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Vol. 76 No.1

GEORGIA

February/March 2014

FARM BUREAU NEWS

The Voice of Georgia Farmers


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departments

we, the farmers PAGE 4

commodities update PAGE 12

legislative update PAGE 14

young farmer update PAGE 20

women’s committee update PAGE 22

around georgia PAGE 24

public relations staff Paul Beliveau Director Jennifer Whittaker Editor Jay Stone Print/Web Specialist Lillian Davis Publications/Advertising Manager Ray D’Alessio Senior Producer/TV Host Michael Edmondson Web/Video Manager Mark Wildman Senior Radio-TV Specialist Dean Wood Radio-TV Specialist Damon Jones Radio-TV Specialist Vickie Amos Office Coordinator For questions about your membership or member benefits, call 1-800-633-5432. For questions regarding editorial content call 478-474-0679, ext. 5334 or e-mail jawhittaker@gfb.org For questions regarding advertising contact Hurst and Associates, Inc., 1-800-397-8908 Visit the GFB Web site today! www.gfb.org Georgia Farm Bureau TV: www.youtube.com/georgiafarmmonitor “Like” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GeorgiaFarmBureau Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gafarmbureau Check us out on Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/gafarmbureau

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Convention highlights included speeches by state officials and ag policy experts, commodity conferences and state awards. Attendees also got updates on Georgia’s major crops during commodity conferences and visited with numerous ag group representatives during the trade show. PAGES 6, 7 & 8

GFB members attend AFBF convention

Georgia was well represented at the 95th Annual American Farm Bureau Convention in San Antonio, winning several state awards for member programs. Stan McChrystal, pictured right, former U.S. commander in Afghanistan and retired four-star general, delivered the keynote speech discussing leadership.

Photo by JenniferWhittaker

february/march 2014

GFB holds 76th annual convention

PAGE 10

Conference updates fruit & vegetable growers on food safety The 2014 Southeast Fruit & Vegetable Conference gave produce growers the latest information on the Food Safety Modernization Act along with production training, pest management information and business marketing updates. UGA researcher Dr. Judy Harrison discussed food safety practices in roadside stands. PAGE 16

Photo by Jay Stone

contents

Awards, presentations highlight Peanut Farm Show

During the 38th Annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show, peanut growers heard updates from UGA researchers, saw production exhibits and celebrated those who have helped the industry. PAGE 18

Cotton growers get industry updates, STAX review

The 7th Annual Georgia Cotton Commission Meeting and UGA Cotton Production Workshop gave growers the latest cotton industry news from state, regional and national cotton organizations. PAGE 28

Outlook for ag mostly good, forecast speakers say Ag economists speaking at the 2014 Ag Forecast meetings gave an optimistic outlook for Georgia’s row crop and livestock producers for the coming year. Attendees also learned about succession planning for family farms and businesses. PAGE 31

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

table of

on the cover

(Photo by Jerry Plymel) Retired farmer Jerry Plymel shot this inspiring photo on his Colquitt County farm. “Sunrise in the morning is one of the most beautiful times of the day,” Plymel said. “If you don’t see the sunrise, you miss an awful lot.” This was the view that Plymel and his wife saw for years as they exited their hog barns about 7 a.m. after feedings that began at 5 a.m. Plymel entered this shot in the GFB Photo Contest. February-March 2014 / 3


we, the

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

farmers Zippy Duvall, GFB President

Light Bearers

This January will go down as one of the coldest on record with temperatures dropping into the single digits in North Georgia and into the teens in South Georgia. I hope all of the farmers reading this survived the brutal cold with no or little damage to their farms. Georgia farmers are tough but caring. We may say things like, “This cold weather is costing me a lot to keep the animals comfortable,” or “The cost of the extra feed supplements is killing me,” but we do what we need to do to keep our families and our livestock comfortable, and we don’t point our fingers at others and play the blame game as so many did with the recent storm. The new year has brought Georgia Farm Bureau new opportunities to represent Georgia’s farmers. After more than three years of work to pass a farm bill, Congress has finally taken action. The U.S. House passed the conference committee bill on Jan. 29 with a strong bipartisan vote of 251 to 166. On Feb.4, the Senate passed it by a vote of 68-32, and hopefully, President Obama will quickly sign it into law so farmers know what rules they’re operating by as they plan their 2014 crops. While this bill might not have included everything we hoped for, it does provide flexibility, funds crop insurance programs to protect row crop growers from losses, offers disaster and feed assistance for livestock producers and authorizes conservation programs for landowners. We’re grateful to all members of Georgia’s congressional delegation who supported this bill and to Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Rep. Austin Scott for their work on the conference committee. With the 2014 session of the Georgia General Assembly in full swing, the GFB

legislative staff and GFB Legislative Committee, made up of GFB Board members, is working hard to be sure the voice of Georgia’s farmers is heard at the capitol. In December, your GFB Board of Directors approved priority issues for 2014 based on the policy GFB’s voting delegates approved at our annual convention. These issues are taxes and budget, water, animal agriculture and general ag issues such as seeking ways to help farmers control nuisance wildlife, curbing farm thefts, such as unauthorized timber harvests, and establishing long-term funding for the Georgia Weather Network. You can read more about our priority issues on page 14, but one of the aspects of taxes and budget Farm Bureau continues to work on is preserving the sales tax exemptions offered by the Georgia Agricultural Sales Tax Exemption (GATE). We’re into our second year of this program. By all accounts it’s saving farmers money that they are reinvesting in their farms, which helps local economies as farmers buy more equipment, supplies or add employees. Last year more than 30,000 farmers signed up for a GATE card and about 23,000 have signed up so far this year. There are state rules established by the Georgia Department of Revenue regarding who qualifies to receive GATE exemptions and what type of purchases qualify. If you’re not sure if a purchase qualifies, I encourage you to check for yourself before taking the word of someone pitching you a product. All of us in the agricultural community must follow the GATE rules to ensure the program continues. If you have questions about GATE, See WE, THE FARMERS page 30

Members of the GFB Board of Directors represented Georgia as voting delegates at the AFBF convention to review AFBF policy that will shape the organization’s legislative action in the coming year. GFB President Zippy Duvall, front row left, and GFB 1st Vice President Gerald Long, front row right, discuss an issue. 4 / February-March 2014

GEORGIA

FARM BUREAU NEWS

The Voice of Georgia Farmers

SUBSCRIPTION RATES Farm Bureau Members: Included in dues — $1 per year Non-Members — $15 per year To subscribe call 1-800-898-1911, ext. 5238. OFFICERS President ZIPPY DUVALL 1st Vice President/South Georgia Vice President GERALD LONG North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS Middle Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN Jr. Treasurer/Corporate Secretary Wayne Daniel General Counsel DUKE Groover

DIRECTORS FIRST DISTRICT: Bill Bryan, Summerville; Henry J. West, Rydal SECOND DISTRICT: Bobby Gunter, Dahlonega; Randy Ruff, Elberton THIRD DISTRICT: George Chambers, Carrollton; Nora Goodman, Temple FOURTH DISTRICT: Skeetter McCorkle, Dearing; Marvin Ruark, Bishop FIFTH DISTRICT: Ralph Adamson Jr., Barnesville; Jim Ham, Smarr SIXTH DISTRICT: James Malone, Dexter; James Emory Tate, Denton SEVENTH DISTRICT: Gary Bell, Bellville; Ben Boyd, Sylvania EIGHTH DISTRICT: Scotty Raines, Sycamore; Don Wood, Rochelle NINTH DISTRICT: Lucius Adkins, Elmodel; Paul Shirah, Camilla TENTH DISTRICT: Daniel Johnson, Alma; David Lee, Alma YOUNG FARMER CHAIRMAN: Matthew London, Cleveland WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Elaine Avery, Dexter 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 News. For advertising rates and information, contact Hurst and Associates, Inc., P.O. Box 6011, Vernon Hills, IL 60061, 1-800-397-8908. Georgia Farm Bureau News was established in 1937. Copyright 2014 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.

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GFB holds 76th annual convention By Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________

T

he 1,500 Georgia Farm Bureau members attending the organization’s 2013 convention held Dec. 8-10 on Jekyll Island had the pleasure of hearing Gov. Nathan Deal, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Dist. 1), Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black and American Farm Bureau policy experts.

Kingston discusses ag bills Kingston, whose district includes Jekyll Island, welcomed GFB members to the coast and addressed ag legislation. “As you know, the ag production part of the farm bill has not been the controversy but rather the nutrition program, which I don’t think we’ve spent enough time trying to reform.” Kingston Kingston also discussed immigration reform, predicting that if Congress passes legislation it will happen before the end of the first quarter in 2014 and that it will include an electronic verification component. Kingston expressed concern that the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have onfarm experience or employees who understand agriculture as it implements the Food Safety Modernization Act, which requires farmers to adopt new production practices to increase food safety. Duvall recounts GFB’s legislative successes While delivering his annual address, GFB President Zippy Duvall emphasized the need for a new farm bill. “The inability of Congress to pass a farm bill has been disappointing. The country needs a farm bill, and we call on Congress to pass a version that can be signed by the president,” Duvall said. Duvall Duvall also recounted legislative successes GFB made on behalf of Georgia farmers in 2013. Getting Congress to pass a permanent federal 6 / February-March 2014

estate tax law in 2013 that maintained the $5 million exemption rate per person, indexed to inflation with a top tax rate of 40 percent, was a major victory for farmers, Duvall said. Duvall said GFB worked with the Georgia Department of Public Safety to ensure implementation of the commercial drivers license exemption included in the federal MAP-21 bill doesn’t cost Georgia farmers. Farmers can register online for their CDL exemption form for free through the GFB website. Black advocates engaging consumers Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black encouraged farmers to share the story of agriculture with consumers in language they understand. “Farmers speak the language of farm, and consumers speak the language of food,” Black said. “I’m convinced we can drop the language barrier, Black and that’s why the Georgia Department of Agriculture is putting so much effort into the Georgia Grown Program.” Black said the GDA plans to take its food truck across Georgia in 2014 to share agriculture’s story. Black also thanked county Farm Bureau offices for their efforts to help farmers register for the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) program, which gives farmers sales tax exemptions on most supplies used to produce their commodities. AFBF policy updates Bob Young, American Farm Bureau chief economist, discussed the farm bill and future farm challenges. Young said the commodity title of the new farm bill will shift focus from direct payments to crop insurance. “The commodity title will be complicated. Once the bill is finalized, I suggest you spend less time at your Farm Service Agency and a lot of time with your crop insurance agent,” Young said. Young cautioned farmers to prepare for lower commodity prices, with corn prices in the three-dollar range, due to demand for crops, such as corn, plateauing and production in other countries growing.

Young also warned farmers to brace for interest rates to rise from three to five or six percent. Agriculture will feel the impact of interest rate hikes because it’s a capitalintensive industry, Young said. Kristi Boswell, American Farm Bureau labor specialist, discussed the status of immigration legislation in Congress. The U.S. Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) last June. The House has yet to pass an immigration bill, but last April Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) introduced the Agricultural Guestworker Act (HR 1773), which would establish a guest worker program that, like the Senate program, would be administered by the USDA but doesn’t include provisions for current ag workers to continue working. Boswell said Farm Bureau is trying to secure access to a legal workforce that’s affordable and allows farmers to keep their experienced workforce. Boswell encouraged farmers to call their Congressmen to share how immigration impacts them. She said a bill has to have 218 votes to pass the House.

Gov. Deal thanks farmers While addressing GFB members, Gov. Deal thanked Georgia’s farmers for the $71.1 billion economic impact they have on Georgia’s economy. “According to the University of Georgia, 40 percent of exports that Deal go through the Savannah Port are agricultural products. You are the largest single component of the exports through that facility,” Deal said. “You help give us the balance of trade we have been so seriously deficient in.” Deal voiced support for the GATE program. “We’ve got about 30,000 people who have signed up for the GATE cards to exclude sales taxes from their purchases of appropriate agricultural related products. As long as it is being appropriately used, I think it will more than make up for itself in productivity and in revenue that is gained by making you more profitable,” Deal said. Georgia Farm Bureau News


Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Georgia Farm Bureau honored county Farm Bureaus for promoting agriculture and individual members for personal achievement during the organization’s 76th annual convention. GFB President Zippy Duvall (standing back row, far right) congratulates the 2013 GFB award recipients (front row seated, L-R): Ross McQueen for Henry County; Trisha Lastly of Madison County; Rebecca Rolling of Pike County; Jeanne Taylor for Bacon County; Nanette Bryan for Chattooga County; Brooke, Moriah, James, and J.W. Hitchcock of Washington County; (back row, L-R) Clay Talton of Elbert County; Derry Bennett for Cook County; B.J. Marks and Keith Mitcham for Newton County; Len Cagle for Cherokee County; and Joe Boddiford for Screven County Farm Bureau.

GFB state winners named

By Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________________________________________________ Georgia Farm Bureau recognized the best of its volunteers and county chapters during an awards program at the organization’s annual convention. The state winners were honored for programs they conducted last 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 programs - from each of its three membership categories. Screven County, whose president is Joe Boddiford, received the McKemie Award for the 0 to 1,330-member division. Cook County, whose president is Derry Bennett, won the McKemie Award for the 1,331 to 2,230-member division. Newton County, whose president is Keith Mitcham, received the award in the 2,231plus-member division. Finalists in the McKemie competition, listed in alphabetical order, for the 0 to 1,330-member division were: Bacon, Crawford, Jasper, Macon, Upson and Wilcox counties. Finalists for the 1,331 to 2,230-memGeorgia Farm Bureau News

ber division were: Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Greene, Jeff Davis, Monroe, Pike, Polk, and Tift counties. Finalists in the 2,231plus-member division were: Cherokee, Coffee, Colquitt, Elbert, Habersham, Henry, McDuffie, Madison, Stephens and White counties. James and Brooke Hitchcock of Washington County received the GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award. The Hitchcocks grow corn, peanuts, soybeans and hay on 1,800 acres and have a herd of more than 300 cattle. They farm with James’ father, James Sr., his brother Jonathan and sister Jennifer. James Jr. served on the GFB Young Farmer Committee in 2005 and 2006. The Hitchcocks live in Tennille with their daughter Moriah, and son J.W. The Hitchcocks received a $500 cash prize, courtesy of GFB, and an Arctic Cat 500 all-terrain-vehicle, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance (SFBLI). Russ and Mandy Moon of Madison County and Charlie and Nancie Sanders of Greene County were finalists for the Young

Farmer Achievement Award. The finalists each received $500 from GFB. Trisha Lastly of Madison County won the Young Farmer Discussion Meet and received a $500 cash award, courtesy of GFB, and an Arctic Cat 500 all-terrain-vehicle from SFBLI. Discussion meet finalists included Kyle Dekle of Habersham County, Ali Merk of Jackson County and Constance Reid of Greene County. The finalists received $350 from SunTrust Bank. The contestants discussed how young farmers can be encouraged to be involved with Farm Bureau. Clay Talton of Elbert County won the Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award. GFB presented this award for the first time this year to recognize young farmers who earn the majority of their income outside of production agriculture. Talton is the Elbert County Extension Coordinator. Talton won $4,000, courtesy of SFBLI. Lauren Boykin of Screven County and Paul Harris of Pierce County were the Excellence in Agriculture Award finalists. Boykin is the Screven County Extension Agent for 4-H and Youth. Harris works as a soil conservation technician with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The finalists each received $500 courtesy of AgSouth Farm Credit. The Hitchcocks, Lastly and Talton each received an expense-paid trip in January to the 2014 AFBF Convention in San Antonio to compete for national honors. GFB presented a Membership Excellence Award to a county from each of its three membership categories in recognition of the counties’ membership campaigns. Terrell County Farm Bureau, whose president is Kirk Law, received the GFB Membership Award for the 0 to 1,330-member division. Cook County Farm Bureau, whose president is Derry Bennett, won the award for the 1,331 to 2,230-member division. Henry County Farm Bureau, whose president is Ross McQueen, received the award in the 2,231plus-member division. Other state awards presented included: Outstanding Promotion & Education Award received by Chattooga County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Women’s Leadership Committee Award received by Bacon County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Legislative Award received by Cherokee County Farm Bureau; and Outstanding Young Farmer Committee Award received by Newton County Farm Bureau. Rebecca Rolling, Pike County Farm Bureau office manager, received the organization’s Outstanding Office Manager Award. February-March 2014 / 7


A collection of 40 speakers presented commodity-specific information to members of Georgia Farm Bureau’s 20 commodity committees during the 2013 GFB Convention held Dec. 8-10 on Jekyll Island. While speaking at the GFB Peanut Committee meeting, Bob Parker, president and CEO of the National Peanut Board (NPB), discussed steps the board is taking to address peanut allergy issues. Parker said the board is working to educate school officials that a complete ban on peanut products isn’t necessary to protect children with a peanut allergy because the aroma of peanuts or being in the same room as peanuts will not induce anaphylaxis. Parker also announced the NPB is launching a new ad campaign with the slogan “The Perfectly Powerful Peanut.” The new campaign will emphasize that peanuts are a plant-based protein and educate consumers about peanut plants. Dr. Scott Tubbs, UGA peanut research agronomist, also spoke in the peanut meeting, giving an overview of the management practices and new varieties that allowed Georgia peanut farmers to produce 4,500 pounds/acre in 2013. Lee Beckmann, manager of government affairs for the Georgia Ports Authority, gave an overview of the shipping activities at the Brunswick and Savannah ports. Brunswick is the top auto importing facility in the U.S. serving as the entry port for foreign brands such as Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz. Brunswick also serves as an export port for Ford, GM, Mercedes, Toyota and Subaru cars manufactured in the U.S. Savannah is the most inland port of all ports on the Southeastern coast and is geographically best suited to serve the 44 percent of the U.S. population living in the Southeast, Beckmann said. Russ Pennington, director of policy & public affairs for the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, discussed the lawsuit Florida recently filed against Georgia over water use and pending state legislation to change language of the Flint River Drought Protection Act. GFB Beef Committee Chairman John Callaway presented information about the upcoming referendum on whether to fund the Georgia Beef Commission with an assessment of Georgia’s beef producers. During the GFB Beef Committee meeting, State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb talked about federal animal identification under new traceability rules. In the GFB Forestry Committee meeting, Georgia Forestry Association President and CEO Steve McWilliams shared the functions of the GFA and provided details of a proposed bill expected to be introduced Bob Parker 8 / February-March 2014

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

By Jay Stone & Jennifer Whittaker ______________________________________________________________________

By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________ Georgia Farm Bureau voting delegates elected the organization’s 2014 board of directors during the organization’s 2013 convention. GFB President Zippy Duvall of Greene County continues his fourth, twoyear term. Gerald Long of Decatur County, who ran unopposed, was re-elected as GFB South Georgia vice president and was re-designated as the organization’s 1st vice president. Long has served as GFB South Georgia vice president since 2006 and as GFB 1st vice president since 2008. Robert Fountain Jr. of Emanuel County begins the second year of his second consecutive three-year term as GFB Middle Georgia vice president. Bernard Sims of Catoosa County begins the third year of his second three-year term as GFB North Georgia vice president. In district director elections, Bill Bryan of Chattooga County was elected as a GFB 1st District director, and incumbent Bobby Gunter of Lumpkin County was re-elected as a GFB 2nd District director. Each of these directors were elected Bryan for a two-year term. The following were re-elected unopposed to serve two-year terms on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors: George Chambers of Carroll County, 3rd District; Marvin Ruark of Morgan County, 4th District; Ralph Adamson of Lamar County, 5th District; James Malone 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. Matthew London of White County was named chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee. Elaine Avery of Laurens 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 GFB Board of Directors. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Jay Stone

GFB elects 2014 board

Gfb committees hear updates on commodities


GFB adds ag Buyers Guide to website Georgia Farm Bureau has added a new feature to the GFB website designed with our farmer members in mind. GFB partnered with Strategic Value Media, a leading nationwide provider of print and digital media solutions, to produce an online Buyer’s Guide exclusively for Georgia Farm Bureau that advertises agricultural goods and services. The guide provides GFB members and Georgia’s ag community an efficient way to browse for ag goods and services, while offering agricultural suppliers and companies the chance to showcase their products and services to a targeted, industry-specific group with exceptional visibility. “This comprehensive guide offers members access to a vast network of industry suppliers to assist them in making educated purchasing decisions throughout

the year,” said Jay Murdock, director of GFB Member Services. Examples of products advertised in the Buyers Guide include seed, chemical and equipment companies and livestock services. To access the site, visit http://www. gfb.org, click on Member Benefits, then GFB Buyer’s Guide. If your company or business would like to take advantage of this advertising opportunity to highlight your products

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February-March 2014 / 9


Duck Dynasty cast member Alan Robertson addresses the AFBF convention.

GFB President Zippy Duvall, second from left, speaks during a workshop where veteran farmers shared their experiences of surviving low prices and high interest rates. Pictured with Duvall from left are, New Mexico Farm Bureau President Mike White, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Carl Shaffer and Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill.

GFB members attend AFBF convention Article & Photos by Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________

A

lmost 200 Georgia Farm Bureau members attended the 95th Annual American Farm Bureau Federation Convention held Jan. 12-15 in San Antonio, Texas. AFBF President Bob Stallman, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, “Duck Dynasty’s” Alan Robertson and retired Gen. Stan McChrystal addressed convention attendees. In his annual address, Stallman called on Congress to pass the farm bill and labor reform legislation. He noted that Congress is on the verge of finalizing the Water Resources Development Act after both houses passed their versions of the bill. Vilsack called on Congress to pass a new farm bill saying it is vital not only for farmers but to the other 99 percent of the U.S. who depend on farmers to grow their food. “Every American should be concerned about the farm bill and contact their representatives saying the farm bill needs to be done.” Robertson, the oldest son of America’s favorite duck-hunting family, said that after serving as a pastor for 22 years, he decided to join the family’s show to share his message of faith with a larger audience. “We’re the most blessed people on this planet, but if we don’t create homes and foster families, we’re in trouble,” Robertson said. McChrystal, who commanded U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan before retiring as a four-star general in 2010, discussed leadership and the im-

10 / February-March 2014

portance of adapting to change to ensure survival and success. GFB President Zippy Duvall participated in the convention workshop “What I Wish I Had Known Then,” during which state Farm Bureau presidents shared their experiences of farming in the late 1970s to mid-1980s when farm income was at record lows and inflation and interest rates were high. “A key word to young people is patience. It’s not going to happen overnight. Don’t overextend yourself and don’t expect all of your money to come in at one time in one pot,” Duvall said. “Diversification is also key. I love cows, but I went into the poultry business for the diversifiSee CONVENTION page 23

Madison County Farm Bureau member Trisha Lastly delivers her closing statement in the second round of the AFBF Discussion Meet.

James and Brooke Hitchcock look at cotton displayed at the trade show. The Hitchcocks, who grow cotton, represented Georgia in the AFBF Young Farmer Achievement Contest. Georgia Farm Bureau News


Henry County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee Chairman Jake Carter has been elected by members of the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee to chair the committee for 2014. As chairman, Carter will serve a one-year term on the AFBF Board of Directors and will travel the United States promoting agriculture and speaking on behalf of Farm Bureau. Jake and his wife, Jennifer, operate Southern Belle Farm in McDonough. Southern Belle is a 320-acre working farm that produces strawberries, blueberries, peaches and blackberries. They also operate a fall corn maze and offer educational school tours year-round. As a seventh generation farmer, Carter is passionate about connecting farmers with consumers. “We need to put a face on farming and show people what we do, how we do it, and why,” Carter said. Carter will take this message across America this year as he speaks to both farmers and consumers. The Carters chaired the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee in 2012. Jake serves on the GFB Fruit Advisory Committee and the GFB Agritourism Sub-committee. They are also involved in a number of other ag organizations including: the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, Georgia Agritourism Association and the Georgia Strawberry Growers Association. The Carters have two daughters, Karson and Kennedy.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Jake Carter to chair AFBF YF&R Committee

During the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention held Jan. 12-15 in San Antonio, Texas, AFBF President Bob Stallman, right, announced that Henry County Farm Bureau member Jake Carter will serve as chairman of the 2014 AFBF Young Farmer & Rancher Committee. Carter was presented with a pin in recognition of his appointment and will serve a one-year term on the AFBF Board of Directors.

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February-March 2014 / 11


commodities/marketing update Don McGough, Director of Commodities/Marketing Dept.

GFB names commodity committee members Georgia Farm Bureau has named the members of its 2014 commodity advisory committees. Each committee meets several times during the year to address issues related to their commodity and assist with GFB’s policy development process. Georgia Farm Bureau has 20 commodity committees and an Agritourism/Direct Marketing Subcommittee. Each committee chairman serves on the GFB Policy Development Committee. The GFB Commodity Committee chairmen make an important contribution to Farm Bureau by providing knowledge of their commodity and leadership for their committee. Their input provides an important link back to the farm and helps maintain the strong grassroots representation within Farm Bureau. The committees meet twice yearly to discuss issues regarding their commodities. At the upcoming spring meetings, they will discuss and make recommendations on policy implementation. They will meet again on Aug. 14 during the GFB Commodity Conference. Members of the 2014 GFB Commodity Committees are listed below along with their membership county. AQUACULTURE Chairman Terry Bramlett, Fannin; Vice Chairman Wesley Ham, Monroe; Albert Cagle, Cherokee; Steven Patrick, Habersham; Travis Henry, Douglas; Harold D. Fallin, Upson; Sherrell Fleming, McIntosh; Danny Chandler, Early; Ricky Boyd, Berrien; Richard Vendetti, Glynn BEEF CATTLE Chairman John Callaway, Troup; Vice Chairman Samuel Perkins, Grady; Joe Rush, Floyd; Jeff Duncan, Madison; Keith Mitcham, Newton; Arthur Rider, Richmond; Bobby Brantley, Washington; Dr. Jim Strickland, Tattnall; Wayne Talton, Houston; Jerry McKinnon, Coffee COTTON Chairman Eddie Green, Dooly; Vice Chairman Jason West, Candler; 12 / February-March 2014

Wayne Hurley, Chattooga; Rick Wansley, Elbert; Jerry Kirkland, Jeff Davis; Chris Hopkins, Toombs; Steven Metcalf, Turner; Darren Hambree, Colquitt; David Holton, Mitchell; Joey Williams, Cook DAIRY Chairman Bud Butcher, Coweta; Vice Chairman Mark Rodgers, McDuffie; Franklin Wright, Gilmer; Harry Allison, Hall; Charlie Sanders, Greene; Kenneth Murphy, Meriwether; Judd Chambers, Jones; Jimmy Franks, Burke; Adam Graft, Sumter; Matthew Moody, Ware ENVIRONMENTAL HORTICULTURE Chairman Matt Bottoms, Pike; Vice Chairman Mark Porter, Fayette; Craig Truitt, Elbert; Charles Berry, Newton; Donald McCorkle Sr., McDuffie; Linda Everett, Walton; David Ridgeway, Butts; Blake Rowland, Dodge; Troy Windham, Laurens; Kaye Usher, Toombs EQUINE Chairman Danny Hogan, Laurens; Vice Chairman Gary Walker, Tift; Molly Childs, Cherokee; Jimmy Kowalsky, Habersham; Tom Kerlin, Fayette; Boyd McLocklin, Barrow; Jan Ison, Richmond; Darryl Landreth, Troup; Jimmie Davis, Emanuel; James Wood, Wilcox FEEDGRAIN Chairman Brian Ogletree, Spalding; Vice Chairman James Gaston, Sumter; Sonny Scoggins, Walker; Stanley London, White; Thomas Strickland, Henry; Tim Duvall, Greene; Brandon Branch, Appling; Jimmy Thompson, Randolph; Rodney Harrell, Lee; Earnest McQueen, Lanier

Vice Chairman Jake Carter, Henry; Tim Mercier, Fannin; Andy Futch, Gilmer; Larry Rodgers, Lumpkin; Sean Lennon, Meriwether; Richard Prescott, Jefferson; Charles Tillman, Tattnall; Timothy McMillan, Berrien; Phillip Mixon, Ware GOATS & SHEEP Chairman Greg Phillips, Whitfield; Vice Chairman William Waldrep, Monroe; Mike Bunn, Walker; Will Cabe, Franklin; Greg Gilman, Jackson; Raymond Bailey, Henry; Howard Hawthorne, Barrow; Charles Batten, Washington; Bobby Joe Cason, Bulloch; Betty Anne Lewis, Glynn HAY Chairman Farrell Roberts, Tift; Vice Chairman Gilbert Andrews, Harris; Jason Witt, Gordon; Swayne Cochran, Jackson; Stanley Williams, Haralson; Dale Brubaker, Oglethorpe; Jamie Tate, Jeff Davis; Gene Hart, Effingham; Wymann Hartley, Houston; Craig Pate, Irwin HONEYBEES Chairman B.J. Weeks, Cherokee; Vice Chairman J. Keith Fielder, Putnam; Morris Cleveland, Hart; David Bigham, Rockdale; Terry Williams, Monroe; John Pluta, Baldwin; Johnny Jones, Toombs; Jesse McCurdy, Houston; Gary Rentz, Brooks; Bobby Rowell, Brantley PEANUTS Chairman John Harrell, Grady; Vice Chairman Mace Henry, Emanuel; Jerry Newby, Twiggs; James Hitchcock, Washington; Ed Wilson, Jenkins; Joe Shivers, Clay; Michael Selph, Wilcox; Andy Bell, Decatur; Wes Shannon, Tift; Jared Howell, Cook

FORESTRY Chairman John W. Mixon, Pike; Vice Chairman Jimmy Kennedy, Hancock; John Davis, Whitfield; Johnny Smith, Lumpkin; Eric McGrew, Carroll; William Tanner, Johnson; Bill Carmichael, Emanuel; Billy Moncrief, Clay; Steve Collins, Mitchell; Harold Simpson, Lanier

PECANS Chairman James Exum, Brooks; Vice Chairman Vinson Griffin, Berrien; Danny Brooks, Habersham; James Markley, Morgan; Mark Cook, Washington; Kyle Durrence, Tattnall; Elliott Ellis, Dooly; David Levie, Macon; Chris McBryant, Wilcox; Garrett Ganas, Ware

FRUIT Chairman Bob McLeod, Wilcox;

Continued on next page Georgia Farm Bureau News


Continued from previous page POULTRY Chairman Larry Cooley, Crawford; Vice Chairman Wade Castleberry, Forsyth; Russ Moon, Madison; Joe Griffith, Haralson; Jackie Copelan, Greene; Chester Yawn, Jeff Davis; Bill Crapps, Appling; Stephen Wilson, Turner; Charlie Dukes, Brooks; Guy Williams, Berrien SOYBEANS Chairman Neil Skipper, Bibb; Vice Chairman Jesse Patrick, Putnam; Alan Scoggins, Walker; Bobby A. Eavenson, Elbert; Michael Womack, Polk; Hugh H. Veal Jr., Johnson; Shawn Page, Bryan; Olin Boyd, Screven; Joe King, Clay; Larry Lodge, Brooks SWINE Chairman Terry Danforth, Berrien; Vice Chairman Bill Waldrep Jr., Monroe; Steve Wilhoit, Whitfield; Danny Gunter, Wilkes; Barry Powell, Johnson; Clint Oliver, Tattnall; Don Williford, Crisp; Charles H. Usry Jr., Lee; Dania DeVane, Randolph TOBACCO Chairman Jerry Wooten, Jeff Davis; Vice Chairman Lamar Vickers, Berrien; Ross Greene, Evans; Garrett Anderson, Screven; Tim Crosby, Brooks; Lee Ivey, Lanier; Aldeen Davis, Pierce

GFB members appointed to AFBF committees

The American Farm Bureau Federation has chosen 17 Georgia Farm Bureau members to serve on its 2014 commodity advisory committees. The committees provide farmer input on AFBF policy and make recommendations about their commodities to the AFBF Board of Directors. The committees will meet on a staggered schedule for three days each the week beginning Feb. 9. GFB Cotton Committee Chairman Eddie Green of Dooly County will serve as chairman of the AFBF Cotton Committee. Other GFB members appointed to AFBF committees are: Brian Ogletree, Spalding Co., Feed Grains Committee; John Harrell, Grady Co., Peanut Committee; Neil Skipper, Bibb Co., Soybean Committee; Jerry Wooten, Jeff Davis Co., Tobacco Committee; Dr. James Strickland, Tattnall Co., Animal Health Committee; John Callaway, Troup Co., Beef Committee; Danny Hogan, Laurens Co., Equine Committee; Farrell Roberts, Tift Co., Hay & Forage Committee; Larry Cooley, Crawford Eddie Green Co., Poultry Committee; Greg Phillips, Whitfield Co., Sheep & Goat Committee; Terry Danforth, Berrien Co., Swine Committee; Matt Bottoms, Pike Co., Ag Nursery & Greenhouse Committee; Wesley Ham, Monroe Co., Aquaculture Committee; John Mixon, Pike Co., Forestry Committee; B.J. Weeks, Cherokee Co., Honey Committee; and Bob McLeod, Wilcox Co., Horticulture Committee. GFB Feedgrains Vice Chairman James Gaston of Sumter Co. and GFB Soybeans Committee Vice Chairman GAFB_Morton_Feb.Mar14_GAFB_Morton_Feb/Mar14 1/16/14 4:08 PM Page 1 Jesse Patrick of Putnam Co. will be attending the AFBF committee meetings as alternates.

WATER Chairman Hal Haddock, Early; Vice Chairman R. Lee Webster Jr., Burke; William Grizzle, Cherokee; Sam Chapman, Hall; Tim Thoms, Fayette; Larry Eley, Greene; Charlie F. Harris, Crawford; Rocky Nobles, Twiggs; Billy Sanders, Dooly; Steve Dixon, Berrien AGRITOURISM/DIRECT MARKETING SUBCOMMITTEE Andy Futch, Gilmer; Tim Mercier, Fannin; Jake Carter, Henry; Brad Calhoun, Turner (Appointees are members of the GFB Certified Farm Markets Program.) Don McGough is director of the GFB Commodities/Marketing Department. Georgia Farm Bureau News

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VEGETABLES Chairman Greg Murray, Decatur; Vice Chairman Brett Williams, Toombs; Nichelle Stewart, Cherokee; Sam Payne, Gordon; Jason Cook, Paulding; Ricky Minter, Fayette; Kenneth Tomlinson, Laurens; Brad Calhoun, Turner; Brian Robinson, Brooks; Tim Carter, Bacon

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legislative update Jon Huffmaster, Legislative Director

Farm Bureau sets Priority Issues In December, the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors set the organization’s state legislative priority issues for 2014. The broad categories included taxes and budget, water, animal agriculture and general agriculture issues. GFB President Zippy Duvall was quick to point out that while it is important to set priorities, Farm Bureau will not be limited by them. “Our organization will continue to be involved with any issues that affect farmers; however, these issues have surfaced as having particular interest within our membership,” Duvall said. Taxes & Budget This issue covers a lot of territory, but there are two acronyms of particular importance to farmers: GATE and CUVA. The Georgia Agriculture Tax Exemption (GATE) exempts farmers from state and local sales taxes on ag input costs. The Conservation Use Value Assessment (CUVA) allows farm and forestland to be taxed according to its use instead of its fair market value. Both programs are vital to Georgia farmers. Without GATE and CUVA, many farms would be in financial jeopardy. GFB’s goal is to make sure both programs are maintained and their integrity is not undermined. Farm Bureau supports funding for agricultural institutions, agencies and youth development programs. GFB urges adequate funding for the UGA College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences, Extension and research, and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. We support the Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission and the Georgia Water Planning & Policy Center. We also support funding for youth development programs such as 4-H and FFA. Water Water has been on GFB’s priority list for several years because it is vital to farming. GFB will work to ensure any water 14 / February-March 2014

legislation does not adversely affect agriculture. We support all reasonable means to conserve water while working to increase water supplies. GFB will continue its active involvement with the regional water councils and the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District. GFB supports amending the Flint River Drought Protection Act (FRDPA). The legislation was originally passed to help Southwest Georgia manage drought. The idea was to allow farmers to voluntarily remove land from irrigation for modest compensation from the state. The bidding process was enacted twice with mixed results. Since then, generally good commodity prices have made the whole process economically unfeasible. The FRDPA should be amended to provide flexibility instead of requiring the EPD director to take action with little positive result. Amending the FRDPA would also allow the state to have the ability to assist in augmenting streams during a drought to protect endangered species, such as the river mussels that reside in the area. Federal law requires the protection, and this change is being sought as a way to head off federal action. In some states, severe federal rulings have proved disastrous to farmers.

Animal Agriculture Livestock and poultry are significant in Georgia, and our state leads the nation in chicken and egg production. In several states around the country, misguided individuals and groups have passed regulations that severely hamper all commercial livestock and poultry enterprises. GFB will work cooperatively with other groups to

tell the positive story of meat production and defend livestock and poultry producers against unwarranted attacks. GFB will work to educate cattle producers about the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Beef. Producers will have the opportunity to choose whether to fund a $1 per head checkoff to be used to promote beef to educate consumers and to fund research important to cattle producers. GFB isn’t telling producers how to vote but urges all producers to vote in the upcoming referendum. General Agriculture Issues This category includes several subjects. Controlling nuisance wildlife is a major concern for farmers, and feral hogs top the list of culprits. These pests destroy crops, degrade the environment and harm native wildlife. Nearly everyone agrees feral hogs are a problem, but finding a solution to control them is very difficult. It will take a concerted effort by a wide range of groups to make a dent in the problem. Black bears are a nuisance in some parts of the state. Farmers report significant crop damage and property destruction. GFB has met with Georgia officials to discuss the problems associated with bears. GFB will work to curb thefts on farms and to reduce the unauthorized harvest of timber. Sometimes timber is harvested by mistake, but sometimes unauthorized harvests are intentional. GFB is working with forestry groups to reduce this crime. Part of the problem has been that local law enforcement does not have the time or expertise to investigate forestry theft. Legislation has been introduced to allow the Georgia Forestry Commission to take on an investigative role regarding timber theft and to arrest violators. All of these issues affect farmers in significant ways. GFB will continue to be “the Voice of Georgia Farmers.” Jon Huffmaster is director of the GFB Legislative Department. Georgia Farm Bureau News


Congress passes 2014 farm bill By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________ On Jan. 29 the U.S. House passed a comprehensive long-term farm bill by a 251-166 vote, ending more than three years of deliberations on legislation that sets the federal government’s farm policy through 2018. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 68-32 on Feb. 4. Georgia Farm Bureau urged passage of the bill maintaining that farmers of all commodities need the certainty of a long-term farm bill to assist them in making on-farm decisions. “Georgia Farm Bureau commends Congress for passing a new farm bill with a strong bipartisan vote. This legislation provides flexibility and a measure of security for our farmers, offers disaster and feed assistance for livestock producers, and authorizes conservation programs for landowners,” GFB President Zippy Duvall said. “We appreciate the work of the conference committee, and we are grateful for the final votes

in Congress. We’re looking for President Obama to quickly sign it into law.” The bill, which was passed by the farm bill conference committee on Jan. 28, eliminates direct payments and is projected to save $23 billion over 10 years according to the Congressional Budget Office. Called the Agriculture Act of 2014 (H.R. 2642), the bill gives farmers the choice between two counter-cyclical crop insurance programs: Price Loss Coverage (PLC), which addresses deep multi-year price declines, and Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), which addresses revenue losses. The bill’s livestock disaster assistance programs will cover losses incurred in 2012 and 2013, according to a summary from House Agriculture Committee Democrats, and establishes permanent baselines for the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP), Emergency Assistance for Livestock Honey Bees

and Farm-raised Fish (ELAP) and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP). Its dairy provision calls for a margin insurance program that protects base production for the life of the farm bill. The dairy provision also includes a product purchase program that is activated when margins fall below $4 per hundredweight. The bill consolidates 23 conservation programs into 13 and makes producers with more than $900,000 in adjusted gross income ineligible for conservation programs. The Conservation Stewardship Program is continued at 10 million acres per year and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) is rolled into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The nutrition provisions in the bill account for $756 billion of the $956 billion total package over 10 years. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is cut by $8 billion over 10 years. The bill takes measures to prevent states from providing token payments under heating assistance programs to make participants eligible for greater SNAP benefits.

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February-March 2014 / 15


Photo by Jay Stone

Chatham County Farm Bureau Director Dexter Shearouse, right, chats with Anna Coco of Doublethumb Growing Solutions about repurposed coconut core designed to be used as a soil-less growth medium.

Conference gives fruit and vegetable growers updates on food safety By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________ Like other farmers, fruit and vegetable and business marketing updates. growers are anticipating the passage of a The FDA’s proposed rules under the long-term farm bill, and they continue to Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) have concerns over access to labor and food drew significant attention at the conference. safety compliance, all of which were dis- The commodity conferences for vegetables cussed during sessions at the 2014 South- and roadside stands included presentations east Fruit & Vegetable Conference, held about food safety. Jan. 9-12 at the Savannah International In a presentation at the conference for vegetables, United Fresh Produce Senior Trade and Convention Center. The conference featured educational Vice President David Gombas gave an sessions for growers of peaches, Vidalia update on FSMA, reviewing the current onions, organic produce, blackberries and proposed rules, which remain in the comraspberries, muscadines, sweet corn, blue- ment stage of the federal rulemaking proberries, strawberries and watermelons. cess. Prompted in part by requests from the There were also conferences on roadside National Association of State Departments markets and business operations, as well as of Agriculture (NASDA), the FDA has ina food safety conference. dicated it would repropose the rules man The event drew approximately 300 ex- dated by FSMA. hibitors and 3,016 attendees. Farmers had Gombas noted that the reissuance of access to more than 85 hours of production proposed rules has pushed back an already training, pest management information tight timeline. Gombas said there will be at 16 / February-March 2014

least seven proposed rules to implement FSMA, with the first ones issued as early as this spring. The FDA is required to have all the rules in place by July 2015. In the first round of proposed rules, the proposal for produce safety prompted 15,000 comments. Each comment has to be read, and Gombas said only certain people at FDA can read them for the purpose of rulemaking. “To do the seven rules that we know of in that time, that’s asking a lot,” Gombas said. NASDA requested a reproposal out of concern that changes following the initial comment periods would be extensive enough to warrant spending more time crafting the rules. “There were going to be so many changes that we felt the only proper way to have a good evaluation of what was changing is to actually have a second issuance of the rule,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. “We are thankful that the FDA heard us.” During the roadside stands conference, Dr. Judy Harrison of the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences reviewed the school’s survey on food safety practices at roadside markets and made suggestions on ways farmers and those markets can improve the safety of food they sell, like sanitizing surfaces that come in contact with produce, keeping the produce cool and paying attention to worker health and hygiene. “The goal with produce safety is not to let produce get contaminated with pathogens in the first place and to handle produce in a way to minimize the growth of harmful pathogens,” Harrison said. Georgia Farm Bureau Commodities and Marketing Director Don McGough and Chalmers Mikell of South Carolina Farm Bureau co-hosted the roadside markets conference, which featured presentations on community-supported agriculture, produce safety in roadside stands, field trip success stories and entrepreneurship. The educational sessions are available on DVDs. To purchase a copy, call the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association office at 706-845-0015, send an email to Kathie Suttles at ksuttles@asginfo. net or visit http://www.seregionalconference.com/DVD2.html. Georgia Farm Bureau News


Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

American Heart Association certifies GFB Peanut Packets By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________

P

eanut lovers can now enjoy oilroasted, salted peanuts knowing the American Heart Association (AHA) has certified the snack as heart-healthy when eaten as part of an overall healthy eating pattern. Georgia Farm Bureau recently unveiled its new peanut packets that display the AHA “Heart-Check” insignia and the Peanut Institute logo. “We’re really proud to have the seal on the packet and for people to see that peanuts are good for the heart,” said GFB President Zippy Duvall. GFB unveiled its new AHA certified peanut packets during its 76th annual convention in December. The GFB peanut packets are available at county Farm Bureau offices. “We’ve known for a long time that peanuts were good for us, so to have the American Heart Association seal on the packet means an awful lot,” said GFB Peanut Committee Chairman Wes Shannon. The one-ounce GFB peanut packets have only 100 mg of sodium, which is below the AHA certification criteria limit of 140 mg of sodium per label serving of nuts. Peanuts are naturally low in sodium, and the sodium in salted peanuts is mostly from surface salt, so a little goes a long way in flavor. One ounce of oil-roasted, salted peanuts generally contain less sodium than one serving of crackers, a granola bar, one slice of bread (1 ounce), a muffin, an English muffin, a bagel or a waffle. Peanuts are high in many important nutrients for overall health. They are naturally cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat. The majority of fat that peanuts contain are healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are known to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Peanuts have also been shown to raise “good” HDL cholesterol. Peanuts are also a good source of other

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall, left, and GFB Peanut Committee Chairman Wes Shannon, right, unveil the new GFB peanut packets that carry the American Heart Association insignia indicating that peanuts are a heart-healthy snack.

nutrients such as folic acid, Niacin, Vitamin E, potassium and magnesium, which helps to maintain normal blood pressure. A study conducted by Penn State University and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet that includes peanuts and peanut butter can lower cardiovascular disease risk by 21 percent. Georgia farmers produce almost half of the peanuts grown in the United

States, and GFB’s peanut packets serve as an ambassador for one of the state’s most famous commodities. The UGA Athletic Department purchases the packets to provide their athletes snacks, and the American Farm Bureau utilizes them at their office in Washington. Members of Georgia’s ag community also carry them as they travel across the country and world.

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Photo by Jay Stone

Photo by Jay Stone

Pictured from left, Georgia Peanut Commission Chairman Armond Morris congratulates award winners honored at the 2014 Georgia Peanut Farm Show: retiring UGA Peanut Agronomist Dr. John Beasley, who received the Research & Education Award; retiring GPC Assistant Executive Director Emory Murphy, Research & Education and Distinguished Service awards; retired Georgia Farm Monitor reporter Rick Treptow, Georgia Peanut Special Award and Appling County farmer Randy Branch, 2014 Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer. Not pictured are former Ga. Sen. John Bulloch, Distinguished Service Award and Irisha Jones, who accepted the Media Award on behalf of WALB-TV in Albany.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, left, accepts a plaque from Georgia Peanut Commission Chairman Armond Morris, noting his induction into the Georgia Peanut Hall of Fame.

Awards, presentations highlight Ga. Peanut Farm Show By Jay Stone ___________________________________

S

en. Saxby Chambliss became the fifth inductee into the Georgia Peanut Hall of Fame highlighting the awards given in a ceremony during the 38th Annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show, held Jan. 16 at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. The event, which included updates from UGA peanut researchers and a seed seminar, set a record drawing more than 2,000 farmers and featuring more than 100 exhibitors. “I feel particularly honored because this comes from a group of people I have the greatest respect for - our farmers,” said Chambliss, who is leaving the Senate in 2014 after 20 years in Congress. “I have been very humbled to have the opportunity to represent you.” Previous Hall of Fame inductees are retired UGA professor/peanut agronomist J. Frank McGill, former Georgia Gov. and U.S. Sen. Herman Talmadge, former Georgia House Agriculture Committee Chairman Henry Reaves and former President Jimmy Carter. Appling County farmer Randy Branch

18 / February-March 2014

was named the 2014 Georgia Outstanding Young Peanut Farmer. Branch received a sign to display at his farm and a trip to the Southern Peanut Growers Conference in July. Other award winners are featured in the group photo above. The Georgia Peanut Commission unveiled a new award during a breakfast ceremony, when five farmers were honored as the 2014 Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmers of the Year. They were: District 1, Charlie Burch, Baker County; District 2, Jerald Carter, Worth County; District 3, Jimmy Blitch, Bulloch County; District 4, W. H. “Finn” Cross, Dooly County and District 5, Harold Israel, Sumter County. Each of these recipients received a sign to display at his farm and a $100 gift card from Agri Supply. GPC Commission Chairman Armond Morris said these award recipients were being recognized for having mentored other farmers in their communities, their contributions to peanut research and their civic involvement. The show’s production seminars included presentations on insect management, disease management, unmanned aerial vehicles and peanut economics. The

seed seminar highlighted peanut varieties available for 2014 and calcium applications for peanuts. UGA Economist Dr. Nathan Smith discussed the outlook for peanuts in 2014, noting that exports are down because of a decline in sales to China, though production problems in Argentina could create opportunities for U.S. growers to export to European markets. Smith said that early contracts for peanuts are around $425 per ton, with some getting $50 per ton premiums for peanuts with high oleic content. He said $500 per ton contracts in 2014 do not seem likely. UGA Extension Agronomist Dr. Glen Harris gave the presentation on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for detection of field problems. The UAVs, which Harris emphasized are not to be confused with drones, are equipped with multi-spec cameras and were used to take a variety of images from altitudes up to 675 feet over the Sunbelt Expo research farm. Harris said UAVs have potential for scouting and troubleshooting plots of farmland. National Peanut Board President & CEO Bob Parker gave an update on NPB activities. Georgia Farm Bureau News


Pannell wins GFB hay contest Walton County Farm Bureau member Neal Pannell won the 2013 Georgia Farm Bureau Quality Hay Contest. The contest drew 44 entries from 26 producers in 21 different counties. The winners of the contest were announced during the 2013 GFB Convention. Pannell, who lives in Monroe, submitted Sungrazer Bermuda for the contest. Pannell grows hay on about 40 acres and cuts hay for other area farmers. He has been selling hay since 1976. As the top winner in the contest, Pannell received a year’s use of a Vermeer TM 850 trailed mower with the option to purchase it at a reduced price at the end of the year. The contest analyzed the quality of the hay grown by entrants using the University of Georgia’s Relative Forage Quality (RFQ) testing method, which measures nutrient content of the hay. Entered samples had to have nitrate levels below 4,500 parts per million to be eligible for contest prizes. Pannell’s sample had an RFQ score of 121.8. The average RFQ score among the 2013 contest entries was 95.12.

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone ___________________________________

Neal Pannell of Walton County, center, won the 2013 GFB Hay Contest, achieving a relative forage quality (RFQ) of 121.8 with his Sungrazer hay. Presenting the prize of a new Vermeer TM 850 trailed mower are GFB Hay Committee Chairman Farrell Roberts, left, and Vermeer Rep Brian Setzer.

Tony Bennett of Tift County took second place. His sample of Tift 85 achieved an RFQ of 118.2. He received a hay moisture meter for winning second place in the contest. John Scott McRae of Bacon County won third place for his Alicia hay that had an RFQ of 118 and received a John Deere toy collectible tractor. Edward Durham of Chattooga County won fourth place with his Russell Bermuda hay that had an RFQ of 113.4 and received

four bales of baler twine. Alan Verner of Morgan County was fifth with a sample of Tift 85 that had an RFQ of 111 and received a John Deere toy tractor set. GFB sponsors the annual contest to encourage superior hay production in the state.

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79 Ga. counties get USDA disaster designation The USDA has designated 79 counties as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by excessive rain that began April 1, 2013 and continued throughout 2013. An additional 48 counties are also eligible for assistance because their counties are contiguous. Farm operators in the following counties are not eligible: Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattahoochee, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clay, Cobb, Coweta, Dade, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Haralson, Harris, Heard, Lamar, Meriwether, Muscogee, Paulding, Pike, Polk, Quitman, Randolph, Richmond, Spalding, Stewart, Terrell, Troup, Walker, Webster and Whitfield. The disaster declaration makes farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Farmers in eligible counties have until May 25, eight months from the issuance of the declaration on Sept. 25, 2013, to apply for loans to help cover part of their losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity. Additional programs available to assist farmers and ranchers include the Emergency Conservation Program, Federal Crop Insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

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Photo by Jay Stone

Members of the 2014 Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee are, pictured from left: Josh Pennino and Skye Gess (4th Dist., Oconee County); Winston and Lori Brogdon (10th Dist., Berrien County); B.J. and Kaci Marks (3rd Dist., Newton County); Matthew and Kimberly London (2nd Dist., White County); Matt and Ivy

Oliver (8th Dist., Macon County); Marcus and Neely South (5th Dist., Upson County); Chris and Lori Rogers (6th Dist., Jefferson County); Darren and Wendy Hembree (9th Dist., Colquitt County) Jason and Kimberly Witt (1st Dist., Gordon County); and David Cromley (7th Dist., Bulloch County).

2014 GFB Young Farmer Committee named, sets calendar By Jed Evans ___________________________________ The 2014 GFB Young Farmer Committee has been named and is looking forward to a great year! The committee elected Matthew and Kimberly London to chair the 2014 committee and Marcus and Neely South to serve as vice chairmen. Matthew will serve a one-year term on the GFB Board of Directors as the committee chairman. Competitive events are one of the highlights of the GFB Young Farmer program. Three young farmer competitive events will be offered in 2014: Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture Award and Discussion Meet. Applica-

tions for each of these events will be made available in early March. Please contact your county Farm Bureau to learn more about these competitions. The Young Farmer Committee encourages all young farmers to save the dates of July 10-13 for the annual GFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference to be held on Jekyll Island. This event includes the preliminary rounds of the Discussion Meet and will offer a number of social and educational opportunities for farmers between the ages of 18-35. Stop by your county Farm Bureau to reserve your spot! The deadline to register is May 30. One of the highlights for our volun-

teers is the annual GFB Young Farmer Photo Contest. The committee will accept photo entries from March 18 - May 6. We encourage any amateur photographer to share their photos. The top 12 pictures will be featured in the 2015 Young Farmer Calendar. Visit the GFB website http:// www.gfb.org or contact your county office after March 18 for complete details. Check with your county Farm Bureau for more information about any of our Young Farmer programs or visit http:// www.gfb.org/yf to make sure you don’t miss any of the exciting events taking place in 2014! Jed Evans is the coordinator for the GFB Young Farmer program.

GFB donates $20,000 to Georgia Food Bank Association By Jay Stone ___________________________________

Georgia Farm Bureau’s annual Harvest For All campaign provides food to those struggling to feed their families. For the fourth straight year, the campaign solicited cash donations. Georgia’s 158 county Farm Bureau chapters contributed $20,000, which was presented to Georgia Food Bank Association (GFBA) Director Danah Craft 20 / February-March 2014

during GFB’s 76th Annual Convention. The GFB Young Farmer Committee coordinated the 9th Annual Harvest For All campaign. GFBA member food banks use donated dollars to purchase high-protein, low-cost foods like chicken and peanut butter and to offset the costs of various outreach programs like mobile pantries, Manna drops and backpack programs. Because the GFBA uses bulk purchasing, it can turn

$1 into more than $7 worth of food. “In a perfect world there would be no hunger, but we all know that’s not the reality we live in,” said 2013 GFB Young Farmer Committee Chairman Garrett Ganas. “The Harvest For All campaign is our way of reaching out to those in our communities struggling to feed their families.” GFB’s donation will have a statewide See HARVEST next page Georgia Farm Bureau News


Cooley featured in Farmland Documentary

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Leighton Cooley Fourth generation poultry farmer Roberta, Ga.

& Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), gives viewers a firsthand glimpse into the lives of these young farmers and ranchers, their highrisk/high-reward jobs and their passion for a way of life that, more often than not, is passed down from generation to generation. Georgia Farm Bureau is an affiliate member of the USFRA.

household), continues even as reports of an improving economy abound. Nationally, 14.7 percent of households experienced food insecurity from 2010 to 2012. Past Harvest for All campaigns have solicited direct donations of food. Since 2004, GFB has coordinated nine Harvest For All campaigns through which GFB mem-

bers across the state donated about 49,000 pounds of staple food items and more than $100,000 in cash donations distributed to the food banks located throughout Georgia affiliated with Feeding America. In 2005, GFB members collected 17,000 pounds of food, which was donated to victims of Hurricane Katrina in Hancock County, Miss.

Photo by Lili Davis

HARVEST from previous page impact. The GFBA distributes the funds to America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia in Savannah, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Feeding the Valley in Columbus, the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia in Athens, Golden Harvest in Augusta, the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank in Macon and Second Harvest of South Georgia in Valdosta. “Food banks gladly accept food donations, and we stretch them as far as we can,” Craft said. “Cash donations like this are a critical component of efforts to combat hunger. They allow food banks to buy protein to supplement the donated food they take in. We’re extremely grateful that Georgia Farm Bureau continues to partner with us to address the food needs of hungry Georgians.” An average of more than 640,000 Georgia households, or 16.9 percent, experienced uncertainty about their access to food from 2010 to 2012, according to a USDA report. That need, which translates to 1.64 million people statewide (based on the Census Bureau’s published average of 2.55 persons per

Photo Credit Don Holtz

A

feature-length documentary, “Farmland,” from Oscarwinning filmmaker James Moll, follows the next generation of American farmers and ranchers, all in their 20s, in various regions across the U.S. Among the six farmers and ranchers featured in the film is Leighton Cooley, a fourth-generation poultry farmer from Crawford County, who operates four farms with his father. In addition to chickens, he also has a cow-calf operation and grows hay. Leighton and his wife, Brenda, have two sons. “On our farm, we have an open-door policy and we love showing people what we do. It’s important to me to share the story of agriculture with consumers and share where their food comes from, that’s why I participated in this film,” said Cooley, who is president of the Crawford County Farm Bureau and a former chairman of the GFB Young Farmer Committee. Brenda serves on the GFB Women’s Committee. Moll spent five months meeting farmers and ranchers before he settled on the six who are featured in “Farmland.” In order to authentically tell the story through the eyes of this next generation, Moll extensively researched the subject and looked for individuals to profile, specifically choosing from different farming and ranching production methods, various types of crops and livestock and geographic diversity. The film, made with financial support from the U.S. Farmers

Pictured from left, Georgia Food Bank Association Executive Director Danah Craft accepts a $20,000 donation collected during Georgia Farm Bureau’s 2013 Harvest for All campaign from GFB President Zippy Duvall and 2013 GFB Young Farmer Committee Chair Garrett Ganas. February-March 2014 / 21


Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

The 2014 Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee members are: front row, from left, Chairman Elaine Avery (6th Dist., Laurens County); Nichelle Stewart (1st Dist., Cherokee County); Janet Mazurek (2nd Dist., Elbert County); Janet Greuel (3rd Dist., Fayette County); Melanie Sanders (4th Dist., Oglethorpe County) and standing, from left, Brenda Cooley (5th Dist., Crawford County); Angel Page (7th Dist., Byran County), Sue Powers (8th Dist., Wilcox County), Angela Durham (9th Dist., Early County) and Jeannie Tucker (10th Dist., Berrien County)

GFB Women’s Committee announces annual conference By Donna Rocker __________________________________________________________________________

T

he purpose of the Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Program is to promote agriculture through education and to expand participation in all phases of agriculture to build leadership and achieve a more effective organization. “Today’s women of Farm Bureau are actively engaged in their farming opera-

tions and often work off the farm in a variety of occupations,” said GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Elaine Avery of Laurens County. “We want to be sure and focus on what we do best with the time we have to work in program areas of Farm Bureau.  One of our greatest strengths as women is in agricultural litera-

cy with both children and adults. We want to be leaders in helping all Farm Bureau volunteers, both men and women, be more effective in telling agriculture’s story and being active in their local communities.” The GFB Educational Leadership Conference, which will be held March 2122 at the Augusta Marriott, is one of the primary events that supports the committee’s mission. Friday night will be a time for socializing with members of the Farm Bureau family.  Saturday will offer workshops to provide volunteers with materials and activities to be more effective in their counties.  Dennis Peavy, the 2013 winner of GFB’s Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Educator Award, will lead one of the workshops. Another workshop will focus on the ag topic Farm Bureau will promote across Georgia during the 2014-2015 school year. Check with your county Farm Bureau for information on registration and additional workshops. “It has been a great experience to serve on the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee the past two years. I am looking forward to working with our new committee,” said Avery. “We have a very talented group of women who desire to move the committee and our counties forward to bring in new people to be a part of telling the agriculture story.” Donna Rocker coordinates the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee & Ag in the Classroom Program.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Peavy receives award

22 / February-March 2014

Crawford County Farm Bureau member Dennis Peavy received GFB’s Georgia Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Educator Award during the organization’s 2013 convention in December. Peavy, left, accepts the award from GFB President Zippy Duvall. Peavy, a fourth-grade gifted teacher at Lake Joy Elementary School in Warner Robins, was recognized for incorporating information and activities in his classroom curriculum that teach his students about agriculture and its impact on their daily lives. He received a $500 award and an expensepaid trip to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Hershey, Pa., in June. Georgia Farm Bureau News


Beliveau retires, Lucas named GFB PR director After leading the Georgia Farm Bureau Information and Public Relations Department for more than 28 years, Paul Beliveau retired as director Feb.  7. Andy Lucas has been named Beliveau’s successor. “We’re very thankful for Paul’s many years of service. We wish him well in Beliveau his retirement,” said GFB President Zippy Duvall. “Looking ahead, we think Andy is the right person to build on the successes of our public relations department, and lead the department forward.”  GFB’s Information and Public Relations Department has been recognized many times as a leader in reaching all of Georgia and the nation. The Georgia Farm Monitor television program is broadcast  weekly  on 13 Georgia stations and nationally on RFD TV and FamilyNet. The Georgia Farm Radio Network, which produces seven agricultural reports daily, grew during Beliveau’s tenure from a few stations to 55 statewide. In addition to broadcasting, the department reformatted the GFB News and began publishing the Georgia Neighbors in 1996. The department was also charged with creating and maintaining

Smith joins GFB Legislative Dept.

Matthew Smith has joined Georgia Farm Bureau as a legislative specialist. His duties will include maintaining contact with members of the Georgia General Assembly to help keep them informed on agricultural issues. Smith A UGA graduate with a degree in business, Smith previously worked in real estate in the Athens area. Originally from Watkinsville, Smith and his wife Christine currently live in Athens.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

the organization’s website and social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. “I’m grateful to the audiences of our broadcasts and readers of our print publications for their attention. I’m also thankful for the many farmers who welcomed our reporters onto their farms and allowed us to share their challenges, joys, triumphs and disappointments,” said Beliveau, who joined GFB in 1985. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Georgia Farm Bureau serving the farmers of Georgia, and I’m looking forward to this next chapter in my life.” Lucas and his brother, Mike, operate their family farm in Bleckley County. Lucas graduated from Bleckley County High School in Cochran and Mercer University in Macon. Prior to his career with GFB, Lucas worked many years in retail marketing

and advertising. Lucas has served as the associate director of Field Services since 2010. He previously was the GFB Young Farmer Coordinator and worked in the GFB Commodities/Marketing  Department with the GFB Certified Farm Markets. Andy and his wife Kandace have one Lucas daughter, Lacy Kate. “Paul has guided the Farm Bureau brand to great success during his tenure and along the way assembled an outstanding team of professionals,” Lucas said. “I am excited for this opportunity, grateful for all the support and look forward to contributing to the PR/Information Department’s promotion of agriculture’s story.”

Black new GFB Field Services Dept. Assoc. Director Dennis Black, who has served as the Georgia Farm Bureau 2nd District field representative since July 1996, has been promoted to associate director of the GFB Field Services Department. “Dennis brings a strong skill set to this job from his past seventeen and a half Black years as a field rep. as he joins our Field Services staff at the home office. I am confident he will apply his talents and energies to this important statewide position,” Duvall said. Black and his family raise breeder hens for Fieldale Farms, raise registered Angus cattle and grow hay for their cattle operation on their Stephens County farm. He is

a member of the Stephens County Cattlemen’s Association and the Stephens County Young Farmers Association. Black is a graduate of the University of Georgia. “I’ve really enjoyed working with the county leaders, county staff and county volunteers in the second district during the years I was a field rep. I like working with our county volunteers developing our young farmers and our ag literacy presence in our counties,” Black said. “I love working with people, and I’m excited about getting to travel the state to work with county leaders, office managers and volunteers statewide.” Black and his wife Teresa have three adult children – son Chris and his wife Coda; Ellen and Clay. The family attends the First Baptist Church of Toccoa.

CONVENTION from page 10 cation and financial security it offered.” GFB won Awards of Excellence for its programs in the categories of Education & Outreach, Leadership Development, Member Services, Membership Initiatives, Policy Development & Implementation and Public Relations & Communications. The organization also received an Apex Award for its financial contributions to AFBF’s Foundation for Agriculture.

Washington County Farm Bureau members James and Brooke Hitchcock represented Georgia in the Young Farmer & Rancher Achievement Contest at the convention. Madison County Farm Bureau member Trisha Lastly competed in the first two rounds of the YF&R Discussion Meet competition. Elbert County Farm Bureau member Clay Talton represented GFB in the Excellence in Agriculture Contest. February-March 2014 / 23


AROUND GEORGIA

News from County Farm Bureaus

Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker

BANKS COUNTY Banks County Farm Bureau participated in the Banks County Primary School’s Farm Day last fall. BCFB manned a booth promoting Georgia Farm Bureau’s commodity promotion of the year, My Plate is Georgia Grown. Pictured from left, BCFB members Kris Wheeless, Margie Ward and Kelli Ward (seated) talked to each class about the daily amount of fruits and vegetables they need to eat to meet USDA recommendations. BCFB Vice President Albert Ward (not pictured) assisted with various duties at the event. BCFB Secretary/Treasurer Sammy Reece (not pictured) volunteered his tractor and trailer to provide a hayride for the students and staff attending the farm day.

CHEROKEE COUNTY Cherokee County Farm Bureau educated consumers about healthy eating choices and Georgia agriculture with its booth at the Cherokee County Fair last fall titled “My Plate is Georgia Grown.” GFB and its county Farm Bureaus are conducting the My Plate is Georgia Grown campaign to raise awareness of food grown in Georgia and to help consumers make healthy food choices. Pictured from left, CCFB  Young Farmer  Molly Childs, CCFB Secretary Katie Williamson and CCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Jeannie Ross pose with the booth. CCFB won first place and $135 for its 2013 booth as it also did in 2012.

CANDLER COUNTY The Metter-Candler Chamber of Commerce named West Farms Inc. the Candler County Farm Family of the Year last fall during the county’s annual Harvest Day Celebration. West Farms consists of Robert and Becky West and their two sons, Chris and Jason. Pictured from left are Cace, Jason, Monica, Emma, Chris, Becky, Robert and Tate West with the banner and plaque they received. Chris serves as president of the Candler County Farm Bureau, and Jason is the CCFB vice president. Robert’s father started the farm in 1936, and Robert took over in 1968 after his father died. In the 1970s and 80s the Wests’ main crops were tobacco, corn, soybeans and peanuts. They added cotton to their rotation by 1990, and today it’s their main crop. Chris and Jason began farming with their parents after graduating from college and today farm about 1,700 acres of cotton, peanuts, corn, grain and soybeans.

DOUGHERTY COUNTY Dougherty County Farm Bureau staff members Debra Cleveland, right, and Cindy Drew, left, and DCFB volunteer member Mary Jo Takash, not pictured, visited St. Teresa’s Catholic School. The DCFB group talked to second and third grade students about agriculture and food grown in Georgia. They showed the students GFB’s video “Without Farmers, Georgia Can’t Grow,” and discussed the USDA’s recommended dietary guidelines being promoted in Farm Bureau’s My Plate is Georgia Grown campaign. DCFB also gave each student a gift bag of ag materials.

24 / February-March 2014

EMANUEL COUNTY Emanuel County Farm Bureau displayed this My Plate is Georgia Grown exhibit at their local fair last fall. Judy Garrett, the 2013 ECFB Women’s Committee Chairman and Women’s Georgia Farm Bureau News


Committee members Donna and Dana Nasworthy and ECFB Office Manager Shirley Stapleton created the exhibit. After the fair, the Women’s Committee moved the exhibit to the ECFB office where it was displayed for a month so visitors to the office could learn about the USDA’s recommended dietary guidelines and about food grown in Georgia. GREENE COUNTY Greene County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee member Bonnie Duvall talked to the preK classes at Lake Oconee Academy about life on the farm. Duvall talked about raising beef cattle, chickens and dairy cows and the products that come from these animals. HARRIS COUNTY The Harris County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee hosted an appreciation lunch for its volunteer members to recognize them for the help they lend to HCFB programs. Each of the volunteers received a gift certificate for a local restaurant attached to a Payday candy bar. Pictured from left, HCFB Office Manager Linda Luttrell and HCFB President Gilbert Andrews thank the volunteers for reaching more than 650 students last school year. The HCFB volunteers logged more than 450 classroom hours during the 2012-2013 school year visiting five out of six schools in Harris County. Each month HCFB volunteers introduce a different commodity to the classes. At the end of each school year, students attend a farm day at a local farm. Each June, the HCFB Promotion and Education Committee assists with the Harris County 4-H Summer Day Camp volunteering another 153 hours during the six-day event. Georgia Farm Bureau News

McDUFFIE COUNTY Command Master Chief Petty Officer Larry Howard, at podium, of the Navy Information Operation Command Georgia, was the guest speaker at the McDuffie County Farm Bureau annual meeting last October. Howard, a native of Thomson, compared the life of a military man with the life of a farmer, as they both get up early and must be dedicated and committed to their jobs in service to their country. More than 100 MCFB members attended the event. Members had the chance to win door prizes of plants from McCorkle’s Nursery and Georgia-grown food as part of Georgia Farm Bureau’s My Plate is Georgia Grown promotion. MONROE COUNTY Monroe County Farm Bureau Honeybee Commodity Committee Chairman and GFB Honeybee Committee member Terry Williams was one of the beekeepers who responded to a wreck on I-75 near Forsyth, Ga., that involved more than a million honeybees on Nov. 3.  A tractor-trailer hauling beehives blew a tire and then hit a guardrail near the Ga. Hwy. 18 bridge around 5:30 a.m. A portion of I-75 was closed briefly and cleanup of the honey and swarming bees took 15 hours according to Monroe County Emergency Management Agency Director Matthew Perry. Williams was quoted by the local paper as saying ‘I’ve seen a lot of stuff ... but that’s about the worst I’ve seen. When you have a catastrophe like that it’s awful.’ The bees hovered near the wreck scene. The beekeepers pieced the broken hives back together so the bees would return to their hives. The hives were then loaded back into bee boxes and hauled away. Perry said no one was stung or injured, in part because the weather was cool and the bees were docile. OCONEE COUNTY Oconee County Farm Bureau co-hosted a legislative break-

See AROUND GEORGIA page 27 February-March 2014 / 25


County Farm Bureaus observe Farm-City Week Many county Farm Bureaus across Georgia held Farm-City Week events to celebrate the partnership between farmers and the city workers who help prepare, transport and market the commodi-

CLARKE COUNTY Clarke County Farm Bureau held a drop-in breakfast reception on Nov. 26. The Women’s Committee decorated and prepared food for the event. Pictured from left, guests included GFB President Zippy Duvall, Georgia House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Tom McCall and Athens Clarke County Mayor Nancy Denson. Other guests included Georgia Sen. Frank Ginn, Rep. Chuck Williams, Rep. Regina Quick, Dr. Scott Angle, UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences dean, county commissioners and UGA extension agents. Duvall, McCall and others spoke to the group about current agriculture issues, including the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption program.  

ties farmers grow. While the official week was Nov. 22-28, counties held events throughout the month of November as schedules allowed. Here’s a sampling of FCW events held across the state.

how the world will have an increased need for food as the population of the United States and the world continues to grow.

LANIER COUNTY Lanier County Farm Bureau celebrated Farm-City Week by holding a Farm Day attended by about 1,250 students at the Lanier County Primary & Elementary Schools on Nov. 21. LCFB member Glenda Ivey, pictured, helped with the event and talked to the students about life on the farm. LCFB worked with the Lanier County High School FFA Chapter to arrange a display of farm equipment used by local farmers along with a display of farm animals and commodities raised in the county. FFA members manned the booths to talk to the students about what they were seeing. GORDON COUNTY Gordon County Farm Bureau promoted Farm-City Week  Teachers were encouraged to dress like a farmer for the day and with a booth at the downtown Calhoun Celebration on Nov. 23. compete in the “Best Dressed Farmer” contest. A winner was selected from each grade at each school. GCFB volunteers distributed membership and ag information. Gordon County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Chairman Jason Witt and his wife, Kim, are pictured with their children manning SCREVEN COUNTY the booth. “Lily,” a cow the Witts made of plywood, was the hit of the ex- On Nov. 27, hibit! One side of Lily depicts a beef cow with markings that show the Screven Counwhere various cuts of beef are harvested. The other side of Lily de- ty Farm Bureau, County picts a dairy cow. A rack placed between Lily’s two sides held in- Screven verted calf bottles filled with powdered milk. Kids milked the bottle Extension Service, Screven County nipples to experience milking a cow. Chamber of Commerce, Screven JEFF DAVIS COUNTY Jeff Davis County Farm Bureau hosted a Farm-City lunch Nov. County Develop25 attended by more than 100 local farmers and business associates.  ment Authority, See FARM-CITY next page GFB President Zippy Duvall was the guest speaker and discussed and AgSouth Farm 26 / February-March 2014

Georgia Farm Bureau News


AROUND GEORGIA from page 25

Oconee County

fast for area farmers and agribusiness leaders in early January with the local Cattlemen’s Association, Oconee County Extension Service and the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Committee. OCFB President Albert Hale welcomed the guests and introduced the speakers, who included Georgia Rep. Regina Quick (Dist. 117), Rep. Chuck Williams (Dist. 119) and Georgia Sen. Bill Cowsert (Dist. 13). Dr. Scott Angle, dean of the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, also spoke, saying agriculture production in the state is up 7.3 percent. RABUN COUNTY Rabun County Farm Bureau Directors helped plan and volunteered at the first Rabun County Fair held since 1949. The fair, held last September, included a farm day for local students and ended with a rodeo. RCFB Director Steve Cabe served as president of the fair committee. RCFB member Neal Williams, pictured, provided a cow for children to milk during the fair. RCFB President Mike Dixon and Director Jason Brown drove a hayride for kids during the farm day.

TALIAFERRO COUNTY Taliaferro County Farm Bureau hosted a group of local PreK students at its office in October. TCFB member Linda Franklin is pictured reading Susanna Gretz’s book “Rabbit Food,” about young rabbits that don’t want to eat their veggies. TCFB’s goal in hosting the students was to make healthy food fun as part of its efGeorgia Farm Bureau News

fort to promote GFB’s My Plate is Georgia Grown campaign. TCFB staff and volunteers taught the students how to make a face on a tortilla wrap using fresh vegetables and fruit. The children had the chance to taste different veggies and fruit with yogurt, cream cheese and other healthy foods. Each child took home a gift bag filled with coloring sheets, crayons and a treat promoting eating healthy. Information on My Plate and eating healthy were put in the bags for parents and caregivers at home to help them make healthy choices. TIFT COUNTY Tift County Farm Bureau participated in the Pepper Festival parade held in Omega last fall. TCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Kay Dunn and Office Manager Lauren Grimes decorated the float in a fall motif with corn stalks, cotton, peanut wreaths, hay and mums and recruited Farm Bureau kids to ride the float in the parade. TCFB Young Farmer Chairman Andrew Grimes, left, drove the tractor and is pictured with the children who rode the float and Women’s Chairman Kay Dunn and TCFB Vice President Johnny Dunn.

Monsanto offers grants to public schools

Farmers in 33 Georgia counties have until midnight April 6 CT to nominate a public school district for grants of up to $25,000 from Monsanto’s America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Fund. Eligible counties are Appling, Baker, Berrien, Bleckley, Brooks, Bulloch, Burke, Calhoun, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Early, Grady, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Lee, Macon, Miller, Mitchell, Screven, Seminole, Sumter, Tattnall, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Turner, Wilcox and Worth. Visit http://www.growruraleducation.com and click the “Farmers Nominate Now” button or call 1-877-267-3332 to submit a nomination. Complete rules and eligibility requirements are posted on the aforementioned website. Once nominated, school districts will be notified and sent an invitation code to apply for their choice of a $10,000 or $25,000 grant. School districts have until midnight April 21 CT to apply. Charter schools are eligible if their National Center for Education Statistics is located in an eligible county. FARM-CITY from previous page Credit sponsored their annual Farm-City breakfast. Guest speakers were Bulloch County Extension Director Carole Knight, pictured, and Screven County FFA officers. Knight explained what agriculture means to her using the letters of the word “FARMING.” Knight said “F” is for family; “A” is about attitude; “R” is for respect; “M” stands for more respect; “I” represents ingenuity (duct tape and baler twine); “N” stands for nourish; “G” represents gratitude for our many good blessings. February-March 2014 / 27


By Jay Stone ___________________________________ Georgia cotton growers received updates on research and promotion activities by state, regional and national cotton organizations during the 7th Annual Georgia Cotton Commission Meeting and UGA Cotton Production Workshop. The meeting, held Jan. 22 at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, drew more than 300 farmers and cotton industry stakeholders. In addition to the industry updates, the production workshop covered the latest information on economics and marketing, insect pest management, cotton varieties in development, irrigation technology, plant pathology, agronomics and soil fertility. National Cotton Council Vice President for Cotton Policy and Economics Dr. Gary Adams provided an update on farm bill negotiations in Congress, focusing on the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX), a crop insurance program designed specifically for cotton growers. “It’s a revenue-based product designed to address a level of risk they haven’t been able to address in the past,” Adams said. “Hopefully it will complement what they were already doing. I think it’s a positive way to address the risk management, but it’s also going to allow them to be able to respond to market signals. Market prices will still be the primary determinant of what acreage a farmer decides to plant.” Adams said that most growers carry insurance for around 70 percent of their crop, and STAX would provide government pre-

Photo by Jay Stone

Cotton growers get industry updates, STAX review

During the luncheon at the Georgia Cotton Commission meeting, winners of the 2013 Georgia Quality Cotton Awards were announced. From left are: Alton Walker, Burke County (Region 2 500-1,000 acres); Rusty Irvin, Turner County (Region 1 less than 500 acres); Gary Oliver of SOS Farms, Turner County (Region 1 more than 1,000 acres); Dean Johnson, Burke County (Region 2 more than 1,000 acres); Ralph Sandeford of Midville Warehouse, accepting the Best Cotton Award for Stephen Nikkel, Jefferson County; Jessica Goodman of BCT Gin Company, accepting for Kevin Shaw of Riverbottom Farms, Lanier County (Region 3 more than 1,000 acres); Ronnie Courson, Lanier County (Region 3, less than 500 acres); Thomas Southall, Lowndes County (Region 3, 500-1,000 acres); Aldine Hart, Colquitt County (Region 4, less than 500 acres); Brian Rayburn, Thomas County (Region 4, more than 1,000 acres) and Scott Mitchell of Clover Leaf Gin, accepting for Terry Pickle of Creek Bank Farms in Miller County (Region 4, 500-1,000 acres).

mium assistance, allowing them to increase their coverage to up to 90 percent. He also pointed out that even though the long-term farm bill is nearing completion, the earliest the STAX product would be available would be for the 2015 crop year. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black spoke during the lunch meeting, reiterating that it is important for farmers to be responsible in how they use the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption to ensure their continued access to it. He also

Boll Weevil Eradication Board sets ’14 assessment The Georgia Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation (BWEF) Board of Directors met Jan. 15 to review its operations, approve the program’s operational budget and set the 2014 assessment. The board of directors set the 2014 crop year assessment at $1 per bale. The assessment was based on a projection of 1.4 million acres of cotton. The assessment was increased from 50 cents per bale to cover a shortfall in last year’s income due to lower yields. Also, the Georgia BWEF supports the Boll Weevil Protection Program, which is a 28 / February-March 2014

cooperative effort with other states where the boll weevil is eradicated to assist the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas with their eradication efforts. It is crucial to the program that the weevil be contained in that area and not be allowed to migrate back into eradicated areas. Gins will collect and remit the assessment to the boll weevil program in the same manner as it was for the 2013 crop year. For information about the boll weevil program or assessment, call Executive Director Jim Wilson at 229-469-4038.

emphasized that the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission was being moved under the Georgia Department of Agriculture in what he called an administrative move for budgetary reasons. “It’s just tying them to our budget,” Black said. “They’re still going to operate on their own.” Sharon Kane of the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development shared the results of a study CAED conducted into the economic contributions of cotton into Georgia’s economy. Overall, cotton had a $1.5 billion farm gate value in 2011, part of an overall economic contribution of $2.5 billion. Its production and related industries provided more than 15,000 jobs. Southern Cotton Growers President Ronnie Lee gave an update on SCG activities and asked the growers to consider getting involved with promoting the industry’s interests. Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga. 8th District) gave a brief overview of farm bill deliberations, focusing on the food stamp portion of the bill, which has been an ongoing point of contention and discussions on what work constitutes farming. Georgia Farm Bureau News


Tobacco growers propose assessment increase The Georgia Tobacco Commission (GTC) is proposing an increase to the assessment growers pay to fund the commission’s programs from the current 30 cents per hundred pounds to 50 cents per hundred pounds with a provision that the assessment could be increased at a future date to a maximum of 75 cents per hundred pounds after notifying producers and holding a producer meeting. Funding for the commission’s research, education and promotion programs are tied to the amount of tobacco grown and sold in Georgia and have declined in recent years as production decreased. An estimated 150 farmers raise tobacco in 26 South Georgia counties. “We either have to cut back on what we

actually fund in the future, or we’re going to have to raise the assessment if we’re going to keep up with what we’re doing,” GTC

Sequestration impacts farmers’ last TTPP payment

In November, the Obama administration announced that payments under the Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP), a 10-year payment plan established in 2004 to help tobacco farmers holding production quotas get out of tobacco production and move into growing other crops, would be subject to 7.2 percent sequestration cuts. The tobacco community contended that funding for the TTPP was not subject to federal sequestration cuts because tobacco companies funded it rather than tax dollars. In a Nov. 15, 2013, letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall asked that the government refrain from the payment reduction, noting that the funds were not drawn from tax dollars and that farmers and banks alike could be harmed. Duvall wrote that sequestration action could undermine faith in the U.S. government’s financial instruments. A bipartisan group of 34 House members from nine states sent a letter with a similar message to the administration. On Jan. 6, Vilsack responded to the letter from Duvall and others saying that although funding for the TTPP is sequestrable, the Office of Management and Budget and USDA determined that pursuant to the federal law, which established the sequester rules, and the underlying authority for the program, that all involved parties will ultimately receive their full TTPP payments. Some TTPP participants took lump-sum payments underwritten by financial institutions, which were then designated as the recipients of the annual payments. Other growers opted to receive annual payments. A statement released by Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), a co-author of the TTPP, said payments would be made to financial institutions that paid growers lump-sum payments by Jan. 15, and all payments owed growers will be made by the end of the 2014 calendar year. As much as 95 percent of the funds owed growers are to be paid out by February with the remainder available after the beginning of FY 2015, Oct. 1. “TTPP has been a success, contributing to the development of thriving new crops like blueberries in South Georgia,” Duvall said. “While we don’t agree with the determination that farmer payments should be sequestered, we are pleased that the payments directed to financial institutions won’t be affected and that ultimately all plan participants will receive the payments they were promised.” Georgia Farm Bureau News

Chairman Fred Wetherington said. Growers attending a meeting held in Tifton Dec. 13 to discuss an assessment increase supported the proposal, so the commission is proceeding with the process to hold a mail referendum to let growers determine if the assessment increases. At press time, a public hearing regarding the increase was set for Feb. 10 in Douglas. Dates for a mail referendum in which growers will vote on the increase are tentatively set for Feb. 17 – March 17 but can’t be finalized until after the hearing. Should the referendum pass, the assessment would increase to 50 cents effective May 1. For more information contact Nathan Wilson at 404-656-3678 or Nathan. Wilson@agr.georgia.gov.

Georgians appointed to commodity boards

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced appointments to the national boards for beef, cotton and pork, including a number of Georgians. Vilsack appointed 41 members to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board. All appointees will serve three-year terms. Georgia Farm Bureau Middle Georgia Vice President Robert Fountain Jr. of Emanuel County is one of the newly appointed members representing cattle producers. Georgians Dania DeVane of Randolph County and Markus E. Clemmer of Coffee County were among the 152 appointees to the National Pork Producers Delegate Body. The appointees were selected from nominees submitted by state pork producer associations and importer groups. Each will serve a oneyear term. Vilsack appointed 17 members and 17 alternates to the Cotton Board. James L. Webb of Leary, Ga., was reappointed and Benjamin R. Grimsley of Webster County is a newly appointed alternate. In related news, Jerome Tucker has been appointed as the new chair of the USDA Farm Service Agency State Committee in Georgia. Tucker, from Lowndes County, replaces Ronald Lee. February-March 2014 / 29


WE, THE FARMERS from page 4 visit http://www.gfb.org and click on the GATE button at the top of our home page. This icon links you to the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) website where you’ll find frequently asked questions, rules and instructions for applying for a card, if you haven’t already. You may also call the GDA at 1-855-FARM TAX with questions. Many of our county Farm Bureau offices are helping their members with the GATE renewal process, and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped our farmers with this process. Another way GFB is working to help our farmer members is with the new Farmers Online Buyers Guide we just added to our GFB website. This buyers guide will help farmers connect with companies offering services and products they need. You can read more about the guide on page 9, and I encourage you to visit our

website to check it out. In the coming year, two couples who are alums of GFB’s Young Farmer Committee will have a national platform to represent Georgia agriculture. Jake and Jennifer Carter of Henry County, who chaired our Young Farmer Committee in 2012, will be leading the American Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Committee. Leighton and Brenda Cooley of Crawford County, who chaired our Young Farmer Committee in 2008, will be featured in the documentary “Farmland,” by director James Moll, which depicts the daily life of six young farm families across the U.S. “Farmland” will be released this spring, and we’re excited about the opportunity it will give Farm Bureau to interact with consumers and educate them about agriculture. I am so proud of both of these couples for

Beef referendum hearing set

A public hearing regarding the proposed marketing order for the Georgia Beef Commission has been set for Feb. 28 at the Macon Farmers Market at 10 a.m. in room 3. Anyone may make comments. Participants at the hearing are required to register on arrival. Individuals may also submit written comments concerning the proposed marketing order by mail or email to: Nathan Wilson, Commodities Promotion Manager, Ga. Dept. of Agriculture, 19 MLK Jr. Dr. S.W., Room 324, Atlanta, Ga. 30334 or via email to Nathan.wilson@agr.georgia. gov. Written comments must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 28. The proposed marketing order would assess cattle owners $1 per head to be collected when cattle are sold. Cattle that sell for less than $100 per head would be exempt from the assessment. Order buyers would be exempt from paying $1 for cattle owned for 10 days or less. The Georgia assessment would be different from the National Beef Checkoff (NBC) in the way money can be used. The NBC assessment can only be used to promote beef meat. The proposed Georgia assessment could fund promotion, research and education programs for Georgia’s 30 / February-March 2014

beef industry. All collections would stay in Georgia to fund programs like forage research, animal health research, production research and youth programs for livestock. The commission will be required to be reaffirmed by producers every three years. Cattle producers who registered by Dec. 31, 2013, with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to vote in the upcoming mail referendum will receive a ballot. The 30-day voting period is tentatively scheduled to run from March 15-April 15 but can’t be finalized until after the public hearing. If the referendum passes, the marketing order will go into effect July 1. The Beef Commission recently met and chose John Callaway of Troup County as chairman, Ernie Ford of Calhoun County as vice chairman and Jeff Duncan of Madison County as secretary. Kenneth Murphy of Meriwether County and Allen Wiggins of Turner County also serve on the commission. As authorized by the state law that established the commission, all members were appointed by the ex officio members of the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commissions – Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, GFB President Zippy Duvall, Russ Moon and Buddy Leger.

their commitment to farming and their willingness to go the extra mile to tell our story. As you flip through this issue of the GFB News, you’ll see plenty of evidence of what GFB is doing on behalf of Georgia’s farmers. If you believe in the work Farm Bureau is doing for you, I encourage you to ask your friends and neighbors who aren’t GFB members to join our organization and support our ongoing efforts to advocate for Georgia agriculture. Whether it’s representing farmers on legislative issues like taxes or educating consumers about how farmers grow their food, GFB is always working for the farmer. As we, the farmers, work through times of bad weather caring for our livestock, managing a way to pay for high input costs, or dealing with the burdensome regulations being forced on our industry by our own government, we sometimes become overwhelmed. Sometimes we even feel unappreciated! But let’s put things in perspective. When the storm came Jan. 28 what did people race to the store to stock up on? Water that we, the farmers, protect every day and food we produced. Then they hurried to their homes built with trees we manage. Consumers may not have said it, but I am sure they do appreciate our work just as we appreciate the conveniences they work hard to supply us. In times like the recent storm, it serves us well to remember Philippians 2:1415, which tells us “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” I’d like to share a story of appreciation from the mouths of babes. My son Vince tells me that when my grandson Tripp, who is 3, says his prayers at night he always ends with, “Thank you God for BPop (what he calls me), and his tractor that we feed the cows with.” During the ice storm, Vince and his children were stranded in the church where they attend preschool along with the pastor and others. Vince walked to the store to get food for the ones that were stranded, food that we, the farmers, produce. God bless our farmers, the light bearers of our communities. Georgia Farm Bureau News


By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________ Farmers and agribusiness leaders attending the Georgia Ag Forecast meeting held in Macon Jan. 24 heard mostly optimistic economic outlooks for Georgia’s major commodities and learned about succession planning for family farms and agribusinesses. The first meeting was held in Macon followed by meetings in Athens, Lyons and Bainbridge. Meetings set for Tifton and Cartersville were canceled due to inclement weather and will be rescheduled. Visit http:// www.georgiaagforecast.com for dates. Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall welcomed the crowd to the organization’s state headquarters saying GFB has been a long-time sponsor of the Ag Forecast event because Farm Bureau recognizes the value of the information the College of Agriculture provides farmers. “Our farmers are as good as they are because of the research being done by the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. We’re so appreciative of everything they do to help the farmer,” Duvall said. UGA Extension Economist Dr. Curt Lacy gave the economic outlook for Georgia’s livestock, honey and timber crops. Lacy said as the overall economy improves, demand for livestock and timber products should increase in 2014. Lower grain prices and increasing exports should support livestock and poultry prices, Lacy added. “I’m predicting that things will be as good as they can be this coming year,” Lacy said. “If you can’t make money this year, it’s a problem for you because things are going to be about as good as they can be.” Due to a decrease in honey production, prices rose 11 percent from 2011-2012 and 10 percent from 2012-2013 with the trend expected to continue in 2014. Lacy said dairy prices will be driven by favorable feed prices, strong demand for dairy exports, declining cow numbers and an increase in production abroad as New Zealand recovers from drought. UGA Extension Economist Dr. Don Shurley delivered the row crop economic Georgia Farm Bureau News

outlook predicting Georgia farmers will plant less acres of corn and wheat and more acres of peanuts and soybeans while cotton acreage remains stable to slightly up. On the bright side for row crops, Shurley predicted fertilizer prices will drop in 2014 but cautioned profit margins will be tighter. “We’ve enjoyed some very good years for corn and soybeans, but a little bit of that shine is going to come off this year,” Shurley said. “We’re looking at corn prices in the $4.50 to $5 a bushel range.” Shurley said the decrease in corn prices is due to a record corn crop in 2013 and increased supply as ethanol use of corn flattens. With 60 percent of the world’s cotton stocks in China, Shurley said prices will be determined by whether China uses or holds its stock of cotton and predicts Dec. 14 futures to range from 75-85 cents/lb. Global demand for soybeans is growing and exports will be the key to prices, leading to a tighter U.S. supply, Shurley said. He cautioned that South America will also

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Outlook for ag mostly good, forecast speakers say

Macon attorney Will Thompson discussed farm and business succession planning during the 2014 Ag Forecast meeting held at the Georgia Farm Bureau office Jan. 24.

increase soybean production. Will Thompson, with the Macon law firm of James, Bates, Brannan, Groover LLP, discussed farm and business succession planning. Acknowledging that making plans to pass the family farm or agribusiness to the next generation can be sensitive, Thompson encouraged parents to get the ball rolling sooner rather than later and stressed the importance of communicating to family members why assets are divided in a certain way to avoid hurt feelings. “There is no one-size-fits-all answer, and it takes more than one afternoon of planning, so I’d suggest that you start your succession planning now,” Thompson said. Thompson also recommended reviewing existing plans every four years to be certain they still work for the family.

Gov. Deal prohibits propane price gouging Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order Jan. 27 in coordination with Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black prohibiting price gouging for propane. Georgia’s continued period of cold weather has increased the demand for propane causing a substantial price increase. Deal also ordered restrictions on propane transport be eased to help increase the state’s supply of propane. “Our families, farmers and small businesses are worried about getting the heat they need during times of frigid weather,” Deal said. “They shouldn’t have to worry about price gouging, and we aim to prevent that.” According to a statement released by Deal’s office, if weather conditions do not improve in coming weeks, Deal will revisit

state actions. The U.S. Department of Energy reports cold weather has led to recordhigh propane withdrawals nationwide. “Many Georgia farmers, especially poultry producers and nursery growers, rely on propane to keep their animals and crops protected during cold weather,” Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said. “We appreciate Gov. Deal recognizing the situation farmers face and taking steps to help alleviate it.” The Georgia and Tennessee propane associations have an online “find a dealer” application, which searches for propane availability by ZIP code. Farmers seeking refills may find more dealer options by searching for residential refills rather than commercial refills. Visit http://www. usepropane.com/fpr.aspx. February-March 2014 / 31


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Georgia Farm Bureau News - February / March 2014  

Georgia Farm Bureau News - February / March 2014

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