Fall 2021 Neighbors

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fall 2021 vol. 27, no. 2


A G R I C U LT U R E + L I F E S T Y L E

October marks

DOWN SYNDROME Awareness Month




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ADD 1 IN ‘21

Encourage one friend to join Georgia Farm Bureau in 2021. Together we can protect and promote Georgia’s agriculture industry.


Since 1959, our mission has been to protect Georgia. We know your community. Let’s work together to continue the Farm Bureau legacy.

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Celebrating special-needs children around Georgia

Norah Mill Granary going strong for 145 years

A smattering of fanciful finds

TWICE AS NICE Life lessons from ag reach all kids

AN OPEN FLAME Get grilling this fall

REACHING BEYOND RURAL Vets share love of unusual animals





First-generation female farmer carves her own career

No one knows Georgia like we do

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MEREDITH’S MISSION Special-needs children experience ag

FRESH FIXINS Savory soup is comforting for fall

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E N T S G E O R G I A FA R M B U R E A U Georgia Farm Bureau is the premier voice for agriculture in Georgia. We work earnestly to support a safe and abundant food supply that not only feeds Georgians, but the growing world as well. Georgia Neighbors Magazine is a nod to that genuine sentiment – it’s an opportunity to discover the people, the places and the impact of ag in our great state. Want to subscribe? Become a Georgia Farm Bureau member to receive Georgia Neighbors twice a year. Membership means supporting farmers and agriculture while having access to more than 300,000 discount offers. Visit gfb.ag/join. For content inquiries or comments, please contact Information/Public Relations Director Kenny Burgamy at 478-474-0679, extension 5285 or email kdburgamy@gfb.org.



The annual meeting of the policyholders of the Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company will be held on Thursday, March 24, 2022, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Georgia Farm Bureau Building, 1620 Bass Road, Macon, Georgia, 31210.

The annual meeting of the Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company Board of Directors will be held immediately following the annual meeting of the policyholders, which begins at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 24, 2022, at the Georgia Farm Bureau building, 1620 Bass Road, Macon, Georgia, 31210.

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ON THE COVER Cohen Echols and Cohen Talton lend a hand at Jaemor Farms.



VIEW FROM THE FIELD Tom McCall, GFB President e are proud of this edition of the Neighbors lifestyle magazine. It is a chance for us to highlight the value that agriculture adds to the countless lives of special-needs children around Georgia. My family is so thankful for caring friends who support efforts that are being made daily in transforming the lives of students who face unusual challenges. This unique effort with our young children and others holds a warm place in our hearts because of our oldest son, Bud, who was born with special needs. In 2010, Friends Helping Friends Club was founded to make sure students with special challenges in Elbert County, Georgia, were given opportunities of inclusiveness that allowed them to participate fully in the community, build confidence, gain acceptance and form life-long friendships. The club is dedicated to Bud, and our daughter Katie was a student at Elbert County High School who served as a driving force in securing the pathway to make this organization happen. It was immediately welcomed by community members, business partners and civic leaders.

Today I am happy to report the club in Elberton remains vibrant. Because of a generous community that has come together to provide numerous education opportunities, students and adults are being assisted as they overcome special challenges. I am proud that agriculture, too, can play such a valuable role in delivering multiple life lessons to those who need acceptance, and can help them find their pathways to success, which might be a bit more of a battle for them than it is for the rest of us. Since October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, I hope you will agree the focus on Cohen Echols and Cohen Talton in the magazine helps remind us of all the many benefits in getting young people with challenges connected to ag and the rural lifestyle at an early age. For those working with these special people, I want to say thank you. And if you haven’t found a place where you can serve or contribute, our prayer is that you will do so in the coming days and know you are contributing to the ABILITIES of some solid individuals who bring unique value and talents to our lives.

OFFICERS President TOM MCCALL, Elbert Co. 1st Vice President and South Georgia Vice President DANIEL JOHNSON, Pierce Co. Middle Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN JR., Emanuel Co. North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS, Catoosa Co. General Counsel DUKE GROOVER Chief Financial Officer, Corp. Treasurer & GFBMIC Exec. VP DAVID JOLLEY Chief Administrative Officer & Corp. Secretary JON HUFFMASTER Asst. Corp. Secretary & Senior Counsel JEANNA FENNELL Asst. Corp. Treasurer & Sr. Director of Accounting RACHEL MOSELY DIRECTORS FIRST DISTRICT: Bill Bryan, Chattooga Co.; Wesley Hall, Forsyth, Co.; SECOND DISTRICT: Bobby Gunter, Lumpkin Co.; Russ Moon, Madison Co.; THIRD DISTRICT: George Chambers, Carroll Co. Nora Goodman, Paulding Co.; FOURTH DISTRICT: Skeetter McCorkle, McDuffie Co.; Marvin Ruark, Morgan Co.; FIFTH DISTRICT: Leighton Cooley, Crawford Co.; Matt Bottoms, Pike Co.; SIXTH DISTRICT: James Malone, Laurens Co.; James Emory Tate, Jeff Davis Co.; SEVENTH DISTRICT: Gary Bell, Evans Co.; Ben Boyd, Screven Co.; EIGHTH DISTRICT: Scotty Raines, Turner Co.; Don Wood, Wilcox Co.; NINTH DISTRICT: Lucius Adkins, Baker Co.; Paul Shirah, Mitchell Co.; TENTH DISTRICT: David Lee, Bacon Co.; Lamar Vickers, Berrien Co. YOUNG FARMER CHAIRMAN: Will Godowns, Pike Co. WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Heather Cabe, Franklin Co. GEORGIA NEIGHBORS Director: Kenny Burgamy Art Director: Nicollette Boydstun Photographer: Logan Thomas Contributors: Renee Corwine Consulting Copy Editor: Renee Corwine ADVERTISING POLICY All advertising accepted subject to publisher’s approval. Advertisers must assume liability for content of their advertising. Publisher maintains right to cancel advertising for non-payment or reader complaint about advertiser service or products. Publisher does not accept per-order, political or alcoholic beverage ads, nor does publisher prescreen or guarantee advertiser service or products. Publisher assumes no liability for products or services advertised in the Georgia Farm Bureau Neighbors. For advertising rates and information, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or mcfarlandadvantage@ gmail.com. Georgia Farm Bureau Neighbors was established in 1996. Copyright 2021 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.

Photo by Mandy Williams 4

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NORA MILL A Consistent Grind


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AFTER 145 YEARS, NORA MILL GRANARY PROVES THAT OLD-FASHIONED IS FASHIONABLE ONCE MORE estled in the North Georgia mountains just outside of Helen sits a building that’s been working in tandem with the Chattahoochee River for 145 years. While the outside has undergone a few changes, Nora Mill Granary still grinds corn on the very same 1,500-pound French Burr mill stones installed by John Martin in 1876. A goldminer who settled in Georgia, John Martin knew a thing or two about milling. Wealthy enough to afford the very best in late 1800’s technology, John Martin purchased a cast iron turbine for his mill. “A turbine is 80 percent more efficient than a paddle wheel, and costs a lot more money. He also purchased pink granite burr stones from France, and there’s nothing that compares to that pink granite. They are the same type stones that George Washington used at Mount Vernon,” said Tommy Martin, who’s been the miller at Nora Mill off and on since the 1980s. No relation to the mill’s founder, Martin does have ancestors who were millers near Sweetwater Creek State Park. Having worked as a mental health counselor, firefighter and other jobs throughout his life, he’s found milling to be his preferred labor of love — just like his forbearers — and just like those who have come before him at Nora Mill. In 1902, the mill was purchased by Lamartine G. Hardman, 8

who would later become the governor of Georgia. He named it Nora after his little sister who had passed away. Someone who Martin called a “very wealthy fella,” Hardman added a generator under the building in 1911, making it one of the first buildings in White County to have electricity. The house across the street, part of John Martin’s original home, became home to almost every miller since Hardman. After a succession of millers throughout the years, in the early 1980s, Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Ron Fain leased Norah Mill from the Hardman family and it has been his family’s work ever since. “Ron got it going for his father to have something to do in his later years,” Martin said. “I showed up in about 1989 and he put me in charge of doing whatever grandpa said. I started milling and learning the history of the area from Grandpa Fain, and I still haven’t left.” One of the main reasons Martin has stuck around so long, through four generations of the Fain family, is because he believes that for milling, doing things the old way is best, and the cornmeal — all natural with no additives — is the best tasting meal on the market. “That’s the key to what we do. We offer whole-grain products and we do not de-germinate to mass produce. The way a lot of commercial cornmeal is made, the germs are taken out G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / f a ll 20 21

and sold separately. Then, they turn around and enrich the product with manmade chemicals. I don’t want chemicals in my food,” he said. “Stone-ground, whole-grain cornmeal has such a different flavor and moistness, because it still has the oil in it.” Martin’s opinion on the matter is so strong, he’s been known to convert busloads of Northerners into grits lovers. “I like to say that I’m a grit counselor. I walk people through their fear of grits,” he said with a laugh. “We get tour buses from Ohio and other Northern states full of people who swear they won’t even touch grits. Then they try ours and they love them. One thing I love most is educating young kids about milling and also the look on people’s faces when they taste our product.” As he’s educating the visiting youngsters, Martin explains that Nora Mill produces and packages their products much the same as they have been for generations. “We package in cloth bags, and when I’m there working with young people, I explain that we didn’t just throw things away back then. People would use and reuse and reuse again. And when they got too thin, granny made a quilt out of it. Stuff was made to be reused. ” Plus, he said, people love the nostalgia of the cloth bags in which the cornmeal and grits are sold. Visiting the granary, tours of the working mill are regularly offered, and many folks enjoy feeding the rainbow trout in the river. In the adjacent country store and gift shop, visitors can purchase mill products and other specialty items like syrups, jams, pancake mix, cast iron pans and more. The small kitchen has samples on offer. The hottest commodity is always grits. In fact, grits are Nora Mill’s national best seller. “We ship thousands and thousands of pounds of grits all over the U.S. Shaq owns a restaurant in Los Angeles and we send grits to him. He wanted ours specifically, although I have no idea how he found us,” Martin said, adding that 2,000 pounds are sent regularly to Las Vegas, Florida and New York. “You wouldn’t think nobody up North would eat grits, but there’s a shrimp and grits craze and they’re learning about store-bought versus whole-grain grits. Our pure, whole-grain grits are a night-and-day difference and they make completely different tasting shrimp and grits.” Word of Nora Mill has even spread across the globe. “Tokyo sent a film crew here and did a film segment on us. I may be famous in Tokyo,” Martin said, noting that he’s already famous on TikTok. Ron Fain’s youngest daughter, Joann Fain Tarpley, continues to manage and operate Nora Mill Granary alongside her husband, Rich. When the pandemic struck, Joann and Rich increased their internet presence — especially through creative TikTok marketing — and their online sales skyrocketed. Now that the granary and country store have opened back up, Martin said the business is once again welcoming school busses and group tours, along with visitors to Helen — some of which have been shopping at Nora Mill for generations. “We are still a family-run operation, and we are so proud of our product,” he said. “We have people who are regular customers, who’ve been coming for 40 or 50 years. I get 90-year-old men walking in and saying, ‘I used to come here as a boy with my daddy.’ There’s a lot of history here.”

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twice as nice

Cohen Talton and Cohen Echols

Two families with special-needs children find that ag delivers multiple life lessons G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / fa ll 2 02 1


ohen Echols and Cohen Talton have more than a first name in common. The two youngsters both have Down Syndrome and have fallen in love with agriculture. From spending time with their families and working in the family business, to raising animals and even speaking a little Spanish, ag is a means for these youngsters to learn and grow.

When Cohen Echols was just a few months old, a therapist told his parents, Drew and Shelly Echols, that their family farm was the best place for Cohen to grow up. “For me, when Cohen was first born, I felt sorry for myself and Shelly for a few weeks,” Drew said. “As farmers, most of us want our kids to work with us and eventually take over. Odds are that Cohen will always work with me on the farm, and I think that’s a really cool thing. We joke with friends about them being empty nesters, but we’ll always have him around, and we’re really happy about that.” Like his older sister Chloe Echols, Cohen often takes part in the family business, Jaemor Farms, a fruit and vegetable operation near Gainesville. Their 600-acre farm grows peaches, strawberries, pumpkins and other veggies. More than 40 people work on the farm and Cohen is instrumental in that. “He loves hanging with the workers and speaking a little Spanish to them, and going to our farm market to stock produce. At Christmas, he helps make gift baskets and, in the fall, helps at the ticket booth to our corn maze. He cleans tables, takes out the trash, and what’s so cool is that even with those tasks that most people consider menial, he doesn’t have to be told to do it. He loves sweeping and cleaning, and takes pride in that,” Drew said. Even though it may take 13-year-old Cohen a little longer to learn new tasks, Drew and Shelly have never shied away from teaching him responsibility. “A lot people told us early on that Cohen can do anything he wants to do, although it may take him longer to get there. And we’ve seen that’s pretty much the case. Anything he wants to learn, he does, but he has to work harder at it,” Shelly said. “We’ve always had high expectations from him, like learning how to behave, how to not cause a scene, how to sit through church, or sit through a dinner and eat his food and not need a lot of help from other people. He can function in society. All of the learning he’s done on the farm has just enriched that.” Learning from agriculture, however, isn’t just limited to farming. Cohen Talton’s passion is showing animals. A true family activity, his parents, Clay and Brittany Talton, both grew up showing animals, and they’ve shared that love with their children, Lola, Cohen and Nora. “Brittany and I were so familiar with showing, it came natural to us to share that with the children,” Clay said. “We knew the work that would have to go into it with Cohen. We approach the daily routine a little differently with him, but it works for us as a family. We practice as a family, travel as a family and show as a family. It’s our thing.” Living in Monroe County, each of the kids started showing livestock at a young age to learn responsibility. Laughing about their expectations from Cohen’s early years showing, Brittany said Cohen, now 10, has “blown them out of the water.” “We’ve changed the definition of ‘success’ for Cohen with each passing year. When he first started, our goals were that he attempted to stand in line and to hold on to his goat,” Brittany said. “It’s amazing how much he’s blossomed. We can see a visible increase in his confidence and a pride in what he’s doing.” Showing livestock gives Cohen a means to compete in something where he’s put on the same level as typical peers. “For him to be with all his peers, with all the other third and fourth graders, and in some cases older kids, it’s a good place for him to be in that regard,” Clay said. More than confidence, showing has taught Cohen responsibility. “This is a living animal and it can’t wait for it to be convenient for you to feed it or care for it. Caring for a living thing drives it home that this is a learning project, but it’s also real life. This is what farmers deal with every day but to put food on our tables,” Brittany said.


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We can see a visible increase in his confidence and a pride in what he’s doing. G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / fa ll 2 02 1



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A farm is a great way to raise a family period, but especially raise a family member with special needs.

Raising animals, like raising crops, is hard work, and there are life lessons to be learned from both. “I was a public-school teacher before I had Cohen,” Shelly said. “If kids didn’t grow up around a farm, they may have no concept that peaches from a jar actually grow on a tree. My kids understand where food comes from and the work it takes. Lessons in work ethic, learning to never give up and the closeness of family relationships are some of the best things that farm families have, and I’m thankful my kids get to grow up in that atmosphere.” Clay said kids are being raised differently these days. “There are so many things that turn kids’ attention away from agriculture. The more we can show them, we can give them the opportunity to experience ag,” he said. “Whether it’s showing animals or having a garden, there’s an opportunity out there for them.” “Children are the next generation. They’re the next voters, the next leaders,” Brittany said. “They’re already big consumers. Everything’s at eye-level for them. It’s important to teach them how those things are grown.” It’s also important for children to learn that just because some kids are different, it doesn’t mean they aren’t just as capable. The Taltons believe that sharing Cohen’s story with the world can help normalize the way people view children with Down Syndrome. G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / fa ll 2 02 1

“Last year was Cohen’s most successful year showing and competing against peers his own age,” Brittany said. “When COVID-19 happened, many surrounding states canceled shows, and we jumped on any opportunity to show anywhere we could. We met a lot of different people last year and exposed a lot of new people to the fact that Cohen can do this. Kids with special needs can do this, with the proper support. Cohen has a FaceBook and Instagram presence. We’re not trying to detail his whole life, but if we can share his day-to-day that shows how typical he is, we think people will realize he’s more alike than different. We always exemplify that he’s just like everyone else. He’s got limitations, but so does everyone.” The Echols agreed. “I keep thinking of a video we shot during the COVID-19 shutdown, of Drew and Cohen riding on the ATV. Drew let Cohen drive it, and that video got so many shares. The look on Cohen’s face, it was pure joy,” Shelly said. “We’re all better off for having Cohen in our lives and everyone who comes into contact with him feels that way. There’s a lot of the ag community who have family members with special needs and they share the same sentiment. A farm is a great way to raise a family period, but especially raise a family member with special needs.”


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Jaemor Farms Alto, GA 770-869-3999 jaemorfarms.com *Sold in addition to other Georgia Grown products Visit gfb.ag/Neighbors for this recipe and more! G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / fa ll 2 02 1


REACHING BEYOND RURAL ‘Critter Fixers’ veterinarians share their love of unusual animals with a national TV audience

ost people may know the name Critter Fixer from the successful veterinary practice in Warner Robins or the popular show on National Geographic TV, “Critter Fixers: Country Vets.” The two men leading the practice, Dr. Terrence Ferguson and Dr. Vernard Hodges, have been friends for nearly 30 years. Their natural charisma and jovial personalities make for good entertainment, and their love for animals makes them great vets. “The good thing about our job is that the days are always different,” Dr. Ferguson said. “We’re open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. but it never works out like that. We’re usually here before and leave after. But this job is something we love and a profession that we chose, and we try to give every patient our love and attention.” Self-described country boys, the pair both come from a rural upbringing and attended Fort Valley State University, where they met, and then the College of Veterinary Medicine at Tuskegee University. After graduating, they moved back to Central Georgia, began working together at a vet clinic and soon went into business together with Critter Fixer. The doctors developed a reputation for treating all sorts of unusual animals, which is something that caught the attention of National Geographic through their posts on social media. “With the internet and social media, if you’re good at what you do, people will find you,” Dr. Hodges said. “I got a message on Instagram from a production company asking if I would like to do a TV show, but I ignored it because I thought it was spam. Well, he kept reaching out and we finally talked.” Once the show aired, “Critter Fixers: Country Vets” was an instant hit with audiences. “We have a lot of fun. We’ve seen ducks, chickens, pigs, geckos and more,” Dr. Hodges said. “What makes it different for us is that there’s a camera in our faces. It’s been quite an adjustment with another 15 people running


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WE’VE SEEN DUCKS, CHICKENS, PIGS, GECKOS AND MORE. WHAT MAKES IT DIFFERENT FOR US IS THAT THERE’S A CAMERA IN OUR FACES. around. If you’re doing a C-section, and it’s hot and heavy and puppies are coming out, I’m telling the crew, ‘You better get this ‘cause I can’t put them back in!’” Now filming season three, the vets said the show is a great platform to “show kids that their dreams are possible,” said Dr. Hodges. “We are two Georgia kids from really rural backgrounds who went to small schools, had no money, but had dreams to go into business for ourselves.” “I wanted to be a vet at an early age, but I had no mentor to lean on and I didn’t know any vet who looked like me,” Dr. Ferguson said. “Dr. Hodges and I provide that example. You can be a vet and have fun and make it cool. When kids come by who want to be vets, our doors are always open, and now our platform is even larger. Every Saturday the whole world can come into Critter Fixer.” Being rural vets, the two often make house calls to farms all over Central Georgia. Filming those farm visits G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / fa ll 2 02 1

for a TV audience has shed light on the vast variety of animals living in Georgia. “A camel in Georgia? Yep. We’ve seen everything from camels to spiders and goats,” Dr. Ferguson said. “We also see a lot of chickens. People spend an unlimited amount of money on their chickens. Fish, too. We’ve taken them out of the water and done anesthesia on them. We do it all!” One of their favorite places to practice veterinary medicine is at their own farm, V Squared Ranch. That’s right, these country vets are now cattlemen raising Brangus and Angus cows at their 150-acre farm outside of Reynolds. “We love farming; it’s a lifelong dream for us,” Dr. Hodges said. “We were at the farm on Sunday, ran our cows through the shoot, dewormed them, gave them vaccines and weighed them. We were literally like two kids in a candy store thinking this is a lifelong dream come true.” 21

Ray D’Alessio

Kenny Burgamy

TELLING THE STORY OF GEORGIA AGRICULTURE Saturdays: 8 a.m. Sundays: 6 a.m.

Thursdays: 6:30 p.m. Sundays: 11:30 p.m.



farmer Kristen Traugh carves a new career in ag

n the southwest corner of Georgia, 27-year-old Kristen Traugh puts on her mud boots and prepares for another long day of work at Saorise Farms. There are many words to describe her — owner, farmer, businesswoman, mechanic, steward — but the two she’s most proud of are female and first-generation. Growing up, her parents had a house in the country with a few goats. Other than that, Traugh had no experience with agriculture. She developed an interest in horses, which led to growing hay. Then, she said, “things just spiraled.” At her farm in Blakely, this first-generation farmer now grows cotton, corn, peanuts, oats and more. “Once people get over their initial surprise that I’m a female farmer, it’s easy,” she said about fitting in with her male counterparts. “I don’t see anything different in what I do. At the end of the day, we’re all out there trying to do the same thing.” Traugh is active in the Georgia Young Farmers Association and does outreach with local FFA chapters and with school kids visiting the farm. “We have a responsibility. We have to reach people. We have to let them know we are still here. Things aren’t always green pastures and rainbows, but we G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / fa ll 2 02 1

are here and trying to provide safe food for the entire world,” she said. A farmer now for six years, Traugh said she continues to learn something new every year. “Everything we do is for the betterment of the land. Without land, we are not farmers anymore. And farmers have come a long way from planting seed corn with fish heads,” she said with a laugh. The first in her family to farm, Traugh admitted that paving a new path can be a struggle. “Definitely it’s a big struggle. I’m not saying that multi-generational farms don’t have their own problems — everyone does. Generally, they have a support structure in place and I’ve had a very small support structure,” she said. “There’s a bigger learning curve with being a first-generation farmer. Born into a farming situation, you do learn, but there are things you grow up knowing. I grew up a different way.” As for her parents, they’re slowly getting used to her way of life. “I can’t always drop and run to do something. I can’t go eat dinner at 5 p.m. I don’t know what that world is like,” she said. “But my parents, I think they are coming around.” 23

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Learn more about how Georgia Farm Bureau protects you and your family from ID Theft, visit:

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Introducing a Medicare Supplement with an exclusive feature: THE FARM BUREAU NAME. There are a lot of Medicare Supplement plans out there — but only one that’s offered exclusively by Farm Bureau. Our new plan helps with health care costs that Medicare alone doesn’t cover. And just like you’d expect, it comes with competitive rates, no waiting period for pre-existing conditions, and plan options that fit your needs and lifestyle. Look into the Medicare Supplement plans from a name you trust. CONTACT YOUR LOCAL FARM BUREAU AGENT TODAY or visit [gfb.insure/medsupp] to learn more.

Underwritten by Family Life Insurance Company GFB_AD2_0720

INTPROD_1695_GFB_MedSupAd_7-125x4-6875_v1.indd 1

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We Are All Farm Bureau eorgia Farm Bureau opened the doors to the Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company in January 1959 to offer much needed insurance to farmers and rural communities across the state. The insurance company has grown over the years and now caters to all types of Georgians with a wide variety of products. Farm Bureau is truly an unique membership organization that represents the state in a way that no other business can. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Okefenokee Swamp, from the Chattahoochee River to the Port of Savannah, from historic small-town squares to Georgia’s largest cities, Georgia Farm Bureau Insurance is woven into the fabric of every community. No one knows Georgia like we do, and no one supports Georgia families like we do. Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company has been keeping our promises to our members for more than 62 years. The Farm Bureau agents help hard-working families make confident plans for their futures, and often, the agent is the first person they call when something goes wrong. Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance is in your community. We are in every Georgia community.

We stand for the values that make our state special. We stand for faith and family. We stand for strong, local communities. We stand for keeping our promises.

We Are All Farm Bureau. G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / fa ll 2 02 1



Unique Kids Showing Pigs lets special-needs students experience agriculture

hen Meredith McCrorey joined FFA four years ago, she had no idea the impact she’d have on countless specialneeds students, and how that interaction would change her own future. As a freshman at Newton College and Career Academy in Covington, she said she had an appreciation for ag but not a great understanding of it. After watching her sister show livestock, Meredith decided to join FFA and quickly learned that she loved the environment and the way she felt welcomed by others. At school, Meredith soon befriended a special-needs student who expressed interest in showing pigs. Realizing it would be a great experience for the young girl, Meredith sprang into action. “We signed her up for a local livestock show, and within five minutes of her showing a pig, she had the biggest smile,” Meredith said. “It made me realize this is something all students with disabilities should have the option to do. So, I fundraised for a special show and we made it our mission that every participant got to show a pig, got a medal and a T-shirt.” Unique Kids Showing Pigs tripled in size in three years. It was a hit. “The show had a great, positive effect on the kids. A lot of them had never been around a farm animal or even knew what FFA was. This show was a good way to break barriers, take ag out of the classroom and let these kids see what ag really is,” Meredith said. “FFA isn’t just about farmers, it’s a community and an opportunity for all kids to learn about agriculture.” Now a freshman at the University of Georgia, Meredith is on track for prelaw. She’d intended to major in agriculture, but her experience with specialneeds students has steered her toward a career as an attorney working with clients with disabilities.


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Fresh Fixins

Inspired by Executive Chef Nicolas Lebas, Barnsley Resort Visit Certified Farm Markets to gather the ingredients for this savory squash soup. The main portion of the recipe may be prepared a day in advance, making it perfect for easy entertaining in the busy fall season.

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Butternut Squash Soup Cream of

with Goat Cheese Espuma, Collard Greens, Goodnight Brother’s Crispy Country Ham


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PREP: 10 minutes COOK: 20-25 minutes SERVES: 6

Ingredients 2¼ cup diced, peeled butternut squash

1 potato, cubed

3¼ cup vegetable stock

¼ cup brown sugar


tablespoons grapeseed oil


large onion, finely chopped

1 cinnamon stick

Directions 1. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion. 2. Cook on a low heat until softened but not colored. 3. Add the potato and butternut squash. 4. Stir, cover and cook until softened. 5. Add the vegetable stock. 6. Season and simmer for 45 minutes. 7. Place the soup in a blender and purée, then return the soup to the saucepan (you can strain the soup through a sieve if you like, to get rid of any tough-to-blend stalky bits. If you have a powerful blender like a Vitamix, it should be able to purée everything into a silky-smooth soup.)

Visit gfb.ag/Neighbors for this recipe and more!

G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / fa ll 2 02 1


COTTON MEANS BUSINESS IN GEORGIA A Remarkable Food and Fiber Resource An Industry in Harmony with the Environment A $2.5 Billion Industry that Employs Over 20,000 Georgians

Serving Georgia’s Cotton Producers Since 1965 www.GeorgiaCottonCommission.org | o















HOMES We all benefit from Georgia agriculture, and We Are All Farm Bureau. Join Today at GFB.ORG

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Footrest may vary by model




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