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February/March 2019

Vol. 81 No. 1








Don’t forget about the Built Ford Tough Sweepstakes!** Text the word SWEEPS to 46786*** to enter!

*Farm Bureau Bonus Cash is exclusively for active Farm Bureau members who are residents of the United States. This incentive is not available on Shelby GT350®, Shelby® GT350R, Mustang BULLITT, Ford GT, Focus RS and F-150 Raptor. This offer may not be used in conjunction with most other Ford Motor Company and Lincoln Motor Company private incentives or AXZD-Plans. Some customer and purchase eligibility restrictions apply. Must be a Farm Bureau member for 30 consecutive days prior to purchase. Visit or or see your authorized Ford or Lincoln Dealer for qualifications and complete details. **NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. MUST BE A LEGAL RESIDENT OF U.S. OR D.C., 21 YEARS OR OLDER WITH A VALID DRIVER’S LICENSE TO ENTER AND A CURRENT FARM BUREAU MEMBER. ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS MAY APPLY. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes ends 9/30/2019. For entry and official rules with complete eligibility, prize description and other details, visit Sponsored by Ford Motor Company, One American Road, Dearborn, MI 48126. ***Autodialed marketing messages will be sent to the number provided. Consent is not a condition of purchase or entry. Message and data rates may apply.

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contents February-March 2019

departments View from the Field PAGE 4

Around Georgia PAGES 26-27

GFB launches Land & Leadership Advocates program

Farmers and ranchers between the ages of 36 and 50 have an opportunity to continue their involvement with GFB through a new program. PAGE 5

GFB Public Policy: New farm bill gives agriculture five years of certainty

Get the highlights of the 2018 farm bill passed by Congress in December. PAGES 6-7

Farmers, don't let stress steal your joy

Studies show farming ranks in the top ten most stressful occupations. Take a look at rural stress and resources for help. PAGES 8-9

Gov. Kemp praises Georgia farmers, vows to help South Ga. rebuild

At the GFB Convention, then Gov.-elect Brian Kemp outlined his plan to strengthen rural communities and lauded farmers for their perseverance. PAGE 11

Ag in the Classroom Update

Rural pain: Opioid crisis hits hard in the country

Young Farmers & Ranchers Update

AFBF celebrates 100 years



Doctor and rancher Matt Niswander details how easily a farmer could become addicted to opioids and offers warning signs of addiction. PAGES 12-13 President Trump joined American Farm Bureau Federation members for their centennial conventnion. Georgia YF&R members fared well in the national contests. PAGES 14-15

Whiteflies bugging vegetable & cotton producers

GFB News staff

Andy Lucas Kenny Burgamy Jennifer Whittaker Jay Stone Lillian Davis

Director Assistant Director Editor Print/Web Specialist Design/Advertising

For information concerning advertising, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or 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

Visit the GFB Web site today! GFB.ORG

Georgia Farm Bureau TV: “Like” us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Check us out on Pinterest: Follow us on Instagram:

Georgia Farm Bureau News

An estimated $200 million in crop losses were attributed to whiteflies in 2017. UGA entomologists are researching techniques to control whitefly populations. PAGE 18

Peanut growers encouraged not to increase acreage

UGA peanut experts caution farmers that increasing acreage could cause an oversupply of peanuts and lower prices. PAGE 20

UGA experts predict challenging times for farmers

Recovery from Hurricane Michael, low commodity prices and trade issues present significant challenges for farmers, speakers at the UGA Ag Forecast Series said. PAGE 22

Rain pushes '18 cotton harvest into '19

Fall and winter rains caused a historically late cotton harvest for many growers. PAGE 24

EPA’s Wheeler outlines new WOTUS rule

During a Feb. 6 visit to Georgia, EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler outlined what is and isn’t defined as a water of the U.S. PAGE 31

about the cover----------------------------------------------

While traveling to church on a Sunday morning, Turner County Farm Bureau Agency Manager Michael Albritton captured this sunrise near his home outside Sycamore. He titled it “Dirt Road Anthem,” and entered it in a previous GFB Photo Contest. Entry instructions for this year’s contest will be available in March. Visit the GFB website or your county office for details. February-March 2019 / 3

view from the field Gerald Long, GFB President



Working to make Harvest 20 a reality Georgia Farm Bureau’s purpose is to advocate for farmers and rural Georgia. That’s why our organization was founded. During our 81-year history, GFB has been successful in achieving legislative victories that have kept Georgia’s farmers and rural communities strong. As more people live off the farm, it’s become increasingly important that Farm Bureau increase its advocacy efforts with consumers and students, who are our country’s future voters and decision makers. A year ago, in this column I told you about my Harvest 20 Vision. It consists of three elements: Inspire. Educate. Preserve. GFB’s goal is to inspire our members to get involved, educate consumers about agriculture and preserve the future of Georgia agriculture. GFB took action last year to make the Harvest 20 Vision reality, and we’re building on those actions this year. In an effort to inspire our members to get involved, we met with a group of farmers in the 36 to 50-year age group to get their input on establishing a program that will keep them involved in our organization after they age out of the Young Farmers & Ranchers Program. I’m proud to announce GFB has begun the Land & Leadership Advocates program. It’s designed to keep former YF&R members active in our organization and recruit new members who may have felt there wasn’t a place for them. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about farmers and food in general. Anti-agriculture groups aren’t shy about sharing their criticisms of us. We can’t be shy about sharing the truth about agriculture. That’s why GFB is committed to put4 / February-March 2019

ting an Ag in the Classroom Mobile Unit on the road by the end of 2020. Our county volunteers and staff have been doing a fantastic job of taking the Ag in the Classroom program into their local schools and libraries for years. The AITC mobile unit will be an added resource to support our volunteers as it travels the state providing interactive lessons to promote ag literacy in schools and educate consumers about farming. To preserve Georgia agriculture, GFB awarded grants to Georgia scientists to fund five research projects last year. This year your GFB Board of Directors has budgeted $100,000 to fund research projects studying issues impacting Georgia farms. We know our members want agricultural research because our policy calls for it. So, it makes sense for us to play a role in funding it. GFB’s volunteer members are key to our organization’s success. We’re blessed to have many committed members across Georgia as demonstrated by the incredible support you gave our “I Farm. I Vote.” campaign last fall. GFB doesn’t endorse candidates, but we do encourage our members to vote. There were 12 rural counties where voter turnout was greater than 70 percent. I can’t help but think our campaign helped with that. If you aren’t already actively involved in your county Farm Bureau, please join us! The more of us who roll up our sleeves to inspire, educate and advocate for Georgia agriculture, the bigger our harvest will be.


Farm Bureau Members: Included in dues — $1 per year Non-Members — $15 per year To subscribe call 1-800-898-1911, ext. 5334.


President GERALD LONG, Bainbridge 1st Vice President and Middle Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN JR., Adrian North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS, Ringgold South Georgia Vice President DANIEL JOHNSON, Alma General Counsel DUKE GROOVER Chief Financial Officer & Corp. Treasurer DAVID JOLLEY Chief Administrative Officer & Corp. Secretary JON HUFFMASTER

DIRECTORS FIRST DISTRICT: Bill Bryan, Summerville; Wesley Hall, Cumming 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; Matt Bottoms, Molena 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, Newton; Paul Shirah, Camilla TENTH DISTRICT: Lamar Vickers, Nashville; David Lee, Alma YOUNG FARMER CHAIRMAN: Ben Cagle, Ball Ground WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Nancy Kennedy, Devereux


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 Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or Georgia Farm Bureau News was established in 1937. Copyright 2019 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Jay Stone

GFB launches Land & Leadership Advocates program By Erin Nessmith _____________________________________

Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long & GFB YF&R Coordinator Erin Nessmith unveil the organization’s new Land & Leadership Advocates program.

Since it began in the early 1970s, Georgia Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) program has helped shape many of Georgia’s agricultural leaders. GFB will continue its YF&R program with leadership development activities geared toward members ages 18-35. Now, GFB has leadership and advocacy activities for agriculturalists ages 36-50 through the new GFB Land & Leadership Advocates program. GFB’s Advocates program will bring together members 36-50 years-old with a vested interest in advocating for agriculture, mentoring youth and beginning farmers, providing trending industry education, and refining/promoting their voice in policy development and regulatory matters. This program is the first of its kind in Farm Bureau! The Advocates program has unique features specifically geared toward the 3650 demographic. Two annual functions will be offered at the state level.

The first is an Advocates to D.C Trip that coincides with the YF&R Trip to Washington in March. The Advocates trip will offer some distinct agenda items. Both groups will meet with AFBF lobbyists to discuss current talking points and receive training on speaking candidly with elected officials. Then, Advocates will meet in small groups with the YF&R members to offer mentoring. After the capitol visits, Advocates will travel out of D.C. to visit local farming operations for a national farm experience. The second state event will be a weekend conference, the Georgia Advocates Development Conference, which will provide hands-on educational workshops, new product demonstrations, GFB–specific training in parliamentary procedure, county board development, social media and public media training. The conference will also focus on GFB’s grassroots efforts and have a family component.

Logan Barnes has joined the Georgia Farm Bureau team as leadership program associate. Barnes, who most recently worked as the McDuffie County Farm Bureau county coordinator, will primarily work with GFB’s new Land & Leadership Advocates program for farmers ages 36 to 50. She will also assist GFB’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Coordinator and Ag in the Classroom Coordinator with their programs. “I’m excited to join the Georgia Farm Bureau team because we all share the same passion -– spreading the importance of agriculture,” Barnes said. Logan Barnes A native of Augusta, Barnes graduated from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and the University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences where she received a bachelor’s degree in ag education. Barnes was an ag teacher/FFA advisor at Jefferson County High School after college. To contact Logan call 478-474-0679, ext. 5123 or Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Lili Davis

Barnes joins GFB as leadership program associate

The first conference will be held in Atlanta in February 2020. Additional program activities will include a Farm Experience Day to be held in each GFB district annually, which will invite consumers and thought leaders from the local community to farming operations to experience the day of a farmer. The Advocates program is also working to create the GFB Farmers Forum – an online community for GFB farmer members that will provide a communications platform to connect our farming members statewide. The GFB Advocates Council will advise the Advocates program. The Advocates Council consists of six statewide seats that will not be assigned by GFB districts but based on applications from couples or individuals who have an interest in telling the story of Georgia Agriculture. Council members will serve a three-year term. This group will help plan the Advocates conference and serve as the faces of GFB Farm Experience videos. The Advocates program will also offer a competitive award. The Land & Leadership Prosperity Award will recognize farmers age 36-50 based on the following areas: farm production (goals achieved, innovative technologies used); ag advocacy (impact of applicant on educating consumers/elected officials about agriculture & involvement on social media, media outlets); Farm Bureau involvement/mentorship (participation in Farm Bureau activities, positions held & volunteer hours provided). For more details about the Land & Leadership Advocates Program, contact GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers Coordinator Erin Nessmith at 478-4740679, ext. 5232 or February-March 2019 / 5

2018 was a particularly trying year for Georgia farmers. Many began 2018 still reeling from 2017’s historically low commodity prices, spring freezes and Tropical Storm Irma. Then, from early spring through summer, some of the United States’ closest trading partners levied retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products. Many of the tariffs were directed disproportionately at U.S. agricultural commodities. UnTripp Cofield certainty over trade issues was punctuated by the 2014 farm bill expiring the end of September. Despite uncertainty over trade issues and the farm bill, Georgia farmers remained optimistic as most looked forward to harvesting their best crops in years. The 2018 cotton and peanut crops were expected to allow many farmers to dig out of debt and put money away for future tough times. Then, everything changed on Oct.

Photo by Lili Davis

By Tripp Cofield ______________________________________

10, 2018, when Hurricane Michael made landfall. Agricultural losses in Georgia were estimated to be around $2.5 billion. By Thanksgiving, Georgia farmers were looking to state and federal officials for help. During a special legislative session in midNovember, the Georgia General Assembly delivered some hope for farmers by passing a financial assistance package designed to help farmers struggling to recover from Hurricane Michael. Then, in mid-December, Congress finalized and passed the 2018 farm bill with a strong, bipartisan vote. Passage of the 2018 farm bill was a bright spot at the end of a historically tough year. Conversations with lenders about 2019 operating loans will be a bit easier now that the federal farm programs, on which many producers depend, are guaranteed to be in place for the next five years. In addition to the added certainty, the new farm bill improved many of the existing programs in ways that will benefit Georgia farmers for years.

PLC & ARC changes

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

The most important part of a farm bill for many producers is the Commodity Title, which houses programs like Price Loss Coverage (PLC), Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), and the dairy program. These programs provide risk management support to farmers and are especially important when commodity prices are low, as they are now. Each of these programs has been reauthorized through 2023 with some farmerrequested enhancements. For the 2019 and 2020 crop years, farmers will have an opportunity to elect either PLC or ARC on a crop-by-crop and farmby-farm basis, a modest change from the 2014 bill. From 2021 forward, farmers will be able 6 / February-March 2019

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

New farm bill gives agricu

to make a new election annually. This is an important change, and one that could benefit Georgia producers tremendously, as it offers growers annual flexibility to determine which risk management tool best suits their needs. For farmers who use PLC, it’s important to note that statutory reference prices from the 2014 farm bill were maintained at the same levels. However, the 2018 farm bill includes Effective Reference Prices, which allow existing reference prices to rise up to 115 percent of statutory levels when crop prices increase. This means the peanut reference price, for example, could float as high as $615.25 (up from $535), and in turn, PLC support would increase. Beginning in 2020, farmers will have an opportunity to update their PLC program yields. Historic yields are used by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to calculate commodity support payments. Many producers across the nation experienced low crop yields from 2008 to 2012 - the time frame used to determine historic yields under the 2014 farm bill. The new farm bill provides a yield update beginning in 2020 using crop yield data from 2013 to 2017. A number of modest reforms were made to ARC price and yield calculations Georgia Farm Bureau News

lture five years of certainty

Crop insurance

Crop insurance is a vital part of the farm safety net, and the 2018 farm bill preserved the existing structure of the crop insurance program, so producers should see little to no changes moving forward. However, the Risk Management Agency, which is charged with administering the federal crop insurance program, was directed to look for ways to improve crop insurance for areas affected Georgia Farm Bureau News

Conservation, rural development, timber & honey provisions

by hurricanes and tropical storms and on farms that utilize effective irrigation systems.

Photo by Jay Stone

in an effort to improve revenue support for farmers. For starters, PLC’s Effective Reference Prices will impact the ARC program by allowing plug prices to rise. Plug yields for ARC benchmark revenue calculations will be at least 80 percent of county transitional yields, a reform that should increase the benchmark revenue guarantee for producers in many counties where crop yields have fallen in recent years, according to American Farm Bureau Federation economists. Going forward, the ARC program will also use Risk Management Agency (RMA) trend-adjusted yield factors in ARC benchmark and actual yield calculations. AFBF economists believe trendadjusted yield factors will increase crop yields to reflect improvements in productivity. Going forward, crop insurance program data from RMA will be the source for yield data rather than surveys from the National Agricultural Statistics Service. In terms of base acres, which are used to determine producer eligibility for commodity support payments, the 2018 farm bill made only one change, which only applies to farms that have been entirely in grass or pasture since 2009. On such farms, base acres will be retained but are not eligible for ARC or PLC payments. This reform was included by Congress to ensure the farm safety net is reserved for farms producing commodities. Farms impacted by this change will have an opportunity to participate in a five-year grass land incentive contract under the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) with payments of $18 per acre.

Dairy gets a new program

Georgia dairy producers—like many of their counterparts across America—have struggled in recent years. The 2018 farm bill contains reforms that could serve as a boon to the dairy industry. The Margin Protection Program (MPP) created by the 2014 farm bill will be replaced by Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC). The new, voluntary program will support producers when the national average income-over-feed-cost margin falls below certain coverage levels, similar to the way MPP worked. Producers will continue to pay premiums based on their chosen coverage options, which will now range from $4 to $9.50 per hundredweight. Premium levels were adjusted to make certain options more affordable. Dairy operations that choose to make a one-time election for both coverage level and enrolled milk amount may be eligible for a 25 percent discount on their premiums. Dairy producers will now be allowed to simultaneously use DMC and other risk management options like Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle or Dairy Revenue Protection. This is a significant change from the 2014 farm bill.

The 2018 farm bill includes no major changes to the conservation programs as it mostly maintained the structure of the Conservation Title from the 2014 farm bill. Key programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) were reauthorized for another five years. The $75 million pilot program included in the farm bill to fund feral hog threat assessments, control methods, and land restoration is a victory for Georgia land owners concerned about the growing feral hog population. Feral hogs cause an estimated $2.5 billion in damage annually in the U.S. For states like Georgia, with large rural areas, the Rural Development Title is always an area of focus, and the 2018 farm bill delivers some good news for rural residents. The USDA was given new authority to make grants and loans for “middle-mile broadband projects,” with the goal of linking rural regions with existing high-speed internet connections. Rural communities will enjoy expanded access to federal dollars that may be used to upgrade or construct “essential infrastructure projects” like hospitals, water systems, schools and more. Other farm bill provisions likely to impact Georgia include the Timber Innovation Act. The TIA seeks to advance tall wood building construction and could benefit Georgia as the nation’s top timber state. Likewise, language was included directing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to exclude single ingredient products, including honey, from its nutritional label “added sugar” declarations. This particular change was a top issue for Georgia Farm Bureau’s Honeybee Advisory Committee. Tripp Cofield is National Policy Counsel for GFB’s Public Policy Department. For more information about the farm bill and its potential impact on Georgia, contact Tripp at 478-474-8411 or February-March 2019 / 7

Farmers, By Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________________________________________________


arming is stressful. Work days that begin before dawn and end long after dark. Equipment breakdowns. Crop yields lessened by adverse weather. Sick livestock. Low commodity prices. “It’s no wonder that farming ranks in the top ten most stressful occupations in America,” Dr. Sean Brotherson, a family science specialist with the North Dakota State University Extension, said. Recognizing that Georgia farmers and their rural communities are facing stress levels comparable to those of the farm crisis in the early 1980s, several University of Georgia colleges teamed up to hold a Rural Stress Summit in Atlanta in December. The event, sponsored by the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, College of Family & Consumer Sciences and School of Social Work, featured rural stress experts from across the U.S. “Everyone knows what it’s like to have stress, anxiety and to be burned out. People in rural areas suffer just like those in metro areas. They just may not know where to seek help for a behavioral health issue,” CAES Dean & Director Dr. Sam Pardue said. Multiple summit speakers acknowledged that addressing rural stress is complicated because farming is more rooted in heritage and emotions than most jobs. “For families who have chosen farming it is more than a means of making money. It is a generational way of life,” Brotherson said. “When it comes to the impact of a farming economic crisis on families and communities, it is about more than making money. It is about the continuance of a generational way of life rooted in history.”

Common signs of stress • Physical signs: headaches, backaches, eating too much/little, sleep problems, frequent sickness, ulcers, exhaustion • Emotional signs: depression, anger/blame, anxiety, loss of spirit, loss of humor • Behavioral signs: irritability, acting out, withdrawal, heavy drinking or violence • Cognitive signs: memory loss, lack of concentration, indecisiveness

8 / February-March 2019

Causes & risks of stress

Stress usually stems from factors perceived as being beyond our control. For farmers, this may include weather, tariffs and the general economy. “No matter how hard you work, you can’t guarantee that you’re going to have a positive outcome and that feeling of helplessness can really be associated with depression and with risk for suicide,” said Anna Scheyett, dean of the UGA School of Social Work. Some farmers are able to cope with the stress of farming until the loss of a loved one or a relationship ends. “In rural communities, people are obviously more isolated. That means the relationships that farmers do have, they lean on them and count on them more,” Scheyett said. “So, any disruption in their relationship, breakup with a family member, somebody passing in the family is going to put them at greater risk.” Ignoring emotions caused by stress factors can eventually take its toll on a farmer’s physical and emotional health. “In general, you’re looking for changes in behavior. People who stop eating, increase drinking, whose sleep gets disrupted, who isolate, who don’t want to go to church anymore, don’t want to do the things they used to do anymore,” Scheyett said. Untreated stress can lead to depression or suicide. The suicide rate among Georgia Farm Bureau News

farmers is the third highest of any vocational group, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. “Some high-end warning signs that people may not think about include things like people starting to show loved ones where they keep all their important papers, wanting to give things away, wanting to make sure they know what's going on with insurance and such," Scheyett said.

Managing stress • Talk with someone you trust about your feelings. • Eat healthy. • Exercise regularly. • Avoid using drugs or alcohol. • Get enough “good” sleep. Don’t take electronics to bed. Avoid drinking caffeine/alcohol at least an hour before bed. • Reach out to family/friends for support. Ask for what you want/need from people likely to give it. • Choose to be hopeful. Focus on the good in your life. • Find professional support if feelings of stress continue & affect daily activities.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Stress management is farm management Farmers wouldn’t let a sick cow go without veterinary care or leave a field infested with insects or weeds unsprayed. But they’re liable to ignore their own health, especially emotional health issues. “Your health is your most important asset as a farmer, rancher or agricultural worker,” said Brotherson. “Farmer and farmworker health and safety is the most important priority in managing any farm or ranch operation.” While farmers are usually among the first to offer others help, they often can’t ask for it for themselves, Brotherson said. A willingness to seek help is crucial as is the development of a social support system to help not only an individual but a family navigate stressful situations. A survey Brotherson took of farmers indicates they are most likely to seek social support from: 1) spouses, 2) friends, 3) children, 4) church, 5) parents, 6) relatives or lenders, 7) neighbors, 8) farm organizations, 9) community and 10) social services. “While it’s really hard to talk about, I think talking about it is important and saying to somebody that you love, ‘I love you. I care about you. I’m seeing these differences. I’d like to take you to talk to someone,’ ” Scheyett said. “Maybe it’s somebody that person trusts, maybe it’s a clergyman the person feels good about and that you know understands these issues, maybe it’s a primary care provider.” If you have a loved one, friend or neighbor exhibiting signs of stress, you should do something, Ted Matthews, director of Minnesota Rural Mental Health, said. During his more than 30 years of counseling in rural areas, Matthews has partnered with sheriff’s departments, Extension agents and social services to help farmers and rural residents struggling with stress issues. “If they go to church and they haven’t gone to church for three weeks in a row, talk to the minister and say ‘What’s going on with Bob or Joan? They haven’t been to church in three weeks',” Matthews said A sincere, loving inquiry toward someone exhibiting signs of emotional stress might prevent them taking desperate action. When it comes to stress, Matthews said women are more likely to want to talk while men tend to pull away. For every suicide, there are 25 attempts, Matthews said. More women attempt suicide than men, but men are more successful. See STRESS page 16 February-March 2019 / 9

fotokostic / Getty Images

don’t let stress steal your joy

Spontaneous hay combustion a hot topic at GFB Convention


cent for small rectangular bales, 18 percent for round bales and 15 percent for large rectangular bales), as well as monitoring the heat in stored hay. “As long as the temperature stays below 125 degrees Fahrenheit, things are safe. There is minimal dry matter loss and it’s not going to catch on fire,” Hancock said. Above 125 degrees, a shift to fungi that thrive on heat begins to occur, causing damage to the protein in the hay. “When you get up into this danger zone here, you really need to be monitoring temperature regularly through the day, two or three times a day, mak-

Photo by Jay Stone

niversity of Georgia Extension Forage Specialist Dennis Hancock discussed how harvested hay heats and catches fire while addressing the Hay Committee meeting at the 2018 Georgia Farm Bureau Convention. Hancock gave a scientific breakdown of the activity that occurs in stored hay when moisture, carbohydrates, oxygen and microorganisms are present. The microorganisms feed on the carbohydrates, which generates heat. When the hay temperature approaches 175 degrees it can catch fire. Hancock recommended taking steps to accelerate drying the hay down to the target range (below 20 per-

County Farm Bureaus honored during GFB Convention

Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) honored county Farm Bureaus for promoting agriculture and individual members for personal achievement during the organization’s annual convention. GFB President Gerald Long (back row, far left) congratulates the award recipients: (front row, from left) YF&R Achievement Award winners Will Cabe with daughter Emersyn, sons Deacon & Teller and Heather Cabe, Franklin County; Kim Thompson accepting the Outstanding Women’s Leadership Committee Award & McKemie Award in the small membership category for Treutlen County; YF&R Excellence in Agriculture Award winner Caroline Lewallen, Hall County; Outstanding County Office Manager Denise Loggins, White County; Nic Haynes accepting the Outstanding Promotion & Education Award for Hall County. Back row: Long, Chuck Benson accepting the McKemie Award in the medium membership category for Monroe County; Mark Wilkinson accepting the Outstanding Legislative Program Award for Stephens County; Sammy McCorkle accepting the McKemie Award in the large membership category for McDuffie County; & Jerry Truelove accepting the Outstanding Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee Award for Hall County. 10 / February-March 2019

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone _____________________________________________________________________________

Marty Knowles of Telfair County, left, accepts congratulations from GFB Agricultural Programs Specialist Jeremy Taylor for winning the 2018 GFB Quality Hay Contest.

ing sure that it’s not getting any hotter,” Hancock said. If the hay temperature is above 160 degrees, Hancock urged farmers to call the fire department before removing bales, which adds oxygen to already flammable conditions. For more details about spontaneous hay combustion, visit GFB also announced the winners of its annual hay contest in the Hay Committee meeting. Marty Knowles of Telfair County won the contest with a Coastcross II sample, which had a Relative Forage Quality (RFQ) score of 160.45. Mike McCravy of Carroll County claimed second place with a sample of Tift 85 that had an RFQ of 146.5. Swayne Cochran of Jackson County, who submitted a Tift 44 sample with an RFQ of 137.21, was third. Eric Hall of Franklin County (Alicia, 132.68 RFQ) was fourth and Farrell Roberts of Tift County (Coastal, 124.88) was fifth. The Hay Committee meeting was one of many meetings held at the convention for the 20 major commodities produced in Georgia. These educational sessions gave farmers crop and livestock production tips, as well as updates on trade and legislative efforts in Washington, D.C. Here’s a sampling: DISASTER RELIEF EFFORTS • GFB National Affairs Counsel Tripp Cofield discussed Congressional disaster relief efforts. Since then, U.S. Reps. Sanford Bishop Continued on next page Georgia Farm Bureau News

Kemp praises Georgia farmers, vows to help South Ga. rebuild Citing farmers’ perseverance, then Gov.-elect Brian Kemp praised Georgia farmers affected by Hurricane Michael while addressing the general session of the Georgia Farm Bureau 81st Annual Convention. “Our farmers, many of them in this room, are amazing individuals, amazing people. They are strong and they are resolute,” Kemp said. “You have rolled up your sleeves. You have gone back to work. You didn’t complain. You have kept the faith and started the long journey on the road to recovery. I will make it my mission to rebuild what was lost and to help South Georgia emerge stronger than ever before.” Kemp outlined his plan to strengthen rural communities by making Georgia the No. 1 state in the country for small In a nod to Gov. Brian Kemp’s campaign pledge to “take business. His three-pronged plan includes eliminating a chainsaw to regulations,” GFB President Gerald Long presentburdensome regulatory requirements for small business owners, ed Kemp with a chainsaw at the GFB convention. Visit www.gfb. photos/18GFBConvention to see more convention photos. implementing a state spending cap and expanding access to high-speed internet in rural areas. Kemp said he plans to work and education efforts under the Harvest 20 Vision have been with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to take the Georgia successful. He announced new initiatives being developed, Grown program into international markets. including an increase in research funding, the Agriculture in the “No one knows better than you all that we have challenges Classroom Mobile Unit and the Land & Leadership Advocates ahead of us,” Kemp told the GFB members. “But we also have program. opportunities that I think are endless.” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, About 1,500 Georgia farmers and agribusiness leaders from U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner across the state attended the convention, Dec. 2-4 on Jekyll Gary Black also spoke at the Dec. 3 general session. Island, which included a trade show and educational sessions Duvall said the similarities between the current farm that gave farmers updates on policy and production issues economy and the difficult times the ag community suffered in affecting Georgia’s major commodities. Attendees also had a the 1980s are striking, pointing specifically to farm debt, interest chance to test drive new Ford vehicles to raise money for the rates and lawsuits. But his message was one of hope. He said he GFB Foundation Hurricane Michael Relief Fund. Ford donated was encouraged by the experience he’s had while interacting money to the fund for each test drive. with members of the Trump administration. While delivering his annual address at the convention, GFB For more details on the GFB Convention, please visit President Gerald Long said the organization’s research, promotion Continued from previous page___________________________________________________________________________________ (D- 2nd Dist.) and Austin Scott (R-8th Dist.) filed an amendment Jan. 16 to the 2019 Supplemental Appropriations Act that ensures $3 billion will be appropriated to the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program to provide relief for farmers impacted by Hurricane Michael and other natural disasters in 2018. The House passed the amendment. U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson introduced a $3 billion disaster relief package in the Senate on Jan. 30 nearly identical to Bishop and Scott’s House amendment. MEXICAN PECAN IMPORTS • UGA Extension Pecan Specialist Lenny Wells discussed how U.S. imports of Mexican pecans are lowering prices growers are receiving. Wells said he is hearing reports of U.S. shellGeorgia Farm Bureau News

ers buying large volumes of nuts from Mexico, which can produce pecans for less than U.S. growers. He said the cheaper Mexican pecan imports, that are of a lower quality, threaten to put smaller U.S. growers out of business. COTTON RESEARCH • Georgia Cotton Commission (GCC) Executive Director Richey Seaton presented the GCC’s education, research and promotion efforts, emphasizing the importance of research being done by UGA Extension Cotton Specialist Stanley Culpepper on minimizing cotton injury while treating fields to control Palmer amaranth, as well as studies on how the weight of planting equipment affects soil texture and the uniformity of plant emergence, insecticide resistance and fiber quality. February-March 2019 / 11

Photo by Andy Lucas

By Jay Stone _________________________________________________________

OPIOID CRISIS HITS HARD in the COUNTRY Warning signs of opioid addiction

• Obsession with the medication, or with going to the doctor • Frequent injuries. “Someone with an addiction can be almost like a hypochondriac where they have injuries that seem to be made up,” Niswander said. • Avoidance of people & public places • Frequent mood swings • Excessive sleep

Common opioid drugs 3 3 3 3 3

Heroin Buprenorphine Codeine Fentanyl Hydrocodone

12 / February-March 2019

3 3 3 3 3

Hydromorphone Meperidine Methadone Morphine Oxycodone

By Jay Stone ________________________________________________________

Here’s a hypothetical:

Farmer John is out on his farm one day when he closes a gate and smashes his hand. He goes to a doctor. It’s not broken, but it is swollen and obviously causing pain. The doctor writes him a prescription for a week’s worth of lortab or oxycodone, two commonly prescribed opioid pain relievers. John takes the medicine. His hand feels better. He can work the next day. It’s still swollen, and hurting that night, so he takes another one. Five or six days later his prescription runs out. His hand is still hurting. At this point, his brain is telling him that he needs those opiates, which provide a euphoric feeling that replaces the brain’s perception of the pain in his hand. He loses that euphoric feeling and the pain returns, so he returns to the doctor. John’s an old trusted farmer, so when he goes to the doctor, the doctor writes a prescription for another week’s worth of lortab. By this point, John could already be addicted to opioids, and by the time he comes back a third time, the doctor concludes that he is and refuses to write another prescription for Lortab. John seeks treatment from other doctors to access opioid prescriptions.

Farmers should know opioid risks

Matt Niswander has seen Farmer John’s scenario play out dozens of times, some of them with devastating effects – death from overdose, family upheaval, loss of job – that ripple out from one person’s minor injury. Niswander, a family physician in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, estimated he’s treated more than 100 patients in 13 years who traveled a similar path to addiction. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Graphic: Lili Davis

RX#99999 Dr. Ur. Albetter Patient: Farmer John Take one tablet every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. Painbegone 7.5 mg tablet. NO REFILLS.

Get Help!

Niswander encourages patients who receive prescriptions for opioid medications to ask their doctor about risk factors associated with the meds. “There are other alternatives for treating pain,” Niswander said, such as over-the-counter treatment or herbal medicines.

Ga. Crisis& Access Line 1-800-715-4225 www.samhsa.gove

Dr. Niswander and his wife, Colbie, were part of a panel discussion about opioid addiction at the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in New Orleans. They have a strong connection to the farm part of the equation – they raise angus beef cattle. In addition to seeing the effects of opioid abuse in his medical practice, he knows firsthand how hazardous farm occupations can be. Farming occupations are among the most hazardous in terms of rates of job-related illnesses, injuries and disabilities. And when farmers get hurt, treating pain with opioid medication doesn’t come without risk. “They may not have known when they first started taking it that it has an addiction risk factor,” Niswander said. “The farmer just got it from the doctor, he trusts the doctor, the doctor trusts the patient, and that’s kind of how that starts out.” Opioid abuse has garnered increasing national attention and with good reason. It is running rampant across the country. The analogy Niswander uses is that deaths from opioid overdoses are the equivalent to two passenger jets crashing to the ground every week. The analogy is especially telling to him because it’s clear what would happen in the case of airline crashes. “If you crashed two planes in the ground every week, there would be a full government investigation,” Niswander said. “Every resource would be poured into solving it. Consumers and the general public would be on board. It would be devastating to our nation.” The opioid crisis, on the other hand … “We have this right in front of us. It’s been going on for decades and it’s being ignored,” Niswander said. Georgia Farm Bureau News

BY The Numbers 130 47,055

Americans die from opioid overdose every day.*

Deaths from overdoses in 2014 compared to 32,675 deaths from vehicle crashes. **


of farmers surveyed say they have been directly affected by the opioid epidemic. ***


of rural adults believe there is either a great deal of stigma or some stigma associated with opioid abuse. ***


of people who have a drug use disorder receive specialty treatment.**** Sources * ** CDC reported 47,055 deaths from overdoses; National Hwy. Traffic Safety Admin. reported 32,675 deaths from vehicle crashes. *** AFBF/NFU survey in Fall 2017. ****

February-March 2019 / 13

shotbydave / Getty Images

Inform yourself!

By Jay Stone _____________________________________


n front of a celebratory gathering of about 6,000 farmers and ranchers from across the nation, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall opened AFBF’s 100th Annual Convention by outlining a few of the organization’s many historic accomplishments – from leading the way on the nation’s first farm bill in the 1930s to helping develop the Food for Peace Program in the 1950s. As AFBF begins a new century of service to American agriculture, Duvall said the organization will continue to be

guided by the honorable principle that “farmers want to feed people.” That job is not without challenges, such as the weather disasters, economic challenges and trade complications seen in 2018. Duvall, however, said 2018 was also a year marked by big victories on issues affecting farm and ranch families across the nation. “Most of us are happy to see 2018 in the rear-view mirror, but on the policy front 2018 could go down in our history as a huge success story,” Duvall told the AFBF members gathered in New Orleans See AFBF next page

Photo by Jay Stone

Photo by Jay Stone

AFBF celebrates 100 years

AFBF President Zippy Duvall recounted legislative victories the organization has achieved in its 100-year history that have benefited American agriculture, such as establishing the first farm bill in the 1930s to fighting overreaching regulations like Waters of the U.S.

Trump: ‘Farmers are the backbone of our country’ President Donald Trump praised farmers for their perseverance in difficult times, thanked them for their support of national policy, promised they would reap benefits from his administration’s stance on international trade and lauded the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) for its 100 years of work on behalf of the nation’s farmers. “For 100 years, this organization has faithfully represented the men and women who are the backbone of our country,” Trump said. “On this special anniversary, we gather to celebrate America’s proud farming heritage. Through 14 / February-March 2019

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone _____________________________

President Donald Trump speaks at the AFBF convention. To see more photos from the convention, visit www.

your sweat, through all of your work, the strength of your hands, and the faith in your hearts, the American farmer feeds and fuels and sustains our nation.” More than 180 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) members attended the convention, many of them opting to participate in a preconvention tour of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans and a driving tour of the Crescent City. Trump, who appeared at the AFBF convention for the second straight year, gave an hour-long speech at AFBF’s closing general session on Jan. 14, spending more than 20 minutes of it making the case for building the wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, before touting his administration’s work on trade, taxes, the farm bill, rural broadband and federal regulations. His speech was interrupted 10 times by standing ovations. The president introduced Arizona rancher Jim Chilton, whose land is on the U.S.-Mexico border. Chilton, who says drug smugglers cut through his land as they enter the U.S., told Trump and the crowd of approximately 6,000 farmers and ranchers that the wall is needed. A transcript of the president’s speech is available at Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo courtesy of AFBF

GFB YF&R members shine in AFBF contests

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone _________________________________________________________

AFBF continued from previous page for the organization’s centennial meeting. The list of victories includes tax reform to income tax rates and the estate tax, passage of the 2018 farm bill and reform of expensive and overreaching regulations. Chief among reformed regulations is the new Clean Water Rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. The new rule is being proposed to replace the flawed and unworkable 2015 WOTUS rule. AFBF’s centennial celebration included a slide-show review Georgia Farm Bureau News

Hall County’s Caroline Lewallen, left, accepts her plaque for winning third-place in the AFBF Excellence in Agriculture Award contest.

Photo courtesy of AFBF

Georgia Farm Bureau members placed in the top 10 in each of American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Young Farmers & Ranchers competitive events, held at the AFBF Convention in New Orleans Jan. 12-14. Hall County Farm Bureau member Caroline Lewallen finished third nationally in the Excellence in Agriculture Competition, which recognizes young farmers and ranchers who earn the majority of their income from something other than production agriculture. Lewallen’s presentation featured the HallGROWS program she developed through HCFB to improve agricultural literacy among the county’s students. The program has been implemented by several other county Farm Bureaus in Georgia and in other states. She is the agritourism and marketing director for Jaemor Farms and raises beef cattle with her husband, Kyle, that they sell direct-toconsumers. Lewallen won a Case IH 40” combination roll cabinet & top chest and a $500 gift card for Case IH parts courtesy of Case IH plus $2,000 of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise (PROTO, DeWalt, Stanley, Lenox & Irwin), courtesy of Stanley Black & Decker. The Bulloch County’s Becca Excellence in Agriculture Award Creasy delivers her opening went to Jake and Melissa Raburn statement during the AFBF Dis- of Florida. cussion Meet Final Four round. Bulloch County Farm Bureau member Becca Creasy finished fourth in the AFBF Discussion Meet, which featured competitors from 36 states. The Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting in which active discussion and participation are expected. Participants are evaluated on their ability to exchange ideas and information on a predetermined topic. During the discussion meet, Creasy and her fellow competitors discussed the following topics: How Farm Bureau can create added value to its memberships and expand its base of supporters; How agriculture can attract the brightest scientific and

Will & Heather Cabe of Franklin County placed in the Top 10 of the AFBF Achievement Award Competition. Pictured from right, the Cabes accept their national contestant plaque from AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee member Matthew London, of White County, who is about to end a two-year term on the AFBF committee.

technological minds to ag careers, and how Farm Bureau can be more inclusive of all agriculture and production practices. Creasy works in sales for Seminis Vegetable Seed, a division of Bayer CropScience. She and her husband, Jarrod, run 920 Cattle & Company in Statesboro, raising, packing and selling farm-fresh beef to area restaurants and individuals, as well as growing hay and providing fence construction services. Creasy won a Case IH 40” combination roll cabinet & top chest and a $500 gift card for Case IH parts courtesy of Case IH. Jackie Mundt of Kansas was the national winner. Will and Heather Cabe of Franklin County advanced to the top 10 in the AFBF Achievement Award competition, which recognizes young farmers and ranchers who earn the majority of their income from production agriculture. The Cabes raise broilers, cattle, show goats and hay. Justin and Erica Edwards of North Carolina were the national winners. of the organization’s history and a Field to Fork Face-off game show at the IdeAg Trade Show. The game was a “Family Feud” style competition with topics relating to agriculture. To view the AFBF history review visit “Farm Bureau members throughout our history, and still today, have always answered the call to feed, fuel and defend our nation. I am grateful for this wonderful organization,” Duvall said. “Its founding 100 years ago was truly a breakthrough in See AFBF page 23 February-March 2019 / 15

STRESS from page 9

Georgia Recovery Project For Southwest Ga. residents experiencing stress from Hurricane Michael 229-977-4885 Disaster Distress Helpline For anyone experiencing stress due to a natural disaster 1-800-985-5990 Georgia Crisis & Access Line Provides suicide prevention/ counseling & access to emotional health & substance abuse services 1-800-715-4225 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24-hour crisis intervention 1-800-273-TALK

than a listening ear, GRP counselors can provide referrals to resources that can provide the help needed. Individual and group crisis counseling is available. All services are free and confidential. “The Georgia Recovery Project has a network of people who can offer varying degrees of help. Some of our

So why risk cutting one while digging? Contact 811 before you dig to have utility lines marked

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16 / February-March 2019

team members are counselors. Some are retired pastors, and some are certified peer specialists, who have been in the shoes of those seeking help,” said Jennifer Dunn, a regional services administrator for the DBHDD Region 4. The GRP, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will operate through Oct. 11. The program is available to residents in counties that received a presidential disaster declaration for individual assistance.

“If someone has breath in their lungs, then there’s hope. We don’t want people to be without hope.” – Jennifer Dunn

Before you dig...

Help on the Line

It's OK to seek help

South Georgia farmers are still recovering from Hurricane Michael. Realizing the stress the storm would cause rural Georgia, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) secured funding last fall to implement the Georgia Recovery Project (GRP). This project provides crisis counselors to offer a listening ear for disaster survivors to discuss how they’ve been affected by the storm. If farmers need more

Residents of Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Dougherty, Early, Lee, Miller, Randolph, Terrell and Worth counties should call Aspire Behavioral Health at 229-430-6037 to be connected with a GRP counselor. Residents of Decatur, Grady, Mitchell, Seminole and Thomas counties should call the Georgia Pines Community Service Board at 229-977-6134 to access GRP support. Georgians experiencing emotional distress related to a natural disaster who live in counties outside of the GRP coverage area can seek crisis counseling through the Disaster Distress Helpline provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services at 1-800-9855990. The hotline is operational 24 hours, seven days a week. “If someone has breath in their lungs, then there’s hope. We don’t want people to be without hope,” Dunn said. All Georgians dealing with emotional issues may seek help through the Georgia Crisis & Access Line at 1-800715-4225 24 hours, seven days a week. This hotline offers crisis services for those considering suicide and connects Georgians with services to help with emotional health or substance abuse issues. Special thanks to GFB staff members Katie Duvall & John Holcomb & UGA CAES Public Relations Coordinator Sharon Dowdy for contributing information to this article. Georgia Farm Bureau News

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February-March 2019 / 17



2016 Georgia Farm Gate Value = $1.14 billion 2015 = $1.09 billion

Cooperating with the Georgia Department of Agriculture

Georgia County Estimates

355 East Hancock Ave, Suite 100 Athens, Georgia 30601 Phone: (706) 546-2236 E-mail:

Cotton 2015-2016

Whiteflies bugging vegetable & cotton producers Released: May 2017
























33 LEE
















The number of different vegetable types measured in the 2016 Georgia Farm Gate Value Report. GRADY





























ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba






Graphic courtesy of USDA-NASS



144,100 115,700 109,300 93,900 69,600 67,200 65,600 63,500 62,400 60,600 2,180,000






Graphic courtesy of UGA CAES



18 / February-March 2019












Vegetables are the No. 4 ranked commodity group in the 2016 Georgia Farm Gate Value Report. LONG
















Cotton Production 2016 75,000 bales or more

25,000 - 74,999 bales from white to dark blue. The major production areas for the two 1,000 - 24,999 bales crops coincide. Since both crops host whiteflies, UGA researchers Less than 1,000 bales or No say it’s important to control whiteflies in both crops. * Counties not published due to insufficient data or to avoid disclosure of individual operations.

Ewing, Regional Director Management strategies researchers Because so many JimGeorgia crops USDA/NASS COOPERATING WITH THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE serve as hosts for whiteflies, Sparks said are evaluating include: identifying veg13,200 jobs infestations are cyclical. Cot- etable plants resistant to whiteflies; identiwhitefly ton, squash, broccoli, cabbage, mustards, fying the best chemical options to control kale, woods, and grass are all types of populations; whether mulch and fertilizvegetation found in Georgia that serve as ers can be used to manage populations; habitat for whiteflies. and whether growing crops in greenhous “What happens in spring vegetables es offers protection. affects cotton and what hap- “The best way to manage whitefly pens in cotton affects fall vege- populations is by integrating multiple tables. We’ve got to emphasize management options. There is no silver area-wide control of whiteflies bullet,” Srinivasan said. to keep populations down,” UGA research shows whitefly sympSparks said. toms to be less severe in zucchini than in When it comes to choosing yellow squash, Srinivasan said, and there pesticides to fight whiteflies is some host resistance in snap beans. Sparks has this advice: “Do not rely on Varying fertilizer rates (10 lbs. vs. 30 one chemistry. Rotate your chemistry so lbs. of nitrogen applied via water drip) to we don’t end up with product resistance. squash and zucchini crops didn’t seem to Pesticides are not getting the effects they impact whitefly populations nor did the did five years ago but nothing does.” varying fertilizer rates significantly affect UGA researchers are studying various the cull rate of squash and zucchini. Howways to manage whitefly populations and ever, the study did show that zucchini the viruses they spread in crops, Dr. Raja- had a significantly lower cull rate of fruit gopalbabu Srinivasan said. damaged by whiteflies than squash.

Photo courtesy of USDA

the Georgia economy In to2017, Georgia cotton and vegetable farmers had an estimated $200 million in crop losses attributed to whiteflies, according to Dr. Apurba Barman, a researcher for the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES). This explains why whitefly research was a hot topic at the Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference held in Savannah Jan. 10-13. UGA Extension Entomologist Dr. Alton Sparks Jr. shared the progress CAES researchers are making to control whiteflies in Georgia crops. Sparks said all samples of whiteflies submitted in the last three years from field infestations in Georgia have been identified as the silverleaf whitefly biotype B. But researchers have their eyes open for the appearance of pesticide-resistant biotype Q in Georgia, which has been identified in Florida infestations dating back to 2016.








billion By Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________














Whiteflies overlap in Georgia's cotton and vegetable crops. These maps show the geographical intensity of Georgia’s vegetable and cotton production. Vegetable production intensity increases from yellow to red. Cotton production intensity increases



































Dooly Mitchell Worth Colquitt Brooks Decatur Coffee Thomas Crisp Early State Total







Regional Director:

Cotton Top Producing Counti 2016















> $15,000,000 $3,000,000 - $14,999,999 $500,000 - $2,999,999 $100,000 - $499,999 $0 - $99,999


Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Dickey family moving farm forward together By Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________

Mother–son duo Lee and Cynde Dickey of Dickey Farms recently shared how the two generations of their family are working together to take their farm into the future. Dickey Farms, which has grown peaches since 1897, is a member of the Georgia Farm Bureau Certified Farm Market program. After coming back to the farm three years ago, Lee, the farm’s fifth generation, and his wife, Stacy, talked Lee’s parents – Cynde and Robert - into adding strawberries and agritourism activities to the farm’s mix. Growing strawberries allows the Dickeys to begin offering their customers fresh fruit


Georgia Farm Bureau News

The 4th & 5th generations of Dickey Farms: pictured from right, Robert & Cynde Dickey with Stacy & Lee Dickey. Visit to see more photos from the Southeast Fruit & Vegetable Growers Conference.

about two months earlier than when they just grew peaches. “My parents have been very welcoming to the opportunities we’re using to grow the farm,” Lee said. “We’re being intentional about adding activities to get people to visit the farm since we’re not close to the interstate and people have to leave their house with the intention of coming to see us.” Cynde praised Lee and Stacy for drawing more visitors to the farm’s Musella retail store by growing the

farm’s social media presence. “It’s important to keep your website and Facebook page up-to-date, so it’s been great to have Lee and Stacy back for that,” Cynde said. “I’d go to meetings and get fired up about posting, but it didn’t happen because of other responsibilities. They do it effortlessly.” Lee credited Cynde, the fourth generation, for pioneering the mail order and retail business for Middle Georgia peach growers in the 1980s.

SFBLI.COM February-March 2019 / 19

Photo by Jay Stone

Farmers attending workshops at the 43rd Annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show & Conference got research-based tips on handling insects, soil fertility & plant diseases from members of the UGA Peanut Team. Visit www.gfb. photos/19GAPNTShow to see photos from the event.

Peanut growers encouraged not to increase acreage By Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________________________________________________

20 / February-March 2019

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker


ooking ahead to the 2019 peanut crop, growers are being advised not to plant more peanuts than they did last year to prevent an oversupply and lower prices. That was the recommendation UGA Peanut Agronomist Dr. Scott Monfort shared at the 43rd Annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show & Conference. “We need to stay at acres we are now or drop them down a little,” Monfort said. “Will this happen? It will depend on what cotton prices do.” At the end of November, UGA Extension reported Georgia farmers produced 628,000 acres in 2018, down from 714,168 in 2017. Monfort’s main recommendation for growers' 2019 crop is to not cut corners on things known to provide a positive financial return like quality seed, needed soil amendments indicated by soil tests, insect and weed control. Concerning disease management for the coming crop, UGA Plant Pathologist Dr. Bob Kemerait is encouraging peanut growers to use in–furrow fungicide treatment to protect their crop against diseases. He says this year growers will be able to request whether their seeds are treated with Rancona or Dynasty PD depending on what seed dealers have available. Kemerait said both fungicides are very effective. “For plant stand protection, whether you use Racona or Dynasty PD for seed treatment, you can expect good performance,” Kemerait said. “The bottom line is don’t plant without seed treatment for fungicide.”

’18 crop assessment

Most of the yield loss Georgia farmers had in their 2018 peanut crop was due to wet, cloudy weather experienced before Hurricane Michael. “We had Michael stuck in our head as the main weather

event, but even without Michael we had weather issues that impacted our peanut crop,” Monfort said. “We were about 60 accumulated heat units behind normal for June and July.” Monfort said 60 to 65 percent of Georgia’s peanut crop was harvested when Hurricane Michael hit. He blamed the wet spring and cloudy weather during the bloom period of the 2018 crop for diseases that decreased crop yields. While Hurricane Michael did delay harvest by damaging peanut infrastructure across the peanut belt, the storm helped some growers. “Hurricane Michael helped us get the dryland [peanut] crop out because we were pretty dry before it hit,” Monfort said. “The non-irrigated yields saved the state average. Dryland peanuts gave more yields than irrigated due to all the rain they received.” Despite obstacles peanut growers faced, Monfort said the 2018 crop was better than expected. Although Georgia’s peanut crop lost an average of 800 pounds/ acre in yield due to disease, the average yield per acre was 4,382 pounds/acre, which Monfort called “phenomenal.”

Mandated Auxin training classes March 1 – April 18 There are 27 sessions at various locations across Georgia for producers to receive the Using Pesticides Wisely (UPW) training. This is required training for anyone applying Engenia, XtendiMax or FeXapan. Also, persons in charge of Enlist One and Enlist Duo in-crop applications must attend. The training will last about 2 hours, 15 minutes. Immediately afterward, there will be a 45-minute training for those individuals wanting to obtain a 2 year certified pesticide applicators license to apply Engenia, XtendiMax or FeXapan. Each location has limited capacity. Advance registration is required. For a complete list of training dates and locations, visit

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Georgia Farm Bureau’s 2nd District held its 10th Annual Young Farmer & Rancher Steer & Heifer Show Jan. 19 at the Habersham County Agriculture Center. Eighty-three students competed in the event that is held to help cattle exhibitors in the district sharpen their showmanship skills between the Georgia National Fair in October and the Georgia Junior National Livestock Show in February. Ellie Clark of Hall County won the $300 prize for Supreme Champion Heifer. Wyatt Chandler of Jackson County won the $300 prize for Grand Champion Steer. Austin Hill of Jackson County won the 12th Grade Showmanship and a $250 prize. Shelby Dalton of Banks County won the $500 Academic Scholarship given by the GFB 2nd District Young Farmer & Rancher Steer & Heifer Show Committee. For a complete list of winners and to read more about the show, visit www.

Photo by Justine Palmer

GFB 2nd District holds 10th Annual Cattle Show

Austin Hill of Jackson County was the 12th Grade Showmanship winner in the 10th Annual GFB District 2 Young Farmer & Rancher Steer & Heifer Show. He’s pictured with his dad, Paul. For photos of other winners visit

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Georgia Farm Bureau News



February-March 2019 / 21

UGA experts predict challenging times for farmers A variety of challenges face Georgia’s farmers for the 2019 crop year, speakers at the 2019 Georgia Ag Forecast Series said. These include Hurricane Michael recovery and continuing low commodity prices. Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long, speaking at the Macon meeting in January, said crop damage from Hurricane Michael was the worst he’s experienced. “It’ll be several years getting past that,” Long said. It’s been a very challenging year. It doesn’t really matter what type of agriculture, and the impact is not just for farmers.” Long, who farms outside Bainbridge where the center of the storm hit, noted one cotton gin in southwest Georgia was expecting to handle 180,000 bales but will only gin about 50,000 bales because of losses due to weather. UGA ag economists addressed other hurdles facing farmers, chief among them international trade. “There’s a lot of things going on right now in the ag sector,” said UGA Assistant Professor of Agricultural & Applied Economics Adam Rabinowitz. “You really do hope at times you can pull something out of a hat that says this is the golden egg or rabbit. The situation is a little rough.”

Row crop forecast

Cotton, peanut, corn and soybean producers are all wrangling with trade issues, and it is unclear how long it will last. Rabinowitz said cotton exports are declining in part because of increasing strength of the U.S. dollar. Increases in ending stocks are contributing to lower U.S. cotton prices, which UGA forecast between 65 cents and 75 cents per pound. Rabinowitz forecast net cotton return of $310 per acre for irrigated land and $90 an acre for non-irrigated 22 / February-March 2019

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

By Jay Stone _____________________________________

The series of UGA Ag Forecast meetings held across Georgia in late January gave farmers and Georgia’s agriculture community an idea of what to expect for commodity prices in 2019.

land (not counting land rent). After 2017’s record peanut production, a significant reduction in peanut acreage last year pushed production down, but ending stocks of more than two billion pounds are still the third highest in 10 years. Prices near $425 per ton are possible for the 2019 peanut crop. UGA forecasts a net return of $270 per irrigated acre for peanuts and $90 per non-irrigated acre, minus land rent. Rabinowitz said prices for Georgia corn would likely be around $4.50$4.60 per bushel, but the big question surrounding U.S. corn is whether strong exports continue. Corn acreage is likely to increase in 2019 because of lower soybean prices relative to corn. Corn net return is forecast at $280 per irrigated acre and $65 per non-irrigated acre (minus land rent). Soybean producers are likely to decrease acreage in 2019 due to lower commodity prices. Soybeans have been under tremendous pressure related to the trade conflict with China, which has resulted in diminished exports and increased stocks. The soybean outlook is highly dependent on China, which has decreased soybeans fed to its hogs.

The net return on soybeans is forecast at $240 per irrigated acre and $45 per non-irrigated acre, minus land rent. Input costs for 2019 are a “mixed bag,” Rabinowitz said, with fertilizer, machinery, labor and interest all increasing, while seed and chemical prices vary, land values and cash rents remain stable and diesel decreases.

Livestock forecast

UGA Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development Director Kent Wolfe reviewed factors affecting livestock prices. Combined, poultry, beef and pork production are forecast to double from 2018 to 2020 over the average between 2013 and 2017. Wolfe noted a decline in heifer retention and increase in slaughter of beef cattle. Calf prices have declined since 2014. Poultry prices fell over the second half of 2018. Wolfe noted retailers began promoting more beef and pork over chicken last summer and fall. Increased pork production has created downward pressure on pork prices. Wolfe said China’s domestic pig population is being affected by African Swine Fever. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

UGA ag school among nation’s best

Dean Sam Pardue delivered good stats for the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences.

By Jay Stone _____________________________________

UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) Dean Sam Pardue delivered a review of the college’s performance at the Ag Forecast meetings held statewide in January. For fall 2018, Pardue said CAES had more than 2,000 students enrolled. According to, CAES ranks No. 1 in poultry science, No. 2 in plant AFBF from page 15 American history. The founding fathers and mothers of our nation and of Farm Bureau were guided by a divine hand, a hand that still guides us today.” During the AFBF business session on Jan. 15, voting delegates adopted the organization’s position on a variety of farm-related issues. Four policies submitted by GFB were adopted by AFBF as its national policy. GFB’s policy recommendations adopted by AFBF were: U.S. Department of Transportation vehicle registration information be kept confidential; farmers be allowed to update base acres in the next farm bill; proportional federal assistance for producers harmed by tariffs during trade negotiations; and funding for Southeastern land grant universities to market live and processed sheep and goats. GFB President Gerald Long was reelected to the AFBF Board of Directors for a second two-year term. GFB received an AFBF Awards of Excellence for demonstrating outstanding achievements in the following four program areas: advocacy, engagement & outreach; leadership & business development and membership value. Georgia Farm Bureau News

breeding, No 8 in plant pathology, No. 9 in food science, No. 10 in soil sciences and agronomy and No. 10 in horticulture. The Center for World University Rankings ranked UGA’s entomology program No. 8 in the world and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis ranked UGA’s Agricultural Economics Department No. 17 in the world. Pardue noted UGA is one of the nation’s top universities for bringing new products to market. Overall, UGA innovators took 52 products to market in 2017, with 175 companies built on UGA research and 1,300 jobs created. Pardue said between 13 and 17 percent of UGA’s inventors are CAES faculty and account for three fourths of the revenue from new technology generated by UGA inventions. “You should be proud of the fact that those scientists are creating things,” Pardue said. “The scientists in the college generate information that people are willing to pay money to license.”

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February-March 2019 / 23

Photo by Jay Stone

This is one of two cotton pickers Dooly County farmer Clegg Griggs was running Jan. 28 to get his crop in. At that time, he still had about a quarter of his crop left to pick.

Rain pushes ’18 cotton harvest into '19 By Jay Stone _____________________________________

For most Georgia cotton growers, the 2018 crop will be remembered as the one where Hurricane Michael blew a sizeable portion of the state’s biggest field crop to the ground, unharvestable. On Nov. 19, 2018, the UGA Cooperative Extension Service estimated the hurricane’s estimated crop damage to cotton between $550 million and $600 million. In a broader sense, fall 2018 will be referred to as the time when the weather didn’t cooperate. At all. “We only had about 12 percent of our cotton harvested when Hurricane Michael hit,” said Georgia Cotton Commission Executive Director Richey Seaton, who estimated Georgia lost up to 40 percent of its cotton crops. “The weather conditions after the hurricane – rain, a few days of sunshine, more rain. Our soils are so saturated with moisture now, even if you get a tenth [of an inch] or two of rain, it looks like you had a really big rainfall event.” Following Michael, which hit Georgia Oct. 10 and 11, persistent heavy rains from November through January 24 / February-March 2019

have kept farmers out of their fields, waiting for enough dry days to firm up the ground and dry the cotton fibers. “Some folks are still picking cotton. We’ve never picked cotton the first part of the next year,” Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long said in remarks at the Jan. 22, UGA Ag Forecast meeting. Some producers were still working on getting the cotton out of the field into February. Dooly County Farm Bureau Director Clegg Griggs, who planted about 2,200 acres of cotton, still had about 550 acres left on Jan. 28, and with heavy rains forecast for the next day, he was certain the harvest would drag into February. “Your operation comes to a grinding halt,” Griggs said. “It sets timing behind for the next season as well. Usually by now we’re putting out cover crop and getting ready for the next year.” Griggs pointed out a tract at the edge of one of his fields, about eight acres in a low spot that he said likely would not be harvested. By most accounts, Georgia was headed for a massive cotton crop in 2018 before Michael. On Feb. 1, Seaton said approximately 10 percent of the state’s 2018 cotton crop had not been harvested. Cotton

picked late will have diminished quality. “I’m sure 2018 is a year that we’ll remember both for the potential our crop had and the devastation of the hurricane and our economic loss from poor harvest conditions,” Seaton said. On Jan. 28, Griggs pulled a tuft of cotton out of its boll and demonstrated how the seed inside had already rotted. “The quality has taken a tremendous blow,” Griggs said. “The seeds are in very poor to nonexistent condition and the grades of the lint are very low. I don’t know what the grades are at the moment, but I can tell just by the cotton itself that it’s not going to be pretty.” Long said his son, Justin, stopped picking cotton in mid-January because the twisted stalks left from the hurricane kept clogging the combine machinery, which slows the pace of harvest and leaves debris in the cotton after it’s picked. Griggs said the twigs and bark in harvested cotton will further degrade the quality of the lint. “A farmer works real hard to do the best he can for a good crop,” Griggs said. It’s heartbreaking to see it hit the ground through no fault of his own.” Georgia Farm Bureau News

Davis, Mathis named to Ga. Cotton Commission; Webb honored for 15 years of service In December, the Georgia Commodity Commission (GCC) Ex Officio Committee re-appointed Bart Davis, a cotton, peanut, corn, and cattle farmer from Doerun, to another threeyear term on the GCC board. Chad Mathis, a cotton, peanut,

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February-March 2019 / 25

Photo courtesy of GCC

Photo courtesy of GCC

Cotton growers Bart Davis, left, & Chad Mathis, right, are serving on the Georgia Cotton Commission Board of Directors.

and corn farmer from Arlington was appointed to his first term on the GCC board. The GCC Ex Officio Committee consists of Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long, Russ Moon and Buddy Leger. Davis, who has chaired the GCC since 2017 and served on the GCC since 2012, operates Davis Farms with his wife, daughter, and two sons. Davis serves as chairman of the Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation of Georgia, is a delegate to the National Cotton Council, a director for Southern Cotton Growers, and is an alternate director for Cotton Incorporated. Mathis succeeds Jimmy Webb of Jimmy Webb Calhoun County on the GCC Board. Mathis is a partner in Mathis Farms General Partners with his father and brother. He graduated from Valdosta State University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and returned to the farm in 1998. Mathis has three sons. Webb was honored at the December GCC Board meeting for representing Southwest Georgia cotton producers on the GCC Board for 15 years. He is a cotton, peanut, and corn producer from Leary. Webb served on the GCC Board from 20002011 and 2015-2018. He will continue to serve the industry as treasurer of the Cotton Board and as a director of Staplcotn. Webb has three adult children and two grandchildren.

around georgia news from county farm bureaus Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker

More county Farm Bureau activities are featured on the Friends of Georgia Farm Bureau Facebook group page at Join the group to get county news as it happens!

CLINCH COUNTY----------------------------------------------------------------- Clinch County Farm Bureau used the Forestry Traveling Trunk provided by the Destination Ag Project to teach the entire second grade at Clinch County Elementary School about timber. CCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Alice Babbit read Chuck Leavell’s book “The Tree Farmer.” Georgia Forestry Commission staff discussed how the commission helps landowners manage timber stands. The students made peach ornaments to take home to decorate their Christmas trees. CCFB Office Manager Britt Griffis is pictured with her daughter, Ryleigh, one of the students who enjoyed the lesson. COBB COUNTY--------------------------------------------------------------------- Cobb County Farm Bureau is partnering with Chick-fil-A West Cobb to teach kids and their parents about agriculture. CCFB President Stan Kirk and CCFB Secretary Melissa Hames showed kids how to plant basil and kale seeds during a Kids Night the restaurant held in November. Since gratitude was the night’s theme, children also colored turkeys and wrote what they were grateful for.

COLQUITT COUNTY------------------------------------------------------------ Colquitt County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee thought outside the box to educate parents and kids about dairy products. The committee teamed up with a local gift shop to hold a Milk & Cookies with Santa event in December. Kids had fun decorating cow sugar cookies and received dairy coloring and fact sheets. Everyone enjoyed fresh milk from local dairy Sparkman Cream Valley. Santa even dropped by dressed in overalls. Special thanks to CCFB Young Farmers Logan and Rob Cannon for hosting the event at their shop! CRAWFORD COUNTY---------------------------------------------------------- Crawford County Farm Bureau has teamed up with kindergarten teacher Amy Hill, pictured, to deliver a series of Farmtastic Friday lessons to her class most weeks. Lesson topics have included healthy nutrition choices, tractors and the various commodities farmers grow. CCFB supports Hill’s efforts by providing ag educational materials for each lesson and sending Office Manager Stephanie Floyd to help with the classes. Continued on next page

May 1 Centennial Farm Award deadline Is your farm at least 100 years old? If so, it's probably eligible for one of three awards the Georgia Centennial Farm program presents each fall. The Centennial Family Farm Award recognizes farms owned by members of the same family for at least 100 years. The Centennial Heritage Farm Award honors farms that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places

26 / February-March 2019

(NRHP) and owned by the same family for 100 years or more. The Centennial Farm Award doesn’t require continual family ownership, but farms must be at least 100 years old and listed in the NRHP. Farm owners interested in applying for the 2019 awards should visit or contact Sarah Love at 770-389-7856 or

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Continued from previous page__________________________________________________________________________________ ELBERT COUNTY------------------------------------------------------------------ SUMTER COUNTY-------------------------------------------------- Thanks to Sumter County Farm Bureau (SCFB) Direc Elbert County tor Matt Berry and Office Manager Jena Tyler, first and Farm Bureau (ECFB) fourth grade students at Sumter County Charter School facilitated a field have a better understanding of the differences between trip for a group of beef and dairy cattle. students to the cattle Berry, who raises farm of ECFB Direcbeef cattle, told the tor Ron Ward, picstudents how he and tured, and his wife, other farmers care Charlotte. Ward took for their livestock. the group on a hay Tyler and Berry ride over the farm, explained that beef allowed the kids to cattle are primarily pet the beef cattle and let them feed the cows. Charlotte raised for meat while fed the students hamburgers made from beef raised on the dairy cows produce farm. Elbert County Extension Agent Patrick Marcellino was on hand to answer questions the kids had about raising milk used to make an assortment of dairy products. The students enjoyed making beef cattle. butter in a jar and tasting it. FANNIN COUNTY------------------------------------------------------TWIGGS COUNTY-------------------------------------------------- Fannin County Twiggs County Farm Bureau (FCFB) Farm Bureau spread and the Fannin some Christmas County Young cheer by donating Farmers Association a copy of Christmas co-hosted an appreFarm to Twiggs Acadciation breakfast for emy and the Twiggs local elected offiCounty Library. The cials Jan. 7. Fannin books were used in County Farm Bureau Christmas festivities President Tom at the school and liHamby, right, visits brary. Twiggs County with Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby during the event. Librarian Hope Brown, pictured, accepted the book for the FCFB Directors and Young Farmer members helped library. with cooking the meal and greeting the elected officials. Each official received a gift basket with Farm Bureau & Young Farmer information. Local businesses also donated WARREN COUNTY---------------------------------- Warren County items for the baskets. Farm Bureau took LONG COUNTY----------------------------------------------------------- part in Warrenton’s 25th Annual Sport Long County Farm man’s Festival last Bureau has been busy fall. The WCFB this winter teaching booth displayed a vaelementary students riety of commodities what farm life was with plenty of info like in the late 1800s. on peanuts. WCFB LCFB Office ManDirector Michael ager Katelyn Poppell Griffith and Vice read “Winter on the President Rita Johnson, pictured, were among the volunFarm” to second teers and staff handing out boiled peanuts and samples of graders at Smiley Elthe GFB roasted peanuts. ementary and to third graders at McClelland Elementary. She taught the students how to make butter by placing cream in a jar and shaking it until it thickens. The students enjoyed tasting the butter. Georgia Farm Bureau News

February-March 2019 / 27

Ag in the Classroom update

By Lauren Goble, GFB AITC Coordinator

Photo by Jay Stone

GFB Women's Committee promotes ag literacy

Jennifer Carroll accepts the 2018 Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award from Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long.

Georgia Farm Bureau recently honored Carroll County elementary teacher Jennifer Carroll for the creative ways she is educating her students how agriculture impacts their daily lives. GFB presented Carroll with its 2018 Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award in December at its annual convention. As the award winner, Carroll received a $500 cash prize and an expense-paid trip to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, in June. Carroll is the Roopville Elementary School (RES) science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) coordinator and gifted teacher. She taught her secondgrade students the life cycle of poultry by raising chickens with the students! After the chickens lay eggs in the class chicken coop, the students collect them. Once enough eggs are collected, the students made omelets and taste tested them. Carroll’s fifth-grade students grew squash, zucchini, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe and peppers from seeds. They raised the plants to sell to the community as a fundraiser for future greenhouse projects. The hands-on activity helped students appreciate the hard work farmers perform daily to feed consumers. Carroll has taught school for 21 years. She has taught at RES for 17 years and was named the 2017 RES Teacher of the Year. She previously taught at Fairplay Middle School in Douglas County from 1998 to 2001. 28 / February-March 2019

Photo by Jay Stone

Carroll wins GFB teaching award Members of Georgia Farm Bureau’s 2019 Women’s Leadership Committee are working within their districts and statewide to increase the awareness and understanding consumers have of agriculture. The committee hosts the annual GFB Educational Leadership Conference and activities tailored for each GFB district designed to prepare county volunteers and staff to conduct ag literacy activities in their communities. Nancy Kennedy of Hancock County is chairing the committee this year as she serves the final year of her three-year term on the committee. New members joining the committee this year are Chy Kellogg of Cobb County as the GFB 3rd

District Chairman and Melissa Mathis of Monroe County as the GFB 5th District Chairman. Committee members are: front row, from left: Peggy Lee, Bacon County, GFB 10th Dist.; Carol Baker-Dunn, Houston County, GFB 8th Dist.; Committee Chairman Nancy Kennedy, Hancock County, GFB 4th Dist.; Heather Cabe, Franklin County, GFB 2nd Dist.; Melissa Mathis, Monroe County, GFB 5th Dist.; back row, from left: Angela Todd, Evans County, GFB 7th Dist.; Chy Kellogg, Cobb County, GFB 3rd Dist.; Greta Collins, Colquitt County, GFB 9th Dist.; and Linda Leslie, Chattooga County, GFB 1st Dist.

Head to Callaway Gardens to plant seeds for ag literacy County Farm Bureau volunteers and staff looking to learn new ways to increase ag literacy in their counties will want to reserve April 12-13 to attend the annual Georgia Farm Bureau Educational Leadership Conference at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain. Children’s book author and cranberry producer Lisl Detlefsen will deliver the keynote address. Detlefsen will discuss her life as a cranberry producer with her husband and two sons. She will also talk about being an author and why accurate ag books matter. Her first book, Time for

Cranberries, has won multiple honors such as the 2017 Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Book of the Year. Detlefsen has six new titles in the works, including Right This Very Minute, the launch title for Feeding Minds Press, the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s new publishing venture for children’s books. The conference will include numerous workshops designed to help Farm Bureau volunteers and staff implement ag activities at the county level. Contact your county Farm Bureau for more information. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Bentley leading Ga. Agribusiness Council

cil, is a member of the UGA AgriAbility Board, the Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture Board, and a member of the 2017 Leadership Georgia class. Will Bentley Bentley and his wife, Ember, live in Macon where they attend Vineville United Methodist Church.

Will Bentley is now president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council effective Nov. 1, 2018. Bentley most recently served as executive vice president of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association and the Georgia Beef Board from 2014-2018. In these roles, he was extremely active in local, state and federal policy formulation and advocacy, and lobbied on behalf of Georgia cattle

producers. Bentley is well known among Georgia elected officials and within the agribusiness community. He is a native of Thomaston, Ga., where he and his family own and operate Bentley Farms. He is a Shorter College graduate with a major in business marketing and a minor in communications. Bentley serves on the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Advisory Coun-

Sandlin named Ga. Cattlemen’s Executive VP

National AITC Conference heads to Arkansas

The Georgia Cattlemen’s Association has named Dale Sandlin as the organization’s new executive vice president. Sandlin will join GCA on April 1. Sandlin currently serves as the managing director for the Hawaii Cattlemen’s CounDale Sandlin cil (HCC) Inc., the Hawaii Beef Industry Council (HBIC) and the Hawaii Rangeland Stewardship Foundation. “I think his experience and knowledge will be an asset to GCA,” said GCA President Kristy Arnold. Sandlin grew up on a small farm and ranch in Olney, Texas, where his family raised cattle and wheat. He has a master’s degree in ag communications and journalism from Texas A&M. Under Sandlin’s leadership, HCC grew its membership and expanded member services. He improved the organization’s stature and recognition in the Hawaii state legislature, where he served as the lobbyist for Hawaii’s cattle industry. As managing director for HBIC, Sandlin led efforts to improve the promotion outreach activities in Hawaii. HBIC created cooking videos, found new events to promote beef and promoted the ecosystem services ranchers provide to the public as part of the daily management activities on their ranches. Sandlin and his wife, M’Randa, have one daughter, Della. Georgia Farm Bureau News

The National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference has become a popular event with Georgia county Farm Bureau volunteers and teachers. “Agventure in the Natural State,” is the theme for this year’s event, which runs June 19-21 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Keynote speakers will be Temple Grandin and Dr. Marty Matlock. Grandin, an advocate for autistic communities and the humane treatment of animals, will share her experience of growing up autistic and the research she did for ag colleges and feedlots to improve the handling of

cattle. Matlock will discuss his research at the University of Arkansas to increase the resilience of ecosystem services in human-dominated ecosystems. Please visit https://www.agclassroom. org/conferences/index.cfm for more information or to register. The registration cost is $435 before April 15. The cost is $485 for those who register from April 16June 10 and $535 for onsite registration. For more information about Georgia’s Ag in the Classroom program, contact Lauren Goble at or 478474-0679, ext. 5135.


Ag news you can use!

• Free bimonthly newsletter emailed to subscribers • Timely news about Ga. commodities and legislative issues important to agriculture and agribusiness • Updates on GFB volunteers, programs, member benefits and current events • Comprehensive calendar of upcoming ag events around Georgia To subscribe, visit February-March 2019 / 29

Young Farmers & Ranchers update By Erin Nessmith, YF&R Coordinator Photo by Jay Stone

Farm Bureau raises $25,600 for Ga. food banks From right, 2018 GFB YF&R Chairman Dustin Covington and GFB President Gerald Long, present a donation to Georgia Food Bank Association Executive Director Danah Craft at the 2018 GFB Annual Convention.

ing and distributing food donations. GFB’s donation will be distributed among food banks in Savannah, Atlanta, Northwest Georgia, Columbus, Athens, Augusta, Macon and Valdosta. Since 2004, GFB has coordinated 13 Harvest for All campaigns through which GFB members across the state donated about 49,000 pounds of staple food items in addition to the cash donations distributed to Georgia food banks affiliated with Feeding America.

Photo by Jay Stone

Georgia Farm Bureau presented the Georgia Food Bank Association a check for $25,600 during the 81st Annual

Georgia Farm Bureau Convention. Funds for the donation were raised through Farm Bureau’s Harvest for All campaign, which collected donations from county Farm Bureaus, the organization’s state office, and the 2018 GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee’s “Calf’s Weight in Change” drive held last summer. In addition to helping with purchases of high-protein foods like chicken and peanut butter, donated money helps the GFBA offset costs associated with collect-

The 2019 Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee, from left: Josh Howell (Christina not pictured), Wilkinson County, 6th Dist.; Committee Vice Chairman John Douglas Newton, Jenkins County, 7th Dist.; Brighton & Jesse Patrick, Putnam County, 4th Dist.; Nicole & Brian Fleming, Hart County, 2nd

Dist.; Jamie & Brandon Wade, Bacon County, 10th Dist.; Committee Chairmen Vicki & Ben Cagle, Cherokee County, 1st Dist.; Kendall & Preston Jimmerson, Colquitt County, 9th Dist.; Will & Charlsy Godowns, Pike County, 5th Dist.; Cason Anderson, Houston County, 8th Dist.; & Daniel Welliver, Henry County, 3rd Dist.

Young Farmers & Ranchers Gaining Ground Last year, members of the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee set out to gain ground in the agriculture industry, their communities and in GFB. The hashtag, #GainingGround, was used in YF&R materials, promotions, and as the theme of the 2018 YF&R Summer Leadership Conference. As the YF&R program enters 2019, it is evident the committee met its 2018 goal of Gaining Ground. GFB’s YF&R program was well-represented at the 100th American Farm Bureau Convention in January. You can 30 / February-March 2019

read more about how Georgia's YF&R contestants did at AFBF on page 15. The GFB YF&R program looks forward to continuing this momentum. All YF&R program award applications and registration forms will be released on March 1. This includes the Achievement in Agriculture Award, Excellence in Agriculture Award, Discussion Meet, and YF&R Member of the Year. Additionally, registration for the 2019 YF&R Summer Leadership Conference also begins March 1. Contact your county Farm Bureau office for details.

March will be a busy time for GFB’s Young Farmers and Ranchers. From March 5-8, 30 members will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with elected officials, experience the history of our nation’s capital, and learn more about policy development. The next week, the GFB YF&R Committee will travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the AFBF Fusion Conference. If you are interested in learning more about this program, please contact Erin Nessmith at 478-474-0679, ext. 5232 or Georgia Farm Bureau News

EPA’s Wheeler outlines new WOTUS rule During a visit to McCorkle Nurseries in McDuffie County, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler outlined key features of the new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule and encouraged agricultural stakeholders to respond during the required comment period. While speaking to Georgia farmers and ag supporters on Feb. 6, Wheeler emphasized three key principles the agency kept in mind while writing the new rule intended to replace the 2015 rule the EPA and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers implemented. “We will hear from a lot of people who are unhappy with it. We will hear from a lot of people who want us to go back to the 2015 definition,” Wheeler said. “It’s important that your voices are heard. Please let us know what you think about our proposal.” The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released details of their new proposed WOTUS definition in December. Its publication in the Federal Register was delayed by the partial federal government shutdown and is scheduled to be published in mid-February. Ensuring that a land owner could tell whether water on their property is under federal jurisdiction without having to hire an outside professional was the first principle the agency followed while writing the rule, Wheeler said. The second principle was to clearly define the difference between federally and state-protected water. “The federal government is not the only government out there protecting water,” Wheeler said. “The states do it as well.” The third principle was to provide certainty for the American public in a manner that would be upheld by the courts. The new WOTUS definition has six Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone ____________________________________

Pictured from left, McCorkle Nurseries operator and GFB 4th District Director Skeetter McCorkle, along with GFB President Gerald Long and Georgia Ag Commissioner Gary Black welcomed EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to McDuffie County on Feb. 6 and thanked Wheeler for the work the agency is doing to develop practical water regulations. More photos available at

components: traditional navigable waters; tributaries to those waters; ditches constructed to be navigable or tributaries; certain lakes and ponds; impoundments; and wetlands adjacent to any of the other five components.

Key non-WOTUS features include: those that only contain water during or after a rainfall; ground water; roadside and farm ditches; prior converted cropland and stormwater control; and wastewater treatment features.


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