December 8, 2016
Vol. 34 No. 37
GERALD LONG ELECTED GFB PRESIDENT, ORGANIZATION SEATS BOARD Georgia Farm Bureau voting delegates elected the organization’s 2017 board of directors Dec. 6 during the 79th Annual GFB Convention held on Jekyll Island. GFB voting delegates elected Gerald Long to a two-year term as president of the organization. He began serving as GFB president on Jan. 12, 2016, when former GFB President Zippy Duvall resigned after being elected president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. Long, of Bainbridge, is a diversified farmer who raises cattle and grows peanuts, vegetables, corn, cotton, hay, small grains and timber with his family on their farm near Bainbridge. He was first elected to the GFB Board of Directors in December 1999 as a GFB 9th District director representing 14 counties in Southwest Georgia. In 2006, GFB voting delegates in the 53 counties in GFB’s Southern Region elected Long as GFB South Georgia vice president, a position he held until Jan. 12. Additionally, GFB voting delegates statewide designated Long to serve as Gerald Long GFB 1st vice president each year from 2008 – 2015. A Farm Bureau member since 1970, Long currently serves on the Decatur County Farm Bureau Board of Directors; he is a past president, vice president and secretary/treasurer of the Decatur County Farm Bureau. Long and his wife, Janice, have three adult children: Justin and daughter-in-law, Kelli; Jared and daughter-in-law, Lori; and Jeanie and son-in-law, Diego Izurieta; and two grandchildren. The Longs are members of the First Baptist Church of Bainbridge where Long has served as a deacon and on numerous committees. In addition to his Farm Bureau leadership, Long is a member of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association and serves on the board of the Decatur County Cattlemen’s Association. Prior to becoming GFB president, he represented Georgia Farm Bureau on the Georgia Beef Board and served as treasurer of the board. Long was a founding board member of both the Georgia Peanut Producers and the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, and the Flint River Water Planning Policy Center. He also serves on the Decatur County Industrial Development Authority. He attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College where he majored in crop science and animal science. He then served six months of active duty in the Georgia Army National Guard and six years of reserve duty. GFB members in the organization’s South Georgia Region elected Daniel Johnson of Pierce -continued
GFB News Alert page 2 of 16 Continued from previous page County to represent their region on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors for a three-year term. The GFB South Georgia Region is comprised of 53 counties in the lower third of the state running from the Alabama state line to the Georgia coast. Johnson, who grows tobacco, cotton and peanuts, previously represented the organization’s 10th District on the GFB Board of Directors since 2006 and has served as president of the Pierce County Farm Bureau for the past 24 years. A Farm Bureau member since 1982, Johnson served on the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee from 1988-1989 and served as committee vice chairman in 1989. He has also served on the Georgia Farm Bureau Cotton and Tobacco Advisory Committees. In addition to his Farm Bureau leadership, Johnson serves as chairman of the Georgia Tobacco Commission and is a director of the Georgia Tobacco Growers Association. He is a member of the Georgia Young Farmers Association for which he has served as treasurer, vice president and president. He is a director of the Coastal Pines Technical College and a director of Southern Pullers, a truck and tractor pulling organization. Johnson has twice been named the Sunbelt Exposition Georgia Farmer of the Year. Johnson and his wife, Patricia, have four children, Lindsey, LeeAnn, Dan and Dawson. GFB voting delegates designated Robert Fountain Jr., of Emanuel County, as the organization’s 1st vice president as he begins serving the second year of his third consecutive three-year term as Middle Georgia vice president. The GFB Middle Georgia Region is comprised of 56 counties in the middle third of Georgia between the Alabama and South Carolina state lines. Fountain previously held the position from 1997 to 2006. Fountain is the third generation to own his family’s farm located in Emanuel and Johnson counties where he raises cattle, hay, timber, small grains and pecans. Bernard Sims, of Catoosa County, is beginning the third year of his third, three-year term as North Georgia vice president. Sims, who was first elected in 2008, represents 49 counties in north Georgia. Sims, who also serves as the Catoosa County Farm Bureau president, grows turf grass, small grains, strawberries, hay and beef cattle. In district director races, Randy Ruff of Elbert County was re-elected to a two-year term on the GFB Board of Directors as a 2nd District director. Ruff, who is president of the Elbert County Farm Bureau, has served as a GFB Director since 2002. After operating a family dairy farm for almost 36 years, the Ruffs recently sold their milking herd and are transitioning into raising broilers, beef cattle and hay. The Ruffs continue to raise dairy replacement heifers. Lamar Vickers of Berrien County was elected to the GFB Board of Directors representing the organization’s 10th District for a two-year term. Vickers is actively involved in a diversified farming operation in Berrien, Lanier and Cook counties with his brother, Carlos, and his son, Bradley. The Vickers family grows corn, blueberries, cotton, watermelons, peanuts and raise beef cows. He has served on the Berrien County Farm Bureau (BCFB) Board for more than 34 years during which time he served as BCFB president for 15 years. The following were re-elected unopposed to serve two-year terms on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors: Wesley Hall, Forsyth County, 1st District; Nora Goodman of Paulding County, 3rd District; Skeetter McCorkle of McDuffie County, 4th District; Matt Bottoms, 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; and Lucius -continued
GFB News Alert page 3 of 16 Continued from previous page Adkins of Baker County, 9th District. GFB board members beginning the second year of the two-year term they were elected to in 2015 are: Bill Bryan of Chattooga County, 1st 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. Mitchell Pittman of Toombs County was named chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee. Rhonda Williams of Rabun 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 Chief Operating Officer Wayne Daniel; Chief Financial Officer & Corp. Treasurer David Jolley; Chief Administrative Officer & Corp. Secretary Jon Huffmaster and General Counsel Duke Groover. Delegates also voted on policy that will direct the organization’s stance on legislative issues pertaining to agriculture in the upcoming year. WATER KEY TOPIC AT GEORGIA FARM BUREAU 79TH ANNUAL CONVENTION About 1,500 Georgia farmers and agribusiness leaders from across the state met on Jekyll Island Dec. 4-6 for the organization’s 79th annual convention. The three-day event included a trade show and commodity conferences providing farmers updates on policy and production issues impacting Georgia’s major commodities. During the general session on Dec. 5 convention attendees heard from Gov. Nathan Deal, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) Dean Sam Pardue. GFB President Long reviews first 11 months in office While delivering his first annual address to Georgia Farm Bureau members, GFB President Gerald Long expressed excitement at the possibility for former Gov. Sonny Perdue to be appointed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. “Former Governor Perdue would be an excellent choice for the job. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue would be a great day for Georgia and for American agriculture,” Long said. Long reviewed his first 11 months in office, during which he has visited with Farm Bureau leaders all around the state. “I have learned a lot, and I want to thank all of you for that. You have welcomed me to your farms and into your homes. You have invited me to meetings in your counties and districts, and it has been more help to me than you can imagine,” Long said. “Georgia is a very diverse state, and visiting with you has given me valuable insight as we work together to promote agriculture.” Weather events have created serious issues for the state’s farmers, Long said, from the ongoing drought to the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew. Persistent low commodity prices have also presented challenges, as have federal regulations. Long told attendees about GFB’s friend of the court brief filed in the Supreme Court case Florida has brought against Georgia. The trial phase of the case has concluded and the court-continued
GFB News Alert page 4 of 16 Continued from previous page appointed special master could make his recommendation to the court by the end of the year. “No matter what decision the court finally hands down, the verdict will directly impact farmers’ ability to use water in this state. This court decision is not just some legal exercise or concept. This decision will affect you and me - our farms, our land, our crops, our livelihoods,” Long said. The struggles with commodity prices carry particular significance as Congress begins deliberations on the next farm bill. Long said it is important for farmers to present a united front while voicing support for federal farm programs. “Some of the voices in this debate are seeking to completely change American agriculture policy. They interpret the productivity gains in American agriculture as being counterproductive or even destructive,” Long said. “We must be ready to defend American farmers in the farm bill debate not only because it is our mission, but also because our nation depends on sound farm policy. Georgia Farm Bureau believes American food security is a national security issue, and we will engage on this debate with that as our vision. We will continue to work with American Farm Bureau and other organizations to move forward with a farm bill that strengthens the food security of the United States.” “I joined Decatur County Farm Bureau because I wanted to have a voice in agriculture, and Farm Bureau is the best place to do it,” Long said. “That is why all of you are here. The reason we give our time and talents is because Farm Bureau is the vehicle for us to amplify our collective voice – to be the voice of Georgia Farmers.” Gov. Deal discusses decisions driven by Supreme Court water case Deal told GFB members about the state’s efforts to mitigate ongoing drought and how agriculture fits into the state’s water management plans, and how decisions on water conservation have been driven by the Supreme Court case. Florida has long contended that too much water is taken from the Chattahoochee to meet the demands of the Atlanta area and has pushed the argument that farmers in Southwest Georgia have been withdrawing too much water for irrigation. “I assure you that Georgia has worked on your behalf and on behalf of all Georgians to take proactive steps to protect your interests and those of your fellow citizens,” Deal said. “You have a right to know the things that impact your work and your livelihood. I assure you I will not and I have not turned my back on the largest industry in the state of Georgia.” Deal said that numerous attempts have been made to reach a water-sharing Nathan Deal agreement with the state of Florida, without success. Despite growing by more than 1 million people over the past decade, metro Atlanta is withdrawing less water, Deal said, noting that per capita consumption has decreased by about 30 percent over the same period of time. Deal discussed his decision in 2015 to move responsibilities of the Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission to the Environmental Protection Division (EPD). He explained that the EPD is the only state agency with enforcement authority that would be recognized in the courts. He took criticism over this decision, but said the move was made to protect farmers’ -continued
GFB News Alert page 5 of 16 Continued from previous page interests, in hopes that the special master will take the state’s proactive steps to conserve water into consideration. “I believe it is better for the state to regulate its own issues than to wait for the Supreme Court to tell us what to do,” Deal said. “That’s why I refuse to sacrifice agricultural interests in this war. I will not turn my back on you, nor will I ignore our state’s economic interests in this fight.” David Perdue provides outlook for 115th Congress Sen. Perdue reaffirmed his commitment to Georgia agriculture and expressed optimism about Congress’ ability to work with the incoming Trump Administration to repeal regulations like Waters of the U.S., the Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as Obamacare) and pass authorization of the Keystone Pipeline to help meet the nation’s energy needs. “This regulatory environment is sucking the very life out of our free enterprise society,” Perdue said, noting that the U.S. economy has grown at a rate of six tenths of one percent over the past eight years despite low interest rates and inexpensive fuel costs. “You on the farm feel it more readily and more directly than most people.” AG Commissioner Black offers tips to help Farm Bureau chapters bat .400 Black focused his remarks on seven things county Farm Bureaus can do well to achieve excellence. They include finding something to stop doing, protecting the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE), adopting the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s 20/20 Vision program, taking conversations about food and agriculture from “sustainable” to “stewardshipable,” embracing technology and social media to connect with consumers, investing time, efforts and resources into improving communities, and praying for the U.S. “I believe if we were to embrace these seven principles we all can bat .400. To do that would be special for our industry,” Black said. Finding something to stop doing, Black said, refers to eliminating activities or programs that are ineffective. Protecting GATE means ensuring that the exemption from sales taxes on ag production-related goods and fuel is not abused. The 20/20 vision is the GDA’s goal to have 20 percent of all school cafeteria meals in Georgia consist of Georgia-grown foods. While the conversation about agriculture very often focuses on sustainability, Black said farmers go beyond sustainability in being good stewards of the land. Dean Sam Pardue previews new initiatives in UGA College of Ag UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) Dean Sam Pardue talked about living in an age of uncertainty, pointing out that there is uncertainty in agribusiness due to a number of factors, including population growth and fluctuating retail food prices, as well as uncertainty at CAES. Pardue introduced himself and wondered whether students interested in agriculture would be admitted to UGA. “Our college is committed to providing multiple pathways for those students,” Pardue said. While the college adjusts to his leadership, he’ll be tasked with finding a replacement for Associate Dean for Research Robert Shulstad, who Pardue said is stepping down. Pardue also discussed the issue of agricultural access to water, noting that agriculture’s need for water makes it important for agriculture to find ways to expand the water supply, increase current water use efficiency and improve water quality and treatment facilities. -continued
GFB News Alert page 6 of 16 Continued from previous page Buddy Carter welcomes GFB to 1st Congressional District U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter welcomed the GFB crowd to Georgia's 1st Congressional District and noted that the House has passed bills to fund medical research, a defense spending bill and within the week will vote on a continuing resolution for the federal budget. GFB PRESENTS STATE AWARDS The Georgia Farm Bureau Federation recognized the best of the organization’s volunteers and county chapters during its 79th annual convention on Jekyll Island. The state award winners were honored for the programs they conducted this past year to See a photo of the state promote agriculture. “Each year we recognize the individual and collective achievements of our award county Farm Bureaus during our annual awards program. It is the efforts of our winners at volunteer members who visit their local schools to teach students about the bottom agriculture through our Ag in the Classroom program or host farm tours for of the local community leaders and elected officials to create a greater awareness of newsletter. farming in their county that help support our organization’s status as the voice of Georgia farmers, ” GFB President Gerald Long said. “I congratulate all of our individual winners, volunteer leaders and county staff who received state awards and want to thank all of our county leaders, volunteers and staff who conducted ag awareness activities in their communities this year.” Georgia Farm Bureau named a McKemie Award winner - the highest honor given to a county Farm Bureau in recognition of its overall member programs - from each of its three membership categories. Bacon County Farm Bureau, whose president is David Lee, received the McKemie Award for the 0 to 1,279-member division. Washington County Farm Bureau, whose president is Sidney Law, won the McKemie Award for the 1,280 to 2,219-member division. Cherokee County Farm Bureau, whose president is William Grizzle, received the award in the 2,200 plus-member division. 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 0 to 1,279-member division were: Crawford, Hancock, Heard, Jasper, Macon, Turner and Upson counties. Finalists for the 1,280 to 2,219-member division were: Cook, Dawson, Houston, Monroe, Pike, Polk, Screven, Stephens and Toombs counties. Finalists in the 2,200 plus-member division were: Banks, Cobb, Colquitt, Habersham, Henry, Jackson, Madison, Newton and Paulding counties. Other state awards presented included: Outstanding Promotion & Education Award received by Washington County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Women’s Leadership Committee Award received by Jackson County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Legislative Committee Award received by Henry County Farm Bureau; and Outstanding Young Farmer Committee Award received by Bacon County Farm Bureau. Jeanne Taylor, Bacon County Farm Bureau (BCFB) office manager, received the organization’s Outstanding Office Manager Award. Taylor, who has been employed with BCFB since 1962, was recognized for her 54-year career of working to promote agriculture and Farm Bureau in her local community. Taylor was first introduced to farm life when she married her late husband, Jerry, in 1958. They worked on his family’s dairy farm for several years. Jerry was hired by BCFB as an -continued
GFB News Alert page 7 of 16 Continued from previous page insurance agent in 1961, and Jeanne joined him as secretary the following year. “After 54 years of service, you would expect her to slow down, but instead she seems to have more energy now and initiates many new projects in our community and in our school system,” BCFB President David Lee wrote in Taylor’s application. “She is always promoting agriculture and has a passion for getting our story told to the children in our county.” Marla Garnto, an elementary teacher in Houston County, received GFB’s Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom 2016 Teacher of the Year Award. Garnto, who teaches kindergarten through fifth-grade students at Northside Elementary School in Warner Robins, was recognized for incorporating information about agriculture into her Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum 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 Kansas City, Missouri, in June 2017. A.J. Bacon of Laurens County won the 2016 GFB Quality Hay Contest, which was open to any Georgia Farm Bureau member who produces Bermudagrass hay. The University of Georgia Testing Lab tested hay entered in the contest using the Relative Forage Quality (RFQ) Test, which predicts fiber digestibility and likely animal intake of the hay. Bacon’s winning Coastal Bermuda hay had an RFQ of 164.25. He won the free use of a Vermeer 504N baler for one year courtesy of the Vermeer Manufacturing Company with the option to purchase the mower at a reduced price at the end of the year. Jonathan and Bridget Hitchcock of Washington County were recognized as the GFB Young Farmer Achievement winners. The Hitchcocks were one of three finalist families for the award, which recognizes young farmers who earn the majority of their income from production agriculture. The Hitchcocks farm with Jonathan’s brother James, sister Jennifer and father Waylon, growing corn, cotton, peanuts, soybeans, wheat and canola on a total of 2,400 acres, as well as raising a small herd of beef cattle. They also have an on-farm special events venue and sell vegetables from the farm. As the state winner, the Hitchcocks received a Polaris RTV 570 Crew Cab Ranger sponsored by Southern Farm Bureau Life, a $500 cash prize from AgSouth Farm Credit and an expensepaid trip to the American Farm Bureau Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, Jan. 6-11, 2017, to compete for national honors. The finalists in the GFB Young Farmer Achievement Contest were Brian and Melissa Ogletree of Spalding County and Thomas and Alicia Harrell of Madison County. The Ogletrees partner with Brian’s father Bobby in Ogletree Seed, growing wheat, soybeans, browntop millet, clover, sericea lespedeza and winter peas along with maintaining a small herd of SimmAngus cattle on a total of 2,000 acres. The Harrells, who operate Over Jordan Farm, are first-generation farmers who raise poultry broilers, have a small herd of cattle and grow hay on a total of 216 acres. The two finalist couples each received a $500 cash award from AgSouth Farm Credit. Skye Gess of Hancock County was recognized as the GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet winner and will enjoy an expense-paid trip to the AFBF Convention in Phoenix to compete for national honors, courtesy of GFB. The three finalists were Newt Gilman of Jackson County, Caroline Lewallen of Hall County and Rachel Patrick Kinsaul, who competed for Walton County but now lives in Morgan County. Gess received a $500 cash award, courtesy of Georgia Farm Bureau, and a Polaris all-terrain-vehicle (ATV) courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life -continued
GFB News Alert page 8 of 16 Continued from previous page Insurance. The three finalists each received a $350 cash award from SunTrust Bank. Bennett and Rebecca Jacobs of Polk County won the Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award. GFB presents this award to recognize young farmers who earn the majority of their income from something other than production agriculture. Bennett teaches agriculture at Carroll County College and Career Academy. The Jacobses maintain a small herd of beef cattle and pastured hogs. The Jacobses won a Polaris 4x4 ATV courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance, and an expense-paid trip to the AFBF Convention in Phoenix to compete for national honors, courtesy of GFB. The other finalists for the Excellence in Agriculture Award were Matthew and Kimberly London of White County and Troy Windham of Laurens County. Matthew farms with his father, Stanley, and grandfather, Verner, raising Holstein replacement heifers and growing a variety of forages for the 1,800-head herd on about 800 acres. Kimberly works at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Windham works as constituent services director for U.S. Rep. Rick Allen and is a wholesale grower and plant broker, operating a 50,000-square-foot greenhouse with his father, Larry, in which he grows seasonal flowers, foliage, ferns, perennials and annuals. The finalists each received a $500 cash award courtesy of Georgia Farm Bureau. FORMER GFB DIRECTOR JIM HAM DIES Jim Ham, who served as a Georgia Farm Bureau 5th District Director from 2006 to 2015, died on Dec. 2. He was 55. Ham was born in Monroe County Georgia June 2, 1961 to Philip Benson Ham, Sr. and the late Elsie Sanders Ham. He was raised on the family farm and graduated from Mary Persons High School in 1979. He attended Gordon College and the University of Georgia before beginning Sleepy Creek Farms, a partnership he ran with his brother, Phil, and his father. “We were extremely saddened to hear news of Jim’s death,” said GFB President Gerald Long. “He was a valuable member of our board of directors and a friend to both agriculture and the larger community in Monroe County.” Jim Ham As a fifth generation farmer, Jim worked on family dairy and beef cattle farms. He served as president of the Monroe County Farm Bureau, a director of the Mid Georgia Cattlemen's Association, a member of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee of the Association of County Commissioners, was appointed to the State Water Planning Council, served as both a supervisor and director with the Towaliga Soil and Water Conservation District and as president of the Georgia Association of Conservation District Supervisors. His mother, Elsie Sanders Ham and his daughter, Kimberly Ann Holland, preceded him in death. He leaves behind his wife of 31 years, Lydia, his father and stepmother, Benson and Ruth Ham, one son and his wife, John and Anna Holland of Smarr; three granddaughters, Alana and Thomas Nickles of Gray, Haley Holland, Katie Holland, both of Smarr; his siblings and their spouses: Carol and Curtis Jenkins of Forsyth, Phil and Dana Ham of Smarr, Wendie and Bill Britt of Atlanta, and Hollie and Kevin Wangerin of Smarr; and family: Melissa Reynolds, Mary Jane Alley, and Jimmy and Jane Young, all of Thomson. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the building fund of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, 40 Rumble Road, Forsyth, GA 31029, or to the American Cancer Society, 804 Cherry Street, Macon, GA 31201, to honor the memory of his mother. Condolences may be sent to P.O. Box 255, Smarr, GA 31086 or online at http://bit.ly/JimHamobit.
GFB News Alert page 9 of 16 MONSANTO REP DISCUSSES NEW XTEND CROPPING SYSTEM While speaking at the GFB Cotton Commodity Conference during the Georgia Farm Bureau Convention,Monsanto Director of Industry Affairs Dr. Doug Rushing gave an overview of the company’s new Xtend Cropping System, designed to help cotton growers combat weeds resistant to Roundup herbicide. Rushing said Monsanto worked for eight years to develop the Xtend technology, which involved inserting a gene into cotton and soybean plants that is resistant to Dicamba. “This is not a total replacement for Roundup. We’re definitely never going to say just use Dicamba or Xtend and you’ll be fine,” Rushing said. While the Xtend cotton variety has been available two years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just approved the herbicide Dicamba for use on cotton. There has been concern about spraying Dicamba on cotton planted near cotton or soybeans that isn’t resistant to Dicamba or near fruit and vegetable crops. Rushing said Monsanto has developed a Vapor Grip Technology (VGT) designed to decrease the volatility (the herbicide’s tendency to drift when sprayed). “Vapor Grip Technology prevents the potential for volatility,” Rushing said. “The volatility isn’t completely gone but the potential is a lot less.” Rushing said the price for Xtend VGT will be the same as generic so there will be no reason to use generic. He stressed the importance of cotton growers, who plan to use Xtend, to attend training classes so they are educated about all the label requirements. “It’s a different world that we’re going to be in. We are going to have a lot more training than we have in the past, but our objective is to have no cross contamination,” Rushing said. He said the technology fee for Xtend cotton will be about $5/acre more than Roundup Ready cotton and the Xtend herbicide will be about the same as generic dicamba, about $10/acre for a herbicide application. Rushing stressed that Xtend cannot be applied aerially, should not be applied if there is a strong chance of rain within 24 hours of application and that growers should triple rinse their sprayer tanks after spraying. COTTON INCORPORATED REBUTS INFORMATION ON CHIPOTLE BAGS On Dec. 2, Cotton Incorporated sent a letter to Chipotle refuting information the restaurant chain has distributed about cottonseed. Cotton Inc., which performs research and marketing on behalf of cotton growers, pointed out that cottonseed is used as a dairy cattle feed and is pressed into cottonseed oil for cooking, and because of these uses cotton is regulated as a food crop in the United States. “Your ad campaign implies that cottonseed is somehow bad (“uncool”) for cows, but we are not aware of any studies that link conventional cottonseed to adverse effects in cows,” Cotton Inc. wrote. According to the letter, Chipotle asserts in t-shirt advertisements on its bags that cotton “uses higher doses of pesticides than crops used to feed people.” Cotton Inc. said this is inaccurate and misleading, noting that global cotton production accounts for only 5.7 percent of pesticide sales. The letter also pointed out that U.S. cotton growers have reduced pesticide applications by 50 percent over the past 40 years. In 2015, the letter said, U.S. cotton growers applied insecticides less than two times on average.
GFB News Alert page 10 of 16 UGA ECONOMIST GIVES OUTLOOK FOR FEEDGRAIN & SOYBEAN CROPS During the Soybean/Feedgrain Committee Conference at the Georgia Farm Bureau Convention, UGA Extension Economist Dr. Adam Rabinowitz provided a 2017 economic outlook for corn, wheat and soybeans. He said corn acres are expected to drop while soybean acres are expected to increase much higher than long term projections. U.S. farmers planted almost 95 million acres of corn in 2016 according to the USDA. Rabinowitz said he thinks U.S. corn plantings will remain about 90 million acres in 2017. Georgia growers planted 410,000 acres of corn this year, up 25 % from 2015, Rabinowitz said. The demand for corn is strong, Rabinowitz said. Although livestock feed use is coming down, he expects the ethanol industry will increase its use of corn after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced record biofuel mandates for ethanol use next year. He cautioned that ending stocks for corn will probably be high, which could cause corn prices to be lower than what farmers might expect. He said the cash price on Dec. 2 was $3.33/bushel and July 2017 futures were set at $3.616. Georgia prices are expected to range between $4.07 and $4.22/bushel. Although Georgia farmers only planted 180,000 acres of wheat for the 2016 crop, 16 percent fewer acres than they did in 2015, they had higher yield at 46 bushels/acre and so had a seven percent yield increase over 2015 according to the USDA. However, Georgiaâ€™s overall wheat production for 2016 was 5.06 million bushels, a 19 percent decrease from 2105. Nationwide, USDA figures show wheat growers planted 50.2 million acres that averaged almost 53 bushels/acre. The USDA estimates total U.S. wheat production for 2016 totaled about 2.3 billion bushels. Rabinowitz said the U.S. total wheat supply is at its highest levels in over 10 to 15 years; fortunately the demand for wheat is the second highest itâ€™s been since 2000. Rabinowitz said the cash price for wheat on Dec. 2 was $3.86 with July 2017 futures at $4.31. Georgia prices are expected to range between $4 and $4.27. USDA statistics show Georgia soybean growers planted an estimated 265,000 acres, an 18.5 percent decrease from 2015. The U.S. soybean estimated planted acreage is 83.7 million acres. Georgia soybean yield is down at an estimated 35 bushels/acre, an 18.6 percent decrease from 2015. However, the U.S. overall has an increased yield estimated at about 53 bushels/acre and the U.S. soybean supply stocks are at record levels. Rabinowitz said the demand is there for soybeans and U.S. soybean exports are strong due to drought conditions in South America, but prices are lower due to lots of soybeans on stock. On Dec. 2, the cash price for soybeans was $10.02 and the Sept. 2017 futures was $10.29. Georgia prices are expected to range between $9.40 and $9.62.
GFB News Alert page 11 of 16 EPD OUTLINES REQUIREMENTS IN IRRIGATION PERMITTING PROGRAM Georgia’s agricultural water metering program has moved from the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission to the Environmental Protection Division (EPD). On Dec. 5 during the Water/Dairy/Swine Commodity Conference at the Georgia Farm Bureau Convention, EPD Director Richard Dunn and Cliff Lewis from the EPD’s Agricultural Permitting Unit gave an overview of the metering program, including its permitting requirements and what happens when an ag water user is found to be violating the limitations of his irrigation permit. Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) Director Richard Dunn spoke and fielded questions from farmers in the Water/Dairy/Swine Commodity Conference. Dunn and EPD Agricultural Permitting Unit Leader Cliff Lewis gave an overview of the permitting and metering programs the EPD is using to ensure that water is being used wisely. On Dec. 1, the EPD assumed Richard Dunn responsibility for overseeing the metering program through a memorandum of understanding with the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission. In October, Gov. Nathan Deal issued an executive order for the establishment of the Agriculture Permitting Compliance Task Force to examine the extent to which farmers are complying with water permitting requirements. Deal appointed 10 individuals to the task force, including Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long and GFB 9th District Director Lucius Adkins. The executive order was in response to assertions by the state of Florida that more than 100,000 acres in Southwest Georgia are being illegally irrigated, or irrigated without a permit. “We think that 100,000-acre number is wrong,” Dunn said. “It’s considerably lower. The reason for the governor’s executive order was, we believe we’re being great stewards and if there’s any illegally irrigated acreage in that basin we want to do something about it.” Lewis reviewed the permitting requirements and information needed for the ag watering permit form. Any irrigation point that pumps more than 100,000 gallons per day (70 gallons per minute) is required to have an EPD permit. Lewis said farmers and golf courses are the two main users that fall under this requirement. “Compliance issues are not a new thing but the technology has improved dramatically the last 10 years,” Lewis said. He noted that inspectors would be coming to farms and checking meters against irrigation permits. The permit form requires information about the type of withdrawal, location of the withdrawal, purpose (for example, irrigation, livestock watering or aquaculture), the water pump size in gallons per minute and how many acres the withdrawal point is intended to irrigate. Lewis said common compliance issues include unpermitted water sources, pumping more surface water than the permit allows and pumping more ground water to irrigate acreage than the permit allows. If an inspector finds a violation, the EPD will send a notice of violation to the landowner, who will then have 30 days to submit a compliance plan.
GFB News Alert page 12 of 16 GFB COMMODITY CONFERENCES COVER BROAD SPECTRUM OF TOPICS GFB members attending the 16 commodity conferences during the GFB Convention heard presentations on a wide variety of topics, including the state’s water metering program, market forecasts and crop disease issues in the past year. Here’s a rundown of a few key ones. The GFB Environmental Horticulture, Fruit and Vegetable Committees heard an update on complying with rules for the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) card. Bo Warren, director of policy for the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA), and Susan Harden, a GATE compliance officer with the GDA, stressed the importance of GATE cardholders using their cards correctly. Warren explained that the Georgia General Assembly allocated money to fund five GATE compliance officer positions in the GDA. These officers are not regulatory but are serving to educate retail stores where GATE cards are used about which items qualify for sales tax exemptions and under what conditions. The Georgia Department of Revenue has two GATE auditors who have been auditing farmers since fall 2015. Harden said the GDA has divided the state into five districts for the purpose of GATE card compliance and each of the five compliance officers are assigned to a district. Harden encouraged farmers who have a GATE card issue or would like to have an officer speak at a Farm Bureau meeting to call 1-855-FARM TAX to be connected with the compliance officer for their district. “Come to us first if you have questions or issues. Let us help you with any type of GATE card issues to keep you compliant with the Department of Revenue,” Harden said. Warren reminded GATE cardholders they are only eligible to get sales tax exemption for inputs used to produce the commodities for which they qualified for their GATE card. “For example, if you produce beef and hay, but you go in and buy horse feed, which is exempt for horse breeders, but if you didn’t get your GATE card for horse production, you shouldn’t take a sales exemption on horse feed even if the store clerk gives it to you,” Warren said. Larry Benjamin, assistant district director of the U.S. Department of Labor Wage & Hour Division, discussed the different requirements for hiring farm labor under the Migrant Seasonal Protection Act (MSPA) and the H-2A program. When using the MSPA to hire farm labor, farm owners should only hire registered farm labor contractors with unexpired authorizations and should provide working terms and conditions for laborers before they begin working. Farm owners must pay wages on time because delays in payment constitute a violation. Under MSPA, housing terms must be disclosed and housing must be certified. Farm owners are encouraged to conduct weekly “walk-throughs” or at least regularly throughout the season to make sure housing is up to code. Farm owners using the H-2A program to hire workers have to pay for all inbound transportation costs. If a worker pays for his transportation then the employer must fully reimburse the worker. Because the worker’s expenses will likely bring a worker’s earnings to below the federal minimum wage, the employer must bring that employee’s pay back up to at least the federal minimum wage in the first pay period. Then, the worker is owed the rest of his travel expenses when he hits the half-way mark of his work contract period. -continued
GFB News Alert page 13 of 16 Continued from previous page Brent Marable, assistant director of plant licensing for UGA, discussed how UGA moves crop and plant research conducted by the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) into the market place. Marable spoke in the Environmental Horticulture/Fruit & Vegetable Commodity Conference. “Our office streamlines the path to get a crop or plant from the [research] greenhouse or field to the market,” Marable explained. “UGA has 22 plant breeders working on everything from peanuts to petunias.” Once a plant is patented Marable’s office negotiates and manages the international patent agreements and contracts. Over the past 19 years, Marable said plant licensing and breeding at UGA has generated $18 million that has gone back into the CAES for the development of other new cultivars. Brent Marable In the Water/Dairy/Swine Commodity Conference, Georgia Environmental Protection Division Watershed Protection Branch Chief Jac Capp briefly reviewed permitting options for animal feeding operations or wastewater operations. Capp said that approximately 120 landowners are permitted under the state’s land application system (LAS) permits, which were issued in 2014 and are administered by the Georgia Department of Agriculture. He also said that landowners may choose between the LAS permits or the federal government’s National Pollutant Discharge and Elimination System (NPDES) permits. “From our perspective, being with a state agency, we think the land application system that the state issues gives people a little more flexibility, it gives them a little less oversight from the federal government, but we do recognize that it’s the permittee’s choice if they want to have the state LAS permit or the federal NPDES permit, both of which are administered by EPD.” Capp said. UGA Pecan Specialist Dr. Lenny Wells reviewed production issues in 2016 during the Pecan Commodity Conference, noting damage caused by Hurricane Hermine and Hurricane Matthew. While some orchards sustained losses as much as 30 percent, Wells said the damage could have been worse. "Overall the impact for the state crop was not as bad as it could have been," Wells said. "We're going to be close to 100 million pounds for the year." Wells also discussed some production issues pecan growers faced in 2016, chief among them a delayed harvest, particularly in the Stuart pecan variety. Wells said the delays stem from late or prolonged shuck splits on the nuts. “Stuart always has a delayed shuck split or a prolonged shuck split,” Wells said. “You’ll see some start to split in late September, about the time you see a lot of other varieties start to split. But Stuart splits a few and then they stop and then they split some more and they stop again. So they really have a prolonged harvest period. We’ve known for a long time that this was a problem, but this year it seemed worse.” National Peanut Buying Points Association Executive Director Tyron Spearman discussed the market and political factors affecting peanut growers. The big player in the overall peanut market has been China, which increased its demand by 1,600 percent in the past year. "Y'all are some lucky farmers," Spearman said. "The peanut industry is in good shape. You've got a product America loves, a product that the world loves and knows." U.S. peanut growers are positioned to take advantage of production losses in Argentina, where excessive rain has caused a myriad of problems, and by drought in South Africa. Overall, Spearman said, demand for peanuts has increased by 10 percent over the past three years.
GFB News Alert page 14 of 16 TEAM AG GEORGIA FALL WORKSHOP Dec. 14 Georgia Southern Nessmith-Lane Center 8 a.m. Statesboro This free workshop includes presentations on beekeeping and pollinator establishment, USDA programs, forestry heirs property, forestry and wildlife management, wildlife food plot management, a tour of a Satsuma orange farm and more. Registration and exhibits open at 8 a.m. and sessions begin at 9 a.m. Lunch and sessions are free but advance registration is requested. For more information call 912-367-7679 or send an email to email@example.com. NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR OUTSTANDING YOUNG PEANUT FARMER Dec. 15 deadline for nominations The Georgia Peanut Commission is accepting nominations for the Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer. The state winner will be announced at the Georgia Peanut Farm Show on Jan. 19, 2017 in Tifton. The award, sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission and BASF, is based upon the applicantâ€™s overall farm operation; environmental and stewardship practices; and leadership, civic, church, and community service activities. The award is open for any active Georgia peanut farmer who is not over 45 years of age, as of Jan. 19, 2017. An individual may receive the award only once. Applications are due to the GPC office by Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2016. The award application is available online at www.gapeanuts.com or by contacting Joy Crosby at 229-386-3690 or firstname.lastname@example.org. GA PECAN GROWERS SEEKING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Dec. 23 deadline to apply The Georgia Pecan Growers Association, Inc. (GPGA) is conducting a search for an executive director. The position becomes available January 1, 2017. Responsibilities of the executive director position include: Providing overall leadership for GPGA in accordance with policy established by the board of directors; overseeing the financial affairs of the association; support and coordinate with the activities of similar associations; employ and supervise staff adequate to accomplish the associationâ€™s goals; plan and execute the various association activities to include an annual conference and associated fundraising activities, website, fall field day, and communications with the membership; oversee the bi-monthly publication of the Georgia Grower Magazine to include content, advertising, design, and printing; apply for and maintain state and federal grants. Position requires travel and salary is commensurate with experience. For a complete job description visit www.georgiapecan.org. Submit resume by Dec. 23, 2016 to email@example.com or by mail to GPGA PO Box 1367, Tifton, GA 31793. GPGA is an equal opportunity employer. 2017 SE REGIONAL FRUIT & VEGETABLE CONFERENCE Jan. 5-8, 2017 Savannah International Trade Center Savannah The Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference is the largest educational conference and trade show in the Southeastern United States that brings growers, vendors and suppliers together. Anyone with an interest in specialty crop agriculture is invited to attend this event. The conference offers more than 80 hours of educational sessions and will address food safety concerns, specific commodity issues on production practices and increased yields and marketing strategies. The trade show features more than 85,000 square feet of space filled with key suppliers and growers. Full four-day registration is $155, and single-day registration rates are available. To register visit http://bit.ly/2ek9yEF.
GFB News Alert page 15 of 16 2017 AG FORECAST MEETINGS Jan. 18 Georgia Farm Bureau Macon Jan. 19 Cobb County Civic Center Marietta Jan. 20 Carroll County Ag Center Carrollton Jan. 23 UGA Conference Center Tifton Jan. 24 Decatur County Ag Center Bainbridge Jan. 25 Toombs County Ag Center Lyons Jan. 26 Burke County Office Park Waynesboro Jan. 27 Georgia Center for Continuing Education Athens This annual series is supported by an endowment from Georgia Farm Bureau with support from the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Agribusiness Council. The keynote topic for the Jan. 18, 23, 24, 25 and 26 meetings will be a farm bill update given by Bob Redding. The keynote topic for the Jan. 19, 20 and 27 meetings will be the Veterinary Feed Directive, given by Dr. Brent Credille of the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. Check-in for all of the meetings, except Tifton, begins at 9 a.m. 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 $30 per person or $200 for a table of eight. Advance registration is required. For more information or to register, visit http://www.georgiaagforecast.com, call 706-583-0347 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the meetings on Facebook.com/UGACAES or on Twitter @UGA_CollegeofAg and join the conversation with #AgForecast. 41ST ANNUAL GEORGIA PEANUT FARM SHOW AND CONFERENCE Jan. 19, 2017 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center 8:30 a.m. â€“ 2:30 p.m. Tifton The one-day show is free and open to all farmers and industry representatives to attend. !Attendees will have the opportunity to visit with more than 100 agribusinesses and organizations in the peanut and agricultural industry. Farmers will be able to earn private and commercial pesticide applicators' certification, as well as learn about cutting-edge research and developments during the University of Georgia Peanut Production Seminar and industry-wide sponsored Peanut Seed Seminar. ! The Georgia Peanut Commission, in cooperation with OneBlood, will host a blood drive from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. during the show. At the close of the day, there will be nearly $10,000 in door prizes presented to farmers, as well as a grand door prize, vendor products, certificates and equipment. !For more information on the show, contact the Georgia Peanut Commission office at 229-386-3470. Information is also available online at www.gapeanuts.com. GA COTTON COMMISSION ANNUAL MEETING & UGA COTTON WORKSHOP
Jan. 25, 2017 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Tifton This event begins at 8 a.m. and features presentations from key industry stakeholders as well as the Georgia Quality Cotton Awards. For more information call 478-988-4235 or visit http://www.georgiacottoncommission.org.
GFB News Alert page 16 of 16 FARMERS ALMANAC FARMER OF THE YEAR CONTEST Jan. 31, 2017 deadline for nominations Farmers' Almanac, in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation, is searching for three farmers or ranchers to be recognized as “Farmers' Almanac Farmer of the Year.” The contest seeks to recognize and share the dedication, hard work and contributions farmers make to our world and society. Nominations must highlight, in 300 words or less, the following criteria: Supporting the Tradition - How long has the nominee been in their field? How did he or she get involved in agriculture and why? - Innovation in Agriculture: How the nominee has embraced technology or new ways of farming and ranching; Community Involvement - How has the nominee engaged his/her community to support agriculture and/or teach more about farming overall; and Inspiration - How the nominee is a true leader in agriculture and deserves to be recognized. All nominations must be received by Jan. 31, 2017, and must be submitted online at www.FarmersAlmanac.com/FarmeroftheYear. GFB STATE AWARD WINNERS
The Georgia Farm Bureau Federation honored county Farm Bureaus for promoting agriculture and individual members for personal achievement during the organization’s 79th annual convention. Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long (back row, far left) congratulates the 2016 GFB award recipients (front row, L-R): GFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award winners Rebecca and Bennett Jacobs of Polk County; Washington County Farm Bureau President Sidney Law accepting the GFB McKemie Award in the 1,280-2,219 membership division and Rabun Waller accepting the GFB Outstanding Promotion & Education Committee Award for Washington County Farm Bureau; GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award winners Bridget and Jonathan Hitchcock of Washington County; and (back row, from left) William Grizzle accepting the GFB McKemie Award in the 2,220-plus member division for Cherokee County; Bacon County Farm Bureau President David Lee accepting the GFB McKemie Award in the 0 to 1,279 membership division and Brandon Wade accepting the GFB Outstanding Young Farmer Committee Award for Bacon County Farm Bureau; GFB Hay Contest Winner A.J. Bacon of Laurens County; Andy Garland accepting the Outstanding Legislative Committee Award for Henry County Farm Bureau and Denise Temple accepting the GFB Outstanding Women’s Leadership Committee Award for Jackson County Farm Bureau. Not pictured are GFB Outstanding Office Manager winner Jeanne Taylor of Bacon County, GFB’s Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Marla Garnto and GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet Award winner Skye Gess of Hancock County.
Published on Dec 8, 2016
This week in the GFB News Alert... complete coverage of the GFB 79th Annual Convention including issues of importance to Georgia agricultur...