Georgia Farm Bureau News Magazine Spring 2022

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Spring 2022


GFB Board of Directors Representing GA Agriculture

U.S. Farmers & Diplomats visit Georgia Farms

Vol. 84 No. 1

Cotton Trust Protocol needs GA growers

'22 Crop Outlook

Farm Bureau members receive





FORD F-150



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Want to subscribe? Join Georgia Farm Bureau to receive GFB News four times a year. Membership means supporting farmers & agriculture while having access to more than 300,000 discounts. Visit

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pages 12 & 13

pages 18 & 19

GFB Board of Directors representing Georgia agriculture

U.S. farmers & international diplomats visit McDuffie County farms

Economists give ’22 crop outlook

pages 14 & 15

Georgia cotton farmers: U.S. Trust Protocol wants you!

pages 20 & 21

Talking is important for good mental health

page 10

Lance finishes fourth in AFBF YF&R contest Jessica Lance won great CASE IH prizes as the fourth place winner of AFBF’s Excellence in Agriculture contest.

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Perdue honored with AFBF Distinguished Service Award

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Courage over comfort

Marji Guyler-Alaniz ventured out of her comfort zone to start FarmHer.

Georgia farmers have long known Sonny Perdue supports them. After his term as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, the rest of the county does too.

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Kenny Burgamy


page 5

Jennifer Whittaker

Public Policy

Jay Stone

pages 24 & 25

Jared McGukin

Graphic Designer

Logan Thomas


page 26

McDaniel, Dalton: GFB 2nd District cattle show top winners

GFB 5th & 7th Districts go hog wild

GFB News Staff

Ga. Foundation for Agriculture

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Departments View from the Field

GFB mourns Long & Lee


News Reporter


On The Cover: Learn what UGA experts predict 2022 ag markets will look like with the higher production costs and supply chain disruptions farmers are experiencing.

Ag in the Classroom page 28

YF&R Program page 29

Women's Leadership Program Georgia Farm Bureau News

For information concerning advertising, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-6529080 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

Spring 2022 3

View from the Field Tom McCall, GFB President Most legislators have very little, if any, firsthand knowledge about farm issues. That is not going to change if current demographic trends continue, and all indications are pointing that way. But this fact does not mean non-farm legislators have no interest in agriculture. It simply means that we, as farmers and ag leaders, must improve our methods of legislative engagement so that our voices are heard. Georgia Farm Bureau took a major step in that direction during the 2021 GFB Annual Convention when all 648 delegates voted unanimously to create a federal and a state political action committee (PAC). I was proud of that overwhelming show of support, and the PACs will become an important tool helping our organization support solid candidates who will stand with Georgia agriculture. I want to thank my friend, Chatham County Farm Bureau Chatham County Farm Bureau President Ed Zipperer, President Ed Zipperer, for his left, presents first contribution made for GFB Impact unwavering call to establish the Fund to GFB President Tom McCall. GFB PACs. On the floor of the Photo by Kenny Burgamy Convention, before the vote was even taken, President Zipperer made his county Farm Bureau the first contributor to the PACs. I am asking other county Farm Bureaus and leaders to follow Mr. Zipperer’s lead and invest in the PACs. As farmers, we sometimes think if we go about our business of growing crops and livestock, things away from the farm will take care of themselves. I’m not sure that was ever true, but it is certainly not true today. We must be involved in things off the farm that affect us. I have often said that I did not inherit my farm from my parents; I am borrowing it from my children and grandchildren. To preserve our farms for the next generation, advocacy must be a major part of our business model. The PACs will be called the ‘GFB Federal Impact Fund” and the “GFB State Impact Fund.” They will be another tool to support the candidates and initiatives that support our way of life. Please consider making an investment in agriculture by contributing to the GFB PACs. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.


OFFICERS President TOM McCALL, Elbert Co. 1st Vice President and South Georgia Vice President DANIEL JOHNSON, Pierce Co. Middle Georgia Vice President RALPH CALDWELL, Heard County North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS, Catoosa Co. General Counsel DUKE GROOVER Chief Financial Officer, Corp. Treasurer & GFBMIC Exec. VP DAVID JOLLEY Chief Administrative Officer JEFFREY HARVEY Corporate Secretary & Senior Counsel JEANNA FENNELL Asst. Corp. Treasurer & Sr. Director of Accounting RACHEL MOSELY DIRECTORS FIRST DISTRICT: Bill Bryan, Chattooga Co.; Wesley Hall, Forsyth Co.; SECOND DISTRICT: Gilbert Barrett, Habersham Co.; Russ Moon, Madison Co.;THIRD DISTRICT: Brad Marks, Newton Co.; Nora Goodman, Paulding Co.; FOURTH DISTRICT: Skeetter McCorkle, McDuffie Co.; Russ Wilburn, Barrow Co.; FIFTH DISTRICT: Matt Bottoms, Pike Co.; Leighton Cooley, Crawford Co.; SIXTH DISTRICT: James Malone, Laurens Co.; James Emory Tate, Jeff Davis Co.; SEVENTH DISTRICT: Gary Bell, Evans Co.; Ben Boyd, Screven Co.; EIGHTH DISTRICT: Scotty Raines, Turner Co.; Don Wood, Wilcox Co.; NINTH DISTRICT: Lucius Adkins, Baker Co.; Paul Shirah, Mitchell Co.; TENTH DISTRICT: David Lee, Bacon Co.; Lamar Vickers, Berrien Co.; YOUNG FARMERS & RANCHERS CHAIR: Walt Pridgen, Coffee Co.; WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP CHAIR: Melissa Mathis, Monroe Co. ADVERTISING POLICY All advertising accepted subject to publisher’s approval. Advertisers must assume liability for content of their advertising. Publisher maintains right to cancel advertising for non-payment or reader complaint about advertiser service or products. Publisher does not accept per-order, political or alcoholic beverage ads, nor does publisher prescreen or guarantee advertiser service or products. Publisher assumes no liability for products or services advertised in the Georgia Farm Bureau News. For advertising rates and information, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or Georgia Farm Bureau News was established in 1937. Copyright 2022 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.

Tom McCall, GFB President

4 Spring 2022

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Public Policy Update

GFB members are key to our legislative success By Katie Duvall

Photo by Logan Thomas Buzzwords: We all know them. We all use them. Whether you’re a business owner “pivoting” during these “unprecedented times,” a “grassroots” candidate seeking an endorsement in our “battleground state,” or a farmer providing a “sustainable, safe and local food supply,” we’re inundated daily with buzzwords. “Advocacy” is a buzzword Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) often uses. You may grow tired of hearing it, but we won’t stop promoting it. GFB has been preaching advocacy since our organization was founded in 1937. When that group of 50 farmers gathered on the Bartow County courthouse steps, they adopted GFB’s core mission of being a united voice for Georgia farmers in the legislative arenas of Atlanta and Washington, D.C. This is a charge we continue nearly 85 years later. GFB President Tom McCall understands the importance of advocacy, not only as the leader of Georgia’s largest general ag organization, but as a past elected official. Since his election in December 2020, Mr. McCall has been an ardent supporter of our advocacy efforts and has worked to promote them as he has met with GFB members statewide.

Thanks to years of careful vetting and consideration by our members, the GFB Board of Directors and former GFB President Gerald Long, President McCall has been able to help implement one of GFB’s largest developments in the past 85 years: the creation of the GFB Impact Fund, our new political action committee (PAC). The GFB Impact Fund will help us as the demographics of our state continue to shift, and it becomes more important to support elected officials who support farmers and believe in the future of Georgia agriculture. Many of you who attended the Advocacy in Action session at the 2021 GFB Convention are already using the skills you acquired to advocate in your districts and statewide. If you haven’t started engaging with your elected officials, it’s never too late. We are in the middle of the legislative session and “right to farm” continues to be GFB’s top priority as the GFB Board of Directors named it our spotlight issue for 2022. As the 40-day legislative calendar winds down, we need our grassroots network of advocates to help move it across the finish line.

"We are in the middle of the legislative session and “right to farm” continues to be GFB’s top priority as the GFB Board of Directors named it our spotlight issue for 2022." I hope you’ve read President McCall’s column. In it, he champions our members for their dedication to their farms, and encourages you to join GFB in advocating for agriculture and support the GFB Impact Fund. If you are unsure where to start, reach out to President McCall and the GFB Public Policy Department to join our advocacy programs. With 236 state legislators, GFB’s work is never done, however, the advocacy activities our GFB members conduct in every legislative district make you our greatest strength under the Gold Dome and in D.C.

Katie Duvall is the Advocacy & Policy Development Coordinator in the GFB Public Policy Department. She may be reached at or 478.474.0679, ext. 5217.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

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GFB Board of Directors Representing Georgia Agriculture

'22 Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors Photo by Logan Thomas

Please see page 4 for a complete list of the GFB Board of Directors.

As you attend Georgia Farm Bureau in-person meetings this year, you’ll hear new leaders introduced. In the past two years, Georgia Farm Bureau voting delegates have elected six new farmer leaders to Georgia Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors. Two GFB staff members have new executive positions. With this many new faces, we wanted to highlight the new and returning members of the Georgia Farm Bureau board.

Class of '20 GFB President Tom McCall and GFB 2nd District Director Russ Moon were elected during the 2020 district election meetings. McCall and his wife, Jane, traveled extensively across Georgia last year to meet county Farm Bureau staff and leaders at local offices and events. If you haven’t had a chance to meet the McCalls, check out the feature we ran last year at

Russ Moon Moon, of Madison County, represents the 14 counties in Northeast Georgia that comprise GFB’s 2nd District. Moon and his family raise chickens and beef cattle, grow small grains and soybeans. He and his wife, Mandy, operate a you-pick strawberry farm. The Moons served on the GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee in 2007 & 2008. Moon is president of the Madison County Farm Bureau, is a past chairman of the GFB Poultry Advisory Committee and serves as an ex officio member of the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commissions. The Moons have three children.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News

Class of ‘21 At the 2021 GFB convention, the GFB board gained four new members: Ralph Caldwell was elected GFB Middle Georgia vice president; Gilbert Barrett was elected a GFB 2nd District director; Brad Marks was elected a GFB 3rd District director; and Russ Wilburn was elected a GFB 4th District director.

Ralph Caldwell Caldwell, of Heard County, represents GFB’s Middle Georgia Region, comprised of 56 counties in the mid-part of the state running from Alabama to South Carolina. He and his wife, Kim, farm with his father, Gwen, raising poultry and cattle while growing corn and soybeans. The couple’s son, Colton (Delayna), assists on the farm when needed. He has served as a preacher for more than 30 years and has pastored Indian Creek Baptist Church in Bowdon since 2006. Caldwell has served as a Heard County Farm Bureau (HCFB) director since 1990 and as the HCFB president since 2013. The Caldwells served on the GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee in 1993 & 1994.

Gilbert Barrett Barrett, of Habersham County, represents GFB’s 2nd District. He and his wife, Donna, raise beef cattle and breeder poultry and grow hay. Barrett chaired the Habersham County Farm Bureau (HCFB) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Committee in the early 1990s. The Barretts served on the GFB YF&R Committee in 1993 & 1994. He has served as an HCFB director since the late 1990s, holding numerous offices through the years including six years as president and several years as vice president. Barrett chairs the HCFB Promotion & Education Committee. The Barretts have three adult children: Johnathan, Will & Allison.

Brad Marks Marks, of Newton County, represents the GFB 3rd District’s 14 counties in Metro Atlanta. Marks raises cattle and operates a custom hay and baleage business with his son, B.J. (Kaci). Marks and his wife, Terri, have two other adult sons Cody (Kristin) and Orry (Brandi). Marks chaired the Newton County Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Committee for several years in the 1980s. The Marks served on the GFB YF&R Committee in 1991 & 1992 and chaired the committee in 1992. He was NCFB president from 1993 to 2000 and is a NCFB director. He currently chairs the NCFB Legislative Committee.

Russ Wilburn Wilburn, of Barrow County, represents the GFB 4th District’s 17 counties in Northeast, Central Georgia. Wilburn and his wife, Laura, raise beef cattle and hay. He also owns Russ Wilburn Landscapes, Inc., which operates in the Winder and Athens area. Wilburn has been an active Farm Bureau member since 2004. The Wilburns served on the GFB YF&R Committee in 2016 & 2017 and were the committee vice chairs in 2017. Russ has served on the Barrow County Farm Service Agency Committee the past three years and is a member of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association. .

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Spring 2022 7

GFB names Harvey Chief Adminstrative Officer Longtime Georgia Farm Bureau legislative staff member Jeffrey Harvey is now serving the organization as its chief administrative officer. GFB President Tom McCall announced the GFB Board of Directors were appointing Harvey to his new role on Dec. 7. Harvey succeeds Jon Huffmaster, who retired Jan. 28. Harvey previously led GFB’s legislative efforts as its public policy director since January 2017. “Georgia Farm Bureau members and the agriculture community have benefited greatly from Jeffrey’s leadership at the state and national levels,” McCall said. “He has worked tirelessly to build relationships with state and federal policy makers since joining the Farm Bureau family in 2001.” Harvey began his GFB career as a legislative specialist and then served as assistant director and director of the organization’s former legislative department. A native of Wilcox County, Harvey graduated with a general finance degree from Georgia Southern University and later received his MBA in business management from Georgia Southwestern State University. Harvey and his wife, Tiffany, live in Macon with their son Hudson.

Jeffrey Harvey

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8 Spring 2022

Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB names Fennell Corporate Secretary Jeanna Fennell began serving as Georgia Farm Bureau corporate secretary Feb. 1 after previously serving as assistant corporate secretary. Her promotion follows Jon Huffmaster’s Jan. 28 retirement. “Jeanna brings a wealth of experience at Georgia Farm Bureau to this appointment. That includes being the former director of our claims litigation department and being our senior counsel. She takes this important role at a critical juncture as we pursue our long-term strategic goals,” said GFB President Tom McCall. “She will continue serving as senior counsel while adding her new duties. Jeanna’s organizational skills and legal knowledge continue to serve our members and staff well.” Before joining GFB as director of claims litigation in 2010, Fennell worked in private practice at the Macon law firm James, Bates, Pope & Spivey. She was promoted to GFB senior counsel in 2015 and assistant corporate secretary/senior counsel in 2019. As senior counsel, Fennell provides legal guidance to all GFB departments and oversees the human resources department. A native of Dooly County, Fennell graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts degree and cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree. Fennell lives in Macon and is the mother of two sons, Pete and Charlie. Jeanna Fennell

Bradford leading GFB Policy Department

Alex Bradford

Alex Bradford has been leading the Georgia Farm Bureau Public Policy Department (PPD) since Dec. 7 “Alex has been a crucial member of the GFB Public Policy team in his role working with members of the Georgia General Assembly. That is where I got to know him when I served as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee,” said GFB President Tom McCall. “Alex’s proven leadership and extensive government knowledge has been essential to the success of our organization’s policy efforts and in supporting Georgia farmers in the legislative arena.” Bradford joined the GFB PPD team in January 2015 as a legislative specialist. He was named state affairs coordinator in 2017. Since joining the team, he has represented the GFB Federation in each General Assembly session in Atlanta. A native of Jefferson County, Alabama, Bradford attended the University of Georgia studying political science and international affairs. He graduated with dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in 2010. Bradford was one of 60 students selected to participate in the Institute for Leadership Advancement through the Terry College of Business at UGA. Bradford and his wife, Miranda Williams Bradford, live in Macon.

Photos by Logan Thomas

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Spring 2022 9

Lance finishes fourth in AFBF Excellence in Ag competition Story by Jay Stone

Georgia Farm Bureau’s (GFB) representatives in the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) competitive events represented the state well, and one brought home a prize. State winners Steven and & Tara Green (YF&R Achievement Award), Jessica Lance (YF&R Excellence in Agriculture Award) and Cleve Jackson (YF&R Discussion Meet) all competed for national honors. Lance, from Morgan County, finished fourth in the Excellence in Agriculture Award competition, which recognizes young farmers and ranchers who do not derive the majority of their income from farming, but who actively contribute to agriculture and grow through their involvement in agriculture, leadership activities and Farm Bureau participation. Lance and the other Excellence in Agriculture Award contestants gave individual presentations to teams of three judges. The presentations detailed their biographical backgrounds, agricultural involvement and issues facing agriculture. Lance claimed the fourth-place prize of a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet and Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card, courtesy of Case IH. Brady Revels from Nebraska won the Excellence in Agriculture Award, which had 27 state contestants. Jackson, from Floyd County, advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the YF&R Discussion Meet, which features committee-style conversations focusing on current ag topics. In the first round, the discussions focused on how farmers and ranchers can increase efficiency and transition to green energy sources. In the second round, contestants discussed how to ensure economic viability for small animal processing facilities while maintaining a healthy work environment. In the Sweet 16 round, the contestants explored what can be done to create a preventative approach to farm safety. Malarie Thompson from North Carolina won the Discussion Meet, which drew entries from 31 states. The Greens, from Spalding County, represented Georgia in the Achievement Award event, which recognizes young farmers and ranchers who earn the majority of their income from production agriculture. Jacob and Jill Smoker from Indiana won the Achievement Award.

10 Spring 2022

Morgan County’s Jessica Lance is congratulated by American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall for finishing fourth in the Excellence for Agriculture Award competition. Photos by Jay Stone

Georgia's participants in the 2022 AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers competitive events, were, from left, Jessica Lance (Excellence in Agriculture), Cleve Jackson (Discussion Meet) and Steven & Tara Green (Achievement Award).

Georgia Farm Bureau News


From right, American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall presents Sonny Perdue the organization’s 2022 Distinguished Service Award as Georgia Farm Bureau President Tom McCall offers congratulations.

American Farm Bureau recognized former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for his lifetime of service to agriculture by presenting him the 2022 American Farm Bureau Federation Distinguished Service Award. Perdue accepted the award on Jan. 9 at the AFBF convention in Atlanta. Perdue was recognized for the work he did on behalf of farmers across the country while leading the U.S. Department of Agriculture from January 2017 - January 2021. “I love farms and I love farmers,” Perdue said in his acceptance speech. “This is an award I will cherish because it comes from the heart of American agriculture. I appreciate Georgia Farm Bureau President Tom McCall for nominating me and everyone who supported me for this award. American Farm Bureau was the grassroots team I depended on when I was visiting all 50 states as secretary of agriculture.” While serving as agriculture secretary, Perdue oversaw the USDA’s implementation of the 2018 farm bill and its launch of the Market Facilitation Program that assisted farmers who lost income because of trade disputes. Perdue also led the USDA in helping consumers and farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic by developing the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program and the Farmers to Families Food Box Program and collaborating with other federal agencies to secure migrant farm labor during the pandemic. The USDA also created the ReConnect broadband initiative during Perdue’s tenure. “Sonny Perdue is a true leader for Georgia and U.S. agriculture,” Georgia Farm Bureau President Tom McCall wrote when nominating Perdue on behalf of GFB. “His dedication and investment to agriculture will have a long-lasting impact on our nation and the world. Sonny is deserving of this honor.” As a two-term governor of Georgia from January 2003 to January 2011, Perdue led the establishment of the state’s Regional Water Councils and worked closely with farmers on issues related to water, taxes and property rights. Prior to being elected governor in November 2002, during Perdue’s 11 years in the Georgia Senate, he was recognized as a leading authority on a broad range of issues including agriculture, education, emerging technologies and economic development.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

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U.S. FARMERS & DIPLOMA Robots help McDuffie farms meet labor needs On Jan. 8, the “Got Milk? Got a Green Thumb?” Tour took about 26 U.S. farmers and 16 international diplomatic staff who handle ag policy for their countries to Hillcrest Farms and McCorkle Nurseries in McDuffie County. While a dairy and horticulture nursery operate very differently, tour guests learned that both farms are using robots to fill labor needs. At Hillcrest Farms Inc., Mark Rodgers told the group his family makes the comfort and health of their cows their top priority. The tour of the four-generation farm began in the dairy’s viewing room where visitors saw cows milked in two of the five robotic milking stations the Rodgers installed in 2019. The farm is the first in Georgia to use robotic milkers, which allow the cows to walk into a station when they want to be milked. Each cow wears an activity monitor around her neck that operates similar to a Fitbit. When the cow enters the milking station, a computer reads the chip & downloads data about her temperature, activities, milk production, etc., that helps the Rodgers' monitor the cow's health. Hillcrest Farms has implemented environmentally friendly management practices like using the manure its cows produce to fertilize

the forage crops they grow to feed the cows. The farm also runs recycled water through the alleys of the freestall barns to flush away the cows' manure and loose sand. The sand is separated from the manure water and purified before being used again. At McCorkle Nurseries, tour guests learned how the McCorkles propagate, grow, market and ship the almost 1,000 varieties of woody ornamentals, perennials and groundcover plants they grow. In its 80th year, McCorkle Nurseries is owned and operated by brothers Donald and Jack McCorkle and Donald’s children, Skeetter & Beverly, and Jack’s son, Chris.

Skeetter shared that the operation markets more than 4 million plants each year to more than 1,800 customers in the Southeast and MidAtlantic states. He shared how the nursery collects rainwater in ponds to irrigate its plants and collects runoff water as plants are irrigated to reuse. McCorkle Nurseries has patented almost 100 new plant varieties in the past 15 years, including a dwarf crape myrtle, Endless Summer hydrangea and gardenias with double blooms. Chris discussed how the nursery has used Harvest Automation robots for six years to move plants from one location to another. Since labor is an issue, this allows employees to do more important tasks like propagation or repotting. All tour participants gathered at the Dearing Community Center for a delicious barbecue lunch hosted by the McDuffie County Farm Bureau.

Pictured from left, front row: Jack, Chris & Skeetter McCorkle with their robots, welcome the AFBF tour to their nursery. Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

12 Spring 2022

Georgia Farm Bureau News

ATS VISIT GEORGIA FARMS by Jennifer Whittaker

While touring Southern Belle Farms, AFBF convention attendees learned how the Carter family has transformed its former dairy farm into a top tourist destination. Photo by Kari Creamer

growing strawberries, peaches and other fruit after his son, Jake, returned home from college. Farm manager Daniel Welliver discussed the farm’s you-pick operation and the field trips that bring over 20,000 local students to the farm each school year. The tour participants enjoyed a hayride around the farm to see the beef cattle, peach and blueberry orchards and blackberry patches. Southern Belle served the guests fresh strawberry shortcake with homemade ice cream, all made in its kitchen.

Urban sprawl impacts farms On Jan. 11, a group of 40 AFBF attendees took the “I Feel the Need for Speed & Southern Hospitality” Tour in Henry County. They saw how urban sprawl has impacted agriculture near Atlanta. Participants got a VIP tour of the Atlanta Motor Speedway that included a stop at the start/finish line in the grandstands and a chance to stand in the winner’s circle at victory lane. The guests also saw the 120-acre infield, walked in the pit lanes and saw the Richard Petty Memorial Garden. Henry County Farm Bureau hosted lunch for the tour group at Harvest Pointe United Methodist Church, serving a delicious Southern meal. HCFB President Ross McQueen welcomed the tour and discussed how Atlanta’s urban sprawl has affected the county’s farms. McQueen told the group that the land where the speedway is located was once fields of soybeans, corn and cotton. After lunch, the tour traveled to Southern Belle Farm where Jimmy Carter welcomed the group, telling how he once operated a dairy on the farm but transitioned into agritourism and

Georgia Farm Bureau News

North Ga. home to apple orchards & wine vineyards A second group of 40 AFBF attendees enjoyed the “Apples, Wine & Beautiful North Georgia Mountains” Tour on Jan. 11, traveling to Fannin

County, where they visited Mercier Orchards and Gilmer County where they toured R&A Orchards and Engelheim Vineyards. The first stop was R & A Orchards where Andy Futch welcomed the group with coffee, cider, fried pies and apple donuts. The group learned about the variety of apples grown in North Georgia and how apple growers like the Futch family maintain their trees year round. The tour took a wagon ride around the orchard while learning the farm’s history. The second stop was Mercier Orchards where Tim Mercier welcomed the group. His son-inlaw David Lillard gave a tour of the market, cider making facility and bakery. The group enjoyed lunch made by Mercier Orchards. The third stop was Engelheim Vineyards where the guests explored the grounds and the vineyard’s new wedding facility while learning about the winemaking process from the vineyard’s wine maker. Tour participants also enjoyed a wine tasting during which they learned about the types of wine the estate makes.

Mark Rodgers, left, gave a tour of his family’s farm to farmers from across the U.S. and international diplomatic staff visiting Georgia for the American Farm Bureau Convention. Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

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Georgia cotton farmers: U.S. Trust Protocol wants you! By Jennifer Whittaker Cotton is an environmentally sustainable crop. Most growers use conservation tillage practices to protect their soil. They only irrigate their fields as needed to conserve water. Their farms are home to wildlife. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for sustainable, environmentally friendly products. Companies need sustainably grown cotton to make these products. That’s why the U.S. cotton industry created the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol – to collect the farm production data manufacturers and retailers need to validate their product claims regarding cotton’s sustainability. The voluntary Trust Protocol program, coordinated by the National Cotton Council, is recruiting growers nationwide to document their production practices so the program can secure verifiable, sustainable cotton for manufacturers and retailers. "U.S. cotton has a great sustainability story to tell, and the Trust Protocol provides an excellent opportunity to tell that story," said Matt Coley, a Dooly County cotton grower serving on the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Board of Directors. "As consumers become more aware of how the products they buy are grown and produced, the trust protocol validates that our cotton is grown in a sustainable manner." More than 300 growers nationwide participated in the program for the 2020 crop enrolling about 950,000 bales, 6% of the total U.S. crop, said Ken Burton, the program’s enrollment manager. The program aims to have more than half of all U.S. grown cotton enrolled by the 2025 crop year. About 550 mills and manufacturers worldwide have joined the program to buy the verifiable cotton enrolled in the program. Brands and retailers participating include Target, Levi’s, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Gap Inc., Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta, and U.K. retailers Tesco, Byford and Next.

How to participate The program is currently wrapping up enrollment for its second crop year. March 31 is the deadline to enroll for the 2021 crop. 2020 participants must re-enroll for the 2021 crop. Growers interested in enrolling in the free program should visit & click “Join Now.” The first 750 growers to complete the self-assessment questionnaire and fieldprint analysis will receive a $250 gift card. All enrolled growers will receive a trust protocol t-shirt and member certificate.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News

What's involved? Farmers who enroll in the program will be asked to complete a self-assessment questionnaire of about 120 questions that cover topics such as soil health, water & nutrient management, crop protection practices, harvest preparation, fiber quality & traceability, worker well-being and wildlife biodiversity. Participants select an answer from provided choices indicating the degree to which they implement a production practice on their farm. “It takes most first-time enrollers two and a half hours to complete the online enrollment, so the gift card is a thank you for their time,” Burton said. Growers will also complete a fieldprint analysis on 10% of their cotton acreage to record how they managed that acreage for the last crop. Participants will answer questions about the seeding rate used, number of trips made across the acreage with equipment to plant, spray crop protectants and harvest. They’ll also answer questions about their crop nutrient, disease/pesticide management and tillage practices. “In answering the questions, I found it gave me an opportunity to consider practices that could possibly benefit my farm and the environment,” Coley said. Growers who have questions about any part of the program may contact Burton at or email In the future, growers using farm management software programs to record their farm data may be able to transfer their data from the program they use into the fieldprint analysis, Burton said. “We want to stress to growers that their data doesn’t leave the program. All data is aggregated so growers won’t be identified individually,” Burton said.

We want to stress to growers that their data doesn’t leave the program...

Third-party verification To verify the data the protocol program collects, about 1/3 of trust protocol enrollees will be randomly selected from each cotton belt region for desktop verification and 5-10% of enrollees from each region will be randomly chosen for on-site verification. A third-party company will conduct both types of verifications. “The purpose of both types of verifications is to certify the growers’ answers,” Burton said. “If a grower is found to have incorrectly answered a question, he will be allowed a chance to correct his answers to reflect the farm’s practices.” Burton says the desktop verification process takes one hour while on-site farm verifications take three to four hours. Growers selected for a verification will not be selected again for two years.

A participant’s experience Pierce County cotton grower Daniel Johnson enrolled his 2020 and 2021 cotton crops in the trust protocol program. “We have a Good Agricultural Practices program in tobacco. When this program came along, I said, ‘This will be basically the same thing,’ ” said Johnson. “For growers who are already keeping records on your farming practices, this program is a way to tell your story of how you’re growing a sustainable crop.” Johnson said he’s confident the data will be kept confidential and didn’t find the questions the program asked him about his cotton production to be different from those he answers with the tobacco GAP program. “Georgia is the second largest cotton producing state in the U.S. If this will help promote my cotton so we can sell it and get a better price for it, I’m willing to participate,” Johnson said. “I think it’s going to be the future of how we sell our crop.”

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Spring 2022 15


over comfort

by Jay Stone

Although Marji Guyler-Alaniz didn’t grow up farming, as an Iowa native, agriculture was all around her. Now in her second career as part documentarian, part brand ambassador for female farmers and ranchers, she’s immersed herself in all things ag. Speaking at the 2021 Georgia Farm Bureau Educational Leadership Conference, Guyler-Alaniz shared her story and those of female farmers she’s met. Guyler-Alaniz started the FarmHer project in 2013, after seeing the Super Bowl commercial that featured Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” poem. She noticed the commercial had little female presence, which paralleled her own experience. “I had a great career in agriculture leading up to that, but many times I was the only woman in the room,” Guyler-Alaniz recalled. “I realized that you don’t see enough of these women who are out there doing this.” The Des Moines Register soon ran a story asking, “Where are the women?” noting that 27% of U.S. ag producers were women according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture. After reading this, Guyler-Alaniz settled on her new career: Finding female farmers, taking their photos, and telling their stories. When she launched her website and social media accounts, the response was immediate. “I realized it wasn’t just me who cared about this,” she said. She has shared the stories of more than 460 female producers: both the feel-good and heart-breaking variety.

“It’s been one of the greatest things in my life,” Guyler-Alaniz said. “I will tell you that every step of this journey has been far outside my comfort zone." Leaving her comfort zone was a skill Guyler-Alaniz developed as she started her business and learned to handle payroll taxes, establish trademarks and take business meetings with strangers. “Putting courage over comfort leads to great things,” she said. In 2015, RFD-TV approached her about a television show, and she signed on for five years. FarmHer has aired 125 episodes, featuring more than 350 women who farm a wide range of commodities. More episodes are in the works. Guyler-Alaniz points out that the number of female producers documented by the Census of Agriculture grew by 26% from 2012 to 2017. She emphasized the importance of women participating in the Census of Agriculture. “If you have something to do with farming or ranching, being counted matters,” she said. “More women made the effort [in 2017] to make sure they were counted in the agriculture census. This is how funding gets distributed through the USDA. This is how companies see who their customers are.” Guyler-Alaniz also encourages women to remember why they farm. “What is it that makes you do what you do?” she asked. “What is it that keeps you getting up and keeps you going every single day, even when things are tough, when things don’t go your way? What is your why? We all have it. Ask yourself how you can adjust your life so you can live more of your why.”

FarmHer founder Marji Guyler Alaniz values telling female farmers’ stories. Photo courtesy of FarmHer

16 Spring 2022

Georgia Farm Bureau News

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Georgia Farm Bureau News

Spring 2022 17

Economists give ’22 crop outlook


'22 Crop Outlook

By Jennifer Whittaker

Farmers attending a series of commodity meetings Georgia ag organizations held this winter had a chance to hear UGA Extension economists predict 2022 prices for their commodities while agronomists and pathologists gave production tips for navigating high fertilizer costs and expected weather patterns. We’re sharing the insights and tips offered for Georgia’s major market insights and production tips offered for Georgia’s major crops at the Georgia Peanut Commission’s Farm Show, the UGA Cotton Production Workshop/ Georgia Cotton Commission Annual Meeting, and the AgForecast, hosted by the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. Speakers at all of the meetings encouraged Georgia farmers to use the UGA row crop comparison tools to run the numbers for their farms to compare the costs and returns for major crops and some livestock. Visit for these tools.

PEANUTS Georgia’s 2021 peanut crop produced 1.67 million tons with an average yield of 4,465 lbs/ acre, UGA Extension Peanut Agronomist Dr. Scott Montford said at the Georgia Peanut Show, reporting stats from a Jan. 17 report. “The 2021 crop was one of the largest yields for Georgia in the past 10 to 15 years,” Montford said. “Last year’s crop set us up where we’re going to have some [supply stock] overages, which might drive down contract prices for this year’s crop.” Montfort attributed the high average yield/acre to non-irrigated acres faring well due to more rain and cooler temperatures. While Georgia’s eastern and central peanut belt benefited from last year’s weather, Montford acknowledged that many peanut growers in Southwest Georgia had lower yields due to excess rain and cooler temperatures. Speaking at the Ag Forecast, UGA Extension Economist Amanda Smith said Georgia growers may increase their peanut acreage 5-10% in ’22 due to

18 Spring 2022

rising fertilizer costs and stable prices, but warned, “We don’t need to see an acreage increase as much as 10%, due to the effect this could have on prices in ’23."

COTTON Georgia’s ‘21 cotton crop produced 2.25 million bales up 3% from ‘20 with an average yield of 931 lbs./acre according to the USDA 2021 crop summary. This report, released Jan. 12, was based on a farmer survey conducted in early December, so stats may change. “Last year Georgia had good weather. Last year we harvested large amounts of cotton compared to 2020,” UGA Cotton Economist Serinna Liu said at Georgia’s annual cotton meeting. Liu discussed how supply chain disruptions at shipping ports and a lack of employees to drive trucks or class the ’21 cotton crop is impacting cotton imports and exports. “Due to a shortage of employees, 12.9% less cotton has been classed for the ‘21 crop compared to the five-year average,” Liu said. “This big gap hinders our ability to sell our cotton and will delay our exports.” Cotton prices soared as high as $1.20/lb. in 2021. Liu explained these prices were driven by hedge fund managers investing in cotton when the stock market dropped. For ‘22, she expects cotton prices to range from 80 to 90 cents/lb. as production costs rise by 17.4% for irrigated cotton and 24.7% for dryland cotton. “The price for irrigated land needs to be locked in at 89 cents/lb to cover costs,” Liu said. “Growers need to lock in a price of $1.09/lb for dryland to break even.”

Georgia Farm Bureau News

CORN & SOYBEANS Georgia’s ’21 corn crop produced 81 million bushels, an increase of 15% from the ’20 crop due to a record yield of 182 bushels/acre according to the USDA ’21 crop summary. Georgia farmers planted 60,000 more acres of corn in ’21 (480,000) than ’20 and harvested 55,000 more acres in ’21 (445,000) than ’20. U.S. corn production was higher than consumption in 2021, so ending stocks are up. Food use is expected to be steady in ‘22, but livestock feed use is down.Ethanol consumption is expected to remain stable. “We are starting to see large ending stocks of corn for ethanol, so the question is do we need as much corn for ethanol?” UGA Economist Amanda Smith said. “It’s still profitable to plant corn, especially over soybeans.” Smith estimates Georgia corn prices for the coming year will range from $5.85 to $6.50 a bushel. “The big question is ‘What will be the number of corn acres planted nationwide?’ Smith said. “This will determine how high fertilizer prices go.” In ’22, Georgia corn and soybean acres are expected to stay the same or increase slightly. Georgia’s ’21 soybean crop of 6.21 million bushels was up 59% over ’20 due to a 42% increase in harvested acres (135,000) and a state record yield of 46 bushels/acre only 5.4 bushels/acre lower than the U.S. yield. U.S. soybean production exceeded consumption for the 2021-22 crop, increasing ending stocks by about 8%. Global ending stocks will be down from last year, but the amount depends on how the South American crop fares. Smith estimates Georgia ’22 soybean prices will average$10-12/bushel.

MANAGING FERTILITY NEEDS VS. PRICE While farmers are looking at higher fertilizer prices than they’ve seen in more than a decade, UGA Extension Agronomist Glen Harris put the situation in perspective. “There are no silver bullets in this game of dealing with higher fertilizer prices, but farmers dealt with high fertilizer prices in 2008 and prices for some fertilizer components aren’t as high as they were then,” Harris said.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

In 2008 the average price of nitrogen was 85 cents/pound while it was 95 cents/pound by end of 2021, Harris said. The average price of phosphate in 2008 was 85 cents/pound while it reached 65 cents/pound last year. Soluble potassium had an average price of 80 cents/pound in 2008 while it was just under 70 cents/pound last year. “Be sure to take soil samples of your fields to determine what your soil needs,” Harris advises. Harris recommends that farmers follow the four Rs approach to properly fertilize their fields: use the right source; apply at the right rate; apply nutrients at the right stage of growth and apply in the right place (to areas in field where needed). “Even now with fertilizer prices being higher, for corn and cotton crops, you need to fertilize your fields based on the yields you want. It will still pay because commodity prices are good,” Harris said. “If commodity prices go down, that will be a different story.” Fertilizer prices are expected to ease by late summer Smith said.

MANAGING NEMATODES Come summer, South Georgia farmers may pay the piper for the mild weather they enjoyed this winter. “We want [consistent] colder temperatures to send soil temperatures plummeting [for a prolonged period of time] said UGA Extension Plant Pathologist Dr. Bob Kemerait. “The winter we haven’t had this year is setting us up for an increase in thrips, nematodes and tomato spotted wilt virus.” Kemerait said farmers will probably pay more for fungicides to combat disease and nematodes; they may experience shortages of generic products azoxystrobin, pyraclostrobin and tebucaonazole. Premium fungicides should be available unless peanut acreage goes way above 2021. With fungicides in tight supply, Kemerait advises growers to use the Peanut RX website at to evaluate the level of threat from diseases and make appropriate changes to reduce their risk. Growers can also use results of the Rx website to tailor their fungicide programs for specific fields. Growers should make contingency plans for using alternate products if a particular product is not available when needed.

AG INPUT COSTS RISE In the past year, biggest price increases:

Fertilizer.................................+85-125% Shipping spot loads...........+41% Diesel......................................+35% Pallets.....................................+32% Source: Georgia Economist Dr. Jeff Dorman

Spring 2022 19


It is said, talk is cheap... In many cases it’s true. In a mental health context, though, talk is valuable. Lifesaving, even. Putting words to one’s feelings is a tactic therapists frequently suggest to deal with emotions. A study conducted by UCLA psychologist Matthew Lieberman shows talking or writing about our feelings may result in the feelings being diminished. In effect, expressing our feelings makes them less likely to spur us to a negative action. Getting farmers to talk however, is not easy. Recognizing this, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) hosted a pair of mental health workshops at its 2022 convention in Atlanta. Panelists discussed overcoming the stigma associated with mental health struggles so farmers will seek help. AFBF also offered Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training, which provides a guide to recognizing people in distress and encouraging them to get help.

Question, Persuade, Refer The QPR training led by Dr. Tara Haskins and Olivia Bury of the AgriSafe Network offered tips to ask delicate questions about suicidal intentions, either indirectly (“Do you ever wish you could go to sleep and never wake up?”) or directly (“It sounds like you’ve been having a really hard time. Have you been having thoughts about suicide?”). “When a farmer or family member is coming to us with concerns, we want to be able to engage in that conversation,” Haskins said, “Any interaction you have, even if someone is not expressing suicide, these skills and techniques can be used to intervene, to move someone toward going and seeking professional health. The persuade portion of the process involves listening to what the person is saying and giving them your undivided attention, downplaying suicide as a solution, then offering hope in any form. This might mean offering your personal help, for instance by asking, “Will you promise me not to kill yourself until we’ve found you some help?” Then, refer them for professional help. The best-case scenario, according to the training, is to go with them to someone who can help or to personally get them on the phone with someone who can help. Failing that, ask them to commit to getting help. “We have to ask those questions. ‘What would it take for me to get you to be able go?’” Haskins said. To learn more about QPR training or to arrange for a QPR course, visit .

20 Spring 2022

The bootstrap stigma The stigma associated with mental illness is a huge hurdle. Stories are legion of farmers declining counseling because they don’t want their truck seen at the counseling office. One of the panelists, Colorado Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Chad Vorthmann, shared his experience from a conference call during which he was able to get farmers to open up and talk about the troubles they were seeing in their communities and experiencing themselves. Then one of the state’s farm leaders spoke up. “He said, ‘When it gets tough in ag, we put our nose to the grindstone, pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and move forward,’ ” Vorthmann said. “That was a signal to everyone on that call that we don’t talk about this.” This “man up” mentality prompts many farmers to internalize their emotions. Studies have shown this leads to other health issues and, in worst cases, suicide.

What other states are doing Colorado Farm Bureau (CFB) partnered with 10 organizations to create the Colorado Agricultural Addiction & Mental Health Program (CAAMHP), which provides rural Coloradans vouchers for six counseling sessions. CFB members receive a discount for extra sessions. CAAMHP is anonymous and remotely accessible. Ohio Farm Bureau teamed up with Ohio State University (OSU) Extension and the Ohio Department of Agriculture to launch the “Ohio’s Got Your Back,” campaign designed to help connect farmers with emotional health resources. OSU developed mental health first aid training for people who aren’t mental health professionals to know what to look for and say if they see someone struggling. Through the South Carolina Agri-Wellness program, S.C. Farm Bureau and Clemson University Extension secured existing counseling and referral services for farmers and rural residents free of charge.

Georgia Farm Bureau News


U.S. farmer

suicides in 2017.

The Numbers



of people say they prefer talking about personal problems to a friend or family member

Eliminates Pigweed, Johnsongrass, Smutgrass, Thistles, Foxtail,

people on average are affected by a suicide

Signs a farmer or rancher may be at risk

Mental Health Resources

• Changes in their routines or social activities

If you or someone you know are in distress, help is available here:


• National Suicide Prevention Hotline:

• Decline in the care of their domestic animals • Increase in illness or chronic conditions • Increase in farm accidents • Decline in appearance of farmstead • Decreased interest in activities or events

1-800-273-TALK (988 after July 16) or

• Georgia Crisis & Access Line:

1-800-715-4225 or


• AFBF Farm State of Mind:

• Rural Georgia: Growing Stronger:


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Spring 2022 21

GFB mourns loss of Janice Long Janice McCorkle Long, wife of former Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long, died Jan. 4. Long, 71, was born in Blakely, Ga., the daughter of Pat W. and Dorothy Widner McCorkle. She was a graduate of Early County High School, Class of 1968. She received her associate degree in home economics from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and her bachelor’s degree in home economics from Georgia Southern University. Long taught elementary classes at Calvary Christian School, Gadsden Christian Academy, and the Miller County School System. Known as the "Tater Lady", Long farmed and managed the vegetable operation of G. W. Long Farms for more than 30 years. She loved cooking and taking care of her yard and flowers. Long loved her family and always took care of others. She was a member of Bainbridge First Baptist Church. Survivors include her husband of 51 years, Gerald; sons, Justin (Kelli) of Bainbridge, and Jared (Lori) of Moultrie; her daughter, Jeanie Long Izurieta (Diego) of College Station, Texas; brothers, Dan McCorkle of Charleston, S.C., and Don McCorkle (Frances) of Blakely; and grandchildren, Addie, Wyatt, and Warren Long. Memorial donations may be made to Lighthouse Children's Home, 7771 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, FL, 32309, or Georgia Foundation for Agriculture, 1620 Bass Road, Macon, Ga., 31210 or

GFB broadcasting pioneer Jimmy Lee dies Jimmy Lee, a long-time fixture on Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) broadcast media, died Jan. 14. Lee, 86, was born and raised in Perry and was a graduate of Perry High School. He attended Middle Georgia College in Cochran and Mercer University in Macon. He served in the Georgia Army National Guard from 1953 to 1967. In 1967, Lee began producing the weekly Georgia Farm Monitor program, carried on 42 radio stations and WMAZ-TV in Macon, for GFB. He later created the “Georgia Farm Monitor” television network that broadcast statewide for GFB on 18 television stations with Macon’s WMAZ as the flagship station. Over the years, Lee produced and hosted 936 half-hour television shows with no repeat shows. In 1970, Lee joined the GFB staff as director of radio & television services and in 1977, he was named information director. Lee left GFB in 1985, returned in 1997 as a commodity specialist, a position he held until retiring in 2007. He did video projects for the Georgia Peanut Commission for many years. Lee was preceded in death by his parents, Avery and Josephine Lee, and his wife of 61 years, Iris Odell Lee. He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Jamie and Cheryl Lee of Juliette; his grandchildren, Breana Lee and Colby Lee; one great-grandson, Avery Lee. Condolences for the family may be left in the online guestbook at www.

22 Spring 2022

Georgia Farm Bureau News

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WWW.SFBLI.COM Spring 2022 23

Georgia Foundation for Ag Update

Foundation recognizes recent donors The Georgia Foundation for Agriculture thanks everyone who contributed to the foundation during the fourth quarter of 2021. We appreciate Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Farm Bureau Insurance Company for their ongoing support. To learn more about supporting the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture please visit or contact Executive Director Lily Baucom at

Pillars - $1,000 + Atlanta Braves Foundation Chapman Trading Cobb Co. Farm Bureau Farm Bureau Bank Jeanna G. Fennell Georgia Power Foundation Georgians for Kelly Loeffler Haralson Co. Farm Bureau Harrison Poultry Jon D. Huffmaster David L. Jolley Mercer University North Georgia Community Foundation

Growers - $500 - $999 Lucius Adkins Gilbert Barrett Gary Bell Matt E. Bottoms Ben Boyd Bill Bryan Ralph Caldwell Leighton Cooley Dania Devane Nora Goodman Duke Groover Wesley Hall Jeffrey A. Harvey William Hileman Daniel Johnson David H. Lee Tom A. McCall Skeetter McCorkle James Malone Bradford Marks Melissa Mathis George Monk Russ Moon Rachel B. Mosely Walt Pridgen Scotty Raines Paul Shirah Bernard Sims James E. Tate Lamar Vickers Russ Wilburn Don Wood

Friends - $250 - $499 Dawn Brose Steve Butler Jason Cantrell Sandy H. Chancey Zippy Duvall Jennifer Farmer Tracy Foskey William Foster Janice Greear Caleb Huff Joel McKie

24 Spring 2022

Allen Morgan Network for Good Judy Ralls Kim Roberts Heather Senn Joseph Smith Gina Stokes

Donors - $100 - $249 Nancy Altherr Richard Arch Sudeep Bag Baldwin Co. Farm Bureau Bobby Barber John R. Branch Mark R. Brose Amy Carter Ellen H. Chase Gayland G. Collins Dougherty Co. Farm Bureau General Mills for Bradford Marks, Jr. Greene Co. Farm Bureau William Grizzle Henry Co. Farm Bureau Dan Logan Chris Martin Mark McCann Sharon Morrow Mark Powell Michelle Remaley Linda E. Southerland Vicki Stewart Telfair Co. Farm Bureau Norma Thompson Walton Co. Farm Bureau Gibbs Wilson

Contributors - $50-$99 America's Charities Brett Bickford Dennis L. Black Deborah Booker Alexander T. Bradford Kim Brown Kathy E. Chalker Denise Chute William Cornelius Mary Cutrell Lillian Davis Perry DeWeese Jason S. Elkins Deborah Furnish Travis Garnto Lauren D. Goble Rhonda Grimes Richard L. Hart Paul McGahee Roger McGee George Monk Tona Morgan Robyn Padgett Jean Peterson Marty B. Pritchard

John C. Ryals Juletta A. Sand Robert Scherer Janet Spillers Christa Steinkamp Allison Stone Jeremy R. Taylor Kim Townsend Walker Co. Farm Bureau Clark Weaver Jennifer Whittaker

Supporters Jewanna Adside-Davis Jarret L. Allen AmazonSmile Candis Bartlett Christy Bennett William F. Bohm A E. Bowers John Byrd Deborah M. Carter Al Cartwright Raynor Churchwell Joyce A. Clark Denise Combs Melanie N. Curenton Gregg Daniel Dawn Deese Allison Durham Kathleen G. Duvall Deborah H. Ellis Carolyn Fincher Heather Giambra Jennifer Gibson Lauren Good Rodger Hallam Aaron Hammons Betty Harris Pamela K. Hegwood John F. Hilton Tamara Hinds Lita Holloway Denise Holt Karren E. Hoskins Melissa Howard Denise Hughes Charmaine Jackson Ashley James Amy J. Jeffries Ronald G. Johnson Dan Jones Morgan Kemp Amy Kinn Dorothy Layson Melissa G. Loyd Amanda Malcom Dana K. Miller Bryan Mitchell Michele Molton Dinah Moore Jonathan Morgan Lisa C. Newberry Debra Orr

Ronnie Parish Amy Parker Jeremy Phillips Herbert L. Powell Patricia Rainey Laura Ryals Anna M. Scheyett Vicki L. Shepard Leanna Sherman Jessica Sneed Robert Sosebee Jack Stewart Ruth Stokeling Jason Thompson Megan W. Thompson Chet Vier James Viar Amanda Waddle Sara J. Walker Kolette Warner Kimberly A. Whitley Donnella Williams Kimberly Williams Gary J. Willis

Georgia Ag Experience Driving Agriculture Sponsors Harrison Poultry - District Sponsor Cobb Co. Farm Bureau – 5-day sponsor Haralson County Farm Bureau – 3-day sponsor

In Memory of Maynard Chambers/Baldwin Co. Farm Bureau

In Honor of by Amy Carter Jane & Tom McCall

In Honor of by Jeanna Fennell David Jolley Jon Huffmaster Jeffrey Harvey Rachel Mosely George Monk Gary Willis

GAE reached 636 teachers in '21 98% say they’re more likely to use

ag in their curriculum

Georgia Farm Bureau News


STEM CHALLENGE 3rd - 5th grade classes must enter by April 29 • Top three grade winners will receive $350 in prizers for exploring pollinators • Participating classes will answer “How can we improve & increase pollinator spaces across our landscapes in our communities?” by: 1. Evaluating pollinator space & pollinator activity in a chosen area. 2. Monitoring & collecting data on pollinator activity using UGA’s Great Georgia Pollinator Census chart & observation requirements 3. Creating a presentation outlining how to improve space for pollinators


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Spring 2022 25

Ag in the Classroom Update

GFB looking for Georgia Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year By Lauren Goble

This Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) award recognizes a Georgia educator for his or her excellence in incorporating agriculture into their lessons meeting Georgia standards curriculum. Agricultural concepts can support the teaching of many academic programs such as Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM); Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math (STEAM) & Science, Technology, Emotional learning, Art, Math (STREAM) It’s important for students to understand how agriculture impacts their daily life. Many teachers in our state are integrating agriculture into their daily lessons. This award allows county Farm Bureaus to nominate a teacher who goes above and beyond to teach his/her students about Georgia agriculture. GFB looks forward to recognizing one of these teachers as the 2022 Georgia Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year.

• May 6 is deadline to submit applications. Winner receives a $500 cash award & a trip to the 2023 National Ag in the Classroom Conference. • High school/middle school/elementary school ag teachers are not eligible for this award. • Teacher should have a close partnership with their local Farm Bureau. • Applications must be submitted online. Visit for more information & to apply.

Douglas County teacher Natalie Murray was the 2021 GFB AITC Teacher of the Year To meet Natalie visit

If interested in applying please contact your local Farm Bureau office. Visit to reach your county Farm Bureau.

National AITC Conference • June 28 -July 1/ Saratoga Springs, New York • Conference will be held in person • Visit for more information & to register. Georgia Farm Bureau Educational Program Coordinator Lauren Goble may be reached at or 478-474-0679, ext. 5135. Visit for the latest AITC news & for resources to teach children how their food is grown.

26 Spring 2022

Georgia Farm Bureau News


Photo by Logan Thomas

By Jennifer Whittaker Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) recognized the best of the organization’s volunteers and county chapters during its 84th convention in December. “We’re proud of the activities all of our county volunteers and staff do for Farm Bureau statewide. Your efforts make a difference!” GFB President Tom McCall said. “We congratulate the individuals and county chapters that won state awards for their 2021 efforts.” GFB President Tom McCall (back row, far left) congratulates the 2021 GFB award recipients: (front row, from left) Justin Long accepting the McKemie Award for Decatur County in GFB’s medium membership division; Charles Berry accepting the Outstanding Women’s Leadership Committee Award for Newton County; Angie Roberts accepting the Outstanding Promotion & Education Award for McDuffie County; GFB Outstanding Office Manager Kim-Cora Kay of McDuffie County; (back row, second from left) Colt Hart accepting the Outstanding Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee Award for Franklin County; Wayne McInvale accepting the McKemie Award for Crawford County in GFB’s small membership division; Don Keeter accepting the Outstanding Legislative Program Award for Cherokee County and William Grizzle accepting the McKemie Award for Cherokee County in the large membership category. State winners not pictured are: GFB Quality Hay Contest winner Doyle Lamb, Turner County; GFB YF&R Achievement Award, Steven & Tara Green, Spalding County; GFB YF&R Excellence in Ag, Jessica Lance, Morgan County; GFB Discussion Meet, Cleve Jackson, Floyd County; 2021 GFB Ag Teacher, Natalie Murray, Douglas County.

The 2021 GFB state award winners were selected from the GFB district award winners honored at the organization’s district annual meetings last fall. A list of district award winners is available at

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Spring 2022 27

YF&R Update

GFB YF&R Program off & running By Breanna Berry

Meet the 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee: from left, 2nd Dist. Chairs Colt & LeAnna Hart, Franklin Co; 3rd Dist. Chair Anna Leigh Peek, Newton Co.; 5th Dist. Chairs Tara & Steven Green, Spalding Co.; 10th Dist. Chair & Committee Chairman Walt Pridgen, Coffee Co.; 9th Dist. Chair Cody Powell & not pictured Korey Powell, Decatur Co.; 4th Dist. Chairs Rachel & Jason Kinsaul, Morgan Co.; 1st Dist. Chair Christy & not pictured Dan Brannon, Chattooga Co.; 7th Dist. Chair & Committee Vice Chairman Josh Brannen, Candler Co.; 8th Dist. Chairs Addie & Bryan Tucker, Wilcox Co.; & 6th Dist. Chair William Moses, Laurens Co./ Photo by Jay Stone While COVID has changed many things, it has not changed the mission of the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) program. Georgia Farm Bureau members ages 18-35 are continuing to develop and strengthen their leadership skills to advocate for agriculture. In addition to staple events such as the YF&R Summer Leadership Conference, GFB’s YF&R Committee has an exciting lineup of activities this year. The Legislative Drive-In, held Feb. 7, in conjunction with GFB Day at the Capitol, prepared YF&R and Women’s Leadership Committee members from across the state to interact with their state legislators the next day during GFB Day at the Capitol. “We were excited to offer a new program to support our members and strengthen their ability to engage with our elected officials,” said GFB YF&R Chairman Walt Pridgen. In early March, GFB will release information about all YF&R award programs – Achievement Award in Agriculture; Excellence in Agriculture Award; and Discussion Meet.

The achievement award recognizes YF&R members for their farming operations and leadership activities. The excellence in agriculture award honors YF&R members who earn the majority of their income off the farm but are vocal ag advocates. The discussion meet simulates a meeting where participants talk about current ag issues and explore possible solutions. These awards are pillars of the YF&R program and promote YF&R members across the state. GFB wants as many members as possible to apply for the awards and participate in YF&R activities to grow the program. Registration information for the YF&R Summer Conference, to be held July 14-16 on Jekyll Island, and the annual YF&R Photo Contest will be released in early March. The application deadline for awards and conference registration is June 1. Photo contest entries are due by June 10. Visit or contact your county Farm Bureau office for more information about the awards, photo contest and to register for the conference.

Georgia Farm Bureau YF&R Coordinator Breanna Berry may be reached at or 478-474-0679, ext. 5232 for more information. Contact your county Farm Bureau if you’d like to get involved with your local YF&R program.

28 Spring 2022

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Womens Leadership Update

GFB WLC expands focus to advocacy By Breanna Berry

Meet the 2022 GFB Women’s Leadership Committee pictured from left: GFB 5th Dist. Chair & GFB Committee Chair Melissa Mathis, Monroe Co.; GFB 6th Dist. Chair & Committee Vice Chair Kathy Sanders, Laurens Co.; GFB 1st Dist. Chair Andrea Sims, Catoosa Co.; GFB 2nd Dist. Chair Stephanie Branch, Rabun Co.; GFB 3rd Dist. Chair Chy Kellogg, Cobb Co.; GFB 4th Dist. Chair Patsy Spear, McDuffie Co.; GFB 7th Dist. Chair Melanie Hendrix, Evans Co.; GFB 8th Dist. Chair Vickie Brown, Turner Co.; & GFB 10th Dist. Chair Mary Elizabeth Branch, Bacon Co. Not pictured is GFB 9th Dist. Chair Kelli Long, Decatur Co./ Photo by Jennifer Whittaker The Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee (WLC) is excited about the future of its programs as it works to strengthen WLC members’ leadership and advocacy skills. Ag literacy has historically been a cornerstone of this committee. While the committee will continue to promote ag literacy, it is expanding its horizons to include legislative advocacy activities. “Each year, the Women's Leadership Committee educates and advocates for agriculture across our state. We are currently in a unique position where we have the opportunity to further support the overall mission of our organization through different avenues,” said GFB WLC Chair Melissa Mathis. “I am excited about the new opportunities our committee will offer to develop leaders across Georgia as we promote Farm Bureau policy, membership and ag education. This is the time to show we are all Farm Bureau.” At the 2021 GFB convention, the WLC kicked off its new series of events “Ladies & Legislators,” designed to make female Farm Bureau members’

more comfortable in contacting elected officials. At its booth in the exhibit hall, the WLC encouraged GFB members to write their elected officials. WLC members helped members look up their legislators and write a post card to send on behalf of GFB. In February, the WLC partnered with the YF&R Committee to host the Legislative Drive-In to help prepare WLC and YF&R participants to engage with state legislators during GFB Day at the Capitol. GFB WLC Committee members also participated in the 2022 AFBF Convention by serving as Georgia delegates and volunteering with a community food service project with the AFBF WLC. In coming months, GFB WLC members will participate in the AFBF D.C. Fly-In, attend the National Ag in the Classroom Conference, and host district events for ladies across Georgia.

Georgia Farm Bureau WLC Coordinator Breanna Berry may be reached at or 478-474-0679, ext. 5232. Contact your county Farm Bureau if you’d like to volunteer with your local Women’s Leadership Committee.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Spring 2022 29

MCDANIEL, DALTON GFB 2ND DISTRICT CATTLE SHOW TOP WINNERS By Katie Murray Georgia Farm Bureau’s 2nd District held its 12th Annual Young Farmer Steer & Heifer Show Jan. 22 at the Jackson County Agricultural Facility. About 250 people turned out to watch 67 students compete in the event, which helps cattle exhibitors in the district continue developing their showmanship skills between the Georgia National Fair in October and the Georgia Junior National Livestock Show in February. The district uses the show to introduce exhibitors to the GFB Young Farmer program in hopes of encouraging students to join their county Young Farmer Committees when they turn 18. Morgan McDaniel of Jackson County and Ethan Dalton of Banks County won the show’s top prizes. McDaniel won Supreme Champion Heifer with her Percentage Simmental heifer. Dalton won Grand Champion Steer with his crossbreed steer. Madelyn Shirley from Commerce Middle School earned the Reserve Champion Steer. Ethan Dalton won Reserve Champion Heifer. The prizes for the show awards were funded by donations from 2nd District county Farm Bureaus, county presidents and insurance agents. Bella Chandler of Jackson County won the $250 academic scholarship given by the show committee. Ethan Dalton won the 12th Grade

Showmanship Award and a $250 prize. Other showmanship winners were: 11th Grade – Morgan McDaniel, Jackson County; 10th Grade – Chloe Boling, Banks County; 9th Grade – Raegan Gilbert, Banks County; 8th Grade – Dawson Morris, Banks County; 7th Grade – Landon Clark, Hall County; 6th Grade – Halley Elrod, Jackson County; 5th Grade – Riley Moon, Madison County; 4th Grade – Caleigh Fowler, Franklin County. In breed heifer classes, winners were: Percent Simmental Champion & Reserve Champion: Morgan McDaniel; Angus Champion: Raegan Gilbert, Banks County; Angus Reserve Champion: Landon Clark, Hall County; Charolais Champion: Halley Elrod; Charolais Reserve Champion: Molly Tipton, Habersham County; Shorthorn Champion: Hadley Murray, Lumpkin County; Shorthorn Reserve Champion: Ellie Young, Lumpkin County; Simmental Champion: Morgan McDaniel; Simmental Reserve Champion: Landon Clark; Other Breeds Champion: Ethan Dalton; Other Breeds Reserve Champion: Maggie Moon, Madison County; Hereford Champion: Eric Ashworth, Banks County; Hereford Reserve Champion: Emma Lawrence, Jackson County; Commercial Heifer Champion: Bella Chandler; Commercial Heifer Reserve Champion: Maggie Moon.

Ethan Dalton of Banks County exhibited the GFB 2nd Dist. Young Farmer Steer & Heifer Show Grand Champion Steer.

Morgan McDaniel of Jackson County exhibited the GFB 2nd Dist. Young Farmer Steer & Heifer Show Supreme Champion Heifer.

Photo by Lexie Love

Photo by Kenneth McDaniel

30 Spring 2022

Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB 5TH & 7TH DISTRICTS GO HOGByWILD Jennifer Whittaker As the popularity of showing hogs has grown, Georgia Farm Bureau 5th and 7th District leaders held shows to encourage 4-H and FFA youth in their livestock projects. The events gave the students a chance to earn prize money to finance raising their hogs and to gain show experience before the state show in late February. Both shows were held Feb. 5. The Upson-Lee Agriculture Center hosted the 3rd Annual GFB 5th District Market Hog Show. Portal High School FFA hosted the inaugural GFB 7th District Market Hog Show. The 5th District show attracted 75 exhibitors showing 103 hogs in 14 weight classes. The 7th District show drew 24 exhibitors showing 31 hogs divided into five weight classes. In addition to students at each show competing to see who had raised the best hog in their weight class, exhibitors at both shows, ranging from pre-K to high school seniors, competed for showmanship honors for their age division: novice (3rd grade & under); junior (4th-6th grade); intermediate (7th – 9th grade); or senior (10th – 12th grade). Showmanship competitors were judged on their ability to maintain control of their hog as they walked it around the show ring and their ability to walk their hog in a way that best showcases the animal’s muscles, legs & overall structure. 7th District Showmanship winners were: Novice, Tatem Pittman, Toombs Co.; Junior, Nathan Newman, Bulloch Co; Intermediate, Kate Anna Newman, Bulloch Co,; & Senior, Taylor Lucas, Effingham Co. Both shows awarded prize money to the 2nd – 4th place winners of each showmanship and weight class division based on the total prize jackpot each show had to divide.

Tatem Pittman of Toombs County, grand champion winner of the first GFB 7th District Market Hog Show, won $350. From left, show judge Richard Gill, Bulloch Co. Farm Bureau Director Fred Blitch & GFB 7th Dist. Director Gary Bell congratulate him. Taylor Lucas of Effingham County, not pictured, won $250 as the reserve champion. Photo by Bill T. Akers

The GFB 5th Dist. Champion Showmanship winners, were from left: Novice Showman SJ. Key, Harris Co.; Junior Showman Lawson Cooley, Crawford Co.; Intermediate Showman Walker Davis, Pike Co.; & Senior Showman Carter Steele, Pike Co., chosen by show judge Gary Childs. Each showmanship division champion received a belt buckle & $60. Carter Steele also won the overall grand champion weight class prize of $250. Scout Taylor, Crawford County, not pictured, exhibited the overall reserve champion hog to win $150. Photo by Logan Thomas

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Spring 2022 31

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