December 21, 2011
Vol. 29 No. 51
GFB SUBMITS COMMENTS ON PROPOSED TRACEABILITY RULE Asking that a national animal traceability program be federally funded, Georgia Farm Bureau submitted comments on the USDA’s proposed animal disease traceability (ADT) rule. “Our members understand the importance of animal disease control,” GFB President Zippy Duvall wrote in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Our organization supports the establishment of a voluntary national animal identification system capable of providing for animal disease control.” Duvall noted that since the ADT program is intended to benefit the general U.S. population, farmers should not be expected to pay for it, stressing the importance of any such program being fully funded by the USDA. Without sufficient funding to properly implement the ADT program, the rule has the potential to become an unfunded mandate for states and an undue burden on producers. He also raised concerns over confidentiality of farmers’ private data, potential for liability for issues outside of their control or responsibility and the practicality of inspection certificate requirements in the proposed rule. Duvall asked for strict privacy protections and limitations on those having access to the information. The data should only be used for a trace-back system in the event of a food-borne illness. He questioned the practicality of the rule’s call for interstate certificates of veterinary inspection (ICVI) each time animals cross state lines, noting that, for example, a livestock owner traveling to a bordering state for a weekend show would be required to get one certificate when leaving his or her home state and another upon returning. The proposed rule as written would be implemented in two phases. The first phase would apply to reproductively intact cattle more than 18 months old, dairy cattle of any age and cattle of any age used for rodeo, recreational events, shows and exhibitions. The second phase, requiring the identification of all cattle moving across state lines, would be initiated by a notice published in the Federal Register upon completion of the first phase. Duvall asked that the implementation of the second phase be done through a separate rulemaking process to assure that any issues identified during the first phase can be addressed through a transparent process. Implementing the second phase through a separate rulemaking process would also allow cattle farmers the opportunity to review and comment before the second phase is put into practice. Visit http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2009-0091-0001 to view the entire proposed rule.
Leadership Alert page 2 of 6 WATER SUPPLY TASK FORCE SUBMITS REPORT TO DEAL Georgia’s Water Supply Task Force (WSTF) sent its final recommendations on the Governor’s Water Supply Program (GWSP) to Gov. Nathan Deal on Dec. 15. The WSTF, established shortly after Deal took office in January, consisted of the heads of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission, the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission and the Georgia State Properties Commission. The group worked to develop a plan that considered the current challenges associated with developing new water supply projects and outlined solutions. Deal is requesting $300 million from the Georgia General Assembly over the next four years for the development of water supply projects around the state. Of that figure, $100 million is to be direct state investment and the remainder will be in the form of low-interest loans to local governments for a variety of projects, including the development of new reservoirs or the improvement of existing ones. The report recommended that the GWSP help local governments in obtaining and leveraging non-state financing for water supply projects in addition to the state funds requested by Deal. This included a recommendation that the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority serve in an advisory capacity, providing local governments with technical assistance on issues surrounding public-private partnerships and assistance in obtaining legal and financial advice. PILOT PROJECT TESTS STREAM AUGMENTATION IN MILLER COUNTY A group of stakeholders, including farmers, recently participated in a water augmentation pilot project on Spring Greek in Miller County to test the viability of using groundwater from nearby wells to preserve native species of mussels during times of drought. “Evaluating the use of groundwater to supplement streamflows in dry periods was recommended by the Lower Flint-Ochlockonee Regional Water Planning Council in their recently adopted plan for managing water resources in the Lower Flint River basin,” said Tim Cash, Assistant Branch Chief, Chattahoochee and Flint River Basins, Watershed Protection Branch, Georgia Environmental Protection Division. “This project is an important first step in implementing the Council’s recommendations as part of the statewide water planning process.” Two wells were drilled east of the pilot project site, which is directly north of the City of Colquitt wastewater treatment ponds. This area contains a number of native mussel species as well as native fish and turtles. Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, in cooperation with other project partners, developed a monitoring plan to assess the effectiveness of the project in maintaining habitat and enhancing survival of mussels. The high diversity of mussels, as many as 14 species in one survey, makes Spring Creek a mussel hot spot for the Southeast. Three federally-listed mussel species, the shinyrayed pocketbook, oval pigtoe and Gulf mocassinshell used to live there, but only the pocketbook and pigtoe have been found in recent years. If the pattern of low flows continues, more mussel species will be eliminated from Spring Creek.
Leadership Alert page 3 of 6 STATE IMMIGRATION PANEL SEEKING COMMENT ON PROPOSED RULES The Immigration Enforcement Review Board (IERB) has published its proposed organizational rules and will accept public comments through Jan. 18, 2012. The IERB was established under House Bill 87 to investigate complaints against government agencies for violation of or failure to enforce state immigration law. The IERB has the power to subpoena documents, hold hearings and assess sanctions against government agencies or employees who are found to have knowingly violated or failed to enforce state immigration law. Possible sanctions include loss of appropriated state funds and fines of between $1,000 and $5,000. The proposed rules set up how the IERB will operate. They establish the powers of the IERB chairman, provide the procedures through which complaints are initiated and reviewed along with the required information to be included, and outline procedures for conducting hearings and recommending sanctions. The rules also establish the procedures under which appeals of IERB rulings can be filed. Comments should be submitted to the IERB at 270 Washington St. SW, Room 1-156, Atlanta, GA 30334. The IERB will consider the proposed rules during its meeting on Jan. 20, 2012. The finalized rules are to take effect on Feb. 15, 2012. Visit http://www.audits.ga.gov/NALGAD/ImmigrationAct_meetingnotice.html to view the rules online in their entirety. USDA ISSUES FINAL GIPSA RULE On Dec. 8 the USDA issued its final rule intended to give poultry and swine farmers more protection under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Act (GIPSA). The rule includes provisions covering the suspension of delivery of birds, additional capital investments, breach of contract and arbitration. The USDA eliminated a provision placing restrictions on the tournament system of compensation for poultry growers that was included in earlier versions of the rule. The provision regarding suspension of delivery establishes criteria to determine whether a live poultry dealer has provided reasonable notice to poultry growers of any suspension of the delivery of birds under a poultry growing arrangement. The criteria include a written notice at least 90 days prior to suspension, written notice of the reason for the suspension, the length of the suspension and the anticipated date the delivery of birds will resume. The rule includes criteria for determining if a requirement of capital investments over the life of the poultry growing arrangement or swine production contract constitutes a violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act. The rule spells out factors to be considered when determining if a packer, swine contractor or live poultry dealer has provided a reasonable period of time for a producer to remedy a breach of contract that could lead to a termination of the contract. It also mandates that production contracts containing the use of arbitration to settle disputes include language on the signature page that allows a producer or grower to decline arbitration. Visit http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2011-31618_PI.pdf to view the entire GIPSA rule online.
Leadership Alert page 4 of 6 GEORGIA AGRITOURISM CONFERENCE Jan. 5-6, 2012 Westin Hotel Savannah Owners and operators from the stateâ€™s newest, oldest and most successful agritourism destinations will meet for this conference, held in conjunction with the 2012 Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center. Participants will get a professional development experience and receive presentations from an array of speakers, business-to-business prospects, networking opportunities, trade show access and interaction with industry leaders. More information can be found on the GAA website: http://georgia-agritourism.org/conference/ SOUTHEAST REGIONAL FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CONFERENCE Jan. 5-8, 2012 International Trade and Convention Center Savannah Conference workshops will focus on improving crop production and the latest in produce trends as well as the latest legislative updates from Washington and Atlanta. During the three-day program, more than 85 hours of commodity specific production training, pest management information and marketing updates will be offered to attendees. Commodities include peach, vegetable, Vidalia onion, watermelon, muscadine, blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, olive and pecan. In addition to the commodity production sessions, workshops covering good agricultural (GAP) food safety practices, organic production and roadside markets will be held. Continuing education credits are available. On Sunday, an Industry Roundtable is planned for both growers and suppliers to discuss issues of mutual concern. For information or to register, visit http://www.seregionalconference.com. 36th ANNUAL GEORGIA PEANUT FARM SHOW Jan. 19, 2012 Albany Civic Center Albany This event offers farmers the chance to view the products and services of more than 75 exhibitors and attend marketing and production workshops with UGA peanut specialists. The show provides exhibitors with an opportunity to highlight their products or services to nearly 1,500 farmers from across the Southeast. 2012 AG FORECAST MEETINGS Jan. 23 Georgia Farm Bureau Building Macon Jan. 24 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Tifton Jan. 25 Nesmith Lane Conference Center, GSU Campus Statesboro Jan. 26 Georgia Mountains Center Gainesville Jan. 27 Carroll County Ag Center Carrollton These meetings are a UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences program made possible through an endowment from Georgia Farm Bureau and support from the Georgia Department of Agriculture and Georgia Agribusiness Council. Registration begins at 9 a.m. The seminar will be held from 10 a.m. â€“ 12 p.m. followed by a luncheon. UGA ag economists will give the 2012 economic outlook for agriculture. The keynote speaker will give an update on current farm labor issues. Registration is $30 per person or $200 for a table of eight. Call 706583-0347 or visit http://www.georgiaagforecast.com for more information or to register.
Leadership Alert page 5 of 6 2012 SOYBEAN/SMALL GRAIN EXPO Jan. 26, 2012 Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter Perry The Expo will provide soybean and small grain producers with up-to-date marketing projections and the newest production techniques. The event will also feature presentations from UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences professors on climate variability, maximizing yields, world outlook for southern commodities and others. Pesticide credits are available. For more information, contact the Georgia/Florida Soybean Association at 706-5423793. GEORIGA COTTON COMMISSION 5TH ANNUAL MEETING Feb. 1, 2012 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Tifton This sponsored event is free but registration is requested and features morning and afternoon cotton production workshops. Guest speakers included Southern Cotton Growers President Mike Tate, Cotton Board CEO Bill Gillon, Cotton Incorporated Fiber Quality Research Vice President Mike Watson and National Cotton Council Senior Director of Governmental Relations John Maguire. Late Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. To register, visit http://www.ugatiftonconference.org between Dec. 1, 2011, and Jan. 18, 2012 or call 229-3863416. For more information about the conference, email Richey Seaton at firstname.lastname@example.org or Karen Nikitopoulos at email@example.com or call 478-988-4235. UGA 20TH ANNUAL FOCUS ON EPD'S BULL SALE Feb. 2, 2012 UGA Livestock Instructional Arena Athens Sale begins at noon. For more information contact Dr. Ronnie Silcox at 706-542-9102 or firstname.lastname@example.org. OLD SOUTH FARM MUSEUM HOG KILLING DEMONSTRATION Feb. 4, 2012 Old South Farm Museum 8:30 a.m. Woodland This event will demonstrate how hogs were once harvested and the products made from them. Program includes a meat-cutting class and demonstrations on making various pork products. The fee to observe and receive free sausage is $12 per person. To participate in the workshop, gain hands-on experience and receive pork products, the fee is $35. Registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Paul Bulloch at 706-975-9136 or visit http://www.oldsouthfarm.com. ENTRIES BEING ACCEPTED FOR 2012 FLAVOR OF GEORGIA CONTEST Product registrations are being accepted for the Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest. The contest is sponsored by the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development in collaboration with the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, the office of Gov. Nathan Deal, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Agribusiness Council, Walton EMC and the UGA Department of Food Science and Technology. The deadline for entries is Feb. 10, 2012. Semifinalists will be announced in February. Final judging and the announcement of the winners in six food categories will be announced on March 13 during Georgia Ag Awareness Day festivites at the Georgia Depot in Atlanta. Contestants can register online at http://www.flavorofgeorgia.caes.uga.edu and save $10 off registration fees. For more information contact contest director Sharon Kane at 706-542-9809 or email@example.com.
Leadership Alert page 6 of 6 TIFTON BEEF CATTLE SHORT COURSE March 6, 2012 Tifton Bull Evaluation Center Irwinville Registration starts at 9 a.m. For more information contact Dr. Lawton Stewart at 706-542-1852 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Patsie T. Cannon at 229-386-3683 or email@example.com. TIFTON PERFORMANCE TESTED BULL SALE March 7, 2012 Tifton Bull Evaluation Center Irwinville Sale begins at 12:30 p.m. For more information contact Dr. Ronnie Silcox at 706-542-9102 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Patsie T. Cannon at 229-386-3683 or email@example.com. 7TH RAY CITY OLD FASHION PLOW DAY March 17, 2012 Ray City Antique tractor show and plowing demonstration with antique tractors and mules and horses plowing in the field just like they did 100 years ago. Parade begins at 11 am and a plowing demonstration will follow. The event also features arts & crafts vendors, food vendors, fun and games for kids, bluegrass gospel concerts featuring the bluegrass gospel band, the Wauka Mountains Boys, a baking contest with prizes, frying pan toss contest, and much more. Free admission. Join us for a day of agricultural history. For more info contact Greg Harrell 229-2373223. GA HEIFER EVALUATION &REPRODUCTIVE DEVELOPMENT (HERD) SALE April 24, 2012 Tifton Bull Evaluation Center Irwinville Sale begins at 12:30 p.m. Contact Dr. Lawton Stewart at 706-542-1852 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Patsie T. Cannon at 229/386-3683 or email@example.com for more information. CALHOUN BEEF CATTLE REPRODUCTIVE MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP May 29, 2012 NW GA Research & Education Center Livestock Pavilion Calhoun Sale begins at 6 p.m. Contact Ted Dyer at 706-624-1403 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Phil Worley at 706/624-1398 - email@example.com for more information. GA HEIFER EVALUATION AND REPRODUCTIVE DEVELOPMENT (HERD) SALE May 30, 2012 NW Ga. Research & Education Center Livestock Pavilion Calhoun Sale begins at 12:30 p.m. For more information contact Ted Dyer at 706-624-1403 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Phil Worley at 706-624-1398 or email@example.com