December 4, 2013
Vol. 31 No. 49
GEORGIA TOBACCO COMMISSION TO HOLD ASSESSMENT MEETING The Georgia Tobacco Commission is proposing an increase to the amount tobacco farmers pay at the time of sale to fund research projects that benefit their crop. The commission has scheduled a meeting for all Georgia tobacco growers on Dec. 13 to gauge their support for increasing the current assessment of 30 cents per hundredweight. The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. in the small auditorium at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. According to Commission Chairman Fred Wetherington, an increase is needed to offset recent declines in research funding. “We either have to cut back on what we actually fund in the future or we’re going to have to raise the assessment if we’re going to keep up with what we’re doing,” said Wetherington, who grows about 500 acres of tobacco each year. Wetherington said the growers’ input from the meeting will guide the commission on whether to make a formal proposal to the Georgia Department of Agriculture as required by law. A referendum would likely be held next year following the formal proposal. Wetherington pointed to successes in combating tomato spotted wilt virus as an example of the importance of the commission’s continued funding of research activities, which he said are needed to continue developing techniques growers can use on their farms. The research will help farmers remain competitive and produce the highest quality leaf possible. “There have been a lot of good practices and chemicals that have helped us in the fight against tomato spotted wilt virus,” Wetherington said. “Georgia was in the lead fighting tomato spotted wilt because it hit our area earliest.” While the amount of tobacco grown in Georgia has declined as the result of a number of factors, it is still an important part of Georgia’s agricultural economy, with approximately 150 growers across 26 South Georgia counties. One of the state’s historically significant crops, tobacco contributes approximately $40 million in gross revenues in those counties. Because total assessments collected to fund the commission are tied to the quantity of tobacco grown and sold in Georgia, funding for the commission’s activities has declined as production has declined along with already reduced state funding for research, Wetherington said. Emerging overseas markets have stabilized the demand for tobacco. As with any other crop, stresses from pests and disease, as well as environmental and political factors, necessitate ongoing research.
Leadership Alert page 2 of 6 APPLICATIONS FOR CONSERVATION STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM DUE JAN. 17 The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that applications are now being accepted for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for new enrollments for federal fiscal year 2014. The deadline to apply is Jan. 17, 2014. Producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS. The CSP is a farm bill conservation program that helps established conservation stewards with enhancing their natural resource management through practices that improve both their agricultural production and provide valuable conservation benefits such as cleaner and more abundant water, as well as healthier soils and better wildlife habitat. CSP is now in its fifth year and so far, NRCS has partnered with producers to enroll more than 59 million acres across the nation. The program emphasizes conservation performance. Producers earn higher payments for higher performance. In CSP, producers install conservation enhancements to make positive changes in soil quality, soil erosion, water quality, water quantity, air quality, plant resources, animal resources and energy. Some popular enhancements used by farmers and ranchers include: using new nozzles that reduce the drift of pesticides, lowering input costs and making sure pesticides are used where they are most needed; modifying water facilities to prevent bats and bird species from being trapped; burning patches of land, mimicking prairie fires to enhance wildlife habitat; and rotating feeding areas and monitoring key grazing areas to improve grazing management. While local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods. To be eligible for this year’s enrollment, producers must have their applications submitted to NRCS by the closing date. A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types. For more information about CSP, visit a local NRCS field office or the NRCS CSP website at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/csp/. ANDREW MOORE NAMED 2013 ASA DUPONT YOUNG LEADER The Georgia/Florida Soybean Association, the American Soybean Association (ASA) and DuPont Pioneer are pleased to announce that Andrew Moore of Resaca, Ga., has been named the 2013 ASA/DuPont Young Leader for Georgia. Andrew was selected to represent Georgia in a program that includes soybean producer participants from 24 states and Canada. For 30 years, the ASA DuPont Young Leader program has identified and cultivated farmer leaders that shape not only the U.S. soybean industry, but all of agriculture. Through training, Young Leaders strengthen and build upon their natural leadership skills while building a strong agricultural network. This year’s Young Leaders class will participate in a challenging and educational two-part training program. The first phase of training took place at Pioneer’s headquarters in Johnston, Iowa, Nov. 19-22. The program will continue Feb. 25 – March 1, 2014, in San Antonio, Texas, with training held in conjunction with the Annual Commodity Classic Convention and Trade Show.
Leadership Alert page 3 of 6 WATERS NAMED VIDALIA ONION COMMITTEE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Susan Waters was recently promoted to executive director of the Vidalia Onion Committee (VOC). Previously, Waters served as executive assistant to former executive director Wendy Brannen for four years and was named interim manager in April 2013. Brannen left the VOC earlier this year to take a position with the U.S. Apple Association in Washington, D.C. Waters assisted in the development and management of marketing and PR campaigns including the successful Flavors of Summer promotion. She performed research and reviewed trade and consumer advertisements, point-of-sale materials, website development, photography and trade show booth designs. As executive director, Waters hopes to educate more individuals about the Vidalia onion. Focusing on the history and legacy of the oneof-a-kind crop, she plans to create campaigns that continuously teach both new and existing consumers about the onions. Waters Prior to joining the VOC, Waters worked as a secretary for 16 years at the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles and worked for 10 years as a secretary for Farm Credit Services. NASS CONTINUES DATA COLLECTION ON FARM ACTIVITIES The Georgia field office of the USDAâ€™s National Agricultural Statistics Service will be conducting surveys for a number of reports to be published in early 2014. Among those are the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), County Estimates, December Agricultural Survey, Hog Report, Off Farm Grain Stocks, January Cattle and Milk and January Sheep and Goats. ARMS will be conducted in Georgia and across the nation from late December until midApril. A portion of the producers selected for the survey will receive a questionnaire in the mail during that time. The remaining producers selected for the survey will receive a visit from an interviewer between late January and April. The ARMS data will be published in August 2014. County estimates survey questionnaires were mailed to respondents in October. The NASS data collection center will contact producers from Dec. 1 through Jan. 15, 2014. Data collection for the December Survey began with a mail-out on Nov. 20 and follow-up calls will take place through Dec. 16. The Annual Crop Production report will be published on Jan. 10, 2014. Data collection for the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report will be from Nov. 30 through Dec 11. Results will be published Dec. 27. Questionnaires for the Off Farm Grain Stocks report were mailed on Nov. 20 and follow-up calls are scheduled for Dec. 10-12. The report will be published on Jan. 10, 2014. January Cattle and Milk and Sheep and Goat questionnaires will be mailed on Dec. 19. Data collection will be from Dec. 27 through Jan. 15, 2014, for Jan. 1, 2014 inventory numbers on hand. Data will be published in the Milk Production report on Jan. 23, 2014. The Cattle report and the Sheep and Goat report will be published on Jan. 31, 2014. Meanwhile, NASS will not conduct a number of statistical surveys in Fiscal Year 2014 due to continued funding cuts under sequestration. The suspended reports include the July Cattle Report. The Non-Citrus Fruit and Nut Annual Summary and the Vegetable Annual Summary will be published, but there will be no forecasts, no preliminary summary and no monthly prices in FY2014.
Leadership Alert page 4 of 6 CONGRATULATIONS TO TIFT, OCONEE 4-H! The Tift County 4-H Poultry Judging Team won its third national championship in four years and the Oconee County 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl Team won the national championship in recent competitions in Louisville, Ky. Congratulations, and thanks for representing Georgia well! GEFA OFFERS SECOND ROUND OF IRRIGATION MOTOR REBATES The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) is offering a second round of the Georgia Agricultural Irrigation Motor (AIM) Program, an incentive program designed to help Georgia farmers become more energy-efficient, save money on fuel costs, and reduce emissions. The Georgia AIM Program will provide farmers with a rebate to replace inefficient diesel irrigation engines with energy-efficient electric irrigation motors. The rebates will cover 25 percent of eligible project costs, with a $10,000 maximum rebate available. The application period for the program opens online at http://www.gefa.org on Dec. 4 and ends Feb. 15, 2014. Available funding is limited and rebates will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The first round of the program awarded 34 farmers throughout the state with rebates totaling $154,309. The new installations are projected to reduce annual diesel fuel consumption by 217,029 gallons. TECHNICAL LARGE ANIMAL EMERGENCY RESCUE TRAINING Dec. 5-7 TLAER Facility Gray This event is aimed at educating those who may respond in a disaster or emergency incident involving large animals, whether emergency responders or owners. The training will provide certification training in operations and awareness on large animal rescue topics. For more information visit http://www.tlaer.org/. CALHOUN PERFORMANCE TESTED BULL SALE Dec. 6 NW GA Research & Education Center Livestock Pavilion Calhoun Sale begins at 12:30 p.m. Contact Dr. Ronnie Silcox at 706-542-9102 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Phil Worley at 706-624-1398 or email@example.com. 2013 GEORGIA FARM BUREAU ANNUAL Meeting Dec. 8-10 Jekyll Island Convention Center Jekyll Island Dec. 8 events will include the annual trade show, the final round of the Young Farmer Discussion Meet and announcements of the 2013 GFB state award winners. Scheduled speakers for the Dec. 9 general session include Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, American Farm Bureau Federation staff members Kristi Boswell and Bob Young and GFB President Zippy Duvall, who will give his annual address. During the afternoon of Dec. 9, 39 speakers will address ag issues during commodity conferences for Georgia’s 20 major commodities. GFB voting delegates will adopt the organization’s policy for the next year on Dec. 10. For more information contact your county Farm Bureau office. GEORGIA GROWN CHRISTMAS SHOWCASE Dec. 14 Atlanta State Farmer’s Market 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Forest Park Join the Georgia Department of Agriculture for Christmas carolers, chef demonstrations and holiday cheer! Christmas trees, greenery, garlands and gifts for the entire family will be available at the first-time event. The Atlanta State Farmer’s Market is located off Interstate 75 at exit 237.
Leadership Alert page 5 of 6 BEYOND THE FARM GATE SOCIAL MEDIA SEMINAR Dec. 17 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center 8 :45 a.m. â€“ 5 p.m. Tifton This free event, funded under a USDA Beginning Farmer & Rancher Grant, will help farmers gain the skills and knowledge they need to establish and maintain an effective online presence for their farm or ranch. The deadline to register is Dec. 10. To register or for more information, contact Chris Morgan at 706-542-7102 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.depts.ttu.edu/aged/beyondthefarmgate/events.html. GEORGIA BEEF REFERENDUM PROCESS UNDERWAY Georgia cattle producers have until Dec. 31 to sign up with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to receive a ballot to vote in a state referendum that will determine if an assessment of up to $1 per head is collected to fund the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Beef. The proposed assessment is separate from the National Beef Checkoff (NBC). For the referendum to be valid, at least 25 percent of the total number of producers who receive ballots must vote. To request a ballot, visit http://agr.georgia.gov/beef-commission.aspx. Those without access to the Internet may contact their county Farm Bureau office for assistance. DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY ACCEPTING AG CDL EXEMPTION FORMS New federal highway funding legislation that went into effect on July 1 allows expanded exemptions for farmers transporting their own products, equipment or machinery, but a producer must carry a special tag or distinction on the vehicle to receive the exemption. The form may be accessed at http://gamccd.net/FarmVehicle.aspx. The form must be completed online, and the vehicle identification number (VIN) for the specific vehicle is required. Beginning January 1, 2014, no farm CDL exemptions are applicable without form TR0025 being in the vehicle. Additional information on the exemption for farm vehicles can be found at http://www.gfb.org/legislative/map21.html. BLUEBERRY MEETING Jan. 8, 2014 Ga./Fla. Tobacco Exchange Warehouse 10 a.m. Alma This meeting is designed for blueberry growers, county agents, and industry representatives. Topics include sprayer coverage field day results, a spotted wing drosophilia update, current disease issues, new research and a horticulture update from UGA Blueberry Specialist Dr. Erick Smith. Lunch is sponsored by BEI International and BBC Technologies. Commercial and private pesticide credits will be given To register, call 912-632-5601 or email email@example.com. SOUTHEAST REGIONAL FRUIT & VEGETABLE CONFERENCE Jan. 9-12, 2014 International Trade and Convention Center Savannah This annual conference features 10 different crop-specific workshops plus workshops on roadside markets, business operations and food safety. Attendees will also have the chance to receive legislative updates from Washington and Atlanta. For more information or to register, visit http://www.seregionalconference.com. 2014 GEORGIA PEANUT FARM SHOW Jan. 16, 2014 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Tifton This annual event, presented by the Georgia Peanut Commission, will be held in Tifton for the second straight year. The Peanut Farm Show features more than 95 free exhibits, nearly $40,000 in door prizes, a free farmer lunch and pesticide applicator certification classes. For more information, visit www.gapeanuts.com.
Leadership Alert page 6 of 6 METRO ATLANTA BEEKEEPING SHORT COURSE Jan. 18, 2014 Atlanta Botanical Garden 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Atlanta This complete beekeeping course includes presentations for beginning and experienced beekeepers, covering entomology and botany, as well as displays of beekeeping equipment. register, visit Educational materials will be included. To http://www.metroatlantabeekeepers.org/sc_register.php. The registration fee is $95, which includes lunch and a parking pass. For more information send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 678-597-8443. 2014 GEORGIA DAIRY CONFERENCE Jan. 20-22, 2014 Savannah Riverfront Marriott Savannah This annual conference will provide dairymen and managers significant and practical “takehome” information about a variety of on-farm and dairy business practices. A discounted room rate of $119 for single and double occupancy rooms is available, with no parking fees. Contact the hotel at 912-233-7722 or 800-285-0398 to make reservations and mention that you are with Georgia Milk Producers to get the discount. To register, please contact Farrah Newberry at 706310-0020 or email@example.com. GA. COTTON COMMISSION ANNUAL MEETING & COTTON WORKSHOP Jan. 22, 2014 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Tifton Production workshops will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. followed by the Cotton Commission Annual Meeting, presentation of the Georgia Quality Cotton Awards during lunch and more production workshops in the afternoon. For more information call 478-988-4235 or visit http://www.georgiacottoncommission.org. AG FORECAST MEETINGS Jan. 24, 2014 Georgia Farm Bureau Macon Jan. 27, 2014 Georgia Center for Continuing Education Athens Jan. 28, 2014 Toombs County Agri-Center Lyons Jan. 29, 2014 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Tifton Jan. 30, 2014 Cloud Livestock Facility Bainbridge Jan. 31, 2014 Clarence Brown Conference Center Cartersville Check-in begins at 9:30 a.m. Seminar runs from 10 a.m. to noon followed by a networking lunch, with the exception of the Tifton and Bainbridge meetings, which feature breakfast at 7:30 a.m. followed by the seminar from 8 to 9:30 a.m. UGA economists will give the annual ag economic outlook and guest speakers, including experts on farm succession planning. Registration fee is $30 per person for $200 for a table of eight. Advance registration is required by Jan. 22, 2014. For more information or to register, visit http://www.georgiaagforecast.com, call 706-583-0347 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the meetings on Twitter @GaAgForecast and join the conversation with #agforecast.