifer Miller of Jeff Davis County, where she serves as ANR Agent. She began her career with Gold Kist and joined UGA Extension in 2006 as the 4-H Agent in Wheeler County. She later served as the ANR Agent in Montgomery County and covered Treutlen County for part of that time. Miller participates in the Statewide On-Farm Variety trials, a statewide project managed by county agents and Dr. Jared Whitaker, UGA Cotton Agronomist. She has also conducted trials that have focused on irrigation and nematodes. UGA COLLEGE OF AG NAMES EDGAR HEAD OF ALEC Leslie Edgar will join the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in spring 2018 as the new department head for the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication, according to a UGA press release. Edgar is currently a professor and assistant dean for student programs in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas. While at Arkansas, she served as a member of the dean’s leadership team, and as a representative of the dean, in developing the direction, policies and operations of the Bumpers College Honors Program and the International Programs Office. She received a B.S. degree from Utah State University in animal science with a minor in business management. She earned an M.S. in agricultural systems, technology and education from Utah State, and a doctorate in agricultural leadership, education and communications from Texas A&M University. To learn more about the CAES Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication, go to

GFB News Alert page 5 of 8 GA COTTON COMMISSION ANNOUNCES ANNUAL MEETING SPEAKERS The Georgia Cotton Commission is pleased to announce the guest speakers at the commission’s 11th Annual Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 31, 2018, at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. The annual meeting is held in conjunction with the UGA Cotton Production Workshop conducted by the UGA Research & Extension Cotton Team. The UGA Cotton Production Workshop will feature breakout sessions where attendees will learn the latest technical production strategies from the researchers whose projects are funded by the Commission’s research program. The Georgia Cotton Commission Annual Meeting will follow the breakout sessions and feature speakers from several industry organizations. The program speakers are Reece Langley, vice president of Washington Operations, National Cotton Council; Kater Hake, vice president of Agricultural & Environmental Research, Cotton Incorporated; and Stacey Gorman, director of communications, The Cotton Board. Langley is responsible for coordinating the Washington activities for the Council, which includes working with Congress and the president’s administration to ensure the U.S. cotton industry’s seven segments compete effectively and profitably in the global market. Hake is the vice president of Agricultural & Environmental Research at Cotton Incorporated. In this role, Hake is responsible for the cotton production research program, and leads a team of eight scientists who develop and support innovative problem-solving research to increase the profitability and sustainability of cotton farming in the U.S. Gorman leads the Cotton Board’s ongoing efforts to keep cotton producers informed of the activities stemming from the Cotton Research and Promotion. Following the annual meeting speakers, the Commission will host lunch where sponsors will be recognized and door prizes will be given away. The meeting, production workshop, and lunch are open to not only cotton growers, but anyone interested in the cotton industry. The UGA Cotton Production Workshop breakout sessions will be repeated after lunch. There is no charge to attend. Pre-registration is requested to help with meal plans. Register online at or call 229-386-3416. NASS ADJUSTS COTTON FORECAST The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) forecast a smaller yield for Georgia cotton growers in its December Crop Production Report. NASS projects the state’s cotton yield at 863 pounds per acre, down from 900 pounds per acre on the November report. If realized, this would result in statewide production of 2.3 million bales, slightly lower than predicted in November but still up by 6 percent from the state’s 2016 production of 2.18 million bales.

GFB News Alert page 6 of 8 GFB TAKING LISTINGS FOR HAY DIRECTORY Farm Bureau members with hay for sale or offering custom harvesting or custom sprigging services are invited to list in the 2017/18 GFB Quality Hay Directory published on the GFB website. Because this directory is now offered exclusively online, hay can be listed or removed from the site as your inventory dictates. To participate, please complete a submission form available at your county Farm Bureau office or online at Please include a $10 check made payable to Georgia Farm Bureau for each listing of hay, custom harvesting or custom sprigging. Multiple listings are allowed. 2018 SOUTHEAST FRUIT & VEGETABLE CONFERENCE Jan. 11-14 Savannah International Trade & Convention Center Savannah The Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference is the largest educational conference and trade show in the southeastern United States that unites growers, vendors and suppliers. Anyone with an interest in specialty crop agriculture is invited to be a part of this event. Through more than 80 hours of educational sessions, we will address food safety concerns, specific commodity issues on production practices and increased yields, and marketing strategies. Participate in our growing and dynamic trade show, featuring more than 85,000 square feet of space filled with key suppliers and growers. For more information or to register visit SOUTHEASTERN SOIL SUMMIT Jan. 21-22, 2018 Westin Peachtree Plaza Atlanta This event will provide information about benefits and challenges of raw manure use relative to the safety of fresh fruit and vegetable production as well as current FDA research a risk assessment efforts and the final Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule standards included in Subpart F - Biological Soil Amendments of Animal Origin and Human Waste. Registration fees are $120. Please register by Jan. 12, 2018. For more information or to register visit 2018 GEORGIA DAIRY CONFERENCE Jan. 15-17 Savannah Riverfront Marriott Savannah The 2018 Georgia Dairy Conference will provide dairy producers and industry leaders with an invaluable opportunity to hear from top educators, industry pioneers and fellow dairymen at this annual conference. The event offers dairy industry updates, dairy trends, economics, opportunities for pesticide credits and much more. For more information or to register visit 2018 GEORGIA PEANUT FARM SHOW & CONFERENCE Jan. 18 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Tifton Back for its 42nd year, the Peanut Farm Show features more than 100 exhibitors, production & seed seminars, pesticide applicator certification training and a free lunch. For more information visit or contact the Georgia Peanut Commission at 229-386-3470 or

GFB News Alert page 7 of 8 2018 FLAVOR OF GEORGIA CONTEST Feb. 8 deadline to enter The University of Georgia's Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest helps to highlight the state's burgeoning food product scene with its annual competition. Registration for the 2018 contest, which is coordinated each year by the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, is now open at The early registration fee is $100 per entry and continues through Jan. 19, 2018. After that date, the price increases to $150 and remains open until Feb. 8, 2018. All entries are featured in the annual product directory, which is seen by leading food industry buyers and media outlets. For more information or to register, visit or call 706-542-9809. Follow the contest @FlavorofGA on Twitter and Instagram and on Facebook at 2018 AG FORECAST MEETINGS Jan. 30 Toombs Co. Ag Center Lyons Feb. 1 Decatur Co. Ag Center Bainbridge Feb. 2 UGA Conference Center Tifton Feb. 5 Georgia Farm Bureau Macon Feb. 6 Clarence Brown Conference Center Cartersville Feb. 7 The Classic Center Athens The keynote topic for the Jan. 30, Feb. 1-5 meetings will be a farm bill update given by Bob Redding. The keynote topic for the Feb. 6 & 7 meetings will be demographic trends in rural Georgia and America given by Matthew Hauer of the UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Check-in begins at 9 a.m. for all meetings except Tifton, with seminars starting at 10 a.m. followed by lunch at 11:30 a.m. Check-in for the Tifton event starts at 7 a.m., breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m., followed by the seminar from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Cost is $35 per person or $240 for a table of eight. Advance registration is required. For more information or to register, visit call 706-542-5046. 2018 GEORGIA/FLORIDA SOYBEAN & SMALL GRAIN EXPO Jan. 30 Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Perry The Expo provides up-to-date market projections and information on the newest production techniques, as well as remarks from UGA Extension experts. Topics include wheat breeding, world economic outlook, integrated cultivar release system, development of new soybean varieties and strategies to increase production. Georgia Farm Bureau Public Policy Director Jeffrey Harvey will provide a 2018 ag policy update. For more information contact the Georgia/Florida Soybean Association at 706-542-3793.

GFB News Alert page 8 of 8 GEORGIA COTTON GROWERS’ EFFICIENCY SURVEY Jan. 31, 2018 deadline to participate The Georgia Cotton Commission has funded a research project designed to help Georgia cotton farmers improve their production efficiency. Georgia cotton farmers are asked to participate by filling out a questionnaire on various cotton inputs, farm qualities and personal experience. In exchange for their participation, cotton growers will be provided with the results of the survey, which is being conducted by the University of Georgia’ College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. The goal is to provide data about usage of specific inputs, allowing cotton farmers to learn where and how they can improve efficiency. To participate, visit For more information, contact Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman, professor of agricultural and applied economics, at 706-542-0754 or, or graduate student Julian Worley at 757-621-3666 or 2017 CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE Feb. 5, 2018 deadline to respond The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has begun mailing the 2017 Census of Agriculture to the nation's producers. Conducted every five years, the census aims to get a complete and accurate picture of American agriculture. The census will be mailed in several phases through December. Farm operations of all sizes which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural product in 2017 are included in the census. The census is the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every state and county in the nation. Responding to the Census of Agriculture is required by law. The same law requires NASS to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes, and only publish in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation. NASS will release the results of the census in February 2019. For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture, visit or call 800-727-9540. 2018 GEORGIA AGRITOURISM ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING March 5-6 Unicoi State Park Helen The conference offers opportunities to learn and network. Early Bird Registration is $199 for GAA members and $229 for non-members until Feb. 5, 2018. To register visit

Georgia Farm Bureau News Alert - December 7, 2017  
Georgia Farm Bureau News Alert - December 7, 2017  

In this week's GFB News Alert... the Georgia Farm Bureau board has set the organization's priority issues for 2018, President Trump has been...