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December 7, 2017

www.gfb.org

Vol. 35 No. 25

GEORGIA FARM BUREAU HOLDS 80TH ANNUAL CONVENTION About 1,500 Georgia farmers and agribusiness leaders from across the state met on Jekyll Island Dec. 3-5 for the organization’s 80th annual convention. The three-day event included a trade show and educational sessions that gave farmers updates on policy and production issues impacting Georgia’s major commodities. During the general session on Dec. 4, convention attendees heard from Gov. Nathan Deal, U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. While delivering his annual address to Georgia Farm Bureau members, GFB President Gerald Long said three of the organization’s top legislative priorities are obtaining a viable farm bill that strengthens the food security of the United States, defending farm water rights and protecting the rights of farmers and landowners from excessive government regulations. “For more than 80 years, Georgia Farm Bureau has been the voice of Georgia farmers. Addressing farm issues is basic to Farm Bureau’s Gerald Long purpose,” Long said. “A new farm bill is being developed for 2018, and farmers must speak with a united voice to have influence. Farmers’ The next issue of rights to use water will continue to be an issue in Georgia as the United GFB News Alert States Supreme Court will hear a case about water early next year that could have long-term impacts. Georgia Farm Bureau supports private comes out property rights, and we will work to reign in government agencies that December 19. overreach into the rights of farmers and landowners.” Long also outlined his vision for Georgia Farm Bureau through the year 2020 to inspire and educate today’s farmers, youth and consumers to preserve and promote tomorrow’s agriculture. “We will achieve our vision to inspire by increasing our educational outreach through investment in grants for agricultural research, which is one of the keys to Georgia’s agricultural success and educating students and consumers about agriculture,” Long said. “We will achieve our vision to educate by engaging and developing local volunteer leaders. We will achieve our vision to preserve by connecting and collaborating with our ag partners who share our vision.” GFB plans to increase its efforts to promote ag literacy in schools and educate consumers about the importance of agriculture, as part of its vision to inspire, Long said. As part of the organizations effort to engage and develop local leaders, Long announced GFB -continued on next page


GFB News Alert page 2 of 14 Continued from previous page plans to add additional programs for its farmer members in the 36 to 50-year age range to keep members engaged in the organization as they age out of the Young Farmer program aimed at members 18 to 35 years old. “We will not reduce our commitment to our Young Farmer program, but we want to maintain those leaders we work so hard to develop,” Long said. Gov. Deal discusses efforts to strengthen rural Georgia For the eighth consecutive year, Gov. Nathan Deal showed his appreciation for Georgia farmers by speaking at Georgia Farm Bureau’s annual convention. “As a Farm Bureau member, I appreciate the good work that this organization does,” Deal said. “Whenever possible you give young people the opportunity to explore the rural lifestyle and this is important.” Gov. Deal outlined the many projects the state of Georgia has funded during his administration to strengthen rural Georgia and agriculture. Deal said the state has allocated an additional $9 million above what the state usually allocates for the UGA Cooperative Extension Service, UGA Agricultural Experiment Stations & Veterinary Medicine Experiment Stations for fiscal year 2018. “We understand that these are the kinds of investments that allow people Gov. Nathan Deal to have access to the most current information possible,” Deal said. Since Deal took office as governor in 2011, Georgia has invested more than $100 million to ensure students in rural Georgia have access to high speed internet. The One Georgia Authority, which provides grants to rural communities, has awarded about $100 million to fund rural economic projects that have helped retain or create 25,575 jobs in rural Georgia. “Eighty percent of the international economic development projects that have come to Georgia were outside Metro Atlanta,” Deal said. “They may not be directly related to agriculture, but they do provide jobs for rural Georgia and allow people to stay in rural Georgia.” Deal pointed out that since 2013 Site Selection Magazine has named Georgia the best state in the nation in which to do business. “Agribusiness is doing your part in keeping us in that number one designation,” Deal said. “Agribusiness contributes over $74.9 billion to Georgia’s economy.” Rep. Carter gives Washington update U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Dist.1) welcomed Georgia Farm Bureau members to his district and provided updates on key ag issues in the district, including the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) and tax legislation. Carter said SHEP is about 33 percent complete, and he anticipated that the federal government will continue to provide funding for the project, which will make the Port of Savannah capable of handling larger cargo ships, making ag exports more cost effective. The port, Carter said, is the third-fastest growing port in the world. “We need about $100 million every year for the next five years to get that project finished, and we have a commitment from the president and from the Buddy Carter -continued on next page


GFB News Alert page 3 of 14 Continued from previous page Office of Management and Budget that they will do that,” Carter said. Carter said a conference committee to resolve differences between House and Senate tax reform bills would be appointed by the end of the week. “Right now, the tax code is twice as long as the Bible,” Carter said. “Unfortunately, and unlike the Bible, there’s not good news in that tax code. We are trying to put good news in it. We need tax reform. It’s been since 1986 since we’ve had tax reform.” Among the points of difference between the two bills is how they handle estate taxes. The House bill, Carter said, would eventually eliminate estate taxes, which pose significant financial challenges for farm families when the time comes to transfer farm assets from one generation to the next. AG Commissioner Black: Agriculture makes life betFter Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black discussed the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) and a list of things the Georgia Department of Agriculture should pursue in coming years. The GATE program allows farmers exemption from sales taxes on things like farm implements, seed and fertilizer that they use to produce their crops. Black said there is a possibility the GATE program could transition from the current annual renewal to a three-year renewal with an increase in fees as a deterrent for individuals who would abuse the program. “I’m very satisfied we have a sound program. I’m satisfied that our administration of it is sound,” Black said. “We may have some extra improvements we can make.” Black outlined what he called the “agriculture makes life better” agenda, which includes making careers in the Department of Agriculture more Gary Black attractive to employees, making Georgia a place where local food systems flourish, helping Georgia citizens start in business and stay in business, being prepared for natural disasters, ensuring the health of and care for animals in the state, enhancing domestic and international marketing of farm products and attracting Georgia’s youth with careers in agriculture, forestry, food processing and related fields. GFB ANNOUNCES 2018 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) voting delegates elected the organization’s 2018 board of directors Dec. 5 during the 80th Annual GFB Convention held on Jekyll Island. GFB President Gerald Long continues to serve the two-year term GFB members elected him to in December 2016. Long, of Bainbridge, raises cattle and grows peanuts, vegetables, corn, cotton, hay, small grains and timber with his family on their farm near Bainbridge. He has served on the GFB Board of Directors in various roles since 1999 and is a Decatur County Farm Bureau director. In addition to his Farm Bureau leadership, Long is a member of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association and is a past treasurer of the Georgia Beef Board. GFB members in the organization’s North Georgia Region re-elected Bernard Sims of Catoosa County to represent their region on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors for his fourth, -continued on next page


GFB News Alert page 4 of 14 Continued from previous page three-year term. The GFB North Georgia Region is comprised of 49 counties in the upper third of Georgia. Sims, who ran unopposed, serves as the Catoosa County Farm Bureau president, and grows turf grass, small grains, strawberries and hay and raises cattle. GFB voting delegates re-designated Robert Fountain Jr. of Emanuel County as the organization’s 1st vice president as he begins serving the third year of his third consecutive threeyear term as Middle Georgia vice president. The GFB Middle Georgia Region is comprised of 56 counties in the middle third of Georgia. Fountain has held the position since 2009 and previously held the position from 1997 to 2006. He is the third generation to own his family’s farm located in Emanuel and Johnson counties. He raises cattle, hay, timber, small grains and pecans. Daniel Johnson of Pierce County is beginning the second year of the three-year term GFB members in the organization’s South Georgia Region elected him to last year. The GFB South Georgia Region is comprised of 53 counties in the lower third of the state. Johnson, who grows tobacco, cotton and peanuts, previously represented the organization’s 10th District on the GFB Board of Directors from 2006-2016 and has served as Pierce County Farm Bureau president for the past 25 years. Johnson chairs the Georgia Tobacco Commission and is a director of the Georgia Tobacco Growers Association. The following were re-elected unopposed to serve two-year terms on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors: Bill Bryan of Chattooga County, 1st District; Bobby Gunter of Lumpkin County, 2nd District; George Chambers of Carroll County, 3rd District; Marvin Ruark of Morgan County, 4th District; Ralph Adamson of Lamar County, 5th District; James Malone Jr. of Laurens County, 6th District; Gary Bell of Evans County, 7th District; Scotty Raines of Turner County, 8th District; Paul Shirah of Mitchell County, 9th District; and David Lee of Bacon County, 10th District. GFB directors beginning the second year of the two-year terms they were elected to in 2016 are: Wesley Hall of Forsyth County, 1st District; Randy Ruff of Elbert County, 2nd District; Nora Goodman of Paulding County, 3rd District; Skeetter McCorkle of McDuffie County, 4th District; Matt Bottoms of Pike County, 5th District; James Emory Tate of Jeff Davis County, 6th District; Ben Boyd of Screven County, 7th District; Don Wood of Wilcox County, 8th District; Lucius Adkins of Baker County, 9th District; and Lamar Vickers of Berrien County, 10th District. Dustin Covington of Sumter County was named chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee. Carol McQueen of Henry County was named chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Committee. Both will serve a one-year term as committee chairmen and will sit on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors. Appointed officers of the GFB Board of Directors include General Counsel Duke Groover, Chief Administrative Officer & Corporate Secretary Jon Huffmaster and Chief Financial Officer & Corporate Treasurer David Jolley. Delegates also voted on policy that will direct the organization’s stance on legislative issues pertaining to agriculture in the coming year.


GFB News Alert page 5 of 14 GEORGIA FARM BUREAU PRESENTS STATE AWARDS Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) recognized the best of the organization’s volunteers and county chapters during its 80th annual convention on Jekyll Island. The state award winners were honored for the programs they conducted this past year to promote agriculture. GFB named a McKemie Award winner - the highest honor given to a county Farm Bureau in recognition of its overall member program - from each of its three membership categories. Upson County Farm Bureau, whose president is Brian Johnston, received the McKemie Award for the small membership category. Toombs County Farm Bureau, whose president is Chris Hopkins, won the McKemie Award for the medium membership category. Hall County Farm Bureau, whose president is Jerry Truelove, received the award in the large membership category. The McKemie Award is a memorial to one of the organization’s former presidents, W.J. McKemie. Finalists in the McKemie competition, listed in alphabetical order, for the small membership category were: Bacon, Crawford, Hancock, Heard, Jasper, Macon, Treutlen and Turner counties. Finalists for the medium membership category were: Cook, Dawson, Greene, Harris, Monroe, Pike, Polk, Screven, Troup and Washington counties. Finalists in the large membership category were: Banks, Barrow, Cherokee, Cobb, Coffee, Colquitt, Henry, Houston, Jackson, McDuffie and Paulding counties. Other state awards presented were the: Outstanding Promotion & Education Award received by Toombs County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Women’s Leadership Committee Award received by Hall County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Legislative Committee Award received by Henry County Farm Bureau; and Outstanding Young Farmer Committee Award received by Hall County Farm Bureau. Debbie Payne, the Cobb County Farm Bureau (CCFB) office manager, received the organization’s Outstanding Office Manager Award. Payne, who has been employed with CCFB since 1994, was recognized for the work she has done to promote agriculture and Farm Bureau in her local community. Payne is responsible for coordinating CCFB’s agricultural advocacy and Ag in the Classroom activities throughout the year including organizing the CCFB Farmers Market. Dr. Wendy Fushchetti, an elementary teacher in Banks County, received GFB’s Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom 2017 Teacher of the Year Award. Fushchetti, who teaches third grade at Banks County Elementary School in Homer, was recognized for incorporating information about agriculture into her math, science and social studies classes to teach her students how agriculture impacts their daily lives. She received a $500 award and an expense-paid trip to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Portland, Maine, in June 2018. Eddy Turner of Washington County won the 2017 GFB Quality Hay Contest, which was open to any Georgia Farm Bureau member who produces Bermudagrass hay. Samples of hay entered in the contest were tested at the University of Georgia Testing Lab using the Relative Forage Quality (RFQ) Test, which predicts fiber digestibility and the likeliness livestock will eat the hay. Turner’s -continued on next page


GFB News Alert page 6 of 14 Continued from previous page winning Tift 44 Bermuda hay had an RFQ rating of 136. He won the free use of a Vermeer 504R Signature baler for one year courtesy of the Vermeer Manufacturing Company with the option to purchase the baler at a reduced price at the end of the year. Thomas and Alicia Harrell of Madison County received the GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award, which recognizes young farmers who earn most of their income by farming. Will Godowns of Pike County was recognized as the GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet winner. Josh and Skye Pennino of Hancock County won the Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award. Public Policy Breakout Sessions ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES/EPA AG ADVISOR: AGENCY FOCUSED ON REFORM U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Agricultural Advisor Jeff Sands said the agency is making a concerted effort to work with farmers to make sure their concerns are taken into consideration during rulemaking. “It’s a high priority for the administrator to meet effectively with the ag community,” said Sands, who provides agricultural information to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “He cares about the small and medium-sized farmer. Everything we bring him, he wants to know how it is going to impact Company X and then what about Farmer John?” Sands, part of a panel of speakers in the Environmental Issues Breakout Session at the Georgia Farm Bureau Convention, gave updates on a court ruling concerning reporting under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Nov. 22 that mandated reporting would be delayed until Jan. 22, 2018. Jeff Sands Sands also discussed use of dicamba and label changes prompted by spray drift concerns in multiple states. Among these, he said, dicamba is being classified as a restricted use product that may only be used under permit by certified applicators and those working directly under their supervision. Sands said there are updated recordkeeping requirements and the herbicide can only be applied when wind speeds are below 10 mph. Sands addressed the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule put in place by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2015. Sands said EPA has requested a two-year extension of the pre-2015 rule. Mark Masters of the Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center and Marjie Dickey, manager of the Georgia EPD Agriculture Water Project, presented information about the state’s work to install meters on agricultural irrigation systems.


GFB News Alert page 7 of 14 Public Policy Breakout Sessions POLITICAL OUTLOOK/HARPER: YOU’VE GOT TO TELL YOUR STORY Public policy analyst Charlie Harper hit on a variety of topics during his presentation at the Georgia Farm Bureau Convention, but his overarching message was this: Tell your story. Harper, publisher of GeorgiaPol.com and executive director of PolicyBEST, grew up in metro Atlanta and still lives there. He quickly pointed out that he knows very little about farming, which makes him and those like him an important audience for agriculture. “About half of Georgians are a lot like me,” Harper said during the Political Outlook Public Policy breakout session. “They don’t know what you do. They don’t know how farms work. You’ve really got to work to make sure you’re reaching the people who had experiences growing up like I did. We kind of know y’all are there, but we really don’t know what you’re doing, and we need to understand and appreciate how important [farming] is.” Harper said that on the national level, everything is flowing from presidential politics, and in terms of large-scale messaging, reporting on Charlie Harper agriculture often is limited to local papers in rural areas. At the state level, Harper said the “two Georgias” (Metro Atlanta and everyone else) have evolved into five – urban Atlanta, sububurban Atlanta, rural North Georgia, rural South Georgia and coastal Georgia. In those regional divisions people need coalitions to get things done in the state legislature, he said. For instance, farming interests in rural Georgia are seeking investment in the state’s rail system to facilitate moving ag products to the ports of Savannah and Brunswick, and they may have a common interest with groups in metro Atlanta that are pursuing a commuter rail system in and out of Atlanta. “When you’re looking at when bills go through concerning whether they’re going to fund transit in Atlanta with state money, South Georgia is going to want something, and that might be your bargaining chip.” He said politics at the state level no longer back agribusiness, in part because people in metro areas are so far-removed from the farm. “The opportunity for you is to make sure you start telling your story in ways that relate to a metro Atlantan so they can understand what you contribute to the state,” Harper said.


GFB News Alert page 8 of 14 Public Policy Breakout Sessions ECONOMIC OUTLOOK: GA AG WILL LOSE IF U.S. PULLS OUT OF NAFTA The biggest wildcard for the economic outlook of Georgia agriculture is trade, University of Georgia Ag Economist Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman said during a presentation at the Georgia Farm Bureau convention. Dorfman, a professor of agricultural & applied economics at the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, provided the economic outlook at the GFB Convention. “A trade war would be very bad for Georgia. If we get rid of NAFTA, Georgia could gain in blueberries and vegetables, but Georgia would lose in poultry, corn, peanuts and pecans,” Dorfman said. “If we can’t sell to Mexico and Canada, someone else will sell to them. These are the two countries we can sell to with the lowest transportation cost. We could sell our products to other countries, but we’ll make less money because we’ll be paying higher shipping costs. This is why we’ll lose if NAFTA goes away.” Dorfman said it will be important for farmers to watch their debt in 2018, especially if it’s secured by the high land prices of recent Dr. Jeff Dorfman years, and encouraged people to pay off their debt. “I think land prices are likely to come down in the next one to five years,” Dorfman said. “No one sees commodity prices going back up as they were, so I think land prices have to come back down, but I don’t see it being catastrophic for Georgia.” On the plus side, Dorfman said he expects a long era of low interest rates because the U.S. is the biggest debtor in the world and we want low rates. “I can’t tell you your commodity prices are going up, but I can at least tell you your interest rates aren’t going up drastically,” Dorfman said. Jared Powell, President Trump’s nominee to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, has said if he is confirmed by the Senate that he would continue the Fed’s current practice of gradually raising interest rates. Dorfman said cattle and timber should see good prices in coming years. “Cattle might be the most favorable [commodity] over the next 20 years because the rest of the world is getting richer and they will eat more meat. This will be good for Georgia poultry and cattle producers.” Timber should fare well in the coming years, Dorfman said, as millennials look to move out of cities and buy or build houses in the suburbs.


GFB News Alert page 9 of 14 Public Policy Breakout Sessions EDUCATION OUTLOOK: UGA CAES, VET SCHOOL DEANS DISCUSS INITIATIVES The deans of the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) and UGA College of Veterinary Medicine discussed issues their respective colleges are addressing and outlined the schools’ goals while speaking at the Georgia Farm Bureau convention. CAES Dean Dr. Sam Pardue said the college has the opportunity to address the high mortality rate many rural Georgia counties have. “This is important because as the population of rural America shrinks, so does its political clout,” Pardue said. “Rural America represents 14 percent of the U.S. population but 72 percent of the land in the U.S.” Pardue said research by the UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government shows that 82 Georgia counties lost population between 2010 and 2013 while six Georgia counties account for two-thirds of the state’s population growth since 2010. Pardue also outlined five emerging initiatives the CAES has. The first is raising private funds to build a new poultry science facility to house the college’s teaching, research and Extension programs for poultry. In an interview with GFB media, Pardue said the college is in the early stages of developing the fundraising plan and determining where the new facility will be built. CAES researchers are taking the microbiome - all microorganisms in an environment – into account as they conduct their research, Pardue said. Dr. Sam Pardue “In Ag we are interested in learning how the microbiome influences the growth, metabolism and immune responses of plants and animals,” Pardue said. “Specifically, how do gut microflora influence the growth and development of food animals or how do the microbiota in the soil alter a plant’s resistance to drought or disease.” The third initiative the CAES is looking to address is the data farmers generate about their farms using GPS and automated irrigation programs. “There is as much data generated by agriculture as the medical field,” Pardue said. “We need to study how we can use the data agriculture is generating to make better decisions.” The CAES is working to secure approval from the Georgia Board of Regents to add a hospitality/food industry management major to the college. Pardue said CAES staff is in the early stages of discussing development of a Center for Global Food and Agricultural policy. Dr. Lisa Nolan, dean of the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, said the college has taken several steps to graduate more veterinarians who will focus on treating food animals. These steps include the Food Animal Veterinary Incentive Program (FAVIP), which identifies students in the Dr. Lisa Nolan CAES who want to become food animal vets and guarantees them a spot in Nolan the UGA vet school provided they meet certain academic requirements. Nolan said the Georgia Veterinary Loan Repayment Program, which covers up to $80,000 of a UGA College of Veterinary Medicine’s student loans in exchange for them agreeing to practice large animal medicine in defined rural areas for a certain period of time, is another way the college -continued on next page


GFB News Alert page 10 of 14 Continued from previous page and the state of Georgia are trying to meet the demand for large animal vets across the state. “I have heard repeatedly that parts of rural Georgia don’t have access to veterinary care,” Nolan said. “That bothers me a lot and I can tell you that we will continue to work on this. The loan repayment program will help, and we’re working to recruit students who want to become food animal vets.” Last year the vet school had about 1,200 applicants apply for 114 slots in this year’s class, Nolan said. The four-year cost of attending the UGA CVM is $180,978, Nolan said, and the average student graduates with a debt of $108,000. GEORGIA PEACH GROWERS WANT COLDER WEATHER THIS WINTER Cooler temperatures are needed this winter to avoid another disastrous peach season, according to Jeff Cook, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension County coordinator in Taylor and Peach counties. Last year’s mild winter contributed to Georgia’s peach industry suffering an 80 percent loss. Cook estimates that 70 percent of those losses were attributed to Georgia’s lack of chill hours. The late freeze this past spring contributed to the other 10 to 15 percent peach loss, Cook said. “Chill hours” refers to the time in which temperatures dip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. From Oct. 1 through Feb. 15, chill hours are required for peach production. “Chill hours are vital to the development of a peach. We didn’t have enough cold weather last year and it showed once we got to harvest time,” said Cook, who specializes in peaches. According to Cook, one Georgia peach variety requires 850 chill hours, the highest chill requirement of all varieties grown in Georgia. When that particular variety only got around 450 chill hours last winter, the result was devastating for Georgia peach farmers. At least 800 hours are needed to make a “decent crop,” he said. “We had between 650 and 700 (chill hours) year before last and did okay. Last year we were below 500 and we really need about 800,” Cook said. The biggest hit to Georgia’s 2017 peach crop was the lack of peaches from July to August, which is typically the largest yielding period. “The packing sheds were shut down the first of July,” Cook said. Unfortunately for Georgia peach producers, this year’s winter forecast is projecting a warmer winter due to La Nina weather conditions. UGA Extension agricultural climatologist Pam Knox predicts a 70 percent chance of La Nina conditions occurring from November 2017 through January 2018. La Nina is associated with above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation, especially in the southern half of Georgia. Knox emphasized that even in a La Nina winter, outbreaks of cold air could still provide chill hours to the peach crop. Dario Chavez, a UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences assistant professor in peach research on the UGA Griffin campus, said the peach industry in Georgia should know by the end of December or early January how this winter will compare to previous years. “It’s a weather factor so we really can’t do anything about it. It would be different if it were cold and we wanted to protect (the peaches) against the cold. That’s something we can do. Making it cold when it’s warm — it’s impossible,” Chavez said. For more information on Georgia’s peach industry, see the UGA Extension blog at blog.extension.uga.edu/peaches/.


GFB News Alert page 11 of 14 2017 CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE UNDERWAY 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 resulting data are used by farmers, ranchers, trade associations, researchers, policymakers, and many others to help make decisions in community planning, farm assistance programs, technology development, farm advocacy, agribusiness setup, rural development, and more. 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. NASS revised the census forms in an attempt to document changes and emerging trends in the industry. Changes include a new question about military veteran status, expanded questions about food marketing practices, and questions about on-farm decision-making to help better capture the roles and contributions of beginning farmers, women farmers, and others involved in running a farm enterprise. The census response deadline is Feb. 5, 2018. 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 www.agcensus.usda.gov or call 800-727-9540. GEORGIA COTTON GROWERS’ EFFICIENCY SURVEY The Georgia Cotton Commission has funded a research project designed to help Georgia cotton farmers improved 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 www.GeorgiaCottonFarmers.com. The deadline to participate is Jan. 31, 2018. For more information, contact Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman, professor of agricultural and applied economics, at 706-542-0754 or jdorfman@uga.edu, or graduate student Julian Worley at 757-6213666 or Julian.worley@uga.edu. USDA ANNOUNCES PORK BOARD APPOINTMENTS On Nov. 30, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the appointment of five members to serve on the National Pork Board. The producers appointed to serve three year terms are: Brett Kaysen, Nunn, Colo.; Steven R. Rommereim, Alcester, S.D.; Scott Phillips, Drexel, Mo.; Heather Hill, Greenfield, Ind.; Deb Balance, Fremont, N.C. The National Pork Board is composed of 15 pork producers, who are nominated by the National Pork Producers Delegate Body, which is made up of approximately 160 producer and importer members. Glen Walters of Lamar County is the only member of the board from Georgia. The program was created and is administered under the authority of the Pork Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act of 1985.


GFB News Alert page 12 of 14 GEORGIA PEANUT COMMISSION NOMINATION MEETINGS Dec. 14 District 1 - Emanuel County Farm Bureau 10 a.m. Swainsboro Dec. 14 District 3 - Miller County Farm Bureau 10 a.m. Colquitt Georgia Farm Bureau will conduct the meetings to fill terms, which expire Dec. 31, in the GPC’s Districts One and Three. Tim Burch of Baker County is the incumbent in District 1. Counties in District One include: Baker, Calhoun, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell and Seminole. Joe Boddiford of Screven County is the incumbent in District 3. Counties in District Three include: Appling, Bacon, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Candler, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glascock, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Montgomery, Pierce, Richmond, Screven, Tattnall, Toombs, Treutlen, Washington and Wayne. The Georgia peanut production area is divided into five districts based on acreage distribution and geographical location with one board member representing each district. Each nominee must produce peanuts and live within the district for which he is nominated. For more information contact the Georgia Peanut Commission at 229386-3470 or Joe McManus with GFB at 478-474-0679, ext. 5259. FERAL SWINE WORKSHOP Dec. 15 Berrien Co. Ag Center, 516A County Farm Rd. 9 a.m. - noon Nashville These workshops, which feature trapping demonstrations, are sponsored by Georgia Farm Bureau, the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts, Georgia Department of Agriculture, USDA, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources. Featured speakers are Dr. Mike Mengak from UGA, Matt Ondovchik of USDA Wildlife Services, Charlie Killmaster of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb. Register by Dec. 13 for the Nashville workshop. To register or for more information, visit www.gacd.us/events/ or contact Casey Cox at 229-351-4728 or casey@gacd.us. FARM BUSINESS WORKSHOP FOR NEW & BEGINNING FARMERS Dec. 19 Oglethorpe County Extension 10 a.m. – Noon Crawford This workshop is sponsored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Farm Service Agency, the Athens Land Trust, UGA Extension and AgGeorgia Farm Crecit, includes presentations on FSA loan programs, NRCS cost-share programs, information from the UGA Small Business Development Center and the Athens Land Trust.The Oglethorpe Extension office is located at 55 Oglethorpe Drive. To register call 706-743-8341 by Dec. 15. Registration fee is $5. 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 http://www.gfb.org/membership/hay.cms. 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.


GFB News Alert page 13 of 14 DAIRY MARGIN PROTECTION PROGRAM ENROLLMENT Dec. 15 deadline for enrollment The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting applications from dairy producers for 2018 coverage in the Margin Protection Program (MPPDairy). The USDA has utilized additional flexibility this year by providing dairy producers the option of opting out of the program for 2018. To opt out, a producer should not sign up during the annual registration period. By opting out, a producer would not receive any MPP-Dairy benefits if payments are triggered for 2018. Full details will be included in a subsequent Federal Register Notice. The decision would be for 2018 only and is not retroactive. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating dairy producers when the margin - the difference between the price of milk and feed costs - falls below the coverage level selected by the producer. USDA has a web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the MPP-Dairy that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. For more information, visit FSA online at www.fsa.usda.gov/dairy or stop by a local FSA office to learn more about the MPP-Dairy. To find a local FSA office in your area, visit http://offices.usda.gov. 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 http://www.seregionalconference.com/. 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 http://bit.ly/SESS18. 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 www.gapeanuts.com or contact the Georgia Peanut Commission at 229-386-3470 or info@gapeanuts.com.


GFB News Alert page 14 of 14 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. 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 www.flavorofga.com.. 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 www.flavorofga.com or call 706-542-9809. Follow the contest @FlavorofGA on Twitter and Instagram and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/flavorofga. 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 www.georgiaagforecast.com call 706-542-5046. GA COTTON COMMISSION 11th ANNUAL MEETING & UGA COTTON WORKSHOP Jan. 31, 2018 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Tifton This event begins at 8 a.m. For more information call 478-988-4235 or visit http://www.georgiacottoncommission.org . 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 http://bit.ly/GAA17conf.

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

In this week's GFB News Alert... complete coverage of Georgia Farm Bureau’s 80th Annual Convention, presentation of GFB state awards, other...